|Thursday, January 6, 2000,
Vajpayee writes to Nepal PM
marshalson all flights
hand behind fake currency racket
not to declare Pak terrorist state
chances remote: Musharraf
|Narmada valley astir again
BHOPAL, Jan 5 The Narmada valley is astir once again. Mobilisation is going on in villages with exhortation to the people to assemble at the site of the Maheshwar dam (in Badwani district) on January 11 and stop the construction work at the project.
Upgrade of MiG aircraft
of plant tumour to help humans?
order on framing of charges
train service by Jan 26
for institutional reforms
India rules out US mediation
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 (PTI) India today ruled out any role for the USA in resolution of Indo-Pak problems but said it has convergence of interest with Washington in combating terrorism and wanted Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state.
This was stated by a spokesman for the external Affairs Ministry when asked to comment on the US annual national-strategy report presented to the Congress by President Bill Clinton, declaring that easing of tensions between India and Pakistan would top his agenda.
The spokesman said both New Delhi and Islamabad had been committed to the 1972 Simla Agreement which had been reaffirmed by the Lahore Declaration signed in February last year by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the then Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif for addressing bilateral issues between the two countries.
On the issue of Pakistan being declared a terrorist state, especially in the wake of evidence establishing Islamabads connection and complicity in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines airbus, he said: The USA is aware of our concerns since different terrorist groups like Harkat-ul Ansar and Lashkar-e-Toiba were based in Pakistan and were openly extending threats against the Indian leadership.
The spokesman said: Pakistan is a ground for nurturing terrorists and its support to terrorism is well known.
Stating that Pakistan was removed from the US watch-list of terrorist states in 1993, he asserted that Islamabads support to terrorism since then had only increased manifold and not decreased.
Noting that New Delhi had been taking initiatives on Pak-sponsored terrorism at international fora and even bilaterally with Islamabad, he said: Pakistans support to terrorism should be exposed as the issue has been recognised (by several countries) in the face of very obvious facts.
The hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane has lent further weight to the point of view expressed by New Delhi, he said, adding that the USA and other countries, which had been victims of terrorism, had a strong overlap with Indias interest to curb the menace having support bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
To a question if India
was considering giving recognition to the Taliban militia
in control of two-thirds of Afghanistan, he said:
The fundamentals of our foreign policy on
Afghanistan remain unchanged and we continue to recognise
the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani as the legitimate
Hijacking: Vajpayee writes to
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 The recent hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft has cast a dark shadow on the Indo-Nepal relations with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee expressing strong views on the incident in his letter to Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Bhattarai.
Mr Bhattarais visit this month, which had almost been finalised, became the first victim of the hijacking of the aircraft.
Not only that, Mr Vajpayee has personally written a strong letter to Mr Bhattarai after the traumatic hijacking incident drawing his attention to lack of cooperation on the issue, a spokesman for the External Affairs Minister today said that there is a scope for further bilateral cooperation, particularly on the preventive side.
India has been drawing Kathmandus attention for some years now about an increase of ISIs anti-India activities from the Nepalese soil but the Nepal Government did little in this regard.
New Delhi, in the past, had made a series of proposals to Kathmandu for countering effectively the terrorist operations of the ISI and other Pakistan-backed agencies but the Nepal Government continued to ignore them.
In the interest of the good neighbourly relations, neither the External Affairs Ministry nor the other agencies of the government made an issue of it.
New Delhi sincerely hoped that the coming of the Nepali Congress government with a clear majority would help in promoting bilateral cooperation to check the ISI activities.
Mr Bhattarai, who has had long standing relations with India and was very keen to visit India in his prime ministerial capacity, was helpless in face of the intense political rivalries within his own party as well as of palace politics.
Pakistan, through its diplomatic mission in Kathmandu, wields considerable clout both with the palace as well as with the different political parties. The Nepalese monarchy, which keeps a close watch on the foreign policy front of the government, has been maintaining a delicate balance in relations with New Delhi and Islamabad.
