|N A T I O N|
Protest by cyclone
hitch in merger with LS: Sharad
A little girl sits on an inflated tyre near her cyclone-devastated slum on the outskirts of Paradip on Friday. PTI
Mamata, Basu hold talks
CBI remand for sacked Bihar
Probe ordered into Srinagar attack
Sena expels nine office-bearers
Army to ensure safe passage
President leaves for Austria
Move to Indianise
Rs 6,000 cr plan for armed forces
Top Nagaland official sentenced
Helen Keller awards
Compound to cure
Assam Govt goes bankrupt
Meteor shower on Nov 11 expected
Protest by cyclone victims
BALASORE, Nov 6 (PTI) At least 3,000 cyclone victims today staged a demonstration before the collectorate here, protesting against the "inadequate" relief given to them.
They were demanding tarpaulin sheets, fuel and clothes.
The victims, who came from eight panchayats of the Balasore Sadar Block, raised slogans against the District Magistrate during the two-hour demonstration.
"The district administration is only giving us rice. What are we going to do with that ? Our houses are broken. We have no utensils, wood or kerosene," a villager lamented.
Panic spread across this port town of Pana dip and nearby cyclone-ravaged villages following rumours that the ammonia tank in Paradip Phosphates (PPL) had leaked.
People climbed into every available vehicle leaving the area as the rumour spread like fire.
The PPL authorities denied that there had been any leak in the ammonia tank or an emergency in the plant. There was no danger to life, a PPL press note here said.
In Bhubaneswar, state Home Secretary S.C. Hota denied that there had been any leak from the ammonia tank of the PPL.
NEW DELHI, (TNS and agencies): The armed forces today said the possibility of epidemic spreading in the cyclone-ravaged districts of Orissa was high but was hopeful that the situation would stabilise in the next 10 days.
Briefing mediapersons here with his colleagues from the Navy and the Air Force on "Operation Sahayata", Army spokesman Col Bikram Singh warned that the "proliferation of an epidemic could become a major threat". He said the priority was on restoring road and rail links in the state, besides the communications and power network.
While IAF aircraft and choppers undertook 230 sorties till today carrying 710 tonnes of relief supplies to the affected areas, naval ships, including amphibious vessel INS Gharial and survey ship INS Nirupak, and choppers on-board reached supplies at various places mostly near the worst-hit shoreline, Group Capt N.K. Upadhyay of the IAF and Capt Venkat Shankar of the Navy said.
Over 5,000 army personnel from 35 columns, including doctors, engineers and communication staff, have been deployed as Territorial Army columns were aiding the railways to repair damaged tracks.
Asked how long the forces expected the emergency relief operations to continue, the spokesman said while the operations were "an on-going process", the situation was likely to stabilise in the next seven to 10 days.
The IAF aircraft continued carrying relief supplies and heavy equipment like boats, bridging units, generators, ambulances and earthmovers, besides troops from across the country to Orissa, Capt Upadhyay said.
Navy ships, the first of which docked at Paradip on November 1, distributed cooked food to hundreds of hungry people from their kitchen.
Teams of divers salvaged sunken boats and vessels and repaired and restored the Paradip port, where at least four merchant vessels had docked till date, Capt Shankar said. Naval personnel also set up a satellite network at the port city to link it with the outside world.
The armed forces efforts were being coordinated by General Officer Commanding of 23 Infantry Division, Maj-Gen A.K. Kler and relief measures were being carried out in consultation with the civil administration, the spokesman said.
The Orissa Government today admitted that the threat of epidemic loomed large over cyclone and flood-hit areas of coastal districts but said there was no outbreak of any epidemic as yet even as the death toll in the affected areas rose to 1,432.
State Minister for Energy and Health Niranjan Patnaik said the government had not received any report of outbreak of epidemic from any of the affected places though the epidemic threat loomed large, considering the exceptionally large number of carcasses yet to be disposed of.
The biggest worry confronting the administration now was disposal of thousands of carcasses lying along the coastal belt which could lead to the outbreak of an epidemic, official sources said.
Jagatsinghpur district continued to top the casualty chart with 765 deaths followed by Puri (286), Kendrapara (127), Cuttack (124), Khurda (76) and Dhenkanal (26).
Altogether 90 of the states 314 blocks and 22 urban local bodies had been affected by the twin calamities, the sources said, adding paddy in an estimated 6,85,668 hectares and non-paddy crops in 18,713 hectares had been badly affected.
However, reports of the relief material not reaching the affected people in many areas continued to pour in.
Except in some coastal areas, particularly the urban centres, power supply had not been restored in most areas as the 220kv and 132 kv lines and the distributary lines had been devastated in the cyclone.
