SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Nuclear Deal
Govt keen to clinch pact with IAEA

New Delhi, October 8
Undeterred by the Left’s stout opposition to the proposed Indo-US nuclear deal for civilian purposes and the prospects of a snap general election looming large, the Congress-led UPA government appears to have made up its mind in going ahead with the various steps involved in concluding the 123 Agreement by the mid of next year.

Law planned to protect children’s rights
New Delhi, October 8
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has proposed the creation of a law that will ensure that every child in the country gets nutrition, immunisation and education.

IAF — Young and flying high at 75
New Delhi, October 8
Guardian of the Indian skies, the Indian Air Force today turned 75 years young with a vision to enhance its strategic reach and become a force to reckon with globally.
Surya Kiran jets fly in formation during the Air Force Day Parade 2007 at the Air Force Station, Hindon, Ghaziabad
Surya Kiran jets fly in formation during the Air Force Day Parade 2007 at the Air Force Station, Hindon, Ghaziabad, on Monday. The Indian Air Force is celebrating its 75th anniversary year.
— Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui








EARLIER STORIES


Maya’s bouquet of Rs 3,987 cr schemes

Kanshi Ram’s death anniversary today
Lucknow, October 8
Mayawati government today announced to give to the people of the state a bouquet of 12 ambitious schemes worth Rs 3,987 crore tomorrow on the occasion of the first death anniversary of the BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
CM the mafia queen, says Amar Singh
Lucknow, October 8
Describing Chief Minister Mayawati as a “mafia queen” Samajwadi Party national general secretary Amar Singh charged her of pursuing SP workers as members of a rival mafia gang.

Remark not against Nitish
govt, clarifies Fernandes

New Delhi, October 8
NDA convener and former Janata Dal (United) president George Fernandes today clarified that he did not demand the ouster of Nitish Kumar government. In a clarification issued here today, Fernandes said his remarks were meant for the UPA government at the Centre and not the Bihar government.

SC orders shifting of 35 Pakistanis to J & K jails
New Delhi, October 8
Thirtyfive Pakistanis lodged in various jails of the country as undertrial prisoners were today ordered to be transferred to jails in Jammu and Kashmir by the Supreme Court with giving a deadline of nine months to complete their trial.

HC asks Delhi govt to place plan
Phasing out of ‘killer buses’ from city roads
New Delhi, October 8
Taking serious note of Delhi government’s failure to discipline the errant drivers of Capital’s private Blueline buses, which this year alone have crushed 94 persons to death, the Delhi High Court today gave four weeks’ time to the Sheila Dikshit’s government to present a comprehensive plan to phase out the “killer buses” out.

Hiking rent is fundamental right of landlord: HC
Allahabad, October 8
The Allahabad High Court has ruled that enhancement of rent is a fundamental right of a landlord and thus a notice may be served upon a statutory tenant asking him to enhance and pay the rent/compensation at the prevaling market rate.

Bail to Navy War Room leak accused
New Delhi, October 8
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to Vinod Kumar Jha, an accused in the Navy War Room leak case, on the ground that no charge had been framed against him till date.

Navy begins deployment of BrahMos
Mumbai, October 8
The Indian Navy has begun the deployment of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on its warships. The missile, developed jointly by India and Russia, has been installed on INS Rajput and the process of installing it on INS Ranjit is on, say naval officials.

Punjab, Haryana have bad monsoon for second year in row
New Delhi, October 8
For the second consecutive year, the agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana have experienced deficient monsoon rain, giving rise to drought-like situation in the region. The IMD has attributed this to the fact that this year rain-giving systems formed over Bay of Bengal moved towards Gujarat rather than northwest India.

Villagers face frequent landslides
Dehra Dun, October 8
About half dozen villages on the periphery of the Tehri Dam reservoir need to be relocated as their residents are facing danger of frequent landslides, a phenomenon whose occurrence is being linked to formation of such a huge water body.

Bansal for promoting good children’s literature
New Delhi, October 8
Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today felt the need for promoting good children’s literature to inculcate in them habit of reading, patriotism and social values as they today faced an assault from TV dishing out substandard programmes not so healthy for their growth as good citizens.

