SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Politicking picks up after Assembly dissolution
Bangalore, November 29
With President Pratibha Patil finally signing the notification dissolving the Karnataka assembly last night, politicking has started in right earnest here even as the Janata Dal (Secular) faced its first setback with the dissident group led by M.P.Prakash keeping away from the executive committee meeting called by it today.

Delimitation Panel Report
SC to hear petition on December 10
New Delhi, November 29
Even as the notifications of the Delimitation Commission in respect of 25 states were placed before Parliament yesterday, the Supreme Court was today approached for implementing to the panel’s recommendations on redrawing the boundaries of both the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies.

Sanjay Dutt free, again
Mumbai, November 29
Actor Sanjay Dutt was released from the Yerwada jail in Pune this morning, after his lawyers delivered the bail orders from the Supreme Court to the jail authorities this morning.




Sanjay Dutt, surrounded by his fans, waves as he arrives at his home in Mumbai on Thursday. — Reuters
Sanjay Dutt, surrounded by his fans, waves as he arrives at his home in Mumbai on Thursday.








EARLIER STORIES




Stripped girl’s father rejects compensation
Guwahati, November 29
The father of the 16-year-old girl who was stripped by miscreants on city streets by some pervert minds during last Saturday’s mob violence has spurned the state government’s offer of monetary compensation and job for his daughter.

M’rashtra repeals Land Ceiling Act
Mumbai, November 29
The Maharashtra Assembly at its winter session in Nagpur today passed a resolution repealing the Maharashtra Urban Land Ceiling Regulation Act.

Maya’s no to commissioner system of policing
Lucknow, November 29
In a severe indictment of the police machinery, Chief Minister Mayawati today turned down the suggestion of introducing the commissioner system of policing in the state quoting "serious maladies introduced in the police force during the previous regimes".

Uproar in House over Malaysia issue
New Delhi, November 29
The alleged discrimination and maltreatment of ethnic Indians in Malaysia figured in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha today with members impressing upon the Congress-led UPA government to take up the matter with Kuala Lumpur.

Professional honesty must: Gen
Subathu, November 29
Exhorting officers and men of the Fourth Gorkha Rifles (4 GR) to strive for professional competence, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen T.K. Sapru said there was no exception to professional honesty and dedication to duty.
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen T.K. Sapru along with Col James Evans and family members of British officers at the reunion of the Fourth Gorkha Rifles in Subathu on Thursday.
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen T.K. Sapru along with Col James Evans and family members of British officers at the reunion of the Fourth Gorkha Rifles in Subathu on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

British environment minister arrives
New Delhi, November 29
British environment minister Hilary Benn arrived here today to hold talks with the Indian government to take forward the climate change agenda ahead of the crucial UN Climate Change Conference in Bali next month.

India, Pak far behind UN literacy goal
New Delhi, November 29
Burdened by the high number of illiterates and deep disparities between urban and rural areas, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh continue to face major challenges in achieving the education for all goal set by the UN for 2015.

Speaker objects to minister’s conduct
New Delhi, November 29
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today took a dim view of Union Minister Ajay Maken without mentioning him by name. The minister had reportedly asked Congress MLAs in Orissa to stall Assembly proceedings.

2 reactors under construction in TN
New delhi, November 29
The government today said two light water reactors of 1000 MW each were under construction in cooperation with the Russian Federation at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

’84 Riots
Key witness against Tytler surfaces
New Delhi, November 29
A private television channel today claimed to have punctured the submission of the CBI in a local court that a witness in the 1984-riots case involving former Union Minister Jagdish Tytler was ‘untraceable’. News channel CNN-IBN claimed that it had located the witness, Jasbir Singh, in California who told the channel that the CBI had never contacted him.

Mamata floats anti-CPM front with Cong
Kolkata, November 29
Mamata Banerjee has floated a new political front along with the Congress against the CPM. She has also invited Left Front partners like the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc to be part of the front. But she has not invited the BJP, the major NDA partner, to the “secular” front, named as the Democratic Secular Front (DSF).

81,000 Indians deported from Gulf
New Delhi, November 29
The issue of the deportation of Indians from Gulf countries featured in the Rajya Sabha today with the government saying that over 81,000 individuals were deported this year on various grounds, including the non-possession of valid visas, resident permits and violation of local laws.

