SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI

 

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N A T I O N

Gas project: Nod okay, but India’s concerns remain
New Delhi, April 11
An upbeat announcement from Islamabad notwithstanding, New Delhi’s three concerns still remain regarding the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

Cabinet to discuss price rise today
New Delhi, April 11
Focusing attention on the rising prices of essential commodities, especially pulses and edible oil, at its weekly Union Cabinet meeting tomorrow, the UPA government will also take a call on going in for a fresh round of imports of these two critical food items.

SC ruling
This teacher not fit to be in service
New Delhi, April 11
A teacher found misbehaving with a girl student of an engineering college when assigned the duty of her guardian in hospital during her illness was not found to be fit to continue in the service by the Supreme Court.


EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS


MLAs cannot employ kids as domestic help: Modi
Patna, April 11
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi does not want MLAs and senior politicians in Bihar to employ any child for their household chores.

Withdraw strike, Deora asks dealers
New Delhi, April 11
Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today appealed to the dealers of petroleum products (petrol and diesel) to call off their proposed two-day strike from April 13, saying their main demand of raising commission on the sale of petrol and diesel will be considered.

CD issue: BJP questions Chawla’s presence
New Delhi, April 11

With BJP’s continued objection to the presence of election commissioner Navin Chawla in the hearing on the controversial CD issue, ‘apprehending bias against it’, the election commission deferred the hearing till tomorrow.


BJP leader Arun Jaitley, Mukhtiar Abbas Naqvi and Ravi Shankar Prasad come out after meeting the Election Commissioner on the BJP's controversial CD in New Delhi on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

And the row continues...
BJP leader Arun Jaitley, Mukhtiar Abbas Naqvi and Ravi Shankar Prasad come out after meeting the Election Commissioner on the BJP's controversial CD in New Delhi on Wednesday.

EC defers hearing on CD issue
New Delhi, April 11
The Election Commission hearing in the controversial CD case today took a different turn with the BJP strongly objecting to the participation of EC Navin Chawla in the proceedings apprehending his “bias” against it.

HCs order protection to couple
Jabalpur/Mumbai, April 11
The High Courts of Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai today ordered police protection to a Muslim man and a Hindu girl whose marriage was opposed by the latter's family and drew street protests by Sangh Parivar outfits in Bhopal.

India, Kuwait sign MoU
New Delhi, April 11
India and Kuwait have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the area of labour, employment and manpower development.

Quit or deliver on CMP, Gowda tells son
Bangalore, April 11
With a change of guard in Chief Minister imminent within six months in line with the power-sharing agreement worked out between the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP, former Prime Minister and JD (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda today asked his son and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to quit if he was facing problems in implementing the common minimum programme (CMP) of the coalition.

Manned mission to Mars by 2012
Bangalore, April 11
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today asserted India was left behind in the race for Mars and that the country could launch a manned mission to Mars by 2012.

ISRO to set up engg institute
Bangalore, April 11
Faced with the challenge of being unable to attract youngsters to its organisation, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had decided to establish an engineering institute of its own. Disclosing this to newsmen here today, organisation chairman G. Madhavan Nair said a proposal in this regard had been sent to the Centre for approval. “We expect the approval to come shortly and hope to start admissions in the coming academic session itself”, he added.

To vie for imagery pie
Bangalore, April 11
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to vie for the $ 130 million satellite imagery pie with the successful recovery of imageries with a spatial resolution of one metre, the best so far for an operational Indian satellite, from Cartosat -2, which was launched in January this year.

Munde reveals Pravin’s threat 
Mumbai, April 11
Gopinath Munde, senior BJP leader and brother-in-law of the late Pramod Mahajan today revealed details of a threatening SMS message allegedly sent to the deceased politician by his own brother Pravin. Munde told the court that the message was sent to Pramod a few days before Pravin shot him dead.

Sealing: SC unhappy over Delhi police, MC role
New Delhi, April 11
The Supreme Court today termed as unfortunate the contradictory stand taken by the Delhi police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) over the sealing drive in the Capital and expressed anguish that the two institutions failed to carry out its orders.
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Total bandh in N. Telangana
Hyderabad, April 11
The bandh, called by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in protest against the Maharashtra Police’s lathi charge on its activists while they were trying to move towards Babli project at Dharmabad yesterday, was nearly absolute in northern Telangana.

Army disrupts ULFA’s vital supply routes
Guwahati, April 11
The banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) cadres, based in neighbouring Myanmar, are facing a serious crisis of ration and medicines this monsoon thanks to an effective strategy adopted by the Army to disrupt the supply of these items to militants camps from Assam.

Five get Kirti Chakras
New Delhi, April 11
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today presented five Kirti Chakras and 23 Shaurya Chakras to Army, para-military and police personnel and civilians for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty.

SP, BSP try to open account at the cost of RLD, Cong, BJP
Mathura, April 11
Once again the land of Lord Krishna is witnessing a bitter fight among different castes with the RLD, BSP, BJP, Congress and SP engaged in fierce electoral battles to participate the in game of power in Lucknow.

