|Sunday, August 6, 2000,
500 cr aid from Centre
admits plea in Dalit judge’s case
more Gujarat village put under
yet intrusive US moves
ground in UP: survey
of Army men found after
kids write to Gen Musharraf
condemns J&K massacre
likely in Himachal, east
for 500 cr aid from Centre
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — A Central team will visit four districts of Himachal Pradesh to assess the losses due to flash floods on the night of August 1. The state government estimates that Rs 2,500 crore worth of property was damaged in the unprecedented floods that claimed at least 100 lives.
This indication was given by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, when the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, called him here today.
Mr Dhumal, who was here in connection with the Chief Minister’s conference on internal security, also met Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. He urged Prime Minister to grant an immediate assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state.
The Chief Minister said the state was finding it hard to mobilise funds and the Rs 100 crore grant given by the Centre would not last long considering that four districts along 350 km stretch of the Sutlej river had been affected. The damage to the Naptha-Jhakri power project has been estimated at Rs 700 crore.
The Centre has also been urged to deploy the Army in large scale to restore the National Highway No 22 which is strategically important.
"The state is spending Rs 2 crore per day on airlifting essential commodities to Kinnaur and if bridges were not repaired in time, the state will have to bear the burden of Rs 60 crore per month on the account alone," Mr Dhumal said.
During the brief meeting, the Prime Minister assured him of all possible assistance for carrying out relief in the flood affected areas.
The Chief Minister said
efforts were being made to stock ration in the affected areas for six
months. While the Centre had promised an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to the
next of kin of those killed, the state government would be providing
some land for the rehabilitaion of the homeless families.
admits plea in Dalit judge’s case
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice A.S. Anand, Mr Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice Mr K.G. Balkrishnan has admitted for hearing a petition for special leave to appeal against a high court judgment dismissing the writ petition of a compulsorily retired Dalit Additional Sessions Judge Bharthari Prasad of Allahabad alleging harassment on caste considerations.
The court directive said Mr Prasad would not be evicted from his official residence until further orders.
The petitioner alleged that the state government suspended, chargesheeted and compulsorily retired him after he protested against being transferred to Manipur and refused to assume charge for physical and psychologically let-down reasons due to class-bias treatment at the hands of the government.
He complained in his petition that he earned the ire of the state government when he declined to refute the charges of Additional Sessions Judge A.K. Srivastav cleaning the court-room and its furniture with "Ganga jal" after assuming charge in Allahabad in 1998 on Mr Prasad’s (petitioner) transfer to another court.
Mr Prasad allegedly stated in his petition that on replacing him, Mr Srivastav got the courtroom and its furniture cleaned by Ganga water because according to the then newspaper reports the courtroom had been previously occupied by a judicial officer belonging to a Scheduled Caste.
The petition further maintained that the Sessions Judge thereupon summoned him and asked him to refute the charges but he declined because he was not responsible for the newspaper reports. The Sessions Judge then ordered an inquiry into the matter. The new incumbent, Mr Srivastav, admitted having got the courtroom washed with plain water as he was an asthma patient and denied the use of Ganga water.
The petitioner further alleged that the inquiry officer although recording confirmation of the staff members about the incident did not record the statements of those involved in the cleansing process. Within a month of this incident, the petitioner was transferred to Manipur.
One more Gujarat village put under curfew
AHMEDABAD, Aug 5 (PTI) — Violence and arson continued in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat forcing the authorities to clamp a curfew on one more village while the curfew was relaxed in phases in Surat.
The police fired 16 rounds and burst 19 tear gas shells to disperse a frenzied mob which indulged in looting and set afire houses belonging to a particular community. Three State Reserve Police jawans were injured and rushed to a Himatnagar hospital.
Senior police officers rushed to Lambadia village in Sabarkantha district where an indefinite curfew was clamped and brought the situation under control.
Meanwhile, the curfew continued at Limbayat in Surat city while it was relaxed for hours in Mahidharpura (from 8 am), for 10 hours at Athwa, Chawkk Bazaar and for 12 hours in Katargam and in Khedbrahma (for women and children) for four hours.
