SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


image
N A T I O N

Speed up poll reforms, CEC asks PM
New Delhi, August 2
Constitutional protection for all members of the Election Commission has been sought in the proposal sent by the Chief Election Commissioner T. S. Krishnamurthy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

UPA-Left coordination panel formed, to meet tomorrow
New Delhi, August 2
In a move to avoid frictions, an eight-member United Progressive Alliance-Left coordination panel was formalised today with the nomination of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as members from the government.

Cabinet nod on Godhra probe sought
New Delhi, August 2
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s announcement of a departmental probe into the Godhra train carnage has assumed significance as the ministry has sought Cabinet approval on the matter.


Gangotri peaks seen from the Gomukh region
Gangotri peaks seen from the Gomukh region, the origin of the Ganges in Uttaranchal. This serene beauty is in danger due to unmanaged and unplanned human interference. The government  has been urged to monitor scientifically tourism activity in the zone.
 — PTI photo

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Sonia announces housing scheme
for flood-hit
Guwahati, August 2
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today announced that houses under the Indira Awas Yojana would be built to shelter the homeless flood victims of Assam.
Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress party, meets flood victims at a relief camp in Jagirodi, 52 km east of Guwahati, Assam
Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress party, meets flood victims at a relief camp in Jagirodi, 52 km east of Guwahati, Assam, on Monday. — Reuters photo

Dalit woman refused treatment
Delivers still-born child at health centre’s gate
Lucknow, August 2
Doctors on duty at Dufferin Hospital refused to give an official diagnosis of the condition of 20-year old Ramrati, who was brought to the hospital today, in a critical condition from Karanpur village in Mohanlalganj on the outskirts of Lucknow.

Shyam Saran takes over as Foreign Secretary
New Delhi, August 2
Mr Shyam Saran today formally took over as Foreign Secretary, succeeding Mr Shashank.
In video (28k, 56k)

EARLIER STORIES

 
Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai at the opening of Adity Jyot Eye Hospital in Mumbai
Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai at the opening of Adity Jyot Eye Hospital in Mumbai on Sunday. Aishwarya has already pledged to donate her eyes and is promoting the eye donation campaign.
— PTI

Bid for consensus on transferring water to deficit areas
New Delhi, August 2
The Union Government will evolve a consensus among states to transfer water from surplus basins to deficit areas besides considering the river-linking project initially in the Southern peninsular region by year end. To face the emerging water crisis, the states will be encouraged to follow water-efficient sprinkle and drip irrigation methods through central subsidy, said Union Water Resources Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi here today.

BJP 'Chintan Baithak' ends in Goa
New Delhi, August 2
The BJP reverted to its time-tested strategy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound when it resolved at its three-day ‘Chintan Baithak’ in Goa that it would stick aggressively with its ‘Hindutva agenda” and would also continue working with the NDA allies.

SC seeks details on MBBS admissions
New Delhi, August 2
The Supreme Court today sought affidavits from 15 states, including Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, stating whether they were following the Medical Council of India (MCI) schedule regarding admission of students to the MBBS course in various medical colleges.

FRI effects five-fold hike in tuition fee
Dehradun, August 2
The Forest Research Institute, a deemed university, has effected a major fee hike for its courses, including MSc, research in forestry and related areas. The revised fee structure will be implemented from September. The fee for MSc, PG Diploma and PhD will be over five times of what it used to be.

President to open Panipat thermal unit
New Delhi, August 2
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the 250 MW seventh unit of Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Plant at Panipat.

Bail declined to Naroda Patia massacre accused
New Delhi, August 2
The Supreme Court today rejected the bail plea of Gujarat’s Naroda Patia massacre main accused Shashikant, alias Tinio Yuvraj.

1 dead, 15 hurt as rain disrupts life in Mumbai
Mumbai, August 2
One person was killed and 15 others injured in six rain-related incidents in and around the city as torrential rain continued to lash the metropolis for the second week in succession, throwing road, rail traffic out of gear and bringing life to a standstill. In Thane a 35-year-old woman was killed when a boulder slipped off a hillock and fell on the shanty she had occupied in Lokmanya Nagar area, police sources said. Four college girls were injured, one of them seriously, when a canteen shed collapsed at Gyan Sadhana Junior College, also in Thane.



Railway labourers repair a bridge after it collapsed during heavy rain in Sarkehaj on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Monday. — Reuters photo

Railway labourers repair a bridge after it collapsed during heavy rain in Sarkehaj on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Monday.

Gautam blames Nafisa’s drinking for break-up
Mumbai, August 2
Nirmal and Usha Joseph, parents of former Miss India Nafisa Joseph, who committed suicide in Mumbai last week, have moved out of the city for Bangalore.

Veteran journalist dead
New Delhi, August 2
Veteran journalist Dipto Sen died at his residence here this morning following a heart attack.

Reply in dance bar plea by Aug 9
Mumbai, August 2
The Bombay High Court today directed the city police to file a reply by August 9, in response to a petition seeking a direction to the authorities to refrain from raiding the dance bars in the metropolis, on charges of obscenity.

Hospital staffers suspended on rape charges
Ahmedabad, August 2
Gujarat Health Minister I.K. Jadeja today suspended two grade-four staffers — Babubhai Vaghela and Babubhai Mathur — of the Civil Hospital here for allegedly raping the wife of a cancer patient in the hospital premises on July 31.

Breastfeeding increases IQ
Lucknow, Aug 2
Breastfeeding can save 365 infants who die daily in Uttar Pradesh, as it is the best preventive against morbidity, mortality and malnutrition, according to a UNICEF report.

Videos

Ashish Chaudhary talks about his upcoming films.
(28k, 56k)

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Speed up poll reforms, CEC asks PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
Constitutional protection for all members of the Election Commission has been sought in the proposal sent by the Chief Election Commissioner T. S. Krishnamurthy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The CEC has urged Prime Minister to take them up on an urgent basis and complete the process before the next round of Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh later this year and Bihar, Jharkhand and Haryana early next year.

He stated that the Election Commissioners do not have protection of their tenures as the Chief Election Commissioner has.

“In order to ensure the independence of the Election Commission and to keep it insulated from external pulls and pressures Article 324 provides that the CEC shall not be removed from his office except in a manner a judge of the Supreme Court is removed,” he said.

However, this clause did not provide similar protection to Election Commissioners, he said and urged the government to provide same protection to other ECs as available to the CEC.

The commission’s proposals for “immediate consideration’’ include disqualification from contesting elections of those facing cases filed six months prior to the poll and discouraging candidates from contesting from more than one constituency.

In all, the commission has made 22 recommendations, dividing them in two parts — 15 new and urgent proposals in the first part and seven pending ones that remain unresolved but in no way are less important than the first set of proposals.

“I, on behalf of the Commission, will urge the government to give immediate consideration to these issues and, if possible, undertake necessary legislation so that the same can be made effective well before the next tranche of legislative Assembly elections due in some states,’’ Mr Krishnamurthy said in a letter to Dr Manmohan Singh, officially made available to the Press today.

The EC said it would favour amendment restricting candidates from contesting from more than one constituency at a time. However, if the existing provision were to be retained then the EC suggested that such candidates should be asked to meet the expenses of the by-election arising from such situations — Rs 5 lakh for the state Assembly or the council election and Rs 10 lakh for the Lok Sabha poll.

Suggesting that the security deposit for contesting elections should be doubled to Rs 20,000 for the Lok Sabha and Rs 10,000 for the Assembly seat, the commission said it should be empowered to revise the amount to avoid frequent amendments in the relevant law.

The EC has suggested that the affidavit filed by the candidates on criminal antecedents and assets should have another column about the annual declared income of the candidate for tax purposes.

On exit and opinion poll, the EC said there should be some restriction on the publishing of the results of these poll in the wider interest of free and fair elections.

The commission also suggested amendment to the law to provide for negative or neutral voting. This would enable the voter to select “none of the above” column if the electorate chooses to reject all candidates.

The EC also suggested that all political parties must be required to publish their accounts annually for information and scrutiny of general public and all concerned.

