SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

N-Deal
Sonia stands by her Man

New Delhi, August 14
Faced with intense pressure from the Left parties on the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh got some relief today when Congress president Sonia Gandhi came out to support him publicly on this issue and also congratulated him for the “accomplishment”.

PM to go public if Left doesn’t melt
New Delhi, August 14
If the current impasse between the UPA government and the Left parties over the Indo-US nuclear deal does not end soon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his senior colleagues are likely to approach the people directly to explain the benefits of this agreement and the shifting stand of the BJP and the Marxists on this issue.

No hope from Left: BJP
New Delhi, August 14
The BJP today expressed regret that despite opposition from 65 per cent of MPs to the Indo-US nuclear deal, the UPA government was going ahead with this “anti-national treaty”.


EARLIER STORIES


Bush dials Manmohan
New Delhi, August 14
US President George W Bush tonight called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and reviewed the status of Indo-US civil nuclear deal, emphasising that the country's independent foreign policy would remain unaffected.

Pratibha tells countrymen to chase their dreams
New Delhi, August 14
President Pratibha Patil, delivering her maiden address to the nation on the eve of 60 anniversary of the country’s independence, asked the countrymen to chase their dream of a prosperous India and gave a do-it-yourself tip: “Success must be the anthem of every nation’s awakening”.

Sena men trash Outlook office
Mumbai, August 14
Activists of the Shiv Sena today ransacked the Mumbai office of Outlook newsmagazine for the alleged portrayal of their leader Bal Thackeray in a poor light in one of its articles.

Editors Guild condemns attack
New Delhi, August 14
The Editors Guild of India, New Delhi, has condemned the attack on the Outlook office by members of the Shiv Sena.

Tricolour hoisted by Nehru missing?
New Delhi, August 14
As celebrations of 60 years of Independence begin across the country tomorrow, the national flags used on this historic occasion in 1947, including by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, appears to have gone missing.

3 to get Ashok Chakra posthumously
New Delhi, August 14
Col Vasanth Venugopal, who lost his life while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir just 15 days ago, has been awarded with the highest peacetime award, Ashok Chakra, by the President for his gallantry and valour.

PM’s Shram Awards for 65 workers
New Delhi, August 14
The government today announced the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards for the year 2005 to 65 workers, including six women, employed in the public and private sectors.However, no worker has been nominated for the highest Shram Ratna award.

Govt will not tolerate killings: Jaiswal
Guwahati, August 14
The 12-hour Assam bandh called by over 16 political and non-political organisations in protest against the killing of Hindi-speaking people by militants in Karbi Anglong district paralysed life throughout the state even as the Centre has expressed its intolerance to mindless killings.

Police medal for 17 CBI men
New Delhi, August 14
Seventeen CBI officers, including two SPs and four DIGs, will be awarded President’s police medal for distinguished service and police medal for meritorious service.

Fernandes escapes unhurt in accident
Krishnagar (West Bengal), August 14
NDA convenor and former defence minister George Fernandes today survived a major accident in Nadia district, some 80 km north-west of Kolkata.

NDA exam on Aug 19
New Delhi, August 14
The National Defence Academy and the Naval Academy Examination (II), 2007 will be held as per schedule on August 19, it was announced today.

Addition to SCs: Bill passed
New Delhi, August 14
The Parliament today passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order Amendment bill, 2007, which seeks to include more castes in the Scheduled Castes category. The bill already approved by the Lok Sabha, was passed unanimously by a voice vote by the Rajya Sabha today.

No interim pay hike for central govt staff
New Delhi, August 14
The Sixth Central Pay Commission does not intend awarding an interim hike in salaries of Central government employees, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha today.


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N-Deal
Sonia stands by her Man
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
Faced with intense pressure from the Left parties on the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh got some relief today when Congress president Sonia Gandhi came out to support him publicly on this issue and also congratulated him for the “accomplishment”.

