|Tuesday, July 25, 2000,
air safety steps: Oppn
Do not ‘derail’
a fair probe
beauty in captivity
proposal for Anandgarh
gets Law, Shourie given Disinvestment
meeting at Pretoria
ruling on creation of lease
for yatra may close
body for interim relief to riot victims
gas victims: NGOs move SC
Parishad to boycott Ganga yatra
monsoon grips W. Rajasthan
Sabha pays homage to Pilot
phoney affair, this
notice on school admissions
out air safety steps: Oppn
NEW DELHI, July 24 — The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha today sought a clarification from the government on the steps it planned to take to ensure the safety of air travellers.
The Leader of the Opposition, Dr Manmohan Singh, after initiating the discussion on the clarification by the Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav, in the House on the recent Alliance Air plane crash, requested the Chair to ask the government to clarify its stand on the safety aspects it planned for the air travellers.
Dr Manmohan Singh said the government must take the House into confidence and disclose its plan of action on the safety aspects of the Alliance Airlines passengers before the court of inquiry report was announced.
He also asked the government to expedite its decision on acquiring new aircraft for the domestic airliners as it involved the saftey of air travellers.
Participating in the discussion, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) said there appeared to be some snag in the Alliance Air aircraft, which crashed, as the same plane was delayed for more than an hour in Calcutta a day before it crashed. Besides, the ill-fated plane experienced strong jerks at the time of landing as complained by a passenger, and an FIR was lodged on that basis.
He was also critical of the performance of the fire tenders stationed at Patna airport. The early arrival of the fire tenders could have saved a number of innocent lives as most of the passengers died of burns, he pointed out.
Ms Jayanti Natarajan (TMC) requested the Chair to ask the government for an assurance for the immediate grounding of all Alliance Air aircraft which were 20-year-old.
However, Mr Rajiv Shukla (ABLTC) said members knew that all Alliance Air aircraft could not be grounded overnight nor was it possible to replace these. "But we have to find out whether such 20-year-old planes were being used in any part of the world."
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav, announced the constitution of a court of inquiry, headed by a sitting judge of the Patna High Court, to investigate the reasons for the crash of Alliance Air Boeing 737 near Patna airport on July 17.
In a statement in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court had been requested to nominate a judge to conduct the inquiry under Aircraft Rules of 1937.
He said the Regional Controller of Air Safety, Calcutta, had already begun investigations.
Mr Yadav said Rs 7.5 lakh would be given to next of kin of each of the deceased passenger of more than 12 years of age and Rs 3.75 lakh of less than 12. Similarly, Rs 1.5 lakh would be provided to each of the injured passengers. Similar amounts would also be given for these who were killed or injured on the ground.
Mr Yadav said the commander of the aircraft, Capt Sohanpal was an experienced pilot having a total flying experience of 4361 hours.
The ill-fated aircraft was manufactured in June, 1980. The action for the maintenance of the aircraft was being undertaken in a time-bound manner as per the schedule, which included the 20 year ageing modification and repairs of the aircraft, which were completed in January, 2000. There was no reported snag in the aircraft when it left Calcutta.
The black boxes of the ill-fated
aircraft have been recovered. Air Traffic Control (ATC) tapes, log
books of the ATC units and safety services and aircraft maintenance
records had also been collected.
not ‘derail’ a fair probe
NEW DELHI, July 24 — The Samata Party President, Mrs Jaya Jaitley, today criticised the Union Ministers, Mr S.S. Dhindsa and Mr Dhananjaya Kumar, for their remarks on the income tax raids on cricketers’ premises across the country saying "their statements could derail a fair investigation".
"I humbly request certain ministers of the government not to talk in a manner which will derail a fair investigation," Mrs Jaitly told reporters here.
The statement of the Sports Minister, Mr S.S. Dhindsa, that "minor" cricketer was worth Rs 10 crore and a senior cricketer was worth Rs 100 crore was "uncalled for", she said. In the same breath she criticised the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Dhananjaya Kumar.
"Within 24 hours from the countrywide raids by the income tax officials, Mr Dhananjaya Kumar holds a press conference in Bangalore and says that he has clinching evidence of nexus between cricketers and bookies," she said and asked "whether such remarks will not affect a fair probe."
"How can a minister claim to have a clinching evidence when the Income Tax Department says that it will take at least two months to ascertain the facts," she said.
