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
Mukherjee sore over CPM ‘double
standards’

Kolkata, December 16
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is sore that the CPM is adopting ‘double standards’ with the UPA on the nuclear deal. He expressed surprise on how the left parties after the November 16 meeting with the UPA, allowing the government to go ahead with the nuclear deal and attend the IAEA meeting at Vienna, the CPM could suddenly change it’s stand as expressed by the party’s general-secretary, Prakash Karat.

Sting Operations
Editors’ Guild regrets HC order
Chandigarh, December 16
The Editors Guild of India is surprised and shocked by the suggestion of a Bench of the Delhi High Court to the ministry of information and broadcasting to consider formation of a three-member government committee to pre-censor sting operation programmes of television channels.

Channels to work out code of ethics
New Delhi, December 16 When the Delhi High Court on Friday sought to draw a line for the electronic media in the Uma Khurana ‘expose’ case, it only gave vent to seething frustration in the minds of the ‘exposed’ - that TV channels want to fictionalise to perk up their TRP ratings.





EARLIER STORIES




EC yet to take decision on Sonia, Modi replies
New Delhi, December 16
The Election Commission is yet to take a decision on the replies by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in response to its notices regarding their controversial remarks during the poll campaign in Gujarat.

Defence minister A.K. Antony, with the chiefs of defence services, pays tributes on the occasion of Vijay Divas at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate, in New Delhi on Sunday.
Defence minister A.K. Antony, with the chiefs of defence services, pays tributes on the occasion of Vijay Divas at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate, in New Delhi on Sunday. —Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

CBI’s interim report on Nandigram firing today
Kolkata, December 16
The CBI will submit an interim report on the March 14 police firing in Nandigram before the Calcutta High Court tomorrow and seek more time for probe into the case, its special director, Makhan Lal Sharma said today.

Kalam’s wait for official residence ends
New Delhi, December 16
It took Centre more than four months to provide India’s former first citizen a home in the Capital from where he had commanded the country’s armed forces for five years and sworn in two Prime Ministers.
Brig B.S. Dhillon (centre) congratulates his daughters, Flying Officers Harneet and Rupika, after the Combined Graduation Parade at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet, Hyderabad, on Sunday.
Brig B.S. Dhillon (centre) congratulates his daughters, Flying Officers Harneet and Rupika, after the Combined Graduation Parade at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet, Hyderabad, on Sunday. — PTI photo

Sethusamudram Project
DMK asks Centre to resume work
Tirunelveli, December 16
The DMK today asked Centre to take steps for early completion of Sethusamudram project while terming the BJP, Hindu Munnani and the AIADMK as “anti-Tamil forces” for opposing the project which would generate a lot of employment opportunities in the state.

‘Pay panel report will be good for employees’
New Delhi, December 16
The Centre today said the Sixth Pay Commission report will be good for the employees as the government wants to provide comprehensive salary packages to attract quality human resource.

BJP reduced to a mere regional party: Moily
New Delhi, December 16
The war of words continued between two main political rivals with Congress leader Veerapa Moily today asserting that the BJP has been reduced to a mere regional outfit in Gujarat with “too much” projection of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Karunanidhi skirts succession issue
Tirunelveli, December 16
Skirting a direct response on the succession issue, DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said today that the time had not yet come for him to declare his son M.K Stalin as a political heir, but an announcement would be made shortly.

A man walks past seagulls on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi.
A man walks past seagulls on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi. — Reuters photo

Authorities force Bodh Gaya’s chief priest to resign
Patna, December 16
The authorities finally forced the top priest of Bodh Gaya Buddhist temple to resign and suspended a top official after they were found involved in chopping off a branch from the sacred ‘Bodhi tree’.

Matheran railway in UNESCO heritage list
Maharashtra, December 16
Fascinated with the scenic beauty of Matheran hill station, nestling in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, a Mumbai-based architect stumbled upon an audacious idea of connecting the hilly terrain with a rail link.

Internet marriages going niche
New Delhi, December 16
Online matrimony is moving beyond being just an internet platform for arranging plain-vanilla marriages -- they are now looking at niche alliances like between BPO or government employees, people who are HIV positive and those taking a second attempt at a married life.

Bihar villages to see Internet revolution
Patna, December 16
This crucial cow belt of India is set to see Internet revolution in its villages. After completing two years in office on November 24, the Nitish government is now working on an ambitious project that plans to take information technology to the grassroots level of this underdeveloped state by setting up common service centres called Vasudha.

Amir hosts POGO Amazing Kids Awards
Mumbai, December 16
The POGO Amazing Kids Awards 2007 were a sparkling, eco-friendly and green affair. The awards being announced for the fourth year were hosted by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. A shy Aamir, who is known to stay away from award ceremonies, while hosting the function said, “this is for children and children are special”.

Alert against militant attacks on politicians
Guwahati, December 16
Apprehending strikes by militants in the run-up to the forthcoming panchayat elections, the Assam government has asked all political leaders under any sort of threat from ultras to be on a high alert and not to move around without their personal security officers (PSOs).

NRIs make their mark in corporate world
New Delhi, December 16
India may still be a novice in the global corporate battlefield but professionals and entrepreneurs born in the country proved their mettle across the world in varied business sectors during the year 2007.

Don’t misuse anti-dowry provisions: SC
New Delhi, December 16
The Supreme Court has cautioned against the misuse of anti-dowry provisions to implicate innocent persons for settling scores.

Multivitamins, bonfires to keep zoo animals warm
Lucknow, December 16
Winters not only affect humans, but the zoo animals are also vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, although in a different measure.

Laugh and work better: Book
New Delhi, December 16
Cracking jokes at work and laughing while indulging in lively banter filled with wit and humour leads to better health, improved communication and above all creates an atmosphere for increased productivity, says a new book.

1 dies in gas leak at Mumbai plant
Mumbai, December 16
An employee of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, died here today while two others were seriously injured after a gas leakage at the company’s plant at Chembur in north-east Mumbai today.

7 killed in bomb explosion in Manipur
Imphal, December 16
Seven persons, including four women, were killed and over 30 injured after a powerful bomb exploded at Pourabi in Imphal east district this evening when a bus was passing through.

