SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

1 killed in Army firing during recruitment drive
Chandauli/Lucknow, July 19
An 18-year-old youth was today killed and three persons were injured as armymen opened fire on irate aspirants who went on a rampage during an army recruitment drive alleging irregularities in the process in Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh.
A vehicle burns after irate aspirants went on rampage during an Army recruitment drive in Chandauli district of UP A vehicle burns after irate aspirants went on rampage during an Army recruitment drive in Chandauli district of UP on Sunday. — PTI

CPI threatens stir over price rise
Patna, July 19
The CPI today attacked the Centre for its alleged failure in checking spurt in the prices of essential commodities and also threatened to launch a statewide agitation seeking a special category status for Bihar.



EARLIER STORIES



Women wait outside Mahankali Temple to offer prayer on the occasion of Bonalu festival in Hyderabad
Women wait outside Mahankali Temple to offer prayer on the occasion of Bonalu festival in Hyderabad on Sunday. — PTI

CID to probe Joshi house arson
But UP Cong wants CBI probe
Lucknow, July 19
The state government today shifted the investigation into the plundering and arson at UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s residence from the district police to the Crime Branch-CID.

Advani plans yatra to rejuvenate party cadre
New Delhi, July 19
BJP's drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha polls has not dented the spirit of its veteran leader L K Advani as he plans to embark on another 'yatra' across the country with an aim of rejuvenating the party cadre for future battles.

GM mosquitoes to help control dengue
Ahmedabad, July 19
In an attempt to prevent Aedes mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya, a new technology developed by the Oxford University will be lab-tested in the country to check the breeding of the vectors following a green signal from the government.

Govt undecided, may seek more time in SC
New Delhi, July 19
The Delhi High Court verdict legalising gay sex has put the government in a fix as it remains undecided about its stand in the Supreme Court, 10 days after a response was sought from it on the vexed issue.

Media urged to keep police on toes by ‘constructive criticism’
Guwahati, July 19
With public confidence in the men in uniform eroding fast, the country’s police force should not only perform but also function in a transparent manner as well as be responsive to common people to facilitate an image makeover.

Hoax callers may have to pay damages
Jaipur, July 19
Hoax callers, beware! Besides facing punishment for the criminal act, you may have to cough up few lakhs of rupees for the mobilisation of police force and mental trauma faced by them.

No competitive exam fees for women
New Delhi, July 19
The fair sex never had it so good as far as government recruitment policies are concerned. The latest instance being the decision to exempt women candidates from payment of fees for appearing in competitive examinations.

Mamata flags off first ladies special train
Kolkata, July 19
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee today flagged off the first ladies special train at Howrah which will run twice daily between Howrah and Bandel stations during peak hours for working women.

Chandrayaan still sending data to earth
Bangalore, July 19
In spite of losing a vital sensor due to thermal radiation from the sun, the country’s very first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, continues to script India’s success story in outer space by transmitting data to ground control.

Ecofriendly treatment of dye-effluents
Chennai, July 19
A research team of a college in Tiruchi has evolved an eco-friendly process for the safe disposal of effluents from the dyeing industry. S Senthil Kumar, who was the lone participant from India at the international conference ‘Biogeomon 2009’ in Helsinki, Finland, said he had presented a scientific evaluation of the research at the department of botany, Jamal Mohamed College.

Govt reserves 50 pc PG seats for rural docs
New Delhi, July 19
In a major bid to woo doctors for the National Rural Health Mission, the government has decided to offer huge quota benefits to those opting for rural stints.

MPs hail resumption of dialogue with Pak
New Delhi, July 19
Welcoming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s initiative to resume the dialogue process with Pakistan, Rajya Sabha members Tarlochan Singh and Naresh Gujral today said they were convinced that India needed friendship with its neighbour, and dialogue between the two countries must continue without conditions.

A dream come true: Kamal Haasan
Chennai, July 19
Starting off his career as a four-year-old boy in Tamil film “Kalathur Kannamma”, Kamal Haasan has risen to the ranks of top heroes in Indian cinema. He delivered a string of Bollywood hits like “Ek Duje Ke Liye” (1981), “Sadma” (1983) and “Saagar” (1985).

SC releases $2.3b for forests
New Delhi, July 19
The Supreme Court has released $2.3 billion of frozen funds to be used to boost forest density and wildlife habitats, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has said. The money would help improve tree cover on 6 million hectares (60,000 sq km) of degraded forest land, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told local media.





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1 killed in Army firing during recruitment drive

Magisterial probe ordered

Lucknow: The state government on Sunday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Describing the incident as unfortunate, state Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said the CM has ordered an inquiry and has instructed the Varanasi division Commissioner and IG to reach the spot to restore peace and prevent the trouble from spreading. Additional police force has also been rushed to the area. — TNS

Chandauli/Lucknow, July 19
An 18-year-old youth was today killed and three persons were injured as armymen opened fire on irate aspirants who went on a rampage during an army recruitment drive alleging irregularities in the process in Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh.

The violence spread to other part of Chandauli city, 300 km from Lucknow, with irate protesters torching vehicles and attacking the circle officer’s office and the district court, prompting the state government to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

“One person was killed and three others were injured during firing by armymen after the aspirants went on rampage alleging irregularity in recruitment process,” Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Brij Lal said.

Two companies of paramilitary Provincial Armed Constabulary comprising 200 personnel have been dispatched to maintain law and order. “The situation is now under control and senior officials are camping in Chandauli,” he said.

Chandauli SP Laxminarayan claimed that police were not informed about the recruitment rally at a local polytechnic. Nearly 2,000 youths, including many from Bihar, had gathered for the recruitment drive.

“There were scuffles between the youths and armymen and later the situation went out of control,” he said, adding an 18-year-old unidentified boy was killed in the firing and three others injured, including a local Jitendra Prasad. Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told reporters in Lucknow that the government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Giving details of the incident, Lal said the trouble broke out when armymen assaulted an aspirant, who alleged favouritism in the selection of the candidates.

Agitated youths then went on rampage and indulged in brick batting, official sources said.In a retaliatory move, the armymen fired killing one youth. The violence also led to a stampede.

Irate aspirants then spread to different parts of the city and torched vehicles and the circle officer’s office.

They vandalised district court premises, created ruckus at the railway station and damaged the station master’s office, sources said.

They also tried to set ablaze the district magistrate’s vehicle.

Brij Lal said that road and train traffic, which was stalled by the agitating aspirants, had resumed.

The Cabinet Secretary said that on the directions of the Chief Minister, a letter was being sent to the Central Government and the Ministry of Defence. “The MoD will be asked to ensure that the army should coordinate with local administration so that such incidents do not recur,” he said. — PTI

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CPI threatens stir over price rise

Patna, July 19
The CPI today attacked the Centre for its alleged failure in checking spurt in the prices of essential commodities and also threatened to launch a statewide agitation seeking a special category status for Bihar.

"The UPA, even after the presentation of the Union Budget for 2009-10, remains silent on how it proposes to rein in the spiralling prices of foodgrains, especially those of pulses," CPI general secretary A B Bardhan told reporters.

Voicing concern over the "neglect" of Bihar in the Union Budget for 2009-10, Bardhan said his party would hold demonstrations across the state seeking special state category. He claimed that CPI had been pressing for according the special status to Bihar since 1988.

"The CPI activists will hit the streets in large numbers to protest the Centre's apathy towards the cause of Bihar and seek formulation of a policy for controlling the price rise," he said.

CPI workers would also resort to "fill the jail" campaign from the block-level to the divisional headquarters on August 27, 28 and 29 next month, he said.

Bardhan said the demand for declaring the entire state as "drought-hit" would also be raised during the agitation.

Disputing the Centre's claim over improvement in the economic scenario, Bardhan said though the UPA government said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had registered an improvement, the fact was that the index remained stagnant at 10 per cent.

Referring to the Food Security Bill brought by the UPA, Bardhan said his party stood for continuing the PDS.

"It will be better if the PDS is universalised for all to reach the benefits to the below and above poverty line people," Bardhan said and claimed that a recent survey had revealed that around 78 per cent people in India were still earning less than Rs 20 a day, which reflected their plight.

Bardhan accused the UPA of leading the country to an "era of privatisation" giving thrust on disinvestment and public private partnership (PPP).

