Saturday, December 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

LS adjourned amid din
New Delhi, December 7
Squabbling over who will speak first during zero hour today paralysed proceedings in the Lok Sabha with the House being adjourned for the day.

Oppn flouting code of conduct: BJP
New Delhi, December 7
The BJP today alleged that Opposition MPs, particularly from the Congress, were flouting the code of conduct in the Lok Sabha resulting in the adjournment of the House.

Govt to follow SC directive on Ayodhya
New Delhi, December 7
Even as the Government today asserted that no violation of the Supreme Court directive to maintain status quo at the disputed site in Ayodhya would be allowed, Shiv Sena member Sanjay Nirupam suggested the setting up of a parliamentary committee to resolve the vexed issue once and for all.

Tawny eagle An injured Tawny eagle, an endangered species, rescued by members of OASIS (NGO) of Haflong, district headquarters of North Cachar hills, Assam, from a villager is kept at a state zoo. Tawny eagle is a rare species found in India, Pakistan and Myanmar. — PTI



EARLIER STORIES

 

Sikh Jats declared  OBCs in Rajasthan
Sriganganagar, December 7
It’s official now. Sikh Jats have been included in the other backward classes list in Rajasthan. The state Cabinet gave its nod for the same at a meeting late last night.

NEWS ANALYSIS
Jaya in no hurry to be back as CM
ONCE bitten twice shy. The AIADMK leader, Ms Jayalalitha, is treading cautiously towards her goal of returning to power once again as the Chief Minister without inviting legal blocks and writ petitions that her political opponents are now waiting to unleash to thwart her ambition.

Ban on LTC to continue, says Sinha
New Delhi, December 7
The Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, today said the government had no immediate plans to lift the ban imposed on availing leave travel concession (LTC) by Central Government employees.

SAARC writers to meet in Delhi
New Delhi, December 7
As the clouds of hate and suspicion loom large over the South Asian region, eminent writers, poets and intelligentsia from SAARC countries will gather here for a three-day conference next week to consolidate their sane voices to keep peace alive.

Improve lot of SCs, STs, says Balayogi
New Delhi, December 7
The Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, today called for necessary corrective measures to ensure that job opportunities for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were not reduced in the context of liberalisation and disinvestment.

Harshad gets judicial remand
Mumbai, December 7
A special court today rejected the bail plea of Big Bull Harshad Mehta and his brothers Sudhir and Ashwin and remanded them in judicial custody till December 21 in a case of misappropriation of funds worth Rs 250 crore from 27 lakh “missing” shares of 90 blue chip companies.

Oil exploration: experts see politics
Sriganganagar, December 7
Even as high quality crude has been struck in Koshalu village in the border district of Barmer, the state government has flayed the Centre for the slow pace of exploration underway in many districts as compared to projects in neighbouring Gujrat.

Wildlife service awards
New Delhi, December 7
Mr Qasim Wani, a retired forest guard from Dachigam National Park in Kashmir, has been honoured for his contribution towards protecting the park and its endangered hangul deer.

Sweepers employed on contract removed
Hanumangarh, December 7
The sweepers working on a contract with the Municipal Corporation here have been removed by the government. As many as 180 employees who have been removed have threatened to launch a stir.

VIDEOS
An entertainment club in Kolkata that exclusively entertains the mentally challenged children.
(28k, 56k)
Bhutanese folk artistes perform at a seven-day cultural festival in Orissa.
(28k, 56k)
Jodhpur, famous world over as a tourist spot, is emerging as a centre of alternative-treatment.
(28k, 56k)


Top




 

LS adjourned amid din
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Squabbling over who will speak first during zero hour today paralysed proceedings in the Lok Sabha with the House being adjourned for the day.

Trouble started soon after zero hour began when the Congress chief whip, Mr Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, was given the floor by the Deputy Speaker, Mr P.M. Sayeed. Mr Vaiko of the MDMK, an ally of the ruling BJP-led coalition, objected to this saying that he should be allowed to speak first since he gave the notice first.

There was bedlam in the House after that with both members on the Opposition side and the ruling benches clashing over who should speak first. Amidst the heated exchanges, Mr Sayeed adjourned the House till lunch.

When the House reassembled, Opposition members, led by the Congress, were on their feet demanding an apology from the government for not allowing Mr Dasmunshi to speak. With no signs of order returning to the House, the Lok Sabha was finally adjourned for the day.

