|Saturday, April 29, 2000,
Attacks not communal : NCM
Pak trying to foment trouble in
Scribes hold protest against INS
33 chargesheeted in bus-burning
PM holds talks on Budget
Govt to probe Punjab paddy
Amrita Pritam gets fellowship
Police remand for Kishan Kumar
SAARC writers meet opens
JMM case: no proof
India seeks help from Bangladesh
Bill on pension for First Lady
Media plays up drought: CM
JAIPUR, April 28 The Central Government has allocated five lakh tonnes of wheat to Rajasthan to be used as payment of wages for drought relief works but Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, on whose initiative the Prime Minister had sanctioned food for work programme is not happy.
In an exclusive interview the CM said here today that it was hoped that the wheat will be given to the state as a grant but now we have been told that we will have to pay for it. This is gross injustice.
Mr Gehlot said that food for work scheme was implemented in drought of the year 1977 and again in 1987. All foodgrains were given to the state was by way of grant. Now the Centre wants us to pay for it this time. It is not possible.
We would request the PM to reconsider the decision and give the allocated wheat free of cost to enable the state to lift the stock of what he observed.
People below the poverty line are already getting 40 kg of wheat per month. Why should they then accept wheat against wage at the relief works.
Mr Gehlot said that food for work scheme under the new norms requiring payment of food grains by the state to the Centre was neither going to help Rajasthan nor Gujarat nor Andhra Pradesh. On BPL rates five lakh tonnes of wheat will cost Rajasthan Rs 300 crore which is beyond means.
We will request the PM to reconsider the decision and urge him to give foodgrains for relief work as grant. "If it is not given in the form of grant-in-aid we will have to think whether we lift the stocks or not. And how can we lift! Even the people engaged on relief works will not accept it.
The Chief Minister discounted reports of large scale migration of people from the drought-hit areas.
The CM however, blamed media for presenting and exaggerated picture of drought situation in Rajasthan. It is being suggested as if cattle wealth is perishing in the state on a large scale. To substantiate the claim pictures of dead animals and piles of bones are being shot and published. In Barmer, Jaisalmer and other places this is a routine affair. Even when there is no famine animals die. Contracts for dead animals are awarded even during normal days as animals die even during normal times. Carcasses are collected by the contractors and dumped at one place to transport these. "Anybody can take these photographs whenever he wants, what is new in it", he asks.
NEW DELHI (PTI): The BJP is sending two teams of MPs to drought-hit Rajasthan and Gujarat to study the situation there, party spokesman Venkaiah Naidu said here today.
He said the teams, comprising six members each, would report back to the party on May 2.
The team to Gujarat will be headed by party general secretary Sangh Priya Gautam while the Rajasthan team will be led by former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma.
The teams would assess the drought situation in the two states besides meeting government officials, party workers and locals, Mr Naidu said.
Mr Naidu hoped that by the time the parliamentary party meets here again on May 2, there will be a feedback from the study teams.
The Gujarat team has been asked to split into two to visit the Saurashtra region and north Gujarat. Similar is the instruction for the Rajasthan team.
The Gujarat appraisal will be carried out by party general secretary Sangh Priya Gautam, Mr T.N. Chaturvedi, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, Anantray D Dave (all Rajya Sabha) and Anadi Charan Sahu and Haribhai Chaudhary (both Lok Sabha).
Rajasthan will be examined by Mr Sahib Singh Verma, Mr Jaswant Singh Bishnoi, Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Mr Bikram Keshri Deo and Mr Push Jain (all Lok Sabha) and Prof Ram Bakhsh Singh Verma (Rajya Sabha).
GANDHINAGAR (PTI): The Gujarat government will provide 10 kg wheat in advance every week to labourers engaged in drought relief work in different parts of the state.
Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who yesterday visited drought-hit Dholera area of Ahmedabad district, said the decision to give wheat in advance was taken in case the payment of the labourers was delayed. This is in addition to the 12.5 kg being already provided to them by the state.
Attacks not communal : NCM
NEW DELHI, April 28 (UNI) The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has categorically ruled out any communal overtones to the recent attacks on Christian institutions at various places in UP and said these were a result of law and order problems and some small incidents.
A team of the NMC which visited the affected Christian institutions at Kosi, Mathura, Agra and Rewari on April 26 for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation, said in its report today that it was satisfied with the investigations and there was no communal tinge in any of these incidents.