The Samata Party President faced a barrage of questions as she started defending cricketer Ajay Jadeja and her daughter Aditi, who is a close friend of the former and also looks after his company Ajay Jadeja Consultants Private Limited.
Mrs Jaitly said just because IT personnel had come to her home presuming it was Jadeja’s and taxmen were "spreading lies", she wanted to clarify and put the records straight.
Criticising the IT officials for
spreading "misinformation" about the searches through the
Press, she demanded that the government should make it mandatory for
the IT sleuths to have video and audio recorders of their raids.
Bachchan agreed to play host
MONEY was not what clinched the deal. Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan says he agreed to play TV show host because "the concept was exciting, different" and made use of a "powerful" medium which could resurrect him in the minds of millions.
"Money was never the criterion. The concept seemed exciting, different and extremely well-organised. That’s why I agreed to do it," he says about his new avatar as host of STAR TV’s "Kaun Banega Crorepati" show, well aware of allegations that remuneration worth millions, which would help rescue his loss-making company ABCL, was the only reason for his agreeing to take to the small screen.
Off camera, sitting in a dark corner bordering the glitzy KBC sets in Mumbai’s Film City studio, the 58-year-old actor’s piercing eyes seem to rove for any last-minute glitches even as he speaks in his baritone voice.
"Yes, I was hesitant. Not because I was afraid that it would erode my superstar image — which in the first place is an epithet coined by the media and which I have never believed in — but because this is a completely new experience for me. Television does have its roots in cinema. But it is a much tougher and a very powerful medium. There is no script, it’s practically live. And you have to be spontaneous," he says in an interview.
While there are rumours galore on how much he is being paid — anything above Rs 70 million being the "guesstimate" — KBC insiders say initially Bachchan did not encourage the idea at all. It took months of persuasion, a trip to London for a peek at the original British version of the show, ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,’ and the idea of resurrecting himself in the minds of millions of Indians because of television’s huge reach that made Bachchan give the nod.
Few would choose at his age to break into the realm of teenybopper veejays and host a game show, putting at stake the image of a reclusive, serious superstar groomed by years of hard work on the silver screen. Being on air for four days a week, one hour every day, for 130 episodes after all could cause viewer fatigue to settle in quick.
"But I am told the programme received 10 million calls on a single day," counters Bachchan with a smile. Bachchan himself is hardly a TV freak — music promos are what he usually watches — and "would rather spend his time surfing the net." And yet, this is the very man who is now being credited with singlehandedly creating highpitched nationwide frenzy around a TV show.
"I don’t know at all at this point of time if I will do more TV shows in future. Right now, I am too involved in this (KBC)." The star of such Hindi blockbusters as ‘Anand,’ ‘Zanjeer’ and ‘Sholay’ and the first Bollywood star to have a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s, who still has five-six films on hand, devotes six-seven days in a month to the show.
But his great degree of personal involvement shows when Bachchan reveals that he always feels a tinge of regret when a KBC contestant loses. "I always feel bad when a contestant gives the wrong answer because of a silly error and loses," he says.
"This is not a show about greed, but a perfectly legitimate opportunity for people from any walk of life to make Rs 1 crore (or Rs 10 million) and become a star. The questions are simple initially and get progressively tougher. But then if you want to be a crorepati (man who owns Rs 10 million), you have got to go through that slight hassle!"
His personal touch bobs up every now and then, not to say the least, in his much admired costumes. The impeccably turned out man "likes to dress in blues and greys" for the show and loves to select his own ties, says Anshu Arora, who styles Bachchan’s clothes for the show.
Bachchan’s involvement spills out even in his familiarity with technical details. "We’ve had to struggle a bit more than any other country because we run it in Hindi and the computer system is designed in English. So we’ve had some very innovative computerisation to have a double font on my screen."
"After I agreed to do the show, I was with the idea and concept for three-four months. Then we went to London to see the original (Who Wants...)." Before the first episode was shot Bachchan rehearsed for "12 days, come rain, come shine."
And 20 odd episodes into the shooting of the show, Bachchan has begun to shed his inhibitions. "He has become more innovative than ever. In fact, he can be quite funny," says Sameer Nair, senior Vice-President, programming, STAR TV, whose idea it was to rope in Bachchan and who is all praise about the man’s punctuality and professionalism.
