|Saturday, August 5, 2000,
sanctioned for HP
DVB for 6.55 crore
branded ‘dacoit queen’
blames Centre for pending cases
probe sought into alleged land scam
seeks 500 cr Central relief for
condemns J&K massacres
ruling on detainees’ rights
in Punjab, HP areas
directive on Yamuna waters
notice to Bihar
India in Parliament
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — Rakhigarh in Hisar district of Haryana was probably a major urban centre at the eastern edge of the Harrapan empire and, could in that sense, be considered a provincial capital, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Ananth Kumar, told the Lok Sabha today.
Replying to a question by Mr Ramanaidu Daggubati whether a excavation at Rakhigarh had uncovered the remains of what could be considered as "provincial capital" of Harrapan civilisation in Hisar district, he said three consecutive excavations conducted at the site since 1997-98 yielded evidence of public building and drainage in addition to the evidence of activities of specialised crafts and long distance trade in material which were not available locally.
A Harrapan cemetery had also been identified, he said. The site had also yielded evidence of pre-Harrapan settlements. He added that the findings unearthed so far needed careful analysis before further excavations could be considered.
Haryana tourism: Estimated tourist arrivals in Haryana, including foreign tourists for 1997, 1998 and 1999 were 2,58,979, 2,60,596 and 2,44,660 respectively, Mr Ananth Kumar told Mr Rattan Lal Kataria in the Lok Sabha today.
He said that no state-wise estimates were maintained of the foreign exchange earnings from tourism. Mr Ananth Kumar said during 1999-2000, Rs 238.33 lakh had been sanctioned as Central financial assistance and during 2000-2001, eight projects amounting to Rs 140.75 lakh had been identified for the development of tourism in Haryana.
KVs, JNVs in HP: To a question by Mr Kirpal Parmar on the opening of Kendriya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in Himachal Pradesh, the Minister of Human Resource Development, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, said the centre was planning to open a JNV in each district of the state, subject to the provision of about 30 acres of land free of cost and suitable temporary accommodation for initial establishment of JNV.
Out of the 12 districts in the state, the JNVs had been sanctioned for 11 districts. Sanction for a JNV in Kulu is pending for the want of suitable proposal as per norms, he said.
sues DVB for 6.55 crore
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — The owners of Uphaar Cinema have put the onus of the 1997 fire tragedy that killed 59 on the Delhi Vidyut Board and claimed a damage of Rs 6.55 crore from it in a suit filed before the Delhi High Court.
"It was not the Uphaar Cinema transformer, but the DVB’s Green Park transformer that caught fire and caused the tragedy. The gross negligence on the part of the DVB resulted in grave loss of human lives and the DVB alone is to be blamed", the suit filed by Ansal Theatres and Clubotels Limited (ATCL) said.
Holding the DVB responsible for the fire, ATCL in its suit said the fire originated from the DVB transformer on June 13, 1997, and spread further with the leaking and burning oil flowing from it in many directions.
The court had recently issued summons to the DVB for September 25 for settlement of the dispute raised in the suit.
The suit by Ansals comes five months after the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) sought compensation totalling Rs 122 crore for the relatives of the victims. The High Court has said it will go into the merits of the quantum of compensation.
Ansal Theatres have claimed Rs 1.55 crore on account of loss due to the continued closure of the theatre, Rs 3 crore for damage to property, Rs 1 crore for damage to reputation, defamation and mismanagement by the DVB and Rs 75 lakh for cost of litigation and Rs 25 lakh as interest.
"The DVB did not exercise even the bare minimum care and caution in installation, maintenance and upkeep of their transformer and their premises. It did not one, but several wrongs," the ATCL suit said.
"The gross negligence on DVB’s part resulted in the grave loss of human lives and they are liable for damages from the spread of fire which originated from its equipment and premises," the suit added.
Listing a series of inadequacies in the maintenance of the transformer, installed in the basement of the cinema-house building, ATCL alleged that on the fateful day, the DVB had resorted to load shedding from 3.55 pm to 4.55 pm and when the supply was restored, the transformer developed trouble.
The tripping, which took place at 5.05 pm in the transformer took several seconds while it should have normalised within a second, the suit said, adding that the transformer had a cable fault in the morning, which, however, was attended to by the DVB officials.
A said fault in the cable was probably caused due to overloading. As a result, it got separated from the transformer and fell on the cooling fin.
The "LT cable box" of the transformer, which provided a cover to the cables was missing and the cables were hanging open directly from the "bushbar".
"Had the LT cable box been in place, the defective cable would not have fallen on the cooling fin and saved it from melting and prevented leakage of the transformer oil," the ATCL plaint said.
It also pointed out that the "HT protection relay" which helps in disconnecting electricity supply in case of a spark, was also missing and there was no safeguard in its place to discontinue the supply.
Ansal Theatres also alleged that when power connection was sanctioned by the DVB in 1973, it had set up a pre-condition that the company would have to provide space for it to instal the transformer which would remain under the board control.
