Friday, November 30, 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

Fernandes addresses LS sans Opposition
New Delhi, November 29
Defence Minister George Fernandes’ strong denial of the violation of the Indian airspace by a US naval ship’s helicopter in Chennai on November 26 became possible only in the absence of the entire Opposition in the Lok Sabha which staged a walkout in protest against the former’s induction in the Union Cabinet.

Oppn stand on George irrational: BJP
New Delhi, November 29
The BJP today described the attitude adopted by the Congress and other Opposition parties in Parliament against Defence Minister George Fernandes as defiance of “all rationale”.

The Guru Nanak Sar Sikh temple is decorated with lights in Bhopal on Wednesday. Guru Nanak Sar Gurdwara is decorated with lights in Bhopal on Wednesday. Gurdwaras across the country have been decorated this week to celebrate the 533rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. — Reuters

RS condemns Imam’s remarks
New Delhi, November 29
The Rajya Sabha today condemned Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s ‘outrageous’ remarks about Rajya Sabha member and cine artiste Shabana Azmi. 

Israel backs India on terrorism
New Delhi, November 29
Israel has expressed full support to India in its fight against international terrorism saying it is also placed in similar circumstances. Commending India for its effort in the formation of the international coalition against terrorism, Israel said the coalition should stay till terrorism was wiped off the face of the earth.


Monkey
A female monkey keeps a puppy warm as the temperature in the Capital goes down. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
A nomad arrives with his camels at the annual Pushkar fair
A nomad arrives with his camels at the annual Pushkar fair in Rajasthan on Thursday. The annual fair attracts many of the state's nomads from various deserts to sell and buy camels and sheep. — Reuters

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Phone exchanges for Lahaul, Spiti
New Delhi, November 29
Minister of State for Communications Tapan Sikdar told the Rajya Sabha that two exchanges were sanctioned for Lahaul and Spiti between 1993 and 1995. He said these exchanges had been installed and no exchange was pending for installation.

Lok Morcha to go it alone in UP
New Delhi, November 29
The Lok Morcha today decided to go it alone in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll and ruled out any alliance with the Congress.

US copter issue: CPM demands apology
New Delhi, November 29
The CPM today accused the Vajpayee government of “surreptiously” entering into a military alliance with the USA having “long-term implications”.

Shanta: no rotting of foodgrains
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 29
In a bid to prevent rotting of foodgrains, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today informed the Rajya Sabha that the government would look into all the problems hindering the construction of godowns.

Nanavati panel: Gujral to depose on Jan 15
New Delhi, November 29
Justice Nanavati Commission, probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has deferred the deposition of former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral as a witness from November 3, to January 15 following his request.

Ban on cellphones to be reviewed
New Delhi, November 29
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will review the policy on banning the use of cellphones and pagers in Jammu and Kashmir and North-East states, Information Technology and Communications Minister Pramod Mahajan told the Rajya Sabha today.

Scheme to combat waterlogging
Hanumangarh, November 29
The Central Government has approved a scheme to solve the waterlogging problem in this area, which has uprooted many families.

VIDEOS
In certain villages of Badayun district of Uttar Pradesh the manufacture and trade in illegal arms has assumed alarming proportions.
(28k, 56k)
Dr Anasuya Kulkarni from Bangalore has a rare collection of musical instruments from all over the world.
(28k, 56k)

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Fernandes addresses LS sans Opposition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Defence Minister George Fernandes’ strong denial of the violation of the Indian airspace by a US naval ship’s helicopter in Chennai on November 26 became possible only in the absence of the entire Opposition in the Lok Sabha which staged a walkout in protest against the former’s induction in the Union Cabinet.

As soon as Mr Fernandes stood up to read out a prepared text, Opposition members sprang on their feet shouting “no, no” and then staged a walkout of the Lok Sabha.

The Opposition, however, returned to the House after 10 minutes.

In the absence of the Opposition in the Lower House, Mr Fernandes said there had been no reports either from Air Force, the navy or civil authorities or the Airport Authority of India to indicate that Indian airspace had been violated by the said US helicopter.

The Defence Minister denied reports in newspapers that the helicopter overflew Kalpakkam nuclear installation for a while. “I would like to assure the honourable members that no such overflight over Kalpakkam nuclear installation took place”, he asserted.

Earlier, the Defence Minister had to face embarrassment again in Parliament when a Congress MP Savshibhai Makwana refused to put question to him listed against the minister’s name saying that Mr Fernandes was occupying the chair “immorally”.