Dogs take care of abandoned baby
Muzaffarnagar, November 29
In a perfect example of human-animal bonding, stray dogs took care of an abandoned newborn girl until she was admitted to a hospital today.

International bravery award for poor girl
Patna, November 29
A teenage girl in Bihar received $2,000 and a letter of appreciation from an international association for saving the lives of five persons from drowning during recent floods in the state.

Experts dwell on trade value of indigo dye
New Delhi, November 29
Indigo is the name of an airline, a car, a clothing line, a colour on the electromagnetic spectrum between about 450 and 420 nm in wavelength somewhere between blue and violet.

Efforts to revive Stilwell Road continuing: Ramesh
Guwahati, November 29
The union ministry of commerce continues to pursue the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the ministry of defence (MoD) seeking a go-ahead for re-opening of the Stilwell Road that used to connect north-east India to China via Myanmar.

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Politicking picks up after Assembly dissolution
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 29
With President Pratibha Patil finally signing the notification dissolving the Karnataka assembly last night, politicking has started in right earnest here even as the Janata Dal (Secular) faced its first setback with the dissident group led by M.P.Prakash keeping away from the executive committee meeting called by it today.

There were piquant scenes at the meeting with JD (S) supremo H.D.Deve Gowda arriving at the Palace Grounds over one hour before the scheduled time of 11.30 a.m. There were more surprises in store when party spokesman Y.S.V.Datta started addressing empty chairs and Deve Gowda lighted the inuaugural lamp even as party workers were still walking into the pandal. Datta later clarified that this had been done as the scheduled time of 11.30 was not auspicious, but had been chosen keeping in view that delegates had to come from far-off places.

Meanwhile, out of the total of 58 former JD (S) legislators, only 22 attended the meeting. Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Deve Gowda thanked Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for dissolving the State assembly. Earlier while addressing party workers, Gowda urged them to stand united even while he assured them the party would gain tremendously due to its “effective performance” under Chief Minister H.D.Kumaraswamy. He also asserted that he had never broken his promise to the BJP, but was forced to withdraw support to the saffron party when it presented a stamp paper for his signature. “Our attempt to get an MoU signed between the two parties was only in retaliation to this move,” he added.

Meanwhile, the JD (S), which saw the Prakash group keeping away from the meeting, also faced another setback when former minister G.T. Devegowda today announced his decision to leave the JD (S). G.T. Devegowda, while announcing this decision, said he was still to decide about his future.

BJP leader and former Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa, while welcoming the dissolution of the state assembly, said the people were ready to punish the “betrayers” (JD - S) and said the JD (S) would face complete disintegration after the next assembly elections. Yeddyurppa claimed that some JD (S) legislators wanted to join the BJP, while others wanted to branch out on their own rather than face the wrath of the people who were disgusted at their “lust for power”.

The Congress also announced that it would restructure its state unit to give adequate representation to all communities in the new set-up. Announcing this at a one day workshop conducted in the city, AICC secretary Pravin Chand Dogra said besides the major communities like the Vokkaligas and Lingayats, backward and Scheduled Castes and tribes would be given due representation. Pradesh Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the BJP would not get any sympathy vote, as it had not done anything for the welfare of the people during its 20-month tenure in government.

State Governor Rameshwar Thakur attended office at the Vidhana Soudha today and held a meeting with his advisers S.Krishnakumar and P.P.Prabhu. The third advisor P.K.H.Tharakan will join duty on December 5. The Governor will chair the maiden cabinet meeting of the government under Central rule tomorrow.

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Delimitation Panel Report
SC to hear petition on December 10
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 29
Even as the notifications of the Delimitation Commission in respect of 25 states were placed before Parliament yesterday, the Supreme Court was today approached for implementing to the panel’s recommendations on redrawing the boundaries of both the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies.

A petition filed by an NGO, Delhi Study Group (DSG), was mentioned before a Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, who fixed the hearing on it for December 10.

The DSG sought a direction to the Centre to place the panel’s notifications relating to the Lok Sabha constituencies and the 25 states before the President to ensure demarcation of the Parliamentary and assembly constituencies before next round of assembly polls in some states and the 2009 General Elections.

The DSG said though the commission had issued notification about the assembly constituencies in respect of 25 states on different dates between May, 2005, and August, 2008, but the government had “deliberately and intentionally abdicated from its constitutional duty” to notify the pane’s order, while it was mandatory under law for the Centre to implement it as had been mandated by Parliament.

