SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

PM leaves for Thailand today
BIMSTEC summit to focus on trade
New Delhi, July 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is leading a high-powered delegation to Thailand tomorrow to attend the first-ever summit meeting of BIMSTEC, a seven-year-old regional forum intended to act as a bridge between South and South East Asia.


PM tells ministers not to see him off

Ministry denies nod to pvt airlines for ASEAN nations
New Delhi, July 28
Private airlines’ attempt to get government clearance to fly to the ASEAN countries, besides the SAARC countries, seems to have not found favour as of now as the Prime Minister’s Office while agreeing in principle has asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to go by the earlier Union Cabinet decision and first formulate a Civil Aviation policy.

Cong meeting to focus on Haryana poll
New Delhi, July 28
With Haryana headed for Assembly elections in a few months, the Central Congress leadership has initiated the process of forging unity in the faction-ridden state unit. It is also planning to go into an agitation mode, especially on the SYL canal issue.

A police officer walks past flames at a building burnt by an angry mob in Veraval A police officer walks past flames at a building burnt by an angry mob in Veraval, 320 km  southwest of Ahmedabad, on Wednesday.
— Reuters

Tap ocean resources, says Kalam
New Delhi, July 28
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has suggested the government to set up an empowered ocean commission to tap ocean resources on a large scale. 



The President
The President,
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam,
at the valedictory function of the CBSE platinum jubilee, in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

GTB withdrawal limit to be relaxed, says Chidambaram
Chennai, July 28
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said here today that the upper limit of withdrawal of cash from Global Trust Bank by the depositors would be relaxed within a day or two.

Pak Awami National Party flays Pervez
New Delhi, July 28
Pakistan’s Awami National Party (ANP) today criticised President Pervez Musharraf for his statement that there should be simultaneous progress within a “time frame” on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehmood’s funeral in Bangalore today
Veteran actress and MP Jaya Bachchan, along with Lucky Ali, places flowers on the casket of the legendary Hindi film comedian Mehmood in Mumbai on Wednesday. Mumbai, July 28
The funeral of Bollywood comedian Mehmood will be held in Bangalore tomorrow, family sources said in Mumbai today. The body of Mehmood, who died in Pennysilvania, was brought to Mumbai early this morning.
In video (28k, 56k)

Veteran actress and MP Jaya Bachchan, along with Lucky Ali, places flowers on the casket of the legendary Hindi film comedian Mehmood in Mumbai on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Six killed in mudslides
Dehra Dun, July 28
Six persons were killed in mudslides at Taptkund, near Yamnotri in Uttarkashi, late last night. After torrential rain lashed the region, boulders slid on a few houses of local people while they were asleep. 

The Hindu case with Constitution Bench
New Delhi, July 28
Two petitions filed by six journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli newspapers challenging a Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution was today referred to a constitution Bench by the Supreme Court.

Devotees of Lord Krishna circle the mythical Govardhan hillock on the occasion of Adhikmasa Ekadashi at Mathura
Devotees of Lord Krishna circle the mythical Govardhan hillock on the occasion of Adhikmasa Ekadashi at Mathura on Wednesday. — PTI

SC reopens Dabhol Power Project case
New Delhi, July 28
The Supreme Court today reopened the Dabhol Power Project case by issuing notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the legality of the power purchase agreement between the Maharashtra State Electricity Board and the US major Enron-promoted Dabhol Power Corporation.

4 bodies found in Mumbai flat
Mumbai, July 28
In a shocking incident, the city police today found four bodies, including that of an Indian Airlines employee, in a flat at Vakola in north-west Mumbai. Mr Vishnu Vithoba Desai, working as Traffic Superintendent in the IA Commercial Department, was found dead along with his wife, daughter and their maid in his flat in the airlines colony, the police said. 

Petrol, diesel prices set to go up
New Delhi, July 28
Within days of the government giving limited freedom to state-run oil companies to fix auto fuel prices within a narrow price band, petrol prices are set to go up by Rs 0.57 per litre and diesel by Rs 0.92 per litre from August 1.

Prefers personal car
Chennai, July 28
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today preferred his personal car to proceed to the city from the airport.

