Wednesday, October 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Foeticide hits Punjab, Haryana sex ratio
New Delhi, October 16
Female foeticide accounts for a significant part of the decline in fertility and the increase in the small family norm achieved in Punjab and Haryana, two of the most prosperous states in India, according to the United Nations Population Fund.


A Russian delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, met with Prime Minister Atal Behari 
Vajpayee in the Capital today.
(28k, 56k)

Cases against 3 MFL officials registered
New Delhi, October 16
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered criminal cases against three officials of Madras Fertilisers Ltd and three private firms for allegedly causing loss to the tune of Rs 88.75 lakh to the fertiliser company.

Nityanand Swamy’s days numbered
New Delhi, October 16
The days of Uttaranchal Chief Minister Nityanand Swamy seem to be over with the BJP central leadership deciding to replace him with a younger leader to bolster the party’s prospects in the Assembly poll in the state early next year.


Youths in Lucknow  unable to buy drugs due to increase in prices are admitting  themselves to rehabilitation centres.

(28k, 56k)

Gujarat: Liquor ban to continue
Ahmedabad, October 16
Gujarat will continue with its policy of prohibition and its implementation would be more stringent now, State Minister for Prohibition Fakirbhai Vaghela has said.

India, Iran hold strategic dialogue
New Delhi, October 16
India and Iran met today to hold the first India-Iran Dialogue on Strategic issues. The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer. Mr Mohsen Aminzadeh, Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific, led the Iranian delegation.

Suit pendency can’t quash proceedings: SC
New Delhi, October 16
The Supreme Court has ruled that mere pendency of a suit cannot be a cause for quashing criminal proceedings in a case of forgery.




A model show case bridal wear and bridal jewellery at brides of India fashion show in New Delhi on Tuesday.
— PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

Left to protest against George’s reinduction
Kolkata, October 16
The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, has been accused of having links with the LTTE and some other terrorist outfits operating in the north-eastern states.

Hoax hijack calls made to Alliance Air
New Delhi, October 16
There was considerable flutter when the local office of Alliance Air again received two hoax calls of hijacking of flight number 744 on October 13. The first call was received at 3.38 p.m. and the second one at 3.46 p.m.

Cong MP sought release of ’84 riots guilty: ACP
New Delhi, October 16
Congress leader Dharam Das Shastri had sought release of several persons arrested on charges of rioting and looting property of Sikhs during the 1984 riots and a party MLC even manhandled an SHO for not complying with their demand, the Justice Nanavati Commission was informed today.

Railways declares highest-ever bonus
New Delhi, October 16
The Ministry of Railways has declared the highest-ever bonus to be given to about 14.7 lakh Railway employees belonging to groups B, C and D.

MCD seeks private assistance to keep Capital clean
New Delhi, October 16
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has sought assistance from private entrepreneurs to make the National Capital clean and green.

State of education worries Sorabjee
New Delhi, October 16
Attorney General, Soli Sorabjee today expressed serious concern over the state of education in the country and deplored the low priority accorded to education by the policy makers.

Inauguration of project delayed
Hanumangarh, October 16
The inauguration of much awaited Sidhmukh-Nohar irrigation project has been further delayed. The inauguration which earlier was to took place on October 15, now will be done on November 19, on the birthday anniversary of Ms Indira Gandhi.
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Foeticide hits Punjab, Haryana sex ratio

New Delhi, October 16
Female foeticide accounts for a significant part of the decline in fertility and the increase in the small family norm achieved in Punjab and Haryana, two of the most prosperous states in India, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

A UNFPA study, based on data generated by the National Family Health Survey I and II conducted in 1990-92 and 1996-98 and the Sample Research Survey, has pointed out that sex selective abortions (SSAS) accounted for about one-third decline in total fertility rate in urban areas of Haryana while it contributed to 50 and 80 per cent decline in rural and urban areas of Punjab.

The number of SSAs, which are considered not only to be a violation of the basic human rights of a girl child to come into existence but also an indicator of the low status of women, was about 69,000 in Haryana and 57,000 in Punjab in 1990-92. These were 68 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively, of all induced abortions.

The estimated number of SSAs in 1996-98 was 62,000 in Haryana (81 per cent of total abortions) and 51000 in Punjab (26 per cent).

