Sunday, December 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Fernandes: vested interests delayed AJTs’ procurement
New Delhi, December 8
Defence Minister George Fernandes has said that India will get the much wanted Advance Jet Trainer soon and that it was possibly due to “vested interests” that there had been a delay in its procurement.

Ayodhya solution before March 12: CM
Lucknow, December 8
A solution to the vexed Ayodhya issue will be found before the deadline of March 12 next year set by the VHP for starting the construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh said today.

Dr Desai ‘voluntarily’ quits as MCI chief
New Delhi, December 8
Dr Ketan Desai, sacked President of the Medical Council of India has resigned “voluntarily” from the institute and governing bodies of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, according to AIIMS sources.

Laloo to appear before Ranchi court
Patna, December 8
RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, in judicial custody in a fodder scam case, will be flown to Ranchi tomorrow by a service flight to be produced before a designated CBI court in the Jharkhand capital on December 10.




EARLIER STORIES

 
Shia Muslims take out a procession
Shia Muslims take out a procession on the 21st day of Ramzan in Bhopal on Friday. 
— PTI

Indo-US naval exercise soon
New Delhi, December 8
Signs of an improvement in the Indo-US military relations have emerged with the two countries deciding to hold a three-day joint naval exercise off the Arabian Sea coast later this month.

791 Gentlemen Cadets pass out from IMA
Dehra Dun, December 8
It was a moment of nostalgia for Army officers and pride for their parents. Seven hundred ninety one Gentlemen Cadets, tossed caps in the air with joy as they passed out here today from the Indian Military Academ, marking their induction as Officers in various regiments of Indian Army.

UTTARANCHAL POLL
BJP to rebuild image
Dehra Dun, December 8
Keeping in view the past blunders, the BJP is playing safe to rebuild its image to ensure a winning majority in the coming legislative Assembly elections likely to be held in February, next year.

West Bengal Government to change school syllabi
Kolkata, December 8
Like the Vajpayee government at the Centre, the CPM-led Left Front in West Bengal is also changing the syllabi at the secondary and higher secondary levels. But the changes will primarily aim at educating the children on sex education and against AIDS.

Work on Tehri Dam resumes
Tehri (Uttaranchal), December 8
The second phase of the construction work of controversial Tehri Dam began here, yesterday, with the submergence of a part of the old Tehri township. The hut of Mr Sunder Lal Bahuguna was filled with water thus forcing him to shift at the base of the dam.

Ban on PWG, MCC a boost for state govts
Patna, December 8
The ban on the People’s War Group and Maoist Communist Center under the Prevention of Terrorist Ordinance by the Union Government will not achieve any thing concrete at the ground level as they stand banned by the state governments since long.

Bajrang Dal’s stir threat to govt
Lucknow, December 8
The Bajrang Dal today threatened to disrupt the bus and train services from India to Bangladesh and Pakistan after December 26, if by then “the Central Government did not initiate stern measures against the two countries for harassing the Hindu minorities”.

Amitabh to open FM channel
New Delhi, December 8
Lucknow is all set to join the club of cities airing FM channels with the launch of Radio City on the morning of December 11.

Labourer seeks wages, gets poison
Sriganganagar, December 8
It was the last supper for labourer Dhanna Ram, who unassumingly consumed pesticide-laced whiskey allegedly sent by his employer from whom he had gone to get Rs 50, his due wages.

Irregularities in fodder purchase alleged
Hanumangarh, December 8
Even after repeated memorandums to the District Collector and the Regional Commissioner by residents of Malanar district, no action has been taken in the case of alleged irregularities in the purchase of fodder for cattle.

Telecom dist status awaited
Hanumangarh, December 8
Even though the district has been enjoying the status of a revenue district, yet it is not recognised as a telecom district, due to which residents here have not been provided certain facilities normally given by the Telecom Department. Due to the non-recognition of the telecom district for the past three months the trunk-booking facility is not available here.