Shinde moots free power for farmers
Mumbai, July 28
Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters today after a Cabinet meeting that the state government was considering free power to farmers right away. 

Videos
Pakistani Opposition leader meets Indian Prime Minister.
(28k, 56k)
Physically challenged man remains afloat for hours.
(28k, 56k)
Ishq-Vishk combo back with Fida.
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PM leaves for Thailand today
BIMSTEC summit to focus on trade
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is leading a high-powered delegation to Thailand tomorrow to attend the first-ever summit meeting of BIMSTEC, a seven-year-old regional forum intended to act as a bridge between South and South East Asia.

This will be Dr Manmohan Singh’s maiden foreign trip as Prime Minister where his economic expertise as well as diplomatic skills would be tested. From the economic point of view, the summit is expected to give a new dimension to intra-regional trade and economic cooperation and pave the way for a free trade agreement, though as late as 2017.

From the diplomatic perspective, BIMSTEC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation) whose nomenclature remains the same even after the inclusion of Nepal and Bhutan this February, is virtually a parallel body to SAARC minus Pakistan. An added advantage is that it has two important members of ASEAN — Thailand and Myanmar — the former being a rapidly growing economy.

The diplomatic signal to Pakistan is clear: if it creates roadblocks in SAARC India has greener pastures to look at.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s delegation includes External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, Union Minister for Industry and Commerce Kamal Nath and National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit.

The inclusion of Mr Dixit is a clear indication that the summit would focus on energy security of the region and intensify regional and intra-regional cooperation in the vital energy sector.

The trilateral highway project, involving India, Myanmar and Thailand would be crucial. The three countries have already set up two task forces — one financial and the other technical — in hits regard.

The threats posed by terrorism are also expected to come up during the summit.

Mr Rajiv Sikri, Special Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters that BIMSTEC had identified six sectors for focussed cooperation.
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PM tells ministers not to see him off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked his ministers not to see him off at the airport tomorrow when he leaves for his first foreign trip. Dr Manmohan Singh is leaving for a three-day visit to Thailand to attend the BIMSTEC meeting.
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Ministry denies nod to pvt airlines for ASEAN nations
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Private airlines’ attempt to get government clearance to fly to the ASEAN countries, besides the SAARC countries, seems to have not found favour as of now as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) while agreeing in principle has asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to go by the earlier Union Cabinet decision and first formulate a Civil Aviation policy.

Denying media reports that the PMO had cleared the proposal for the private airlines to fly to the ASEAN countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, a spokesperson in the Civil Aviation Ministry said the PMO had only asked the ministry to go by the earlier Union Cabinet decision taken on December 10, 2003.

In a letter written on July 6 last the PMO had asked the ministry to proceed with operationalising the offer of additional flights to and from the ASEAN countries in “line with the Cabinet decision”.

As such the ministry would first have to formulate the policy and then the private domestic airlines would be allowed to fly to the ASEAN countries if the policy guidelines permitted.

The spokesperson pointed out that since there was no policy in place as of now there was no question of the private airlines being allowed to fly to the ASEAN countries.

Media reports said today that the PMO had cleared the proposal to let the private airlines to the ASEAN countries which would greatly benefit Jet Airways and Air Sahara. It said the ministry would soon come out with the guidelines.
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Cong meeting to focus on Haryana poll
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
With Haryana headed for Assembly elections in a few months, the Central Congress leadership has initiated the process of forging unity in the faction-ridden state unit. It is also planning to go into an agitation mode, especially on the SYL canal issue.

A special meeting of present and former Haryana legislators, pradesh and district committee chiefs, former Chief Ministers and heads of frontal organisations has been convened tomorrow for this purpose.

Mr Janardhan Diwedi, AICC General Secretary in charge of Haryana, said the meeting would discuss strategy for the upcoming poll and finalise the state unit’s agitation programme in the coming months. Mr Diwedi held preliminary discussions with Haryana leaders yesterday.

There is a suggestion that the Congress should formally launch its agitation against the Chautala government on August 9, which is Quit India day. The meeting will also be an attempt to bring together state leaders like Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Bhupinder Singh. “This exercise becomes virtually mandatory as the elections draw close,” remarked a senior Haryana Congress leader.