The House, which was adjourned without transacting any business yesterday after the Opposition members stalled the proceedings over the issue of demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, saw the ruling parties create a ruckus during zero hour.

Soon after Mr Dasmunshi was given the floor, agitated ruling party members including Mr Vaiko (MDMK), Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Mr Sahib Singh (BJP), questioned the decision of Mr Sayeed to ask the Congress member to take the floor.

Even before Mr Dasmunshi could raise the issue, Mr Vaiko was on his feet claiming that he had given the notice to the Lok Sabha secretariat first and he should precede Mr Dasmunshi.

He was joined by other ruling party members who also questioned the decision of the Chair. They said all members were equal and that Mr Dasmunshi should not be given preference over others.

Mr Sayeed stuck to his stand saying that “In my judgement, I have given the floor to him ( Mr Dasmunshi). If you don’t accept it, I will adjourn the House”.

The Deputy Speaker soon carried out his warning and adjourned the House abruptly till lunch recess.

As soon as the House reassembled after lunch, Congress and other Opposition members were on their feet refusing to allow the House to function till the government tendered an apology.

Leading the Opposition attack on the government, Mr Dasmunshi vehemently protested saying that the government must tender an apology and repeated requests by Mrs Margaret Alva in the Chair failed to have any effect.

The din continued as other Opposition members joined in support of Mr Dasmunshi and demanded an apology from the government.

A visibly annoyed Mr Dasmunshi said “till the government does not express an unconditional apology, we won’t cooperate in any manner”.

While the Opposition continued with its protest disrupting the proceedings, Mr Kirti Azad (BJP) sought to raise a point of order but despite support from the treasury benches, it went unheard amidst the din.

As the uproar continued for almost 15 minutes, sensing the mood of the members Mrs Alva adjourned the House for the day.Top

 

Oppn flouting code of conduct: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The BJP today alleged that Opposition MPs, particularly from the Congress, were flouting the code of conduct in the Lok Sabha resulting in the adjournment of the House.

Referring to scenes in the Lower House today which forced the Speaker to adjourn the Lok Sabha after lunch, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said there were set rules for raising the issue during zero hour.

A notice has to reach the Speaker before 10 am for his permission to raise any issue, Professor Malhotra pointed out and added that priorities of speakers were decided as per the receipt of the notices.

The spokesman said the Deputy Speaker, who was in the Chair, had called the name of Mr Vaiko, but Congress member Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, who was listed at number 26, did not allow Mr Vaiko to speak. Instead, the Congress member wanted that he be allowed first to make his submission.

This was not only unfair but also against the code of conduct, he said.
Top

 

Govt to follow SC directive on Ayodhya
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Even as the Government today asserted that no violation of the Supreme Court directive to maintain status quo at the disputed site in Ayodhya would be allowed, Shiv Sena member Sanjay Nirupam suggested the setting up of a parliamentary committee to resolve the vexed issue once and for all.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs O. Rajagopal told the Rajya Sabha, “The government is committed to scrupulously adhering to the Supreme Court directive to maintain status quo” at the disputed site.

He was responding to a query of Leader of Opposition Manmohan Singh who wanted the government to clarify whether five ministers in the Vajpayee government cheered VHP leader Ashok Singhal when he declared that construction of the Ram Temple would commence in Ayodhya on March 12.

Mr Rajagopal said the five ministers had already denied of any such endorsement and the report was “wrong.”

He said Home Minister L.K. Advani had clarified earlier in the House that no violation of the apex court’s directive would be allowed.

Earlier, Mr Manmohan Singh said if the report was true, it was shocking that five members of the Council of Ministers publicly provided encouragement to the “illegal” act of the VHP and such blatant action should be condemned.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena member Sanjay Nirupam pointed out that the Ayodhya issue would continue to foment tension without a solution and suggested the setting up of a parliamentary committee to resolve the issue once and for all.

Referring to Mr Manmohan Singh’s remark that five ministers of the Vajpayee government were present at a recent controversial VHP meeting, Mr Nirupam said he was present at the meeting. Top

 

Sikh Jats declared OBCs in Rajasthan
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, December 7
It’s official now. Sikh Jats have been included in the other backward classes (OBC) list in Rajasthan. The state Cabinet gave its nod for the same at a meeting late last night.

