|Tuesday, May 23, 2000,
Basu to head third front
Akali politics lacks Sikh
Manage water resources: PM
26 victims of travel
President to visit China from May
WB violence: Centre urged to
BJP can stoop to any
Vajpayee selected to head dream
HC to examine allotment norms
Girls outshine boys in ICSE exams
N. Rlys gift for freedom
Jyoti Basu to head third front
CALCUTTA, May 22 (UNI) Veteran Communist leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu will lead the proposed third front, Deputy Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today.
"Mr Jyoti Basu will lead the third front as he has the experience of running a coalition government for a record 23 years," Mr Bhattacharjee told a private TV channel.
Earlier, former Prime Minister V.P. Singh requested the CPM and Mr Basu to spearhead the efforts to form a front as an alternative to both the BJP and the Congress.
Mr Basu, had recently decided to retire as the Chief Minister on health grounds. His party, however, requested him to continue till the assembly elections slated for next year and appointed Mr Bhattacharjee as his deputy to lessen his burden.
Besides Mr V.P. Singh, three former Prime Ministers Mr Chandra Shekhar, Mr H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr I.K. Gujral mooted the proposal to revive the third front against the "communal policies" of the BJP Government.
Mr Basu, however, emphasised on forming a broad-based front comprising the Left, secular and democratic forces and the secular elements in the Congress and the BJPs partners in the National Democratic Alliance.
The CPM politburo, which endorsed the move to form a third front, entrusted its General Secretary, Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, with the responsibility of taking the initiative in this direction with the help of Mr V.P. Singh.
In his interview, Mr Bhattacharjee also opposed the state reorganisation bills for creation of Uttarakhand, Vananchal and Jharkhand and said such steps would not only open the pandoras box in different parts of the country but also encourage secessionist forces, particularly in the eastern and north eastern region.
He, however, suggested that the state governments of UP, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar should form autonomous development councils on the line of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council for the respective areas.
To a question on
Kamtapuri movement in northern parts of the state, he
said Kamtapuri activists had been receiving assistance
from abroad. The activists were not only being trained in
a neighbouring country but also receiving help from
Pakistans ISI through the United Liberation Front
of Asom, he added.
Akali politics lacks Sikh character
NEW DELHI, May 22 (UNI) The absence of Sikh character in contemporary Sikh politics and unchecked interference in religious affairs is causing immense damage to the community, says former Akal Takht Jathedar Prof Darshan Singh.
"Politics was created to satisfy mans worldly requirements of food, clothing, education and shelter, while religion is food for his soul", he said.
But today our religious institutions the soul of the community are in the grip of politics that want religious seal on politically beneficial but ultimately damaging moves," Prof Singh told UNI.
The role of Sikh religious institutions to spread the message of Guru Nanak and his world view had been put on the backburner by self-centred political controllers, he said.
"Sikh politics today lacks Sikh character. It is now devoid of the ideology of the sixth Guru Hargobind," the scholar said.
Guru Hargobind, whose father and predecessor Guru Arjan Dev was tortured and executed by order of Mughal emperor Jehangir, chose to wear two swords after his installation one to protect "piri" or saintliness and the other symbolising "miri" or nobility. He created Akal Takht as a symbol of Gods supremacy and fought against Mughal tyranny.
"But today we see Akalis using religious podiums and funds for sheer personal benefits, that too in the name of the Sikh Panth, which gains nothing from this political gameplan," Prof Singh said.
Many Sikh youths were now wearing caps instead of turbans and many have cut their hair and beard. "This damage to the Sikhs distinct identity is the result of the absence of Sikh character in the so-called leaders of the community", he added.
"And today under the Akali leadership in Punjab we also see the RSS questioning the Sikhs distinction and opening a new phase of confrontation," he said.
But a Sikh was a Sikh. In principle, he was different from any other community though at the same time he was "secular" in the literal sense of the word, he said.
Prof Darshan Singh said the present state of affairs in Sikh politics warranted its separation from religion "till the former regains health".
