Thursday, December 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India




National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Centre may send MPs' team to Bangladesh
New Delhi, December 5
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today agreed to consider sending a parliamentary delegation to Bangladesh to make an on-the-spot assessment about the measures taken in that country to provide security to the Hindu community.

Tight security in Ayodhya
New Delhi, December 5
Security was beefed up in several parts of the country today in view of the ninth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and bandh call by various political parties tomorrow.

Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj after foundation stone-laying of the National Press Centre in New Delhi on Wednesday. 
— PTI

In Video: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee laid the foundation stone at the National Press Centre. (28k, 56k)

India not to provide military bases
New Delhi, December 5
The government today ruled out accessibility of Indian military and naval bases to any foreign country though joint exercises with countries was a continuing process.



EARLIER STORIES

 
VIDEOS
Shweta  P. Temker, a commercial pilot from Mysore, was among those who bore the brunt of the fallout of the September 11 attacks on the USA as she lost her job.
(28k, 56k)

Gradual depletion of indigenous plants leads to the initiation of an eco drive called Panchvati Yojna in Krishi Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh.
(28k, 56k)

India condemns Israeli attacks
New Delhi, December 5
India today came out strongly against Israeli air attacks near Palestine leader Yasser Arafat’s office saying that “there can be no justification for such acts”.

‘Parliament House too was on Al-Qaida hit list’
New Delhi, December 5
The Al-Qaida had planned attacks on the Parliament House here, and in Britain and Australia simultaneously with the September 11 strikes in the USA, Home Minister L. K. Advani said today quoting confessions by an arrested terrorist.

Sonia attends Mulayam’s Iftar
New Delhi, December 5
Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s presence at an Iftar at the residence of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today sent strong political signals even as the event was prescribed by some as an “annual ritual.”

LS passes supplementary demands
New Delhi, December 5
The Lok Sabha today passed by a voice vote supplementary demands for grants for Rs 3396.50 crore for the current year involving cash outgo of Rs 2025.23 crore. 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Rentals revised every five years: Fernandes
New Delhi, December 5
A total of 39,210.753 acres of land is under occupation of defence in Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister George Fernandes informed the Rajya Sabha today.

TN Govt cuts price hike
Chennai, December 5
Bowing to pressure from the opposition parties and criticism from the general public, the Tamil Nadu Government today announced a partial rollback in the hikes of bus fare, power tariff and total rollback in the PDS rice price.

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Centre may send MPs' team to Bangladesh

New Delhi, December 5
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today agreed to consider sending a parliamentary delegation to Bangladesh to make an on-the-spot assessment about the measures taken in that country to provide security to the Hindu community.

This was conveyed to a delegation of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), who called on the Prime Minister here to apprise him of the atrocities committed on Hindus in Bangladesh after the new government led by Begum Khalida Zia came to power.

Bangladesh Finance Minister during his meeting with the Prime Minister had extended an invitation to him to send a parliamentary delegation to see for themselves that there had been no fresh attacks on Hindus after the new government took over.

BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who facilitated the VHP’s meeting with Mr Vajpayee, told newspersons that the Prime Minister had assured the delegation that efforts would be made to enable Hindus to lead peaceful life in Bangladesh.

The delegation said thousands of Hindus were forced to flee Bangladesh. Fundamentalist forces in that country had been persecuting the community, the VHP alleged.

Meanwhile, the VHP today warned the Vajpayee government to take effective steps to stop atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh or else the Bangladeshi Muslims in India could be meted out a “similar treatment.” UNITop

 

Tight security in Ayodhya

New Delhi, December 5
Security was beefed up in several parts of the country today in view of the ninth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and bandh call by various political parties tomorrow.

The security forces drawn from the CRPF, RAF and a number of dog squads have been deployed in several parts as a precautionary measure, reports said. In Ayodhya, security has been tightened around the disputed site with meetings and dharnas banned in the area.

In Kanpur, security has been tightened at sensitive areas and the administration has prohibited processions and demonstrations.

Police have been put on high alert in Tamil Nadu and tight security arrangements are in place in all sensitive areas, including railway stations, a Chennai report said.

Twenty platoons of the Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP), 18 platoons of the RAF, nine platoons of the CRPF, besides entire force of 9,000 city police personnel were being deployed in Hyderabad to maintain peace.

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslemeen (MIM) and the Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT) have given a bandh call tomorrow in the city and observe the day as “black day”. PTITop

 

India not to provide military bases
Tribune News Service and PTI

New Delhi, December 5
The government today ruled out accessibility of Indian military and naval bases to any foreign country though joint exercises with countries was a continuing process.

Replying to a spate of supplementaries during question hour in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said, “Military bases are not accessible to any foreign country and the country will not enter into any military alliance nor will the Army serve under any flag except the UN.”

On Afghanistan, he said India did not support any element of the Taliban, including the so-called moderates, in any government in Kabul and it was generally agreed that for peace and stability to return in that country, it was essential to ensure the establishment of a broad-based independent government with representation from all ethnic groups.

