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N A T I O N

LF celebrates 30th anniversary in power
Basu belligerent against govt

Kolkata, June 21
Addressing the meeting at Netaji indoor stadium this afternoon, the veteran Jyoti Basu declared their agitation and protest against the UPA's "anti-people policies" would be strengthen in the coming years, though they would continue to support the Manmohan Singh government till the next Lok Sabha elections.

Cheap Chinese ultrasound machines flood Indian market
New Delhi, June 21
Chinese ultrasound machines are being dumped in India much to the horror of the campaigners against female foeticide.

NCP’s no to Kalam
New Delhi, June 21
NCP president Sharad Pawar signs the nomination form of UPA's Presidential candidate Pratibha Patil as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi looks on in New Delhi on Thursday. After the Left and the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too said today a firm no to the idea of installing President APJ Abdul Kalam for the second time in Rashtrapati Bhawan.

NCP president Sharad Pawar signs the nomination form of UPA's Presidential candidate Pratibha Patil as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi looks on in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo






EARLIER STORIES


Uttarakhand Round-up
CM caught on wrong foot
Dehra Dun, June 21
An embarrassing situation for Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri marked the recent celebrations of the successful completion of first 100 days of his government.

CM urges Governor to sack V-C
Lucknow, June 21
Pulling the plug on Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University V-C K.P. Singh, Chief Minister Mayawati today recommended to Governor T.V. Rajeswar to remove him from his post and order stern action against him for being responsible for the bungling in the Uttar Pradesh Combined Pre-Medical Test (CPMT).

Army gets supersonic Brahmos missile
New Delhi, June 21
The Indian army today became the first force in the world to be armed with surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile, with the induction of 290 km range Brahmos missile.

Menon to visit Dhaka
New Delhi, June 21
Foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon is scheduled to visit Dhaka on June 25-26 for Foreign Office Consultations with his Bangladeshi counterpart. The Ministry of External Affairs announced this today.

7-year RI for Telgi
Bangalore, June 21
Fake stamp racket accused Abdul Karim Telgi was today pinned down under the Prevention of Corruption Act with a Special Court awarding him seven yeas’ rigorous imprisonment for bribing two doctors to acquire false medical certificates.

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LF celebrates 30th anniversary in power
Basu belligerent against govt
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, June 21
Addressing the meeting at Netaji indoor stadium this afternoon, the veteran Jyoti Basu declared their agitation and protest against the UPA's "anti-people policies" would be strengthen in the coming years, though they would continue to support the Manmohan Singh government till the next Lok Sabha elections.

He said they were not approving of certain odd decisions of the UPA government taken unilaterally, defying the UPA's common minimum programme, though he did not elaborate anything further. He stressed that all left parties should get further united for fighting against the BJP and the UPA anti-people policies.

Basu was speaking on the occasion of the left front government's main celebration function held at the stadium on the occasion of the government's 30th years in power at a stretch which the leaders of all the partner parties and a large number of the CPI(M) workers and cadres attended.

The chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the CPM party secretary, Biman Bose, the Forward Bloc leader, Ashoke Ghose, RSP's Kshiti Goswami and CPI's Monju Majumdar, among others, also spoke on the occasion.

They all stressed the need for strengthening the unity of the Left Front for smoothly carrying out the incomplete works of the government and also to fight against the evils of the society.

The Left Front will be organising the celebration functions in all the major cities of the country during the next few days for highlighting its achievements. The left co-ordination committee today held the celebration function in News Delhi where the CPM general secretary, Prakash Karat, the CPI's leader, A.B. Barshan, the FB's Debabrata Biswas and RSP's Abani Roy, among others, spoke, Biman Bose said.

While the Left Front was observing the celebration function at indoor stadium, Trinamool Congress and the Krishi Bachaoo Committee were jointly holding a protest rally, calling it "the condemnation day" at a distance near the Mahatma Gandhi statue near maidan, against the CPM long misrule and the forcible eviction of the poor farmers at Singur, Nandigram and elsewhere.

Addressing the protest meeting, Mamata Banerjee ridiculed that the CPM was observing victory celebration of killing the poor farmers at Singur and Nandigram in the name of the government's 30th years' celebration today.

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Cheap Chinese ultrasound machines flood Indian market
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 21
Chinese ultrasound machines are being dumped in India much to the horror of the campaigners against female foeticide.

The increased availability of ultrasound machines has given rise to genuine fears about their likely misuse for sex determination tests.

Sonologists fear that these machines may be misused by quacks. Activists have a very simple, yet harsh, explanation for the Chinese ultrasound manufacturers selling these machines at attractive prices to capture the market.

