|N A T I O N|
India protests to Pak
BJP holds demonstration against
Left parties meeting
TDP puts up brave front
Alternative govt wont last:
HC directive to UPSC
3 personnel of TN House suspended
Retrenchment of teachers stayed
Facelift planned for Khajuraho
Beating up of envoy
NEW DELHI, April 21 (PTI) India today lodged a "strong" protest with Pakistan for the brutal assault of an Indian diplomat in Lahore and said necessary protection and security be provided to all officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Khalid Khattak was called to the External Affairs Ministry and a strong protest was lodged regarding this incident, an official spokesman said.
Mr P. Ravindranathan, an attache in the Indian Mission in Islamabad, was in Lahore on April 20 on liaison duty with a group of Sikh pilgrims from India. As he emerged from the offices of the Waqf Board on the premises of Gurdwara Dera Sahib yesterday evening, he was accosted and brutally beaten up by three persons. He sustained serious cuts and bruises on his face, necessitating his admission to a hospital.
The spokesman said a senior official of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Pakistan conveyed "deep regret" at the incident and assured Indian High Commissioner G. Parthasarathy that the matter would be thoroughly investigated.
A report from Islamabad said a case had been registered with the Pakistan Police.
This is the second major incident of assault on an Indian diplomat in Pakistan within a year. Earlier, an attache with the Indian High Commission was seriously assaulted here immediately after New Delhi and Islamabad carried out nuclear tests in May last year.
BJP holds demonstration
NEW DELHI, April 21 In a move to draw public attention, some MPs belonging to the BJP and its allies today held a noisy demonstration at the main entrance of Parliament House opposing any move to make Congress President Sonia Gandhi the Prime Minister.
Anticipating that the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, was going to call Mrs Gandhi for consultations, a group of MPs led by the BJP MP, Mr Ganga Charan Rajput, started raising slogans like "Videshi mool ki nagrik vapas jao (person of foreign origin, go back)", "Sonia vapas jao... Rome raj nahin chalega (go back Sonia... rule of Rome wont be allowed)".
Mr Rajput, who had vehemently opposed the womens reservation Bill earlier, demanded that the President should not allow "a person of foreign origin to become the Prime Minister". He further said that they would not object if anyone else from the Congress or even Mrs Gandhis son Rahul or daughter Priyanka were chosen for the post.
Mr Rajput told reporters that since Mrs Gandhi had never contested any election, she did not have the moral right to become the Prime Minister. He said he would sit on fast if anyone of foreign origin was made the Prime Minister.
displaying banners carrying slogans "Sonia Gandhi
murdabad", "Videshi ka sapana sakar na hoga,
phir se desh gulam na hoga (Dreams of foreigners will not
be realised, the country will not be once again
occupied)", and "Congress neta sharam karo
(Congress leaders, you should be ashamed)", staged
the show before the Lok Sabha met for the day to pass the
Union and Railway budgets. Mr Ramanand Singh, Mr Amrik
Singh, Ms Sangita Singh Deo, Mr J.P. Mishra and Mr
Ratilal Verma were among those who took part in the
India major nuclear exporter
NEW DELHI, April 21 (IPA) India has emerged has a significant exporter of high-technology nuclear material, including heavy water, equipment and nuclear medicine components to a large number of countries from South Korea to the USA, Britain, Indonesia, Syria, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Egypt, states the annual report of the Atomic Energy Commission for the year 1998-99.
The most important nuclear export from India is of 100 metric tonnes of heavy water which the Heavy Water Board exported to the Republic of Korea in May 1998. India and South Korea had signed an agreement in 1996 on heavy water exports from this country to South Korea. A sample of heavy water was exported in 1997-end while the bulk of the export was completed in May 1998. South Korea has found Indian exported heavy water to be of international quality and negotiations are on the anvil for export of a further consignment of heavy water by Indias Heavy Water Board.
The Board of Radioactive Isotope Technology (BRIT) carried out big nuclear export orders in the outgoing year consisting of more than 45,000 consignments of radio-isotopes and related equipment to the UK, Indonesia, Syria, Nepal, Sri Lanka an Egypt. BRITs exports also included consignments of radio-pharmaceuticals for use in nuclear medicine which could cover about eight lakh patients.
A notable export is by BARC to M/s Hughes Space and Communications Centre, USA, through Antariksha, an ISRO organisation. BARC produced beryllium assemblies for supply to the USA firm, the order having been executed after the May 11 and 13 nuclear tests.
Also notable is BARCs export of 500 thoria buttons to the USA; RIA reagents to Egypt; liquid injection system and gas apparatus for radio-tracer experiments to Bangladesh; TLD badges to Saudi Arabia and software for age estimation to Hong Kong University.
Another high-technology nuclear export from India is under a programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under this programme, BARC exported 81 ANUGMI-S, interface cards for the gamma camera. ANUGMI-P, a more versatile interface card for acquisition of nuclear medicine imaging data, was installed in the country recently at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS). The Gamma-Camera-Interface Cards through the IAEA have been exported to Latin American, Asian and African countries.
of India, a unit under the Department of Atomic Energy,
has introduced a number of hi-tech products of strategic
importance in 1998-99, some of which are available for
exports. The company expects to export products worth Rs
1.4 crore in the coming months.
Left parties meeting called
NEW DELHI, April 21 Five Left parties who were due to meet here today, postponed their meeting following non-passage of the Budget.
Senior leaders of the CPI, the CPM, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the All India Forward Bloc and the Peasants and Workers Party were to meet here to resume discussions on formation of a government.
Mr D Raja, national secretary of the CPI told TNS that "informal consultations over formation of an alternative government are on. He added that apart from a meeting of senior leaders of the Left parties with the president of the Samajwadi Party, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav in the evening, telephonic consultations are possible.
He added that the Leftist parties are awaiting a call from the President, who has started the process of holding talks with leaders of various political parties. "We expect that the President will call our party general secretary, Mr AB Bardhan by tomorrow, but this has nothing to do with the meeting of the Left parties.
Mr Abani Roy, RSP MP
said he did not know why the Left parties had decided not
to hold the meeting in the evening. He reiterated that
the RSP remained firm in its stand of opposing both the
Congress and the BJP.
TDP puts up brave front
HYDERABAD, April 21 (PTI) Braving the defection of its MP, Mr S. Vijayaramaraju to the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) today asserted that the party was united and accused the Congress of resorting to unabashed horse-trading.
Jointly addressing a press conference here, the TDP general secretaries, Mr Lal Jan Bashan and Mr C. Manik Reddy, alleged that the desertion of Mr Vijayaramaraju, a Scheduled Tribes member, representing Parvathipuram in Vizianagaram district, was part of the Congress's gameplan to tarnish the image of the ruling party.
The TDP, which has 12 members in the Lok Sabha, excluding Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi, would make all efforts to block the Congress from coming to power through the backdoor, they said.
The TDP leaders, however, evaded a question on why no action was being initiated against Mr Vijayaramaraju for switching loyalties. "We are examining the issue", they said.
Asked about the confusion in party circles over its continuance of support to the BJP, they said "our main aim is to thwart evil designs of the Congress and to achieve this we have been extending issue based support to the BJP".
Meanwhile, TDP leader
and state Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has
convened a meeting of the Telugu Desam Parliamentary
Party (TDPP) here tonight to formulate the party's
strategy vis-a-vis the alternative government at the
Newspaper staff strike today
NEW DELHI, April 21 (UNI) Newspaper and news agency employees all over the country will observe a strike tomorrow to protest against wage disparities in the proposed recommendations of the Manisana Singh Wage Board.
The decision to back the strike call was reiterated by the national coordination committee of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Unions, representing nine All-India unions, in a statement today.
The coordination committee welcomed the statement by Indian Newspaper Society (INS) President Mammen Mathew that no decision had been taken by the wage board yet but expressed surprise at the remarks made by the INS spokesperson at the April 5 meeting that working journalists deserved salary comparable with office staff of some remote sugar mill.
The statement said it was interesting to see the INS finally "waking up to the reality of a looming industrial relations disruption in newspaper establishments as a result of what is happening in the Manisana Singh Wage Board.
It said the INS president could have averted the strike if he had intervened and dissociated his organisation from the position taken by the INS spokesperson at the April 5 wage board meeting.
The statement said that as wage levels in the newspaper industry are fixed on well-established principles of wage parity, the affirmation before the wage board was the "clearest indication that salaries of all staff, journalists and non-journalists alike, were going to be downgraded.
Alleging a "nexus between the INS and the wage board, the coordination committee said the working paper produced by the wage board secretariat had been prepared entirely on the basis of claims of the INS, ignoring the "massive evidence produced by staff unions.
Alternative govt wont last: Kanshi
BUXAR (Bihar), April 21 (UNI) Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshi Ram today said that any alternative government at the Centre would not last long.
Addressing different rallies at Dumrao and Dhanloi in Buxar district, Mr Kanshi Ram said the country would witness general elections within the next six months and exhorted his party workers to gear up for facing the elections.
The Bahujan Samaj Party chief said that the country was mortgaged to the 'Manuvadi forces' and his party was trying its best to free it from such forces.
Justifying his party's decision to vote against Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee's confidence motion, he said as the Bharatiya Janata Party was "pushing forward the wrong policies", it led to the political crisis in the country.
HC directive to UPSC
NEW DELHI, April 21 The Delhi High Court today directive the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to devise a mechanism to ascertain from the government the exact number of vacancies in bureaucracy before a notification for the civil services examination every year.
A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Arun Kumar and Mr Justice Manmohan Sarin issued the direction on a petition by Common Cause on behalf of some candidates who had passed the written test for the 1998 civil services examination.
The UPSC should try to get proper input about the likely number of vacancies (in bureaucracy) prior to the issuance of the notification for the civil services examination, the court said.
The petition was, however, dismissed by the court, saying it was not maintainable and there was no cause of action.
Common Cause counsel Meera Bhatia told the court that the number of vacancies for the 1998 civil services examination were reduced drastically, depriving those candidates of being called for an interview who had qualified in the written test.
She said the UPSC had advertised 740 vacancies for 1998, but these were reduced to 470 after written examinations.
Government counsel H.S. Phoolka told the court that the UPSC had no method to know the exact number of vacancies. The figure given in the notification every year was tentative based on the available posts in the previous year.
3 personnel of TN House suspended
CHENNAI, April 21 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P.T. R. Palanivel Rajan has suspended three personnel of the Assembly library for copying down the House proceedings from March 22 to 24, relating to the assault on Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam by AIADMK Legislature Party leader R. Thamaraikanni and the sentence awarded to him by the House.
This came to light after question hour in the House this morning when AIADMK MLA P.R. Sundaram pleaded with the Speaker to revoke their suspension as they were innocent. He, himself, had asked them to copy down the proceedings as they were voluminous after the Madras High Court had sought the copies of the proceedings in the case, challenging the sentence awarded to Mr Thamaraikanni. Hence, any punishment should be meted out to him for asking the library personnel to copy down the proceedings, he added.
The Speaker said Mr Sundaram had asked the three personnel to help him, stating that he would inform the Speaker about it. Did you ask me before seeking their assistance, he asked.
He also asked Mr Sundaram whether he was willing to stay out of the House during the rest of the session.
Sagar appointed DVB chief
NEW DELHI, April 21 The former Adviser to the Chandigarh Administration, Mr Jagdish Sagar, has been appointed as the Chairman of Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB).
Mr Sagar succeeds Mr Virendra Singh as the DVB Chief, it was officially announced here today.
Mr Virendra Singh has been posted as Principal Secretary-cum-Commissioner Transport. Mr D.C. Mishra was till today holding additional charge of the Transport Department, a release said.
Retrenchment of teachers stayed
NEW DELHI, April 21 The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has stayed the retrenchment of nearly 500 contract teachers in various government schools.
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice T.N. Bhat and Mr Justice S.P. Biswas, also issued notice to the Delhi Government on a bunch of petitions filed by the aggrieved teachers asking the state government to file a reply tomorrow and said those who continued in the service till March 31 would not be sacked till further orders.
The petitions filed by the teachers alleged that they were sacked by the present government on political considerations despite the fact that about 5,000 posts of post graduate teacher, trained graduate teachers, (TGT) and assistant teacher were lying vacant.
They alleged that the government ordered the retrenchment of 1007 contract teachers in various categories on the ground that they had a backdoor entry to the schools though their appointments were made through advertisements.
The petitioners sought that they should be allowed to continue in service till regular appointments were made and that they should be paid the same salary as granted to other regular teachers in various categories.
Facelift planned for Khajuraho
KHAJURAHO, April 21 (PTI) The temples in Khajuraho, renowned for erotic sculptures, are getting a face-lift with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) undertaking a major overhaul of the 1000-year-old structures and authorities working on a conservation and sustainable development strategy for them.
While the ASI has embarked on a major restoration process, an expert team of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) conservationists has worked out a development strategy that aims at making the world heritage site a model tourist destination.
Even as the shrines are undergoing renovation, the ASI further plans to open up all platforms of the temples and reconstruct them using proper material to strengthen them, says Mr Ashok Kumar Soni, Conservation Assistant with the ASI.
After the construction of the temples 1000 years ago by the Chandela rulers, the repairs carried out from time to time have been piecemeal in nature, and as a result you see various varieties of stones in the platforms and staircases of the temples.
We plan to open up the platforms gradually and repair them properly so that they become what they were originally, says Mr Soni, who coordinates ASIs work at the temples.
While water tightening of the western group of temples have almost been completed closing all the cracks in them to prevent water seepage, currently chemical conservation and cleaning of the temples are on, he says.
The same operations will be applied onto the eastern group too. All this will be effected over a longer period of time considering the minute nature of the work involved.
Another major repair work currently on is the rebuilding of the left sub-shrine of the Lakshmana Temple having done the same with the right sub-shrine.
They had got tilted due to some problem with the base. We took out the foundation, documented each layer physically and photographically and then have started the reconstruction using specific materials. It is a very time consuming process, says the ASI official.
Built between 9th and 12th century AD, Khajuraho initially had 85 temples but only 25 survive today.
The ASI is also studying the effect of tourism on the monuments, especially with the ever-increasing number of tourists who get drawn to this sleepy town for the sculptures.
BJP for probe into jhuggi
NEW DELHI, April 21 The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded a probe into the recent fires in the jhuggi clusters in which many people lost their lives in the Capital.
Debaki Boses films
CALCUTTA April 21 (UNI) The birth centenary of Debaki Kumar Bose, the first-ever Indian film director to win an award abroad, will be celebrated here from April 28. Boses film Sita (Hindi) won an award at the Venice International Film Festival in 1934.
The West Bengal
Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, will inaugurate the centenary
celebrations at Nandan where a retrospective of his films
will be screened besides a seminar, Debaki Kumar
Bose the Director and the man, the next day.
|Naxalites blow up rice
HYDERABAD: Naxalties of the banned Peoples War Group (PWG) blew up a rice mill owned by a ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader at Irukudu village in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. The police said six militants went to the rice mill owned by the Siddipet Market Committee Chairman, Mr Srinivas Reddy and blasted it with explosives, in protest against the killing of eight Naxalites of the Dubbak Dalam in an encounter on Thursday last. UNI
Newspaper office attacked
CBI seeks more
time for probe
Dry spell hits
in sign language
Radio waves will
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