SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Koshiyari may stake claim for Dy CM
Dehra Dun, March 6
Having lost the race for the post of Uttarakhand Chief Minister, the state BJP chief and former CM Bhagat Singh Koshiyari is under pressure from his supporters to at least make claim to the post of Deputy CM.

‘Badal’s move unconstitutional’
Hooda threatens to give befitting reply
New Delhi, March 6
Strongly opposing plans of the Parkash Singh Badal government to further amend laws on water sharing, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said his government and people of the state would give "a befitting response to irresponsible intentions of the new government in Punjab."

Amarinder unlikely to be CLP leader
New Delhi, March 6
After the recent debacle in the Punjab elections, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh may be denied the post of the Leader of Opposition in the newly constituted assembly.

Show-cause to Malwinder

Mahato: BJP walkout over Patil’s reply
New Delhi, March 6
Emphasising the need to strengthen intelligence gathering against Naxalites, Home Minister Shivraj Patil today said all efforts were being made to arrest those responsible for killing Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP Sunil Mahato on March 4 in Baguria.

Inflation rate
SC gives new twist to creamy layer formula
New Delhi, March 6
Giving entirely new twist to the exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ among the backward classes from the reservation benefits, the Supreme Court has said that the rate of inflation has to be taken into account while determining the economic standards of the excluded persons apart from the social status attained by them due to holding high positions in government.

Lone crusader against Shahabuddin
Patna, March 6
If there is one person openly lauding the recent court’s verdict punishing RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in Siwan, it is Kaushalya Devi. She never had the backing of the media like in the Jessica Lall murder case for her fight for justice.


Sonia Gandhi along with Beena Devi, sarpanch of a village in Bihar, at the International Women’s Day celebrations in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Sonia Gandhi along with Beena Devi, sarpanch of a village in Bihar, at the International Women’s Day celebrations in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES


Vajpayee to attend Khanduri’s crowning
Dehra Dun, March 6
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be the star guest at the swearing-in ceremony of B.C. Khanduri as the fourth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

LS adjourned over Mahto’s killing
New Delhi, March 6
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day today after members condoled the killing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MP Sunil Mahto.

We shot Mahato: CPI (Maoist)
Jamshedpur, March 6
The CPI (Maoist) said today that it was responsible for killing JMM general secretary from Jamshedpur Sunil Mahato to avenge the lynching of 11 Naxals at Lango in east Singbhum district in 2004. Pamphlets of the Naxals were seen on the walls at Lango and Hadiyan villages, Superintendent of Police Pankan Darad told UNI here, adding that the ultras said they had killed Mahato to take revenge. — UNI

Warning in stunt films demanded
Mumbai, March 6
The Maharashtra Government is pressing for a statutory warning in films like “Dhoom” and its sequel, which feature stunts on bikes.

Sops to offset peak-time charges at airports: Patel
New Delhi, March 6
As the government today attempted to justify its decision to hike charges on airlines for peak-time operations at three major airports by saying that the burden would be offset by incentives during non-peak hours, the travel agents association, IATA, said efforts should be made to address the underlying causes of congestion rather than imposing peak-hour charges.

‘CPM indulging in Muslim appeasement’
New Delhi, March 6
The BJP today accused the CPM of indulging in Muslim appeasement and said the approach adopted by the Congress, the SP and the so-called secular parties was akin to pre-Partition days that had resulted in dismemberment of the country.

85 KVs sans principal
New Delhi, March 6
As many as 85 posts of principal in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and 42 posts in Navodaya Vidyalayas are lying vacant across the country, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Ramadoss accuses DMK of ignoring allies
Chennai, March 6
Fissures have come to the fore within the ruling DMK-led government in Tamil Nadu as the party’s closest ally the PMK has come down heavily on the state government and the functioning of chief minister M. Karunanidhi in an autocratic manner.