“Mr Fernandes talked of morality all his life, but he has now occupied the chair immorally. Therefore, I do not wish to ask him any question”, Mr Makwana said when Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi asked him to put his question to the minister.

Mr Makwana’s action was immediately supported by his party colleagues and the entire Opposition while the Samata Party members and few BJP MPs protested against this.

In the ensuing din, the Speaker tried to rescue the Defence Minister observing that since the member was not asking the question, it was being treated as withdrawn.

“It is already under my consideration”, Mr Balayogi said replying to Congress members, including Mr Kamal Nath, who sought to know the fate of the notice for discussion on the issue the reinduction of Mr Fernandes under Rule 184 which provides for a voting.

Mr Fernandes came to make a statement as Deputy Speaker P.M. Sayeed had directed the government yesterday to make a statement on the helicopter issue after it had rocked the House and the Opposition had staged a walkout.

In his statement, Mr Fernandes said the government had received specific requests for assistance in connection with ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ from certain friendly countries, including the USA.

“Those requests that conform to our existing policy guidelines for overflights and refuelling of aircraft and port calls by naval ships have been approved”, the minister said.

The guidelines rule out India’s participation in combat operations. Indian military units operating under a foreign flag other than the operation mandated by the United Nations or the provisions of bases on Indian soil for any foreign military units, Mr Fernandes said.Top

 

Oppn stand on George irrational: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The BJP today described the attitude adopted by the Congress and other Opposition parties in Parliament against Defence Minister George Fernandes as defiance of “all rationale”.

Taking strong exception to the “strange attitude” adopted by the Opposition by not posing any questions to Mr Fernandes and not allowing him to make statements, BJP Parliamentary Party spokes-man Vijay Kumar Malhotra said it was a “most unprecedented” action.

He said if the Opposition found anything wrong, it was free to criticise the government and raise objections or even bring a no-confidence motion. But to hold up Parliament and stop a minister from making a statement defied all rationale, he told reporters.

Mr Malhotra said three walkouts in the past week had made the Congress “a party of walkouts” and it was time they looked into their action and came to a conclusion about the ethics prescribed by Parliament.

He said to stop a minister from functioning in Parliament was a “most unprecedented” action.

For the third time in a week, the Congress and other Opposition parties, except the AIADMK, today walked out of Parliament before Mr Fernandes rose to make a statement on the reported violation of the Indian air space by a US helicopter in Chennai.

Prof Malhotra said Mr Fernandes became a minister after the President had administered him the oath of office and secrecy.
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RS condemns Imam’s remarks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Rajya Sabha today condemned Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s ‘outrageous’ remarks about Rajya Sabha member and cine artiste Shabana Azmi.

There was rare unanimity between the Opposition and Treasury Benches when veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh urged the House to condemn the Imam for using remarks against Shabana Azmi.

He said such a remark from a religious leader during a debate on a TV news channel was an insult to an artiste of repute, who also happened to be a Rajya Sabha member.

Ms Azmi who was present in the House watched the members raise the issue in her support.

She had, in the TV debate recently, stated that if the Imam was so much concerned about attacks on Islam he should get himself airdropped at Kandahar and carry out his struggle but not from India.

Several members from the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Left parties and ruling Benches vociferously condemned the Imam.Top

 

Israel backs India on terrorism
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Israel has expressed full support to India in its fight against international terrorism saying it is also placed in similar circumstances.

Commending India for its effort in the formation of the international coalition against terrorism, Israel said the coalition should stay till terrorism was wiped off the face of the earth.

This was conveyed to the Minister for Human Resource Development and Science and Technology, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, by a six-member Israel team headed by the Chairman of the Israel-India Parliamentary Friendship League, Mr Amnon Rubinstein, here today.

After surveying the international scene, the two sides discussed matters of mutual interests.

Mr Amnon also invited Dr Joshi to visit Israel.
Top

 

Lok Morcha to go it alone in UP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Lok Morcha today decided to go it alone in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll and ruled out any alliance with the Congress.

“There is no chance of sharing seats with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, neither is there any scope of a friendly fight,” Samajwadi Party chief and Lok Morcha convener Mulayam Singh Yadav told newspersons after a meeting of the Morcha.

Echoing Mr Yadav’s views, Lok Morcha Chairman and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu said, “There is no question of an electoral alliance with the Congress or any other party for that purpose. The Morcha’s understanding with the Congress in Parliament was something different.”

To a question, Mr Yadav said although leaders of non-Congress Opposition parties attended a dinner meeting recently where Congress President Sonia Gandhi was present, it was limited to floor-coordination in Parliament.

