Sunday, November 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Registering of defence agents okayed
New Delhi, November 3
The government today gave the clearance for registering of defence agents by putting in place a regulatory mechanism for the deals to be carried out in the defence sector. An official press note said today that a partnership, an association of persons, a limited company, private or public can be appointed authorised representative, agent, sales consultant or adviser of a foreign supplier.

Tenth Plan: stress on governance than targets
New Delhi, November 3
The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr K.C. Pant, has said the Tenth Plan will shift focus from a target-oriented approach to improved governance and delivery systems for food security and poverty alleviation programmes.

Stop Samjhauta Express: Shiv Sena
New Delhi, November 3
The Shiv Sena today sent a memorandum to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee demanding withdrawal of rail and road transport services between India and Pakistan in national interest.

Mahanta beats up wife
New Delhi, November 3
Ms Jayashree Goswami Mahanta, wife of former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta reportedly sustained minor injuries after she was allegedly assaulted by her husband following an altercation late last night.

Bid to revive the age old traditional "Sarangi" and "Kamaicha" music.

(28k, 56k)
Gujarat cotton-farmers oppose the ban on the genetically engineered BT crop.
(28k, 56k)

Jaya gets stay in hotels’ case
Chennai, November 3
The Madras High Court today stayed, till further orders, proceedings in the court of Principal Sessions Judge (PSJ) pertaining to a charge sheet filed against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the purchase of two hotels in London in 1994 and also dispensed with her appearance before the PSJ in response to summons by him.


A woman shows her hands decorated with Heena paste on the eve of the Hindu festival of Karwa Chauth in New Delhi, on Saturday.
A woman shows her hands decorated with Heena paste on the eve of the Hindu festival of Karwa Chauth in New Delhi, on Saturday.
— Reuters


EARLIER STORIES

 

Cong puts off decision on Virbhadra pleas
New Delhi, November 3
Eager to see an end to the infighting in its Himachal Pradesh unit, the Congress high command is keeping its cards close to the chest. Trying to appear even-handed in its approach towards the two groups of the state Congress, it has not acceded to major demands of the Virbhadra Singh group while taking note of its complaints against some actions of PCC chief Vidya Stokes.

Mythic Saraswati’s course found
Sriganganagar, November 2
Scientists searching for the “mythical” Saraswati have achieved a major breakthough by identifying the course of the river which became subterranean 5, 000 years ago and finds a mention in various ancient texts.

Dalai Lama with Buddhist monks at a function at Salugara in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal on Friday.Dalai Lama flays US attacks
Kolkata, November 3
The Dalai Lama, who is in the state on a 10-day visit, said he was ready to hold talks with China to find a political settlement of the Tibet issue.

Dalai Lama with Buddhist monks at a function at Salugara in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal on Friday.
— PTI photo

Air chief lauds flight safety efforts
New Delhi, November 3
Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis today lauded the flight safety efforts leading to a significant drop in the number of ‘bird strikes’ incidents at the Annual Flight Safety Council meeting at Air Force Station, Adampur.

Forum decides in consumers favour
Hanumangarh, November 3
In two separate decisions, the District Consumer Forum has given verdicts in favour of the consumers.

Foreign print media’s entry opposed
New Delhi, November 3
The CPI(M) today said the government was paving the way for the entry of foreign print media into the country by proposing to allow non-news foreign technical journals.
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Registering of defence agents okayed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
The government today gave the clearance for registering of defence agents by putting in place a regulatory mechanism for the deals to be carried out in the defence sector.

An official press note said today that a partnership, an association of persons, a limited company, private or public can be appointed authorised representative, agent, sales consultant or adviser of a foreign supplier. The system comes after the decision to open up the sector by lifting the ban on employment of agents in defence purchases.

A foreign firm wishing to appoint an Indian authorised representative or agent will inform the Ministry of Defence and furnish details of the business entity, the note said.

The details should cover whether the agent is functioning as an individual, a partnership, a private limited company, since when established, registered address, names and addresses of directors, chief executives and executives, specifically indicating those who are retired civilian or defence service officers, principal place of business and whether the company has any partnership abroad, it said.

