SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Mulayam suspends DM, 6 others
Debt forces Dalit farmer to commit suicide
Lucknow, July 29
UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav suspended the District Magistrate of Barabanki, Mr Markandey Singh, along with six officials late last night for the inept handling of a tractor loan recovery from a 20-year old Dalit farmer, forcing him to commit suicide owing to starvation.`

CPM discusses economic issues
New Delhi, July 29
The CPM Politburo today chalked out its strategy to deal with the UPA government, which has been virtually ignoring the concerns expressed by the Left parties on several issues, including hike in FDI in the telecom, civil aviation and insurance sectors.

Amarinder snubbed again
New Delhi, July 29
The controversy generated by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s unilateral move on inter-state water accords continues to dog the Congress.

Young Cong MPs to rejuvenate party
New Delhi, July 29
Young Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasad and Tejaswani are likely to be drafted to help rejuvenate the front organisations and attract younger persons to the party fold.

Prasad takes over as Navy Vice-Chief
New Delhi, July 29
Vice-Admiral Yashwant Prasad today took over as the Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff, succeeding Vice-Admiral Arun Prakash, who will take over as Navy Chief tomorrow.





Vice-Admiral Yashwant Prasad, new vice-chief of the Naval Staff, being introduced to senior officials of the Navy, at South Block in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo
Vice-Admiral Yashwant Prasad, new vice-chief of the Naval Staff, being introduced to senior officials of the Navy, at South Block in New Delhi

 

 

 



 

EARLIER STORIES

  Centre announces bureaucratic reshuffle
New Delhi, July 29
In a minor reshuffle, the Centre today announced the appointment of Mr Shekhar Dutt, a 1969-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, as the new Secretary, Defence Production and Supplies, in place of Ms Uma Pillai.

Sikh LI, ITBP best marching contingents
New Delhi, July 29
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today awarded the rolling trophies to the best Republic Day marching contingents from the armed and paramilitary forces.


Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee presents the rolling trophy for the best marching contingent (Services) for the Republic Day parade to Lieut Raman Sharma of Sikh Light Infantry, in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee presents the rolling trophy for the best marching contingent (Services) for the Republic Day parade to Lieut Raman Sharma of Sikh Light Infantry, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Mehmood laid to rest
Bangalore, July 29
The mortal remains of popular comedian Mehmood were laid to rest at his farm at Kenchanahalli on the city outskirts today after hundreds of mourners paid their last respects to “The King of Laughter”.


Bollywood actor and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha consoles Lucky Ali at the funeral of legendary Hindi film comedian Mehmood Ali at Ali Estate, Yelahanka, in Bangalore on Thursday. — PTI photo
Bollywood actor and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha consoles Lucky Ali at the funeral of legendary Hindi film comedian Mehmood Ali at Ali Estate, Yelahanka, in Bangalore on Thursday.

Security Council: Bulgaria backs India’s candidature
New Delhi, July 29
Bulgaria yesterday supported India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh said at a joint press conference here with his Bulgarian counterpart Solomon Passy.

A girl rows a raft made from banana-tree shoots in the flooded Samata, 35 km east of Guwahati
A girl rows a raft made from banana-tree shoots in the flooded Samata, 35 km east of Guwahati, on Thursday. Four weeks of the worst flooding in years have killed nearly 1,100 persons across South Asia and economic costs are rising with the casualties. — Reuters

Spinner Bedi gets knee transplants
New Delhi, July 29
Cricketing legend Bishan Singh Bedi, had successful transplants on his both knees yesterday enabling him to bowl again so as to coach aspiring spinners.

Vohra meets Sayeed
New Delhi, July 29
Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir N. N. Vohra met state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed yesterday and discussed ways of resuming dialogue between the Centre and the Hurriyat Conference.