Panel ‘favours’ BIMARU states
HYDERABAD, Aug 5 (UNI) —Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu today asked Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee to convene the National Development Council (NDC) meeting immediately to discuss the recommendations of the 11th Finance Commission (EFC), which had "meted out a raw deal to the performing states".
Addressing a press conference here, a visibly irked Mr Naidu alleged that the EFC’s report was "favourably loaded" towards the states which "promoted poverty, inefficiency and indulged in heavy borrowing" while meeting out gross injustice to "progressive states" like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
He said the recommendations clearly favoured "non-performing states" in terms of devolution of more finances and pointed out that 52.04 per cent of the total devolution of taxes went to the five states of Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The Chief Minister said he had already taken up the issue of "anomalies" in the EFC report with Mr Vajpayee and Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. Instead of providing incentives to the performing states, the five members of the commission had "killed" them. He would be writing a letter to the Prime Minister to immediately convene an NDC meeting, he added.
Mr Naidu also wanted a national debate on the issue.
To a question, he said there were various options open, including the forming of a forum of states which were affected by the recommendations.
Mr Naidu also expressed unhappiness over the EFC fixing an upper limit of 37.5 per cent on the total transfer of resources from the Centre to the states of both taxes and other grants. This was for the first time that an upper limit had been fixed which would grossly affect the development of the states.
He said if the ceiling was implemented along with the implementation of stipulated percentages of tax revolution, the scope for plan assistance could get severely reduced. It was an accepted practice that matters affecting the Centre and states would be discussed either in the inter-state council or the NDC and a final view taken after ascertaining the opinion of the state governments.
Mr Naidu said unilateral acceptance of the suggestions of the EFC regarding the overall ceiling was unfortunate. Both the EFC recommendations and the Centre’s acceptance went against the spirit of cooperative federalism.
The ceiling would lead to a cut even in the provisions in the state’s shares on central resources in the Budget for 2000-2001.
PTI: Mr Naidu said despite his government’s efforts in the last five years to improve financial performance striking a balance between the welfare schemes and development, the state’s share in the devolution of central taxes had come down from 7.91 per cent recommended by the 10th Finance Commission to 7.70 per cent now.
The Chief Minister said his government would explore all options including mobilising the support of those states who had been adversely affected by the commission’s report to fight the "injustice".
Mr Naidu, however, said he was not on a "confrontationist path" with the Centre.
Mr Naidu came down heavily on the Finance Commission for fixing low overall ceiling of 37.5 per cent on revenue transfers, inconsistent criteria in allocation of tax revenues among the states, glaring disparities in resources flow, favouring fiscal indiscipline and imposing restrictions on states’ borrowings.
yet intrusive US moves
NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — The USA is being subtlety intrusive without assigning to itself the role of a mediator in the Indian subcontinent even as Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime in Pakistan is doing everything to sabotage the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir.
The USA President, Mr Bill Clinton’s telephonic talk with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on Wednesday evening condemning the senseless violence against the innocent in the troubled border state and his assurance to take up the killings with Pakistan is a pointer to Washington wily nily having a role to play.
Highly placed sources, however, refused to comment on the present state of US-Pakistan relations after Mr Clinton did some plain speaking during his seven-hour breezy visit to Islamabad in March this year. However, the fact that Mr Clinton told Mr Vajpayee that he will "talk to the people in Pakistan and do everything possible to end the wanton killings" is seen here as a marked change in Washington’s policy towards South Asia.
After adopting a hard line while in Pakistan and stressing upon that country’s military leadership to draw up a road map for returning to civilian rule, Pakistan experts said "it is unlikely the US President will speak directly to the Chief Executive, General Musharraf". He might convey Washington’s concern about Pakistan’s stepped up proxy war through one of his key and senior official.
The US State Department’s statement issued on Wednesday is significant. It said "we welcome the statement of the Indian Prime Minister that India will continue to pursue the path of peace. We urge the governments and organisations involved to carry the process forward and not to allow the enemies of peace to sabotage this promising initiative."
