|Saturday, March 11, 2000,
for RS seats hots up
Indo-Pak ties not main
Crisis in Orissa Cong deepens
Opposition stalls work in
Uttarakhand issue erupts
HC orders release of 200
Custodial death: UP directed to
pay Rs 2 lakh
Mithun not to contest RS poll from
Rs 1.17 cr seized from engineer
IT officer arrested in bribery
DDA scheme for Punjab migrants
Race for RS seats hots up
NEW DELHI, March 10 As the last date for filing of nominations for Rajya Sabha elections draws nearer, the pace for securing party nod has picked up.
The Congress, which can expect to bag up to 16 of the 58 seats that are falling vacant early next month is understood to have finalised the candidature of Mr Arjun Singh (Madhya Pradesh) from among the four candidates the Congress can return safely.
Party sources said the names of others who have understood to have got the nod include Mr D P Roy, a former Seva Dal office-bearer from West Bengal, Industrialist Mr R.P. Goenka from Rajasthan and Mr Inder Khosla, who is on the Kamala Nehru Trust, from Uttar Pradesh.
In Karnataka, a keen tussle is on with high-profile economist Mr Jairam Rameshs candidature being backed by the state Chief Minister, Mr S M Krishna. It remains to be seen if Mr H Hanumanthappa, who is also due to retire on April 2 will manage to get clearance once again.
The Congress high command, which was holding back the decision till the Bihar vote of confidence was over, will complete the clearances in time for the last date of filing of nominations on March 14.
There are reports that Mr Radhe Krishan Malviya and a former Law Minister, Mr Hans Raj Bhardwaj, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, may get the nod from Madhya Pradesh.
The claim of Congress spokesman, Mr Ajit Jogi, for the fourth seat is said to have been strengthened after the success in Bihar. Mr Jogi was despatched by the AICC to contain dissidence in the state unit of the party and to ensure that no party MLA crossed floor in Bihar.
From Andhra Pradesh where the Congress can bag two of the six seats falling vacant the tussle is among Mr K Vijayabhaskar Reddy, Mr P Shiv Shankar and Mr T Venkatram Reddy.
Meanwhile, the BJP is understood to have cleared the nomination of a former Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj from Uttar Pradesh.
The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, who is not a member of any House is slated to enter the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat while former Congress MP from Bihar, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, who joined the BJP could be returned to the House from the same state along with Mr Ravi Shankar.
Similarly, the Union Transport Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh is understood to have been renominated from UP along with media personality Mr Balbir Punj.
The BJP, however, maintained that the official list of candidates will be released only on March 13 after getting further inputs from state units.
Indo-Pak ties not main
NEW DELHI, March 10 The attempt to find a "new day" in Indo-US relations will be the centrepiece of President Bill Clintons five-day visit to India. A number of diverse matters of mutual interest ranging from trade, science and technology, information technology, health and education will be in focus, according to the US Ambassador to India, Mr Richard Celeste.
The envoy clarified that Indo-Pakistan relations would not be the main focus of the visit. In fact the attempt would be to identify areas of common interest so that New Delhi and Washington could look at each other without "cold war lenses".
Mr Clinton would attempt to get a first-hand impression of the functioning of democracy in India apart from addressing members of Parliament in New Delhi. He will also visit villages either around Agra or Jaipur to observe the functioning of democracy at the grass root, and panchayat-level.
"Both of our democracies are diverse", Ambassador Celeste said and added that an appreciation of Indias "exuberant" democracy would occupy a lot of space during President Clintons visit, which would be an occasion to "celebrate" India and USAs "shared democratic roots".
Commenting on the growth noticed in the Indo-US trade over the past eight years, the US Ambassador said that the most remarkable dynamics of the ties between the two countries was driven by globalisation of economy.
He referred particularly to the growing interaction between India and the USA in the field of information technology and said that due to this there is a "24-hour communication" between the two economies.
The Ambassador said that the Indo-US collaboration in the field of fundamental research in health was on the threshold of developing a vaccine against malaria and work had begun on an anti-AIDS vaccine as well.
Turning to terrorism, Mr Celeste said that a close interaction was taking place between senior professionals from both countries on counter-terrorism efforts. He hinted that during the visit when the question of cross-border terrorism would come up, President Clinton was likely to categorically take a stand against cross-border terrorism and the existence of facilities for terrorists on alien soil.
Asked about President Clintons stopover in Pakistan on his way back from India, the Ambassador said that it would not be an endorsement of the present regime in Islamabad but a gesture to the people of Pakistan with whom the USA had a long standing relationship.
The Ambassador hinted that the visit may produce a "vision statement" in which the perceptions of President Clinton and Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on the future shape of the world may be reflected.
Agreeing that India and the USA did not have similarity of perception on every issue, he identified nuclear non-proliferation as one area where "we have a lot more to do".
Rounding up the
discussion with the group of journalists he met at the
Roosevelt House here today, the US Ambassador, speaking
in fluent Hindi, said that after the visit was over the
"thaali will be full" everyone would
comment, "bahut achchha khaana hua".
Crisis in Orissa Cong deepens
BHUBANESWAR, March 10 (UNI) The crisis in Orissa Congress further deepened as former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal and his supporters today declined to accept Mr Ramakanta Mishra as the new Congress Legislature Party leader.
As many as 11 party MLAs met at the residence of Mr Biswal here this evening to ventilate their strong displeasure over the election of the CLP leader and decided to take up the matter with the party high command.
The former Chief Minister, who claimed that they have the support of more than 15 of the total 26 MLAs, described the yesterdays CLP leader election as "undemocratic and illegal" and without the procedure.
The party MLAs, who had
virtually revolted against Pradesh Congress chief J.B.
Patnaik, alleged that the latter had played the mischief
in electing Mr Mishra as the CLP leader despite strong
resentment from the members.
Opposition stalls work in Parliament
NEW DELHI, March 10 (PTI) Business in Parliament remained paralysed today on the twin issues of RSS and Bihar with the Opposition accusing the NDA of indulging in "horse-trading" in the state.
The Lok Sabha proceedings remained stalled for the eleventh consecutive day as the Opposition and Treasury Benches clashed over the issue of RSS after K. Yerran Naidu who was in the Chair ruled that the earlier two notices on the RSS issue had become infructuous under Rule 184 and Rule 193 after the Gujarat Government re-imposed the ban on its employees participating in RSS activities.
However, he said two other notices pertaining to the activities of RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal and the withdrawal of publication of two volumes "towards freedom" by eminent historians of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) were under consideration of the Speaker.
Jnanpith for Verma, Gurdial Singh
NEW DELHI, March 10 (UNI, PTI) Distinguished Hindi author Nirmal Verma and noted Punjabi novelist Gurdial Singh have jointly won the Jnanpith Award for 1999.
The award was announced by the selection board of Jnanpith which met under the chairmanship of Dr L.M. Singhvi today.
Recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Moortidevi Puraskar and the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan Award, Nirmal Verma has written short stories, novels, essays, travelogues and has left his unique imprint on everything he has penned.
His first collection of short stories, "parinde", came out in 1958 and established him instantly as a writer of rare sensibility and delicacy of perception.
In the form of the short story, which he has reinterpreted and reshaped, Verma is a craftsman par excellence.
Gurdial Singh, adept in ravelling the intricacies of life and deep human experiences, has won the Sahitya Akademi Award, Punjab Sahitya Akademi Award, Soviet Land Nehru Puraskar and the Shiromani Sahityakar Puraskar.
So far his nine novels, 10 collections of stories, one play, one anthology of one-act plays, 10 books for children and two books of prose have been published.
Sponsored by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the pioneering literary award is presented every year to an Indian writer in any of the 18 languages mentioned in the eighth Schedule of the constitution for making an outstanding contribution to creative writing.
The award, instituted in 1965, has earlier gone seven times to Kannada, five times to Hindi and Bengali, four times to Malayalam, thrice to Oriya and Urdu, twice to Gujarati, Marathi and Telugu and once to Assamese, Punjabi and Tamil, a pressnote from Bharatiya Jnanpith said.
So far in 34 years, 36 writers have been recipients of the award which was jointly offered to two writers in 1967 and 1973, it said.
Uttarakhand issue erupts again
HARDWAR, March 10 The controversy regarding the inclusion of Hardwar in Uttarakhand has once again come into the lime light because of the reference made by the Union Government regarding the creation of a separate state of Uttarakhand.
A clear division of opinion has emerged between the ruling BJP and the Congress on the issue. It is officially learnt that the draft of the Bill, which has been sent back to the state government by the Centre, has included the "Kumbh Mela area" of Hardwar district in Uttarakhand. It is unlike the recommendations made by the Kalyan Singh Government in which the entire Hardwar district was excluded from Uttarakhand.
