SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Nandigarm issue rocks Lok Sabha
New Delhi, May 15
The Lok Sabha today witnessed a virtual clash between Trinamool Congress Leader Mamata Banerjee, supported by the opposition NDA, and the Left parties over the Nandigram issue, forcing the speaker to adjourn the House for lunch, 15 minutes ahead of the schedule.

AIADMK raises Madurai violence issue in RS
New Delhi, May 15
The Rajya Sabha (RS) was today adjourned till tomorrow amid pandemonium over the attack on a newspaper office in Madurai with the house passing without discussion the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2007. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier.

Presidential Nominee
NDA authorises Vajpayee to decide
New Delhi, May 15
Amid speculation that the BJP is keen on pushing the candidature of Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today authorised former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to discuss and decide its nominee for the coming Presidential elections.

Ex-minister leaves Goa Cong in lurch
Mumbai, May 15
Babush Monserrate, the controversial former town and country planning minister in the Goa government, today quit the Congress minutes before nominations for the June 2 Assembly elections closed, leaving the party in the lurch.





EARLIER STORIES


A pedestrian walks past an elaborate wall painting or mural on an exterior wall of the Indian Naval Dockyard in Mumbai
A pedestrian walks past an elaborate wall painting or mural on an exterior wall of the Indian Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on Tuesday. The murals were conceptualised by artist Brinda Miller Chudasama and completed by a team of artists in a space of four weeks. These paintings depict ports, fortresses and castles of Surat and West Bengal. — AFP

Muslim strength in House now 14.5 pc
Lucknow, May 15
It may be the Assam fallout or perhaps the Sachar Committee report. Whatever may be the reason this time, the Muslim representation in the Vidhan Sabha has improved from 10.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

CPI against session curtailment
New Delhi, May 14
Even as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi has started the process of eliciting views of various political parties on suggestion of curtailment of the current budget session of Parliament, the CPI today said it was against early adjournment of the two Houses.

India sets condition to sign 123 agreement
Wants right to reprocessing spent fuel
New Delhi, May 15
India will not sign the bilateral 123 agreement with the United States without right to reprocessing spent fuel - one of the three important red lines in implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

CM helpless in removing ban on Tamil movies
Bangalore, May 15
Lakhs of Tamilians in India’s IT capital, who are suffering a black out of Tamil movies and channels since the announcement of the Cauvery water dispute award more than two months back, now find that even Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is helpless in the matter.

June 1: Last date for registration of charitable trusts
New Delhi, May 15
Any charitable or religious trust or institution intending to avail of exemption of income tax from retrospective effect will have to submit its application for registration before June 1.

Fake encounters
Bihar police’s image suffers
Patna, May 15
In the name of establishing the rule of law, the Bihar police is getting embroiled in controversies related to fake encounters. The killing of a woman and her daughter by the police in a fake shootout in Sitamarhi district in July, 2005,was passed off as an operation to combat Maoist rebels.

World Bank to boost rural economy in Bihar
Patna, May 15
In what appeared to be a big achievement for the Nitish government, the World Bank has decided to aid a project for boosting rural economy through self-employment in the state.

MPs unite to slam patenting of yoga by USA
New Delhi, May 15
Members of Parliament today slammed the US patenting authority for granting yoga-related copyrights to American companies, saying yoga is a part of Indian heritage. Terming the whole exercise as preposterous, the MPs said yoga had originated in India.

MP for memorial at Sukhdev’s house
New Delhi, May 15
A demand was made in the Lok Sabha today to turn the house of revolutionary Sukhdev into a memorial. The issue was raised by Biju Janata Dal member during zero hour. Sukhdev was hanged along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru.

Raja replaces Dayanidhi Maran
New Delhi, May 15
With Dayanidhi Maran forced to put in his papers as communications and information technology minister, DMK’s environment minister A. Raja has been given that critical portfolio by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Members for hike in MPLAD fund
New Delhi, May 15
Cutting across party lines, members in the Lok Sabha today demanded an increase in the MP Local Area Development Fund from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore per annum. Raising the issue during zero hour, Kmarabela Swain (BJD) said the amount should be increased to Rs 5 crore to offset the rising prices.

