|Wednesday, April 5, 2000,
Badal supports statute panel
Freed Hurriyat men visit office
14 days judicial custody for
Sealdah-Amritsar train from April
New rail freight policy
Chetan Anands sons
Special session on Vananchal soon
Move on Punjabi language hailed
Employ J-K Sikhs in
Women for ban on obscene channels
Hasina, Jaswant Singh hold talks
MP local area scheme questioned
Pen pistol seized, 1 held
Badal supports statute panel
NEW DELHI, April 4 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today pleaded for doing away with some Articles of the Constitution for a greater federal vibrancy and supported the setting up of a Constitutional review panel.
Participating in the seventh meeting of the Standing Committee on Inter-State Council here, Mr Badal suggested that the discretion of the Governor to reserve a Bill for the consideration of the President as provided under Article 200 be open to judicial scrutiny.
He said Articles 256, 257 and 356 which, were designed for coordination between the Union and the states for the effective implementation of Union laws, be dispensed with.
We have strong views which go beyond the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission. In our opinion, these Articles, like Article 356, are offensive to the very concept of federalism and need to be dispensed with he said.
Interestingly, the Chief Minister reiterated his partys stand on the need to do away with Article 356 even though it voted in favour of the motion in the Lok Sabha last year when the Vajpayee government imposed Presidents rule in Bihar which it eventually withdrew under pressure from the Opposition.
The Chief Minister also cautioned that distinct identities of regional, religious, cultural and ethnic groups must be retained. There has in the past been apprehensions among several sections of society, notably among minorities, that a subtle attempt is being made to drown their identities in the name of unity.
He said these apprehensions must be removed and a clear distinction made between unity and uniformity.
On the economic front, Mr Badal suggested the setting up of a team of agricultural economists to go into the question of costs and prices of agricultural products every year whose report be given full weightage while announcing the minimum support price (MSP).
The MSP, he suggested, should be linked to the general price index since the farmers cannot work in isolation of the overall marketing conditions and that the views of the states like Punjab, which are leaders in farm produce, should form the basis of decisions on prices of products they specialise in.
Mr Badal called for greater fiscal autonomy to the states and said Punjab believed that this autonomy would have a meaning only if it is accompanied by political, legislative and administrative autonomy.
Welcoming the setting up of the Constitutional review panel, he said people in Punjab had always held that in matters concerning the future of the people, the country came above the Constitution and that the sanctity of the document must be defined by its ability to keep pace with the aspirations of the people. Constitution to us represents a process and not a stance, he said.
Freed Hurriyat men visit office
NEW DELHI, April 4 (PTI) Three senior Hurriyat leaders, including its chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who were freed last night, today visited the organisations office here even as speculation was rife that more senior Hurriyat leaders would be released soon.
Besides Geelani, two other leaders Abdul Gani Bhat and Moulvi Abass Ansari also underwent a medical check-up after their release as part of the governments efforts for restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said.
The three were released at Delhis Palam Airport after over six months detention under the Public Safety Act in the Jodhpur Jail.
When contacted Bhat declined to react. "No words for the press today, we are tired," he said.
The trio were lodged in Jammu and Kashmir house here. The state authorities took them to Batra Hospital here for a check-up this morning.
Earlier, the three were flown in a state aircraft to Jammu from Jodhpur but were later shifted back to Delhi following mounting tension in Anantnag district of South Kashmir.
The state government, which had some reservation over the release of the Hurriyat leaders, refused their release in Srinagar or Jammu as they did not want to take any chance of the three leaders fuelling tension in the Anantnag district which has been rocked by violence and firing over alleged disappearance of some youths.
14 days judicial
custody for Ilyasi
NEW DELHI, April 4 The producer of a popular TV serial, "Indias Most Wanted", Suhaib Ilyasi, was sent to judicial custody for 14 days by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Mr Bhupesh Kumar, today.
Suhaib moved applications before the court for the custody of his daughter, Aalia, and for the permission taking home-made food. He also appealed for medical facilities as he had been suffering from a chronic disease.
The Magistrate adjourned the case for April 18 saying that the matter would be argued on the next hearing.
