SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Medical test shows tribals not raped
Rights groups, parties take to streets; probe demanded
Hyderabad, August 22
The Andhra Pradesh police finds itself in the dock over the alleged rape of 11 tribal women by police personnel attached to anti-Naxalite wing in Visakhapatnam district.

Nine jawans swept away in Teesta river
Kolkata, August 22
Nine jawans travelling in an army vehicle were swept away in the turbulent Teestariver today at Monpong in the Himalayan foothills near Siliguri town in Darjeeling district.

Bihar flood toll 392
Patna, August 22
As many as 392 people lost their lives in the current spell of floods in Bihar till today with 44 fresh deaths reported from different flood affected areas of the state in the past 24 hours.

Senior Congress leader Narayan Dutt Tiwari is greeted by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy after taking charge as Governor of Andhra Pradesh at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Also seen in the picture is Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court G.S. Singhvi. Senior Congress leader Narayan Dutt Tiwari is greeted by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy after taking charge as Governor of Andhra Pradesh at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Also seen in the picture is Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court G.S. Singhvi. — PTI





EARLIER STORIES


Hazardous Waste
Regulate ship-breaking: House panel

New Delhi, August 22
A Parliamentary Committee has admonished the government on its failure to formulate a policy to make ship-breaking activity environmentally safe in the country. The committee, in a report tabled in the Lok Sabha today, asked the government to frame a national policy to regulate ship-breaking activities and dumping toxic waste in the country.

Salem Division Row
Kerala-TN trains to be blocked: Minister
Chennai, August 22
The controversy over creation of a railway division in Salem, which resulted in a verbal duel between MPs from Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the Lok Sabha, has now taken an ugly turn with a senior Tamil Nadu minister today announcing that all trains going to or coming from Kerala will be blocked from Saturday.

No entry for film stars at Goa fest
Mumbai, August 22
Following remarks by some top Bollywood personalities that they were ignored during the international film festival there, the government of Goa has decided to keep the big stars out of the forthcoming event scheduled from the third week of November.

‘25,000 villages to get solar energy by 2012’
New Delhi, August 22
Around 25,000 villages in India will get solar energy by 2012 as part of the government’s plan to promote clean energy in the country.

Lalu YadavLalu set to be re-elected RJD chief
New Delhi, August 22
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Yadav today filed nomination for re-election to the top party post.

Catalogue antiques lying abroad: Tarlochan
New Delhi, August 22
Rajya Sabha member Tarlochan Singh has urged the Centre to prepare a catalogue of artifacts and treasures from India that were lying in museums abroad.

Parliament can levy service tax on CAs, architects: SC
New Delhi, August 22
The Supreme Court has held that Parliament is competent to levy service tax on chartered accountants, cost accountants and architects.

Dalit student beaten up, loses vision
Patna, August 22
Even though there is no dearth of Dalit leaders in Bihar, social divide continues to rule the roost in the state. The state Cabinet has approved the formation of a Maha Dalit Commission to improve the socio-economic condition of the lower strata of Dalits but the situation remains the same.

Wheat import tender likely today
New Delhi, August 22
The government is likely to float a global tender tomorrow for import of wheat to augment its buffer stock for meeting any exigencies. The government has advised the State Trading Corporation to float a tender for import of wheat in bulk as well as container, official sources said.

Farm manager kidnapped for ransom
Guwahati, August 22
Suspected militants kidnapped the manager of an agriculture farm in Karimganj district of South Assam in the wee hours today. The kidnappers have demanded Rs 20 lakh from the family as ransom, the police said.

Maya awards Dadua killers
Lucknow, August 22
Mayawati today promised memorials in Delhi to commemorate the memory BSP founder Kanshi Ram who gave the dalit community ‘self esteem’ and a political space in the landscape if and when she comes to power in Delhi.

PM calls on Vajpayee in AIIMS
New Delhi, August 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences to enquire about his health.

Sanjay Dutt’s release today
Mumbai/Pune, August 22
Four days after the Supreme Court granted him an interim bail, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is all set to walk out of a Pune jail tomorrow. The trial court in Mumbai, which convicted him in 1992-93 riots case, today issued the order for Dutt’s release after actor’s lawyers completed the formalities for his release from Yeravada Jail in Pune. Film producer Nitin Manmohan and Dutt’s friend Pankaj Kharbanda, who are the sureties for the actor submitted bonds required from them. Following this, the court issued his release order. However, since the order could not reach Yeravada Jail in time, it will be given to the jail authorities tomorrow. — PTI

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Medical test shows tribals not raped
Rights groups, parties take to streets; probe demanded
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 22
The Andhra Pradesh police finds itself in the dock over the alleged rape of 11 tribal women by police personnel attached to anti-Naxalite wing in Visakhapatnam district.

