SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Jaswant Sagar dam leakage under control
8 feared dead in Rajasthan
A woman takes her livestock to a safer place after flood water entered Khankul village of Hoogly in West Bengal on Sunday. Jaipur, July 8
Eight persons, washed away after their vehicle fell into a river in flood-hit Rajasthan, are feared to have killed even as life in many parts of the state returned to normal today with a slight let-up in the rains.

A woman takes her livestock to a safer place after flood water entered Khankul village of Hoogly in West Bengal on Sunday.
— PTI photo

4 killed in cloudburst
Dehra Dun, July 8
Four labourers were killed in a cloudburst in the jungles of Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand, officials said today. The labourers, hailing from Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, were killed on Thursday night, but due to lack of communication to the remote area, officials of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre, which is the government’s nodal agency, came to know about the incident only last night.


EARLIER STORIES


Tributes pour in for Chandra Shekhar
New Delhi, July 8
Rich tributes were paid to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, who died here today, with leaders across the political divide hailing him as a great administrator and a mass leader who had strong convictions.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pays tribute to the mortal remains of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar in New Delhi on Sunday.
— PTI
photo
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pays tribute to the mortal remains of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar in New Delhi on Sunday.

Obituary
Chandra Shekhar — a firebrand idealist
A file photo of late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, during the lunch hosted by the Congress President in February 2004.
New Delhi, July 8
A committed socialist and a rebel all through his life, Chandra Shekhar became the Prime Minister in 1990, but he never emerged as a successful politician who, with his standing, could have achieved much more than he actually did.



A file photo of late Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, during the lunch hosted by the Congress President in February 2004. — PTI photo

Woman traces father after 23 years of separation
Chennai, July 8
A woman living in Saudi Arabia, who was separated from her Indian family as a young girl due to poverty, is set to be reunited with her father after 23 years.

Hostels near mosques in UK may be breeding terror
Bangalore, July 8
While a definite pattern of religious fundamentalism and activism is emerging in investigations, which answers why the highly educated Ahmed brothers - Kafeel and Sabeel - took on the role of alleged terrorists, the missing key may well lie in the youth hostels attached to mosques in the UK.

Jails will no longer comfort in UP
Allahabad, July 8
Alarmed over the growing incidence of lawlessness in jails, the Uttar Pradesh government has chalked out a comprehensive strategy to restore the rule of law in prisons.

Kalam to launch e-courts project
New Delhi, July 8
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would launch National e-Courts Project for extensive computerisation of courts in the capital on Monday. This project is expected to demystify the adjudicatory process, thereby ensuring transparency, accountability and cost-effectiveness.

Railwaymen seek steps to ease tension
New Delhi, July 8 The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) has proposed administrative measures to ease the stressful working conditions of train controllers.

No new projects before completing old ones: panel
New Delhi, July 8
With 593 major, medium and modernisation projects for irrigation spilling over to 11th plan, the Standing Committee on Water Resources has recommended that no new projects should be taken up by the government till the pending ones are completed.

Students block supply routes to Nagaland
Guwahati, July 8
Supply of essential commodities was blocked for two districts of Nagaland because of indefinite blockade called by the All Assam Students’ Union, since Friday, in protest against killing of three Assam villagers by raiders from Nagaland at Geleky in Sivasagar district of Assam on Thursday.

Police told to provide protection to Puja Chauhan
Rajkot, July 8
A court here has ordered the police to provide protection to Puja Chauhan, who created a flutter by walking semi-nude on the city's streets to protest alleged harassment by her husband.

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Jaswant Sagar dam leakage under control
8 feared dead in Rajasthan

Jaipur, July 8
Eight persons, washed away after their vehicle fell into a river in flood-hit Rajasthan, are feared to have killed even as life in many parts of the state returned to normal today with a slight let-up in the rains.

"A team of rescuers, including divers, were searching the bodies which included five women and three children," SP (Jhalawar) Rakesh Saxena told PTI.

Of the 30 people, 22 had managed to swim to the safer places after their vehicle was washed away yesterday in the overflowing Gadhahed river near Ghatoli where they had gone for shopping, Saxena said.

As the river had a downward stream, it would be rather difficult to fish them out, he said, adding all of them belonged to Uchavda and Haripur villages.

On the other hand, lakhs of people in 39 villages affected by leakage from the Jaswant Sagar dam in the state heaved a sigh of relief as the water level receded.

