|Friday, June 30, 2000,
Jaswant-Arafat talks today
Federal police idea in focus
Demolition man talks
J&K autonomy: NCP for
all parties views
MP granted bail in colour TV case
PHRO hails J&K resolution
Cong decries PMs remarks on
34 honoured with Bharatendu awards
7 Customs officials booked for
Thundershowers in Himachal
Envoy briefs India on Sri Lanka
BJP to discuss policy with RSS
Jaswant-Arafat talks today
NEW DELHI, June 29 (PTI) Relations between India and Israel are expected to get a major boost with the visit of External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh to Tel Aviv beginning tomorrow aimed at strengthening political and economic cooperation between the two countries.
During his four-day visit, Mr Jaswant Singh, the first Indian Foreign Minister to visit Israel since New Delhi established diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv in 1992, will have in-depth discussions with President Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Ehud Barak and his Israeli counterpart David Levy on regional, international and issues of mutual concern.
The External Affairs Ministers visit comes close on the heels of Home Minister L.K. Advanis trip to Israel as part of sustained high level political contacts with Tel Aviv.
Soon after his arrival in Tel Aviv, Mr Jaswant Singh will drive straight to Gaza for a crucial meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
In Tel Aviv, he will inaugurate Nehru Library and Gandhi Students Activities Centre, which has been set up at a cost of $ 1.25 million. Besides, financial assistance, India has also supplied books to the centre.
The ministers programme also includes a visit to the Gaza cemetery where 32 Indian peace keeping soldiers were buried decades ago.
He will also meet the de-facto Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabeef Shaath and discuss the situation in the region including the Middle-East peace process.
After a visit to the historic "Dome of the Rock" Aleksa mosque in Jerusalem, the minister would go around the Indian hospace, a pilgrim rest house run by Sheikh Munir Ansari of Sharanpur.
During his stay Mr Jaswant Singh will hold in-depth discussions with Israeli leadership on economic cooperation, which is showing an upsurge in recent years. Israel has emerged as the seventh largest investor in India during 1992 to 1997. The Minister had deferred his visit to Israel in January as political leadership there was engaged in hectic parleys on the Middle East peace process in USA.
relationship, which deteriorated in the 70s with
the worsening of the Arabi-Israeli dispute after the 1967
war, was revived in 1992 with both countries establishing
their embassies followed by a number of ministerial
Federal police idea in focus
NEW DELHI, June 29 The Centres plan to set up a Federal Law Enforcement Agency (FLEA) and have a federal police to deal with crimes which have a repercussion on internal security of the country has been mooted at the start of the new millennium.
Plagued by the growing number of terrorist and militant acts across the country, the Union Home Ministry had floated the suggestion which is being studied by two committees, one under former Home Secretary K. Padmanabahaiah and another under current Home Secretary, Kamal Pande.
Perhaps wanting to test the waters before putting the issue up for discussion at the meeting of the Chief Ministers to be held here on August 5 with the Prime Minister on internal security, the subject was broached at the meeting of the Chief Secretaries and Directors-General of Police yesterday, but it was resisted by most states.
The argument advanced by most states was that it encroaches upon the exclusive right of the state on the subject of law and order, as provided in the Constitution.
Top officials in the Home Ministry today said the concept of federal crime was being examined and certain categories of crime which have repercussion on the internal security of the country need to be classified as federal crimes.
These categories could include crimes related to militancy, terrorism, insurgency, sedation, spread of disaffection against the state, illegal immigration, drug and arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings, counterfeit currency, money laundering, cyber crimes, hawala transactions and funding of terrorist activities.
These are some of the crimes the Centre has in mind and a presentation was made at the meeting yesterday on the impact of such serious crimes against the country.
Home Ministry officials said the attempt was not meant to undermine or encroach upon the jurisdiction of states which are responsible for maintaining law and order.
At present, the
investigation of crimes which have inter-state and
international ramifications are usually referred to the
CBI which was created in 1963 under the Delhi Special
Police Establishment Act.
Demolition man talks of greening
NEW DELHI, June 29 (PTI) Urban Development Minister Jagmohan today called for urgent steps to increase the green cover in the cities through a system of controls and guidelines.
This, he said, could be achieved through public awareness. "We need to give a new dimension to landscaping and technology".
Inaugurating a national seminar on "Greening of Our Cities" here, organised by his Ministry, Mr Jagmohan said he had already set up a committee to look into the nitty gritty of it.
He said the seminar was aimed at making cities beautiful, liveable, aesthetically more satisfying, and functionally more utilitarian.
Historical sites, wooded areas and wild life must be identified, improved through landscape and conserved with emphasis on their integration into cityscapes, he said.
Developing river fronts all over the country which are used for open defecation is another important step, he said.