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UPA-Left coordination panel formed,
to meet tomorrow

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
In a move to avoid frictions, an eight-member United Progressive Alliance-Left coordination panel was formalised today with the nomination of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as members from the government.

The panel will have six members representing the Left parties and will have powers to call any minister whose subject may come up before it for discussion.

The first meeting of the panel will be held on August 4, where the budgetary proposal like the hike in the FDI cap in telecom, civil aviation and insurance, and the oil price hike for the second time in six week are likely to figure.

This was announced at a press conference here by Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Prakash Karat.

The Left parties had demanded the inclusion of parties like the RJD and NCP in the coordination panel, but this has been virtually rejected by the Congress as it could give rise to another pressure group.

Mr Karat said CPI (M) general secretary H.S. Surjeet would be the convener of the Left parties comprising the CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc and RSP.

The other Left members of the coordination panel are CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan, secretary D. Raja, CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechuri, Forward Bloc general secretary Debrath Biswas and Eboni Rai of the RSP.

Ms Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh would coordinate with the Left parties and may invite other members of the UPA as required.

To a specific question, Mr Karat said there was “every possibility’’ that Finance Minister P. Chidambaran and Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar would be present at the first meeting to discuss Budget-related issues and hike in petroleum prices.

Replying to another specific query, he said they might even attend the meeting of the coordination committee of the UPA and the latter could also attend the meeting of the Left coordination for better understanding of the issues.

PTI adds: Asked whether the Left would consider withdrawal of support if the government did something contrary to the common minimum programme (CMP), Mr Karat said, “We will demarcate ourselves on issues outside the CMP or which goes against the people’s interest”.

However, the party will continue to “play an independent role, advocating alternative policies based on the Left and democratic programme”, he said, adding that the party will launch an agitation against the petrol, diesel price hike from tomorrow.

The CPI (M) would also carry out a week-long nationwide campaign from August 25 to focus on various, issues including the BJP-RSS threat to “revive the communal Hindutva agenda” and their “disruptionist and confrontationist” attitude in Parliament, he added.

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Cabinet nod on Godhra probe sought
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s announcement of a departmental probe into the Godhra train carnage has assumed significance as the ministry has sought Cabinet approval on the matter.

Sources in the Railway Ministry said on Monday that the Cabinet note had been sent to facilitate inquiry into the incident in which the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express was set ablaze killing 59 passengers. The incident led to riots in Gujarat.

Sources said the Cabinet approval had been sought on the suggestion of the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mr Yadav had announced an inquiry by a three-member committee. The composition of the committee would be finalised after the Cabinet approval.

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Sonia announces housing scheme for flood-hit

Guwahati, August 2
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today announced that houses under the Indira Awas Yojana would be built to shelter the homeless flood victims of Assam.

After visiting three relief camps in the worst hit Morigaon district, 97 per cent of which have been submerged, she said as a special scheme, the Centre would soon start constructing work under the scheme to provide shelter for the hapless victims.

Visibly moved by the plight of the people residing in the three relief camps of Jagiraod College, HPC camp and another near National Highway No. 37 near Amolighat, she assured the victims that all steps would be taken to ensure that the state tides over the problem created by the devastating floods.

The UPA chairperson, accompanied by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and senior party leaders, made an aerial survey of flood hit areas of Nagaon and Morigaon district.

Earlier, visiting the relief camps on South Salmara in lower Assam, she said a masterplan would be soon chalked out by the Centre to solve the recurring flood problem in the state.

She announced Rs 20 lakh from the AICC to the flood-affected victims before leaving for New Delhi.

The Congress President during her whirlwind visit also reviewed the flood situation with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and senior party leaders during her brief stopover at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.

SHILLONG: Ms Sonia Gandhi was briefed by Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang and his cabinet colleagues on the flood situation of the state on Monday.

Official sources said here that Mr Lapang, who together with four of his colleagues went to West Garo Hills district’s Phulbari in the morning, briefed her about the prevailing flood situation in the region after receiving her at the helipad there.

Mr Lapang then accompanied her to south Salmara area in Assam’s Dhubri district on a ferry and on the way inspected a part of the flood-affected areas of Meghalaya also, official sources said.

Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Chief Minister has directed all Deputy Commissioners of the state to prepare a report of damage caused by the flood in the respective districts to enable him to submit a detailed memorandum to Ms Gandhi in Delhi within this week.

Over one lakh people were affected in floods which also damaged crops worth crores of rupees and claimed huge livestock in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region. — PTI

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Dalit woman refused treatment
Delivers still-born child at health centre’s gate
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 2
Doctors on duty at Dufferin Hospital refused to give an official diagnosis of the condition of 20-year old Ramrati, who was brought to the hospital today, in a critical condition from Karanpur village in Mohanlalganj on the outskirts of Lucknow. The Dalit woman delivered a still-born child at the gate of the Community Health Centre (CHC), Mohanlalganj, on Friday as she had been refused treatment after her mother expressed inability to pay up Rs 10,000 for the delivery.

Charging Dr Indu Bala, a member of the three-member probe panel ordered by the Lucknow Chief Medical Officer (CMO), with manually causing her perineal tear, Ramrati told TNS that she was feeling no pain after the delivery and had eaten and slept well. It was after Dr Bala examined her on Saturday evening that she felt as if she had been split wide open. She has neither eaten nor slept since then nor has she been administered any anti-biotic. Dr Bala visited her village again on Sunday to re-examine internally her disturbing raw wound once again.

Corroborating Ramrati is Ms Sushila Singh of Healthwatch UP, Bihar. When she visited Karanpur village on Saturday as part of a fact-finding team she found members of the three-member probe team in the village. When Dr Bala was internally examining Ramrati, Sushila was present there. As a trained and experienced ANM she knew that Ramrati did not require surgical intervention or stitches. Speaking to TNS, she said even then Dr Bala was insisting that Ramrati’s condition was serious and needed hospitalisation. However, Sushila insisted that she was allright and could be treated in the village itself. When Sushila revisted Karanpur today, she was horrified to find Ramrati completely ruptured “almost up to the opening of the anus”. She accompanied Ramrati along with her family members to Lucknow for treatment.

Giving an inkling of what happened between Sushila’s visits, Ramrati’s mother reveals that late on Saturday evening Dr Bala took her daughter to an inner room for examination her heart-rending screams collected many villagers near her dilapidated kutcha house. The villagers testify that doctor came again yesterday and examined the grieving young mother once more completely traumatising her in the process. According to Ramrati’s family members, they let the doctor examine her as they thought she was giving treatment.

The incident has provoked twin inquiries — one by the SDM and the other by the CMO. Both came up with completely contradictory reports. SDM, L.M. Prasad Yadav’s report has blamed the Superintendent of the CHC, gynaecologist and ANM for callousness causing the death of Ramrati’s child. But the parallel probe panel consisting of Dr A.P. Singh (Deputy CMO) Dr Uma Kant Gupta (Deputy CMO) and Dr Indu Bala, Superintendent, Red Cross Child and Women Hospital, gave a clean chit to the superintendent and gynaecologist and laid the entire blame on the ANM against whom action has been recommended.

Ms Jashodara Dasgupta of HealthWatch, UP, Bihar, called the Ramrati case a typical example of the health administration’s apathy to the rural poor. “The government wants to encourage institutional delivery and is pumping huge resources into the health infrastructure. On the other hand, people like Ramrati suffer for daring to approach the government health system”, she points out.

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Shyam Saran takes over as Foreign Secretary
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
Mr Shyam Saran today formally took over as Foreign Secretary, succeeding Mr Shashank.

Mr Saran had informally taken over on August 31 evening itself to ensure continuity as Mr Shashank retired on July 31.

In a brief statement, the new Foreign Secretary said, “It is a privilege and honour to assume the office of Foreign Secretary to the Government of India. We live in a time when the Ministry of External Affairs is required to face a number of global challenges, whether political, economic or security-related.

“We belong to a Foreign Service that is committed to the highest professional standards of excellence in the cause of nation. It will be my endeavour to carry these traditions forward.”

Mr Saran is an IFS officer of the 1970 batch. He has taken over at a time when India is facing a hostage crisis in Iraq and the composite dialogue process with Pakistan is underway. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) cleared Mr Saran’s name for the post on June 10. He superseded nearly a dozen IFS officers.