"People with party
loyalties should not be allowed the membership of
religious bodies like the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak
Committee or the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management
Committee. The media is powerful enough to play an
important role in generating awareness against the merger
of religion with corrupt politics", he added.
Manage water resources: PM
NEW DELHI, May 22 The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today warned that India would turn out to be the abode of the worlds largest number of water-deprived people in the next 25 years if the countrys water resources are not managed judiciously.
Inaugurating a two-day national seminar on Rainwater harvesting here, he said lack of clean and adequate water for people would mean ill-health, disease, drudgery and discomfort. It also denoted under-development of the economy and society. Acute, water shortages could also trigger social unrest, he added.
The Prime Minister said water would be the focal point of the world in the 21st century just as oil was in the 20th century. Already one billion people in the world (about one sixth of humanity) have inadequate access to clean drinking water. Unless governments and communities seriously tackle this problem, the number of people without access to sufficient quantity of water would rise to 2.5 billion in the next two-three decades, he said.
India with its massive population of one billion would be vulnerable for the feared water stress if the water resources are not managed well, he cautioned.
The Prime Minister cited tapping the annual precipitation as a major source of bridging the gap between water demand and availability. India gets about 4000 billion cubic metres of water through annual precipitation. Of this, only about 750 BCM is used. The Central Ground Water Board has assessed that 215 BCU of surplus monsoon runoff water could be stored in sub-surface aquifers through various artificial recharge methods.
The Prime Minister called for a nation-wide peoples movement to tackle drought in certain parts of the country.
calls for active participation of each and every citizen
in addition to the governments, Panchayati Raj
institutions, NGOs, business people and housing
cooperatives. No single institution is adequate to solve
the problem of drinking water," he said.
26 victims of travel
NEW DELHI, May 22 The arrest of 26 persons from Punjab and Chandigarh by the Immigration officials at Indira Gandhi International Airport indicate that the little has been learnt from the Malta boat tragedy and the youths from these places continue to fall victims of the unscrupulous travel agents.
The youths fell victims to "sweet talks" of the travel agents who promised to smuggle them to Europe after a "stop over" in Jordan. The travel agents showed little ingenuity in their modus operandi, which was almost similar to the boat tragedy which took place on Christmas in 1996. At least 300 persons lost their lives in the incident.
The youths were arrested on Sunday night on charges of keeping forged Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC), Foreign Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), Mr P.K. Bhardwaj said.
The agents have not yet been arrested, he said, adding that further investigation were being carried out. The help of the Chandigarh and Punjab police is also likely to be taken as the youths and agents reportedly belonged from there.
The youths were going to Aqaba Islands near Amman from where they had plan to sneak to various European countries. They got issued CDC from Panama though they had never been to there, Mr P.K. Bhardwaj said.
On a tip-off that youths from Punjab would go to Aqaba from IGI Airport on May 21 on fake travel documents, the immigration officials made a thorough check.
During the clearance of Royal Jordan Flights, officials spotted 19 passengers from Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana departing to Larcana without any check-in baggage. Since they were holding genuine Indian passports and tourist visas from Larcana, they were allowed to obtain boarding passes and get clearance from Immigration and Customs.
They were again checked in the transit area. They were pretending as tourists but their profile was contrary to that, Mr P.K. Bhardwaj said.
The youths admitted that they were actually going to Aqaba Islands from where they had to sneak various European countries. They admitted this following the seizure of tickets from Amman to Aqaba and CDC issued from Panama stitched with inner lining of their pants, the FRRO said.
They further admitted that they had first time boarded the ship and they did not know how to swim.
They said they had never been to Panama from where the CDC were purportedly obtained allegedly through agents.
Each youth had paid Rs 3 lakh to agents, Rakesh, hailed from Chandigarh and Ravinder Singh Gill from Prashant Vihar in Delhi. They managed the youths journey and had given the contact number of their man, Girish Kala, in Amman to whom they had to contact in case of emergency.