Violation of HC Order
Three Ambedkar Maidan gates razed
Lucknow, December 16
Ignoring an Allahabad High Court order putting an embargo on demolition of government buildings, Lucknow Development Authority bulldozers demolished three majestic gates of the controversial Ambedkar Maidan in a late night operation.

Development dominates agenda of parties in Bihar
Patna, December 16
It is development beyond other social issues, including reservation, which now seemingly dominates the agenda of rival political parties in Bihar.

Delhi faces coldest day at 4.4° C
New Delhi, December 16
The Capital today experienced the coldest day of the season with the mercury dipping to a low of 4.4° Celsius, keeping many indoors on a holiday. The minimum temperature was a steep drop from yesterday’s 8° Celsius, which the weatherman attributes to the moving away of “western disturbance” from the region.

NRIs make their mark in corporate world
New Delhi, December 16
India may still be a novice in the global corporate battlefield but professionals and entrepreneurs born in the country proved their mettle across the world in varied business sectors during the year 2007.


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N-Deal
Mukherjee sore over CPM ‘double standards’
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, December 16
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is sore that the CPM is adopting ‘double standards’ with the UPA on the nuclear deal.

He expressed surprise on how the left parties after the November 16 meeting with the UPA, allowing the government to go ahead with the nuclear deal and attend the IAEA meeting at Vienna, the CPM could suddenly change it’s stand as expressed by the party’s general-secretary, Prakash Karat.

Mukherjee expressed his resentment in this regard to the veteran Jyoti Basu and the Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee with whom he had interacted during his stay in the city today, the WBPCC(l) sources said.

But the CPM sources said the politburo and party’s central meeting in New Delhi begining from December 20 would once again review the nuclear deal issue vis-à-vis the Gujarat Assembly election and the over all political situation in the country before deciding their future course of action.

Mukherjee called on the ailing Basu at his Salt Lake residence in the morning today and spent about half an hour with him.

Party sources said the Indo-US nuclear deal figured prominently in their talks as Mukherjee apprised Basu about the current standing of the talks.

Earlier, Mukherjee held talks with Bhattacharjee and also Sitaram Yechuri conveying his surprise and resentment on the CPM’s changing stand on the nuclear deal issue.

He reportedly told them that the Centre would go ahead with the nuclear deal but also assured them that the government would not do so by sacrificing the country’s unity and sovereignty. He also reiterated that no further steps would be taken without the knowledge and consent of the UPA’s allies and the left parties.

Bhattacharjee did not make any comment on the nuclear deal issue while he was addressing a public meeting at Dankuni in Hooghly district today on the concluding day of the district party conference. But he strongly advocated larger private and foreign investments from the USA, UK, Japan and other European countries, to aid the state’s rapid industrialisation.

But Biman Bose, the party secretary, who is also the left front chairman and a politburo member, in his speech warned the UPA on the nuclear deal issue. He said they would oppose the deal tooth and nail and strengthen their protest both inside and outside the Parliament since they were opposed to the country again turning into a colony of the US administration. 

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Sting Operations
Editors’ Guild regrets HC order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The Editors Guild of India is surprised and shocked by the suggestion of a Bench of the Delhi High Court to the ministry of information and broadcasting to consider formation of a three-member government committee to pre-censor sting operation programmes of television channels. If implemented, this suggestion of the court would introduce a draconian, judicially backed Emergency by the backdoor, and trample the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

A statement issued by Alok Mehta and K. S. Sachidananda, president and secretary-general, respectively, said while the guild was in total agreement that sting operations should have stringent pre-telecast self-regulatory and internal checks in news organisations, and they should be done only when public interest demanded, the remedy suggested by the court was a deadly one. It would sound the death knell of the freedom of the Press enjoyed by the citizens of our country. A simple test to check whether a country has a genuine democracy is to find out if there is pre-censorship. India would cease to be a democracy, if there is a pre-censorship of news.

The court has suggested that the committee should be headed by a retired Judge, and should have two government employees, including a police officer, to view the tapes and decide whether they should be aired. Obviously, such a committee would be controlled by the government of the day. This is not acceptable in any democratic set up.

The guild is in favour of the news organisations having their own internal mechanism to decide on the public utility of a sting operation. The code of practice for journalists of the guild, which was updated in August 2007, is categorical about sting operations. It states: “Information should not be obtained through the use of clandestine listening and photographic devices or by intercepting private conversations or through misrepresentation or subterfuge (popularly described as sting operations) except when justified only in public interest and when information cannot be obtained by any other means.”

The guild is optimistic that the judicial authorities, who have asked the ministry to constitute a censorship panel to censor television footage, would withdraw this order as it imperils freedom of the Press and gives power of court-decreed censorship to the government.

The guild also expects the government and the Parliament not to implement this suggestion as it violates the freedom of speech and freedom from censorship guaranteed by the Constitution.

Media and civil society organisations should mobilise public opinion against any such onslaught on the media, which would bring censorship by the backdoor, the statement asserted.

The guild exhorts the print and electronic media organistions to implement the code of practice and pay special attention to the practice to be adopted regarding sting operations. Every editor should have an infallible in-house mechanism, which would critically examine every sting operation, so that there was no repetition of the shameful and harmful fake sting operation against Uma Khurana, a Delhi school teacher. Only when the media’s self-regulatory mechanism was in full operation, it could resist any onslaught on its freedom by those who wielded authority in the three organs of the state, the statement added.

Channels to work out code of ethics

New Delhi, December 16
When the Delhi High Court on Friday sought to draw a line for the electronic media in the Uma Khurana ‘expose’ case, it only gave vent to seething frustration in the minds of the ‘exposed’ - that TV channels want to fictionalise to perk up their TRP ratings.

Knowing the pitfalls, some of the leading channels, however, have decided to jointly work out a code of ethics to prevent recurrence of such cases.

In the growing list of such stings, while the truth is a casualty, there does remain a thin line between an unverified expose and ‘decent investigative journalism’. This is largely because of the absence of any regulation, whether in-house or from the government.

The court’s observations came in the wake of a number of ‘exposes’ and ‘exclusives’ where channels have shown exaggerated accounts of a non-existent reality. The latest was portrayal of two ‘child labourers’ in Bihar.