One killed in Nandigram
Nandigram, October 8
At least one person was killed and three were injured in an exchange of fire between the Trinamool-sponsored Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) and CPM supporters here today.

Pregnant woman attacked, five arrested
Kozhikode, October 8
A pregnant woman was thrashed and punched in mob fury after she was accused of a theft in a village in Malappuram district in Kerala and her dress torn too in the search for a stolen anklet.

1 held, 138 kg charas seized
Lucknow, October 8
With the arrest of a 33-year old man of Nepali origin and recovery of 138 kg of high-quality charas worth Rs 1.25 crore in the international drug market from him, the Special Task Force today claimed to have busted an international drug mafia.

Jagjit Singh hospitalised
Mumbai, October 8
Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh was today admitted to the Bombay Hospital after he complained of severe headache and weakness.

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Nuclear Deal
Govt keen to clinch pact with IAEA
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Undeterred by the Left’s stout opposition to the proposed Indo-US nuclear deal for civilian purposes and the prospects of a snap general election looming large, the Congress-led UPA government appears to have made up its mind in going ahead with the various steps involved in concluding the 123 Agreement by the mid of next year.

Indications of the government being convinced of the Indo-US nuclear deal being in the country’s national interest with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scheduled to hold talks with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed El Baradei later this week on Thursday.

The UPA government like the George Bush administration in Washington believes that time is of essence in concluding the deal and ending India’s isolation in the sphere of nuclear commerce for more than three decades.

Authoritative sources stressed that the government has had no formal discussions with the IAEA so far though there might have been informal consultations.

The PM is expected to meet El Baradei over a lunch on Thursday, which can set the tone for the negotiations with the IAEA on phased safeguards for 14 of its civilian nuclear reactors.

The government has submitted a non-paper to the IAEA and is keen to clinch the safeguards agreement providing for India specific fuel guarantees expected to be completed by the end of this month. This time table as envisaged earlier will facilitate discussions with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) towards the later part of November.

With the completion of these two steps, the 123 bilateral agreement will be presented to the US Congress for an up-and-down vote. If India sticks to the October end deadline for the IAEA negotiations, there is a strong likelihood that the deal providing New Delhi access to global nuclear technology and fuel could be operationalised by the mid-summer next year.

El Baradei, who supports the historic Indo-US nuclear deal, arrives in Mumbai tonight and begins his official engagements in the Western metropolis tomorrow by visiting the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

In another significant development, Mukherjee is scheduled to visit Moscow, an influential member of the 45-member NSG, beginning Thursday to assure Russia that New Delhi’s growing ties with Washington will not be at the expense of time-tested friends.

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SC dismisses another PIL

New Delhi, October 8
The Supreme Court today dismissed yet another petition seeking a direction to the government to get the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal ratified by Parliament, saying it was purely a policy decision and do not require judicial intervention.

A Mumbai-based technocrat M.N. Ramamurthy, arguing his PIL personally, said he was fully aware that the court could not issue a direction to Parliament to take up the matter for debate but it was fully competent to issue a direction to the government to place it before the legislature for detailed discussion as a majority of MPs also wanted it.

He said a large number of MPs had demanded a discussion in the Lok Sabha under Rule 184 but their request was not accepted by the Speaker even when a “majority” of MPs had expressed their opinion against the deal. — TNS

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Law planned to protect children’s rights
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has proposed the creation of a law that will ensure that every child in the country gets nutrition, immunisation and education. The proposed legal framework will also provide for maternal entitlements to enable a mother to breast feed her child.

NCPCR chairperson Shantha Sinha said a law was required to take punitive action if children in a village had not been immunised for months together due to the absence of an auxiliary nurse midwife or required doses.

Child rights experts, who began a two-day national consultation on giving a legal backing to areas like basic health and nutrition, protection measures, early childhood care and education to children in the zero to six age group, are also recommending punitive action in case of any lapse.

There should be law that guarantees protection of children of informal sectors and migrant workers, Sinha said, adding that the meeting would discuss about core sectors that were important for children in the zero to six age group and make recommendations to the government to include them in the existing legal framework.

