SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Recession a boon for Maoists!
Calls upon its cadre to exploit the ‘excellent situation’ to strengthen base with new recruits

Hyderabad, July 12
The global meltdown may have meant heartburn for many people but Maoists view it as a new opportunity to spread their influence. An internal document of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) has called upon its cadre to exploit the ‘excellent situation’ provided by the current recession and strengthen the base with new recruits.

Kerala CM removed from Politburo, Vijayan untouched
New Delhi, July 12
VS Achuthanandan In a decision that could have serious political implications for the CPM in Kerala, the party today decided to drop veteran communist and state Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan from its all-powerful Politburo. He, however, continues to be the CM, lest his removal antagonises his large support base in Kerala.

Illegal appointment row haunts Lalu
Patna, July 12
Former Railway Minister Lalu Yadav has come under fresh controversy over the alleged illegal appointments of class four employees in the railways at the fag end of his tenure. Bihar’s ruling JD(U) has charged Lalu with appointing 216 persons on the post of 'Track man' and 'Khalasi' in contravention of the prescribed rules for appointment.



EARLIER STORIES


Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit (left) and MOS Urban Development Saugata Ray (right) present the Lifetime Achievement award of CPWD, to Padma Vibhusan GS Randhawa during  the ‘155th CPWD Day’ function in New Delhi on Sunday.
Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit (left) and MOS Urban Development Saugata Ray (right) present the Lifetime Achievement award of CPWD, to Padma Vibhusan GS Randhawa during  the ‘155th CPWD Day’ function in New Delhi on Sunday. — PTI

M’rashtra to make IAS officers accountable
Mumbai, July 12
IAS officers in Maharashtra would be made accountable for providing services to people under the e-governance initiative, with the state government deciding to consider these parameters for their yearly performance report.

Residents resent place name changes in Arunachal
Guwahati, July 12
Way back in 1996 filmmaker Rakesh Roshan discovered a picturesque location around a natural lake near the garrison and Buddhist monastery town of Tawang, close to the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh, to shoot the Bollywood blockbuster 'Koyla', that went on to become a hit. Gradually Indian army personnel posted in the area began calling the lake ‘Madhuri Lake’ after the name of the actress who was the film’s heroine, and the lake’s original name - Tsho-nga Tser - was pushed to oblivion.

More special courts for CBI cases
Patna, July 12
The Supreme Court has decided to constitute more special courts across the country for expeditious trial of cases probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

India wary of Sino-Pak link-up in PoK
New Delhi, July 12
India is wary of Chinese designs to establish strategic link-up with Pakistan in parts of Jammu and Kashmir under occupation by both the countries, saying this could have direct military implications.

Tihar inmate commits suicide
New Delhi, July 12
A 24-year-old man, accused in a murder case, on Sunday allegedly committed suicide in the toilet of Tihar Jail’s hospital within hours he was brought to the prison. “Kapil Sharma was found hanging from the ventilator of the toilet this (Sunday) morning.

23 battalions to be moved out of J-K
New Delhi, July 12
Notwithstanding the demand of Jammu and Kashmir government for greater role of CRPF in the militancy-hit state, the Centre is contemplating to move out at least 23 battalions of paramilitary forces and shift them to left wing extremism-affected areas.

Tackling Terror
Pak efforts disappointing: India
New Delhi, July 12
India has strongly castigated Pakistan for eroding the “fundamental premise” of the composite dialogue, saying that the action taken by Islamabad to curb terrorism emanating from its soil “has been disappointing”.

PM leaves for France
New Delhi, July 12
Within days of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari making his famous admission that “Pakistan nurtured militants for short-term gains”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to meet his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Egypt. The meet is scheduled on July 15-16.

Hooch tragedy was waiting to happen
Workers of the city Congress and illicit liquor-affected people of Majurgam join in a signature campaign demanding resignation of Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah to protest against illicit liquor scam in Ahmedabad on Sunday.Ahmedabad, July 12
The hooch tragedy, which has claimed 130 lives so far, was an outcome of the proliferation of liquor dens and rampant alcoholism in the slum areas where tragedy struck, according to an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers working in the city.

Workers of the city Congress and illicit liquor-affected people of Majurgam join in a signature campaign demanding resignation of Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah to protest against illicit liquor scam in Ahmedabad on Sunday. — PTI

Kidnapped teen found dead
Kanpur, July 12
A 13-year-old boy, who was allegedly kidnapped from here three days ago, was found dead on Sunday in the neighbouring Unnao district, the police said.

Water crisis: Gehlot asks officials to prepare emergency plan
Jaipur, July 12
Taking serious note of acute water crisis gripping the state, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today held a high-level meeting and directed the officials to immediately prepare an emergency plan to cater to irrigation and potable water needs of the state’s populace.

Former Speaker Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee coming out of the hospital after visiting former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. Jyoti Basu hospitalised
Kolkata, July 12
Veteran CPM leader Jyoti Basu fell critically ill at his Salt Lake residence today and was admitted to a nursing home. Doctors attending on him said Basu had developed respiratory problems but his condition was stable at the present moment. Already suffering from several old-age diseases and chronic stomach problems for the last few years, Basu turned 96 on July 8 and his birthday celebration was held at his residence by his admirers, well-wishers and political friends.

Former Speaker Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee coming out of the hospital after visiting former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. — PTI

BSF to induct women for combat duty
New Delhi, July 12
Setting a milestone, the Border Security Force will induct about 1,000 women personnel for combat duties for the first time by the end of this month. The women, who are currently undergoing training at the BSF establishment in Khatka, Punjab, will participate in the passing out parade on July 29, which will be attended by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Who says beggars can’t be choosers
Rs 13 lakh in 30 yrs
Kochi (Kerala), July 12
In a truly rags to riches story, a beggar from Tamil Nadu has begged his way to become a millionaire, netting over Rs 13 lakhs in a “career” spanning nearly 30 years. Abdul Ghali, a 70-year-old ailing beggar, has Rs 13 lakh worth deposits besides Rs 80,000 in cash.

China may attack India by 2012: Report
New Delhi, July 12
A leading defence expert has projected that China will attack India by 2012 to divert the attention of its own people from “unprecedented” internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems that are threatening the hold of Communists in that country.





Top








 

Recession a boon for Maoists!
Calls upon its cadre to exploit the ‘excellent situation’ to strengthen base with new recruits
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 12
The global meltdown may have meant heartburn for many people but Maoists view it as a new opportunity to spread their influence. An internal document of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) has called upon its cadre to exploit the ‘excellent situation’ provided by the current recession and strengthen the base with new recruits.

“Today, we are facing an extraordinary situation. Immense possibilities are unfolding to advance the revolution at a rapid pace. The entire world is caught in neck-deep crisis and there seems to be no let-up particularly since the past one year after the US was engulfed in the worst-ever economic crisis in its history. Industry after industry is closing down throwing out millions of workers onto the streets. Poverty and homelessness, starvation and destitution have become a global phenomenon providing an excellent condition for advancing the people’s struggles and revolutions everywhere,” it noted.

The 16-page document, prepared by the extremist outfit’s politburo for internal circulation, analysed the post-poll scenario in the country and outlined the tasks before it to outsmart the ‘enemy’ by all means.

The Maoist organisation called for intensifying the struggle by exploiting the global economic downturn.

In its assessment, the return of the Congress-led UPA to power at the Centre would mean a ‘greater scope for unleashing a more brutal and bigger military offensive against Maoist movement.’

“The fact that the UPA has been re-elected, with the Congress improving its seat tally and in a position to play a more decisive role compared to its last stint in office, has given the UPA, and its biggest constituent Congress, greater scope for unleashing a more brutal and bigger military offensive against our party and movement,” the document said.

The unfolding ‘state terror’ would be far more brutal, deadly and savage than under any other regime hitherto witnessed,” the Maoists’ politburo observed.

“In order to defeat the new offensive by the enemy and to protect the gains of our people’s war, it is very essential to rouse the masses throughout the country, stand up in support of the struggles in Dandakaranya, Bihar-Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other places and build a broad-based countrywide mass movement against the fascist offensive by the reactionary rulers with the active assistance and guidance of the imperialists,” it said.