However, Barkha Dutt, managing editor, NDTV, insists the government should not regulate the media. “Media houses should have their own regulations, checks and balances,” she told PTI.

Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, CNN-IBN, prefer sting as a last resort to serve public interest. “There should not be any entrapment. All the conventional sources should be first exhausted. A sting operation should not become the default mode of journalism,” Dutt says.

Advocating for a strict code of conduct within media organisations, Sardesai said: “The process has already begun for the self-regulation (on the part of media)”.

Tarun Tejpal, CEO and editor-in-chief, Tehelka, admits to “rampant commercialisation” of sting operations. “The solution (of how to stop fake stings) has to come from media, which must itself look for some self-regulation keeping in mind the good of society,” he says.

Since the self-regulating mechanism is yet to be evolved, and as the government considers action on the high court order, the significance of exposing ‘misdeeds’ of the people in authority remains as strong.

Manikrao Gavit, minister of state for home, who himself became a victim of a sting wrongly showing him finalising a land deal with UP land mafia, supports legislation. “I support the broadcast bill whose provisions are currently being discussed with the media industry,” he said.

Anirudh Behl of the Cobra Post was of the view that, If it (sting operation) functions within the rule books, then undercover reporting offers a tremendous service to society.

“We get into an expose only when there is a strong evidence with us”.

Last week two children were shown ploughing the field oxen-like on the family farm of union rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. The ‘story’ fell within days when it was reported that the children were paid Rs 20 each to pose for the camera.

In Delhi school teacher Uma Khurana’s case, the sting showed Khurana running a sex racket forcing school girls into prostitution. The sting was later found to be a manage show.

The court, while cautioning the media, said “such incidents should not happen and false and fabricated sting operation, directly influencing upon a person’s right to privacy, should not recur because of desire to earn more and to have higher TRP rating.”

Delhi high court’s direction that the information and broadcasting ministry consider setting up a committee, from which TV channels get mandatory approval can run into controversy as it may be construed as direct interference from government in the editorial management of private news channels.

And it’s the evidence part of an expose which the Delhi HC is concerned about. It wants a ministry-appointed three-member committee to vet a sting operation before a news channel airs it. — PTI 

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EC yet to take decision on Sonia, Modi replies

New Delhi, December 16
The Election Commission is yet to take a decision on the replies by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in response to its notices regarding their controversial remarks during the poll campaign in Gujarat.

"The commission has not taken any decision on the replies filed by Gandhi, Modi, Congress leader Digvijay Singh and BJP leader Vijay Malhotra," Deputy Election Commissioner Jaiprakash told reporters here today.

He ducked a question when asked whether any decision was expected before the counting of votes on December 23. — PTI

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CBI’s interim report on Nandigram firing today

Kolkata, December 16
The CBI will submit an interim report on the March 14 police firing in Nandigram before the Calcutta High Court tomorrow and seek more time for probe into the case, its special director, Makhan Lal Sharma said today.

“Our investigation is not over yet and so we will submit an interim report to the Calcutta High Court tomorrow as per the directive of the court. We will request the court to provide us another two months so that we can complete our investigation,” Sharma told PTI from Delhi.

Earlier, on November 16, the Calcutta High Court described the March 14 police firing in Nandigram, in which 14 people were killed and over 100 injured, as ‘unconstitutional and not justifiable’ and directed the CBI to submit a report within one month.

The investigation agency have interrogated four police personnel who were present during the incident and also at least 100 eye-witnesses, sources in the CBI said.

The CBI has also managed to get details of telephone conversations between police officers at that time and they need to concentrate on that before coming to any conclusion.

“More importantly the witnesses need to be closely examined and so we need some more time,” Sharma said.

“The case is eight months old and so there has been physical loss of lots of evidences. We need to carefully examine all aspects of the case before we come to any conclusion.” he said. — PTI 

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Kalam’s wait for official residence ends

New Delhi, December 16
It took Centre more than four months to provide India’s former first citizen a home in the Capital from where he had commanded the country’s armed forces for five years and sworn in two Prime Ministers.

Ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam has moved to his allotted accommodation at 10 Rajaji Marg on Thursday from the “High Risk Category Officers’ Hut”, a simple accommodation provided to him in Delhi Cantonment.

The 75-year-old former President has been staying in the army hut since demitting office on July 25. Kalam, who has Z-Plus security cover, was living in the guesthouse despite his office making several representations to the urban development ministry for early renovation of the house allotted to him.

However, the work undertaken by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) had been moving slowly despite repeated reminders from the security agencies that wanted to install gadgets to protect the former President who faces threats from several militant groups, including Lashker-e-Taiba.

The type-VIII duplex bungalow was shortlisted by Kalam in the second week of June so that the authorities could have ample time to refurbish it but till October, metal, wooden frames and debris were being still carried out of the house. According to protocol, a former President has to be provided a house in Delhi if he chooses to reside here.

While no one from the CPWD was willing to come on record for the delay, possibly for the first time, some officials claimed that lot of renovation was needed as the former President had desired for certain changes.

However, when asked as to what changes had been asked, the officials chose to be mum. The type-VIII building is built on a plinth area of 5,000 square feet and is an original Lutyen’s bungalow with little additional construction. — PTI

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Sethusamudram Project
DMK asks Centre to resume work

Tirunelveli, December 16
The DMK today asked Centre to take steps for early completion of Sethusamudram project while terming the BJP, Hindu Munnani and the AIADMK as “anti-Tamil forces” for opposing the project which would generate a lot of employment opportunities in the state.

“We condemn the efforts of BJP, Hindu Munnani and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa to prevent the beneficial project. Centre should take appropriate steps for the early completion of the project,” the DMK youth conference said in a resolution here.

The Supreme Court had stayed dredging work on the Sethusamudram project near the Palk Strait following a plea by the Janata party president Subramaniam Swamy and some other organisations that the dredging would destroy the ‘Ram Sethu’ believed to have been constructed by Lord Rama.

Significantly, the DMK youth wing conference has not passed any resolution on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, signalling that it had distanced itself from the supporters of the banned outfit, LTTE.