Inaugurating the National Consultation, minister for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury said it was easy to turn government policies to laws but difficult to ensure that they were implemented. She backed the commission’s initiative and said the ministry’s proposal to have compulsory registration of marriages was aimed at empowering a woman legally to ensure that she was not malnourished and could give birth to her child not bowing to pressures of the family on female foeticide.

Stressing the need of monitoring various child welfare programmes at the district level, Chowdhury said the government in partnership with the private sector would take up a campaign for sensitisation and awareness about the rights of children. The ministry had also requested the Planning Commission to consider significant increase for child nutrition under the ICDS during the 11th Plan, she added.

The two-day meeting is being attended by representatives of the Planning Commission, UN agency, medical experts, child experts and NGOs. Briefing about objectives of the meeting, Sinha said there was a need for legal instruments to provide all essential services that would enable children to have access to health, nutrition, care and protection.

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IAF — Young and flying high at 75
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
Guardian of the Indian skies, the Indian Air Force (IAF) today turned 75 years young with a vision to enhance its strategic reach and become a force to reckon with globally.

“Our vision is to achieve strategic reach, enabling our combat and support forces to deploy rapidly within the strategic boundaries that are in consonance with India's national interests,” Chief of Air Staff Air

Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said at a ceremonial parade at the Hindon air base on the outskirts of Capital to mark the platinum jubilee.

Addressing his force commanders, officers and men, the Chief of Air Staff also pledged to ensure that IAF attained greater heights through an ambitious modernisation drive.

“State-of-the-art weaponry, communications systems, networking and technology enhancements are truly making the IAF a global force to reckon with,” Air Chief Marshal Major said.

He noted that the IAF of the future “will increasingly be called upon to ensure the inviolability of India’s enhanced strategic borders” that now extend from the Straits of Hormuz to the Straits of Malacca and include the Central Asian region.

“One year is too short a time for technological transformation, but progress is noticeable on all fronts. The process for acquisition of the MMRCA has begun. The Su-30 project is on track. The first of the Hawk AJTs arrive in a month and the AWACS will be with us next year. Additional Dorniers and VIP Boeings will join the fleet”, he added.

Contracts will soon be signed for six Hercules C-130Js, 80 Mi-17 1Vs and 54 ALHs. Joint design and development of a fifth generation fighter and a medium transport aircraft are being negotiated. The first LCA Sqn should be operational by 2010, Air Chief Marshal Major said.

The Air Chief said modernisation plans include upgrades, to enhance the lethality and life of existing fleets. The MiG-27 and Jaguar upgrades are almost complete. The MiG 29 and Mirage-2000 upgrades are under negotiation. IL-76, AN-32 and the helicopter fleet upgrades will follow soon.

Air defence will be significantly strengthened with modern weapon-systems and sensors, including the AWACS and Aerostats. Integration of civil radars will commence next year, for gap-free surveillance of the entire Indian airspace. Force-multipliers, air dominance fighters and a converged, secure ‘Combat Communications Network’ will fundamentally alter the IAF’s Air Defence doctrine, he said.

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Maya’s bouquet of Rs 3,987 cr schemes
Kanshi Ram’s death anniversary today

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 8
Mayawati government today announced to give to the people of the state a bouquet of 12 ambitious schemes worth Rs 3,987 crore tomorrow on the occasion of the first death anniversary of the BSP founder Kanshi Ram.

Announcing this at a press conference principal secretary to the Chief Minister Shailesh Krishna said these schemes would be formally launched by the Chief Minister at a rally organised to mark the first death anniversary of the BSP founder.

He also shared the decision of the BSP government to declare March 15, birth anniversary of Kanshi Ram, as a public holiday under the 'Negotiable Instruments Act'.

Incidentally, his first death anniversary has already been declared a public holiday in Lucknow in view of the party’s proposed “Aagey Badho, Sawdhan raho” rally to be held at the newly constructed 50-acre Rama Devi Ambedkar Maidan on the outskirts of the city.