The public prosecutor, Mr K.D. Bhardwaj, said that the suspect should be lodged in judicial custody as the police had completed the interrogation.
Earlier Suhaib had moved bail application but it was rejected twice by the court.
Suhaib was arrested by the Delhi police on charges of harassment for dowry, dowry death and tampering with evidence. His wife Anju Ilyasi allegedly committed suicide by stabbing in their flat at IFS apartments at Mayur Vihar Phase-I in East Delhi on January 10.
Sealdah-Amritsar train from
NEW DELHI, April 4 A new direct train linking Sealdah with Amritsar will be flagged off by Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee on April 13.
Apart from this rail service for passengers in West Bengal and Punjab, persons living in Chandigarh and Delhi can also look forward to faster rail travel as the Railways is considering starting an evening Shatabadi from Chandigarh to Delhi.
Sources of the Punjab Government told The Tribune here today that this assurance was given by the Railway Minister to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at a meeting at Rail Bhavan here this afternoon.
A press release issued by the Punjab Government said that the train will have a bi-weekly service initially. Mr Badal will receive the train at Amritsar on arrival.
Ms Banerjee is said to have told Mr Badal that the Railways would consider introducing an evening Shatabdi train from Chandigarh to Delhi to enable persons return to the Capital the same day.
The minister reportedly
assured Mr Badal that work on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana
rail link would be expedited and the Chandigarh-Morinda
line would be completed soon. She said the
Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link would be developed as a
corridor in collaboration with the Housing and Urban
New rail freight policy
NEW DELHI, April 4 (PTI) Railway Ministry today announced a new freight policy which would focus on strengthening of high density network for providing connectivity to ports, restructuring of the freight traffic and concentrating on picking up piece-meal goods traffic.
Stating this here, Railway Board Chairman V K Aggarwal said that an integrated transport policy was likely to be finalised very soon providing for inter-model complement, instead of competition, between rail and road traffic.
Earlier, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the railways carried over 456 million tonnes of goods traffic during 1999-2000, showing highest-ever increase of 35 million tonnes in a year.
In 1998-1999, the goods traffic carried was 421 million tonnes, she said.
The minister praised the railwaymen for their record performance.
Chetan Anands sons arrested
MUMBAI, April 4 (PTI) Ketan and Vivek Anand, sons of the late film maker Chetan Anand, and a maid servant, were today arrested for allegedly conspiring to murder film actress Priya Rajvansh at her Juhu bungalow on March 27.
Priya had a very close relationship with Chetan Anand and had been residing with him for several years, the police said.
According to the police, Ketan and Vivek conspired along with the actress maid servant, Maya Chowdhary and her accomplice Ashokan Swami to execute the murder. The motive of the crime was not yet known. The first post-mortem report conducted by a team of doctors had confirmed that the death had been due to strangulation of the windpipe and some injuries due to a blunt object on the head and body.
However, following conflicting reports regarding the death by the police, second post-mortem was performed.
Earlier in the day, the last rites of the actress were performed by her younger brother, Gullu Singh, who arrived here from London at the Oshiwara electric crematorium.
Jaswant leaves for Colombia
NEW DELHI, April 4 External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh is leaving tomorrow for Colombia to participate in the 13th ministerial conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The two-day NAM ministerial conference, being held in the Colombian capital Cartagena from April 8, is being considered significant as many important issues like global nuclear disarmament, global trade related with the WTO and globalisation are going to be taken up at the summit, a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs told reporters here today.
The doctrine of humanitarian intervention, thrown up for discussions by the UN Secretary-General at the commencement of the 54th UN General Assembly session in September, 1999 is likely to attract considerable attention of members during the Foreign Ministers summit, the official said adding that Indias position was very clear on the issues as the External Affairs Minister had rejected the doctrine.
Afghanistan, UN reforms including the expansion of the UN Security Council and international terrorism are some other issues which will be taken up at the conference.
The millennium summit of the UN in September will command the attention of most of the members specially because of the report of the Secretary General has just been released.