The company had to make an
alteration in its building plans sanctioned by the MCD to accommodate
the transformer, the suit said, adding "many authorities had
objected to the DVB installing the transformer."
branded ‘dacoit queen’
CALCUTTA, Aug 3 — The Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, has been branded as "dacoit queen of Bengal by the CPM state leadership in power, which has asked the police to take appropriate step against her as they do while dealing with the criminals and dacoits.
The party’s state unit secretary, Mr Anil Biswas, also a politburo member, announced in Calcutta that all Left parties would now jointly fight against the Trinamul Congress, criminal activities led by Ms Banerjee. On the other hand, the police has been asked to deal with her firmly, Mr Biman Basu, and another politburo leader said.
Reacting to CPM’s branding of Mamata Banerjee as "dacoit-queen" Mr Pankaj Banerjee, chairman, policy making body of the Trinamul Congress (TMC) said if Ms Banerjee was a "dacoit queen" then the CPM was a party of the criminals, by the criminals and for the criminals.
The Trinamul Congress will organise a massive rally at Chamkaitala village on the Midnapore-Hooghly districts border area on August 9, which, the CPM will oppose. But the Left parties themselves have decided to hold a public meeting in the same area on August 11.
State police chief, D.Sanyal admitted that after the TMC’s victory at Panskura Lok Sabha by elections and Calcutta Municipal poll, the inter-party clashes involving the CPM and TMC had increased in the districts and so far, over 50 persons were killed in Panskura-Goghat-Badarpur-Chamkaitala in Midnapore and Hooghly in the recent times.
He further admits both CPM and TMC are well equipped to smuggled firearms into the districts.
The DGP suggested that all political parties should immediately surrender their firearms and help the police restore peace in the villages.
The TMC and the BJP jointly demanded the imposition of President’s rule in the state immediately after the carnage at Nanur in Birbhum district recently in which 11 TMC supporters were killed allegedly by the CPM.
The Centre will also send an official team in West Bengal to study the law and order situation.
The state government sent an official report to the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, last week on the Nanur incident which was described as a clash between "jotedars" and sahre-croppers. The TMC unduly supported the "jotedars" against the poor landless labours which caused the killings at Nanur, the report said.
The report, however, did not convince the Home Minister, who ordered further probe into the incident by the central agencies.
The NDA will also send a separate team to assess West Bangal’s law and order situation and suggest appropriate steps.
Meanwhile, Mr Jyoti Basu has agreed to call an all-party meeting to resolve all disputes and political clashes in the districts. The meeting will be held when Mr Basu returns from New Delhi on Sunday.
CJI blames Centre for pending cases
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 (PTI) — Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand today squarely blamed the Centre and the state government for the huge pendency of cases in courts, saying vacancies of judges remain unfilled.
"It is the Centre and the state government who take their own sweet time for approval of appointment of judges and vacancies remain unfilled, resulting in huge pendency," Mr Justice Anand said at the foundation laying stone ceremony of the Central Administrative Tribunal complex building here.
Law Minister Arun Jaitley said
in his speech: "Hard decisions on the justice delivery system has
to be taken in consultation with the judiciary and the Bar to erase
the huge backlog of cases in the lower courts and the High
CBI probe sought into alleged land scam
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 (UNI) — Mr R.K. Anand, Rajya Sabha member and noted criminal lawyer, today sought a CBI inquiry into the denotification of about 40 acres of prime land in the city estimated to cost Rs 400 crore in September 1998 when Mr Ram Jethmalani was the Urban Affairs Minister.
The Scindia Potteries land was denotified at the request of Ms Vijaya Raje Scindia despite the fact that the government had incurred a legal expense of more than Rs 18 lakh in defending in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court the acquisition of the land for the planned development of Delhi, Mr Anand told reporters.
The notification for the acquisition of the land, just opposite the Bhikaji Cama Place in a posh South Delhi colony, was issued on September 15, 1962, which was challenged in court.
Ultimately, the government won the case in the Supreme Court in November 1996. However, the government released the land shortly after a year, in December 1997, at the request of Ms Scindia, Mr Anand said.
The question of Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act had been specifically raised in courts which was rejected both by the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court. But the Urban Development Ministry released the land exercising its powers under the same Section.
"This is a
fit case in which serious inquiry should be conducted by the CBI as to
why special benefit has been conferred on an individual who belongs to
a political party. This notification has caused considerable loss to
the government and undue benefit has been given to the owners of the
land,’’ Mr Anand said in a statement.
seeks 500 cr Central relief for
New Delhi, Aug 4 — BJP MP from Himachal Pradesh Kirpal Parmar today appealed to the Centre to give Rs 500 crore as immediate ex gratia relief so as to enable the state government to restore normalcy in the flood-hit districts.
Making a special mention in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Parmar, while thanking the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, for releasing Rs 100 crore to the state, said "The amount is too meagre and the Centre should at least extend Rs 500 crore to the state government."
Stating that the recent flashfloods has left a trail of devastation in Shimla, Mandi and other districts of the state, the BJP MP said the gravity of the devastation could be assessed from the fact that about 30-km stretch of the NH-22 Highway and 22 bridges had been washed away in the floods.
Heavy losses had also been
reported from the three power projects - Nathpa Jhakri, Sanjay Vidyut
and Bhabha Hydro-electrical, he said, adding the loss at Nathpa Jhakri
project alone was reported to be Rs 700 crore.
condemns J&K massacres
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — The European Union (EU) has blamed Pakistan for Tuesday’s massacre of more than 100 people in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it "condemns the perpetrators of these attacks and their backers."
In a presidential statement, the EU said the "terrorist acts can only elicit horror and indignation. The EU condemns most resolutely the perpetrators of these attacks and their backers."
The French President, Mr Jacques Chirac, had also described such acts as "unacceptable and reprehensible". In a message to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, President Chirac said: "This was all the more so since the acts were taking place when prospects for a dialogue were opening up."
The Japanese Government expressed particular concern at the brutal acts perpetrated at a time when the "very positive move for putting an end to violence in Kashmir had just commenced".
ruling on detainees’ rights
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — In a significant judgement relating to the constitutional rights of detainees, the Supreme Court has ruled that non-communication by the detaining authority at the earliest to a detainee of his fundamental right under Article 22 (5) to make a representation against his detention to the said authority would constitute a violation of his invaluable right rendering his detention invalid.
The court held that an earlier ruling of a five-judge Bench of this court in a "COFEPOSA" detention case — Kamlesh Kumar Ishwardas Patel Vs Union of India holding it mandatory for the detaining authority to communicate the detainee’s right to him was applicable in other cases as well.
A two-judge Bench comprising Justice G.B.Pattanaik and Justice U.G. Banerjee gave the ruling while dismissing a batch of appeals by the State of Maharashtra and others against a full Bench judgement of the Bombay High Court dealing with detentions under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous activities of slumlords, Boot-leggers, Drug Offenders and Dangerous Persons Act, 1981.
Upholding the judgement of the Bombay High Court declaring the detention of the respondent under the Act invalid on the count of infraction of the fundamental right of detainees guaranteed under the Article 22 (5), the Supreme Court judges noted that while communicating the grounds of detention, it was not communicated therein that they had a right to make a representation to the detaining authority.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Patanaik pointed out that although Section 8 (1) of the Maharashtra Act provided for a representation to be made to the state government, it could not take away the power of a detaining authority other than the state government to deal with the representation of a detainee.
Section 8 (1) of the Maharashtra Act envisaged that "When a person is detained in pursuance of a detention order, the authority making the order shall, as soon as may be, but not later than five days from the date of detention communicate to him the grounds on which the order has been made and shall afford him the earliest opportunity of making a representation against the order to the state government."
in Punjab, HP areas
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — Rain or thundershowers have occurred at a few places in Punjab and at isolated places in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh. Weather was mainly dry in the rest of the region.
The chief amounts of rainfall in cm are: Himachal Pradesh: Kahu 2 and Mandi 1 and Punjab: Dasuya 6, Ferozepore 2 and Ludhiana and Samrala 1 each.
Forecast valid until the morning of Aug 6: Rain or thundershowers will occur at a few places in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and at isolated places in Haryana, Punjab, east Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Weather will be mainly dry in the rest of the region.
Subdued rainfall activity likely to continue over the region outside hilly areas.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of Aug 6: Partly cloudy sky with possibility of thundery development and light rain in some areas.
Farmers weather bulletin for Delhi: Forecast valid until the morning of Aug 6: Light rain is likely at a few places.
directive on Yamuna waters
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 - The Supreme Court today directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to state in an affidavit what steps it proposed to take for cleaning the Yamuna waters by August 18 during the resumed hearing of a public interest petition seeking directions to the Haryana Government to release sufficient water to maintain a constant flow of the river waters to Delhi.
A two-judge Bench comprising Mr Justice B.N. Kirpal and Mr Justice D.P. Mohapatra, while pointing out that the Yamuna was a major source of drinking water for Delhi, directed the Union Ministry to also state in the affidavit whether it had any proposal of its own other than those suggested by the court to keep the river water clean.
The court regretted that despite several directions issued by it earlier to stop discharge of industrial waste into the Yamuna, the river continued to be polluted. An affidavit already filed by the ministry reiterated that 2005 would be treated as the cut-off point for cleaning the river.
The judges stated in their brief order that an interim report filed by the Committee on Water Harvesting in the National Capital Region had suggested that water harvesting was underway to tide over the drinking water problem.
Additional Solicitor Gen K. Rawal submitted before the judges that check dams had been constructed in certain areas like Vasant Kunj and there had been a positive impact with the water table going up by 2 meters.
The Court stated that water
harvesting should not be confined only to certain areas but it should
be undertaken throughout the National Capital Region. The court
further proposed a nominal levy to be paid by the residents of the
area where projects for harvesting water were to be undertaken in
order to make their participation in the projects more effective.
notice to Bihar
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — The National Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the Chief Secretary and the Director- General of Police, Bihar, on complaints of police brutality on women and children.
The respondents have been asked
to send replies within four weeks. The commission has also directed
its Director-General (Investigation) to send a team headed by a Senior
Superintendent of Police for a spot inquiry. The team will submit its
report within a week. The commission has asked its Director-General
(Investigation) to contact the local authorities for the necessary
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