According to Haryana Congress leaders, the party will launch an assault on the Chautala government to cash in on the anti-incumbency mood among the people. Besides highlighting its poor performance, the state unit will keep up the pressure on the SYL canal issue to pre-empt Mr Chautala from getting any political mileage on the issue.

Having won nine of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana recently, the coming elections are crucial for the Congress. It is hoping to do equally well in the assembly poll as well.

The state unit, through its sustained campaign called “jalyudh”, will not only demand action against the Amarinder Singh government for the unilateral abrogation of inter-state water accords, but also put Mr Chautala on the mat for doing little to protect the interests of the state.

The Haryana Congress is well aware that Mr Chautala can whip up passions on this issue in an effort to deflect public attention from his own deficiencies. The state unit, however, is drawing solace from the fact that the issue has, so far, not created any ripples in the rural hinterland.
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Tap ocean resources, says Kalam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has suggested the government to set up an empowered ocean commission to tap ocean resources on a large scale. “Since about 37 per cent of the Indian population is staying in the coastal areas, there is a need to tap its potential for the welfare of humans”, the President said at the foundation day celebrations of the Department of Ocean.

Presenting his 10-point vision for ocean development, the President called upon Indian scientists to work on cutting-edge technologies to tap ocean resources, including minerals, energy, fishery, drugs and underground water tourism.

Appreciating the government’s project of desalination of water to provide safe drinking water in Chennai, he said, “The control of desalination of sea water has come down over the years from Rs 125 per 1000 litre in 1980 to just Rs 2.5 per 1000 litre by 2004. With the improvement in technology, the costs will further come down, and can meet the drinking and irrigation water requirements in the coastal belt,” he added.

He asked the Department of Ocean Development to process the data related to India’s claim for extended exclusive economic zone of about 1.5 million sq km and submit it before the UN in 2005.
Top

 

GTB withdrawal limit to be relaxed,
says Chidambaram

Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 28
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said here today that the upper limit of withdrawal of cash from Global Trust Bank by the depositors would be relaxed within a day or two.

Talking to newspersons at the airport on his arrival from New Delhi, he said even when the moratorium on withdrawal of cash was imposed following the suspension of banking activities of the bank by the Reserve Bank of India, excess money above the ceiling of Rs. 10,000 could be withdrawn.

In case of wedding, education and medical expenses such withdrawal was being allowed, he added.

Mr. Chidambaram assured the depositors and said: “The money deposited in Global Trust Bank (GTB) is safe and depositors need not have any fear.”
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Pak Awami National Party flays Pervez
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Pakistan’s Awami National Party (ANP) today criticised President Pervez Musharraf for his statement that there should be simultaneous progress within a “time frame” on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

“The two countries have seen hostilities for 57 years. It will not go in one year. If General Musharraf has any time frame, he should propose it,” ANP chief Asfandyar Khan told newspersons here after a 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The grandson of Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan said his party felt that “there cannot be and should not be a time frame for the resolution of disputes between the two countries.”

“At the moment, it is a welcome development that the talks are on. We should hope for success,” Mr Khan said, stressing that India and Pakistan should live as brothers in peace.

The ANP chief, who congratulated Dr Manmohan Singh on becoming the Prime Minister, held discussions on the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan. He said the Simla agreement was binding on both countries for the resolution of disputes.

He pleaded for easing of visa restrictions to allow more people-to-people contacts.

To a question, Mr Khan said the policy towards Pakistan had remained the same after the change of government in New Delhi.
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Mehmood’s funeral in Bangalore today
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 28
The funeral of Bollywood comedian Mehmood will be held in Bangalore tomorrow, family sources said in Mumbai today.

The body of Mehmood, who died in Pennysilvania (USA), was brought to Mumbai early this morning. The body was taken to Mehmoob Studio in suburban Bandra, where hundreds of people, including film personalities, came to pay their respects.

Among those who came to pay their respects were Johnny Lever, Junior Mehmood, Gufi Paintal, Shobha Khote, Farida Jalal, Raza Muraad and Dharmendra and producer Shyam Shroff.
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Six killed in mudslides
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 28
Six persons were killed in mudslides at Taptkund, near Yamnotri in Uttarkashi, late last night. After torrential rain lashed the region, boulders slid on a few houses of local people while they were asleep. 