The Maoist organisation said it was keen to learn lessons from the setbacks suffered by the LTTE in Sri Lanka and the developments in Nepal.

Noting that the government was planning to increase the number of Central forces in the next few years, it, however, said it was quite difficult for the Centre to send the forces required by each state to control the Maoist movement.

“Keeping this in mind, we have to expand our guerrilla war to new areas on the one hand and intensify the mass resistance in the existing areas on the other so as to disperse the enemy forces over a sufficiently wider area,” the strategy document said.

Top

 

Kerala CM removed from Politburo, Vijayan untouched
Aditi Tandon/Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
In a decision that could have serious political implications for the CPM in Kerala, the party today decided to drop veteran communist and state Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan from its all-powerful Politburo. He, however, continues to be the CM, lest his removal antagonises his large support base in Kerala.

Ending months of speculation on the fate of the warring state leaders - Achuthanandan and state party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan - the CPM’s highest executive body, the central committee, today voted in favour of Vijayan, letting him go free on account of his alleged involvement in the multi-crore SNC-Lavalin case. The CC reiterated the party’s stand that the case was politically motivated and would be fought legally.

Achuthanandan, on the other hand, faced the axe from the PB for bitterly opposing Vijayan in public. This is the first time in 24 years that Achuthanandan will not be in the PB. He was earlier, along with Vijayan, suspended temporarily from the PB.

But today, the central committee that decided to drop him altogether concluded that the CM had violated organisational principles and discipline and needed to be disciplined. He was charged with weakening the CPM organisation in the state by openly defying the party’s stand on the case against Vijayan.

The CC communiqué issued today largely mirrors general secretary Prakash Karat’s view on the matter; Karat always favoured Vijayan over Achuthanandan. The communiqué states, “Comrade Achuthanandan is the senior-most leader, who has made a big contribution to the party in Kerala. The Central Committee expected him to fulfil his responsibilities as the Chief Minister and as a leader of the party.”

Interesting to see is CC’s coy silence on the SNC-Lavalin issue, where it has conveniently taken shelter behind the old party stand, saying, “The CC examined the report submitted by the Politburo on the Lavalin contract for the renovation and modernisation of three hydroelectric projects in Kerala, which were entered into by the UDF government in 1995-96 and which were subsequently implemented by the LDF government. The CC feels that Comrade Pinarauroyi Vijayan, secretary of the Kerala State Committee and the Electricity Minister in the then LDF government between 1996 and 1998, was not involved in any corrupt practice whatsoever. The CC reiterates that the party will fight the case politically and legally.”

With Achuthanandan getting all the blame for the party’s electoral reverses in the state, it remains to be seen how the CPM now gets two bitter rivals to concentrate on their respective jobs in the state and restore the party image through a show of unity. Sources today said the party had asked both Achuthanandan and Vijayan to exercise restraint besides going soft on them by allowing them to continue in their respective positions in the state.

When asked to react to the developments, Achuthanandan today said he accepted the party’s decision to remove him from the PB. He, however, continues to be a member of the CC.

As for Vijayan, he appeared gleeful with his victory in the war of leadership in Kerala, though there is a view that the party could ask him to step down ahead of court hearings in the case. How far will such conflicting signals go to restore the CPM’s battered image in the state remains to be seen, considering members within the party Politburo and CC were ill at ease today to punish Achuthanandan alone.

Top

 

Illegal appointment row haunts Lalu
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 12
Former Railway Minister Lalu Yadav has come under fresh controversy over the alleged illegal appointments of class four employees in the railways at the fag end of his tenure. Bihar’s ruling JD(U) has charged Lalu with appointing 216 persons on the post of 'Track man' and 'Khalasi' in contravention of the prescribed rules for appointment.

Sending the list of ‘illegal appointees’ to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, the party has sought a CBI probe into the last moment appointments made by the former railway minister before relinquishing office.

Showing a list of such appointees, JD(U) MLC Sanjay Singh said that these appointments were made without issuing any advertisement for the vacant posts nor the reservation policy was followed. If the JD(U) leader is to be believed, of the 216 irregular appointments made in Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Varanasi divisions of the railways, 150 were either relatives or castemen of Lalu Yadav. He identified 22 of the new appointees to be natives of Phulwaria, Rabri Devi’s paternal village under Gopalganj district. The rest of them are from Lalu’s Lok Sabha constituencies Saran and Pataliputra, he said.

The JD(U) has sought immediate cancellation of these illegal appointments made by Lalu Yadav and a probe by the CBI into all such appointments made during Yadav’s tenure in other zones and divisions of the railways. Earlier, JD(U) state president and Lok Sabha member Lalan Singh had charged Lalu Yadav with giving jobs in the railways in lieu of land registered in the name of his wife and son.

Singh had also furnished photocopies of the sale deed of some plots of land purported to have been taken by Lalu Yadav from those who were given jobs in the railways.

On its part, Lalu's party —RJD — said that Nitish Kumar had also made such appointments when he was the railway minister. RJD national general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav said that the CBI should also probe the appointments made during Nitish's tenure. The RJD also assailed Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for bringing out a white paper on the performance of railways for the last five years, saying that the white paper would be a comment on the entire cabinet of Manmohan Singh.

Bihar RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui said that in parliamentary democracy the responsibility of governance is always collective. Siddiqui advised Banerjee not to work with an attitude of “vindictiveness”. 

Top

 

M’rashtra to make IAS officers accountable

Mumbai, July 12
IAS officers in Maharashtra would be made accountable for providing services to people under the e-governance initiative, with the state government deciding to consider these parameters for their yearly performance report.

“Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has suggested that the annual performance of the concerned officer would be based on promotion of e-governance,” Secretary of Information Technology Department Ajay Bhushan Pandey said.

Chavan has suggested that the e-governance services be made more people-friendly and should be available “anytime anywhere”, Pandey said.

With increased use of e-governance, the state government would be providing citizen-centric services online within five months, after which people need not come to Mantralaya for routine work, Pandey said. — PTI 

Top

 

Residents resent place name changes in Arunachal
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 12
Way back in 1996 filmmaker Rakesh Roshan discovered a picturesque location around a natural lake near the garrison and Buddhist monastery town of Tawang, close to the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh, to shoot the Bollywood blockbuster 'Koyla', that went on to become a hit. Gradually Indian army personnel posted in the area began calling the lake ‘Madhuri Lake’ after the name of the actress who was the film’s heroine, and the lake’s original name - Tsho-nga Tser - was pushed to oblivion.

Though the lake became a must-see site for thousands of tourists visiting Tawang every year, the local Buddhist residents are not at all happy about the development. They want the lake’s original name restored in the greater interest of the history and culture of the area.

TG Rinpoche, an independent MLA of the state who spearheads the Mon Autonomous Council Committee, told The Tribune: “Not only this lake but many other places of historical and cultural interest in and around Tawang have been renamed by outsiders, especially the army personnel posted in the area. Mind you, changing names of places and monuments is not only confined to Tawang but is prevalent in the entire state. The Arunachal government must do something to restore original names of places.”

“When you travel along the Bombila-Tawang road you will come across places called Rama Camp, Mona Camp, Tapar, etc. These are not the original names of the places but names given by the Border Road Organisation personnel while constructing the road. These have to be changed for the sake of the younger generation so that they feel attached to the place,” he added.

A staunch supporter of the Tibetan Buddhist cause, Rinpoche observed that “it made sense to restore the original Indian names of Calcutta, Madras and Bangalore in response to popular demand. The same has to be done in Arunachal Pradesh where the government turns a blind eye while outsiders change the original names of places and monuments.”

Top

 

More special courts for CBI cases
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 12
The Supreme Court has decided to constitute more special courts across the country for expeditious trial of cases probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan said here today around 70 more special courts for exclusive trial of the CBI cases would start functioning very soon. The CJI appeared a bit surprised to know that Bihar had only two special CBI courts and said the state would soon get two or three additional special courts for this purpose. He was here to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Patna Law College centenary celebrations.

The CJI said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written a letter to him expressing concern over the pending trial of a large number of important cases investigated by the CBI. Following this the Apex Court issued directives to all the high courts for expediting the trial of CBI cases by constituting more special courts under their respective domain.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was also present on the occasion, urged the CJI and the acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court to constitute some special courts for speedy trial of the cases pertaining to corruption probed by the State Vigilance Department.

Lauding the role of judiciary in conducting speedy trial of criminal cases in Bihar through the Fast Track Courts, Nitish said Bihar had perhaps topped the list on this count in the country by completing the trial of around 30,000 criminal cases during the last three years. The speedy trial of the criminal cases had played a very significant role in establishing the rule of law in Bihar, which had become infamous as one of the most lawless states in the country, Nitish said.

The Bihar CM said the vigilance had trapped around 350 government employees red-handed while accepting graft since his government came to power in November 2005. If these people are convicted and punished by the law court, the state government would immediately terminate them from government service and confiscate the property amassed by them through the new legislation. This would send a chill down the spine of other employees and restrain them from indulging in corruption, he added.

Top

 

India wary of Sino-Pak link-up in PoK

New Delhi, July 12
India is wary of Chinese designs to establish strategic link-up with Pakistan in parts of Jammu and Kashmir under occupation by both the countries, saying this could have direct military implications.

The Defence Ministry's Annual Report for 2008-09 tabled in Rajya Sabha recently noted with concern the possibility of China "enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the territory in Jammu and Kashmir, illegally occupied" by both these nations.

While China seized 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir during the 1962 war with India, Pakistan unilaterally ceded another 5,120 sq km territory it had occupied in 1947-48 to China under a pact in 1963.

However, the Annual Report has failed to mention Chinese military posturing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, of which Beijing claims about 90,000 sq km territory as its own, and has positioned 30 military divisions that indulged in frequent incursions across the LAC.

The report also expressed concern over the military assistance China was extending to Pakistan and other countries in the neighbourhood.

Seeking "greater transparency and openness" in China's defence policy and posture in the backdrop of its fast growing military prowess, India also said it will "engage China, while taking all necessary measures to protect its national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty."

Noting that Chinese defence expenditure (that stood at seven per cent of its GDP) had grown by double digits over the last two decades, the report referred to China's 2008 White Paper on Defence that outlined its policy on developing strategic missiles, space-based assets and blue-water naval capabilities.

"China's stated objectives, in their White Paper, of developing strategic missile and space-based assets and of rapidly enhancing its blue-water navy to conduct operations in distant waters, as well as the systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas, will have an effect on the overall military environment in the neighbourhood of India," the report said.

Stating that China's armed forces' modernisation need to be "monitored carefully" for implications on India's defence and security, the Defence Ministry, however, struck a conciliatory note, saying it enjoyed a strategic and cooperative partnership with China, which had further progressed during high-level visits in 2008-09.

It observed with satisfaction Beijing's stated policy in its White Paper "never to seek hegemony or engage in military expansion in the future, no matter how developed it became."

The report said the two neighbours were engaged in negotiations on the 4,500-km boundary dispute and have agreed to maintain peace through mutually agreed confidence building measures, pending final settlement. — PTI

Top

 

Tihar inmate commits suicide

New Delhi, July 12
A 24-year-old man, accused in a murder case, on Sunday allegedly committed suicide in the toilet of Tihar Jail’s hospital within hours he was brought to the prison. “Kapil Sharma was found hanging from the ventilator of the toilet this (Sunday) morning.

He had used bandages wrapped over his injuries as a rope,” Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Kumar Gupta said. Sharma, who was brought to the jail Saturday evening, was admitted to the hospital as he had wounds on his body.

A magisterial enquiry has been ordered into the incident.— PTI 

Top

 

23 battalions to be moved out of J-K

New Delhi, July 12
Notwithstanding the demand of Jammu and Kashmir government for greater role of CRPF in the militancy-hit state, the Centre is contemplating to move out at least 23 battalions of paramilitary forces and shift them to left wing extremism-affected areas.

As many as 16 battalions of the CRPF - 10 from Kashmir valley and six from other areas, five of Border Security Force and two of Indo-Tibetan Border Police - are likely to be moved out of the state soon, official sources said. The total number of the personnel to shifted is around 23,000.

The sources said a decision to this effect may be taken after the completion of the Amarnath Yatra, which is scheduled to end early next month.

They said the CRPF, which has over 75,000 personnel in the valley out of which one-third were deployed on duty with the counter-insurgency grid, needed to be trimmed down. — PTI

Top

 

Tackling Terror
Pak efforts disappointing: India

New Delhi, July 12
India has strongly castigated Pakistan for eroding the “fundamental premise” of the composite dialogue, saying that the action taken by Islamabad to curb terrorism emanating from its soil “has been disappointing”.

Noting that some achievements were made “in segments” in 2004 following commitments by Pakistan that it would not “permit territory under its control to be used to support terrorism in any form”, India said, however, terrorism and non-implementation of its commitment has “eroded the fundamental premise of the dialogue process”.

“Terrorist attacks in India and on the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008, increase in ceasefire violations and continued infiltration across the LoC placed a strain on the dialogue process in particular and Indo-Pak relations in general,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in its annual report 2008-09.

It said, “The terrorist attack on Mumbai on 26 November, 2008, and concrete evidence of the involvement of elements in Pakistan in the attack led to a pause in the dialogue process. Despite the developments and high-level statements from Pakistan promising cooperation regarding the Mumbai attack, in terms of actual action taken the response has been disappointing. As a result, there has been a sharp deterioration in bilateral relations.”

The External Affairs Ministry said the Pakistani authorities admitted that elements there were involved in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

It said India also provided detailed responses and material to Pakistan on the Mumbai attacks.

India took several steps both bilaterally and at international fora to obtain Pakistan’s cooperation in bringing the perpetrators based there to justice and to ensure that such acts do not recur, it said adding that as a result, the UN listed individual entities, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamat-ud-Daawa, as terror groups. — PTI 

Top

 

PM leaves for France
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Within days of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari making his famous admission that “Pakistan nurtured militants for short-term gains”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to meet his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Egypt. The meet is scheduled on July 15-16.

But before that, the Prime Minister will head for France for a day long visit to Paris where he will be the guest of honour at the Bastille Day, officially celebrated as the French National Day on July 14. An Indian Army contingent, representing all three services, is already in France rehearsing to take part in the military parade for the first time.

Singh’s visit starts from Monday, just two days after returning from the G8-G5 summit in Italy.

Top

 

Hooch tragedy was waiting to happen

Ahmedabad, July 12
The hooch tragedy, which has claimed 130 lives so far, was an outcome of the proliferation of liquor dens and rampant alcoholism in the slum areas where tragedy struck, according to an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers working in the city.

They also believe that what has happened was waiting to happen for a long time.

According to Manali Shah, Ex-vice president of SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association), "Most of the victims, who drank the tainted brew on Sunday, were poor slum-dwellers and daily wage earners, looking for cheap means of intoxication."

"Many of our members, who live in the affected areas and have lost their near ones in the tragedy, told us that liquor bootlegging has proliferated and dens have mushroomed in these areas in last couple of years," Shah said.

Around 32 vegetable vendors have died while many others have lost their eye sight in the tragedy.

Alleging that bootlegging has proliferated because of powerful nexus between police and dens operators, who source liquor from villages, a SEWA member said, without breaking this nexus, you cannot succeed in getting rid of alcoholism.

"Local police are hand in glove with the bootleggers and therefore it is flourishing," she alleged, adding even women are involved in network of supplying liquor.

Another SEWA member Shantaben, who sells vegetables, said a few days back, she found a police constable lying on the road in an inebriated condition.

"When I took him to a nearby police station in an auto, the police inspector told me that let us drop him at his residence," she said.

Reema Nanavaty of SEWA said their members are willing to cooperate with police in running anti-liquor drives in these areas.

"In the past, a SEWA member had complained about liquor sale in her area, but she was threatened and her son roughed up," Nanavaty claimed.

Many members of SEWA stressed that bootlegging has become an organised network protected by the police.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, a group of 30 women destroyed three hooch breweries in Vehval village in Surat district.

In January 2009, a drive against liquor was launched in several villages including Vehval in South Gujarat by women, who had destroyed more than 20 breweries in the villages.

Mina Patel, President of Sakhi Mandal (a group of women) said their movement against alcohol will continue because alcohol has destroyed the lives of many women.

Residents of around 14 lower middle class areas of the city including Majoor Gam, Odhav, Amraiwadi, Raipur, Rakhial and Bapunagar have been affected by the last week's tragedy.

The victims had consumed spurious liquor which was spiked with methyl alcohol and other industrial spirits. — PTI

Top

 

Kidnapped teen found dead

Kanpur, July 12
A 13-year-old boy, who was allegedly kidnapped from here three days ago, was found dead on Sunday in the neighbouring Unnao district, the police said.

According to Deputy Inspector-General Neera Rawat, Karan Maheshwari went missing on July 9. However, his family did not report the matter to the local police and instead approached the Special Task Force (STF), she said. Karan’s father Pawan Maheshwari, who was contacted by the kidnappers, claimed to have had given them Rs 2 lakh ransom on July 9, she said. However, the Unnao police recovered his body Sunday morning from the Gangaghat area. — PTI

Top

 

Water crisis: Gehlot asks officials to prepare emergency plan
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, July 12
Taking serious note of acute water crisis gripping the state, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today held a high-level meeting and directed the officials to immediately prepare an emergency plan to cater to irrigation and potable water needs of the state’s populace.

Addressing the meeting, Gehlot said he was aware of the people’s water woes in view of declining water table and delay in monsoon. He asked the officials to make every possible effort to boost the availability of water to the people. He said water was among the top priorities of his government and he had also raised the issue before the fifth finance commission.

The meeting was informed that out of 259 dams in the state, 175 had gone dry. The water supply to Bhilwara and Pali districts was being made through rail while tankers had been pressed into service at other places. Besides installing 333 tube-wells and 233 handpumps, 1,35,923 handpumps had also been repaired across the state. The PHE department had spent Rs 590 crore on potable water in the last three months as against the amount of Rs 390 crore in the same period last year.

On the issue of waterlogging in Jodhpur, the meeting was told that National Geology Research Institute, Hyderabad, and National Water Science Institute, Roorkee, had been approached in this regard. Experts from both these institutes would be asked to study the problem and submit their recommendations to the state government.

Earlier, on Friday, the opposition had cornered the state government in the Assembly over water crisis prevailing in the state and its alleged failure in announcing any plan to deal with a possible drought-like situation in the recently presented state Budget.

BJP MLA Devi Singh Bhati had declared to proceed on fast unto death over the issue while the remaining opposition MLAs had also joined him in his protest and stormed in the well. After about half an hour of pandemonium, Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat convinced them to return to their seats while asking Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna to give a statement on the issue. However, the minister said the government would present a detailed statement on water crisis in the House on Monday.

Top

 

Jyoti Basu hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 12
Veteran CPM leader Jyoti Basu fell critically ill at his Salt Lake residence today and was admitted to a nursing home. Doctors attending on him said Basu had developed respiratory problems but his condition was stable at the present moment.

Already suffering from several old-age diseases and chronic stomach problems for the last few years, Basu turned 96 on July 8 and his birthday celebration was held at his residence by his admirers, well-wishers and political friends.

Still a member of the Politburo and the party’s central committee, Basu is now the oldest living communist leader in the country. He served for more than 24 years at a stretch as the Chief Minister of West Bengal.

On receiving the reports of his illness, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and the state Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty visited the nursing home and inquired after his health. Basu’s son Chandan, who lives separately, also met his ailing father at the nursing home.

Top

 

BSF to induct women for combat duty

New Delhi, July 12
Setting a milestone, the Border Security Force will induct about 1,000 women personnel for combat duties for the first time by the end of this month. The women, who are currently undergoing training at the BSF establishment in Khatka, Punjab, will participate in the passing out parade on July 29, which will be attended by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

"It would be a proud day for us when women will work shoulder-to-shoulder with men," BSF Director General M L Kumawat told PTI.

These personnel have been imparted training in weapon handling, intelligence, border management, sports, unarmed combat frisking and guard duties. The women, along with their male counterparts, will carry out search and frisking at check posts, immigration points and trade routes along the borders which the force guards.

The first batch will be deployed in Punjab sector.

The newly trained personnel will be inducted for the posts of constables and the BSF also expects to get women officers in the post of assistant commandants and higher ranks. — PTI 

Top

 

Who says beggars can’t be choosers
Rs 13 lakh in 30 yrs

Kochi (Kerala), July 12
In a truly rags to riches story, a beggar from Tamil Nadu has begged his way to become a millionaire, netting over Rs 13 lakhs in a “career” spanning nearly 30 years. Abdul Ghali, a 70-year-old ailing beggar, has Rs 13 lakh worth deposits besides Rs 80,000 in cash.

Hailing from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, Ghali’s riches came to light when some locals in Kozhikode ventured to examine his dirty baggage following some suspicion and later handed him over to the police early this week.

Following media reports, his son, a software engineer in Chennai, got in touch with the authorities in Kerala and Ghali was handed over to his relatives yesterday, the police said.

Ghali was in the Jamaat mosque in Kuttikatur town near Kozhikode early this week. Taking pity on him, the mosque authority gave him food and place to sleep.

The following day he told mosque officials that he wanted to visit a mosque in Mudukkal in Ernakulam district.

The locals collected about Rs 10,000 and gave it to him and also arranged for a jeep to go to Ernakulam.

Though Ghali left for Ernakulam, he returned the same day following which he was questioned by locals. On suspicion, they opened his smelly bundle of his belongings and to their shock realised he was a “rich” beggar.

Ghali was understood to have told the police that he had earned the money by begging over 30 years.

In 2004, he was taken into custody by the police and sent back to Tamil Nadu with his estranged wife, a nurse in a government hospital, and son but he had come back to Kerala again later.

At that time, he was found to be having deposits of Rs 4.50 lakh, including Rs 1 lakh in Indira Vikas Patras. In a span of five years, his income trebled, the police said. — PTI 

Top

 

China may attack India by 2012: Report

New Delhi, July 12
A leading defence expert has projected that China will attack India by 2012 to divert the attention of its own people from “unprecedented” internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems that are threatening the hold of Communists in that country.

“China will launch an attack on India before 2012. There are multiple reasons for a desperate Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this century,” Bharat Verma, editor of the Indian Defence Review, has said.

He said the recession has “shut the Chinese exports shop”, creating an “unprecedented internal social unrest" which in turn, was severely threatening the grip of the Communists over the society.

Among other reasons for this assessment were rising unemployment, flight of capital worth billions of dollars, depletion of its foreign exchange reserves and growing internal dissent, Verma said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of the premier defence journal.

In addition to this: “The growing irrelevance of Pakistan, their right hand that operates against India on their behest, is increasing the Chinese nervousness," he said, adding US President Barak Obama's Af-Pak policy was primarily Pak-Af policy that has "intelligently set the thief to catch the thief”.

Verma said Beijing was "already rattled, with its proxy Pakistan now literally embroiled in a civil war, losing its sheen against India. Above all, it is worried over the growing alliance of India with the US and the West because the alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.”

While China "covertly allowed" North Korea to test underground nuclear explosion and carry out missile trials, it was also "increasing its naval presence in South China Sea to coerce into submission those opposing its claim on the Sprately Islands," the defence expert said.

Verma added it would be “unwise” at this point of time for a recession-hit China to move against the western interests “Therefore, the most attractive option is to attack a soft target like India ,” Verma said.

But India is "least prepared" on ground to face the Chinese threat, he says.

“Is Indian military equipped to face the two-front wars by Beijing and Islamabad? Is the Indian civil administration geared to meet the internal security challenges that the external actors will sponsor simultaneously through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare? The answers are an unequivocal 'no'. Pacifist India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front," the defence journal editor says. — PTI 

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Illegal drug lab
NEW DELHI
:
The Narcotics Control Bureau has unearthed a laboratory manufacturing party drug methamphetamine, recovering 28 kg of the contraband. The lab was being run by a Canadian national. — PTI

Top





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |