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Sunday, April 25, 1999

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Opposition to Cong govt weakens
NEW DELHI, April 24 — Faced with the prospect of possible dissolution of the 12th Lok Sabha, hectic efforts were on in the Opposition camp to make way for an alternative government.

Heat wave claims 40 lives
NEW DELHI, April 24 — At least 40 persons, 28 of them in Orissa alone, have died so far due to heat wave which has tightened its grip over several parts of the country.

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Janata Dal President Sharad Yadav announces his party's decision on supporting a secular government at the Centre
Janata Dal President Sharad Yadav announces his party's decision on supporting a secular government at the Centre at President's House in New Delhi. — A Tribune photograph

Nalanda varsity losing vitals
NALANDA, April 24 — An ancient Buddhist university in Bihar faces closure due to shortage of teachers and funds.
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SC directive on CPC Section 100
NEW DELHI, April 24 — The Supreme Court has come down heavily on some judges of various high courts for liberally construing and generally applying the amendments to Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure on minimising litigation.

Strike provokes Oppn walkout
PATNA, April 24 — Opposition members staged a noisy walkout from the Bihar Assembly today demanding an immediate end to the over three-and-a-half month long strike by more than 7.5 lakh non-gazetted employees and teachers.

ISRO to lease 11 transponders
BANGALORE, April 24 — The Department of Space will lease 11 transponders on board INSAT-2E, India’s most advanced spacecraft, under a commercial agreement, to the International Telecommunication Satellite Organisation here on April 27, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation sources.

Oceansat to aid scientists
PANAJI, April 24 — Indian scientists studying the varied colours of the ocean — ranging from blue to green and even yellowish brown — to unearth clues about productivity, weather and pollution in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal will soon get the help of satellites to collect more data.

Empower women, says Dikshit
NEW DELHI, April 24 — The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, today said society had to overcome constraints like mental barriers and patriarchal attitudes to empower women.

Lt-Gen Rao NCC DG
NEW DELHI, April 24 — Lieut Gen A. S. Rao, a Ph.D in military science and an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, took over as the Director-General of the NCC here today.

Nanabhai Bhatt dead
MUMBAI, April 24 — Veteran Film-maker Nanabhai Bhatt, who directed more than 100 action-packed thrillers between the 30’s and the 70’s, died here yesterday following a heart attack. He was 87.

Tamil actress, actor dead
CHENNAI, April 24 — Popular Tamil film actress M.V. Rajamma died at her residence here yesterday following a brief illness, family sources said.

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Opposition to Cong govt weakens
From Shubhabrata Bhattacharya
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 24 — Faced with the prospect of possible dissolution of the 12th Lok Sabha, hectic efforts were on in the Opposition camp to make way for an alternative government.

The negative scenario, where every addition had its corresponding attrition seems to have been overcome. Having made their point, hardliners may not be averse to softening their postures. While the Revolutionary Socialist Party has already indicated that it may be willing to relent and despite sabre-rattling by its general secretary, Mr Amar Singh, even the Samajwadi Party may be prepared to play ball over the next two days.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, who has not only given the support of his 17 MPs to the Congress but has also backed the move to make Mrs Sonia Gandhi the Prime Minister, has indicated that he had not given up hope on the Mulayam Singh Yadav front as yet.

The day began with talk of Mr Jyoti Basu emerging as the Third Front candidate for prime ministership. But posturing apart, the fact is that on Thursday when a meeting was held of non-Congress Opposition parties at the residence of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr Basu, who was the first to leave the meeting, had made it clear that apart from his party’s objection to his taking up the job, his frail health was also a reason for him saying no.

The CPM, in its party programme adopted at the time of the Communist split of 1964, had clearly said that unless the party was in a position to dominate the scene, it would not participate in a government at the Centre. Article 112-A of the CPM programme can only be amended by a party congress. The last Congress held at Calcutta had refused to even consider dropping this stipulation.

The media is full of speculation about the CPM Politburo tomorrow clearing the way for Mr Jyoti Basu to say yes. The fact is that in the absence of a party congress, it is the Central Committee of the CPM which is empowered to effect changes in the party programme, pending approval of a party congress.

The Central Committee of the CPM is sharply divided on this question and is unlikely to enter into a controversy at a time when for the first time in 22 years the party is facing a situation in which its Left Front allies, the RSP and Forward Bloc are questioning its broad line. The compulsions of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, from where the CPM gets most of its Lok Sabha seats do not permit any change of party programme at present.

CPM General Secretary, Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, has stated categorically that the options are either a government headed by the Congress or a mid-term poll. Thus in a bid to avoid elections the focus is on the first option.

The Congress is clear that either it will form a minority government headed by the party or go back to the hustings. This being its posture, the other parties have to consider whether they are inclined to go in for polls or not.

The situation is likely to be clear by Monday. The President, having asked Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, last Saturday to continue "till alternate arrangements are made’’ is still working on an exercise of trying to find if a viable government other than that of Mr Vajpayee can be installed.Top


 

Heat wave claims 40 lives

NEW DELHI, April 24 (PTI) — At least 40 persons, 28 of them in Orissa alone, have died so far due to heat wave which has tightened its grip over several parts of the country.

Intense heat wave has been sweeping Orissa for the past few days with the mercury touching more than 44 C in some parts today, as a Bhubaneswar report said 28 persons have died so far.

The deaths were reported from Khurda district, coastal districts and some interior places. Bolangir in western Orissa reeled under 44.1 C while Sambalpur and Baripada recorded 43.8 and 43 C respectively.

However, people of Andhra Pradesh, reeling under an intense heat wave for the past two weeks, heaved a sigh of relief as the mercury fell considerably in most parts of the state. Though reports put the toll at 10, officials did not confirm the number of casualties due to the heat wave.

In Gujarat, the heat wave, sweeping Baroda and adjoining areas, has claimed two lives since yesterday.

Bihar reeled under scorching heat as mercury soared to about 44 C in some parts. The steel city of Jamshedpur recorded 43.8 C.

Scorching heat confined people in the Capital indoors as mercury touched 42.3 C, the highest so far this season. The rest of the northern region also reeled under oppressive heat.Top


 

Nalanda varsity losing vitals

NALANDA, April 24 (ANI) — An ancient Buddhist university in Bihar faces closure due to shortage of teachers and funds.

It is Nalanda University that flourished during the reign of King Chandragupta Maurya in the fifth century A.D.

Nalanda was the hub of knowledge and education was imparted in Pali language which was prevalent during the Maurya rule.

After India won Independence in 1947, the state government of Bihar opened an international institute in 1951 to increase awareness about Pali language and Buddhism.

Scholars from several Buddhist countries, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, have come to study at the ancient university.

The students have complained that the standard of education has deteriorated as most of the teachers have retired. Currently Pali is being taught by two retired professors.

“For the last six months we have been asking the Governor to remove all the retired teachers who cannot teach, but he has not listened to us,” said Nayaka, a student of Buddhist history from Bangladesh.

The university hands out postgraduate degrees, diplomas and doctorates in the Pali language, but there has been a sharp decline over the past five years in the number of students enrolled in the university.

It can accommodate a maximum of 500 students, but the number of students has dropped to 45 in 1999 from 105 in 1994.

Students say that education was supposed to be free of charge but now the administration has started asking money under various garbs.

“We are poor scholars who are no better than beggars but now they have started asking money for admission and library etc which is just not possible. Moreover there is no scholarship facility as is available in other institutions,” said Bhikku Dhampal who is doing his masters in Pali.

The Japanese Government has announced a scholarship for the institute but the students say the money has never been granted.

Students also say that the research and publication facilities are in bad shape due to lack of maintenance.

The university’s printing press was closed down five years ago because of shortage of spares.

The state government blames the central government for the chaos as no money has been granted to the institution for the past four years.

The central government’s Department of Culture took over the charge of the university, citing its cultural importance.

“When the institution was run by us we took every possible care. We felt that it is an international institution. We even brought teachers from other states but now the central government is giving no money at all,” said Ashok Singh, Bihar’s Education Minister.

A large number of students have already migrated to other universities. Others say they might be forced to launch a fast unto-death to highlight their woes.Top


 

SC directive on CPC Section 100

NEW DELHI, April 24 (UNI) — The Supreme Court has come down heavily on some judges of various high courts for liberally construing and generally applying the amendments to Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) on minimising litigation.

“The amending Act was brought on the basis of various law commissions’ reports, recommending for making appropriate provisions in the CPC, which were intended to minimise litigation to give the litigant a fair trial in accordance with the accepted principle of natural justice,” the court observed.

It was also to expedite disposal of civil suits and proceedings so that justice is not delayed, to avoid complicated procedure, to ensure a fair deal to the poor sections of the community and restrict the second appeals on only such questions which are certified by the courts to the substantive question of law, the court said.

Allowing an appeal by Kondiba Dagadu Kadam, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S. Saghir Ahmad and Mr Justice R.R. Sethi, said “it has been noticed time and again that without insisting for the statement of the substantial question of law in the memorandum of appeal and formulating the same at the time of admission, the high courts have been issuing notices and generally deciding the second appeals without adhering to the procedure prescribed under Section 100 of the CPC.

The judges noted that it has been found in a number of cases that no efforts are made to distinguish between a question of law and substantial question of law.

The instant appeal, the judges said was one such where provisions of Section 100 of the CPC had wrongly been applied and the findings of fact by the first appellate court disturbed without adhering to the principles of and the limitations imposed by the section.Top


 

Strike provokes Oppn walkout

PATNA, April 24 (PTI) — Opposition members staged a noisy walkout from the Bihar Assembly today demanding an immediate end to the over three-and-a-half month long strike by more than 7.5 lakh non-gazetted employees and teachers.

The issue was raised by Mr Ambika Prasad Singh (CPI), Mr Upendra Nath Das (BJP) and Mr Furkan Ansari (Cong) who claimed that development work in the state had come to a halt due to the strike.

They demanded to know what steps were being taken by the state government to end the stir when the Minister for Finance Shanker Prasad Tekriwal was replying to a debate on an appropriation bill in the house.

Mr Singh said while the government claimed that it had accepted the demand of the striking unions for central pay scales, the hitch continued on the government’s “recalcitrance” on the no work no pay step against the agitators during the strike period.

The agitated Opposition Members then staged a noisy walkout in the midst of the minister’s reply.

Later, Mr Tekriwal described the strike as unjustified saying no real cause was attached to it.

He said Bihar was the first state in the country which had decided to give central pay scales to its employees and teachers.

Earlier, replying to the debate on the appropriation bill 1999 of Rs 18,503.49 crore, Mr Tekriwal said the government was irrevocably committed to holding the elections to Panchayati Raj institutions in Bihar.Top


 

Lt-Gen Rao DG NCC
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 24 — Lieut Gen A. S. Rao, a Ph.D in military science and an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, took over as the Director-General of the NCC (DG, NCC) here today.

A graduate from Defence Services Staff College Wellington, he has held various prestigious appointments which include his tenure at Infantry School and College of Combat, Mhow and Chief of Staff, Northern Command. Prior to his assuming his present appointment he was Commandant, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.

After completing his tenure, Lieut-Gen B. S. Malik, handed over his charge as DG NCC and will take over as Chief of Staff, Western Command.

Earlier, both the outgoing and incoming Directors-General laid wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, (India Gate). Later a Guard of Honour was presented by cadets of the three wings of the NCC drawn from the NCC Directorate, Delhi.Top


 

ISRO to lease 11 transponders

BANGALORE, April 24 (PTI) — The Department of Space will lease 11 transponders on board INSAT-2E, India’s most advanced spacecraft, under a commercial agreement, to the International Telecommunication Satellite Organisation (INTELSAT) here on April 27, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sources.

Officials at the ISRO were in a jubilant mood since it was the organisation’s first commercial agreement, under which INTELSAT would give $ 40 million a year for the next 10 years, the sources said.

The capacity for use by INTELSAT was additionally built in to the 2550 Kg spacecraft, designed with a mission life of 12 years.

A high-level INTELSAT team would be here on Tuesday in connection with the agreement. Top officials of the Department of Telecommunications and VSNL were also expected to be present.Top


 

Oceansat to aid scientists

PANAJI, April 24 (IANS) — Indian scientists studying the varied colours of the ocean — ranging from blue to green and even yellowish brown — to unearth clues about productivity, weather and pollution in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal will soon get the help of satellites to collect more data.

India is to launch the IRS-P4 Oceansat during the last week of May to be used specifically for ocean applications. Another Indian satellite, Oceansat 2, is due to be launched next year. Each satellite has a life span of three years.

Scientists at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) based here are excited over the potential of a new impetus being given to Indian oceanographic satellites that will study ocean colour and other aspects.

“Since the early 1980s, most of the satellites sent into orbit globally were for communication. Land-based applications also get priority over the sea,” said NIO scientist Padmanabh Sathe. Now that deficiency will be made up.

Using ocean colours, scientists can find out the productivity — or fish-producing capacity — of different areas. Areas rich in photo-planktons, the tiny uni-cellular self-feeding plants or algae, tell scientists which regions are abundant with marine life.

Colour data can also help find answers to unexplained questions in the carbon-dioxide budget of different regions of the oceans.

“Only the Indian subcontinent and the nearby region faces the fury of the monsoons. It is our responsibility therefore to study it. Other countries will naturally not evince interest,” added Mr Sathe.

In March 1996, the IRS-P3 MOS satellite was launched under a joint programme between Germany and India. Japan’s Ocean Colour and Temperature Sensor (OCTS) was unsuccessful within a year of its launch, in June 1997.

The USA’s National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) launched its SeaWiFS (sea-viewing wide field-of-view sensor) in September 1997. Currently, there are only two ocean colour satellites in operation, IRS-P3 and SeaWiFS.Top


 

Empower women, says Dikshit
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 24 — The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, today said society had to overcome constraints like mental barriers and patriarchal attitudes to empower women.

Speaking at a function on the occasion of women’s political empowerment day today, Ms Dikshit lauded the efforts made by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to introduce reservation for women at the panchayat level and said the same efforts should be made to extend 33 per cent reservation to Parliament.

Ms Dikshit also gave away awards to three distinctive women sarpanches — Gundia Bai, Sudha K Patel, Fatima Bi — for exemplary work in their respective villages on the occasion.Top


 

Nanabhai Bhatt dead

MUMBAI, April 24 (PTI) — Veteran Film-maker Nanabhai Bhatt, who directed more than 100 action-packed thrillers between the 30’s and the 70’s, died here yesterday following a heart attack. He was 87.

Father of noted film director Mahesh Bhatt, producer Mukesh Bhatt and writer Robin Bhatt, Nanabhai, who had been ailing for the past few months, was admitted to the Nanavati hospital on Monday after he went into a coma. The end came at 4.15 p.m. yesterday, family sources said.

A native of Porbandar in Gujarat, he moved to Mumbai in 1930 to try his luck in the world of films. ‘Muqabla’ was his first film as a director, released in 1932.

His best known films are ‘Mr X’, starring Ashok Kumar, ‘Zimbo Comes to Town’, ‘Sinbad, the Sailor’, ‘Teen Ustad’ and ‘Lal Quila’. He also made a science fiction movie ‘Rocket Girl’ and a mythological ‘Veer Ghatothkach’.

Nanabhai’s last film was ‘Jeevan Rekha’, released in 1976.

He is survived by wife, four sons, five daughters and grand-daughter actress Pooja Bhatt.Top


 

Tamil actress, actor dead

CHENNAI, April 24 (PTI) — Popular Tamil film actress M.V. Rajamma died at her residence here yesterday following a brief illness, family sources said.

She was 81.

She is survived by an adopted son.

Rajamma had acted in more than 200 Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films.

Meanwhile, S. R. Veeraraghavan, a popular Tamil film and theatre actor, died here yesterday following a heart attack, his family sources said today. He was 72. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. Veeraghavan had acted in more than 600 films.Top


 

Skipper Director’s son arrested
From Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, April 24 — The crime branch of the Delhi Police today claimed to have arrested a son of the Director of Skipper Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Prabhjot Singh, from his hideout in NOIDA.

The suspect had allegedly cheated people by promising to give them plots or flats in Technology Park City (NOIDA) and Technology Park Apartments and Vaishali in Ghaziabad.Top


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in brief
  Anjana Mishra gangrape case
CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has agreed to monitor the investigation of the CBI in the Anjana Mishra gangrape case as the State Government submitted that there was no need for the continuation of the Justice P.K. Mishra Commission to probe the incident. A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice C.R. Pal, while disposing of a Public Interest litigation petition on Friday allowed the State Government to take steps with regard to withdrawal of the judicial commission. — UNI

Arsenic problem in West Bengal
CALCUTTA: The Environment Bench of the Calcutta High Court has sought suggestions from the Union Environment Ministry in solving the arsenic problem in eight districts of West Bengal. The bench comprising Mr Justice G.R. Bhattacharyay and Mr Justice Amit Talukdar directed the Union Environment Secretary to appear before the court on Friday next and apprise the Bench of the arsenic problem in other parts of the country, if any. — UNI

5 killed in road mishap
BARODA: Five persons, including a woman, were killed and 15 injured when a van carrying them overturned in Kakroli village in Panchmahal district on Friday, the police said. Eleven of the injured have been admitted into the Civil Hospital in Panchmahal district while four seriously injured were admitted to SSG Hospital, Baroda, the police said. — PTI

Measures to stop child labour
NEW DELHI: As part of the government’s ongoing efforts to eliminate the scourge of child labour, 100 new National Child Labour Projects (NCLP) have been approved, says Union Labour Secretary L. Mishra. At least 200 more such projects were needed to benefit about two million child workers in hazardous industries, Dr Mishra informed participants at a training workshop on “Child Labour Elimination Programme for NCLP Project Directors” here on Friday. — UNI

Law and order situation in Capital
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre, Delhi Government and Delhi Police to implement its directives, given from time to time, regarding improvement of law and order situation in the Capital, in letter and spirit. A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Anil Dev Singh and Mr Justice A.K. Srivastava in an order issued on Wednesday said all the departments concerned should inform the court by May 24 as to how the court’s directives were being implemented. — PTI

Famine looms in Tripura
AGARTALA: The spectre of near famine is stalking Tripura with drinking water sources drying up everywhere in the hilly and remote areas of the state. Official sources said here on Friday that the State Government had taken several measures to tackle the situation, arising out of a continued heat wave and lack of rainfall. The government had also decided to double the ration in the drought-prone areas of the state, sources added. — UNI
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