The sexual assault, which is alleged to have occurred at Vakapalli village in the remote forest area on Monday, triggered widespread condemnation with activists of several political parties, civil rights groups and women's organisations organising protest rallies across the state.

The tribal belt in the district observed a shutdown today to protest against the incident. Several women activists were taken into custody in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad when they held demonstrations demanding a probe by sitting high court judge.

The protesters laid a siege to the district collectorate in Visakhapatnam and burnt the effigy of the state DGP M A Basith for claiming that the rape did not occur and that it was a conspiracy by Maoists to prevent the police from conducting combing operations in the area.

In their complaint, the tribal women alleged that they were raped by a group of 21 policemen who entered their village and created havoc. The policemen had accused the tribals of being hand-in-glove with the Naxalites, the complaint said.

Accompanied by Paderu MLA L Raja Rao of the Bahujan Samaj Party, victims met Paderu sub- ollector D S Lokesh Kumar and lodged a complaint with him on Monday, alleging that they were taken away by the police and raped. They also said the police had threatened them with dire consequences if they dared to reveal the outrage to anyone.

Even as the incident triggered wide sense of outrage, the DGP's remarks giving a clean chit to the accused added fuel to the fire.

However, the initial medical tests conducted on the tribal women at King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam showed no evidence of rape or physical injuries.

"There was no tangible evidence of rape nor were there any stains on women's clothes. No injuries were detected," the superintendent of the hospital M V R J Somayajulu said.

The hospital authorities have sent the samples to the A P Forensic Science Laboratory for further tests to look out for the presence of DNA material of the accused. DNA tests will be separately conducted on the policemen for conclusive evidence.

"If the policemen are found guilty, we will not spare them," the Home Minister K Jana Reddy said.

The women's organisations and opposition parties have demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting high court judge and dismissal and prosecution of the accused policemen under the SC and ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act.

They also demanded payment of Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia to the victims.

The Visakhapatnam district SP Akun Sabharwal said the case appeared to be a ploy by the Maoists to discredit the police and keep them away from the tribal belt.

He said the local public representatives were under pressure from extremists to support the allegations of rape.

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Nine jawans swept away in Teesta river
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 22
Nine jawans travelling in an army vehicle were swept away in the turbulent Teestariver today at Monpong in the Himalayan foothills near Siliguri town in Darjeeling district.

According to reports reaching the state government headquarters at Writers Building, the vehicle carrying 16 jawans which was coming from Benaguri Army cantonment to Siliguri in the morning fell about 250 feet and was soon swept away by the current of a flooding Teesta river.

The jawans were going to Siliguri to buy household goods including food and clothes from the local markets. Seven jawans somehow managed to escape and were later rescued. Three bodies were also recovered after frantic search by Army helicopters and rescue boats.

But the remaining six jawans were still missing and the military vehicle also could not be traced.

It was feared that the missing jawans might have got stuck inside the vehicle.

The authorities at the Eastern Command headquarters at Calcutta Fort Williams expressed deep concern and sorrow at the unfortunate accident. They said the affected families would get due compensation and proper rehabilitation as per rules. Poor road conditions were blamed for the accident by locals.

Local police and fire brigade had also reached the spot along with Army officers to conduct rescue operations. The search for the remaining jawans continues.

Meanwhile, in the Bally area of Howrah near Kolkata, five people including two children were also killed today after falling into water that had gathered there following the flooding of Ganga and the monsoon rain in the past few days. The water had not been drained out by the local municipal authorities so far.

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Bihar flood toll 392

Patna, August 22
As many as 392 people lost their lives in the current spell of floods in Bihar till today with 44 fresh deaths reported from different flood affected areas of the state in the past 24 hours.

Official sources said such devastating floods were not seen in past 30 years, which mostly caused damages to north Bihar districts due to heavy rains in the catchment areas of rivers originating from Nepal.

The overall situation, however, showed improvement with major rivers reportedly receding and airdropping of relief material suspended.

Almost all political leaders in Bihar, from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to union steel and fertiliser minister and Lok Janashakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan, urged the centre to immediately initiate dialogue with the Nepal government for construction of dams on rivers originating from the Himalayan kingdom to stop such recurring floods.