Of particular interest
to the NAM will be the work of the preparatory committee
about to begin in New York on an international conference
on financing for development, that will address the
resource requirements of the developing countries in
meeting their developmental challenges in the coming
decades, and the redesigning of the international
Kamal Haasan defends Hey
NEW DELHI, April 4 Film actor and director of the film Hey Ram, Kamal Haasan today said his film "is "an experiment in truth" and is not about Mahatma Gandhi".
Talking to mediapersons here after the screening of the film at Teen Murti Auditorium here today, Mr Kamal Haasan said, "The film is about Saket Ram". (the role of Saket Ram, a common man who turns into a revolutionary after his wife is wronged and killed in the riots, is played by Kamal Haasan).
He said that since Mahatma Gandhis presence as the most significant development of the century "cannot be ignored", the film has attempted to portray Mahatma Gandhi in actual perspective. "Inspite of pointing out the mistakes, you should see how he is projected", he said.
The film portrays riots between two communities, violence, bloodshed, atrocities against women and juxtaposes violence and unrest with the non-violence and brotherhood preached by Gandhiji and at one point even holds "Barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi responsible" for lawlessness and riots.
Replying to a question on why the film portrayed Mahatma Gandhi, Kamal Haasan said, "Why not Gandhi? I dont like to be him but I am inspired by him and that is why I have made a film at the peril of my finances. Ive set the ball rolling and I plan to do more such films".
Asked to comment on protests in Calcutta after the release of the film, Kamal Haasan said dismissively, "All these protests have died down and have not affected the film. People are interested in the film and are talking about it. I have the right to defend the film and it had good dialogue. One thing you cannot complain about Hey Ram is that it has good content."
True enough, the film was taken as a case study for a seminar on "History and Cinema; the portrayal of Gandhi in films" organised under the auspices of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here today.
While agreeing that the film has triggered anti-Gandhi feelings, he said, "There is already enough of such feelings in the country today. My film only helps people read them."
CVC: MPs should file property returns
NEW DELHI, April 4 (PTI) Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) N. Vittal today said that MPs and ministers should file their annual property returns to help set up a healthy tradition to check corruption in public life.
"Why not insist that the MPs and ministers must also give their annual property returns to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as the case may be?," Mr Vittal asked while speaking at a function organised by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) here.
"I had informally discussed this with some of the MPs and their reaction was positive," he said.
Citing the example of JMM judgement, Mr Vittal said: "It also laid down that the MPs and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) are public servants. And the Prime Minister has already indicated in his speech that one of the first legislations for the government to take up is the Lok Pal Bill so that the rot can be checked from the top."
Emphasising the need for departmental disciplinary action against the corrupt officials, he said: "The efforts made in the past to check corruption have failed precisely because the guilty under the existing system of judicial process do not generally get punished."
He said according to the Berlin-based NGO Transparency International, "India is ranked 66 out of 85 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 1998 and the conviction rate is only 6 per cent in courts."
The CVC suggested formation of a National Vigilance Corps (NVC) on the lines of National Cadets Corps (NCC) to enable students to check corruption and identify the corrupt.
Mr Vittal also stressed the need for authorising some retired honest persons who could be identified as honorary vigilance advisers by the commission to help in trapping the corrupt. Non-governmental organisations could also extend their support on this front.
Mr Vittal also wondered why no public interest petition had been filed seeking a direction that it was the fundamental right of every citizen to go to any public office and get corruption-free service. Once this was recognised as a right, it would become easier for asserting the right.
He demanded the scrapping of Sick Industries Companies Act (SICA) and Board for Industrial Finance and Reconstruction (BIFR), which he said, had helped the colluding and corrupt industrialists and officials to escape punishment.
"The same is true of some rules and conventions. The banking secrecy practices help wilful defaulters to escape punishment. Why keep the names of wilful defaulters of banks secret" he said.
"Most of the banks show the money defaulters as non profit asset (NPA) at the end of the year. I have spoken to Reserve Bank of India Governor Bimal Jalan regarding the matter. And he has said that he will consider it," Mr Vittal said.
Faced with criticism from bureaucratic circles, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has laid down fresh ground rules for making public the names of corrupt IAS and IPS officials on its website.