"After the rains stopped, life is much better in the dam-affected villages as there is low flow of rainy water from the catchment regions," state Relief Secretary C K Mathew told PTI.

Following breach of the dam at two points, the flow of water took its own course towards small rivers like Luni in Jodhpur division covering Pali, Barmer and Balotra.

Life in Pali district also was returning back to normal as water receded in residential colonies and rail-road routes were opened, Additional Collector Kalpana Agarwal said.

The southwest monsoon has been active in the entire state.

Monsoon vigorous in Maharashtra

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today reviewed the situation in Nagpur and Amravati divisions in Vidarbha arising out of heavy rains lashing the region since Friday evening.

In Amravati, two bodies have been recovered while six persons are reported missing. As many as 1200 people have been shifted to safer places in the district.

Normal life in these two districts has been affected due to the heavy rains. The two commissioners briefed Deshmukh on the quantum of rainfall in each taluka, water levels in the dams, steps taken to evacuate the affected population to safer places and health related precautions.

Besides, a helicopter and an army team have also been kept on standby and an alert has been sounded.

Villages in Bhatkuli, Anjangaon, and Dharni are the worst affected. All rivers in Amravati district are overflowing and in Dharni taluka dams like Mandva, Nanduri and Ramang are 100 per cent full.

About 2500 cusecs of water was released from Uddharv Wardha dam, 388 cusecs from Poorna dam and 337 cusecs from Chandrabhaga dam.

All district administrations have been put on alert. Due to the floods in Amravati district, several roads were water logged, affecting vehicular traffic, according to reports reaching here.

Meanwhile, in Jalgaon district, 41 gates of the Hatnur dam, on the river Tapi were opened and 466,000 cusecs of water was discharged.

Due to this, eight villages were submerged.

Rain fury in MP: rail, road traffic hit; Army help sought Bhopal, Jul 8 (PTI) Heavy rains continued to pound Madhya Pradesh today, disrupting train and road traffic and throwing life out of gear as swollen rivers and rain water submerged many areas in nearly a dozen districts.

Flood-like situation in Madhya Pradesh

The flood-like situation was reviewed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who directed officials to ensure proper relief and rehabilitation to the people affected by incessant rains, which claimed three lives since yesterday.

Train services on New Delhi-Chennai route were disrupted following track-blockade due to landslides caused by rains near Betul, officials said, adding trains were diverted via Itarsi and Nagpur as a massive operation was launched to clear the tracks for restoration of normal traffic.

Vehicular movements on many roads, including national highways, were paralysed due to breaches at several places caused by continuous rains and overflowing rivers and rivulets, while a part of the 57-km-long newly constructed railway tracks in Khandwa district was submerged, they said.

Badly hit were districts like Khandwa, Rajgarh, Khargone, Harda, Betul, Dhar, Ujjain, Chhindwara, Hoshangabad, Balaghat and Guna. Road link between the state capital and Indore was snapped due to overflowing waters from two rivers near Astha and Sonkachch. — PTI/UNI

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4 killed in cloudburst

Dehra Dun, July 8
Four labourers were killed in a cloudburst in the jungles of Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand, officials said today. The labourers, hailing from Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, were killed on Thursday night, but due to lack of communication to the remote area, officials of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre, which is the government’s nodal agency, came to know about the incident only last night.

Since the bodies were lying at an area, which was not only situated at a height of above 10,000 feet but also not connected with motorable road, police officials brought the bodies on foot, they said.

“The bodies have been retrieved and sent to Srinagar (Garhwal) for postmortem,” said the SP, Rudraprayag, V.P. Singh. Meanwhile, an official said the government had sanctioned Rs 50,000 each as compensation to the families of the deceased, who had been identified as Nazir Ahmed, Mohamad Amid (J&K), Mohammad Yusaf and Azad (HP). — PTI

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Tributes pour in for Chandra Shekhar

New Delhi, July 8
Rich tributes were paid to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, who died here today, with leaders across the political divide hailing him as a great administrator and a mass leader who had strong convictions.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi drove to his official residence to pay their last respects to the 80-year-old Lok Sabha member who passed away after a long battle against blood cancer.

Kalam, in a condolence message, remembered the former premier and MP from Ballia as a "veteran parliamentarian, secularist and socialist known for his convictions to the principles he believed in".

Shekhawat, a close friend of the late leader, said in the death of Shekhar, a strong votary of secularism and a fearless guard of democratic values had gone and the poor had lost their messiah.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had worked under Shekhar when he was at the helm of affairs, said the country had lost a distinguished son and a great patriot.