Panel to look into charges of human trafficking
New Delhi, May 15
A meeting of leaders of political parties, convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in the wake of alleged involvement of some MPs in human trafficking, decided to constitute a committee to look into charges today.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somanth Chatterjee and BJP leader L K Advani at the all-party meeting on the issue of human trafficking at Parliament house in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal
Lok Sabha Speaker Somanth Chatterjee and BJP leader L K Advani at the all-party meeting on the issue of human trafficking at Parliament house in New Delhi

Passengers protest in Mumbai over delay in flight
Mumbai, May 15
Enraged at being kept waiting at the international airport here for over 12 hours, more than 200 passengers of a Dubai-bound Air India flight protested and tried to stop passengers of other flights from boarding before security forces stepped in.

Taj Corridor case hearing put off
Lucknow, May 15
The CBI today did not file the Governor’s sanction on prosecution of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and five others in the Rs 175 crore Taj Corridor case, the hearing of which was deferred till May 23 by a designated court here.

Army men conquer Everest
New Delhi, May 15
Adding yet another glorious chapter to their saga, six men of the Indian Army summitted the world’s highest peak Mt Everest early this morning — the fourth Everest ascent by the Indian Army.

India-B’desh train from July 1
Kolkata, May 15
Passenger train service between India and Bangladesh is likely to start from July 1, both the railway authorities and state government officials said today after a high-level meeting held here.

Probe ordered into May 13 clash
Guwahati, May 15
The Assam government today instituted a judicial inquiry into the May 13 violent clash between tea garden workers and protestors, blocking the National Highway 37 at Dholla in Tinsukia district, which left eight persons dead.

Two commit suicide
Kanpur, May 15
Two youths, including a girl, allegedly committed suicide in separate incidents here today,the police said. Roli Shukla, a 21-year-old girl living in the Gujaini area, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling in her house.

Indian Information Officer dead
New Delhi, May 15
Sanjay K. Raut, a senior Indian Information Officer of the 1985 batch, passed away following a heart attack yesterday. He was posted in Bhubaneshwar as deputy director- general, directorate of field publicity.

IIT student goes missing
Guwahati, May 15
There has been an uneasy calm on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here since the afternoon of May 5 when one of its students went missing.

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Nandigarm issue rocks Lok Sabha
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
The Lok Sabha today witnessed a virtual clash between Trinamool Congress Leader Mamata Banerjee, supported by the opposition NDA, and the Left parties over the Nandigram issue, forcing the speaker to adjourn the House for lunch, 15 minutes ahead of the schedule.

Banerjee demanded the scrapping of the existing Land Acquisition Act and framing of a new policy to protect the farmers’ interests.

As soon as Banerjee mentioned the Nandigram issue during the zero hour, speaker Somnath Chatterjee objected and said it was a state matter. BJP members immediately stood up vociferously protesting against the speaker’s remarks.

This prompted Left party members to stand on their feet and counter Banerjee, bringing the BJP and other NDA supporters to the rescue of the Trinamool party leader.

An angry speaker told BJP deputy leader V.K. Malhotra, “Everyday you object to the state matters being raised in the House. But, now you are encouraging her (Banerjee) to do the same.”

BJP members have been vehemently objecting to treasury benches raising the Gujarat fake encounter killing issue in the House.

Heated exchanges followed between CPI (M) members and Banerjee with the speaker at one point in a lighter vein advising her to ignore the comments from the Left party, when she complained that they were trying to provoke her.

At one stage, there was a verbal duel between Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary and Sunil Khan. After his plea to restore calm went unheeded, the speaker adjourned the House for lunch.

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AIADMK raises Madurai violence issue in RS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
The Rajya Sabha (RS) was today adjourned till tomorrow amid pandemonium over the attack on a newspaper office in Madurai with the house passing without discussion the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2007. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier.

The bill, which was introduced by information and broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi amid slogan shouting by AIADMK members, was put to vote after deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan said there was a division.

Referring to the result on the panel, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the bill could not be passed as enough members had not voted for it. The deputy chairman overruled Swaraj’s objection, saying he had already announced the correction.

