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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Karnataka govt on verge of collapse
CM must resign today: BJP
Bangalore, October 1
The JD (S)-BJP coalition government is on the verge of collapse with negotiations between the coalition partners for a smooth transfer of power to the BJP failing today even as both parties are ready to adopt a hard line stance in a battle of nerves to see who blinks first.

UPA backs Karuna
Says we’ll do nothing to hurt TN government
New Delhi, October 1
The confrontation between the UPA government and the judiciary is likely to mount further with the Manmohan Singh government rallying behind the M Karunanidhi-led DMK government in Tamil Nadu, after the Supreme Court said the state government had violated its order banning a bandh today.
Karat: Judicial encroachment

Army needs image makeover, says new chief
New Delhi, October 1
The Army today ruled out any immediate curtailment of its role in the fight against terrorism while pointing out that in the face of growing instances of suicides and fratricides, besides cases of corruption, the force would need an image makeover.
New Chief of Army staff Gen Deepak Kapoor inspects a guard of honour at Army headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.
New Chief of Army staff Gen Deepak Kapoor inspects a guard of honour at Army headquarters in New Delhi on Monday. — AFP





EARLIER STORIES




Bima yojana for BPL families launched
New Delhi, October 1
Close on the heels of expanding the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme to the entire country, the government today launched an ambitious over Rs 750 crore Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for the BPL families, one of the three major schemes to benefit the 370 million people in the unorganised sector.

Panchkula, Mohali come under urban renewal mission
New Delhi, October 1
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) today gave its approval for including Panchkula and SAS Nagar (Mohali) in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Gorkha hill council to be set up
New Delhi, October 1
After Darjeeling cheered for Indian Idol Prashant Tamang, the Centre today it gave yet another reason to be happy by deciding to create an autonomous self-governing Gorkha hill council in the West Bengal district, thus meeting a long-standing demand of Darjeeling.

Achutanandan, Pinarayi reinducted into Politburo
Kolkata, October1
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan have been reinstated in the CPM Politburo with immediate effect. This was announced by CPM general secretary Prakash Karat after a three-day meeting of party Central Committee here.

Ex-MPs convicted in lynching case
Patna, October 1
A court today convicted former MP couple belonging to the ruling JD(U) and five others for the lynching of a district magistrate nearly 11 years ago.

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Karnataka govt on verge of collapse
CM must resign today: BJP
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, October 1
The JD (S)-BJP coalition government is on the verge of collapse with negotiations between the coalition partners for a smooth transfer of power to the BJP failing today even as both parties are ready to adopt a hard line stance in a battle of nerves to see who blinks first.

The JD (S) is set to take the issue of power transfer to the people and make it a public demand by holding a meeting of party workers on October 4 at the Palace Grounds here.

Disclosing this late tonight, party general secretary Y.S.V. Datta said the party workers meeting would decide the course the JD (S) should take on the issue of power transfer. “We are taking the party workers into confidence on the issue”, he said.

Meanwhile, the much-awaited meeting of the JD (S) state legislature party could not take place tonight. Datta said it could not happen because the Chief Minister and other ministers were busy in the Cabinet meeting scheduled late this evening. He said the party legislators would now meet tomorrow.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who has been apparently in the driver’s seat since seizing the opportunity given by allegations made by BJP tourism minister B. Sriramulu to suspend talks with the BJP, has again belittled his coalition partner by keeping senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on tenter hooks.

Sinha, who had been deputed by the BJP central leadership to hold talks with Gowda, was first kept waiting by the former Prime Minister and then presented a fait accompli during a short 10-minute meeting with Deve Gowda late last night. Gowda said state Chief Minsiter H.D. Kumaraswamy should be allowed to continue in office, besides announcing that the BJP’s choice for chief ministership of B.S. Yediyurappa was unacceptable to the JD (S).

A JD(S) leader issued a statement from Delhi stating the power transfer issue would now be decided by the parliamentary affairs committee (PAC) of the party, which would hold a meeting in this regard on October 5.

Meanwhile, for appearances sake, the JD (S) is now going through the motions of holding a meeting of its state legislature party this evening. There is intense speculation that the Chief Minister will submit his resignation to the state party president Meerujudin Patel even as the legislature party is likely to reject his resignation.

The BJP is now getting ready to bite the bullet tomorrow by holding a meeting of its own legislature party. State BJP president Sadanand Gowda made this clear during an interaction with newsmen here today and said all issues could be discussed only after the JD (S) handed over power to the BJP on October 3.

The possibility of Yashwant Sinha holding further talks with Gowda seem bleak with the BJP legislature party also set to harden its stance and even may opt for a mid-term election rather than letting Kumaraswamy continue as Chief Minister after October 3.

