SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Arjun for RSS purge in administration
New Delhi, August 8
The Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to cleanse the administration of people owing allegiance to the RSS, an organisation he accused of being responsible for the killing of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja talk to the media during a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday. CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan (left) and D. Raja talk to the media during a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday. — PTI photo

Old Tehri marooned
Child washed away in Jaipur

Tehri, August 8
The rising water level of the Bhagirathi river reservoir of the 2400 MW Tehri hydel project today submerged nearly 75 per cent of the historic Old Tehri town.



EARLIER STORIES

 
Cultural troupe members of ‘Pather Panchali’, pay homage to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore on his 63rd death anniversary on a specially decorated tram in Kolkata
Cultural troupe members of ‘Pather Panchali’, pay homage to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore on his 63rd death anniversary on a specially decorated tram in Kolkata, on Saturday.
Women wears ornaments made of vegetables
Women wears ornaments made of vegetables on the occasion of "Sawan Milan" in Patna on Saturday. — PTI

3 feared dead in Dehradun building collapse
Dehradun, August 8
Three workers are feared dead and nine injured in a private building collapse today.

Rajasthan BJP debunks Punjab action
Jaipur, August 8
The Rajasthan BJP passed a resolution unanimously at its two-day executive meeting, which concluded here today, condemning the Punjab Government’s decision to annul all inter-state water agreements, describing this as a blatant attack on the federal character of the country.

Karunanidhi joins issue with Jaya
Chennai, August 8
Refuting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s charge on the Mettur water release, DMK President M Karunanidhi said today he never wanted to take credit for the release of water.

Act against Dawood-linked firm, India to Nepal
Kathmandu, August 8
India has asked Nepal to take immediate action against a private cable network here for its suspected links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, saying it has “credible information” that the international criminal invested heavily in the company.

Bilkis hopeful of getting justice
Ahmedabad, August 8
Bilkis Bano, a key witness and gangrape victim of post-Godhra riots case, today said she was hopeful of getting justice outside Gujarat as the government failed to give justice to Muslim women in the state.


Bilkis Bano, a key witness and a gangrape victim during post-Godhra riots spoke to Press in Ahmedabad on Sunday. — PTI photo
Bilkis Bano, a key witness and a gangrape victim during post-Godhra riots spoke to Press in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Army to stay put in Siachen, says Pranab
Kolkata, August 8
The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, declared here today that the Army would not be withdrawn from Siachen till both India and China finalised a common programme of withdrawal of troops from the area.

UPA plans to redeem promise 
Safe drinking water for all 

New Delhi, August 8
The UPA government has announced its determination to initiate reforms in irrigation and drinking water sectors to bring more agricultural area under irrigation and to provide safe drinking water to all the rural and urban areas.

Manorama probe opens Pandora’s box
Security beefed up on bandh call today

Imphal, August 8
The ongoing judicial inquiry into the alleged custodial killing of Thangjam Manorama Devi by 17th Assam Rifles personnel on July 11 has come up with a number of startling revelations.

Rabindra Bhavan in shambles
Mongpoo (Darjeeling), August 8
The criss-crossing lines on the forehead of the wizened old caretaker of Rabindra Bhavan here seem to sum up the state of affairs at the Nobel laureate’s favourite getaways in the Himalayas.

Governor, CM on collision course
Beautification of Victoria Memorial
Kolkata, August 8
West Bengal Governor, Mr Viren J. Shah (erstwhile BJP office-bearer), and Marxist Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee are now locked in a “battle” over their authority in decision-making on the maintenance and beautification of Kolkata’s historic Victoria Memorial.

FRI to heal Delhi trees
Dehradun, August 8
Morning walkers in New Delhi’s posh localities would soon heave a sigh of relief, literally. The Forest Research Institute (FRI) would help the New Delhi Municipal Corporation to paint the capital green. The NDMC has sought expert care of FRI botanists for Delhi’s ailing trees, flanking some of the Capital’s oldest roads for years now.

Andhra to the rescue of its ailing kids
Hyderabad, August 8
It is ironic that while babies from the across the border with heart ailments are welcomed for treatment in Indian hospitals, most of the time for free, thousands of Indian babies with similar problems continue to languish and die uncared for.

Congress for changing Pradesh chiefs, not sure when
New Delhi, August 8
The Congress is debating whether it should go ahead with the long overdue changes in a number of its state units now or continue with the present Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs till the organisational elections.

Experience drives writer, says Vikram Seth
Hyderabad, August 8
What sustains a writer is inspiration and personal experience, and not necessarily national boundaries, said Vikram Seth, a well-known Indian English writer.