However, he hastened to add that “indeed there was no need for any such electoral understanding with the Congress as we are going to get an absolute majority in UP on our own.”

The Lok Morcha has also decided to file a petition before the Election Commission on December 6 on “denial” of photo-identity cards to its supporters in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Yadav alleged that the officials concerned on one pretext or the other were not preparing the photo-identity card of thousands of people belonging to his party and contrary to the report of the State Election Commission to the Election Commission that about 60 per cent of the voter cards had been prepared in the state, not more than 20 per cent of the voters had got photo-identity cards.

“Denial of voter cards to thousands of people belonging to the Samajwadi Party amounts to murder of democracy,” he said.

Today’s meeting of the Morcha also decided to oppose the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) in Parliament.

“We have taken a stand to fight it (POTO). We shall not allow this to be passed in Parliament,” Mr Basu said.

Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh said the UP elections would be people’s referendum on two issues - first the impact of WTO economic policies on the working classes and secondly the Vajpayee government’s surrendering to the western powers in the matters of national security and sovereignty.Top

 

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
Phone exchanges for Lahaul, Spiti
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Minister of State for Communications Tapan Sikdar told the Rajya Sabha that two exchanges were sanctioned for Lahaul and Spiti between 1993 and 1995. He said these exchanges had been installed and no exchange was pending for installation.

Railway booking centre

Minister of State for Railways O. Rajagopal told the Lok Sabha that the ministry would commission a computerised railway ticket booking centre at district headquarters Kulu or Manali as soon as the Himachal Pradesh Government provided suitable accommodation.

Commuters of NCR

Replying to another question in the Lok Sabha, Mr Rajagopal said the National Capital Region Planning Board under the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation had made a plan to develop commuter travelling within Delhi and the NCR. He said the Railway Ministry had agreed in principle to share the one-third cost of the scheme. The three corridors identified in the first phase were: Shahdara-Sahibabad-Ghaziabad, Minto Bridge-Tilak Bridge-Sahibabad and Dayabasti (Patel Nagar)-Bijwasan-Gurgaon.

Vehicle number plates

Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways (Independent Charge) B.C. Khanduri told the Rajya Sabha that the recent change in the vehicle number plates was for the entire country and was meant to be a long-term measure for security. He said the use of hologram was one of the security features in the new registration number plate. The cost of hologram is included in the cost of registration plate, the precise value of which will be a commercial decision by the manufacturer/supplier of the registration plates.

Central roads fund projects

Replying to another question in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Khanduri said 12 projects amounting to Rs 3390.17 lakh during 2000-01 and 13 projects amounting to Rs 4,519 lakh during 2001-2 had been sanctioned in Jammu and Kashmir.

LPG agencies in Haryana

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Santosh Kumar Gangwar told the Lok Sabha that till April 1 this year, 629 retail outlets and 203 LPG distributorships were in operation in Haryana. In addition to locations pending from the previous Marketing Plans, nine locations for retail outlet dealerships were included in the Marketing Plan 1999-2000.Top

 

US copter issue: CPM demands apology
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The CPM today accused the Vajpayee government of “surreptiously” entering into a military alliance with the USA having “long-term implications”.

Demanding an apology from the government, a CPM Politburo statement said: “A helicopter from a US naval ship violated Indian airspace.

It is shocking that the Vajpayee government is now seeking to cover up this illegal act by denying there was any violation of regulations”.

The statement, issued after a two-day meeting of the CPM Politburo, described the helicopter incident as a consequence of giving port facilities to US naval ships and demanded that the government should immediately stop providing such facilities.

“The government is surreptitiously entering into a military alliance with the USA which has long-term implications”, the statement pointed out.

The Politburo also discussed the Draft Political Resolution which would be placed before the Central Committee of the party in its meeting in January, 2002.

In another development, the CPM termed POTO as a “despotic law which will be liable to gross abuse. There is no question of amending any particular clause and the entire ordinance has to be scrapped”.
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Rally against US aggression
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-New Democracy today held a rally here in protest against the US attack on Afghanistan and the Indian government’s support to this imperialist aggression.

In a statement, the party said over 30,000 participants, who marched from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar, demanded with withdrawal of POTO and asked the Centre to quit the WTO. Top

 

Shanta: no rotting of foodgrains
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
In a bid to prevent rotting of foodgrains, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today informed the Rajya Sabha that the government would look into all the problems hindering the construction of godowns.

Stating this during question hour, the Prime Minister refuted the charges levelled by RJD member Prem Chand Gupta that he had not done enough on his assurance on Independence day to provide adequate godowns as part of the National Storage Policy.