32 Dalits embrace Sikhism
Muzaffarnagar, March 6
Thirtytwo Dalits have embraced Sikhism in Saharanpur district of UP in protest against the administration's alleged refusal of permission to take out a procession on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru  Ravidas.

Inspector shot in Bihar
Patna, March 6
In a gruesome incident late last night unidentified miscreants shot dead police inspector Shashi Shekhar in Nalanda. This is the second incident in past fortnight when criminals killed a police inspector in Nalanda district.

French award for Anjolie
New Delhi, March 6
The French government has chosen veteran artist and Padma Shri Anjolie Ela Menon for the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) award.

Bharat Shah receives threats
Mumbai, March 6
Diamond merchant and Bollywood financer Bharat Shah, who has produced films such as “Devdas” and “Satya”, has been receiving death threats from the underworld from Dubai.

2 ships gutted
Jamnagar, March 6
Two ships were gutted in a fire that broke out at the Salaya port, about 75 km from here, causing losses up to Rs 2 crore.


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Koshiyari may stake claim for Dy CM
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, March 6
Having lost the race for the post of Uttarakhand Chief Minister, the state BJP chief and former CM Bhagat Singh Koshiyari is under pressure from his supporters to at least make claim to the post of Deputy CM.

In the wake of election of B.C. Khanduri as the leader of the BJP legislature party, Koshiyari had refused to accept any position in the new government. Since then he is feeling hurt because the central BJP leadership shot down his claim for the top post despite the fact that he enjoyed the overwhelming support of the newly elected BJP MLAs.

Of the total 34 MLAs, around 25 MLAs reportedly sided with him during the marathon meeting of the BJP legislature party organised here to elect its leader after the declaration of election result.

Sources said the issue had compounded the problem of accommodating the contenders for the ministerial positions in the new cabinet, which along with Khanduri is to be sworn in on March 8.

The BJP leadership is working overtime to placate Koshiyari by convincing him to join the government in accordance with his status in the party. Yesterday, he was called to Delhi where he reportedly met L.K. Advani, BJP president Rajnath Singh, in charge Uttarakhand BJP affairs and central organising secretary Ram Lal.

Whether Koshiyari will bow to the wishes of his supporters or not could not be known, but sources said any such position would lend some sort of respectability to the status of Koshiyari within the party. When contacted, he gave a diplomatic reply saying he had gone to Delhi on a courtesy visit to meet the senior party leaders.

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‘Badal’s move unconstitutional’
Hooda threatens to give befitting reply
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
Strongly opposing plans of the Parkash Singh Badal government to further amend laws on water sharing, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said his government and people of the state would give "a befitting response to irresponsible intentions of the new government in Punjab."

Hooda, who today met water resources minister Saifuddin Soz, said intention of the Punjab Chief Minister to scrap Section 5 of Punjab Termination of Agreements Act was "unconstitutional and questionable." Section 5 of the Act protects existing and actual utilisations by the neighbouring states.

The Chief Minister said Badal's remarks on further changing laws on water sharing were designed to "gain cheap publicity" and it had serious implications for peace and prosperity of the region.

Hooda, who faced a barrage of questions on the water dispute during an interaction with mediapersons at the National Press Club here, said every drop of water should be treated as national property.

He said the presidential reference was pending before the Supreme Court following the 2004 Act of the Punjab Assembly. Asserting that Haryana was "not begging" and it had same rights as Punjab, Hooda said plans of Punjab government would not succeed. "As a successor state, Haryana was as much a riparian state for the Ravi and Beas rivers as Punjab. It had inherent rights in water of these rivers.

“These are in the nature of ownership of the BBMB and ownership rights in the Beas-Satluj Link (BSL) recognised in the BSL project report prepared in 1961," he said.

Answering queries,Hooda said the Congress might have lost election in Punjab but its vote share had increased by 4 per cent. He said there was no controversy regarding special economic zones in the state and the government had an approved policy. The Chief Minister said 60 SEZs had been approved in principle but land had not been acquired for them.

