SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

SC comes to Sidhu’s rescue, stays conviction
New Delhi, January 23
In a path breaking order the Supreme Court today stayed the conviction of cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road-rage death case to pave the way for his contesting the byelection from Amritsar, vacated by him on moral ground after he was found guilty by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

PM dismisses BJP charge on minorities
New Delhi, January 23
Dismissing the BJP’s charge that the Congress-led UPA government’s minority welfare policies was aimed at vote bank politics, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh categorically said today that ensuring equity was no appeasement but a sign of humanism.

JD(U) for all-party meeting on 9th Schedule
New Delhi, January 23
The Janata Dal (United) has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call an all-party meeting to find out a political solution to the situation arising out of the Supreme Court judgement on the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.



EARLIER STORIES


CM asked to pay for using govt aircraft
Mumbai, January 23
Maharashtra's State Election Commission has asked Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to pay for the use of state helicopter and aircraft in which he travelled to Pune and Kolhapur in December last year.

Thackeray celebrates 80th birthday quietly
Mumbai, January 23
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today celebrated his 80th birthday quietly with family and close friends even as preparations were on to unleash him on the campaign trail in the run-up to the civic elections in Mumbai and Thane.


Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackarey greets his supporters who came to wish him on his 80th birthday in Mumbai on Tuesday. — PTI photo

Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackarey greets his supporters who came to wish him on his 80th birthday in Mumbai

Trio to meet today to discuss gas price
New Delhi, January 23
The meeting between India, Iran and Pakistan officials to resolve the gas price for the three-nation $ 7 billion pipeline begins in Tehran tomorrow amid indications that New Delhi can consider the Gulf country’s demand to meet its energy needs.

back to back

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral and Brig K.P. Singh Deo (right) at the inauguration of 'The First Netaji Subhas Commemorative Lecture' in New Delhi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral and Brig K.P. Singh Deo (right) at the inauguration of 'The First Netaji Subhas Commemorative Lecture' in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI

23 lakh children out of school in Bihar
Patna, January 23
The promised "new" Bihar of Nitish Kumar appeared to be facing the biggest challenge on the education front by finding out a number of out-of-school children in the state.

Meeting of UT officials on police reforms in Feb
New Delhi, January 23
With the Supreme Court setting stringent deadline to implement its direction on police reform, the Union Home Ministry has called a meeting of officials of union territories, including Chandigarh, on February 1 to decide on the compliance of court’s order.

Sikh LI Regt soldiers march during a full-dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade in New Delhi
Sikh LI Regt soldiers march during a full-dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Jail inmates protest govt decision
Hyderabad, January 23
Prisoners across the state jails are protesting against Andhra government's decision to defer the customary release of the eligible inmates on Republic Day.

Coal transportation: Rlys signs pact with company
New Delhi, January 23
The East Central Railway today signed an agreement with Rosa Power Supply Corporation Limited for the transportation of coal from the central coal field mines to the Rosa Thermal Power Station.

IT raids on Tamil star, AIADMK leader
Chennai, January 23
In what appears to be a political vendetta, the Income Tax Department today raided houses and office premises of Tamil mega star-turned-legislator Vijaykanth and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly O. Pannerselvan.

Home Guards ‘yoked’ to level field, Nitish orders probe
Patna, January 23
Reacting to a recent report which alleged that some Home Guards jawans were “yoked” like oxen at the Jamui district headquarters police lines in Bihar to level the ground for the Republic Day parade, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry.

A Naga sadhu blows a traditional horn after taking a holy dip at Sangam on the occasion of Basant Panchami Shahi Snan during Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
A Naga sadhu blows a traditional horn after taking a holy dip at Sangam on the occasion of Basant Panchami Shahi Snan during Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad on Tuesday. — PTI

Maoists kill Home Guard, loot 10 rifles
Patna, January 23

Armed Maoists caught the Nitish government napping by striking in a big way at Buxar district, killing one Home Guard jawan and looting 10 rifles from jawans. Incidentally, Buxar did not figure in the list of 24 Naxalite-infested districts out of a total 38 in the state.

Industry minister to attend Davos meeting
New Delhi, January 23
Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar will be part of the Indian delegation led by Minister of Commerce Kamal Nath which will participate at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos (Switzerland) beginning tomorrow.