Sabarmati Express: Govt backs conspiracy theory
Ahmedabad, April 11
The Gujarat Government today defended its theory of a conspiracy behind the Sabarmati Express train burning in 2002 and produced a statement from the investigating officer who claimed a vacuum pipe connected to the train’s brakes could have been tampered with from the outside.

Uttarakhand
Report: e-governance project a failure
Dehra Dun, April 11
e-governance in Uttarakhand, which is still in the nascent stage, suffered a jolt as an official enquiry into the purchase of computer hardware and system software and peripherals for certain government departments revealed loss of crores to the state exchequer.

MLAs demand action against Murthy
Bangalore, April 11
Refusing to accept Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy’s apology for his remarks on the National Anthem, members of the Karnataka Assembly today demanded that the government should initiate action against him.

Arun’s father to file case
Jaipur, April 11
The rift in the Nayar family following the much publicised marriage of Indian born businessman Arun Nayar with Hollywood star Elizabeth Hurley is going to echo in the courtrooms of Jodhpur.

WB puts students under scanner
Kolkata, April 11
Foreign students undergoing higher studies in the universities and colleges in West Bengal, henceforth, will be put under special surveillance to check alleged infiltrations by terrorists.

Bodies of new-born babies found
Coochbehar, April 11
As many as nine bodies of new born babies were recovered from a drain in front of Toofangunj hospital in West Bengal’s Coochbehar district this afternoon, official sources said today.

HM workers caned
Kolkata, April 11
The police today baton-charged a section of protesting workers of the Hind Motors factory in Hooghly district as the firm’s management moved a contempt petition in the Calcutta High Court against the union spearheading the agitation and police for failing to comply with the court’s earlier order. Ten persons, including two policemen were injured as the protesters began brickbatting in retalitation.

Smokers beware!
New Delhi, April 11
With every puff inhaled, smokers would soon see pictures of corpses and adverse health impact of the habit like cancer, impotency and death in front of them Health Minister Anbumoni Ramadoss told reporters here today.

Govt to move SC on quota
New Delhi, April 11
Armed with the backing of the states on the issue, the Centre today said it would approach the Supreme Court in a day or two to get the stay on implementation of the OBC quota in elite educational institutions vacated.

Jilted lover attempts suicide
Mumbai, April 11
A 31-year-old man from Delhi attempted suicide by slashing his wrist in the Bombay High Court premises here today after a girl he was in love with spurned him.

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Gas project: Nod okay, but India’s concerns remain
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
An upbeat announcement from Islamabad notwithstanding, New Delhi’s three concerns still remain regarding the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

India is currently in the midst of bilateral negotiations with Pakistan and trilateral ones with Pakistan and Iran on the IPI project despite concerns of the West. New Delhi’s policy statement is that it is keen to go ahead with the IPI project, though policy makers here warn against any irrational exuberance about the project.

As per a formula approved in principle yesterday by Pakistan Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), Iran will supply 2.1 billion cu feet of gas at Pakistan borders daily. Pakistan and India will share this supply on a 50:50 basis. Iran will supply this gas to Pakistan borders and Pakistan will be responsible to supply the same from its borders to the Indian border. However, its route has not been determined so far. Pakistan will lay 750 to 1,050-km long pipeline to supply gas at the Indian borders.

The Pakistani officials have also gone on record saying that the gas-price mechanism has been approved. It will be presented before Iran and India for approval before the three governments concerned get going.

Now it is here one steps into the dark areas, the X-factor zone as far as India is concerned. New Delhi’s concerns are primarily three: (i) security, (ii) pricing and (iii) reliability of supply. On all these counts, it is far from being an open-and-shut case for India.

India’s security concerns stem from the fact that since the proposed pipeline has to traverse through a large Pakistani territory, India has to be assured of safe, secure and reliable supply. It is not an easy task considering the fact that extremists have often attacked gas pipelines in Baluchistan, Pakistan’s largest province that is on the pipeline’s route map. To overcome this problem, India is keen to take delivery of the gas at its borders with Pakistan. In such a scenario, the supply of gas will be the sole responsibility of Pakistan. This issue is yet to be decided.

This formula will take care of a major diplomatic concern for New Delhi, namely the Iran-US tangle. If India receives Iranian gas on Pakistan border, it will not have to engage itself in negotiations with Iran.

The US-led Western powers are already bent on putting Iran in the snake pit. Tehran has been slapped by two waves of sanctions from the UN Security Council on its alleged nuclear weapon programme. More sanctions are in the pipeline.

Another important point yet to be thrashed out is the pricing structure. It is indeed a complicated situation as one is here talking of pricing of a commodity which will be available four or five years hence, if at all.

The techno economic feasibility study of the pipeline, as far as Pakistan is concerned, is expected to be finalised in June this year. Pakistan has provided documents related to treaty and joint declaration to India and Iran. These will be completed by June and later these will be signed. Work on the Pakistani side of the pipeline is expected to start only sometime next year and will take three to four years for completion. 

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Cabinet to discuss price rise today
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
Focusing attention on the rising prices of essential commodities, especially pulses and edible oil, at its weekly Union Cabinet meeting tomorrow, the UPA government will also take a call on going in for a fresh round of imports of these two critical food items.