The Centre today announced an additional allocation of 43,500 tonnes of rice every month till March 2000 for distribution among the affected families in cyclone-hit Orissa.
The super cyclone has
claimed 1,381 lives and wiped out 50,000 livestock
besides causing agricultural losses to the tune of Rs
1,750 crore. Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts have
borne the brunt of the cyclone and inundation by tidal
waves, says the state government's preliminary assessment
of the devastation. It says 15 million in 12 districts
have been severely affected.
Cyclone shatters schoolgoers dreams
NIALI (Cuttack), Nov 6 (PTI) For 14-year-old Kusiram, his dream of becoming an officer some day has been shattered for it could be a long time before he could go to school again.
Like thousands of schools in the cyclone-ravaged coastal districts of Orissa, Kusirams school in this block in Cuttack district has been blown off. He does not know how to spend the mornings now.
It could be a long wait before schools reopen and children have to do without studies till then.
Kusiram is not the only student affected by the cyclone as more than 23 lakh children in 11 educational districts share his plight, throwing the entire primary and upper primary educational system in the state into a disarray.
"All schools and colleges in the block have been completely destroyed and the furniture has been stolen. It will take a long time before the schools start functioning again," Block Development Officer of Niali F.C. Jena said.
All 30 high schools and 126 primary schools in Niali Block, which officially accounted for 53 deaths, have been completely damaged and the story is more or less the same in other blocks of the district.
The local administration has not yet started the process of assessing the damage, nor has it worked out an alternative programme to meet the educational needs of the children.
"We have been told that there will be no classes till further notice. We dont know when the schools will reopen again," Kusiram said.
Most children, who have been relying on governmental relief for survival, have lost their homes and are hardly in the frame of mind to think of studies.
"We have hardly any food and we have to first survive. Going to school will come later," said a primary student.
According to official sources, 13,840 primary and upper primary and 2,404 higher secondary schools in 11 educational districts have been damaged in the super cyclone. The numbers could go higher as reports from interior areas are still trickling in.
Faced with such an unprecedented situation, the state government believes it could take as long as six months for restoration of damaged schools.
Deputy Secretary for School and Mass Education Narayan Chandra Das said in Bhubaneswar repair and restoration would cost Rs 1150 crore.
The long wait for rice
KAKATPUR (PURI), Nov 6 (PTI) They were lucky to escape the raging fury of the supercyclone. But, five days later the starving villagers of Talada were still looking beyond the horizon, hoping for some aid to come their way and save them from the jaws of death again.
And their prayers were answered at last as the sound of an IAF helicopter broke the eerie, deafening silence of a completely marooned region, but only for a while. Their link with the world had snapped again.
Four hours later, two IAF copters returned to the spot to drop food packets over Talada, five days after the supercyclone ripped through the coastal districts of Orissa.
Even now, Talada, a fishermens village under Astaranga block, was marooned as sea water had gushed into a 4-km stretch submerging the area.
Army personnel were carrying relief to the villages using pneumatic boats but the relief material has hardly been sufficient for the villagers who have lost everything in the cyclone.
Robbed of their livelihood with their boats completely damaged, these fishermen and their families have been struggling for survival.
"Babu, we have lost everything. If we dont get food, we will perish. The relief food is too little", one of the villagers told a visiting PTI correspondent.
The Astaranga block was totally cut off for the first four days as the roads were blocked by the uprooted trees and the district administration could do very little to reach the marooned villages like Nagar, Talada, Sisua and Nuagad.
It was not possible for anybody to reach these villages since the Pipili-Nimapara road linking Astaranga was blocked. "We had to first clear the roads before we could come in touch with these people", ASP, Saumendra Priyadarsi, who has been camping in the area, said.
The fishermen, despite getting very little food and with no roof over their heads, have started looking ahead in order to survive. Some of them have started repairing their boats.
"We need a lot of assistance from the government to start life afresh. We are not being able to go to the sea", said Bishu Jena whose boat was blown off by the gales. Recalling his nightmarish experience, he said his entire family had huddled up together as the storm raged on. "Within no time, our hut had blown off and we all stayed without food and drinking water. All we could do was pray". We have never seen anything like this earlier".
NIMAPARA (PURI): Cries of hunger and pain having died down, villagers torn apart by the killer supercyclone in this seaside block are now shedding tears of apprehension on what a resourceless life ahead holds for them.
As one enters village after marooned village in Nimapara, Kakatpur, Gop and Astaranga in Puri district, the desperation of the rural folk becomes even more heart-rending.
"Shoot us down, we dont want to live" is the fervent plea of Balunkeswar Muduli to each passing army relief convoy which crosses his village to reach more interior places.