His sense of humour surfaces as Bachchan steals a moment from the shoot to remark: "Do you know why I wear loose trousers? Because that’s the only way I can hide my legs that are shaking with fright during the shoot!"
Not a muscle twitches on the face of this star performer while a contestant struggles with a question even if Bachchan does happen to know the answer — "which is not very often because my general knowledge is quite poor."
When told that the sometimes repetitive questions — "should I lock the answer," "are you sure" run the risk making the show monotonous, he is quick to reply: "There are certain norms that you have to follow. You must give the contestant enough time to rethink."
Even after the arclights dim, he is not quite done. Quietly Bachchan walks up to the contestant who now stands in the shadows wiping his eyes after throwing away millions with a wrong answer. For a split second, losing his studied movements, Bachchan clutches the contestant’s hand in empathetic silence.
More than 33 million Indians — the
reported number of people who have no satellite and cable TV in the
country — miss this. But then, he will be with them tomorrow,
proving his on-screen mettle again. —India Abroad News Service
India in Parliament
NEW DELHI, July 24 — The Minister of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Jagmohan, today told the Rajya Sabha that the government has suggested to the Punjab Government to constitute an independent expert committee to study the planning, environment, financial and other implications of the Anandgarh project.
Replying to a question raised by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Sukhdev Libra about whether the Centre had asked the Punjab Government to reconsider the Anandgarh Project, the Minister said that a seven-member committee had been suggested to the Punjab Chief Minister to look into the project. He also said that HUDCO had not received any proposal for loan or assistance in respect of the Anandgarh Project.
Kashmir DD channel: The Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr Arun Jaitley informed Mr Nana Deshmukh that security arrangements around Prasar Bharati installations in Jammu and Kashmir were being reviewed periodically. The employees of Doordarshan in the valley are entitled to a special package of financial and administrative incentives in addition to the normal benefits being given to Central Government employees, he added.
Drilling in Himachal Pradesh: Exploration of hydrocarbons - crude oil and natural gas -is being carried out by the ONGC in Himachal Pradesh since 1956. Replying to a question, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr E Ponnuswamy informed that based on the surveys, ten exploratory wells and five structural wells had been drilled. The exploratory effort so far have not yielded any commercial discovery of hydrocarbons.
During the past three years, ONGC has acquired 118 ground line km GLK of 2D seismic data. Also ONGC has plans to acquire 332 GLK of 2D seismic data and drilling of two exploratory wells in the state during the next two years. Additional, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has a proposal to carry out aeromagnetic surveys of about 2800 line kilometres in the Himalayan foothill regions, covering parts of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the near future.
Tribals in HP: Replying to a question
on whether the Himachal Pradesh government has demanded uplift of the
standard of living of persons living in far flung areas of the state,
the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Mr Jual Oram said that the Centre has
not received any specific proposal from the state government.
Striped beauty in captivity
MUMBAI: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are launching an anti-zoo message across India after the tragic deaths of 13 Bengal tigers at the Nandankanan Zoo in Bhubaneswar. The ad features actress Shery1 Lee (of Twin Peaks, LA Doctors, and John Carpenter’s Vampires), who was painted for eight hours by five women to resemble a tiger in captivity. In the ad, Lee is wearing nothing but paint and is stretched out in a cage above the message: "Even the Most Exotic Animals Don’t Belong Behind Bars."
The key to saving exotic animals lies in saving their habitat, not removing them from it only to place them in an unnatural environment. Captivity drives many animals insane, causing them to bar-bite, self-mutilate, pace and overgroom themselves. This behaviour, referred to as zoochosis, is unheard of among animals in the wild but all too common among zoo inmates. In their real homes, these animals would be free to walk and run, choose lifetime companions and raise families.
"Zoo’s are nothing more than animal prisons maintained for human amusement", says PETA India’s campaign coordinator Jason Baker. "If you love tigers, let them live with their families in the wild where they belong."
Despite their professional concern for animals, zoos remain mere "collections" of interesting "items" than actual havens of simulated habitats. Zoos teach people that it is acceptable to keep animals in captivity — bored, cramped, lonely and far from their natural homes.