“Our Government has entered into this agreement after tough negotiations. The agreement fulfils all the assurances that the Prime Minister has given repeatedly in Parliament," she said addressing the general body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) today.

"The objectives of the technological self-reliance and national sovereignty have been and will continue to be fully protected," she said and urged party MPs to actively communicate the benefits of this agreement to the public on the basis of the Prime Minister’s detailed statement made in Parliament yesterday.

Although the Congress Working Committee has already endorsed the deal, this is Gandhi’s first public statement after the recent row between the UPA and the Left over the nuclear agreement with the Marxists rejecting the nuke deal.

Today’s meeting also comes at a time when the CPM is slated to chart its next course of action at its politburo meeting over the week-end. The Prime Minister has already said the deal cannot be negotiated afresh and that the Left parties could walk out if they did not approve of this agreement.

Gandhi also came down heavily on the Opposition for disrupting the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday when he was not allowed to make a statement on the nuke deal.

“We are a democracy and differences in views are inevitable, but informed debate and discussion are the answer," she said, adding that unfortunately sloganeering and disruptions appear to have taken over.

In a pointed reference to the Srikrishna Commission report on the 1993 communal riots in Mumbai, Gandhi said she had discussed the matter with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who had assured her that definite action would be taken on its findings and that administrative action would not be discriminatory. Deshmukh found himself in the dock recently when Gandhi had expressed her unhappiness over the non-implementation of the commission’s recommendations following wide criticism that riot victims had not got justice as those responsible for the violence had not been booked.

Setting the agenda for the coming months, the Congress president asked party members to begin preparation for the year-end assembly elections in Gujarat which will be followed with polls in another four states. Stating that elections keeps everybody on their toes, Gandhi said the party was planning to hold a national convention of the party’s district Congress committees to be followed by a series of regional conventions of district and block committees.

Clearly aimed at bridging the party-government divide, Gandhi said these conventions will provide an opportunity to party office-bearers in districts and blocks to familiarise themselves more fully with the UPA government’s programmes and policies. On the other hand, this exercise will also help to get feedback from party functionaries on the implementation of the manifesto and common minimum programme.

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PM to go public if Left doesn’t melt
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
If the current impasse between the UPA government and the Left parties over the Indo-US nuclear deal does not end soon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his senior colleagues are likely to approach the people directly to explain the benefits of this agreement and the shifting stand of the BJP and the Marxists on this issue.

The UPA leadership’s first priority is to end the ongoing face-off for which it is personally contacting key Left leaders.

Dr Singh and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya separately while Congress president’s political secretary Ahmed Patel is also in touch with the Marxists as part of the damage control exercise.

However, the Congress is also drawing up plans to prepare for any contingency. Congress president Sonia Gandhi showed the way today when she told her party MPs to use the detailed statement made by the Prime Minister in Parliament to tell the people how the nuclear deal would help the country.

This has become necessary in view of the campaign unleashed by the Opposition and the Left parties accusing the Prime Minister of compromising India’s strategic interests by cosying up to the United States.

Reliable UPA sources said if it came to the crunch, the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet colleagues could go to the press with details of how the BJP-led NDA government had actually initiated this deal but has adopted a different position now that it was in the Opposition.

Similarly, it will explain how the Left parties had rejected this deal even though all its nine concerns had been accommodated in the final text of the agreement.

The UPA sources said the Prime Minister was particularly hurt by the Left’s rejection as it had not chosen to argue on the merits of the agreement but was giving it an ideological colour by objecting to India’s strategic alliance with the US.

“We will also tell the people about the NDA’s role in initiating the deal, Jaswant Singh’s talks with Strobe Talbott, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s speeches in Parliament on Indo-US ties and his declaration of a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing at the UNGA,” said a senior UPA minister.

Although the Congress is preparing to tell its side of the story, its MPs are worried that it will be difficult for them to “ sell this deal electorally” to the people while the anti-America campaign unleashed by the Left parties and the Third Front will find a ready audience, especially among the minorities.