One of the projects to be formally launched tomorrow is the Rs 253 crore Kanshi Ram Memorial. To be developed on a 60-acre area on jail road, the memorial will even have a 18-foot high bronze statue of Mayawati besides that of her mentor Kanshi Ram.

Similarly, a 100-acre Kanshi Ram Smriti Upvan worth Rs 30 crore is proposed to be developed on Bijnore road near Bangla Bazar in Lucknow. On both sides of the statue 28-foot high bronze fountains will be set up. A magnificent gate with two 15-foot high elephant statues on either side will form a grand entrance to the upvan.

Other commemorative projects include a museum, a rest house, a 500-bed multi-speciality hospital, international convention centre, park, international sports award and a children’s hospital.

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CM the mafia queen, says Amar Singh
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 8
Describing Chief Minister Mayawati as a “mafia queen” Samajwadi Party national general secretary Amar Singh charged her of pursuing SP workers as members of a rival mafia gang. Addressing a press conference at the SP headquarters today, the senior SP leader known for his caustic tongue, said that setting aside democratic norms of respecting the role of the opposition, the BSP supremo has based her politics on the twin agenda of “revenge and hatred”.

Elaborating his charges, he pointed out that during the campaign itself Mayawati did not mince words and reiterated her resolve to send him and her main political opponent the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to jail.

Matching her words with deeds she had managed to get approximately 10,000 false FIRs registered against Samajwadi Party workers across the state, charged the party general secretary.

Comparing Mayawati’s politics with Yadav, Singh, in his tongue-in-cheek style, said that everyone could vouch for the fact that during the SP rule Mayawati was neither “touched nor manhandled”. He said that while his party had further strengthened her security she was hell-bent on withdrawing the security to SP leaders. Admitting that his party had decided to respect the peoples’ verdict and lie low for six months the SP leader said that however, Mayawati was giving them one reason after another to come out on the streets.

Charging Mayawati of maligning women recruits to the police services, Singh held that there may have been some irregularities in the recruitment but setting aside the whole process in the name of a “scam” was simply political vendetta.

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Remark not against Nitish govt, clarifies Fernandes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
NDA convener and former Janata Dal (United) president George Fernandes today clarified that he did not demand the ouster of Nitish Kumar government.

In a clarification issued here today, Fernandes said his remarks were meant for the UPA government at the Centre and not the Bihar government. “My mind is always focused against the UPA government and my response referred to that government and not to the Bihar government.''

Fernandes was quoted by the media as saying that the Nitish Kumar government should go. The remark was made in the course of an interaction with mediapersons outside Beur Jail in Patna where he had gone to meet former party MP Anand Mohan. Mohan has been given death sentence by a trial court in Patna in a 13-year-old case of the murder of former Gopalganj District Magistrate G. Krishnaiah.

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SC orders shifting of 35 Pakistanis to J & K jails
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 8
Thirtyfive Pakistanis lodged in various jails of the country as undertrial prisoners were today ordered to be transferred to jails in Jammu and Kashmir by the Supreme Court with giving a deadline of nine months to complete their trial.

A Bench of Justices B.N Agrawal and P.P Naolekar, scrutinising the cases of Pakistani prisoners lodged in various jails in the country either after completion of their sentence or where the trial proceedings were yet to be completed, also ordered deportation of one more Pak national, who had undergone the punishment.

With this, the total number of Pakistani nationals ordered to be deported by the court came to 10 as the Bench last week had cleared the extradition of 9 others.

The court directed the Centre that all the 35 undertrials be shifted to Jammu and Kashmir within a month and the prosecution would take every step to complete the trial proceedings within nine months thereafter.

Since the Centre had not received any communication and records from Jammu and Kashmir Government about the deportation proceedings of the nine, for which the court had issued orders last week, fresh direction was issued to the state today to expedite it to ensure their early extradition.

After the court’s earlier orders, four Pakistanis were deported last week after they had completed the sentence awarded to them by different courts in India.

The court was hearing a PIL by Panthers Party president Bhim Singh, who had taken up the issue of over 50 Pakistani prisoners lodged in various jails in the country either after completing their sentence or are still awaiting trial.

Bhim Singh had sought deportation of those Pakistanis who had completed the sentence and expeditious trial of those who were still languishing in jail as undertrials.

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HC asks Delhi govt to place plan
Phasing out of ‘killer buses’ from city roads

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 8
Taking serious note of Delhi government’s failure to discipline the errant drivers of Capital’s private Blueline buses, which this year alone have crushed 94 persons to death, the Delhi High Court today gave four weeks’ time to the Sheila Dikshit’s government to present a comprehensive plan to phase out the “killer buses” out.

The direction was issued by a Bench of Justices Mukul Mudgal and Reva Khetrapal, a day after a Blueline bus had knocked down 18 persons in South Delhi and seven of them, including a four-year-old child, had died on the spot.

While giving the government time till October 11 to respond, the court issued the direction while accepting the plea of amicus curiae, Anup Bhambani, who sought an urgent direction in view of yesterday’s ghastly incident.

While making a mention of the matter, he said it required urgent consideration by the court which is already seized of the issue.

The court earlier had given time to the government to come out with its plan by December 15 to reduce the number of Blueline buses but yesterday’s incident prompted it to hasten the process.

But the court at the same time directed the government to take simultaneous measures to provide workable transport facilities to commuters as the killer buses’ phase out plan could not be allowed at their cost.

It was the duty and obligation of the government to provide tot the commuters an efficient transport system, the court said.

“There should be alternate arrangement for the cancellation of every permit of the Blueline bus… there should be a ready replacement,” the court said, terming the yesterday’s incident as “shocking”.

As it was believed that majority of buses were owned by MLAs and corporators, the government was directed to furnish complete list of the owners of these buses, particularly of the MPs and MLAs.

It is alleged that due to the political patronage, the police and transport authority was not able to do much to discipline the errant drivers and take strict action against them.

The Blueline buses have become a menace in the city due to stiff competition among the drivers to reach the next stop first in order to take in maximum number of passengers.

Since the buses are being run purely by individuals as an “unorganised sector” the inception of the scheme from the very beginning, had been questioned by several social organisations.

Even a massive drive by the government to check the permits of the buses, ensuring two drivers for different shifts, a qualified conductor and above all fitting the buses with speed-governors to limit the speed to 40-km, had yielded little results and the knocking down of the pedestrians, two-wheeler riders and ramming into other vehicles continued unabated.

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Hiking rent is fundamental right of landlord: HC

Allahabad, October 8
The Allahabad High Court has ruled that enhancement of rent is a fundamental right of a landlord and thus a notice may be served upon a statutory tenant asking him to enhance and pay the rent/compensation at the prevaling market rate.

On failure of the tenant to do so, a suit for the recovery of arrears and compensation at the said enhanced rent and eviction may successfully be filed, the court said .

Giving the ruling, Justice Rakesh Tiwari was of the view that the freezing of rent at the level of 1972, when the Rent Act came in force, under the U.P. Act No 13 of 1972 was irrational.

“The Act has become unworkable and after the decision of Milap Chand Jain’s case (decided in 2001 by which many provisions of the Act namely Section 3 (8), 4(2), 5, 6, 8 and 9 relating to fixation of rent were declared ultra vires) there is no restriction upon the landlord in enhancement of rent”, the court said.

The question for consideration before the court was whether the high court in exercise of its powers under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution can enhance the standerd rent initially determined in cases where the landlord has lost from lower courts in the suit pertaining to rent and eviction. — PTI

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Bail to Navy War Room leak accused

New Delhi, October 8
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to Vinod Kumar Jha, an accused in the Navy War Room leak case, on the ground that no charge had been framed against him till date.

Justice Pradeep Nadrajog, however, asked Jha to surrender his passport and inform the investigating officer about his residence besides issuing directions to him to visit the police station once in two months and not to influence any witness in the case.

The court granted bail to Jha, who has been in judicial custody after his arrest on April 6, 2006, on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of the like amount.

Jha, the sacked Commander of Indian Navy, sought bail on the ground that he was arrested by the CBI in April last year and the agency had failed to recover any incriminating document from his possession during the investigation.

He also claimed that he had a glorious career as a result of which he was awarded the Surya Chakra.