"The UPA has begun its second innings at the Centre with thrust on disinvestment and PPP which will lead to an era of privatisation of even PSUs like National Thermal Power Corporation, Bharat Heavy Engineering Limited and ONGC, all profit-making units and declared navratnas," the CPI leader said.

"It is not good for the country and such decision needs to be reviewed," he said and added that the move was aimed at "bridging the fiscal deficits in the Union Budget".

"The beginning of the second innings has made it amply clear that the Central government has nothing for the common people on its agenda and it is sad," Bardhan said. — PTI

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CID to probe Joshi house arson
But UP Cong wants CBI probe

Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, July 19
The state government today shifted the investigation into the plundering and arson at UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s residence from the district police to the Crime Branch-CID.

Her house had been completely ransacked and burnt down in the VIP high security zone in Lucknow on the night of July 15-16.

Announcing this at a press conference, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said the opposition parties were demanding an impartial inquiry into the incident where some people burnt down the Congress state president’s residence.

He pointed out that the state government has decided not to spare anyone whether he belongs to the Congress, the BSP or are anti-social elements. “Stringent action would be taken against the guilty as per the law”, Singh guaranteed.

“The CM has assured the opposition parties that her government believes in rising above party politics to maintain law and order,” pointed out the Cabinet Secretary.

He said the CM was so sensitive on the issue of establishing the rule of law that she had not even spared her own ministers and elected representatives on this account.

This is a U-turn from Mayawati’s first reaction on July 16 when she had refused to accept that her partymen were in any way involved in the incident of arson at Joshi’s residence.

“My cadre is far too disciplined to indulge in such activities. It appears that the Congress workers have done this so as to divert the attention from the issue of objectionable utterances of their state president in Moradabad”, Mayawati had said.

However, the shift in the government position today by ordering a CB-CID inquiry comes a day after the district police included the names of sitting BSP MLA from Bikapur Jitendra Singh, alias Babloo, and BSP Lucknow chief Intezar Abdi alias Bobby in the FIR yesterday.

Regarding the case against Joshi in Moradabad for her alleged derogatory remarks, Singh said legal action would continue.

The state Congress however, rejected the offer for a CB-CID inquiry reiterating their demand for a probe by the CBI.

Chairman of the media committee and Banda MLA Vivek Singh said that an impartial inquiry couldn’t be expected from the state’s CB-CID. “All circumstantial evidence point out that the arson at the state president’s residence was carried out by BSP leaders under police protection. Under such circumstances how can we expect the state police to conduct an impartial probe?” he questioned.

Yesterday, central minister of state for Coal Sri Prakash Jaiswal had announced that the Congress would continue to agitate till the state government ordered a CBI probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, the UP Congress was celebrating Sunday as ‘ Vijay Diwas’ in the state to express their happiness on the release of Joshi from Moradabad jail on interim bail yesterday. A Congress spokesperson said that the UPCC president would be given a warm welcome in the state capital tomorrow when she reaches here from New Delhi.

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Advani plans yatra to rejuvenate party cadre

New Delhi, July 19
BJP's drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha polls has not dented the spirit of its veteran leader L K Advani as he plans to embark on another 'yatra' across the country with an aim of rejuvenating the party cadre for future battles.

"I will not hold public meetings like I did during my rath yatras in the past. I plan to tour the country to meet my party worker at the local level and convince him that there is nothing unusual about an election defeat," Advani told PTI.

During the tour, the senior leader will hold meetings with the party cadre and discuss their grievances and the reasons that led to the BJP's dismal performance. He will also give pep talk to the cadre to lift their sagging morale.

The 81-year-old Advani, who reluctantly agreed to become Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha when the party's central leadership pleaded with him after failing to arrive at a consensus on any other candidate, seems to have sprung back to his earlier energetic self.

He has been following a busy schedule since the Lok Sabha poll campaigns.

Advani, who will soon come out with Marathi and Urdu versions of his autobiography 'My Country My Life', is likely to take up the yatra in September after the three-day 'Chintan Baithak' (brainstorming session) of the party gets over on August 21.

Advani's rath yatras have changed the fortunes of the BJP in the past.

His Somnath to Ayodhya Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 built a movement in the country on the Ram temple issue. It also apparently changed the political fortunes of BJP which formed a 13-day government in 1996. It had only two MPs in 1984.

Advani also undertook the Janadesh Yatra in 1993. In 2006, he embarked on the Bharat Suraksha Yatra to convince the masses that UPA government was not serious about tackling terrorism due to its policy of minority appeasement.

However, this time there would be no rabble-rousing of the man on the street. The target would be the BJP party worker, who appears to be jaded after two consecutive Lok Sabha defeats.

"I want to meet the BJP leaders from all wings of the party -- the students, the youth and the party cadre. They should realise that the single biggest achievement of the BJP has been ending the hegemony of the Congress and making India a bi-polar polity," Advani said.

BJP top brass has made all efforts to convince the party cadre that the Lok Sabha results, in which BJP was reduced from 2004 tally of 138 to 116, was not a rout. — PTI

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GM mosquitoes to help control dengue

Ahmedabad, July 19
In an attempt to prevent Aedes mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya, a new technology developed by the Oxford University will be lab-tested in the country to check the breeding of the vectors following a green signal from the government.

Scientists at Oxford University and its offshoot company Oxitec have come up with a new technology whereby genetically modified male Aedes mosquitoes could be released to mate with female mosquitoes of the species and the resulting larvae are destined to perish without becoming adults.

It is hoped that sustained releases of this mosquito could suppress the population of the biting female mosquitoes below the level at which they cannot spread these diseases.

“Only male mosquitoes are used in the technology and since these cannot bite, the technology will not result in biting nuisance or increased transmission of any disease. It is environmentally-friendly because Aedes aegypti will only mate with its own species,” SS Vasan, Oxitec's head of public health, said.

After two years of review and inspections, India's Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), under the Department of Biotechnology has given permission to the International Institute of Biotechnology and Toxicology (IIBAT) near Chennai to import eggs of these mosquitoes to conduct tests under containment

RCGM has also appointed a five-member sub-committee of government experts to oversee these experiments.

“Our attempt is to experiment and evaluate a new tool available to us," Brij Kishore Tyagi, one of the experts in the Monitoring & Evaluation Committee who heads an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) centre in Madurai, said.

Aedes mosquitoes breed in clear, stagnant water and their eggs can be dormant for even a year, so getting rid of all the breeding sites may be desirable but not practical.

According to experts on the subject, fogging with insecticides has been shown to be of limited effectiveness and their overuse could lead to resistance and residues in the environment, so new methods such as GM mosquitoes are needed because there is no specific medicine or Vaccine for chikungunya as well as for the four sterotypes of dengue. — PTI

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Gay Sex
Govt undecided, may seek more time in SC

New Delhi, July 19
The Delhi High Court verdict legalising gay sex has put the government in a fix as it remains undecided about its stand in the Supreme Court, 10 days after a response was sought from it on the vexed issue.

"No affidavit has been filed in the court as yet. It has to be seen what happens in the court," Attorney General GE Vahanvati, who will appear in the matter, told PTI.

"You have to wait and watch what happens in the court tomorrow," he said.

While the Centre remained non-committal about its stand on the high court verdict, which has been opposed by different sections of society, including religious leaders of all communities and a child rights body, gay rights activists have drawn up a detailed strategy to defend the verdict.

"We will file our response to the appeals after it is admitted by the apex court," said Shivangi Rai, the lawyer actively associated with the NGO Naz Foundation on whose PIL the high court on July 2 had declared the penal provision (under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code) for gay sex among consenting adults in private as unconstitutional.

The apex court had issued notice to the Centre, seeking its response on the petition filed by a Delhi astrologer challenging the high court verdict.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, which will hear the matter tomorrow, had said during the earlier hearing that "any interim order against the high court verdict, if necessary, will be considered only after hearing the parties concerned.”

Notices were also issued to Naz Foundation, the NGO, and other respondents who were parties before the high court.

Astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal has sought quashing of the July 2 high court judgement, legalising gay sex between consenting adults in private, which was earlier a criminal offence punishable with up to life imprisonment. "If such abnormality is permitted, then tomorrow people might seek permission for having sex with animals," Kaushal had argued.

He had claimed that since the high court verdict there had been seven gay marriages, raising several questions that could impact on the very institution and added, "We have to look at our own scriptures to seek guidance from and they are against such behaviour in our society."

Law Minister Veerappa Moily had said that a three-member ministerial group had been tasked with looking at all aspects of the verdict.

The petitioner contended that homosexual acts, by all standards, were "unnatural" and could not be permitted. "No one can imagine the consequences of the unnatural acts. Even animals don't indulge in such activities," he said in his petition.

The high court verdict, widely welcomed by gay activists, sparked off a controversy with several political leaders asking the government to appeal against it in the Supreme Court. — PTI

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Media urged to keep police on toes by ‘constructive criticism’
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 19
With public confidence in the men in uniform eroding fast, the country’s police force should not only perform but also function in a transparent manner as well as be responsive to common people to facilitate an image makeover. This was underlined by eminent speakers at a seminar on the theme ‘Police-media relations: An interface’, organised by the Centre for Development & Peace Studies (CDPS) here today.

The speakers called upon the media to keep the police force, which they should understand has a tough job on its hands, on its toes through ‘constructive criticism’ only and not by taking recourse to sensationalism.

Setting the tone of the meet as keynote speaker, HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, said: “The police’s image depends mostly on its performance and not on good media coverage. Police-media relations should not be too cosy as that would hinder both in discharging their duty. The media should keep the police on its toes through constructive criticism.”

“The police should respond promptly not only to the rich and powerful but also to the poor and downtrodden. It has to send out a clear message to the public by performing better. Excessive use of force, custodial deaths and fake encounter killings that happen in the country obviously hurt the force’s image,” he added.

Stating the police should also keep the media informed within permissible limits to prevent it from resorting to sensationalism, Dua denounced the trend of ‘trial by media’ of events by TV channels. He said the country was left with a bad taste by insensitive TV coverage of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks as well as the lacklustre coordination among different security forces in tackling the crisis. There were lessons to be learnt from this, he emphatically pointed out.

Assam police director general GM Srivastava admitted policemen sometimes became “unnecessarily secretive” due to a lack of self-confidence. “The media too should understand the tough job on our hands. Sometimes it becomes too demanding on sharing information with it,” he observed.

Patricia Mukhim, editor of a Meghalaya daily, compared police-media relations with those of an “incompatible couple plagued by a love-hate relationship”. She felt the police should have a ‘media policy’ as the fourth estate “just couldn’t be avoided.”

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi agreed transparency and performance were the keys to improving the police’s image. He, however, said the force should avoid confrontation with the media.

Former BSF director general EN Rammohan stressed the men in uniform should be “absolutely transparent and scrupulous in their actions”. He noted there was no easy way to end political interference that often forced the police to “hide facts” from the media.

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Hoax callers may have to pay damages

Jaipur, July 19
Hoax callers, beware! Besides facing punishment for the criminal act, you may have to cough up few lakhs of rupees for the mobilisation of police force and mental trauma faced by them.

The Rajasthan police is likely to lead the way with Jaipur IG Pankaj Kumar Singh busy drafting a civil suit against three accused, seeking damages of Rs 5 lakh each from them.

In two such cases, accused Azam Khan and Mohammed Anwar had thrown Jaipur cops into a tizzy after making crank calls about planting of bomb in busy markets.

“After all, the police need to have a deterrent against such pranksters and they cannot be allowed to go scot-free after facing jail term of some months or maximum of two years,” Kumar said.

In certain cases, the police, after arresting the hoax caller, found to their surprise that the phone call was made to settle a personal dispute.

“You see, in the first case, where we have filed a civil suit against Wahiduddin (an accused in another case) seeking damages of Rs 1.15 lakh. He had made the call after purchasing a SIM card in the name of his son-in-law.

The similarity between the Khan and Anwar cases is that both of them stole mobile phones of their friends and made crank calls to the police about planting a bomb in Ram Gunj and Lal Kothi areas of Jaipur on April 25 and June 21, respectively.

Besides these, the police is planning to file three more civil suits against other such callers, which is expected to act as a deterrent. Jaipur city had nine cases of hoax calls this year.

“We can never take any threat lightly, especially after the May serial blasts last year. Such hoax calls create problems as most police personnel and officers join in detecting the supposed explosive material," Kumar said, adding numbers of vehicles, fire brigades, dog squad, ambulances and bomb disposal squad had to be rushed to the spot. — PTI

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No competitive exam fees for women

New Delhi, July 19
The fair sex never had it so good as far as government recruitment policies are concerned.

The latest instance being the decision to exempt women candidates from payment of fees for appearing in competitive examinations.

The government has said women candidates need not pay fees in competitive examinations for direct recruitment, department competitive examinations and interview conducted by Union Public Service Commission and Staff Selection Commission.

Recently, the government had written to the secretaries of all ministries and departments at the Centre, UPSC and Staff Selection Commission to instruct all appointing authorities to scrupulously ensure better representation of women in Central government jobs.

In a series of guidelines, it said the composition of selection committees should be such which ensured maximum women representation. It should be mandatory to have at least one woman member in selection boards for making recruitment of 10 or more vacancies and women candidates were expected to be available for the posts.

With a view to monitoring the trend in recruitment of women, all ministries and departments are requested to submit a consolidated report on the total number of posts and employees latest by August 31.

The government’s move comes as a follow-up to President Pratibha Patil’s direction to the government in her address to joint sitting of Parliament to make concerted efforts to increase representation of women in Central government jobs.

The government has also taken special care of persons with disability in government services.

A recent order said a government employee who acquires disability after entering into service would be entitled to get the benefit of reservation as a person with disability from the date he produced a valid certificate for the same.

Observing that various ministries and departments sought clarification in this regard, the government said its previous order did not make any distinction between persons acquiring disability before or after entering into service. — PTI

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Mamata flags off first ladies special train
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 19
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee today flagged off the first ladies special train at Howrah which will run twice daily between Howrah and Bandel stations during peak hours for working women.

The minister announced that such special trains would soon be introduced in Delhi and Chennai.

Inaugurating the train at Howrah today, she said it would start running between Sealdah and Kalyani from next month.

She said the Railway Board had been directed to implement all budgetary decisions to avoid inconvenience.

Mamata announced that two non-stop Rajdhani Express would soon start running from Howrah and Mumbai to New Delhi in August.

Similarly, several new mail and suburban trains would also be introduced in different states as decided in the Railway Budget.

Mamata said she was interested in developing the Railways everywhere in the country by introducing new lines and extending its networks in remote and inaccessible places. Mamata announced that during ensuing puja festivals, 120 pairs of special trains would be running from Howrah and Sealdah to the country’s different destinations.

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Chandrayaan still sending data to earth
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 19
In spite of losing a vital sensor due to thermal radiation from the sun, the country’s very first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, continues to script India’s success story in outer space by transmitting data to ground control.

The mission’s project director, M Annadurai, told The Tribune today only one payload out of the eleven aboard the satellite had been affected by the rise in its height from the lunar surface. He said the Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI), which was to prepare an elevation map of the moon by determining the height difference between the spacecraft and the lunar surface, had lost its usefulness as a result of the increased height of the spacecraft’s orbit.

The ISRO scientist said “external radiation” was the most likely cause of the spacecraft’s ‘star sensor’ developing a malfunction. The affected sensor gave orientation to the spacecraft with the help of light coming from stars and constellations.

The spacecraft’s height was raised on May 19 to 200 kilometres from the lunar surface from the previous 100 km to protect it from the radiation and also to bring down the temperature inside the craft. The radiation problem affecting the spacecraft gave rise to speculation that the X ray spectrometer (CIXS) aboard it might have been put off, since using the instrument could further enhance radiation related problems.

Annadurai, however, refuted this, saying the CIXS had been sending data to the ground station. He revealed though Chandrayaan’s orientation problem had been tackled by using the gyroscope (kept as a backup in the event of failure of the star sensor), the spacecraft is also facing problems in the control department. “We have lost its redundancy”, he stated.

Redundancy in space exploration parlance means there is a standby system in the event of a device failure. For instance the electromagnetic gyroscope, which was activated to compensate for the loss of the star sensor, was a redundancy mechanism.

Losing the spacecraft’s redundancy means there is now no backup system for controlling Chandrayaan. “In case the existing system malfunctions the spacecraft will go out of our control”, said Annadurai. “This damage, too, was caused by external radiation. The spacecraft and its payload were provided protection against the vagaries of outer space, but there’s a limit to what these protective shields can do”, he added.

Chandrayaan, which was launched from Sriharikota on October 22, has been designed for a two-year life span. ISRO scientists associated with the mission are hoping with the spacecraft’s orbit raised to 200 km from the moon’s surface it should not be a problem for the craft to complete its two-year mission.

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Ecofriendly treatment of dye-effluents
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 19
A research team of a college in Tiruchi has evolved an eco-friendly process for the safe disposal of effluents from the dyeing industry. S Senthil Kumar, who was the lone participant from India at the international conference ‘Biogeomon 2009’ in Helsinki, Finland, said he had presented a scientific evaluation of the research at the department of botany, Jamal Mohamed College.

Senthil Kumar along with two team members - lecturer in Biotechnology MS Mohamed Jaabir and professor in the department of botany R Ravikumar - had presented the evaluation paper at the conference, which was the sixth international symposium on ecosystem behaviour. It was organised jointly by the University of Helsinki, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) and the Finnish Environment Institute in association with the Czech Geological Survey, Villanova University (USA), University of Reading (UK), Geological Survey of Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

He said the textile industry discharged huge volumes of untreated dye effluents into the river systems and other water bodies, especially in the textile cities of Tirupur, Perundurai, Erode and Karur belt in Tamil Nadu, contaminating the groundwater. The effluents were posing a great threat to farming operations. At present, reverse osmosis was the only alternative but an expensive solution to be implemented by small scale industries with massive maintenance cost, Senthil Kumar said.

Senthil Kumar said the research team undertook a study to change the quality of water discharged by the dyeing industry. They selected bacteria from solid wastes from the dumping yards of the textile units. A research conducted on the soil samples revealed 24 different bacteria capable of removing colour and other unpleasant qualities like odour from the effluents.

The study revealed that three organisms could perform at the best level and enable 97 per cent removal of colour from the effluents. These three organisms were further identified based on advanced molecular biological techniques.

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Govt reserves 50 pc PG seats for rural docs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
In a major bid to woo doctors for the National Rural Health Mission, the government has decided to offer huge quota benefits to those opting for rural stints.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who had earlier listed the growth of human resources in health among his 100-day priorities, today said the government would offer 50 per cent reservation in PG diploma seats to medical students on the condition that they practise in rural areas for three years after their MBBS and for two years after their PG course.

Earlier, the Health Minister, while setting out his agenda, had promised enhanced salaries and perks to doctors and experts who agree to go on rural postings. Now the government has finalised the scheme which, for the time being, has been extended to in-service doctors with the idea of retaining talent in the rural sector.

These doctors, said Azad, would not be required to write the entrance exam and would be eligible for direct admission. The Health Ministry has approved the plan and sent a draft notification to the Medical Council of India (MCI), for notification.

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MPs hail resumption of dialogue with Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
Welcoming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s initiative to resume the dialogue process with Pakistan, Rajya Sabha members Tarlochan Singh and Naresh Gujral today said they were convinced that India needed friendship with its neighbour, and dialogue between the two countries must continue without conditions.

We also need to strengthen people to people contacts, the two MPs said, adding that the PM’s move was in the best interest of India because lasting friendship with Pakistan was the need of the hour.

“We need to develop a healthy atmosphere where the two countries, which are victims of terrorism, can strengthen their relations. People across borders, especially in the two Punjabs, are also keen on peace because they have so much to trade with each other. We are very happy that the PM has taken this bold stand. It would be helpful to the economy as well,” said Tarlochan Singh.

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A dream come true: Kamal Haasan
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Kamal HaasanChennai, July 19
Starting off his career as a four-year-old boy in Tamil film “Kalathur Kannamma”, Kamal Haasan has risen to the ranks of top heroes in Indian cinema. He delivered a string of Bollywood hits like “Ek Duje Ke Liye” (1981), “Sadma” (1983) and “Saagar” (1985). While giving box office superhits in Bollywood as well as south Indian film industry, he has created a niche for himself in parallel cinema also. His dedication, superlative acting skills and amazing comic timing have won him the national award for the best actor more than once.

Apart from being a talented actor, Kamal is an intellectual who writes scripts and directs movies. Loved and idolised for his zeal for experimentation and films with social messages, Kamal is an inspiration for many. A professed atheist, Kamal’s Marxist leanings have not prevented him from surviving in the commercial and competitive cinema world for over four decades.

Kamal is currently involved in a self-organised workshop where renowned writers and directors give lessons to potential wannabes on script writing. It is amazing to see Kamal don the role of an avid student, with a writing pad and pen, at the workshop.

In an exclusive interview, Kamal speaks about the workshop and his association with it.

Q: Can you explain the reasons for organising such a workshop for young writers?

Kamal: This is my dream for the past thirty years. When I entered the film world, I wanted to learn about film script writing. But, no one taught me anything. I wanted a good understanding of film scripts. I watched many Hollywood movies. Most of them were watched atleast six to seven times. But, still I was not able to understand script-writing techniques fully.

Q: Then, how did you learn script writing?

Kamal: Finally, I met Anandhu, (a close associate of popular Tamil film director K Balachander, who directed “Ek Duje Ke Liye”). He taught me the intricacies of script writing. I also read many books. I had to sacrifice my sleep to study those books. Most of the writers, who knew the art of script writing, maintained it as a secret among themselves. When I approached many writers to learn the art, no one came forward to teach me. They were reluctant even to discuss the subject with me. I wanted to teach the art of script writing to upcoming writers, who find themselves in the same situation, where I found myself then. Every parent thinks that his child should learn what he was not able to learn. This workshop was arranged with a similar motive.

Q: Who are the teachers involved in the project?

Kamal: I met three people who could realise the dream -Anjum Rajpali, Atul Tiwari and Hariharan. Anjum was a teacher in Pune Film Institute, who fought for a separate teacher for script writing in the institute. He can easily explain even the most delicate and tough subjects. Tiwari belongs to the National School of Drama. He is well versed in film stories, screenplay and translation. Hariharan is a student of Pune Film Institute and a good filmmaker. He is moulding several experts in Prasad Academy.

Q: Is it a financially viable venture?

Kamal: Money is not the motive. I do not want to increase my bank account by this project. This is a dream come true for us. Earning money is not the objective. It is sufficient, if at least three people from the workshop became prospective screen writers.

Q: Do you believe individuals can bring about drastic changes?

Kamal: Anything is possible, if the energy of an individual emanates through many people. People say the same kind of subjects were done during when renowned film stars MGR and Sivaji Ganesan were in their peak. This is not true. Many new experiments were tried under their shadow. My film “Hey Ram” was influenced by one such movie. Tamil story writer Jayakanthan (A Sahitya Akademy winner) also tried new experiments. The experiments are continuing.

Q: Do you have plans to provide opportunities to participants in the workshop?

Kamal: I am involved in producing in 30 short films, based on Chennai. Scriptwriters for the films will be handpicked from this workshop.

Q: Are you planning to go to other cities also?

Kamal: We will begin with Chennai. We will go to other cities as well. We are not making documentaries. It’s about the fictional world of writers as they look at Chennai. Oscar-winning French scriptwriter, Jean Claude Carriere, will guide some of these short films.

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SC releases $2.3b for forests

New Delhi, July 19
The Supreme Court has released $2.3 billion of frozen funds to be used to boost forest density and wildlife habitats, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has said. The money would help improve tree cover on 6 million hectares (60,000 sq km) of degraded forest land, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told local media.

“This money has been released by the Supreme Court,” said Kalpana Palkhiwala, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The government has refused to agree to binding emission cuts and sought rich nations to pledge deeper cuts of their own and promise billions in climate funds as part of a deal on a broader climate pact the United Nations hopes to seal at the end of the year.

The government released its first National Action Plan on Climate Change in 2008, in which one objective was promoting afforestation.

About 10 per cent of the forest money will be released each year for the next five years, and the bulk will go to five states with large forest areas.

The funds had piled up as companies given forest land by the government paid compensation. — Reuters

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