|Thursday, March 16, 2000,
Manekas letter sets Coca
5 lakh compensation for custodial
Forces not to come under NHRC
Centre halts strikes
Lord Venkateshwara to go online
resurface in armed forces
NEW DELHI, March 15 There have been rumblings again in the armed forces over the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission after the government asked the three Services to notify them in a circular on February 29.
Not only have the three service chiefs already met Defence Minister, George Fernandes and expressed unhappiness over the recommendations as approved by the Union Cabinet, they have also refused to notify the recommendations as desired by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Navy had sent out an India general signal on March 2, informing all its units about the recommendations, but it has not notified them.
Sources said the service chiefs met the minister on March 2 to express reservation on the recommendations. However, it was not known whether the MOD was wanting to take any action on the reservations expressed by the three chiefs.
The Services have reservations about the recommendations and there have been rumblings within the armed forces again as it was felt that all benefits had been given to the technical staff or the specialists and the general staff or the main fighting force have been ignored even after the review by the group of ministers (GoM).
The three Services were re-examining the recommendations and had already pointed out some of the anomalies in it. The three service headquarters were in touch with each other and would probably represent the case jointly to the government again.
Sources pointed out that although there were just rumblings at the moment but they could again reach a high pitch if the government did not address the problems soon. The armed forces personnel are already unhappy that even nearly three years after the recommendations were announced, but the government has not done anything in this regard.
Reports say while the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) had not even bothered to inform units about the latest developments, the Navy after sending the signal decided to join hands with the other two fighting arms of the country. There was apparently a feeling that it could not implement the recommendations in isolation and that there could be immediate trouble on hand in the Navy, specially from the men who had been ignored again.
According to reports, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, who is also the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, had written to the Defence Minister in December expressing reservations over the recommendations which had been cleared by the GoM and sent to the Union Cabinet for its approval. The service chiefs were part of the discussions the GoM had over the recommendations and were having knowledge of what was being proposed.
Apparently during the discussions, there was no agreement on the recommendations for the personnel below officers rank (PBOR) and that remains to be one of the contentious issues. Besides a problem also remains about the gradation of the Lieutenant Generals.
Reports say the Lieutenant Generals have been graded below the officers of the same rank on the civil side, and some of them would be getting more than what they were getting earlier, while the other lesser than before.
No agreement has been reached on the merger of the rank pay, which has been a long-standing demand of the armed forces. With the rank pay not being merged with that of the basic salary of the officers, the armed forces are at a disadvantage in comparison with the civilians.
As per the revised recommendations, in the Navy aviators, marine commandos and the chariots (specialised operations) have got all perks and allowances while those who keep the Navy afloat the navigators, communications, sailors have got practically nothing. The situation is same in the other two Services also with the main fighting force being ignored totally.
In 1997, when the pay panel made its recommendations, there was a major protest, particularly in the IAF with even the families of the IAF officers taking to the streets. Following the protests, a panel was formed headed by former Defence Secretary Ajit Kumar to look into the recommendations. The panel submitted its report in April, 1998.
The report was then
referred to the group of Secretaries headed by the
Cabinet Secretary, whose report was then marked to the
GoM. Finally in December last the GoM made its
recommendations to the Union Cabinet, which cleared them
NEW DELHI, March 15 (PTI) Defence Minister George Fernandes today told the Rajya Sabha that there was a proposal to reduce recruitment in the Army.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Mr Fernandes said the shortfall in armed forces from Orissa can be attributed to a shortfall in overall recruitment to the Army which was in line with the government proposal.
He said the government had taken steps to encourage recruitment of Adivasis in the Army.
In reply to a question
by Frida Topno (Cong), Mr Fernandes said there was no
quota for Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes in the
Army and a soldier is a soldier. It would
also not be possible to give their numbers in the Army,
squadron leaves for Sierra Leone
NEW DELHI, March 15 The newly-formed 2000 helicopter squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) consisting of four MI-8 and Chetak helicopters each departed for Sierra Leone today. This is the biggest ever participation by the IAF in any UN-sponsored peacekeeping operation. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis, presented the national flag and the IAF flag to the contingent commander, Group Capt B.S. Siwach, before its departure at a function at the Air Force Station, Palam.
