Friday, February 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hussain gets Coal Ministry
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 8 — The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today effected a minor change in his Council of Ministers following the resignations of two colleagues from the PMK.

Mr Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Minister of State for Human Resource Development and the only representative of the minority community from the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Union Cabinet, has been promoted as Minister of State with independent charge of the Coal Ministry, a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said.

Mr Hussain replaces Mr N.T.Shanmugham, who along with Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr E.Ponnusamy, resigned from the Union Cabinet following the PMK’s decision to join hands with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

No replacement for Mr Ponnusamy has been announced. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is headed by the Union Minister, Mr Ram Naik. He is assisted by a Minister of State, Mr Santosh Gangwar.

Mr Hussain has taken charge of the Coal Ministry at a time when a major accident involving miners has taken place at the Bagdighi Colliery in Dhanbad district of Bihar.


SC order on polluting units
From Our Legal Correspondent and PTI

NEW DELHI, Feb 8 — The Supreme Court today directed the Delhi Government to complete within four weeks the incomplete task of surveying 21,400 industrial units in the non-conforming areas of the Capital and close all polluting units among them.

A three-Judge Bench comprising Justice B.N. Kirpal, Justice Ruma Pal and Justice Brijesh Kumar declined the request of the Delhi Government for five months time to accomplish the task.

The judges said, when 18,000 industries were inspected and 3,700 out of them found polluting were closed down in three weeks pursuant to the court’s order of January 24, there was no justification to grant more than 4 weeks for the operation to be undertaken at present.

“It goes without saying that all government agencies in Delhi would provide adequate number of personnel to carry out the task of identifying the polluting industries and sealing them”, the judges stated.

Appearing for the Delhi Government, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal sought five weeks' time to complete the task in view of the census operations beginning from February 9 resulting in the inadequacy of staff for identifying the polluting units. The Subdivisional Magistrates and Deputy Commissioners involved in the closure operations would not be available for the job due to the census operations, it was pointed out.

The Bench said: “It was not the order of the court that the task of sealing operations should be carried out by the SDMs and the DCs. If they are not available, it is open to the government to deploy such officers who can carry out the orders of the court.”

The court while declining the plea, expressed concern that there was no mention of any plan in the affidavit of the Delhi Government to relocate 42,000 polluting industries out of a total of 97,000 which had not even applied for alternative industrial plots.

The court further directed the de-sealing of the industrial units for the removal of personal belongings, finished goods, machinery and raw material whose owners would undertake before the review committee of the Nodal Agency that they would not use their premises for industrial purposes.

The court directed the review committee to dispose all applications for de-sealing within two weeks. The court adjourned the matter for further hearing after six weeks.Back

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