Tuesday, January 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Army not against truce: George
Asks media not to fall prey to ISI propaganda

Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 1— Defence Minister George Fernandes has warned against a deliberate design to defame the Indian Army by spreading false and motivated stories attributed to it.

Addressing jawans in the farflung snow-clad areas of the northern border in Dras and Kargil yesterday, Mr Fernandes said during the past few days some malicious stories were being planted in the media that the Army was against the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.

Linking it to a new dimension in ISI activities against Indian interests, Mr Fernandes stated that the Prime Minister’s ceasefire initiative had been launched after due consultations and advice from all quarters, including the top brass of the Army. “Even while extending the ceasefire up to January 26, the Prime Minister had consulted all those who matter including the Chief of the Army Staff”, he said.

The Defence Minister said firing on the border had considerably reduced and it was an optimistic sign from Pakistan’s side for starting a dialogue with India. He, however, said ISI activities against India instead of registering any decline, had increased lately.

Referring to the recent riots in Nepal, where anti-India feelings were spread in a calculated manner, the minister said he did not visit theatres. But he stressed the manner in which some non-existing baseless allegations were concocted against an Indian film actor, leading to a large-scale destruction of property belonging to Indians, were the part of a plot against India.

Mr Fernandes asked the media not to fall prey to the calculated propaganda of the ISI whose sole aim was to damage India’s national interests and hamper its progress. “At a time when we are passing through a critical phase, the media should create a climate of confidence amongst people instead of weakening it”, the Defence Minister said.

Mr Fernandes also referred to the controversy about point 5353 in the media. He said during his latest visit, he had himself stood on the peak and got photographed. “This should end the unfortunate controversy about this peak once and for all”, he asserted.

Asked about Pakistan’s claim of withdrawing forces from the border, Mr Fernandes contended that the step was not sufficient. A United Nation’s report about Pakistan’s withdrawal had confirmed that a division of the Pakistan army had been re-deployed from the border. “Taking in view the long borders, re-deployment of one division cannot be termed adequate”, he pointed out.

Wishing the jawans a prosperous and happy New Year, Mr Fernandes declared that during 2001 the country’s priority would be modernisation of the Army, self-reliance and instilling confidence in the jawans. Irrespective of the impediments, India was determined to follow the path of peace and progress, he said.

For this, peace negotiations had to be undertaken. India was willing to have a dialogue with all its neighbours including Pakistan, he said. But Islamabad should create a conducive climate for a meaningful dialogue. India has already taken a number of steps and Pakistan should reciprocate by containing ISI activities and eliminating cross-border terrorism, the Defence Minister concluded.

India, Pak exchange lists of N-plants
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 1 — India and Pakistan today exchanged their respective lists of nuclear installations and facilities.

The two countries exchanged the lists for the 10th consecutive year since New Delhi and Islamabad signed an Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack Against Nuclear Installations and Facilities on December 31, 1988. The agreement came into force on January 27, 1991.

Under the agreement, the two countries are to inform each other on January 1 of each calendar year of the nuclear installations and facilities.Back



Shimla wears white mantle
Hindustan-Tibet road blocked at Kufri

From Tribune Reporters

SHIMLA, Jan 1 — After several years, snow kept its date with the New Year and turned the entire town and its adjoining areas white this morning.

The town received the season’s first snow today. It had been snowing since 5 a.m. and tourists came out of their hotels early to have fun in the snow at The Ridge and The Mall.

However, the snow melted on The Ridge and the lower areas of the town by noon, but trees in the Jakhoo area are still covered with snow.

Tourists made a beeline for Kufri where there was enough snow. However, the road near Kufri was slippery because of the frost.

Apple growers are happy as the snow will be good for their crop. It is after several years that it snowed on the New Year.

The PWD authorities which had claimed to have made preparations to handle snow, were caught off-guard as many roads were closed due to the snow. The Hindustan-Tibet national highway was closed at Kufri.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr P.C. Katoch, said the Chopal area was cut off near Khirki. There was heavy snow at Kharapatthar which disrupted traffic to Rohru and other areas.

Motorists had a difficult time in the Shogi belt on the Shimla-Kalka highway which was engulfed in thick fog. Vehicles were moving at a snail’s pace because of poor visibility.

Reports said there was heavy snow at Rohtang and Dhauladhar and mild snow in Kinnaur.

Certain link roads in the interior of Shimla district were also closed and the authorities had pressed men and machines into service to clear them.

The Indian Airlines flight from Delhi for Kulu via Shimla has also been cancelled. However, plying normally on the Kalka-Shimla section, all passenger trains arrived on schedule.

HAMIRPUR: The rain here has ended the four-month dry spell. Farmers who have not yet sown their crops are happy that they will be able to sow the crops much ahead of Lohri.

SOLAN: The district recorded an average of 22 mm of light to moderate showers during the past 16 hours.

The district had received its last spell of rains in September end. Monday’s showers ended over three-months long dry spell.

DHARAMSALA: People of Kangra, especially farmers, heaved a sigh of relief as the district received rain after four months.

The entire Dhauladhar range wore a white mantle. Thousands of tourists had gathered at McLeodganj and Dharamsala to celebrate the New Year.

KASAULI: Tourists here were disappointed as it did not snow here. After a dry Christmas, they were hoping of a white New Year.

Foggy weather coupled with rain impaired visibility and affected traffic.

The tourists left for Shimla and other places due to restriction on their movements.

SIRSA: The first winter rain has brought smile to faces of farmers. The almost 36-hour drizzle has made them hopeful of a bumper crop.

SONEPAT: The city and its surrounding areas had widespread rain on Sunday and Monday, breaking the long dry spell in the region. The rain is beneficial for the standing rabi crops.

MOGA: After a long dry spell, Moga and its neighbouring villages had intermittent rain for about one and a half hours. The sky is still overcast.

PHAGWARA: The rain broke the dry spell and came as a relief to wheat growers.

The sky continues to be overcast.

The spirits of the New Year revellers was not dampened by the downpour and they kept bursting crackers.

KAITHAL: New Year celebrations were affected due to a long power failure which followed the rain, which began on Sunday evening.

A major part of the town remained plunged in darkness as the number of transformers tripped and the Pehowa Chowk power-sub-station developed some snag. Power supply could not be restored in several areas of the town till 5 p.m. on Monday.

People could not watch programmes on television due to the power failure.

ROHTAK: The incessant rain accompanied with prolonged power failure proved to be a big blow to the festive mood of residents here.

Farmers have, however, welcomed the rain.

The power supply was suspended in almost all localities at 7 p.m. on Sunday and was restored at only 11 a.m. on Monday.

Certain hotel owners were embarrassed on account of the power failure as they had organised special programme on the New Year Eve.

Dr R.S. Panwar, agriculture scientist at the local Krishi Gyan Kendra, said reports of satisfactory rain were also received from Jhajjar, Mahendragarh and Rewari districts.

Mr S.P.S. Panwar, Deputy Director, Agriculture in Jind district, said the rain was beneficial for the crops spread over 70 per cent of agriculture land which was out of reach of canal water.

MANDI: After a long spell of dry weather “Mandi region received its first winter rain on Monday morning. It snowed in the higher reaches of this district like Chuhar, Chachiot and Karsog valleys. The lower reaches are experiencing rain. Even with the belated rain, the farmers of this district have heaved a sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, the entire region is under the grip of severe cold wave.

Reports reaching here said it was snowing heavily in tourist resorts at Barot. Prasher and Shikari Devi.

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