"What worth is this life with not a penny to our names, not one meal a day and no future to look forward to," he asks anyone who seems remotely connected to the "outer world".
A bachelor degree holder from the nearby Kakatpur College, Mudulis betel vine cultivation has been totally washed away in the deluge.
"Only a few patches of paddy are OK," he says and stops the conversation in between to swear at a passing helicopter which has not dropped any foodpacket in his village even after a week since the cyclone wrecked it.
Such is the devastation in Mudulis village that people are not being able to trace their own houses, flattened beyond recognition by the gales.
Shankar Bauri gave shelter to 50 persons in his house during the three days of heavy showers from October 29.
"We buried a man here two days back," he points to a slushy pond-side patch. "But had to dig the body out because it did not conform to the Hindu rituals", he explains.
Pope donates $ 300,000 for cyclone-hit
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) Pope John Paul II today announced a donation of $ 300,000 towards the relief and rehabilitation of people affected by the super cyclone in Orissa and appealed to the international community to give "prompt and practical" aid to alleviate "such suffering".
All-India Catholic Union (AICU) leader John Dayal told PTI that the head of the Catholic Church had decided to donate the amount for the cyclone-affected in Orissa, after coming to know of their suffering.
It was not yet known whether the fund would be utilised through the Church or the Prime Ministers Relief Fund, he said.
Addressing the concluding ceremony of the Asian Synod of Bishops here this evening, the Pope said he was "deeply saddened by scenes of the great suffering of the people of the eastern coastal region, caused by the recent cyclone."
"As a guest of India, I wish to assure everyone on my prayers for the victims and for those now struggling to overcome very difficult circumstances," he said.
No hitch in merger with LS: Sharad
BANGALORE, Nov 6 (UNI) Janata Dal (U) President Sharad Yadav today met Lok Shakti leader Ramakrishna Hegde and senior JD(U) leader J.H. Patel separately and discussed about the merger of the two parties.
Mr Yadav, who was here on an official visit, called on the leaders in the morning and discussed about the modalities of merger.
Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Yadav said there should not be any problem with regard to the merger. However, he declined to answer a question on continued relation with the BJP in the state and said it was for the state leaders to comment. But at the national level, people had given a clear mandate for a coalition government with a national agenda.
He declined to comment on the reported reservations, Samata Party leaders had on the merger issue.
Replying to a question on reasons for excluding Mr Hegde from the Union Cabinet, he said as the party President he took full responsibility and would take steps to resolve the crisis that had arisen out of the issue.
Asked whether he would resign the post of the party President in favour of Mr Hegde following his induction into the ministry, Mr Yadav remarked "I am prepared to sacrifice anything for Mr Hegde as he was one of the founders of the JD(U).
Earlier, addressing a party workers meeting, he hinted that Mr Hegde would be entrusted with some responsibility.
Mr Hegde while talking to mediapersons, however, declined to say whether Mr Yadav broached the subject of vacating the party Presidents post in his favour and said the question should be directed to Mr Yadav.
On continuing the alliance with the BJP, Mr Hegde said "from our side there is no problem. The poor performance in the elections was due to the lack of coordination and confrontationist attitude of leaders of both the parties, he felt.
To a question on merger of the three parties he said there was no hurry for it as the general body of the parties had to ratify it.
Mr Patel too felt there
was no problem with regard to merger with the LS as they
also formed part of Janata Parivar and there was no
difference. However, he declined to comment on continuing
the alliance with the BJP.
India, Russia for multi-polar world
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) India and Russia today sought the formation of a multi-polar world and strengthening of international security and stability.
In a joint communiqué issued at the end of a high-level Russian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Isifovich Klebanov, both countries reiterated their commitment to further promote and strengthen bilateral strategic partnership into the 21st century.
New Delhi and Moscow decided to strengthen "the basis of international stability and security as well as the formation of a multi-polar world, based on the priority of law and sovereign equality of all states," the communiqué said.
Expressing satisfaction with the state of affairs and the pace of development over the entire gamut of Indo-Russian relations, the two countries said their relationship was "characterised by mutual respect, trust and understanding and based on a national consensus existing in both countries for further promotion of fruitful cooperation."
During their four-day visit, Mr Klebanov and the delegation met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and Defence Minister George Fernandes. Mr Klebanov handed over messages of President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister V. Putin to Vajpayee.
The two sides yesterday
signed a far-reaching protocol on military and technical
cooperation and reached agreements on many subjects
relating to bilateral programmes. Substantive discussions
were also held on acquisition of major defence equipment
by India, the communiqué added.
Mamata, Basu hold talks
CALCUTTA, Nov 6 (PTI) Shedding their political rivalry, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu today said they would work together for the development of the state.