Says Virginia McKenna, star of the classic movie Born Free and now an active campaigner on behalf of captive animals: "It is the sadness of zoos which haunts me. The purposeless existence of the animals. For the four hours we spend in a zoo, the animals spend four years, or 14 years, perhaps even longer — if not in the same zoo then in others — day and night; summer and winter ... This is not conservation, and surely it is not education. No, it is ‘entertainment’. Not comedy, however, but tragedy".
Zoos claim to educate people and preserve species, but they frequently fall short on both counts. Most zoo enclosures are quite small, and labels provide little more information than the species’ name, diet and natural range. The animals’ normal behaviour is seldom discussed, much less observed, because their natural needs are seldom met. Birds’ wings may be clipped to prevent them from flying; aquatic animals often have little water; and the many animals who would naturally live in large herds or family groups are often left alone or, at most, are kept in pairs. Natural hunting and mating behaviours are virtually eliminated by regulated feeding and breeding regimens. The animals are closely confined, lack privacy and have little opportunity for mental stimulation or physical exercise, resulting in abnormal and self-destructive behaviour.
A worldwide study of zoos conducted by The Born Free Foundation revealed that zoochosis is rampant in confined animals around the globe. Another study found that elephants spend 22 per cent of their time engaging in abnormal behaviours, such as repeated head-bobbing or biting cage bars; and bears spend about 30 per cent of their time pacing, a sign of distress.
One sanctuary that is home to rescued zoo animals reports seeing frequent signs of zoochosis in animals brought to the sanctuary from zoos. Of chimpanzees, who bite their own limbs from captivity-induced stress, the manager says: "Their hands were unrecognisable from all the scar tissue".
gets Law, Shourie given Disinvestment
NEW DELHI, July 24 — The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mr Arun Jaitley, today shed the Ministry of Disinvestment in favour of Mr Arun Shourie and took additional charge of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs in place of Mr Ram Jethmalani.
Mr Shourie, who is Minister of State in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, has been promoted as Minister of State with independent charge in the Disinvestment Department. He would, however, continue to assist the Prime Minister in the departments held earlier.
Mr Jaitley would hold
independent charge of the new portfolio and Mr O. Rajgopal, who was
assisting Mr Jethmalani as Minister of State for Law, Justice and
Company Affairs would now concentrate solely in the Ministry of
meeting at Pretoria
NEW DELHI, July 24 — Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh left on Saturday for Pretoria to attend the first senior officers meeting of the Commonwealth 10 countries High-Level Group set up at Durban last year to decide about the direction and priorities of the organisation in the 21st century.
The current situation in Fiji is likely to figure at the meeting.
The High-Level Group, which began its three-day deliberations today, will have substantive discussions on the political, economic and developmental role of the Commonwealth. The meeting was inaugurated by the South Africa President, Mr Thabo Mbeki.
ruling on creation of lease
NEW DELHI, July 24 — The Supreme Court in a significant judgement relating to creation of a lease of immovable property has ruled that a transfer of a right to enjoy a property in consideration of a price paid or promised to be rendered periodically or on specified occasions is the basic fabric of a valid lease.
A three-Judge bench comprising Mr Justice K.T. Thomas, Mr Justice D.P. Mohapatra and Mr Justice R.C. Lahoti settling a long standing litigation about recognising a non-registered instrument as creating a lease between landlord and tenant said, "A transfer can be made expressly or by implication. Once there is such transfer of right to enjoy the property, a lease stand created."
Delivering the judgement, Mr Justice Thomas stated that this legal position was crystal clear from the contents of Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act which contained the different modes of creating leases. Besides, providing for creating leases through compulsorily registered documents, the section also provided for creating leases without any instruments.
Thus, dehorss the instrument parties can create a lease as envisaged in the second paragraph of Section 107 which stated that "all other leases of immovable property may be made either by a registered instrument or by oral agreement accompained by delivery of possession", the Judge pointed out.
Delineating the law, Mr Justice Thomas explained, "When lease is a transfer of right to enjoy the property and such transfer can be made expressly or by implication, the mere fact that an unregistered instrument came into existence would not stand in the way of the court to determine whether there was in fact a lease otherwise than through such deed."
Setting aside a Kerala High Court judgement which held that a written lease for a period of five years between landlord and tenant was not acceptable for want of registration, the Supreme Court judges held that what mattered was the actual transfer of property for enjoyment and agreed month to month payment to the landlord by the tenant.
