|N A T I O N|
Russian aircraft carrier
outside US Embassy
Mamata to forge anti-CPM
Bank to resume aid for TB project
watershed for defence
unit told to pay wages
Principal Secy to CM
induction filled gap
Russian aircraft carrier for India
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (ADNI) Under the protocol finalised by Defence Secretary Ajit Kumar in Moscow recently, the Russians have agreed to give the aircraft carrier "Admiral Gorshkov" free of cost but India will have to pay more than $ 500 millions for its refit to meet the Indian Naval Staff requirement, says Asia Defence News International (ADNI).
The Russian have also offered to supply MIG 29K and the latest SU-33 single seat fighter aircraft to operate from the flight deck of "Admiral Gorshkov". The two aircraft were unveiled at the recent air show at Bangalore.
"Admiral Gorshkov" has a displacement of 40,500 tonnes with full load and has eight boilters and four turbines.
The carrier has air search Sky Watch and 4 planar phased array radars. It has hull mounted active search and attack sonars.
The last of four Kiev class carriers, "Admiral Gorshkov" carries 12 surface-to-surface missiles, two 100 mm guns and host of other weapons systems. Its flight deck can take 12 vertical/short take-off and landing (VSTOL) fixed wing aircraft, 19 KA-27 helicopters and 3 KA-25 helicopters. Its Sky Watch radar allows full control of the air battle when operational. Besides the angled flight deck from where the fighter aircraft operate, the carrier has nine take-off and landing platforms for KA-27 helicopters.
ADNI underscores that after decommissioning of the first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, "Admiral Gorshkov" will fill the gap and provide greater punch to the Navy along with INS, Viraat.
India's decision to acquire Admiral Gorshkov" and plans to build aircraft carriers indigenously in the future are part of a strategy to build a bluewater navy capable of projecting power beyond the Indian shores.
India had about the 10th largest Navy for many years. Indian Navy plans to make it the fifth largest Navy after the USA, Russia, China and Japan, overtaking Britain and France.
Aircraft carriers form the backbone of a bluewater Navy. In 1941 when Japanese aircraft sank the HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse, two of royal Navy's most powerful warships, it had become apparent that the capital ship is the aircraft carrier.
Indian Navy requires five aircraft carriers. This would allow one in major overhaul, leaving four ready for operations with some warning time. At least two would be available at very short notice.
If India has to acquire a
status of world power, it must have a bluewater Navy. It
was hard to take the Soviet (now Russia) claim to be a
world power seriously till the Kiev class carriers turned
tthe erstwhile Soviet Navy into a bluewater force.
Mamata to forge anti-CPM front
CALCUTTA, Dec 19 (PTI) Trinamool Congress leader, Mamata Banerjee, today took the ruling bjp-led coalition to task for its failure to take action against the states Left Front government on various charges of corruption and scams and said that the "weak centre is busy defending itself."
Announcing that her agenda for the coming year would be to mobilise all forces opposed to the CPM to fight the ruling Marxists in the state, the firebrand leader told reporters that she would contact all anti-CPM parties including some Left parties who were not happy with the CPM.
The Trinamool Congress, she said, would announce its agenda at the public rally at the Brigade Parade Ground which has been deferred to February 17 from January 28 due to Republic Day preparations.
Ms Mamata said after the current session of Parliament she would talk to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee regarding law and order in West Bengal besides implementation of a Bengal package.
In an effort to increase her bargaining power with the Vajpayee government, Ms Banerjee, meanwhile, roped in two more parties Arunachal Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to the "progress alliance," recently formed by her.
Confirming that she had
talks with the Arunachal Congress and the INLD of Mr Om
Prakash Chautala, Ms Banerjee said that the second
meeting of the alliance would take place in New Delhi on
Protests outside US Embassy
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (PTI) Janata Party workers today staged a demonstration near the US Embassy here, protesting against the unprovoked US attack on Iraq.
Carrying placards and banners "US, UK down down", and "stop missile attack on Iraq", the party workers led by general secretary Arvind Chaturvedi raised anti-Clinton slogans condemning the attack.