The conference asked the Centre to take appropriate action to enable Indian Tamils in Malaysia secure “equal rights” as enjoyed by other communities there. — PTI

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‘Pay panel report will be good for employees’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
The Centre today said the Sixth Pay Commission report will be good for the employees as the government wants to provide comprehensive salary packages to attract quality human resource.

“The Sixth Pay Commission report will be good for the employees. We do not want efficient employees to leave government services to join the private sector,” union minister for urban development (state) Ajay Maken said at a function organised by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation here today.

He said the report will be ready by March 31 next year. “Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P. Chidambaram want to provide comprehensive and good salary packages to employees.”

It was in July last year that the government gave its approval for setting up the Sixth Pay Commission for Central government employees. The Fifth Pay Commission was formed in April 1994 and submitted its report in January 1997.

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BJP reduced to a mere regional party: Moily
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
The war of words continued between two main political rivals with Congress leader Veerapa Moily today asserting that the BJP has been reduced to a mere regional outfit in Gujarat with “too much” projection of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

“The BJP has lost the national identity… It will reflect in the elections. They have themselves said they have to look only at Modi and not the party. There is absence of national leaders in the state,” Moily, head of the Congress Media Department, said here.

He said people of Gujarat, where great national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel were born, were national minded.

Rejecting the BJP’s claim of development during Modi’s regime in the state, he said: “There is no development in Gujarat. FDI is lowest among all states. Industrial development has happened only in one or two major cities. There is no electricity in the rural areas for more than 15 hours at a stretch in a day.”

There were no proper road facilities in rural areas in Gujarat and more than 80 per cent of the small and medium scale industries had been closed in the last five years, he said.

Pointing out to the farmers’ suicide cases in Gujarat, the former Karnataka Chief Minister said the law and order situation in the state was “worse” with incidents such as kidnapping of women and children going unabated.

“Which state under the BJP has given development?” he asked. “There is no development and investment in Madhya Pradesh. That is why, the party lost the by elections, results of which were announced yesterday,” he added.

Expressing confidence that the party will retain Himachal Pradesh in the forthcoming polls, Moily said the anti-incumbency factor had been done away with the development works carried out by the Congress government in the state and UPA at the Centre. “There is no reason why should we be defeated,” Moily said.

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Karunanidhi skirts succession issue

Tirunelveli, December 16
Skirting a direct response on the succession issue, DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said today that the time had not yet come for him to declare his son M.K Stalin as a political heir, but an announcement would be made shortly.

“We understand your expectations. An announcement on this will come shortly,” he told at a DMK Youth Wing conference here, responding to the calls by Stalin’s supporters asking for his more active role in the party and the government. “As a father, I have fulfilled my duties. But at the same time, I expect you to perform your duties as a son,” Karunanidhi told Stalin quoting a couplet of Tamil treatise Thirukkural on the subject.

Coming down heavily on the BJP and the AIADMK for stalling the Sethusamudram project, he said the common man should be made aware of the benefits of the scheme.

“You go and meet the Ram believers. Explain to them that it was the BJP government headed by A.B Vajpayee, which cleared the project after demolition of Ram Sethu or Adams Bridge,” Karunanidhi told the youth wing volunteers.

“The DMK youth wing volunteers should meet the people and tell them that the DMK was not against Lord Ram but was against only misusing his name for stalling the project,” he added. — PTI 

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Authorities force Bodh Gaya’s chief priest to resign
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 16
The authorities finally forced the top priest of Bodh Gaya Buddhist temple to resign and suspended a top official after they were found involved in chopping off a branch from the sacred ‘Bodhi tree’.

Bodhi tree is known as the “enlightenment tree” which is believed to be the one under which the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago.

Earlier, on December 9 The Tribune carried the news on Bhadant Bodhipai, the chief priest at Buddhism’s holiest site at Bodh Gaya in Bihar and two others were accused of chopping off a branch from the sacred tree that shocked the Buddhists across the world.

The desecration of the holy tree in Bodh Gaya took place in July last year allegedly as a moneymaking scheme as the accused planned to sell pieces of the said branch to the pilgrims. The two others implicated in the case by the state administration were Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee (MTMC) ex-secretary Kalicharan Yadav and temple PRO Bhajju Yadav.

The action reportedly was taken after a court issued summons yesterday to the temple officials for chopping off a branch of the “Bodh” tree.

Besides, the resignation by the chief priest, Gaya district magistrate Jitendra Srivastava, who is the ex-officio chairman of the MTMC, today also issued orders for the suspension of public relations officer Bhajju Yadav. “The temple’s chief priest Bhahadant Bodhipal’s resignation has been accepted,” said Srivatsava.

He further stated that action against ex-officio secretary of the MTMC Kalicharan Yadav, the third accused in the case, was likely to be initiated soon.

An official report probing the incident earlier indicted all three officials of the committee earlier this month. The report was submitted to chief judicial magistrate, Gaya, Jamuma Prasad Singh on December 7 that finally prompted the court to issue summons yesterday.

A Buddhist monk, Arup Brahmachari, was the first to file a criminal complaint against officials of the MMTC in June this year alleging that they had ordered a branch of the tree to be cut off. Brahamchari provided evidence, including eight photographs, in support of his complaint, which was supported by an affidavit by gardener Deepak Malakar, who looked after the revered tree.

In his affidavit Malakar reportedly claimed that he cut off a branch of the tree on July 10, 2006, at the instance of Bodhipal and carried it to his residence.

The news about the case had created ripples in the world with countries like Sri Lanka, Japan and Thailand expressing serious concern over the issue. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister had reportedly even called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and had asked him to look into the matter further embarrassing the already embarrassed Centre and the Bihar government over the act.

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Matheran railway in UNESCO heritage list

Maharashtra, December 16
Fascinated with the scenic beauty of Matheran hill station, nestling in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, a Mumbai-based architect stumbled upon an audacious idea of connecting the hilly terrain with a rail link.

That was in 1900 AD. When Abdul Hussain, the architect and son of a business tycoon Adamjee Peerbhoy, divulged his plan to his father, the latter reluctantly accepted it because of his son’s passion for the project to be accomplished at an elevation of 800 m above the sea level.