Sky marshalson all flights
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 (UNI) The government today decided that sky marshals will travel on all airlines and all flights on a random basis and crew will be given anti-hijacking training while a task force will look into the creation of a specialised aviation security force.
The Civil Aviation Ministry took these decisions after a high-level meeting that reviewed security at airports in the aftermath of the hijacking.
The sky marshals shall be part of the crew and handle situations as per operational requirement with use of arms as the ultimate resort.
These were the decisions taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav to review security arrangements at domestic and international airports.
An official press note said with the introduction of sky marshals scheme, the pilot in command would have special responsibilities under the Tokyo, the Hague and Montreal Conventions with regard to unlawful acts on board the aircraft.
The meeting decided that a red alert and additional security measures should be uniformly applicable to all airports.
A task force already constituted under the Commissioner of Security Civil Aviation (COSCA) had been asked to furnish recommendations regarding creation of a specialised aviation security force dedicated to protecting airports.
The COSCA shall study the security programmes followed by various airlines and submit a comparative report on the security procedures being adopted by the airlines for the consideration of the government.
Minister of State for
Civil Aviation Chaman Lal Gupta, Civil Aviation Secretary
Ravindra Gupta and other senior officials from the AAI,
the DGCA, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Home Ministry
attended the meeting.
ISI hand behind
fake currency racket
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 Pakistans Inter Services Intelligence is suspected to be behind the fake Indian currency racket, which came to light again with the arrest of a Pakistani official in Nepal.
According to sources in the Union Home Ministry, the arrest of Asam Saboor, a clerk in the Pakistani Embassy in Nepal, who is a suspected ISI official, with fake Indian currency totalling Rs 50,000 earlier this week.
The sources said Asam Saboor, who was arrested on January 3, had earlier been implicated in a case relating to the handing over a consignment of the RDX, meant for use in India, to a Punjab militant, Lakhbir Singh, in November, 1998.
This has conclusively established the involvement of the ISI and the underworld operators under its patronage in pumping in fake Indian currency on a large scale into Nepal and then into India for funding terrorist activities directed against India, the sources said.
The sources said on several occasions the Nepalese police had seized fake Indian currency in huge quantities from ISI agents and underworld operators patronised by the ISI.
Recounting major catches, the sources said in 1998 Rs 60 lakh fake currency totalling of Rs 100 denomination were deposited at the Bank of Kathmandu. Some of the Nepalese nationals involved in the racket belonged to the Rashtriya Bank of Nepal.
Subsequently, in another incident the same year, the Nepalese police seized fake Indian currency totalling Rs 12 lakh. During interrogation they were said to be obtained from a Nepal MP, now dead, who was notorious for his ISI links and involvement in anti-India activities.
The sources said the
arrest of Lokesh Kumar from India at Tribhuvan
International Airport in June, 1999, and the recovery of
counterfeit money totalling Rs 62 lakh from him had also
revealed the involvement of a group of Pakistani
nationals in the racket.
UK not to declare Pak terrorist state
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 (PTI) Britain today ruled out the possibility of declaring Pakistan a terrorist state even as it condemned the recent hijacking of the Indian Airlines aircraft and militancy- related violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
It is not
UKs practice to designate any state that way,
British High Commissioner Rob Young told reporters to a
question if London would respond to Prime Minister Atal
Behari Vajpayees call to world powers to declare
Pakistan a terrorist state.
N-war chances remote: Musharraf
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 (PTI) Pakistans military ruler General Pervez Musharraf yesterday said nuclearisation of India and Pakistan had reduced the chances of open conflagration between the two countries on Kashmir issue.
Since the dispute is there and since we both are nuclear powers now, the danger of any conflict expanding into any nuclear conflagration had lessened, Musharraf told CNN.
He said as a consequence of acquisition of nuclear weapons by both countries, New Delhi and Islamabad should modify their stand on Kashmir and called for a serious look at the issue.
The American television network was focusing, post-hijacking, on threat posed by nuclear weapons in the sub-continent, in view of what it called enhanced tension between the two neighbours.