Six blasts in Gogoi’s constituency
Jorhat (Assam), August 8
In a major strike, ULFA militants today exploded six powerful improvised explosive devices (IED) in two transmission towers of PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) in Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s constituency in Titabor of Jorhat district.

Ram Naik to head new BJP disciplinary panel
New Delhi, August 8
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President M. Venkaiah Naidu has reconstituted the Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) and various cells of the party.

Andhra gears up to curb ragging
Hyderabad, August 8
In an effort to curb ragging in medical colleges, the Directorate of Medical Education in Andhra Pradesh has come out with a software that enables the victims to post their complaints anonymously on the Net.

Hangman’s kin to get govt job
Kolkata, August 8
The West Bengal Government is providing a job to the grandson of hangman Nata Mallick, who had set the precondition for hanging Dhananjoy Chatterjee, sentenced to death for the rape and murder of schoolgirl Hetal Parekh in 1990.

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Arjun for RSS purge in administration

New Delhi, August 8
The Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to cleanse the administration of people owing allegiance to the RSS, an organisation he accused of being responsible for the killing of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

The veteran Congress leader, who removed academicians close to the BJP and the RSS from panels drafting textbooks for schools, said the RSS had a strong hold on the administration as men having sympathies with the Sangh Parivar were appointed on key positions.

“Not one but there are hundred different fronts of the RSS. They are getting crores of rupees from within and outside the country. The previous government allowed foreign money to come in but now this web has to be broken”, Mr Singh said.

The CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said Mr Singh and I&B Minister Jaipal Raddy were facing difficulties due to the presence of large number of RSS men in their ministries.

The CPI leader charged the BJP with propagating politics of hate and said the party had changed the word Hindutva with nationalism.

Mr Sachin Pilot, an MP from Rajasthan, moved a resolution calling for a thorough study of working of the RSS and countering its false propaganda and politics of hate and teaching secularism in schools.

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting S. Jaipal Raddy, who presided over the convention, said the recent Lok Sabha elections was a revolution through the ballot which defeated the fascist forces.

Challenging the RSS to prove the existence of any single ethnically homogenous society in the world, he said India’s diversity was praised all over the world.

He accused the RSS of being the biggest real-estate owner in the country with lakhs of acres of land under its affiliates name across the country.

The convention passed a resolution condemning the communal forces and asked the UPA government to prepare two white papers on the role of fascist organisations in the Gujarat riots and the pro-imperialist role of the RSS and Muslim fundamentalists to the betrayal of Indian freedom struggle. — PTI
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Old Tehri marooned
Child washed away in Jaipur

Tehri, August 8
The rising water level of the Bhagirathi river reservoir of the 2400 MW Tehri hydel project today submerged nearly 75 per cent of the historic Old Tehri town.

The water level began rising early this morning following heavy rain in the catchment area of the Bhagirathi river, a tributary of the Ganga, officials said.

The water level was hovering around 656 metres, eight metre more than the danger point at Old Tehri with the authorities evacuating low-lying villages adjoining the town, they said.

A PTI correspondent, who visited the spot, saw only some parts of Old Tehri, set up by Maharaja Sudershan Shah in 1815.

District Magistrate Punit Kansal and other top officials have rushed to the flood-affected areas to supervise the rescue and relief operation. The district authorities have pressed boats to evacuate people whose houses have been submerged into the water.

Meanwhile, the construction activities on the project partially began today a week after the landslides hit an underground tunnel that left nearly 29 persons dead.

JAIPUR: Two persons, including a boy, were killed as heavy rain lashed the city for the second consecutive day today, the police said.

A man was struck by lightning today when he was taking a bath in the rain while a six-year-old boy was washed away in the Shastri Nagar area, it said.

Jaipur and surrounding towns experienced heavy downpour flooding roads and the low-lying areas. A number of thatched roofs collapsed and water logging saw traffic snarls on the Jaipur-Delhi-Agra National Highway.

Mount Abu recorded the maximum rainfall of 16.8 cms. Jodhpur, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Kota-bundi, and parts of western Rajasthan received moderate to heavy rain, a Met Department spokesman said.

AHMEDABAD: Heavy rain continued to lash the drought-prone Saurashtra and arid Kutch regions of the state today, but weakened over south Gujarat.

No new deaths were reported today and the toll in rain-related incidents in the state stood at 183 for the season, sources at the flood-control department stated. — PTI, UNI
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3 feared dead in Dehradun building collapse
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 8
Three workers are feared dead and nine injured in a private building collapse today.

After a downpour in the past few days, a building of the Graphic Era Technology Institute in Clement Town in Dehradun collapsed at 3.30 p.m. today, burying some of the workers and leaving others trapped. The three-storey building was under construction.

