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Soldiers inspect the debris of an overturned passenger bus in Ramban town, about 150 km from Jammu, on Friday. Probe ordered into bus accident
Srinagar, September 30
An inquiry, to be completed in 15 days, has been ordered into the bus accident in which 42 passengers were killed and 29 others injured near Ramban when it was on its way to Tatta Paani in Doda district yesterday.

Soldiers inspect the debris of an overturned passenger bus in Ramban town, about 150 km from Jammu, on Friday.
ó Reuters photo

Noisy scenes force Speaker to adjourn House for 15 minutes
Srinagar, September 30
Amid noisy scenes over issues raised by Opposition members, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Tara Chand adjourned the House for 15 minutes this morning.

World Bank team to visit Baglihar
Jammu, September 30
A three-member World Bank team is reaching here tomorrow to inspect the Baglihar hydroelectric project (450 mw) in a bid to settle the dispute between India and Pakistan over its construction on the Chenab.

Sinha meets group from Kargil
Srinagar, September 30
The opening of the Kargil-Skardu road would further give impetus to the ongoing peace process, besides helping divided families to meet, said the Governor, Lieut-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), here on Wednesday.



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Probe ordered into bus accident
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 30
An inquiry, to be completed in 15 days, has been ordered into the bus accident in which 42 passengers were killed and 29 others injured near Ramban when it was on its way to Tatta Paani in Doda district yesterday.

Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma told the stateís Legislative Assembly here today that the traffic police had been asked to hold to find out how the KMDA bus with passengers from south Kashmir was allowed to move outside its range. He assured the House that action would be initiated against those the traffic policemen who allowed the bus carrying 86 passengers from the valley to Gool. He was replying to a question raised by Peer Mohammad Hussain, MLA, Shangus, who demanded ex-gratia to the kin of those killed and assistance to the injured under treatment in various hospitals.

Two Deputy Superintendents of Police, (Traffic) have been suspended for dereliction of duty.

The bus carrying 86 passengers left Shangus in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on Thursday morning. Those on board were reportedly on way to Tatta Paani, water spring that attracts people from distant areas for curative reasons.

Minister of State for Home, A R Veeri told the House that the bus (JK03-3837) left Shangus-Anantnag and met with an accident at Chapri Nullah Ramban at 4.45 p.m on Thursday. He said the bus with 52 seats was carrying 86 passengers including 25 men, 47 women and 14 children. He said 35 passengers died on spot while seven succumbed to injuries at Ramban hospital. He said those who died included 27 women, 12 man and three children. Of the injured 19 have been evacuated to SKIMS, Soura, Srinagar, 12 are at district hospital, Anantnag and 11 at Ramban hospital.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed expressed shock and grief over the loss of lives in the accident. Minister of state for Works, G A Mir and Minister of state for Agriculture, Aijaz Ahmad also expressed shock and grief over the accident. most of the passengers who died in the accident were from the Shangus area in Anantnag district. The ministers demanded relief for the next of kin of the deceased. Mr Mir has demanded a probe into the accident.

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Noisy scenes force Speaker to adjourn House for 15 minutes
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 30
Amid noisy scenes over issues raised by Opposition members, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Tara Chand adjourned the House for 15 minutes this morning.

Soon after the Question Hour members of Opposition parties raised issues, including the alleged backdoor appointments in the Horticulture Department in Jammu region, and Scheduled Tribe status to 12 lakh Pahari-speaking people of the state. When the Speakerís pleas failed to silence the agitating members who had come to the well of the House in support of their demands, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes only after 15 minutes of the start of proceedings.

Later, Finance, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Agriculture Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar responded to the demands raised by members from different opposition parties.

Minister for Finance, Planning, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Muzaffar Hussain Beigh sought Scheduled Tribe status for Paharis on the pattern of Gujjars in the state. He, however, said that there were certain norms required for the same, which had come in the way of granting the status to the community. He said that there were no norms for granting such a category on linguistic grounds, but on ethnic grounds. The resolution moved by him was passed by voice vote. The members from areas falling mainly along the border areas supported the resolution and were unanimous that the matter should be taken up with the Central government for approval. Earlier, CPM state secretary M.Y. Tarigami spoke in favour of Paharis.

In case of the alleged backdoor appointments in the Horticulture Department, Agriculture Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar said that 90 vacancies in Jammu region and 21 vacancies in Kashmir division had been filled under such orders in 1999.

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World Bank team to visit Baglihar
Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 30
A three-member World Bank team is reaching here tomorrow to inspect the Baglihar hydroelectric project (450 mw) in a bid to settle the dispute between India and Pakistan over its construction on the Chenab.

A neutral expert, Mr Raymond Lafittee, who has been appointed as arbitrator by the World Bank, will lead the team.

Six members each from India and Pakistan will accompany the World Bank team to the project site where they will camp for three days during which the team will visit various sites of the project.

Mr Lafittee, who is a civil engineer and professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, would hear arguments of both sides before announcing his decision.

The team would first of all visit the dam site of October 2 and the next day it would go around the areas of Doda that would get submerged in the river waters.

Pakistan has raised various objections to the construction of the project and has claimed that India was violating the Indus Water Treaty of 1960.

Official teams from Pakistan have visited the project in the recent past.

Mr Lafittee is learnt to have already held the first round of talks with officials of India and Pakistan in Paris where both sides forwarded their claims to him.

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Sinha meets group from Kargil
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 30
The opening of the Kargil-Skardu road would further give impetus to the ongoing peace process, besides helping divided families to meet, said the Governor, Lieut-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), here on Wednesday.

The Governor, while interacting with a group of people from remote areas of Kargil, said he had taken up the opening of this vital link with the Prime Minister. Referring to his interaction with a delegation from Pakistan here recently, he said they were appreciative of the idea as it would reduce the journey.

He said the government was planning to construct a tunnel on Zijila and to upgrade the Leh-Manali road.

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