Ms Banerjee, who met Mr Basu after a gap of six years, said she would not indulge in politics as far as the states development was concerned and would hold talks with the Chief Minister on the implementation of the pending railway projects in the state.
The Trinamool Congress leader, who shared the dais with Mr Basu on the occasion of the foundation laying ceremony of a flyover here, said Mr Basu had agreed to sit together and discuss the railway projects approved for the state when he came to Delhi later this month.
Welcoming the initiatives of the Left Front government to develop infrastructure in West Bengal, Ms Banerjee said she was "willing" to extend any support for the states development.
Earlier, speaking at the function, Mr Basu called for working together with the Centre for "constructive developmental work" in the state.
"There may remain disagreement and criticism over various issues with the central government, but the states need the support of the Centre, which should extend support for development projects in all states."
Commenting on the Railway Ministers initiatives, Mr Basu said "A team of officials from the Railway Board recently visited the state and held talks with the Chief Secretary on the railway projects."
Stating that the Centre would extend all help if approached, Ms Banerjee said the state government, however, "should be serious about the implementation of the approved projects in a time-bound manner".
She also drew the
attention of the Chief Minister to issues facing the
people in the state, and said the government should take
care of the drainage system in the city and public health
in the wake of malarial fever.
CBI remand for sacked Bihar minister
PATNA, Nov 6 (PTI) A designated court today remanded the dropped Bihar Minister for Road Construction Illiyas Hussain in CBI custody for four days after he was produced before it following his arrest in connection with the Bitumen scam.
Designated CBI judge Shyam Kishore Sharma remanded Hussain in CBI custody for interrogation with a direction to the investigating agency to produce him again on November 10.
The court also remanded Sobha Sinha, an assistant with the State Road Construction Department, in the agencys custody for interrogation for four days.
Hussain and Sobha were arrested following a raid on their residences in Patna yesterday in connection with the scam relating to the alleged misappropriation of bitumen worth over Rs 25 lakh.
Earlier, Hussain and Sobha were brought to the court amid tight security.
Earlier, supporters of Hussain raised anti-CBI slogans. Hussain, himself, pleaded innocence and said he had been falsely implicated in the case.
Lata, Jagjit in race for Zee awards
MUMBAI, Nov 6 (UNI) Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar and ghazal King Jagjit Singh are among the final five nominees in the best vocal performance categories for the first- ever Zee Sangeet Awards which will be given away on December 11.
Lata has been chosen for her singing the song in "Jiya jale" for Mani Ratnams "Dil Se" while Jagjit Singh for his rendition of "Hoshwalon ko khabar" in "Sarfarosh."
Among the other contenders in that category for the film section are Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. Narayan has been selected for "E ajnabi" ("Dil Se"), "Mera mann" ("Mann"), "Nasha yeh pyar ka" ("Mann"), and "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" ("from the film by the same name"). Yagnik has been nominated for "Ab tere dil mein" ("Arzoo"), "Is deewane ladke ko" ("Sarfarosh") and "Kuch kuch hota hai." Kavita Krishnamurty is also in the race for her voice for "Hum dil de chuke sanam" in the same film.
Top blockbusters of 1999 - "Mann", "Dil se", "Sarfarosh", "Taal" and "Kuch kuch hota hai" vie with each other for the best album award. "Hoshwalon ko khabar" ("Sarfarosh"), "Ishq Bina" ("Taal"), "Kuch kuch hota hai," "Taal se taal mila" ("Taal") and "Zindagi maut na ban jaye" ("Sarfarosh") will compete with each other for the best song of the year award.
In the music director/composer category, A.R. Rehman has been nominated for "Chaiyya chaiyya" ("Dil Se"), "Jiya jale" ("Dil Se") and "Taal se taal mila" ("Taal"), Ismail Durbar for "Dholi taro" ("Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam") and Jatin Lalit for "Koi mil gaya" ("Kuch Kuch Hota Hai").
Veteran lyricists Anand Bakshi and Gulzar are in the fray for the best song writer award. Bakshi for "Khali dil mein" ("Kacche Dhage") and "Kya Rakhoon" ("Jhoot Bole Kauva Kate") and Gulzar for "Chaiyya chaiyya" ("Dil Se") along with Israr Ansari for "Zindagi maut na ban jaye" ("Sarfarosh") and Sameer for "Chamma Chamma" ("China Gate") are the five nominees in this category.
In the non-film section, "Dil Le Gayee", "Marasim", "Stolen Moments", "Tunak Tunak" and "Yaad Piya ki Aane Lagi," are the contenders for the best album award.