The local police, whom
the arrested passengers were handed over, will
investigate the "role of travel agents and the Royal
Jordan Airlines in particular in the light of issuance of
two set of tickets, one from Delhi-Amman-Larcana and
other Amman to Aqaba simultaneously", Mr Bhardwaj
President to visit China from May
NEW DELHI, May 22 President K.R. Narayanan will pay a seven-day visit to China from May 28.
During Mr Narayanans stay in the Chinese capital, an eminent persons group from the countries will be set up to advise the two governments on providing new depth to relations between the two ancient civilisations, official sources said.
Prime Minister Atal
Behari Vajpayee called on President K.R. Narayanan at
Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening. During the hour-long
meeting they discussed the Budget Session of Parliament,
which concluded on May 17.
BJP can stoop to any level: Sonia
MALEGAON (Maharashtra), May 22 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre for its failure to fulfil the aspirations of the poor, farmers, adivasis and the down-trodden.
"The Central Government was indulging in creating differences among various sections of the society and was not interested in solving the problems of farmers, adivasis, minorities and other weaker sections, Ms Gandhi said while addressing a rally at the Idgah grounds in this powerloom-town, situated nearly 100 km from Nashik city.
Addressing the third rally in Maharashtra within a span of one month after addressing meetings at Nagpur and Karad, the Congress chief said the coming together of various parties under the umbrella of NDA was a "farce" as they were more concerned with the fruits of power. "What is the use of such a government...BJP can stoop to any level for power. The people will teach them a lesson for their misdeeds, she said.
Ms Gandhi, who came out of the security cordon to meet the tribals and villagers, said those who pay more attention to the grievances of the lowest strata of society earn more respect. "The government which cares for minorities, Dalits and adivasis, helps to create an ideal and civilised society, she said and added that the BJP had failed on these fronts.
WB violence: Centre urged to intervene
CALCUTTA, May 22 (PTI, UNI) The Trinamool Congress today demanded central intervention as Mamata Banerjee rushed to the trouble-torn area in Midnapore district of West Bengal.
Trinamool Congress Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay said here that Union Home Minister L.K. Advani should summon state Home Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee to Delhi to take stock of the situation and take steps to stop the continuing violence.
The Trinamool Congress leader admitted that law and order was the state subject, but said the Centre should intervene when "things cross all limits."
He accused the state Home Minister and CPM Politburo members Biman Bose and Anil Biswas of "instigating violence in the area," and alleged that the CPM activits were killing his party men with the polices help.
Meanwhile, State Youth Congress President Presh Pal today threatened to call a statewide bandh on Friday if the Left Front government failed to stop the violence in Keshpur.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu today directed the police to take all steps to ensure peaceful byelection to the Panskura Lok Sabha seat.
Mr Basu, who presided over a high-level meeting to review the situation in Keshpur in Midnapore district, where 12 persons were killed since Saturday night, said the police had been directed to control the situation.
The Panskura byelection will be held on June 5. The seat fell vacant following the death of CPI leader Geeta Mukherjee.
Mr Basu blamed the Trinamool Congress for the violence and said though the political parties had assured the government of maintaining peace some of them had not kept their word.
Vajpayee selected to head dream Cabinet
NEW DELHI, May 22 (UNI) The Indian Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has been selected to head Asias dream Cabinet comprising most powerful people selected through a survey.
The survey conducted by Asiaweek of Hong Kong to select Asias 50 most powerful people has Mr Vajpayee emerging as number nine.
Other Indians on the prestigious list are technocrats Azim Premji of Wipro and Narayanmurthy of Infosys besides industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani.
In the dream Cabinet, Mr Vajpayees deputy is Chinas premier of the State Council Zhu Rongji who is also to hold the Finance portfolio.
