Friday, October 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Plane drops objects in Bengal pond

Kolkata, October 
Reviving memories of the 1995 Purulia armsdrop incident, an unidentified aircraft today intruded into Indian airspace in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district from the direction of Bangladesh and reportedly dropped two objects resembling sacks.

District Superintendent of police Arun Sharma told PTI over phone from Raiganj that villagers of Chopra reported having sighted the aircraft at 12.15 p.m. when it dropped the two ‘sacks’ into a pond.

The villagers said they heard a loud noise when the objects dropped, he said.

Intelligence sources in Siliguri said the aircraft, coming from the direction of Bangladesh, flew so low that the pilot was visible and the colour of the water in the pond changed after the objects were dropped. There was a loud explosion after some objects were dropped from the plane into the pond.

The plane then flew back in the direction it had come from.

There was, however, no casualty on the ground.

The police scourged the pond but nothing had been found till late evening, the SP said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) said tonight it was investigating reports that an unidentified aircraft had intruded Indian airspace in West Bengal this afternoon. PTI 


UBDC project records seized
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 3
A flying squad of the Vigilance Bureau from Chandigarh today seized the record of Rs 180 crore Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) project and conducted an on-the-spot survey. The Doab canal, the oldest canal system of India, has been in the thick of controversy these days.

While Rs 100 crore had already been spent, the rest of the amount (Rs 80 crore) is yet to be spent.

The authorities concerned had laid one crore empty cement bags filled with earth along slopes and embankments allegedly contrary to technical specifications which costs the state exchequer about Rs 3.50 crore.

The canal was first built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1693 to provide water from Madhopur to the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore in the 19th century.

When contacted, Mr Barjinder Kumar Uppal, DIG (Vigilance) said the vigilance probe was ordered on the basis of a complaint that some of the works were done without approval and old stone was used for the stone-pitching of bridges on the canal system. He said there was also a complaint that rates for cement bags filled with earth was on the higher side.

However, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Sandhu, Chief Engineer, said the department had made the entries wherever the old material was used for the stone-pitching of bridges. He said the first phase of the project which was cleared by the Central Government was completed within two years (instead of five years) as the previous SAD-BJP government wanted to “reap benefits” from the remodelled canal system at the earliest. He claimed that after remodelling, the farmers had started getting 35 to 40 per cent irrigation water more at the tail ends of the canals. He further claimed that the effect of drought in border districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur was lessened due to remodelling of the system.

The flying squad comprising the SP, two DSPs and other staff members visited various sites of the canal system. A Congress MLA from the ruling party, Mr Rumal Chand from Narot Mehra (Gurdaspur) had earlier lodged a complaint to the Chief Minister and the Irrigation Minister that the farmers were not getting full benefits due to the “faulty system”.

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