Saturday, February 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Parole part of detention: SC
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — The Supreme Court has ruled that the period of parole needs to be counted towards the total period of detention unless the terms for grant of parole prescribe otherwise.

External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh with his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh with his French
counterpart Hubert Vedrine at Hyderabad House in New
Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo

Vedrine for multi-polar world
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — The visit of the French Foreign Minister, Mr Huber Vedrine, has been an occasion for India and France to put forward their respective geo-political perspectives which seem to coincide on one point: that the pre-eminent position of the USA notwithstanding, Uncle Sam is no Big Brother.

Ailing Deepa fails to keep appointment
CALCUTTA, Feb 18 — Deepa Mehta, director of the controversial film "Water", could not keep her appointment with West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu today as she was indisposed.

IT returns: Jaya moves court
CHENNAI, Feb 18 — Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalitha today filed a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking to quash the notice issued by the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, asking her to file income tax returns on agricultural income.

41.45 pc cast votes in Bellary
BELLARY, Feb 18 — The fate of candidates for the Bellary Lok Sabha byelection is sealed with 41.45 per cent of the 12,38,334-strong electorate exercising its franchise yesterday, the district election officer said today.

Going not that easy for Manipur CM
IMPHAL, Feb 18 — Manipur Chief Minister W Nipamacha Singh, seeking re-election from the Wangoi Assembly constituency, will have to pull all stops to win at the hustings given the intensified campaigning by his rivals in the run up to the February 22 polls.

Prasar Bharati signs 450-cr deal
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — In its biggest commercial deal for marketing of events on Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati today signed a Rs 450-crore agreement with Buddha Films Private Ltd., granting it exclusive rights to market airtimes sales in India of the cricketing events to be organised by the Board of Cricket Control in India.



EARLIER STORIES
SC bans slums in Delhi
Feb 18, 2000
Adhere to code of conduct: EC
Feb 18, 2000
‘No politics in removal of NSG cover’
Feb 17, 2000
Central team for fencing border
Feb 17, 2000
Kant for better coverage of House proceedings
Feb 16, 2000
  C’wealth conference today
Feb 15, 2000
‘No dispute’ in NDA over RSS issue
Feb 15, 2000
‘No mediation’ on J&K
Feb 14, 2000
CBI may constitute special teams
Feb 14, 2000
Review decision on ‘Water’: Governor
Feb 13, 2000
2 held for printing forged visas
Feb 13, 2000
Pressure on CM to take action
Feb 12, 2000
Accused can’t probe approver twice: SC
Feb 12, 2000
End hostilities before talks: PM
Feb 11, 2000
NCW to meet Advani on ‘Water’
Feb 11, 2000
Vananchal soon, says PM
Feb 10, 2000
Karunanidhi clarifies stand on RSS
Feb 10, 2000
India cool to Pak offer
Feb 9, 2000
 
A traffic policeman keeps an eye on participants during a painting competition organised by the police for schoolchildren in New Delhi
A traffic policeman keeps an eye on participants during a painting competition organised by the police for schoolchildren in New Delhi. — Photo by Sondeep Shankar

Seek fresh mandate: Cong
BHUBANESWAR, Feb 18 — The Congress has asked the Vajpayee government to seek afresh mandate of the people on the issue of the review of the Constitution and demanded a detailed statement from the BJP-led government on it.

Oppn boycotts Governor’s Address
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 18 — The Congress-led United Democratic Front opposition today boycotted the Governor’s Address to the Kerala Assembly and waved black flags and placards at the treasury benches demanding the resignation of the EK Nayanar government.

Climate ‘changing’ in North-West 
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — Scientists have noticed a 1C rise in the minimum temperature in north-western parts of the country during the past 25 years, confirming the fears of climate change in India too.

Strategy for raising wheat yield
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — An integrated strategy is being developed to increase per hectare wheat productivity in the country, Dr R.S. Paroda, Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research said.

Weapon-locating radars soon
DEOLALI, Feb 18 — The Army after its Kargil experience, will soon acquire weapon locating radar systems and lay more emphasis on procedures for shooting during nights in mountainous terrain in its artillery programme, according to Lt-General Madan Bhandari.

