Tuesday, November 27, 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

Walkout in LS over textbooks issue
New Delhi, November 26
A day after parliamentarians set themselves lofty ideals on discipline and decorum, the Opposition today staged a noisy walkout in the Lok Sabha after the government rejected their demand to withdraw the NCERT circular deleting certain portions in school history books.

State funding of poll to be ‘decided’ soon
New Delhi, November 26
The government today said a decision on state funding of elections would be taken soon. Replying to supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, Law, Justice and Company Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley said a group headed by Home Minister L. K. Advani was looking into various recommendations.

Sonia, Mulayam meet at dinner 
New Delhi, November 26
It was "dinner diplomacy" not witnessed in the capital for a long time. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar today attended a dinner hosted by senior CPM leader Somnath Chaterejee. 

Sharad: talks on for labour reforms
New Delhi, November 26
Union Labour Minister Sharad Yadav today said the government was reviewing and updating labour laws in a continuing process to meet the requirements of the prevailing situation and emerging needs.

Demand for new agriculture policy
New Delhi, November 26
Opposition members in the Lok Sabha today demanded that the government should frame a new agriculture policy after taking all political parties into confidence and ensure that farmers’ interests were protected under WTO framework.

Mira Nair Award-winning director Mira Nair (R), with actress Lillete Dubey, gestures during a news conference to promote her film "Monsoon Wedding" in Kolkata on Monday. 
— Reuters


Mahesh Manjrekar
Indian director Mahesh Manjrekar speaks during a news conference to promote his latest film "Ehsaas" in New Delhi on Monday. The film will be released on November 30. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Plan to develop horticulture in HP
New Delhi, November 26
Minister of State for Agriculture Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav today told the Lok Sabha that the government had developed an action plan for the development of horticulture in Himachal Pradesh.

User-operated gates at unmanned level crossings
New Delhi, November 26
The Railways is considering the installation of user-operated hydraulic gates at unmanned level crossings across the zonal railways to check accidents.

Conference on technical education
New Delhi, November 26
The Centre proposes to have a 25-year vision document prepared to cover the entire gamut of technical education.

VIDEOS

Nagesh Kukonoor's latest venture "Bollywood Calling" is a satire on the popular Indian film industry.

(28k, 56k)

Defence Minister George Fernandes visits the border areas of Bhuj.(28k, 56k)

 Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Bangalore.
(28k, 56k)

A tug of war starts between the residents of Shivdaspur village in Varanasi and an NGO "Gudiya"...the reason being the prostitutes living in the village.
(28k, 56k)

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Walkout in LS over textbooks issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
A day after parliamentarians set themselves lofty ideals on discipline and decorum, the Opposition today staged a noisy walkout in the Lok Sabha after the government rejected their demand to withdraw the NCERT circular deleting certain portions in school history books.

The House saw interruptions, attacks and counter-attacks from both the ruling side and Opposition benches prompting Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi to observe that the discussions held yesterday to maintain discipline and decorum in the House appeared to have had no impact.

Responding to the submissions made by members during zero hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan justified the deletions and said only portions which hurt the feelings of certain communities or leaders had been deleted.

Mr Mahajan said the government had the authority to delete controversial portions from the school textbooks. History was controversial and there were no final views on many points like the place from where the Aryans had come to India, he said.

“We have not tampered with the books...we have not re-written the books... we have just deleted certain objectionable portions to restore the glory of Guru Teg Bahadur and the Jat community. There is no question of withdrawal of the circular,” Mr Mahajan told the House.

Protesting the deletion of certain portions of textbooks, CPM members alleged this was done at the behest of the Sangh Parivar and there was no difference between the Taliban and them.

Responding to an impromptu discussion during zero hour, Mr Mahajan said the Opposition had not given a single proof to justify their allegation. He wanted to know from the Opposition whether schoolchildren should be taught that Guru Teg Bahadur was a “murderer and rapist” and that the Jat community which had founded the state of Bharatpur was a “plunderer”.

Dissatisfied with the government’s response, the Congress, the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and RJD members angrily walked out of the House.

Raising the issue, CPM member Suresh Kurup alleged, “The Taliban and Sangh Parivar are the two sides of a coin,” and demanded immediate withdrawal of the circular. Members from the Congress, the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the RJD instantly got up in his support.

Defending the circular issued by the National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT), BJP member Sahib Singh Verma said it had done a commendable job by removing the controversial portions. It was not proper to impart “wrong teaching” to the children, he said.

The House witnessed an uproar when Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi left the House when CPM member Basudeb Acharia rose to state his point of view on the issue. Members demanded that Mr Joshi be called back to the House.

Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) said the BJP was trying to highlight their achievements through school textbooks. Alleging that the BJP was trying to distort history, he said the Taliban destroyed the Buddha statues while the BJP demolished the Babri Masjid.

Former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar (SJP) said history was not always correct, and the Education Ministry could correct any mistake. However, no book had been banned as such, he pointed out.

He said his understanding was that changes were made in tune with the recommendations of the S B Chavan report.Top

 

State funding of poll to be ‘decided’ soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
The government today said a decision on state funding of elections would be taken soon.

Replying to supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, Law, Justice and Company Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley said a group headed by Home Minister L. K. Advani was looking into various recommendations, including the Inderjit Gupta report, for arriving at a final decision on the matter.

Stating that the decision on the issue could not have a time limit, the minister said the process was in an “advanced stage” and people would hear about it soon.

Mr Jaitley was also non-committal when asked by Dr Karan Singh of the Congress whether a decision could be expected before the coming assembly elections, which are due in the next three-four months or before the general election which could take place in the next three years.

The Inderjit Gupta report had suggested funding in the form of kind rather than cash and among its recommendations was allocation of Rs 600 crore each both by the Centre and collectively by the state governments for funding elections.

However, those who have agreed to the policy of state funding have not agreed on the issue of their self-contribution, Mr Jaitley said in an apparent reference to some of the state governments.

He said the report of the Congress committee headed by Dr Manmohan Singh had called for transparency in the method of funding elections.Top

 

Sonia, Mulayam meet at dinner 
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
It was "dinner diplomacy" not witnessed in the capital for a long time. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar today attended a dinner hosted by senior CPM leader Somnath Chaterejee. Though the overt aim of the meeting was greater floor coordination in Parliament, it was also meant to be a message for the coming UP elections where the Opposition parties fear a division of the "secular vote."

Also present at the dinner were former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, Congress Deputy Leader Shivraj Patil, veteran CPM leader Jyoti Basu, West Bengal Chief Minister Budhadev Bhattacharya, Akali leader Simranjit Singh Mann, G M Banatwala (Muslim League), Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RLD), Haribhau Mahale JD (S), and Left leaders including Amarroy Pradhan and Biman Bose . 

It was the first meeting of Ms Gandhi with Mr Yadav and Mr Pawar, who have not enjoyed the best of equations with her. The coming together of the various Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha is significant as the previous attempts to achieve such unity had failed.Top

 

Sharad: talks on for labour reforms
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Union Labour Minister Sharad Yadav today said the government was reviewing and updating labour laws in a continuing process to meet the requirements of the prevailing situation and emerging needs.

Answering during the question hour in the Lok Sabha, Mr Yadav admitted that several trade union organisations had opposed the amendments to the Industrial Act, 1947 and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.

The minister informed the House that the government’s intention was to amend the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, while a review of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 was already announced during the budget presentation.

Amendments to other laws were under various stages of examination, Mr Yadav pointed out adding that the government had appointed a group of ministers on Labour Reforms which had been examining this issue. Top

 

Demand for new agriculture policy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Opposition members in the Lok Sabha today demanded that the government should frame a new agriculture policy after taking all political parties into confidence and ensure that farmers’ interests were protected under WTO framework.

Participating in a resumed discussion on problems faced by farmers, the Samajwadi Party supremo, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav said the government had neglected the farm sector and farmers were facing untold miseries and hardships due to faulty policies.

The government also faced some embarrassing moments when members of two NDA allies, Mr Raghunath Jha of the Samata Party and Mr Prasanna Acharya of the Biju Janata Dal, took exception to the absence of the Minister for Food, Mr Shanta Kumar, when the House took up the discussion.

Ms Preneet Kaur, a Congress member from Punjab, said the condition of farmers, mainly in Punjab, had worsened as they were not being given remunerative prices, even the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government, despite steep rise in the cost of production of agricultural commodities.

In the parliamentary constituency of Patiala, she said, the flood in Ghaggar every year caused havoc and described it as a national disaster. She urged the Centre to find a solution to the problem as it was an inter-state matter.
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NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Plan to develop horticulture in HP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Minister of State for Agriculture Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav today told the Lok Sabha that the government had developed an action plan for the development of horticulture in Himachal Pradesh.

He said the government was providing assistance to the state governments for the development of agriculture, including horticulture crops, under the centrally sponsored scheme on macro-management in agriculture — supplementation/complementation of state’s efforts through work plans.

He said under this scheme, the state governments had the option to prioritise their programmes according to their needs. The minister said an outlay of Rs 1,800 lakh had been earmarked for Himachal Pradesh during 2001-02 under this scheme. Of this, Rs 578 lakh was for development of horticulture in the state. Besides, assistance of Rs 14 lakh had been released to Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, under the Central Sector Scheme on Human Resource Development in Horticulture.

Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Ananth Kumar told the Rajya Sabha that the Punjab Government had shown interest in the Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana proposed by the government. The scheme, scheduled to be launched this year, aims at providing shelters or upgrading the existing shelters for people living below the poverty line in urban slums. He said the centrally sponsored scheme applied to all states/UTs, including Punjab.Top

 

User-operated gates at unmanned level crossings
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
The Railways is considering the installation of user-operated hydraulic gates at unmanned level crossings across the zonal railways to check accidents.

This was announced by Minister for Railways Nitish Kumar during the inspection of a similar device at Gari Harsaru in Gurgaon district of Haryana.

The minister said the gates would be initially installed at different locations on an experimental basis. He said such gates cost about Rs 1.25 lakh each. On the other hand, the installation of manned level crossing, cost Rs 10 lakh.

Sources in the Northern Railway said the new device had been developed by the South-Eastern Railway and had proved successful. It was easy to install and light to operate.Top

 

Conference on technical education
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
The Centre proposes to have a 25-year vision document prepared to cover the entire gamut of technical education. Announcing this at the inauguration of a conference of state Education Secretaries (Technical), Secretary Secondary and Higher Education, M.K. Kaw, said that it would be fruitful to have a broader perspective on all aspects of technical education.

Mr Kaw urged the states to prepare their own vision documents to facilitate a better synergy between the Central and state programmes. 
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NATIONAL BRIEFS

VAJPAYEE’S TEACHER DEAD
KANPUR:
Noted educationist and a one-time teacher of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr Mohan Pandey, died here on Monday after a protracted illness. Mr Pandey, 85, is survived by three sons and a daughter. He had taught Mr Vajpayee during his postgraduation and had also served as the Head of the Political Sciences Department at Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) College for over two decades. PTI

STRIKE HITS LIFE IN MANIPUR
IMPHAL:
Normal life was disrupted in Manipur on Monday following a 24-hour general strike launched by a women’s organisation demanding immediate withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act from the state. Official sources said attendance in government offices was thin and adequate security forces had been deployed at vulnerable places to maintain law and order. The transport operators cancelled long-distance bus services. PTI

CHARAS WORTH RS 10 LAKH SEIZED
DEHRA DUN:
Six kg of charas, worth Rs 10 lakh in the international market, was seized from four persons, including two Nepalese, from the Khatima area of Udham Singh Nagar district, the police said here on Monday. The contraband was recovered from the accused identified as Bhawani Chander, Dal Bahadur, Arif Khan and his wife Abida Begum on Sunday, DIG (Crime) Mr Anil Raturi said here. A case under the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances (Prevention) Act has been registered against them, Mr Raturi added. PTI

4 HELD ON CHARGE OF DALIT’S MURDER
MEERUT:
Four persons, including a woman, were arrested in connection with the murder of a deputy panchayat chief on Sunday night triggering tension in the area, the police said here on Monday. Prabhu Dayal Jatav, a Dalit, was killed at Mator village, 12 km from here, the SSP Mr Daljeet Singh Chaudhary, said here. PTI
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