Jagjit Singh has been nominated in the best vocal performance (male) category for "Main bhool jaoon" ("Silsilay") and "Shyam se ankh" ("Marasim"). He is also the contender for best music director/composer award with nominations for the same numbers.
Other nominees for best vocal performance (male) are Colonial Cousins "lady" ("The Way We Do It"), Sajjad Ali "Sohni Lag Di" (title song) and Shankar Mahadevan "Breathless" (title song).
The female contenders for best vocal performance are Falguni Pathak "Chudi" ("Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi"), Jaspinder Narula for "Munda Tu" ("Kuch Kuch Dil Mein"), Raageshwari for "Pyar Ka Rang" (title song), Shubha Mudgal for "Ab Ke Sawan" and "Seekho Na" ("Ab Ke Sawan").
Lalit Sen for "Chudi", Pankaj Udhas for "Aahista" ("Stolen Moments") and Shantanu Moitra for "Ab Ke Sawan" are the other contenders for the best music director/composer award.
Gulzar for "Shyam
Se Aankh" ("Marasim"), Javed Akhtar for
"Main Bhool Jaoon ("Silsilay"), Sameer for
"Chudi", Shyam Bhateja for "Dil Le
Gayee" (title song) and Zaffar Gorakhpuri for
"Aahista" are the nominees for the best song
Probe ordered into Srinagar attack
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) Defence Minister George Fernandes today said a probe has been ordered into the recent attack at Army cantonment in Srinagar to ascertain whether there was any "security lapse.
"A probe has been ordered to find out what led to such a serious development in which our officers were killed," he said after laying a wreath on the body of the Public Relation Officer, Maj Pramod Purushottam, who was killed by militants in Srinagar on November 3.
Mr Fernandes, however, said necessary precautions had been taken to prevent recurrence of such mishaps. "They cannot be announced in public... You know security risks," he said when asked about the measures.
Terming the attack by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) as "serious", the Defence Minister said "The 15 Corps is a very big thing and two terrorists entering and gunning down our officers and soldiers is a matter of grave concern."
He said the decade-old militancy had taken a toll of "our Army and para-military personnel...Who have laid down their lives to maintain the national integrity of the country."
About the recent threat by the LET to intensify "operations" in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Fernandes said: "This is not a new thing. They have been saying this for long...".
Mr Fernandes also consoled Maj Vatsa V.K. wife of Maj Purshottam and their eight-year-old daughter Pallavi.
Army Chief V.P. Malik paid tributes to the slain Army official and offered condolences to the family. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley also laid a wreath on the body.
Earlier, the body was received with full military honours at 218 Medium Regiment Ground.
Covered with the national flag, the body was flown to Major Purshottums native place Jabalpur for last rites. As the body of the brave soldier reached the regimental centre of the ground here, tears welled up in eyes of those present.
Little Pallavi was seen consoling her mother. Major Vatsa described her husband as a brave soldier who died for the country.
A large number of media personnel were present at the ground to pay their last respects to the Major.
Sena expels nine office-bearers
MUMBAI, Nov 6 (PTI) The Shiv Sena has expelled nine of its office-bearers for "anti-party activities" and divested seven others, including five district chiefs, of their organisational responsibilities following "unsatisfactory performance in the recent elections", a party statement said here today.
Those expelled were Mr Prabhakar Kale (from Warud), Mr Mohan Chokhande and Mr Bhikusheth Shingne (both from Sindkhedraja), Mr Munna Darode (Nagpur), Mr Balaji Patil, Mr Kamlakar Chavan, Mr Sudhir Chavan (all Tuljapur), Mr Harkisan Holkar (Badnapur) and Mr Kundalik Gaikwad (Beed), the statement said.
The five district chiefs removed from their posts are Mr Harish Mane (Gadchiroli), Mr Baldeo Chopde (Buldhana), Mr Narsing Jadhav (Dharashiv), Mr Chandrakant Pawar (Satara) and Mr Uday Khandke (Ratnagiri), the statement added.
The other two who were removed from party posts were Mr Nandu Ambokar and Mr Dhanraj Phuse (both Shaharpramukhs).
Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, while addressing the traditional Daschra rally at Shivaji Park here last month, had announced that he was going to expel some Sena leaders for anti-party activities.
Army to ensure safe passage for ultras
TEWANG, (Arunachal Pradesh), Nov 6 (PTI) Close on the heels of Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahantas announcement of a 10-day safe passage at the year-end for ULFA militants wanting to visit their homes, the Army has said it will ensure a safe passage back to the camps for the ultras willing to negotiate.
"We stand by our commitment that in case the talks fail, the ultras will be allowed to safely go back to their respective destinations from where they came," General Officer Commanding of the Armys 4 Corps Lt-Gen D.B. Shekatkar said in a chat with newsmen here recently.