Even as district officials said there were about 15 workers at the site when the building collapsed, workers at the site said there were around 35 persons. There were about 15 workers at the time of the accident while seven were rescued immediately two more were rescued later, said District Magistrate Manisha Pawar. A magisterial inquiry into the incident had been ordered, she added.

Dehradun: Continuous rainfall in the hills of Uttaranchal has caused landslides in 10 places making Hemkunt Sahib, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamnotri inaccessible to pilgrims.

Meanwhile, about 2,000 pilgrims to Hemkunt Sahib are still stranded at Joshimath, Disaster Management Department officials said. 
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Rajasthan BJP debunks Punjab action
Manohar Prabhakar
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, August 8
The Rajasthan BJP passed a resolution unanimously at its two-day executive meeting, which concluded here today, condemning the Punjab Government’s decision to annul all inter-state water agreements, describing this as a blatant attack on the federal character of the country. The resolution said that in such a situation when a constitutional crisis had been created by the Government of Punjab, the silence of Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress, on this count was surprisingly shocking.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of state BJP chief Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi in the presence of Mr Kalraj Mishra and Mrs Kiran Maheshwari, the persons in charge of the party in Rajasthan and Chandigarh, respectively.

In a political resolution, the executive criticised the UPA-led Central Government for not granting a special package to the desert belt of Rajasthan like Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. The UPA Government was also criticised for and not implementing the programmes envisaged by the Vajpayee Government. The resolution alleged that under the influence of Leftist forces, the government was tampering with the school syllabi also.

Despite Mr Kalraj Mishra’s statement that there was no dissatisfaction and factionalism in the state unit of the BJP, annoyance and anguish of the disgruntled section came to the surface in the two-day deliberations. Internal bickerings became apparent when some members openly attacked the Vasundhara Raje Government for ignoring their recommendations in respect of transfers. They also rued the delay making political appointments to the top positions in boards and corporations lying vacant for the past eight months.

Former state BJP chief, Raghuveer Singh Kaushal, MP, and an office-bearer of the Mahila Morcha at the national level of the party, Mrs Tara Bhandari, were vocal enough in voicing their concern over the neglect of party workers.
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Karunanidhi joins issue with Jaya

Chennai, August 8
Refuting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s charge on the Mettur water release, DMK President M Karunanidhi said today he never wanted to take credit for the release of water.

“I am not for claiming victory or defeat. I don’t want to trumpet. All I want is the welfare of farmers of the Cauvery delta,” he said flagging off a cycle rally of DMK cadres here.

Announcing the opening of the dam, Ms Jayalalithaa had yesterday ridiculed the opposition parties for planning an agitation tomorrow to press the government for release of water from the reservoir for irrigation, saying that they only “wanted to show themselves as the saviours” of farmers.

Mr Karunanidhi alleged that the delay in opening of the dam was due to Ms Jayalalithaa’s “vindictive approach” against people who had not voted for her party (in the Lok Sabha elections). Referring to the government stand that water was not released earlier because of a low water level, he said during the previous DMK regimes, water had been released even when the level was around 50-60 feet, taking a “slight risk.”

Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani also criticised Ms Jayalalithaa for her remarks against the opposition parties on the water release issue. — PTI
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Act against Dawood-linked firm, India to Nepal
Shirish B. Pradhan

Kathmandu, August 8
India has asked Nepal to take immediate action against a private cable network here for its suspected links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, saying it has “credible information” that the international criminal invested heavily in the company.

The Government of India has “credible information” that Dawood, who is accused of masterminding the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, has invested heavily in the Space Time Network, a private cable network and publishing house in Kathmandu, the Indian Embassy said in a letter to the Nepalese Foreign Ministry.

However, an official of the cable network was quoted as saying that the company had no foreign investment while a Nepalese Foreign Ministry official said the kingdom was investigating the matter.

The Indian Embassy, in the letter, asked the Nepalese government to enquire into the ownership and financing of the cable network, which ran a Nepali daily and a television channel, and take immediate action against the company in case the charges were proved, according to the Embassy’s First Secretary Information Sanjay Verma.

It also asked the Nepalese Government to share the information with the Government of India after making necessary inquiry into the matter.

The Indian Embassy recalled that the UN had made an al-Qaida and Taliban sanction list pursuant to the Security Council Resolution 1267 and Dawood was a listed individual. — PTI
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Bilkis hopeful of getting justice

Ahmedabad, August 8
Bilkis Bano, a key witness and gangrape victim of post-Godhra riots case, today said she was hopeful of getting justice outside Gujarat as the government failed to give justice to Muslim women in the state.

Bilkis said she was hopeful of getting justice in Mumbai for the massacre of 14 of her family members and gangrape to herself during the post-Godhra roits.

Addresssing her first Press conference after the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mumbai, Bilkis said “what happened to me also happened to other Muslim women in the state. The government of Gujarat should have helped them in getting justice.”