The air chief said members of the delegation would be an ambassador of the country and they must promote goodwill during their stay there.
He said the contribution
of the IAF contingent in the earlier two peacekeeping
operations in Congo and Somalia was widely
appreciated.The IAF contingent will consist of 149
personnel, including 30 officers. The task of the
contingent may include cargo re-supply, troop movement
transportation, medical supply and casualty eviction.
letter sets Coca Cola thinking
NEW DELHI, March 15 Coca Cola India has directed its regional office to investigate if the annual Kila Raipur rural sports meet near Ludhiana perpetuates cruelty against animals. The company has said that it would dissociate from the event if it finds evidence of cruelty being itself perpetrated on animals.
The company has taken this step in response to a letter sent by animal rights activist who heads People for Animals, Ms Maneka Gandhi. Coca Cola can ill-afford to ignore the letter as Mrs Maneka Gandhi has decided to take stern action by asking people to boycott Coke until the company forsakes animal torture as a means of promoting its products.
Mrs Maneka Gandhi has said that she proposes to feature Coca Colas presence at the sports meet in two television programmes and ask people to boycott the products. It is then for Indian consumers to decide whether they wish to continue to patronise products from a company associated with animal abuse.
In its reply, Coca Cola has assured the PFA that it does not condone cruelty to animals in any form and its commitment to sports has promoted its association with the Kila Raipur sports.
Mrs Maneka Gandhi has expressed her shock at the horrific and needless cruelty against animals in these spectacles of torture.
She has said that it is unimaginable for any sane and person or company to support or even associate themselves with this kind of barbarity.
Mrs Gandhi has said that bullock cart races, ram and cock fighting and dog races is offensive and any corporate involvement with animal abuse perpetuates indefensible cruelty and glorifies violence in a world that already has too much of it.
This is not for the
first time that she has questioned support of a company
to sports involving animals. In November last, she took
serious cognisance of Pepsi cola signia at bullfighting
arenas in Mexico and urged them to withdraw all patronage
to this practice. Her pledge to boycott all Pepsi
products failing action by the company worked wonders.
Last month, a senior consumer relations representative of
Pepsi wrote to PFA clarifying that their Mexican
franchise bottlers are removing all Pepsi signage from
arena and public venues where bullfights take place. The
company has also clarified that it does not condone
cruelty towards animals.
NEW DELHI, March 15 (PTI) The Supreme Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to pay Rs five lakh compensation to the kin of a person killed in judicial custody and ordered a CBI probe into the incident saying the authorities have attempted to pull wool over the eyes of this court.
The state of Uttar Pradesh is responsible in public law for the death of Rishipal and must pay compensation to his parents for the same, a Division Bench comprising Justice S.P. Bharucha and Justice S.N. Phukan said in a recent order.
Rishipal, along with his brother and father, were arrested on May 27, 1996 following a complaint to Jani police in Meerut district from the family of his wife Munish, who died on May 16, 1996, that the former was responsible for her death.
However, Rishipal died four days after his arrest.
Justice Bharucha, severely criticising the police officials and authorities for trying to mislead the court regarding the circumstances leading to Rishipals death, ordered the CBI to expeditiously complete the probe and file the investigation report in the Apex Court.
On the compensation, Justice Bharucha said We think it is appropriate, in the circumstances, to order the state of Uttar Pradesh to pay to the petitioners compensation for the death of Rishipal of a sum of Rs five lakh within three months.
Referring to three orphaned children of Rishipal aged between two and seven, the Bench said the sum shall be invested by the parents of Rishipal and the income thereof shall be so distributed that at least half is utilised for the benefit of the children during the period of their minority.
Justice Bharucha said the state government should take disciplinary proceedings against those found responsible for Rishipals death and also asked the government to pay a litigation cost of Rs 10,000 to the parents of the victim.