VIDEOS
A huge crowd in New Delhi greeted the aspirants for Best National Costume and the Best Talent for the 4th Grasim Mr International 2001.
(28k, 56k)
The famous animal fair held in Sonepur every year fails to attract animal traders this year.
(28k, 56k)

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Fernandes: vested interests delayed AJTs’ procurement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Defence Minister George Fernandes has said that India will get the much wanted Advance Jet Trainer (AJT) soon and that it was possibly due to “vested interests” that there had been a delay in its procurement.

Launching the inaugural issue of the ‘Defence Digest’, a bi-monthly magazine dealing with military issues yesterday evening the Defence Minister said that people who wanted more ‘paybacks’ were probably responsible for the delay in the purchase of the AJT, a vital requirement for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“When prices become higher, paybacks become higher”, the Defence Minister said.

Mr Fernandes’ comment came when Air Chief Marshal (retired) NC Suri, who is on the editorial board of the magazine, said that the price of AJTs had been fixed at Rs 864 crore when Air Chief Marshal L.N. Katre was the air chief in 1984-85 when the procurement of the trainer was given the green light. The price of 66 ‘Hawk’ AJTs that the IAF is now to get is around $ 1 billion (Rs 4500 crore).

The Defence Minister said from all inputs he had received, there was no other AJT but the Hawk. “We are hoping to have it soon,” he added.

He said that before he resigned, following the Tehelka expose on defence deals, he had wanted to put India’s Defence procurement needs on the website but there had been opposition from vendors that it might be difficult for them to do business as they had different prices for ‘friendly countries’ and not-so-friendly countries.

On the other hand, putting this kind of information on the website would provide transparency.

“One needs transparency when national security is not involved. There is no secrecy behind possession of a weapon but in what calibration it is, is not for the public.”

Defence Digest is edited by former United News of India General Manager and Chief Editor Virender Mohan. Besides Air Chief Marshal Suri, others on its editorial board include several senior retired personnel in uniform including Lt-Gen V.K. Sood, Vice Admiral S.C. Chopra, Air Marshal Lakhmir Singh and Maj-Gen Prem Khanna and police officer and security expert Arun Bhagat.

Mr Fernandes, saying that there was an urgent need for a magazine like the Defence Digest to raise awareness of security matters among people, rued that matters like the National War Museum which he had proposed three years back still had not seen light of the day.

“It becomes only the concern of one or two people not everybody’s, “he complained adding that the Urban Development Ministry’s offer of 32 acres in the capital was not suitable as more land would be required.

He said after three and half years, armed forces personnel now had got the right of proxy voting. “In times to come the para-military personnel will also be included.”Top

 

George to spend Xmas with troops
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Defence Minister George Fernandes, who has set a record of sorts by his frequent visits to the front areas, specially, Siachen has decided to spend the Christmas-New Year week with troops stationed in the Siachen Glacier, Kargil, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and the western sector.

On Christmas night, the Defence Minister is scheduled to be in the world’s highest battlefield, the Siachen Glacier, where he had gone with Christmas cakes for the soldiers.Top

 

 

Ayodhya solution before March 12: CM

Lucknow, December 8
A solution to the vexed Ayodhya issue will be found before the deadline of March 12 next year set by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for starting the construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh said today.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme here, the Chief Minister expressed hope that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s efforts to resolve the issue (before the deadline) would yield positive results.

On being asked about the threat of the VHP to undertake the construction of the Ram temple after the expiry of the deadline, the Chief Minister said the government was committed to maintain status quo at the disputed site as directed by the Supreme Court.

The security arrangements in and around the Ram janambhoomi complex had been further tightened, he said.

The Chief Minister said his party would not make the Ram temple an election issue and charged the opposition parties with trying to rake up the Ayodhya issue on the eve of elections in the state to derive political mileage.

He said his government would bring a POTO like ordinance in the state if the legislation failed to get Parliament’s approval.

Citing incidents of encounters with the terrorists in the state, he said a strict law was required to fight the menace.

The BJP would go to the polls with stability, development and internal security as its main election planks. He would ask the voters to support him on the basis of his government’s achievements on all fronts, he added.