The Press conference was organised by Delhi-based activist Farah Naqvi, where Bilkis said she, her relatives and the witnesses of the case were threatened on several occasions during the investigations conducted by the CBI after the apex court orders.

She, however, maintained that at present she was under no threat. — PTI
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2 more Best Bakery accused held

Vadodara, August 8
Two Best Bakery accused have been arrested in Dabhoi town in the district today taking the total number of arrests in the case to 13, the police said.

Haresh Veerendra Prashad Gosai and his brother Pankaj were trying to board a bus for Surat when they were nabbed by the crime branch officials, they said adding the duo would be brought to Vadodara. — PTI
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Petition to save ‘Final Solution’
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 8
Film-makers have come out in support of Rakesh Sharma, whose documentary on the Gujarat riots, “Final Solution”, was denied a certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification. Documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan, has created an online petition to mobilise public opinion to save “Final Solution”.

The petition asks the Central Government to intervene and revoke the ban immediately. Under clause 6 and 9 of the Cinematograph Act, the Central Government is empowered to overturn any decision/recommendation by the Censor Board.

Those who have already signed the petition include Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Vijay Tendulkar, Shyam Benegal, Javed Akhtar, Aparna Sen, Karan Johar, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Farhan Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Vishal Bhardwaj, Arundhati Nag, Sanjana Kapoor, MS Sathyu, Lekh Tandon, Yogendra Yadav and Teesta Setalvad.
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Army to stay put in Siachen, says Pranab
Our Correspondent

Kolkata, August 8
The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, declared here today that the Army would not be withdrawn from Siachen till both India and China finalised a common programme of withdrawal of troops from the area.

He said so far there had been eight rounds of talks at various levels between the two countries on the Indo-China border problems, particularly with reference to Siachen, and more such meetings were needed. But he hoped the problems at Siachen would be soon solved.

The Defence Minister was in the city today to meet the WBPCC (l) office-bearers and other party leaders to discuss various organisational matters. He later met the press.

Talking to reporters at the Congress office at Bidhan Bhavan in central Kolkata, the Defence Minister expressed concern that Pakistan had decided to go in for a defence preparation programme which, he feared, would disturb the on-going peace process between the two countries.

He appealed to General Musharraf to immediately refrain from the defence preparedness programme for the sake of peace and tranquility in south-east Asia.

Mr Mukherjee made it clear that India would not get involved in any way in the arms race with Pakistan, including the nuclear war protection programme. But Pakistan should also follow the same principle.

Mr Mukherjee, who is also WBPCC (l) President, criticised the Left parties decision to launch an agitation against the rise in the prices of petrol, diesel and other petroleum products since the government did not have any alternative.
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UPA plans to redeem promise 
Safe drinking water for all 

Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The UPA government has announced its determination to initiate reforms in irrigation and drinking water sectors to bring more agricultural area under irrigation and to provide safe drinking water to all the rural and urban areas.

Under the reforms, it will be mandatory for the consumers to pay reasonable charges, initially to recover operation and maintenance costs and later to recover a part of the investment. The government will impose water tariff on all the bulk users of the ground water, including industry and commercial establishments and at least to recover 10 per cent of the operation and maintenance cost of irrigation facilities from farmers.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reportedly shown keen interest in this sector keeping in view the fact that floods and drought-like conditions have affected large parts of the country. Ministry of Water Resources has reportedly made a detailed presentation before him last week, while submitting the recommendations of the representatives of the states and union territories gathered at a two-day national conference on water resources.

The ministry has recommended a pricing policy for the use of ground water. This move is aimed to check unmindful tapping of the precious ground water and the resultant imbalance in the ground water level grossly affecting the environment, official sources said.

Mr V.K. Duggal, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, claimed that some of the large and medium scale units were exploiting the ground water without paying adequate charges. The ministry has recommended pricing for all major water users, besides taking necessary steps for quality control and regulatory measures for safe water.

To bring more agricultural areas under irrigation, the government has decided to introduce participatory irrigation management (PIM) that would ensure the monitoring of irrigation facilities by the water user’s associations (WUA) and NGOs.

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Manorama probe opens Pandora’s box
Security beefed up on bandh call today

Imphal, August 8
The ongoing judicial inquiry into the alleged custodial killing of Thangjam Manorama Devi by 17th Assam Rifles personnel on July 11 has come up with a number of startling revelations.

While an investigating officer said no blood was found near the spot where Manorama’s bullet-ridden body was discovered, a witness claimed that she saw Army personnel carrying a woman’s body near the spot, followed shortly by gunshots.

In a stunning revelation, Sub-Inspector Md Maniamin, the investigating officer in the Manorama murder inquiry, told the Justice C. Upendra panel probing the incident that no blood was found at the spot where Manorama was allegedly killed.

However, Dr H. Nabachandra, who conducted first of the two post-mortems on her body and deposed before the probe panel, said considering the nature of the injuries sustained by the deceased, there ought to have been at least 55 ml to a litre of blood at the spot where her body was found. He also testified that it would be difficult to comment on the distance from which the bullets were fired. On the other hand, Maibam Nongyai Singh, ASI of the Irilbung police station, who initially conducted investigations into the FIR lodged by Manorama’s brother, informed the Commission that when he inspected Manorama’s house on July 12 at around 1.40 pm, he found the main door broken, along with the bolts, and the window shattered and its bars cut.

He further said neither any empty cartridge nor bloodstains were found on the ground and surrounding areas where Manorama’s body was found on July 17, along with the OC, Irilbung police station.

Meanwhile, security posts in Manipur were put on maximum alert in view of the call to close all government offices from Monday till the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as the police used tear gas today to disperse agitators, official sources said here.

Police and security posts in the four valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur had been asked to safeguard and protect all Central and state government offices, the sources said. — PTI
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Rabindra Bhavan in shambles

Mongpoo (Darjeeling), August 8
The criss-crossing lines on the forehead of the wizened old caretaker of Rabindra Bhavan here seem to sum up the state of affairs at the Nobel laureate’s favourite getaways in the Himalayas.

While Rabindranath Tagore was remembered throughout the country on his 63rd death anniversary yesterday, there was no one to light a candle in his memory at his bungalow where he had composed “janmadin”, a poem, on his 79th birthday in 1940.

Located at an altitude of 5,000 feet, the bungalow now remains a picture of neglect with termites having eaten into the wooden floors and colours peeling off the walls.

Between 1938 and 1940, the poet had stayed in the house four times at the request of litterateur Maytree Devi.

“Gurudev celebrated his 79th birthday here with residents of the locality with great fanfare and we were all invited,” recalled 80-year-old caretaker of Rabindra Bhavan Kharga Bahadur.

Bahudur was only 17 when the poet came to stay at the bungalow.

Now almost frail and doddering, he remembers accompanying the poet on a wheelchair during his evening outings.

“During his first visit in 1938, Gurudev stayed at the Suren Bhavan, which was burnt down during the Gorkhaland agitation in late eighties,” he said.

The bungalow, which belonged to West Bengal-owned Cinchona plantation company, has been converted into a museum.

Among the many things used by the poet on display here are a British-made colour box, brushes, a mural painted by the poet, a specially made wooden cot so that the poet could rest in inclining position, a table and chair and some of the photographs taken by the poet himself.

Although the state government had spent a considerable sum to renovate the house and turn into a museum in 2000, the wooden floors have started to crumble.

“One has to tread cautiously on the floor lest it collapses under the impact,” said the Sisir Routh, one of four attendants of the museum.

He said the money the museum earns from the sale of tickets to visitors is inadequate for its upkeep. The chemist department of the Cinchona plantation, which is already in the red, looks after the affairs of the bhavan.

“Their are four guards who double up as guides when there are visitors,” he said.

But the visitors are hard to come by because of its remote location.

Only the North Bengal Transport Corporation runs a bus from Siliguri which returns the same day.

The poet used to be carried in a palanquin from Rimbi, about 10 km from here near Teesta during his journey to Mongpoo.

However, some tour operators in Darjeeling are drawing up plans to turn the place into a tourist spot.

Senior project officer of the World Wide Fund for nature Pravat Rana said since Mongpoo was a place of historical importance, the area could be developed with the help of tour operators.

The poet during his stay had composed “Chele Bela”, “Nava Jathak”, “Shesh-khata”, “Giribas”, “Sanai” and “Akash Pradip” and “Janmadin”. The bungalow also has a collection of Tagore’s handwritten notes with his sketches.

Mr Rana said they were thinking of village tourism in the region so that the visitors could come to Mungpoo and have a taste of the local culinary. — UNI
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Governor, CM on collision course
Beautification of Victoria Memorial
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, August 8
West Bengal Governor, Mr Viren J. Shah (erstwhile BJP office-bearer), and Marxist Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee are now locked in a “battle” over their authority in decision-making on the maintenance and beautification of Kolkata’s historic Victoria Memorial.

The 91-year-old Victoria Memorial, a Central Government property is looked after by a Board of Trustees with Mr Shah as the Chairman. The Board of Trustees has been the sole authority in decision-making on the Victoria Memorial.

However, according to the state government, the Chief Minister has the right to interfere into the “illegal” activities of the Board of Trustees, which neither the Governor nor the trustees could question.