Answering a query about his relations with Bhajan Lal, Hooda said he had good relations with everybody. Asked if he favoured action against party MP Kuldeep Bishnoi for his criticism of the state government, Hooda said it was for the Congress central leadership to look into the "internal party matter."

On "white paper" against the previous Chautala government, he said the CBI was looking into it.

Hooda said the work on Badarpur flyover to improve connectivity with Fardibad would begin this year. He said the state had prepared a project report on extending metro link to Faridabad.

Speaking of his government's achievements of the past two years, Hooda said an investment of Rs 14,000 crore has already come to the state. He said against an investment of Rs 40,000 crore in the state in the last 40 years, the state was poised for an investment of Rs 50,000 in five years of the present Congress government.

Haryana, he said, had the highest minimum wages in the country, the second highest per capita income and its annual plan had more than doubled in the last two years. In an apparent reference to his predecessors, including Bhajan Lal, he said not much had been done to boost power production in the state to meet its growing needs. Hooda said his government would solve "power problem" of the state in the next three years.

Hooda said the state had acquired 2000 acres for the Rajiv Gandhi education city at Kundli and its policy would be in tune with the laws governing foreign universities.

The institutions would have reservation for students from Haryana. "We have fulfilled 89 of the 98 promises made before elections," he said. The Chief Minister said that steps taken by his government had improved sex ratio in the state.

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Amarinder unlikely to be CLP leader
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
After the recent debacle in the Punjab elections, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh may be denied the post of the Leader of Opposition in the newly constituted assembly.

Former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Brahm Mahindra, a senior party legislator, are in the race for the post. Bhattal, who was in Delhi today, is learnt to have met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to press her claim.

Punjab Congress MLAs yesterday passed a one-line resolution authorising Sonia Gandhi to pick their next leader of the legislature party.

Senior AICC sources indicated that the party leadership was unhappy with the former CM’s style of functioning that remained unchanged despite several warnings. His inaccessibility to the party worker and the public, neglect of Hindu voters and his resistance to drop sitting legislators are some the factors working against him. The show-cause notice issued to his younger brother, Malwinder Singh, for anti-party activities is a clear indication of the party’s unhappiness with Amarinder.

Concerned over the en masse desertion of Hindus from the Congress to the BJP, there is a strong view that the post be given to a Hindu and a Jat Sikh be appointed PCC president.

On the other hand, it is being argued that the party may invite more trouble if it denies the CLP leader’s post to Amarinder. The decision will not go down well with the newly elected legislators, most of whom are from the Malwa region.

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Show-cause to Malwinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The fight between the Amarinder Singh-led group within the Punjab Congress and the Shamsher Singh Dullo-led group to control the party in the state, today appeared to have intensified further. The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, headed by Dullo, today issued a show-cause notice to Malwinder Singh, the younger brother of Amarinder Singh, for alleged “anti party” activities.

It was another step towards the growing division between the two groups. It was issued by Gopal Krishan Chatrath, a Dullo loyalist and chairman of the disciplinary action committee of the party. In the notice it was alleged that Malwinder Singh had “openly opposed” the party official nominee Brahm Mohindra from the Samana seat. Incidentally, Mohindra has won the seat. Malwinder Singh has been asked to explain his position by March 20 or else ex parte disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against him.

The tension between the two groups has been festering for the past three months, starting with conduction of the vikas yatra, to the distribution of tickets and the subsequent wash-out of almost all Dullo loyalists in the assembly elections.

Using his good offices with party in charge for Punjab affairs Janardhan Dviwedi, Dullo convened a meeting of the Congress legislative party yesterday where a resolution was passed allowing Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to choose the leader of the opposition. Sources said Dullo had held the opinion: “As the party president he was empowered to convene a meeting and not Amarinder”.

Here again Amarinder’s loyalists were not out done. A senior leader, who had been a minister in the Amarinder cabinet started a signature campaign where 38 MLAs reportedly signed favouring the former Chief Minister as their leader in the Vidhan Sabha.