Asked under what conditions Pakistan would be prepared to use nuclear weapons, Musharraf said if the security of Pakistan is threatened ... That is my short answer.
Responding to Musharrafs proposal of a serious dialogue on Kashmir, National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra told CNN that New Delhi was prepared to discuss the issue with Pakistan but first Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India must stop.
He said Pakistans rhetoric on bilateral talks was not matched by its deeds. Well, we listen to their words but we watch their actions which promote, instigate, abet terrorism in India. These speak louder than their words.
Asked if India had any proof of Islamabads complicity in terrorist acts, especially in the recent hijacking, Mr Mishra said. I am not merely talking about hijacking which took place only recently. I am talking of the terrorism which has been promoted and instigated by them since the last 15 years and more, first in Punjab and then in Jammu and Kashmir.
This hijacking is just related to that aspect of terrorist activities of Pakistan, Mr Mishra said, stressing Pakistans attitude towards India was the main stumbling block to peace.
Referring to Indias nuclear weapons, he said Indias policy on such weapons was clear.
Narmada valley astir again
BHOPAL, Jan 5 The Narmada valley is astir once again. Mobilisation is going on in villages with exhortation to the people to assemble at the site of the Maheshwar dam (in Badwani district) on January 11 and stop the construction work at the project.
A showdown between agitators led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and the forces of law and order cannot be ruled out.
January 11 marks an important day for those facing displacement by the construction of the Maheshwar project. On this day two years ago, some 10,000 of them had virtually laid a seize to the dam and squatted there for 21 days. It was lifted only after the state government agreed to constitute a task force to review all aspects of the project with special emphasis on rehabilitation of displaced families.
The task force submitted its report in October 1998. It recommended stoppage of work on the dam till the Madhya Pradesh Government reviewed afresh the economic viability of the dam and explored the availability of the agricultural land and other facilities for the rehabilitation of the affected families.
The state government, however, ignored the recommendations and allowed work on the dam to be resumed. Then the people of the valley staged a month-long dharna in Bhopal in April 1999. Some of the NBA activists had resorted to hunger strike, which had lasted 21 days. Two German companies which had 49 per cent share in the total capital of the project withdrew.
The work on the dam remained almost suspended till mid-1999 for lack of capital. S. Kumars and the state government are approaching Ogden Energy Group, a US multinational, for the 49 per cent share. The US company is said to be seeking a 35-year escrow guarantee from the Madhya Pradesh Government and the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board (MPEB). The Central Government is approaching the German Government for a guarantee for loan from a German bank.
Maheshwar project, with an installed capacity of 400 mw, is the countrys first hydroelectric project in the private sector. The government had entrusted it to S. Kumars in 1994. The project is likely to affect some 40,000 people in 61 villages by submerging the irrigated, black cotton soil fields of the Nimar region. The estimated cost of the project in the past five years has gone up from Rs 465 crore to Rs 2000 crore.
The reports of the task
force, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the
inquiry conducted by the Union Environment Ministry all
agree that no agricultural land is available for
rehabilitation of the affected.
Upgrade of MiG aircraft starts
PUNE, Jan 5 (PTI) The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has undertaken upgradation programmes for MIG 21, MIG 27 and MIG 29 aircraft to improve the aircrafts safety, performance and reliability, HAL Chairman Dr C.G. Krishnadas Nair said here.
We have proved over ability to design, integrate and test new systems to meet our customers requirements to improve aircraft safety and armament carrying ability, Dr Nair told reporters yesterday.
He said HAL has expertise in structural design and analysis, utilising advanced materials and latest software. We have successfully developed modifications to improve aircraft strength and safety based on failure analysis and accident investigations.
Stating that HAL has expertise in structural integrity analysis and aircraft life extension, he said we have the capability to undertake aircraft modification and development.
He said the Aircraft R and D Centre (ARDC) of HAL has 11 successful aircraft designs to its credit, ranging from primary trainers to frontline combat aircraft. These products have not only been for military application but also include the civil sector.
Study of plant tumour to help humans?