The US Ambassador to India, Mr Richard Celeste, met the Foreign Secretary, Mr Lalit Mansingh, here this evening after Mr Vajpayee made a statement in Parliament about Tuesday’s mayhem in Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister declared that the nation will not yield before terrorism and reaffirmed his government’s resolve not to give up efforts for the restoration of peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
Though the Ministry of External Affairs described the Mansingh-Celeste meeting as "routine," the US Ambassador had called on the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, yesterday to convey Washington’s outrage at the inhuman massacres and extend its deepest condolences to the families of those dead.
The USA is concerned about the situation in this subcontinent with Indo-Pak relations touching an all time low after last year’s Kargil conflict and the neighbours having achieved nuclear capability in May 1998. It is apparent that the USA cannot allow the situation to get out of hand as several think tanks in the USA believe that the danger of a confrontation is indeed real in this region.
losing ground in UP: survey
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — The BJP has lost considerable ground in Uttar Pradesh and in the event of Assembly elections being held now it would not even find a place as the main Opposition in the state, a survey has said.
The BJP-led government has become so unpopular in the State that given a chance the public may vote it to the third place, after the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, the survey conducted by psephological agency C-Voter said.
The survey projection for the 406 Assembly seats in truncated Uttar Pradesh (after the formation of the new Uttaranchal state) shows that the Samajwadi Party would benefit the most from an immediate election and it stands to gain as much as 182 seats, 24 seats short of majority.
The Bahujan Samaj Party with 90 odd seats would emerge as the second most popular party while the BJP would be relegated to a poor third with around 83 seats. The Congress is also gaining a few, but crucial seats, to take its tally to 42, which is certain to be decisive at the time of the formation of government.
According to the survey, the Kalyan Singh faction would cause considerable damage to the BJP as it may eat up a crucial chunk of votes which the BJP may require in case of very close contests.
The BJP is out of contest in five of the six regions in the state with the Samajwadi Party leading in four regions.
The analysis shows that the BJP needs
a massive 10 per cent swing in its favour to make a comeback in
Lucknow. At the same time a 3 per cent reverse swing or back swing of
votes to the BJP will once again help it to emerge as the single
largest party in a hung House.
of Army men found after
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — Almost a year after they were killed in action in the Ladakh sector, the Army has recovered the bodies of an officer and two jawans of 3 Rajput Battalion.
An Army spokesman here said today that Capt S.K. Yadav and two jawans died fighting insurgents in sub-sector Haneef in the Ladakh sector of Jammu and Kashmir in August-September, last year.
The bodies buried in snow were recovered yesterday, according to Maj-Gen S.V. Thapaliyal, General Officer Commanding of Trishul division.
kids write to Gen Musharraf
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — Intervening in their own small way to improve Indo-Pakistan relations, schoolchildren from Faridabad have written to Gen Pervez Musharraf, CEO of Pakistan to put an end to violence.
Reacting to the recent killings of innocent pilgrims, labourers and security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, students of Vidya Niketan School have appealed to General Musharraf to stop supporting militants and help the peace process which has just begun.
Himanshu Rastogi, a student of class X has urged General Musharraf to celebrate the year for Indo-Pakistan unity.
His classmate Barkha has said the attack on innocent pilgrims has created fear in the minds of the Indians. She wondered how long this bloodshed would continue.
Blair condemns J&K massacre
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 (PTI) — British Prime Minister Tony Blair today condemned attacks on civilians by militants in Jammu and Kashmir and supported India’s efforts to restore peace in the valley.
In a message to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, he said "the deliberate targeting of civilians is a completely unacceptable terrorist act, and I wholeheartedly condemn these attacks".
likely in Himachal, east
NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — Rain or thundershowers have occurred at isolated places in Haryana. Very light rain has occurred at isolated places in west Rajasthan. Weather was mainly dry in the rest of the region.
Sonepat (Haryana) recorded 5 cm of rainfall.
Forecast valid until the morning of Aug 7: Rain or thundershowers are likely at a few places in Himachal Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, south-east Rajasthan and the plains of west Uttar Pradesh. Weather will be mainly dry in the rest of the region.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of Aug 7: Partly cloudy sky with possibility of thundery development in some areas towards evening or night.
Farmers weather bulletin for Delhi: Forecast valid until the morning of Aug 7: Thunderclouds may develop at a few places.
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