Monday, August 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Talks on to resolve Ayodhya tangle: PM

Lucknow, August 26
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today said negotiations were on at different levels to resolve the Ayodhya imbroglio and expressed confidence that the issue would be resolved amicably before March 12 next year, the deadline set by the VHP for construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site.

“Negotiations to resolve the Ayodhya tangle are on at different levels and with different people and I am sure some solution acceptable to all will be found out before VHP’s deadline,” Mr Vajpayee told reporters here.

The Prime Minister said he was aware of VHP leaders’ repeated statements on starting construction of the temple.

Mr Vajpayee said the government was contemplating enacting a law to prevent misappropriation of money by non-government financial institutions in the country.

He stated that his government was alive to the sufferings of investors who had been duped by some financial institutions.

Mr Vajpayee said former Defence Minister and Samata Party leader George Fernandes was not interested to return to the Union Cabinet until he was absolved by the Venkataswamy Commission probing the Tehelka expose.

On the re-entry of Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee into the NDA, the Prime Minister said the issue would be discussed at the alliance coordination committee meeting in New Delhi tomorrow.

In his characteristic style, Vajpayee said “I have a lot of mamatva (affection) for Mamata.”

He dismissed as “baseless” the Opposition allegation that his government was “saffronising” the education and said it was nothing but a campaign to “defame” the BJP in view of the coming Assembly elections in some states.

He said the Opposition charge was without any basis and addded, “Which book or syllabus has been changed by the government?”.

“The Opposition has no substantial proof to back up and their charges are totally baseless”.

“We want to keep the field of education free from ideological influence,” Mr Vajpayee said, adding that Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi had replied in detail on the issue. PTI


UK to open visa office in Jalandhar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
Arduous travel from the nook and corner of Punjab to New Delhi to secure a visa to visit their near and dear ones in South Hall will soon be a thing of the past, as the UK has decided to open its Visa office in Jalandhar.

“We have decided to open up a visa office in Jalandhar” said Sir Rob Young, British High Commissioner in India, at a function organised by the World Punjabi Organisation here last night.

The opening up of the visa office by the UK has been the long-pending demand of the Punjabis living there, as over 5,00,000 persons from the state reside in the UK. At present, the people of the state have to travel about nine hours to reach New Delhi to secure visas.

Most of them arrive in New Delhi early and spend the night outside the High Commission building and stand in a queue at the stroke of dawn.

The UK has chosen Jalandhar to open up the visa office as more than 90 per cent of the Punjabis living there have relatives in the districts of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Moga Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala.

The UK government will soon begin the process by submitting the proposal to the Indian government.

Canada had recently expressed its intentions to open up a consulate office in Chandigarh. The External Affairs Ministry has cleared the proposal and it has been pending before the Union Home Ministry for the past three months.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has met Union Home Minister L.K. Advani twice on this issue.

The Vice-Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, said he had written to the Home Ministry to clear the Canadian proposal as it had been pending for a long time and would provide relief to the visa-seekers.

Almost 80 per cent of the Indian immigrants in Canada are from Punjab and they have close bondage with their relatives back home.

The British High Commissioner said he would in person attend the Maharaja Ranjit Singh bicentenary celebrations to be held in London next month.

The function — September 19 to 21 — would be held at the world famous Victoria Albert Museum where the rare collection of jewels, including the Kohinoor diamond, would be on display.

The throne of the Sher-e-Punjab, sword and other relics of the last king of Punjab would be on display. The secretary-general of the WPO, Mr Vikramjit Singh Sahney, said the London chapter of the organisation would be opened during the bicentenary celebrations.Back

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