Agriculture minister Shard Pawar, who has been under attack for his mishandling of the wheat crisis, will brief the Cabinet on the latest price situation.

It is not just Pawar but the entire ruling coalition has been under tremendous pressure for its inability to check the price line with the UPA’s own partners, including the Congress, openly declaring that they would have to pay a heavy electoral price for runaway inflation. The Congress party’s defeat in Uttarakhand, Punjab and in last week’s Delhi civic elections was put down to people’s ire over price rise.

While Congress president Sonia Gandhi has referred to this matter several times and even called a special meeting of party chief ministers on this matter, the UPA government had to step in to keep a tight lid on soaring prices.

On its part, the Centre has taken several steps to deal with the situation like going in for imports of wheat, pulses and edible oils, cut customs duties on these items, banned future trading in commodities, banned exports of pulses and enacted stringent laws to deal with hoarders and black marketers. In addition, the Prime Minister has set up a special cell in the PMO to monitor inflationary trends on a regular basis.

UPA sources said that despite all these measures, the Centre worries are not over as there is a very little drop in the prices of pulses and edible oils.

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SC ruling
This teacher not fit to be in service
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 11
A teacher found misbehaving with a girl student of an engineering college when assigned the duty of her guardian in hospital during her illness was not found to be fit to continue in the service by the Supreme Court. It also set aside an order for his restoration on the job.

The court took note of the girl’s statement on how the behaviour of the teacher had traumatised her after he became physical with her in the garb of providing her solace during her illness in spite of her repeated protests and preventing him from doing so by a fellow student.

The judgement was delivered by a Bench of Justices A.K. Mathur and Lokeshwar Singh Panta 14 years after the incident that took place in March, 1993.

“I did not like his behaviour. I remained in mental tension for many months. Whenever I think about this incident, I felt uncomfortable and hated myself. I am unable to bear this tension,” said the victimised girl in her statement as recorded in the judgement written by Justice Panta for the Bench.

Setting aside the order of the Allahabad High Court, which restored the service of L.M. Upadhyay, mathematics lecturer of Kumaon Engineering College in Uttarakhand, the apex court said the impugned verdict was not “legal and justified”.

Though Upadhyay had resigned from the service after the incident came to light, fearing condemnation, he later moved the high court, taking a plea that he was forced to resign under duress by the Principal.

The court took into account the reports of the Dean, Students Welfare (DSW), and magisterial inquiry against the teacher.

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MLAs cannot employ kids as domestic help: Modi
Tribune News Service

Patna, April 11
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi does not want MLAs and senior politicians in Bihar to employ any child for their household chores.

The heart rendering speech by a class IV student of upgraded middle school at Lalbagh in Nalanda, Abhilasha Kumari, in the assembly against child labour made Modi, among others, dumb-struck and prompted him to speak out against this social malice and take a stand on the issue.

The programme was organised yesterday evening in the Vidhan Sabha seminar hall jointly by the state branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the UNICEF.

Earlier, Modi had also played a key role along with Nitish in enrolling the UNICEF poster girl, Chunchun Kumari, to a school after she was found working in a roadside dhaba in Patna.

In her spirited speech Abhilasha reminded the MLAs how underprivileged children were being exploited at every level even after 60 years of independence.” They are beaten, tortured and kept empty stomach and forced to sleep on the footpath,” she said narrating the cases of poor children of the state.

An apparently defensive Modi admitted that even though the politicians raised several issues in their political career, but children’s problems never became a part of the political agenda of any party.

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Withdraw strike, Deora asks dealers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today appealed to the dealers of petroleum products (petrol and diesel) to call off their proposed two-day strike from April 13, saying their main demand of raising commission on the sale of petrol and diesel will be considered.

“We are considering their demands and a decision is likely to be taken in early May,” Deora told reporters after meeting a delegation of Federation of All India Petroleum Dealers Association here.

He said Government will endeavour to take a decision on the demand of the FAIPT for increase in commission on petrol and diesel by May 1 after consultations with Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).

Regarding the issue of raising stock variation ceiling, the representatives of the federation were informed that a study by the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) has already been commissioned to study the impact of different climatic conditions in India on petrol and diesel stocks.

The IIP will be submitting its report by middle of July, which will be examined expeditiously for appropriate decision.

At a meeting with the representatives of the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT), here today, Deora said the Government has always been sympathetic to their genuine demands.

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CD issue: BJP questions Chawla’s presence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
With BJP’s continued objection to the presence of election commissioner Navin Chawla in the hearing on the controversial CD issue, ‘apprehending bias against it’, the election commission deferred the hearing till tomorrow.

The hearing, which was scheduled for today to take up various applications seeking ‘derecognition’ of the BJP for the release of the ‘objectionable’ CD with certain references to Muslims in Lucknow on April 3, in fact, shifted to whether Chawla should be part of the poll panel during the hearing.

During the proceedings, BJP leader Arun Jaitley pointed out since a petition of the party against Chawla was pending in the Supreme Court, propriety demanded that he was not part of the hearing on the CD issue.

Jaitley said the party’s stand should not be construed as against the election commission as such, but “the party has apprehension that it will not get a fair trial,” as it had moved an impeachment petition containing signatures of 205 MPs of the party and some allies, before President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

There was a reasonable likelihood of Chawla being biased and he should not be part of the proceedings, the BJP submitted.

Senior Congress leader and union minister Kapil Sibal, who was present during today’s hearing, strongly objected to the BJP’s argument terming it as a diversionary tactic and demanded that the election commission should pass an interim order to prevent the dissemination of the CD and ensure free and fair elections in remaining phases of Assembly poll in Uttar Pradesh.

Demanding an administrative order by the commission, the Congress leaders said the poll panel should ensure that all those individuals of the BJP who participated directly or indirectly in the conceptualisation, release, supply of the material to the producers for the production and dissemination of the CD ‘Bharat Ki Pukar’.

The commission should take such further action as it thought fit and proper in the interest of justice and for the conduct of a free and fair poll as was demanded by the circumstances of the case, he said.

Sibal also reiterated that the commission under Article 324 of the Constitution direct an investigation to be made by the CBI into the contents of the CD and into the material provided and in the possession of the commission so that an appropriate action under the relevant provisions of the IPC as well as Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, be taken and all those apprehended punished.

Meanwhile, the BJP also placed before the EC laws and rulings of the apex court to substantiate the case. One of the precedents cited was the Supreme Court ruling barring former CEC T.N. Seshan from hearing a case against ADMK chief S. Jayalalithaa, who had alleged a nexus between Seshan and wife of Subramnayam Swami, the complainant in the case. Jayalalithaa had complained that Swami’s wife had appeared for Seshan in some cases.

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EC defers hearing on CD issue

New Delhi, April 11
The Election Commission hearing in the controversial CD case today took a different turn with the BJP strongly objecting to the participation of EC Navin Chawla in the proceedings apprehending his “bias” against it.

The two-hour long proceedings meant for hearing the demands for derecognition of BJP in the wake of its UP unit’s anti-Muslim CD failed to take off as they were bogged down by the BJP’s stand on Chawla.

Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami adjourned the hearing till tomorrow.

One of the precedents cited was the Supreme Court ruling barring former CEC T N Seshan from hearing a case against AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa who had alleged a nexus between Seshan and wife of Subramnayam Swami, the complainant in the case. — PTI 

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HCs order protection to couple

Jabalpur/Mumbai, April 11
The High Courts of Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai today ordered police protection to a Muslim man and a Hindu girl whose marriage was opposed by the latter's family and drew street protests by Sangh Parivar outfits in Bhopal.

A division bench of Madhya Pradesh court comprising Chief Justice A.K. Pattnaik and Justice K.K. Lahoti directed the state authorities to provide security to Mohd Umer and his wife Priyanka Wadhwani who are residents of Bhopal and fled to Mumbai fearing for their life.

The court's order came in response to a petition filed by Umer's brother. Seeking adequate security for the couple, he alleged in his petition that police illegally detained one of his brothers after Umer married the Hindu girl.

A division bench of Mumbai High Court Justices Ranjana Desai and Dilip Bhosale also asked the city police to give protection to the couple.

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India, Kuwait sign MoU
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
India and Kuwait have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the area of labour, employment and manpower development.

It sets out various parameters governing the welfare of the workers in the private sector in line with the laws and regulations of the host country.

It provides a mechanism for settlement of labour disputes. The MoU addresses issues relating to the protection and welfare of workers not covered under the Kuwaiti Labour Law.

It was signed by Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs with Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour of Kuwait during his Kuwait, an official release said today.

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Quit or deliver on CMP, Gowda tells son
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, April 11
With a change of guard in Chief Minister imminent within six months in line with the power-sharing agreement worked out between the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP, former Prime Minister and JD (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda today asked his son and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to quit if he was facing problems in implementing the common minimum programme (CMP) of the coalition.

The JD (S) supremo, who was addressing party office-bearers and district presidents here, also sought to distance himself from the BJP again saying he had always been against the party joining hands with the BJP to form the government.

Political sources here said the JD (S) wanted to keep all options open mainly because Chief Minister Kumaraswamy was averse to handing over power to senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. 

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Manned mission to Mars by 2012
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, April 11
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today asserted India was left behind in the race for Mars and that the country could launch a manned mission to Mars by 2012.

Reacting to a question on India’s strategy after disclosure by China that it was working on a manned mission to Mars with Russia in 2009, ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair said, “Our rocket can go to Mars without any problem". He said the country already had the geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV), which could take a 500 kg payload to Mars.

The ISRO chairman said a proposal to aim for Mars had been mooted by the Indian scientific community and the space agency was working on a detailed plan in this regard. He said an allocation of Rs 80 crore had been received in the current budget by the space agency for the detailed project. “ISRO will be able to submit its report to the government for clearance within a year following which it could launch a mission within eight years of the submission of the report”.