Nothing that compulsory registration
of a lease for a period of more than one year was mandatory in law,
the judges referring to earlier Supreme Court judgements pointed out
that after that period a tenant would not be adversely affected for
want of registration of a second lease deed.
for yatra may close
NEW DELHI, July 24 — Faced with unprecedented pilgrims’ rush to the Amarnath shrine in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the central government is planning to close the registration for the holy yatra in the next couple of days.
"We are planning to stop the registration in the next two days as we are finding it difficult to regulate yatris in the Amarnath cave as there is unprecedented rush of pilgrims this time," Special Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, Mr T.R. Kakkar, told reporters here today.
Appealing to the pilgrims to strictly follow the instructions given by the government and not to reach the camps in Jammu and Srinagar before the given date, Mr Kakkar said as against an estimated 35,000 pilgrims, nearly 87,000 yatris have already visited the cave shrine in just 10 days beginning July 13.
Stating that the heavy rush has not only put pressure on the arrangements made by the government en route and in camps, it also posed danger for the lives of the pilgrims.
"Any stampede or slip will result in loss to precious lives," he said, adding that already this year one person died after he slipped and fell into a 3,500 metre gorge.
Stating that the government does not want to discourage anyone from visiting the shrine, Mr Kakkar, who had accompanied the Home Secretary, Mr Kamal Pande, to inspect the arrangements of the yatra, said there were heavy rains at higher altitudes from Pahalgam and Baltal, the two routes leading to Amarnath, and already some locals have died due to landslides.
Because of the high altitude and the narrow mountain track, not more than 3,200 pilgrims can be allowed on the track on any given day as recommended by Dr Nitish Sengupta committee. However, in order to clear the rush, of the 11,000 pilgrims gathered, 8000 were allowed to proceed today, the Special Secretary said.
As against the visit of 1,10,345 pilgrims last year, the government expects 2,20,000 pilgrims this year to the cave shrine, he said.
Attributing the large turnout of pilgrims this year to the secure environment in Amarnath and the places en route, Mr Kakkar said in all 40 companies of the Army, BSF, CRPF and local police personnel have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
body for interim relief to riot victims
NEW DELHI, July 24 — A Sikh body today urged the Justice G.T. Nanawati Commission, set up by the NDA government to probe the 1984-riots afresh, to award an interim compensation to the victims till a final report is submitted by the panel.
The forum, the November 1984 Carnage Justice Committee convener and Delhi Akali Dal president Avtar Singh Hit in an application filed before the commission said the family of each victim should be paid an interim compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh, the amount recommended in some cases by the Delhi High Court and some other high courts.
"For the purpose of the recommendation, the commission may issue notices to the states of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa," the application filed through advocate M.S. Oberoi said.
The committee also urged the commission to issue notices to insurance companies on the claims by the victims whose properties were burnt by hooligans as they had rejected the claims on the ground that destruction of property in riots was not covered under the policies purchased by the owners.
While seeking refund of one per cent interest charged till March 1992 by various banks on loan advanced to the victims, the committee also sought benefits payable to sick industries to those whose factories were completely destroyed.
Since one of the term of reference of
the commission was to recommend measures that may be adopted to meet
justice, the committee said it would not be possible unless the
victims of the ghastly carnage got adequate compensation.
gas victims: NGOs move SC
BHOPAL, July 24 — Two voluntary organisations working for Bhopal’s gas-affected people have moved the Supreme Court with a prayer to quash the notification dated February 5, 2000, issued by the Welfare Commissioner (Bhopal Gas Victims) on the grounds that the impugned notification denies the victims the right to pursue their claims for compensation and violates the spirit and object of the Bhopal Gas Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985.
The Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan and the Bhopal Group for Information and Action have pointed out, in their petition before the apex court, that the February 5 notification enjoins upon the claims courts the right to reject the claims if the case has already been dismissed or rejected in the absence of claimant. The notification, though, empowers the Tribunal to reopen the case if the claimant appears within 30 days from the date of the said order or within 30 days from March 1 if the case was dismissed or rejected earlier.
On the whole, the petition says the notification is arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India as it effectively denies the right of the claimant to pursue his or her claim and results in grave miscarriage of justice.
Even 15 years after the making of the scheme (of compensation under the Act of 1985), many claims are yet to be decided. There are as of today more than two lakh claims’ applications of the victims pending before claims courts appointed under the Act. From the victims point of view, the "registration, adjudication and settlement of claims are highly unsatisfactory and (it) has led to discontent among the victims".