Climate change: UK launches project’s second phase
New Delhi, January 23
The United Kingdom will work with India to provide a detailed assessment of potential impacts of climate change in India and to undertake a pilot regional project to identify and develop adaptation strategies, the visiting British Environment Minister David Miliband announced today.

Kumaraswamy to stay with HIV+ couple
Mudhol (Karnataka), January 23
In a unique gesture that will go a long way in lessening the social stigma attached to people suffering from HIV/AIDS, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will stay tonight with a young couple afflicted with the dreaded disease at the remote Ingalgi village in Bagalkot district.

‘No foul play in recovery of skeletons’
Etah (UP), January 23
The three-member committee, set up to probe the recovery of skeletons and bones from an old post-mortem house in the town, has ruled out any foul play and concluded that the human body parts were part of physical evidence kept there.

Protest against Nithari killings
Ghaziabad, January 23
A march against Nithari killings was taken out through different part of Mahanagar, Ghaziabad. Akhlaqu Idrisi, president of the Nav Bharat Nirman Party and its district president Kanwar Munawar Ali led the protesters and handed over a memorandum to the district administration in this regard.

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SC comes to Sidhu’s rescue, stays conviction
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 23
In a path breaking order the Supreme Court today stayed the conviction of cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road-rage death case to pave the way for his contesting the byelection from Amritsar, vacated by him on moral ground after he was found guilty by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who had opposed Sidhu’s stay application on behalf of main complainant Jaswinder Singh, termed the Supreme Court order as unprecedented that would have far reaching consequences, claiming that in its 57-year history no conviction had been stayed by it.

A Bench of Mr Justice G.P. Mathur and Mr Justice R.V. Raveendran, said, “We are of the opinion that the application moved by the appellant (Sidhu) deserved to be allowed and the order of conviction passed against him by the high court on December 1, 2006, and the sentence awarded on December 6 are suspended and the conviction shall not be operative till the decision of the appeal.” The Bench did not agree with Dwivedi’s arguments that this would have any impact in such cases in future.

“We are dealing here with the limited question, viz, the prayer made by the appellant for suspending or staying the order of conviction. We are not required to adjudicate upon the question as to what will be the effect of the order and further whether he will continue to be disqualified for the purpose of contesting the election even if the prayer made is granted,” Mr Justice Mathur while writing the judgement said.

The court made a distinction between refusal to stay of the conviction of public servants in corruption cases, which have direct bearing on their decision-making authority and conviction in other cases where such decision making would not be directly affected.

The court also raised doubts on high court’s order not “adverting” to the aspect that initially Sidhu’s name was not in the FIR and he was made an accused later by the sessions court on the statement of complainant Jaswinder Singh. The Bench also raised doubts on the high court’s analysis of the medical findings and said the fact that Gurnam Singh was suffering from heart ailment was not taken into account..

It said it was a case against Sidhu and co-accused Ravinder Singh Sandhu that they allegedly had lost temper and had given fist blows to the deceased. “The medical evidence shows that the victim had a diseased heart,” it added.

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PM dismisses BJP charge on minorities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Dismissing the BJP’s charge that the Congress-led UPA government’s minority welfare policies was aimed at vote bank politics, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh categorically said today that ensuring equity was no appeasement but a sign of humanism.

“A commitment to equity is not appeasement. It is a mark of one’s commitment to humanism,” Dr Singh said while commemorating the 110th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose here.

The BJP has been caustic about the government’s policies to uplift the status of minorities following the report of the Sachar Committee.

The Prime Minister was quick to point out that Bose also firmly believed allowing the minority community their due space in governmental affairs.

He recounted that both Bose and Mahatma Gandhi remained deeply committed to Hindu-Muslim unity and amity. “They were both deeply spiritual men but equally secular. They understood that India’s great contribution to humankind is the idea of sarva dharma sambhava.”

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi wherein the latter had praised Bose for his abilities to infuse the spirit of unity among his men so that they could rise above all religions and provincial barriers.

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JD(U) for all-party meeting on 9th Schedule
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The Janata Dal (United) has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call an all-party meeting to find out a political solution to the situation arising out of the Supreme Court judgement on the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.