Today the Congress leaders met at the Congress bhawan here and the blame game began. Dullo curbed it saying “all of you have to go to Beas and fight the election there. Rana Gurjit Singh has been made in charge for the election campaign of the party in Beas. The party resolved to “make a fresh beginning from Beas”.

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Mahato: BJP walkout over Patil’s reply
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
Emphasising the need to strengthen intelligence gathering against Naxalites, Home Minister Shivraj Patil today said all efforts were being made to arrest those responsible for killing Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP Sunil Mahato on March 4 in Baguria.

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on the assassination of the JMM MP, Mr Patil said Naxalites numbering around 40-45, including women members, suddenly overpowered the bodyguards of JMM leader and killed him.

Dissatisfied with Mr Patil's reply to the clarifications sought by them, BJP-led NDA staged a walkout.

Patil faced queries from chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who wanted to know if the security provided to the JMM leader was sufficient given the extent of Naxalite violence in that area.

Not giving a direct reply to the chairman's question, Mr Patil said the MP had conveyed that his security was sufficient.

Patil said the JMM leader had gone to witness a local football match along with four security personnel of the Jharkhand Armed Police and other JMM supporters.

He said armed assailants holding small arms and posing as villagers were present among the spectators. He said assailants raised pro-Naxalite slogans after killing the MP, two of his bodyguards and a local JMM leader.

Patil said according to information available, the JMM leader had not informed the district police about his plans to watch the football match.

Under police modernisation scheme, Rs 182.72 crore had been provided to Jharkhand in last six years. A special grant of Rs 15 crores was being given to the state for purchase of telecommunication, weaponry and de-mining equipment. "Jharkhand has been provided Rs 20.92 crore under the security-related expenditure (SRE) scheme, "he said.

The home minister said Rs 450 crore had been released to Jharkhand under backward district initiative of which it had utilised Rs 348.18 crore.

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Inflation rate
SC gives new twist to creamy layer formula
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 6
Giving entirely new twist to the exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ among the backward classes from the reservation benefits, the Supreme Court has said that the rate of inflation has to be taken into account while determining the economic standards of the excluded persons apart from the social status attained by them due to holding high positions in government.

The court said that both the central and state governments had to apply the “creamy layer” formula on the basis of adequate data and proper inquiry about it and if that was not done, “a stage will come when the whole system of reservation will become farcical and negation of constitutional provisions.”

Before arriving at the final conclusion, the government should notice the “rate of inflation and other relevant factors, the court said, asking the Centre and states to enforce the ‘creamy layer’ formula to exclude the five categories of people among the backwards as mentioned the Union Government in its list drawn after the Mandal Commission case judgement.

As per the list, the wards of all those persons among OBCs holding constitutional posts such as President, Vice-President, Supreme Court and high court judges, chairpersons and members of the UPSC and state Public Service Commissions, IAS and IPS officers, Class-II officers of public sector undertakings, defence officers above the rank of Colonel, including paramilitary forces, would be excluded from the reservation benefits.

This was reiterated by the court in its recent judgement striking down the process of determining the OBC reservation by the Kerala Government through the Justice Narenderan Commission, which was require to apply the ‘creamy layer’ formula as per the apex court judgement in the Mandal Commission case and various other directives issued by it.

For the first time, the court has explicitly come out with the application of inflationary formula to decide the economic status of an OBC for the purpose of quota benefits, saying that “economic growth of a country, as a result of the village income of citizens of India, keep on changing.”

“While determining as to whether persons who had attained economic sufficiency so as not to furthermore describe them as economically backward, was required to be taken into consideration, the court said, rejecting the Kerala Government’s formula of fixing the cut off limit of Rs 3 lakh annual income for determining the “creamy layer”.

The court pointed out that even the Central Government by taking into account the rate of inflation prevailing in the country in 2004, had come to the conclusion that the limit should be fixed at Rs 2.5 lakh.

