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Sonia asks Deshmukh to implement Srikrishna report
New Delhi/Mumbai, August 11
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today directed Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to expedite implementation of the Justice Srikrishna Commission report on communal violence which rocked Mumbai in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992-93.

Voluntary Quota
Mixed response to UP move
New Delhi, August 11
Uttar Pradesh government’s move to offer sops for providing voluntary job reservation in private sector has resulted in industrial bodies speaking in different voices.

SC allows fresh inspection
More seats in medical, dental colleges
New Delhi, August 11
Medical and dental colleges, with infrastructure and staff deficiencies for the seats sought to be increased by them from this academic year, have been given last opportunity by the Supreme Court to improve the deficiencies by month-end. The court has ordered a fresh inspection of these colleges by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India (DCI).






EARLIER STORIES




Ansari takes oath
New Delhi, August 11
Mohammad Hamid Ansari today took oath as the 13th Vice-President of the country at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.


President Pratibha Patil administers oath to Vice-President elect Mohammed Hamid Ansari at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI
President Pratibha Patil administers oath to Vice-President elect Mohammed Hamid Ansari at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday.

Sonia agrees to Dasmunsi as new PCC chief
Kolkata, August 11
Sonia Gandhi has finally agreed to nominate the union information minister, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi as the new Pradesh Congress (l) president in West Bengal.

People carry a 150-metre-long ‘chadar’ to Taj Mahal in Agra on Saturday.
People carry a 150-metre-long ‘chadar’ to Taj Mahal in Agra on Saturday. — PTI

Wipro, Lockheed open lab
Gurgaon, August 11
Lockheed Martin, world's largest defence contractor, in collaboration with India's leading IT company, Wipro Technologies, today opened Network Centric Operations Centre, named Ambar Jyoti, at Gurgaon. Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh, inaugurated the centre today.

Eco-friendly biopesticide for cotton bollworm
New Delhi, August 11
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) along with the Department of Biotechnology has developed a plant extract based biopesticide formulation Bollcure against cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), a common larvae affecting cotton crop yield.

Bloodshed a setback to peace effort
Guwahati, August 11
With the tribal militants of the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hill Liberation Front (KLNLF) killing 22 Hindi-speaking people within the last three days, it seems the ongoing peace process has been reduced to nothing more than a farce.

IIT student hangs himself
Mumbai, August 11
An IIT student allegedly committed suicide today by hanging himself in his hostel room, police said.


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Sonia asks Deshmukh to implement Srikrishna report
Tribune News Service and agencies

New Delhi/Mumbai, August 11
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today directed Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to expedite implementation of the Justice Srikrishna Commission report on communal violence which rocked Mumbai in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992-93.

Sonia Gandhi is not satisfied with the implementation of recommendations made by the commission, Deshmukh admitted at a news conference here this evening after meeting the AICC president and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

Stating that he himself was not satisfied with the implementation of recommendations of the Commission, Mr Deshmukh said his government has set up a task force under a senior police officer for an indepth review of the report, assuring action will be taken after it. He also said he gave a detailed brief to the Home Minister on the action taken so far by the government on the Commission's report.

Meanwhile, Deshmukh appears to have shaken off a challenge from his detractors with the Congress high command giving him not only reprieve but also permission to reshuffle his team.

A beaming Deshmukh after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi told mediapersons today that he has been asked to fill vacancies in the state corporation and boards and also reshuffle his ministry by this month-end.

The permission to reshuffle his team was seen as an indication that the Chief Minister still enjoyed the confidence of the high command despite his detractors lobbying hard here in recent weeks for a change of leadership, party sources said.

Sena warns of agitation

The Shiv Sena has threatened to take to the streets if the Maharashtra government implemented Srikrishna Commission’s recommendations out of “vendetta” for Hindus and said “justice should be allowed to take its own course”.

Addressing a rally of BEST workers union, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said it was his party which had taken to the streets and fought rioters as otherwise “Mumbai would have burnt.”

“If the government wants to implement the Srikrishna Commission report on 1992-93 Mumbai riots out of vendetta, then Shiv Sena will not keep quiet. We will take to the streets. In such cases, the judicial process should be followed,” Uddhav said last evening.

Shiv Sena has maintained all along that it was opposed to implementing the Srikrishna Commission’s reccomendations.

BJP-Sena ties

The Maharashtra unit of the BJP today stated that it would take a decision on the future of its alliance with the the Shiv Sena later this month.

Talking to mediapersons here, the senior leader from Maharashtra and party general secretary Gopinath Munde said the executive of the state unit would meet this month to discuss the strained ties with the oldest ideological ally that broke ranks and voted for the UPA-Left presidential candidate during last month’s elections.

His comments followed Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s talks with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP president Rajnath Singh over the telephone before his party voted for NDA vice-presidential candidate Najma Heptullah.

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Voluntary Quota
Mixed response to UP move
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
Uttar Pradesh government’s move to offer sops for providing voluntary job reservation in private sector has resulted in industrial bodies speaking in different voices.