In the survey, Mr Vajpayees adroitness in diplomatic humbling of Pakistan has stood out as his power point. Quoting American President Bill Clinton that he was drawing the curtain on his countrys special relationship with cold war ally Pakistan and tilting towards democratic India, it said the geopolitical swing came on the heels of the successful neutralising of a Pakistan backed invasion of disputed Kashmir. Equally significant was the taming of hardliners in his coalition government and the routing of the Congress in a general election.
With all these achievements, the Indian Prime Minister seems more firmly established than ever a situation clouded only by his medical condition. He has only one kidney, and his health is thought to be not good, the article said.
On Mr Vajpayees abilities to lead the world, it said anyone who leads India could lead the world. Indeed of Asias two giants, it is now India rather than China that is bursting onto the world stage as the powerhouse to watch.
With Mr Vajpayee in the saddle, the nation has looked stronger and more resolute,the article eulogised.
Some of the other members of the dream Cabinet are Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohammad (Interior Minister), South Korean leader Kim Dae Jung (Foreign Minister) and business man Li Kasing to handle Trade and Industry and Idei Nobuyoki to look after Science and Technology. On the last two it said both will bring to the Cabinet an inestimable fountain of knowledge and experience about todays fast changing, high-tech business world.
Leading Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-Shing occupies the top place in the survey of powerful men. Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party, occupies the second place in the illustrious list.
Japanese industrialist Idei Nobuyuki who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Corporation is placed next on the list. Korean President Kim Dae Jung has been commended for steering South Korea out of its economic crisis while Kim Jongii, Secretary General of the Workers Party of Korea, has been feted for his diplomatic moves.
President of Taiwan Chen
Shiu-Bian and Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid are
next on the list. Mr Wahid has guided the South East
Asias most populous nation though its first year of
democracy laudably against all odds, it said.
HC to examine allotment norms
NEW DELHI, May 22 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today said that it would examine all guidelines on allotment of government accommodations and scrutinise cases where freedom fighters had been given such facilities.
"We will see the parameters of guidelines, whether they are uniform or the government picks up a freedom fighter and grants an accommodation, said a Division Bench of Chief Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice D.K. Jain.
The judges said some persons are said to be jailed where there were no jails. They are just certified as freedom fighters.
"A real freedom fighter will not accept such benefits. Freedom fighters fought for the ideology. If they are given accommodation, then they are like hired people, said the Chief Justice.
The court fixed July 14 for the next hearing.
On October 27 last year,
the court had directed the Ministry of Urban Development
to recover possession from all those who are not entitled
to allotments under the existing categories and whose
cases are not under appeal or under consideration by the
Girls outshine boys in ICSE exams
NEW DELHI, May 22 (UNI) Girls have fared better than boys in the all-India result for ISC and ICSE exams for classes XII and X, conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) for 2000.
According to results announced by the council today, while 95.62 per cent girls were declared successful in the exams for ISC-XII, the success percentage for boys was 91.82, a press note said.
Similar was the story in the ICSE-X exams where the girls scored 95.07 per cent success and the boys 93.36 per cent.
A total of 25,040 candidates appeared in the ISE-XII exam, including 10,437 girls. As many as 13,408 boys and 9,980 girls passed.
In the ICSE-X exam of the total, 64,783 candidates who appeared 27,639 were girls. Of these, 34,679 boys and 26,277 girls were successful.
N. Rlys gift for freedom fighters
NEW DELHI, May 22 (UNI) "A millennium gift for freedom fighters with love from the Northern Railway.
The Railways are issuing one cheque pass to each freedom fighters who are entitled to card passes along with one companion for to and fro journey to any destination in India.
The cheque pass will be valid for travel by second class AC of Rajdhani train or chair car of Shatabdi train and an entry will also be made in the pensioners half of pension payment order, while issuing cheque passes to the freedom fighters, Manish Tiwari, PRO, said today.
killed in road accident
12 hurt in bomb
chilly powder into boss eyes
625 litres of
acetic anhydride seized
States asked to
train judiciary in legal aid
Cong MLA for
48-hr bandh in
head Fulbright programme
Ultras kidnap 7
bandh hits life
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