“It takes time to construct godowns,” Mr Vajpayee said.

“There is a difference in my speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort and the actual progress in the construction of godowns. I understand the problems,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Vajpayee said the government was willing to provide information on bank credits being given for construction of godowns as part of the National Storage Policy.

Meanwhile, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shanta Kumar denied that large stocks of foodgrains were rotting in the country due to lack of storage space and said the grain movement from the godowns had shown an improvement.

“It is not true that large stocks of foodgrains are rotting in the godowns. There is a movement of the foodstock which is estimated at 60 million tonnes,” Mr Kumar told the Upper House.
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Nanavati panel: Gujral to depose on Jan 15
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
Justice Nanavati Commission, probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, has deferred the deposition of former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral as a witness from November 3, to January 15 following his request.

Mr Gujral was summoned by the commission as a witness on the basis of an affidavit filed by scholar Patwant Singh wherein he had stated that he, along with Mr Gujral and Lt-Gen J.S. Aurora, had called on the then Home Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi which triggered the communal carnage.

Mr Gujral, however, expressed his inability to appear before the panel on November 1 and requested it to call him on January 14 or 15. Considering his plea, Mr Justice Nanavati directed him to depose on January 15, 2002.Top

 

Ban on cellphones to be reviewed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will review the policy on banning the use of cellphones and pagers in Jammu and Kashmir and North-East states, Information Technology and Communications Minister Pramod Mahajan told the Rajya Sabha today.

Replying to supplementaries, Mr Mahajan said the decision to allow use of cellphones and pagers in these states would have to be looked into by Ministries of Home and Defence. It was being felt that terrorists and the outlawed groups could misuse these facilities, he said.
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Scheme to combat waterlogging
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, November 29
The Central Government has approved a scheme to solve the waterlogging problem in this area, which has uprooted many families.

According to information available here, Rs 4,60,06,000 has been sanctioned by the Centre for this purpose. Under the scheme, water of the Rawatsar drain will be pumped into the Indira Gandhi Canal.

With the implementation of the scheme, about 5,333 hectares would be free from waterlogging.

A survey of various drains had already been done for implementing the scheme, which will be carried out jointly by the state government and the cultivators. About 5 km of the main drain has already been dug up with the help of the cultivators. Schemes have also been prepared for other waterlogged areas of the district that get irrigation from the Indira Gandhi Canal. In Badopal, water has been directed into Ghaggar canal with the help of pumps.

The scheme which is estimated to cost Rs 106.50 lakh envisages cultivation of about 940 hectares. Figures reveal that untill August 2001, about 57,490 hectares have been put under irrigation under the Indira Gandhi Canal project. At present about 21,000 hectares lie waterlogged in this district. Many landowners of this area have started working as labourers and thousands have moved to other places in search of a living.Top

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS

13 KILLED IN ROAD MISHAP
AHMEDNAGAR:
Thirteen persons, including the driver of a state transport bus and a truck, were killed and 43 others injured when the two vehicles collided head-on at Astagaon Phata on the Ahmednagar-Manmad highway on Thursday. The police said the bus was heading towards Nandurbar while the truck was going to Ahmednagar. Five of the deceased were yet to be identified. A case has been registered in this connection. UNI

POLICE DESTROYS LIQUOR WORTH 1.5 CR
AHMEDABAD:
In the third largest operation during the past three months in Gujarat, the police has destroyed a stock of over 64,000 seized bottles of liquor, worth 1.5 crore, at a village, near here, on Wednesday, a senior police official said on Thursday. Joint Commissioner of Police M.K. Tandon said liquor worth Rs 4.50 crore, seized from various parts of Ahmedabad city, had been destroyed by the police in the past three months. PTI

ABU SALEM GOT PASSPORT IN BHOPAL?
BHOPAL:
Did underworld don Abu Salem manage to secure a passport from here under a fake name in June this year? Local passport official D.D. Sharma said his office had issued passports in the name of Danish Baig and his two wives, residents of the Gandhinagar area here. A police spokesman said a Sub-Inspector had been suspended for giving “false information” regarding Baig and his two wives. PTI

FAKE RLY TICKETS RACKET UNEARTHED
GORAKHPUR:
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has busted a gang of racketeers who were engaged in the printing of fake railway tickets for long distance trains. According to a press note issued here on Wednesday the RPF men arrested Muneer Ahmed, a machine operator of the ticket fabrication section, Ram Preet of the stationery section and an outsider Jitendra Kumar and seized 120 blank tickets and 17 railway card tickets for Mumbai costing Rs 30,000. UNI
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