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UPA backs Karuna
Says we’ll do nothing to hurt TN government
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
The confrontation between the UPA government and the judiciary is likely to mount further with the Manmohan Singh government rallying behind the M Karunanidhi-led DMK government in Tamil Nadu, after the Supreme Court said the state government had violated its order banning a bandh today.

“We will do nothing to hurt the Tamil Nadu government. We are committed. They (DMK) are a part of our government. We will not disturb the state government remotely, directly or explicitly,” information and broadcasting minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters after the Cabinet briefing.

Dasmunsi was replying to a spate of questions on the apex court’s observations that if there was no compliance with its order on bandh, it will have to direct the government to impose President’s rule.

Stating that the issue did not figure in the Union Cabinet meeting, Dasmunsi said Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was “one of the stalwarts”, not just of the DMK but of the entire country.

He said the Chief Minister had begun a “fast and (is) not violating the court order. This is a non-violent response showing respect to Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals a day ahead of his birth anniversary.”

He said the DMK government had the right to express its views within the limits of the law and Constitution. “We cannot dance to the tune of the AIADMK,” Dasmunsi said.

Karunanidhi, he said, has set an example through his support and concern for the poorest of the poor, the scheduled castes and tribes, minorities and the downtrodden sections of the people.

He said the DMK and PMK are an integral part of the UPA and “we are committed to defend their interests.”

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Karat: Judicial encroachment

New Delhi, October 1
The Supreme Court’s order, restraining Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK from going ahead with the statewide bandh, drew angry reactions from the Congress ally and Left parties who said it was a “judicial encroachment uncalled for” and that courts must stay “within limits”. The communist parties also said such orders from the courts would logically lead to a situation where there will be a ban on all forms of protests and curtail the right to strike.

“This (order) is an uncalled for judicial encroachment. There cannot be any blanket prohibition on the right to strike,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters in Kolkata. “We do not agree with the Supreme Court.” Karat said.

Leader of the CPI D. Raja alleged that the apex court had crossed its jurisdiction and stressed that bandh is a democratic right to protest. — PTI

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Army needs image makeover, says new chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
The Army today ruled out any immediate curtailment of its role in the fight against terrorism while pointing out that in the face of growing instances of suicides and fratricides, besides cases of corruption, the force would need an image makeover.

Taking over the hot seat at South Block as the new Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor said though there was an improvement in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east, there cannot be any curtailment of the Army’s role in combating terrorism keeping in view the geo-political situation visa-vis the threat from terrorists.

“As and when things improve, we can take a fresh look on troop positions,” the new Army Chief said and asserted that the present strategy of pinpointed raids on militant hideouts in Jammu and Kashmir was paying dividends.

Gen Kapoor, who has served as Northern Army Commander for more than a year and is an artillery officer with the distinction of acquiring an MBA, said his thrust would be to make sure that the Army gets cutting edge tools to make it operationally ready to face futuristic digital wars.

Listing out his other priority areas, he said it would be to make the officers tech-savvy to operated new weapons being inducted, seek more meaningful synergy with the Navy and Air Force and an image makeover for his force.

Gen Kapoor admitted that artillery, a major component of the forces’ punch, had suffered a delay in modernisation.

“My efforts would be to float new international tenders for acquisition of towed 155mm.52 calibre guns as well as faster induction of wheeled and mounted similar guns,” he said.

The army chief stated that the new tenders would go to countries whose forces were inducting such guns.

He added that efforts were on to speed up enhanced firepower hand weapons for special forces, acquiring new battlefield and network centric radars and systems, more main battle tanks, new light and attack helicopters and armed and longer-range unmanned aerial vehicles.

Talking about the cases of suicides and fraticides, Gen Kapoor said these rising cases were a challenge and “I propose to tackle them head-on”. 

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Bima yojana for BPL families launched

New Delhi, October 1
Close on the heels of expanding the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme to the entire country, the government today launched an ambitious over Rs 750 crore Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for the BPL families, one of the three major schemes to benefit the 370 million people in the unorganised sector.

The other two projects which are to be unveiled are the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana and the Old-Age Pension Scheme. While the former will be launched in Shimla tomorrow on Gandhi Jayanti, the other will be launched later.

Releasing the guidelines for the Yojana, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said ''there would be no paucity of funds for the scheme, which would benefit over 30 million people.'' The beneficiaries will be issued Smart Cards which will facilitate cashless transaction up to Rs 30,000 so that the worker does not have to pay anything for seeking medical treatment.

The BPL worker and his family, five in total, will be covered under the scheme.

