|N A T I O N|
Poaching squad raids Vidhan
Panel to reform power
Consumer Act: IMA
for selective portrayal
for 1999? wait for a second
detains 30 Pardis
Poaching squad raids Vidhan Sabha canteen
NAGPUR, Dec 29 (UNI) While legislators were savouring delicacies during the lunch recess, the anti-poaching squad of the wildlife wing of the state Forest Department raided the Vidhan Bhavan canteen for serving "titar bater" (Indian quail), a prohibited bird specie under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The squad booked the owner and contractor of Bartania canteen, under Sections 9 and 44 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The trap was laid with the help of the police and office-bearers of the Wildlife Protection Society.
Mr Kishore Mishrikotkar and Mr Y.S. Jangade, Range Forest Officers heading the raiding party, told newsmen in the Vidhan Bhavan premises that they had come to know that this banned bird specie was being served to legislators and visitors since the beginning of the winter session of the legislature from December 14 here.
The officers said they had taken permission from the authorities concerned of the legislature before entering the Vidhan Bhavan premises and carrying out the raid which came on the penultimate day of the three-week session.
Probe "ordered" into quail meat serving
NAGPUR, Dec 29 (PTI) An inquiry has been ordered by the Maharashtra Legislative Council Chairman into the serving of the meat of quail, a protected bird, in a canteen in the Vidhan Bhavan premises.
The order follows a raid conducted today by the Wildlife Wing of the state Forest Department at the canteen run by a private caterer.
When the issue was raised during zero hour by Mr Anil Gondane (RPI), the Chairman Prof N.S. Pharande said he had already ordered a probe after he received a complaint in this regard.
The anti-poaching squad, acting on a tip off, raided the canteen and found cooked quail being served to customers. Members of the World- Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) acted as decoy, forest officials told PTI.
The proprietor of the canteen was booked under Sections 9 and 44 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Satellites being put to military use
NEW DELHI, Dec 29 (PTI) India is using some of its satellites for military purposes and the country is fortunately not too far behind our neighbours on this count, Air Chief Marshal Satish K. Sareen has said.
We are already doing it, the Chief of Air staff replied when asked about his earlier statements regarding the development of the Air Force into an air and space force.
It is easy to convert satellites from civil to military use, he said after releasing a book on the history of the Indian Air Force, Sentinels of the Sky at Air Headquarters last evening.
Asked about the range of these satellites, he said: Our requirement is not just to know about our neighbours. We have to consider everyone as our friend and prepare for the deterrent value and be prepared for that ... Fortunately, we are not too far behind our neighbours. So there is nothing to fear.
We are integrating the information (from satellites) with our inputs ... It has helped a lot in upping our abilities, he said.
Referring to the
experience of the allied forces during the 1991 Gulf war
regarding the information received from spy satellites,
he said: They got so much information that it was
difficult for them to sift it and took a lot of time to
decide what to keep and what not to.
Panel to reform power sector
NEW DELHI, Dec 29 The Delhi Government has formed a committee under the chairmanship of Delhi Power Minister, Dr Narendra Nath, to consider reforms in power sector, including privatisation, for ensuring an uninterrupted electricity supply in the Capital.
Addressing his first press conference after taking charge of the power ministry in the Delhi Government, Dr Nath announced that the committee, which was expected to come out with a White Paper on Delhis power situation in January, would also suggest measures to curtail power theft.
The committee would also consider whether the privatisation of the sector would be feasible and what are the infrastructure needed to meet future power requirement of Delhi residents, he said.
Dr Narendra Nath said that the Delhi Government was planning to pay the dues of the National Thermal Power Corporation in instalments.
We owe the NTPC about Rs 450 crore and deadline had been set at January 15, he said. Incidentally, the Haryana Government owes us about Rs 250 crore, New Delhi Municipal Council owes us about Rs 125 crore and the Delhi Jal Board owes us Rs 350 crore in dues, he added.
Amend Consumer Act: IMA
HYDERABAD, Dec 29 The Union Territory of Chandigarh known for one of the countrys premier Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) does not have a state medical council.
The city shares this dubious situation with Tripura, Goa, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir. The State Medical Council is a statutory body constituted by an Act of Parliament. Apart from registration of doctors, the council is entrusted with the task of monitoring health services in the state.
In the absence of the state medical council, consumers can only seek redressal or ethical and disciplinary action under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. Acknowledging this handicap the general secretary of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Prem Aggarwal, said here that although the CPA is the only answer to the problem of consumers in such states, it has proved ineffective. We want the CPA to be suitably amended. We appreciate that in a profession which involves matters of life and death, fixing responsibility is necessary but the CPA has created panic among doctors. It has strained doctors-patient relationship.
Briefing mediapersons at the end of IMAs three-day national conference attended by 3,500 delegates from India and SAARC countries, he said:Weve appointed study groups on various health issues to guide us. Our 22-member forum comprising doctor parliamentarians are sensitive to health issues. Were also thinking of strengthening our association with policy-makers for expeditious implementation of health programmes.
Dr V.C. Patel, a Baroda-based cardio-thoracic surgeon who has been elected president of the IMA, stressed the importance of accredition of nursing homes, re-certification of doctors after every five years and increase in the enrolment of doctors to the IMA.
This would enable the medical fraternity have greater representation in Parliament and state assemblies. He also stressed that the Hyderabad declaration of medical management of masses in the new-millennium should be honoured.
1998 a year of railway accidents
NEW DELHI, Dec 29 (PTI) The year gone by would go down in history as one of railway accidents in which nearly 300 persons lost their lives and many more injured.
1998 would also be remembered as the year when the newly completed 760 km Konkan Railway project in the countrys western coast was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The line, from Roha in Maharashtra to the Konkan region in Mangalore in Karnataka, has been built with financial participation of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Kerala.
The line has not only reduced the travelling time between Maharashtra and Kerala, but also opened up the virgin western coast area to economic development.
While the Konkan project boosted the engineering competence of the Indian Railways in the world, the year also brought to light the infrastructural breakdown of the Railways, the foundation for which was laid by the British nearly 150 years ago.
The weakness of the railway infrastructure came to the fore when the two high-speed passenger trains met with an accident near Khanna in Punjab in November.
The cause of the accident, considered to be one of the major disasters of this decade, was later officially attributed to the cracks in the rail lines.
The subsequent inspections revealed that the entire railway track between Delhi and Ambala, the busiest northern railways section, running into nearly 200 km, was replete with cracks and fractures.
Among the other rail accidents which brought into focus the weaknesses of the Railways were the January 5 accident which occurred about 50 km from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh when the Bareilly-Varanasi passenger train ran into the stationary Kashi-Vishwanath passenger train following thick fog, killing 51 passengers and injuring 62 others.
Another accident took place on April 28 in which at least 11 persons were killed and 41 injured when nine bogies of the Howrah-Danapur express train went off the track and overturned.
Railway watchers had been warning for years of the growing mismatch between the railways priorities. While it had been increasing the speed of passengers and goods trains to satisfy peoples needs and earn more revenue, very little attention was being paid to strengthen, update and maintain the existing network.
During a parliamentary discussion in December on the Khanna train accident, Railway Minister Nitish Kumar was candid enough to admit that the railway administration had not been able to attend to track inspection and maintenance work due to shortage of funds.
The minister also said the earlier administration was wrong in giving priority to the unigauge conversion project, even at the cost of diverting funds allocated for other important and urgent works like track maintenance, signalling upgradation and strengthening the existing network.
He was referring to the former Railway Minister Jaffer Sharief who, during his tenure in early 1990s, had prioritised conversion of all the metre and narrow gauge lines into broad-gauge.
For the travelling public measures like 30 per cent ticket concessions in all trains, in all classes to senior citizens was implemented. Earlier, this concession was available up to 25 per cent and that too in the second class journey.
Similarly, unemployed youth, appearing for interviews before selection boards for central government jobs, were given full second class ticket concession.
For improving environment, plastic bags and cups were replaced by bio-degradable ones for serving tea and lunch in the trains.
It was also decided to set up a customer care institute for training frontline railway staff.
The Railway Ministry supplemented the governments efforts to promote tourism in the country by introducing the Buddha Parikrama express train to connect all historic Buddhist centres in the country.
Need for selective portrayal
NEW DELHI, Dec 29 (PTI) As a spate of serials glorifying violence in the garb of patriotism and social justice hit the small screen, experts say there is a growing correlation between the aggressive content shown on the screen and its imitation among nubile minds and call for a selective portrayal of violent realities.
