SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

’84 riots probe panel issues notices to Rao, 3 others
New Delhi, July 9
The Justice G. T. Nanavati Commission, probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, today issued notices to former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, former Delhi Lt Governor P. G. Gavai and two former top city police officers, seeking their replies to a complaint that they had “deliberately” not taken the required steps to save the people.

Home Minister declines to commit on Arunachal
New Delhi, July 9
Declining to commit on the Centre’s stand on Arunachal Pradesh in the context of the dissolution of the state Assembly in the aftermath of a downsizing drama on July 6, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today informed Parliament that the government would take an “appropriate decision in appropriate manner.”

BJP’s anti-UPA campaign from today
New Delhi, July 9
Smarting under its poor performance in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has asked its leaders to hit the streets from tomorrow in effort to bring down the UPA Government’s image in public.



EARLIER STORIES

 

JD(U) MPs cry foul over Bihar package
New Delhi, July 9
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav today remained silent in the Lok Sabha, when Opposition MPs of the JD(U) from Bihar termed the Bihar package of Rs 3225 crore as a “farce,” played by the government with the people of Bihar.

Rs 197 cr for Indo-Pak border works
New Delhi, July 9
An additional Rs 1,923.13 crore has been allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs towards the Central police organisations and for Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh border works in the General Budget 2004-05 presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram yesterday as compared to the previous fiscal’s revised allocation.

Boost ‘look East’ policy, says Singapore PM
New Delhi, July 9
The visiting Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, today asked India to give an impetus to its “look East” policy. “It is more important for India to look east in political and strategic terms and increase economic relations with Singapore and ASEAN,” Mr Goh said as he spoke about his long association with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In video
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President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presents the Jawaharlal Nehru Award to the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presents the Jawaharlal Nehru Award to the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi

Defence Budget
Hawks reigning over doves?
The biggest surprise of the Budget has turned out to be the allocation for defence — which at Rs 77,000 crore is a whopping 27.7 per cent increase over the revised estimates for last year (03-04), at Rs 60,300 crore. The Budget estimate was for Rs 65,300 crore.

MEA to have ‘Videsh Bhavan’
New Delhi, July 9
The 2004-05 budget allocation for the Ministry of External Affairs has been pegged at a little over Rs 3,640 crore, an increase of Rs 231 crore over the previous year.

No justice for CJI’s plans
New Delhi, July 9
Chief Justice of India R. C. Lahoti may have spelt out an ambitious plan for the computerisation of courts to improve the functioning of the judiciary, the allocation of a meagre Rs 5 crore for this purpose for the entire country by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram does not reflect that he has given it the same priority as the CJI wanted.

More landslides hamper rescue operations
Dehra Dun, July 9
Fresh landslides at more than five places on the Badrinaath-Hardwar road, coupled with inclement weather, posed a major setback to the rescue operations. While there is no news of the nine persons missing after the Hathipahar landslide, fresh landslides have further obstructed the evacuation of the stranded pilgrims.

Assam flood situation grim, 15 dead
Guwahati, July 9
The Army was pressed into service as the flood situation in Assam turned grim, affecting over two million people and jeopardising train services with the submergence of vast areas, especially in lower parts of the state.

Man burns wife to death
Dehra Dun, July 9
In a sensational case of murder, a man allegedly burnt his wife and later cut her body into pieces in Dehra Dun yesterday. The accused, Bharat Lal, working as a store-keeper with the Survey of India, used a sharp-edged weapon for the gruesome crime.

Gujarat sans First Lady for five years
Jaipur, July 9
With the death of the wife of Mr Nawal Kishore Sharma, Governor-designate of Gujarat, within 24 hours of the announcement of his nomination to the coveted post, the Raj Bhavan of the state will continue to be without the presence of the First Lady.

Uttaranchal, UP to take back govt staff
Dehra dun, July 9
Three and half years after the formation of Uttaranchal, the issue of transfer of government staff between UP and Uttaranchal has been resolved. In an agreement, the governments of both states have agreed on taking back government staff posted in either state.

Tribals uprooted in MP
Bhopal, July 9
NGOs working among tribals of Madhya Pradesh have accused state government officials of resorting to atrocious methods to clear disputed encroachments from forest land in violation of the direction of the Supreme Court.

‘Munnabhai MBBS’ remake for Hollywood likely
Mumbai, July 9
Bollywood’s hit comedy, “Munnabhai MBBS”, may hit Hollywood screens in a remake version in the near future. Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra is reportedly negotiating with 20th Century Fox for making an international version of the film which was a runaway hit in India last year, bagging numerous awards.

Journalist held for mafia links
Mumbai, July 9
A Mumbai journalist was arrested under a tough anti-crime law for his alleged links with the underworld.
Ketan Tirodkar, a former reporter with an English afternoon tabloid, was arrested today under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

Kanwal Sibal is new envoy to Russia
New Delhi, July 9
Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal has been appointed India’s next Ambassador to Russia in succession to Mr K. Raghunath, the Ministry of External Affairs announced today. An MEA communique stated that Mr Sibal was expected to take up his assignment shortly. — TNS

4 killed in bomb blast in Agra
Lucknow, July 9
Four persons, including two children, were killed and three injured when a powerful bomb exploded in the Tajganj area of Agra district in Uttar Pradesh yesterday.
— UNI



Videos

Indian contingent to leave for UN peace keeping mission.
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Hariharan, a typewriter mechanic, has a unique hobby. He collects, fixes and preserves all types of typewriters.
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’84 riots probe panel issues notices to Rao, 3 others
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 9
The Justice G. T. Nanavati Commission, probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, today issued notices to former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, former Delhi Lt Governor P. G. Gavai and two former top city police officers, seeking their replies to a complaint that they had “deliberately” not taken the required steps to save the people.

While Rao and Gavai have been accused of “deliberately” delaying the decision regarding the deployment of Army in the Capital after riots broke out on November 1, 1984, in the aftermath of the assassination of Indira Gandhi a day earlier by her two Sikh security guards.

The two officials who have been issued notices are former Delhi Police Commissioners Nikhil Kumar and S. C. Tandon. While Tandon was the police chief at the relevant time, Nikhil Kumar, who was elected to the Lok Sabha as Congress MP from Bihar in the recent elections, was then holding the post of Additional Commissioner of Police.

All four respondents have been directed to submit their replies by July 30 and place before the commission evidence in their defence.

Rao was the Home Minister in 1984 when nearly 3,000 Sikhs were massacred in Delhi during the three-day violence.

The complaint was filed against them before the panel by the November 84 Carnage Justice Committee through its counsel H. S. Phoolka. The committee has been formed by several eminent personalties to take up the cause of the riot-affected people before the one-man probe panel.

Mr Phoolka alleged that “the Army was not intentionally called on the morning of November 1, 1984 when violence had spread to various parts of the Capital. Even the Mishra Commission of Inquiry had held that if the Army was deployed in time, the riots would have been controlled and several hundred lives would have been saved,” he claimed.

Mr Phoolka said the Mishra Commission had further concluded that 5,000 Army troops were available for deployment in the city on November 1, 1984.

The Carnage Justice Committee had alleged that Rao as Home Minister was “unconcerned” about the deployment of Army even when prominent persons like Mr I. K. Gujral, Lt Gen J. S. Aurora (retd) and Mr Patwant Singh had gone to meet him at his official residence on this issue.

Mr Gujral, Lt Gen Aurora, Mr Patwant Singh, noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and Union Minister Ram Bilas Paswan had even filed affidavits before the panel regarding the delay in deployment of the Army, Mr Phoolka said.

Allegations against Tandon and Nikhil Kumar are that they had failed to deploy the police in the affected areas, specially Trilokpuri in East Delhi where over 400 persons were massacred in a single day on November 1, 1984, even when the violence was brought to the notice of Kumar by two journalists.

When the two journalists went back to the effected area, they had found that the area SHO had reached the spot only with two constables. “The required police force was sent to the Trilokpuri area only by 7 pm and by then the damage had been done,” the Carnage Committee counsel contended.

The commission had earlier issued notices to another former Additional Commissioner of Police H. C. Jatav and Joint Commissioner Sewa Dass in connection with the Trilokpuri massacre. Sewa Dass was then DCP of East Delhi district.
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Home Minister declines to commit on Arunachal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Declining to commit on the Centre’s stand on Arunachal Pradesh in the context of the dissolution of the state Assembly in the aftermath of a downsizing drama on July 6, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today informed Parliament that the government would take an “appropriate decision in appropriate manner.”