Mr Saran was, last month, involved by the government in the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan and had also accompanied Minister for External Affairs K. Natwar Singh to Islamabad earlier this month for the SAARC Ministerial meeting.

Mr Saran has headed Indian missions in Mauritius from 1992 to 1997, Myanmar (1997 to 2001) and Indonesia (August 2001 to October 2002). He took over as India’s Ambassador to Nepal in October 2002. He has also served in Hong Kong, Beijing, Geneva and Tokyo.

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Bid for consensus on transferring water
to deficit areas

Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
The Union Government will evolve a consensus among states to transfer water from surplus basins to deficit areas besides considering the river-linking project initially in the Southern peninsular region by year end.

To face the emerging water crisis, the states will be encouraged to follow water-efficient sprinkle and drip irrigation methods through central subsidy, said Union Water Resources Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi here today.

Inaugurating a two-day conference of Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries (Irrigation and Water Resources) and the Command Area Authorities of States and Union Territories here, Mr Dasmunshi said the Centre had decided to give priority to complete the ongoing major and medium irrigation projects in the states by restructuring the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme by the end of this year.

Later talking on the sidelines of the programme, he said, “We have called meetings of states like Punjab, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Sikkim and other states to discuss the issue of water availability and their requirements for irrigation, drinking and other uses. We are hopeful that by next year, we would be able to work out a mechanism through consensus to transfer water from surplus river basins to deficit ones.”

When asked a pointed question regarding Punjab’s claims on river waters on riparian basis, Mr Dasmunshi avoided direct reply saying that since the Supreme Court was seized of the SYL issue, he would not comment.

But he added: “We will have to study the claims of Punjab and other states about the decreased water availability, fall in ground water level as well as water logging in some districts due to excessive use of water. The country has enough water for its needs provided we are able to work out consensus among states on this highly emotional issue.”

He disclosed that the task force on the river-linking project had submitted its report, and the government had decided to “consider the possibility of river-linking in peninsular region in South initially.”

Commenting on inter-state water disputes, Mr Kirit Parikh, Member, Planning Commission, said: “The government should consider to provide incentives to water surplus states for transfer of water to deficit states, instead of just banking on their goodwill or cooperation.”

Mr Radha Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture questioned the wisdom of Rajasthan and other water-deficit states to go for water intensive crops like wheat. “How can Rajasthan think to compete with Punjab in wheat cultivation, when it is historically water deficit state. We would urge them to go for animal husbandry, dry fodder cultivation and low-water crops.”

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BJP 'Chintan Baithak' ends in Goa
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
The BJP reverted to its time-tested strategy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound when it resolved at its three-day ‘Chintan Baithak’ in Goa that it would stick aggressively with its ‘Hindutva agenda” and would also continue working with the NDA allies.

The 10-point conclusions — arrived after three-day brainstorming session involving top leaders of the party, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Leader of Opposition in Parliament L.K. Advani and BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu — spoke of strengthening and further expanding the party with focus on ideological orientation and renewed emphasis on ‘work culture, individual conduct and organisational discipline’.

The party believed that the twin commitments of nationalism and development should be the ideology to counter rise of ‘casteist and divisive’ forces. The party needs to develop specific policies and approaches in the light of guiding principles of integral humanism on the ‘nation first’ principle.

Though the document does not give even one reference to ‘Hindutva’ in the four-page conclusion points of the baithak, sources said the BJP would strive its best to retain its “core constituency”.

It was also decided that the relationship between the BJP and other nationalist organisations like the RSS and its sister outfits would be give prime focus.

Ways would be identified for enhancing mutual trust and institutionalise dialogue with these organisations at all levels.

The three-day in-camera session also vowed to expose the nexus between “communal, corrupt and extremist forces and the danger they pose to the national unity, security and to the common man”. There was also a need to create mass awareness about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and alarming rise in the acts of ‘Jehadi terrorism’.

BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu suggested that increased participation of its workers, people and non-government organisations’ in
various development and welfare programmes of the BJP-run governments in the country could beat the anti-incumbency factor.