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No hope from Left: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The BJP today expressed regret that despite opposition from 65 per cent of MPs to the Indo-US nuclear deal, the UPA government was going ahead with this “anti-national treaty”.

BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha V. K. Malhotra said the Indo-US nuclear deal issue came up during the parliamentary party meeting here which was addressed by leader of the opposition L. K. Advani.

Stating that there was no big hope from the Left, he said those parties opposing the nuclear deal should vote against the deal in the house and merely speaking against it would not serve any purpose.

Malhotra said the party also discussed the serious communal situation in Assam where the Hindi-speaking people were being killed by ULFA militants.

He alleged that a conspiracy was being hatched against the Hindi-speaking people in Assam in connivance with the state government to facilitate the rehabilitation of the Bangladeshis who were being evicted from Arunachal Pradesh to Assam.

The party had decided to send a fact-finding team on a two-day visit to Assam. When asked about the response to Advani’s telephonic conversation with CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, Malhotra said, “We do not have any big hope from them”.

A draft resolution calling for a vote on the nuclear pact was sent by Advani to Karat with the hope that those opposed to it would vote against it in Parliament, Malhotra quoted Advani as telling party MPs before today’s Parliament session.

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Bush dials Manmohan

New Delhi, August 14
US President George W Bush tonight called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and reviewed the status of Indo-US civil nuclear deal, emphasising that the country's independent foreign policy would remain unaffected.

During the telephonic conversation, Bush and Manmohan Singh also reviewed other aspects of the bilateral relations, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement here. They expressed satisfaction at the "mutually beneficial" and cordial relations currently existing between the two leaders, it said.

Bush conveyed the greetings of the government and people of the US on the 60th anniversary of India's independence. — PTI

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Pratibha tells countrymen to chase their dreams
Times News Service

New Delhi, August 14
President Pratibha Patil, delivering her maiden address to the nation on the eve of 60 anniversary of the country’s independence, asked the countrymen to chase their dream of a prosperous India and gave a do-it-yourself tip: “Success must be the anthem of every nation’s awakening”.

HIGHLIGHTS

Calls for a morally superior and clean administration to build a more vibrant India

Calls to expand opportunities for women in every field of activity

Asks agriculturists to formulate appropriate policies to make agriculture more rewarding

Expresses need for a supportive environment for the youths

Need to qualitatively improve health care system and good living conditions

Intensify cooperation to fight against global challenges of terrorism for international peace and security

Patil’s speech -- which carried references to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru, laid thrust on strengthening democracy and giving citizens of the country basic amenities like food, water, education and healthcare. She repeated Swami Vivekananda’s clarion call to the nation: “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached."

Patil said democracy in India had taken deep roots, but it could not be appreciated in its fullest glory if it were to be construed merely as a political arrangement. She advised that the real test lay in internalising the spirit of democracy and making it a habit of our minds.

Of still greater significance, she stressed, was that the framework of democratic governance and the reach of representative institutions had percolated down to the common man. “Our endeavour should be to stamp out the imperfections and entrench democratic decentralisation to ensure participative decision-making of the people in the planning process at the grassroots level to build a more vibrant India.”

A significant feature of India’s changing society, the President opined, was the ongoing transformation in the country’s demographic profile. She said needs, rights and expectations of the youth should be brought to the centre stage of development concerns.

“This casts a greater responsibility on our educational institutions at all levels to harmonise the cognitive faculties of our youth in the direction of the continued well-being of our nation,” Patil said in her take on education.

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Sena men trash Outlook office

Mumbai, August 14
Activists of the Shiv Sena today ransacked the Mumbai office of Outlook newsmagazine for the alleged portrayal of their leader Bal Thackeray in a poor light in one of its articles.

“Around 20 supporters allegedly belonging to the Shiv Sena stormed the office of the magazine at Raheja Chambers in the Nariman Point area this afternoon, apparently protesting over an article on the party chief in its latest issue,” a senior police official said.

