Wednesday, August 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Musharraf has one-point agenda, says Vajpayee

NEW DELHI, Aug 15 (Reuters) — India marked the Independence Day on Wednesday with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee unfurling the petal-filled Indian tricolour from the soaring ramparts of the 17th-century Red Fort in the Indian capital, watched by millions on a live television broadcast.

Vajpayee who spoke from behind a bulletproof glass screen squarely blamed the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, for the failure of the Agra summit last month. With security tightened at flashpoints around the country, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee accused Musharraf of having a one-point agenda governing their relations. 

"We believe in friendship of the people of the two countries and all-round relations but Pervez Musharraf was not interested in this," Vajpayee said. 

“He came with a one-point agenda of Kashmir and ... call terrorists ‘freedom fighters,’” Vajpayee said. “All this was not acceptable to us. Pakistan should stop believing it can gain Kashmir through terrorism.” 

The July 15-16 talks in the Indian city of Agra — the first summit between the nuclear-capable neighbours in more than two years — ended without even a joint declaration. 

India refused to accept Pakistan's insistence that the dispute over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir was the "core issue" in their strained relations, and Pakistan refused to recognise what New Delhi calls "cross-border terrorism". 

Authorities tightened security around New Delhi, Kashmir and the insurgency-racked northeastern corner of the country to stave off Independence Day attacks by guerrillas, who had called for a boycott of the festivities. 






13 killed in HP landslides
S. P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Shimla, August 14
At least 13 persons were killed due to landslides triggered by incessant rain in Himachal Pradesh today. Road and rail services were suspended at several places. Air services were also cancelled because of bad weather.

At least 35 persons have died so far in the state in the current monsoon.

Reports said eight persons were killed when boulders fell on a truck at Charol on the Swarghat-Bilaspur highway this morning. The condition of three, who have been admitted to a hospital in Bilaspur, was critical.

A woman died in a landslide in a village in Sarkaghat area of the Mandi district. Reports said a man was killed near Tissa area of Chamba district. The driver of a truck was killed when the vehicle was washed away in the Sirsa river near Jagatkhana in Nalagarh.

The Hindustan-Tibet highway was closed in Kinnaur district where two bridges were washed away. Traffic was disrupted in Kangra where a bridge on the national highway near Nagrota Bagwan was washed away.

Students of the Central School here had a miraculous escape when a 75-ft-long RCC retaining wall collapsed on the main building. The primary section on the ground floor suffered extensive damage. Its walls were shattered under the debris. The furniture was also damaged.

Luckily, the retaining wall collapsed at 8.15 a.m. when the students were yet to arrive.

The wall was constructed a month ago by the CPWD. However, it developed cracks soon after completion. Six large deodar trees on a hill slope over the school have been declared dangerous as there is threat of these falling on the schoolbuilding.

The principal of the school, Mrs Narendera Mohini, closed the school as a precautionary measure.

The road leading to the school has also caved in because of haphazard digging by a landowner. The municipal corporation authorities have failed to take any action.

Amar Singh was washed away in a flooded nullah at Jawalapur in Sirmaur. Over 355 houses were damaged and standing crop in an area of 400 hectares was destroyed.

A loss of about Rs 14 crore has been estimated in Sirmaur district.

Reports said two bridges on the Hindustan-Tibet national highway had been washed away in the Barang nullah near Shongthong and Skibba. The bridge at Skibba was recently reconstructed after having been damaged in last year’s flash floods in the Sutlej.

Rail services between Kalka and Shimla were cancelled because of landslides at about six places at Jutogh, Taradevi, Kandaghat, Kumarhatti, Dharampur and Sanwara.

The Chamba-Bharmour, Tissa, Chwari and Sahu roads were closed because of landslips.

Reports said water had entered many houses in Una town, including the official residence of the Deputy Commissioner.

Sirmaur district received a record 206 mm of rain during the past 24 hours. Several roads in the district were closed because of landslides. The Shillai road, where the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, is to preside over the state-level Independence Day function, was also closed and a large number of labourers deployed to reopen it.

The Shimla-Nahan road via Kumarhatti, the Nahan-Renuka, Paonta-Ambala road via Suketi and the Rajgarh roads were closed.

In Shimla district, roads near Kharapatthar and Sainj were closed due to landslides and falling of trees. The Shimla bypass also remained closed because of landslips.

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