After visiting St Theresas School at Kosi where Father K.K. Thomas was attacked along with a school maid Ms Mary on April 11, the report said investigations had revealed that robbery was the motive behind the attack. Even Father Thomas had ruled out any communal angle to the incident and expressed satisfaction with the security arrangements. This was also confirmed by the local District Magistrate and the police authorities.
At least 10 miscreants entered the school premises on that day and attacked Father Thomas and Ms Mary and looted about Rs 1,00,000, a camera and two tape-recorders from various staff members.
In another incident at Mathura, the commission was told that on April 10 two men came to the office of Father Joseph Dabre, Principal of St Dominics School, and vaguely asked for admission to any class. Four other men were waiting outside. However, when they were asked about the nature of admission, they started beating the Principal. The two men were arrested while the other four ran away.
Pak trying to foment trouble in Kutch
HAJI PEER (Kutch), April 28 (UNI) Even as this famous shrine, revered by Muslims and Hindus alike prepares for a three-day congregation from today, there are indications of extremists trying to disrupt the traditional communal harmony in the Kutch border region.
A veritable duststorm swept Haji Peer, close to the Rann of Kutch, three days ago as an estimated 100,000 Hindu and Muslim pilgrims trekked their way to the medieval shrine to fulfil the much-awaited annual pilgrimage.
The dust settled down in a few hours, but it is a storm of another kind that threatens to engulf the peace-loving, the Kutch region.
Intelligence sources said Islamic fundamentalists were now targeting the 200-odd villages of Abdasa, Lakhpat and Bhuj talukas of the border district. Traditionally, despite being in majority in the area, the Kutchi Muslims have lived in harmony with the minority Hindus.
However, attempts were now being made from across the border to disturb the harmony to make it a flash point.
Audio cassettes of Maulana Masood Azhar, who was released from jail in exchange for the hostages of the Indian Airlines plane at Kandahar, are available in the border areas.
Two major events took place in Kutch district in the wake of the Kargil conflict last year. While a huge cache of arms and research and development explosives (RDX) was seized in the Sir Creek area, an intruding Pakistani navy reconnaissance plane, was shot down by the IAF.
Scribes hold protest against INS
NEW DELHI, April 28 (UNI) Journalist and non-journalist employees today demonstrated at the headquarters of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) here protesting against what they termed as the latters "conspiracy" to sabotage the Manisana Singh Wage Board.
The protestors, who carried placards and banners, raised slogans, charging the newspaper proprietors body with having chosen to "scuttle" the wage board while it was in the process of finalising its recommendations.
Todays demonstration was a part of a phased agitation programme chalked out by the National Coordination Committee of Newspapers/ News Agencies Employees Unions, consisting of the All-India Newspaper Employees Federation, Indian Federation of Working Journalists, Indian Journalists Union, National Union of Journalists, National Federation of Newspaper Employees, UNI Employees Union and PTI Employees Federation.
The INS in a writ petition filed in the Delhi High Court on April 19 had challenged the tentative recommendations of the board and said that fixation and revision of wage rates in respect of working journalists and non-journalists in newspapers and news agencies are violative of Articles 14 and 19 of the Indian Constitution.
Mr Justice Manmohan Sarin asked the respondents to reply by May 9.
33 chargesheeted in bus-burning case
CHENNAI, April 28 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Crime Branch of the CID today filed a charge sheet against 33 accused in the Dharmapuri bus-burning case in which three girl students of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University were burnt to death, following the conviction of AIADMK General Secretary and former Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha in a corruption case on February 2.
The charge sheet filed
in the Judicial Magistrate Court-1 in Dharmapuri by Chief
Investigation Officer, SIT-Coimbatore, named a total of
33 accused, including three prime accused D.K.
Rajendran, the union secretary of the AIADMK, Dharmapuri,
Nedu, alias Nedunchezhian, the AIADMK third ward
secretary, Dharmapuri, and Madhu alias Ravindran,
Dharmapuri town youth wing secretary. The three main
accused had already been detained under the National
Security Act for one year.
PM holds talks on Budget
NEW DELHI, April 28 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today held consultations with his Cabinet colleagues to finalise the concessions, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha may announce while replying to the Finance Bill next week. This was the first information consultation by the Prime Minister with his colleagues to short cut the various controversial issues, including the rollback of price hike of essential commodities and certain provisions of the Finance Bill, before the passage of 2000-2001 Union Budget by the Lok Sabha.