Four IAF helicopters were engaged in carrying out relief work since August 4 and dropped 69,185 ready food packets in the flood-hit areas. — TNS

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Hazardous Waste
Regulate ship-breaking: House panel
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
A Parliamentary Committee has admonished the government on its failure to formulate a policy to make ship-breaking activity environmentally safe in the country. The committee, in a report tabled in the Lok Sabha today, asked the government to frame a national policy to regulate ship-breaking activities and dumping toxic waste in the country.

The Supreme Court has laid down mandatory guidelines for ship breaking. However, the industry has been mired in controversies following objections raised by environmentalists and labour groups over the presence of hazardous materials in ships causing serious problems for human health and environment.

The committee stressed that the ship-breaking industry must be made to adhere to conditions laid down by Supreme Court.

Last year, Gopal Krishna of the non-government organisation (NGO) Indian Platform on Ship-breaking had petitioned before the committee that ship SS Blue Lady, owned by Malaysia-based Star Cruise Limited, was allowed to enter Indian territorial waters in violation of the Supreme Court order and Basel Convention on Trans-Boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

The NGO had also filed an application in the Supreme Court, asking for compliance with the SC order and mandatory decontamination in the country of export prior to a ship’s entry into Indian waters and the Alang ship-breaking yard.

Since the matter is pending in the apex court for final adjudication, the committee refrained from commenting on the issue, saying that the question of dismantling of SS Blue Lady would only arise after the decision of the court. But it said the very fact the Supreme Court had to intervene in the matter related to SS Blue Lady underlined the failure of the government to formulate any policy.

The committee also took the stand that any embedded hazardous material meant for disposal be deemed hazardous waste. Interestingly, as per the Ministry of Environment and Forests embedded hazardous material meant for disposal is not hazardous waste.

The committee said it was a matter of concern that the ship contained an estimated 1240 MT of Asbestos Contained Material (ACM) and 10 MT of PCBs as in-built material as a part of its structure.

Environmentalists say that with regard to ship breaking, decontamination means that hazardous and radioactive material embedded in the structure must be decontaminated.

Interestingly, the MoEF, in its submission to the committee, admitted that as per the court’s direction they have to function with a clear mandate for the decontamination of ships of their hazardous substances such as asbestos, waste oil, gas and PCBs prior to exports to India for breaking.

The committee strongly deprecated the repeated stand taken by the ministry that since no hazardous wastes has been allowed on board cargo, there is no violation of the Supreme Court directions.

It emphasised that hazardous wastes whether as cargo or in-built material are equally detrimental to environment and human health.

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Salem Division Row
Kerala-TN trains to be blocked: Minister
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, August 22
The controversy over creation of a railway division in Salem, which resulted in a verbal duel between MPs from Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the Lok Sabha, has now taken an ugly turn with a senior Tamil Nadu minister today announcing that all trains going to or coming from Kerala will be blocked from Saturday.

Veerapandi S. Arumugam, agriculture minister in the ruling DMK government here and also Salem district secretary of the party, today severely criticised railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav for his statement that no date had been fixed for the inauguration of the Salem division and threatened to launch an indefinite agitation by blocking rail traffic to Kerala at Salem junction.

In a strong-worded statement, he hit out at Lalu Prasad saying, “What he said makes us think that the railway minister treats the people of Tamil Nadu like bonded labour. And to add insult to injury, he claimed that no date had been fixed for the inauguration.

“People in Kerala cannot deny the people of Tamil Nadu their right to get a new railway division formed by bringing together some railway stations within their state. This is our right, and we cannot sacrifice it.

“Therefore, until the centre gives a categorical assurance that the inauguration would be held as scheduled on September 14, we will not allow any train from the Palakkad division to pass through Salem towards Chennai, New Delhi or other destinations.

Similarly, other trains going towards destinations in Kerala through Salem will also be blocked,” Arumugam, the DMK’s strongman in Salem, said and added that he would personally lead the agitation to block the rail traffic at the Salem railway junction.

The inaugural function for the Salem railway division was to be held on September 14 but following Lalu Prasad’s statement in Lok Sabha uncertainty prevails over it.

Armugam today said repeated clarifications had been issued that since the Salem division would be created by bifurcating the existing Palakkad division, which presently covered both the adjoining states, railway activities within Kerala would never be affected.

He recalled that over the past five decades, passengers and traders had been demanding a separate division for Salem and minister of state for railways R. Velu had conceded it only after consultations with MPs from Kerala.

He also pointed out that even though organisations from Kerala had moved the Supreme Court, it refused to stay inauguration of the division twice stating that it was an administrative matter in which the court would not interfere.