The controversy arose over Mr Shah’s decision to allow a promoter to construct a new complex in the vacant plot in the Victoria Memorial campus with an art gallery, an exhibition centre, an auditorium and a rose garden as a part of its beautification.

The plan which has been drawn up by the Kolkata Ter-centenary Trust after consulting the Governor, provides for the setting up of a 19-metre-high white marble structure like the Victoria Memorial to be constructed early next year.

The plan was sent to the Kolkata Corporation for clearance. But the Chief Minister has opposed the project on the plea that any new construction inside the Victorial Memorial campus would invariably destroy the sanctity and aesthetics of this historic monument, which has been the pride for Kolkata. Moreover, he does not want that there would be any “Taj corridor-like controversy” over the Victorial Memorial.

The Governor’s plan in building a new complex inside the Victorial Memorial does not need any sanction from the government since the monument has been the sole property of the Union Government which was handed over to the Board of Trustees. But the government can persuade the Centre to stop the project.
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FRI to heal Delhi trees
Swati Vashishtha
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 8
Morning walkers in New Delhi’s posh localities would soon heave a sigh of relief, literally. The Forest Research Institute (FRI) would help the New Delhi Municipal Corporation to paint the capital green. The NDMC has sought expert care of FRI botanists for Delhi’s ailing trees, flanking some of the Capital’s oldest roads for years now.

The FRI has sent its recommendations to pump life into Delhi’s fading patch of green. The NDMC Horticulture Director Naseem Ahmed wrote to the FRI in May inviting experts from the institute to look into the deteriorating health of Delhi’s trees. A four-member team of experts from the FRI led by entomologist R.S. Bhandari sent its suggestions to the NDMC after a survey.

The trees, some as old as the capital itself, were planted at the time of city’s planning by Lutyens in the thirties. Dotted on the Capital’s high-profile addresses, including Parliament Street, Akbar Road, Rajpath and Motilal Nehru Marg the trees are losing their green much to the concern of the NDMC. The trees include neem, imli, amaltas, kusum, pilkhan and jamun.

The FRI experts have identified mechanical injuries and environmental pollution and congestion as the key reasons for poor health of the trees, said Dr N.S.K. Harsh, the pathologist on the team. Mechanical injuries, which are caused by digging roadsides for the installation of cables and phone lines, has done the biggest harm to these trees.

The trees have not been attended to properly for years. Therefore, some are under stress while others are in their last stage, the experts said. Some of these trees like imli had become unsuitable for the climate of Delhi, which had changed over the years largely due to extensive irrigation. These trees would have to be replaced, the experts said.

For the trees that are in poor health with fragile branches, the team suggests reducing the canopy size. A lot of trees did not have enough open space around them. Unless this is enlarged these would continue to die, the experts said. If timely action was not taken, the trees would not only die but also affect the vegetation around them, the experts warned.

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Andhra to the rescue of its ailing kids
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 8
It is ironic that while babies from the across the border with heart ailments are welcomed for treatment in Indian hospitals, most of the time for free, thousands of Indian babies with similar problems continue to languish and die uncared for.

The cruel paradox became evident yesterday when more than 3000 children with various heart problems gathered here to protest against the government’s apathy towards them, on a day when a corporate hospital in the city announced with much fanfare about a successful operation on a young girl from Pakistan.

Doctors of the city-based Global Hospital announced yesterday that they successfully conducted liver transplantation on five-year-old Pakistani girl Batul Hasan, while hundreds of poor peasant children, awaiting help for expensive surgeries, participated in the protest march along with their parents, demanding support from the government.

The rally, organised by the Mahajana Sangarshana Samithi (MSS) in the sweltering heat at Ambedkar Bhavan here, turned out to be too much for the kids with cardiovascular problems, resulting in a 14-year boy dying of breathing difficulties during the strenuous march. Another 500 boys and girls had to be rushed to city heart hospitals for emergency care.

Sobhan, son of a daily-wage earner, living in Kamalapur of Karimnagar district, had been ailing from a heart valve problem and needed surgery, which would cost Rs 1.46 lakh. The family managed to get Rs 25,000 from the CM’s Relief Fund, and came to Hyderabad to participate in the march, hoping that it would be able to get the government to pay the entire cost of surgery. The opposition TDP and BJP jumped into the fray and immediately organised a protest march to Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s residence, carrying the body of Sobhan.

Mr Reddy, who was in Delhi, responded to the situation and announced that the state would bear the cost of treatment for all children suffering from heart condition. He also said that the government would call an all-party meeting tomorrow to arrive at modalities to provide free medical cure for such kids.