Giving a statement in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha regarding the dissolution of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the Home Minister refused to give any commitment to the Opposition on the subject. “I am not going to give any assurance to you except that the government will take an appropriate decision in an appropriate manner.”

He did not rule out the option of imposing President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh in the face of dramatic political developments there, including frequent changes in the Governor’s stand on recommending dissolution of the Assembly.

“I cannot give you any assurance whether President’s rule won’t be imposed in the state.....I cannot say yes or no at present,” Mr Patil told the Upper House members when some BJP MPs sought an assurance that no further intervention should be taken by the Centre.

This kind of assurance cannot be given while replying to clarifications in the House, the Home Minister said adding he would like to go into all “facts” before taking any decision.

Disclosing that the Governor had sent three sets of recommendations to the Centre on the developments in the state, Mr Patil said his Ministry was in the process of gathering information on the issue.

The minister made the statement in response to a demand for it made by Leader of the Opposition L. K. Advani in the Lok Sabha and Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu and Mr Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. They had demanded that the government should not take any action with regard to the Arunachal Pradesh developments before clarifying its position on the floor. Mr Advani said Arunachal Pradesh Governor V. C. Pandey was forced to recommend the dissolution of the Assembly.

While Mr Patil was making the statement in the Lok Sabha today, BJP leader V. K. Malhotra was on his feet, demanding that the government order an inquiry to find out who had forced Mr Pandey to recommend President’s rule in the state. When the BJP members alleged that there was a constitutional breakdown in Arunachal Pradesh, Mr Patil stumped them, saying that “the government there is your government and the Chief Minister there is also yours.”

In his statement, Mr Patil said after the downsizing of the Cabinet from 33 to 12 by Chief Minister Gegong Apang on July 6, the Council of Ministers had met and recommended the Governor to dissolve the Assembly. The Governor, in exercise of powers conferred under Article 174 (2) (b) of the Constitution, dissolved the state Assembly and sent a report to the President the next day.
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BJP’s anti-UPA campaign from today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Smarting under its poor performance in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has asked its leaders to hit the streets from tomorrow in effort to bring down the UPA Government’s image in public.

Leader of the Opposition L. K. Advani will address public meetings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore while party President M. Venkaiah Naidu will hit Guwahati and Kolkata as part of the BJP’s ‘Rashtriya Suraksha, Swabhiman and Loktantra Bachao’ week, which was launched by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee here on Tuesday.

Party general secretary Arun Jaitley, who has recently been made party in charge for the Bihar Assembly poll, will campaign in Patna while Pramod Mahajan, in charge for the Maharashtra Assembly elections, will spearhead the campaign in Mumbai, party vice-president and spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

“We will be telling the people about the ‘tainted’ ministers, the government’s move to repeal POTA, its attempts to re-falsify and re-distort history and the anti-people and inflationary Budget,” Mr Naqvi said.

Mr Naqvi will address meetings in Goa and Uttar Pradesh while former Health Minister Sushma Swaraj will lead the protest rallies and meetings in Punjab.

“The party will also take up the issue of Sonia Gandhi arrogating to herself the role of a ‘Super Prime Minister’ by becoming the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council on the Common Minimum Programme, for which the government has made budgetary allocation. She is now enjoying power without responsibility by running a parallel PMO”, the spokesman said.

Other senior leaders who will take part in the campaign include former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha in Chandigarh.

Shahnawaz Hussein will address public meetings in Jammu and Kashmir.
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BJP: Assembly dissolution okay
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
The BJP today asserted that the dissolution of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly was “legal, constitutional and irreversible”, adding that the law and order situation in the state was normal and there was no constitutional breakdown in the state. BJP parliamentary party spokesman V. K. Malhotra told newspersons here the Assembly was dissolved on recommendations of the full Cabinet under constitutional provisions.
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JD(U) MPs cry foul over Bihar package
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav today remained silent in the Lok Sabha, when Opposition MPs of the JD(U) from Bihar termed the Bihar package of Rs 3225 crore as a “farce,” played by the government with the people of Bihar.

JD(U) members from Bihar wanted the government to clarify whether it was a fresh package or part of the Rs 4000-crore package announced last year by the previous NDA government.

