Monday, October 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Experts want law on disaster management
New Delhi, October 21
The high powered committee constituted by the Prime Minister to review disaster management practices in the country has in its final report submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture on October 8 recommended a suitable legislation to define the respective roles of central and state governments in the event of a disaster and fix responsibility.

Pension forfeiture after GCM okay: SC
New Delhi, October 21
The Supreme Court has held that forfeiture of the pension of a member of the armed forces after his dismissal by the General Court Martial would not amount to double punishment.

India, Mauritius to promote tourism
New Delhi, October 21
India and Mauritius will jointly promote two special tour packages — Europe-Mauritius-India and Dubai-India-Mauritius — following their decision to give a fillip to tourism industries in the two countries that slumped in the wake of terrorist attacks in the USA.

Tourism, India's second-largest foreign exchange earner, has been adversely affected by the September 11 tragedy. Rajasthan, favourite with the tourists, has also suffered.
(28k, 56k)
Terror attacks on America have adversely affected the tourist flow to Mysore city, dampening the famous Dusshera festivities.
(28k, 56k)

Four-day Durga Puja festival begins
Kolkata, October 21
The four-day Durga Puja festival began with the installation of Durga images at different community puja pandals in and around the city today. The state Governor, Mr Vireen J.Shah, a former BJP central committee member and the Bollywood star, Mithun Chakraborty, are among others, who have been much in demand to inaugurate the pujas.




In an effort to modernise education in madarsas, the Karnataka government has decided to introduce science, mathematics, computers, English and Kannada in its curriculum.

(28k, 56k)


EARLIER STORIES

 

Jagat: ultras’ influx into J&K continues
New Delhi, October 21
Despite having vowed to work against terrorism along with world community, Pakistan continues to send mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir and has increased cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border apparently to “provoke” Indian troops, according to the BSF.

Sanjay sorry for not going to court
Mumbai, October 21
Film actor Sanjay Dutt has tendered a written apology to a designated TADA court here after he was pulled up for absenting himself from proceedings during the arguments tendered by the CBI on his alleged complicity in the 1993 bomb blast case.

Chase dreams, Amitabh tells Doon boys
Dehra Dun, October 21
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan exhorted students to develop qualities of leadership and confidence for building bright and prosperous careers. He was addressing students of Doon school on its Founder’s Day late last evening.

5 Agriculture Dept offices merged
Hanumangarh, October 21
Employees of the Irrigated Area Development Department of the Bikaner Division have been adjusted in the Agriculture Department. For this two new Additional Agriculture Directorates have been created to merge five offices of the Agriculture Development.

Project consolidation work begins
Hanumangarh, October 21
Work of consolidation of holdings in the area of the Sidhmukh-Nohar irrigation project has been started. It is expected to be completed in six months, after which tenures for water supply would be fixed. 

Two booked in Red Fort case
New Delhi, October 21
The police has chargesheeted two more militants in the Red Fort shootout case in which a two-member Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) gang had stormed the 17th century historic monument here and killed two Army men and a civilian in December last year.

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Experts want law on disaster management
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
The high powered committee constituted by the Prime Minister to review disaster management practices in the country has in its final report submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture on October 8 recommended a suitable legislation to define the respective roles of central and state governments in the event of a disaster and fix responsibility. The report contains a draft of the National Disaster Management Act and the State Disaster Management Act.

According to Committee Chairman and a former secretary in the Union Government JC Pant, framing of a suitable law would entail an amendment to the Constitution as it is ‘silent’ thus far on this aspect. “Today the responsibility of formulating government’s response to a disaster is essentially that of state governments ... the Union Government only supplements the efforts of the state governments by providing physical and financial resources,” he told The Tribune. Another member of the committee says the legislation would provide for a penal provision as a safeguard against ‘criminal negligence’ on the part of officials or non-utilisation of funds leading to loss of vital government property.

Calling for an integrated multi-hazard approach to disaster preparedness and mitigation, the report underlines the need for establishing a federal agency similar to the Federal Emergency Management Authority of the USA besides creation of an independent ministry — an umbrella organisation — exclusively for disaster management to co-ordinate the activities of various ministries (See table). It has also been suggested that the Cabinet Committee on Disaster Management be made the highest decision-making body (replacing the Group of Ministers) and the All-Party National Committee and the Working Group that fall under it be made permanent bodies so that a “secure” command-and-control mechanism is put into place.

However, the report is woefully short on issues relating to disasters caused by terrorist strikes particularly in the wake of September 11 attacks in the USA and anthrax scare in Delhi. Member-secretary of the committee and head of National Centre for Disaster Management Anil Sinha concedes as much but says the government has been sounded out for engaging expert opinion on bio-terrorism. “There is an urgent need for re-orientation of policy makers to focus on preventive approaches and building a culture of preparedness and strategic thinking,” he told this correspondent.

The report lays stress on training of personnel for which purpose it has suggested the setting up of a national institute for disaster management. Incidentally, only three universities — Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi; Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh, and Anna University, Chennai on are offering courses in this discipline.

Academics say when the government has declared the current decade as National Decade for Disaster Reduction, perhaps it is only apt that besides astrology, students are given the option of pursuing disaster management in universities.
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Pension forfeiture after GCM okay: SC

New Delhi, October 21
The Supreme Court has held that forfeiture of the pension of a member of the armed forces after his dismissal by the General Court Martial would not amount to double punishment.

The theory of double punishment is applicable only in criminal cases where the accused cannot be punished twice for the same offence, the court added.

Section 73 of the Arms Act, the court noted, enables the authorities to impose punishment in combination. Merely because punishment is not imposed under Clause (h) or (k) of Section 71 and other punishments are imposed, it does not mean that the President is deprived of his power and jurisdiction to pass an order forfeiting pension under Regulation 16(a) of the Army Pension Regulation, as also the Central Government under Regulation 15(2) of the Navy Pension Regulations taking note of the punishment imposed under Section 81 of the Navy Act.

A three-Judge Bench comprising Mr Justice B.N. Kirpal, Mr Justice Shivraj V. Patil and Mr Justice P. Venkatarama Reddy handed down the ruling.

The appeals were the fallout of judgements of the Delhi High Court directing consideration by the authorities concerned of the satisfactory services of the four respondents — Commissioned Navy officer P.D. Yadav, commissioned army officers B.S. Ahluwalia and E.K Sugathan and acting Brigadier A.K. Malhotra — before the imposition of punishment.

They had been courtmartialled and dismissed from service on charges of misconduct and financial irregularities. Subsequently their pensions were also forfeited partly or fully. These actions were challenged before the high court.

The high court upheld the validity of the army pension Regulation 16(a) and the Navy Pension Regulation 15(2). It did not find that these regulations were inconsistent with or contrary to the relevant provisions of the Act relating to punishment. But it quashed the impugned orders forfeiting pension on the ground that the prior satisfactory service of the respondents had not been considered. Hence, the appeals by the Union Government.

The Supreme Court in its judgement said that under Section 71(h) of the Act, a punishment of forfeiture of service for the purpose of increased pay, pension or any other prescribed purpose could be imposed. UNI
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India, Mauritius to promote tourism

New Delhi, October 21
India and Mauritius will jointly promote two special tour packages — Europe-Mauritius-India and Dubai-India-Mauritius — following their decision to give a fillip to tourism industries in the two countries that slumped in the wake of terrorist attacks in the USA.

Mauritius Tourism Minister Nandcoomar Bodha, who along with his delegation met his Indian counterpart Mr Jagmohan, said “We have discussed various possibilities to boost the tourism industry of both countries with the Indian Government and it has been proposed to sell and promote two special tour packages.”

He said while Europe-Mauritius-India was already emerging as a popular tour package, the second one was being worked out. “Twining India with Mauritius can generate a good response from the globe-trotters and the two countries together can reap the benefits,” Mr Bodha said.

Mr Bodha said Mauritius would welcome leading Indian hotels to establish their businesses there. However, he said the Mauritius Government was very selective about the hotels and would like only those to enter which can invest upto 8 lakh per room.

Oberois recently opened a luxury hotel in the region at an investment of Rs 2 billion. He said groups like Taj and Ayurvedic Hotel Anand were also exploring ways to set up their hotels in the region.

Currently, 20,000 tourists travel from India to Mauritius and over 12 per cent jump was recovered during last year over the previous year. PTI
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Four-day Durga Puja festival begins
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, October 21
The four-day Durga Puja festival began with the installation of Durga images at different community puja pandals in and around the city today.

The state Governor, Mr Vireen J.Shah, a former BJP central committee member and the Bollywood star, Mithun Chakraborty, are among others, who have been much in demand to inaugurate the pujas. Some Marxist leaders are also organising the pujas.

The city had experienced a prolonged rainfall in the past one week. It dampened the puja spirit. But the inclement weather suddenly changed yesterday with bright sun shining all through.

The war against terrorism, terror attacks on the WTC and Pentagon were a common theme in the decoration of the puja pandals. Osama bin Laden has been projected as asura (the demon) by most of the community puja committees.

Foreign tourists, particularly, from the UK, the USA and other European countries, who usually visit Kolkata during the puja festival, however, this time have not responded.
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Jagat: ultras’ influx into J&K continues

New Delhi, October 21
Despite having vowed to work against terrorism along with world community, Pakistan continues to send mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir and has increased cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border apparently to “provoke” Indian troops, according to the BSF.

There is also no indication of mercenaries leaving Jammu and Kashmir in response to the call of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime to join them in the fight against the US, BSF Director-General Gurbachan Jagat said in an interview here.

He said the September 11 terrorist attacks in the USA and the subsequent developments in the world have had no impact on Pakistan’s activities vis-a-vis Kashmir.

“There has been no change in the intensity of infiltration from Pakistan” even though Islamabad has publicly said it was working with the international coalition to fight against terrorism, Mr Jagat said.

