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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Keep creamy layer out of quota, says BJP
Favours including high-caste poor
New Delhi, May 29

Forced to tread a middle path on the controversial OBC reservation issue, the BJP today said it favoured quota for OBCs in higher educational institutions and wanted that the ‘creamy layer’ be kept out and economically weaker sections of upper castes included in the reservation quota.

Uma to go back to BJP: Digvijay
New Delhi, May 29
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh has said Bharatiya Janshakti leader Uma Bharti was slowly realising that running “a parallel party to the BJP without the RSS” will not take her anywhere and she will ultimately go back to the BJP.”

Rahul Mahajan appears at BJP meeting
New Delhi, May 29
By making a surprise appearance at the venue of the BJP’s National Executive meeting here today, late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s son Rahul Mahajan has triggered speculation of his entry into active politics.

RSS tightens grip on BJP
New Delhi, May 29
In a move apparently under RSS diktat, the BJP today amended its constitution to give sweeping powers to its president, Mr Rajnath Singh, to appoint and remove Sangh nominees as party organising secretaries from district-level upwards.

V.P. Singh’s rally to decide course of UP politics
Lucknow, May 29
The success of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s Mukti Sangharsh rally, his return vehicle to the centerstage of the Hindi heartland politics scheduled for Tuesday, will determine the course of state politics in the coming days.

AIIMS medicos sceptical of govt promise
New Delhi, May 29
The Students Union and the Faculty Association of AIIMS are unsure about the government’s promise of increasing the number of medical seats in nine medical institutions by the next academic session.



Former BJP President L.K.Advani and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the national executive meeting of the party at Parliament Annexe in New Delhi on Monday.
Former BJP President L.K.Advani and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the national executive meeting of the party at Parliament Annexe in New Delhi on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

EARLIER STORIES

 

OBC doctor family strictly for merit
Patna, May 29
At a time when medicos across the country are divided on the quota issue, the eminent Lal family in Patna belonging to the OBC, is not in the mood to compromise merit with quota.

Centre may amend service rules of bureaucrats
New Delhi, May 29
The Manmohan Singh government is considering further amending the service rules of bureaucrats to provide a year’s extension to certain top civil servants already having a fixed tenure of two years for reasons of continuity.

Delimitation process too slow: panel
New Delhi, May 29
The parliamentary standing committee on Law and Justice Ministry has expressed anguish over the slow progress of work on delimitation of Lok Sabha and the Assembly constituencies in all states and strongly recommended that the exercise be completed in a specified timeframe set for the Delimitation Commission.

Ban on ground floor flat likely
Mumbai, May 29
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is considering a proposal to ban flats in ground floors of new buildings following heavy flooding on July 26 last year.

Haryana may lose to TN on IT jobs
Chennai, May 29
Though the largest number of IT and ITES companies are located in Gurgaon in Haryana, but going by the present trend it might lose out to Tamil Nadu in a span of few years.

Move on Mumbai salt pan land opposed
Mumbai, May 29
City’s environmentalists say they are planning to fight a proposal by the Centre and the Maharashtra Government to allow construction on salt pan lands to rehabilitate slum dwellers.

“Colombo, LTTE playing with fire”
New Delhi, May 29
Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim is believed to have told Indian leaders that both Colombo and the dominant Tamil militant outfit (LTTE) are playing with fire.

SC notice to EC, Punjab leader
New Delhi, May 29
The Supreme Court today refused to pass an immediate interim stay on a high court order quashing the election of former Punjab minister Govind Singh but issued a notice to the Election Commission and Congress leader Harchand Kaur on his appeal.

Power project capacity enhanced
Patna, May 29
The power major, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd, today has decided to enhance the capacity of Barh Super Thermal Power Project in the state.

India sends relief to Indonesia
New Delhi, May 29
Joining international relief effort to help earthquake devastated people in Indonesia India today dispatched over 40 tonnes of medical and other aid to the country.

Tobacco use causes asthma
New Delhi, May 29
The World Lung Foundations’ South Asia Chapter has declared that use of tobacco in any form is dangerous for health and causes various diseases like TB, asthma and cancer.

AIAWU against MNCs in farm sectors
New Delhi, May 29
The All-India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) has expressed its disappointment over government "allowing" multinational companies in the farm sector.