He said though corruption would not be an issue at the poll, he would consider tougher ways to crack down on corruption if voted back to power.

The BJP would enter into alliance with all its allies at the Centre and state to fight the poll in the state.

Talks on seat sharing were on, he said adding that no decision had yet been taken on the number of seats to be contested by the BJP and denied there were differences over seat sharing. PTITop

 

Dr Desai ‘voluntarily’ quits as MCI chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Dr Ketan Desai, sacked President of the Medical Council of India has resigned “voluntarily” from the institute and governing bodies of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, according to AIIMS sources.

The institute today received a communication from the Health Ministry that Desai had quit “voluntarily” two posts.

Professor P. Venugopal, Chief of the Cardio-thoracic Centre at the institute today confirmed that he had been nominated on the institute and governing bodies in place of Dr Desai.

Health Minister and institute President Dr C.P. Thakur is said to have got Desai’s resignation letter on December 3, according to a communication received by the AIIMS. With this, Mr Desai ceases to be the Chairman of the Standing Selection Committee of the AIIMS. Since the high court declared Desai guilty of corruption and irregularities, AIIMS faculty had been demanding Mr Desai’s resignation.

The court had ordered Desai’s removal as President of the Medical Council of India and directed the CBI to prosecute him for his “involvement” in corrupt practices. The court also had observed that the apex body for doctors was a “den of corruption”.
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Laloo to appear before Ranchi court

Patna, December 8
RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, in judicial custody in a fodder scam case, will be flown to Ranchi tomorrow by a service flight to be produced before a designated CBI court in the Jharkhand capital on December 10, official sources said here today.

It was an administrative decision to fly him back to Ranchi by a service flight, they said.

The RJD President, currently in Beur jail, had been flown to Patna from Ranchi in a state government aircraft on December 3 and was produced here in a disproportionate assets case, an offshoot of the fodder scam.

The RJD chief is to be produced on Monday in the Ranchi CBI designated court of H.C. Mishra, where he had surrendered in a conspiracy angle case and had been remanded to 14 days in jail after his bail plea was rejected on November 26.

RJD national spokesman Shivanand Tiwari said Mr Yadav would proceed to Ranchi though his cervical pain had aggravated and X-rays had confirmed that he was suffering from cervical spondylosis.

The RJD chief was likely to return to Patna again on December 11 following the directive of a special court in Patna asking him and Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi to appear before it on December 13 for recording their statements in connection with the case against them.

The examination of prosecution witnesses in the case was completed in the Patna designated CBI court of S.K. Mishra yesterday.

Laloo was charged with having accumulated over Rs 47 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income when he was the Chief Minister between 1990 and 1997. PTITop

 

Indo-US naval exercise soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Signs of an improvement in the Indo-US military relations have emerged with the two countries deciding to hold a three-day joint naval exercise off the Arabian Sea coast later this month.

The search and rescue exercise in which two Indian naval warships, a coast guard and an American naval aircraft will take part, is to begin from December 15. It will be the first such exercise after the post-Pokhran Indo-US freeze. Sources said they were hopeful that with the surrender by the Taliban, of their last stronghold Kandahar, more US naval warships currently engaged in the strikes could veer round to take part in the exercise.
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791 Gentlemen Cadets pass out from IMA
S.Satyanarayanan/ Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, December 8
It was a moment of nostalgia for Army officers and pride for their parents. Seven hundred ninety one Gentlemen Cadets, tossed caps in the air with joy as they passed out here today from the Indian Military Academy (IMA), marking their induction as Officers in various regiments of Indian Army.

Sense of great achievement was writ large on the faces of the Cadets, who passed out from the Academy’s Autumn Term after rigorous training. Indulgent hugs and discreet pecks on cheeks from family and friends marked expression of joy for these young officers.

The passing out parade in front of the historic Chetwode Hall this autumn was unique in itself for two things. It was for the first time the passing out parade was inspected by Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lt-Gen P.S. Joshi and the number of Cadets who passed out this year was the largest in the past one decade.