The BJP and its allies in Uttar Pradesh are once again reported to have discussed the matter threadbare. The latest inclusion of the "Kumbh Mela area" in the proposed Uttarakhand state by the Union Government has once again led to resentment among locals and heads of various maths and akharas here.
Sadhus of various maths and the Akhil Bharatiya Khat Darshan Akhara Parishad is angry over the move by the Union Government. Although, the parishad has not passed any resolution to oppose the move, yet anger within its ranks is visible.
Mr Om Parkash Singh, president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP, who was here two-days back could gauge the pentup feelings of the Sadhu Samaj and stated at a press conference that the proposal of the Union Government was not "final in any way". The state leadership would rediscuss the issue keeping in view the aspirations of the people of the holy city and then take a decision.
Although, Mr O.P. Singh was very cautious in his statement to the Press, yet in private he reportedly made it clear that the present BJP government would also follow the line adopted by the Kalyan Singh government on the issue. The Kalyan Singh government had passed a special resolution urging the Centre to exclude Hardwar from Uttarakhand.
Even now, the majority within the BJP and its allies feel that Hardwar should be kept out of the proposed Uttarakhand state. It is being argued that even the "Kumbh Mela area" which falls in radius of 20 km cannot be excluded and separated from Hardwar district to include it into the new state.
The reasons being advanced are that the "Kumbh Mela area" is a single administrative entity. Therefore, if this area was excluded from Hardwar district, it would lead to the functioning of dual administrative authority on all such auspicious occasions.
Furthermore, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh is under pressure from the Loktantrik Congress which is an important ally of the ruling BJP. Its leader Naresh Aggarwal had gone on record on a number of occasions that his party would not allow the merger of Hardwar in Uttarakhand. In such a situation, the BJP leadership was likely to adopt its old line of passing a special resolution excluding the merger of Hardwar in Uttarakhand.
But on the other hand, battlelines have been drawn between the Congress and the BJP on the issue. The Congress seems to be out to derive political mileage out of the controversy. It has now become clear that the BJP MLAs from Uttar Pradesh are likely to rise in revolt against the stand of the BJP leadership of the 19 seats in Uttarakhand, 17 belong to BJP. They will reportedly meet on March 16 to chalk out their future strategy on the issue.
On the other hand, the Congress has also decided to oppose the BJP move on the issue. Congress leaders, including Mr N.D. Tiwari, Mr Vijay Bahuguna, Mr Satpal Maharaj, Mr Harish Rawat, will meet shortly in Srinagar to chalk out a joint strategy for the early creation of Uttarakhand and the question regarding the merger of Hardwar district in the proposed state. Although, the Congress line on this issue is not clear as yet, but it may side with the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal to expedite the creation of a separate state.
The Congress is aware of the fact that as the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal has lost its relevance to run the agitation alone, so it will be worthwhile to join hands with it to drive maximum political mileage.
The present political
scenario indicates that the controversy regarding the
inclusion of Hardwar in the new proposed state will
create an embarrassing situation for the ruling BJP in
Uttar Pradesh. The BJP cannot afford to annoy the VHP and
the Sadhu Samaj in Hardwar.
HC orders release of 200 undertrials
NEW DELHI, March 10 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today ordered release of 200 undertrials held in judicial custody for nearly three years in petty offences despite being granted bail by different courts as they failed to arrange for sureties.
Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari, after scrutinising a list of 252 undertrials, cleared 200 for release, and said they would have to furnish personal bonds in the courts concerned instead of sureties as directed in their bail orders.
The court directed Jail Superintendent Sri Gopal Murthy to file a report on the compliance of its order by March 27, the next date of hearing on a petition by a prisoner, Vinod Kumar, pleading for his release on bail.
Mr Murthy, submitting a list of 252 prisoners for courts scrutiny, said it contained names of those who were allegedly involved in petty crimes in which maximum sentence is of three years, if convicted.
Mr Justice Bhandari, who had also initiated similar action in 1994 and 1996 and ordered release of about 790 prisoners then, said the cases of remaining prisoners who have got bail but were held back in custody would be taken up on next date.
The prisoners ordered to be released were involved in offences like theft, pick pocketing, brawls or booked under Arms Act for possessing weapons like knives.