The Minister said he had convened the seminar to "primarily hear the views" of professionals like horticulturists, architects, engineers and others who could make a solid contribution instead of encouraging only pen pushers.
"There is no dearth of planning laws, there is no dearth of thinking, what is needed is implementation. In this country we make laws only to be thrown away, this is the root cause of our problem", he added.
"We should be spending more time working on how to overcome difficulties so that new projects for greening can be taken up", Mr Jagmohan said adding that apart from improving the environment, we would be saving crores of rupees.
The fact that the masterplan of Delhi exists only on paper while the green areas are disappearing is of fundamental importance, he said noting that professionals need to be trained and imparted skills regarding plantation system, methodology and techniques.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Ashok Pahwa said the Ministry was keen on setting up a horticulture resources centre.
"We have to also think of new innovative ways of financing", he added.
Meanwhile, Miffed at being called the "demolition man" for his sustained campaign against illegal construction in the national Capital, Minister for Urban Development Jagmohan thinks it is an image that needs to be corrected.
"Newspapers these days are full of the so called drive that I have launched. There are comments which are good, there are comments which are adverse...everybody writes bulldozer, demolition man, this impression must be corrected in the public mind", he said.
"I am totally surprised. All that I am doing is telling the authorities to obey your laws, nothing new or extraordinary is being done. What you have planned, what your Parliament has passed, what laws have been inducted follow them. But it appears as if some catastrophe is being caused".
overwhelming silent majority is supporting what I am
doing, a microscopic minority, which is very vociferous
and which has a long vested interest it makes the
demolition look otherwise", he said.
J&K autonomy: NCP for all
NEW DELHI, June 29 The Nationalist Congress Party today termed the autonomy resolution adopted by the J and K Assembly as "ill-timed and urged the Prime Minister to consult all major political parties on it.
In a statement issued here, the NCP General Secretary, Mr Devendranath Dwivedi said the action on Dr Farooq Abdullahs part was not only ill-timed but appeared to be a rearguard action which was reactive in nature.
Mr Dwivedi said Dr Abdullah seemed to have been piqued by his being sidelined in the matter of the release of the Hurriyat leaders and wanted to register his presence.
Similarly the handling of the J and K issue by the Vajpayee government has been marked by obfuscation, lack of cohesiveness and of a clear strategy and an integrative approach, he said.
"The Vajpayee government has no Kashmir policy and before releasing the Hurriyat leaders it had not done its homework. The greatest need of the hour is to be clear about the fundamentals and to shun shadow- boxing, posturing and sloganeering. First, Kashmir is not yet another state. It is a distinct constitutional entity. The Framers have constitutionalised its special status that also has the imprimatur of history. It has become necessary to do away with the "transitional and temporary" description of Article 370 and it must be clarified, as Mrs Gandhi had done at the time of the 1975 accord, that Article 370 must continue to govern the relations between the State and the Centre. If the UN resolution on plebiscite has become redundant, so has the theory of Article 370 being transitional. Secondly, the autonomy of J and K should not be related either to the demands for further decentralisation in respect of other states or to the plea that the subject is under consideration before the Constitution Review Commission.
The autonomy demand in J
and K stands on a different footing and should be treated
as separate and apart. Thirdly, what is important is the
nature of autonomy and not its form or nomenclature. The
terms of instrument of accession have merged into history
and the Constitution and the pre-53 status has only an
emotive value for some. The clock of history cannot be
CALCUTTA, June 29 The results of elections of the Municipal Committees in Calcutta (CMC) and adjoining Bidhannagar declared yesterday are clear indications of the peoples verdict against the ruling CPM-led Left Front in power since 1977.
And like recently held Panskura Lok Sabha by-election, these poll results also vindicated Trinamool Congress leader, Ms Mamta Banerjees victory over CPM chief, Mr Jyoti Basu.
Of 141 wards in Calcutta Municipality, the Left Front could retain 62 seats and the Trinamool-BJP combine won 67. The TMC alone got 64, while the Congress won in 12 wards. It means, no party got an absolute majority to form the board at Calcutta Corporation.
At Bidhannagar (Salt Lake), of the 23 wards, both the Left Front and the Trinamool got 11 seats each and the result in one ward remained undeclared following detection of technical fault at the electronic voting machine. Neither the BJP nor the Congress got any seat at Bidhannagar.
Mr Joyti Basu who left the city this morning on his 18-day trip to Israel and London, felt these results did not in anyway suggest that they had been rejected by the people. On the contrary, we have got more seats this time, though we expected much better results, he remarked.
Railways Minister, Ms Banerjee, however, felt that the results were a clear-cut indication of their victory. She claimed that they would form the board at CMC with Mr Subrata Mukherjee as Mayor. She said they had with them adequate number of members to form the Board in Calcutta Corporation.