“It was not very clear what the Sena activists were protesting about. We are checking the details,” he said.

The weekly in its special issue on the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence has an article on 60 heroes and villains — with Hindu right-wing Thackeray being clubbed as a villain.

Outlook journalists said the activists smashed a windowpane, snatched a telephone receiver from its cradle and tore several files and documents in the office.

“The protesters wanted to know why an article in the latest issue of the magazine had depicted their party chief Bal Thackeray in poor light,” an Outlook employee said. — IANS

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Editors Guild condemns attack
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The Editors Guild of India, New Delhi, has condemned the attack on the Outlook office by members of the Shiv Sena.

In a statement today, the guild termed the incident a direct attack on the freedom of press, especially in a democratic setup where political parties were duty-bound to eschew violence.

Miscreants questioning the right of media to publish critical comments was “unacceptable in a democratic setup”.

The guild has asked the Maharashtra government to provide protection to the magazine office and initiate legal proceedings against those who perpetrated the attack.

It has also asked the Shiv Sena take action against its members involved in the attack.

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Tricolour hoisted by Nehru missing?

New Delhi, August 14
As celebrations of 60 years of Independence begin across the country tomorrow, the national flags used on this historic occasion in 1947, including by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, appears to have gone missing.

At the stroke of midnight on August 14, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru had hoisted the first tricolour in the Central Hall of Parliament amid the presence of august audience including Lord Mountbatten.

The next day, a huge gathering witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack and the hoisting of Indian national flag amid thunderous applause at India Gate at 8.30 in the morning. The tricolour was also hoisted at Red Fort on August 16 morning.

However, 60 years down the line no one knows where these flags are. There is no official record available about the whereabouts of these flags nor is there any move to trace them.

The search at places which could possibly have these historic mementos drew a blank. The National Museum, Red Fort Museum, National Archives, Nehru Memorial, MEA Toshakahana, Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum and the museum in Parliament do not have the first Independence Day flags unfurled by Nehru.

The Ministry of Culture, which is coordinating the celebration of 60th year of Independence and 150 years of 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, is also clueless about the first flag of Independent India.

Union culture minister Ambika Soni said, "I-Day functions are handled by the Defence Ministry and they should trace it. If the flags are traced, then they could be showcased in our museum." — PTI

No flag hoisting in 500 villages

Jagdalpur: Flag hoisting ceremony will not be held in more than 500 villages in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Independence Day tomorrow, as these villages had been deserted and 157 schools in the area closed down due to the hostilities between Maoist Naxalites and security forces.

Residents of the deserted villages have taken shelter in about a dozen relief camps started by the state government.

About 3,000 students enrolled in 50 schools and 51 ‘anganwadi’ centres, who have been given shelter at the relief camp at Dornapal village, will together attend the flag hoisting ceremony at the camp, official sources said. — UNI

Memorial for flag designer

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha members today demanded a memorial in the national capital for designer of the national flag P. Venkatiah from Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.

Raising the issue during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha, TDP member R. Chandra Sekar Reddy on the 60th anniversary of independence, people should honour Venkatiah by building a memorial in his name.

Minister for parliamentary affairs Suresh Pachouri said he will apprise the government on the matter. — UNI

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3 to get Ashok Chakra posthumously
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
Col Vasanth Venugopal, who lost his life while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir just 15 days ago, has been awarded with the highest peacetime award, Ashok Chakra, by the President for his gallantry and valour.

Capt Harshan R of 2 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) and Naib Subedar Chunni Lal of 8 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry have also been honoured with Ashok Chakra posthumously. The President has also approved six Kirti Chakras and 20 Shaurya Chakras for armed forces personnel and others.