“Infiltration of militants has continued unabated even after the September 11 terrorist attacks”, he said.

While most of them are foreign mercenaries, some Kashmiri youths are also being sent back after training in Pakistan, he said.

Putting the number of militants who have infiltrated this year between 1,000 and 1,200, he said militancy in Jammu and Kashmir was now being sustained by foreign mercenaries, particularly Pakistanis and Afghans.

On the situation on the LoC and International Border with Pakistan, the BSF Chief said firing by Pakistani forces had further escalated over the past one week despite the US urging for restraint and reduction in tension. PTI
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Sanjay sorry for not going to court

Mumbai, October 21
Film actor Sanjay Dutt has tendered a written apology to a designated TADA court here after he was pulled up for absenting himself from proceedings during the arguments tendered by the CBI on his alleged complicity in the 1993 bomb blast case. He is facing the charge of accepting an AK-56 rifle and other weapons from co-accused at his Bandra residence before the explosions shattered the metropolis on March 12, 1993.

Dutt appeared in person before the designated Judge, Mr P. D. Kode on October 19 and sought pardon for his absence from October 8 to 11 when public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had advanced submissions on his alleged role in the conspiracy leading to the blasts.

Accepting his apology, the court warned him against absenting himself from the proceedings and directed the actor to report periodically in this case which had reached its fag end. PTI
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Chase dreams, Amitabh tells Doon boys
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 21
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan exhorted students to develop qualities of leadership and confidence for building bright and prosperous careers. He was addressing students of Doon school on its Founder’s Day late last evening.

He said studying in good schools helps in developing good character besides securing good marks. A good character can only be developed by sportsmanship, giving respect to elders and maintaining discipline.

One should not dismiss one’s dreams. Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. He quoted philosophers and poets to highlight the significance of good education.

The function which was attended by the students, their parents and other guests, was mismanaged as more than 2,000 persons were not allowed to enter the venue even though they had invitations. Many journalists were also stopped at the entrance gate by the school staff and security personnel.
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5 Agriculture Dept offices merged
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, October 21
Employees of the Irrigated Area Development Department of the Bikaner Division have been adjusted in the Agriculture Department. For this two new Additional Agriculture Directorates have been created to merge five offices of the Agriculture Development.

In May 2001, the government had abolished five officers of the Agriculture Development of Bikaner Division that included Hanumangarh, Suratgarh, Anoopgarh, Chattargarh and Pugal. The area under these offices was brought under the Agriculture Department, but the employees of these offices were not adjusted.

For the adjustment of the employees of the abolished offices two Assistant Directorates have been set up in Anoopgarh and Chattargarh. Staff of more than 100 persons have been sanctioned for these offices.
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Project consolidation work begins
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, October 21
Work of consolidation of holdings in the area of the Sidhmukh-Nohar irrigation project has been started. It is expected to be completed in six months, after which tenures for water supply would be fixed. Three executive engineers, 12 assistant engineers and 45 junior engineers have been appointed by the government to carry out the work. Sources said now, with the department carrying out the job itself, about Rs 1.5 crore would be saved. Around 5,000 hectares which are at present being irrigated by the Bhakhra would be included in the area under the project.
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Two booked in Red Fort case

New Delhi, October 21
The police has chargesheeted two more militants in the Red Fort shootout case in which a two-member Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) gang had stormed the 17th century historic monument here and killed two Army men and a civilian in December last year. In another charge sheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) M.S. Sabharwal, the special cell of the Delhi Police named Farooq Ahmad Quasid and Nazir Ahmad Quasid as accused. Both are lodged in a Jammu jail in connection with some other case. PTI
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

VC, NEUROSURGEON FOR UNESCO MEETING
HYDERABAD:
The Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Mr M. Shamim Jairajpuri, and a renowned neurosurgeon from Delhi Dr P.N. Tandon, will attend the 31st session of the UNESCO General Assembly. The duo will attend the two-day session of the General Assembly at Paris beginning October 22. PTI

VISA FEE OF SIKH, HINDU AFGHANS WAIVED
NEW DELHI:
As a humanitarian gesture, the External Affairs Ministry has waived visa charges for all Sikh and Hindu Afghan nationals for entry into India, it was officially stated here on Saturday. An accelerated process for the issue of visas to such individuals has been put in place, according to a spokesperson of the ministry. PTI

INDIAN MUSEUM GETS RARE VISHNU IDOL
KOLKATA:
Indian Museum has in its possession a black basalt stone idol of Lord Vishnu dating back to the 10th century AD. Museum director Shayamal Kanti Chakraborti said here on Saturday that the rare idol of Pala-Sena art was seized by the police in Karimpur 15 years ago from the Indo-Bangladesh border. UNI

BOYCOTT US GOODS, SAY MUSLIMS
MUMBAI:
Muslim intellectuals and religious scholars here have given a call for the economic boycott of all American and British products as a non-violent democratic protest against the bombing in Afghanistan. This was stated in a press note issued here on Saturday by the Mumbai Aman Committee. UNI
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