It was also required to give the previous professional background and suitable details of the nature of business undertaken by the authorised representative and agent.

The authorised representative must be an income tax payee, must have a permanent income tax account number, disclose the name and address of the bankers within and outside the country.

The agent has to provide attested photocopies of all agreements with the principal, including supplementary agreements, covering appointment as authorised representative and terms relating to the deal, the note said, adding that the accreditation of an authorised representative would be granted after approval at the level of secretary of the department or an officer authorised by him.

In all purchases effected through the authorised representative, the scale of commissions payable shall be as per the guidelines approved from time to time. These would be determined by the MoD in consultation with MoD (Finance).

All particulars relating to the commission should be reported to the Enforcement Directorate, which would send them to the CBDT, CBEC and RBI to prevent leakage of foreign exchange and tax evasion.
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Tenth Plan: stress on governance than targets
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr K.C. Pant, has said the Tenth Plan will shift focus from a target-oriented approach to improved governance and delivery systems for food security and poverty alleviation programmes.

The achievement of food security for halving poverty by 2015 will require a strong political commitment at the national and global levels. Priority would have to be given to both resource allocation and policy reforms, he added.

Mr Pant, along with other experts, was speaking on the subject of hunger at a function here yesterday. He was joined by Dr Y.K. Alagh, former Union Power Minister and Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Pedro Medrano, representative, World Food Programme, Prof Abhijit Sen, former Chairman, Agricultural Costs and Prices, and Mr M.D. Asthana, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission.

They were of the opinion that battling hunger required a multi-pronged strategy and the problem was not uni-dimensional.

Saying that hunger is the worst form of deprivation, the experts pointed out that India alone comprised 207 million undernourished people. This is one-fourth of the world’s malnourished and more than one-fifth of the population of India.

They highlighted the huge fiscal burden of maintaining 40 million tonnes of foodstocks, which in 1999-2000 was of the order of Rs 13,000 crore. Of this the subsidy element was Rs 6,000 crore and Rs 7,000 crore was the cost of holding the stocks.

Mr Pant said while the country had solved, to a large extent, the problem of production of foodgrains, the main constraint was that of accessibility. “This entails generating incomes in the hands of the rural and urban poor. It requires that the fruits of development must accrue more and more to the poor. Upgradation of poverty alleviation programmes is crucial for this purpose.’’

Dr Alagh said improving the efficiency of irrigation systems, faster groundwater exploitation through acquifier management and land and water management in difficult agro-climatic regimes would have to be at the heart of efforts to achieve higher agricultural productivity and equity. 
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Stop Samjhauta Express: Shiv Sena
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
The Shiv Sena today sent a memorandum to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee demanding withdrawal of rail and road transport services between India and Pakistan in national interest.

Mr Jai Bhagwan Goyal, President of the Delhi unit of the Shiv Sena, told TNS that rail and road link is being misused by Pakistan to send extremists to India. He drew attention to cases where bus and train passengers had been arrested on charges of carrying fake currency notes. Apart from this, action was taken against a bus driver on the Lahore route for his complicity with the ISI. “The Home Ministry and the intelligence agencies are fully aware that Samjhauta Express is being used by operators of Pakistan’s ISI to foment trouble in the country,” Shiv Sena President and Vice-President Abhimanyu Gulati said in a statement issued here today.

Mr Goel said the Punjab unit of Shiv Sena led by Surinder Arora had even tried to stop the Delhi-Lahore bus last year.

The Shiv Sena leaders also criticised Mr Vajpayee for “soft-pedalling” the issue of terrorism being abetted and sponsored from across the border.

The two leaders described Mr Vajpayee’s concern over the Pakistani army build-up on the border as “theatrical” and said if the government was really serious about countering terrorism, it should smash all militants training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

“The BJP government is ostensibly playing the Hindu card in view of the assembly poll in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
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Mahanta beats up wife
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
Ms Jayashree Goswami Mahanta, wife of former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta reportedly sustained minor injuries after she was allegedly assaulted by her husband following an altercation late last night.

Ms Jayashree Goswami Mahanta, who rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, was discharged after first aid. She is understood to have sustained minor nose bleed and some abrasions on her head.