Sabu George who has been fighting for the survival of the girl child for over two decades says, "There is clearly a market in India for elimination of the girl child. We have evidence from government surveys of the link between proliferation of ultrasound machines and missing girls.''

What is baffling is that although the Health Ministry is well aware of the sales of ultrasound machines of several brands, it has resigned to the fact that such sales are unstoppable.

Health Secretary Naresh Dayal told TNS, “You cannot stop their sales. I'm aware of various portable ultrasound machines that are available but I have not gone into finding out their make.

“Yes, they are being used by quacks as was discovered in a recent case. As far as controlling the proliferation of these machines is concerned, it is a very difficult proposition.''

Dayal said that every ultrasound clinic is required to be registered with the appropriate authority under the PCPNDT (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act. Asked how the presence of the Chinese companies had escaped the notice of the Ministry when the Act stipulates that ultrasound manufacturers report sales every quarter to the government, Mr Dayal said, ``I don't know this, I will have to check on the Act but we are taking necessary steps.'' He said that technology is developing so fast that ultrasound machines would soon be passe. ``I have learnt that in Punjab, people are ordering imported diagnostic kits that can determine the sex of the foetus.''

George maintains that there is no technology available in the world as yet that uses dry blood to determine the foetal sex. ``There is definite intelligence in the industry and their analysts that two Chinese ultrasound machine manufacturers have entered the Indian market. I'm alarmed that the Health Ministry is not prosecuting the Chinese companies for violating the Indian law.

“We also have definite information that some entrepreneurs are manufacturing ultrasound machines in Tamil Nadu. We cannot afford a situation where all ultrasound manufacturers of the world treat India like a dumping ground given the fact that we are faced with a continuously declining sex ratio at birth. According to the latest Sample Registration System Data, India's sex ratio at birth is 880 girls per 1000 boys.''

Dr S. Suresh, President of the Chennai chapter of the Indian Federation of Ultrasound and Biology, says that he is aware that some ultrasound clinics in Chennai are buying low-end Chinese ultrasound machines. At the same time, he knows an entrepreneur in Tamil Nadu is assembling ultrasound machines as a small-scale industry. These machines have poor imaging quality.

``I would like to encourage Indian entrepreneurs to make such machines provided they go through necessary quality and safety certification. We have to be very stringent about this. Similarly, I don't see a problem with Chinese ultrasound machines provided they are certified for quality and safety. Like the USFDA approvals, it is important to have an accreditation agency in India for giving quality and safety certification for medical diagnostic equipment.''

Dr Harsh Mahajan, Delhi-based radiologist said, ``I am hearing about the sale of Chinese and locally assembled ultrasound machines for the first time. My natural apprehension is that low-cost equipment may be sub-standard and hence lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.

“Ultrasound using very high energy levels may even lead to congenital anomalies. There is a definite risk of these machines falling in the hands of non-radiologists and quacks who want to make an easy buck using them as mere sex determination tools.''

Health Secretary Naresh Dayal said that although medical equipment is certified by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), the Health ministry wants to give the DGCI more teeth and set up the Central Drug Authority (CDA) on the lines of the USFDA.

“In order to set up the CDA, we will bring a Bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The Cabinet has already approved it, '' Dayal said.

The Health Secretary said that setting up the division for regulating medical devices and diagnostics in the Central Drug Authority is not the only answer. ``We plan to strengthen the enforcement of the PCPNDT Act as we find that its enforcement is not as vigorous as it ought to be. This is another way of attacking the problem.''

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NCP’s no to Kalam

New Delhi, June 21
After the Left and the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too said today a firm no to the idea of installing President APJ Abdul Kalam for the second time in Rashtrapati Bhawan.

“It is now surprising to learn from the Third Front that Dr Kalam is willing for a second term, because we have already been told by major parties, including the NDA, that they will not support him for a second innings. Moreover, he doesn’t have enough votes to win,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar told mediapersons after proposing the name of Pratibha Patil.

“Dr Kalam is not on the crease at all, so there was no question of playing another innings,” he added.

He said the UPA chairperson had evolved a consensus for Patil after holding wide consultations with all alliance constituents.

“She is a secular and experienced administrator and politician and has sure chances of winning by over 2 lakh votes,” Pawar said.

When asked about the UNPA leaders’ scheduled meeting with him this evening, he said he would welcome them at his home today. He, however, added that he would tell them plainly that there was no question of any second thought on the candidature of Patil. — UNI

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Uttarakhand Round-up
CM caught on wrong foot
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, June 21
An embarrassing situation for Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri marked the recent celebrations of the successful completion of first 100 days of his government.

In the news conference organised on the occasion, he was caught on the wrong foot while claiming that land prices have come down following his government’s decision to restrict outsiders from purchasing agricultural land.