"Chandra Shekharji was a truly secular nationalist, a man of the people, committed to their welfare and well-being. He belonged to a generation that felt deeply about the importance of ideals and idealism in politics," he said.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said the country had lost a great leader.

"He had several qualities but what stood out was his unique nature to express his views without fear and hesitation," she said.

Former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and V.P. Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Union Ministers Shivraj Patil, Pranab Mukherjee, Lalu Prasad, P.R. Dasmunsi and Ram Vilas Paswan, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Uttar Pradesh counterpart Mayawati were among the first to visit his house to pay their tributes.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad flew in from Srinagar to pay his last respects to Chandra Shekhar.

Several leaders, including BJP President Rajnath Singh, CPM's Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D. Raja, JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav, Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ahmed Patel and Motilal Vohra also visited his residence.

Vajpayee, who had warm ties with Shekhar for decades, said the former Prime Minister was not a mere fighter but a skillful, talented and a fearless leader.

"He was a friend of friends who lived in politics on his own terms. He had the natural tendency to raise his voice against injustice," the NDA chairman said, adding he had lost a good friend.

All the leaders were of the view that in the death of the "Young Turk", an era of struggle in Indian politics has come to an end.

While Rajnath Singh described Shekhar as a "political warrior who had never compromised on his ideology," Yechury remembered the important role played by him as a leader during the coalition era in Indian politics. — PTI

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Obituary
Chandra Shekhar — a firebrand idealist
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 8
A committed socialist and a rebel all through his life, Chandra Shekhar became the Prime Minister in 1990, but he never emerged as a successful politician who, with his standing, could have achieved much more than he actually did.

Never a conformist, he was always the “angry young man” of Indian politics. The ‘problem’ was that he had his heart at the right place and always called a spade a spade.

The fact that he conspired against the very government he had helped to form the previous year reflected in a way his angry “Young Turk” image. Although his political graph stretched over five decades and he made friends cutting across political lines but he could never carry anyone along.

The emergence of his name for the post of the Prime Minister in 1990 was another game played by the Congress which, although out of power, wanted to still control the ropes of the government at the Centre. So came the move to prop up Chandra Shekhar.

But his seven-month tenure in office in 1990-91 was not what was expected of a seasoned politician like him and he did not shine as a Prime Minister.

At a tumultuous period in Indian politics, which was marked by caste and religious frenzy and the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Chandra Shekhar just faded away as Prime Minister.

Born on July 1, 1927, at Ibrahimpatti in Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a place, which the "locals liberated from the British" during the Quit India Movement of 1942, Chandra Shekhar remained a rural man at heart even when he took the national stage later.

He joined the Praja Socialist Party in 1951, going up the ladder with committed grassroots work, until he switched over to the Congress in 1960s.

His socialist leanings took him close to Indira Gandhi who in 1969 split the Congress on ideological grounds. He quickly became a member of what came to be known as Indira Gandhi's "kitchen cabinet".

But the rebel that he was, he soon fell out of favour. In 1975 when Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency, he was among the first to be arrested and spent his time in jail until early 1977.

Chandra Shekhar then teamed up with leaders of the then Bharatiya Jan Sangh, Congress (O) and the Lok Dal to form the Janata Party under the political umbrella of Jaya Prakash Narayan.

Despite suggestions, he refused to become Prime Minister and let Morarji Desai take over the post. He remained, however, the political boss of Janata Party.

Much against his wishes, the Janata Party split and, by January 1980, Indira Gandhi was back in power.

One of the highlights of his career was the 4,260 km 'padyatra' he undertook from Kanyakumari in the south to Rajghat from January to June 1983 to know the people of India better, as he put it, winning millions of hearts.

This was when he tried to bring together the opposition again after the split in the Janata Party but failed miserably and that could also not prevent him and the entire opposition from getting decimated in the 1984 general election following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In 1989, he was one of the key leaders of the Janata Dal, which headed the National Front coalition government that took office after the defeat of the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress.

Chandra Shekhar, however, felt cheated when his name was not proposed for the post of Prime Minister, a post that went to V.P.Singh and again the “angry” man of the Indian politics stormed out of the meeting of the elected MPs.

He finally took revenge by teaming up with an equally miffed Devi Lal to bring down V.P. Singh in November 1990. He then became the Prime Minister with the backing of the Congress, the same party he had opposed all along. His Samajwadi Janata Party was washed out in the 1991 elections.

By the mid-1990s Chandra Shekhar became a vocal critic of the free market policy pursued by the Congress and successive governments. He maintained friendship with leaders of all political parties across the country but aggressiveness kept him politically aloof.

Although by the end he was nowhere to be seen on the political scenario but till the time he remained seated on the front benches of the Lok Sabha, to which he was elected eight times, he never hesitated to speak his mind. As the head of a virtually one-man party, he was listened to with respect by both, the Treasury and the Opposition benches.

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Woman traces father after 23 years of separation

Chennai, July 8
A woman living in Saudi Arabia, who was separated from her Indian family as a young girl due to poverty, is set to be reunited with her father after 23 years.

Naseema (31), who now leads an affluent life as the wife of a business consultant, traced her speech-impaired father Mohammed Ibrahim, who works as a cleaner in a hotel, through a detective agency.

She was separated from her family in 1984 at the age of eight and could not even remember the place of her birth.

Yet she was unable to overcome the haunting memories of her father, who used to roll beedis day and night to support the family and carry her to school on his shoulders, Naseema told reporters here over the phone from Saudi Arabia.

“Not a day has passed without me shedding tears thinking about my father. Though he is speech-impaired, he expressed his love and affection for us through his deeds,” she said.

Born the third daughter in a poor Muslim family in Kancheepuram, Naseema lost her mother during her birth and was brought up by her paternal grandmother.

Unable to support the children, her grandmother got the eldest sister married off while employing the younger ones at two different households as maids.

“I still remember the haunted look in my father’s eyes when my granny took me away from our house,” Naseema said.

Little Naseema was employed by a police constable couple, who treated her cruelly and inflicted injuries on her.

With the help of a laundry worker, she escaped from the place but was unable to find her way back home. She was later employed in different households, but her tale of woes continued.

Finally, she joined a Kannada Brahmin’s family who treated her like their own daughter. When she grew up, she was married off by them.

But despite leading a lavish lifestyle with her husband and two children, Naseema was unable to forget her humble past and her poor father.

Moved by her tears, her husband contacted city-based Sun Detective Intelligence Network India (P) Ltd here to trace Mohammed, the agency director R. Varadaraj said.

“Though Naseema was able to provide very little information, we followed the lead about the police couple and gathered information slowly. After several enquiries, we ultimately traced Mohammed from a hotel in Arcot in north Tami Nadu,” he said.

A jubilant Naseema will soon fly down here to take her father to Saudi Arabia where her children are waiting to meet their new-found grandfather. — PTI

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Hostels near mosques in UK may be breeding terror
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 8
While a definite pattern of religious fundamentalism and activism is emerging in investigations, which answers why the highly educated Ahmed brothers - Kafeel and Sabeel - took on the role of alleged terrorists, the missing key may well lie in the youth hostels attached to mosques in the UK.

Investigations into the background of the Ahmed family have revealed a religious streak that took the shape of religious activism also. Their father, Dr Mohammed Ahmed, had worked in Iran and Saudia Arabia and both Kafeel and Sabeel have had their primary education there.

Dr Ahmed after coming back to India was arrested during the Emergency in 1979 and had spent eighteen months in prison here because of his links with the Jamaat-i-Islami. The Jamaat had launched a nationwide campaign against Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi for introducing a family planning programme in the country.

The boys, who were bought up in this background, showed they were also puritanical in their thought process by joining the Tablighi Jamaat and even trying to influence devotees worshipping in the mosque opposite their house to follow their line. Police sources said both Kafeel and Sabeel took on the roles of religious activists also by first organising a protest march on Queens’s road in the city in September, 2005 against the Danish newspaper Jyllands - Posten, which had carried caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. Later they also held a ‘Save Chechnya Day’ in the Mohammadian Block in Basavanagudi, close to where they lived in July 2006.

However, the police claim the missing link that may answer the question why the two brothers decided to become bombers despite being highly qualified could lie in hostels attached to the mosques in Britain. The police said investigations had revealed that professional youths from lower and middle class backgrounds usually took up residence in such hostels when they land in Britain.

The sources said in such hostels it was natural for the youth to gravitate towards Muslim youths from Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan. They said the ‘recruiters’ usually identified vulnerable targets, who were usually brainwashed through repeated anti-America and anti-Jew propaganda or even helped financially for further studies.

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Jails will no longer comfort in UP

Allahabad, July 8
Alarmed over the growing incidence of lawlessness in jails, the Uttar Pradesh government has chalked out a comprehensive strategy to restore the rule of law in prisons.

"In view of the recent incidents of violence inside jails at Sultanpur and Meerut, the government has decided to spruce up the security network in 10 prisons across the state, which have been identified as sensitive," deputy inspector-general of police (prison reforms and administration) Pramod Kumar Tiwari told PTI here.

To restore order in jails, steps are being taken to prevent the unlawful entry of various items, including mobile phones and luxury items, and stop various privileges being enjoyed by high-profile inmates in violation of the jail manual.

Tiwari said during the inspection of the Ghazipur jail recently, he found that a pond had been dug up inside the premises and fish were being reared in it.

Upon inquiry it was found that the digging was allegedly done at the behest of independent MLA from Mau Mukhtar Ansari, who is currently lodged in the jail in connection with the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai.

"It was alleged that a number of influential politicians used to visit the jail to meet the MLA, known for his fire power, and he used to offer them a feast of fish from the pond," the DIG said.

Noting that such behaviour encouraged unlawful activities among other inmates, Tiwari said the pond was immediately dried up and filled with mud and "if needed the surface would be plastered so that no such mischief is repeated".

A two-layered checking system has been put in place in all jails across the state to keep a tab on those visiting the prisons and the things being brought in by them.

"All people, including inmates returning from courts, jail staff, friends and relatives of prisoners would be thoroughly frisked by Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel outside the jail premises. They would again be inspected at the jails' entrances by the jail staff," he said.

This would help in preventing the entry of items like mobile phones and CDs inside the jails, instances of which have not been uncommon recently, he said.

Besides, Tiwari said, it would be ensured that VIP prisoners, including MPs and MLAs, "get no extra privileges other than those for which they are entitled under the jail manual".

"It has been observed that a number of prisoners are pressed into service to meet the various requirements of the high and the mighty among their counterparts. This would be stopped and it would be ensured that the VIP prisoners do not get any facility other than a helper each, as has been laid down in the jail manual," he said.

The DIG also stressed the need for addressing the problem of "false certificates" given by doctors to VIP prisoners, "which enables them to spend an indefinite period of time in the hospitals".

"During my recent visit to the district jail in Varanasi, it was found that one MLA has been staying inside an air-conditioned ward in a hospital for nine months, even though nothing appeared to be wrong with his health. We have requested the government that stern action be taken against doctors who issue fake certificates to influential prisoners in return for some favour," Tiwari said. — PTI

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Kalam to launch e-courts project
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 8
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would launch National e-Courts Project for extensive computerisation of courts in the capital on Monday. This project is expected to demystify the adjudicatory process, thereby ensuring transparency, accountability and cost-effectiveness.

To be implemented in three phases spread over a period of five years, the project would cost Rs 854 crore. The project was devised following a report submitted by the e-Committee on National Policy and Technology in the Indian Judiciary.

Under the first phase over a period of two years, computer rooms and judicial service centres would be set up in all 2,500 court complexes. About 15,000 judicial officers would be provided with laptops. Digital inter-connectivity would be established between all courts from the Taluka level to the Apex Court.

The other features in the first phase is the creation of a well-structured database of all the stakeholders, courts and cases with user-friendly retrievable facilities as well as digital archiving of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The project also aims at creation of e-filling facility in the SC and HCs.

The first phase also envisages development of comprehensive and integrated customised software application for the entire judicial system with regional language support. The outlay for the first phase is Rs 442 crore. Already, the Ministry of Law and Justice has made available Rs 187.05 crore to NIC up to March, and the remaining amount is being provided during the current financial year.

The first phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of the current financial year, as a result of which there would be an improvement in capacity building of judges for delivery of speedy and quality justice.

It would also help in creation of National Judicial Data Centre to provide litigational trends in the country for all levels and geographical locations. Digital production of under-trial prisoners and distant examination of victims through video conferencing would be possible.

Phase two would also be completed in the next two years, following which it would be possible to provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) coverage of judicial processes - from filing to execution level - and also of all administrative activities.

The third and final phase would be of one-year duration. It would lead to the creation of Information Gateways between courts and public agencies and departments.

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Railwaymen seek steps to ease tension
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 8
The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) has proposed administrative measures to ease the stressful working conditions of train controllers.

Reporting the findings of a survey, comparing the work profile of controllers of the Railways and airways, the NFIR said it expects the Central Pay Commission to give them a fair deal in respect of pay-scales and allowances.

The federation claimed that it has pressed for stress allowance and higher pay scales while making oral submissions before the Sixth Central Pay Commission.

Affirmative action by the Pay Commission would benefit more than 4000 train controllers who play a central role in guiding the movement of 9000 passenger trains and 7000 freight trains everyday.

The NFIR asserts that its demand of stress allowance is fully justified as train controllers have a stressful job.

In a statement issued here today, NFIR general secretary, M. Raghavaiah said, “Train controllers ensure running of 16,000 trains everyday and monitor working of staff of operational categories spread over 64,000 km at more than 7000 railway stations on the Indian Raiwlays system.”

The survey conducted by NFIR said man-made and natural factors pose challenges to train controllers.

“In Railways, there are numerous instances of interference due to law and order problems, sabotages, track tampering, terrorism, adverse weather conditions. Train controller has to cope with all such unforeseen situations. It is unfortunate to note that in spite of high nature of stress, the pay scales and related allowances are woefully inadequate for Railway controllers.”

Chairman, Railway Board, R.K. Batra acknowledges the fact that train controllers face very heavy stress at work and agrees that their pay-scales be fixed appropriately.

“It is a sitting job that demands constant vigil, alertness, tremendous responsibility.

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No new projects before completing old ones: panel
Prashant Sood
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, July 8
With 593 major, medium and modernisation projects for irrigation spilling over to 11th plan, the Standing Committee on Water Resources has recommended that no new projects should be taken up by the government till the pending ones are completed.

In its report which was submitted to Parliament during the budget session, the Standing Committee, chaired by R Sambasiva Rao, noted that more than one-third of fresh water available on surface was going waste into the sea for want of a suitable technology.

Referring to the report of the working group on water resources, the committee said there were 471 irrigation projects (169 major, 219 medium and 83 extension, renovation and modernisation) which had spilled over from the ninth plan with a balance cost of about one lakh crore rupees. Of these, only 178 are estimated to have been completed. The committee said 300 new projects were started during the 10th plan, taking to 593 the total number of projects spilling over to 11th plan.

“The committee fails to understand the rationale behind taking up new projects even while the projects started earlier have been spilling from one plan to another,” it said, adding, “in view of the continuous spill over of projects from one plan to another, the committee recommends that no new projects be taken up by the government during the 11th plan till the completion of 593 projects that have already spilled over.”

The committee noted that per capita availability of ground water had reduced from 5,177 cubic metre in 1951 to 1,820 cubic metre in 2001 with variation in water availability in different river basins.

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Students block supply routes to Nagaland
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 8
Supply of essential commodities was blocked for two districts of Nagaland because of indefinite blockade called by the All Assam Students’ Union, since Friday, in protest against killing of three Assam villagers by raiders from Nagaland at Geleky in Sivasagar district of Assam on Thursday.

The AASU adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharrya informed that the indefinite blockade of roads leading to Nagaland through Sivasagar and Jorhat districts of Assam would continue till guilty persons involved in the killings of innocent villagers were not brought to the book and the state government did not assure protection to lives and property of people living in villagers bordering Nagaland.

Mokokchung and Mon districts of Nagaland are staring at acute shortage of essentials and fuels because of the indefinite blockade prompting the deputy commissioner of Mokokchung Abhishek Singh to send a SOS to his counterparts in Sivasagar and Jorhat districts of Assam.

The Assam police has asked its counterpart in Nagaland to handover the culprits involved in last Thursday’s raid on three Assam villagers located close to the boundary with Nagaland in the Geleky area of Assam.

The local villagers at Geleky areas alleged involvement of cadres of Naga rebel group, the NSCN-IM which is now engaged in peace process with the Central government, in the attack of Assam villages.

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Police told to provide protection to Puja Chauhan

Rajkot, July 8
A court here has ordered the police to provide protection to Puja Chauhan, who created a flutter by walking semi-nude on the city's streets to protest alleged harassment by her husband.

The court also said she should be allowed to continue staying in her rented accommodation. Chauhan's landlord had asked her to vacate the home after her controversial protest.

The Gandhigram police station here has received a copy of the order issued yesterday by Judicial Magistrate R.M. Bhatt, who directed police to provide necessary protection to Chauhan. But police said they had been unable to trace Chauhan. — PTI

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