In all 791 Gentlemen Cadets, including 14 Foreign Gentlemen cadets from Bhutan and Nepal, passed out this year. As many as 643 Gentlemen Cadets of 109 Regular Course, 40 of 92 Technical Graduates Course, 44 of 7 SCO course and 64 cadets of TES - 4(10+2) course passed out in the autumn term.

General Joshi, who inspected the passing out parade led by Academy Under Officer Pawan Nehra, told the officers to be prepared for facing challenges ahead and wanted them to keep themselves abreast of the happenings around, especially in the field of Information Technology.

Many of you, in a few weeks, would be in the battle field, your selfless service to the nation would prove how good a soldier you were, Lt-Gen Joshi said.

It was also a nostalgic moment for General Joshi, who recalled how 39 years back he was, in the same Academy, eagerly awaiting for the parade to be over. “I feel honoured to be here with you,” he said.

Appreciating the parents of the Cadets for encouraging their wards to join the Army, he said you had set an example for others and, I hope other citizens in the country too encouraged their wards to join the force.

Sword of Honour for the best all-round Gentlemen Cadet from The Regular Course and the Gold Medal for Gentlemen Cadet standing first in order of merit from Regular Course went to Academy Under Officer Pawan Nehra. The Silver Medal for standing second in order of merit from Regular Course was given to Junior Under Officer Napoleon Nayak, Bronze Medal to Battalion Under Officer Mukund Bhardwaj.

Silver Medal for Gentlemen Cadet standing First in order of merit from Technical Graduates Course was given to Junior Under Officer Mahesh Shelke. Lt-Gen Tajindar Singh Shergill, Commandant Indian Military Academy and other top officers of the Academy were present at the function.

On the eve of the passing out parade yesterday, family members of the cadets and reporters had an opportunity to watch an English comedy, Tons of Money, staged by the Dramatic Society of Indian Military Academy. The artistes, which included Gentlemen Cadets and ladies of IMA did justice to their roles and helped create a light atmosphere. The play was directed by Lt-Col K. Mukherjee.Top

 

UTTARANCHAL POLL
BJP to rebuild image
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, December 8
Keeping in view the past blunders, the BJP is playing safe to rebuild its image to ensure a winning majority in the coming legislative Assembly elections likely to be held in February, next year.

The Election Commission has delimitated the present 23 constituencies into 70, which is likely to make it more difficult for the candidates. The Congress has already kicked off the election campaign with two public conferences held at Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh on November 23 addressed by Ms Sonia Gandhi. Despite being left behind in launching the poll campaign, the BJP has been observing caution in the selection of candidates considering various factors that are likely to offset its prospects.

Caste equations within the BJP are a major concern for the leadership. Lack of capable tribesmen and Muslim leaders may put an adverse effect on the political calculations of the ruling party.

With a sizable section of Muslim population in the area the BSP has a sitting Muslim MLA, Qazi Mohiuddin, to cater to the hopes of his party while the SP is likely to depend upon party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s charisma and film stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Babbar etc.Top

 

West Bengal Government to change school syllabi
Subhranshu Gupta

Kolkata, December 8
Like the Vajpayee government at the Centre, the CPM-led Left Front in West Bengal is also changing the syllabi at the secondary and higher secondary levels. But the changes will primarily aim at educating the children on sex education and against AIDS.

Both the CPM leadership and the state government have now finally agreed to change the syllabi in schools. The Left Front’s Chairman, Mr Biman Bose, who is also a CPM Politburo member, admits a time has now come that the syllabi of schools should be amended and rewritten in the changing socio and political situations.

The Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharyya, too wants that the schoolchildren should be properly educated to cope with the realities of the life. He says the school students should be taught science, IT and software technologies as well as history and geography.

“It is important to know the life and teachings of our national heroes and schoolchildren should also be acquainted with the history of the Communist movement vis-a-vis the lives and teachings of Lenin, Karl Marx and Deng Xiaoping,” says Mr Bhattacharyya.

