SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

CPM takes control of Nandigram
Kolkata, January 5
Nandigram, the granary village of Midnapore, today turned into a CPM fortress when armed party cadres, hoisting red flags, took over the control of the village. Violence erupted in the village yesterday following visit of land-record officials in connection with the acquisition of some 10,000 acres for Indonesia's Salim Group of Industries.

Scientific research needs focus, says President Kalam
Chidambaram (TN), January 5
President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam today suggested the need for a focused action plan for long term scientific research and lamented that each year he had been only listening at all science congress about increasing the budget for science and technology.



President APJ Abdul Kalam presents the young scientist award to Shubha of Delhi at the 94th Indian Science Congress at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu on Friday. — PTI photo
President APJ Abdul Kalam presents the young scientist award to Shubha of Delhi at the 94th Indian Science Congress at Chidambaram

Experts hunt for clues in Pandher’s house
Noida/New Delhi, January 5
A team of forensic experts today went through the sprawling bungalow of the main suspect Moninder Singh Pandher to pick up crucial clues in the gruesome case of killing of innocent children.





 

 

EARLIER STORIES




Mumbai blasts accused held in US
Mumbai, January 5
Feroz Abdul Rasheed Khan, an accused in the 1993 serial blasts case, has been detained in the US. Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said Khan had participated in the landing of deadly RDX and arms and ammunition at the Dighi port in Raigad prior to the blasts that rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, killing 257 and injuring 1400 people.

Soren’s plea allowed
Jamtara (Jharkhand),  January 5 
A local court today allowed the plea of JMM chief Shibu Soren, serving a life term in Delhi's Tihar's Jail for the murder of his secretary, to be lodged in Jamtara prison and fixed January 16 as the next date for the his appearance in connection with the 1975 Chirrudih massacre case.

India gears up for advanced N-reactors
Mumbai, January 5
The Indian nuclear establishment is all set to build the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) later this year which will help make the country's civilian nuclear programme independent of fuel imports.

NRIs to get voting right: Minister
New Delhi, January 5
A Bill granting voting rights to the NRIs would be introduced in Parliament during the next session, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said while ruling out a similar facility to the People of Indian Origins (PIOs).

Mumbai bar dancers to contest civic election
Mumbai, January 5
Former bar dancers who performed at numerous dance bars in Mumbai before these places were shut down by the government in 2005 said they would contest the civic elections scheduled for February 1.

Govt-SC row on forest panel hots up
New Delhi, January 5
The confrontation between the Supreme Court and the Centre on setting up of the Forest Advisory Committee intensified today with the government blaming the court of passing orders in forest matters outside the provisions of law and “interfering” in every decision of the Executive whereas government’s action was termed as “irresponsible”.

Assembly poll rescheduled in Manipur
New Delhi, January 5
The Election Commission today rescheduled the polling in 29 Assembly constituencies in Manipur in view of the local festival. The polling for these constituencies falling in East Imphal, West Imphal and Bishenpur districts in the state were slated on February 15.

Nominees’ selection: Amarinder firm on merit
New Delhi, January 5
Leaders of election-bound states, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, were asked by the Congress to submit their lists of candidates at the earliest to the central party leadership so that the names of the contestants can be firmed up on time.

Pak proposal: Azad for concrete response
New Delhi, January 5
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is understood to have pleaded for the need of a concrete response to Pakistan's proposal for joint management and de-militarisation of Kashmir during his meetings with top central leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Plea against ban on nursery interviews dismissed
New Delhi, January 5
The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition filed by two private schools managements challenging the ban imposed by the Delhi High Court on interviews of nursery kids and their parents at the time of admissions.

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CPM takes control of Nandigram
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 5
Nandigram, the granary village of Midnapore, today turned into a CPM fortress when armed party cadres, hoisting red flags, took over the control of the village. Violence erupted in the village yesterday following visit of land-record officials in connection with the acquisition of some 10,000 acres for Indonesia's Salim Group of Industries.

