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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

SC allows ‘Blue Lady’ to dock
New Delhi, June 5
NGOs, fighting against the entry of the Norwegian ship “Blue Lady” into the Indian territorial waters, have termed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the controversial ship to be anchored at the Alang port in Gujarat for inspection by the Indian authorities an “ironical commemoration of the World Environment Day.”

IAS officer wants to quit to work for state
Hyderabad, June 5
A senior Andhra cadre IAS officer has offered to quit his post to work for the development of his state Orissa. Mr Jatish Chandra Mohanty, a 1979 batch IAS officer, has sought permission from the Central Government for voluntary retirement.

Rahul Bajaj files papers for RS seat

Mumbai, June 5
The rift between the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra came out into the open today after industrialist Rahul Bajaj filed his nomination to the Rajya Sabha seat left vacant following the death of Pramod Mahajan.

Business tycoon Rahul Bajaj files his nomination to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in Mumbai on Monday.
Business tycoon Rahul Bajaj files his nomination to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI photo

 

 

 

EARLIER STORIES

Setback to Fardeen in cocaine case
Mumbai, June 5
Actor Fardeen Khan, who was arrested five years ago while buying cocaine from a dealer, received a setback at the special court dealing with cases under the NDPS Act here today.

CAG raises concern over viability of military farms
Chandigarh, June 5
Raising concern over the economic viability of Military Farms (MF), the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has revealed that Military Farms were able to produce only 30 per cent of the Army's requirement of milk. The remaining quantity was procured through other sources at rates 20 per cent higher than the market price.

Cong upset over NCP’s betrayal
New Delhi, June 5
The Congress is gradually falling foul of its allies. Six months ago, it lost its government in Karnataka when its coalition partner, Janata Dal (S) walked out on it. Its relations with its key ally PDP in Jammu and Kashmir are constantly under strain.

SC no to stay on Jaya bypoll
New Delhi, June 5
In a major boost to Jaya Bachchan, seeking re-entry to the Rajya Sabha after her disqualification by Election Commission on the office-of-profit issue, the Supreme Court today rejected a petition by a Congress leader from UP for stay of her the by-election.

Koirala coming today
New Delhi, June 5
Nepalese Prime Minister G P Koirala is coming on an official visit here tomorrow with very high expectations, but the Indian leadership would hardly be able to fulfil them all at one go.

Karunanidhi meets Sonia
New Delhi, June 5
Giving a blow to the wishes of Congressmen from Tamil Nadu for joining government in the state, DMK chief and state Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the issue of power sharing in the state did not figure during his talks with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Kohli’s plea rejected in Hannah case
New Delhi, June 5
The plea for supply of complete statement of a British national in London school girl Hannah Foster rape and murder case to NRI accused Maninderpal Singh Kohli was rejected by the Supreme Court today on the ground that the necessary documents required to be provided to him in his extradition proceedings had been made available to him.

Sachar panel term extended
New Delhi, June 5
The government has extended the term of the Rajindar Sachar Committee set up to look into the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the country. The term of the committee has now been extended to October 31 this year to present its report, an official spokesman said.

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SC allows ‘Blue Lady’ to dock
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
NGOs, fighting against the entry of the Norwegian ship “Blue Lady” into the Indian territorial waters, have termed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the controversial ship to be anchored at the Alang port in Gujarat for inspection by the Indian authorities an “ironical commemoration of the World Environment Day.”

The apex court today allowed the ship to enter the Indian waters and its anchoring following an interim report by the Technical Committee that said that unless the ship was stationed, investigation about the presence of hazardous material on it was not possible.

The authorities would follow the apex court’s guidelines for dismantling of the ship after thorough investigation about the presence of toxic material in the ship and for that purpose its anchoring was necessary, a Bench, headed by Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat, said. The court also directed the Technical Committee to submit its final report in July after examination of the ship by experts.