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Lone crusader against Shahabuddin
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 6
If there is one person openly lauding the recent court’s verdict punishing RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in Siwan, it is Kaushalya Devi. She never had the backing of the media like in the Jessica Lall murder case for her fight for justice.

However, the upright Kaushalya Devi, in her 60s, was the lone crusader against Shahabuddin for the past seven years, seeking justice for her son.

Even as the opposition RJD charged the Nitish government with conspiring against minority leaders in the state in the wake of the recent conviction of Shahabuddin in a criminal case, Kaushalya Devi firmly stood by the ruling coterie in the state.

She even went a step forward, demanding the death penalty for Shahabuddin.

Men loyal to Shahabuddin allegedly shot dead Kaushalya Devi's son Chandrasekhar in 1997 in Siwan.

Chandrasekhar was then the president of the JNU Students Union. He was a Left wing student leader linked to CPI (ML).

The CBI was asked to hold an inquiry into the murder of Chandrasekhar, and is yet to submit its report.

Upbeat over the punishment awarded to Shahabuddin in a separate case, Kaushalya Devi appealed to the court to award the death sentence to him for killing her son.

Earlier, she had already dared to depose before the police as the single witness regarding the attack on the CPI (ML) office in Siwan in 1998 by Shahabuddin, which led to his conviction.

Kaushalya Devi said she would meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and thank him for the trial of Shahabuddin.

The three-time MP from Siwan was sentenced to two-year imprisonment on charges of abducting and assaulting CPI (ML) activist Keshav Baitha and leading the attack on the CPI (ML) office in 1998 by a special court last week.

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Vajpayee to attend Khanduri’s crowning
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, March 6
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be the star guest at the swearing-in ceremony of B.C. Khanduri as the fourth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

According to state BJP spokesperson Davinder Bhasin, Khanduri will take oath at 10 am on March 8 at the parade ground here. Vajpayee has consented to be present on the occasion. Former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, national BJP president Rajnath Singh and other prominent party leaders are also expected to be present on the occasion. Vajpayee will arrive here on March 7.

The occasion is expected to be a grandiose affair.

Vajpayee’s decision to be present at the ceremony is being perceived as significant as Khanduri is considered to be his personal choice for the top post. This happened in spite of the fact that Khanduri is a sitting MP of Pauri Garhwal constituency. Due to this, the claim of state BJP president and former CM Bhagat Singh Koshiyari was ignored. Out of the total 34, he enjoyed support of around 25 newly elected BJP MLAs, sources said.

Along with Khanduri, some cabinet ministers are also likely to be sworn in on the occasion. Some berths in 12-member cabinet will be filled later as, the two Independent MLAs with whose support the government is being formed, are to be accommodated in the first place.

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LS adjourned over Mahto’s killing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day today after members condoled the killing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MP Sunil Mahto.

The 41-year-old JMM general secretary and four others were killed by suspected Maoist rebels on Sunday near Narsingh village of Jamshedpur district, about 140 km from Ranchi.

A preliminary report by the state government put the number of assassins at four or five, who mixed in the crowd of spectators and opened fire at Mahto from a close range while pretending to move towards the MP to garland him.

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Warning in stunt films demanded
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 6
The Maharashtra Government is pressing for a statutory warning in films like “Dhoom” and its sequel, which feature stunts on bikes.

The state’s transport commissioner Shyam Sunder Shinde has written to the Censor Board, demanding that the film-makers be asked to come up with such a warning, stating that viewers should not attempt such stunts themselves as these are performed by professionals.

A satisfied Shinde stated that the Censor Board officials sounded positive about his proposal.

According to traffic police officials, several young boys have lost their lives while trying to perform such stunts on Mumbai’s roads. “The sprawling Bandra flyover, which featured in several such films, used to be a popular spot for young men trying such stunts,” a spokesperson for the Traffic Police Department said.