These houses collapsed, claiming six lives, official sources said. Mr K.K. Pant, District Magistrate, Uttarkashi rushed to the spot and began the rescue operations. Mudslides following heavy rain affected Kuthnor, Pali, Kharsale and Kupra villages of the Yamnotri area.

Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari announced a financial assistance of Rs 50,000 for the families of the dead, officials said.
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The Hindu case with Constitution Bench
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Two petitions filed by six journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli newspapers challenging a Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution was today referred to a constitution Bench by the Supreme Court.

The state assembly had last year sentenced the six journalists to a 15-day jail term for alleged breach of privileges of the House.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice R C Lahoti referred the two petitions to a Constitution Bench.
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SC reopens Dabhol Power Project case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
The Supreme Court today reopened the Dabhol Power Project case by issuing notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the legality of the power purchase agreement between the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) and the US major Enron-promoted Dabhol Power Corporation.

A three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti, Mr Justice G.P. Mathur and Mr Justice C.K. Thakker also issued notices to Enron, the DPC, the Maharashtra Government and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.

This order was passed on an application filed by the Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU), which had alleged that though cheap power was promised earlier at Rs 2 per unit, it was later hiked to Rs 4.95 per unit.
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4 bodies found in Mumbai flat

Mumbai, July 28
In a shocking incident, the city police today found four bodies, including that of an Indian Airlines employee, in a flat at Vakola in north-west Mumbai. Mr Vishnu Vithoba Desai, working as Traffic Superintendent in the IA Commercial Department, was found dead along with his wife, daughter and their maid in his flat in the airlines colony, the police said. 

Mr Desai was due for retirement after a few months, the police said, adding that the other victims had been identified as Desai’s wife, daughter Vidya (22 years) and maid Nanda (between 35 and 40 years).

The cause of their deaths was not known immediately, the police said. — PTITop

 

Petrol, diesel prices set to go up

New Delhi, July 28
Within days of the government giving limited freedom to state-run oil companies to fix auto fuel prices within a narrow price band, petrol prices are set to go up by Rs 0.57 per litre and diesel by Rs 0.92 per litre from August 1.

The price hike in New Delhi will be sharper due to the increase in sales tax. Diesel price in New Delhi will go up by Rs 2.40 per litre, after factoring in sales tax of Rs 1.60 per litre.

While state-run Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd want to raise petrol and diesel prices by Rs 1.50 to 2 per litre each, the narrow price band, within which the oil firms can revise prices, will see only a marginal increase in prices, industry sources said.

The government had on Monday allowed oil marketing companies to raise or lower petrol and diesel prices by up to 10 per cent every fortnight in step with the cost. — PTITop

 

Prefers personal car

Chennai, July 28
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today preferred his personal car to proceed to the city from the airport.

Chidambaram, on arrival here from Delhi, told the protocol official that he did not require an official vehicle and would continue the practice of travelling by his own vehicle here which he had been following for over 20 years now. — PTITop

 

Shinde moots free power for farmers

Mumbai, July 28
Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters today after a Cabinet meeting that the state government was considering free power to farmers right away. 

The government he added, might waive interest on loans provided to farmers by state government-owned financial institutions.— TNSTop

 
BRIEFLY

Fire toll rises to 94
KUMBAKONAM:
With the death of one more boy on Wednesday, the toll in the July 16 fire tragedy here, has risen to 94, according to Thanjauvur district Collector, Dr J. Radhakrishnan. He said Vignesh (8), who was studying in Class III at Saraswathi school here, succumbed to burn injuries. Sixteen children are still undergoing treatment in various hospitals. — PTI

500 BJP activists held
HYDERABAD:
Over 500 BJP activists, including some top leaders, were on Wednesday taken into custody here for allegedly violating conditions prescribed for procession, during a rally to protest against proposed reservation for Muslims by the Andhra Pradesh Government. Those arrested included former Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Ch Vidyasagar Rao, party’s state unit President N. Indrasena Reddy and party’s former MLAs, the police said. — PTI
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