Meanwhile, an additional affidavit was filed by applicants in the apex court today, saying that the ship was coming as illegal traffic. “We have also attached a letter by the Malaysian authorities that the ship was to go Dubai for repair. We are hopeful that when legal aspects are looked into the court will not allow it to be dismantled at Alang,” Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) activist Gopal Krishna told The Tribune.

Claiming that the ship under tow left Malaysia on May 5, 2005, after having fraudulently declared to port authorities there that it was destined for repairs in Dubai, Krishna said the ship made several attempts to reach scrap yards, including an aborted attempt last year when the Bangladesh Government prohibited the toxic ship from entering the country on health and environmental grounds.

“SS Blue Lady was lying in anchor in Malaysia since August 2005, but set sail declaredly for Dubai just as the monsoon was imminent. Rather than go to Dubai, it anchored out in the high seas to force the Indian authorities to allow the ship to come in on humanitarian grounds professedly to avoid the dangers of monsoon rough seas,” Krishna said.

The ship has been allowed to anchor in the India territorial waters on the basis of an interim report submitted by a Technical Committee chaired by Dr Prodipto Ghosh, Secretary, MoEF. The NGOs have also alleged that the Technical Committee comprised “members from government agencies with known bias towards the ship-breaking industry and ex-Naval officers”.

“It has no representations from the public interest groups,” the NGO, Platform on Shipbreaking, comprising the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Greenpeace India and the Corporate Accountability Desk, said after the Supreme Court’s decision.

They alleged that the Indian Supreme Court today went against its own 1997 order and subsequent order of October 14, 2003, prohibiting import of hazardous wastes by permitting SS Blue Lady to enter Indian waters.

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IAS officer wants to quit to work for state
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, June 5
A senior Andhra cadre IAS officer has offered to quit his post to work for the development of his state Orissa. Mr Jatish Chandra Mohanty, a 1979 batch IAS officer, has sought permission from the Central Government for voluntary retirement.

While sources close to him say that Mr Mohanty would like to float a political party in Orissa, he himself said his desire was to build a movement for the uplift of people of his state.

Earlier, he worked as Managing Director of the AP State Finance Corporation, Principle Secretary, Information Technology Department, and presently Principle Secretary, Remote Area Development. He has another seven years of service left.

“I am concerned that Orissa is lagging behind on every development parameter. Poverty is more acute in Orissa than Bihar,” he said. 

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Rahul Bajaj files papers for RS seat
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, June 5
The rift between the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra came out into the open today after industrialist Rahul Bajaj filed his nomination to the Rajya Sabha seat left vacant following the death of Pramod Mahajan.

Mr Bajaj's candidature was backed by the NCP, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena much to the discomfiture of the Congress, which was hopeful of bagging the seat in alliance with Mr Pawar's outfit.

The Congress has fielded former MLA Avinash Pande for the seat for which elections will be held on June 15. The party had earlier planned to field Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Prabha Rau, a known baiter of Mr Pawar.

However, the Congress backtracked when the Maratha chieftain chose to back Mr Bajaj, with whom he shares a close relationship.

Among those who accompanied Mr Bajaj while he filed his nomination at the Vidhan Bhavan included BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and NCP leader Sachin Ahir.

Incidentally, the BJP had toyed with the idea of nominating either Pramod Mahajan's wife or son for the seat. But then Mr Pawar cited the Congress 's opposition to the move and decided not to go along with the BJP. 

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Setback to Fardeen in cocaine case
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, June 5
Actor Fardeen Khan, who was arrested five years ago while buying cocaine from a dealer, received a setback at the special court dealing with cases under the NDPS Act here today.

A plea by Fardeen to amend the chargesheet filed against him on the grounds that he was only negotiating with the drug dealer to purchase a gram of cocaine at the time of his arrest, was turned down by the court.

He was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau(NCB) in May 2001 as he withdrew money from an ATM to give money to drug dealer Nasir Abdul Karim Khan.