Meanwhile, many city hospitals have come forward to provide emergency care to hundreds of children, whose condition aggravated following to the prolonged exposure to heat during the rally. Apollo Hospital here fixed surgery dates for 161 children who needed immediate treatment. The whole episode was, however, not without its share of politics, with Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy allegedly threatening MSS leader M Krishna, for trying to gain political mileage.
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Congress for changing Pradesh chiefs, not sure when
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The Congress is debating whether it should go ahead with the long overdue changes in a number of its state units now or continue with the present Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs till the organisational elections.

The party elections were due last March but had to be postponed because of the Lok Sabha poll. These can be held by this year-end.

There is another dimension to the situation in the crucial Uttar Pradesh where the Congress is struggling to revive itself. Since bypoll to 12 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats are to be held by October, the Congress is in a dilemma on whether it should change UPPCC President Jagdambika Pal before or after these elections. Mr Pal’s removal has been on the cards for quite sometime but the party has been unable to zero in on his successor.

Congress sources said if the UPPCC President was not replaced within a week, the party would wait till the elections. In fact, these elections may be used to test Mr Pal’s leadership which was found to be wanting in the last Lok Sabha poll. In case of a poor showing, the Congress leadership will feel constrained to remove him as part of its efforts to strengthen and rejuvenate the listless party organisation in the state.

As it is, the Congress has been planning to overhaul the party in the state with Mr Satyavarat Chaturvedi, the new AICC General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, stressing the need of ridding the state unit of vested interests. He maintains the Congress needs to put its house in order by giving primacy to the organisation in the state. The party has changed four PCC chiefs in the past five years with the hope that the Congress graph will show some improvement. But all these efforts have so far proved futile.

While the Congress is still struggling to find the right leader to head its UP unit, several other state units are also waiting to be attended to. For instance, the Jammu and Kashmir unit is headed by Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, while Mr Pranab Mukherjee is the West Bengal PCC President.
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Experience drives writer, says Vikram Seth
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 8
What sustains a writer is inspiration and personal experience, and not necessarily national boundaries, said Vikram Seth, a well-known Indian English writer.

Speaking at the 13th triennial conference of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS) here, the celebrated author of “A Suitable Boy,” whose three novels are set in three continents, felt his writings were “more a matter of what inspired me...where I have had some personal experience.”

Responding to the broad theme of the conference “Nation and Imagination,” the elusive writer, who refuses to stay confined within the boundaries of any one nation, pointed out that he could not possibly write about something he did not have an insight into.

Organised by the Indian chapter of ACLALS, the six-day international conference which promotes Commonwealth literature studies, has attracted some well-known writers and authors such as A.C. Clarke, D.H. Taylor, Helen Tiffin, Aijaz Ahmad, Homi Bhaba, Ashis Nandy, Susie Tharu and Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, while the writers reading at the conference include Diana Bridge, David Dabydeen, Keki Daruwalla, Feroza Jussawalla, Girish Karnad, Jayanta Mahapatra, Hoshang Merchant and Vikram Seth.

More than 250 scholars have gathered for the conference funded by the Commonwealth Foundation, where as many as 200 papers, a significant number of them addressing specifically the issues of language or translation, will be presented.

Earlier, well-known teacher and critic Padma Bhushan C.D. Narasimhaiah was felicitated who, in his acceptance speech, found fault with writers like V.S. Naipaul, without naming him, for what he called their “contempt” for this country rather than compassion.
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Six blasts in Gogoi’s constituency

Jorhat (Assam), August 8
In a major strike, ULFA militants today exploded six powerful improvised explosive devices (IED) in two transmission towers of PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) in Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s constituency in Titabor of Jorhat district.

The militants had planted four IEDs under the 400 KV posts of the PGCIL tower, transmitting power from Kathalguri to Missa in Nagaon district, with three exploding and damaging the tower, Jorhat Superintendent of Police Surendra Kumar told PTI.

Another three IEDs were placed under the three posts of the 130 KV ASEB tower which transmitted power from Mariani to Dimapur and all exploded completely damaging the posts.

One unexploded IED, weighing half a kg, several batteries and 150 metres of open wires were seized from the blast site, he added.

The blasts come a few days before the Independence Day which the militant outfit has always opposed with major offensives.
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Ram Naik to head new BJP disciplinary panel

New Delhi, August 8
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President M. Venkaiah Naidu has reconstituted the Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) and various cells of the party.

Party Vice-President and spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said the new committee would be headed by former Union Minister Ram Naik while Mr Brijlal Rinwa (Punjab), Mr Bharot Singh (Manipur), Mr C. Ramachandra Reddy (Andhra Pradesh) and Mr Nand Kishore Yadav (Bihar) will be its members.

Mr Naqvi said former union minister Shahnawaz Husain had been appointed as Convener of the party’s Sahyog Committee and Mr Virendra Jain as Joint Convener.