The police said her statement had been recorded and further investigations are on.

According to sources, an alleged late night brawl between the two in their Humayun Road residence in the heart of the Capital resulted in Mahanta’s wife landing at the hospital with “some injuries”.

Ms Jayashree Mahanta was allegedly assaulted by the former Chief Minister following the beating up of their child by the mother, sources said, adding that she sustained injuries on her nose, arm and eye.

An official at the Tughlak Road police station told The Tribune that Ms Jayashree Mahanta called up at 11:45 pm and asked them to send a police official to her residence at once as she wanted to make some complaint.

Immediately, a sub-inspector was sent to her residence. Subsequently, Jayashree Mahanta was rushed to the nearby Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital after a preliminary statement was recorded.

She was brought to the hospital at 1.55 a.m. and discharged at about 3 a.m. today. Meanwhile, Mr Mahanta, it is learnt, has taken an early morning flight to Guwahati.

Although Ms Jayashree Mahanta has complained to the police that she was assaulted by her husband, the police has made a daily diary entry.

Even as the police is going slow on the registration of an FIR, apparently in the wake of the sensitivity of the case, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Security) Satyendra Garg has conducted a separate inquiry into the matter.

Mr Garg said, “She is a VIP and it is my duty to ascertain the facts.”

In recent months, Mr Mahanta’s marriage has been in the eye of the storm with Sanghamitra Bharali claiming to have married the former Chief Minister secretly in Mumbai.

Although Mr Mahanta continued to deny his involvement, his political adversaries ensured that he lose the party Presidentship of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). Mr Mahanta had received a lot of flak for the drubbing the AGP got in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Assam.
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Jaya gets stay in hotels’ case

Chennai, November 3
The Madras High Court today stayed, till further orders, proceedings in the court of Principal Sessions Judge (PSJ) pertaining to a charge sheet filed against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the purchase of two hotels in London in 1994 and also dispensed with her appearance before the PSJ in response to summons by him.

Justice P.D. Dinakaran issued the interim order on a petition filed by Jayalalithaa seeking to stay all proceedings against her in the case and to quash the summons issued by PSJ Ashok Kumar on October 4 for her appearance in court on November 5.

He issued notice to the Advocate General and Public Prosecutor on behalf of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) and posted the petition for hearing on November 8, after they had sought time to advance their submissions before the court.

The judge admitted the petition “after considering the complexity of issues raised in the petition and the obligations imposed by law”.

Purchase of the Hops Croft Holt Hotel at Steeple Aston and Slaley Hall at Hexam at a total cost of Rs 43.98 crore had come to light during further investigations by the DVAC in the Rs 66.65 crore ‘disproportionate wealth’ case against Jayalalithaa. PTI
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Cong puts off decision on Virbhadra pleas
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
Eager to see an end to the infighting in its Himachal Pradesh unit, the Congress high command is keeping its cards close to the chest. Trying to appear even-handed in its approach towards the two groups of the state Congress, it has not acceded to major demands of the Virbhadra Singh group while taking note of its complaints against some actions of PCC chief Vidya Stokes.

Senior leaders of the party, who have been making the right noises to end the infighting, have actually done little so far to bring the two warring sides together. Observers here say that the high command wants a situation of equilibrium between the two groups so that none appears to have an edge over the other and both look towards the central leaders for support and guidance.

In this context, they point to the high command’s lack of decision-taking on the complaints of the Virbhadra Singh group regarding organsational elections in the state. Supporters of the former Chief Minister had filed about 25 complaints with the Central Election Authority (CEA) of the Congress alleging widespread rigging in the organisational elections held nearly a year back.

Mr Virbhadra Singh and his supporters have made several trips to Delhi to seek a decision on the complaints but the high-command has done little, except giving them assurances. Inquiries from the CEA revealed that the probe on the complaints had been completed and these were lying with Ms Mohsina Kidwai, the general secretary in charge for a final decision.

With the elections in the state nearly a year away, The high command is in touch with other senior leaders of the state. Former PCC chief Sat Mahajan met both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Ms Kidwai in the recent past. 
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Mythic Saraswati’s course found
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, November 2
Scientists searching for the “mythical” Saraswati have achieved a major breakthough by identifying the course of the river which became subterranean 5, 000 years ago and finds a mention in various ancient texts.

Hydrogeologists have been on the job for the past many years. A large part of the earmarked area was mapped by satellite in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. So far a stretch of 170 km from where the river flowed has been discovered from a total of 1, 700 sq km earmarked for the exercise.

Sources confirmed the find and said tubewells sunk along the entire stretch had yielded good quality drinking water which could prove to be a boon for the drought-prone arid district, besides fulfilling the irrigation needs of the people.

Finding the river was a major challenge for the scientists from the Groundwater Department and this breakthough has come in after three years of intense efforts of the team. The project was divided into three phases and the present success marks the successful completion of the first phase.

The areas of Tanot, Kishangarh, Dharmikut, Kuria Beri, Ghantiali, Ranau, Laungewala and Ghotaru in Jaisalmer were identified on the basis of their reference in various ancient texts and the preliminary hydrogeological survey some years ago. Some tubewells were also sunk which yield drinking water confirming the presence of a river underneath.

The samples of geophysical drilling and some of the core samples of subsoil were sent for analysis to the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. Samples of water were sent to the Bhabha Atomic Research Institute.

Reports received from both institutes certify that the soil and water samples were between 2, 400 and 4, 600 years old and were of the same period when the river was on the course of going subterranean. Initial reports suggest that the soil samples were of the same time period as that of the Saraswati.

According to the evidence before scientists, it has been established that the river also flowed through Rajasthan and at places the river was 500 m to 1. 5 km broad and 35-40 metres deep. Going by calculations, if digging is carried out to a depth of 72 metres, it was possible to “discover” the river presently.

This observation gains strength from the fact that so far all tubewells sunk in the border district have yielded saline water while tubewells sunk along the flow of the river have yielded high-quality drinking water. Some of the wells yield up to 8, 000 gallons of water per hour.

In the second phase of the project, the team will try to find the flow channel of Luni river, a tributary of the river, near Diyatra and Kolayat (Bikaner), Techu Tekra (Falodi), Agolai (Jodhpur) and Kalyanpur (Barmer). The hydrogeological survey has been completed and drilling at selected places is presently underway, the sources said.

In the third phase, hydrogeological surveys will be carried out at sites in Sriganganagar, Anupgarh, Suratgarh, Mohamgarh and Asutar to identify the flow channel of the river to its delta in the Rann of Kutch. This is likely to be completed in the next two years.

Scientists are of the view that a sea touched Jaisalmer district 5, 000 years ago. But at the time a major tectonic movement took place which gave rise to the Himalayas. Since most of the rivers originated from the Himalayas, the flow course of the Saraswati, which passed by Allahabad, got disrupted. It started flowing from the mountains through the plains of Punjab, Haryana, Sriganganagar, Anupgarh, Diyatra, Kolayat and Barmer before finally falling into the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, the sources said.
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Dalai Lama flays US attacks
Our Correspondent

Kolkata, November 3
The Dalai Lama, who is in the state on a 10-day visit, said he was ready to hold talks with China to find a political settlement of the Tibet issue.

The Dalai Lama deplored the US attacks on Afghanistan, as “inhuman and barbarous” and said that he would fight for peace in the world and called all peace-loving people to join him.
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Air chief lauds flight safety efforts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis today lauded the flight safety efforts leading to a significant drop in the number of ‘bird strikes’ incidents at the Annual Flight Safety Council meeting at Air Force Station, Adampur.

The meeting presided by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Marshal V.K. Bhatia was attended by senior officers representing all air bases under Western Air Command.

The highlight of this year’s meeting was the innovative and ingenuity of the personnel of Western Air Command. The devegetation drive at all operational airfields resulted in reduced bird activities implying a major drop in incidents of ‘bird strike’. Innovative equipment used in the devegetation was put on display.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief of the Air staff emphasised on flight safety being an integral component of ‘mission accomplishment’. He said, “Our pilots are highly skilled and this skill should be supplemented by good judgement and timely decision making.”
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Forum decides in consumers favour
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, November 3
In two separate decisions, the District Consumer Forum has given verdicts in favour of the consumers.