Different trial courts in the capital had fixed surety amount in each case between Rs 2,000 and Rs 15,000 depending upon the nature of offence and none of the prisoners could arrange for a surety to secure his release.
As the court suggested that the surety amount of those who were not ordered to be released today would be reduced, Mr Murthy said he would have to consult the jail authorities and government counsel on this aspect.
Custodial death: UP directed to pay Rs 2 lakh
NEW DELHI, March 10 (UNI) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to pay Rs 2 lakh as interim relief to the next of kin of a prisoner who died in Varanasi Central Jail and initiate departmental action against prison officials, including DIG Prison, for omission and commission of their duty.
NHRC sources said here today that expressing shock over the perfunctory manner in which a magisterial inquiry was conducted in the case, the commission asked the state government to initiate action against the Additional District Magistrate of Varanasi for dereliction of official duty. He had sent the report stating that the inmate was mentally ill and had committed suicide on the jail premises. The state government has been asked to send a compliance report by the first week of April.
On receiving a report from the Senior Superintendent of Central Jail, Varanasi informing about the custodial death of convict Raj Mangal Panday, the commission had taken cognisance of the case and called for detailed reports from the Uttar Pradesh Government.
Meanwhile, the commission received more reports, including those from media, stating that the convict had died because of violence perpetrated on him allegedly by the jail officials who were unhappy with him as he had started a protest fast against the conditions in the jail.
The NHRC received the report of the magisterial inquiry ordered by the state government, which was conducted by the Additional District Magistrate (city), along with the reports of the Inspector-General, Prison, and the post-mortem examination report of the victim.
The report showed five
serious injuries on the body of the victim and his lungs
and liver had been ruptured. Death was opined to have
occurred due to shock and haemorrhage caused by the
injuries to the lungs and liver, the report stated.
SC warning on Yamuna waters
NEW DELHI, March 10 (PTI) The Supreme Court today expressed serious displeasure over the dismal quality of water of the Yamuna and told the Delhi Government that it should take steps to improve the quality "significantly" by April 28.
"We expect significant improvement in the water quality by April 28 and if it is not so then the Attorney General, Mr Soli Sorabjee, will advice as to what action should be taken," a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice B.N. Kirpal and Mr Justice S.S.M. Quadri said.
Expressing displeasure over the non-improvement of water quality of the river despite the earlier orders, the apex court citing a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) filed by counsel Vijay Panjwani said it shows "when the Yamuna leaves Delhi at Okhla it is no longer a river but a sewer drain".
Amicus Curiae in the matter Ranjit Kumar, referring to press reports, pointed out that on one hand the Chief Secretary of Delhi was trying to implement the court order by closing industries which were discharging untreated pollutants into the river, but Industry Minister A.K. Walia had been reopening them.
Attorney-General said much importance should not be
attached to the press reports, the Bench made it clear
that it was the primary duty of the Chief Secretary to
see the implementation of the court orders and warned
against any interference in this regard from any
authority or individual. The CPCB in its report presented
a gloomy picture about the Yamuna and termed the water
not fit for human consumption as it had over 10 crore
Indian tabla player sets world record
NEW DELHI, March 10 (UNI) National title-holder of non-stop tabla recital, Rinku Adarsh, today set a new world record by playing the percussion instrument for 21 hours.
The 29-year-old Rinku, who has to his credit an earlier feat of playing the tabla for five hours, today broke the existing record set by Leo Fernandes of Japan who had a 20-hour non-stop recital on the drums.
The Mumbai-based instrumentalist began his challenging task at 1700 hrs last evening and continued playing the tabla till 1400 hrs today to become a claimant for entering the Guinness Book of World Record for playing any percussion instrument non-stop for more than 20 hours.
As soon as he finished his task under a non-descript open tent at Central Park in Connaught Place, Rinku stood up on the makeshift dais without any apparent excitement. "Well, its nothing that new for me. I am into this habit of breaking records... though nothing as big as this. I would like to break more records on different music categories", the kurta-pyjama clad Rinku said, when approached by reporters.
There were no judges or officials monitoring the proceedings, but the entire task was recorded live by a video camera placed at the site.
Rinku, who began his recital on the "vilambit teen tall" to the tune of raag "Chandrakauns" on the sarangi, ended the 21-hour essay on "ek taal". His ten-taal essay, in the course of the performance, included major rythm-beats like rupak and jhap.