The NCB said before the court that a total of 9 gm of cocaine was seized from the two. However, Khan's counsel contended that the actor intended to purchase just one gram for his own use.

Fardeen is keen to seek amendment to the chargesheet since the possession of 1 gm of cocaine carries a jail term of just six months. Possession of cocaine over 2 gm is liable for imprisonment up to ten years.

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CAG raises concern over viability of military farms
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Raising concern over the economic viability of Military Farms (MF), the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has revealed that Military Farms were able to produce only 30 per cent of the Army's requirement of milk. The remaining quantity was procured through other sources at rates 20 per cent higher than the market price.

‘‘The Military Farms were not able to utilize their manpower, machinery and land efficiently, which contributed to increased cost of production and supply of milk and hay,’’ the CAG observed in its latest report released a few days ago. The cost of milk produced by Military Farms was Rs 16.62 to Rs 18.89 per litre, whereas milk in the open market cost Rs 12.77 to Rs 15.53 per litre.

With an annual budgetary allocation of Rs 155-160 crore, there are 43 Military Farms spread across the country and their primary role is to provide hygienic milk and milk products to the armed forces. The Army's average annual requirement of milk is 1,244 lakh litres. Military Farms are also required to provide dry fodder or hay for animals reared by the Army.

Audit examination indicated that the quality of milk produced by Military Farms also figured prominently in the Army Commanders' Conference last year, where there was unanimity of opinion that Military Farms were not supplying milk of an acceptable standard.

The Military Farms' role to produce and supply hay to the Army for its horses and mules remained largely unfulfilled because more than 81 per cent of the total requirement was procured from the civilian agencies and supplied to the Army at prices much higher than the market rates. ‘‘Hay was found to have been supplied at a rate of Rs 10,070 - Rs 12,481 per metric tonne while the market rate varied between Rs 2,843 - Rs 3,321 per metric tonne,’’ the report stated. Procurement was done at prices four times the market rate.

The Army's annual requirement of dry fodder is 25,000 metric tonnes, out of which only 19 per cent is produced by Military Farms. The land holdings of the farms are 12,388 hectares, out of which 3,540 hectares is cultivable. In 2004-05, 18 Military Farms were shut down

The CAG has recommended that the Defence Ministry undertake a cost benefit analysis for all Military Farms with a view to closing down uneconomical farms as suggested by various committees from time to time. It has also recommended a change in policy on costing of milk produced by these farms and advocated that local purchase of milk and hay be entrusted to other agencies like the Army Supply Corps.

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Cong upset over NCP’s betrayal
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The Congress is gradually falling foul of its allies. Six months ago, it lost its government in Karnataka when its coalition partner, Janata Dal (S) walked out on it. Its relations with its key ally PDP in Jammu and Kashmir are constantly under strain.

And now its ties with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have come under strain following their failure to seal a deal on a common candidate for the June 15 Rajya Sabha by-election. The NCP has declared that it will support industrialist Rahul Bajaj’s candidature, who is contesting as an Independent, but is also being backed by the BJP and Shiv Sena. Mr Bajaj is a close friend of Sharad Pawar and is known to enjoy a good rapport with the saffron parties.

Surprised and angry over the NCP’s refusal to support its candidate, the Congress has declared that it will field its own candidate, knowing chances of victory are virtually nil. It has picked Maharashtra PCC general secretary Avinash Pandy for the RS seat, which fell vacant after Pramod Mahajan’s death.

The Congress has accused the NCP of reneging on its promise to back its nominee. The NCP has charged that the Congress sabotaged last week’s Legislative Council elections which resulted in the defeat of the NCP candidate.

Accusing the NCP of going back on its word, Mrs Margaret Alva, AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra, said Mr Pawar had assured Sonia Gandhi that his party would back their candidate. She, however, said this would not affect the coalition government in Maharahtra or at the Centre.