Sikh Jats here have been protesting for a long time after the status was accorded to other Jats. Sources said non-Sikh Jats had been reportedly responsible for the rout of the previous BJP government since it had failed to get their votes on the issue of not declaring them OBCs. This was done two years ago but the Sikhs were left out.

The move will benefit the sizeable Jat Sikh population in Sriganganagar, Kota, Hanumangarh and Bundi districts.
Top

 

NEWS ANALYSIS
Jaya in no hurry to be back as CM
A. Balu

ONCE bitten twice shy. The AIADMK leader, Ms Jayalalitha, is treading cautiously towards her goal of returning to power once again as the Chief Minister without inviting legal blocks and writ petitions that her political opponents are now waiting to unleash to thwart her ambition.

Ms Jayalalitha is herself convinced that there are no legal hurdles in her way. “I will become the Chief Minister. It is a routine matter,” she told reporters on Tuesday, following her acquittal by the Madras High Court in three corruption cases. But she is giving the firm impression that she is in no hurry. After all, her hold on the party is unquestioned and waiting for a couple of months more will not change the situation.

Ms Jayalalitha’s legal and other aides are advising her that she will be within her rights to stake her claim to become the Chief Minister without being a member of the state Assembly. But it seems unlikely that she will repeat the mistake she made in May this year in staking her claim before the then Governor, Ms Fathima Biwi, that ultimately cost her job, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. She would also not want to place the present Governor, Dr C. Rangarajan, in an embarrassing situation. Any wrong move on her part will only give her political foes an opportunity to denigrate her.

Two by-elections for the state Assembly, one in Andipatti, and the other in Saidapet, are due in the coming weeks. She has already announced that she would contest from Andipatti, a AIADMK stronghold. According to the Rajya Sabha member, Mr Cho Ramaswamy, “it will be cakewalk for her.”

While the Madras High Court judgement has acquitted her in three corruption cases, Ms Jayalalitha is not entirely out of the woods as far as court cases are concerned. She is still undergoing trial in a couple of other criminal cases, and any adverse decision will again place her in a predicament. The threat of appeal against Tuesday’s judgement to the Supreme Court by the DMK and the Janata Party President, Dr Subramanian Swamy, may not deter Ms Jayalalitha, but in the event of the apex court choosing to entertain the appeals, fresh problems could crop up that could further delay the status quo ante being restored.

There are thus many imponderables, but in the light of the Madras High Court judgement, the odds are in Ms Jayalalitha’s favour and she, for one, is confident that her innocence would be proved in the remaining cases also. Her early return to Fort St George will at least relieve the people of Tamil Nadu from the extraordinary experience of being ruled by her by proxy. It will also relieve Mr O. Panneerselvam from the embarrassment of being a mere puppet Chief Minister. A former Union Finance Minister, Dr P. Chidambaram, boasted not long ago that Tamil Nadu was not Bihar, while commenting on fears at the prospect of rule by proxy in the state. Subsequent events belied his boast.

There is no denying the fact that governance by proxy is not the same as driving from the front seat. The state is in the grip of an unprecedented financial crisis and requires to be governed by a confident and competent Chief Minister, and that means in the present context Ms Jayalalitha has to be a defacto as well as a de jure Chief Minister. She may have to face problems flowing from the confused political spectrum with her own electoral allies distancing themselves from the AIADMK but the ruling party still enjoys a majority on its own in the state Assembly to enable Ms Jayalalitha to implement her policies and programmes.Top

 

Ban on LTC to continue, says Sinha
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, today said the government had no immediate plans to lift the ban imposed on availing leave travel concession (LTC) by Central Government employees.

Mr Sinha said the LTC to the Central Government employees had been suspended in the current financial year because of large fiscal deficit. The projected savings from this non-plan expenditure was to the tune of Rs 200 crore, but the government would end up in saving a minimum of Rs 100 crore, he said.

Minister of State for Finance, Mr Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, however, said the request from the Ministry of Tourism to restore the LTC to revive domestic tourism was under consideration.
Top

 

SAARC writers to meet in Delhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
As the clouds of hate and suspicion loom large over the South Asian region, eminent writers, poets and intelligentsia from SAARC countries will gather here for a three-day conference next week to consolidate their sane voices to keep peace alive.

The SAARC Writers Conference, to be inaugurated by President K.R. Narayanan at the India International Centre here on December 13, will enlist the participation of not merely writers and poets, but also political philosophers and analysts, mediapersons, academicians and scholars from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives, besides India.