"The Army will also like to urge the media and the intelligentsia to use their good offices to prevail on the extremist outfits to come forward for talks with the government and end the vexed issue," he added.
While revealing that top leaders of the ULFA and WDFB outfits had sent feelers to the Army for negotiations, the General said: "We are in constant touch with them".
Asked to comment on the militants fear of getting killed by the security forces when they came forward for talks, the General promised that no such thing would happen.
"It is a gentlemans commitment that even if the talks fail, the ultras will be safely allowed to go back to their camps and no harm will be done to them," he remarked.
While claiming that the extremist outfits operating in Assam had lost their support base among the people, General Shekatkar was of the opinion that people now were yearning for peace after realising the futility of violence.
"The ultras are a disgruntled lot and thus most of them are now wanting to surrender," he said.
Commenting on the law and order situation in the state, he said things were improving and the unified headquarters structure was functioning well.
He said even though the Army wanted to go slow in its offensive against the outfits and had also declared a ceasefire during the last Bihu festival, the biggest of its kind in the Assam, the people were not in favour of halting the operations.
The Army sought opinions from various quarters, including prominent citizens and journalists, who said there should be no let-up in the operations against the ultras, he said.
Sons arrested for killing parents
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) The Delhi police today claimed to have solved a double murder case in which two sons allegedly killed their parents as the latter denied to part with some money earned through the sale of a tailoring shop here.
The Shalimar Bagh police arrested the two sons Vinod and Anil alleging that they had killed their parents Radhey Lal Verma (63) and Krishna Devi Verma (58) on the evening of November 3, police said in a release.
The two sons had a grudge against their father as he had sold a tailoring shop in Kamala Nagar and refused to part with the money earned from the deal.
It claimed the sons had killed their mother in the evening and later the father by strangulating them to death.
The next morning, they wrapped the bodies in bedsheets before disposing them off at different places, the release said, that adding the accused had left a piece of paper on the door to confuse neighbours and relatives that the elderly couple had gone on a pilgrimage.
President leaves for Austria
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) President K.R. Narayanan left on a four-day state visit to Austria today. The visit mainly aimed at further consolidating political and economic ties between New Delhi and Vienna.
Vice President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K.Advani and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh were among the host dignitaries who saw him off at the Palam Air Force base.
Mr Narayanan and his wife, Ms Usha Narayanan, accompanied by a high-power delegation of senior officials left by Air India Boeing 747 Mahendra Varman for Munich en route to Austria.
During his meeting with his Austrian counterpart Thomas Klestil, Mr Narayanan is also expected to explain Indias stand on the nuclear issue and the security environment in the neighbourhood that prompted New Delhi to conduct the Pokhran tests last year.
Mr Narayanans visit at the invitation of Mr Klestil is the first by an Indian Head of State to Austria and coincides with the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Move to Indianise laws: minister
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Nov 6 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Law, Justice and Company Affairs O Rajagopal today indicated that the Centre was planning for total overhauling of the existing judicial system to give an "Indian look" to its centuries-old foreign image.
Speaking at a felicitation meeting here, Mr Rajagopal said a high-level judicial commission would be set up to study and update the existing system as the government was for "Indianising" the existing laws.
"We are still following the Anglo-Saxan jurisprudence which was based on Roman laws and completely foreign in essence. They do not reflect the Indian culture," he said.
The centre has decided to appoint the high-level panel to study and recommend changes in the existing system with a view to making it culture-friendly and enable speedy disposal of cases, he added.
Noting that a huge
number of cases were pending before the courts, he said
one of the top priorities of the Vajpayee government
would be to fill. The hundreds of vacancies of judges in
various courts soon.
Rs 6,000 cr plan for armed forces likely
PITHORAGARH (UP), Nov 6 (PTI) Minister of State for Defence Bachchi Singh Rawat today said that a Rs 6,000 crore modernisation plan for the armed forces was being prepared and would be tabled before the Budget session of Parliament.
Mr Rawat told reporters here that an earlier proposal of decreasing the strength of the armed forces was being reconsidered keeping in view the Kargil conflict.
He said MoUs were likely to be signed with South Africa and Israel for the modernisation programme.
On the countrys missile programme, Mr Rawat said the proposed long-range ballistic missile "Surya" would be test fired soon. It would have the range of upto 5000 km," he said.
On the problems faced by retired Army personnel, the minister said the Prime Ministers office was likely to convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers soon to finalise a new resettlement policy.
Mr Rawat lamented the shortage of officers in the Army but added that this shortage had no adverse effect on the capability of the armed forces.
VPs romance with brush
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (UNI) Crusader, Prime Minister, kingmaker, poet and political sanyasi V.P. Singh is now enjoying his new Avatar as a painter.
Sitting relaxed among the 52 of his paintings on the eve of his first solo exhibition in the country, Mr V.P. Singh, the artist, is happy to be holding the brush instead of folding his hands.
The paintings, which chart a "creative evolution" over the past five years, reveal the personality of the man who spent over four decades in the not-too-savoury atmosphere of politics.
"In art I dont have to fold hands to anyone. One feels happy if you enjoy them, one feels happy anyway," he said at a press preview of the exhibition last evening.
Faces of ordinary people, the foundation of the vast political structure, form the majority of his works stroking the seeds of social change once again, though he dismisses any suggestion of making a political statement. "Otherwise I will be making posters," he adds.
The man, who painted at airports and guest houses during election campaigning, says the politics of change is akin to creative activity when compared with electoral politics. "In this area of politics you are committed, you are giving like the poets and writers who have contributed to social change."
The paintings go on display at the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature here from November 8-14.
Mr V.P. Singh, who was drawn to the art in his student days, began in right earnest in 1994 with realistic paintings to see if he can do it though "I am not a trained artist".
The first stage marked paintings of dogs and cats and he moved on to wider canvases of landscapes steadily evolving a series of styles in charcoal, silkscreen, water colours and oil. The exhibition also has a self portrait, a pencil on paper.
He is disappointed that he could not create more realistic paintings. "Where do I go with all this security for realistic paintings? So I painted all the pets in my house."
The artist, who is "fond of black", uses colour to the minimum, except when he started painting the faces for which earth colours suited.
Mr V.P. Singh, who likes the works of Samir Mandal, M.F. Hussain and Parish Maity, says he works from a small room without going for a studio. His only worry is that he is not able to spend more time for painting because he now has to spend half-a-day in the hospital every second day for dialysis.
Top Nagaland official sentenced
KOHIMA, Nov 6 (PTI) The Kohima Bench of the Guwahati High Court has sentenced Nagaland Finance Commissioner Lalthara to one-month simple imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 in a contempt case regarding governance of GPF rules by the state government.
Mr Justice N.S. Singh yesterday directed the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Judicial) to issue an immediate custodial warrant against the accused and asked the city SP to extend necessary co-operation to lodge Mr Lalthara in Dimapur central jail.
Disposing the contempt petition filed by the All-Nagaland State Services Employees Association (CANSSEA), the court also ruled that the contemner would undergo another 15 days simple imprisonment if he failed to deposit the fine amount with the courts Registrar within one month from the date of issue of the judgement.
The Judge observed that
the ruling would not affect the service conditions of the
respondent. Mr Lalthara prayed before the Judge to review
and suspend his ruling for a few days, but Mr Justice N.S
Singh rejected the plea. Mr Lalthara has decided to move
the principal seat of the Guwahati High Court against the
judgement, his counsel said.
Bachchans list of 10 beautiful women
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (PTI) Superstar Amitabh Bachchan has named Rajmata of Jaipur Gayatri Devi, Gemini Ganesans wife Savitri Devi and actress Madhuri Dixit among the 10 most beautiful women of the 20th century.
The only other contemporary of Madhuri who finds mention in Bachchans list is former Miss World Aishwarya Rai who he says has "the most perfect face".
Bachchan, who was voted the greatest actor of the millennium on "BBC Online", made these comments in the Millennium Special Issue of "Outlook", a release issued by the magazine today said.
The other women on his
list are actresses Waheeda Rehman, Suchitra Sen, Meena
Kumari and Leela Naidu besides Saira Banus mother
Naseem Banu, his grand-daughter Navya Naveli and his
mother Teji Bachchan.
Helen Keller awards
NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (UNI) A businessman from Gujarat, Mr Nisheeth Mehta (50), has about 27 employees with disabilities on the pay roll, a big figure in a total of 54 in his small enterprise. He hopes to raise the figure in the years to come.
Treading on the same line is Ms Rashmi Paliwal (47), a partner at a garments export house here with a major chunk of her employees being disabled. She even employs a disabled-friendly instructor for work supervision.
Ms Uma Tuli (50) not only runs training centres for the disabled but also lobbied for and drafted the Disability Act, 1995.
They, along with four other individuals, have bagged this years Helen Keller Awards, besides three industrial houses for contributing towards the employment of people with disabilities.
Talking to reporters here after announcing the list of award winners and inaugurating a disability-friendly corporate logo, Mr Javed Abidi, Executive Director of the National Centre for Promotion of People with Disabilities, a joint initiative of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and Action aid and the organisation behind the institution of the awards, said: "Its time we recognise the good work being done by them as it would encourage many a willing one to come forward."
The centre has
instituted these awards this year as part of their
disability millennium campaign, a consolidated year-long
venture to sensitise the masses and the governing bodies
on disability issues.
Compound to cure kalazar developed
MUMBAI, Nov 6 (UNI) A Calcutta-based plant chemist, Dr Banasri Hazra, has successfully isolated a compound which she said would prove effective in curing the dreaded tropical disease, kalazar, which is prevalent in the nothern and eastern parts of India and claims several lives each year.
The extraction is the result of a decade-long study and clinical trials by Dr Hazra, who is a research scientist at the Department of Pharmacy, Jadavpur University. The study was commissioned by Sweden-based International Foundation of Science (IFS), which also conferred the Silver Jubilee Award on her for the astounding research.
Dr Hazra, who was in Mumbai, told UNI that the compound that she extracted from a plant called Diospyros montana, had shown important and surprising biological qualities like anti-tumor and anti-parasite. In Sanskrit the plant is known as tamal, while in Bengali it is known as bongap. The compound has been developed from the stem bark of this big plant.
"Clinical and biological testing of the compound has shown that it could be used for treating kalazar," the chemist said, and added that she was also working on extracting derivatives of the compound which could be used for treatment of other tropical diseases. Possibly malarial fever could also be cured by the derivatives of the medicinal compound.
Dr Hazra, who is involved in natural product research, said the research was published in Planta Medica, which is the leading international journal of plant medicines. Among the 40 publications, where the research has been published is Journal of Indian Chemists Society.
She has also been
invited to attend the first international symposium in
Uruguay on "Natural Products in three
continents." The symposium will be held in
Montevideo in Uruguay between November 16 and 19. The
symposium is being conducted with the support of the
Natural Products Secretariat of the IFS. She will be
representing Asia. The meeting will discuss on the status
of science of natural products in three continents
Asia, Africa and America.
Assam Govt goes bankrupt
GUWAHATI, Nov 6 (UNI) The Assam Government has gone bankrupt. All financial transactions of the state government have come to a grinding halt. The government could not open the treasury this month due to paucity of funds.
The Union Government has specifically asked the Assam Government to stop filling all existing vacancies and then abolish 50 per cent of vacant posts each year. In fact, the state government has been asked to sign an MoU to receive additional assistance from the Centre.
The Assam Government has informed the Centre that the conditions laid down are unacceptable. "These unjustified financial condition put up by the Union Government has complicated the misery of the state as our tax base is very limited said senior Cabinet Minister Pramode Gogoi,who holds the Flood Control portfolio.
The state government needed around Rs 300 crore for paying salary and pension every month while the revenue of the state was around Rs 110 crore. The minister reiterated that the Assam Government could not accept the fiscal reform measures because the state had got 1.5 million unemployed and 500,000 government employees.
The state Cabinet
unanimously decided that the terms were not acceptable.
Under the fiscal reform measures, the Union Government
has demanded restructuring of the Assam State Electricity
Board and setting up of an electricity regulatory
commission, revision of electric tariff, privatisation of
the ASTC and impounding of dearness allowance to
government employees for the next three years.
Meteor shower on Nov 11 expected
MUMBAI, Nov 6 (PTI) The Earth would pass close to the orbit (tail components) of the newly discovered comet "Linear C/1999J3" on November 11 and the result could be a meteor shower, the Linearids, according to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO).
On November 12 at 1.11 a.m., the earth would arrive at a point just 0.0115 Angstrom units from the orbit of the comet, 40 days after the comet was in the area, the IMO said.
"If there is a residual swarm of dusty debris left over from the comets passage, we could be in for an unexpected meteor outburst the first known apparition of the "Lnearids," an IMO statement said here today.
The comet was discovered on May 12 this year by the USA-based Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Team and it was brightened to the ninth magnitude when it made its closest approach to the sun in September.
The IMO issued a call for meteor observations during a 48-hour period centred on November 11. Linearid meteors, if they materialise, would appear to emanate from the bowl of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major or Saptarishi) and would be visible near the Pole Star, the organisation said.
NEW DELHI: The government has proposed to set up a centre at New York to provide information on the ayurvedic system of medicine to the western world. The proposed centre would be connected to the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha here under the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, Ms Shailaja Chandra, Secretary, Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, told an international ayurvedic conference at New York recently. Use of ayurvedic and other traditional medicines are permitted in the USA under the supervision of allopathic doctors. PTI
Breach in canal
at Raj Bhavan
OBC women as
Young Scientist title
reshuffle in Bihar
2 NLFT militants
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