Bomb threat at airport
New Delhi, July 29
An alarm was caused at Indira Gandhi International Airport here today after the police received a call telling that a bomb had been planted there and would go off tomorrow. An emergency was declared at the airport with the police launching massive “anti-sabotage searches” after an anonymous person made the call at around 1 pm, police sources said. — PTI

10 killed in bus mishap
Dehradun, July 29
Ten persons died while 14 were injured in a bus accident between Bachhelipal and Tindwar near Rudraprayag, official sources said. The bus was on its way to Rudraprayag from Rishikesh with 24 passengers on board. The injured persons have been shifted to the base hospital at Srinagar. Prima facie the accident took place due to brake failure, officials said. — TNS

DIG convicted
Patna, July 29
The Patna High Court today ordered DIG (Vigilance) of the Bihar police Shridhar Sharma and another retired police officer Gagandeo Ram to be kept in judicial custody “till the court rises” and slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 each in a case relating to contempt of court. — UNI


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Mulayam suspends DM, 6 others
Debt forces Dalit farmer to commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, July 29
UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav suspended the District Magistrate of Barabanki, Mr Markandey Singh, along with six officials late last night for the inept handling of a tractor loan recovery from a 20-year old Dalit farmer, forcing him to commit suicide owing to starvation.

The Chief Minister has announced financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh to next of kin of the deceased. The family of the poverty-stricken Dalit victim, Mansharam, reportedly collected donations from the villagers to perform his last rites.

This appalling incident occurred at Maraucha village in Ramnagar tehsil of Barabanki where Mansharam and two others had taken a loan of Rs 3.4 lakh in March, 2003, from the Land Development Bank to buy a tractor. On January 31 the district authorities issued a recovery challan to attach the property of the four farmers to recover the amount.

The authorities concerned first impounded the tractor and then auctioned it off at Rs 63, 000. The officials concerned then went on to auction the .53 hectares of a piece of land belonging to Mansharam’s father Kallu, at the ridiculously low amount of Rs 80,000. Kallu approached the tehsil office on July 23 and even submitted a written application to the Ramnagar SDM on July 25, demanding the prevailing market price for the land.

Not getting any response from the officials, a disheartened Mansharam committed suicide on the night on July 26. His body was found on the outskirts of the village.

Mr J.P. Singh Commissioner Faizabad, said he had been asked by the Chief Secretary to verify the matter. Following his on-the-spot inquiry on Wednesday, the Chief Minister suspended the Barabanki District Magistrate, along with SDM Pawan Kumar Gangwar, Tehsildar Satyendra Nath Shukla, Naib Tehsildar Vinay Kumar Gupta, clerk Bankey Lal and Barabanki Land Development Bank manager Alok Kumar.

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CPM discusses economic issues
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
The CPM Politburo today chalked out its strategy to deal with the UPA government, which has been virtually ignoring the concerns expressed by the Left parties on several issues, including hike in FDI in the telecom, civil aviation and insurance sectors.

Indications are that the party would continue to apply pressure on the government and would be more vocal in maintaining its independent stance on issues which affect the party’s ideology and support base.

As the Kerala unit of the party has come out directly in support of the student agitation against the Congress government in the state and the politburo has a significant presence of representatives from this state, sources said there were many voices demanding the party to expose the misdeeds of the UPA government.

They argued that any act of compliance with the UPA-government could cost the party dearly as the CPM had won the record number of seats defeating the Congress candidates.

Party sources said the Central Committee would fine tune the strategy to be adopted in dealing with the government. However, they indicated that the party would not act in any manner which would send out a message that the Left was not opposing such issues which it had been vocally critical of in the past.

The party’s highest decision-making body, the Central Committee, will begin its three-day session from tomorrow, the first after the party decided to extend outside support to the UPA government.

The politburo also discussed the political situation, particularly in Maharashtra, which is due for elections soon, and government’s economic policies, including FDI and petroleum products’ prices.

Party general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, party leaders Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, former Chief Minister of West Bengal Jyoti Basu, Manik Sarkar and CITU president M.K. Pandhe are among those who took part in the discussions.

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Amarinder snubbed again
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
The controversy generated by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s unilateral move on inter-state water accords continues to dog the Congress.