The petitioners have documented several instances where the claim files of the victims have been misplaced or lost and have not been traceable. (The petitioners have annexed to the petition 57 cases of "missing records" in a tabulated form).
Many of the victims, the petition says, have not even received notice or intimation till date and have no means of knowing the exact status of their claim applications. If the victims have changed their residential address and intimated it to the office of the Commissioner, there is no acknowledgement. Very often the victims come to the court of the Deputy Commissioner end wait for days on and without knowing whether their claims would be taken up or not.
The petitioners point out on the basis of their own inquiries that the file of the victim is closed with the noting that ‘the notice sent to the victim has been returned unserved’ even while the victim is not even aware of such notice. The petitioners have reasons to believe that 30,000 to 35,000 claims have been rejected in this manner.
The petition also refers to the problem of missing folders of the cases of the claimants. The primary responsibility of maintaining the files of the victims is of the office of the Welfare Commissioner which registers and processes the claims. The files contain all supporting documents submitted by the claimants. These documents, if misplaced, cannot be reconstructed now 15 years after the disaster. "However, the state of preservation of these records in the office of the Welfare Commissioner is pathetic and the victims have no say in the matter as they have no access to their own records". The exact number of the folders said to be missing is unknown.
Many of the victims have received interim relief but have not received the final award for any of the above reasons. This is an anomaly which has resulted in miscarriage of justice and the victims have been deprived of compensation. The copies of the order sheets (in the claims courts) are not made available to the victims who, thus, remain unaware of the status of their case.
The February 5 notification dashes whatever hope the victims had of pursuing their claims cases and, therefore, adds to the miscarriage of justice, the petitioners argue.
Parishad to boycott Ganga yatra
HARDWAR, July 24 — The Ganga sant yatra sponsored by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) seems to have run under rough weather. The yatra is scheduled to start on July 26 from Hardwar to Delhi. It will pass through Roorkee, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Modinagar and end at Delhi. The VHP had decided to undertake the yatra as a protest against the construction of Tehri dam on the Ganga river.
Initially, the VHP was able to enlist the cooperation of the Sadhu Samaj and the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad. But now, the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad and the Sadhu Samaj has decided to boycott the proposed sant yatra.
A spokesman of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad told TNS on telephone today that the Akhara Parishad and other sadhu organisations had decided not to participate in the yatra. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Akhara Parishad and the Sant Samaj held at Mayapuri Temple Complex two days back. All the 11 akharas of sadhus who are the members of the parishad and other sadhu organisations participated in the meeting which was presided over by the president of the parishad.
The sadhus had decided to boycott the yatra in protest against the stand of the Uttar Pradesh Government on the dharmada Bill. Although, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Ram Prakash Gupta, visited Hardwar last week to assuage the ruffled feelings of the Sant Samaj on the issue yet the decision to boycott the yatra was taken four days after the visit of the Chief Minister. Mr Gupta is reported to have assured the sadhus that the Uttar Pradesh Government would not go ahead with the dharmada Bill. But the Sadhu Samaj did not listen to the appeal made by the Chief Minister.
The VHP on the other hand is bent
upon starting the sant yatra from Hari ki Pauri on July 26. The VHP
President, Mr Ashok Singhal, and other VHP office-bearers had been
making frequent trips to Hardwar to pacify the members of the Akhara
Parishad and Sant Samaj.
monsoon grips W. Rajasthan
NEW DELHI, July 24 — Monsoon has been vigorous in West Rajasthan and active in Punjab.
Rainfall: Rain or thundershowers have occurred at most places in West Rajasthan, at many places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, at a few places in the hills of west Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in the rest of the region. The chief amounts of rainfall in cm. are:
Haryana: Ayanagar (Delhi) and New Delhi (Palam) 1 each.
Himachal Pradesh: Kataula 8, Pandoh 7, Nadaun 5, Nalagarh and Sundernagar 4 each, Dehragopipur 2 and Amb and Sujanpur Tira 1 each.
Punjab: Fazilka 10, Amritsar and Gurdaspur 5 each, and Batala and Garhshankar 1 each.