Govt to probe Punjab paddy procurement
NEW DELHI, April 28 (PTI) A high-level inquiry would be ordered into the paddy procurement operations in Punjab during 1994-95, which has resulted in a reported loss of Rs 120 crore to the state government, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Shanta Kumar told the Rajya Sabha today.
The Centre had paid Rs 120 crore to Punjab to meet the loss after the state government stated that it failed to get the paddy milled following a dispute between the state government and mill owners, he said replying to supplementaries.
The amount, which was the difference between the cost of procured paddy and its sale price, had been disbursed to the state government as a full and final settlement, he said.
However, the Centre felt the need to examine the subject since the Punjab Government is making an additional demand for Rs 450 crore to meet the loss suffered because of the procurement which was done for the Food Corporation of India.
Amrita Pritam gets fellowship
NEW DELHI, April 28 (UNI) The Punjabi Academy today conferred its first fellowship on noted litterateur Amrita Pritam and also announced annual literary awards for 1996-97 and 1997-98 to 8 Punjabi writers for contribution in various fields.
The academy also announced prizes for six books, including two each on prose, poetry and fiction for the year 1996-97.
The awards were announced by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit who is also chairperson of the Punjabi Academy, Delhi, at a meeting of the Punjabi Academy Governing Council here today.
The fellowship of Rs 5000 per month for five years was given to Amrita Pritam to enable her to continue her contribution towards literary and research work.
Ms Amrita Pritam, a Jnanpith award winner, has written more than 50 books, mainly in Punjabi, and has been contributing to literature and social science since early fifties.
Prof Harkishan Singh has been given the Param Sahit Satkar Samman carrying Rs 1,11,000, for "outstanding contribution" to Punjabi literature.
A cash component of Rs 21,000 each has been given to Mr Raghubir Singh (promotion/propagation of Punjabi language), Dr Ajit Singh (service to Punjabi literature), Albel Singh Grewal (service to media), Prof Satnam Singh Ragi (service to Punjabi music), Mrs Surjit Kaur Sarna (Punjabi translation) and Bir Inder Singh (Punjabi journalism).
The academy also
announced prizes of Rs 11,000 each for six books
including Ek Nadi Sanwil Jahi by Ms Nirupama
Dutt and Pauna Utte Dastkhat by Barjinder
Chauhan (poetry), Dhund Se Us Paar by Mrs
Rajinder Kaur Mahanagar by S. Balwant
(fiction) and Sidhant Chintan by Gurcharan
Singh Arshi and Rutt Firi by Prof Swaran
Police remand for Kishan Kumar
NEW DELHI, April 28 Bollywood actor Kishan Kumar was today remanded to five-day police custody by a Delhi Court in the match-fixing case involving South African Captain Hansie Cronje and three others.
The Metropolitan Magistrate, Mr K.S. Mohi, issued direction for police remand of Bollywood actor, Kishan Kumar, till May 2 after an application was moved by the police urged that they wanted to confront with documents recovered from the house and other places of Kishan Kumar and another accused Rajesh Kalra during raids.
The police also urged that it had to investigate the source of money used in hawala transactions by the accused.
The defence counsels R.K. Anand and I.U. Khan told the court that to investigate same case the accused was taken on remand by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) so nothing was left in the case which is to be investigated by the police.
However, after hearing the arguments from both sides the Judge said that police case in match fixing was different. The ED took Kishan Kumars remand to investigate FERA case.
The Delhi High Court had granted anticipatory bail to Kishan Kumar in police case and the Supreme Court on Friday has stayed its operations.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Kalra, another accused in the match fixing case has been granted judicial custody for two days by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sangita Dhingra Sehgal.
SAARC writers meet opens
NEW DELHI, April 28 (UNI) The first SAARC writers conference began here today with a call by President K.R. Narayanan to turn South Asia into a "translators paradise" for free flow of writings within and beyond the region.
In a message, the President, who could not attend the function because of a bout of flu, said countries in the region had tended to remain in darkness about each others literatures, especially contemporary writing, though their writers had an underlying commonality that transcended national boundaries.
JMM case: no proof against Sharma
NEW DELHI, April 28 (PTI) The CBI today admitted before a designated court that it could not prove the charges against a former Union Minister Capt Satish Sharma, in the JMM MPs bribery case.