Online help for board students
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — Grappling with board exam blues? Now online help is available at www.egurucool.com.

Lt-Gen Puri is DG (BRO)
NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — Lieut-Gen A.K. Puri has taken over as the Director -General of Border Roads Organisation succeeding Lieut-Gen R.J. Mordecai who has been transferred as Commandant, College of Military Engineering, Pune. Top




 

Parole part of detention: SC

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 (UNI) — The Supreme Court has ruled that the period of parole needs to be counted towards the total period of detention unless the terms for grant of parole prescribe otherwise.

The ruling was given by a five-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice A.S. Anand in two separate but concurring judgements while allowing a batch of writ petitions by Sunil Fulchand Shah and others.

The other Judges on the Bench were Mr Justice G.T. Nanavati, Mr Justice K.T. Thomas, Mr Justice D.P. Wadhwa and Mr Justice S. Rajendra Babu.

The writ petitions had questioned whether the period of detention was a fixed period running from the date specified in the detention order and ending with the expiry of that period or the period was automatically extended by any period of parole granted to a detainee.

The main judgement was written by the Chief Justice for himself and on behalf of Mr Justice Thomas, Mr Justice Wadhwa and Mr Justice Rajendra Babu.

"I find myself unable to fully subscribe to the view of brother Nanavati, (who wrote the other judgement) relating to the treatment of the period during which a detainee is free as a result of an erroneous order of the High Court which is set aside on appeal," the Chief Justice observed in the main judgement.

The Judges said in a democracy governed by the rule of the law, the drastic power to detain a person without trial for security of the state or maintenance of public order must be strictly construed. "However, where individual liberty comes into conflict with interest of the security of the state or public order, then the liberty of the individual must give way to the larger interest of the nation," the Judges added.

Section 10 of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act (COFEPOSA), the court pointed out, prescribed not only the maximum period of detention but also the method of computation of that period and on a plain reading of the Section, the period of detention was to be computed from the date of actual detention and not from the date of the order of detention.

The Judges said courts could not, generally speaking, exercise the power to grant temporary release to detainees on parole in cases covered by COFEPOSA. During the period an order of detention was in force because of the express prohibition contained in Clause (6) of Section 12 of the Act. Parole could be granted by the government or its functionaries under Section 12(1) or Section 12(1A) of the Act.

"The bar of judicial intervention to direct temporary release of a detainee would not, however, affect the jurisdiction of the High Courts and the apex court. The jurisdiction has to be sparingly exercised by the court and even when it is exercised, it is appropriate that the court leaves it to the administrative or jail authorities to prescribe the conditions and terms of the parole," the Judges clarified.

A detainee, the court said, need not be sent back to undergo the remaining period of detention after a long lapse of time when even the detention was to be computed from the date of actual detention and not from the date of the order of detention in appeal against a High Court order quashing the detention.

Where, however, long time had not lapsed or the period of detention initially fixed in the order of detention had not expired, the detainee may be sent back to undergo the balance period.

The actual period of incarceration could, however, be permitted to exceed the maximum period of detention as fixed in the order as per the prescription of the statute, the court added. Top

 

Vedrine for multi-polar world
From Shubhabrata Bhattacharya
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — The visit of the French Foreign Minister, Mr Huber Vedrine, has been an occasion for India and France to put forward their respective geo-political perspectives which seem to coincide on one point: that the pre-eminent position of the USA notwithstanding, Uncle Sam is no Big Brother.

Addressing a seminar on "India, France and the multi-polar world", External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh said: "Despite the USA having emerged as the pre-eminent global power, it has become equally clear that the USA alone cannot find solutions to most major international problems facing us, whether in the area of security, or economics or institution-building".

The French Foreign Minister, describing the USA as a "hyper-power" said his country preferred a multi-polar world since the unipolar system had become "excessive, questionable and has negative implications".

The French Minister, endorsing India’s stand that the UN Security Council must be reconstituted to make it more representative in character, said the world body must provide a link between the "multi-polar world and the multilateral system".

