|N A T I O N|
|Atal-Sangh Parivar rift
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 In an extremely cautious reaction, the Bharatiya Janata Party today said it did not entirely agree with the Swadeshi Jagaran Manchs criticism of the Vajpayee governments economic policies.
|S.S. Gill moves Delhi HC
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 Mr S. S. Gill today filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the "constitutional validity" of the controversial Prasar Bharati Ordinance which terminated his services by reducing its tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of the Prasar Bharati Board.
End strike, students
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 Empty classrooms and clean blackboards continued to stare students in the face as the strike by college and university teachers entered its 22nd day today.The National Students Union of India, demonstrated in the Capital today urging the teachers to end the strike.
New militant group behind blast
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 The Delhi police suspects the involvement of a new militant group behind last nights blast at Turkman Gate in Central Delhi in which one person was killed and 17 were injured.
in cases of dropsy
petrol sold despite ban
ground for EC bar: Thackeray
Atal-Sangh Parivar rift over
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 In an extremely cautious reaction, the Bharatiya Janata Party today said that it did not entirely agree with the Swadeshi Jagaran Manchs criticism of the Vajpayee governments economic policies.
Faced with a volley of questions from newspersons, the BJP vice-president, Mr K.L. Sharma, sought to underplay the differences between the Vajpayee government and the Sangh Parivar over the economic policies.
Mr Sharma said that the government was formulating its policies according to the agreed National Agenda for Governance. He said that the government would, however, consider some positive suggestions of the manch. These suggestions could be taken up at the coordination committee meeting or by the Cabinet, he said.
Defending Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees decision to set up two economic committees for advice on economic and trade issues, the BJP vice-president said these committees would help the government.
When asked about the manchs objection to members of the two committees, who were hostile to the very idea of swadeshi, Mr Sharma said, It was for the government to decide.
It may be recalled here that a two-day meeting of the central committee of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, held here over the weekend, had expressed regret over the BJP-led governments anti-swadeshi tilt in its economic policies.
Among those who participated in the deliberations were senior Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders K.S. Sudarshan and Dattapant Thengdi and S. Gurumurthy, Mr Ravindra Mahajan of the manch, Mr Premchand Jain of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Mr Harendar Kumar of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The manch asked the government to re-examine its policy direction and said that the BJP, which stands for swadeshi, must not betray hope. Otherwise, the manch would be forced to prepare for a struggle, the manch organiser, Mr Muralidhar Rao, had told the media yesterday.
Criticising the award of the Neyveli Lignite project to an Italian firm, Anasaldo, which has no expertise in the field, Mr Rao said that the contract should have gone to BHEL. The government has given the contract to the Italian firm on a flimsy ground, he said.
The manch trusts
that the present government is committed to the idea of
swadeshi as firmly declared in the election manifesto of
the BJP and also in the National Agenda. But in actual
governance, the manch sees that the present government is
at times side stepping its own solemn declarations to the
people, a resolution adopted at the meeting said.
S.S. Gill moves Delhi HC
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 (PTI) Mr S. S. Gill today filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the "constitutional validity" of the controversial Prasar Bharati Ordinance which terminated his services by reducing its tenure as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Prasar Bharati Board.
The petition, which would come up for hearing tomorrow in the high court, termed the ordinance unconstitutional, saying a Bill of the same nature was awaiting the nod of the Rajya Sabha after being passed by the Lok Sabha on July 31.
The 72-year old Gill said the ordinance, which fixed the age limit of the CEO at 62, was "politically motivated" as the BJP Government, ever since its inception, was having a one-point agenda to oust him.
He alleged in his petition that the government was inimical to his continuation as the CEO of the board as he was not operating to their whims and fancies. The way the Ordinance was promulgated, he said was a subversion of the democratic and parliamentary norms as one House of Parliament had passed the Bill and the other House was yet to discuss it.
By bringing this
Ordinance, the government had bypassed the Rajya Sabha,
Mr Gill said. The Ordinance restoring the original 1990
Act was promulgated on Saturday night and the government
had immediately appointed All India Radio Director
General o.p. Kejriwal in place of Mr Gill.
Steps to counter Pak TV
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 Doordarshan has been urged to improve its programme content of the telecast beamed to the border areas, especially the north-western sector, so that Indian viewers are not attracted by Pakistan TV programmes, which are heavily loaded with anti-India propaganda.
Addressing the 23rd conference of State and Union Territory Information and Broadcasting Ministers here, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, the Punjab Information and Public Relations Minister, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, and the Jammu and Kashmir Information Minister, Mr Ajatshatru Singh, seemed to be echoing each other on this subject.
Ms Sushma Swaraj urged Doordarshan to extend its reach to the hilly and inaccessible regions, especially in the border areas where people had no choice but to view the foreign-based television programmes.
Mr Ajatshatru Singh said Pakistans powerful propaganda had posed a serious challenge to the country and the state in particular and urged the Centre to evolve a result-oriented strategy to counter the vicious disinformation campaign launched by Islamabad. He said the propaganda had already done a great harm and put the youth on the path of self-destruction.
The issue was also brought to the fore by Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, who not only urged Doordarshan to improve upon its transmission signals, but also the content of the TV programmes being beamed from the Jalandhar Doordarshan Kendra. He said that since the standard of programmes being broadcast was not quite good, the viewers in these regions had no option but to watch Pakistan TV.
Addressing the conference in Punjabi, he said that while a lot of attention was being paid to the border regions in the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir, special attention must also be paid to Punjab which was also a border state and which had been on the forefront of all national movements. He also called for more news bulletins in Punjabi on Doordarshan and the All India Radio (AIR).
Ms Swaraj said Doordarshan should focus on programmes based on Indias rich local and regional culture, instead of concentrating on themes with an urban bias. She said the Prasar Bharati would improve the TV hardware and complete by September-end all the partially-built Doordarshan stations or those without telecast equipment.
The minister informed that the long-pending broadcasting Bill would be introduced in Parliament during its next session for allowing uplinking of all TV satellite channels in India. This would not only help the country save foreign exchange, but also help monitor the programme contents of these channels.
Recently, the government had allowed Indian TV satellite companies with up to 20 per cent foreign equity participation to have the uplinking facility. But, still a number of foreign-based such companies or those having more than 20 per cent foreign equity participation, however, are not being allowed this facility.
Referring to the proposed freedom for the information Bill, the minister said the dilemma before the government was how to strike a balance between the growing demand for free flow of information and preserve the culture of the country from the unwanted and excessive depiction of sex, violence and obscenity in the media, including films.
She said there was a flood of information in the world these days. It was becoming difficult to stop it. But, the unhindered entry of this information flow should also not destroy the countrys culture. This was becoming a matter of concern for the government.
About the Broadcasting Council, which has been revived under the Prasar Bharati Act of 1990, Ms Swaraj said the 14-member council would be set up on the pattern of the Press Council of India. It would provide a public platform to the people to register their complaints against the contents of the programmes telecast by Prasar Bharati.
Meanwhile, Mr Attar Singh Saini, Minister of State for Public Relations, Haryana, stressed the need for setting up an independent Doordarshan kendra in Haryana on a priority basis in order to highlight various developmental programmes and cultural activities of the state.
He reminded that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had decided to set up a Doordarshan kendra in Haryana during Seventh Five Year Plan, but there was hardly any progress in this regard. The state government had already selected the site in Bhiwani and the Gram Panchayat of Palwas village had donated more than 68 kanals of land for this purpose, he added.
Mr Saini also said that Haryana was linked to National Capital from three sides and the state government under the leadership of Mr Bansi Lal was fully engaged in developmental activities.
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, said HP had been attracting film producers from all over the country. To intensify film production activities, the state would like to invite larger investment for setting up studios and other film related facilities. He said Himachal Pradesh would extend to such investors all incentives which were available to other industrial entrepreneurs in the state.
Referring to the expansion of the radio network in the state, Mr Dhumal said radio remained the most effective media in the state which catered the need of nearly 90 per cent population and the remaining 10 per cent population is cut off from this medium of communications due to inadequate number of radio stations.
He urged the Centre to provide adequate funds to set up a Radio Station at Keylong in the tribal district of Lahaul -Spiti for which land has already been provided by the state government. He said that there was a dire need to set up radio stations at Chamba, Dalhousie (Chamba district) Sangla and Bhawa Nagar (Kinnaur district) so that the Radio programmes could also satisfy the thirst for information of far-flung areas of the state.
Most states and union territories are opposed to bringing cinema on the Concurrent List of the Constitution, though they are prepared to consider revision in the entertainment tax.
With the exception of a few states like Mizoram and Nagaland, the officials said that this was a major constitutional issue and affected the revenue of states and, therefore, needed greater discussion.
Chandigarh Administrator B.K.N. Chhibber welcomed the proposal to bring cinema in the Concurrent List as he said this would help facilitate uniform legislation in the area. He welcomed the proposal to rationalise entertainment tax and said this was much lower in Chandigarh 50 per cent than several other states and union territories.
UNI adds: Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh today urged the central government that special time be allotted for the relay of regional news (pradeshik samachar) bulletins from Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Rohtak radio stations in the evening daily.
The demand for a regional news relay was made by the Information and Public Relations Ministers of Punjab and Haryana and the Administrator of Chandigarh at the 23rd conference of state and union territories ministers of information and cinematography here.
Punjab Governor, Lt-General B.K.N. Chhibber (retd) urged that the telecast of T.V. news be initiated from Chandigarh as the city is the capital of Punjab, Haryana and also a union territory.
Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Information and Public Relations Minister, Punjab, favoured the creation of news facility in Chandigarh, including telecasting news bulletins.
Mr Sekhwan said the state government proposes to set up an Institute of Visual Media and Communication to provide short-and long-term courses. He called for financial and technical assistance from the central government for setting up the porposed institute.
Mr Sekhwan said a separate
Punjabi channel should be set up for dissemination of
latest discoveries and scientific techniques evolved by
research programmes in agricultural universities. This
channel could also be used to telecast weather forecasts
and alert farmers against imminent calamities.
End strike, students urge
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 Empty classrooms and clean blackboards continued to stare students in the face as the strike by college and university teachers entered its 22nd day today.
The National Students Union of India, demonstrated in the Capital today urging the teachers to end the strike.
The NSUI said the students were the worst affected in the tussle between the teachers and the Union Human Resource Development Ministry.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad had earlier termed the strike as an irresponsible act and had urged them to end it by September 6.
Mr Jaivir Singh Rana, ABVP presidential candidate for the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) poll, today said the strike was affecting the future of the students.
While not disclosing what the ABVP planned to do if the teachers did not resume work after September 6, Mr Jaivir Singh said: Teaching work in colleges would resume after that date.
The national general secretary of the ABVP, Mr Mahendra Pandey, had stated that strong and effective steps to break the strike would be taken if the teachers did not withdraw it by September 5.
The NSUI candidate for the post of secretary in the DUSU poll, Mr Anil Solanki, said the three-week-long strike had hit the academic session.
He expressed the fear that if the session was extended due to this strike, it would affect the career of hundreds of students.
For Mr Praveen Gupta, a first-year student, it has been a long vacation as only a few classes were held since the reopening of the colleges in July.
With student union polls scheduled later this month and the autumn break in October, he said I have been enjoying my days in colleges. About a dozen films in three weeks it has been a nice change from the disciplined atmosphere in school.
However, a third year student of Kirori Mal College, Mr Gurdeep Singh, said if the academic session is extended, then it would affect our career.
A postgraduate student said that she might have to drop her plans of going abroad for research if the session was extended due to the strike.
Meanwhile striking college and university teachers today welcomed the Union Human Resource Development Ministrys offer to pay salary arrears in one instalment.
The All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (AIFUCTO) described the HRD ministrys move as a big step forward. But it accused the ministry of misleading them on many technical points regarding their demands.
government is serious about giving 100 per cent arrears
from January 1, 1996, in one instalment, we will think
about withdrawing our three-week strike, the
AIFUCTO president, Mr K.K. Theckedath, said here today.
New militant group behind
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 The Delhi police suspects the involvement of a new militant group behind last nights blast at Turkman Gate in Central Delhi in which one person was killed and 17 were injured.
Forensic experts and the dog squad were pressed into service to ascertain the group involved in the crime.
According to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range), Mr B.S. Brar, policemen patrolling the area were a few metres away from the spot when the blast took place.
The blast took place due to a chemical reaction in the components of the bomb. The exact configuration of the bomb will be known after we receive a report from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Mr Brar said.
Last nights blast is the fourth in the Capital this year. The police described it as a low-intensity device similar to the one that exploded in Kailash Colony in South Delhi in June.
In January, an explosion
in front of the Delhi police headquarters claimed two
lives and left 45 injured. In another incident, two
persons were killed and four injured when RDX placed in a
Delhi-bound Haryana Roadways bus exploded at the
Inter-State Bus Terminus in July.
Decline in cases of dropsy
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 (PTI) A high-level meeting of health officials here today said there were signs of decline in dropsy cases in and around the Capital following an intensified drive against the sale of adulterated mustard oil in the market even as the toll rose to 32.
Union Health Secretary K.K Baksi, who chaired the meeting of health secretaries of states and union territories, said 1064 patients had been taken to hospitals so far of which 32 had died. The first case was reported on August 5.
The cases of dropsy have been confined by and large to Delhi only, Mr Baksi told journalists.
Following a ban on the sale of mustard oil in Delhi, cases of dropsy were showing a declining trend, Mr Baksi as well as Dr Jeevan Jha, Director, Health Services, Delhi Government, said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma said he had written to the Delhi High Court Chief Justice asking him to depute a sitting judge for an inquiry into the epidemic.
The judicial probe will cover all aspects, including lapses, negligence and conspiracy, and fix responsibility, he told reporters, adding that the government was committed to taking strong action against the culprits.
Earlier, Delhi Health Minister Harsh Vardhan claimed the situation was continuously improving and 73 fresh cases were reported to various hospitals in the past 24 hours against 200 yesterday.
Most of the dropsy cases were reported from Delhi, with Haryana having seven and Assam five, inputs from various states at todays meeting indicated.
Five cases were reported in Bihar so far, but all of them had come to the state from Delhi, Mr Baksi said.
No cases of dropsy were reported from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Andamans and Nicobar Islands, Punjab, Manipur, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the Department of Food and Consumer Affairs decided to supply palmolein as a substitute for mustard oil to meet the gap between supply and demand.
The ban on the sale of mustard oil might be lifted once the situation came under control, Mr Baksi indicated.
The government was also taking steps to tighten its inspection drive against adulteration and had drawn up a capacity-building project to upgrade and strengthen at least 100 testing laboratories, Ms Shailaja Chandra, Additional Secretary in the Health Ministry said.
Most of the PFA laboratories were woefully short of inspectors, she observed, adding the Centre hoped to get World Bank assistance for its project to augment its testing laboratories and equipment.
LUCKNOW: Fifty dropsy cases due to the consumption of adulterated mustard oil were detected from various parts of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday while the government sealed the Dhara factory at Noida in a bid to check the spread of the killer disease, health officials said here.
Leaded petrol sold despite ban
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 Many petrol station in the Capital continued to sell leaded petrol even as the Delhi Government banned its sale from today.
The stations continued to have separate booths for leaded and unleaded petrol and those who demanded unleaded petrol were directed to the other booth.
A petrol station owner in Connaught Place said that they would continue to sell leaded petrol till the stocks exists, saying that the companies had only recently stopped that supply of leaded petrol.
The switchover from leaded to unleaded petrol, experts said, was only a shift from one kind of air pollution to another.
The unleaded petrol would emit benzene, which they said, was equally harmful as it affects ones respiratory and nervous system. Lead or benzene is used as an additive to petrol as it increases the power of engine.
There is no such method which can exclude lead or benzene from petrol structure and have a good octane rating at the same time, says Mr Ranjan K. Bose, a fellow at the Tata Energy Research Institute.
The total phase-out of leaded petrol could mean absence of one of the many pollutants from petrol, another fellow at TERI said, adding that benzene, emitted from unleaded petrol, can cause blood cancer. The benzene level in petrol stand at 5 parts per million per litre in India whereas the USA has this level at ideal 1 ppm per litre, he said.
The Delhi Government, following a court directive, decided to ban the sale of leaded petrol in the Capital.
Though the engines of vehicles plying without catalytic convertors would not be affected by unleaded petrol, experts said this is a step in the right direction to reduce vehicular pollution in the Capital.
For getting the best result from unleaded petrol, some modification in a vehicles engine such as catalytic convertor, modified carburetor and vacuum wall needs to be undertaken which could cost about Rs 20,000.
Stating that the move to ban leaded petrol was the first stop in reducing vehicular pollution, the Delhi Transport Minister, Mr Rajendra Gupta, said that the government would soon introduce some schemes for vehicle owners to fix catalytic convertors to achieve the desired results.
About 30 lakh vehicles ply
in the Capital, which is more than the number of plying
in the Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai, and most of them are
not fitted with catalytic convertors. Only those vehicles
manufactured after April 1, 1995 have been fitted with
No ground for EC bar: Thackeray
NEW DELHI, Sept 1 (PTI) Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today contended before the Election Commission that there was no justification for him being disqualified from contesting or voting in elections for having appealed to the electorate on grounds of religion during a Maharashtra Assembly byelection in 1987.
This was stated by Sena chief counsel Raju Ramachandran during the hearing of a reference sent to the commission to decide the quantum of punishment after the Supreme Court dismissed in 1995 a special leave petition filed by Mr Thackeray and former Maharashtra MLA Yashwant Prabhu against a 1991 Mumbai High Court verdict.
Mr Thackeray was not present at the hearing.
The apex court had found them guilty of electoral malpractice under Section 8-A of the Representation of the People Act for having appealed to the electorate on grounds of religion while campaigning for a Vile Parle Assembly byelection in 1987. Mr Prabhu was disqualified from contesting elections for six years following the Supreme Court order.
Former Maharashtra minister and defeated Congress candidate Prabhakar Kunte had filed the petition against Mr Thackeray and Mr Prabhu in the high court soon after the byelection.
Besides, Mr Ramachandran contended that no action to disqualify Mr Thackeray was called for as the Sena chief, who had never contested elections, had declared that he would never enter any poll fray in his life.
Stamp on Mother Teresa sought
Jobs for kin of
Wage board hearing
on Sept 10
code of conduct
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