Army Schools excel
New Delhi, May 29
The 120-odd Army Schools run by the Army Welfare Education Society have shown remarkable upward growth in academic performance with results in Classes XII and X this year comparable with the best schools in the country.

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Keep creamy layer out of quota, says BJP
Favours including high-caste poor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Forced to tread a middle path on the controversial OBC reservation issue, the BJP today said it favoured quota for OBCs in higher educational institutions and wanted that the ‘creamy layer’ be kept out and economically weaker sections of upper castes included in the reservation quota.

Articulating the party’s stand, BJP president Rajnath Singh charged the UPA government with creating social tensions on the reservation issue and asked it to ensure that merit was not squeezed while implementing the quota regime.

“The BJP had supported the Constitutional amendment to provide reservations in higher educational institutions. However, while doing so, any attempt at divisiveness must be avoided. Social fabric of the society must not be damaged,” Mr Singh said addressing the BJP national executive for the first time after taking over as party President in January this year.

Without directly demanding that the ‘creamy layer’ of the OBC be kept out of the proposed reservation, he said, “Efforts must be taken to ensure that the benefits of reservation must reach the most deprived amongst the socially deprived sections.”

Later briefing reporters, party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed suggestions that the BJP was “anti-OBC” and suffered from an upper caste bias, saying, “We are for 27 per cent reservation, including in the elite institutions, but we want the most needy and those who are really poor even in the upper caste to benefit. The reservation issue should be considered from the creamy layer angle, the spokesman said.

Recalling that as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh had provided reservation to the Most Backward Communities (MBCs), the BJP spokesman said even in the party’s Bhopal national executive in 1985, a resolution supporting affirmative action for the welfare of OBCs, SCs and STs was adopted.

Charging the Congress-led government with indulging in the politics of reservation, Mr Prasad said, “What they are doing is pure and simple vote-bank politics. We are supporting reservation in principle but we are disassociating ourselves from the manner of its implementation...we want a fine blend of social empowerment and promotion of a knowledge society”.

He also asserted that the BJP was opposed to the exclusion of minority institution from the obligation of reservation and said there must be no reservation on religious basis.

The BJP’s balancing act on the quota issue assumes significance because the party is gearing up for the upcoming Assembly elections in the politically-crucial states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab, where both OBCs and upper castes play a decisive role in several constituencies.

Senior party leader L K Advani had yesterday demanded setting up of a specialist committee to study the impact of reservation and examine alternative remedies for affirmative action that would not undermine merit or excellence.

Targeting the UPA government for the unprecedented rise in suicide of farmers in the past two years, the BJP President said “The increasing financial burden on the farmers because of unstable policies of UPA government is pushing them to despair.”

“All farmer-friendly programmes and policies of NDA government have been put in the cold storage. During our time, the food grains stores in the country were full to the brim and we were exporting food grains. But in two years the situation has so much deteriorated that we have to import food grains,” he said adding “Above all, the imported wheat is being purchased at a rate higher than that at which the Indian wheat has been purchased.”

On foreign policy, the BJP chief charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with allowing Left interference in foreign policy matters and said the UPA government had failed in dealing with external affairs issues.

He also attacked the UPA government for adopting “appeasement policy” and its “failure” to tackle terrorism and internal security situations.

“In view of a pre-planned conspiracy to push out minority community of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, it has now taken the form of an outright challenge to the very secular character of India. The attacks on political rallies have put a question mark in Kashmir over the very nature of India’s democratic set up,” he said and appealed to all political parties to understand the delicacy of the situation and review their stand on Article 370.

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Uma to go back to BJP: Digvijay
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh has said Bharatiya Janshakti leader Uma Bharti was slowly realising that running “a parallel party to the BJP without the RSS” will not take her anywhere and she will ultimately go back to the BJP.”

Talking to The Tribune here, Mr Digvijay Singh said Ms Bharti had already started talking of some kind of seat adjustment with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh which was a precursor to her formally coming back to that party. “She will go the Kalyan Singh route. Ultimately, she will go back to the BJP,” he said.

Mr Digvijay Singh, who had earlier given “advice” to Ms Bharti while she was having troubles in the BJP, said she should lie low for sometime and go back to the BJP because she would not be able to create a party.