Echoing this sentiment, Mr Jaswant Singh said multi-polarity or polycentrism had to be the alternative to the present unipolar world. The logic that globalisation led to uniformity and thereon to unipolarity was a sterile pursuit, the Indian Minister said, adding that the world would be poorer if globalisation became "a synonym for de-culturalisation" or of the "imposition of one dimension alone".

Mr Jaswant Singh was categorical: Washington alone cannot find answers to major issues in the areas of security or economics.

These comments of the Indian Minister coming at a seminar soon after President Bill Clinton’s statement at a press conference in Washington that the USA ought to be "more involved in resolving the Kashmir dispute", but would refrain from doing so unless it was "asked by both parties for help" is significant.

Meanwhile, the visiting French Minister, describing the tension over Kashmir as "dangerous" urged India and Pakistan to resume dialogue in the spirit of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.

He said France would support any action or initiative taken in the right direction. Commenting on the US stand, Mr Vedrine said "if the USA is worried about the situation, we are worried too". Top

 

Ailing Deepa fails to keep appointment

CALCUTTA, Feb 18 (PTI) — Deepa Mehta, director of the controversial film "Water", could not keep her appointment with West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu today as she was indisposed.

The Chief Minister told newspersons that she would meet him at a later date to discuss the shooting of her film in the state.

She rang up Deputy Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee last night to inform him that she was running high temperature and that doctor had advised her rest, he said.

The film-maker was scheduled to call on Mr Basu and Mr Bhattacharjee at the state secretariat today along with actress Shabana Azmi.

The meeting was earlier fixed for the day following Azmi’s telephonic conversations with the Chief Minister and CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, expressing desire to shoot the film in West Bengal.

Deepa had to pack up with the entire crew and cast from Varanasi early this month following violent protests by Sangh Parivar-led outfits, alleging that the film portrayed Hindu culture and widows in a poor light.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s women wing has decided to take to the streets to protest the shooting of the film "which has portrayed a highly distorted image of Bengali widows living in Varanasi."

Mahila morcha state general secretary Krishna Bhattacharya said they would shortly announce their agitational programme.

However, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad said it would wait for the state government to formally "allow" the film unit to shoot in the state before chalking out "our course of action."

BJP state general secretary Rahul Sinha said his party would not "directly" confront the shooting team, but would lend "moral support" to all those opposed to the film.

He said his party had already impressed upon the BJP leadership "the possible fall out" of the film in West Bengal "where people, in general, will oppose the shooting."Top

 

IT returns: Jaya moves court

CHENNAI, Feb 18 (UNI) — Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalitha today filed a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking to quash the notice issued by the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, asking her to file income tax returns on agricultural income.

In her petition, she said she had filed her returns on agricultural income for the assessment years 1987-88 to 1993-94 for an amount of Rs 53.3 lakh.

The assessing authority had accepted the income declared for all the years, she added.

However, for 1993-94, the assessing authority determined the income as Rs 3 lakh only against Rs 10 lakh declared by her, without any basis and materials.

She said on March 23, 1998, she received a notice from the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, relating to 1987-88 to 1992-93 stating that he had reasons to believe that her income had not been fully assessed and that she was required to file her returns on agricultural income to the authorities afresh within 30 days.

Ms Jayalalitha submitted that despite several representations seeking the reasons for fresh assessment of income, she did not receive any reply.

She said she received a notice on October 21, 1999, demanding her appearance under the threat of ex-parte assessment.

On January 19 last, she received a notice from the Income Tax Department, informing her that inquiries conducted by the department revealed that she had inflated her agricultural income which was the main reason for reopening the assessment.

She contended that the maximum period for reopening the assessment was up to 10 years. But the department had reopened it after 12 years.Top

 

41.45 pc cast votes in Bellary

BELLARY, Feb 18 (PTI) — The fate of candidates for the Bellary Lok Sabha byelection is sealed with 41.45 per cent of the 12,38,334-strong electorate exercising its franchise yesterday, the district election officer said today.

Counting will take place on February 25, Mr Raj Kamal, Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer, told reporters here.

The Bellary Assembly segment recorded the lowest percentage of votes as out of 1,82,529 voters, only 52,684 exercised their franchise accounting to just 28.86 per cent.

Hadagalli recorded the highest percentage as 50.46 per cent voters came to cast their ballots.

Mr Raj Kamal said there would not be any shuffling of votes this time as the Election Commission had reverted to its earlier method of booth wise counting. This would enable faster counting of votes, he said.Top

 

Going not that easy for Manipur CM

IMPHAL, Feb 18 (UNI) — Manipur Chief Minister W Nipamacha Singh, seeking re-election from the Wangoi Assembly constituency, will have to pull all stops to win at the hustings given the intensified campaigning by his rivals in the run up to the February 22 polls.

Nestled on the outskirts of state capital Imphal, Wangoi has always been a Congress bastion and Mr Singh was the Congress winner during the last four elections.

But since the last Assembly election in 1995, new political permutations and combinations have forced Mr Singh’s supporters to change their strategy for wooing voters. They are now asking the people to vote for Mr Singh simply because he is a potential chief ministerial candidate after the elections.

"Voters of Wangoi should not miss the opportunity of re-electing a person who has the capability of becoming the chief executive of the state. People of the constituency have reasons to boast of being the privileged lot as they belong to the Chief Minister’s constituency," workers of his Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) claim.

An ex-Congressman, Mr Nipamacha Singh will possibly bank on his "contributions" towards development works in his constituency where he is locked in a five- cornered contest against his rivals from the Congress, Manipur Peoples Party (MPP), the CPI (M) and the BJP.

In 1995, Mr Singh had barely managed to scrape through, winning the seat on Congress ticket by a narrow margin of 349 votes against Mr Y Mani Singh of the Federal Party of Manipur (FPM). Contestants from the MPP, the Samata Party and the Janata Dal had also fared well, with none losing their deposits.

It is interesting, he is pitted against the same set of rivals whom he pipped at the post in the 1995 elections, the only difference being that except Mr Jogendra Singh of the MPP, the others have since switched political loyalties.

Mr N Indrasen Singh, a Samata Party candidate in the 1995 elections, is now contesting on CPM ticket, while Mr S Achouba Singh, earlier a Janata Dal candidate, is now a Congress nominee. FPM nominee Y Mani Singh has been fielded by the BJP this time.

All four opposition parties are trying to corner Mr Nipamacha Singh on his home turf on the anti-incumbency factor by highlighting his government’s "failures" and his "proximity to communal forces".

Intensified campaigning by rivals has forced Mr Singh to make frequent trips to Wangoi for electioneering. But he is at a disadvantage as primarily owing to security reasons his contacts with individuals have been severely limited while his rivals have an easy access to the electorate.

To make matters worse for the Chief Minister, the change in his election symbol is likely to create problems: his traditional supporters are used to putting the stamp of approval on ‘hand’, whereas he is now contesting on MSCP’s symbol of ‘farmer with sickle in hand’.

In 1997, Mr Nipamacha Singh had caused a split in the ruling Congress to become Chief Minister. He at that time was the Assembly Speaker.

The MSCP is a constituent of the NDA at the national level but in Manipur the BJP has formed a separate front with the Samata Party and the Kuki National Assembly.Top

 

Prasar Bharati signs 450-cr deal

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 (UNI) — In its biggest commercial deal for marketing of events on Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati today signed a Rs 450-crore agreement with Buddha Films Private Ltd., granting it exclusive rights to market airtimes sales in India of the cricketing events to be organised by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI).

The agreement, for a period of four-and-a-half years, will begin from the coming India-South Africa series later this month and last till September 2004.

For the exclusive rights of airtime sales, Buddha Films will pay Prasar Bharati a minimum guaranteed sum of Rs 450 crore.Top

 

Seek fresh mandate: Cong

BHUBANESWAR, Feb 18 (PTI) — The Congress has asked the Vajpayee government to seek afresh mandate of the people on the issue of the review of the Constitution and demanded a detailed statement from the BJP-led government on it.

"It is the responsibility of the government to tell the people which article of the Constitution needs to be amended and which points are to be included," senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here yesterday.

"Only then will the people and Opposition be able to react to those points" he said, adding that his party failed to understand why the government was maintaining a "discreet silence" over it.

Stating that the Vajpayee government should seek the mandate of the people on the issue, the senior Congress leader said when the Supreme Court struck down some important decisions, including nationalisation of banks, taken by the Indira Gandhi government in 1972, the people’s mandate was sought before executing them.