Though the rural areas of the two states registered a decline in SSAs during this period, urban areas showed a sharp increase. In fact, female foeticide in urban areas of Haryana increased five times while in Punjab it rose by 18 per cent.

Preference of couples to have a male child and availability of technology for sex detection of the unborn child has contributed to the sex selective abortions in the two states.

This was reflected in the Census 2001 which pointed to a further decline in the sex ratio in 0 to 6 years, the report said and pointed out that this imbalance in the sex composition of society may lead to disastrous demographic and social consequences for the states.

The SSAs have artificially brought down the total fertility rate in the two states. Had there been no SSAs in the two states, the fertility rate would have been 3.2 instead of 2.9 in Haryana and 2.9 instead of 2.2 in Punjab, the study pointed out.

Abortions were more widespread among contraceptive users than among women who have never practised family planning.

This could be due to the fact that women who use contraception other than sterilisation do not want to become pregnant and are more likely than non-contraceptive users to terminate a pregnancy, the UNFPA report said.

Contrary to the general perception, the preference for a male child was found to be stronger among literate than illiterate women. It also rose with the number of children and with the age of the mother.

The desire to have a male child as the firstborn was stronger in Punjab, where the sex ratio at birth (SRB) was 131, than in Haryana with SRB 109. This was most probably due to the couple’s aspiration to attain preferred sex composition within the small family norm, the study pointed out.

Preference for a son following the birth of a daughter was almost equally strong in Haryana and Punjab with SRB being 151 and 154, respectively.

Expressing concern over the “shocking’’ findings and also the fact that a majority of abortions are being sought from illegal sources, the UNFPA has recommended that reproductive health communications and education should include specific messages highlighting the importance of girl children, gender equality, hazards of unsafe abortions and the illegality of pre-selection of sex followed by abortion.

Statutory laws like the MTP Act, 1992, and the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Regulation and Prevention of Misuse Act, 1994 need to be strictly enforced. Existing loopholes should be plugged in the light of new technological developments and appropriate authorities set up under the Act should be more proactive in implementing its provisions, the study suggested. UNI
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Cases against 3 MFL officials registered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered criminal cases against three officials of Madras Fertilisers Ltd and three private firms for allegedly causing loss to the tune of Rs 88.75 lakh to the fertiliser company.

Cases for offences of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, falsification of records, criminal misconduct and under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act have been registered against MFL Executive Director (Marketing) S. Periaswamy, Deputy General Manager (Commercial) M.A. Choudhary and Chief Manager (Imports) K.N. Manunatha Rao and against two clearing and forwarding agencies — South India Corporation and Express Clearing Agency — and a firm of surveyors Ericsson and Richards of Chennai.

According to a CBI press note issued today the accused officials of the MFL dishonestly allowed delivery of 1,719.619 metric tonnes of urea imported from Abu Dhabi and Kuwait during April/May, 2000, thereby causing a loss of Rs 88.75 lakh to the MFL.

It is alleged that the MFL was permitted by the Government of India to import urea of 2.4 lakh metric tonnes during 1999-2000 for utilising it as an input in the manufacturing of “NPK” (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) a fertiliser composition.

During April, 2000, two shipments carrying about 15,000 metric tonnes of urea each arrived at the Chennai port and Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. The surveyors firm conducted the survey and quantified the consignment of the two shipments but did not discharge the consignments, as quantified, at the MFL.

The firm of surveyors and the accused officials of the MFL did not ensure the despatch of the total quantity of the imported urea to the MFL from the Chennai Port Trust as well as the receipt of the same at the fertiliser company, the press note alleged and added that thus in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy, the accused persons caused a short delivery of imported urea to the extent of 1,719.619 MT which resulted in a loss of Rs 88.75 lakh to the company and a corresponding pecuniary advantage to themselves.

It further alleged that even out of the quantity shown to have been delivered at the MFL, the accused officials caused the diversion of the imported urea for sale in the open market misusing the facility for the import of urea.

No arrests have been made so far and further investigation is in progress, the press note added.
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Nityanand Swamy’s days numbered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
The days of Uttaranchal Chief Minister Nityanand Swamy seem to be over with the BJP central leadership deciding to replace him with a younger leader to bolster the party’s prospects in the Assembly poll in the state early next year.