The bill was finally passed amid pandemopnium and the house adjourned immediately after that. The bill makes it mandatory for cable operators to beam any channel started by parliament and two mainline and one regional language channels of Doordarshan.

Earlier, the house was adjourned twice, first till 2 pm and then again for half an hour, with members of the AIADMK and DMK clashing over the attack on a newspaper office in Madurai last week. As soon as the house reassembled at 2 pm, AIADMK members raised an uproar demanding that they be allowed to take up the issue of attack on the office of newspaper by the supporters of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s son.

They came to the well of the house shouting slogans demanding dismissal of the DMK government in the state.

Senior DMK leader and road transport minister T.R. Baalu sought to defend his party’s position.

Khan asked the AIADMK members to give a fresh notice and seek permission of the chair to raise the matter tomorrow. When his efforts to ensure peace in the house failed, Khan adjourned the house for half an hour.

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Presidential Nominee
NDA authorises Vajpayee to decide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
Amid speculation that the BJP is keen on pushing the candidature of Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today authorised former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to discuss and decide its nominee for the coming Presidential elections.

Leaders of the NDA constituents, including George Fernandes, Sharad Yadav, L K Advani, Mamata Banerjee, after one-and-a-half-hour long meeting, decided to authorise Vajpayee, who is the Chairperson of the NDA.

Interestingly, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee proposed the name of Vajpayee as the ideal choice for the post of President, which was rejected by the former Prime Minister saying he is not willing to take on the responsibility, sources said.

Banerjee first suggested that effort should be made by the NDA for a second term to the present incumbent A P J Abdul Kalam as public sentiment is in his favour. However, if Dr Kalam refuses a second-term, then Vajpayee himself would be an ideal candidate for the top position, Banerjee was quoted as saying by sources.

Emerging out of the meeting both Fernandes and BJP Parliamentary Party spokesperson V K Malhotra, however, maintained that the meeting did not discuss any names for the Presidential polls, but simply authorised former prime minister to ‘discuss and decide’ on the name.

Today’s move of the NDA is obviously an attempt not to reveal its card first and instead wait for the move of the ruling UPA.

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Ex-minister leaves Goa Cong in lurch
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 15
Babush Monserrate, the controversial former town and country planning minister in the Goa government, today quit the Congress minutes before nominations for the June 2 Assembly elections closed, leaving the party in the lurch.

Monserrate, who has switched sides several times in the past five years, filed his nomination as a candidate of the regional United Goans Democratic Party, virtually at the last minute. Monserrate, who collected the 'B' Form on behalf of the Congress shortly before, left the grand old party without a candidate in his pocket-borough Taleigao.

Incidentally, Monserrate’s formidable rival in the constituency, Somnath Zuwarkar, quit the party earlier today, protesting the candidature of the former minister.

After filing nomination as the UGDP candidate, Monserrate told reporters in Panjim that he has “screwed the Congress” for not acknowledging his contribution to the party.

“I was responsible for bringing the Pratapsinh Rane government to power, but I got nothing. But Rane, who did nothing for the Congress in the past 20 years, has managed an easy victory for his son, Vishwajit,” Monserrate said.

Monserrate, who was a minister in the BJP government, led by Manohar Parrikar, helped topple the government two years ago. Thanks to his financial support, several rebels, who quit along with him, also won on Congress tickets thereby bringing the Rane government to office.

As per the deal, the Congress had promised a ticket for Monserrate’s wife Jennifer from the Santa Cruz constituency. But, the party finally opted for the incumbent, deputy speaker Victoria Fernandes. Jennifer filed her nomination as the UGDP candidate in Santa Cruz on Monday.

Monserrate had to quit as minister after he promoted a regional plan which would have turned most of Goa’s villages into urban zones. Public protests following reports of prominent real estate companies buying land in the state in the hope of a windfall, forced out Monserrate.

Meanwhile the Congress at the last minute opted for an unknown candidate, Laxman Sanvardekar, to contest against Vishwajit Rane for the Valpoi seat. The party’s original candidate for the seat, Bandu Dessai, suddenly disappeared from Goa citing health reasons.