Unable to endorse Capt Amarinder Singh’s decision, the party leadership was put to further embarrassment today. It was hard put to explain AICC General Secretary, Janardhan Diwedi’s remark at the daily Press briefing that Capt Amarinder Singh’s statements in the media were “hardly expected of a chief minister” and that these had been taken seriously by the party.

Mr Diwedi’s remarks created a flutter in Congress circles as it was seen as an indictment of the Punjab Chief Minister by the Central party leadership. Coming soon after Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s refusal to grant Capt Amarinder Singh an audience, today’s statement lent further credence to the already-circulating rumours that the Chief Minister was on his way out. Congress leaders denied these reports.

However, according to party sources the Congress will wait for the Supreme Court decision before taking any further action.

There was no official retraction or explanation regarding Mr Diwedi’s public statement. Unofficially, however, party insiders explained that this statement be seen in the context of the mood in neighbouring Haryana and also the fact that Mr Diwedi is AICC incharge of Haryana and had convened a meeting of state leaders today.

Today’s situation has only highlighted the dilemma faced by the Congress. It cannot disagree openly with Capt Amarinder Singh’s move as it could create a volatile situation in Punjab. At the same time, it cannot endorse it either given its adverse impact in Haryana, which is headed for Assembly elections early next year.

With Haryana Chief Minister O.P. Chautala all set to whip up passions on the SYL Canal issue, the Haryana Congress has to counter it by taking up the matter equally vociferously. This was evident at today’s meeting of Haryana Congress leaders, convened by Mr Diwedi. While vowing to fight for the interests of their state, Capt Amarinder Singh’s decision came in for trenchent criticism with several angry speakers even demanding his removal.

Keeping up the pressure on the water accords issue, this meeting decided to launch a sustained agitation against the “misdeeds of the Chautala government” in the run-up to the Assembly elections. The Congress also plans to pin down Mr Chautala for not protecting the state’s interests since he refused to challenge Capt Amarinder Singh’s decision in the Supreme Court.

The agitation will be kicked off with a huge rally at Kurukshetra on August 9, also Quit India day. A seven-member committee, with Mr S.S. Surjewala as convener, was constituted to prepare a chargesheet against Mr Chautala, Mr Diwedi told presspersons after the meeting.

Today’s meeting also served to bring together the state unit’s perennially warring factions. Most speakers, including Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Mr Birendra Singh, said the need of the hour was to sink all differences and present a united front. It was suggested that all leaders be seen together at the August 9 rally and there be no projection of individual leaders.

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Young Cong MPs to rejuvenate party
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Young Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasad and Tejaswani are likely to be drafted to help rejuvenate the front organisations and attract younger persons to the party fold.

Party leaders informally admit its front bodies like the Seva Dal, the Youth Congress and the Mahila Congress have virtually become defunct over the years. It is felt these organisations have not been sufficiently active. Nor have they been able to infuse fresh blood into the set-up which would ultimately help groom a new generation of leaders.

Besides enrolling younger members into front organisations, it is learnt, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also wants these bodies to be more than mere ornamental bodies. She wants to see them in a new avataar so that their activities are not confined to mere protests but are also extended to social service. She has conveyed as much to Mr Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary in charge of front organisations.

There is a realisation in the party that these front bodies can prove to be excellent vehicles to inform people about the government’s social schemes and programmes. At the same time, these organisations can also take some lessons from the much-maligned RSS and participate more actively in disaster relief and social service activities. To begin with, the Youth Congress has lined up its members from Punjab and Haryana who will soon be travelling to the flood-hit areas of Assam to distribute foodgrains to the affected.

Mr Gehlot is also learnt to have constituted a special sub-committee to suggest how Seva Dal’s mandate can be expanded to include social service. Congress leaders said the Seva Dal’s role had gradually been reduced to lining up at party meetings in its trademark white uniform and Gandhi cap and nothing more.

It is felt its members can and should be used as a volunteer force and also to inform people about the government’s various social schemes which will help bridge the gap between the party and the government. At the same time, these bodies can also provide useful feedback to the government about people’s views and perceptions about official programmes.