Calling for all possible efforts to save the Ninth Schedule and all Acts placed under it, JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav has said, “No one can be allowed to snatch the right of Parliament for making provisions for the weaker sections.” He has said the judgement on the Ninth Schedule would imperil the unity of the country.

“I do not belittle the right of the judiciary to review any Act or decision of the government, but that has to be done in the framework of the Constitution. Judges cannot and must not take the place of Members of Parliament,” he has said in a letter to the Prime Minister.

He has said that till date, 284 Acts have been placed under the said schedule. “All these Acts have been made for the protection of interests of weaker sections of society. With a few exceptions, almost all Acts are related to land reforms. An Act of reservations in Tamil Nadu is also in the Schedule.” Voicing apprehension that the Reservation Act of Tamil Nadu, providing 69 per cent reservation to the SCs, STs and OBCs will be reviewed by the judiciary, he has warned that it will lead to an explosive situation.

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CM asked to pay for using govt aircraft
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 23
Maharashtra's State Election Commission has asked Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to pay for the use of state helicopter and aircraft in which he travelled to Pune and Kolhapur in December last year.

State Election Commissioner Nand Lal sent a letter to his office yesterday, saying the Chief Minister had violated the election code of conduct. While the code came into effect on December 13, Mr Deshmukh travelled on December 23 and 24, the missive stated.

Mr Deshmukh's aides insisted that he had not violated the code of conduct and even alleged that the Election Commissioner was out to malign him. Some of his associates even told the media that the matter would be taken up with the Election Commission of India.

The Chief Minister office said the Chief Minister was allowed to use the government aircraft since he enjoyed Z plus security.

In his letter, Mr Lal is said to have pointed out that Mr Deshmukh participated in political functions in Kolhapur, thereby violating the code of conduct. In the detailed nine-page letter, the State Election Commissioner provided a detailed break-up of the Chief Minister's itinerary, pointing out that Mr Deshmukh had aimed to influence voters ahead of elections to local bodies.

He was even asked to pay up for the use of aircraft by February 2.

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Thackeray celebrates 80th birthday quietly
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 23
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today celebrated his 80th birthday quietly with family and close friends even as preparations were on to unleash him on the campaign trail in the run-up to the civic elections in Mumbai and Thane.

In a pattern that has been repeated for the past several years, the ageing Thackeray appealed to the faithful not to expect a public address from the balcony of his suburban bungalow.

The appeal published prominently in party mouthpiece, “Saamna”, also urged party workers to donate funds in a special box installed for the purpose at the entrance of the Thackeray residence. "Party workers may deposit the money they would have spent on flowers in an envelope in the box," the appeal stated.

Shiv Sena officials say the party collects huge funds on the supremo's birthday which are then utilised for the working of the party.

Mr Thackeray also asked his followers to disperse quietly instead of lingering outside the building as it would create security issues.

"Anti-social elements could mingle with party workers in large numbers and pose security problems," Thackeray's appeal warned.

The annual ritual of celebrating Thackeray's birthday poses a major headache for his neighbours, mostly middle-class writers and thinkers who inhabit the Kala Nagar Colony in Bandra East. Drunk Shiv Sena workers are known to create a ruckus and damage vehicles belonging to people living in the area.

Thackeray's son Uddhav told reporters today that the ageing leader would not address party workers on his birthday. "But he would address three rallies ahead of the municipal elections," the younger Thackeray said.

Thackeray's reticence, however, did not prevent his followers from going overboard in their celebrations. A 80-feet rangoli of the leader was painted in suburban Mumbai and several party activists jostled before television cameras to take credit for the work.

According to information given by the Shiv Sena headquarters, the Thackeray family began the birthday celebrations last night. Relatives and friends gathered at the Thackeray home though there are conflicting reports about the Sena supremo cutting a cake on the occasion.

Thackeray's schedule included the release of the Shiv Sena-BJP's joint manifesto for the Mumbai and Thane civic poll scheduled for February 1.

Hundreds of Sena supporters gathered at the Andheri Sports Complex in suburban Mumbai from midnight to honour their leader. However, they were disappointed as none from the Thackeray family showed up.

"We received a message of thanks from Uddhav who said he was celebrating quietly with members of the family," Mayor Datta Dalvi said. Dalvi then cut a 80-kg cake on behalf of his leader.

The Shiv Sena activists went on to burst crackers at midnight in violation of the ban on making noise after 10 pm. The police chose to remain mute spectators in order to prevent a law and order problem.

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Trio to meet today to discuss gas price
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The meeting between India, Iran and Pakistan officials to resolve the gas price for the three-nation $ 7 billion pipeline begins in Tehran tomorrow amid indications that New Delhi can consider the Gulf country’s demand to meet its energy needs.

There was a wide gap between the prices Iran, as the seller, and India and Pakistan, as purchasers proposed. The two-day meeting will look at resolving the differences, official sources said.

Tehran had proposed a price equivalent to 10 per cent of the brent crude oil price, plus a fixed cost of $1.20 per million British thermal unit (mbtu). At $50 per barrel, this translated into a price of $ 6.20 per mbtu at the Iran-Pakistan border. Transportation costs beyond that point would add to that price. India does not want to pay more than $ 4.25 per mbtu for the gas delivered through the 2,100-km line.

We have to first decide on the price of gas. Other issues like who and how the project will be built and maintained can be negotiated later, they added.

While the Indian team will be led by Anil Razdan, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Pakistan would be headed by Petroleum and Natural Resources Secretary Ahmed Waqar and Iran would be represented by Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, Director of International Affairs at National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

On the Russian front India will seek a stake in future Sakhalin oil and gas projects in far-east Russia during the visit of President Vladimir Putin here later this week.

With ONGC Videsh Ltd’s (OVL) 20 per cent stake in Sakhalin-I field fetching the country 2.4 million tonnes of crude oil per annum, India will use the visit of Putin to participate in the country’s Republic Day celebrations to push for OVL’s participation in Sakhalin-III fields, sources said.

India wants an agreement between OVL and Russia’s Rosneft for joint bidding for the Sakhalin-3 project. The sources said India also wanted OVL to form a 49:51 joint venture with either Rosneft or Russian gas monopoly Gazprom to pursue other oil and gas exploration opportunities in Russia.

Besides, New Delhi wants to convert Sakhalin-I gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for shipping it back home. We want to use the Russian President’s visit to push for an agreement on the issue, sources added.

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23 lakh children out of school in Bihar
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 23
The promised "new" Bihar of Nitish Kumar appeared to be facing the biggest challenge on the education front by finding out a number of out-of-school children in the state.

Based on the recent findings by the UNICEF sources in the education department disclosed to the Tribune that there were about 23.19 lakh out-of-school children aged between six and 14 years in the state. Of them, 51.4 per cent were boys and 48.6 per cent girls.

At the three-day Global NRI conclave in Patna the noted economist in the London School of Economics, who is the member of the House of Lords too, Lord Meghnad Desai categorically stated that a new Bihar was possible only when the enlightened civil society here would go to schools to ask why there was no teacher in the classrooms.

It was learnt that the Bihar Government has already planned to launch a massive programme to bring over 23 lakh out-of-school children to educational institutions in the state.

The programme called Sankalp (pledge) under the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) aimed at covering all 83 blocks in the districts of Kishanganj, Araria, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Rohtas, Vaishali and Jammui in its first phase to bring 4.5 lakh children to schools by March.

Of the total 23 lakh out-of-school children, over 36 per cent (8.45 lakh) were said to be children aged six to eight years, 27 per cent (6.32 lakh) were eight to 11 years, and 36 per cent (8.42 lakh) were 11 to 14 years.

A senior official of the state education department said that the number of out-of-school children was highest in Madhubani (1.17 lakh), followed by East Champaran (1.15 lakh), West Champaran (1.12 lakh) and Siwan (1.04 lakh), all located on Indo-Nepal border.

It was further learnt that out of 533 blocks in the State, while 30 have more than 10,000 children deprived of school education, 29 blocks have 8,000 to 10,000 such children.

As guided by none other than Chief Minister Nitish Kumar himself, the strategy for bringing children to school included micro-planning to identify out-of-school children and starting non-residential and residential "bridge courses" for children later inducted in mainstream formal schools.

The strategy also entailed undertaking intensive social mobilisation and community participation for wider understanding of the benefits of education.

The recent move to appoint two lakh teachers, construction of about one lakh classrooms and opening of 15,000 new schools were likely to strengthen the Nitish Government's endeavour to cover all the out-of-school children.