Rajasthan: Lunkarnsar 23, Ghursana 8, Sardar Shahar and Vijay Nagar 7 each, Anupgarh and Chatangarh 5 each, Karanpur 4, Kolayat, Palampur, Raisinghnagar and Sriganganagar 2 each and Suratgarh 1.
Forecast valid until the morning of 26th: Rain or thundershowers will occur at many places in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, North Rajasthan, East Uttar Pradesh and the hills of West Uttar Pradesh, at a few places in Haryana and the plains of West Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in South Rajasthan.
Heavy rainfall warning: Heavy rain is likely at a few places with isolated very heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and the hills of West Uttar Pradesh during the next 24 hours. Heavy rain is also likely at isolated places in Jammu and Kashmir, north-west Rajasthan and East Uttar Pradesh during the same period.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of 26th: Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain/thundershowers.
Farmers weather bulletin for Delhi forecast valid until the morning of 26th: Light to moderate rain will occur at many places.
Lok Sabha pays homage to Pilot
NEW DELHI, July 24 (UNI) — The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day today after making obituary references to Syrian President Hafes-al Assad, sitting member Rajesh Pilot and former members Akbar Jahan Abdulla, Laisram Jogeswar Singh and Dalbir Singh.
Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi spoke fervently of his association with Pilot and remembered the constructive approaches of the late Congress member on different issues inside and outside Parliament.
The Speaker described President Assad as a "towering figure in the Arab world" and conveyed the House’s sentiments of grief to the government and people of Syria.
The chair also paid handsome tribute to Ms Abdulla, who represented Srinagar and Anantnag constituencies during her two terms in the Lok Sabha.
Home Minister L.K. Advani, who was called by the Speaker first, described the death of Pilot as the "fall of a strong pillar of Parliament."
Opposition leader Sonia Gandhi was particularly sentimental about the death of Pilot. She said she fully associated herself with the sentiments of the House in expressing the sense of bereavement.
Others who made
obituary references were: Mr Somnath Chatterjee (CPM), Mr K. Yerran
Naidu (TDP), Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Mr Chandra Shekhar (SJP), Ms
Mayavati (BSP), Mr R. Pandian (AIADMK), Mr Sharad Pawar (Nationalist
No phoney affair, this
BIHARSHARIF, July 24 (UNI) — Lovers spending hours chatting away on telephone may sound commonplace but marriage rites performed through a long distance call does have a touch of novelty.
Taslim Anwar (19), a local girl, gave her consent to marry Jaki Imam (21), who is working as a mechanic in Saudi Arabia, over the telephone.
The marriage was solemnised in the presence of Quazi Gulam Haider at a hotel in the town on Saturday. The ceremony that had to be kept brief considering the hefty International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) charges, concluded after the Quazi got a positive reply from both confirming that they were willing to be united in matrimony.
HC notice on school admissions
NEW DELHI, July 24 (PTI) — The Delhi High Court today asked the Director of Education of the Delhi Government to appear before it to explain reasons for framing stringent rules on admission of a child in school, especially regarding declaration of the date of birth.
While issuing notices to the Union Ministries of Human Resource Development and Home and the Delhi Government, a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Arun Kumar and Mr Justice A. K. Sikri asked the Education Director to be present in the court on August 8 during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging these rules.
Notices were also issued to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) which were running hundreds of schools in the capital.
Samant murder: 3 convicted
MUMBAI, July 24 (PTI) — Three
members of the Chhota Rajan gang were today convicted by a local court
here for killing trade union leader Datta Samant in 1997 while six
other accused were acquitted as the prosecution failed to prove their
role in the murder. Arun Anandrao Londe, Vijay Ramchandra Thopte and
Ganpat Bikhaji Bamne alias Bhau, were convicted under various IPC
for e-mailing obscene messages
NEW DELHI, July 24 — The Delhi police has arrested an engineer who e-mailed obscene messages to relatives of his separated wife.
The accused, Himanshi Shekhar Mishra, was arrested today from his residence at Mithila Apartments in East Delhi.
NEW DELHI, July 24 — A website on
travel and tourism, chhutti.com, has been launched. The site gives
extensive information about tourist destinations, places of historical
significance, natural beauty, travel guides, reservation facility,
travel agents and tour operators a company press note said today.
Pillai new CPI
(M) leader in RS
extortion racket busted
worth Rs 2 lakh seized
8 die as
2 killed in
camp at Cellular Jail
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