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LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Admiral R. D. Katari Memorial Lecture
Law enforcement vital for good governance, says N. N. Vohra

New Delhi, December 7
Special representative of the Government of India for Jammu and Kashmir N.N. Vohra today said that the Centre shall need to significantly enlarge the capacity of its intelligence agencies, ensure that the functioning of the police forces is completely depoliticised and take speedy measures for the revival of the criminal justice system for good governance in the country.

N.N. Vohra
N.N. Vohra

71 convicted in Bihar fodder scam
Ranchi, December 7
A CBI court today convicted 71 of the 80 accused in one of the fodder scam cases in which Rs 27.33 crore was withdrawn from the Ranchi treasury on forged documents. The court today awarded six years’ imprisonment and fine of Rs 50,000 each to the three accused, while the 21 others got three years’ imprisonment besides fine of Rs 50,000 each.


EARLIER STORIES




Housing policy tabled in Parliament
New Delhi, December 7
With the goal of “Affordable Housing For All”, the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy 2007 lays emphasis on urban planning, increased availability of land, promoting public-private partnerships, use of spatial incentives like additional floor area ratio (FAR), transferable development rights, increased flow of funds, effective solid waste management and the use of renewable of sources of energy.

Parliament adjourned sine die
New Delhi, December 7
The winter session of Parliament ended today. The three-week session had seventeen sittings.

BJP demands action
‘Merchant of Death’ remark
New Delhi, December 7
Under attack on Narendra Modi’s Sohrabuddin remarks, the BJP on Friday hit back at Congress demanding action by the election commission against Sonia Gandhi for allegedly calling the Gujarat Chief Minister a “merchant of death”.
Not aimed at Modi, says Congress
New Delhi, December 7
Apparently in the face of BJP’s counter fire, the Congress said today that party chief Sonia Gandhi’s ‘merchants of death’ remarks was not aimed at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Left: Prosecute Gujarat Chief Minister
New Delhi, December 7
Left parties today demanded the prosecution and disqualification of the Gujarat Chief Minister from contesting elections for his “self-proclaimed crime” and said “punitive action” was necessary to uphold the country’s secular and democratic framework.

Court summons Lord Rama, Hanuman 
Patna, December 7
Judge Sunil Kumar Singh presiding over the fast track court at Dhanbad in Bihar today summoned two Hindu gods - Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman - to appear before the court on Tuesday in connection with a land encroachment case.

Buddha questions existence of Lord Rama
Kolkata, December 7
On the backfoot over Nandigram, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has stoked another controversy by questioning the existence of Lord Rama.

Rajiv Gandhi gave no instructions to kill LTTE chief: Ex-diplomat
New Delhi, December 7
Reports suggesting that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave orders to eliminate the LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran, at the height of the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka in 1987, have been rubbished by a former diplomat and Army commander.

Govt restores bonus on post office small savings
New Delhi, December 7
The government today restored bonus on the monthly investment scheme (MIS) of post office and extended income-tax rebate on two other small savings schemes.

Sea change in Himachal, claims Anand Sharma
Chandigarh, December 7
“The Congress enjoys a slight advantage over the BJP in what looks like a tough and close battle for electoral supremacy in Himachal Pradesh,” says Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, maintaining that it is traditional Congress base which may prove a clincher.

No teachers for poll duty: SC
New Delhi, December 7
Declaring the right to education as “fundamental human” right of students that would prevail upon state’s right to deploy teachers for election duties, the Supreme Court yesterday restrained the government and the election commission from assigning them with such work when academic sessions were on.

Maya orders action against 95 officials
Lucknow, December 7
In a review meeting of four divisions chief minister Mayawati today found many shortcomings provoking her to order departmental action against 95 officials, including PCS officers and doctors of the provincial medical service.

Gujarat BJP leader to quit
Ahmedabad, December 7
Former Gujarat Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sureshchandra Mehta has decided to quit the party tomorrow.

Pranab meets Pak foreign secy
New Delhi, December 7
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today discussed various bilateral issues with Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Inamul Haque even though he is occupying the seat only until January 8 Parliamentary elections in Pakistan.


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Admiral R. D. Katari Memorial Lecture
Law enforcement vital for good governance, says N. N. Vohra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Special representative of the Government of India for Jammu and Kashmir N.N. Vohra today said that the Centre shall need to significantly enlarge the capacity of its intelligence agencies, ensure that the functioning of the police forces is completely depoliticised and take speedy measures for the revival of the criminal justice system for good governance in the country.

Delivering the 17th Admiral R.D. Katari memorial lecture here on “National Governance and Internal Security”, Vohra stressed on the need for effective enforcement of the Rule of Law which, he said, was crucial for the maintenance of national security and delivery of good governance.

At the lecture, where the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta was also present, Vohra said that there was a crucial link between the national governance and internal security. “If the internal security is not maintained, governance cannot be delivered, and internal security cannot be safeguarded if governance is delivered by an inefficient and corrupt administration.”

He said that the Constitution provides for the basis of the relationship between the Union and the states, and that the principles of governance are enunciated in the chapter on Directive Principles. He pointed out that had these very principles been vigorously pursued and had been timely implemented, it would have led to removing the inequalities and disabilities suffered by a large segment of our society and would have paved the way for achieving of social and economic justice.

Pointing out the failures of governance, he said the persistence of large-scale poverty and illiteracy, the lack of employment, shelter, clean drinking water, basic sanitation and healthcare, food and nutrition manifest the serious failures of national governance.

He said that 73rd and the 74th amendments of the Constitution provide the constitutional mandate for the provision of self-governance through the establishment of duly empowered rural and urban local self-governing institutions. “It is a matter of deep regret that the states have still to evince the required political will to effectively pursue the path of democratic decentralisation.”

Thus, today in large parts of the country, the people’s sovereignty still means no more than right to exercise vote, he said. He, however, noted with satisfaction that despite failure, the spirit of democracy still stands deeply in our country.

He was of the view that among the various reasons for the failures of governance has been the instability of political regimes in the states from late 1960s.Frequent elections have not invariably engendered conclusive outcomes.

In recent years no single party or pre-poll alliance has succeeded in securing a clear majority, and as such there has not been effective governance.

He said that politicisation of caste and communal identities has led to divisiveness and disruption of national ethos. The failure of the electoral system to prevent anti-social, communal, undesirable and even criminal elements from contesting and winning elections has contributed to progressive decline of the polity and the consequential failure of the state Assemblies and Parliament to effectively discharge their vital constitutional roles.

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71 convicted in Bihar fodder scam

Ranchi, December 7
A CBI court today convicted 71 of the 80 accused in one of the fodder scam cases in which Rs 27.33 crore was withdrawn from the Ranchi treasury on forged documents.

The court today awarded six years’ imprisonment and fine of Rs 50,000 each to the three accused, while the 21 others got three years’ imprisonment besides fine of Rs 50,000 each.

Seven accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence, the court said, adding that the quantum of punishment of the remaining 40 accused would be delivered on December 12.

However, the 21 accused, who got punishment for three years’ imprisonment, were granted bail.

S. K Lal, CBI counsel, informed the court that around Rs 27,32,52,980 had been withdrawn from the Ranchi treasury from 1990 to 1996 on forged documents.

Initially, there were 80 accused in the case, of whom three later became government approver, four died during the trial, while one was discharged in the beginning of the case. The remaining one, P. K Jaiswal, pleaded guilty during the trial and died later.

This was the 22nd case in three years on which judgement was delivered. The first case RC 59/96 was delivered in 2004. — UNI 

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Housing policy tabled in Parliament
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
With the goal of “Affordable Housing For All”, the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy 2007 lays emphasis on urban planning, increased availability of land, promoting public-private partnerships, use of spatial incentives like additional floor area ratio (FAR), transferable development rights, increased flow of funds, effective solid waste management and the use of renewable of sources of energy.

The policy, which was tabled in the both houses of Parliament today, envisages reserving 10 to 15 per cent of land in every new public and private housing project or 20 to 25 per cent of the FAR or FSI (floor space index), whichever is greater, for economically weaker sections or low income group housing through appropriate spatial incentives.

Talking to media persons later, minister of state for housing and urban poverty alleviation Kumari Selja said the policy focused on a symbiotic development of rural and urban areas in line with the objectives of the 74th Constitution Amendment Act.

She said the states would be advised to develop a 10-year perspective plan for housing for economically weaker sections. “The policy gives primacy to the provision of shelter to the urban poor at their present location or near their work place with the approach being of in-situ slum rehabilitation. Relocation will be considered only in specific cases”, she said.

The role of housing and the provision of basic services to the urban poor has been integrated into the objectives of the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. The policy encourages integrated townships and special economic zones.

While the private sector will be permitted land assembly within the purview of the master plans, the policy lays down that action plans will be prepared for urban slum dwellers and a special package for cooperative housing, labour housing and employees’ housing.

The policy lays special emphasis on scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, backward classes, minorities and the empowerment of women within the ambit of the urban poor. It calls for promoting micro finance institutions at the state level to expedite the flow of finances to urban poor.

While model municipal laws will be prepared by the Central government, the detailed city maps will be prepared based on GIS, aerial survey and ground verification. The states will be encouraged to develop a “Habitat Infrastructure Action Plan” for cities with a population of over one lakh.

Emphasising the development of a mass rapid transit system at the sub-regional level, the policy says green cover in cities will be encouraged for a balanced ecological development. 

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Parliament adjourned sine die
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The winter session of Parliament ended today. The three-week session had seventeen sittings.

Lok Sabha lost two hours, while the Rajya Sabha did more business, said parliamentary affairs minister PR Dasmunsi. The Lok Sabha passed 14 Bills and introduced 13 Bills for discussion.

Some of the important Bills passed by the two Houses include the Payment and Settlement Systems Bill, 2006, the Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill, 2007.

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BJP demands action
‘Merchant of Death’ remark
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Under attack on Narendra Modi’s Sohrabuddin remarks, the BJP on Friday hit back at Congress demanding action by the election commission against Sonia Gandhi for allegedly calling the Gujarat Chief Minister a “merchant of death”.

Addressing a press conference, Leader of the Opposition L K Advani defended Modi to the hilt saying his remarks were in response to Gandhi’s comments and should be seen in the context of terrorism.

Advani said Sonia dubbing Modi, who is a democratically elected Chief Minister, a ‘merchant of death’ was not only an insult to people of Gujarat but also unprecedented even by the Congress’ own sordid history of vote-bank politics. 

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Not aimed at Modi, says Congress

New Delhi, December 7
Apparently in the face of BJP’s counter fire, the Congress said today that party chief Sonia Gandhi’s ‘merchants of death’ remarks was not aimed at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

“Sonia Gandhi took no names...She said nothing wrong. She said what the state government has already admitted in the Supreme Court, nothing more, nothing less,” union minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

“Gandhi said ‘your state functionaries’. ‘Merchants of death’ was meant for the manner in which certain state functionaries were working. Gujarat government’s own counsel (K.T.S. Tulsi) is saying Modi should not have said it,” he said. — PTI

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Left: Prosecute Gujarat Chief Minister

New Delhi, December 7
Left parties today demanded the prosecution and disqualification of the Gujarat Chief Minister from contesting elections for his “self-proclaimed crime” and said “punitive action” was necessary to uphold the country’s secular and democratic framework.

While CPI leaders called on chief election commissioner M. Gopalaswamy to demand Modi’s disqualification, the CPM at a press conference said he should be prosecuted on the basis of his own confession for justifying the killing of businessman Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter.

“Modi has got himself implicated in the case,” CPM senior leader Sitaram Yechury said. — UNI

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Court summons Lord Rama, Hanuman 
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 7
Judge Sunil Kumar Singh presiding over the fast track court at Dhanbad in Bihar today summoned two Hindu gods - Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman - to appear before the court on Tuesday in connection with a land encroachment case.

The hearing of the case in the court was reportedly being postponed for the past three years as the two Hindu gods had failed to appear before it despite summons being issued in their names.

Official sources in the district administration said besides, issuing summons, the judge also issued an advertisement in the local newspapers asking the gods to “appear before the court personally”. The gods were asked to appear before the court after the letters addressed to them in the past reportedly were not answered.

The 20-year-old property related dispute revolves around the ownership of a 1.4 acre plot of land housing the temples of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman. While temple priest Manmohan Pathak claimed that the land belonged to him, locals stated it belonged to the two deities.

The claim by the locals that the temple belonged to the gods reportedly prompted the judge to issue advertisements in local newspapers. “You failed to appear in court despite notices sent by a peon and later through registered post. You are hereby directed to appear before the court personally”, Judge Singh’s notice said.

The two sides first went to court in 1987. The dispute subsequently was settled in favour of the locals few years ago, which then prompted Pathak to challenge the verdict in the fast track court.

The two Hindu gods have been summoned as the defence claimed that they were owners of the disputed land. “Since the land has been donated to the gods, it is necessary to make them a party to the case,”lawyer Bijan Rawani said. On the contrary, Pathak said the land was given to his grandfather by a former local king.

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Buddha questions existence of Lord Rama

Kolkata, December 7
On the backfoot over Nandigram, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has stoked another controversy by questioning the existence of Lord Rama.

“Rama was born in the imagination of poets and Ram Sethu is a natural formation under the sea,” Bhatacharjee told a meeting to mark the 15th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid yesterday.

Reacting to Bhattacharjee's remarks, state BJP general secretary Rahul Sinha said the remarks were an attempt to appease the Muslim vote bank after the fiasco in Nandigram. — PTI

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Rajiv Gandhi gave no instructions to kill LTTE chief: Ex-diplomat

New Delhi, December 7
Reports suggesting that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave orders to eliminate the LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran, at the height of the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka in 1987, have been rubbished by a former diplomat and Army commander.

Reacting to former commander of IPKF operations in Sri Lanka Major-General (retd) Harkirat Singh’s charge that he was ordered by the then Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, J.N. Dixit, to kill Prabhakaran during a ‘white flag’ meeting on September 16, 1987, former Ambassador and noted commentator G. Parthasarthy, said this was a baseless allegation.

Parthasarthy said, “I was dealing with affairs relating to Sri Lanka in the Prime Minister’s office and flew on several occasions to Jaffna to meet with the Army commanders and officials. I was told that Harkirat Singh was removed from his command because of his ineptitude.”

Commenting specifically on Singh’s charge that he got a call from High Commissioner Dixit at midnight on September 14 to kill Prabhakaran, Parthasarthy said, “I spoke with the Army commanders and officials and they told me that instructions of this nature were not given at all.”

“Instructions of this nature are never conveyed through a High Commissioner. The IPKF commanders, I spoke and interacted with, said that they had received no such orders from their bosses,” Parthasarthy added.

He also questioned the timing of Harkirat Singh’s statement in his soon to be released book “Intervention in Sri Lanka”.

Parthasarthy asked, “Why has he taken more than 20 years to reveal this information?”

When told that Singh did not want to be harassed by the Army or the government for making these startling revelations by violating the Official Secrets Act, Parthasarthy said that as far as he was concerned, Singh had violated the act, even though he might contend that he had honoured the three to ten-year-old security embargo period before making his revelations.

In his comments to Harkirat Singh’s charge, Lt. General (retd) Deepinder Singh, the former GOC-in-C, Southern Command and overall commander of the IPKF operations, said, “This is absolute poppycock. There is no truth in this. Prabhakaran was never an individual target.”

He further went on to say that “if there was anything of this kind, I would have been the first one to know. I was in touch with Mani Dixit throughout. Also, when someone comes to meet us under the white flag, the Indian Army will never kill him.”

These reactions were in response to Singh telling the Mail Today that he called up High Commissioner Dixit on September 15 and told him that he would not be following his orders to kill Prabhakaran. He claims that High Commissioner Dixit told him that the orders had come directly from Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Harkirat Singh now says that there was no way of knowing whether Rajiv Gandhi gave those orders or not, and as far as he was concerned, “killing someone under a white flag is just not done”. — ANI 

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Govt restores bonus on post office small savings
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The government today restored bonus on the monthly investment scheme (MIS) of post office and extended income-tax rebate on two other small savings schemes.

While in the past it paid a bonus of 10 per cent on maturity, it would now offer only five per cent on the maturity of MIS, applicable to new accounts from December 8.

According to a finance ministry statement, income-tax rebate would be extended to investments under senior citizens’ savings scheme, five-year post office term deposits.

The benefit of the deduction shall be available in respect of investments made under these schemes with effect from April 1, 2007.

Together with bonus, the effective yield for MIS will be 8.9 per cent as against 8.3 per cent presently available. The return of 8.9 per cent compares very favourably with the return on bank deposits or government securities of comparable maturity.

“The government attaches great importance to promoting small savings. Small savings schemes are safe and secure avenues for keeping the savings of citizens, especially in semi-urban and rural areas,” the statement said.

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Sea change in Himachal, claims Anand Sharma
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
“The Congress enjoys a slight advantage over the BJP in what looks like a tough and close battle for electoral supremacy in Himachal Pradesh,” says Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, maintaining that it is traditional Congress base which may prove a clincher.

“I do not think that outcome of the Himachal and Gujarat elections alone would influence timing of the general elections in the country,” he says, holding that some other states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, will also go to polls before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

For him, the BJP is a “rudderless” party where the present leadership, because of age factor, was losing control to the second rung, which in turn had been witnessing severe infighting.

Compared to the BJP, there was perfect cordiality and harmonious relationship between UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The UPA leadership has not only accelerated economic development and growth of the country but also made the country and its states flush with financial resources.

India has been the fourth largest and fastest growing economy of the world. Besides, it has been asserting its position as the new economic and political power at almost every international forum.

For Anand Sharma, huge investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure development and reconstruction and revival of rural credit system have earned the UPA in general and the Congress in particular a positive feedback from masses in the country.

“There has been a sea change in infrastructure development in Himachal Pradesh which got huge special packages from the UPA government. I was in Una today where bridges and roads, especially in cho areas, have come up so well to facilitate smoother moment of vehicular traffic.

“It is not only the good work of the UPA government at the Centre but also the performance of the Congress government in the state which has almost negated the incumbency factor this time. Various employment schemes, including guaranteed rural employment scheme being extended to all districts of the country at the instance of Rahul Gandhi, has started showing positive results.

“Further, the Congress has always enjoyed an advantage in traditional support bank among Himachalis. Unlike previous elections, there are no adverse factors at work this time,” he said.

Schemes like supply of subsidised ‘atta, dal and namak’ to poor people was working very well in Himachal. Employment generation has improved tremendously and working of healthcare and educational institutions improved and streamlined during the past five years. The results are all before everyone to see.

Anand Sharma, who will be travelling extensively to campaign for party candidates, is overwhelmed at the response he got at rallies in Una and other places today. Tomorrow he will be travelling to Paonta Sahib and Solan.

Whatever Sharma may have to say but the fact remains that the Congress still fears the BJP in Hamirpur, Kangra and Una districts which are either traditionally BJP or erstwhile Jan Sangh strongholds or the ruling party has not been able to put up “winning candidates”.

Though “corruption” may not be as serious an issue as it was during the last elections when the BJP government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal was targeted more by the then Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh than Congress leadership of the hill state, yet the divide over fruit growing areas vs plain areas may still prove to be the crucial factor in the December 19 elections.

Old Himachal vs new Himachal issue refuses to die down, admit leaders of both the Congress and the BJP, maintaining that this time the Bahujan Samaj party led by Vijay Singh Mankotia may play a decisive role on some of the seats. Rebels and dissidents, as usual, will have their limited role in deciding the future composition of the state assembly.

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No teachers for poll duty: SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 7
Declaring the right to education as “fundamental human” right of students that would prevail upon state’s right to deploy teachers for election duties, the Supreme Court yesterday restrained the government and the election commission from assigning them with such work when academic sessions were on.

“We direct that all teaching staff shall be put on the duties of roll revision and election works on holidays and non-teaching days and hours,” a Bench of Justices S.B. Sinha and Harjit Singh Bedi ordered, pointing out that “in democratic society, a right to education is indispensable…human right.”

Though the election commission had recorded a statement that it would make efforts to ensure that the education of students was not affected due to assigning of election duties to the teachers, the court was not convinced with mere assurance as on the ground it found that the teachers were among the most “vulnerable” employees to be put on such jobs.

Taking this into consideration, the court said: “The application of the constitutional right and in particular the fundamental right cannot be thwarted only by reasons on a concession made by election commission counsel.”

By this order, the apex court upheld the 2003 judgement restraining the election commission and other government agencies from deploying teachers in election-related works during the academic session. The petition in the Delhi High Court was filed by several private schools.

Though normally teachers from private schools were not put on general election duties but those from the government-aided schools were assigned work of local bodies’ election and other social works like pulse polio drive, census, etc.

While the implications of the high court order were confined to only Capital’s schools, today’s order of the apex court will have wide applicability to the entire country.

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Maya orders action against 95 officials
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 7
In a review meeting of four divisions chief minister Mayawati today found many shortcomings provoking her to order departmental action against 95 officials, including PCS officers and doctors of the provincial medical service.

Presiding the meeting at the Yojana Bhawan here Mayawati warned that this was the last review meeting being held in an air-conditioned room. “From January a new monitoring system would be put in place under which performance would not be judged by statistics alone but by random visits to the areas by senior officers”.

She said that in her random visits to three districts she had found many deficiencies. “Development work should be visible on the ground and not only one files”, she warned the officers.

Expressing dissatisfaction at merely Rs 9,628 crore of the allocated development budget of Rs 28,115 being spent in these districts, Mayawati gave a stern verbal notice to the senior officers present at the meeting to accelerate the pace of development or else face her ire.

Today she reviewed the development work of the divisions of Lucknow, Allahabad, Faizabad and Devipatan divisions that together include 18 districts. She reviewed the law and order situation as well as the work of the departments of primary education, rural development, minor irrigation, PWD, panchyati raj, revenue, home, medicine and family welfare. 

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Gujarat BJP leader to quit

Ahmedabad, December 7
Former Gujarat Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sureshchandra Mehta has decided to quit the party tomorrow.

The resignation of Mehta would deliver one more blow to the ruling BJP at a crucial juncture, as the first phase of polls is just four days away.

Mehta was supporting the dissidents group, led by former Gujarat home minister Gordhan Zadafia, for the removal of Chief Minister Narendra Modi from his post. 
— UNI

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Pranab meets Pak foreign secy
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today discussed various bilateral issues with Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Inamul Haque even though he is occupying the seat only until January 8 Parliamentary elections in Pakistan.

With this elaborate bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC Council of Ministers meeting, Mukherjee also gave indication of support to Musharraf regime. After the meeting, sources said the peace process was on track.

“The fourth round of composite dialogue has been completed. After the installation of the new government in Pakistan next year, we will launch the fifth round after a review of the fourth round by foreign secretaries of the two countries,” Mukherjee said after his talks with Haque.

The SAARC foreign ministers agreed to create a regional security network and agreed to finalise a mutual legal assistance pact that will enable more cooperation in countering terrorism in the region.

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