The mood of the party’s central leadership in this regard was evident from the fact that Mr Kushabhau Thakre, former BJP President and in charge of Uttaranchal, today held a meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Swamy where the issue was discussed threadbare.

Even as the party was keeping the name of the prospective candidate who will replace Mr Swamy as a guarded secret, the names of Mr Manohar Kant Dhyani, a Rajya Sabha Member and Union Transport Minister Major-Gen B.C. Khanduri (retd) were doing the rounds.

Though the name of Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Mr K.C. Pant, was also making rounds in the party circle, one of the top BJP leaders, on the condition of anonymity told The Tribune “Though he is a very senior leader, we can’t afford to have him as Chief Minister as he neither has the required charisma nor does he enjoy a rapport with the people”.

According to sources, while Mr Swamy, who met the Prime Minister yesterday also, had been asked to make way for a younger leader to take the mantle, the central leadership was divided on the two prospective candidates, Mr Dhyani and Major-Gen Khanduri.

While there is a feeling in some quarters that sending Major-Gen Khanduri would result in the reduction of a seat in the Lok Sabha and in case the party is unable to perform well in the coming poll it would have a damaging effect on his image, as happened in case of Sushma Swaraj when she was asked to take over as Delhi Chief Minister from Sahib Singh Verma. Under these circumstances, Mr Dhyani will be the ideal candidate.

A senior leader said: “One should not be surprised if a dark horse, known for his organisational abilities and having RSS backing, emerges as the possible successor to Mr Swamy.” Mr Dhyani is known for his organisational ability as was evident during the Uttaranchal statehood movement in which he was instrumental in setting up of village level committees.

But there is also a strong feeling among the bigwigs of the party that Major-Gen Khanduri, an ex-serviceman, would be the ideal candidate as he enjoyed great respect among the local population and possessed good management skills.

In case he takes over as Uttaranchal CM, he need not resign his Lok Sabha seat as only five-and-a-half months are left for the poll. In the event of a bad showing he will have the option of coming back to the Centre.

All said and done, any final decision on the issue is likely to be taken only after October 18, the day BJP National President Jana Krishnamurthy’s son will take place in Chennai.

Moreover, the central leadership will also consult the state leadership and MLAs before announcing the name to avoid any possible rebellion, sources said.

Meanwhile, emerging out of the meeting, Mr Thakre told waiting newspersons that “no final decision has been taken and it will take a few days more.”
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Gujarat: Liquor ban to continue

Ahmedabad, October 16
Gujarat will continue with its policy of prohibition and its implementation would be more stringent now, State Minister for Prohibition Fakirbhai Vaghela has said.

Addressing a meeting of advisory committee of the Prohibition Department here yesterday, Mr Vaghela said that there was no question of relaxing the prohibition policy.

He also warned that stringent action, including termination, would be taken against any police official found involved in running illegal liquor business.

The meeting was attended by senior police officials and MLAs of the Ahmedabad region. UNI
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India, Iran hold strategic dialogue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
India and Iran met today to hold the first India-Iran Dialogue on Strategic issues. The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer. Mr Mohsen Aminzadeh, Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific, led the Iranian delegation.

The discussions between the two sides today focussed on regional and international security perspectives, security and defence policies of India and Iran and issues related to the international disarmament agenda. India and Iran share common perspectives on several important issues affecting security and stability in the region, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Both sides agreed that the dialogue on strategic issues had commenced at a time when developments of far-reaching consequence were taking place in the region. 
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Suit pendency can’t quash proceedings: SC

New Delhi, October 16
The Supreme Court has ruled that mere pendency of a suit cannot be a cause for quashing criminal proceedings in a case of forgery.

Apprehending criminal action against them, the accused in such cases would be encouraged to frustrate the course of justice by filing suits with respect to the documents intended to be used against them, the court said.

The onus of proving the allegations beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal case, the court said, was not applicable in the civil proceedings which can be decided merely on the basis of the probabilities with respect to the acts complained of.

The ruling was given by a Bench comprising Mr Justice M.B. Shah and Mr Justice R.P. Sethi.

The appeal by Mr M. Krishnan was directed against an order of the Karnataka High Court quashing criminal proceedings against Vijay Singh and another charged with the offence of forging documents, bonds and other papers.

The Supreme Court in its judgement said that in a criminal court the allegations made in a complaint had to be established independently notwithstanding the adjudication by a civil court.