Pointing out that the government’s attempt was a "futile" one, he said even if the review committee recommended some changes in the Constitution, it had to be passed in both Houses by two-thirds majority and ratified by 50 per cent of the 30 provincial assemblies, which he felt "is not possible".

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the government cannot change the basic structure of the Constitution, Mr Mukherjee, also the former chairman of the Planning Commission, said.

"If the attempts are an academic exercise of writing an essay on the Constitution of India, the Congress has no objection. But if you have any concrete proposal you have to state that openly," he said.

NEW DELHI (UNI): Constitutional expert and former Chief Justice Rangnath Mishra today said that setting up of a panel for review of the Constitution was a futile exercise as it would only create more confusion.

Justice Mishra said if the need was felt for some change in the Constitution, it could be brought about by an amendment. "There was no need for a separate Constitution review panel because if you invite suggestion for changes, people would want every single article of the Constitution to be amended’’.

Besides, the government does not have the necessary three-fourth majority in Parliament to get the recommendations of the panel approved to make it effective, he pointed out.

Regarding the dissatisfaction among some people with the working of the Constitution, he said, "The problem now was people keeping on harping about their rights. Nobody think about their duties. Rights alone cannot sustain anybody or country, it has to be balanced with duties."Top

 

Oppn boycotts Governor’s Address

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 18 (PTI) — The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition today boycotted the Governor’s Address to the Kerala Assembly and waved black flags and placards at the treasury benches demanding the resignation of the EK Nayanar government.

As soon as the Governor Justice (retd) SS Kang entered the house, the opposition members led by Mr AK Antony stood up waved black flags and left the House without making a statement.

Soon after leaving the House, Mr Antony, alongwith floor leaders of UDF constituents, made a scathing attack on the LDF government alleging that its 45-month-long rule had been a virtual disaster for the state.

A delegation of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) yesterday had submitted a memorandum to the Governor, alleging that there was an alarming breakdown of law and order in the state.

Mr Antony said the Nayanar government had no moral right to continue in the office as there was breakdown of law and order in the state. The LDF government was implementing two types of justice — one for the Marxists and the other for non-Marxists, he alleged.

He claimed that during the past four years, the police had remained mute spectators whenever CPM activists took the law into their hands. On the other hand, Congress activists who protested against the misrule of the LDF government were brutally assaulted by the police at various places, he added. Even when legislators were beaten up by the police the Chief Minister had justified such incidents.

Meanwhile the Governor in his policy address criticised the Centre’s move to review Constitution and the economic policies of the NDA government.

He said the local government should be given more powers by setting up an ombudsman, an appellate tribunal and an audit commission for local bodies.

He stressed the need for welfare policies for adivasis and Keralite nurses working outside the state as also for workers in the unorganised and other sectors.

The Governor also promised the enhancement of production bonus for paddy, extension of credit card to fishworkers, a co-operative housing scheme and medical relief fund for workers in the unorganised sector in addition to setting up a labour commission and a labour academy.

On the industrial front, he proposed a hi-tech park with private participation at Kalamassery near Kochi and the opening of 20,000 new SSI units during the year.Top

 

Climate ‘changing’ in North-West 

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 (UNI) — Scientists have noticed a 1C rise in the minimum temperature in north-western parts of the country during the past 25 years, confirming the fears of climate change in India too.

A paper presented at an ongoing international conference on Managing natural resources for sustainable agricultural production’s here today confirmed that many urban centres such as Ludhiana, Karnal, Hisar and Delhi were affected by this temperature rise which was particularly evident during the rabi winter crop season.

The paper jointly prepared by researchers of the Water Technology Centre, Delhi and Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad, also found that temperature in other parts, particularly in the south, had shown a small decline in the past 25 years.

The scientists feared that changes in the maximum and minimum temperatures could show enormous differences in crop yield even if the mean temperature remained stable. This was confirmed by the experiments done with mustard crop in the Water Technology Centre of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi. But there was also evidence that the temperature rise helped the yield improvement in rice in India.

Globally, the mean temperature had risen by a mean 0.C in the last 100 years.