It was obligatory for the government to notify the commission’s order under Articles 82 and 170 of the Constitution in terms of the Lok Sabha and the assembly seats respectively, the petition said, pointing out that the boundaries of the constituencies had been drawn way back in 1971 on the basis of that year’s census and since then there had been lot of changes in the demography.

It gave the two extreme examples of New Delhi and Outer Delhi Lok Sabha seats in the capital itself where the population is 4.5 lakh and 38 lakh, respectively, as per the 2001 census making the proportion of popular franchise from the two constituencies quite irrational and managing of polls difficult, the petition said.

The two states excluded from the commission’s notification was Jammu and Kashmir, where its directive was not to be implemented due to the state’s special status and Assam, where there were some problems due to Bangladeshi migrants’ issue.

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Sanjay Dutt free, again
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 29
Actor Sanjay Dutt was released from the Yerwada jail in Pune this morning, after his lawyers delivered the bail orders from the Supreme Court to the jail authorities this morning.

Dutt’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde arrived at the jail around 8.30 am with his release orders, which were delivered to the jail authorities. After the required formalities, Sanjay Dutt was released a little before 10 am.

As mediapersons and TV crews jostled with the actor’s admirers, a bearded Sanjay came out accompanied by his friend and co-convict Yusuf Nalwalla.

Dutt who was clad in a white kurta and blue jeans waved at the crowd and got into a car followed by Nulwalla. The actor drove straight to Pune airport and boarded a private plane, owned by Pune-based Venkateshwara Hatcheries, which took him to Mumbai.

This time, the police officials at the Yerwada jail desisted from shaking hands with the actor. Two policemen who had shaken hands with the actor when he was released on bail last time were suspended. They were however, taken back on the orders of the Chief Minister.

In Mumbai, a huge crowd of his admirers and media persons were waiting for Dutt. People were distributing sweets to celebrate the release of the actor. Actor’s brothers-in-law Kumar Gaurav and Owen Roncon and Maharashtra’s food and civil supplies minister Baba Siddiqui were present to receive him.

Maneshinde later told reporters that Dutt’s defence team is preparing to appeal against his conviction by the TADA court.

“When the appeal comes up for hearing before the Supreme Court, we shall be prepared for it,” Maneshinde said.

The actor had already signed several film projects before he returned to the jail on October 2 , when the copy of the judgement sentencing him to six years in prison was given to him.

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Stripped girl’s father rejects compensation
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 29
The father of the 16-year-old girl who was stripped by miscreants on city streets by some pervert minds during last Saturday’s mob violence has spurned the state government’s offer of monetary compensation and job for his daughter.

The parent, a small farmer in interior Sonitpur district, stated that if the state government was really sincere in paying compensation to his daughter who had to suffer ignominy at the hands of hooligans on the streets of the state capital under public glare, it should better provide Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Adivasi community.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had earlier announced that the state government would pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation and a job for the girl who is appearing for her Xth standard High School Leaving Certificate Examination early next year.

Meanwhile, All Adivasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA) has published a list of 32 persons from five districts of Assam who had gone missing since the violent clashes on November 24. The AASAA has demanded whereabouts of the “missing persons” at the earliest.

Earlier, the Assam government stated that it would respond positively if the AASAA, which was responsible for bringing Adivasis to the city for taking out the procession on November 24 last, submitted list of missing persons to it.

Health minister Dr Himanta Bishwa Sharma claimed that not a single FIR had been filed with the police reporting missing of any persons by the AASAA. 

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M’rashtra repeals Land Ceiling Act
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 29
The Maharashtra Assembly at its winter session in Nagpur today passed a resolution repealing the Maharashtra Urban Land Ceiling Regulation Act.

At the end of a two-day discussion, which concluded today, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh moved a resolution repealing the piece of legislation dating back to 1976. The resolution was passed by a voice vote. Though the opposition Shiv Sena legislators shouted slogans throughout the process, its ally the BJP kept quiet allowing the resolution to be passed. Joining the Shiv Sena was the CPM, which has a splinter presence in the Maharashtra House.

The modalities of the amendment will be evident when the amended law is officially notified. The decision was welcomed by big corporates like Godrej and owners of several mills in Mumbai that had been closed for years.

Godrej is one of the biggest land owners in the city with a sprawling piece of property at Vikhroli. The land is estimated to be over 1,500 acres and worth more than Rs 5,000 crore in the open market. However, much of it comes within the ambit of the Coastal Regulation Zone laws and is covered by mangroves.

Shares of a number of companies like Orbit Corporation, HDIL and Shreeram Mills went up in today’s trading as the prospects of increased revenues from land development became evident.

The Maharashtra government has been under pressure from the Central government to repeal the Act in order to avail of funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Maharashtra, which is among the last states to repeal this controversial law, is to receive Rs 11,000 crore to improve its cities, particularly Mumbai.

A number of real estate companies felt that the repeal of the law will result in a softening of real estate prices in many parts of Mumbai, which will favour the middle class.

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Maya’s no to commissioner system of policing
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 29
In a severe indictment of the police machinery, Chief Minister Mayawati today turned down the suggestion of introducing the commissioner system of policing in the state quoting "serious maladies introduced in the police force during the previous regimes".

Coming during the police week, this is largely seen as the proverbial stick after last few days of it raining carrots in terms of the creation of an anti-terrorist squad, establishment of a technologically savvy intelligence cadre, expansion of the elite STF and a generous budget of Rs 6.75 crore to implement all this.

Responding to Governor T.V. Rajeswar's suggestion of introducing the commissioner system on an experimental basis, Mayawati said that her government was not against the idea in principle, but did not think that the time was ripe for it.

Speaking on the occasion of the annual police parade on Wednesday, Rajeswar had recommended the introduction of the police commissioner system in the state on the pattern of Delhi. He had wanted it to be introduced on an experimental basis in two cities like Meerut and Allahabad.

Calling a press conference just to give her reaction to the Governor's suggestion, Mayawati clarified that as a matter of fact she was keen to introduce the system way back in 1995 during her first tenure. "But that government as well as the subsequent two governments were dependent on other parties. As such I could not implement this decision."

However, now that her government has come to power on its own strength the reason extended by her for still postponing the decision was the "serious maladies introduced in the police system during the SP and BJP governments that had to be removed before the introduction of the new system".

Refusing to elaborate on these "serious maladies", she said that once she was satisfied that the police had changed its style of functioning, she would introduce the police commission system not in a few cities but the entire state.

Observers feel that this condemnation of the state police was more a victory of the IAS lobby which was not only resentful of the recent windfall for the state police but also felt threatened of being deprived of their upper hand in the state.

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Uproar in House over Malaysia issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The alleged discrimination and maltreatment of ethnic Indians in Malaysia figured in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha today with members impressing upon the Congress-led UPA government to take up the matter with Kuala Lumpur.

Proceedings were disrupted in the Lok Sabha when S K Kharaventhan of the Congress raised the issue backed by all the members from Tamil Nadu as well as the BJP that temples had been demolished in Malaysia in the wake of the protests in Malaysia.

When Kharaventhan asked the government to take steps to protect ethnic Indians in Malaysia, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee urged members not to say anything which might affect relations with the friendly country.

The Speaker ordered expunging certain remarks pertaining to police action against the Malaysian Tamils observing “We are a responsible democracy and don’t discuss another country in such a manner.” At one point when the members sought the response of external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Speaker said “He (Mukherjee) is a responsible person and his very presence in the House was enough.”

As the uproar continued, the Speaker initially directed that live telecast of the proceedings be switched off and adjourned the House for 30 minutes.

In the Rajya Sabha, the DMK’s Tikruchi Siva said Malaysia’s ethnic Indians were demonstrating pecefully with portraits of Mahatma Gandhi demanding equal rights but the police used tear gas and water canons to crush them. “This kind of authoritarianism is not acceptable,” Siva stressed.

The member drew attention to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi writing to Prime Minister and urging him to take immediate action and hoped expeditious steps will be taken.

Deputy chairman K Rahman Khan said the government would take note of the sentiments of the House.

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Professional honesty must: Gen
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Subathu, November 29
Exhorting officers and men of the Fourth Gorkha Rifles (4 GR) to strive for professional competence, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen T.K. Sapru said there was no exception to professional honesty and dedication to duty.

Addressing a special sainik sammelan at the 14 Gorkha Training Centre on the occasion of the Reunion of 4 GR, General Sapru, who is also Colonel of the Regiment said a soldier’s personal conduct, discipline and fitness were above everything else.

Stating that soldiers too are working in a highly competitive era, he laid stress upon individual training and grooming at all levels. He pointed out that all units of 4 GR had done their duty with professionalism and élan and there had been no adverse reports against them. The 15th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles, which is a Gorkha unit has maintained an excellent human rights track record in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said there had been a few instances of wrong doing by army personnel like the passport scam or jawans carrying a few rounds of ammunition while travelling, which hurt the image of the Army. It is for the NCOs and JCOs, he added, to exercise adequate control over the troops and guide them.

On the occasion, Hav Mingmar Gurung of 5/4 GR, who was among those who scaled Mount Everest on May 16, 2007 was promoted to Naib Subedar. He was pippped by General Sapru and his commanding officer. L/Nk Jham Bahadur Pun of 2/4 GR, was decorated with the Sena Medal for his actions in counter terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir, where he had killed three terrorists.

Speaking to media persons later, the Army Commander, who has recently taken over the reigns of the Western Command, said training of troops and recuperation from prolonged deployment in hard areas and counter terrorist duties were among his key focus areas. He added that in a 12-lakh strong army a few instances of wrong doing did not indicate any fall in professional standards.

Earlier, General Sapru along with serving and retired officers and men, including British officers, laid wreaths at the 4 GR war memorial to pay homage to martyrs. He was also presented a guard of honour.

Over a hundred officers, including nine lieutenant-generals, five major-generals, 16 British officers or their family members associated with 4 GR and over 500 other ranks and their family members are attending the three-day reunion.

Noticeably, the family members of the British officers outnumber the ex-officers themselves. Among the British officers present were Col James Morgan, a Military Cross winner who was commissioned in 1942 had seen action with the regiment in Chin Hills and Silchar. Maj Donald S Day, commissioned in 1940 took part in the Burma Campaign and at 23, became the youngest battalion commander in 1945. Maj Geoffrey Robert Lloyd was commissioned into the regiment in 1946 and took part in internal security duties during the Partition.

Prominent among senior Indian officers were Lt Gen R K Chhabra, Chief of Staff, Southern Command and Maj Gen P S Paul, GOC 15 Infantry Division. The veterans included Lt Gen Y M Bami, Lt Gen T P S Rawat, Lt Gen Chandra Shekhar, Lt Gen Arvind Sharma, Lt Gen K Chiman Singh, Lt Gen R N Kapur and Lt Gen V Madan.

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British environment minister arrives
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
British environment minister Hilary Benn arrived here today to hold talks with the Indian government to take forward the climate change agenda ahead of the crucial UN Climate Change Conference in Bali next month.

‘’I am here to talk about climate change in advance of the very important talks that are going to take place in Bali - a week from now. We have just seen the latest IPCC report. The science is very clear. We see the world warming. We know that the poorest countries are hardest affected by it. And that is why the whole world will be watching the meeting in Bali and we need to come out of that having agreed to start the process of negotiating a new international agreement. What India decides to do is going to have a huge impact on the world’s ability to respond to this,’’ Benn said on arrival.

The parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol will be meeting from December 3-4 in Bali, Indonesia.

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India, Pak far behind UN literacy goal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Burdened by the high number of illiterates and deep disparities between urban and rural areas, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh continue to face major challenges in achieving the education for all goal set by the UN for 2015.

One of the issues that emerged from the UNESCO’s regional conference in support of global literacy to discuss the theme “Literacy challenges in south, south-west and central Asia: building partnerships and promoting innovative approaches” was that three highly populated countries — Bangladesh, Pakistan and India — continued to face major challenges, both in terms of high numbers of illiterates and deep disparities existing between urban and rural areas.

Inaugurating the conference, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said there were countries that were small in size but had literacy rates of more than 90 per cent while there were also nations that were contributing heavily to world illiteracy.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh had to redouble their efforts to reduce illiteracy, she said, stressing on the need to achieve the global goals set for ensuring education for all by 2015. These are ambitious goals, but they must be achieved within the time frame set for them, she added.

She termed literacy a basic human right, adding that it was a pre-requisite for social transformation. “It enables people to be aware and assert their rights. It is a force against superstition and bigotry,” she said.

Gandhi said the National Literacy Mission launched by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 with objectives, including giving sharper emphasis to female literacy, monitoring the effect of the existing schemes and programme and improving the livelihood and career opportunities, had given a new direction to the country. From 1981 to 1991, the literacy rate grew from 44 per cent to 52 per cent, further growing to 65 per cent in 2001, she said.

Union HRD minister Arjun Singh said it was a matter of concern that a significant number of the 774 million illiterate people in the world were in the south Asian region. He said India’s aim was to put every child in school in the next five years and had set a target of achieving 85 per cent literacy at the end of the current plan period.

Sri Lankan First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, who is the guest of honour at the event, said countries should make quality education their top priority.

A message from US First Lady Laura Bush, who had hosted the first global conference on education for all at the White House last september, was also played at the conference.

Unesco director-general Koichiro Matsuura said India was among the countries that had made remarkable strides since 2000 towards education for all, with targeted initiatives that reach disadvantaged children, youth and adults. He, however, added that South and West Asia was home to 388 million adult illiterates, half of the world total.

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Speaker objects to minister’s conduct
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today took a dim view of Union Minister Ajay Maken without mentioning him by name. The minister had reportedly asked Congress MLAs in Orissa to stall Assembly proceedings.

The Speaker observed that temples of democracy should not be disrupted. The observation came in wake of BJD member Arjun Sethi alleging that the union minister (Maken, who was Congress in charge of Orissa affairs) had written a letter to Congress legislators to disrupt proceedings in the Orissa Assembly to press for certain demands.

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2 reactors under construction in TN
Tribune News Service

New delhi, November 29
The government today said two light water reactors of 1000 MW each were under construction in cooperation with the Russian Federation at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

Giving a reply during question hour, minister of state in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan said, “The lifetime fuel supply for these reactors is covered through a sovereign guarantee of the Russian Federation.”

The minister added that Kudankulam reactors are expected to commence operation in 2009.

The minister also told the Rajya Sabha that the government had also, in principle, approved the setting up of two 700-MW power units each at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan and Kakrapar in Gujarat during the 11th Five Year Plan.

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’84 Riots
Key witness against Tytler surfaces

New Delhi, November 29
Two months after the CBI had described him as “untraceable” a key witness in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case involving senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler surfaced today in the United States and the investigating agency said it would record his statement if he comes to India.

The witness, Jasbir Singh, in California, told TV news channels that the CBI had never contacted him before and he was ready to testify before a court in Delhi if he was assured of proper security.

“The fact that you are talking to me means that I am accessible,” Singh said.

Singh, who has filed several affidavits against Tytler, a former union minister, before various commissions, told the channel that he was willing to testify before the court and narrate everything provided he and his family’s safety was guaranteed. — PTI

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Mamata floats anti-CPM front with Cong
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Serice

Kolkata, November 29
Mamata Banerjee has floated a new political front along with the Congress against the CPM. She has also invited Left Front partners like the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc to be part of the front. But she has not invited the BJP, the major NDA partner, to the “secular” front, named as the Democratic Secular Front (DSF).

The decision to set up the new front as an alternative to the CPM-led Left Front was announced by the Trinamool Congress supremo at a press conference in the city last evening along with the Congress working secretary in the state, Jayanta Bhattacharyya.

Mamata welcomed all secular parties, irrespective of their ideological differences, to the proposed democratic front.

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81,000 Indians deported from Gulf
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The issue of the deportation of Indians from Gulf countries featured in the Rajya Sabha today with the government saying that over 81,000 individuals were deported this year on various grounds, including the non-possession of valid visas, resident permits and violation of local laws.

Figures tabled in the House by the ministry for overseas Indian affairs showed that the majority of Indian workers were deported from the United Arab Emirates, followed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

As many as 40,088 workers were deported from the UAE, while Saudi Arabia sent back 28,904 and Kuwait 8,234 illegal migrants.

Some of the other Middle-East countries from where the Indian workers were deported are Qatar (2,050), Bahrain (1,481) and Oman (1,086).

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Dogs take care of abandoned baby

Muzaffarnagar, November 29
In a perfect example of human-animal bonding, stray dogs took care of an abandoned newborn girl until she was admitted to a hospital today.

Locals had a tough time taking the child into their custody from a pack of dogs guarding her this morning, the police said. They said she was later taken to a district hospital where a couple adopted her. — PTI

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International bravery award for poor girl

Patna, November 29
A teenage girl in Bihar received $2,000 and a letter of appreciation from an international association for saving the lives of five persons from drowning during recent floods in the state.

The Supreme Master Ching Hai World Association, a Hong Kong-based international organisation engaged in humanitarian activities, facilitated Farzana on Wednesday for her rare courage. — IANS

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Experts dwell on trade value of indigo dye
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Indigo is the name of an airline, a car, a clothing line, a colour on the electromagnetic spectrum between about 450 and 420 nm in wavelength somewhere between blue and violet.

And for those who may have long forgotten, indigo is also one of the oldest known natural dyes. It is the plant, the product, very closely associated with the mystique and romance of the Indian civilisation, its culture and in course of India’s freedom struggle, a memorable instance being the movement led in Champaran by Mahatma Gandhi.

In fact, the very word neel signifies the nodal point of tension between exploiters and exploited - the struggle of subordinated peasants against powerful planters in the late nineteenth century.

It is the plant power of indigo that the India International Center (IIC) hopes to explore with the seminar on “Culture of Indigo -exploring the Asian Panorama”.

Beginning today, the IIC -Asia Projects three-day seminar will explore multiple dimensions and diverse ramifications of the humble plant that produces the most exquisite shades of blue.

The seminar, inaugurated by West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, was followed by an address by Indian Council of Historical Research chairperson Sabyasachi Bhattacharya and remarks by IIC president MGK Menon.

As In words of chairperson IIC Asia Project Kapila Vatsayayan, the humble indigo plant has a unique relevance to the study of history, economics, politics and of course arts.

“Indigo was as central to cross-cultural dialogue as it was a bone of contention in colonial histories of Asia, Africa and West Indies. It provided the basis of a most fascinating history of dialogue in artistic traditions of Asian countries,” Vatsayayan adds.

She says that the story of Indigo has global dimensions encompassing the past and the present. In fact, prospects of indigo dye in contemporary economic regime of globalisation and indigo in fashion and within the context of smart cloth will form an important aspect of deliberations.

It was the incursion of chemical dyes into the European market that killed indigo export trade from India and at the launch of Champaran agitation, Indigo in India was on its last leg. However, the latter half of the twentieth century witnessed an effort towards resuscitation, first in the form of Gandhi-inspired craft revival and later the shift of consumer preference towards natural dyes.

According to vice-president World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region Ruby Ghuznavi, the demand for natural indigo for multi-dollar jeans business is growing, the problem is its limited production. In India, many designers, including Sunaina Suneja, are actively working with indigo. Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Design has had a long association with the indigo dye, mainly through its discipline of textile design.

“The demand for natural indigo is very promising and most of renowned designers having their own brands are keen to work with natural indigo. The real problem of natural indigo is its limited production worldwide,” Ghuznavi adds.

Which is why the colour as an economic product forms an important aspect of the unique conference. In fact, in future manufacturing methods that are environment friendly are going to determine whether or not the product can be freely traded, especially in the US and European markets, says Jesus Ciriza Larrona from Puducherry-based Colours of Nature.

In India, Indigofera is represented by 60 species and 10 varieties and director Botanical Survey of India M. Sanjappa says that a majority of species occur in peninsular India with nearly 50 per cent in Tamil Nadu.

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Efforts to revive Stilwell Road continuing: Ramesh
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 29
The union ministry of commerce continues to pursue the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the ministry of defence (MoD) seeking a go-ahead for re-opening of the Stilwell Road that used to connect north-east India to China via Myanmar.

The union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh informed that both the MEA and the MoD were not in favour of re-opening of the World War II days road which was potent enough to revive India’s trade ties with its eastern neighbour.

“The proposal to re-open the Stilwell Road has not found favour with our security establishment but the union commerce ministry is continuing to pursue the matter with the MEA and the MoD,” Ramesh said.

The over 1,700 km road from Ledo in Assam to Kunming in China passes through Kachin areas of Myanmar infested with insurgent groups and remains a major impediment as far as the Government of India is concerned in re-opening of the road. 32 km of the road falls in Assam, another 32 km in Arunachal Pradesh, around 1,000 km in Myanmar and 640 km in China.

The Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram have written to the Centre requesting for rebuilding and re-opening of the road for boosting bilateral economic ties with eastern neighbours.

The commerce ministry has taken an initiative for re-opening of the Pangsou and Nampong border trade points in Arunachal Pradesh to boost trade with Myanmar. Ramesh said Rs 2.6 crore would be provided to improve or rebuild infrastructure in Pangsou and Nampong and customs stations that were active in the 1950s.

He said the trade through Nampong could begin next year with formal authorisation from Myanmar government which has put a precondition that India should build the 16 km road from Pangsou to Tannai. The proposal is under active consideration by the Indian government.

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