The state Health Minister, Dr Surya Kanto Mishra, at a seminar organised here recently disclosed the government’s decision to rewrite the syllabi of social science and health education in the secondary level (from Class VIII) in the light of sex education and health hazards, particularly against AIDS.Top

 

Work on Tehri Dam resumes
Tribune News Service

Tehri (Uttaranchal), December 8
The second phase of the construction work of controversial Tehri Dam began here, yesterday, with the submergence of a part of the old Tehri township. The hut of Mr Sunder Lal Bahuguna was filled with water thus forcing him to shift at the base of the dam.

The authorities of the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) shut down the two tunnels (P3 and P4) thus paving the way to fill the dam with the Baghirathi waters. The hut of Mr Bahuguna, near the bridge, was partially damaged. His wife and son, Rajiv Nayan Bahuguna, were busy shifting the household goods to a safer place.

Mr Bahuguna who was in New Delhi for the past few days reached yesterday. Talking to the TNS he reiterated his stand to continue his agitation against the commissioning the project. He said, “The authorities of the THDC had violated the law by shutting down the tunnels as two cases are still pending before the Supreme Court against the commissioning the project”.

The Balmiki slum of the old Tehri township was forcibly shifted to a safer place by the district authorities on Thursday. The bridge was opened for traffic till yesterday evening. But heavy vehicles, including cars, were not allowed to pass through it. The District Magistrate of Tehri, Mrs Radha Raturi, told the TNS that the bridge was too weak to sustain the flow of heavy traffic.

When contacted the Chief Minister of Uttaranchal, Mr Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, said the government was committed in commissioning the project. He, however, said rehabilitation work was still going on and the authorities had been asked to take all possible care of the people who were being shifted to safer places. He disclosed that the Union Government had passed orders to cut down the trees from 1000 acres of forest between Hardwar and Rishikesh to enable the state government to allot land to the residents of Tehri.Top

 

Ban on PWG, MCC a boost for state govts
Santosh Jha

Patna, December 8
The ban on the People’s War Group (PWG) and Maoist Communist Center (MCC) under the Prevention of Terrorist Ordinance (POTO) by the Union Government will not achieve any thing concrete at the ground level as they stand banned by the state governments since long. However, the ban has come as a point of victory for the state officials who have been telling the Centre since long in no uncertain terms that the PWG and the MCC must be dealt with an iron hand.

The Bihar Government had banned the two organisations in 1986.

Bihar officials and top policemen have been time and again telling the Union Home Ministry about the gravity of the PWG, MCC trouble and their suspected indulgence with anti-national forces like, ISI, drug mafia and international arms smugglers.

The Home Ministry officials forced their state counterparts to accept that it was just a law and order crisis and should be handled by the state alone. 
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Bajrang Dal’s stir threat to govt

Lucknow, December 8
The Bajrang Dal today threatened to disrupt the bus and train services from India to Bangladesh and Pakistan after December 26, if by then “the Central Government did not initiate stern measures against the two countries for harassing the Hindu minorities”.

Dal National Convener Surendra Jain said here that if the government still remained silent over the reports of growing atrocities on the minority Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, then his organisation would be forced to stop the services. UNI
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Amitabh to open FM channel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 8
Lucknow is all set to join the club of cities airing FM channels with the launch of Radio City on the morning of December 11.

Amitabh Bachchan will be inaugurating the channel with a special address for the people of Lucknow. The first show will also air an exclusive interview with the superstar.

Radio City is a venture promoted by Music Broadcast Private Limited (MBPL) and had gained the licence for the FM channel broadcast following the auction carried out by the Prasar Bharati.
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Labourer seeks wages, gets poison
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, December 8
It was the last supper for labourer Dhanna Ram, who unassumingly consumed pesticide-laced whiskey allegedly sent by his employer from whom he had gone to get Rs 50, his due wages.

Fed up with the deceased’s pestering for the small amount, Pappu, of Suratgarh village had allegedly sent him the fatal liquor. The deceased consumed it, following which he fell sick and later on breathed his last.