Nair said various technological challenges had to be surmounted to make the trip possible. This includes improved reliability of space craft, effective shielding from radiation, ensuring life support systems function efficiently under zero gravity conditions as well as developing the human and technological needs for the mission.

The ISRO chairman said the country’s plans to undertake an unmanned mission to Moon were on schedule. “We will be launching Chandrayan-1 in March-April next year, he said, adding that scientists were in the final stage of testing for the mission. He said a USA payload would also be part of the mission and that the joint meeting had been held with NASA in this regard in Washington recently.

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ISRO to set up engg institute

Bangalore, April 11
Faced with the challenge of being unable to attract youngsters to its organisation, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had decided to establish an engineering institute of its own. Disclosing this to newsmen here today, organisation chairman G. Madhavan Nair said a proposal in this regard had been sent to the Centre for approval. “We expect the approval to come shortly and hope to start admissions in the coming academic session itself”, he added.

The idea of the institution has been mooted considering difficulty faced by the organisation in finding skilled manpower. “We have the required personnel at senior levels but are unable to get the right material at the entry level”, Nair said, adding that the students would be picked up after the plus II itself for the institution would be established in Thiruvanthapuram. — TNS

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To vie for imagery pie

Bangalore, April 11
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to vie for the $ 130 million satellite imagery pie with the successful recovery of imageries with a spatial resolution of one metre, the best so far for an operational Indian satellite, from Cartosat -2, which was launched in January this year.

ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair said today India now had Cartosat- 1 and Cartosat -2, which could take images with a spatial resolution of 2.5 metres and one metre, respectively.

Antrix Corporation, the commercial wing of ISRO, has been making around Rs 30 crore annually through the sale of satellite images, mostly of 10 to 12 metres spatial resolution. “It had included 2 metres spatial resolution images to its portfolio only recently”, he said, adding that the inclusion of one metre resolution images would result in a jump in revenue for the corporation.

As much as 70 per cent of the imaging market is controlled by the USA. Out of the remaining 30 per cent, ISRO is aiming for a 10 to 15 per cent share. “Market development will take two to three years”, said Nair, adding that images from Indian satellites were already accessible to six stations in Mynmar, Iran, China, Germany, the UAE and Russia. “We are talking to other stations also and have a facility in Norway to download images from the satellite for distribution to the users”, he added.

ISRO has the advantage vis a vis foreign satellites that it will be selling images at much cheaper rates. ISRO officials disclosed today that foreign satellite owners were charging around $ 20 per sq km for acquired images and $ 10 for images taken from their archives. ISRO, which sold 20,000 products in earlier years, sold 27,000 products after the launch of Cartosat-1. — TNS

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Munde reveals Pravin’s threat
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 11
Gopinath Munde, senior BJP leader and brother-in-law of the late Pramod Mahajan today revealed details of a threatening SMS message allegedly sent to the deceased politician by his own brother Pravin. Munde told the court that the message was sent to Pramod a few days before Pravin shot him dead.

According to Munde the message read: “Ab na hogi prathna ab na hogi yachna ab maran hoga ab jeet hogi ya ant hoga”. Munde told the court that Pravin sent his brother the message shortly after he demanded Rs 1 crore from the politician. With Pramod refusing to pay him, Pravin warned that he would have to face the consequences of refusing him. Munde told the court that Pramod Mahajan had called him and sought his intervention in the matter.

After Munde made his submission, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the court that the revelation was new and it was not made before the investigating officer. Nikam sought an adjournment stating that the police would need to probe Munde’s statement. The recording of Munde’s statement was then deferred till Thursday.

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Sealing: SC unhappy over Delhi police, MC role

New Delhi, April 11
The Supreme Court today termed as unfortunate the contradictory stand taken by the Delhi police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) over the sealing drive in the Capital and expressed anguish that the two institutions failed to carry out its orders.

“We again register our anguish at the manner in which the order of this court was not carried out in letter and spirit, giving impression that the authorities did not intend to carry out sealing operation as per the court orders,” a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said after perusing the affidavits filed by the Delhi Police Commissioner K.K. Paul and MCD Commissioner Ashok Kumar Nigam.

Paul and Nigam, who were yesterday directed by the court to appear personally before it to explain the failure to carry out sealing operations against unauthorised commercial estab 5 and 9, were present during the half-an-hour proceedings.

The Bench, also comprising Justices C.K. Thakker and L.S. Panta, said, “You act like that and then say courts are great risk to people,” while pulling up the two departments. — PTI

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Total bandh in N. Telangana

Hyderabad, April 11
The bandh, called by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in protest against the Maharashtra Police’s lathi charge on its activists while they were trying to move towards Babli project at Dharmabad yesterday, was nearly absolute in northern Telangana.

There were no reports of any incidents of violence. As Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy has expressed solidarity with the bandh, called by the main opposition party, the state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC), too, suspended bus services in Warangal, Karimangar, Nizamabad and Adilabad.

Shops and educational institutions were closed, while medical services were exempted. TDP activists, along with the party leaders and Congress activists, participated in the bandh. — UNI

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Army disrupts ULFA’s vital supply routes
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 11
The banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) cadres, based in neighbouring Myanmar, are facing a serious crisis of ration and medicines this monsoon thanks to an effective strategy adopted by the Army to disrupt the supply of these items to militants camps from Assam.