Mr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Mr Muralidharan have been appointed as Convener and Joint Convener of the BJP’s Training and Orientation Programme Committee, respectively, said Mr Naqvi.

Mr Naidu has also reconstituted the various cells appointing Mr Balbir Punj as Convener of the Intellectual Cell, Mr Sudhendra Kulkari and Mr Prabhat Jha as Convener and Joint Convener of the Literature and Publication Cell. — UNI
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Andhra gears up to curb ragging
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 8
In an effort to curb ragging in medical colleges, the Directorate of Medical Education in Andhra Pradesh has come out with a software that enables the victims to post their complaints anonymously on the Net. Ragging in medical colleges has been rampant for some years now on the campuses, leading to suicidal tendencies among juniors, which had led to a public outcry against the practice.

The introduction of the facility on the eve of admissions to professional colleges to lodge complaints anonymously through Internet is the latest among the measures the state government has taken up to check the menace. Students can log on to http://dme.ap.nic.in and click on “complaint box for freshers” to post their grievances against ragging. The complaint box is accessible only to the Director of Medical Education.
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Hangman’s kin to get govt job

Kolkata, August 8
The West Bengal Government is providing a job to the grandson of hangman Nata Mallick, who had set the precondition for hanging Dhananjoy Chatterjee, sentenced to death for the rape and murder of schoolgirl Hetal Parekh in 1990.

“The police verification report of Nata Mallick’s grandson has already come, and it is a matter of days before he gets a job in the jail department,” state Jail Minister Biswanath Chowdhury said today. The appointment letter to Prabhat, Nata Mallick’s grandson, would be issued soon, Mr Chowdhury said, but did not divulge details of the nature or conditions of job that was being offered to him.

Mallick had demanded a permanent government job for Prabhat, claiming the fee for hanging was not enough to run the family and that death sentences were also a rare occurrence. Meanwhile, the brother of death row convict Dhananjoy Bikas has moved application for securing a copy of President Kalam’s rejection of Dhananjoy’s mercy petition for filing a petition before the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution, his counsel said today. — PTI
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17 killed in road accident

Kohima, August 8
At least 17 persons died on the spot and several others were injured when a bus rolled down a deep gorge in Nagaland’s Wokha district this morning, the police said.

The private night bus coming from Tuensang to Kohima via Wokha skidded off the road and rolled down a 400 feet gorge killing 17 persons and injuring many.

Rescue operations were on and the seriously injured were being evacuated to Naga hospital in Kohima. — PTI

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7 die as bus falls into gorge

Dehra Dun, August 8
At least seven persons were killed and three injured when a bus fell into a deep gorge on Unichakrata Marg in Uttaranchal, the police said today.

The ill-fated bus was coming from Chakrata to Dehra Dun when the driver lost control and the bus fell into the gorge near here.

While seven passengers died on the spot, three were admitted to hospital. — UNI
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Police protection for CBI counsel

Mumbai, August 8
The CBI counsel and public prosecutor in the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam case Raja Thakre has been provided police protection after he allegedly received threats over phone, police sources said today.

“We have provided protection to Thakre who has been threatened on telephone to withdraw from prosecution or face death,” police sources said.

The CBI took over the scam probe from Special Investigation Team (SIT) in March this year. — PTI
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BRIEFLY

Five dalits killed in Bihar
Kulsia, Bihar:
Six persons, including five Dalits, were killed in two separate incidents at Kulsia village in Madhepura district on Saturday night. Superintendent of Police Madhepura Shohab Akhtar said Phoko Yadav was killed on Saturday following a land dispute. In retaliation, the villagers shot dead five persons including three women and a four-year-old child. The situation was under control, Mr Akhtar said. — UNI

30 trains for Ajmer Urs
Ajmer:
Thirty special trains will be introduced to handle the rush of passengers during the annual Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti beginning August 17/18 subject to visibility of the moon, railway sources said here on Sunday. The flag hoisting ceremony at Buland Darwaza of the dargah in connection with Urs will be held on August 13. — PTI

XEN in ACB net
Akola:
The sleuths of anti-corruption bureau (ACB) arrested an Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Department for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income. The engineer was arrested from Solapur on Saturday after the officials conducted simultaneous raids at his premises in Akola, Amravati and Solapur and recovered wealth amounting to over Rs 20 lakh. — PTI

Dacoity in train
Samastipur (Bihar):
In yet another dacoity in a running train, unidentified armed criminals looted cash and valuables worth over Rs 4 lakh from passengers of the 5047 up Howrah-Gorakhpur Poorvanchal Express running between Barauni and Dalsingsarai in Bihar on Saturday night and injured at least 24, the railway police said on Sunday. — PTI
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