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Muslim strength in House now 14.5 pc
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 15
It may be the Assam fallout or perhaps the Sachar Committee report. Whatever may be the reason this time, the Muslim representation in the Vidhan Sabha has improved from 10.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

This time the total number of Muslim MLAs is 57 out of 403, while earlier was 42. While the present representation inside the Assembly is relatively better, it is still short of 18.2 per cent representation of Muslims in the population of the state as per the 2001 census.

As part of BSP supremo Mayawati’s social engineering exercise, she offered 61 of the 403 seats to Muslims. Of them 30 managed to make to the coveted Vidhan Sabha.

However, despite such an impressive show only five of the 49 ministers are Muslims. One Muslim has found a berth in the cabinet, two as ministers of the state with an independent charge and another two as ministers of the state.

Anyhow, the 2007 performance of the BSP is a vast improvement from 2002 when 16 of the 99 BSP MLAs were Muslims.

Later, when the party split in 2003 at the time of installation of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government seven Muslims remained in the parent party while nine had walked out and later came to be known as the Loktantrik Bahujan Dal.

Incidentally, only two of the LBD Muslim MLAs managed to return to the Vidhan Sabha this time. One is Nawab Kazim Ali Khan, alias Naved Mian, the scion of the erstwhile Rampur royal family, who has won an SP ticket from Suar Tanda in Rampur and the other Haji Yaqoob Qureshi on the UDF ticket from Meerut.

The Haji who technically remained a minister in the Mulayam’s government till the very end shot into fame when he announced a Rs 50 crore reward to anyone who brought him the head of the Danish cartoonist, who had drawn cartoons of the Prophet of Islam.

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CPI against session curtailment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14
Even as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi has started the process of eliciting views of various political parties on suggestion of curtailment of the current budget session of Parliament, the CPI today said it was against early adjournment of the two Houses.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, who has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said moves towards curtailment display contempt towards the parliamentary system.

He said budget session should continue till the scheduled date of May 22.

Terming the UPA government as “incompetent” and “directionless”, Dasgupta said he had come to know that Parliament would be adjourned in a day or two for want of government business.

He accused the government of joining hands with the BJP to get the House adjourned before the scheduled date.

Asked about CPI remarks, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said no decision had been taken on early postponement. However, he said if such a decision was taken, it would not be the first such occasion. He dismissed suggestions that government had little business for the two Houses.

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India sets condition to sign 123 agreement
Wants right to reprocessing spent fuel
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
India will not sign the bilateral 123 agreement with the United States without right to reprocessing spent fuel - one of the three important red lines in implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The two other red lines for the Government of India are: restricting India’s strategic as well as indigenous Fast Breeder Reactor programmes and closing further nuclear test options.

There is no question that India can waver from assurances of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh given in Parliament. At the same time, New Delhi’s sense is that both India and the US governments are convinced that the nuclear deal is “doable” and keen on wrapping up the 123 agreement “as soon as possible”.

The 123 agreement will be back on centre stage next week when American pointman on the nuclear deal, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, comes here for next round of formal talks with his Indian counterpart, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.

The two sides still differ on some major issues - including the three sets of limiting factors cited above. However, technically the nuclear deal is doable. The question is of legal text, accommodating each other’s concerns in such a way that the bilateral agreement passes muster in Indian Parliament and the US Congress. This is despite the fact that unlike the US, the Indian government is not bound to get the 123 agreement ratified by Parliament.

The key strategy being pursued in New Delhi and Washington is the 123 agreement should be signed quickly and on right terms - for both. This will be the template for Burns-Menon talks next week.

There is, however, a chicken-and-egg kind of scenario in the complicated web of nuclear deal - which will be signed first, the 123 agreement or the India-IAEA additional safeguards agreement.

India’s take is that it will have to sign the 123 agreement first, though it is engaging with the IAEA simultaneously. As for the final phase of the three-step sequence for implementation of the nuclear deal - the nod of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) India is banking heavily on Washington’s clout and good offices. New Delhi believes that potential party-poppers like China and Scandinavian countries would be brought on board by the US.

Significantly, the Indian government’s sense is that there is better awareness and increased acceptance of the Indy-US nuclear deal in the political spectrum today than there was an year ago. That is because there has been a groundswell of concern over the depressing energy scenario, manifested by unprecedented power crisis in Mamba recently.