Armugam observed that despite these facts, the railway minister did not oppose the issue when raised in Parliament by Kerala MPs and instead said it would be resolved by the Prime Minister after consulting the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

He appealed to the people to avoid journeys through this route from Saturday and sought the support of all sections of the people for the “just and fair demand for the creation of a Salem division”.

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No entry for film stars at Goa fest
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 22
Following remarks by some top Bollywood personalities that they were ignored during the international film festival there, the government of Goa has decided to keep the big stars out of the forthcoming event scheduled from the third week of November.

After several top film personalities were ignored or asked to show their identification by Goan ushers, many of them told the media that the film festival should be relocated to Delhi. The Entertainment Society of Goa which is organising the film festival has now decided that only serious participants from international cinema would be invited.

The organisers also felt that the film festival was drawing the riff-raff looking for pornography and a chance to hobnob with top Bollywood personalities, sources said.

At the meeting of the ESG held today, it was decided that the budget for this year's festival be reduced from Rs 13 crore to Rs 5 crore.

Of the Rs 34 crore earmarked for the ESG this year, much of the money would be spent on organising film-based events throughout the year.

Though ESG set up massive infrastructure including multiplexes in Goa two years ago, most of these facilities were lying unused at the end of the film festival.

According to Vishnu Wagh executive member of Goa Entertainment Society, a number of directors and producers of international cinema have shown interest in the Goan film festival.

"It will be real international film festival this year," Wagh said.

For the first time, the society is negotiating with an international event management company to bring in top film makers from around the world. However the ESG office-bearers are keeping their fingers crossed, sources admit.

The ESG has also decided not to rope in Indian event managers this year. The Indian event managers who were brought in for the past two years failed to bring sponsorships and still owe several crore rupees to the body, sources said.

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‘25,000 villages to get solar energy by 2012’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Around 25,000 villages in India will get solar energy by 2012 as part of the government’s plan to promote clean energy in the country.

In a keynote address to mark the Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas today, minister of state for new and renewable energy Vilas Muttemwar said India was ranked second in bio-gas and fourth in wind energy development globally.

He said solar water heating system has become very popular in urban, commercial and industrial sectors. Over 20 lakh sq metre solar collector area has been installed for solar water heaters and other solar thermal applications.

“India is blessed with plenty of renewable energy sources such as solar, bio-energy, wind and hydel energy. With such a vast pool of renewable resources available, the government wants to provide energy in every village and lighting in every house," he added.

Addressing a gathering of schoolchildren from in and around Delhi, the minister explained that solar photovoltaic technology had been used for number of applications such as lighting, communication, water pumping and power generation. Over 10 lakh photovoltaic systems have been promoted from this application.

He said as per his ministry’s assessment, around 25,000 villages in the country could not be electrified with conventional sources of energy due to technical reasons. “So we are planning to connect all of them with solar and bio-energy.”

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Lalu set to be re-elected RJD chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Yadav today filed nomination for re-election to the top party post.

Dr Ram Chandra Poorve, returning officer of the party for a third term, said Lalu was the lone candidate in the race for the post.

“Nobody else has filed for nomination. The nomination papers will be scrutinised tomorrow between 11 am and 1 pm. If no objections are raised and the nomination papers are found valid, I will put up a notice informing voters that he is declared elected unopposed.''

Dr Poorve said a formal announcement about the elected president would be made at the meeting of the party National Council in Sarnath on August 25 and 26. He said the party National Council could either elect the remaining 74 members of the National Executive, including vice-president and general secretary or authorise the president to elect the members.

The RJD came into being in 1997 and holds organisational elections once in two years. The last election took place in August 2005.

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Catalogue antiques lying abroad: Tarlochan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Rajya Sabha member Tarlochan Singh has urged the Centre to prepare a catalogue of artifacts and treasures from India that were lying in museums abroad.

Citing examples of Italy and Germany, the MP said efforts were being made by these countries to get their artifacts back from foreign shores but the Indian government was making no such effort. He said the government should first prepare a list of antiques lying abroad.

Tarlochan Singh, who raised the issue through special mention in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, said the Italian government had been pursuing the return of objects of art that were taken by the Allied Forces at the end of the World War II.

Quoting a New York Times report, he said: “J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angles has agreed to hand over 40 objects from its antiques collection to Italy.”

He said precious antiques, including a few belongings of Guru Gobind Singh, were lying abroad and the government should make efforts to get them back.

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Parliament can levy service tax on CAs, architects: SC

New Delhi, August 22
The Supreme Court has held that Parliament is competent to levy service tax on chartered accountants, cost accountants and architects.