On the position of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh where the party received severe drubbing during the last Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, Mr Digvijay Singh said the promises made by the BJP in the last elections had not been fulfilled. “The power struggle within the BJP has led to three Chief Ministers in two years and the present one is also not on a very sure footing. With this kind of political instability, no government can function. The bureaucracy also plays safe due to which everything comes to a standstill. This is what is happening at the moment in the state,” he said. 

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Rahul Mahajan appears at BJP meeting
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
By making a surprise appearance at the venue of the BJP’s National Executive meeting here today, late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan’s son Rahul Mahajan has triggered speculation of his entry into active politics.

Rahul, who had lunch with top brass of the BJP at the meeting venue, reacted to a question on whether he planned to take a plunge into politics, saying that “It can be given a thought.”

To a specific query whether he would work for the BJP, he evaded a direct reply, saying that “it can be looked into later on... everything in this world can be looked into and thought about.”

To a question whether there was any offer from Rajnath Singh for joining the party, he said “the party president will answer this question. I will do whatever the party president asks me to do”. 

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RSS tightens grip on BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
In a move apparently under RSS diktat, the BJP today amended its constitution to give sweeping powers to its president, Mr Rajnath Singh, to appoint and remove Sangh nominees as party organising secretaries from district-level upwards.

A resolution pertaining to the amendments providing for secretaries (organisation) to work under the powerful general secretary (organisation), a post currently being held by Mr Sanjay Joshi, deputed by the RSS to the party, was adopted unanimously at the BJP national executive meeting here, chaired by Mr Rajnath Singh.

State organising secretaries too cannot be appointed or changed by any provincial head without consulting the party's national president following the four amendments, party sources said.

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V.P. Singh’s rally to decide course of UP politics
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 29
The success of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s Mukti Sangharsh rally, his return vehicle to the centerstage of the Hindi heartland politics scheduled for Tuesday, will determine the course of state politics in the coming days.

“In today’s sharply polarised political scenario, I see V.P. Singh playing the role that JP had played”, pointed out Udit Raj of the Indian Justice Party, one of the components of the Jan Morcha.

Interestingly, at least three UPA alliance partners are to address the rally at the Laxman Mela grounds. They are CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan representing the Lok Janshakti.

The CPM, supposedly close to Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party, has decided to steer clear of the rally, obviously not wanting to embarrass him.

This loose umbrella outfit of approximately a dozen political parties, including the CPI (ML), National Loktantrik, Nationalist Communist Party and a hoard of minor political parties, have come together under the guidance of the former Prime Minister to raise the “anti-farmer policies of the state government”.

The new configuration has definitely made Uttar Pradesh’s two existing major parties, SP and Bahujan Samaj Party, take note of the developments.

Commenting on a suspended SP Member of Parliament Raj Babbar being made president of the Morcha, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, while addressing the women’s wing of his party a few days ago, had expressed anguish at his government being targeted by the Morcha.

He declared that it was the Central policies that were harming the farmers’ interest and causing them to commit suicide in large numbers in Congress-ruled states like Andhra, Maharashtra and Punjab. “Yet, it was my government where not a single farmer’s suicide had occurred which is being targeted by the pro-farmers,” he had pointed out.

Similarly, the BSP, till recently claiming to exclusively represent the interests of the Dalits, has certainly taken note of the entry of two more Dalit parties — the Indian Justice Party and the Lok Jan Shakti — in the Uttar Pradesh political scene.

Its alertness is understandable, as it will soon be facing the electorate for the first time since it considerably diluted its erstwhile “Manuwadi’ tirade by opening its doors to Brahmins and other upper castes.

Addressing her party cadre, BSP chief Mayawati, hinting to these crucial developments, suggested that they should be closely watching the changes in the state’s political scenario.

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AIIMS medicos sceptical of govt promise
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
The Students Union and the Faculty Association of AIIMS are unsure about the government’s promise of increasing the number of medical seats in nine medical institutions by the next academic session.

The AIIMS Faculty Association and Students Union is sceptical about the government’s promise to increase seats as this would entail expansion of infrastructure, including hostels, beds, laboratory space for non-clinical disciplines, and faculty.

Anamay Sharma, president of the union, said there was no way that the union comprising 250 MBBS students would allow the reservation without a review of the policy by a non-political judicial commission.