To remove poverty and upgrade its infrastructure to world class, India would be requiring 8 lack MW of power from the current meagre availability of 1.6 lack MW. Implementation of the Indy-US nuclear deal is emerging as the best bet for achieving this objective.

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CM helpless in removing ban on Tamil movies
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a self-professed vigilante organisation, which stands for Kannada pride, had announced a ban on the screening of the Tamil movies and directed all cable operators to black out Tamil channels in February

Bangalore, May 15
Lakhs of Tamilians in India’s IT capital, who are suffering a black out of Tamil movies and channels since the announcement of the Cauvery water dispute award more than two months back, now find that even Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is helpless in the matter.

Kumaraswamy said he knew that the ban was not legally correct, but the matter had certain emotional aspects. He, however, refused to go into details of the subject and said he would not like to enter into a discussion on the issue due to its sensitive nature.

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a self-professed vigilante organisation, which stands for Kannada pride, had announced a ban on the screening of the Tamil movies and directed all cable operators to black out Tamil channels in February.

The award is felt to be against the interests of Karnataka by the Vedike as well as farmer organisations and the political set up.

Vedike president Naryana Gowda justified the move saying the Vedike had only made an appeal in this regard. The very fact that it accorded immediate response shows that the film industry wanted to reflect the sentiments of the people of the state. He said the ban would continue as long as the state did not get justice on the issue of equitable distribution of Cauvery river waters with its neighbour - Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, industry sources said the theatre owners did not have any choice in the matter. “Theatres showing Tamil movies had their glass facades shattered immediately after the Cauvery agitation started and they took the cue and stopped the screening of the movies,” said an industry watcher. He said cable television operators were trying to get Tamil channels back on air and some operators had also resumed service some time back. “However, the fact that they have stopped telecasting the channels itself indicates their inability to go against the Vedike and other such organisations,” he added.

The Tamil film industry has been at its receiving end in Karnataka, earlier, also due to the fact that Tamil movies sometimes do better than the Kannada ones in Bangalore. Major theatres like Urvashi, Pallavi and Lido are usually screening Tamil movies even as Kannada movies are screened in the low-end theatres mostly.

The main gainer in the whole affair seems to be Bollywood with more movies from Mumbai being screened in theatres in the city.

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June 1: Last date for registration of charitable trusts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
Any charitable or religious trust or institution intending to avail of exemption of income tax from retrospective effect will have to submit its application for registration before June 1.

Application received after June 1 will mean that the applicant is entitled to claim the exemption of tax from the financial year in which the application is made and not for the earlier years.

Registration under Section 12-A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is a pre-condition for availing exemption of income under Sections 11 and 12 of the said Act by a charitable or religious trust or institution.

For obtaining such registration, the trust or institution has to make an application in form no 10-A to the commissioner of income tax within a year from the date of its creation or establishment.

If application is made after the expiry of one year, the commissioner may condone such delay, if he is satisfied that the delay was for sufficient reasons.

In such a case, the exemption under Sections 11 and 12 will be available from the date of establishment of the trust or institution. Otherwise, it will be available only from the financial year in which the application for registration is made.

The Finance Act, 2007 has removed the requirement of filing the application within a year of the establishment of the trust or institution. It has also removed the power vested with the commissioner for condonation of delay by stipulating that for any application made on or after June 1.

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Fake encounters
Bihar police’s image suffers
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 15
In the name of establishing the rule of law, the Bihar police is getting embroiled in controversies related to fake encounters.

The killing of a woman and her daughter by the police in a fake shootout in Sitamarhi district in July, 2005,was passed off as an operation to combat Maoist rebels.

Following an enquiry,DIG (Trihut range) Gupteshwar Pandey in his report admitted that the duo were killed in a "fake encounter" in Ranjitpur village of Sitamarhi.Three police personnel have been suspended following this shocking revelation by Pandey.

The enquiry was held following a recent directive by the Patna High Court, which acted on a complaint filed by the relatives of the deceased.