Ficci wondered how the current initiative of the UP government of “voluntary” reservation of 30 per cent of jobs in the private sector for fresh investment into the state would make the state more competitive than its competitor six states. These six states rank higher than UP in the Annual Survey of Industries data.

However, Assocham president Venugopal N. Dhoot said the state government agenda to push forward for 30 per cent jobs, 10 per cent for SCs, 10 per cent for OBCs and backward religious minorities and 10 per cent for economically weaker sections from the upper castes would not make in any way industry uncompetitive because there was no dearth of talent from any sections of society. This would, indeed, help the government to implement its agenda for “inclusive growth”.

Ficci said the effectiveness of the measure, for those who would voluntarily choose to avail themselves of concessions from the state and go for reservation thereof, would depend on the availability of qualified candidates for an array of positions.

For this to happen successfully, a massive training and skill formation movement across the state would have to be initiated simultaneously, targeting the SC/ST, OBC, minorities and economically backward members of upper castes.

It said the chamber was already focusing on social infrastructure transformation and had already committed to adopting 10 ITIs in the UP, where it would try to fill the currently vacant seats for SC/ST population.

It has also committed to work with SC/ST entrepreneurs across the country to further enhance their entrepreneurial capacity and management skills. It is looking closely at opening an entrepreneurial training centre in UP, targeting the SC/ST and other economically backward communities.

Dhoot said the unique features of the policy were that those who did not want to avail themselves of incentives and tax concessions from the state, did not fall under the purview of the job reservation policy.

He said the chamber had adopted a code of conduct for its 250,000 members from the large, medium and small-scale sectors and had started implementing the affirmative action on a voluntary basis.

Dhoot added that the industrial body had created a fund of Rs 5 crore for skill development and providing basic/higher education to the children from these sections of society.

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SC allows fresh inspection
More seats in medical, dental colleges
S. S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 11
Medical and dental colleges, with infrastructure and staff deficiencies for the seats sought to be increased by them from this academic year, have been given last opportunity by the Supreme Court to improve the deficiencies by month-end. The court has ordered a fresh inspection of these colleges by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India (DCI).

While allowing the MCI and the DCI to issue fresh notices to nearly 20 such medical colleges and around 10 dental colleges all over the country, a bench of Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan and R. V. Raveendran said the two regulatory bodies would submit their inspection reports to the union government by August 26.

The government was further allowed one week’s time to place the reports before the Infrastructure Examination Committee (IEC) of the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS) to consider the permission for enhancing the students strength if the deficiencies as pointed out by the MCI and the DCI earlier, were removed.

But, in the cases of new medical and dental colleges, to whom the regulatory bodies had refused to grant licences, the court declined to pass any order and adjourned hearing on their petitions for four weeks. The court was of the view that in the colleges, already functioning but found to have deficiencies in the range of 10 or 20 per cent for increased number of students intake, last opportunity to rectify them could be given. But, the same yardstick could not apply to the new colleges where entirely new infrastructure has to be created.

According to the renewed guidelines of the MCI, a medical college should have at least a minimum of 500-bed hospital for getting permission to start a college. In the case of a dental college the limit is 300-bed. The rules do not permit any compromise with the full staff strength and laboratory and other clinical facilities.

The court also supported the MCI stand and said no compromise on the medical education could be permitted as it concerned with the vital issue of human health and there could be no relaxation in the rules. “If the rules are not followed, even the money spent by private parties in opening the colleges will be a waste of national resources,” the court said, during the hour-long hearing on the issue on Friday.

Counsel of the MCI Harish Salve and Maninder Singh pointed out various glaring deficiencies in medical colleges. They pointed out that on inspection in a new college sought to be opened in Karnataka it was found that people from a nearby village were admitted overnight to show as patients and the degrees of doctors shown as teachers, were found to be fake.

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Ansari takes oath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
Mohammad Hamid Ansari today took oath as the 13th Vice-President of the country at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Ansari was administered the oath of office by President Pratibha Patil in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top leaders.

He succeeds Bhairon Singh Shekhawat who had resigned following his defeat in the presidential election on July 21.

Shekhawat attended the swearing-in function today.

An academician and a former diplomat, Ansari was declared elected as Vice-President yesterday.

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Sonia agrees to Dasmunsi as new PCC chief
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 11
Sonia Gandhi has finally agreed to nominate the union information minister, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi as the new Pradesh Congress (l) president in West Bengal.

He will formally take over the charge soon after the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha beginning from Monday, claimed the state party leaders, including Subrata Mukherjee, Abdul Mannan and Sankar Singh who met Gandhi last week in Delhi.

The AICC (l) is likely to announce Dasmunsi as the new WBPCC (l) chief shortly. Dasmunsi's followers further claimed that the union external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee also okayed Dasmunsi's appointment as the new party chief in Bengal.

The post of the WBPCC (l) president has been virtually lying vacant for the past few years following the resignation of the incumbent, the union external affairs minister.

Though Mukherjee's resignation was accepted in principle but still he had been requested to carry out the presidential work till the appointment of his successor. Mannan said Dasmunsi would be the right person to lead the party and properly combat the CPI (M) in the elections by uniting all the divergent groups in the WBPCC (l).

The AICC (l) sources said Dasmunsi's appointment would be temporary for the fighting the panchayat elections early next year by the party. The permanent WBPCC (l) president would be elected afterwards after seeing the party's performance in the coming panchayat polls.

It is learnt from the AICC (l) sources that Somen Mitra, the senior party MLA, who is also a former WBPCC (l) president, was initially considered for the WBPCC (l) president's post.

But due to the health ground, Mitra himself was unwilling. Mitra, a heart patient, had already undergone a by-pass surgery. He is now in London for treatment. However, Mitra's followers were strongly opposed to Dasmunsi to be the new party chief in the state.

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Wipro, Lockheed open lab
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, August 11
Lockheed Martin, world's largest defence contractor, in collaboration with India's leading IT company, Wipro Technologies, today opened Network Centric Operations Centre, named Ambar Jyoti, at Gurgaon. Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh, inaugurated the centre today. Rao Inderjit Singh said that he expected Ambar Jyoti would provide an opportunity for indigenous development and experimentation to identify future capabilities and requirements in network-centric operations for civil and military application. Wipro's new centre will look to leverage its embedded, telecom and enterprise expertise in creating data centric solutions for the future.

Rao said that as India was becoming the leading nation in the world for purchase of arms, the government was planning to start tender system rather than going for public undertakings. Chief Operating Officer of Wipro Technologies A.L. Rao said this experimentation and demonstration centre was first of its kind in India and the lab would develop, demonstrate and experiment with the emerging network-enabled capabilities and applications.

Lockheed South Asia president Rick Kirkland said this was the third lab of the company set up in the world. He said the company would explore the 'art of the possible' and prepare for network-centric operations of the future.

In the coming months, Lockheed Martin will network with Ambar Jyoti for similar centres across the globe so that an increased number of more complex, real-time, real-world demonstrations could take place in this Indian facility.

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Eco-friendly biopesticide for cotton bollworm
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) along with the Department of Biotechnology has developed a plant extract based biopesticide formulation Bollcure against cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), a common larvae affecting cotton crop yield. Since the formulation is a plant extract of Eucalyptus, TERI scientists say it is 100 per cent environment friendly and suitable for conventional, organic, Bt cotton and Integrated Pest Management crop practices.

Terming it a breakthrough research, TERI director-general R.K. Pachauri says that cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), being polyphagous in nature, is the major insect pest over 150 cash crop species and attacks many economically important crops such as cotton, pigeonpea, chickpea, tomato and sunflower.

Having a host range of more than 181 plant species, it is currently the most difficult insect to control because of its developed resistance to most of the commercially available insecticides. Due to its resistant nature toward pesticides, the prevalence of the insect is leading to economic burden of farmers.

“These facts reflect the seriousness of the Helicoverpa problem and consistent research at TERI has made a possible breakthrough. This emphasises the need for the development of management strategies that are less dependent on chemical insecticides and conducive to the development of resistance to present chemical control measures,” said Pachauri.

Taking up the challenge for developing a biopesticide to tackle the problem of H armigera infestation, TERI scientists began research in this area during the late 1990s.

As per TERI scientist Nutan Kaushik, it affects the growth of the bollworm larva resulting in reduction of larval weight up to 88 per cent, hence restricting the larvae population and resulting in ultimate death of the larva itself, thereby preventing the crop damage Station field trials were conducted at the Delhi-based Indian Agricultural Research Institute with American cotton and chickpea, to evaluate the bio-efficacy.

The results were a whopping increase up to 205 per cent. Since it is a plant extract of Eucalyptus, it is 100 per cent environment friendly, suitable for conventional, organic, Bt cotton and integrated pest management crop practices, apart from its mild anti-feeding. The product controls the bollworm complex of cotton. It is also effective against jassids, white fly, and spodoptera, says Kaushik. 

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Bloodshed a setback to peace effort
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 11
With the tribal militants of the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hill Liberation Front (KLNLF) killing 22 Hindi-speaking people within the last three days, it seems the ongoing peace process has been reduced to nothing more than a farce.

The front, which let loose a reign of terror in Karbi Anglong hill district of Assam, is a breakaway faction of the Karbi tribal militant group - United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) - which is now engaged in a peace process with the Indian government after signing a ceasefire pact about three-and-a-half-years back.

The UPDS had launched an armed struggle, demanding a separate homeland (‘hemprek’) for Karbi tribal community and is continuing to press for the same during the peace negotiations.

However, a section of the organisation was opposed to the peace process and signing of the truce pact. This section floated the KLNLF to continue with the ‘armed revolution’.

The front gained enough strength in the last three years to pose a serious threat to the peace process. 

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IIT student hangs himself

Mumbai, August 11
An IIT student allegedly committed suicide today by hanging himself in his hostel room, police said.

Balkrishna Gupta, who hailed from Kanpur, was found hanging inside room no. 129 of hostel number 12 in IIT’s sprawling campus located in Powai, they said. — PTI

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