"A further precaution has now been taken after the initial release of the names of IAS and IPS officials that only names of those whose inquiry is over and where at the second stage the punishment has been recommended will be put on the website apart from the names of those against whom prosecution has been launched," Central Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal said today.
Working with spouse a hazard?
NEW DELHI, April 4 (PTI) Is working with the spouse 24 hours a day the best way to combine work with pleasure, the personal with the professional?
The 24-hour couple syndrome rather than a convenience may well prove to be more of a professional hazard.
At least that is what the recent case of editors Rukun Advani and his wife Anuradha Roy goes on to prove. The two, working in a reputed publishing house, were asked to quit on grounds of administrative inconvenience.
Though it has been seen that professionals especially in the media, medicine, lawyers and service industry that keeps odd working hours, favour such an arrangement, human resource experts warn that such a situation may lead to considerable conflict not only within the organisation, but also in the couples personal lives.
Certain banks have couples working together but forbid them to work in the same division.
"We have faced no problems at the work place by virtue of being married and working in the same organisation," says Prema Menon and her husband, both bank officials working in different divisions, noting at the time of transfer too their organisation would see to it that they get posted at the same place.
The concept was introduced in the 70s to facilitate easy transfer among couples in the allied services... this was also seen to promote marriages, says Sanjoy Ghose, advocate.
"It is also important to remember that there is a distinction between the public and the private sector. The public sector is dictated by fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, especially Articles 14, 19 and 21," he says.
In the All India Services too the same cadre can be provided to couples in case of transfers but in consultation with the state governments.
But the Confederation of Indian Industry, for instance, has a rule which forbids couples from working in the same organisation and this also applies to relatives, who are disallowed from working with them.
"As a policy we do not allow couples to work together and in case of a marriage one of the partners has to resign, " say Ajay Khanna, Senior Director, CII.
But he is quick to add that, "it is high time this policy was reviewed... in the current knowledge driven economy office is like one big family, the trend has more pros than cons."
But, it is not without reason that such rules and regulations have been set.
organisations set such rules because the situation can
lead to considerable conflict that arises due to their
working together... The arrangement often works out at
the disadvantage of both the organisation and the
couple," says Prof MN Panini of Jawaharlal Nehru
Special session on Vananchal soon
RANCHI, April 4 (UNI) The ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal has announced that it would convene a special session of the Bihar legislature at the earliest to ratify the Vananchal statehood Bill to facilitate its early introduction in Parliament.
In line with its changed stand, the RJD, along with the Congress, has threatened to stage an agitation in Delhi for the introduction of the Bihar State Reorganisation Bill in the current session of Parliament.
The RJD, which once opposed the bifurcation of the state for the creation of Vananchal comprising 18 districts of South Bihar, has now announced to support the formation of the new state.
With the RJDs present stance, the NDA finds itself in a piquant situation. The NDA, formed on an "anti-Laloo" plank in Bihar, is finding it difficult to mobilise the people in its favour, particularly in the Jharkhand region, following its arch rival, the RJD taking a "turnaround" on statehood.
Panja leaves for 3-nation tour
NEW DELHI, April 4 Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja has left on an official visit to Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt.
Mr Panja will co-chair a two-day Indo-Tunisia Joint Commission meeting which will conclude tomorrow.
During his stay in Tunisia, three bilateral agreements on extradition treaty, cultural exchange programme and cooperation in the field of science and technology will be signed.
On April 6, Mr Panja will be transiting through Egypt where he will meet the Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Amre Mousa.
On April 7 and 8, the
Minister of State for External Affairs will co-chair a
meeting of the Indo-Sudan Joint Commission where
bilateral economic cooperation will be taken up, a
spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said here
today. The issue of early restoration of blocked funds in
Sudan will also figure in talks with the host government.
Move on Punjabi language
NEW DELHI, April 4 Several cultural and social organisations have welcomed the grant of second language status to Punjabi in Delhi.
"The government has met the long standing demand of 15 lakh Punjabis living in the Capital," Mr Avtar Singh Sethi, general secretary of the Punjabi Cultural Federation, welcoming the decision.