Sources further stated that in the second phase, the programme would cover 146 blocks in eight districts, benefiting about five lakh children, and in the third phase, the remaining blocks and districts in the state would be covered to bring all children to schools.

The BEPC also planned to impart special training to 2 lakh teachers on accelerated learning techniques during a 25-day orientation programme beginning shortly and each new teacher would work with 30 children in schools for about a month to improve the learning level of students in grades one and two.

The BEPC has further decided to conduct about 60,000 non-residential bridge courses for children of various age groups who did not go to school.

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Meeting of UT officials on police reforms in Feb
S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
With the Supreme Court setting stringent deadline to implement its direction on police reform, the Union Home Ministry has called a meeting of officials of union territories, including Chandigarh, on February 1 to decide on the compliance of court’s order.

The Union Territory of Chandigarh is expected to be represented in the meeting by its Adviser Lalit Sharma, a Home Ministry spokesperson said here yesterday.

“Since union territories are administered by the Centre, a decision on the implementation of the Supreme Court’s direction will have to be taken by it in consultation with UT officials,” he said.

Pressed by almost all states for more time to implement the Bench’s September 22, 2006 order to implement police reforms, the apex court on January 11had allowed time up to March 31 in respect of three directives - setting up the state security commission, separation of investigation wings from law and order and creating a police complaint authority.

It, however, allowed only four weeks for the implementation of other three directions -selection and minimum tenure of DGPs, minimum tenure of IGPs and other key police functionaries, constitution of police establishment board.

The court had said the NSC set up with the Home Minister as its head, and National Security Adviser, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Intelligence Bureau Director as its members, was not as per its directives, which provided for inclusion of two independent security experts.

The review of the order could not be allowed under the “garb of modification”, the court had said and directed the Cabinet Secretary and Chief Secretaries of the states and union territories to file their affidavits on compliance by April 10.

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Jail inmates protest govt decision
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 23
Prisoners across the state jails are protesting against Andhra government's decision to defer the customary release of the eligible inmates on Republic Day.

In the wake of the controversy over the likely release of Congress leader Gouru Venkata Reddy from jail on the eve of Republic Day, the state government has deferred a decision on the issue.

Prisoners in Charlapally (Hyderabad), Warangal, Rajashmundry, Visakhapatnam and Anantapur jails went on fast yesterday, expressing their protest at the decision. In several jails, inmates made written submission to the prison authorities in this regard and sought permission to speak to the media on the issue.

The Congress government had earlier issued GOs 314 and 315 to initiate exercise of releasing eligible prisoners from jails on grounds of good conduct to mark Republic Day celebrations.

The GOs provided for release of life-convicts on completion of seven years of actual sentence, thereby accumulating three years of remission ( at the rate of three months for each year served), totalling 10 years. In case of non-lifers, the benefit would be allowed if they completed half of the sentence.

However, the opposition parties, including the TDP, the BJP and the TRS cried foul, accusing the government of masterminding the release of Venkat Reddy, after the Supreme Court had struck the down the pardon granted to him earlier by the Governor.

The opposition alleged that the guidelines of the GO were framed in such a manner as to serve the partisan interests of the powers that be in getting Venkat Reddy and others released from jail.

Home Minister K Jana Reddy, who admitted that the murder convict Venkat Reddy, husband of Congress legislator G Charita Reddy, might be released along with other prisoners under the new guidelines, maintained that the Rajasekhara Reddy government was only following the guidelines prepared by the earlier regimes.

The issue turned out to be politically hot after former DGP and Telugu Desam leader P Ramulu filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking directives to disqualify Chief Minister Rajasekhar Reddy over Venkat Reddy pardon, which was held violative of the Constitution by the apex court.

Faced with increasing criticism, the government deferred the decision, which would have freed about 1350 prisoners across the state, and announced that consultations would be held with eminent persons and political parties to sort out the issue.

As this move effectively put the grant of pardon on hold without a date, the prisoners made a plea to the political parties against coming in the way of their freedom.

Human rights activists also criticised that the government's political motives were hampering the release of genuinely eligible prisoners, most of them from underprivileged sections of society, who have been languishing for unduly longer periods.

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Coal transportation: Rlys signs pact with company
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The East Central Railway today signed an agreement with Rosa Power Supply Corporation Limited (RPSCL) for the transportation of coal from the central coal field mines to the Rosa Thermal Power Station.