Mr Jaswant Singh said India had also participated in several multilateral efforts aimed at restoration of peace, stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

To a question on post-Taliban fallout in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the government was aware of the situation arising from this development and the concerned ministries like Home and Defence were taking necessary steps.

Meanwhile, the CPM today appealed to all democratic parties to compel the Vajpayee government to desist from adopting a “harmful course by entering into a long-term military alliance with the USA”.

“It is evident that the BJP-led NDA government is entering into a long-term military collaboration with the USA in a surreptitious manner which will further erode the non-aligned status of India,” the CPM Politbureau said here in a statement.

Pointing to the US Defence Secretary’s recent statement that the USA was willing to revive close defence ties with Pakistan, the CPM said “the BJP-led government is reducing India to the level of Pakistan — both military allies of the dominant USA in the South Asia.

The Vajpayee government had committed itself to enter into a strategic military relationship with the USA paving way for a military alliance between the two countries, the statement pointed out.

“In doing so, the Centre has agreed to a whole range of collaboration at the military level. This included joint exercises, training programmes and acceptance of the US plans to counter nuclear proliferation”, the CPM said.

“The joint statement shows that the BJP-led government has gone along with the American plan for a National Missile Defence system which will strike at the roots of arms control agreement and which has met with worldwide opposition”, the statement said.Top

 

India condemns Israeli attacks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
India today came out strongly against Israeli air attacks near Palestine leader Yasser Arafat’s office saying that “there can be no justification for such acts”.

“There is no change in India’s position which has recognised the Palestine authority and its leader Yasser Arafat. Nothing should be done to undermine Mr Arafat,” External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said in the Lok Sabha during zero hour.

Responding to concerns expressed by Congress chief whip Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, CPM leader Hannan Mollah and Muslim League MP G.M. Banatwala over yesterday’s Israeli missile strikes across West Bank, Gaza City and near the office of Mr Arafat who escaped unhurt, Mr Jaswant Singh said India could never support an attack on the sovereignty of Palestine and asserted that the cycle of violence must end.

Quoting from a letter written by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Mr Arafat on November 27 expressing solidarity with the Palestine people, the minister said New Delhi supported all efforts focused at ending the violence and creation of a viable state of Palestine.Top

 

Parliament House too was on Al-Qaida hit list’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
The Al-Qaida had planned attacks on the Parliament House here, and in Britain and Australia simultaneously with the September 11 strikes in the USA, Home Minister L. K. Advani said today quoting confessions by an arrested terrorist.

Stating that the terrorist had been arrested in Mumbai, Mr Advani said “his confessions were very startling. He told the police that the Al-Qaida had plans to attack Britain, Australia and our Parliament House. It was a massive conspiracy.”

The terrorist, whom Mr Advani did not name, also spoke of the flight training he had received from Australia and “we have been able to confirm his statements and some other information he had revealed”, the minister said.

From what all this man has said, it seems his confessions carried some weight, he said.Top

 

Sonia attends Mulayam’s Iftar

New Delhi, December 5
Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s presence at an Iftar at the residence of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today sent strong political signals even as the event was prescribed by some as an “annual ritual.”

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Vice-President Krishan Kant, Home Minister L.K. Advani, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, Left leaders H.S. Surjeet and A.B. Bardhan, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, film stars Jaya Prada, Shatrughan Sinha and Raj Babbar, Shabana Azmi and senior journalist Kuldip Nayyar were among those present at the dinner, hosted by Mr Yadav.

But it was Mrs Gandhi who stole the limelight as her presence indicated a possible realignment of political forces ahead of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Relations between the Congress and the SP had remained strained after Mr Yadav refused to support Mrs Gandhi’s candidature for prime ministership in 1988 following the fall of the Gujral government. UNITop

 

LS passes supplementary demands 

New Delhi, December 5
The Lok Sabha today passed by a voice vote supplementary demands for grants for Rs 3396.50 crore for the current year involving cash outgo of Rs 2025.23 crore. 

Replying to a four-hour discussion, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha described the rate of growth of the economy in the current fiscal as “dismal” but said the positive indications on the agriculture front had revived hopes of an acceleration in the growth rate.

Mr Sinha, however, said the fundamentals of the economy were strong with the foreign exchange reserves touching $ 47 billion and the external debt situation “not a cause for worry”. 

Stating the internal debt was high, Mr Sinha said it was important to improve the tax-gross domestic product ratio which had been falling during the past few years.

Dismissing Opposition charges that the government had not done enough on the tax front, he said the government had undertaken drastic tax reforms which had brought in simplification of the tax regime. PTITop

 

 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Rentals revised every five years: Fernandes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
A total of 39,210.753 acres of land is under occupation of defence in Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister George Fernandes informed the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply to a question from Mr Mirza Abdul Rashid, the Defence Minister said the rentals in respect of requisitioned lands in J & K were revised by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir after every five years. The last revision of rentals was done by the state government under their notification dated October 1, 1999, with effect from February 16, 1998.