Ms Banerjee said that we have won the second round of battle and the final round would be fought in the forthcoming state Assembly election in May next. She is confident that they would come to power in Bengal after the May Assembly elections.
In the CMC election, the sitting Mayor, Mr Prasanta Chatterjee of the CPM was defeated while Congress MLA Subrata Mukherjee who had joined Trinamool Congress won from his home-ward in Ballygunge area. He is TMC-BJP alliances mayoral candidate.
The results of Calcutta Municipal Corporation, which are not yet declared officially, have been somewhat confusing. Both the CPM and the Trinamool Congress made contradictory claims about their success.
Mr Anil Biswas of the CPM claimed the front had secured 62 wards and 54 by the Trinamool Congress, 15 Congress (I), four BJP and the remaining six by independent. He said they would contest the mayoral election and form the board of CMC once again.
The Railway Minister, however, claimed that they had won in 64 and the Left Front in 62, BJP four, Congress12 and in the remaining seats the independent candidates supported by the Trinamool Congress were elected.
This claim and counter-claim will remain unresolved till the official announcement is made by the Municipal Election Commission. Still the fact remains that no individual party or front has won absolute majority to form the board in Calcutta.
MP granted bail in colour TV case
CHENNAI, June 29 (UNI) Madras High Court today granted bail to former AIADMK minister and sitting mp, T.M. Selvaganapathy and five others, who were convicted and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment in the Rs 10.16 crore colour television sets scam case by a special judge.
Mr Justice D. Murugesan granted the bail on the fresh petitions filed by Mr Selvaganapathy, his Personal Assistant K. Janarthanam, IAS officials H.M. Pandey and M. Sathiamoorthy, tv agents S. Duraisamy and S. Muthukumarasamy.
The judge said in view of the Supreme Court order granting bail to former Chief Secretary N. Haribhaskar, a co-accused in the case, on a special leave petition filed by him, these six accused were also entitled to bail.
The judge said they should execute a bond for Rs 15,000 and two solvent sureties each for a like sum.
Special Judge-2 V.
Radhakrishnan had on May 30 last, convicted and sentenced
the six to five years RI and acquitted former Tamil
Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J.
Jayalalitha, her close aide Sasikala Natarajan and
Sasikalas relative S.R. Bhaskaran in the case.
PHRO hails J&K resolution
NEW DELHI, June 29 (UNI) The Punjab Human Rights Organisation has hailed the adoption of the autonomy resolution by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly as a step towards genuine federalism and urged the Parkash Singh Badal government in Punjab to adopt the same.
Organisation chairman Justice Ajit Singh Bains said here yesterday that the mainstream Akalis, whose legacy the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) claimed to carry, had always stood for greater autonomy for the states and a decentralised polity of the country.
The autonomy resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was in essence a repeat of the Anandpur Sahib resolution of the Akalis for acceptance of which they had already made a lot of sacrifices, he said.
The Sikhs, whom the Akalis claimed to represent had also been promised special privileges by the pre-1947 Congress leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi for siding with the Indian Union. But in the post-Independence era, the Congress leaders not only went back on their promises but also over-centralised powers at the Centre, leaving the Sikh minority high and dry, he said.
Justice Ajit Singh Bains said the Congress leaders slowly and consistently injected a dose of Hindutva in the Indian polity, and projected the Sikhs as anti-nationals.
34 honoured with Bharatendu awards
NEW DELHI, June 29 (UNI) A total of 34 authors were honoured yesterday for contribution towards the promotion of Hindi with the conferment by Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley of the Bharatendu Harishchandra awards for the years from 1994 to 1999.
Speaking after giving away the awards here, Mr Jaitley said the awards were an acknowledgement of the work done in promoting the national language. He hoped these authors will become role models for other writers.
Instituted by the Publications Division of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the awards are for promoting original writings in Hindi on journalism and mass communication. He expressed satisfaction that the Publications Division, which now had over 7000 titles under its wing, was able to sell books at low rates and yet earn revenue. He also referred to the recent production of a CD-ROM on Mahatma Gandhi by the division.
Thirtyfour publications include 19 in the field of mass communications and media, 10 for children, three on women and two on national integration. One award was given posthumously (the first prize for the years 1994-1996 to the late Harmal Singh for his book "filmein kaise banti hain, for which the award money was donated to the Prime Ministers Relief Fund for Kargil.
Apart from awards for
journalism and mass communications for which the cash
component was Rs 35,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 20,000 for the
top three besides the consolation prize of Rs 5,000, a
citation, awards were also given for original writing on
childrens literature, womens issues and
national integration. The prizes in all three categories
is Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 besides a citation since 1997.
7 Customs officials booked for fraud
NEW DELHI, June 29 (UNI) The CBI has booked seven Customs officials and Directors of an export company on the charge of cheating the government to the tune of Rs 7.82 crore.
The officials, posted in Mumbai, in conspiracy with Directors of the company had cleared seven export consignments said to contain ladies garments valued at Rs 8.5 crore, thereby allowing duty drawback exemption to the extent of Rs 1.32 crore, a CBI press note said here today.
It was later found that the consignment contained rags and old sarees worth only Rs 8 lakh. Further investigation revealed that the same exporter had cleared goods worth Rs 17.66 crore on earlier occasions claiming a duty drawback of Rs 6.5 crore.
During searches, it was also found out that one of the accused Customs officer owned three flats in Mumbai, land at Mllapuram and Pune.
Thundershowers in Himachal
PUNE, June 29 (UNI) Heavy rain is likely to occur at isolated places in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, south Orissa, south-east Madhya Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, coastal Andhra Pradesh, coastal Karnataka and Kerala during next 48 hours.
South-west monsoon has been active in coastal Andhra Pradesh. Rain or thundershowers have occurred at most places in Konkan and Goa, coastal Karnataka and Kerala, at many places in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Orissa, Marathwada, Telangana, Rayalaseema and Lakshadweep, at a few places in Assam and Meghalaya, Gangetic West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidarbha and at isolated places in Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat state, Tamil Nadu and South interior Karnataka. Mainly dry weather prevailed over the rest of the country.
Rain or thundershowers are likely to occur at most places in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Orissa, East Madhya Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, coastal Andhra Pradesh, coastal Karnataka and Kerala, at many places in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, West Bengal and Sikkim, Vidarbha, Telangana, Rayalaseema and Lakshadweep, at a few places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Western Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Tamil Nadu, interior Karnataka and at isolated places over the rest of the country outside Rajasthan and northern Gujarat state where weather will be mainly dry.
Day temperatures were above normal in eastern Rajasthan, northern Gujarat region and in some parts of Saurashtra and Kutch.
Cong decries PMs remarks on CTBT
NEW DELHI, June 29 (PTI) The Congress today deprecated Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for making pronouncements on the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) outside the country and asked him to clarify what package the NDA government has in mind for evolving a consensus on the issue.
Mr Vajpayee, who is in Lisbon for the first-ever India-European Union summit, had told reporters that Parliament would discuss the issue in the next session and that efforts were underway to reach a broad national consensus.
Expressing surprise over
Mr Vajpayees remarks, senior Congress leader and
Chairman of the AICC Foreign Affairs Cell K Natwar Singh
said announcements of this importance and significance
should not have been made outside the country.
Envoy briefs India on Sri Lanka
NEW DELHI, June 29 (PTI) Norwegian peace envoy to Sri Lanka Eric Solheim today briefed India on Oslos efforts at facilitating talks to resolve the ethnic strife in the island nation.
Mr Solheim, who
yesterday ended three days of talks with Sri Lankan
leaders and officials, met Mr S.T. Devare, Secretary
(Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry and
apprised him of the Norwegian peace initiative.
BJP to discuss policy with
NEW DELHI, June 29 To smoothen the ruffled feathers of the RSS over the economic policy of the Government, the BJP will have a dialogue at the annual conference which began at Ahmedabad today.
The six-day conference is to be attended by the BJP General Secretary Mr K. N. Govindacharya, and party Chief, Mr Kushabhau Thakre, is also expected to be present at the Executive Meeting of the RSS on July 1 and 2.
The presence of these two BJP leaders assumes significance and they are expected to hear the RSS which would formulate its objections to the economic policy being pursued by the Vajpayee government.
EC derecognises HVP, SJP (R)
NEW DELHI, June 29 (UNI) The Election Commission has derecognised seven political parties, including the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) and former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhars the Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) as regional parties with their legislative presence slipping after recent elections.
Official sources said
here today that the other parties derecognised by the
commission after hearings spread over the past fortnight
were the NTR Telugu Desam (Lakshmi Parvathi group) in
Andhra Pradesh, the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Manipur, the
Samata Party in Haryana, the Shiv Sena in Dadar and Nagar
Haveli and the United Minorities Front in Assam.
Ban Bajrang Dal: YC
NEW DELHI, June 29 A 44-year-old tantrik, Salamuddin, and his accomplices, Gurmukh Singh and his wife Inderjeet Kaur, were arrested by the Delhi Police from Hari Nagar in West district on charges of extortion and sexual harassment of a woman.
The victim has allegedly come to the tantrik for treatment of headache and other problems some years back. Later the tantrik went to the victims house in Vishnu Garden in West Delhi to know about her health, the police said.
to start functioning by 2002
Kerala step on
construct model villages
3 shot dead in
life in Manipur
5 crushed to
death under bridge
Centre told to
escape from police custody
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