Alleging that the Navy had tortured him severely for the alleged offence of adopting a careless attitude in taking care of the classified defence documents, he contended that he was wrongly dismissed by the department. — PTI

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Navy begins deployment of BrahMos
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 8
The Indian Navy has begun the deployment of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on its warships. The missile, developed jointly by India and Russia, has been installed on INS Rajput and the process of installing it on INS Ranjit is on, say naval officials. In all, BrahMos will be deployed on eight warships and each ship will carry four missiles, two on their either side.

According to a presentation made recently by the DRDO at the IIT, Powai, BrahMos carry a payload of 500 kg. The 8-metre-long missile has a diameter of 70 cm and a range of 300 km. DRDO officials said the range of the missile had been limited because of the international missile control regime.

BrahMos has a built in navigation system that is equipped with three gyroscopes and three accelerometers which help the missile to function on a “fire-and-forget” mode. In other words, it does not need to be controlled once it is fired.

The missile can be equipped with two warheads. While one explodes on contact, the other penetrates the target by impact and then explodes a few milliseconds later thereby inflicting greater damage on the target. BrahMos is also equipped with anti-jamming system which enables it to escape decoys and hit the target.

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Punjab, Haryana have bad monsoon for second year in row
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
For the second consecutive year, the agrarian states of Punjab and Haryana have experienced deficient monsoon rain, giving rise to drought-like situation in the region. The IMD has attributed this to the fact that this year rain-giving systems formed over Bay of Bengal moved towards Gujarat rather than northwest India.

" The reason why the northwest experienced moderate drought conditions despite the country as a whole getting 5 per cent excess rain is because monsoon systems largely moved towards Gujarat than northwest India," says IMD director B.P. Yadav.

According to the southwest monsoon end-of-the-season report card for 2007, five out of 36 meteorological subdivisions in the country-West Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, Punjab, HP and east Madhya Pradesh-experienced deficient rainfall this season. The northwest India, comprising Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Delhi, West UP and Rajasthan, received 520 mm rain against a normal of 611.6 mm, resulting in a percentage departure of minus 15 per cent.

In the region, the worst hit were West Utter Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

But the country as a whole received very good rainfall, 105 per cent of the long period average (LPA) between June 1 and September 30.

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Villagers face frequent landslides
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 8
About half dozen villages on the periphery of the Tehri Dam reservoir need to be relocated as their residents are facing danger of frequent landslides, a phenomenon whose occurrence is being linked to formation of such a huge water body.

Even as no loss of life and property has been reported so far, area legislator Vijay Pal Singh Panwar has taken up the matter with the government as well as the Tehri Dam authorities."At least half dozen villages are under threat of landslides and need to be immediately rehabilitated," he told The Tribune. This monsoon the reservoir was filled up to a level of more than 815 metre above the sea level that turned it into a 42 sq km water body believed to the largest one in Asia. Besides Tehri town, more than 35 villages and dozens of bridges got submerged into it. Water can be stored up to 835 metres.

Even as the people living in the villages around it are living in fear of recurring landslides, the scientists of Geological Survey of India opined that landslides are usual, natural phenomenon, which can be triggered by formation such a water body. ‘‘We would prepare a report on this after studying the behaviour of rocks in the area for a year,” said GSI director Dr.PC Navani. He did not rule out more landslides in winter months as water starts receding then.

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Bansal for promoting good children’s literature
Tribune News Service

Minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal presents Smt Ratan Sharma memorial award to Bilas Bihari in New Delhi
Minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal presents Smt Ratan Sharma memorial award to Bilas Bihari in New Delhi. — A Tribune photograph

New Delhi, October 8
Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today felt the need for promoting good children’s literature to inculcate in them habit of reading, patriotism and social values as they today faced an assault from TV dishing out substandard programmes not so healthy for their growth as good citizens.

The minister was speaking at a function organised to honour Hindi author Bilas Bihari with the 13th Smt Rattan Sharma Memorial award for his book “Aath Hazaar Varsh Ka Balak”, a mixture of a child’s courage and scientific temperament.