Mithun not to contest RS poll
CALCUTTA, March 10 Cine star Mithun Chakraborty has backed out from contesting Rajya Sabha election from West Bengal.
Mithun now in south India was to reach the city on Wednesday to meet Mr Jyoti Basu and the Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee to accept him as an all-party supported independent candidate in the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections on March 29. But after his telephone talks with the state transport minister, Mr Subhas Chakraborty, he gave up his decision on contesting as he had been told that he would not be acceptable to the Left parties.
Mithun conveyed his decision to the Railway Minister after his talks with the state Transport Minister. Ms Banerjee has proposed Mithun to be Trinamool Congress candidate for Rajya Sabha election. The cine star, who is connected with many social welfare activities in the state including the setting up of a hospital for thalassemia patients, has been close to Mr Chakraborty of the CPM and the Railway Minister.
Meanwhile, the impasse created in the 23-year old Left front government in the state over the allotment of Rajya Sabha seats to the CPI continued to remain unresolved, the CPI sticking to its decision to withdraw its ministers from the Cabinet.
Mr Biman Basu, a Politburo member, said "nothing doing, we will get candidates for three seats and one to be left for the RSP as decided earlier. However, we can consider to leave one of our seats to the CPI in the Rajya Sabha polls in 2002 and not now".
Mr Ashok Basu, the Forward Bloc general secretary, said "circumstances demand that the CPM should leave one seat for the CPI in this election which would strengthen the unity of the Left front partners".
The CPIs state unit secretary, Mr Monjugopal Majumdar said "we are a Left front partner and would remain so. But our decision to step down from the government will not change".
Rs 1.17 cr seized from engineer
NEW DELHI, March 10 (UNI) The CBI has seized Rs 1.17 crore in cash from a Divisional Engineer of Calcutta telephones after filing a case against him on the charge of misusing international fax and phone facilities.
Bureau sources here today identified the accused as Chittaranjan Haider, posted in the external maintenance division.
conducted at the residence of the engineer, the CBI
recovered documents showing a saving of Rs 22 lakh and
possession of nine immovable properties in Calcutta and
its neighbourhood, and 1 kg of gold jewellery.
IT officer arrested in
NEW DELHI, March 10 The CBI has arrested an Assistant Commissioner of the Income Tax department for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 15000 from a businessman.
The businessman, who has a packing/shipping travel agency said he had filed income tax returns for assessment for 1997-98. The case was scrutinised by the accused, a CBI press note said. The complainant alleged that in the beginning the accused demanded Rs 75,000 for clearing his file. Later he reduced the amount to Rs 50,000.
The accused asked the businessman to come to his office at the ITO with the bribe amount.
DDA scheme for Punjab
NEW DELHI, March 10 Punjab migrants, who had fled from the state during militancy and registered with the Delhi Government, will be given flats by the Delhi Development Authority, BJP MP and former Delhi Chief Minister, Sahib Singh Verma, said here today.
Announcing the "housing scheme for rehabilitation of Punjab migrants," he said one-room tenements would be allotted to the migrants in various localities on easy terms. The registration of the scheme, under which there are 3661 flats, began today and will continue till March 24. The applicant has to pay Rs 10,000 as initial deposit in the 15-year instalment plan towards the total cost of Rs 1,80,000.
Asked what the
government was doing for 3,50,000 Kashmiri migrants who
had been living in various parts of the country for the
past decade, Mr Sahib Singh said similar effort would be
made to rehabilitate them.
NEW DELHI, March 10 (UNI) Six BJP Lok Sabha members from Delhi today alleged mismanagement and massive corruption in Delhi Milk Supply (DMS) and Food Corporation of India (FCI) and said the recent steep hike in DMS prices had unleashed untold difficulties on the lower strata of society.
The MPs Madan Lal
Khurana (Delhi Sadar), Sahib Singh Verma (Outer Delhi),
Vijay Kumar Malhotra (South Delhi), Vijay Goyal (Chandni
Chowk), Anita Arya (Karol Bagh) and Lal Bihari Tiwari
(East Delhi) addressing a joint press conference
said they had also met Prime Minister Atal Behari
Vajpayee and sought his intervention. Mr Vajpayee had
assured of some action.
law of quantum mechanics
BSP leader among
for ban on "Cotton Mary"
Three die as
Commissioners house raided
Award for Sikkim
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |