|N A T I O N|
BJP drive to 'expose'
An Indian parliamentary delegation, led by Lok Sabha Speaker G. M. C. Balayogi (third from left), during a visit to Iraq recently. Also seen in the picture is Punjab MP Amrik Singh Aliwal (first from right), who was part of the delegation.
issue: Iraq for bilateral solution
Fresh landslides hamper
to get Rs 8 lakh compensation
Act to be amended: Maneka
drug to treat diabetes
of victim get Rs 50,000 relief
Jethmalani, says Swamy
holds meeting on new CVC
not behind hooch tragedy: Jaya
famine may lead to exodus
BJP drive to
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 The Bharatiya Janata Party is launching a nationwide campaign from next month to "expose the disinformation campaign" of the Opposition.
Addressing newspersons at the party headquarters, the BJP general secretary, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, said the party had identified 50 top leaders, including ministers, for undertaking the campaign, lasting two months and covering 450 districts of the country. The campaign will be held in two phases, he added.
The party has asked party leaders to spare at least 10 days for the campaign, Mr Naidu said. The party will expose the "double standards of the opposition".
The party has decided to organise district-level conferences in all districts of the country in September and October. Handbooks on the governments achievement and the Oppositions stand on various issues has been prepared, and this will be given to BJP workers upto Mandal level.
Stressing that there was no threat to the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre as no combination was in a position to provide a stable alternative, Mr Naidu claimed that "more and more people are coming forward to support the government".
When asked to specify persons and groups wanting to support the government, the BJP leader declined to elaborate.
On the AIADMK general secretary, Ms Jayalalithas latest threat to review support to the Vajpayee government, Mr Naidu evaded a direct reply saying that "reviews are done daily and there is nothing new". "There is no threat to the government", he asserted.
Welcoming the success of the Resurgent India Bonds (RIB) through which $ 4.16 billion have been collected, Mr Naidu said that this would enable the country to recover from the economic sanctions imposed by the USA following Indias nuclear tests.
"This shows mother Indias children abroad have shown their patriotic fervour",he said adding that it would give a psychological boost to the nations economic scenario.
Jaya not to attend MDMK rally
CHENNAI, Aug 28 (UNI) All-India Anna DMK general secretary J. Jayalalitha is likely to skip the September 15 Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) rally here to be addressed by, among others, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and Union Home Minister L.K. Advani, as she is scheduled to address a public meeting organised by her party at Tiruchirapalli on the same day.
An AIADMK release here said a meeting of party office-bearers chaired by Ms Jayalalitha decided that she would address a public meeting at Tiruchirapalli to mark the 90th birthday celebrations of the late C.N. Annadurai.
Ms Jayalalitha would garland Annadurai's statue at Chintamani in Rockfort town and address a public meeting.
Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani had already confirmed their visit to the city on September 15 to address the rally.
The AIADMK, earlier, had cancelled a victory rally to be addressed by Mr Vajpayee and leaders of other allied parties at Dindugul on August 2 "on security and weather grounds".
In a statement here, state BJP secretary L. Ganesan said in response to the request made by MDMK general secretary Vaiko and the state BJP unit, Mr Advani would also address the September 15 rally here.
He said, keeping in view the arrangements to be made for the September 15 rally, the state BJP decided to cancel the September 10 procession to be taken out to the state secretariat to press for a CBI probe into the February 14 Coimbatore serial blasts.
Instead, a party delegation would meet Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and hand over the signatures collected from the public to press the demand, he added.
The ruling DMK had already
decided to hold its rally at Tirunelveli on September 17,
instead in the city, to celebrate the late
Annadurais birthday to avoid any clash of dates
with the rally here to be addressed by the Prime
J&K issue: Iraq for bilateral
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 Iraq is of the view that the Jammu and Kashmir problem should be settled bilaterally between India and Pakistan.
This was conveyed to the Indian Parliamentary delegation led by the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, during their three-day visit to the country.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Balayogi said Iraq also supported nuclear tests conducted in May this year as being "within Indias sovereign rights".
The Speaker also had a one-to-one meeting with the Iraqi President, Mr Saddam Hussein. He said the President had practical and realistic understanding of Indias support to Iraq over the years.
As a special gesture, the President ordered the release of two fishermen from Kerala who had been imprisoned for entering Iraqi waters by mistake remitting four years out of six years in their sentence.
Mr Balayogi said the visit of Indias multi-party delegation between August 22 and 24, was the first high-level delegation which visited Iraq since the imposition of UN sanctions against the country.
The delegation had meetings with the Vice-President, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker, Iraqi National Assembly and Chairmen of Parliamentary Committees of Iraq.
The delegation included, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal (SAD), Mr M.A.A. Fatmi (RJD), Dr R.C. Tomar (BJP), Mr Mohd Azam Khan (SP), Mr M.A. Kadar (DMK) and Mr C.P. Mudalagiriyappa (Congress).
Mr Balayogi said the delegation reviewed the long-standing bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the two countries, particularly trade relations. India used to import oil worth $ 3 million before the U N sanctions and Iraq too was a significant market for Indias project exports.
He said that because of sanctions, social and economic infrastructure of Iraq had been paralysed, trains and planes remain grounded, educational institutions and hospitals are in bad shape, roads, power generation facilities, transport and communication facilities and industries also continue to remain paralysed.
The delegation briefed the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today on the outcome of the visit and conveyed to him concerns of Iraq.
Mr Balayogi said the Prime
Minister said steps to strengthen bilateral relations
especially in trade would be taken. The delegation
suggested there should be continued and intensified
efforts on the part of India to have sanctions withdrawn
at the earliest particularly considering the human
sufferings involved and the long-term bilateral interests
of India and Iraq by appropriate initiatives at the
international level, maximisation of trade under the
ongoing oil for food programme and arranging
exhibition of medicines and medical appliances produced
in India, as wanted by Iraqis.
Fresh landslides hamper relief work
LUCKNOW, Aug 28 (PTI) Heavy rain brought about fresh landslides and washed away a temporary foot-track prepared by Army in Malpa, hampering the ongoing rescue and relief work, Maj. General J. R. Mukherji in charge of the rescue operation at Central Command said here today.
Hostile weather conditions since last night had affected the rescue work and the Army jawans were now trying to repair the damaged track, he told PTI. In all 40 bodies had been extricated from the debris and brought to Dharchula. Eight of them were of pilgrims. The bodies were being cremated there itself, he said.
The soldiers were also looking for bodies if any in Kali river, he said.
At least 200 persons, including 60 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims belonging to the 12th batch, were feared killed in the massive landslides at Malpa on August 16 last.
He said 121 persons,
including 94 pilgrims of the ninth and 10th batches
stranded at Gunji, had been evacuated by Indian Air Force
(IAF) choppers while the 11th batch pilgrims were on
their way to Gunji from Taklakot, Chinese territory. They
are expected to reach Kalapani today. Once they arrive at
Gunji they too will be air-lifted, he added.
Youth to get Rs 8 lakh compensation
CHENNAI, Aug 28 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered a doctor to pay Rs 8 lakh as compensation to a young man who was rendered impotent after a circumcision.
The commission, headed by E.J. Bellie, observed in its order that there was sufficient evidence to establish that the amputation was performed by the doctor at a private nursing home in Villupuram.
The discharge certificate issued by the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Pondicherry, where 23-year-old C. Sivakumar was taken, also stated that amputation had been performed at the private hospital.
A physical verification and photographs clearly proved that only a small stump was left of the organ, the commission held and said the condition could come in the way of the man getting married and having children. No amount could adequately compensate the loss or the trauma undergone, the commission said.
According to the victim, the doctor attached to a government primary health centre advised him on June 17, 1993, to undergo a circumcision to clear a blocked urinary tract.
However, as there was bleeding, the doctor took him to the government hospital, which referred him to JIPMER, where the fact was discovered. He was admitted in JIPMER on June 18 and discharged about a month later, on July 13, 1993.
Disabilities Act to be amended: Maneka
BANGALORE, Aug 28 (PTI) Government intends to amend the Disabilities Act, to expand its scope and provide Income Tax rebate to the parents of disabled children, the Union Minister for Welfare, Mrs Maneka Gandhi said today.
At a function organised by the Lok Shakti here, she came down heavily on the previous governments for neglecting the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and announced that 4,000 NGOs in four different spheres would be funded by the government every year.
Only seven NGOs were given funds during the past two years and all grants for the disability sector were cut, the minister charged, adding that the ministry had lacked direction.
Mrs Gandhi said she had initiated several steps to help the NGOs, including removal of a rule which made it mandatory for an NGO to be three years old to become eligible to receive central funds.
She said an NGO could now approach her ministry directly instead of routing its proposal through the district authorities and the state.
Helping conserve Sunderbans
SAJNEKHALI (West Bengal), Aug 28 (PTI) Threatened by its own 3.5 million inhabitants, the ecosystem of the worlds largest mangrove, the Sunderbans, was falling apart until the forest authorities took up conservation projects to educate the locals and wean them away from environment-damaging occupations.
As the residents of the1,000-Odd villages in the Sajnekhali area (about 120 km from Calcutta) mainly depended on the winter rabi crop, there were hardly any options for them other than fishing for tiger prawn seedlings in the rivers criss-crossing the delta.
Armed with small hand-held nets, women and children fish for the seedlings all day long and in the process not only destroy seedlings of other fishes, but disturb the silt near the banks, notes Project Tiger Field Director K.C. Guin.
The catch is highest during full moon and new moon, when the tides, known in local parlance as bhora kotal, are the highest.
Despite the risk of tiger and crocodile attacks, women and children often enter the creeks in project tiger area in country boats for the seedlings which fetch handsome price in the market.
In a bid to arrest this ecologically damaging trend, the forest department, two years ago, adopted 27 villages to make the villagers conscious about the eco-system of the Sunderbans and take initiative in protecting its flora and fauna.
The select villages are among the 1000 villages on 102 islands falling outside the buffer zone of the sanctuary. Only 900 fishermen have permits for fishing in the restricted area.
The department has formed 14 eco-development committees near the Sajnekhali sanctuary and 10 forest development committees, comprising panchayat members and villagers, who are taught the necessity of preserving the ecology, the Field Director said.
All welfare programmes are taken up in consultation with the committees. The liaison with villagers has resulted in bringing down the number of tiger victims. Earlier, the villagers could not distinguish between the buffer zone and core area of project tiger.
Another welcome feature is that although villagers have identified the crocodile responsible for the death of three persons this year, they did not kill it, notes the visibly contented Range Officer, Mr Tapan Dasgupta.
Earlier they used to inject poison in the belly of a dead goat or a cow as bait to kill the reptiles, he said.
Fishing has become all the
more dangerous in the area as the number of crocodiles
has increased as a result of the Bhagatpur crocodile
project in interior south 24 Parganas, which released
them into the rivers, he said.
Ayurvedic drug to treat diabetes
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (PTI) An ayurvedic drug to treat mild diabetes without any side effects has been identified by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientists.
Vijayasar, a bark extract of a plant Pterocarpus marsupium, was found to be effective in treating about 67 per cent of patients suffering from Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), the scientists reported in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
Trials of the two-year study, carried out between 1993 and 1995, were conducted at the four ICMR collaborating centres in Delhi, Chennai, Cuttack and Kottayam.
The scientists compared the sugar levels in the body before and after the administration of Vijayasar for 12 weeks.
Tests carried out on 97 patients using two grams of the extract daily showed reduced sugar levels in 73 per cent of patients within four weeks. Increasing the dosage to three grams per day for unresponsive patients benefited 16 per cent of the patients and a further 10 per cent of them responded at a higher dose of four grams, they reported.
Kin of victim get Rs 50,000 relief
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (PTI) The Arunachal Pradesh Government has paid an interim compensation of Rs 50,000 to the dependents of a theft suspect who had died in police custody.
The state government has paid the compensation in compliance with the National Human Rights Commissions (NHRC) recommendation, NHRC sources said today.
The NHRC while holding the police officials concerned responsible for the custodial death of Bikram Lama in June 1996 had asked the Arunachal Pradesh Government to pay the amount to his dependants as interim compensation, the sources said.
Lama who had been taken to Deomali police station suspecting him to have committed a theft was found dead, hanging from the handle of the toilet door with a leather belt, by Constable Doley, they said.
Materials showed that Lamas body was found to be highly decomposed when the inquest was conducted, they said, adding that no external injury was noticed. The post-mortem report indicated death on account of suicide by hanging from the handle of the door using his leather belt, they said.
The commission, however, observed that since the door handle was just three feet and six inches from the floor, it was difficult to believe that the deceased could hang himself from the handle located at such a short height.
Besides, the reason for
decomposition of the body and the delay in inquest was
not explained. They said, adding that the inquiry report
stated that the officials concerned in the police station
were negligent in allowing the deceased to remain in the
cell with the belt.
Sack Jethmalani, says Swamy
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (UNI) Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy today demanded sacking of Urban Affairs Minister Ram Jethmalani from the Union Cabinet for his alleged involvement in a land scam in order to facilitate a free and impartial probe into the deal.
In a statement here, Dr Swamy said Mr Jethmalanis demand for a CBI inquiry into whether some disgruntled officers were passing on stolen official papers to him (Swamy) indirectly acknowledge the charges levelled against him.
Mr Jethmalani as a criminal lawyer, ought to know that the CBI would need the Prime Ministers sanction to register a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he said. The minister should have written to the PM urging him to order such a probe.
PM holds meeting on new CVC
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 The race for the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) hotted up with a meeting taking place at the Prime Minister's residence this evening.
The meeting took place to shortlist the names for the post.
Among those being considered are Mr T.K.A. Nair, Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N. Vittal, Chairman, Public Enterprises Selection Board, Mr N.R. Ranganathan, a former Member-Secretary, Planning Commission, and Mr K. Padmanabhaiah, a former Home Secretary.
The urgency to appoint the new CVC arose as Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee leaves on a four-nation, week-long trip tomorrow and the post has been lying vacant for the past three weeks.
AIADMK not behind hooch tragedy: Jaya
CHENNAI, Aug 28 (PTI) The AIADMK supremo, Ms Jayalalitha, today condemned, what she described as a vicious attempt by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr M. Karunanidhi, to blame others for the Hosur hooch tragedy, which claimed 47 lives.
Though Karunanidhi is incapable of preventing and ending the menace of illicit liquor .... he is an expert in diverting issues, Ms Jayalalitha alleged in a statement here.
It was heinous that the police, acting on the directive of higher-ups, should spread canards that the AIADMK was responsible for the loss of several lives in the tragedy, she said.
She said since the Chief Minister was trying to pass the blame to the AIADMK, she was constrained to give some details and listed names of some of the persons involved in the hooch tragedy, who, she alleged belonged to the DMK.
Rajasthan famine may lead to exodus
JAIPUR, Aug 28 (PTI) Any further delay in implementation of famine relief works in scarcity hit districts of western Rajasthan by the state government may lead to a mass exodus of people with their cattle to neighbouring states, Rajasthan Congress president Ashok Gehlot said today.
The district of Jaisalmer, Barmer and parts of Jodhpur were the worst affected due to scanty and untimely rainfall and most probably this division would face a condition of trikal (food, fodder and water scarcity) shortly, Mr Gehlot told reporters here.
Mr Gehlot, who toured the
far flung areas of affected region recently, alleged the
government had postponed famine relief work to October
one next from September one because it was not prepared
to take up the task of relief operations at such a short
Girls-only engineering college
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 It is going to be the first girls-only engineering college in Delhi.
Addressing a press conference here yesterday, the Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Sahib Singh, said that to mark 50 years of Indias Independence, the engineering college for girls has been opened.
The Swarna Jayanti Kanya Prodyogiki Sansthan, incidentally, is the first college to be affiliated to Indraprastha University, he said.
The Delhi Government has decided not to charge any tuition fee from the students of the college.
The institution has acquired basic infrastructural facilities from Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology and will function in Old IG block, Kashmere Gate. Contract appointments are being made for core faculty. Further, the Sansthan is assured of support from Delhi College of Engineering and Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology.
The college is open only to girl students who have passed out from schools in Delhi. There will be 50 per cent reservation for girl students who have passed from government or government-aided schools, he said.
Surrendered ULFA men shot
washed away in flash flood
Mundas statue unveiled
Hotel MD suspended
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