As many as 51 acquisition cases, involving an area of 13075 acres (approximately); for defence purposes were under process at various stages. In one case the award had not been implemented as the same has been challenged by the department before the J & K High Court.

MILITARY CANTONMENT IN AVERI: The Defence Minister said 1259 bighas and 16 biswas of land had been acquired in Averi,village, district Kulu, for locating army units.

Mr Fernandes told Mr Kripal Parmar that the state government was in the process of shifting out the 33 families still residing on the acquired land.

IAF JAGUAR CRASH: The crash of a IAF Jaguar fighter aircraft in the sugar fields on the UP-Haryana border on October 25, 2001 took place due to “human error”, Mr Fernandes informed the Rajya Sabha.

The Minister said the pilot inadvertently entered into a spin/autorotation manoeuvre from which he was unable to recover.

As many as 30 Jaguar aircraft had been lost in aircrashes since induction till November 20, 2001, Mr Fernandes added.

POST OFFICES IN CHANDIGARH: One head post office, 45 departmental sub-offices, one extra-departmental sub-office and six extra departmental branch offices are functioning at present in Chandigarh, Minister of State for Communications Tapan Sikdar informed the Lok Sabha.

Opening of new post offices in newly developed sectors in Chandigarh was subject to the norms-based justification and availability of resources, including sanction of required posts by the government, Mr Sikdar said in a written reply to a question from Mr Ramchandra Veerappa.Top

 

TN Govt cuts price hike

Chennai, December 5
Bowing to pressure from the opposition parties and criticism from the general public, the Tamil Nadu Government today announced a partial rollback in the hikes of bus fare, power tariff and total rollback in the PDS rice price.

After former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa asked the state Cabinet to reconsider the hikes following representations from various sections of society and partymen, the Cabinet met here this evening for an hour and decided to roll back the hikes, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam announced here.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, he said the government would forego Rs 1162.39 crore from the expected revenue of Rs 3700 crores in view of the rollback. The revised fares and prices would come into effect on December 6, he added.Top

 

 

Fernandes’ issue

New Delhi, December 5
The Lok Sabha will debate on December 18 or 19 the issue of re-appointment of Mr George Fernandes as Defence Minister under Rule 184 of the House, entailing voting, Congress chief spokesman S. Jaipal Reddy said today the Opposition leaders had decided to remain united to support the motion opposing Mr Fernandes’ re-induction into the Union Cabinet. UNI
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CM gheraoed

Nagpur, December 5
The Shiv Sena-BJP today gheraoed the Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in his chamber in the Vidhan Bhavan demanding that he took a decision regarding one-time payment of Rs 2300 as procurement price to the cotton growers. Mr Deshmukh asked them for a day’s time till 9.30 a.m. tomorrow. UNI
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Mawlong out, Dan in

Shillong, December 5
In a last-ditch effort to save the minority government from imminent collapse, Meghalaya Chief Minister E.K. Mawlong resigned as Leader of the legislative wing of the United Democratic Party (UDP) last night and Mr H.B. Dan was elected in his place. UNI
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

FREEDOM FIGHTER GUPTA DEAD
SHEOPUR (MP):
Veteran freedom fighter Ram Gopal Gupta died here on Tuesday. He was 90. Gupta participated actively in the freedom struggle from 1925 to 1942 and was also jailed several times. UNI

HEALTH DRINK FROM SAP DEVELOPED
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
A health drink developed from “Neera”, an unfermented sap tapped from the coconut tree, will soon enter the Kerala market. Scientists, farmers and labourers will form a company within a month to produce and market the product. “If everything goes smooth, the non-alcoholic health drink will be available in the market within one month.” Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V.S. Achuthanadan told newspersons here on Tuesday. UNI

PM LAYS STONE FOR PRESS CENTRE
NEW DELHI:
Describing freedom of the Press as an important weapon in a democracy, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Wednesday emphasised the need for dissemination of correct information to the people. He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the National Press Centre at 7 Raisina Road, in the heart of the Capital. UNI

IAS OFFICER, KIN BOOKED
BIKANER:
An IAS official and four members of his family are to face prosecution for allegedly taking Rs 40 lakh for allotting land meant for rehabilitation of Pong Dam outstees in Rajasthan, an official of the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Tuesday. Sanjay Purohit, his former civil servant wife, father, mother and an uncle, were charge-sheeted for having properties disproportionate to their income. ACB district officiating Superintendent Dilip Jakhad said. They took bribes for the land allotment in Sriganganagar district nine years ago, he said. UNI

DAVE TAKES CHARGE OF MEGHALAYA
SHILLONG: Arunachal Governor Arvind Dave today arrived here to take additional charge of Meghalaya, as Speaker E.D. Marak admitted a no-confidence motion against the minority E.K. Mawlong coalition ministry filed by the newly formed 42-member People’s Forum of Meghalaya (PFM). PTI
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