These suggestions stem from the realisation that there is a communication gap between the party and the government, particularly in states where it is in power. The Pranab Mukherjee report, which had analysed last year’s assembly election results, had pointed out that the party organisation had become virtually defunct in states like Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh because of the over dependence on the bureaucracy.

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Prasad takes over as Navy Vice-Chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Vice-Admiral Yashwant Prasad today took over as the Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff, succeeding Vice-Admiral Arun Prakash, who will take over as Navy Chief tomorrow.

A release issued by the Ministry of Defence said that Vice-Admiral Prasad, who was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOCinC) of the Southern Naval Command (SNC) prior to his elevation, is a navigation and aircraft direction specialist, who has seen action during his deputation to the Omanese Navy.

Commissioned in the Navy on July 1, 1967, he is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington and has also undergone the Senior Defence Management Course at the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad and the Command and General Staff Course at the General Staff Academy, Moscow, the release added.

Vice-Admiral Prasad’s operational and staff assignments include command of INS SDB T-52, training frigate INS Brahmaputra (where he was also the Senior Officer of the First Training Squadron), guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

He was sent to the Oman Navy on deputation in 1973, where he commissioned their patrol vessel SNV Al-Mansor, which participated in the Dhofar War and saw action off Salalah in Western Oman.

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Centre announces bureaucratic reshuffle
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
In a minor reshuffle, the Centre today announced the appointment of Mr Shekhar Dutt, a 1969-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, as the new Secretary, Defence Production and Supplies, in place of Ms Uma Pillai.

Mr Dutt’s post of the Secretary in the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoepathy, Ministry of Health, will now be held by Mr Palat Mohandass, a 1968-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre.

The bureaucratic reshuffle also entails appointment of Mr Wajahat Habibullah, a 1968-IAS officer from the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, as the new Union Textile Secretary. Mr Habibullah will take over the charge from Mr Dipak Chatterji. An IAS officer of the 1966-batch from the West Bengal cadre, Mr Chatterji is presently Union Commerce Secretary and is on an extension.

According to official sources, Ms Uma Pillai, a 1968-batch IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, will be the new Tourism Secretary. Ms Pillai will take over from Mr Rathi Vinay Jha who is retiring on July 31.

The Secretary, Water Resources, Mr V.K. Duggal, a 1968-batch IAS officer, who is presently in Islamabad for talks with Pakistan on water issue, has been asked to take the additional charge of the Secretary, Drinking Water Supply, in place of Mr Palat Mohandass.

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Sikh LI, ITBP best marching contingents
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today awarded the rolling trophies to the best Republic Day marching contingents from the armed and paramilitary forces.

The Sikh Light Infantry (LI) was adjudged the best marching contingent in the Services category while the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) received the trophy for the best marching contingent in the paramilitary and police section during the 2004 Republic Day functions.

Appreciating the performance of the two contingents, Mr Mukherjee said whenever the armed forces were discussed, the picture which came to mind was of marching soldiers. Parade of the armed forces was the most significant part of the Republic Day celebrations reminding one of the country’s achievements and also the Constitution, which is not only an instrument of Governance but also a document of socio-economic transformation.

Further congratulating the panel of the judges, he said it must have been a tough job to select the excellent of the excellent performers.

Prominent among the other dignitaries present on the occasion included Navy Chief-designate Vice-Admiral Arun Prakash.

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Mehmood laid to rest

Bangalore, July 29
The mortal remains of popular comedian Mehmood were laid to rest at his farm at Kenchanahalli on the city outskirts today after hundreds of mourners paid their last respects to “The King of Laughter”.

After the “Namaz-e-Janaza (prayer for the dead)”, the body was interred next to the grave of his father, actor-dancer Mumtaz Ali, at the Ali Estates Agricultural and Stud Farm.

Hundreds of mourners filed past the body of Mehmood, which was brought here from Mumbai last evening.

Minister N Dharam Singh, former minister and actor Shatrughan Sinha, Congress leader and former minister C.K. Jaffar Sharief, Kannada cine actor-turned-politician Ambareesh, actor and businessman Sanjay Khan, Kannada comedian Dwarkeesh and Hindi film villain Bob Christo paid homage.