The party has also prepared an action plan for five states — Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh — where the elections are due in next one year. The baithak also favoured formulating strategy to rejuvenate the party in politically-sensitive Uttar Pradesh.

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SC seeks details on MBBS admissions
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 2
The Supreme Court today sought affidavits from 15 states, including Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, stating whether they were following the Medical Council of India (MCI) schedule regarding admission of students to the MBBS course in various medical colleges.

The other states asked to submit affidavits in this regard included Assam, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra and Union Territory of Pondicherry.

The direction to this effect was issued by a Bench of Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice D.M. Dharmadhikari on a petition filed by some central quota students, alleging that the state governments were not adhering to the MCI admission schedule for the MBBS course in various medical colleges under their jurisdiction.

The Court directed that the concerned states and UTs should furnish details regarding the date of the first counselling of the students and reasons for the delay, if any, in fixing the date.

Warning the states against filling 15 per cent central quota seats from other category of students, the Union Health Ministry and the MCI were also directed to submit affidavits on the counselling schedule.

The Court expressed the hope that the states would strictly follow the MCI guidelines regarding the admission and by the next hearing complete the counselling as per rule.

The petitioning students had alleged that the first counselling in these states had not been held as per the MCI schedule and the students supposed to get seats under the 15 per cent central quota were being deprived of the admission.

The students apprehended that due to delay in deciding the date of counselling, the central quota seats would be grabbed by those who were not entitled for admission under the All India category.

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FRI effects five-fold hike in tuition fee
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 2
The Forest Research Institute, a deemed university, has effected a major fee hike for its courses, including MSc, research in forestry and related areas. The revised fee structure will be implemented from September. The fee for MSc, PG Diploma and PhD will be over five times of what it used to be.

The university, which offers certain unique courses, draws students from within the country and abroad. There are three categories of students at the FRI, including open candidates, sponsored students and foreign students. An MSc student, who paid Rs 12,000 as the tuition fee for four semesters, would now have to pay Rs 60,000, besides other fees. While the revised fee structure will leave the sponsored and foreign students largely unaffected, the worst sufferers will be the open candidates.

Registrar TC Nautiyal said the fee had to be raised because the university did not receive any aid from the UGC after it became a deemed university in 1991. The university was till now depending on FRI funds but the hike would allow it to allot funds for field work and labs that had been neglected due to a financial crunch.

Even as the varsity officials maintain that the fee hike was inevitable, most students see the hike as monumental. The fee hike is a major blow to higher studies, especially the courses which only the FRI offers, said Pragya Das, an FRI MSc wood technology aspirant.

While the students of the ongoing session would not have to pay the added tuition fee, the other fees, including hostel and maintenance fees would be paid according to the revised structure from next month. Upset over the hike the students plan to register protests. “Such a fee hike in the middle of the session is grossly unjustified and we will agitate against it, said Bhawna, a research scholar at the FRI.

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President to open Panipat thermal unit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the 250 MW seventh unit of Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Plant at Panipat.

Haryana Chief Minister O.P. Chautala, who called on the President to invite him to inaugurate the thermal unit, said later that Dr Kalam had agreed to his request.

The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by INLD secretary general Ajay Singh Chautala, Minorities Commission chief Tarlochan Singh and Mr Abhey Singh Chautala, MLA, said the date of inauguration would be decided by the President.

Mr Chautala did not answer questions on the SYL canal, saying that the issue was in the Supreme Court. However, he said the Supreme Court had done justice with Haryana in its verdict. Mr Chautala said he did not raise the SYL issue in his meeting with the President.

Replying to questions, Mr Chautala said Punjab Chief Minister could not have gone ahead with the legislation to abrogate the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act without the knowledge of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

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Bail declined to Naroda Patia massacre accused
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 2
The Supreme Court today rejected the bail plea of Gujarat’s Naroda Patia massacre main accused Shashikant, alias Tinio Yuvraj.

The massacre, relating to the killing of 110 persons, was one of the 10 worst Gujarat riot incidents that had been brought before the apex court for monitoring by the National Human Rights Commission.

While dismissing his bail plea, the Bench of Mr Justice B.N. Agrawal and Mr Justice H.K. Sema directed the state authorities to take him into custody forthwith.

Yuvraj, whose bail petition was rejected by the Gujarat High Court earlier, had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the apex court against its order.

He also had sought exemption from surrendering in the trial court.

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1 dead, 15 hurt as rain disrupts life in Mumbai
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, August 2
One person was killed and 15 others injured in six rain-related incidents in and around the city as torrential rain continued to lash the metropolis for the second week in succession, throwing road, rail traffic out of gear and bringing life to a standstill.

In Thane a 35-year-old woman was killed when a boulder slipped off a hillock and fell on the shanty she had occupied in Lokmanya Nagar area, police sources said.

Four college girls were injured, one of them seriously, when a canteen shed collapsed at Gyan Sadhana Junior College, also in Thane.

In north-east Mumbai suburb Vikroli seven persons sustained minor injuries in a landslide, while two pedestrians were injured near the Central Telegraph Office in south Mumbai. One person each was injured in Vikroli and suburban Pawai in three separate incidents of wall collapse, the sources said.

Mumbai’s suburbs recorded a heavy 129 mm of rainfall today, according to weather bureau officials.

Heavy rain for the third consecutive day saw water-logging coincide with high tides throwing road and rail traffic out of gear. Trains on the arterial Western and Central Railway lines were disrupted after rain water flooded the tracks. Office-goers took to the roads to reach their workplaces, thereby intensifying 
traffic jams.

Western Railway Chief PRO Shailendra Kumar said trains that were stopped during the day were partially restored by late afternoon. Rainwater accumulated on the tracks exceeded the danger level of 100 mm, causing trains to be halted, he said.

Several schools in the suburbs did not open for the day and government offices declared a half day to enable people to return home.

Elsewhere in the city, heavy rain caused telephone services to be disrupted.

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Gautam blames Nafisa’s drinking for break-up
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 2
Nirmal and Usha Joseph, parents of former Miss India Nafisa Joseph, who committed suicide in Mumbai last week, have moved out of the city for Bangalore.

Meanwhile, the police said Joseph and her fiance, Gautam Khanduja, had quarrelled several times over her drinking. An avid pub hopper, Nafisa Joseph was among the most visible faces in Mumbai’s party circuit.

Gautam Khanduja, an automobile parts manufacturer, told the police that Joseph often turned violent after drinking, thereby straining their relationship. The police also told reporters today that there were complaints against Nafisa Joseph for rash driving under the influence of alcohol.

On December 30 last year, Joseph was charged by the police after she nearly knocked down a couple on a motorcycle. A police patrol had then fined the model Rs 1300.

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Veteran journalist dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
Veteran journalist Dipto Sen died at his residence here this morning following a heart attack.

He was 70. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

He had been ailing for some time.

After graduating from Scottish Church College in Kolkata, he joined the UPI as a reporter. Later, he joined the Hindustan Times and retired as a Senior Assistant Editor. He served the paper for over 40 years.

The cremation took place later in the day.

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Reply in dance bar plea by Aug 9

Mumbai, August 2
The Bombay High Court today directed the city police to file a reply by August 9, in response to a petition seeking a direction to the authorities to refrain from raiding the dance bars in the metropolis, on charges of obscenity.

A Division Bench consisting of Mr Justice R.M.S. Khandeparkar and Mr Justice R.S. Mohite today gave the direction in response to the plea by the “Fight for Rights of Bar Association”.

The association, an organisation representing bars and liquor shop owners, claimed that continued raids on their establishments and action taken against the owners, dancers and other employees, was on the count of obscenity under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.

The association’s advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, along with Dinesh Tiwari, told the court that neither were the dancers minor girls, nor were they performing obscene dances. They only performed Indian dances which were permissible under the law.

The court was also told that the bars had been granted a licence, “Police Public Entertainment Licence”, to perform the dances. The petitioner further submitted that the raids conducted by the police were illegal and therefore a direction should be given to restrain them. — UNI

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Hospital staffers suspended on rape charges

Ahmedabad, August 2
Gujarat Health Minister I.K. Jadeja today suspended two grade-four staffers — Babubhai Vaghela and Babubhai Mathur — of the Civil Hospital here for allegedly raping the wife of a cancer patient in the hospital premises on July 31.

Mr Jadeja today met the victim and her husband, who has been admitted to the Gujarat Cancer Research Institute of the Civil Hospital since the last two months. The couple hails from tribal-dominated Panchmahal district of the state.

Describing the incident as ‘’shameful,’’ the Minister also assured the couple that justice will be done following a detailed departmental inquiry. Punitive action will be taken against both the accused, he said. The accused lured the victim with a promise to return the money she had spent in paying the medical bills of her husband. They then took her to a building in front of the Cancer Department and raped her. Later, she filed a complaint with the police. — UNI

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Breastfeeding increases IQ

Lucknow, Aug 2
Breastfeeding can save 365 infants who die daily in Uttar Pradesh, as it is the best preventive against morbidity, mortality and malnutrition, according to a UNICEF report.

“Early breastfeeding prevents 55 per cent of infant deaths due to diarrhoea and pneumonia — two major child killers. It also increases the IQ level by 8 points, besides fighting malnutrition, cancers and other chronic diseases”, said Dr K P Kushwaha, Chief of the Training of Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India, on the eve of World Breastfeeding Week which begins today.

Breastfeeding must be started within half-an-hour after the delivery in normal cases and within four hours in the case of caesarean birth, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Martin Hart Hansen, UNICEF Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, said 120 countries would celebrate the World Breastfeeding Week because it is the best nutrition for the baby in the first six months of life. — UNI

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6 children die in mishap
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 2
Six schoolchildren were killed and nine others injured in an accident at Gunkhal in Lansdown subdivision of Pauri district today. The accident took place when a jeep carrying 15 persons fell into a gorge. Six children died on the spot, official sources said.

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BRIEFLY

SP leader booked for murder
BALRAMPUR: A case was registered on Monday against the district secretary of the Samajwadi Party (SP) in connection with the death of Uttar Pradesh Youth Congress leader Durga Singh, who was killed in an accident on Sunday night. A relative of Durga Singh lodged a complaint alleging that Chhote Lal Chauhan (SP leader), in an attempt to murder Durga Singh, hit the victim on motor cycle with his jeep. The injured was rushed to Lucknow for treatment, but he died on the way. — UNI

8 die in house collapse
JAIPUR: Eight persons, including a two-year-old girl, were killed and nine others seriously injured, when a house under construction collapsed on Sunday at Nimhera village here, the police said on Monday. The accident occurred when the roof of the first floor, which was nearing completion, collapsed due to rains. Besides labourers engaged in the construction work, some villagers had taken shelter on the ground floor. — UNI

Five cops suspended
AZAMGARH: Five policemen, including the city kotwali in charge here, on Monday were suspended for failing to take action in the murder case of four persons, including a village pradhan, in the district on Saturday. SSP S.K. Bhagat said kotwali in charge Ramesh Chand Pathak, sub-inspector Ashok Tripathi and three others were suspended with immediate effect failing to arrest the killers. — UNI

Six traders killed
AGARTALA: At least six small traders and businessmen, who were kidnapped by tribal guerillas on June 14, were killed by the ultras in Bangladesh, the police said here on Monday. Police sources said they received this information from other hostages, who were released by ultras on July 26. — UNI

Unaccounted assets seized
JAIPUR: Unaccounted assets worth Rs 5 crore were seized during raids by income tax sleuths at the residences and business premises of five businessmen in Rajasthan, official sources said Monday. Searches that started on July 28 at Ajmer, Beawar and Pushkar were still in progress, sources said. — UNI

No trace of historic clocks
OLD TEHRI (UTTARANCHAL): Historic clocks, which went missing from a memorial erected in commemoration of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria here, have not yet been traced. “We have so far not found those clocks,” District Magistrate Punit Kansal said. The clocks went missing during the demolition work undertaken by the dam authorities in the town, several parts of which have been submerged in the Bhagirathi reservoir. The memorial was built during the reign of Maharaja Kirt Shah in 1897. — PTI

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