When asked about the logic of having such a law that forbids purchase of land in rural areas and not in urban areas where the land mafia is calling shots and resultantly prices have skyrocketed, Khanduri replied that the new law was applicable in whole of the state.

But to his surprise and amusement of the media, his officials corrected him saying that the law was applicable only in rural areas. “I do not have full knowledge of the whole issue,” he replied.

Govt favours eco-friendly units

The BJP-led state government has made a clear shift from the policy pursued by the previous Congress regime led by N.D. Tiwari. Since day one, Khanduri has been maintaining that his government would not encourage industrialisation in the fertile Terai plains of the state.

Instead, Khanduri is insisting on giving priority to eco-friendly industrial units in the hills. He has made it clear that industry can only get non-agricultural, unproductive land.

Oppn to file PIL

Opposition parties are in no mood to allow the government to go unchecked while highlighting its achievements so far. The Nationalist Congress Party has announced that it would file a PIL petition in the High Court, Nainital, to seek direction for a CBI probe into the alleged scam in State Industrial Development of Uttarakhand Limited committed during the Congress regime.

Though Khanduri’s government has set up a judicial commission to look into the alleged irregularities committed in allotting more than a 1000 crore acres land to a private firm, the NCP chief Suryakant Dhasmana expressed dissatisfaction alleging that by doing so the government was trying to save some prominent persons including officials close to BJP leaders.

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CM urges Governor to sack V-C
Shahira Naim

Lucknow, June 21
Pulling the plug on Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University V-C K.P. Singh, Chief Minister Mayawati today recommended to Governor T.V. Rajeswar to remove him from his post and order stern action against him for being responsible for the bungling in the Uttar Pradesh Combined Pre-Medical Test (CPMT).

The Chief Minister took this decision on the advice of a 9-member probe team investigating the irregularities in the CPMT examinations this year.

Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said the team had found that the faulty keys (solved answer sheets), on the basis of which the results were prepared, carried the signatures of only K.P. Singh who was also the CPMT chairman.

The remaining four members of the committee, that was entrusted the job of preparing the results, told the probe team that they had neither prepared the faulty keys nor were they involved in cross-checking the results at any stage. The VC reportedly accepted before the team as being fully responsible for preparing the faulty keys during the processing of the results and before its final declaration.

While the announcement from the state government came later in the day, the V-C, speaking to the media, had already made known his decision to resign owing moral responsibility for the blunder in the CPMT results this year.

Responding to the V-C move to resign, the cabinet secretary said he had heard about it through the media and officially the government had received nothing.

Singh also clarified that resigning from a post was one thing and the Chief Minister’s recommendation for removal and stern action against the V-C was something different.

Earlier in the day, Prof Singh dramatically made the announcement of his resignation soon after an official press briefing to declare the revised results.

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Army gets supersonic Brahmos missile

New Delhi, June 21
The Indian army today became the first force in the world to be armed with surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile, with the induction of 290 km range Brahmos missile.

With all the four test firings of the missile, including two conducted by army personnel going flawless, the surface-to-surface version of the Brahmos, which would provide tactical battle edge to the army, is being inducted a year ahead of schedule.

President APJ Abdul Kalam, who is also the supreme commander of the Armed forces, handed over a replica of the missile at a function here to Army Chief General JJ Singh, to mark the commencement of delivery of the supersonic missile to the army.

However, the actual delivery of the missile would commence next month, almost a year ahead of the scheduled induction fixed earlier for July, 2008, when two mobile batteries and mobile command post would be handed over to the army.

"Early operationalisation of the missile system has been advanced by one year," a Defence Ministry spokesman said apparently to counter Pakistan's development of a subsonic longer range cruise missile, Babur. Army, in its initial stages of induction, proposes to raise three regiments of the Brahmos missile system and has raised special Brahmos groups to operate them. — PTI

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Menon to visit Dhaka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 21
Foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon is scheduled to visit Dhaka on June 25-26 for Foreign Office Consultations with his Bangladeshi counterpart. The Ministry of External Affairs announced this today.

The last Foreign Office Consultations took place in June 2005.

The visit is an indication of the importance that India attaches to bilateral relations with Bangladesh and demonstrates India’s desire to engage constructively with the Government of Bangladesh.

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7-year RI for Telgi

Bangalore, June 21
Fake stamp racket accused Abdul Karim Telgi was today pinned down under the Prevention of Corruption Act with a Special Court awarding him seven yeas’ rigorous imprisonment for bribing two doctors to acquire false medical certificates.

Both the doctors have also been awarded the same punishment. The former doctors of Government Victoria Hospital were found guilty of taking a bribe and issuing false medical certificates to Telgi to facilitate his bail on medical grounds.

Telgi was also fined Rs 25 lakh. — TNS

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