The scientists feared that the climate change would increase disparities in cereal production between developed and developing countries. Production in developed countries was bound to improve while that in the developing countries might go down.Top

 

Strategy for raising wheat yield
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — An integrated strategy is being developed to increase per hectare wheat productivity in the country, Dr R.S. Paroda, Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said.

The strategy envisaged to increase the average productivity of wheat to 3.7 tonnes per hectare by 2020 from the present level of 2.7 tonnes per hectare.

Development of hybrids, efficient use of inputs and precision farming involving zero tillage technology, raised bed planting and integrated crop management would be part of this strategy, he said.

"India has already emerged as number two wheat producing country in the world surpassing the USA with almost the same average," he said.

Forty new hybrid combinations of wheat were being tested at Karnal, he said, adding that they had been evolved through chemical induction of male sterility. These were showing 10 to 15 per cent higher yield.

Gene pyramiding, which involved several useful genes for diseases and pest resistant and also good grain quality, would also be another thrust area to combat biotic stress. Top

 

Weapon-locating radars soon

DEOLALI, Feb 18 (PTI) — The Army after its Kargil experience, will soon acquire weapon locating radar (WLR) systems and lay more emphasis on procedures for shooting during nights in mountainous terrain in its artillery programme, according to Lt-General Madan Bhandari.

"Post-Kargil certain lessons were learnt and henceforth greater stress would be given on procedures for shooting in mountains and especially during nights in the programmes of school of artillery", Bhandari, who is also the Commandant of the school, told reporters here yesterday.

The Army for several years has been asking for WLRs, which locate enemy gun positions. Pakistan, which has several US-made systems, was able to pin-point Indian batteries, while India lacked this edge during the conflict.

Bhandari had attended a spectacular demonstration of India’s artillery might, in the form of Exercise "topchi" (gunner) on February 16-17 here.

The Lt-General also hinted at "mediumisation" of Indian guns meaning that only guns with a calibre of 130 mm and more would be retained in the artillery. The smaller field guns would be phased out over a period of time, he said.

Elaborating "mediumisation", Bhandari said it meant guns of bigger calibre, having heavier shells with more TNT and more destructive power.

A senior Army official at Deolali school of artillery said the artillery doctrine, with an emphasis on attack by fire power and concentrating more on destruction rather than only neutralisation, was being finalised.

"To achieve our new role of destroying, neutralising or suppressing the enemy by application of fire at points of decision and by integrating all firepower into combined arms operation to physically and psychologically degrade the enemy cohesion with ultimate aim of breaking his will to fight, we are rapidly computerising our fire control systems", he said.

Earlier, during exercise "topchi", a plethora of guns, including indigenous 75/24 pack Howitzer, 105 IFG/LFG to the state-of-the-art 155 mm Bofors demonstrated their awesome fire power as serving officers, including officers from friendly foreign countries, witnessed the demonstration.

The main attractions were a salvo from the 122 mm Grad BM 21 rocket launcher and an accurate burst of three rounds in mere 14 seconds from the Bofors gun, which has already proved its might in the Kargil war.

During the exercises, Cheetah and Chetak helicopters demonstrated the evasive techniques adopted by the choppers as they flew inches above the ground merging with trees and shrubs concealing their movement. They also airlifted a 120 mm mortar and carried out air photo missions amidst heavy shelling by artillery.

Besides the guns, an impressive array of surveillance and target acquisition equipment was also on display.

The technique of acquiring and engaging targets/enemy mortars not visible to an observer, using a Cymbeline radar, was also demonstrated.

Another highlight of the demonstration was high altitude high opening paradrop (combat freefall demo) by an observation post party from a height of 10,000 ft.Top

 

Online help for board students
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — Grappling with board exam blues? Now online help is available at www.egurucool.com.

The portal gives students around the country instant access to answers for questions in physics, chemistry, maths, accounts and economics.

A team of expert tutors man the site round the clock and answer queries posed by the students free of charge.

The site also provides study modules for students of class IX-XII (ICSE and CBSE) to hone their skills for the examination.

These modules consist of summaries to help in quick revision, practice tests and assignments.