It costed Sir Adamjee a princely sum of Rs 16 lakh in 1907, but the result was the spectacular Matheran Light Railway (MLR), a 20-km narrow gauge line from Neral to Matheran. The first toy train, hauled by a steam engine, chugged on April 15 of that year, completing its journey without any difficulty.

Nearly a hundred years later, the MLR is close to being inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List and the Central Railway, which runs the train, seems very optimistic.

“The Matheran Light Railway has already been shortlisted by the UNESCO for its inclusion on the Heritage List. We have given the necessary documents to the UN body in this regard,” Somya Raghvan, general manager of Central Railways, told the journalists. — UNI 

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Internet marriages going niche

New Delhi, December 16
Online matrimony is moving beyond being just an internet platform for arranging plain-vanilla marriages -- they are now looking at niche alliances like between BPO or government employees, people who are HIV positive and those taking a second attempt at a married life.

While all of them have a simple aim of arranging a marriage at the click of a mouse, the all-rounders like shaadi.com, bharatmatrimony.com and jeevansathi.com are now being joined by specialists like bposhaadi.com, govtshaadi.com, thirtyplus.com and secondshaadi.com.

There are also the likes of positiveshaadi.com, aimed at people who are HIV positive and idontwantdowry.com, which claims to cater to only those who do not want to take a dowry.

Entry of niche players in this booming online wedding market is also leading to the existing players diversifying their portfolios with inclusion of value-added services like wedding planning and even free honeymoon packages. “BharatMatrimony was established in 1997 and has got over 10 million registered members,” its CEO J. Murugavel said.

“The site apart from helping people plan their weddings also helps them create their own wedding website,” said Murugavel, who himself found his bride through this website.

Some of the interesting innovative initiative in this business is Idontwantdowry.com, a Hyderabad-based portal that serves as a platform to find matches, sans dowry, while positiveshaadi.com provides suitable matches for HIV positive persons for whom finding a match is becoming a difficult task.

“The dowry demand from a man is in a way linked to the worth of an individual. We started the website to end this myth and provide a platform for like-minded progressive people can meet to create a future together,” idontwantdowry.com founder Satya Naresh said.

Initially, idontwantdowry.com did not get good response, but now it has around 4,200 men and 2,400 women registered members -- most of whom are doctors and IT professionals.

Another interesting player is secondshaadi.com with over 20,000 registered users, which offers a free honeymoon to some of the success stories and also provides free marriage counselling. — PTI 

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Bihar villages to see Internet revolution
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 16
This crucial cow belt of India is set to see Internet revolution in its villages.

After completing two years in office on November 24, the Nitish government is now working on an ambitious project that plans to take information technology to the grassroots level of this underdeveloped state by setting up common service centres called Vasudha.

The plan, reportedly conceptualised by the cyber-friendly deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Modi, is expected to turn the dream of state’s rural folks to surf Internet at their villages into a reality in the near future.

Sources disclosed that the SREI had already been given a “letter of intent” by the Bihar State Electronic Development Corporation, the nodal agency of the Bihar government for the implementation of e-governance, to develop Vasudha centres in villages.

The proposed Vasudha would be named after “SREI Sahaj e-Village” and would be set up in e-kiosks.

Besides housing Vasudha, the e-kiosks would reportedly also function as the delivery point for e-governance as well as e-learning centres where the youth could access distant education modules and vocational skills other than normal Internet access.

In the first phase, it has been decided to open 5,540 Vasudha centres across the state. The state Cabinet had also approved funds for the development of the required software by the TATA Consultancy Services.

To begin with, the government reportedly planned to link eight departments to Vasudha to provide information and services for mutual purposes like weather forecast, commodity rates, agricultural counselling, health and hygiene.The issuance of birth and death certificates and land records would also be available on the net on the payment of nominal fees.

Going by the plan, Vasudha would be owned and operated by selected village entrepreneurs and be monitored by the regional control centres and the central control centre. The estimated cost of setting up each of these e-kiosks would be Rs 1.20 lakh.

It was learnt that the selected rural entrepreneurs would either have to invest this amount on their own or by obtaining loan from banks.

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Amir hosts POGO Amazing Kids Awards
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 16
The POGO Amazing Kids Awards 2007 were a sparkling, eco-friendly and green affair. The awards being announced for the fourth year were hosted by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. A shy Aamir, who is known to stay away from award ceremonies, while hosting the function said, “this is for children and children are special”.

The award ceremony was held at Film City in Mumbai on Friday night. This year, 24 talented kids across the country were nominated in eight diverse categories that included arts, sports, music, singing, dance, genius, leadership and entertainment.

However, only six were given the POGO Amazing Kids award. The winners have been awarded with child benefit policies worth Rs Five lakh each along with other goodies.

The award ceremony will be telecast on Saturday, December 29, at 6 pm, on POGO. The environment friendly theme "Go Green" sets apart this year's POGO Amazing Kids awards 2007. POGO, in association with the Project Green Hands, is promoting "Kalpavrishka", a tree planting drive. All 24 nominees have become brand ambassadors for spreading the Kalpavriksha message in their respective schools and some of them will also partake in the tree-planting exercise.

The ceremony was co-hosted by the channel's popular hosts along with Darsheel, the lead child star in the film 'Taare Zameen Par'. The show also saw Darsheel and Aamir dance to tracks from their upcoming movie Taare Zameen Par, which releases in cinemas worldwide on December 21. 

The winners

Akash Suri, 13, from Delhi in artist category, Surabhi Tipre, 14, from Mumbai in sports category, Raj Pandit, 13, from Mumbai in music category, Shailendra Verma, 14, from Lucknow in Parle G POGO Amazing Kid genius category, Bunty Kumar, 14, from Jaipur in leadership category, Arpan Mukherjee, 13, from Kolkata in singing category, Pranati Goturi, 10, from Hyderabad in dance category, Swini Khare, 8, from Mumbai in Big Babool POGO Amazing Kid entertainment category.

Having always encouraged kids to voice their choice, the POGO Voice Awards empower children with the right to vote for their favourite celebrity icons. Hrithik Roshan won the title of ‘POGO most amazing Bollywood star’, Yuvraj Singh won the award of ‘POGO most amazing sports hero’, ‘Darde Disco’ was awarded ‘POGO most amazing song’, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix’ was declared ‘POGO most amazing film’, Mahendra Singh Dhoni emerged victorious in the category of ‘POGO most amazing kids icon’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z’ won ‘POGO most amazing kids programme’ award.

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Alert against militant attacks on politicians
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, December 16
Apprehending strikes by militants in the run-up to the forthcoming panchayat elections, the Assam government has asked all political leaders under any sort of threat from ultras to be on a high alert and not to move around without their personal security officers (PSOs).

The directive has been issued under the name of the chief of the intelligence wing of the Assam police, K. N Sharma, IG, in the wake of Thursday night’s killing of a former Assam BJP unit vice-president Munindra Singh Lahkar and an abortive bid on the life of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) legislator Padma Hazarika by militants.

The state police intelligence chief clarified that the AGP legislator Hazarika who was seriously injured in the attack, was provided with five PSOs armed with AK-47 assault rifles. However, on the day of the attack, the AGP MLA was moving around in his own car without any PSO along with him.

The directive further said all legislators in the state were usually provided with at least two armed PSOs as per the recommendation of the State Security Review Committee and they had been advised against moving around with the PSOs attached to them.

Meanwhile, all district magistrates and district superintendents of police have demanded additional forces for a smooth and peaceful holding of the forthcoming three-phase panchayat elections in the state under the threat of militants. The banned ULFA and the Adivasi militant groups have threatened to disrupt polls in the state.

However, in a meeting held in the state capital, chief secretary P. C. Sharma told the district magistrates and the SPs that at this juncture it wouldn’t be possible to provide additional forces to the districts as the Centre had taken back several companies of paramilitary force personnel from the state for deployment in Gujarat in view of the Assembly poll in that state.

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NRIs make their mark in corporate world

New Delhi, December 16
India may still be a novice in the global corporate battlefield but professionals and entrepreneurs born in the country proved their mettle across the world in varied business sectors during the year 2007.

The year was fabulous for new entrants such as Vikram Pandit and Shantanu Narayen as well as existing members like Lakshmi Mittal, Arun Sarin and Indra Nooyi in the elite club of India-born or Non-Resident Indians running multinational empires. But the next year will be as challenging for these global Indians as this year has been rewarding.

Nagpur-born Pandit, who was named the CEO of world’s largest financial services conglomerate Citigroup last week, needs to bring his bank out of the supreme mess that has already cost it more than 11 billion dollars.

Pandit’s phenomenal rise up the ladder is evident from the fact that he joined Citigroup only in May this year when Citigroup acquired his hedge fund. The expectations are even higher as he beat out names like US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and is considered a novice in retail banking, a key business area for Citigroup, though he has made a name as an investment banker in Morgan Stanley and at Citigroup itself.

The same holds true for Sarin, who heads the world’s largest mobile firm by revenue. Vodafone took a 11-billion dollar bet earlier this year for making inroads into his birth country with acquisition of controlling stake in Hutch-Essar.

Vodafone faces challenging times in the Indian market with established rivals like Bharti Airtel putting a tough competition and Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Communications, which was also eyeing Hutch-Essar, emerging as a tougher rival after the government’s new norms on spectrum allocation went in its favour.

Moreover, speculation about Sarin losing his position as Vodafone CEO has been consistently doing the rounds and Indian market is being considered as one of the biggest turfs that he needs to win if he needs to turnaround the dwindling fortunes of his company in a host of other markets.

Sarin has company in billionaire steel czar L.N. Mittal when it comes to expectations for delivering on acquisitions.

Mittal completed his $ 34-billion takeover of Luxembourg- based Arcelor this year to form the world’s biggest steel conglomerate that controls more than 10 per cent of global output. This was complemented with a host of other takeovers across the world, including the latest one in China.

However, China is a different ballgame with a host of government restrictions for foreign companies. Besides, India has also so far proved to be difficult to crack and his plans to set up two mega steel plants in the country are still in a nascent stage despite having announced them months ago.

Another NRI making it big in the global mining arena is Anil Aggarwal, whose London-listed Vedanta Resources acquired India’s largest iron ore exporter Sesa Goa in 2007. Aggarwal, whose group companies Sterlite Industries, Balco and Hindustan Zinc are already present in India, wishes to start an integrated steel plant here and would be in spotlight in 2008 regarding his leadership at Sesa Goa and the steel project.

Another big story about an Indian striking it big globally was of Indra Nooyi who became PepsiCo Chairman in May this year, following her anointment as CEO in October 2006.

Not to be overshadowed by giants like Mittal and Sarin, another India-born executive Shantanu Narayen made it big this year when he became CEO of Adobe, one of the world’s largest and most diversified software companies and famous for softwares like Acrobat and Flash, a few weeks ago. — PTI 

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Don’t misuse anti-dowry provisions: SC

New Delhi, December 16
The Supreme Court has cautioned against the misuse of anti-dowry provisions to implicate innocent persons for settling scores.

The apex court said the provisions relating to anti-dowry measures had been enacted to check the menace of dowry harassment but the same should not be used for harassing the husband or in-laws.

“Section 498A of the IPC (harassment of women) was introduced with the avowed object to combat the menace of dowry deaths and harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband or his relatives. Nevertheless, the provision should not be used as a device to achieve oblique motives,” a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhan and D K Jain observed.

The Bench passed the observations while partly allowing the appeal filed by the in-laws of a woman, Neetu, who alleged harassment for dowry by the husband and other family members.

Cases under IPC Sections 498A and 406 (breach of trust) were registered against the husband Ashutosh Mishra, father-in-law Onkar Nath Mishra and the former’s sister.

Neetu alleged that her husband and in-laws took away her ‘stridhan’ (property given by her relatives) and had harassed her for additional dowry. — PTI 

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Multivitamins, bonfires to keep zoo animals warm

Lucknow, December 16
Winters not only affect humans, but the zoo animals are also vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, although in a different measure.

With the onset of winters, the 800 odd animals of over 90 species in the Lucknow Zoological Gardens (LZG), which was formerly known as Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens, are faced with severe cold at present.

The zoo management has taken several measures to keep the animals warm and mitigate their discomfort due to cold wave.