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Sops to offset peak-time charges at airports: Patel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
As the government today attempted to justify its decision to hike charges on airlines for peak-time operations at three major airports by saying that the burden would be offset by incentives during non-peak hours, the travel agents association, IATA, said efforts should be made to address the underlying causes of congestion rather than imposing peak-hour charges.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel said here that hiking of peak-hour charges was not a permanent measure but a temporary one to tide over the problem of congestion. This was being done till infrastructure to expand capacity of airports to handle heavy traffic was in place, the minister said.

The ministry is working on a proposal to hike or even double the peak-time navigation and other airport charges to decongest air traffic over Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore airports from March 25, the start of the summer schedule. The charges can be halved between midnight and 5 am.

The decision can lead to rise in air fares in peak hours as the airlines are likely to pass the burden on to customers.

Patel said the move was aimed at ensuring that these airports were used equitably throughout the day. We would increase certain charges. These would be offset by equal amounts of incentives for non-peak time operations, he said.

The ministry was working on a system of disincentives for airlines services between 7 am and 10 am and 6 pm and 10 pm.

Most private carriers have already imposed a congestion surcharge on their tickets, but state-owned Indian has not done so. This has been done as most aircraft have to keep circling over these three airports for about 30-45 minutes during peak hours before landing.

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‘CPM indulging in Muslim appeasement’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
The BJP today accused the CPM of indulging in Muslim appeasement and said the approach adopted by the Congress, the SP and the so-called secular parties was akin to pre-Partition days that had resulted in dismemberment of the country.

Referring to the CPM charter of Muslim development, BJP parliamentary party spokesman V.K. Malhotra said while earlier the so-called secular parties used to couch their preference for Muslims by using words like minority, now they had shed even that pretence and were directly indulging in Muslim appeasement.

These parties, which included the Left, the Samajwadi Party, the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Lok Jantantrik Party of Union Fertiliser Minister Ramvilas Paswan, were not only indulging in communalism, but also abetting fundamentalism, Malhotra said. They were doing it for Muslim votes keeping in view the coming UP Assembly elections, he added.

These parties were not doing this out of love for Muslims, but with an inherent hatred towards the majority Hindu community, he asserted.

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85 KVs sans principal

New Delhi, March 6
As many as 85 posts of principal in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and 42 posts in Navodaya Vidyalayas are lying vacant across the country, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Under the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, the vacancies also existed in schools for posts of vice-principal (12), headmaster (111), postgraduate teacher (1,410), PRT (1,672), trained graduate teacher (1,233), teacher (702) and non-teaching staff (433), minister of human resource development Arjun Singh said in a reply.

Under the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, vacancies existed in schools for posts of headmaster (71), postgraduate teacher (552), trained graduate teacher (634), teacher (214) and non-teaching staff (2,034).

However, the budgetary allocations to the Kendriya Vidyalayas for the next five-year plan had not been decided. — PTI

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Ramadoss accuses DMK of ignoring allies
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 6
Fissures have come to the fore within the ruling DMK-led government in Tamil Nadu as the party’s closest ally the PMK has come down heavily on the state government and the functioning of chief minister M. Karunanidhi in an autocratic manner. PMK founder S. Ramadoss stopped short of calling Karunanidhi a dictator accusing him of not consulting constituents of ruling Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) on important issues with whose support he was ruling the state.

“They (DMK) expect us to shut our eyes and open out mouths only to sing their praise. Do they think the PMK is a branch office of their party?”

Ramadoss pointed out that the Prime Minister had recently asked all chief ministers to take steps to control price rise and asked, “Has our chief minister convened any meeting of his ministers and other political parties to discuss this crucial issue?”

A bitter Ramadoss said, “The DMK has only 96 members in the state Assembly of 234 legislators but they behave as if the party enjoys absolute majority,” adding, “The chief minister deemed it unnecessary and inappropriate to consult others on vital issues”.

Since the DMK does not have 117 members in the Assembly, it is supported by the PMK (16) the Congress (34), the CPM (7) and the CPI (7), but none of these parties has any minister in the government.