This was the second case of fake police encounter. Early this month, human rights body People's Watch raised the issue of the killing of three brothers-Ram,Lakshman and Bharat- in a shootout in Bhojpur district.

Following public protest, state home secretary Afzal Amanullah requested the CBI to probe into this alleged fake encounter issue.

In the latest case,the involvement of the then Sitamarhi SP,Kundan Krishnan, was reportedly also mentioned in Pandey`s report.Kundan Krishnan is currently posted as senior SP in Patna.

In his report in 2005, Kundan Krishnan had stated that the mother and her daughter were killed in an encounter between the police and Maoists.

The image of the Bihar police has taken a beating at a time when there are growing cases of kidnappings and related crimes in Patna.Besides,the police has also not been able to check the growing spate of Maoist violence in the state.

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World Bank to boost rural economy in Bihar
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 15
In what appeared to be a big achievement for the Nitish government, the World Bank has decided to aid a project for boosting rural economy through self-employment in the state.

The project will be launched in 4,000 villages spread across six districts of Bihar in September.

Earlier this year, a World Bank delegation met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to work out measures for the development of the state.

Sources in the government said the Rs 306.5 crore project, christened “Jivika” (employment), would be executed under the Bihar Rural Livelihood Project.

According to a five-year action plan prepared by the World Bank, the project will cover 42 development blocks across Nalanda, Gaya, Khagaria, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Purnia districts.

Altogether 5.9 lakh poor families are expected to be benefited from the project, the burden of which will be shared by the World Bank, Bihar government and the beneficiaries. While the World Bank will extend an assistance of Rs 264.6 crore and the Bihar government Rs 29.4 crore, the beneficiaries will mobilise Rs 12.5 crore.

Under the project, self-help groups and productivity groups will be constituted in the targeted villages. Their federations will be set up at block and district levels and efforts will be made to establish contacts with banks for steady inflow of cash for gainful self-employment.

Sources said pilot projects under “Jivika” were already on in 22 villages of Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Purnia and Nalanda districts where 151 self-help groups have been set up.

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MPs unite to slam patenting of yoga by USA

New Delhi, May 15
Members of Parliament today slammed the US patenting authority for granting yoga-related copyrights to American companies, saying yoga is a part of Indian heritage.

Terming the whole exercise as preposterous, the MPs said yoga had originated in India. Till date, the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks.

In response, the government has set up a task force to create a database of yoga techniques in order to stop others from patenting the century-old knowledge.

“Patanjali’s Yog Shastra was written more than 5,000 years ago. All asanas (poses) practiced today has been described in that. So that means, Yoga is an Indian product. Therefore, the government should take an immediate action against the US patenting yoga,” said Vijay Kumar Malhotra, spokesperson of the BJP.

Old Sanskrit and Tamil texts, including ayurvedic remedies and hundreds of yogic poses, are in the process of being translated and stored digitally. The government is also cataloguing ayurvedic medicines.

This information will be made available in five languages so that patent offices around the world can access it and know that they originated in India.

“Yoga is not related to modern science. It was developed by hermits in our country. So, I think America cannot patent it,” said Swami Adityanath, another BJP MP.

“Yoga is a part of Indian tradition, it took birth in India. Whether we get the patent for yoga or not, the whole world knows that it is associated with India. Even the Americans know it,” said Congress MP Rajiv Shukla.

Yoga guru, Swami Ramdev claimed that yoga could cure illnesses ranging from cancer to AIDS through breathing exercises and traditional medicines. — ANI

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MP for memorial at Sukhdev’s house

New Delhi, May 15
A demand was made in the Lok Sabha today to turn the house of revolutionary Sukhdev into a memorial.

The issue was raised by Biju Janata Dal member during zero hour. Sukhdev was hanged along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru. The member also demanded that a column be set up at the Viper Island in the Andamans in memory of hundreds of martyrs imprisoned there during the British rule.

The suggestion drew support from all sides with parliamentary affairs minister P. R. Dasmunsi saying that the committee, set up to organise celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence, would consider the issue.

Observing that the year was also the birth centenary of Sukhdev, who was born on May 15, 1907, Mahtab said he was born in the Lyallpur area in Ludhiana.

