|N A T I O N|
|Balayogi regrets unruly scenes
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 Lok Sabha Speaker GMC Balayogi today regretted that certain members continued to interrupt the proceedings of the House disregarding repeated observations from the Chair.
RLM to launch agitation
|Govt doubles MPs fund
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 The government today announced the doubling of the MP local area development scheme funds from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore in the current financial year.
|ISI activities: states on alert
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 A general alert has been sounded to all states on the designs of militants sponsored by the Pakistans ISI, especially with regard to important pilgrim centres in the country, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.
Plea in corruption cases turned down
notice against English daily
after 2000: Advani
taken to task
be prosecuted, says Romesh
Singh rules out merger
Balayogi regrets unruly scenes
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (UNI) Lok Sabha Speaker GMC Balayogi today regretted that certain members continued to interrupt the proceedings of the House disregarding repeated observations from the Chair.
Talking to newspersons at the conclusion of the winter session, Mr Balayogi said he was "not happy" over certain incidents that took place in the House during this session. They include manhandling of two BJP women members by some RLM members in the well of the House yesterday and a similar incident last week involving the Trinamool Congress leader Ms Mamata Banerjee and an opposition member. Both incidents happened when the opposition members, mainly belonging to the RLM tried to snatch papers from the ministers by rushing towards the Treasury Benches from the well.
Mr Balayogi said he, along with the Deputy Speaker Mr P.M. Sayeed tried to run the House in an orderly manner, but certain members continued to interrupt the proceedings notwithstanding the admonition by several leaders of the House.
The Speaker said taking action against erring members would not be the final solution. "In a democratic set up we have to settle issues peacefully", he observed, and said if the members "cross their limits" the Chair would think of initiating action against them.
"Some members are violating all rules, but later they are apologising also", he said.
He said unless there was full cooperation from the government and the Opposition, the presiding officers were helpless in the smooth running of the House.
Mr Sayeed said he had himself appealed on four occasions to the RLM members to cooperative with the Chair to conduct the House in an orderly manner. But his appeals also did not have any affect on the erring members.
The presiding officers were unanimous that panel Chairman should not indulge in unruly acts like rushing to the well of the House and raising slogans.
The Speaker clarified that as per rules of procedure, he did call Mr Mohan Singh (Samajwadi Party) to put forward his view points before the Vananchal Bill was introduced.
RLM to launch agitation
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) Rashtriya Loktantrik Morcha (RLM) chairman Mulayam Singh Yadav today accused the Congress of extending "full support" to the BJP-led coalition on vital Bills in Parliament, including the one on creation of Vananchal, and declared that it would launch an agitation against the measure seeking division of Bihar.
"The Congress should have backed us, but it kept quiet. I am happy the Left parties supported us in the Lok Sabha voicing their opposition to Bills for creation of three small states", Mr Mulayam Singh told the media after the winter session of the Lok Sabha was abruptly adjourned sine die amidst uproarious scenes.
He said the Congress had given its support to the ruling coalition on the Patents Bill, the women's reservation Bill and had "struck a quiet deal" with the BJP on the election of the Deputy Speaker.
Terming the introduction of the Bill seeking to carve out Vananchal from Bihar "unconstitutional", the RLM chief said his colleagues from the Samajwadi Party and members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Left parties had given notices to the Lok Sabha secretariat to express opposition to the legislation.
"But no debate took place, nor there was any voting. The government by introducing the Bill has violated rules and lowered the dignity of the House", he said.
Govt doubles MPs fund
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) The government today announced the doubling of the MP local area development scheme (MPLADS) funds from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore in the current financial year.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee made the announcement in a statement tabled in the Lok Sabha on the fifth anniversary of the scheme following persistent demands of the MPs to raise the allocation.
He said MPs could use this fund as well as the interest accrued on this amount for public works in their constituency.
In the case of Rajya Sabha members, he said the unspent balance left by predecessor MPs from the previous year along with the interest on the amount in the bank could be utilised by the successor MP.
With MPs being approached by their constituents for small works of capital nature, it was decided to double the amount under the MPLADS, Mr Vajpayee said.
The Prime Minister said some very good works like construction of school buildings, community halls, library buildings and provision of drinking water had been undertaken by members which benefited the common people.
Primakov visit cements ties
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 India and Russias decision to carry on their Soviet era friendship to the 21st century, which was reaffirmed at the recently concluded visited of the Russian Prime Minister, Mr Yevgeny Primakov, signifies the two countries disenchantment with the new world order, dominated by the USA.