However, he hoped that the government would implement the Official Languages Bill, 2000, in its letter and spirit.
The Bill, passed by the Delhi Assembly on Tuesday, grants official language status to Hindi and second language status to Punjabi and Urdu.
The legislation provides for Hindi in Devnagri script as the official language of Delhi with Punjabi in Gurmukhi script and Urdu in Urdu script as the second official language for the purpose of receipt and reply of application and petitions by all offices in the Delhi government.
government rules, regulations and gazette notifications
will be published in Urdu and Punjabi, signboards of
official buildings, government offices and roads will
bear the names in both the languages and important
government advertisements will be published in Urdu and
Employ J-K Sikhs in forces
NEW DELHI, April 4 (UNI) Three BJP leaders Minister of State for Civil Aviation Chaman Lal Gupta, former Union Minister Madan Lal Khurana and S.S. Ahluwalia, M.P. have urged Home Minister L.K. Advani to provide jobs to Sikh youths in the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
The three, who were part of the official six-member delegation which visited Chatti Singhpora village where 35 Sikhs were killed by militants on March 20, told Mr Advani after their return on Saturday that the minority community was feeling insecure after the incident. They had no faith in the local administration, Mr Khurana and Mr Ahluwalia told mediapersons today.
Mr Khurana said talking to the Sikhs they gathered that the biggest problem the minority were facing there was unemployment.
Whatever package is offered to the state by the Centre goes to the majority community (Muslims).
Even in professional education, Sikh youths were being deprived of their rightful claim. This was the main cause that made them migrate from the valley.
Mr Khurana said they impressed upon Mr Advani that the unemployed Sikh youth could be absorbed in paramilitary forces. This would also be beneficial for the paramilitary forces in their fight against militancy as the Sikhs knew the local language and topography.
Mr Khurana said Mr Advani had agreed in principle to the suggestions. This delegation would again visit Srinagar to finalise its recommendations in order to rebuild the confidence of the victims families in particular and the Sikh community in general in the state.
delegation also urged the Home Minister to grant ex
gratia to the five Special Police Officers who were
tortured by a Jammu and Kashmir Police Head Constable,
leading to death of two. Mr Khurana said Mr Advani agreed
to pay ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families.
Women for ban on obscene channels
NEW DELHI, April 4 (UNI) A group of women activists, concerned over "vulgar and obscene fare on television and in cinema halls, today submitted a memorandum to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley demanding a ban on these.
"We have noticed that many cable TV channels, namely F-TV, TB6, HBO, some Malayalam channels and late night movies shown by cable operators are exhibiting nude scenes openly without any control and fear of your ministry, the Nari Raksha Samiti said.
Hasina, Jaswant Singh hold talks
NEW DELHI, April 4 (PTI) Border demarcation, promotion of Indo-Bangla trade and the proposed Agartala-Dhaka bus service were among a host of bilateral issues that came up for discussion at a meeting of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh here today.
MP local area scheme questioned
NEW DELHI, April 4 (PTI) The Supreme Court today admitted two public interest litigations challenging the constitutional validity of the MPs Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) under which each MP gets a grant of Rs two crore.
A Bench comprising Justice G B Pattanaik, Justice R P Sethi and Justice S V Patil, while admitting the petitions filed by a registered society Common Cause and president of Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party Bhim Singh allowed the Centre to file additional affidavits, If any, within eight weeks.
Pen pistol seized, 1 held
NEW DELHI, April 4 The Delhi Police has seized a lethal pen-pistol having a range of 60 feet with the arrest of a receptionist of "sulabh sauchalaya" in North-West district.
The pen, reportedly made in Italy, is of .22 bore calibre, the police sources said. In another incident, a mentally disturbed person, Dalip Kumar, committed suicide by jumping from seventh floor of Arunachal Bhawan at Connaught Place here.
A resident of Jaipur, he had come to the Capital for treatment and was staying with a relative at Paharganj in Central Delhi.
gets first woman chief
award for Rituparno Ghosh
Joseph C. John dead
Panther panic in
in school curriculum
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