Despite repeated pleas by the members, Mr Chidambaram was seen quietly occupying his seat without making any response. Raising the issue during zero hour, Mr Rajiv Ranjan Singh said the package announced by the Finance Minister while presenting the Budget in Parliament was aimed at “hoodwinking” the people of Bihar.

He wanted to know whether yesterday’s package was in addition to the one announced by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee last year. Supporting his party colleague, Mr Prabhunath Singh said the Finance Minister must clarify. When he requested Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to direct Mr Chidambaram to respond, he said he could not compel him to do that.

Senior party member of JD (U) Nitish Kumar also joined them, saying, “We should take it as the same package which was announced last year, if the Finance Minister does not clarify.” He asked Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav to speak “ as he used to talk during Lok Sabha elections that the state had asked for a special package of Rs 1.79 lakh crore from the Centre to compensate the state after the formation of Jharkhand.”
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Rs 197 cr for Indo-Pak border works
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
An additional Rs 1,923.13 crore has been allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs towards the Central police organisations and for Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh border works in the General Budget 2004-05 presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram yesterday as compared to the previous fiscal’s revised allocation.

A sum of Rs 12,331.80 crore has been allocated for 2004-05 as compared to the Rs 10,408.67 crore revised budget allocation for 2003-04.

The overall allocation for the Home Ministry in the current financial year is Rs 15,003.61 crore.

A total of Rs 441.08 crore has been allocated for the Indo-Bangladesh border works, which is Rs 239.4 crore more than the allocation made towards this in the previous fiscal (Rs 201.68 crore).

For the Indo-Pak border works, Rs 196.75 crore has been allocated for 2004-05 as compared to the Rs 130.06 crore revised allocation for 2003-04, an increase of Rs 66.69 crore.

The increased allocation for Indo-Bangladesh border works is meant for erection of a barbed wire fencing and construction of roads.

The provision of funds under both Indo-Pak border works and Indo-Bangladesh border works include provisions for purchase of aircraft/river boats by the Border Security Force (BSF), induction of hi-tech surveillance on the Indo-Pak, Indo-Bangladesh and other borders.

A sum of Rs 10,756.89 crore has been allocated for various Central police organisations, modernisation of the police force and also special assistance to states, which is Rs 1,496.41 crore more than the previous financial year’s revised allocation of Rs 9,260.48 crore.

Among the Central police organisations, the maximum increase in allocation has been made for the BSF. It has been allocated Rs 2,957.79 crore, an increase of Rs 439.27 crore over last year’s revised allocation of Rs 2518.52 crore.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which would soon become the country’s largest paramilitary force, has got an increased allocation of Rs 412.45 crore this year. As against the previous financial year’s revised allocation of Rs 1,918.08 crore, it has got an allocation of Rs 2,330.53 crore for 2004-05.

For the construction of residential accommodation for police organisation personnel, an additional Rs 95.9 crore has been allocated this year. As against the previous year’s allocation of Rs 327.30 crore, an amount of Rs 423.20 crore has been allocated for the current financial year.
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Boost ‘look East’ policy, says Singapore PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
The visiting Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong, today asked India to give an impetus to its “look East” policy.

“It is more important for India to look east in political and strategic terms and increase economic relations with Singapore and ASEAN,” Mr Goh said as he spoke about his long association with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was talking to reporters at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan after he was accorded a ceremonial welcome.

Mr Goh said he was looking forward to enhancing bilateral relations with India in diverse fields. “I look forward to productive exchanges... The discussions will focus on how to engage India with Singapore, ASEAN and East Asia,” he said.

Mr Goh received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding from President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam this evening.

The annual award was instituted by the Government of India in 1965 and carries a trophy, a purse of Rs 25 lakh and a citation.

The Singapore leader said his country wanted “more investments” to flow into India. He pointed out it was his fifth visit to India which was aimed at renewing “personal friendship with the leadership” here.

Mr Goh is scheduled to launch the Singapore India Partnership Foundation here tomorrow. This foundation was proposed by Mr Goh during his meeting with the CII CEOs on December 23, 2003, in Singapore.

The objectives of this foundation will be to further strengthen the existing relations between Singapore and India and to raise the positive profile of each country in the other. The foundation is expected to focus on economic linkages, government relations, academic interaction and cultural understanding. This foundation is a private sector led initiative by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the CII.

Mr Goh, who arrived here last night on a three-day official visit, is the first top foreign dignitary to visit India since the UPA government assumed office.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed were among those who attended the ceremony.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who briefly talked to reporters during the ceremonial welcome of Mr Goh, made it clear that his government will “not rush” into any new arrangements in foreign relations but consider all options while seeking to achieve a broad domestic consensus.

“This is a new government. We will look at all options. Before rushing into new arrangements, we will have to evolve a broad domestic consensus,” the PM said. When asked about a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore, Dr Manmohan Singh said the FTA discussions with Singapore were at an advanced stage and problems, if any, would be resolved.
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Defence Budget
Hawks reigning over doves?
News Analysis by Sridhar K. Chari

The biggest surprise of the Budget has turned out to be the allocation for defence — which at Rs 77,000 crore is a whopping 27.7 per cent increase over the revised estimates for last year (03-04), at Rs 60,300 crore. The Budget estimate was for Rs 65,300 crore.

This is not only the biggest projected increase made in a long time (outdoing even the supposedly highly hawkish NDA government) — if the UPA actually spends that allocation, the defence budget might cross the magic 3 per cent of the GDP mark, at 3.08 per cent (This figure is based on the advance estimates for the 03-04 GDP).

The UPA, with a strong Left presence, was after all supposed to be about increased spending on the rural sector, education and health. It is never a wise thing of course to appear lax on national security, and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram duly made a reference to requirement for funds for modernisation of the defence forces.

Of course, this is not the first time that a projected defence budget has crossed the 3 per cent of GDP mark in terms of GDP estimates for that year. The NDA, when it projected an increase of 20 per cent over the previous year’s revised estimates in 2000-2001, at Rs 58587 crore, it was 3.09 per cent of the GDP estimates for the previous year.

Of course, that was the year that the saga of Budget returns from the defence ministry began — revised estimates were put at Rs 54,461 crore, and the actuals turned out to be Rs 49,622 — returning Rs 8,965 crore. And the actual increase it represented? A mere 5.4 per cent over the previous year's actuals! And that was 2.63 per cent of GDP. What is more, defence spending as a percentage of GDP has actually been declining over the past five years!

The following year, as against a budget estimate of Rs 65,300, only Rs 54,266 was spent, returning Rs 7,734 crore. The increase it represented was 7.67 percent.

The numbers have more interesting stories to tell — in 2002-03 the Budget estimate for defence was for Rs 65,000 crore, with the actuals turning out to be Rs 55,662, returning Rs 9,338 crore. And the increase over the previous year's actuals represents a shocking 2.57 — the lowest ever increase in several decades.

In fact, not since 1977-78 has the increase in defence spending dropped below 5 per cent. Adjust the figures for inflation, and 02-03 is a year when defence spending went on the negative!

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already made statements to the effect that one of his priorities is going to be about this inability to spend allocated money, even when there is a crying need for modernisation. Of course, major capital purchases earlier hanging fire have now gone through (like the Hawk AJT and the Gorshkov aircraft carrier), creating avenues for outflow.

Mr Chidambaram, in fact, has apportioned Rs 33, 483 for capital expenditure, which alone marks an increase of almost 100 per cent over the revised estimates for capital expenditure at Rs 16,906 crore for last year.

So they have a better chance of spending that money, with the advantage of showing skeptics that defence will not be compromised. In any case, national security and the armed forces will be the beneficiaries.

One has a sneaking feeling, however, whatever Mr Mukherjee's protestations, that not all of this huge amount will be spent, given the need to rein in the fiscal deficit. Back channel instructions will be clear - send some back….
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MEA to have ‘Videsh Bhavan’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
The 2004-05 budget allocation for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been pegged at a little over Rs 3,640 crore, an increase of Rs 231 crore over the previous year.

A senior official of the ministry told this correspondent that the Budget had made allocations for the Videsh Bhavan project, construction of Indian embassies and missions in countries with high rentals, computerisation of public-dealing divisions of the ministry like the Passport Division and strengthening the use of information technology in the ministry. The ministry has already purchased a plot of land here opposite the National Museum where it proposes to construct the “Videsh Bhavan” which will serve as its new headquarters.

The MEA has purchased land in many cities of the world like Chicago (US), Prague (Czech Republic) and Panama City (Panama) where the rents are going through the roof. The ministry has also purchased property in Birganj (Nepal), where it proposes to construct a building for its Consulate-General.

Similarly, the MEA proposes to start the construction of its mission buildings in countries like Brazil, Muscat, Poland and China.

The Budget allocation for the ministry shows a jump of Rs 231 crore over the Plan outlay for last year, with a substantial hike in the amount earmarked for Indian missions abroad. While the allocation for embassies and missions is Rs 855 crore, an increase of Rs 82 crore, passport and emigration gets a hike of Rs 26.11 crore.

Under the subhead “Capital Section”, the capital outlay on public works has been pegged in this year’s Budget at Rs 70 crore, up from last year’s Rs 50 crore, while the capital outlay on housing has been fixed at Rs 25 crore, as compared to Rs 10 crore last year.

“Special Diplomatic Expenditure”, which provides for confidential projects of national interest, has been enhanced from Rs 824.52 crore to Rs 841.01 crore, up Rs 16.49 crore.
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No justice for CJI’s plans
S. S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 9
Chief Justice of India (CJI) R. C. Lahoti may have spelt out an ambitious plan for the computerisation of courts to improve the functioning of the judiciary, the allocation of a meagre Rs 5 crore for this purpose for the entire country by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram does not reflect that he has given it the same priority as the CJI wanted.

A bulk amount of Rs 1,150 crore of the total allocation of Rs 1,362.72 crore made to the Law Ministry and the judiciary goes to the election expenditure, leaving only Rs 212.72 crore for meeting the expenses under various other heads, including the creation of more infrastructure.

One of the many top priority projects spelt out by the CJI soon after his taking over the office on June 1 was the improvement of the National Judicial Academy, but the Finance Minister seems to have again disappointed him by making a provision of only Rs 1.05 crore for this.

Both Justice Lahoti and former CJI V. N. Khare had a common grudge against the government that the judiciary had all along been given a “step-motherly” treatment by successive governments.

The NDA government’s much publicised “fast track” courts find no mention in the budgetary proposals for 2004-05.

In the Plan outlay, the Finance Minister has provided Rs 126 crore for the administration of justice and Rs 14 crore for improving court infrastructure in the North-East.

Under the expenditure head, he has made a provision of Rs 112 crore for creating infrastructural facilities for the judiciary in the country and placed Rs 122.82 core as capital outlay for other administrative services.

Again, the non-Plan allocation for the Supreme Court has been reduced from last year’s 39.51 crore to Rs 34.68 crore in the proposals for 2004-05.

The Rs 1,150 crore provision for election expenditure also includes Rs 818 crore spent on the General Election held this year, Rs 231.62 crore for normal election expenses and Rs 100 crore for providing identity cards to voters.
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More landslides hamper rescue operations
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 9
Fresh landslides at more than five places on the Badrinaath-Hardwar road, coupled with inclement weather, posed a major setback to the rescue operations. While there is no news of the nine persons missing after the Hathipahar landslide, fresh landslides have further obstructed the evacuation of the stranded pilgrims.

According to official estimates, over 1,600 persons have been rescued from Badrinath but less than 400 have reached Rishikesh. Over 1,100 of these pilgrims are trapped at Joshimath due to constant showers and boulders blocking the road.

Efforts to clear the roads for smooth flow of traffic are in full swing, Disaster Management Department officials said. Relief and rescue operations for the remaining pilgrims are under way.

Constant rain has resulted in fresh landslides on the Badrinath-Hardwar route at more than five places, including Munikereeti, Peeppalkothi, Marwari and Govindghat. MI-17 helicopters could not be put to use due to foul weather. The helicopters are currently stationed at Gauchar and Joshimath.

Meanwhile, after the Hathpahar tragedy the state government has banned the overloading of pilgrims in public transport vehicles, particularly trucks. At least 27 victims of the Hathipahar tragedy were in a truck on its way to Hemkund Sahib, said Chief Secretary R.S. Toliya. Truck drivers would be penalised for overloading on this route, he added.
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Assam flood situation grim, 15 dead

Guwahati, July 9
The Army was pressed into service as the flood situation in Assam turned grim, affecting over two million people and jeopardising train services with the submergence of vast areas, especially in lower parts of the state.

With the Bramhaputra and other major rivers maintaining a rising trend following heavy rains in different parts of the state and neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, in lower Assam several villages were now submerged and marooned affecting two million people, official sources said.

According to reports available so far, the current flood has already claimed 15 lives and it was apprehended that the toll would rise as the local Meteorological office informed continuance of heavy rain. The official toll was put at five.

Official reports said Nalbari Pathsala town was under water and the national highway at Kamalpur in Rangia district was submerged. Water level at Bijni in Rangia is submerging the metre gauge line and causing suspension of train services.

The broad gauge services might be affected too and the railway authorities were keeping close watch. Flood water had inundated large areas of the Kaziranga National Park and a large number of animals were escaping to nearby Karbi Anglong Hills. Except the Sankosh, Bejki and Pthimari all other rivers were also maintaining a rising trend, the commission said.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today made an aerial survey of the flood-affected Sonitpur district for an on-the-spot assessment of the flood situation.

Mr Gogoi directed the district administration to take immediate steps to clear the logjam along the 8 km Bordikorai irrigation canal and start a dredging operation for removal of silt.

Itanagar: The flood situation in Arunachal Pradesh has turned grim with all major rivers and their tributaries flowing above the danger level, official sources said here on Friday. — UNI
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Man burns wife to death
Swati Vashishtha
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 9
In a sensational case of murder, a man allegedly burnt his wife and later cut her body into pieces in Dehra Dun yesterday. The accused, Bharat Lal, working as a store-keeper with the Survey of India, used a sharp-edged weapon for the gruesome crime.

The police arrested Bharat Lal from his Rajpur Road residence soon after the incident.

Preliminary investigations into the matter reveal that the accused committed the murder out of superstitious belief that sacrificing his wife would free his possessed son of evil shadows. However, the police suspect that it could be a case of murder in the guise of human sacrifice. Bharat Lal, a father of three, was disturbed by the prolonged illness of his son Sandeep (19). With Sandeep’s worsening amnesia, the family resorted to faith healing and prayers.

In the process, Bharat Lal asked his 35-year-old wife Kamla Devi, to burn a red cloth for the prayers. He, however followed her outside the house, put kerosene on her and burnt her. Later, he cut her body into pieces, using a sharp-edged weapon. The children came to rescue their mother but Lal threatened them with the weapon.

Bharat Lal’s elder daughter, Smita (17), has lodged an FIR with the Rajpur police station. The complainant said her parents were in a disturbed state of mind at the time of the incident. Bharat Lal was arrested from the site of the crime in a semi-conscious state, SP (City) V.P. Singh said. A case has been registered.
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Gujarat sans First Lady for five years
Manohar Prabhakar
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, July 9
With the death of the wife of Mr Nawal Kishore Sharma, Governor-designate of Gujarat, within 24 hours of the announcement of his nomination to the coveted post, the Raj Bhavan of the state will continue to be without the presence of the First Lady. Munni Devi (75), wife of the veteran Congress leader of Rajasthan, died here after prolonged illness.

Ever since Mr Narendra Modi was sworn in as Chief Minister, the Gujarat Raj Bhavan has been without the spouse of the Governor. During the past over five years, the state has witnessed as many as four Governors.

On October 7, 2001, when Mr Modi was sworn in, Mr Sunder Singh Bhandari was the Governor. Mr Bhandari was a bachelor. He had taken over the gubernatorial assignment on March 18, 1999. Mr Kailashpati Mishra, who has been replaced by Mr Nawal Kishore Sharma, was also a bachelor. After the Congress came to power at the Centre, Mr Mishra was dismissed on July 2 and his additional charge was taken over by recently appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Mr Balram Jakhar. He also entered the Raj Bhavan without his wife and came back to Bhopal only after a day. When Mr Nawal Kishore Sharma takes over, he would be the fourth Governor of Gujarat during the BJP regime.
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Uttaranchal, UP to take back govt staff
Tribune News Service

Dehra dun, July 9
Three and half years after the formation of Uttaranchal, the issue of transfer of government staff between UP and Uttaranchal has been resolved.

In an agreement, the governments of both states have agreed on taking back government staff posted in either state.

The long-pending decision was taken at an advisory committee meeting held recently in New Delhi.

According to Chief Secretary R.S. Tholiya who along with other top bureaucrats represented Uttaranchal at the meeting, said the decision would allow thousands of government staff from 58 departments and 110 organisations to return to their state.

These officials were a part of the tentative allocation of staff when Uttaranchal came into being.
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Tribals uprooted in MP
N.D. Sharma

Bhopal, July 9
NGOs working among tribals of Madhya Pradesh have accused state government officials of resorting to atrocious methods to clear disputed encroachments from forest land in violation of the direction of the Supreme Court.

Mr Vijaybhai of the Adivasi Ekata Sangathan, active among the tribals in the Nimad region, said a bunch of petitions on the tribal rights were pending in the Supreme Court and the apex court had directed the state governments on March 7, 1995, that the tribal families should not be removed from the forest land till the petitions had been disposed of.

But Forest Department personnel, accompanied by armed policemen, had in the past fortnight or so been using brute force to remove the tribal families from the land they had been occupying for several decades.

According to Mr Vijaybhai, representatives of the government entered the tribal huts, smashed household items, beat up womenfolk and took them away, to be sent back only when the male members surrendered. Not only that, they set some 300 tribal huts on fire.

A similar story was narrated by Mr Anurag Modi of the Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, functioning in Betul and Harda districts.

He alleged that about 50 men of the Revenue, Forest and Police Departments entered Bhandrapani village in Betul district in the evening of July 4, committed all sorts of atrocities on the tribals and took away 73 tribal men, women and children with them next morning. While 32 of them were later traced huddled up in community centres of Handipani and Hiravadi villages, 41 of them were still not traceable.

Mr Modi said the sangathan had filed a habeas corpus petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, seeking directions to the administration to produce the tribals missing since July 5.
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‘Munnabhai MBBS’ remake for Hollywood likely

Mumbai, July 9
Bollywood’s hit comedy, “Munnabhai MBBS”, may hit Hollywood screens in a remake version in the near future.

Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra is reportedly negotiating with 20th Century Fox for making an international version of the film which was a runaway hit in India last year, bagging numerous awards. The cast of the film in English has not been decided yet.

The deal with 20th Century Fox will be inked soon, film industry sources said.

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, this “clinical” comedy is already being made in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada.

Meanwhile, Hirani has completed the scripting of “Munnabhai LLB”, a sequel to “Munnabhai MBBS”. This film revolving around the legal profession, is expected to go on the floors this year, the sources said. — UNI
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Journalist held for mafia links

Mumbai, July 9
A Mumbai journalist was arrested under a tough anti-crime law for his alleged links with the underworld.

Ketan Tirodkar, a former reporter with an English afternoon tabloid, was arrested today under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. Tirodkar had earlier told the Bombay High Court that he was a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang.

Tirodkar told the court that he had acted as a go-between for corrupt policemen and the underworld. The journalist had also admitted that he arranged for a well-known “encounter specialist” of the Mumbai police to kill gangsters affiliated to Dawood’s rivals. — TNS
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BRIEFLY

Raids in 6 jails, CDs, cash seized
PATNA:
The Patna district authorities have conducted raids in six jails and seized objectionable articles, including CDs, cash, mobile phones, and liquor, following a high court directive to check nefarious activities of jailed criminals, particularly extortion demands from behind the bars. The raids were conducted simultaneously in Beur Central Jail, Phulwarisharif Jail and four sub-divisional jails at Danapur, Patna city, Masaurhi and Barh on Thursday, official sources said. — PTI

Jenny shifted to women’s shelter
DEHRA DUN:
In keeping with directives of the National Women’s Commission, Indira ‘Jenny’ Deuri, an Assamese woman who had accused former Uttaranchal minister Harak Singh Rawat of rape, was on Saturday shifted from the Nari Niketan to Women’s Shelter Home under tight security. Jenny, who had made the allegations over a year ago, was virtually incarcerated in Rajpur-based Nari Niketan after judicial proceedings began into the case. — UNI

Airline staff stop work
MUMBAI:
As many as 400 workers of a private airlines stopped loading and unloading activity on Saturday to demand the immediate arrest of four persons, who had allegedly attacked their union leader, as well as others, on Friday at the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport here. — UNI
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