The conference, the theme of which is “Human traumas of strife and the process of truth and reconciliation: intellectual values, and colossal human tragedy and suffering all around”, will be attended among others by the political philosopher and a powerful advocate for better relations between Pakistan and India Dr Asif Farroukhi (Pakistan), well-known columnist and writer Khushwant Singh and distinguished Hindi writer Bhisham Sahni, the renowned scholar, Prof Anisuzzaman (Bangladesh), the scholar and social activist, Dr Dambar Bir Thapa (Nepal), and well-known novelist and film maker Tissa Abeysekara (Sri Lanka).

The president of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature, Ms Ajeet Cour said, eight eminent personalities from Pakistan would participate in the conference, while there will be participation of three each from Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives, Five members from Nepal, seven from Bangladesh and 17 from the host country. This would be the fourth conference of the foundation, she added.

The last day of the conference will deliberate on the concerns of writers, intellectuals, sensitive political philosophers in the present world of gross injustices and turmoils and the valedictory function will be addressed by Vice-President Krishan Kant, and presided over by Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh.Top

 

Improve lot of SCs, STs, says Balayogi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr G.M.C. Balayogi, today called for necessary corrective measures to ensure that job opportunities for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were not reduced in the context of liberalisation and disinvestment.

Voicing concern about the continuing incidents of atrocities against the weaker sections in certain parts of the country, he said the Central and state governments had to take effective action to improve the conditions of SCs and STs.

Speaking at a two-day conference of chairmen of committees on the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of Parliament and state legislatures here, Mr Balayogi said it must be ensured that the constitutional provisions about affirmative action for the welfare of SCs and STs were implemented in letter and spirit.

The Speaker emphasised the need for a progressive attitude on the part of the executive machinery so as to realise the objectives of affirmative action which he said was the core concept of the Constitution.Top

 

Harshad gets judicial remand

Mumbai, December 7
A special court today rejected the bail plea of Big Bull Harshad Mehta and his brothers Sudhir and Ashwin and remanded them in judicial custody till December 21 in a case of misappropriation of funds worth Rs 250 crore from 27 lakh “missing” shares of 90 blue chip companies.

Harshad and Sudhir were produced before Judge S.H. Kapadia who remanded them in judicial custody for two weeks.

Harshad’s another brother, Ashwin, could not be produced as he continued to be in government-owned J.J. Hospital since November 22 following complaint of giddiness. He too was remanded in judicial custody by the judge who directed the CBI not to interrogate him till he was discharged from hospital. PTITop

 

Oil exploration: experts see politics
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, December 7
Even as high quality crude has been struck in Koshalu village in the border district of Barmer, the state government has flayed the Centre for the slow pace of exploration underway in many districts as compared to projects in neighbouring Gujrat.

Many companies, both Indian and foreign, engaged in exploring oil and gas are exploiting the slackness in supervision and are reportedly “ “going slow” in their work, thereby harming national interests. The oil import bill runs into several hundred crores.

Highly placed sources revealed that Rajasthan had vast resources of oil and gas and can become one of the leading suppliers of oil and gas in the country. It can contribute handsomely to the national reserves, provided the exploration process is pursued by the Centre on a priority basis. This would ensure greater prosperity to a poor and perennially drought-prone state.

Going by the estimates so far, the state government is confident that if the exploration is done in a time-bound manner, the state would have to establish a refinery in Barmer and Jalore for the reserves so tapped. Work on many areas-identified for exploration is yet to begin.

Comparing the pace of excavation to that of Pakistan, the sources said, the record of our neighbour had been exceptional in this field and some reserves on their side in Shahgarh (across Jaisalmer) had been tapped and today met at least 10 per cent of their national need.

It is a telling comment on our efforts that we had been able to tap only about 5 lakh cubic meters of gas on the same basin, which is not even a fraction of the reserves. This was the situation when the ONGC had the monopoly and had been exploring these parts for the past 40 years, the sources said.

The success of the ONGC, besides MNCs like Shell International, Phoenix and Kayrn currently, engaged on exploring oil is also “ unsatisfactory.” In the case of Shell, the company has reportedly sublet its exploration rights to Kayrn and has sunk only three wells in six years.

Ironically, the same company is said to be a “tremendous success” across the border and is currently commercially tapping oil and gas on the same basin in Pakistan.