The proposed strategic partnership between the two countries, which is likely to be formalised at a summit level meeting next year, would be a political document of paramount importance which would set new parameters for further development of close ties between India and Russia.
The proposed declaration on strategic partnership between Russia and India shows there intention to carry on an independent foreign policy devoid of the US influence.
Though the two countries are not anti-American, their decision to stick together shows there concern over the growing influence of the USA, on world affairs. The unnecessary and unilateral show of strength by the USA in Iraq, which is geographically more closer to Russia and India, has also contributed to the deepening of friendship between the two countries.
India, which has to face the wrath of the USA after it went ahead with the nuclear tests earlier this year, has however, found that Russia understands its position.
Though Russia has been maintaining that India should sign the NPT and the CTBT, it has at the same time been talking of cooperation in nuclear power plants and other peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Indias stand has been that the NPT had become superfluous after it conducted the tests and as for the CTBT, it has declared a unilateral moratorium and is having talks with key interlocutors on the test ban issue.
Russia in a way acknowledged India as a nuclear weapon state by endorsing a joint statement at the end of Mr Primakovs visit. The statement said: During the talks views were also exchanged on a wide range of important international issues of mutual interest. In these discussions both sides supported the process of nuclear non-proliferation. The statement clearly showed that India was supporting the non-proliferation process in its capacity as a nuclear weapon state.
On the economic and trade side too, India and Russia have found that the free market economy propagated by the West has its own pitfalls and international relations are based purely on commercial terms rather than any friendship. This is contrary to the kind of bilateral relations that the erstwhile Soviet Union had with its friends particularly India.
This point was referred to by the Russian Prime Minister at an interaction with captains of Indian industry. He said the International Monetary Fund was hesitating to give Russia an amount of $ 8.1 billion to help its economic revival whereas it has forwarded $ 55 billion to Korea and more than $ 17 billion to Thailand.
It is from this view that the bilateral agreement signed by India and Russia on having long-term cooperation on trade, economic, industrial, financial, science and technology assumes significance. Since 1991, India has signed 53 documents with Russia.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, India had agreed in January, 1993, to repay rupees equivalent to $ 1 billion every year for 12 years to settle outstanding debts.
There is now a proposal that Moscow use 10 per cent of the annual debt to invest in India.
The two sides have also agreed to double their trade turnover from the present $ 2 billion by the year 2000 and increase it by four times by 2005.
On the international side, both Russia and India are in favour of reforming the UN Security Council and making it more broad based. In this regard, Russia has said it considers India to be a strong and appropriate candidate for permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.
ISI activities: states on alert
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) A general alert has been sounded to all states on the designs of militants sponsored by the Pakistans ISI, especially with regard to important pilgrim centres in the country, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.
Home Minister L.K. Advani told members during question hour that though there was no specific information regarding threats to Dwarka and Somnath Temples in Gujarat, the government had instructed the police in these areas to maintain a strict vigil around the shrines.
The Centre also assists state governments by sharing intelligence and providing central paramilitary forces as per their requirements, Mr Advani told Mr Govindram Miri (BJP) in reply to the main question.
He said that following
reports of possible attacks from ISI-sponsored militant
groups on December 6 on the pilgrim centres, government
had made special arrangements to strengthen security in
and around the townships.
Plea in corruption cases turned down
CHENNAI, Dec 23 (PTI) A special judge trying corruption cases during the AIADMK rule between 1991-1996, today rejected pleas from some accused for the adjournment of cases against them until they were provided Tamil copies of all documents relating to the cases.
On December 8, Justice A. Raman of the Madras High Court, on a petition by Sasikala, a close friend of AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha, had held that the accused were entitled to all documents, records, statements and final reports pertaining to cases against them in the language known to them.
Directing the prosecution to provide Tamil versions of documents to former Tamil Nadu Handloom Minister, E. Madhusudanan, prime accused in the 'free dhotis and sarees scam', and another accused Selvaraj, the Judge S. Sambandam, however, dismissed applications by a supplier Arvind Kumar Shah and his driver Joseph for copies of documents in Gujrati and Malayalam, respectively.
Fixing January 6 for the commencement of the trial, he said the accused could reserve the right to present their case after receiving the translated documents.
The Rs 61-crore scam pertains to the supply of free dhotis and sarees to the economically weaker sections of society in Tamil Nadu between 1992 and 1993 when Madhusudanan was Handloom Minister under the Chief Ministership of Ms Jayalalitha.