“We hold that Parliament has legislative competence to levy service tax by way of impugned finance Acts of 1994 and 1998 under Entry 97 of List I on chartered accountants, cost accountants and architects,” a bench headed by Justice S.H. Kapadia said.

The apex court said service tax was a value-added tax (VAT), which in turn was both a general tax as well as a destination-based consumption tax levied on services provided within the country.

The court classified services under two categories - property-based services and performance-based services. It said the first category would cover service providers such as architects, interior designers, real estate agents and construction services. The second category would cover stockbrokers, chartered accountants, cost accountants, security agencies, tour operators, event managers and travel agents among others. — PTI

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Dalit student beaten up, loses vision
Tribune News Service

Patna, August 22
Even though there is no dearth of Dalit leaders in Bihar, social divide continues to rule the roost in the state. The state Cabinet has approved the formation of a Maha Dalit Commission to improve the socio-economic condition of the lower strata of Dalits but the situation remains the same.

The Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, while inaugurating a Dalit Muslim rights convention to mark the death anniversary of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan here, had stated that it was time the Dalits of the Muslim and Christian communities were also included in the reservation category.

However, much to the CM’s dismay, a boy of Aujapauchha village in Purneaa district lost his eye for simply demanding more food during a mid-day meal.

A Class IV student of a government school, Navin Kumar Paswan, lost the vision in one eye after headmaster Rajendra Jaiswal and teacher Shekhar Bharti beat him up on Saturday. The district administration has suspended the headmaster.

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Wheat import tender likely today

New Delhi, August 22
The government is likely to float a global tender tomorrow for import of wheat to augment its buffer stock for meeting any exigencies.

The government has advised the State Trading Corporation to float a tender for import of wheat in bulk as well as container, official sources said.

They said STC would take a decision on the import and could float a tender tomorrow. The tender would remain open for at least a week. After receiving bids, the government will decide the quantity to be imported and at what price.

The government had last month contracted to import 5.11 lakh tonnes of wheat at an average price of $325.59 per tonne. Earlier this year, the government had announced plans to import about 50 lakh tonnes of wheat to build up its buffer stock for meeting any exigencies like natural calamities.

Wheat output is estimated at 748.9 lakh tonnes for the 2006-07 season as per the fourth advance estimate.

The government was able to procure 111 lakh tonnes of wheat this year to run the PDS as against 92 lakh tonnes last year. — PTI

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Farm manager kidnapped for ransom
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 22
Suspected militants kidnapped the manager of an agriculture farm in Karimganj district of South Assam in the wee hours today. The kidnappers have demanded Rs 20 lakh from the family as ransom, the police said.

Rabindra Kumar Sinha, manager of the farm owned by R&K Fishing and Agriculture (P) Ltd and located at Narayanpur, near the India-Bangladesh border in South Assam, was called out of his official bungalow at around 2 am before being kidnapped by the militants.

Karimganj district police superintendent Pradip Saloi did not rule out involvement of ultras in the crime. He said it must have been a handiwork of an organised group of miscreants.

The abducted manager is a close relative of Kartiksen Sinha, the BJP MLA from the Patharkandi legislative Assembly constituency in Karimganj district.

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Maya awards Dadua killers
Shahira Naim

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 22
Mayawati today promised memorials in Delhi to commemorate the memory BSP founder Kanshi Ram who gave the dalit community ‘self esteem’ and a political space in the landscape if and when she comes to power in Delhi.

A visibly happy Mayawati made this announcement while addressing a select band of party MLAs, ministers, senior bureaucrats, police officials and the media at a state government function at Ganna Sansthan to mark the 100 days of the BSP government in office.

The highlight of the 2-hour function marking 100 days of the present government were the tributes paid to the officers who eliminated the dreaded dacoit Shiv Kumar alias Dadua on 22 July.

The Chief Minister personally awarded the members of the STF team with a certificate and Rs 3 lakh each. 18 STF personnel received out of turn promotions while two STF inspectors who could not be promoted due to technical reasons received plots in Lucknow.

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PM calls on Vajpayee in AIIMS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to enquire about his health.

The Prime Minister went to AIIMS at around 12.30 pm and was Vajpayee for about 10 minutes.

Vajpayee was admitted to AIIMS on Tuesday after complaint of giddiness and drowsiness.

"All his vital signs are functioning normally. His food intake is regular and he even met a few visitors yesterday," AIIMS medical superintendent D.K. Sharma told newspersons.

He said Vajpayee would be discharged after thorough check-up and declined to specify the exact schedule of his discharge.

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