Sources said according to Mr Jas Ram, a brother of Dhanna Ram, the deceased was hired by the father of the accused for a day last week. He was not paid that day and went to the accused’s house for getting his due time and again. This was resented by Pappu, who reportedly decided to teach him a lesson. Yesterday morning, when he again went to the latter’s house, he was assured that his dues would be paid by the evening.

Pappu went to the house of the labourers and allegedly gave his seven-year-old son a quart of whiskey, a packet of eatables and some cigarettes and told him that he was not able to arrange the money but the dues could be settled this way.

Dhanna Ram came from work in the evening and consumed the whiskey. After some time he complained of a burning sensation and started vomiting. He told his wife that he suspected that Pappu had doctored his drink. He started for Pappu’s house to complain to him but fell halfway and was rushed to the government hospital, where he died.

The sources said after initial investigations, the doctors told the family members that he had consumed-pesticide laced liquor. The police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 328 of the IPC and Section 3 of the SC Act. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. The accused is absconding, the sources added.
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Irregularities in fodder purchase alleged
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, December 8
Even after repeated memorandums to the District Collector and the Regional Commissioner by residents of Malanar district, no action has been taken in the case of alleged irregularities in the purchase of fodder for cattle.

Now, the residents have again given a memorandum to the Regional Commissioner. They have alleged that a fodder depot was opened in their village, but they were never given fodder. They have also alleged the sarpanch got prepared false receipts and bungled government money. In another complaint, they alleged records showed that on June 20, a truck carried the fodder from the depot, but the same truck carried fodder from a depot in Bikaner.
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Telecom dist status awaited
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, December 8
Even though the district has been enjoying the status of a revenue district, yet it is not recognised as a telecom district, due to which residents here have not been provided certain facilities normally given by the Telecom Department. Due to the non-recognition of the telecom district for the past three months the trunk-booking facility is not available here.

Sources said under the National Telecommunication Policy the government had announced 386 telecom districts and after the district came under Sriganganagar telecom district in August. Though the customers did not face much difficulty because of the new facility of local dialing within a radius of 200 km, many administrative and financial decisions regarding the department were not being taken because of district being not given the status of a telecom district. The counting of the bills of the district is also done at Sriganganagar.

The district has fulfilled all requirements for getting the status of a telecom district.
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

SUBRATA MITRA DEAD
KOLKATA:
Eminent cinematographer Subrata Mitra died here on Saturday. He was 72. Mitra had the rare distinction of working with Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. He worked in Satyajit Ray’s first film “Pather Panchali”. He also worked in “New Delhi Times” and “Teesri Kasam”. He was a teacher at the Pune Film Institute and later became a consultant professor in Satyajit Ray’s Film and TV Institute. UNI

PANCHALOHA IDOLS STOLEN FROM TEMPLE
ARIYALUR (TAMIL NADU):
Robbers struck at the 400-year-old Shri Bairaneeswarar Temple at Udayarpalayam here and decamped with three panchaloha idols worth lakhs of rupees on Friday. According to the police, the priest, who opened the main doors of the temple on Friday for performing the morning rituals, found the locks of the inner mandapam doors broken and the idols missing. UNI

MEMORIAL FOR JAYA’S MOTHER
MADURAI:
A manimandapam (memorial) named after AIADMK supremo J.Jayalalithaa’s mother Annai N.R. Sandhya will be opened at the famous Dhandayudhapani Swamy temple in Palani on Sunday. The manipandapam has been constructed at a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh, temple sources said. PTI

COLD WAVE SWEEPS PARTS OF GARHWAL
GOPESHWAR (UTTARANCHAL):
Normal life was affected in the Himalayan border region as a cold wave lashed the area with reports of snowfall in some parts, bringing down the temperature considerably. Snowfall was recorded in the upper reaches of Garhwal including mountain peaks of Kamet, Trishool, Dronagiri, Nadadevi and Chaukhamba. Tourist traffic to Kedarnath, Badrinath and Hemkund was also affected. PTI
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