The forum ordered an electronic firm to pay a compensation of Rs 2,550 to a consumer, Mr Babu Lal Sharma, who said that the 165 litres refrigerator he had purchased from the firm on March 6, 1998, for Rs 9,200 with a one year warranty, rusted just after six months.

He complained that despite approaching the firm several times, he was not given any satisfactory response.

The forum ordered the firm to replace the body of the refrigerator and pay Rs 2,550, as compensation, to Mr Sharma.

In the second case , filed by Mr Mangturam of Anshia, against a firm dealing in tractors, he said that the diesel pump and a nozzle he had purchased on April 5, 2000, developed fault a month after.

The forum, comprising Mr Dhanraj Gupta and members Mrs Darshna Aggarwal and Mr Mushtaq Mohammad, ordered the firm to pay a compensation Rs 3665 to the complainant.
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Foreign print media’s entry opposed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
The CPI(M) today said the government was paving the way for the entry of foreign print media into the country by proposing to allow non-news foreign technical journals.

Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said: “We are strongly against the entry of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the print media. 
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

INDIAN FILM WINS TOP PRIZE
NEW DELHI:
Indian film-maker Mike Pandey’s “Shores of Silence: Whale Sharks in India”, a short film about the mindless slaughter of whale sharks in the country, has won the top prize at the prestigious Turin Environmental Film Festival in Italy. The film, which won the ‘Green Oscar’ last year, received the best short film award ‘Citta di Torino’ last week in the competition section at the ‘Cinemambiente’ festival that has 17 films from all over the world. The 24-minute film was cited by the jury for being the “first visual documentation of the presence of whale sharks in India”. UNI

MIGRATORY BIRDS IN BHITARKANIKA
KENDRAPARA:
Bird lovers here are thrilled over the arrival of migratory water birds in Bhitarkanika National Park for their winter sojourn. An estimated 77,000 birds, including migratory species, had arrived at the Bagagahana nesting site with the onset of monsoon, wildlife warden of the national park Anup Nayak said. The birds which have arrived here for nesting are golden-backed woodpecker, blue-tailed bee-eater, Alexandria parakeet, cotton teal, whistling duck, brown-headed gull, bronzed-winged jacanna and open bill stork. PTI

SI SHOT DEAD BY COMMANDO
DHANBAD:
A Sub-Inspector of the Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP) was shot dead by a JAP commando inside the Topchachi police station in Dhanbad district on Friday night, the police said here. Both SI Om Thapa and the JAP commando Anil Thapa were brought from Ranchi and posted at the police station following the recent attack on a nearby police picket by Naxalites in which 13 policemen were killed, the police said. Anil Thapa, who fired at the SI from his rifle, was arrested, it added. PTI

GORKHAS DEMAND RESERVATION
DEHRA DUN:
The Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha Morcha Party has demanded a 3 per cent backward class reservation for the Gorkha community in Uttaranchal. The party’s National President J.B. Karki told reporters on Friday that the Gorkhas were lagging behind in both social and economic spheres and needed reservation. He said his party would hold a demonstration outside the Vidhan Sabha on Saturday to press its demand. UNI

STUDENTS CALL OFF ARUNACHAL BANDH
ITANAGAR:
The All-Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) on Saturday called off its proposed November 5 bandh and withdrew its three-point demand following resentment and pursuit of personal interest by a section of the student leadership. In a statement here, AAPSU president Nabam Jollaw said the executive council members of the apex students’ body had decided to call off the bandh as “certain district students union leaders and a number of senior students were not fit to carry out AAPSU’s programme in the state.” UNI

CHHOTA RAJAN GANGSTER SHOT
MUMBAI:
The police has shot dead a gangster belonging to the Chhota Rajan gang at Goregaon in north-west Mumbai. Acting on a tip-off, the police laid a trap for Mangesh Raghunath Shinde (26) in Goregaon who was to kill a hotelier who had refused to pay extortion money. When Shinde arrived at around 9 p.m. on Friday, the police asked him to surrender, but he opened fire. The police returned the fire, seriously injuring the gangster. Shinde was rushed to the Cooper hospital where he was declared brought dead. UNI
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