On the affidavits filed
by the state government and senior officials, the court
said what appears to us to be a concocted story is
that set out in the respondents affidavits. They
are, to our mind, desperate attempts to avoid
responsibility for acts committed while Rishipal was in
NEW DELHI, March 15 (UNI) The government has declined the National Human Rights Commissions recommendation that the Army and the paramilitary forces should report directly to it any instance of death or rape that might occur in their custody to bring credibility and transparency in their conduct.
The NHRC had suggested in its annual report for 1987-88, which was placed before Parliament recently, that as in the case of allegations of custodial deaths or rape involving the police any such charges against members of the armed forces should also be reported directly to the commission for prompt and effective inquiry.
AGRA, March 15 (PTI) Hundreds of VIPs including heads of state kings, emperors, presidents and what have you have paid visits to the dream in marble and to Agra, but never before have such elaborate arrangements been planned as are being done for the two-hour visit of US President Bill Clinton here on March 22.The entire area that the President would pass on his way to the Taj Mahal from Kheria airport is being done up for the occasion. Roads are being repaired or relaid, pavements beautified, branches of trees pruned, tree trunks painted ochre and white, lampposts coloured black and silver, hoardings being removed and all advertisement banners and boards taken down.
The Agra Development Authority is spending about Rs one crore on the beautification, as the city corporation has no funds to contribute.
The centre of interest being the Taj Mahal, the monument is being subjected to chemical treatment that was partially completed on Monday, a day when the monument remains closed.
At the Taj Khema, the UP Tourism guest house perched on a hillock overlooking the Taj from the east where President Clinton is expected to give a message for the preservation of the environment, a new flight of stairs, less steep than the original ones, is to be installed.
To ensure uninterrupted communication for the Presidential party and mediapersons covering the visit, four hundred telephone lines are being kept reserved for them, S.B. Khare, General Manager, Agra telecommunications, said.
In order to ensure that people do not collect in large numbers on the route and thus pose a security risk, instructions have been issued to heads of departments and offices all along the presidential route to keep their gates locked. People have been told not to climb on rooftops if they happened to live in houses on the route.
Two English medium schools have been asked to remain closed on the day of the visit and students of other schools appearing for their final examinations have been asked to start early to avoid being stopped on the way.
President Clintons visit has not gone done well with the people of Agra. There is widespread resentment about the way arrangements are being made for the visit and restrictions proposed to be imposed in the area through which the President would pass in his car on the way to the Taj.
People say that a virtual curfew would be clamped on the area due to the visit. They would be asked to stay indoors and movement of traffic completely stopped for more than two hours.
Parents of students appearing for their final examinations are also apprehensive due to the traffic restrictions during the visit which clashes with the timing of the examinations.
the visit saying it looked amusing that while the rest of
Agra rotted and went without drinking water, a different
picture of the city was sought to be created for the US
halts strikes against Bodos
NEW DELHI, March 15 The Centre today announced the suspension of operations against the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) in order to create an environment conducive for talks to find a solution to the Bodo problem.
Making a suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha, Mr L.K. Advani said efforts were on to convince other militant groups in the North-East to suspend their violent and unlawful activities and come to the negotiating table.
The Centre, he said, was committed to the restoration of peace and invitation had been extended to all militant groups to come forward for talks within the four corners of our Constitution.
NEW DELHI, March 15 (UNI) Lord Venkateshwara at Tirupati town in Andhra Pradesh will soon accept e-offerings and bestow his blessings to devotees all around the world on the web.
The temple authorities have commissioned a well-known software house to implement the auspicious project that will bring the lord closer to millions of Non-Resident Indians.
The worlds richest
deity gets annual donations exceeding Rs 80 crore. At
least a couple of banks, including the Bank of Baroda
with a large number of overseas branches, are being
involved in the Tirupati online project.
UP pays 6,000
crore interest on loans
5 held for
selling infected blood
3 dacoits killed
Man held for
suicide bid, released
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