Colonel Venugopal of 9 Maratha Light Infantry, regiment of Chief of Army Staff Gen J.J. Singh, was the commanding officer of his battalion deployed along the Line of Control in Uri Sector. On July 31, he took the command of a body of troops to intercept a group of terrorists who were attempting to escape back across the LoC.

Out flanking the terrorists, Colonel Venugopal engaged them from close quarters, killing one of them but he himself was injured in the action. Unmindful of this, he exhorted his men to block all escape routes of the terrorists and killed two more of them before succumbing to his wounds. Eight foreign terrorists were killed in this operation. Earlier, in the same area he had led an operation from June 27 to 30 in which his battalion had eliminated four terrorists.

Capt. Harshan R killed two hardcore terrorists from close range in Lolab (North Kashmir) on March 20. For over two months preceding the operation, this gallant officer had been relentlessly tracking foreign terrorists.

The officer first killed one terrorist but suffered a gunshot wound on his thigh in the action. Unmindful of his injury, he went on to kill another terrorist but received another gunshot, this time on his neck. He later succumbed to his wounds.

Naib Subedar Chunni Lal who belonged to Bhaderwah in J&K killed three terrorists on June 24, before laying down his life in countering an infiltration bid by terrorists in Kupwara sector. This courageous junior commissioned officer was decorated twice for bravery on earlier occasions.

As a young soldier he had taken part in the capture of Bana Top in Siachen Glacier in 1987 for which he was awarded a Sena Medal. He was also awarded Vir Chakra for foiling an attempted intrusion in Poonch sector in 1999.

The Ashok Chakra is awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of Param Vir Chakra and is awarded for the “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice” other than in the face of the enemy.

Of six Kirti Chakras, four of them have been awarded posthumously. Those awarded Kirti Charka posthumously are Naik Radhakrishnan C from 10 MADRAS Regiment, Dayanand Pandey (Faizabad), Mohd. Shan Ahmed (Jhansi) and Tarun Kumar Dutta (Guwahati). The other Kirti Chakra winners are Capt Abhinav Handa of 9 Maratha Light Infantry and Lieut Pankaj Kumar of 7/11 Gorkha Rifles.

Amongst the 20 personnel awarded Shaurya Chakra, 19 of them belong to the Army and one from the Air Force. In this category nine personnel have been awarded Shaurya Chakra posthumously.

Those awarded posthumously are Naik Jyoti Prakash (Grenadiers/Rashtriya Rifles), Lance Naik Bhawan Singh (2 Para Regiment), Lance Naik Bachhav Shashikant Ganpat (9 Maratha Light Infantry), Lance Naik Ravinder Singh Malik (159 Infantry Battalion (TA)/Dogra Regiment), Sepoy Rahul Singh (4 Bihar Regiment), Sapper Babu Ram Veeranna Pattar (5 Engineer Regiment), Sapper Shinde Amachandra Shivaji (Engineers / Rashtriya Rifles), Sowar Sultan Singh (AC / Rashtriya Rifles) and Sergeant Jai Prakash Shukla (IAF).

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PM’s Shram Awards for 65 workers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The government today announced the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards for the year 2005 to 65 workers, including six women, employed in the public and private sectors.However, no worker has been nominated for the highest Shram Ratna award.

They will get awards in recognition of their distinguished performances, innovative abilities, outstanding contribution in the field of productivity and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind, an official release said.

The awardees include 46 workers from the public sector and 19 workers from the private sector.

Shram Bhushan

Five nominations (one nomination in lieu of Shram Ratna Award) have been adjudged as suitable for the Shram Bhushan Award each carrying a cash award of Rs.1,00,000 and a ‘Sanad’. The Shram Bhushan Awards for 2005 have been given to a team comprising A.D. Maria Paul Bosco and K. Indran (jointly) from Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Chennai; a team comprising Mirza Farid Baig, K.Chandra Sekhar Rao, K.V. Subba Rao, P. Gopal Reddy, P.S. Ramachander, P. Darshan, R. Surendran Nair, E. Narasing Rao, K. Chandra Shekhara Rao from Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad; C.V. Venkateswara Rao, Bharat Electronics Limited, Krishna district and Nagaraja, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore (jointly) (all from public sector) Mihir Roy Chowdhury from TISCO, Jamshedpur, and Ashok Devidas Bobade, Bajaj Auto Ltd., Aurangabad (both from private sector).

Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana

Twelve nominations have been selected for as many Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana Awards. Each award carries a cash award of Rs. 60,000 and a ‘Sanad’. One woman worker from public sector has been awarded Shram Veerangana Award. This year, no female worker from private sector was found suitable for Shram Veerangana Award.

Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana

Satya Pal Singh, BHEL, Haridwar; a team comprising Shrivas Chandra Saha, Syed Mushir Ahmad, Dinesh Akotkar, R. Prem Nath and Fanish Dhar Dwivedi from Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai, and a team comprising T. Rajendran and G. Kamaraj both from BHEL, Tiruchirappalli (jointly); Mishri Lal Chaudhari, Anta Gas Power Project, Baran (Rajasthan); a team comprising Sudhir Ranjan Sarkar, Mukul Chandra Paul, Ashok Kumar Laha, Vinod Kumar Kale, J.R. Dewangan all from Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai, and a team comprising Javvadi Brahmaji, Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam and M. Balachandran both from Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram (jointly); a team comprising G. Rajendra Prasad, D.M. Venkata Nagaraju, Mandava Lingaiah, T. Govinda Rao, M.B. Satya Kumar, P. Rammohan Rao all from Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad and Gopabandhu Dash, National Aluminium Company Limited, Angul, (jointly); K.V. Sree Devi, Research Centre Imarat, Hyderabad (all from public sector) Rameshchandra Dahyalal Panchal from Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Mumbai; Reginald Gregory Monserrate from Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Mumbai; Sheo Shankar Tiwari from TISCO, Jamshedpur; jointly to Prem Narain from Hindalco Industries Ltd. Sonebhadra (U.P.) and Ganpatsinh Amarsinh Padhiyar from Larsen & Toubro Limited, Surat; Biju V.J. from Apollo Tyres Ltd., Thrissur, Kerala and Jatin Hashmukhbhai Desai from Reliance Industries Ltd., Surat (jointly); Bibhuti Bhushan Mohapatra from TISCO, Jamshedpur (all from private sector).

Shram Shree/Shram Devi

Eighteen workers have shared 16 Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awards. They include five women who have been selected for Shram Devi Awards. Each award carries Rs.40,000 and a ‘Sanad’. The Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awardees are, Ramkishor Tripathi from BHEL, Bhopal and Bhagmal from BHEL, Haridwar; S. Ravi from BHEL, Ranipet (Tamil Nadu); Rajbir Singh from BHEL, Haridwar; Abdur Rouf Khan from Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd., Kagajnagar, Morigaon (Assam); P. Swarupa Rani from Bharat Electronics Ltd. Bangalore; Sobha B.K. from Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore; Anita Dhand from Diesel Loco Modernisation Works, Patiala; Mamta Upadhyay from ITI Limited, Mankapur, Gonda (all from public sector); Om Prakash Singh from TISCO, Jamshedpur; Warren Alexander Oliver from Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Mumbai; Kishor Giri from Shree Cement Limited, Ajmer; Santosh Sakharam Dalvi and M.S. Velaskar both from Reliance Energy Limited, Thane (jointly); S.D. Kokate from Bajaj Auto Ltd., Aurangabad; M. Harjibhai Gohel from Tata Chemicals Limited, Jamnagar; Harish Chandra Chaudhary from ITC Limited, Munger; Jasumati from TISCO, Jamshedpur (all from private sector).

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Govt will not tolerate killings: Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 14
The 12-hour Assam bandh called by over 16 political and non-political organisations in protest against the killing of Hindi-speaking people by militants in Karbi Anglong district paralysed life throughout the state even as the Centre has expressed its intolerance to mindless killings.

Union minister of state for home Sriprakash Jaiswal today visited violence-affected areas and reviewed the security arrangement at a meeting with officials at the district headquarters in Diphu.

Jaiswal told the media here that the Centre would not tolerate such heinous acts of killing of innocent people and sternest measures would taken be against those involved.

“The Centre will provide all help sought by the state government to tackle the situation,” he said.

The bandh call was supported by a 12-party forum of political and non-political parties, including Left parties, the All-Assam Students Union and the Kamrup Chambers of Commerce.

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Police medal for 17 CBI men

New Delhi, August 14
Seventeen CBI officers, including two SPs and four DIGs, will be awarded President’s police medal for distinguished service and police medal for meritorious service.

The officers to be honoured with the police medal are DIG, ACR, Kolkata, Anil Palta; DIG, AC-I, New Delhi, D.C. Jain; DIG BS&FC, Mumbai, S. Jagannathan; DIG, EO-III, New Delhi, Piyush Anand; SP of SCR-II, New Delhi, R R Sahay; SP, BS&FC, Mumbai, Easwaran Narayanan; Additional SP, BS&FC, Bangalore, Thomas John; DSP, EOU-IX, New Delhi S. Balasubramony; DSP, ACB, Chennai, S.B. Sankar; DSP, MDMA, New Delhi, N.K. Pathak; DSP, Interpol Wing, New Delhi, Rajeev Kumar Chadha; Inspector, EOU-V Vijay Kumar Shukla; Inspector, SCB, New Delhi, Kishan Singh Negi; Inspector, EOW, Chennai, Ayyaswamy Jothi Ramalingam; Sub-Inspector, ACB, Cochin, Puthiyaveetil Ibrahim Abdul Aziz; ASI, ACU-II, New Delhi, Mohd Samiullah; and ASI, ACU-I, New Delhi Ramji Singh Yadav. — UNI

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Fernandes escapes unhurt in accident

Krishnagar (West Bengal), August 14
NDA convenor and former defence minister George Fernandes today survived a major accident in Nadia district, some 80 km north-west of Kolkata.

The accident occurred when Fernandes was travelling in a car to attend a programme at Badurtala near Nadia's Kotwali police station, the police said.

As the police convoy's pilot car was trying to avoid hitting a tri-cycle van which had overtunred on the road, the pilot car came to a sudden stop giving Fernandes's car no time to apply brakes. As a result, Fernandes's car dashed against the pilot car, seriously damaging the front portion.

However, Fernandes escaped with minor injuries, official sources said.

Fernandes later attended the 10th foundation day function of Subendu Memorial Seva Pratishthan there. — UNI

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NDA exam on Aug 19

New Delhi, August 14
The National Defence Academy and the Naval Academy Examination (II), 2007 will be held as per schedule on August 19, it was announced today.

In a statement, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) said the examination would be held on August 19 and “there is no change in the schedule of this examination.” — UNI

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Addition to SCs: Bill passed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The Parliament today passed the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order Amendment bill, 2007, which seeks to include more castes in the Scheduled Castes category. The bill already approved by the Lok Sabha, was passed unanimously by a voice vote by the Rajya Sabha today.

Replying to the three-hour debate on the bill, minister for social justice and empowerment Meira Kumar said that despite the economic progress of the country, the condition of Scheduled Castes continues to be deplorable.

She said that the number of castes being categorised as Scheduled Castes has increased from 607 in 1950 to 1,206 and the bill is required as the process of including new castes into the original Constitutional lists of Scheduled Castes is complicated and difficult.

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No interim pay hike for central govt staff
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The Sixth Central Pay Commission does not intend awarding an interim hike in salaries of Central government employees, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply, Chidambaram said that the commission has informed the government that it expects to submit its final report within the stipulated date of April 4, 2008.

No interim report has therefore been contemplated.

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