The present occupiers of the ramshackle building could be rehabilitated, he suggested. The famous case, in which the three freedom fighters were hanged, was referred to as “the crown versus Sukhdev”, the member added. — TNS

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Raja replaces Dayanidhi Maran

New Delhi, May 15
With Dayanidhi Maran forced to put in his papers as communications and information technology minister, DMK’s environment minister A. Raja has been given that critical portfolio by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Raja’s party colleague, minister of state for home S. Reghupathy has been shifted to the environment ministry.

As the Prime Minister has decided not to have a cabinet rank minister for the environment ministry, he will take on the additional burden of overseeing the ministry.

In this third term in the Lok Sabha, Raja was elected from the Perambalur reserved constituency.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqué said on the advice of the Prime Minister, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has accepted the resignation of Maran from the council of ministers.

Maran’s exit from the government came abruptly following a rift in the DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s family in the wake of a survey carried in the newspaper owned by Maran’s brother Kalanidhi resulting in violence in Madurai in which three persons lost their lives. — TNS

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Members for hike in MPLAD fund
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
Cutting across party lines, members in the Lok Sabha today demanded an increase in the MP Local Area Development Fund from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore per annum.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Kmarabela Swain (BJD) said the amount should be increased to Rs 5 crore to offset the rising prices. His suggestion was greeted by the thumping of desks by members of other parties.

Some members even suggested that the money should be raised to Rs 10 crore.

“Raise the amount to Rs 5 crore or scrap the fund altogether so that we can go the people and say that our job is only ‘bhashan baazi’ (making speeches) and we can do nothing for you,” Swain said.

This prompted Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to say: “More work, more pay” and refer to the 19 hours wasted last week and the entire day yesterday because of adjournments.

Swain said the general impression among the public was that the MPs were swindlers who get Rs 2 crore for themselves from the Prime Minister at the start of each year. He pointed out that in fact more than 90 per cent of the fund was spent.

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Panel to look into charges of human trafficking
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
A meeting of leaders of political parties, convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in the wake of alleged involvement of some MPs in human trafficking, decided to constitute a committee to look into the charges today.

The committee, whose terms and composition would be decided by the Speaker, will also look into complaints of misuse of facilities and accommodation by some other MPs.

The meeting was of the view that action should be taken against members whose conduct has a bearing on dignity of the House. Apart from suspended BJP MP Babubhai Katara, the committee will also look into complaints against other MPs whom police has questioned in cases relating to human trafficking. Katara and other MPs are likely to be summoned by the committee.

There are also allegations against a few MPs relating to misuse of travel passes and violation of rules regarding accommodation.

Complaint of misconduct has also been made by family member of an MP. The committee of the lower house is also likely to look into cases of conflict of interest of MPs serving on various standing committees.

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Passengers protest in Mumbai over delay in flight

Mumbai, May 15
Enraged at being kept waiting at the international airport here for over 12 hours, more than 200 passengers of a Dubai-bound Air India flight protested and tried to stop passengers of other flights from boarding before security forces stepped in.

Passengers of the national carrier had been at the airport since early hours today and had not received any intimation about when their flight would leave, a senior CISF official told PTI.

The passengers, who were to board Air India flight no 727 that was scheduled to depart at 5.20 am, were told that they would be travelling on a 2.30 pm flight, an airline spokesman said.

However, since the 2.30 pm flight was full and could not take the passengers, they were informed that a separate flight would be organised for them, he said.

At around 4 pm, passengers began protesting in the terminal and tried to prevent passengers of other airlines from boarding their flights.

Personnel from CISF, which guards the country’s busiest airport, stepped in to resolve the matter, the spokesman said.

A spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Limited, the private developer modernising aviation hub, said no property was damaged and the matter had been resolved.

Air India subsequently arranged for a flight for the passengers that left at 5.20 pm. — PTI

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Taj Corridor case hearing put off

Lucknow, May 15
The CBI today did not file the Governor’s sanction on prosecution of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and five others in the Rs 175 crore Taj Corridor case, the hearing of which was deferred till May 23 by a designated court here.

Judge Rekha Dikshit fixed the new date for hearing the case after one of the accused, a senior official, questioned the court’s competence to direct the CBI to file the sanction for prosecution of public servants accused in the case.