According to a UNESCO report, children are increasingly being surrounded by an environment where both the media and real experiences support the view that violence is natural.
In the past six years, the quantum of violent content has gone up many times due to the channel boom but there is a lack of self censorship, says Shailja Bajpayee, media research consultant.
And the main victims of media propagated violence have been children who are not only influenced by it but also have tried to copy various stunts and situations portrayed on the box hurting themselves in the process.
The recent case of four village children setting themselves afire while recreating a situation in a popular serial where a desi Superman-Shaktiman rescues persons in distress highlighted the extent of the penetration of the media and its influence on innocent minds.
Besides the small screen, even the print media has been accused of disproportionate representation of violence.
Psychiatrists have cited various reactions from fear to aggression among children who are subjected to violent doses by the telly.
With the absence of adequate child-specific regional literature, children have turned to programmes meant for adults and as most of these serials are aired at prime time when the whole family sits together to watch various programmes, children are lured into the net of violent drama which they try to copy in their actual life.
Violence is being used as an opiate by producers to hook advertisers and lure children and even childrens serials are full of violence, says Sai Paranjpaye, chairperson of the Childrens Film Society.
But going by the immense popularity of such serials, it seems that the political and commercial manipulation of TV for its violent content will continue unless a stringent censorship policy is worked out.
Giving the example of his popular serial Rajni, producer and script writer Karan Razdan says sex and violence are not necessary for the success of any programme.
But all producers are not friendly to the idea of censorship at a time where they are minting money by showing gory details and sensational crimes.
Paranjpye believes that by showing child-specific programmes with the support of child-friendly products, advertisers will go a long way in checking the cult of violence adding that a switch-off campaign is the need of the hour to check the spurt in violent programming.
Waiting for 1999? wait for a second
NEW DELHI, Dec 29 (PTI) The year 1999 will not come immediately at the stroke of midnight on December 31, the New Year will have to wait for one more second.
The clocks all over the world are to be slowed down simultaneously by one second to accommodate this extra second which arises due to a difference between the international time standard and the traditional astronomical time based on earths rotation.
"Just before the clock ticks away into the final year of this millennium it will read 23h : 59m : 59s. After one second the reading will be 23 : 59 : 60 and yet after another second it will be 00 : 00 : 00 of 1999," P. Banerjee, a senior scientist from the time and frequency division at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), here told PTI.
This adjustment, known as leap second, was necessary to carry out high-precision scientific studies like astronomical and geological observations correctly, he said.
In fact, a specially
designed software has been incorporated into NPLs
cesium atomic clock for carrying out the correction
measures as the NPL bears the responsibility of
maintaining the Indian standard time (IST).
Police detains 30 Pardis
NEW DELHI, Dec 29 The south district police of the Capital raided suspected hideouts of criminal tribes in different parts of the city and rounded up 30 Pardis in connection with the murder case of Mr Jain and his wife.
The Pardis were rounded up from near railway stations of Mangolpuri, Narela, in North-West Delhi, Bijwasan, Okhla, South Delhi, and Faridabad in Haryana. A three member team had been sent to Guna in Madhya Pradesh to ascertain names and addresses of Pardis who had recently moved to Delhi, a senior police officer said.
He said the police was in the process of questioning them to ascertain the whereabout of suspects in the Jain murder case.
In the Chary murder case, a new witness approached the police yesterday stating that he had seen three persons moving about in suspicious circumstances in the area just before the couple was murdered. With faces covered, they were seen standing at a lonely place in F-Block.
|Tamil browser to access
CHENNAI: In a development that can break the domination of English over Internet browsing, a private software company here has created the first Tamil browser that can take one through the cyberworld without the use of English web addresses. The directors of Hi-Tek Communications and Software Private Ltd told a press conference here on Monday that theirs could be the first browser in any Indian language a modest answer to Microsoft Inut Explorer and Netscape navigator that presently duopolise the browsing domain. Mr Parimalam Kathaperumal, the companys Research and Development Director, who demonstrated the browser, said its main feature was that one did not have to type or even know the universal resource locator (url) to latch onto a website. Basic knowledge of using the mouse was enough to browse on it. PTI
Retirement age reduced to
Family of 6 die in
completes its life
on Jan 3
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