The agreement was signed at Rail Bhavan here today by Subroto Mukherjee, Chief Transport Planning Manager, East Central Railway and Ashwini Kumar, Director, Rosa Power Supply Company in the presence of the Railway Board Chairman, J.P. Batra and other board members.

This is for the first time that the Railways has entered into an agreement with any public/private entity for the transportation of coal. Such agreements will become a norm in future as more and more independent power producers enter the power generation sector.

As per the agreement, the RPSCL will build, own and operate 600 mw coal-fired power station at Rosa in Shahajanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. The Railways will get committed coal traffic of 27 lakh tonnes per annum from the RPSCL for a period of 25 years.

The obligations of the Railways as defined in the agreement make it necessary for it to transport 27 lakh tonnes of coal annually to the company. Apart from this, Railways will deploy required number of wagons to ensure the delivery of coal to the company and maintain a coal stock at the power house to the tune of 2.85 lakh tonnes.

According to a press note issued by the Ministry of Railways, it has undertaken and guaranteed irrevocable placement of rakes, transportation and delivery of coal as provided in the agreement. At least 5 per cent of the freight charges will be paid by the Railways on the short fall quantity if cumulative amount of coal delivered is less than or equal to 95 per cent. The Railways will have to pay 100 per cent freight charges for short fall quantity if the coal supply is less than 85 per cent and coal stock at power station is equal to or less than 19,000 tonnes.

As far as the obligations of the RPSCL are concerned, it will be responsible for loading and unloading of wagons. The company will load and unload a maximum of 92 rakes in a month, excluding such additional rakes which may be required to maintain the coal stock amount. A premium equal to 5 per cent of the freight charges will be paid by the company on each tonne of coal loaded upto 27 lakh tonnes.

If the Railways transports more than 25.65 lakh tonnes of coal in any year, the company shall pay to the Railways a bonus of 5 per cent of the freight charges on the additional quantity actually transported.

In case the company fails to offer the scheduled quantity according to the provisions of the agreement, it will have to pay capacity charges to the Railways.

These charges will depend on the actual detention of rakes. If the company fails to load or unload the rakes placed by the Railway in accordance with the rules, certain coal quantity will be deemed to be delivered depending on the hours of detention.

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IT raids on Tamil star, AIADMK leader
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, January 23
In what appears to be a political vendetta, the Income Tax Department today raided houses and office premises of Tamil mega star-turned-legislator Vijaykanth and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly O. Pannerselvan.

Vijaykanth floated his own party,the DMDK, last year and was elected to the Assembly during the last elections. He is one of the leading voices of opposition in Tamil Nadu and had been critical of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government.

Income Tax Department sleuths were taken for a surprise when one of their teams raided Vijaykanth's party headquarters and his supporters turned violent. The situation was brought under control after the police intervened.

The department also raided houses and offices of promoters of private engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. A team headed by IT Director- General Muthurmamkrishnan, and 400 other official are said to have carried out the raid.

However, the raids on Vijaykanth and Pannerselvan are likely to have a political fallout. DMDK party official Panruti Ramachandran alleged that those present at the Andla Azhagar Kalyana Mandapam, the party headquarters, were threatened.

The raids began at 8 am today at 11 places across the state on the basis of complaints that these men had amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.

IT sources said raids were likely to be conducted on the houses of Vijaykanth's family members. They said incriminating documents were also reportedly seized during the searches.

Apart from the raids in the city, the Periyakulam residence of Panneerselvan was also raided during the early hours of the day. In absence of AIADMK supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa who chose to abstain from the state Assembly, Pannerselvan is the de facto leader of the Opposition.

The reasons for the raids came as a surprise for the police too as the IT officials kept it as a secret till the last moment.

This is second raid conducted on politicians after the DMK government took office in May last year.

The earlier one was carried on by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) at the residences of AIADMK leaders Paneerselvan and Anitha R Radhakrishnan during September last year.

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Home Guards ‘yoked’ to level field, Nitish orders probe

Patna, January 23
Reacting to a recent report which alleged that some Home Guards jawans were “yoked” like oxen at the Jamui district headquarters police lines in Bihar to level the ground for the Republic Day parade, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry.