According an intelligence source, the Army, operating in Eastern Assam and Arunachal Pradesh bordering areas, has mounted vigil on two vital supply lines from Assam via Arunachal Pradesh to the ULFA camps in Myanmar.

These two supply routes, used by the militant group to feed its men in Myanmar with ration and medicines, are from Dibru-Saikhowa national Park in Tinsukia district of Assam to Myanmar via Arunachal Pradesh and the other route is from Sonari -Sapekhati in Sivasagar district Assam to Myanmar via Arunachal Pradesh.

Every year before the on set of monsoon (rainy season), when movement becomes a hazardous task in the hilly and thickly forested terrain in Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar, the banned ULFA stars supply rations and medicines to its Myanmar camps. The medicines are very essential given that the area in Myanmar where they are based is highly prone to deadly malaria.

The ULFA usually adopts some villages in poverty-struck areas western Myanmar by providing rations and medicines to poor villagers in lieu of their help in respect of carrying loads and providing strategic inputs.

However, this year the Army has maintained constant vigil over the two vital supply lines to ULFA bases in Myanmar putting the outfit cadres holed up in Myanmar in a spot. The Army also mounted vigil on Lohit river course in Arunachal Pradesh that is also used by the ULFA for movement of its men and materials. It may be mentioned that yesterday’s Army operation that resulted in death of 8 ULFA cadres was carried out on the bank of Lohit River.

The security force believes that its strategy to disrupt the supply lines to ULFA camps in Myanmar will pay rich dividends because being hit by shortage of essentials and medicines the ULFA cadres will not be left with many options but to surrender so as to escape the onslaught of monsoon inside thick hostile jungles.

It is feared that the ULFA will mount its attacks in urban areas of Assam, including the state’s capital city here, to divert attention of the Army. However, the Army is no longer interested in altering its strategy and focus on its operations in urban areas, which can well be taken care of by police and paramilitary forces.

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Five get Kirti Chakras

New Delhi, April 11
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today presented five Kirti Chakras and 23 Shaurya Chakras to Army, para-military and police personnel and civilians for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty.

Three Army personnel, two of them posthumously, were awarded Kirti Chakras while 18 others, eight of them posthumously, were given Shaurya Chakras for their gallantry acts while on internal security duties in Jammu and Kashmir and the country’s northeast.

Kirti Chakras were given posthumously to the next-of-kin of Col Gurbir Singh Sarna and Major James Thomas.

Col G.S. Sarna was commanding the 29 Rashtriya Rifles when he was martyred in a gallant action against militants in Pattan district of Jammu and Kashmir last December 23.

Major James Thomas of the 10 Sikh Light Infantry laid down his life fighting militants in Poonch district on January 28 last year.

Shaurya Chakras were given posthumously to the next-of-kin of Lt-Col Vinay Rao Chauhan, Capt Shashi Bhushan Singh, Naib Subedar Raj Bahadur, Company Havildar Major Sarabjit Singh, Naik Gurjant Singh, sepoy Satnam Singh, rifleman H.B. Singh and gunner Ranjeet Singh.

All those awarded the Shaurya Chakras posthumously lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir except rifleman H.B. Singh of 7 Assam Rifles, who laid down his life in the northeast.

A CISF personnel and a fireman from Uttar Pradesh were also awarded Kirti Chakras while two police personnel and three brave civilians were awarded Shaurya Chakras at a function in the glittering Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The president also conferred 12 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, one Bar to Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 29 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals to senior officers of the armed forces for distinguished service of exceptional order.

Among awardees was southern Army Commander Lt-Geneneral Aditya Singh was the senior most who received the Param Vishisht Seva Medal. Other PVSM awardees were Lt-General Paramjit Singh, DGDS, Lt-General R.K. Mehta, military adviser in the UN Headquarters in New York and surgeon Vice-Admiral Punita Arora. — UNI

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SP, BSP try to open account at the cost of RLD, Cong, BJP
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

Mathura, April 11
Once again the land of Lord Krishna is witnessing a bitter fight among different castes with the RLD, BSP, BJP, Congress and SP engaged in fierce electoral battles to participate the in game of power in Lucknow.

While the SP and the BSP are trying to open their account in either of the five Assembly seats of Mathura district, the Congress, the RLD and the BJP are trying their best to hold on to booty won at the last hustings.

Not only the big parties but even smaller ones and independent candidates are leaving literally no stone unturned to earn the voters’ confidence.

On the last day of the campaigning before the voting on April 13, not only Congress President Sonia Gandhi but even BJP’s Sushma Swaraj and cine star Hema Malani, SP General Secretary Amar Singh, Rajsthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, many screen and TV actors and actresses were in Mathura and other four rural constituencies today.

In the 2002 Assembly election, the RLD had won Chhata and Gokul, the All- India Lok Tantrik Congress and the BJP one each of Mat and Govardhan with main town Mathura going to the Congress. The SP had performed badly last time as its candidates had lost even their deposits.