The Finance Minister said as many as 18 state governments had given their consent to be partners of the ''cashless scheme'' thereby meaning that the beneficiaries will not have to pay any premium at all.

He told reporters the scheme would become operational in 2008-09 as the states needed at least six months to identify the health and insurance providers.

''We would like the private institutions also to participate in the scheme,'' he said, adding that he wanted the scheme to come out as a ''model and outstanding scheme for the BPL families in the developing countries.''

To another question, the minister said the benefit was meant for the family of five members and not more. ''However, the family has to bear the cost of the Smart Card of one-time payment of Rs 30 only.'' Asked how the government will meet the 3.5 per cent of the budget deficit arising from the implementation of the scheme, Chidambaram said, ''We will meet all the targets.''

Labour and employment minister Oscar Fernandes denied that the government had mid-term polls on its mind.

The highlights of the Yojana are -- all the BPL families in the unorganised sector are to be covered in the next five years; the Centre is to contribute 75 per cent of the annual premium; the states are to give a share of 25 per cent; the administrative costs are to be borne by the state governments and all pre-existing diseases are to be covered.

Meanwhile, in a measure likely to bring some relief to the elderly, specially those from BPL families, Chidambaram today announced that from November 19 a monthly amount of Rs 400 would be given as social security to all elderly above the age of 60 belonging to BPL families. — UNI

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Panchkula, Mohali come under urban renewal mission
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) today gave its approval for including Panchkula and SAS Nagar (Mohali) in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The CCEA headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave its approval for including these two towns, as they are “entirely in continuum to Chandigarh and in fact, are spill over of the growth of Chandigarh.”

It also approved Raipur, a satellite city, to be included in the urban agglomeration of Chhatisgarh State Capital, so that simultaneous cohesive development of Naya Raipur, alongwith existing city of Raipur, is possible. Presently, total area of Naya Raipur comprises 41 villages.

Infrastructure develop-ment of both Panchkula and Mohali would be possible through JNNURM funds along with JNNURM City of Chandigarh.

Last week, Urban Development minister Jaipal Reddy had stated that the government plans to earmark Rs 50,000 crore for urban local bodies in a bid to facilitate rapid urban development in the country.

Under the JNNURM mission nearly 248 projects are being implemented in 63 cities with a total outlay of about Rs 21,500 crore, he said.

The mission is reform-driven and aims at promoting sustainable cities by improving service-delivery, governance, transparency, respon-siveness, financial management and land and property management.

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Gorkha hill council to be set up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
After Darjeeling cheered for Indian Idol Prashant Tamang, the Centre today it gave yet another reason to be happy by deciding to create an autonomous self-governing Gorkha hill council in the West Bengal district, thus meeting a long-standing demand of Darjeeling.

A meeting of the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved amendment of the Constitution for creating a new council for the hill areas of Darjeeling under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, information and broadcasting minister P R Dasmunsi said here.

He said a bill, to amend Articles 244 and 332 and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, would be brought in the winter session.

The CCEA gave its approval for modified special accelerated road development programme for north-eastern region (NER). It would involve improvement and widening of roads to connect state capitals and district headquarters of the NER and will also provide connectivity to remote and backward areas, industrial places and neighbouring countries.

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Achutanandan, Pinarayi reinducted into Politburo

Kolkata, October1
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan have been reinstated in the CPM Politburo with immediate effect. This was announced by CPM general secretary Prakash Karat after a three-day meeting of party Central Committee here.

“The suspension of the two leaders has been revoked. They have conducted themselves in accordance with the spirit of the earlier Central Committee decision and now they were reinstated in the Politburo with immediate effect,” Karat told reporters.

The Politburo cracked the whip against two of its senior members on May 26 after holding that their conduct of openly criticising each other through the media was unacceptable. The Central Committee had approved the decision a month later. The suspension was seen as an attempt to rein in the two top leaders, the protagonists of the much-publicised factional feud, which has come as an embarrassment to the party that prides itself on discipline. — PTI

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Ex-MPs convicted in lynching case

Patna, October 1
A court today convicted former MP couple belonging to the ruling JD(U) and five others for the lynching of a district magistrate nearly 11 years ago.

Those convicted are JD(U) MP’s Anand Mohan and Lovely Anand, JD(U) MLA from Lalganj, Vijay Kumar Shukla, former MLA Akhlaq Ahmed, Shashi Shekhar and Arun Kumar Sinha. The judge also convicted Mohan, Lovely Anand and Arun Kumar Sinha under Section 109 (abetment) of the IPC.

Krishnaiah, the then district magistrate of Gopalganj, was lynched by a mob accompaning the cortege of Bihar People’s Party (BPP) leader Chotan Shukla on December 5, 1994. — PTI

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