The animals are being provided with multivitamins and special food and supplements to fortify their immune system to fight cold.

Besides, bonfire is lit in their enclosures, if the temperature dips considerably.

LZG Director Renu Singh told UNI today that reptiles, including snakes, pythons and vipers were the most vulnerable creatures as far as winters are concerned.

Since, these animals are poikilothermic (cold blooded), they cannot produce heat inside their bodies and get the same from the surroundings to keep them vital organs functioning.

The snakes have already gone in hibernation (winter sleep) and would lie inactive till the winters last, Singh informed.

A 100 watt bulb is lit inside an earthen pitcher and kept inside the snakes’ enclosure, whose floor is also covered with gunny bags to provide warmth. The hibernating snakes story close to the warmed pitcher.

During hibernation, the snakes do not eat anything or even move to conserve energy.

Other animals are being given multivitamin doses mixed with food. “Monkeys are being given eggs and peanuts,” Singh informed. Meanwhile, carnivorous animals such as lions and tigers are given special bedding prepared of ‘para grass’ to provide warmth. “Bonfire is also lit in their enclosures, if the need be,”.

Some exotic simian species are also given blankets to cope with the severe cold.

The pachyderms (elephants) are being fed sugarcane, while deer are being given sugarcane leaves.

Since, it also rains during winters, the zoo management is taking all measures to ensure that the roof of enclosures stay fit and do not allow rain water puddle inside.

The bird cages are being covered with special fibre sheets to insulate them from the chilly winds.

The zoo management has also deferred the exchange of animals with the Tata Zoo, Jamshedpur and Jharkhand.

LZG is exchanging hog and barking deers, red jungle fouls with grey lag goose and golden pheasants. — UNI

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Laugh and work better: Book

New Delhi, December 16
Cracking jokes at work and laughing while indulging in lively banter filled with wit and humour leads to better health, improved communication and above all creates an atmosphere for increased productivity, says a new book.

Humour is not a substitute for any management technique or a cure-all for the failures of the enterprise, it is about mobilising the benefits of playfulness and pleasure to bring out the best in the employees, it says.

“Humour at the workplace is much more than the telling of side-splitting stories of the giving of light-hearted lectures. It is creating a work atmosphere which is constructive and creative, practical and pragmatic, enthusiastic and effective,” writes Bangalore-based corporate trainer K Sathyanarayana in “The Power of Humour at the Workplace”.

The writer says the benefits of humour can be reaped in every function of management of every type of business and the manager who is armed with a sense of humour enjoys an explicit edge over others at the workplace.

The corporate management should give due recognition to humour at the workplace, in the same way it treats quality, flexibility and timeliness as important.

In his foreword, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. CMD Sanjay Kirloskar writes: “Humour helps everyone to go home from the workplace in a happy mood. This is a very important requirement (even though it gets neglected very often); otherwise one will be carrying the after-effects of events at the workplace to his home. As a corollary, no person will be successful if he brings domestic problems to his workplace, his mind acting as a godown of problems, worries and anxiety.

A recent study covering leading CEOs and deans of business schools in the USA found many of them declaring that humour can reduce executive stress significantly.

The CEOs were unanimous in stating that humour is not merely desirable in business; it plays such an important role in today’s business environment that special attention should be paid by executives to improve their sense of humour.

The greatest benefit of humour lies in the fact that it does not call for any big capital investment or special off-job training. It is applicable at all locations and by all people. — PTI

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1 dies in gas leak at Mumbai plant
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 16
An employee of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, died here today while two others were seriously injured after a gas leakage at the company’s plant at Chembur in north-east Mumbai today.

The police said the incident happened at 8 pm on Saturday when the employees were cleaning the premises of the company.

The police and the fire brigade officials who were informed of the incident said the employees must have accidentally interfered with a valve, which caused the gas to leak.

The sudden spurt of gas caused the three to fall unconscious. The man who died was supervisor Hariram Gopal Bharati (31). The names of the two injured persons have been given as Popat Gunjale and Akash Bodke. The two injured persons had apparently rushed to rescue their boss who was fatally knocked out by the toxic fumes.

Deputy commissioner of police Niket Kaushik told reporters that investigators were waiting to question the two injured persons in order to ascertain the cause of the gas leak. Only the three employees were present at the time of the leak.

The police said there was no danger to the people residing on the outskirts of the factory in Chembur.

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7 killed in bomb explosion in Manipur

Imphal, December 16
Seven persons, including four women, were killed and over 30 injured after a powerful bomb exploded at Pourabi in Imphal east district this evening when a bus was passing through.

The explosive device was planted on the roadside and was triggered off when a passenger bus passed the area at around 5.45 pm, the police said quoting initial reports. Several of the injured were in a critical condition and the death toll may rise, the police said. — PTI 

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Violation of HC Order
Three Ambedkar Maidan gates razed
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 16
Ignoring an Allahabad High Court order putting an embargo on demolition of government buildings, Lucknow Development Authority bulldozers demolished three majestic gates of the controversial Ambedkar Maidan in a late night operation.

Late last night, a day after the high court had extended its ban on the demolition of government buildings in the state capital, earthmovers and bulldozers got down to work surreptitiously chipping into the three imposing gates of the maidan fenced off by tin sheets. Each gate had been reportedly built at a cost of Rs 20 lakh in 2001-02 by the very same LDA.

Soon the main podium and the VVIP Swiss Cottage were cleared. The original boundary wall has already been razed and replaced by a new sandstone wall.

On November 6, a division bench, comprising Mr Justice A.N Verma and Mr Justice SN Shukla, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mithilesh Kumar Singh, had ordered the state government to maintain the status quo on government properties in the state capital. It was clarified in the order that the government could carry out maintenance work in state properties.

Developed by the LDA with public funds during Mayawati's previous regime, the sprawling 60-acre field on the Jail Road had been the venue of each successful BSP rally on its trail to assume absolute majority.

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Development dominates agenda of parties in Bihar
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 16
It is development beyond other social issues, including reservation, which now seemingly dominates the agenda of rival political parties in Bihar.