“We are more keen on ensuring that the interests of students of open category are protected and that there is infrastructure expansion in all medical colleges and institutions at the same time,’’ he said.

He said the administration was aware of the fact that many postgraduate students were not able to get a seat in the hostel.

Dr A.B. Dey, president, AIIMS Faculty Association, wondered whether the infrastructure required would be in place when the seats were increased. “I’m sceptical whether the government will be able to expand the infrastructure by the promised deadline of one year. At present, we have eight boys hostel for undergraduate and postgraduate students, two girls hostel and two hostels for married postgraduate students,” he said.

“In this fiscal year, the AIIMS Budget was over Rs 400 crore. For the expansion of such scale, we would need an additional amount of Rs 200 crore,’’ he said.

“Our faculty strength is decided by the number of postgraduate students. At present, there is one teacher for every three postgraduate students as spelt out by academic rules. The faculty-strength for undergraduate students is adequate,’’ he added.

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OBC doctor family strictly for merit
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 29
At a time when medicos across the country are divided on the quota issue, the eminent Lal family in Patna belonging to the OBC, is not in the mood to compromise merit with quota.

A family of doctors, the Lal family has achieved success without taking advantage of reservation. The family includes four specialists.

Dr Brij Lal is a well-known ENT specialist. Dr Nand Lal has retired as Principal of Patna Dental College.

Contrary to popular perception, Dr Lal observed that it was his community which had proved to be the biggest roadblock for him at the initial stage of his career as it had considered him as a “quota” doctor.

Dr Lal said while people from the anti-quota segment of society used to come to him for consultation, people from his own backward community did not come to him considering him incompetent.

He claimed that three generations of his family had made their mark in the medical profession based on merit and they planned to continue striving for success without using the quota.

According to Dr Lal, it was the duty of the government to provide equal opportunities to all for education and introduce an unbiased gradation and selection process where “merit and only merit” should be the criterion.

His views can be substantiated from the findings at Sultanpur village in Hajipur district which is being represented by a prominent Dalit leader, Mr Ramvilas Paswan.

There are over a 1,000 Dalit families in this village. Since Independence, only three persons have got government jobs through the quota system. 

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Centre may amend service rules of bureaucrats
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
The Manmohan Singh government is considering further amending the service rules of bureaucrats to provide a year’s extension to certain top civil servants already having a fixed tenure of two years for reasons of continuity.

This assumes importance as Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi is due to retire next month. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself zeroed in on Mr Chaturvedi for the Cabinet Secretary’s post.

The Union Cabinet had decided to provide a fixed tenure to the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and the chiefs of the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau. Under this dispensation, the bureaucrat will continue in that post for two years even if he attains the age of retirement.

Lobbying has now intensified for the Cabinet Secretary’s post. The names of Adarsh Kishore, Secretary in the Finance Ministry, and Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal are being speculated as front runners. Reva Nayyar of the Haryana cadre is due to retire in July.

Dhanendra Kumar, who is currently with the World Bank in the US, retires in June.

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Delimitation process too slow: panel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
The parliamentary standing committee on Law and Justice Ministry has expressed anguish over the slow progress of work on delimitation of Lok Sabha and the Assembly constituencies in all states and strongly recommended that the exercise be completed in a specified timeframe set for the Delimitation Commission.

“The Delimitation Commission should complete the delimitation exercise in the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in all states within a specified timeframe,” the 31-member committee headed by Mr E M Sudarsana Natchiappan in its report said.

The report placed before Parliament in the recent session, was more critical about the commission not been able to complete the exercise even in those states where the elections were due, citing the example of Assam and Tamil Nadu which went to the polls recently and pointed out that the order on delimitation was issued in respect of Kerala, West Bengal and the Union Territory Pondicherry only with difficulty just before the poll.

“The committee is anguished that in spite of its recommendations for delimitation of the Assembly constituencies, particularly for those states which were scheduled to go to the polls” had not been expedited, it said, while making a “strong recommendation” that the commission should complete its mandated task as soon as possible.

The panel impressed upon the ministry to take timely action to ensure that the work was completed as per its earlier recommendations.

The Law Ministry has stated that the delimitation was a time-consuming exercise and its member should continue from the very beginning but due to elections to the Lok Sabha in May 2004, associate members from the states ceased to be attached with it.