“Where the actual foundations for the offence have been laid down in the complaint, the high court should not hasten to quash criminal proceedings merely on the premise that one or two ingredients have not been stated with the details or that the facts narrated reveal the existence of commercial or money transaction between the parties,’’ the court observed.

It cannot be said that the complaint filed by the appellant did not disclose the commission of an offence or there existed any other circumstance which can be made the basis for quashing the proceedings, the court added.

In fact the allegations made in the complaint required adjudication and the complaint could not have been aborted in the manner it has been done by the high court by the impugned order.

The impugned judgement being contrary to the settled position of law was thus not sustainable, the court added. UNI
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Left to protest against George’s reinduction
Our Correspondent

Kolkata, October 16
The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, has been accused of having links with the LTTE and some other terrorist outfits operating in the north-eastern states.

These allegations have been made by the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharya, who has vehemently criticised Mr Fernandes’ re-entry into the Vajpayee government before the completion of the judicial probe into the Tehelka expose in which he was implicated.

Mr Bhattacharya said the CPM and other Left parties as well as the Congress would launch an agitation both inside and outside Parliament against the “Tehelka-tainted Fernandes’ re-entry into the Cabinet”.

Mr Bhattacharya was in Bhubaneswar yesterday to attend an official function. He alleged that the Vajpayee government had been following the previous Congress government’s policy of ignoring the backward north-eastern states.

The Chief Minister said he had held talks with Mr P.A. Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker and Nationalist Congress party leader, regarding the formation of a joint action group of regional states to fight against the “wrong” policies of the Centre.
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Hoax hijack calls made to Alliance Air
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
There was considerable flutter when the local office of Alliance Air again received two hoax calls of hijacking of flight number 744 on October 13. The first call was received at 3.38 p.m. and the second one at 3.46 p.m.

Authorities of Alliance Air immediately reported the matter to the Airport police but it was transferred to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police for a thorough investigation.

The police said during investigation it was found that the calls were made by a 14-year-old boy whose name was held back by the police. The phone belonged to Daljit Singh who lives in Udham Singh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh but it was being used by Vikramjit Singh, his son, who left Rampur for Punjab after the calls were made.

The police said Vikramjit Singh’s family revealed during interrogation that the calls were made by a 14-year-old boy. The boy had earlier read a story of hijacking of Alliance Air 7444 in a magazine.
Top

 

Cong MP sought release of ’84 riots guilty: ACP

New Delhi, October 16
Congress leader Dharam Das Shastri had sought release of several persons arrested on charges of rioting and looting property of Sikhs during the 1984 riots and a party MLC even manhandled an SHO for not complying with their demand, the Justice Nanavati Commission was informed today.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), Mr Ranbir Singh, told the commission that then Congress MP, Mr Shastri, along with several other party leaders and activists had come to the Karol Bagh police station on November 5, 1984, and tried to impress upon the top police officers, including then Additional Commissioner of Police H.C. Jatav and Deputy Commissioner of Police Amod Kanth, to release the rioters.

Mr Ranbir Singh, who was the Karol Bagh SHO at that time, said when he refused to comply with their demand, Congress Member of Legislative Council M.L. Bakolia manhandled him in the presence of the senior police officers.

Despite all pressures, the police did not agree to set free the guilty of the riots, the ACP told the panel during his cross-examination by riot victims counsel H.S. Phoolka. UNI
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Railways declares highest-ever bonus

New Delhi, October 16
The Ministry of Railways has declared the highest-ever bonus to be given to about 14.7 lakh Railway employees belonging to groups B, C and D.

The ministry has announced the payment of productivity linked bonus (PLB) equivalent to 57 days’ wages for 2000-01 compared to 54 days’ wages in the previous year, according to an official press note issued here today.

It has also been decided that the subscribers to the State Railway Provident Fund (SRPF), who are entitled to the PLB, will be allowed to deposit the whole or part of the amount admissible under the scheme.

The PLB was based on the productivity indices reflecting performance of the Railways, the press note said. UNI 
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MCD seeks private assistance to keep Capital clean
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 16
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has sought assistance from private entrepreneurs to make the National Capital clean and green. It is a long-term strategy to involve financial assistance from private parties for investment in solid waste projects, recharging of water storm, water drains, sanitation service and development engineered SLF sites, the Mayor of Delhi, Mr Shanti Desai said.