Mehmood’s family members, including his singer son Lucky Ali, and locals attended the funeral. Sanjay Khan said Mehmood gave a new dimension to comedy and had the talent to rise above the scripts. — PTI

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Security Council: Bulgaria backs India’s candidature
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Bulgaria yesterday supported India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh said at a joint press conference here with his Bulgarian counterpart Solomon Passy.

Bulgaria, which recently became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), “will be happy to become the door for India to the European Union,” Mr Passy said.

The two countries have also agreed to set up a joint economic commission, which will meet in November, to identify the areas of cooperation and upgrade bilateral ties.

Earlier, the two ministers had delegation-level talks for about an hour, in which they discussed matters as well as international issues. The two countries also signed on MoU on cooperation between their diplomatic training institutes.

He also said he had invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Mr Natwar Singh to visit his country.

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Spinner Bedi gets knee transplants
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Cricketing legend Bishan Singh Bedi, had successful transplants on his both knees yesterday enabling him to bowl again so as to coach aspiring spinners.

Director Orthopedics and Institute of Joint Replacement Surgery Dr S K S Marya, who replaced his knees with rotating platform knees at Max Healthcare Clinic, here said that operation, lasting for over two hours, went well and Mr Bedi would be able to coach again after three months.

“In a week’s time, we will make our patient walk back home and in six weeks time, he would be able to walk without a stick”, Dr Marya said.

Dr Marya, who has performed over 1700 joint replacements of hips, shoulders, toes and fingers in the past nine years and has successfully done 360 double knee transplants, said that “a novel implant of knee has been used for Mr Bedi”.

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Vohra meets Sayeed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir N. N. Vohra met state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed yesterday and discussed ways of resuming dialogue between the Centre and the Hurriyat Conference.

Sources said security of Hurriyat leaders also figured in the meeting. Mr Vohra is understood to have urged the Chief Minister for speedy investigation into the killing of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s uncle.

Mr Vohra and Mr Sayeed also discussed the issue of release of detainees languishing in various jails without any serious charge, the sources said.

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Oppn memo to Governor against Jaya govt
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 29
Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu led by the DMK today asked the Governor to take action against the state government for its “unconstitutional and anti-people activities and restore the rule of law”. Under the banner of the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), these parties submitted a memorandum to the Governor, Mr P.S. Ramamohan Rao. DMK General Secretary K. Anbazhagan said the DPA had not sought the dismissal of the government.

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Uttaranchal staff call off strike
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 29
The government staff called off their strike after nine days today. The strike was called off after the government accepted their major demand by transferring Additional Secretary Bhaskaranand Joshi.

The deadlock continued even after the staff leaders discussed their demands with Information Minister Indira Hridayesh and a high-powered committee during a meeting that lasted nine hours, said Secretary (Information) N.N. Prasad.

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BRIEFLY


A 10-day-old Pakistani infant, Mohammed Ahmed, being treated for congenital heart problem in Hyderabad
A 10-day-old Pakistani infant, Mohammed Ahmed, who was being taken from Delhi to Bangalore by his parents for treatment of a congenital heart problem, underwent an emergency operation in a corporate hospital in Hyderabad on Thursday. — PTI

Three children drowned
JAIPUR: Three children of a family were drowned while taking bath in a pond at Goner village near here on Wednesday. The priest of the village temple along with other villagers helped to rescue two others. The police said five children from Roopavas village had gone to the temple festival at Goner village. After offering prayers, they went to the pond for a bath where they were drowned. — UNI

Illicit liquor claims 14 lives
Dhanbad:
At least 14 persons died after drinking illicit liquor here on Wednesday, the police said on Thursday. The police said two persons died in hospital on Thursday while 12 persons, including a woman, died on Wednesday after they consumed illicit liquor in different areas of the city. — UNI

LJP MLA held in Rajasthan
Jaipur:
The lone Lok Janshakti Party MLA in Rajasthan, Ranveer Singh ‘Gudha’, was arrested here on Thursday for assaulting a government servant, damaging public property and other charges. — UNI

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