The judge also directed that Tamil copies of documents be provided to the wife and sons of former Tamil Nadu Speaker and former Union Minister, R. Muthiah, co-accused in the wealth case against him.
Mr Muthiah has been accused of allegedly amassing wealth to the tune of Rs 45.74 lakh while he was Speaker during the AIADMK rule.
Privilege notice against English daily
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) Senior Congress member Kapil Sibal today gave a privilege notice in the Rajya Sabha against English daily "The Asian Age", saying it had published a "false report" that some members of Parliament and senior officials were allegedly involved in the Romesh Sharma case.
Raising the issue during zero hour, the member wanted to know the fate of his notice. Chairman Krishan Kant said he would look into the matter.
The Congress member said the newspaper quoted CBI sources for this report. But the CBI had denied the report.
He said by publishing the report the newspaper had "besmirched" the reputation of prominent public men and this was a matter of great concern.
Earlier in the week, the House witnessed uproarious scenes when Opposition members brought to the notice of the Chair the publication of the news report and demanded an official statement on the issue.
The report, they said, had
said 20 officials and politicians, some of them from the
Upper House, were associated with Romesh Sharma, who had
allegedly amassed huge wealth through his political and
BAREILLY, Dec 23 (UNI) Kaka Joginder Singh alias Dhartipakar, who contested a record over 300 elections, died in a hospital here this morning. He was 80.
According to family sources, Kaka was hospitalised after an attack of paralysis on December 19.
Kaka Joginder Singh had
become a popular and interesting figure on the Indian
electoral scene by contesting a record 350 elections,
including those for President, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha,
Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad.
Prasadas charge refuted
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI)The Delhi police today refuted senior Congress leader Jitendra Prasadas allegation that action against Romesh Sharma, the alleged frontman of Dubai-based underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim, was taken on the instructions of Union Home Minister L K Advani.
Delhi police spokesman Ravi Pawar in a statement said there was absolutely no truth in Mr Prasadas statement that the Delhi police was given instructions by Mr Advani to conduct a raid or take any action against Sharma on or around October 20, 1998.
The Home Minister was in no way involved in ordering raids or action against Sharma. The raid at Sharmas house followed by his arrest was a purely professional act on the part of the Delhi police in response to information received about the crime, Mr Pawar said.
Delimitation after 2000: Advani
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (UNI) Delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies would be undertaken after the completion of census in 2000 AD, Home Minister L.K. Advani informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.
He was replying to a question whether the government was considering a proposal to redistribute voter population among the existing Lok Sabha constituencies to remove imbalances as in the case of Chandni Chowk, the smallest in the city, and Outer Delhi, one of the biggest in the country.
Mr Advani said a meeting of political parties was held in May last to consider the question of delimitation during which it was decided that since the exercise was mandatory after 2000 AD there was no need to amend the Constitution to undertake it earlier.
Investors: The crime branch of the Delhi police is making a thorough investigation into complaints of cheating of investors by Kislay Plantation, the Home Minister said in reply to another question.
Romesh Sharma: The Delhi police was fully seized of the matter regarding providing need-based security to complainants and witnesses in the cases against Romesh Sharma, alleged frontman of Dawood Ibrahim.
Crimes: Uttar Pradesh topped the crime list of four northern states and Delhi in the first six months of this year.
Uttar Pradesh accounted for 5,318 of the 8,373 murders committed in these states, Haryana (401), Madhya Pradesh (1612), Rajasthan (731) and Delhi (311) during the period.
Houses adjourned sine die
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die today after a four-week winter session.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned abruptly in the afternoon following uproar over introduction of the Bill for creation of Vananchal and repeated brief adjournments which scuttled the passage of the controversial Patents Bill and Companies Amendment Bill in this session.
Ratnappa Kumbhar dead
KOLHAPUR, Dec 23 (PTI,UNI) Freedom fighter and last surviving member of the Constituent Assembly from Maharashtra, Dr Ratnappa Bharamappa Kumbhar, died at Ichalkaranji, near here, early today following a heart attack. He was 89.
A pioneer of the states cooperative movement, Mr Kumbhar also served as a minister in Maharashtra and was a sitting member of the state assembly.
He was elected to the assembly from Shirole in Kolhapur district for a sixth term four years ago.
Mr Kumbhar is survived by three daughters.
Mahajan taken to task
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha today took exception to the reported statement by Information and Broadcasting Minister Pramod Mahajan that the Prasar Bharati Bill would not be brought before the House in its current session.