SP supremo and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav appears to be desparate to make a breakthrough in this area to establish his claim on an area which was once ruled by none other than “Yadavs”. He himself has visited Mathura four times in last two months and has announced several schemes.

His general secretary Amar Singh, who has also been to this area with cine star Amitabh Bacchan and his family, tried to woo Muslim voters for SP candidate Krishna Kumar Sharma.

The contest appears to be open as sitting Congress MLA Pradeep Mathur is facing problems owing to inner-party squabbles.

Owner of a local daily “Dainik Rajpath” Pavan Navratna said that “though people want Mathur to win as he has a lot of personal following among the common man but a rebel candidate Ramkishore Agarwal who owns few educational institutions may ensure the Congress candidate’s defeat”.

The visit of Sonia Gandhi was precisely aimed at sending the rebel camp led by Lok Sabha MP Manvendra Singh a message that anti-party activity would not be tolerated, Navratna said and added that the contest had become triangular between the Congress, the BJP and the BSP.

The RLD is depending upon Jat votes and its supremo Ajit Singh, his son Jayant Chaudhary and another high profile leader Anuradha Chaudhary have campaigned hard here but the BSP is creating problems in RLD held seats of Chhata and Gokul.

BSP suprmeo Mayawat and her General Secretary Satish Chandra Misra, who is said to be the architect of bringing Brahmins close to the once only Dalit party, have addressed several public meetings in their effort to get Brahmin votes for party candidates.

In Chhata, all the three main candidates of the RLD, the BSP and BJP are Jats and support of other castes would decide the final outcome.

Simlarly, in Gokul RLD’s sitting MLA Nabab Singh, who hails from the Jat community, is being challenged by a Brahmin candidate Rajkumar Ravat of the BSP with SP’s Premsingh Daroga and BJP’s Pranat Pal Singh dividing Jat voters.

Five time MLA Shyam Sundar Sharma from Mat is also facing a tough challenge from BSP’s Jat candidate Jagdish Nauharwar.

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Sabarmati Express: Govt backs conspiracy theory

Ahmedabad, April 11
The Gujarat Government today defended its theory of a conspiracy behind the Sabarmati Express train burning in 2002 and produced a statement from the investigating officer who claimed a vacuum pipe connected to the train’s brakes could have been tampered with from the outside.

Advocate Sumit Shah, representing the state government, submitted the statement of Noel Parmar, a railway police official who is investigating the case, to the Nanavati-Shah Commission.

In his statement Parmar said the investigation had revealed that the vacuum brakes of the train could be released if the CAM (a lever outside a compartment) was tampered with.

Parmar also said the CAM was an apparatus that was part of modified coaches of the Railways and was a part of the design of the Sabarmati Express.

The government had told Parmar to give a statement about the operation of the CAM lever after advocate Mukul Sinha, who represents some of the accused in the case, had challenged the government’s version that the vacuum brakes were tampered with and released from the outside.

Sinha objected to Parmar’s claim and told the commission that there was nothing mentioned about the lever in the 17 charge sheets filed by the investigating agency. He claimed the authorities had come up with this version only after he made an objection.The Commission will further discuss this matter on April 25. — PTI

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Uttarakhand
Report: e-governance project a failure
Raju William

Dehra Dun, April 11
e-governance in Uttarakhand, which is still in the nascent stage, suffered a jolt as an official enquiry into the purchase of computer hardware and system software and peripherals for certain government departments revealed loss of crores to the state exchequer.

As per the copy of the report available with The Tribune, a detailed enquiry conducted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) into this on the directions of chief secretary, Uttarakhand, termed the e-governance projects in the five Departments of Forests, Social Welfare, Urban Development, Food and Civil Supplies, Collectorate and Tehsils (Revenue) as total failure.

The state government had spent around Rs 14 crore on the purchase of computer hardware, system software and peripherals for these departments about two years back. The report did not justified the purchase of servers along with switches without setting up local area network (LAN). Lack of any networking planning and supply of relevant system software also 
rendered the server-based set up as non-feasible.

It was also noted that most of the systems and peripherals supplied to the remote areas like godowns of Department of Food and Civil Supplies were lying packed even after two years of supply. Lack of infrastructure had been cited as the reason behind this. No application was found to be running in any of the sectors covered under the enquiry.

Sources say the enquiry was ordered in September 2006 but its report is begging for attention. Notably, the information technology (IT) portfolio is with Chief Minster B.C. Khanduri. Onus is on him to take action against the guilty officials.

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MLAs demand action against Murthy

Bangalore, April 11
Refusing to accept Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy’s apology for his remarks on the National Anthem, members of the Karnataka Assembly today demanded that the government should initiate action against him.

The apology tendered by Murthy yesterday in response to criticism of his remark that the instrumental version of the National Anthem was played in the Infosys campus in Mysore on Sunday to avoid embarrassment to foreigners proved that disrespect was shown to the anthem, Vatal Nagaraj (Vatal Paksha) said in the assembly.

He demanded the government spell out the action it would initiate against Murthy.