The award is given by Dr Rattan Lal Sharma Memorial Trust every year to promote good and healthy children’s literature.

The award carries a sum of Rs 31,000 in cash and a memento. Bilas Bihari, who started much later as an author has made a place for himself in children’s literature within a short span of time. He has written several books for children.

Bansal expressed happiness that children’s literature was being encouraged and lauded the role of the trust in promoting it. “There is need to inculcate the spirit of patriotism and social values in children,” the minister said.

Bilas Bihari, who retired as a government servant told how he was encouraged to write for children. Author Pratap Bhanu Sharma, Kamal Kishore Goyal and trust’s chief Shalabh Sharma were among those who attended the function.

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One killed in Nandigram

Nandigram, October 8
At least one person was killed and three were injured in an exchange of fire between the Trinamool-sponsored Bhoomi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) and CPM supporters here today.

Police said CPM local committee member Manas Mondal was allegedly shot dead by BUPC activists at Kalagachia near here. Other injured had been admitted to different hospitals at Tamluk and Nandigram, while one was shifted to the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, CPM supporters have called a 12-hour bandh tomorrow at Khejuri to protest the killing.

Thousands of Trinamool supporters gheraoed Tamluk Additional Superintendent of Police Debashish Baral and Egra SDPO Biswajit Ghosh’s office. About 12 CPM leaders had taken refuge at the Khejuri College and Khejuri Vidyapith with a massive police force patrolling the area.

The police described the situation in Nandigram as tense.

Trinamool leader Partho Chatterjee led a procession carrying Parvati Patra’s body, who was killed in a gunbattle yesterday, and later cremated it. — UNI

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Pregnant woman attacked, five arrested

Kozhikode, October 8
A pregnant woman was thrashed and punched in mob fury after she was accused of a theft in a village in Malappuram district in Kerala and her dress torn too in the search for a stolen anklet.

Five persons were arrested today in connection with yesterday’s brutal attack by the public at Edappal village. The State Human Rights Commission and a local court have sought a detailed police report on the incident.

Forty-year-old Jyothi, hailing from Tamil Nadu, her teenaged daughter Kavitha and a five-year-old girl were targetted by a group of about 100 persons that included employees of a textile shop from where a customer’s gold anklet was reported missing, the police said. Police dispersed the mob. The woman was rushed to a nearby hospital. She was discharged and then let off. — PTI

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1 held, 138 kg charas seized
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 8
With the arrest of a 33-year old man of Nepali origin and recovery of 138 kg of high-quality charas worth Rs 1.25 crore in the international drug market from him, the Special Task Force (STF) today claimed to have busted an international drug mafia.

Following a tip-off, the STF team today arrested Durga Pun, son of Saurun Pun of Rukum in Nepal from the forests of Bahraich under Murtiha police station on the Indo-Nepal border.

Both the accused and the recovered drug were being kept at the police station in Bahraich. An FIR under Section 8/20/22/23 of the N.D.P.S. Act has been registered. The arrested man was carrying several gunny bags containing 138 neatly packed bundles of a kg each of high-quality charas.

During interrogation, Pun, the reported drug smuggler, confessed that he prepared the much-sought after drug by drying “bhang” leaves and mixing them with some chemicals. Tablets of 250 gm were prepared and then four tablets were packed in a single bundle of one kg to be supplied in the international market.

Explaining the modus operandi,Pun said he used cars, mules and even manual labour to transfer the consignment to the Indian side of the border which took as long as three days. Once in India it was supplied to traders in various cities on its way to the international market.

Last month, Pun reportedly delivered a consignment of one-quintal of high-quality charas to a trader in Sri Lanka via India who had paid him in dollars.

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Jagjit Singh hospitalised

Mumbai, October 8
Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh was today admitted to the Bombay Hospital after he complained of severe headache and weakness.

Bombay hospital spokesperson Dr Ashish Tiwari told UNI that the singer was admitted to the hospital this morning for treatment of a headache and other routine weaknesses''.

He said the singer will undergo a series of tests. His condition was described as stable this evening. Tiwari, however, refuted reports that Jagjit had suffered a paralytic stroke. — UNI

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