PUNE, Jan 5 (UNI) Do comprehensive study of tumourous growths in plants provide vital clues to the nagging problem for the animal kingdom, which includes human beings as well?
Yes, say experts, but insist that tumour research efforts need be intensified to unravel the precise nature, concentration and combination of biochemical enzymes involved in gall (tumour) formation in plants.
The future programme of the work should also emphasise in-vitro dual culture of host and parasite and step-wise study thereafter in order to understand the basic steps involved in host-pathogen interaction and the behaviour of plant tissues during galling.
Top botanists were interacting at the 87th session of the Indian Science Congress now in progress here. Sectional president Uma Kant of the University of Rajasthan mooted the debate at Pune University yesterday.
He lamented that cecidological work, including floristic and faunistic surveys and systematic and bio-ecological studies of the zoocecidia, mycocecidia, bacterloccidia and nematocecidia remained meagre though a large number of plant galls had been studied intensively throughout the world.
The contribution of gall induction did not explain the precise mechanism. It still remains an enigma. Further emphasis should be on the precise mechanism of gall formation apart from the study of the physiological stimulus of gall inception and maintenance of autonomous growth, Prof Kant observed.
Can the process of gall induction be described in molecular terms? Can a strategy for tumour control be devised? These questions arose following work on physiological and biochemical aspects of tumourgenicity in plants, Dr Kant noted.
Abnormal growths in plants may be in the form of tumour formation, proliferations and various types of organic modifications induced by an external agency which deranges the normal metabolism of plant body. They could be caused by physical agents, chemical agents, genetic constitution, viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes and even insects and mites.
I would tell you an interesting thing. In Lucknow, visitors to the national botanical garden throng a particular tree which had developed abnormal growths in the shape of Lord Ganesh, just above the ground level.
Studies had also established similarities between plant and animal tumours since they had a wide range of environmental and genetic factors related to their imitation. They varied from highly self-limiting tumours to the autonomous ones.
Autonomous tumours in both plants and animals generally involve more independence from hormonal requirements, less control of cellular division and often the introduction of extra-chromosomal elements into the cell, Dr Kant said.
Plant galls are said to be of much economic significance, and several of them are used in medicine. The galls caused by cynapid wasps have been used by street herbal vendors in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and tooth-ache. Galls caused by homoptera contain pistacienoic acids and oils which are used in arthritis and gastrointestinal disorders. Tannic acid is one of the chief products obtained from galls.
In some parts of the world, law requires that permanent records be made from the ink derived from galls. The aleppo galls used by cynips gallae-tinctoriae on oak have been specified in ink formulae to eliminate the chances of forgery by tampering with the writing as is the case in the USA treasury and the Bank of England.
Gau sun in Chinese and jjao sun in Mandarin are probably the only product of a plant host and a fungal parasite that is systematically cultivated as a vegetable as it consists of the swollen flowering culum of the grass zizania caduciflora and a small amount of the mycelium of smut fungus ustilago esculenta responsible for the swelling.
The Chinese have been cultivating and eating them for the past 400 years with the gau sun consisting of carbohydrates, glucose, sucrose in the culm and mannitol in the fungal mycelium. Gau sun is mainly used to give texture to dishes in the same way as bamboo-shoots.
The farmers select the infected plant for culture and discord the healthy plants as useless. It is mainly cultivated in central and southern China and Malaya. Of late has been introduced in Britain and France. In Japan, telisporers are mixed with oil and used to darken and thicken eyebrows and hair.
SC order on framing of charges
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 (PTI) In a significant judgement to reduce burden on trial courts, the Supreme Court today ruled that a trial court might frame charges against an accused without recording reasons thereof.
The law requires a magistrate to record his reasons for discharging the accused but there is no such requirement if he forms the opinion that there is ground for presuming that the accused had committed the offence which he is competent to try, the court ruled.
A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice K.T. Thomas and Mr Justice D.P. Mohapatra said if there is no legal requirement that the trial court should write an order showing the reasons for framing a charge, why should the already burdened trial courts be further burdened with such an extra work.
Mr Justice Thomas, writing the judgement for the Bench, said the time has reached to adopt all possible measures to expedite the court procedures and to devise measures to avert all roadblocks causing avoidable delays.
If a magistrate is to write detailed orders at different stages merely because the counsel would address arguments at all stages, the snail- paced progress of proceedings in trial courts would further be slowed down.
This ruling was given in an appeal filed by Kanti Bhadra Shah who was aggrieved by the Calcutta High Court order which had set aside an unreasoned trial court order framing charges against him but had asked it to reconsider evidence afresh to decide whether or not frame charges.
Mr Justice Thomas, citing examples of lengthy interim orders of magistrates and sessions judges, said we can appreciate if such a detailed order has been passed for culminating the proceedings before them.
But it is quite unnecessary to write detailed orders at other stages, such as issuing process, remanding the accused into custody, framing of charges, passing over to the next stage of trial, he said.
Referring to the case of Shah, the bench said the direction to the magistrate to consider the materials once again and then to frame a charge for the same offence was simply to repeat what the magistrate had done before.
To ask him to do the same thing over again is adding an unnecessary extra work on the trial court, Mr Justice Thomas observed and said we leave it to the magistrate to exercise his functions under Section 239 or Section 240 of the Criminal Procedure Code as he deems fit in the light of the observations made above.
Indo-Bangla train service by
CALCUTTA, Jan 5 Train services between India and Bangladesh would be resumed soon through Petropol border in North 24-parganas following an agreement between the two countries, Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee informed West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu.
Railway Minister sought Mr Basus help and co-operation for smooth implementation of the longstanding demand of the people of Bangladesh and West Bengal. Ms Banerjee said since it was a development project of the state she did not have any hesitation of seeking the co-operation of the Chief Minister with whom she had bitter political relations.
Ms Banerjee said a draft of the agreement for running train services between the two countries was sent to Dhaka some 10 days ago, which the Bangladesh government had approved. A team of Railway Board and countrys Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry officials will be going to Dhaka next week to sign the agreement. Ms Banerjee hoped train services between the two countries would start operating from January 26, Indias Republic Day, which has been targeted by the Railway Ministry.
In the beginning, only goods trains will start running between the two countries through Petropol-Benapol link. From Petrapol to Benapol (Bangladeshs Jessore district) is a stretch of some 10 km track which needs to be established for running trains straight to Bangladesh from West Bengal. The Railway Board has already earmarked necessary fund for the setting of this 10 km track at the instance of Ms Banerjee.
The Railway Minister
said after the running of goods trains through the
Petrapol-Benapol link, steps would be taken to expedite
the running of passenger trains which we both countries
had been wanting for long.
Lt-Governor for institutional
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 Expressing concern over the bad financial health of the Delhi Government and the civic bodies, the Lt-Governor of the state, Mr Vijal Kapoor, today said that institutional reforms must be carried out for the over all development of the Capital.
There were two main factors for the present state of the Delhi Government and civic bodies imposition of the Fifth Pay commission report and losses incurred by institutions, including the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB), Mr Kapoor said.
Whatever profits made by the institutions goes in the payment of arrears of the employees scales and current salaries which has increased manifold, he said.
Reviewing the past one years development in the state, Mr Kapoor said: With the increasing burden on the infrastructure of Delhi, there has been a grave realisation that the government alone cannot handle the whole burden and needs for institutional reforms.
Capital punishment commuted
NEW DELHI, Jan 5 (UNI) The Supreme Court has commuted a sentence of capital punishment to life imprisonment awarded to an accused who had hacked to death three persons during the November, 1984, anti-Sikh riots, following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The death sentence awarded to Kishori by the trial court and confirmed by the Delhi High Court, was commuted by a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice K.T. Thomas and Mr Justice D.P. Mohapatra.
On the totality of the circumstances, we are of the opinion that this is not a case which can be called as the rarest of the rare warranting imposition of capital punishment, the Bench observed.
polluting bus, win reward
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only up to Gwalior
Pant is Pro VC
Award for Sri
fellowship for WHO D-G
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