The welcome change in political discourse of Bihar in last two years of the NDA rule, under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has not gone unnoticed in concerned quarters either. From former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance in recent past to Ratan Tata in the last year, all of them openly acknowledged the present shift of focus to development by transforming the state into a happening one.

The inescapable side-effect of this new trend was the desperation shown by Nitish’s bete noire and the biggest propagandist of reservation politics, RJD supemo Lalu Yadav to follow his footsteps. The champion of Dalit politics in the state, LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan, is also not an exception.

Incidentally, Nitish was voted to power in 2005 on development agenda and related promise to usher in a new composite social structure in the hitherto caste-divided Bihar in the backdrop of 15 years of Lalu-Rabri raj since 1990, which was said to be primarily based on RJD supremo’s mythical Muslim-Yadav (MY) social equation.

As a result of this happy encounter on development among rival parties, Bihar has already seen promised investments of about Rs 50,000 crore in last two years.

The state industries department principal secretary Vijay Raghwan already informed that the Nitish government, since coming into power two years ago, cleared over 100 proposals to set up industries in various sectors, including power, sugar, and cement to the tune of Rs 37,000 crore. "All these efforts will start showing results in next few years fetching more than 1 lakh new jobs for the residents of Bihar," Raghwan told the media.

The interest shown by Canada to collaborate with Bihar in the field of food-processing related industries, the participation by Japan and China in the upcoming Nalanda open university project with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen heading its expert panel are to name a few that perhaps only confirm the acknowledgement of Bihar’s new journey towards positive growth.

Prospective investors, who have already shown keen interests in the unexplored potentials of Bihar, reportedly had held the lack of infrastructure, besides poor law and order in the past, as primarily responsible for its current economic morass.

Spurred by Nitish as well as his related quest for image makeover as a man committed to development beyond mandalisation of Bihar, Lalu has already promised about Rs 10,000 crore of investments for the state in railways, which were expected to be completed in next four to five years.

Not to be left far behind, Union steel and fertiliser minister Ram Vilas Paswan too declared the revival of fertiliser factory in Barauni. He also announced setting-up of steel plants in Mahanar in Vaishali and West Champaran districts.

As this underdeveloped state lagged far behind the national GDP when the new dispensation took over the reins two years back on November 24, 2005, Nitish has already promised Bihar to grow at par with national average by the time he completes his current tenure by 2010 to seek a fresh mandate.

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Delhi faces coldest day at 4.4° C

New Delhi, December 16
The Capital today experienced the coldest day of the season with the mercury dipping to a low of 4.4° Celsius, keeping many indoors on a holiday.

The minimum temperature was a steep drop from yesterday’s 8° Celsius, which the weatherman attributes to the moving away of “western disturbance” from the region.

The day temperature was, however, a little more comfortable at 20.5° Celsius with clear skies and no fog, the met office said.

The forecast said there could be a slight fall in minimum temperatures in the next couple of days. Isolated to scattered showers were also expected in the Capital in the next two days.

“Cold wave conditions are expected to remain for a few more days,” it said. The lifting of the fog also cleared visibility with no reports of delay in air or train traffic. “It was a clear morning. The visibility is good and there was no disruption in air traffic,” Delhi International Airport Limited spokesman Anirudha Chatterjee  said. — PTI

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NRIs make their mark in corporate world

New Delhi, December 16
India may still be a novice in the global corporate battlefield but professionals and entrepreneurs born in the country proved their mettle across the world in varied business sectors during the year 2007.

The year was fabulous for new entrants such as Vikram Pandit and Shantanu Narayen as well as existing members like Lakshmi Mittal, Arun Sarin and Indra Nooyi in the elite club of India-born or Non-Resident Indians running multinational empires. But the next year will be as challenging for these global Indians as this year has been rewarding.

Nagpur-born Pandit, who was named the CEO of world’s largest financial services conglomerate Citigroup last week, needs to bring his bank out of the supreme mess that has already cost it more than 11 billion dollars.

Pandit’s phenomenal rise up the ladder is evident from the fact that he joined Citigroup only in May this year when Citigroup acquired his hedge fund. The expectations are even higher as he beat out names like US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and is considered a novice in retail banking, a key business area for Citigroup, though he has made a name as an investment banker in Morgan Stanley and at Citigroup itself.

The same holds true for Sarin, who heads the world’s largest mobile firm by revenue. Vodafone took a 11-billion dollar bet earlier this year for making inroads into his birth country with acquisition of controlling stake in Hutch-Essar.

Vodafone faces challenging times in the Indian market with established rivals like Bharti Airtel putting a tough competition and Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Communications, which was also eyeing Hutch-Essar, emerging as a tougher rival after the government’s new norms on spectrum allocation went in its favour.

Moreover, speculation about Sarin losing his position as Vodafone CEO has been consistently doing the rounds and Indian market is being considered as one of the biggest turfs that he needs to win if he needs to turnaround the dwindling fortunes of his company in a host of other markets.

Sarin has company in billionaire steel czar L.N. Mittal when it comes to expectations for delivering on acquisitions.

Mittal completed his $ 34-billion takeover of Luxembourg- based Arcelor this year to form the world’s biggest steel conglomerate that controls more than 10 per cent of global output. This was complemented with a host of other takeovers across the world, including the latest one in China.

However, China is a different ballgame with a host of government restrictions for foreign companies. Besides, India has also so far proved to be difficult to crack and his plans to set up two mega steel plants in the country are still in a nascent stage despite having announced them months ago.

Another NRI making it big in the global mining arena is Anil Aggarwal, whose London-listed Vedanta Resources acquired India’s largest iron ore exporter Sesa Goa in 2007. Aggarwal, whose group companies Sterlite Industries, Balco and Hindustan Zinc are already present in India, wishes to start an integrated steel plant here and would be in spotlight in 2008 regarding his leadership at Sesa Goa and the steel project.

Another big story about an Indian striking it big globally was of Indra Nooyi who became PepsiCo Chairman in May this year, following her anointment as CEO in October 2006.

Not to be overshadowed by giants like Mittal and Sarin, another India-born executive Shantanu Narayen made it big this year when he became CEO of Adobe, one of the world’s largest and most diversified software companies and famous for softwares like Acrobat and Flash, a few weeks ago. — PTI 

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