“Yoking jawans like oxen is a very serious matter and I have ordered an inquiry by Additional Director-General of Police which will take suitable action,” Kumar told reporters here today.

Kumar said this when his attention was drawn to a photograph published in a local Hindi daily yesterday in which three Home Guards jawans were shown yoked to a bamboo pole, while another sat on a flat wooden board to apply pressure for levelling the ground.

“It is inhuman and those responsible for it will not go unpunished,” he said. — PTI

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Maoists kill Home Guard, loot 10 rifles
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 23
Armed Maoists caught the Nitish government napping by striking in a big way at Buxar district, killing one Home Guard jawan and looting 10 rifles from jawans.

Incidentally, Buxar did not figure in the list of 24 Naxalite-infested districts out of a total 38 in the state.

The SP, Buxar district, Mr Paresh Saxena, said that armed Maoists descended on a bridge construction site on the Thora river in Itarhi block of the district late last night and attacked a Home Guard contingent present there with AK-47 assault rifles and other sophisticated weapons.

Jawan Shubham Ram was killed on the spot following the attack.

Soon after , a strong police contingent was rushed which engaged the retreating Naxalites in an exchange of fire in which nobody was reported to be injured or killed.

It was learnt that the Naxalites had also placed landmines to target the police reinforcements.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked DGP A.K. Sinha to seal the adjoining borders to apprehend the Maoists. The police said raids were already being conducted in and around Ithari police station.

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Industry minister to attend Davos meeting
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar will be part of the Indian delegation led by Minister of Commerce Kamal Nath which will participate at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos (Switzerland) beginning tomorrow.

Mr Kumar is slated to represent the government’s perspective in various sessions devoted to the shifting power equations and the rise of Asia, climatic change and need to rebrand the professional services industry and the further challenges for the mining and metals industry, a press note issued by his office said.

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Climate change: UK launches project’s second phase
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The United Kingdom will work with India to provide a detailed assessment of potential impacts of climate change in India and to undertake a pilot regional project to identify and develop adaptation strategies, the visiting British Environment Minister David Miliband announced today.

The project will look to improve climate change scenarios for India up to 2050. It will also assess the impact of climate change on water resources, agriculture and forestry, and explore linkages between the sectors.

Announcing the launch of the phase II of the research project at an inaugural workshop here, Mr Miliband said: “The UK has so far committed over Ł40 million to help developing countries understand how climate change will affect them.”

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Kumaraswamy to stay with HIV+ couple

Mudhol (Karnataka), January 23
In a unique gesture that will go a long way in lessening the social stigma attached to people suffering from HIV/AIDS, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will stay tonight with a young couple afflicted with the dreaded disease at the remote Ingalgi village in Bagalkot district.

The Chief Minister, who often stays in poor people’s homes in villages, had readily accepted an invitation to spend the night with the couple, sent by a Village Health Committee set up by the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, doing notable work in educating the people on the dangers of the killer disease in North Karnataka.

The young couple — Rudraiah Matapathi (26) and Shobha (20) came to know of their HIV status when Shobha went to the hospital to check up why she could not conceive. During the blood test, the doctor found that she was HIV positive. Without disclosing her status, the doctors made her bring her husband, who was also found to be HIV positive. Rudraiah, a truck driver-turned-flour mill owner, is now restricted to his home and is no more in a position to earn. — UNI

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‘No foul play in recovery of skeletons’

Etah (UP), January 23
The three-member committee, set up to probe the recovery of skeletons and bones from an old post-mortem house in the town, has ruled out any foul play and concluded that the human body parts were part of physical evidence kept there.

“There were about 1900 visceras at the post-mortem house of which about 1,300 are yet to be disposed off,” district police chief Ashok Kumar Singh said here today. — PTI

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Protest against Nithari killings

Ghaziabad, January 23
A march against Nithari killings was taken out through different part of Mahanagar, Ghaziabad. Akhlaqu Idrisi, president of the Nav Bharat Nirman Party and its district president Kanwar Munawar Ali led the protesters and handed over a memorandum to the district administration in this regard.

It started from Vijay Nagar, Sector 11, and wound its way through goshalla under bridge, main markets of Ghaziabad and concluded at Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s statue at the Ghanta Ghar crossing. They demand Mulayam government’s dismissal and capital punishment for both culprits. — OC

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