CBI counsel R.M. Tiwary told Special Judge Ajit Bharihoke that it had nothing on record against Captain Sharma except for a passing reference made by Mr Shailendra Mahato, approver in the case, and it was no evidence.
Mr Mahato in his statement had said that Captain Sharma had talks with his the then party colleague Mr Simon Marandi, regarding allotment of petrol stations and plots under the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to JMM MPs if they were to vote in favour of the government in the July 1993 no-confidence motion in Parliament. However, this was not substantiated on record.
Mr Tiwary made the submission after Mr Bharihoke asked him if he had to say anything on the final arguments advanced by Captain Sharmas counsel Mr H.R. Bhardwaj.
Captain Sharma was among
the 11 accused, including former Prime Minister P.V.
Narasimha Rao facing trial in the case for allegedly
bribing some MPs to buy their votes in favour of the
Congress government, which had defeated the motion by a
margin of only 14 votes.
India seeks help from
NEW DELHI, April 28 India today asked Bangladesh to take urgent measures to secure the release of four senior RSS leaders kidnapped by suspected insurgents of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) who are believed to be in that country.
The demand was conveyed by Union Home Minister L.K. Advani when a Bangladeshi delegation led by its Home Secretary Mr M.M. Reza, called on him here, an official press note said here.
RSS leaders Shyamal Sengupta, Deben Dey, Secretaries of the RSS east and north-east zones, respectively, and two pracharaks in Tripura Sushamay Dulla and Subhashan Chakrabarty were kidnapped by the insurgents on August 6 last year when they were visiting a school near the Indo-Bangladesh border.
The insurgents had demanded a hefty ransom for the release of the leaders who were taken to Bangladesh after the demand was turned down.
During the Home
Secretary-level talks between the two countries held from
April 26 to 27, India conveyed its grave concern over the
activities of top leaders of banned Indian militant
groups in Bangladesh.
Bill on pension for First Lady passed
NEW DELHI, April 28 (UNI) In a rare gesture, the Lok Sabha today passed without debate a Bill to provide for government accommodation for life and 50 per cent pension to the spouse of a President who dies while in office, resigns or whose term expires.
Home Minister L.K.
Advani made it clear in reply to a question by Mr V.
Radhakrishnan (CPM) that the benefits would also be
available to the surviving spouses of four former
Presidents. The benefits would not be applicable to the
spouse of a President who is removed by impeachment or
Centre urged to lift 10 lakh
tonnes of rice
NEW DELHI, April 28 Punjab today urged the Centre to lift 10 lakh tonnes of rice from the state as per the quota and ease the space shortage problem. The Punjab Food and Supply Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, today said that the due to non-lifting as per target, Punjab rice millers were facing problems and purchased wheat was being kept outside the godowns due to non-availability of space.
Mr Mittal said that out
of the total wheat purchased, 72.9 per cent wheat was
purchased by the state agency, 27.1 per cent by the FCI
and 2.2 per cent by the traders. Total 547 purchase
centres have been opened by the Punjab Government.
Seven killed as houses collapse
SITAPUR, April 28 (PTI) Seven persons, including four members of a family, were killed and 13 injured when high speed winds blew down houses in the district in Uttar Pradesh, the police said today. Four persons died and three were injured when a house collapsed in Macherheta area last night.
Awards for nine Urdu scholars
NEW DELHI, April 28 (UNI) Noted writer Mohammed Hasan and senior journalist Shahid Parvez are among nine Urdu scholars, who have been selected for the 1999 Urdu Academy awards for making immense contribution for the propagation of Urdu.
The annual awards will be presented to the Urdu luminaries at a special function tomorrow by Mr S.M.H. Burney, former Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and other leading Urdu personalities.
TN ex-Speakers daughter convicted
CHENNAI, April 28 (PTI)
The daughter of former Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker
Sedapatti R. Muthiah was today sentenced to one year
rigorous imprisonment by a special court for abetting her
father in accumulating unaccounted wealth to the tune of
Rs 45.74 lakh while he was in office. Special Judge A.C.
Arumughaperumal Adityan also fined the former
Speakers daughter, Malarvizhi, Rs 25,000.
hits life in Mizoram
5 bodies found
in Karbi Anglong dist
delegation for Amman
Boy killed in
Ban likely on
smoking in schools
Task force to
School closed in
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