The MCD has constituted teams comprising Deputy Commissioners, Joint Directors, Superintending Engineers and Deputy Directors, Horticulture. The team members will inspect their respective areas to ensure that work of sanitation and cleanliness is carried out perfectly. The Capital has been divided into 12 districts to make the drive successful.

Mr Desai said the Conservancy and Sanitation Department would be accountable for collecting and disposing of garbage. Removal of garbage from by-lanes will be given priority. He added that special attention would be given to improve the surroundings as well as entry or exit points of Old and New Delhi Railway Stations, ISBTs, airports, markets, religious places and major road junctions.
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State of education worries Sorabjee
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, October 16
Attorney General, Soli Sorabjee today expressed serious concern over the state of education in the country and deplored the low priority accorded to education by the policy makers.

“Today hundreds of millions are out of schools and for those who attend school there are no teachers .In India education is not given priority by the decision makers. They have no sense of urgency,” he said while releasing a report of the national education convention here.
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Inauguration of project delayed
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, October 16
The inauguration of much awaited Sidhmukh-Nohar irrigation project has been further delayed. The inauguration which earlier was to took place on October 15, now will be done on November 19, on the birthday anniversary of Ms Indira Gandhi.

The state government has already started preparations for the inauguration. Sources said Congress President, Sonia Gandhi has been invited to inaugurate it. The project which is being run with help of the European Union is in its last phase. Sources said the ongoing work of construction of a railway overbridge in Fathebad in Haryana has delayed the inauguration.

Though the construction of the overbridge may take some time, but the state government has been trying to get the inauguration ceremony done on November 19, by releasing water in small quantity in the Nohar feeder. The Irrigation Department has sent its approval for the date to the state government.

A formal invitation to Ms Sonia Gandhi had been sent by the Chief Minister. The foundation stone of the project was laid in 1989 by the Prime Minister late Mr Rajeev Gandhi in Bhirani in Haryana.

At that time Ms Sonia Gandhi has accompanied him, this is why, the ruling party wants that Ms Sonia Gandhi come for the inauguration of the project.
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

ANTHRAX STRIKES IN WEST BENGAL
DURGAPUR (WB):
Anthrax virus has killed about 10 cows at Mollasarul village in West Bengal, an official of State Poultry Farm said here on Tuesday. Assistant Director of the farm here, B.M. Dewasi said a few days ago some cows had died of the deadly virus in the village in Burdwan district. PTI

2 MINORS HELD FOR RANSACKING CHURCH
AIZAWL:
The Mizoram police has detained two minors for allegedly ransacking a Presbyterian church. The police said here on Tuesday that the boys, aged seven years, had allegedly ransacked the church at Theririat in Lunglei district on September 23. Theft was believed to be the motive behind the crime. UNI

3 CUSTOMS MEN HURT, 4 SMUGGLERS HELD
BARASAT (WB):
Three customs officials were injured and four smugglers arrested after a clash between the officials and the smugglers near a bus stand in Salt Lake, according to the police. Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Biwajit Banerjee said the customs officials, on getting information that some smugglers were bringing a huge quantity of Bangladeshi cloth in a Dhaka-Kolkata bus, raided the bus stand late Monday night. When the officials tried to seize the cloth, the smugglers resisted and in the clash the officials were injured. PTI

4 KILLED, 2 HURT IN ROAD MISHAP
CHENNAI:
Four persons were killed and two others seriously injured when the Mahindra van in which they were travelling, collided with a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus at Vandipalayam near Villuppuram on the Chennai-Tiruchirapalli National Highway early Thursday morning. Reports received at the police headquarters here said that the deceased included the van driver. The injured were rushed to the JIPMER hospital in Pondicherry. UNI

ULTRAS KILL 1, BLAST MANDAL OFFICE
KARIMNAGAR:
One person was killed by outlawed Peoples’ War Group (PWG) while a mandal office was blasted by a separate group of naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, the police said on Tuesday. The PWG ultras killed Allam Rajalinggam (50) of Khammampalli village in Mutharam mandal on Monday, suspecting him to be a police informer. In a separate incident, about 15 naxalites of CPI (ML) Janasakti group blasted the mandal parishad office at Kodamial mandal headquarters in the district, nearly 50 km from here, on Monday night. PTI
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