The CBI, directed by the court in February to produce by today the Governor’s sanction for prosecuting the accused, did not file the report.

The agency sought time to reply to former Environment Principal Secretary R.K. Sharma’s intervention application in which he questioned the court’s competence to seek sanction for prosecution against public servants. — PTI

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Army men conquer Everest

New Delhi, May 15
Adding yet another glorious chapter to their saga, six men of the Indian Army summitted the world’s highest peak Mt Everest early this morning — the fourth Everest ascent by the Indian Army.

According to information received here, the six summitteers of the Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition climbed atop the 8,848-metre Mt Everest at 0545hrs (IST) this morning.

The six summiteers were Captain DJ Singh, Subedar Maruti Khandagle, Havaldars Balwant Singh Negi, Tshering Angchok, Amardev Bhatt and Sepoy Sachin Patil.

The expedition leader is Lieutenant Colonel IS Thapa of the 4 Maratha Light Infantry.

With today’s feat, the Indian Army has furthered its formidable reputation in the international mountaineering fraternity having summitted Mt Everest four times.

In fact during the past seven years, Army mountaineers have scaled a 8,000-metre-plus peak every year, including Mt Everest (8,848m) in 2001, 2003 and 2005 and Annapurna-I (8,096m) in 2004. — UNI

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India-B’desh train from July 1
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 15
Passenger train service between India and Bangladesh is likely to start from July 1, both the railway authorities and state government officials said today after a high-level meeting held here.

The meeting, which was presided over by chief secretary A.K. Deb at Writers Buildings, finalised a detailed plan for the regular train service between the two countries.

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Probe ordered into May 13 clash
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 15
The Assam government today instituted a judicial inquiry into the May 13 violent clash between tea garden workers and protestors, blocking the National Highway 37 at Dholla in Tinsukia district, which left eight persons dead.

In a statement issued here this evening, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, while announcing the government’s decision to order a judicial probe into the group clash, called upon all sections of society in the state to maintain communal harmony and remain alert against the vested interests out to foment communal tension in the state.

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Two commit suicide

Kanpur, May 15
Two youths, including a girl, allegedly committed suicide in separate incidents here today,the police said.

Roli Shukla, a 21-year-old girl living in the Gujaini area, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling in her house. Her family said she had appeared for the CPMT examinations twice but could not pass.

In another case, Sushil Kumar, a resident of Arra village allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself. The cause behind the act could not be ascertained as yet,the police said. — PTI

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Indian Information Officer dead

New Delhi, May 15
Sanjay K. Raut, a senior Indian Information Officer of the 1985 batch, passed away following a heart attack yesterday. He was posted in Bhubaneshwar as deputy director- general, directorate of field publicity.

Raut served in various media units of the information and broadcasting ministry in Orissa and Delhi. — TNS

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IIT student goes missing

Guwahati, May 15
There has been an uneasy calm on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here since the afternoon of May 5 when one of its students went missing.

According to an official source in the institute, which is located at the northern fringe of Guwahati city, a B.Tech (computer science) final semester student, Pramathes Ramchiary, has remained untraced since May 5. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

33 more IAS officers shifted
LUCKNOW:
Continuing its series of transfers, the three-day-old Mayawati government has shifted 33 more IAS officers and given a new posting to former environment secretary R.K. Sharma, an accused in the Taj Corridor case. The government late on Monday night posted Sharma, who was earlier suspended after his name figured in the case, as principal secretary for Panchayati Raj. — PTI

Kalyan quits as BJP in charge
LUCKNOW:
Owning moral responsibility for the party’s dismal performance in the recent assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, BJP national vice-president Kalyan Singh on Tuesday resigned as party in charge of the state. In a letter to BJP president Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh said as the elections in the state were fought under his (Kalyan’s) leadership, he owned moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance. — PTI

CBI to probe MLA’s death
Lucknow:
Days after Mayawati took over as Chief Minister, the Uttar Pradesh government today recommended a CBI probe into the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal, allegedly by sibling of controversial SP MP Atiq Ahmed on Republic Day in 2005. — TNS

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