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Ban on ground floor flat likely
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 29
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is considering a proposal to ban flats in ground floors of new buildings following heavy flooding on July 26 last year.

According to sources, builders putting up new constructions are already being told to reserve ground floors for car parking and shopping areas. “In some sensitive areas like Kalina and Santa Cruz, builders have been asked to remove ground floor flats from their plans,” an official of the building proposals department of the BMC said.

Firefighters and the police had a tough time rescuing people trapped in the ground floors of buildings like Air-India Colony at Kalina where water rose by eight feet.

A large number of people drowned in their houses as the rising waters did not allow them to escape.

Meanwhile, residents of several ground floor flats in the existing buildings here are moving out ahead of the rains. At Air-India Colony at Kalina, all ground floor flats have been vacated, according to senior airline officials.

Residents of the buildings, who are allotted accommodation by the airline, are housed elsewhere. The airline is now mulling demolition of the flats, the sources say. Societies of several buildings have also raised the plinth level of the structures to prevent flooding, reports said.

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Haryana may lose to TN on IT jobs
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, May 29
Though the largest number of IT and ITES companies are located in Gurgaon in Haryana, but going by the present trend it might lose out to Tamil Nadu in a span of few years.

A recent study by the CII predicts that 8,00,000 jobs will be generated from this industry in Tamil Nadu alone in the next 10 years.

The study recommends special computer skills for humanities and science students.

The study stated that the IT and ITES industry in Tamil Nadu would generate around 4,50,000 jobs and 3,50,000 jobs, respectively.

The CII recently conducted a study on “Mapping of human resource skills in Tamil Nadu”. The study recommends introduction of special training courses or arts and science graduates in the use of computers, ITES skills and product selling skills etc. to meet the increasing human resource requirements of the IT industries.

By 2015, the IT industry in Tamil Nadu, which is expected to grow at CAGR of 19-20%, could reach the size of $ 17-20 billion while the ITES industry, with a CAGR of 22-23%, could become a $ 10-12 billion industry.

At present, the IT industry employs over 80,000 persons in the state.

Considering the pace of growth, the industry will provide employment to around 4,50,000 persons by 2015. Similarly, the ITES segment, which employs around 65,000 persons today, is expected to generate employment for over 3,50,000 persons by 2015.

The study has identified several key skill gaps in both IT and ITES industry. In general, these industries lack people with strong business process understanding, analytical skills and “learnability.”

The average annual output of an IT employee stands at around Rs 20 lakh and that of an ITES employee at Rs 15 lakh. The study says that though there will be significant improvements in the productivity level of IT and ITES industries, the increasing share of offshore business and pressure on pricing will offset the productivity gains in the future.

The study urges educational institutions to provide training for students on time management, stress handling and communication skills. The institutions should also explore the possibility of introducing apprenticeship for arts and science graduates. This will provide the students with early exposure to IT and ITES jobs.

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Move on Mumbai salt pan land opposed
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 29
City’s environmentalists say they are planning to fight a proposal by the Centre and the Maharashtra Government to allow construction on salt pan lands to rehabilitate slum dwellers.

According to the plan mooted by the Centre and the state government, about 5,500 acres of salt pan land in the outskirts of Mumbai would be open for development by the builders. Most of these lands were given on long leases by the government to manufacturers of salt decades ago.

At present only a handful of these plots are used to manufacture salt while many are lying unused. Slums have come up on a few of them, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Thane Municipal Corporation.

Environment groups and activists here feel that the government may virtually gift the lands to builders free of cost for taking up rehabilitation plans for slum dwellers.

Urban development experts have warned that low-lying areas work like natural drains during downpour in monsoon.

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“Colombo, LTTE playing with fire”
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim is believed to have told Indian leaders that both Colombo and the dominant Tamil militant outfit (LTTE) are playing with fire.

In the wake of the Geneva II between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE failing to take off, Colombo might face intense international pressure to implement the pledges made by it.

Mr Solheim, who brokered the 2002 ceasefire agreement reportedly told National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan that Sri Lanka needed to show statesmanship and political maturity. It needed to infuse confidence by fulfilling the promises it made during the first round of the peace talks with the LTTE in February in Geneva.

Diplomats of other countries, including Japan, have tried to use their good offices but the LTTE has remained unbudged in returning to the dialogue in Geneva, laying the blame squarely at Colombo’s door.