G.V. Sriramareddy (CPM) accused the former chairman of the software major of showing disrespect to the nation while H.D. Basavaraj (BJP) opined that Murthy’s apology should not be accepted and legal action should be initiated against him. — PTI

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Arun’s father to file case

Jaipur, April 11
The rift in the Nayar family following the much publicised marriage of Indian born businessman Arun Nayar with Hollywood star Elizabeth Hurley is going to echo in the courtrooms of Jodhpur.

Arun’s father Vinod Nayar, recently broke the news of humiliation meted out to him by his daughter-in-law during her much hyped Hindu marriage ceremony held in Jodhpur’s Umaid Bhavan Palace on March 9, has decided to join forces with Vishnu Khandelwal, who filed a complaint in the city court against the couple for hurting the Hindu religious sentiments, claimed the counsel for the complainant Hastimal Saraswat.

Council for the petitioner Saraswat said, “Arun’s father Vinod, over phone from Mumbai, expressed his wish to support the case with disclosures of many things that happened there against the Hindu customs and traditions during the Indian style marriage of Arun and Liz.” He said the photos of the couple hugging and kissing which appreared in the ‘Hello!’ magazine would also be used as proof to substantiate their claim.

Vishnu Khandelwal in his complaint against Liz and Arun and others under Section 295-A read with 120-B of IPC alleged, the Hindu marriage was performed with throwing to the wind, the sacred Hindu customs and traditions. It said the way the marriage was performed had hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus. — UNI

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WB puts students under scanner
Tribune News service

Kolkata, April 11
Foreign students undergoing higher studies in the universities and colleges in West Bengal, henceforth, will be put under special surveillance to check alleged infiltrations by terrorists.

The students of some other states like Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Bihar and Jharkhand who are studying in West Bengal will also come under the same restriction rule.

Announcing these government’s decisions to the media persons today, the home secretary, Prasad Ranjan Roy said the steps had been taken in the wake of the large scale infiltrations of the terrorists and their agents in the state during the past few months.

The university and the college authorities were told to adopt special scrutiny method at the time of the admission of students and also time to time monitor their activities during their studies.

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Bodies of new-born babies found

Coochbehar, April 11
As many as nine bodies of new born babies were recovered from a drain in front of Toofangunj hospital in West Bengal’s Coochbehar district this afternoon, official sources said today.

District magistrate Rajesh Sinha said while the civic workers were cleaning the drain recovered nine babies packed in separate packets in front of the state owned Toofangunj hospital.

The news of recovery of the bodies sent shock waves across the district and many senior citizens dubbed it a case similar to Nithari in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Sinha immediately ordered Additional Superintendent of Police James Kujur and Chief Medical Officer of Health Sunil Kumar Seal to probe the infanticide. — UNI

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HM workers caned

Kolkata, April 11
The police today baton-charged a section of protesting workers of the Hind Motors factory in Hooghly district as the firm’s management moved a contempt petition in the Calcutta High Court against the union spearheading the agitation and police for failing to comply with the court’s earlier order. Ten persons, including two policemen were injured as the protesters began brickbatting in retalitation.

Trouble erupted after members of the Sangrami Shramik Karmachari Union (SSKU), which has been protesting for the past 27 days at the plant in Uttarpara, on the issue of wages, allegedly tried to prevent other workers from joining duty.

This prompted the police to baton-charge SSKU supporters, who started brickbatting, Raj Kanojia IGP (Law and Order) said. The management of Hind Motors filed a contempt petition.

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Smokers beware!

New Delhi, April 11
With every puff inhaled, smokers would soon see pictures of corpses and adverse health impact of the habit like cancer, impotency and death in front of them Health Minister Anbumoni Ramadoss told reporters here today.

It would be mandatory to place all these pictorial warnings on all tobacco products be it cigarettes, bidis or gutka.

Asked how the small cigarette or bidi packets would be able to have such pictures, Dr Ramadoss said that it was a mandatory.

Regarding banning tobacco in any food products, Dr Ramadoss said that the prohibition would come into effect from August 1. — UNI

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Govt to move SC on quota

New Delhi, April 11
Armed with the backing of the states on the issue, the Centre today said it would approach the Supreme Court in a day or two to get the stay on implementation of the OBC quota in elite educational institutions vacated.

“Whatever has to be done should be done quickly,” Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh told reporters here. Singh was briefing the media on the outcome of a two-day conference of state education ministers that ended today.

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Jilted lover attempts suicide

Mumbai, April 11
A 31-year-old man from Delhi attempted suicide by slashing his wrist in the Bombay High Court premises here today after a girl he was in love with spurned him.

Vikas Kumar Verma tried to kill himself outside the court after a girl he was in love with and with whom he had eloped earlier declared that she did not want to be with him, Deputy Commissioner of Police Brijesh Singh told PTI here.

Verma was staying in Pune when he had eloped with the 18-year-old girl.

The girl's parents filed a case of kidnapping against Verma and also his parents for abetment. The girl had later returned to her parents.

Verma parents had approached the high court seeking to quash the FIR against them and the petition was to be heard by the Division Bench. — PTI

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