Though a strong advocate for octogenarian Karunanidhi, the PMK leader felt humiliated because of the DMK’s attitude and said, “They are behaving as though only the DMK has ministers at the Centre. Even good work done by the PMK union ministers is being hijacked by the DMK leaders as their own”.

Quoting an instance, he said union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who also happens to be his son, had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the upgradation of Salem Medical College but DMK’s health minister in Tamil Nadu projected it as his own effort.He further pointed out that while the Karnataka government circulated the verdict of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal to all political parties in its state, the DMK government furnished a copy to his office “late in the night and that too after I demanded it”.

Ramadoss went on to say, “While we decided to extend support to the DMK government from outside, we also insisted on having a common minimum programme to ensure that the fruits of good governance reached the people”.

He said, “My argument is that the government should provide employment opportunities instead of distributing freebies. If a television set develops problems, will the government replace it? The poor must be shown ways of earning their livelihood to buy their own television sets”.

However, to placate his strong and unexpected criticism which might give rise to speculation about the future of the DMK-led government here, Ramadoss said, “There will be no parting of ways and the PMK will not leave the DPA and the DMK government will complete its full term in office” despite its reservations about the functioning of the chief minister.

The Congress legislators too had been unhappy for not being part of the government but they have no option but to remain mum because of Karunanidhi’s close proximity to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

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32 Dalits embrace Sikhism

Muzaffarnagar, March 6
Thirtytwo Dalits have embraced Sikhism in Saharanpur district of UP in protest against the administration's alleged refusal of permission to take out a procession on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru  Ravidas.

“Thirtytwo Dalits in the Harora constituency embraced Sikhism on Sunday at Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh and have returned to the village,” said jathedar Narendra Singh Khalsa, head of the Khalsa Religion Prachar Sewa Society.

The Dalits belong to Sadakdudhli village in the Harora assembly constituency of BSP leader Mayawati. — PTI 

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Inspector shot in Bihar
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 6
In a gruesome incident late last night unidentified miscreants shot dead police inspector Shashi Shekhar in Nalanda. This is the second incident in past fortnight when criminals killed a police inspector in Nalanda district.

With their back apparently pushed to the wall by a rough and tough administration, criminals in Bihar now seem desperate to derail the effort by Nitish government to establish the supremacy of lawmakers over lawbreakers.

Incidentally, the criminals chose to target the police in Nalanda, the home turf of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Earlier, on February 19, officer-in-charge of Rahui police station in Nalada district Shivram was killed by some miscreants.

Inspector of Asthawan police station Shashi Sekhar (33) was killed at a level crossing near Biharsharif when he was returning to his place of posting last night.

The police said some unidentified men, who were looting people at the level crossing, intercepted the vehicle of the officer. When he offered resistance, they shot him in the chest, killing him on the spot.

Over 6,000 criminals have been convicted in the past one year of which seven were awarded death penalty through speedy trials.

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French award for Anjolie

New Delhi, March 6
The French government has chosen veteran artist and Padma Shri Anjolie Ela Menon for the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) award.

The honour is in recognition of Menon's contribution to the development of Indo-French relationship in the field of art.

The award is conferred on “persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution in influencing the arts in France,” a note by the French embassy said.

It will be conferred upon Menon tomorrow by French ambassador Dominique Girard. — UNI

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Bharat Shah receives threats

Mumbai, March 6
Diamond merchant and Bollywood financer Bharat Shah, who has produced films such as “Devdas” and “Satya”, has been receiving death threats from the underworld from Dubai.

He said, “I have been receiving death threats from Shetty from Dubai. He has been asking me that I should forget my property at Royal Palms.” — UNI

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2 ships gutted

Jamnagar, March 6
Two ships were gutted in a fire that broke out at the Salaya port, about 75 km from here, causing losses up to Rs 2 crore.

The fire first broke out in the 350-tonne Safina Al Salami, due to a petrol pipe fault, and spread to another ship, Vali Bag, that was anchored closeby, last evening, officials said. — UNI

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