Addressing the demonstrators at Teen Murti, Mr Chaturvedi demanded India should recall the countrys envoys to the US and UK to "register a befitting protest" against the "uncivilised attack on an all time good friend of India (Iraq)".
"Following the footsteps of Russia, India should raise its voice against imperialist attitude of US President Bill Clinton who had decided to target Iraq purely on personal emotions and to save his sagging image," he said.
Talks begin for earth charter
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (PTI) The second round of consultations for Indias inputs to the earth charter began here today with a call for a re-look at the present political and social structure to ensure greater participation by the people.
"We need to take a U-turn in many ways in our race towards progress," said Mr Kamala Choudhury, member of Earth Council, which was set up after the 1992 earth summit at Rio de Janeiro to prepare the document.
Seeking to take up where the UN Charter for Human Rights left off, the need for an earth charter was highlighted at the Rio summit, the first major event where the international community dwelt on the deteriorating natural environment.
"Though 50 years ago the United Nations signed the charter for human rights, it has failed to address the issue of human relationship with nature and the systems around," Mr Ashok Khosla, president of Development Alternatives, said.
The organisation has been assigned the task of presenting the Indian perspective to the charter along with another NGO People First.
Setting off an open house discussion with participation by people from all walks of life, Mr Khosla said the earth charter would be a meaningful document dealing with real issues.
World Bank to resume aid for TB project
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (PTI) The World Bank is likely to resume funding Indias $ 142 million tuberculosis (TB) control project within two months, a senior bank official said here today.
"We will lift the temporary suspension of aid immediately when the Indian Government finalises the drug procurement agency, which should be completed within two months," Richard Lee Skolnik, World Banks South Asia Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Manager, said.
"Any hitches in procurement mid-way would result in patients developing drug resistance thus worsening the problem," he said.
The bank had suspended aid worth $ 75 million for TB drugs following delay in finalising a procurement agency, he said.
The suspension has been in force for about six months, Mr Skolnik said adding the World Bank wanted India to have an effective mechanism for drug procurement before embarking on the programme.
1998 watershed for defence
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (PTI) India declared itself a nuclear weapon state with the Pokhran blasts in May and embarked upon an ambitious programme for increasing the reach of the Agni ballistic missile and development of other formidable weapons during 1998, a watershed in the countrys defence history.
India finally exercised its nuclear option after a good 24 years and conducted five underground nuclear tests on May 11 and 13, and went on to declare a unilateral moratorium on further explosions saying it had acquired adequate data for carrying out its weaponisation programme on computers.
Taking the world by surprise, it exploded a hydrogen bomb, an atom bomb and three sub-kilotonne nuclear devices in the Pokhran desert in Rajasthan. Codenamed Shakti-1998, the total yield of the explosions was about 60 kilotonnes, which included three small but highly sophisticated nuclear devices for use as tactical weapons.
Undeterred by sanctions heaped on the country, the BJP-led coalition government gave the go-ahead to scientists to develop the longer range variant of the intermediate range Agni ballistic missile.
The first version of Agni, test-fired thrice, has a strike range of 1500 km.
The next phase of the Agni using top-of-the-line technologies developed indigenously is progressing as per schedule and will be test-fired, Defence Minister George Fernandes said without giving any specific time frame.
Development of the 250 km-range naval version of the surface-to-surface missile Prithvi and the anti-ship sea-skimming variant of the short-range surface-to-air missile Trishul were two other major strides made by the country in the missile field.
Even as the nuclear weaponisation programme continued, India declared that its missile systems were aimed at providing adequate deterrence capability against use or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction against the country and safeguarding its security and integrity.
The much-awaited National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was established in November for carrying out a strategic defence review and suggesting long-term national security policy options.
Notwithstanding the setbacks it received in technology transfer as a consequence of the Pokhran nuclear tests, New Delhi announced that its light combat aircraft would undertake its first test flight next year.
In a far-reaching accord, India and Russia decided last month to extend till 2010 their long-term defence cooperation and agreed to co-produce sophisticated weapons and defence equipment. The accord is expected to be formalised at the top leadership levels of the two countries shortly.
On the domestic front, the Defence Ministry implemented the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations for the armed forces after hiking allowances for officers and men. However, the armed forces were not completely satisfied with their revised pay scales and demanded that a separate wage board be constituted in future for theservices.
The government raised the retirement age by two years across the board for officers and men with service chiefs retiring at 62 years or after a term of three years. Other generals and their equivalent ranks in the Air Force and the Navy would now superannuate at 60.
The Defence Minister also announced that Air Marshal A.Y. Tipnis would be the new Air Force chief succeeding Air Chief Marshal S.K. Sareen in the new year.
Shortly after assuming office in March, Mr Fernandes in an interview to a private television channel termed China as Indias potential threat number one drawing a series of protests from Beijing. The government issued a statement saying New Delhi stood for further strengthening its relations with China and resolving the border dispute bilaterally.
Mr Fernandes set a record
of sorts by becoming the first Defence Minister to
undertake three visits to Siachen, the highest
battlefield in the world, and extensively touring major
defence establishments and remote and inhospitable areas
in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East to get a
first-hand account of the problems faced by soldiers.
Birlas unit told to pay wages
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (UNI) In a significant judgement, the Supreme Court has ruled that the nearly 2200 employees of the Birla Textiles Industry would receive wages for the past two years and one years shifting bonus, provided they join their duty at the newly installed Baddi unit in Himachal Pradesh on January 14 and 15.
The Birla Textiles Industry shifted out of the Capital after the Supreme Court ruled that all polluting units should be relocated to reduce environmental pollution caused by the leakage of gas and other fumes from such industries.
In their judgement a Division Bench, comprising Justice S. Saghir Ahmed and Justice M.J. Rao, yesterday said the employees who do not join duty on those two dates would be deemed to have been retrenched as on November 30, 1996 (when all polluting units were shut down subsequent to the apex court ruling) and would be entitled to compensation equivalent to one years salary and other benefits as provided for by the courts judgement of July 8, 1996.
The court directed the Labour Commissioners of Delhi and Himachal Pradesh to be present at Baddi on the two dates to supervise and check the authenticity of the Birla textiles workers.
The workers would carry their factory identification card which would entitle them to resume their duties, the court said.
The direction came on the hearing of a public interest petition filed by the workers of the Birla industry through their counsel Ashok Aggarwal seeking payment of full salary from December 1, 1996, and the date when the factory starts functioning at the new site.
Report on AIDS released in 'kotha'
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 Kotha number 51 on the infamous GB Road here, now renamed Swami Shradhanand Marg had an unusual visitor on Saturday afternoon.
Mrs Jaya Jaitley, General Secretary of the Samata Party visited the squalid brothel of Nimmi Bai to release a report titled Growing flesh trade in Delhi and the menace of AIDS. The report has been published by Jan Shakti Vahini, a youth voluntary organisation.
According to the report, GB Road has 86 brothels and 2500 regular sex workers. Child prostitutes constitute seven per cent of the total number of prostitutes here. Another disturbing aspect mentioned in the report is that the Capital might soon have another big red light area Prem Nagar.
The report also reveals that although all sex workers are aware of AIDS, their customers are not equally aware of the deadly disease and refuse to use condoms.
Pledging support to the sex workers, Mrs Jaitly said that 99 per cent of the women in the flesh trade are illiterate. Apart from illiteracy, poverty is a factor which has forced them into prostitution.
Mrs Jaitly said that most women do not want to leave the profession as they are aware of the hard reality that society will not accept them.
Nimmi Bai, who has been in
the trade for thirty years, says that this is the first
time that a representative of a political party has
visited the brothel to do something meaningful for the
Reghunathan Principal Secy to CM
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (PTI) In a major administrative reshuffle, the Delhi Government has appointed Mr S. Reghunathan, an IAS officer of the 1968 batch, as Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister with immediate effect.
He was working as Transport Commissioner till now.
Another IAS officer of the 1967 batch, Mr R.P. Rai, at present Senior Commissioner for Departmental Inquiries, will look after the work of the Transport Commissioner till further orders, a Delhi Government note said.
Mr R Chandramohan of the 1978 batch of the IAS was appointed Secretary (Land and Revenue) in addition to his present posting as Director-cum-Secretary (Training and Technical Education).
Mr Ramesh Tiwari, an officer of the Union Territory Civil Services cadre, was posted Secretary to the Minister for Development and Civil Supplies, Delhi Government.He would hold the additional charge of Deputy Development Commissioner till further orders.
The services of Rita Kumar presently posted as Project Director (Rural Development), were placed at the disposal of the CMs office for appointment as Additional Director, Grievances Redressal cell, the note said.
Sukhois induction filled gap
HYDERABAD, Dec 19 (UNI) The security environment has necessitated the induction of sophisticated and expensive equipment in our armed forces, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal SK Sareen said today.Addressing the newly commissioned officers of the combined graduation parade of pilots, navigators, administration, accounts and logistics officers at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, he said several revolutionary changes in the operational philosophy of the IAF had been made to enhance its strike capability.
These steps have added to the IAFs potential significantly. As a result of our focus on optimisation of resources, the IAF fighter fleet achieved 28 per cent increase in flying, while there was only a 10 per cent increase in the transport and helicopter fleets during the past three years.
Despite a quantum increase in its fleet, the accident rate was the lowest in IAF history for two successive years in 1996-97 and 1997-98, he added.
Air Chief Marshal Sareen said the induction of Sukhoi fighter aircraft in June 1997 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the countrys defence.
Besides filling the void created due to the phasing out of older generation MIG-21 aircraft, the long-range multi-role Sukhoi aircraft, having a speed of over two mach and a combat range of 5,200 km with an option of mid-air refuelling, would form the backbone of the air defence and strike forces for the next three decades, he added.
He said air power had revolutionised all other forms of warfare, and the next millennium was likely to see even more dramatic changes in weapons technology which may alter the very nature of warfare. It was therefore essential to acquire the ability to exploit these new technologies, the Air Chief said.
Vinod Mishra dead
LUCKNOW, Dec 19 (PTI) Vinod Mishra, one of the vanguards of the Naxalite movement in the country who later abandoned its purely militarist strategy, died here yesterday.
The CPI-ML (Liberation) general secretary, who died of a cardiac arrest, was 52.
Mishra was admitted to the King George hospital here earlier in the day following a heart failure, party sources said, adding he was in Lucknow to attend the partys three-day central committee meeting from December 16.
Mishra, who is survived by wife and a daughter, guided his party from its underground existence limited to pockets of struggle in Bihar and Bengal to the national mainstream politics making it a powerful voice within the Left movement.
He was the party general secretary for 23 years.
DDA demolishes 70 structures
NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (PTI) In a major demolition drive, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished around 70 residential and commercial premises in the Mangolpur Kalan area in Outer Delhi, traders claimed here today.
Several godowns of marble,
timber and sanitary goods were demolished in the drive
which started on December 16 and continued till last
night, the Mangolpur Kalan Traders Association said in a
CVC moots bill on illegal wealth
PUNE, Dec 19 (PTI) In an effort to curb corruption in high places, the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) N. Vittal has sent a proposal to the government allowing confiscation of wealth amassed by public servants through illegal means.
Talking to reporters here yesterday, Mr Vittal said a draft bill was being prepared in consultation with the Law Commission in this regard.
The bill would cover even benami transactions and property owned by friends and relatives, Mr Vittal said.
Book on Army presented to President
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 The President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, received a book A Quest for Excellence: training the Indian Army, published by the Army Training Command, Shimla, Mantri, at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday.
The 204-page book with over 200 colour photographs provides a collage of training in the Indian Army in its various facets. The focus of the book is on essential aspects of training of officers, junior commissioned officers and jawans.
|Bakshi is Mumbai Sheriff
MUMBAI: Maharashtra Governor P.C. Alexander on Saturday administered the oath of office to the new Sheriff of Mumbai, Chandrakant Bakshi, at a brief swearing-in ceremony at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan. Mr Bakshi, who takes over from the outgoing Sheriff Kulwant Singh Kohli, will assume office on Sunday. Mr Bakshi has authored over 100 books in Gujarati, Hindi and English and written for several newspapers. PTI
10 held for
Order to Railways
on WL tickets
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