While Mr Pawar is out of the country, NCP leader Tariq Anwar maintained the NCP had never pledged its support to a Congress nominee.

UPA sources admitted that this tension between the Congress and the NCP was going to get worse as the two sides got ready to battle each other in the zila parishad elections, due this year-end.

With the BJP and Shiv Sena on the decline in the state, the Congress and the NCP have stepped up efforts to extend their political influence, which has brought them into conflict mant times. While the Congress was upset when it trailed the NCP in the last Assembly polls, the NCP was wary of Congress’ intentions, especially after it inducted Sena leaders like Narayan Rane and Sanjay Nirupam.

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SC no to stay on Jaya bypoll
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 5
In a major boost to Jaya Bachchan, seeking re-entry to the Rajya Sabha after her disqualification by Election Commission on the office-of-profit issue, the Supreme Court today rejected a petition by a Congress leader from UP for stay of her the by-election.

A Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice C K Thakker also rejected the petition of Congressman Madan Mohan, who had challenged her earlier election to Rajya Sabha on the officer-of-profit issue, to get him declared elected to the Upper House after her disqualification.

The court said he had not made any plea in his election petition pending before the Allahabad High Court regarding this and without seeking a specific relief, how a stay order on the byelection could be passed. Madan Mohan had moved the apex court after the High Court had refused to stay the by-election of Jaya Bachchan. “If the High Court has not given the reasoning in its order as what was the relief sought, then what will we hear,” the Bench asked his counsel when he insisted that his special leave petition should at least be admitted.

When in a last ditch effort the counsel made a plea that the result of the by-election be made subject to the final order of the High Court on his pending petition, the apex court said there was no ground for such a relief. It pointed out that the interim order of the High Court had come on the plea of the Election Commission even when Madan Monhan had not made any plea for a specific relief before the high court.

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Koirala coming today
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
Nepalese Prime Minister G P Koirala is coming on an official visit here tomorrow with very high expectations, but the Indian leadership would hardly be able to fulfil them all at one go.

Instead, what is going to take place, from the Indian point of view, is a broad expression of support rather than detailed approval of projects during the Prime Ministerial visit.

The sense of the Manmohan Singh government is that Mr Koirala is going to seek a massive financial aid, running into hundreds of crores of rupees to get over a serious economic crisis facing the nation. Mr Koirala is coming with a long wish list seeking Indian assistance in such diverse matters as economic issues, developmental projects and political matters like the future of the monarchy in and the role of Maoists.

New Delhi’s point of view is that since it is a Prime Ministerial visit, the two sides would not be able to go into all the issues in depth.

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Karunanidhi meets Sonia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
Giving a blow to the wishes of Congressmen from Tamil Nadu for joining government in the state, DMK chief and state Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the issue of power sharing in the state did not figure during his talks with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Chief Minister, who had a 30-minute meeting with Mrs Gandhi today, said that issue of government formation did not figure in the meeting. “Neither she talked about it nor did I,” he told reporters. This was Mr Karunanidhi’s first visit to the national capital after the DMK-led alliance emerged victorious in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls.

The Congressmen in Tamil Nadu have been expressing their desire to be part of the government in Tamil Nadu as the party has bagged 34 seats and the DMK was dependent on its allies for a majority in the 234 member Assembly. 

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Kohli’s plea rejected in Hannah case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 5
The plea for supply of complete statement of a British national in London school girl Hannah Foster rape and murder case to NRI accused Maninderpal Singh Kohli was rejected by the Supreme Court today on the ground that the necessary documents required to be provided to him in his extradition proceedings had been made available to him.

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Sachar panel term extended
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The government has extended the term of the Rajindar Sachar Committee set up to look into the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the country. The term of the committee has now been extended to October 31 this year to present its report, an official spokesman said.

The committee had been in the eye of a controversy recently when it reported directive to know the number of Muslims in the armed forces. 

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