SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE
 SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

‘Aam Admi Ka Sipahi’ programme
Rahul launches first training camp in Assam

Guwahati, July 18
Launching the first training camp on his pet programme “Aam Admi Ka Sipahi” (AAKS) here today, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today said the programme was aimed at bringing the party closer to the people.

Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally: Mush
New Delhi, July 18
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is of the view that India and Pakistan should bilaterally seek to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir issue and wants the Zardari government to cooperate with India in investigating the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Centre to develop 60 solar cities
Chandigarh, 2 Haryana cities in list
New Delhi, July 18
In order to reduce the load on conventional energy by at least 10 per cent, the Centre has planned to develop around 60 solar cities across the country. Here, focus would be on installation of renewable energy devices and putting into use energy- saving measures.


EARLIER STORIES

A child tries out protective glasses, used to view solar eclipses, at the MP Birla Planetarium in Kolkata on Saturday. Century’s longest solar eclipse on July 22
New Delhi, July 18
Gujarat's diamond city Surat, which will be the origin of the total solar eclipse on July 22, is gearing up for the "rare celestial event" where about 5,000 tourists are expected to come. Notably, the eclipse would be the longest that will occur in this century. And the duration, as per Dr N Sahu, a senior scientist at Gujarat Science City, would not be surpassed until 123 years. “The eclipse will be seen in India from 0528 to 0740 IST, with the sun being totally invisible for nearly four minutes from 0626 to 0630 IST in Surat. Delhi will witness 80 per cent of the solar eclipse,” Dr Sahu added.

A child tries out protective glasses, used to view solar eclipses, at the MP Birla Planetarium in Kolkata on Saturday. — AFP

RSS tacitly approves of Shourie’s tirade
New Delhi, July 18
The RSS has virtually put its seal of approval on BJP leader Arun Shourie’s tirade against the BJP leadership, confirming what many in the BJP believe has been launched by former Editor of the Indian Express with the Sangh’s tacit approval.

Classification allowance for jawans from Jan 2006
New Delhi, July 18
Some more clarity has emerged in the recent announcement on pensions of retired ex-servicemen and officers. Union Minister of the state Defence MM Pallam Raju told the Rajya Sabha that the committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to look into the issue of “one rank, one pension” and related issues has submitted its report recommending the following benefits to substantially improve the pension for the PBORs and commissioned officers, which have been accepted by the government.

Foreign tourists cover their faces with masks in New Delhi on Saturday as the count of swine flu cases in the country rose to 260.
Foreign tourists cover their faces with masks in New Delhi on Saturday as the count of swine flu cases in the country rose to 260. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Lieutenant-generals to get higher pay scales
Chandigarh, July 18
The Central government has hiked the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) pay scales of Lieutenant Generals and equivalent to Rs 67,000-79,000 per month along with an inbuilt increment of Rs 6,000 as notional Military Service Pay (MSP).

Cong forms poll panels for Haryana, M’rashtra
New Delhi, July 18
With Assembly elections approaching in Maharashtra and Haryana, the Congress party on Saturday constituted two high-level committees to coordinate poll related work.

BL Joshi new UP Guv
New Delhi, July 18
Senior Congress leader Margaret Alva and former Rajasthan Governor Jagannath Pahadia were among four new Governors appointed by the Centre tonight while BL Joshi was moved from Uttarakhand to “politically sensitive” Uttar Pradesh.

Hotel uses politician to boost sales
Hyderabad, July 18
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi may not have made much impact on voters in the recent elections but the fiery image of its leader K Chandrasekhar Rao has proved to be a marketing mascot for a city-based restaurants.

A man looks for monsoon clouds in the sky from his parched field at a village near Patna on Saturday.
A man looks for monsoon clouds in the sky from his parched field at a village near Patna on Saturday. — PTI

AP to have nuclear power reactor
Hyderabad, July 18
Andhra Pradesh (AP) is set to be among the first set of beneficiaries of the Indo-US nuclear deal. The state has been selected for setting up a nuclear power reactor as part of the civilian nuclear agreement. 

Bandh was a necessity: Pranab
Kolkata, July 18
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also WBPCC president, today justified yesterday"s Banglabandh called by the party which Trinamool and other anti-Left parties also supported. He pleaded that such protest by the Congressmen was a necessity in the face of the prolonged attacks and tortures by the cadres.

Hillary cautions India against treading high-carbon path
Mumbai, July 18
While supporting India's efforts to eradicate poverty, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today cautioned New Delhi from treading the high-carbon path and repeating mistakes committed by Americans in contributing to global pollution.

Praises Indian women
Mumbai, July 18
Emphasising that the progress of women is directly linked to the progress of any country, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today assured her support to women’s development in India.

Gehlot: Plan underway to save Jodhpur
Jaipur, July 18
Admitting that rising water levels may sink Jodhpur, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said the state government is preparing a disaster mitigation plan to save the Sun City from sinking into the rising water table.

SS Fund Scam
Jharkhand Guv faces flak for inaction
Patna, July 18
Jharkhand Governor-cum-Administrator Syed Sibte Razi’s indecisiveness in taking action against some of the state’s top police brass, including the DGP, reportedly involved in the Rs 8 crore Secret Service (SS) Fund scam has snowballed into a major political controversy. The opposition BJP has now demanded “action” against the Governor for “patronising corrupt police officers”.

10 cops booked for BSF trooper’s death
Vadodara, July 18
About 10 policemen have been booked on charges of having beaten to death a BSF trooper who was in custody over his scuffle with an ASI here, officials said today.






Top











 

‘Aam Admi Ka Sipahi’ programme
Rahul launches first training camp in Assam
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 18
Launching the first training camp on his pet programme “Aam Admi Ka Sipahi” (AAKS) here today, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi today said the programme was aimed at bringing the party closer to the people.

“Through Aam Admi Ka Sipahi we intend to work for rural poor and downtrodden and those who are not aware of their rights. We want to educate youth about the Right to Information Act and developmental schemes of the government like the NREGA so that they can work as messenger and facilitator to the village people,” he said, addressing 7,000 AAKS volunteers called in from the north eastern states at the National Games Stadium here.

Earlier, addressing a meeting of Congress workers at Rajiv Bhawan here, Rahul assured to democratise the Youth Congress organisation within two years by holding elections to all state units to make the organisation more vibrant and efficient in serving the people.

He said,“ I love to come to the northeast, particularly Assam, as it exposes me to a very beautiful part of the country. I feel proud when I see youngsters from the northeast excelling in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and all other metros in the country.”

Rahul said the ‘sophisticated’ method which was launched in Punjab and Uttarkhand last year, was being used in various states to carry out membership drive for the Youth Congress so that bogus enrollment could be prevented.

“We enrolled 3.5 lakh members in Punjab last year and 7.5 lakh members in Gujarat where elections were held for the Youth Congress bodies,” he said. Tamil Nadu would be the next state where election will be held in two months time.

Sending out a clear signal that worthy Youth Congress workers would be rewarded, Rahul said, “Many Youth Congress leaders who were doing well were given a chance to contest the last Lok Sabha election. Many of them won and doing well in Parliament.”

He also interacted with students of different institutions of Assam in a function organised by the Assam state NSUI unit at Rabindra Bhawan here and attended another function at Don Bosco Institute.

Top

 

Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally: Mush
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is of the view that India and Pakistan should bilaterally seek to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir issue and wants the Zardari government to cooperate with India in investigating the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Resolving the Kashmir issue “bilaterally is the best (option) but if that fails, we should revert to what we were doing initially---internationalise the issue,’’ he said. On Mumbai attacks, he desired sharing of intelligence between India and Pakistan so that Islamabad could cooperate fully with investigations.

In an interview to Karan Thapar on CNN/IBN’s “Devil’s Advocate” programme, he also claimed that India and Pakistan were close to a path-breaking agreement on Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek when he was at the helm of affairs in Islamabad.

In the wide-ranging interview, Musharraf, who has been living in London these days, said the Pakistan Army and the ISI were on board when the two countries had almost finalised the broad contours of the agreement.

Asked why the agreement could not be signed, he quipped, “I think (because of) the situation in Pakistan and the election coming up in India.’’ He was obviously referring to the political turmoil in Pakistan in the wake of the December 27, 2007, assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The two countries did not pursue the matter as strongly as they should have. The agreement was expected to be signed during the much-anticipated visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan. Because of various developments in the two countries, Manmohan Singh did not show a desire to come and sign the agreement. “I did not put any pressure on him (the Indian PM) to come to Pakistan. So it became dormant somewhow. We got distracted.’’

On whether there was still some life in the agreement, he underlined “there is no official exchange of documents, there are no official agreements, which have been finalised and inked. So, therefore, I would say that again it depends on the leaders…we achieved a lot. There are people, who know what we had achieved. We could go forward from there onwards.’’

Musharraf strongly disagreed with the new Af-Pak strategy of the Obama administration. “I don’t agree with this Af-Pak solution at all because we are being bracketed with Afghanistan. Afghanistan hardly has any governance, it is out of control.’’ And to add a new dimension to the issue, he said there was an Indian connection there, too, in terrorism and extremism. 

Top

 

Centre to develop 60 solar cities 
Chandigarh, 2 Haryana cities in list
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
In order to reduce the load on conventional energy by at least 10 per cent, the Centre has planned to develop around 60 solar cities across the country. Here, focus would be on installation of renewable energy devices and putting into use energy- saving measures.

The union territory of Chandigarh, too, would be one of the cities, and the government has granted an in-principle approval for the same. Besides, Haryana has got approval for two solar cities.

Union Minister for Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah informed this in the Lok Sabha on Friday. He said the ministry was planning to implement a programme on ‘Development of solar cities’.

So far, sanction had been granted to 11 solar cities -- two each in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana, three in Maharashtra and one each in Uttarakhand and Nagaland. Further, an in-principle approval had been given for a city each in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura, two in Chhattisgarh, besides Chandigarh.

Under the plan, the Centre would be providing a financial support of up to Rs 50 lakh for each solar city to the state governments concerned for preparation of a master plan, awareness generation and capacity-building activities.

And for two model solar cities, financial support of 50 per cent, up to a maximum of Rs 9.5 crore, would be available towards the cost of installation of renewable energy systems. An amount of Rs 47.58 lakh had already been released for 11 cities sanctioned so far, added the Minister.

Top

 

Century’s longest solar eclipse on July 22

New Delhi, July 18
Gujarat's diamond city Surat, which will be the origin of the total solar eclipse on July 22, is gearing up for the "rare celestial event" where about 5,000 tourists are expected to come.

Notably, the eclipse would be the longest that will occur in this century. And the duration, as per Dr N Sahu, a senior scientist at Gujarat Science City, would not be surpassed until 123 years. “The eclipse will be seen in India from 0528 to 0740 IST, with the sun being totally invisible for nearly four minutes from 0626 to 0630 IST in Surat. Delhi will witness 80 per cent of the solar eclipse,” Dr Sahu added.

Calling the phenomenon "marvellous and exciting", Gujarat Ministry of Tourism along with ISRO and the Surat district administration are making all arrangements to popularise the event across the country and abroad by inviting people to witness the occasion.

Gujarat tourism secretary DK Rao said, "We have identified some 250 houses under the concept of 'Athithi Devo Bhava' where the local host will accommodate guests free of food and lodging costs…We have also sent notification to some additional 500 houses in case we have more guests.”

He said people who wanted to avail the scheme could visit Gujarat tourism's official website. Over 5,000 tourists, said Rao, were expected and 60 per cent hotel reservations had also been made. Tourists from UK, Japan and Germany had also made their bookings.

Rao described the initiatives of the state government “purely as an awareness-cum-educational campaign with no commercial interests”. “We want to do away with all the superstitions that are attached with eclipses,” he said.

The local administration is also distributing about 10,000 solar filter glasses free of cost, which will protect the eyes from the ultra-violet rays of the sun that are released during the eclipse. — PTI

Top

 

RSS tacitly approves of Shourie’s tirade
Faraz Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
The RSS has virtually put its seal of approval on BJP leader Arun Shourie’s tirade against the BJP leadership, confirming what many in the BJP believe has been launched by former Editor of the Indian Express with the Sangh’s tacit approval.

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya has suggested a “Larger debate” on the issues raised by Shourie in his four-part serial which concluded yesterday.

Vaidya, who had written twice earlier holding the BJP’s dilution of ideology responsible for its defeat in the general election, has noted that the MP should have used the party fora for raising these issues, but agreed with the issues he has raised.

Vaidya said, “The larger points raised by him (Shourie) are extremely important, that there should be no dilution of the party ideology and that there should be no place for coteries in mass-based parties.”

Vaidya’s tacit approval of Shourie’s tirade merely confirmed the suspicion of a section of the BJP, as reported by The Tribune yesterday, that Shourie has not just unilaterally launched his tirade. Rather that this is symptomatic of a war of nerves between Leader of Opposition LK Advani and the Sangh, which had wanted him to retire gracefully after leading the BJP to a debacle in the recent general election.

Add to this the insistence of BJP Preisdent Rajnath Singh not to proceed with any disciplinary action against Shourie on this count. BJP deputy parliamentary party leader Sushma Swaraj had stated that there was no move to refer Shourie’s case to the party’s disciplinary committee chaired by Ram Naik. Now Naik has clarified that only the BJP parliamentary board or its leader Advani or President Rajnath Singh can iniitiate any action. 

Top

 

Classification allowance for jawans from Jan 2006
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Some more clarity has emerged in the recent announcement on pensions of retired ex-servicemen and officers. Union Minister of the state Defence MM Pallam Raju told the Rajya Sabha that the committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to look into the issue of “one rank, one pension” and related issues has submitted its report recommending the following benefits to substantially improve the pension for the PBORs and commissioned officers, which have been accepted by the government.

The benefits are: Inclusion of classification allowance for jawans from January 1, 2006; removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years from January 1, 2006; revision of Lt Gen pension after carving out a separate pay scale for them; bringing parity between pension of pre and post October 10, 1997 jawans and further improving pensions for jawans based on award of GOM 2006.

The minister said: “Since the issue on which they were agitating has been adequately addressed by the committee, the government expects them to honour their hard earned medals”. He was pointing out to the fact that several officers and jawans had handed over their gallantry medals to President Pratibha Patil.

Top

 

Lieutenant-generals to get higher pay scales
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Central government has hiked the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) pay scales of Lieutenant Generals and equivalent to Rs 67,000-79,000 per month along with an inbuilt increment of Rs 6,000 as notional Military Service Pay (MSP).

Earlier these officers had been placed in the scale of Rs 37,400-67,000 (Pay Band-4) with a grade pay of plus Grade Pay Rs 12,000.

Sources said that the corrigendum to the special Army instruction dealing with the pay scales of lieutenant generals was signed by the Ministry of Defence yesterday evening.

The top 33 per cent of lieutenant generals, Vice-admirals and air marshals were already in a higher scale of Rs 75,500-80,000 (called HAG-Plus). Army commanders and corps commanders who could not be elevated as Army commanders due to lack of residual service, were already in the even higher apex grade scale of Rs 80,000.

As a result of this, the basic pension of lieutenant generals who retired prior to 2006 is expected be fixed at Rs 36,500 per month (50 per cent of minimum scale plus Rs 3,000 as notional MSP fitment). Lieutenant generals who retired as Army commanders and selected corps commanders shall continue to draw Rs 40,000 fixed as basic pension, while pension of post-2006 retirees will be 50 per cent of the last drawn emoluments.

Government sources said in the near future the same scale could also extended to all other HAG officers of the Central government. Most of the pre-2006 retired civilian All -India Service officers, who are direct appointees, are HAG retirees and if the same scale is implemented for them, they shall be placed at a basic pension of Rs 33,500.

Top

 

Cong forms poll panels for Haryana, M’rashtra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
With Assembly elections approaching in Maharashtra and Haryana, the Congress party on Saturday constituted two high-level committees to coordinate poll related work.

While the panel for Maharashtra will be headed by senior leader AK Antony, who is in-charge of party affairs for the state, the one for Haryana will be led by AICC general secretary Prithviraj Chavan, who looks after the party's affairs there.

The Haryana committee will have AICC general secretary BK Hariprasad and Punjab PCC working president Mohinder Singh Kaypee as members. Other members in the Maharashtra panel include AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan. AICC secretaries Mohan Prakash and Praveen Rashtrapal will also be members of the panel.

While Congress is in power in Maharashtra for the last 10 years in alliance with NCP, in Haryana elections are due by February but are likely to be advanced.

Top

 

BL Joshi new UP Guv

New Delhi, July 18
Senior Congress leader Margaret Alva and former Rajasthan Governor Jagannath Pahadia were among four new Governors appointed by the Centre tonight while BL Joshi was moved from Uttarakhand to “politically sensitive” Uttar Pradesh.

Another senior Congress leader Devendra Nath Dwivedi was appointed as Governor of Gujarat in place of Nawal Kishore Sharma, who is demitting office on July 24.

Governor of Jharkhand Syed Sibtey Razi was moved to Assam while Nagaland Governor K. Sankaranarayanan was shifted to Ranchi, a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said. Both Razi (appointed Governor in December 2004) and Sankaranarayanan (appointed Governor in February 2007) will serve in Guwahati and Ranchi, respectively, for the rest of their tenures.

Seventy three-year-old Joshi, who was first appointed Governor of Meghalaya in April 2007 before being moved to Uttarakhand, will serve his remaining tenure in Uttar Pradesh till 2012. He has also served as Lt Governor of Delhi for nearly three years.

Alva (67) will be the first woman Governor of Uttrakhand after the state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000. Alva, who has had a long career in Parliament, had worked as a minister in governments headed by Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narisimha Rao. She was inducted into politics by her in-laws Jochim and Violet Alva -- the first Parliamentarian couple.

Pahadia has been appointed the Governor of Haryana, where Assembly elections are due by early next year, in place of AR Kidwai. Pahadia, also a former Union Minister, had served as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan in early 1980s.

Congress leader Iqbal Singh was appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. — PTI

Top

 

Hotel uses politician to boost sales
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 18
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi may not have made much impact on voters in the recent elections but the fiery image of its leader K Chandrasekhar Rao has proved to be a marketing mascot for a city-based restaurants.

One such restaurant, Hotel “Moksh” located in the up-market Banjara Hills area, has come up with an advertisement campaign using the TRS founder president’s caricature in an innovative way.

Hoardings and posters have sprung up at key locations in the city featuring the ad with a caption saying “Even Telangana Heroes will love it.”

The ad campaign, which uses Rao’s caricature prominently along with the caption, is about the restaurant’s Andhra Food Festival. Though the innovative poster has prompted several people to flock to the restaurant to sample the Andhra fare, the sarcasm and the gentle barb did not go unnoticed.

Rao’s party had in the past carried out a fierce campaign against hotels serving “Andhra cuisine”. The TRS, which is fighting for a separate Telangana state, detests anything that represents the culture of coastal Andhra region. It argues that Telangana has a distinct cultural identity which is under threat from other regions of Andhra Pradesh.

The TRS is particularly averse to what it calls “cultural invasion” by coastal Andhra people. The party has been targeting hotels, educational institutions and other businesses run by Andhra entrepreneurs.

The sub-regional party had even threatened to attack hotels serving Andhra cuisine and displaying boards with a tag “Andhra Food”.

By running a banter-filled ad campaign, the popular restaurant has invited the wrath of TRS leaders. They are upset that the restaurant has shown their leader in poor light.

Taking strong objection to the ad, the TRS youth wing leader B Rammohan said, “We will convey our feelings to the restaurant manager. If they do not react positively, they will have to face our wrath.”

However, the restaurant manager Naveen said that they had used Rao’s caricature in good faith. “We do not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings,” he added.

Popular coastal Andhra dishes like Bommidyala Pulusu, Peethala Iguru, Ulava Chaaru, Nellore chicken, Chepala Pulusu are being served at the food festival. Gutti Vankaya Kura, Pulihora, Andhra pulao and Raagi Sankati are also part of the vegetarian menu.

Restaurant officials claim that the food was being relished by all sections of people and that the ad had indeed served its purpose.

Top

 

AP to have nuclear power reactor
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 18
Andhra Pradesh (AP) is set to be among the first set of beneficiaries of the Indo-US nuclear deal. The state has been selected for setting up a nuclear power reactor as part of the civilian nuclear agreement. 

An announcement in this regard is likely to be made during the current visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, official sources said here.

Kowada, a remote village in West Godavari district, has been identified by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for establishing the nuclear reactor under the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.

NPCIL, a public sector enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), will set up the reactor in collaboration with US-based Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC).

Kowada is one of the four sites identified for establishment of the nuclear parks in India. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India is planning four nuclear parks, with 45,000 MW capacity, at Pati Sonapur (Orissa), Haripur (West Bengal), Kutch (Gujarat) and Kowada.

The identification of the sites follows an assurance given by India, through a letter of intent under the nuclear deal, which commits the country to purchase 10,000 MW from US nuclear companies and mark “at least two sites” for this purpose.

Former US President George W. Bush had, in December last year, signed a nuclear deal with India in a major step towards allowing New Delhi to buy US reactors and fuel for the first time in three decades.

India has a huge energy deficit and the nuclear deal opens up a market worth billions to US companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse Electric.

Apart from naming nuclear sites, Hillary Clinton is expected to sign another agreement on end-use monitoring of sensitive US technology and equipment.

Top

 

Bandh was a necessity: Pranab
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 18
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also WBPCC president, today justified yesterday"s Banglabandh called by the party which Trinamool and other anti-Left parties also supported. He pleaded that such protest by the Congressmen was a necessity in the face of the prolonged attacks and tortures by the cadres.

He regretted the inconveniences caused to the people during the bandh. But he squarely blamed the state administration and the police for their failure in tackling the law and order situation during the bandh.

Railway minister Mamata Banerjee also said that such protests and bandh against the CPI(M)’s atrocities were necessary. She demanded Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s resignation for his failure in running the government and also misusing the police and the administration for the political purposes.

The TMC supremo today held talks with the WBPCC (l) president and stressed that the necessity of the Central intervention to the state’s law and order situation. Both the leaders decided to launch massive campaign jointly for defeating the CPI(M) in the coming municipal polls in Kolkata, Howrah and Salt Lake early next year and subsequently in the state Assembly polls in 2011.

Talking to mediapersons at the WBPCC office in Kolkata today, the Finance Minister said as a matter of policy they are opposed to any bandh. But in certain situations the aggrieved people find no other alternative but to observe a bandh and yesterday’s bandh called by the congressmen was such an occasion, he remarked.

He alleged after their defeat in the last Lok Sabha polls, the CPI(M) launched a planned attacks on the Congressmen and the TMC workers in all the districts and the police were also siding with the cadres. The Finance Minister said the attack on the Congress delegation at Mongolkot was an ugly event which could only happen in an undemocratic society.

Top

 

Hillary cautions India against treading high-carbon path

Mumbai, July 18
While supporting India's efforts to eradicate poverty, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today cautioned New Delhi from treading the high-carbon path and repeating mistakes committed by Americans in contributing to global pollution.

"We acknowledge now with President Obama that we have made mistakes in the US and we, along with other developed countries have contributed most significantly to the problem that we face with climate change...," she said.

But "we are hoping a great country like India will not make the same mistake," she said.

Clinton was echoing the sentiments of the US President who in Italy early this year had stated that the US had "sometimes fallen short" of its responsibilities in controlling carbon emissions.

However, she was silent on India's demand in which it was seeking greater role of the developed countries, including the USA, in providing fund and technology for adaptation and mitigation to combat threats of climate change.

Instead, she hoped that India would leapfrog the dirty technologies that are leading to climate change while tackling the issue of poverty to uplift the life of its teeming population.

"Just as India went from a few years ago having very few mobile phones to now having more than 500 million cell phones by leapfroging over the infrastructure we built for telephone service, we believe it is entrepreneurial enough to figure out how to deal with climate change while continuing to lift people out of poverty and develop at a rapid rate," she added.

The latest data shows that while US is responsible for about 20 per cent of global CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, India, with its billion plus population, accounts for only 1.8 tonnes per capita.

At the international forum, India has been expressing its willingness to do more provided "there were credible arrangements to provide both additional financial support as well as technological transfers from developed to developing countries."

Emphasising that the problem of climate change cannot be addressed by "perpetuating the poverty" of developing countries, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently said in Parliament that as a responsible member of the international community, we recognise our obligation to preserve and protect our environment.

"We are willing to do more provided there are credible arrangements to provide both additional financial support as well as technological transfers from developed to developing nations," he had said. — PTI 

Top

 

Praises Indian women

Mumbai, July 18
Emphasising that the progress of women is directly linked to the progress of any country, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today assured her support to women’s development in India.

“For me, it is absolutely undeniable that the progress of women is directly linked to the progress of any country,” Clinton told reporters here.

“I am very impressed by Indian women. I have been involved with a number of organisations that have worked in India to promote economic opportunity and greater choices in the lives of women here,” she said.

“The more women have rights to health care, education, employment and a role in making decisions in their families and communities, the more quick development there will be,” the former US First Lady said.

“It is a priority of your government to create more literacy among women, more opportunities for women and I will do whatever I can to support and promote that development,” Clinton said. — PTI 

Top

 

Gehlot: Plan underway to save Jodhpur
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, July 18
Admitting that rising water levels may sink Jodhpur, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said the state government is preparing a disaster mitigation plan to save the Sun City from sinking into the rising water table.

In his reply over the issue before the Assembly yesterday, Gehlot said the government was concerned over the issue, particularly after its disaster management department reported the alarming rise in the level of underground water table.

“The situation is worrisome in Jodhpur,” admitted Gehlot, adding that a committee under the state Chief Secretary had been set up to monitor the situation and find a solution to the problem.

The government has also set the ball rolling regarding the identification of houses that pose threat to human lives due to the rising water level. It has decided to hire services of scientists belonging to the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, and the National Geographical Research Institute, Hyderabad.

Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna said a joint task force of the Jodhpur Municipal Corporation and Jodhpur Development Authority was carrying out a survey of houses in the affected areas. The survey would help the government to identify houses where the seepage of water had made them unfit for residential purpose.

The gravity of the situation could be gauged from the fact that the authorities were already pumping out water in 26 areas of the city as part of immediate measures.

Maderna said the government had chalked out a short-term and long-term plan to rid the city of water logging woes.

Top

 

SS Fund Scam
Jharkhand Guv faces flak for inaction
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, July 18
Jharkhand Governor-cum-Administrator Syed Sibte Razi’s indecisiveness in taking action against some of the state’s top police brass, including the DGP, reportedly involved in the Rs 8 crore Secret Service (SS) Fund scam has snowballed into a major political controversy. The opposition BJP has now demanded “action” against the Governor for “patronising corrupt police officers”.

Jharkhand BJP chief Raghuvar Das told reporters in Ranchi yesterday that the Governor, being the chief executive during President’s rule in the state, should hold a press conference to clarify his stand on the matter.

When contacted by The Tribune, Das said the corruption charges against the DGP, VD Ram, were of a “very serious nature and this will only demoralise the state’s police force”. He questioned Razi’s “strange silence on such a grave matter for over two weeks, even after both his advisor and former DGP, TP Sinha, and chief secretary, AK Basu, had recommended Ram’s immediate ouster as well as an inquiry by the CBI into the prima facie case of embezzlement of the SS fund”.

The scam came to light when the accountant general’s office in Ranchi did not receive the utilisation certificate pertaining to expenditure of Rs 5.6 crore on account of the SS fund. Ram withdrew the amount in cash through a single voucher on March 16, 2006. 

As per rules in such a case a utilisation certificate duly signed by the chief secretary (the fund’s controlling officer) as well as by the DGP or ADG of the special branch should have reached the accountant general by August 31, 2006. However, the AG received no such certificate even two years after the money was withdrawn. 

He also did not receive the certificate for expenditure of another Rs 2.5 crore on account of the fund withdrawn in a similar mode in March last year by special branch ADG Rajiv Kumar.

Following this, deputy accountant general M Roy Malakar wrote to Ram in May this year saying the police department was not following provisions stipulated by the special branch manual and the Bihar Financial Rules and the requisite documents pertaining to utilisation of SS funds were not being furnished to the AG’s office. In June he also sent reminders to the DGP, copies of which were also sent to the chief secretary.

The letter, noting the unusual heavy drawals in cash on a single voucher and in just one month, said the police department’s failure to submit the requisite documents to the AG even after 2-3 years smacked of foul play and the possibility of fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of government money could not be ruled out.

Top

 

10 cops booked for BSF trooper’s death

Vadodara, July 18
About 10 policemen have been booked on charges of having beaten to death a BSF trooper who was in custody over his scuffle with an ASI here, officials said today.

Noora Rathwa was arrested from his home in Hamirpur village yesterday on charges of attacking Kawant police station ASI Jandu Dadiya earlier in the day.

Dadiya was admitted to the SSG Hospital here with head injuries. His condition was stated to be critical, a police official said.

Rathwa was allegedly beaten by policemen and died last evening. As news of his death spread, his angry relatives and residents of Hamirpur village attacked the police station, injuring four policemen.

Among those charged with Rathwa’s custodial death is a sub-inspector. Rathwa had complained to officials at the Kawant police station that his daughter had eloped with a boy a few days ago and married him.

Yesterday, Rathwa learnt that policemen in Kawant had produced his daughter in court without telling him. This angered him and he attacked Dadiya following an argument over the issue. — IANS

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 |