The party cadres posted themselves at every entry point of the village in order to prevent the entry of leaders and supporters of the Trinamool Congress, the Congress, SUCI and other parties which have been opposing the government’s move to acquire the land at Nandigram, like earlier in Singur.

Even mediapersons were not allowed easy entry as they too were treated as "provocateurs".

The Salim Industries' owner, Mr Beni Santosa, had been assured by Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee that some 40,000 acres in Midnapore and adjoining districts would be acquired for setting up chemical and commercial hubs and modern townships, etc. Yesterday, there was strong resistance to the acquisition process not only from the Opposition, but some of the Front partners like the CPI, Forward Bloc and the RSP also protested against the land transfer to Salim Industries.

The CPI general secretary, Mr A.B. Bardan, who was in the city, criticised the acquisition process.

The party’s state secretary, Mr Monju Kumar Majumdar, alleged that the issue of acquisition at Nandigram and elsewhere had not been raised at any of the Left Front meetings.

The local farmers, who have set up resistance groups, yesterday did not allow the police and the district land-record officials to start the acquisition process. They attacked a police party and burnt the police jeeps. The local CPM office was also burnt by the angry villagers. The police had to fire several rounds.

The Chief Minister and the CPM party secretary, Mr Biman Bose, alleged that the Naxalites and some outside hooligans were behind the attack on the police and the local party leadership had been advised to prevent the entry of outsiders into Nandigram.

However, there was no official attempt to acquire land at the village today. Instead, the Chief Minister, at a meeting with police and the senior officials at the Writer’s Buildings, reviewed their future course of action at Nandigram. After the meeting, the state Home Secretary, Mr P. Roy, told mediapersons that stern action would be taken against the people opposing the government’s attempts aimed at rapid industrialisation.

Regarding the yesterday’s incident of vandalism at the WBIDC's office in Kolkata, all eleven persons, including two woman, who were arrested by the police, were granted bail by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

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Scientific research needs focus, says President Kalam
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chidambaram (TN), January 5
President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam today suggested the need for a focused action plan for long term scientific research and lamented that each year he had been only listening at all science congress about increasing the budget for science and technology.

Dr Kalam was addressing the 94th Indian Science Congress at Annamalai University here, 250 km from Chennai.

He said, "Every year, when I come to science congress, there has been an assurance that the science and technology budget will be increased. This year the Prime Minister has announced that the allocation on science and technology will be progressively increased from less than 1 per cent of GDP to 2 per cent of GDP in next five years' period.

"I urge that there is a need for focused action plan to realise this. For enabling time bound action, I would suggest constitution of a joint team consisting of members from all scientific departments of Government of India and other concerned departments and agencies. This team should work out the growth plan for research, science education programme, training programmes and laboratory establish programme in an integrated way for the five-year period, keeping a 20 year science vision perspective."

The President recommended a total allocation of 0.5 per cent of GDP for basic research and said a document should come out spelling out integrated national science and technology programme, including basic research, applied research and technology demonstration. The document should also indicate the participating departments, research institutions, academic institutions and universities along with specific milestones to be achieved in a definite time frame, he added.

Dr Kalam felt it was essential for India to start working on problems, which were being faced by the people in the country, 70 per cent of whom were living in rural areas.

He said, "If we find useful scientific results in the Indian context it will be useful to people in other parts of the world who are placed in similar situation.”

"I would suggest to the members of scientific community assembled here to search for typical Indian problems needing urgent solution which can improve the quality of life of people in the country and find scientific solutions to the problems faced by humanity in a time bound manner."

Deliberating on structure of energy sources for India, he said,"Based on the progress visualised for the nation during the next two decades, the power generating capacity has to increase to 4 lakh MW by 2030 from the existing 1.30 lakh MW."

Dr Kalam stressed that energy independence has to be achieved through three different sources namely hydel power, nuclear power and non-conventional energy sources primarily through solar and wind energy, apart from the use of thermal power through clean coal technology.

He said, "There is a need to implement these technologies at the earliest so that we can get better coal, higher efficiency of the plant, reduced transportation load and minimum impact on the environment."

Dr Kalam said because of convergence of technology, "Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities. Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano robots."

Talking about world knowledge platform, the President observed, "In India, we have an example of successful joint venture which harnessed the core competencies of two nations India and Russia, who have different cultures, languages and design standards.

He suggested that the topics and application areas for the World Knowledge Platform may be: energy, agriculture and food processing, water, healthcare, infrastructure, materials and information and communication technology.

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Experts hunt for clues in Pandher’s house
Ravi Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Noida/New Delhi, January 5
A team of forensic experts today went through the sprawling bungalow of the main suspect Moninder Singh Pandher to pick up crucial clues in the gruesome case of killing of innocent children.

The team of specialists from Agra reached the D-5, Sector 31, Noida residence of Moninder early in the morning and spent several hours looking for fingerprints, taking samples from the blood splattered bathroom walls.

The team will also examine skeletal remains and other items like school bags, pieces of clothes and footwear of the victims recovered by the police.

Meanwhile, another FIR has been registered in connection with a missing child. Parents of six-year-old Soni have claimed that their daughter was missing since September 24, 2004, from Morena village in Sector 24 here.

The girl's father Vijender Singh, a migrant from Bulandshahr, identified some undergarments recovered from Pandher's house.

So far 17 FIRs have been registered in this connection.

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Mumbai blasts accused held in US

Mumbai, January 5
Feroz Abdul Rasheed Khan, an accused in the 1993 serial blasts case, has been detained in the US. Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said Khan had participated in the landing of deadly RDX and arms and ammunition at the Dighi port in Raigad prior to the blasts that rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, killing 257 and injuring 1400 people.

Earlier, the TADA court had declared Khan, accused No. 19, as a proclaimed offender and issued a red corner notice. The Interpol today intimated the Indian Government of his arrest. Sources in the CBI said the accused would shortly be deported to India and produced before the TADA court. — UNI

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Soren’s plea allowed

Jamtara (Jharkhand), January 5 
A local court today allowed the plea of JMM chief Shibu Soren, serving a life term in Delhi's Tihar's Jail for the murder of his secretary, to be lodged in Jamtara prison and fixed January 16 as the next date for the his appearance in connection with the 1975 Chirrudih massacre case. Soren was brought by Delhi police earlier in the day for his appearance before the Jamtara Additional District Judge Arun Kumar who issued a production warrant against him last month.

Soren's counsel moved the plea that he be lodged in Jamtara jail as he has to appear before the court again on January 16.

Soren is one of the 26 people charged with inciting a mob that killed 11 people at Chirrudih under Narayanpur police station in Jamtara on January 23, 1975. — PTI

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India gears up for advanced N-reactors
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 5
The Indian nuclear establishment is all set to build the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) later this year which will help make the country's civilian nuclear programme independent of fuel imports.

The road map for the AHWR unveiled by Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, at the 94th Indian Science Congress recently shows that thorium will play a major role in the country's nuclear programme henceforth.

Construction of the 300 MW reactor, designated as a technology demonstrator, which begins later this year, will be complete in about five to six years time. Once it goes on stream, it will be one of the first such reactors to use thorium fuel cycles for commercial power generation.

Designed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, the AHWR would generate more than 65 per cent of power from thorium which is available in abundant quantities in India.

Having gained enough experience in using thorium to derive the fissile Uranium 233 to power experimental reactors, the new AHWR will be a significant attempt to scale up capacities using thorium, say experts. By 2020 the AHWR will be the mainstay of India's nuclear programme.

The advantage of AHWR is that it uses a mix of thorium and uranium as fuel and yields uranium 233 as a by-product. This would enable India to become self-sufficient in its supplies of uranium over a period of time.

In his speech at the Science Congress, President Kalam noted that the implementation of the AHWR project and development of associated fuel cycle facilities will provide industrial scale experience in the handling of thorium.

"An important basic research area would be to develop reactor systems based on thorium wherein power derived from thorium can be increased and external input of fissile material can be minimised. It will definitely lead to early utilisation of thorium in power production," the President said.

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NRIs to get voting right: Minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
A Bill granting voting rights to the NRIs would be introduced in Parliament during the next session, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said while ruling out a similar facility to the People of Indian Origins (PIOs).

Addressing a press conference ahead of the 'Pravasi Bharatiya Divas' to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 7, Ravi said the Bill to amend the Representation of People's Act was earlier introduced but was referred to the Standing Committee.

The Committee had suggested a few amendments which would now be incorporated in the new Bill, he said.

The PBD is aimed at promoting a better understanding between the Indian diaspora and the country's political leadership, Ravi said. There will be political leaders, including union ministers and state chief ministers in all the sessions.

In addition, the PBD' theme, Rooting for the Roots, has been developed to inculcate a sense of pride about their Indian origins among the new generation of overseas Indians. Ravi said, "We want to bring the new generation closer to India and make them feel that their roots still lie in this country."

A major highlight of this year's event, Ravi said, would be interactive sessions with senior ministers and top officials of eight states, including Delhi, Bihar, Haryana and Gujarat.

"The chief ministers of these states have shown keen interest in interacting with overseas Indians hailing from their respective states," Ravi said.

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Mumbai bar dancers to contest civic election
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 5
Former bar dancers who performed at numerous dance bars in Mumbai before these places were shut down by the government in 2005 said they would contest the civic elections scheduled for February 1.

Manjeet Singh Sethi, who heads the Fight for Rights of Bar Owners' Association, said the women would contest the elections in a bid to revoke the ban on dance bars in Mumbai.

Sethi said more than 75,000 bar girls have been rendered unemployed following the ban and many have taken to prostitution as a result. Many of them have moved to other states. A few have taken up jobs like escorts for high-paying customers.

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Govt-SC row on forest panel hots up
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 5
The confrontation between the Supreme Court and the Centre on setting up of the Forest Advisory Committee intensified today with the government blaming the court of passing orders in forest matters outside the provisions of law and “interfering” in every decision of the Executive whereas government’s action was termed as “irresponsible”.

Amid a virtual spat between Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh and a Special Forest Bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice S H Kapadia, the stay order passed by the Court on January 15 on setting up of a six-member Forest Advisory Committee (FCA) was continued.

Amid heated arguments, the Court passed an order for continuing its interim stay on setting up of the FAC and directed the existing Central Empowerment Committee on forests to file its reply.

The Court had stayed the government decision on setting up new FAC after the CEC had said that it not being set up as per the April 2004 guidelines laid down by the Ministry itself. The CEC was also directed to file a reply to the Ministry’s rejecting the names of environmentalists proposed by the ad hoc panel for inclusion in the permanent FCA.

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Assembly poll rescheduled in Manipur
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
The Election Commission today rescheduled the polling in 29 Assembly constituencies in Manipur in view of the local festival.
The polling for these constituencies falling in East Imphal, West Imphal and Bishenpur districts in the state were slated on February 15.

However, the poll panel preponed it by a day to February 14, as it had received large number of representations from political parties and individuals in view of the local festival in the state.

The commission, while changing the polling date, said “there will be no other change in the programme and the dates of notification, last date of nominations, scrutiny and the last date for withdrawal of candidature. It will remain unaltered.”

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Nominees’ selection: Amarinder firm on merit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
Leaders of election-bound states, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, were asked by the Congress to submit their lists of candidates at the earliest to the central party leadership so that the names of the contestants can be firmed up on time.

With less than a month to go for the crucial Assembly poll, the Congress went into election-mode today with party office-bearers holding their first pre-poll consultation at the AICC headquarters with the leaders of the states concerned, who were specifically told to speed up the selection process, particularly since their opponents have a headstart over them.

The Chief Minister was very firm that “winning criteria and merit” will be the basis for selection of candidates and this will apply to all relatives of party leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was responding to questions about reports that Dr. Singh’s Amritsar-based brother Surjit Singh Kohli wishes to contest the coming elections.

Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Dullo, who had a special meeting with Mr Janardan Dwivedi, AICC general secretary, in charge of Punjab, assured him that the state unit will forward its list to of candidates to the central election committee by January 10. The Chief Minister said the shotlisting of candidates would begin immediately as today was the last day for submission of applications by ticket aspirants. He said the state unit will also constitute a committee to work on the election manifesto while the AICC will be setting up special panels to draw up the election strategy and the publicity for the poll campaign to kickstart the election process.

Mr. Dullo later told mediapersons that they had requested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi should campaign in Punjab. He said though it was still early to fix the dates and venue of their rallies, they had suggested that the Prime Minister should visit the state later this month and Ms Gandhi early next month for the February 13 election. There will be no roadshows, he said, adding that the campaign would be confined to public meetings.

Capt. Amarinder Singh looked a picture of confidence as he publicly declared that the Congress would register a landslide victory as it was riding on an euphoric wave. “Mark my words, we will win at least 78 seats,” he said, dismissing reports of anti-incumbency against his government.

“We have zero-incumbency. The Akalis have no issues, in fact, they are on the defensive... we will thrash them,” he told mediapersons, stating that the Congress had made a major dent in the Akali Dal’s vote bank while the urban consolidation was already in their favour.

The BSP, on the other hand, is badly divided after the death of its founder Kanshi Ram.However, the Chief Minister admitted that the selection of candidates remains their main area of concern as several sitting legislators had not put in their best.

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Pak proposal: Azad for concrete response
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is understood to have pleaded for the need of a concrete response to Pakistan's proposal for joint management and de-militarisation of Kashmir during his meetings with top central leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

During his meetings with Dr Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee last night and Home Minister Shivraj Patil today, Mr Azad stressed upon the need for working out a concrete reply to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's proposal for joint management of Kashmir.

“Let's have joint management of water resources, tourism and trade between the two parts of Kashmir,” the Chief Minister is understood to have told the central leaders, sources said.

Mr Azad is of the view that Pakistan is only making such proposals for the consumption of the media and New Delhi should take the initiative for firming up the proposals so that Islamabad's seriousness about resolving the Kashmir issue can be gauged, the sources said.

Mr Azad has been making clear that there should be synchronisation between public posturing and the stand taken at the negotiating table.

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Plea against ban on nursery interviews dismissed

New Delhi, January 5
The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition filed by two private schools managements challenging the ban imposed by the Delhi High Court on interviews of nursery kids and their parents at the time of admissions.

A bench however, granted liberty to the petitioners to approach the High Court afresh for raising their objections vis-a-vis the Ganguly Committee recommendations.

The high court-appointed Ganguly Committee had come out with a slew of suggestions to dispense with the pernicious practice of interviewing kids and their parents by school managements. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

IAS man in graft case
New Delhi
: The CBI on Friday conducted searches at five places in Assam and Gujarat in connection with a case of alleged disproportionate assets against an IAS officer. The searches began early this morning after the CBI registered a case against Jagat Singh L Vasava, an IAS officer of the 1982 batch currently posted as Commissioner of Lower Assam division, CBI sources said. The CBI claimed to have recovered moveable and immoveable assets to the tune of Rs 46 lakh that were allegedly unaccounted for. —PTI

25 peacocks found dead
Jaipur
: Carcasses of 25 peacocks suspected to have been killed by gypsies have been recovered from a village in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, a forest official said on Friday. Two persons belonging to the nomadic Bawaria tribe were arrested under the Forest Act and the Wildlife Protection Act and placed on police remand by a local court in Kekari, Ajmer Divisional Forest Officer A.S. Chouhan said. — PTI

Tusker kills mahout
Palakkad
: A mahout was killed by a tusker under his keep at Vadakkanthara near here on Friday. The mahout died when his head hit a block of stone to which the elephant flung him with its trunk, eye witnesses said. — PTI

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