In February, the LTTE agreed to stop its campaign of terror even as the government promised to disarm all armed groups other than its security forces in its areas in the Northeast. The understanding reached on both these counts have not been implemented.

On its part, India has told Sri Lanka that it needs to come out with a credible political solution within a federal framework to counter the goal of an independent state still pursed by the LTTE.

Despite the setback to the peace process, Norway is still trying its best to get Colombo and the LTTE back to the negotiating table. Geneva II between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE scheduled in April has got postponed indefinitely.

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SC notice to EC, Punjab leader
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 29
The Supreme Court today refused to pass an immediate interim stay on a high court order quashing the election of former Punjab minister Govind Singh but issued a notice to the Election Commission and Congress leader Harchand Kaur on his appeal.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had set aside the election of Singh, who was elected as an independent MLA in the 2002 elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha after quitting SAD.

“No stay right now,” a Bench said, but it issued notice on Singh’s stay application after his counsel Mukul Rohtagi stated that if the high court order was not stayed, it would result in the disqualification of the MLA even when his election appeal was pending before the apex court.

The election of Singh, who was Social Security Minister in the Badal government, was set aside by the high court on April 28, allowing Congress candidate Harchand Kaur’s election petition.

His election from Sherpur Assembly seat was set aside on the ground that he had distributed cash pension to voters as allurement.

The high court had given time till May 28 for filing of the appeal against its order in the apex court to Singh.

The apex court, in its today’s order, said the stay application of Singh would be taken up for hearing on June 12.

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Power project capacity enhanced
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 29
The power major, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd, today has decided to enhance the capacity of Barh Super Thermal Power Project in the state.

Senior officials of NTPC, who accompanied the Union Power Minister Susil Kumar Shinde, today for the signing of MoUs with the Bihar Government, said the power giant has already informed its decision to the Bombay Stock Exchange. 

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India sends relief to Indonesia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Joining international relief effort to help earthquake devastated people in Indonesia India today dispatched over 40 tonnes of medical and other aid to the country.

Using giant IL-76 Indian Air Force Transport aircraft and huge Naval warships, Delhi is rushing tents, tarpaulins, medicines, rice, sugar and tea for hundreds of thousands of Indonesians forced to shelter in open areas.

“The first of the IL-76 aircraft took off from here today with about 30 tonnes of relief material including medical supplies, tents, waterproof tarpaulins, jerry cans and other essential items”, IAF spokesman Wg-Cdr Mahesh Upasani said. 

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Tobacco use causes asthma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
The World Lung Foundations’ South Asia Chapter has declared that use of tobacco in any form is dangerous for health and causes various diseases like TB, asthma and cancer.

The director of the Foundation, South Asia region, Dr G. R. Khatri, claimed on the eve of Anti Tobacco Day that 10 million deaths occurred globally due to lung diseases, half of them caused by tobacco, two million by TB, two million by pneumonia and a million by asthma.

He said that World Health Organisation (WHO) predicted that more than one billion people would die from tobacco-related causes during this century. Cigarette and ‘bidi’ smoking is equally harmful. A number of people are seen coughing in the morning. Majority of them are smokers.

A study related to the issue claimed that tobacco contained over 4000 chemicals including more than 60 carcinogens (cancer-producing agents). 

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AIAWU against MNCs in farm sectors
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
The All-India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) has expressed its disappointment over government "allowing" multinational companies in the farm sector.

In a statement, the AIAWU said the government had allowed multinational companies to buy grain in the market and to sell it at higher margins. It said the government was proposing to facilitate import of genetically engineered soyabean oil by amending the rules.

It said any such move would not only ruin soyabean farmers, who were hard-pressed by the removal of quantitative restrictions, but it would also allow genetically engineered material for human consumption to be imported without adequate knowledge of its after-affects.

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Army Schools excel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
The 120-odd Army Schools run by the Army Welfare Education Society have shown remarkable upward growth in academic performance with results in Classes XII and X this year comparable with the best schools in the country.

In the recently declared results of the CBSE, the pass percentage in Army Schools was 92.57 per cent in Class XII and the highest individual percentage was 96.20 per cent obtained by Ritesh Agarwal of Army School, Darjeeling. In the Class X results, the pass percentage was 95.43 per cent.

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