Raising the matter during zero hour, Nilotpal Basu (CPM) said it was a matter of great regret that the minister had made a policy statement outside the House when Parliament was in session. He said the minister should have first informed the members about it.
Supporting Basu, leader of the Opposition Manmohan Singh (Cong) wanted to know what was the intention of the government regarding the bill because the House was ending its winter session today.
Senior Congress member Pranab Mukherjee said the minister should not have made the statement outside the House when Parliament was in session.
He said it was for the government to decide when to introduce the Bill but propriety demanded it should explain why it had not brought the Bill so far to regularise the Prasar Bharati ordinance issued in the intersession.
Sentenced to die over Rs 20
RAIGARH, Dec 23 (PTI) A 49-year-old man has been sentenced to death for killing three members of a family over a dispute involving a paltry sum of Rs 20.
The second Sessions Judge in neighbouring Surguja district, Mr B.K. Jatav, also pronounced life-term imprisonment for three associates of the convict, Jagdhari alias Jaggu, who along with them brutally killed three brothers Anil Kesri (36), Vinod Kesri (32) and Praveen Kesri (22) with lethal weapons on June 21, 1997.
Anil Kesri used to run a
kiryana shop 5 km from Ramanujganj in the district and it
was there that a dispute arose between him and Jagdhari
over Rs 20 leading to the murders.The three accomplices,
sentenced to life imprisonment were Ramdhari (37),
Bachchuram (51) and advocate Shanker (27).
UP bans lotteries
LUCKNOW, Dec 23 (PTI) The UP Government today banned the sale of all lottery tickets in the state following a directive of the Allahabad High Court.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet, Chief Secretary Yogendra Narain said adding that the necessary orders were being issued to the District Magistrates and SPs to enforce the ban.
The court in an order on December 18 directed the Chief Minister to issue instructions to all Commissioners and District Magistrates that they would be personally accountable if lottery tickets were sold in their respective area.
The order was passed by the Bench comprising Mr Justice M. Katju and Mr Justice M.C. Agrawal on a petition that despite earlier court orders lottery tickets in the state were being sold freely.
The state government had earlier banned the sale of lottery tickets but some lotteries from other states were being sold following a Gauhati High Court stay order.
Can't be prosecuted, says Romesh
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) Romesh Sharma, alleged frontman of Dubai-based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, today told a city court that no prosecution could be initiated against him in the Arms Act violation case in the absence of a sanction.
Arguing on Sharmas bail plea, his counsel Romesh Gupta told Metropolitan Magistrate J.P. Narain that the laboratory report on the cartridges allegedly recovered from his clients possession had not been submitted before the court and that cognisance of the charge sheet should not have been taken.
His bail plea was vehemently opposed by government counsel S.K. Saxena on the ground that the accused, allegedly involved in several extortion cases, could terrorise witnesses in the case.
The court which partially heard the case adjourned the matter for January 4.
According to the prosecution, Sharma was allegedly in possession of 14 rounds of .32 bore Smith and Wesson at the time of raids conducted at his residence on October 20 by a joint team of the CBI, police and Income Tax sleuths.
Ajit Singh rules out merger
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 (PTI) Lok Dal President Ajit Singh today ruled out "merger" with any other party and said it would continue to maintain its own identity.
"The question of Lok Dal merger with any party does not arise and we would continue to uphold the interest of the farmers community," Mr Ajit Singh told a "vishal rally" organised on the occasion of 96th birth anniversary of his father and former Prime Minister Charan Singh here.
"I might have committed some mistakes. But from now onwards the Lok Dal would uphold the cherished principles of Choudhry Charan Singh in the larger interest of farmers," he said.
He claimed that since Charan Singhs demise, political parties had stopped highlighting farmers problems and that "even Parliament and legislatures have stopped debating their issues".
Describing the BJP-led government as a "group of profiteers and hoarders", Mr Ajit Singh said "look what kind of Ram Rajya they have brought within months".
|Car blast: BLT owns
GUWAHATI: The outlawed Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) has claimed responsibility for the car bomb blast near the capital complex here on December 18 in which eight persons were killed and more than 50 injured. In a statement to the local newspaper offices here on Tuesday night, BLT self-styled chairman and commander-in-chief Hagrama Basumatary said that the blast was part of the ongoing operation orgeng (volcano) launched by the outfit against the failure of the Centre and the state government to concede their demand for a separate state of Bodoland. He said the operation, launched on November 27 with the blowing up of a bridge on national highway 52 in Darrang district, would continue till a separate state was created. UNI
Congress activist murdered
man lands in jail
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