|N A T I O N|
|Paswan for Central
rule in Bihar
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 Senior Janata Dal leader Ram Vilas Paswan today demanded that the Centre should send back its recommendation for use of Article 356 in Bihar to the President, particularly after the Prime Ministers remark that "mafia raj existed in the state".
|Over 9,000 polluting
vehicles go off road
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 The Delhi Transport Department has sent over 9,000 20-year-old commercial vehicles off the citys road as per the Supreme Court order banning the plying of these polluting vehicles.
|Popular cartoons in Hindi from Jan
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 Scooby and Scrappy Doo, Captain Planet and the famous Flintstones all favourite animation serials on the cartoon network satellite television channel will speak to Indians from January next year in the national language Hindi.
hampers ONGC work
warns of water crisis
visit to UN a failure: Cong
forms MP poll panel
to be sacked if held guilty: Thackeray
to exhibit aerobatics
sets tone for assembly poll
Paswan for Central rule in Bihar
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (PTI) Senior Janata Dal leader Ram Vilas Paswan today demanded that the Centre should send back its recommendation for use of Article 356 in Bihar to President K.R. Narayanan, particularly after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees remark that "mafia raj existed in the state".
"If Mr Vajpayee feels that mafia raj prevails in Bihar, I want to know what steps he is going to take", he told mediapersons demanding that the Union Cabinet should send back its earlier recommendation to the President for dismissal of the RJD government in the state.
Mr Paswan said if Mr Vajpayee felt that some of his alliance partners would not support him on the move, then he (Prime Minister) had no moral or constitutional right to remain in office.
Accusing the Prime Minister of trying to kill two birds with one stone, the JD leader said Mr Vajpayee not only tried to mollify some alliance partners, but also silence other allies making similar demands.
Hitting out at those opposing Article 356, including a section of Janata Dal leaders, Mr Paswan asked: "Do they want to say that they are satisfied with the situation in Bihar when even the court says there is jungle raj in the state?"
After a four-member delegation of the party met Mr Narayanan to oppose the imposition of Presidents rule, Mr Paswan had openly criticised his Dal colleagues Mr I.K. Gujral, Mr Jaipal Reddy, Mr S.R. Bommai and Mr Surendra Mohan for taking up cudgels in favour of Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, saying they had flouted the party line.
On the Presidents stand, Mr Paswan said his personal feeling was that Mr Narayanan should have accepted the Cabinet recommendation.
"When a Cabinet takes a view, it is after considering various aspects. Both the government and the President have their responsibility and duty", he said.
On the decorum of the Governors post, he said since the President did not go by his report, Mr S.S. Bhandari should be recalled from Bihar.
Mr Paswan said the Governors post should be given to an apolitical person so that no political motive was imputed in his actions.
Over 9,000 polluting vehicles go off road
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (PTI) The Delhi Transport Department has sent over 9,000 20-year-old commercial vehicles off the citys road as per the Supreme Court order banning the plying of these polluting vehicles.
A Transport Department official said 9,349 vehicles, which were over 20 years old, were sent off the road yesterday under the phasing out scheme ordered by the court on September 22.
Of these 5,000 were autorickshaws and taxis, while the remaining were buses, trucks and tempos, he said.
The apex court had banned 17-year-old commercial vehicles from November 15 and 15-year-old such vehicles from December 31.
According to the Transport Department, 3,200 vehicles would be phased out from November 15 and 4,962 from December 31.
India to follow N-powers: PM
JODHPUR, Oct 3 (UNI) Reiterating Indias commitment to global disarmament, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today said the country would follow in the footsteps of the big nuclear powers if they decided to destroy their stockpiles of nuclear arsenals.
Addressing a public meeting at Purana Stadium here to kick off the ruling Bharatiya Janata Partys campaign for the November 25 assembly elections in Rajasthan, Mr Vajpayee said the Pokhran tests in May were not a show of the countrys military might but done solely to meet its security obligations.
He reiterated that India would neither attack other countries nor would tolerate any offensive against it by them. But his government would take all precautions to face any situation in view of past experiences.
He asserted that his government was doing well and there was no threat to it from any quarter. It would complete its full term and meet all its goals successfully, he added.
The meeting was also addressed by Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and state BJP president Raghuveer Singh Kaushal.
Army faces parachute shortage
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 The shortage of parachutes being faced by Army paratroopers could affect the various commando operations undertaken by the force in difficult terrain.
Sources say if urgent efforts are not undertaken to fill up the deficiency, the Army could face embarrassing situations with paratroopers ready to undertake operations, but without adequate equipment.
The shortage being faced by the force at presently is said to be over 50 per cent. According to available information, the shortage is expected to worsen by the turn of the century with more than 5000 parachutes scheduled to be declared obsolete.
According to a noting in a document circulated within the Army, the current holding of the paras is far below the requirement and, " the types of parachutes in service do not afford the forces to undertake operational tasks". Another note prepared by the authorities also expresses serious concern at the inadequacy of the "holdings" (of parachutes), specially in terms of various operational capabilities.
The air-borne operations which the Army undertakes are critical during any conventional warfare. Besides it has come to be noticed time and again that it are the para-troopers, who are so important a part of any Army now, who have always provided the breakthroughs during assault operations, specially in difficult terrain.
This came to the fore not only during the operations undertaken by the Indian Army in Sri Lanka but also in various high altitude operations undertaken in the hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Although India did not achieve much success in Sri Lanka, but still the paratroopers had done well by providing the Army with breakthroughs deep inside the thick jungles.
However the Army operations in the hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir have been highly successful, especially in fishing out both the foreign mercenaries and terrorists from the hideouts situated in the higher reaches. There is now a feeling that operations like these could be seriously hampered if urgent steps are not undertaken to fill the prevailing deficiency.
According to sources, the Army at present uses five different types of parachutes, depending on the aircraft being used and the type of operation being undertaken. The majority of these parachutes are imported either from France, Korea or Britain.
According to reports, the current shortage is pegged at over 12,000 parachutes, which is approximately 55 per cent of the strength of paratroopers. It is said the Ordnance Factory at Kanpur can manufacture up to 3,000 parachutes per year. But at that rate it would take at least seven years to fill up the shortage going by the wastage, which is around 40 parachutes per month.
A confidential document shows the crisis will further worsen with as many as 880 main and 833 reserve Korean-made parachutes scheduled to be discarded by the end of this year. Another 2,433 main and 700 reserve French-made parachutes are to be declared obsolete by the year 2000.
Incidentally, what is more interesting is the manner in which the efforts are being put in to fill up this fast developing deficiency.
It was in April, 1993 that the Army first raised the issue of deficiency and demanded 1,000 low level parachutes used in airborne operations in the mountains. It took a year for the demand to be processed at various levels and finally a contract was awarded to a British firm, GQ Parachutes, for the purchase and spares at a cost of £ 2.71 million.
Ironically, till now the Army has not been able to use these parachutes. After the supply was made in 1995-96, the Army declared that the parachutes were not up to the mark. But the company declared that the Army did not have the capability to test the parachutes and sent a representative, who declared them fit.
However, when another try was made at the Agra station, the parachutes failed again with trouble being detected in not only the fabric but also the metal clasps. The fabric apparently was weak and even the strings broke during use.
So another complaint was
made to the suppliers who this time agreed to repair the
parachutes. The equipment was apparently still undergoing
repairs and the urgent requirement of 1993 was still to
be met by the end of 1998.
Popular cartoons in Hindi from Jan
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (UNI) Scooby and Scrappy Doo, Captain Planet and the famous Flintstones all favourite animation serials on the cartoon network satellite television channel will speak to Indians from January next year in the national language Hindi.
The Hindi audio track will be beamed for two hours daily from 3 pm on weekdays and from 2 pm on weekends from January 4. The serials, which will initially come in Hindi, will also include Addams Family, the Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, and Swat Kats.
The channel beams 16 hours of animation and childrens programmes and eight hours of TNT movies every day, the movie channel starting at 9 pm. In its talking pictures series, the channel will present Hollywood classics chosen by four well-known Indian personalities: author Shobha De, cartoonist Mario Miranda, writer Anil Dharker, and singer Remo Fernandes.
Mr Anshuman Mishra, Vice-President and General Manager for the network distribution in South Asia, told UNI in reply to a question that the channel was concerned about the effects on children of violence in animation and had taken steps to reduce such cartoons.
Meanwhile, Star Plus has extended the run of the science quiz, "Kudratnama" which has been prepared by Mr Anjali Rai Mehta of Vigyan Prasar for the National Council for Science and Technical Communication (NCSTC) following a demand from schoolchildren.
The National Geographic channel is to launch "One week in India" from October 5 in which it will beam India-related programmes including "Tigers eye", "King Cobra", and "The Great Indian Railway".
While the music channel,
MTV has launched a new countdown show "MTV Top
Gana", Music Asia is featuring Leslie Lewis
who has sung solo and with Hariharan as Colonial
Cousins during the current fortnight in
various programmes while, presenter Saagarika will
interact with youths in the programme, "Teen
Interact" on the same channel from October 6.
Now Mahatma speaks
MUMBAI, Oct 3 (UNI) After Mee Nathuram Godse Boltoy(I am Nathuram Godse speaking), it is now Main Mahatma Bol Raha Hoon(I am Mahatma speaking).
The street play by Naujawan-e-Hindi, a street theatre group in the city, portrays the response of the Father of the Nation to communal and terrorist violence in the country.
Directed by S. Ramachandra, president of the group, the play was performed to a packed audience in the Azad Maidan in South Mumbai on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti yesterday.
It is our attempt to remind people about the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi that are being overlooked in an anti-Gandhi wave lately, Mr Ramachandra, who also plays the role of the Mahatma, says.
The play centres around a playwright who is working on a script depicting excessive violence, and the Mahatma who from a mute spectator turns into an active adviser.
The nation is presented as a sleeping corpse, claimed by every religion, which is gunned down by terrorists when it tries to wake up.
During the course of the play the Mahatma airs his views on every burning issue faced by the country in particular and the world in general.
The play is not about Gandhi, the person, but the values and principles taught by him. It is his ideals that made him an ordinary man, says Mr Ramachandra.
There is also a comment on the freedom of expression in the context of the ban on Mee Nathuram Godse Boltoy. The Mahatma tells the playwright that he does not wish to change his script but only wishes that he depicts both sides of good and evil.
Blackmail hampers ONGC work
NAZIRA (Assam), Oct 3 (UNI) Blackmailing, extortion and police excesses have affected the working of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Assam and Nagaland.
Top ONGC officials told a group of visiting journalists recently that their operations were becoming increasingly difficult as practically everyone in the state was demanding either money or favours from the ONGC.
The Director of the ONGCs Eastern Regional Business Centre (ERBC) Mr K.K. Jagati said that even a small group could hold them to ransom with various demands, causing immense hardship and financial damage.
Often a few local villagers put up barricades demanding either construction of roads or money leading to suspension of drilling in crucial hours and create panic among the ONGC employees, he said.
ONGC operations had been badly affected by such local problems in its Panidhiang oilfield. It had commenced exploratory drilling in January. A couple of exploratory wells had proved the existence of hydrocarbons in this region.
The problem started when the local villagers demanded construction of a road before the drilling could commence. According to top officials, this severely hampered the drilling operations which had reached a critical stage.
Such incidents are common here in Sibsagar district, said Mr Jagati who had been handling most of these problems.
There were also many cases of fake claims of oil spillage when actually villagers in connivance with the state government and ONGC officials pilfered oil. Fortunately, we could break that nexus and for quite sometime now the false claims are very low, Mr Jagati said, adding that some ONGC officials were arrested recently on a complaint by Sibbari Tea Estate authorities.
However, our biggest problem in Assam is the non-availability of contractors. The locals do not allow the contractors to be brought from outside and they do not have the requisite technical expertise to even touch the highly skilled works.
Besides, there are numerous organisations and NGOs which pester the ONGC for financial help.
Mr K.K. Jagati told
journalists that because of disturbances of work and the
floods, the region would not be able to achieve its
targeted production. For this year which had been fixed
at 2.1 million tonnes.
President warns of water crisis
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (UNI) President K.R. Narayanan today said India was facing an acute water crisis, with some estimates showing that almost its entire economic growth gets wiped out by the health costs of water pollution.
Inaugurating a three-day national conference here on The potential of water harvesting, the President said leading experts had warned that the world was heading towards a water shock which might dwarf the oil crisis.
For India, the shortage of water and its growing pollution had acquired the proportion of a crisis for the people, specially the poorest of the poor. The health costs of water pollution did not get factored into our economic calculations, he added.
Stating that historically, Indians had been the worlds greatest water harvesters, Mr Narayanan said a peoples movement was needed to meet the growing water needs and to protect the water sources.
Felicitating five rural engineers who had made significant contribution in preserving and promoting water harvesting systems, the President said: I congratulate them for their remarkable, notable and original work. They are our greatest teachers and even sophisticated scientists will have a lot to learn from them.
The five water harvesters feted by the President were Chewang Norphel, who has devised an innovative method to make artificial glaciers in Leh to recharge water bodies, Magga Ram Suthar from Jaisalmer, who digs beris (narrow deep wells), Ran Singh from Churu, who makes kundis (covered tanks), Kunhikannan Nair of Kasargod, who has perfected the art of making surangams, narrow and deep tunnels in rock and Ganesan, a neerkatti or water manager from Madurai.
The three-day conference,
organised by the Centre for Science and Environment,
would focus on low cost water harvesting techniques and
their potential to meet the local water needs in towns
PMs visit to UN a failure: Cong
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (PTI) The Congress today dubbed a "failure" Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees recent visit to the United Nations.
Party spokesperson Girija Vyas told reporters here that the "indifferent" attitude of the government in specifying achievements of the visit was an indication in this regard.
Cong forms MP poll panel
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (PTI) The Congress today constituted a 16-member pradesh election committee for Madhya Pradesh for next months assembly elections.
The committee has Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, PCC President Urmila Singh and senior leaders, Arjun Singh and Madhavrao Scindia as its members.
The five working presidents in the state Dalbir Singh, Parasram Bhardwaj, Ajit Jogi, Balendu Shukla and Rajmani Patel have also been made members of the high-level panel as also Deputy Chief Minister, Subhash Yadav .
Former Chief Ministers, Motilal Vora and Shyama Charan Shukla, state assembly Speaker, Srinivas Tewari, former Union Minister Kamal Nath, and party MPs Gurfane Azam and Charan Das Mahant also figure in the committee.
Prominent among the special invitees are former Union Ministers Vidya Charan Shukla, Arvind Netam, Suresh Pachauri, R.K. Malaviya and state Home Minister Harbans Singh.
CM to be sacked if held guilty: Thackeray
MUMBAI, Oct 3 (PTI) The Shiv Sena supremo, Mr Bal Thackeray, has said that the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Joshi, will be sacked forthwith if any stricture is made against him by the Mumbai High Court in a land allotment case involving his son-in-law.
The Sena chief was referring to reports of likelihood of Mr Joshis removal following the Mumbai High Courts recent observation that rules were flouted while allowing the Chief Ministers son-in-law, Mr Girish Vyas, to construct a multi-crore complex on a plot reserved for a primary school in Pune.
Addressing a gathering of party office-bearers in suburban Bandra last evening, Mr Thackeray, however, made it clear that he would not sack Mr Joshi just because some people are demanding his ouster.
He told the party workers not to get swayed by allegations, but inform people about projects undertaken by the government.
The Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, today quoted Mr Thackeray as urging Shiv Sainiks not to indulge in bickerings for power or post.
He reiterated that Maharashtra ministers should henceforth not undertake foreign tours.
The convention of Sena office-bearers was held to ponder over the twin issues of party organisation and its future political strategy.
SU-30s to exhibit aerobatics
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 For the first time in the annals of the Indian Air Force, the latest acquired, state-of-art frontline SU-30 fighter aircraft will exhibit formation aerobatics at the 66th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Air Force on October 8. More than 35 frontline fighter and transport aircraft in various spectacular formations will fly past the dais as the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S.K. Sareen, takes the salute at the ceremonial parade-cum-investiture ceremony at Air Force Station, Palam, to mark the occasion.
This is the first time that the renowned fighter aerobatics team of the Indian Air Force Surya Kirans in a configuration of nine aircraft as against the previous of six aircraft, will perform breathtaking low-level aerobatics display. Also, for the first time there will be trophies for the best fighter, transport, helicopter and missiles squadrons of the Indian Air Force as also a release of first-day cover.
Three MI-17 helicopters
fluttering the Air Force insignia in VIC formation will
fly past in the beginning of the parade. This will be
followed by the Big Boy in the arrow head
formation of IL-76, Dorniers and AN-32s. Six Jaguar
aircraft led by Air Marshal D.S. Basra, followed by six
Mirage-2000s and six MIG-29s, all in the shockwave
formation, at an interval of 15 seconds, will fly past
the dais. The climax will be the first-time display of
formation aerobatics by three SU-30 aircraft followed by
the dazzling aerobatics display by nine HJT-16 aircraft
DPCC sets tone for assembly
NEW DELHI, Oct 3 The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) has set the tone for its election campaign for the Delhi Assembly poll with the DPCC chief, Ms Sheila Dikshit, promising to provide basic facilities free of cost to all jhuggi-jhompri clusters, if the party was voted to power.
Addressing a Dalit sammelan organised by the DPCC here today she said that the Congress if voted to power would improve the living conditions of the people of Delhi who had been suffering at the hands of the ruling BJP government in Delhi.
Attacking the BJP government for the ills faced by the people in the Capital, she said the Congress would try to ameliorate the hardship.
The Dalit sammelan was organised by the party in pursuance of the policy decision taken by the Congress chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, at the Pachmarhi conclave. The DPCC had earlier organised the minorities sammelan.
Addressing the gathering the former Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr P.A. Sangma emphasised the need to have national level unity among Dalits, tribesmen, other backward classes and minorities under the Congress banner.
Stating that unity among the weaker sections was essential for progress, he said: If we do not show our strength, nobody will bother about us. We should not remain divided but unite on an all India basis.
Reiterating that the Congress was committed to the continuation of the reservation policy, Mr Sangma blamed the Dalits for ignoring education and lacking in competitive spirit.
We do not work hard as we have taken reservation for granted. We must inculcate the spirit of competition in our children, Mr Sangma said.
He also exhorted we are equal citizens of this country and that equality has to be demonstrated in practice.
Former Union Ministers Mr H.K.L. Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler and sammelan convener and sitting Delhi MLA, Mr Jai Kishan were also present at the meeting which blamed the ruling BJP government for neglecting the interests of the weaker sections.
|Film on Ambedkar complete
NAGPUR: The shooting of the film on Dr BR Ambedkar is complete and the premiere shows will be held soon in Mumbai and Nagpur simultaneously, Maharashtra Minister of State for Education and Culture, Anil Deshmukh has said. He told a press conference here on Friday that the film, directed by Jabbar Patel, would be screened for President KR Narayanan, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other dignitaries soon. The film has been jointly produced by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and the state government, which has provided Rs 1.75 crore for its production. PTI
Anti-quackery cell sought
visit from Oct 5
3 more held in
nuns rape case
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