Solved papers of the past five year board examinations and simulated papers are also available.Top

 

Lt-Gen Puri is DG (BRO)
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — Lieut-Gen A.K. Puri has taken over as the Director -General of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) succeeding Lieut-Gen R.J. Mordecai who has been transferred as Commandant, College of Military Engineering, Pune.

Lieut General Puri prior to his present appointment was Commandant, College of Military Engineering, Pune . He was the Chief Engineer of Beacon Project from December 1987 to January 1991 in Jammu and Kashmir.Top

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS

40 pc of filariasis cases in India
BHUBANESWAR: India accounts for 40 per cent of the total lymphatic filariasis cases in the world, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report. Besides India, lymphatic filariasis is endemic in most South-East Asian countries, the WHO said in a release on Friday. Researches have shown that the disease could be eradicated if precautionary steps were taken, it said. — PTI

Corporators’ election set aside
NAGPUR:
A local court here has set aside the election of 11 corporators of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, who got themselves elected after contesting the civic poll on improper caste certificates. The fourth Additional District Judge P.J. Thombre passed the judgement on Thursday after hearing several petitions filed by defeated candidates against the corporators, who fought the elections on February 23, 1997. — PTI

Three dead as well caves in
SRIGANGANAGAR:
Three labourers were killed and two others injured at Chhapri village of Dodhu on Wednesday when the sides of a well which they were digging, collapsed on them. The deceased have been identified as Kalyan Mal, Narayan Jatt and Mangal Kumhar. — FOC

Hawala trader held with Rs 11 lakh
SRIGANGANAGAR:
The Suratgarh police has arrested a hawala trader with Rs 11 lakh. Bhupesh Kumar who was nabbed from a tourist resort in the town on Wednesday, according to the police, belongs to Hoshiarpur (Punjab). He runs a finance company and he had brought the currency here to hand it over to a family at Ram Singh Pur village. The amount was allegedly sent from Canada. — FOC

RSS activist kills CPM worker
KANNUR:
Tension prevailed at Chakkarakkallu in Kannur district of Kerala today following the torching of the house of an RSS activist who was allegedly involved in the killing of a CPM worker on Thursday. A group of people, allegedly CPM activists, set ablaze the house in retaliation to the killing of the CPM activist, Sajeevan. No one was in the house at the time. Meanwhile, areas under the Edakkad Assembly constituency observed a dawn-to-dusk strike in protest against the murder. — UNI

Awards for Anamika, Udit Narayan
NEW DELHI:
The Sangam Kala Group has selected Udit Narayan, Anamika, Narula and Jasbir Jassi for its annual awards this year. The award for the best male singer will be given to Udit Narayan while that of the best female singer will be presented to Anamika at a function here on February 28, the day the finals of the group’s 23rd all India Light Vocal Music Competition will be held. — PTI

Interaction with CM online
GANGTOK:
For the first time in the country, common people will be given a chance to interact with a state’s Chief Minister over the Internet and inform him of their grievances, thanks to a project being implemented in Sikkim. People from the state and outside will be able to interact with Chief Minister Pawan Chamling directly on the Internet or send him e-mail, the State Informatics Officer of the National Informatics Centre said. — PTI

Food adulteration laboratory
CALCUTTA:
The first food adulteration laboratory of the country will soon come up here to provide on-the-spot testing facilities to consumers of edible products. The laboratory, to begin operation from April, is being set up by the Federation of Consumer Associations West Bengal with support from the Centre, its president, Ms Mala Banerjee said on Friday. — PTI

5 die in tractor, truck collision
MACHILIPATNAM:
Five persons were killed and 18 others injured, 10 of them critically, when a tractor in which they were travelling collided with a truck at Chityala village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, on Friday. According to the police, the tractor was proceeding to Penuganchiprolu for the week-long Tirupathamma Mela when the incident occurred. — UNI

Fake degree racket unearthed
NOIDA:
The police has unearthed a fake degree racket here. Forged degrees of doctorate, LLB, ITI ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 have been recovered. According to the SP (City), Mr Piyush Srivastva, the police raided a market near Salarpur, Noida, after being informed about some notorious activities going on there. During the raid, three persons were arrested. — FOC
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