The matter was discussed in detail at the meeting of the State Administrative Reforms Commission-ion recently. Members of the commission visited the excavations in Sriganganagar, Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner to access the progress.

The members are said to have expressed their displeasure at the “ slow exploration “ work and warned the officials at the sites that their exploration “ licences would not be renewed if they struck to their present pace”. The interests of the state were at stake, the sources stressed.

The threat reportedly worked and one panicky company successfully sunk a well in just two months, reporting vast reserves of oil. Strict monitoring of all ongoing explorations was the need of the hour, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the latest find lies in Sindhari panchayat samiti area but the exact quantity of reserves is yet to be evaluated. It is being safely estimated that the well would yield more than 2, 000 barrels of oil a day. Meanwhile, work is underway on drilling a second well nearby.

Confirming the find, sources said a report was being sent to the Centre for necessary action in this context. It may be recalled that large oil and methane gas reserves have been found in Sriganganagar and the Sanchor Basin areas in Barmer district.

Further excavation has been stopped on the well for the time-being. The company is engaged in exploring oil and gas and has been successful in doing so in Gudamalani area of Barmer. Work on more wells has not been taken since the land has not been acquired so far. The company has been contracted to dig a total of eight wells, four in Barmer and the rest in Jalore district.Top

 

Wildlife service awards
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Mr Qasim Wani, a retired forest guard from Dachigam National Park in Kashmir, has been honoured for his contribution towards protecting the park and its endangered hangul deer.

He was given the Lifetime Service Award by ABN AMRO Bank and Sanctuary magazine. Five wildlife service awards were also announced for conservators of different forests.
Top

 

Sweepers employed on contract removed
Our Correspondent

Hanumangarh, December 7
The sweepers working on a contract with the Municipal Corporation here have been removed by the government. As many as 180 employees who have been removed have threatened to launch a stir.

These sweepers were employed several months back on a contract at the daily wage Rs 60. Now the Local Self-Government Department has imposed a ban over employing sweepers on contract in all municipal corporations in the state.

The district treasurer of the All India Sweepers’ Congress, Mr Babu Bhati, has submitted a memorandum to the Executive Officer of the corporation here. In the memorandum, the employees had asked the authorities to recall tem on duty with in 36 hours or they would go on a strike. The Executive Officer said a Bill would be introduced at the meeting of the corporation to give the job on contract.

Meanwhile, with removal of these employees the cleanliness has been badly affected in the city. These employees were removed earlier also but were recalled after a protests from them.
Top

 
NATIONAL BRIEFS


Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performs at the inaugural function of the Tansen Festival in Gwalior on Thursday. 
— PTI photo

TANSEN SAMMAN FOR AMJAD ALI KHAN
GWALIOR:
The prestigious Tansen Samman has been conferred on sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan. Honouring the ustad at a function on Thursday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh supported the idea of extending scholarships to talents in the sphere of classical music. Earlier, the ustad announced that he would hand over the award’s cash component of Rs 1 lakh to a trust established in the name of his late father Hafiz Ali. UNI

13 KILLED IN ROAD MISHAP
RAIPUR:
At least 13 persons were killed and 52 injured, seven of them seriously, when a truck in which they were travelling, fell from a bridge into a river bed in Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh, State Transport and Home Minister, Nand Kumar Patel said here on Thursday. The injured had been rushed to South Eastern Coal Field Limited’s Bishrampur Hospital, about 7 km from the accident site, he said. PTI

PARTIAL RESPONSE TO DMK’S BANDH CALL
CHENNAI:
Barring stray incidents of stoning of buses in a few districts, the dawn-to-dusk bandh on Friday called by the DMK and its allies, except the BJP, the Congress, the Left and their friendly parties demanding a complete roll back of prices by the Tamil Nadu Government, passed off peacefully, evoking a partial response. UNI

A KISS THAT PROVED COSTLY
COIMBATORE:
A youth, who allegedly attempted to kiss a teenaged girl, landed in a hospital with a cut-tongue in Thudiyalur, in the city outskirts, on Wednesday, the police said on Thursday. According to the police, the youth, who had been troubling the girl for quite sometime, caught hold of the girl, when she was returning from her workplace and reportedly attempted to kiss her. In a bid to escape from the attack, the girl bit the youth’s tongue which fell on the road, they said. PTI
Top

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
|
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
|
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |