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N A T I O N

Prem Bhatia Memorial Lecture
Clinched fist not suitable for handshakes: Pak scholar 

New Delhi, May 8
Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra (Retd) presents the award to Neerja Choudhary for reporting on political issues. Eminent Pakistani scholar and author Ayesha Siddiqa today fervently appealed to India not to consider military aggression on Pakistan, as that would only embolden elements inimical to the two South Asian neighbours.

Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra (Retd) presents the award to Neerja Choudhary for reporting on political issues. A Tribune photo

Prez rule revoked in Meghalaya
New Delhi, May 8
The Congress that had distanced itself from almost all its allies in the UPA seemed to be busy mending fences with all of them one by one as the date of forming the next government is approaching. 




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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS


President Pratibha Devisingh Patil waves to Infosys employees as Infosys chief Narayan Murthy looks on, while riding in a battery car on the Infosys campus in Bangalore
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil waves to Infosys employees as Infosys chief Narayan Murthy looks on, while riding in a battery car on the Infosys campus in Bangalore on Friday. — PTI

Nitish at centre of political tug-of-war
New Delhi, May 8
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continued to be wooed by all, with a week left for the judgement day.

Eye on Tamil Nadu, Cong softens stance 
New Delhi, May 8
With an eye on the 39 Tamil Nadu Lok Sabha seats that go to polls on May 13, the Congress has diluted its earlier stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils crisis and now advocating a “permanent, peaceful solution” to the problem.

Sanjay Dutt allowed to go abroad
New Delhi, May 8
Bollywood actor and Samajwadi Party general-secretary Sanjay Dutt, who is on bail in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, was today allowed by the Supreme Court to go abroad for six months for the shooting of five films. Dutt, who has actively campaigned for the party in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, had moved the apex court with the details of his itinerary about his visit to South Africa, Canada, the US, the UK, Zambia and Namibia from June to December this year.

Despite economic boom, job growth shrinks 
New Delhi, May 8
Raising questions over the government's slogan of inclusive growth, an official report said the rate at which new jobs were added to India's labour force had declined between 1993 and 2005, despite an economic boom.

Azmi’s cavalcade attacked by Azam’s supporters 
Lucknow, May 8
The infighting within the Samajwadi Party today took a turn for the worse in Rampur with party leader from Mumbai Abu Azmi’s cavalcade being attacked, reportedly by supporters of veteran leader Mohammad Azam Khan.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP candidate from Rampur in UP, takes a break for hair-cut.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP candidate from Rampur in UP, takes a break for hair-cut. — PTI

Against all odds
Paanwallah’s son makes it to civil services
Lucknow, May 8
Selling betel leaves (paan) from a makeshift shop just outside the gate of the Jaunpur district magistrate's office in Uttar Pradesh, he cherished a dream to see his son join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). With the dream turning into reality, 60-year-old Chandan Guru is a proud father today.

Karnataka to amend organised crimes act
Bangalore, May 8
The state government here has decided to amend the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) and bring acts of terrorism under its ambit.

Keeping families together through technology
Hyderabad, May 8
For those of you living abroad and looking for a way to constantly keep in touch with your elderly parents back home, here is a new tool.

HC orders techie to sweep hospital
Hyderabad, May 8
In a novel punishment, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered a young software engineer to sweep the premises of a government hospital here for one month as an atonement for harassing two women.

Cyber security workshop begins today
Hyderabad, May 8
Emerging challenges in network security and strategies to tackle cyber frauds will be a top agenda at a series of workshops being organised in the country to increase public awareness about cyber security. Christened as “e-Surakshit”, the first such workshop will be held in Hyderabad tommorow, focusing on a wide range of related issues like data leakage prevention and encryption. — TNS

Producer-multiplex Dispute
Small film-makers may profit

Mumbai, May 8
Makers of small films and old-fashioned single-screen theatres may end up becoming the unlikely beneficiaries of the dispute between film producers and big theatre chains.

HC designates judges for special courts 
Ahmedabad, May 8
The Gujarat High Court had designated nine judges for as many special courts to carry out the trial in the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), High Court officials said here today.

Polls over, it’s time for some ‘hard’ decisions
Bhopal, May 8
The party is over and it’s time for some unpleasant decisions in Madhya Pradesh.

BJP way ahead, will form govt: Advani
Bhopal, May 8
BJP prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani Friday expressed confidence that his party would emerge the single largest after the polls and form the next government at the centre with its allies.

Aviation centre lacks facilities
Ranchi, May 8
The Jharkhand government is considering a vigilance probe to fix responsibility for the decision in which officials selected an institute lacking basic infrastructure for training tribal youth of the state as pilots and air crew.






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Prem Bhatia Memorial Lecture
Clinched fist not suitable for handshakes: Pak scholar 
Akhila Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
Eminent Pakistani scholar and author Ayesha Siddiqa today fervently appealed to India not to consider military aggression on Pakistan, as that would only embolden elements inimical to the two South Asian neighbours.

“Pakistan must be helped and supported and not merely run down as a problem child of the region that could only be dealt with through force. Infact, the use of force is bound to prove counter-productive,” said Siddiqa. She was delivering the 14th Prem Bhatia Memorial lecture on “The Lost Continent”.

Earlier, former chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal OP Mehra gave away the Prem Bhatia Memorial Awards for excellence in political journalism to eminent journalist Neerja Choudhary and for best writing on environment to senior journalist from The Hindu Gargi Parsai.

Awards, instituted in the memory of former editor-in-chief of The Tribune Prem Bhatia, carries Rs 1 lakh for best political writing and Rs 60,000 for writing on environment, along with the citations.

Former Indian ambassador to Pakistan G. Parthasarathy presided over the ceremony attended by prominent personalities from different walks of life, including top journalists.

The Pakistani author said in her opinion the jihadis were more dangerous than the Taliban, as they had greater links across the border and were much more meltable across the South Asian region.

She said majority of Pakistan did not support Taliban, which seemed to be a concern of a lot of people in the country, the region and the world over. She also rejected the fear that Islamabad would soon be taken over by the Taliban forces.

“Nothing could be far from the truth. Islamabad remains secure despite that it has seen violence and tension in the past. Surely, the army will see to it that such elements do not take over the Capital,” said Siddiqa.

She said the biggest tragedy for India and Pakistan was that our leadership had managed to sustain the Cold War throughout the 61 years of our history.

However, the two countries would always remain relevant for each other due to the common nature of problems shared by the countries, which require a joint solution. Infact, she said, this applied to the entire South Asian region.

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Prez rule revoked in Meghalaya
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
The Congress that had distanced itself from almost all its allies in the UPA seemed to be busy mending fences with all of them one by one as the date of forming the next government is approaching. As part of this move, the Cabinet today decided to revoke President’s rule in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya.

The Cabinet, which met after a gap of over a month, had Meghalaya as one of the major items on its agenda.

President’s rule had to be imposed in the state that was headed by the Congress and the NCP jointly when the Congress pulled out support and moved a no-confidence motion in March.

But, the Speaker through his casting vote managed to save the government in the division held on March 16. Two days later, the Centre imposed President’s rule as the Governor described this as a constitutional crisis.

All this took place while the Congress was holding seat sharing talks with the NCP in Maharashtra. NCP Meghalaya leader PA Sangma wanted party chief Sharad Pawar to break ties with the Congress.

Sangma even went to campaign for BJP leader Jaswant Singh in Darjeeling Hills to spite the Congress. The Centre’s decision to revoke President’s rule seems to offer an olive branch to the NCP. Significantly, Pawar skipped today’s Cabinet meeting.

Apart from Pawar, two other prominent Cabinet members and important UPA allies - Railway Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Steel Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan - also kept away citing their preoccupation with electoral work in home state of Bihar.

However, sources indicated that they were sour with the Congress for publicly wooing their rival JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. But later in the day, the party seemed to have made some attempt to mollify Lalu and Paswan when Congress spokesman Verappa Moily criticised Nitish Kumar.

Simultaneously, the Election Commission dispatched a high-powered team to look into complaints of poll irregularities in Bihar evoking a strong opposition from the BJP. In response, they lifted the boycott and sent in Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh to mark the token representation of the RJD.

Similarly, the party also tried to undo the damage caused by its general secretary Rahul Gandhi to their alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu when he praised rival leader J Jayalaliitha. But later the party mollified the DMK too.

Tamil Nadu will go to polls on May 13.

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Nitish at centre of political tug-of-war

New Delhi, May 8
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continued to be wooed by all, with a week left for the judgement day.

BJP leader LK Advani today swore by “Nitish's friendship” and the Congress, under attack from its allies, said it was not going to “make a hero” of Kumar three days after party leader Rahul Gandhi praised the Bihar leader.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate LK Advani rubbished speculation about Kumar joining the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Although Kumar himself had pointedly rejected any speculation, saying he is firmly with the NDA, his suitors chasing post-poll arithmetic have not given up hope that Kumar, whose party JD (United) is expected to win at least 20 seats from Bihar, will eventually come around and join them.

The Congress, which was subtly courting Kumar, did a sharp turnaround under pressure from allies the LJP and the RJD. Three days after Rahul Gandhi cited Nitish Kumar as an example of a good leader outside the Congress fold, senior party leader M. Veerappa Moily said his party was not going “to make a hero” of the popular Bihar leader and accused him of following a mixed secular and communal agenda.

“I do not think the Congress is going to make a hero of Nitish Kumar. The manner in which he has aligned with the BJP and is carrying on, pollutes his secular credentials,” said AICC Media Department in-charge Moily.

Moily also charged that retaining the post of chief minister was more important for Kumar than ideology.

“He thinks too much of himself. He will regret staying with BJP. We are not reaching out to him,” Moily said. 

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Eye on Tamil Nadu, Cong softens stance 
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
With an eye on the 39 Tamil Nadu Lok Sabha seats that go to polls on May 13, the Congress has diluted its earlier stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils crisis and now advocating a “permanent, peaceful solution” to the problem.

The latest position taken by the party is a scaling down from its earlier categorical viewpoint that supported “fulfillment of legitimate aspirations of the Tamil-speaking minority within the constitutional framework of united and federal Sri Lanka”. Or in other words meaning that India did not believe in interfering with the neighbouring nation’s internal affairs.

In fact, when AIADMK chief J Jayalaithaa initially raised the demand for a separate “Eelam”, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi termed it as her “ignorance of international laws”. However, under pressure from rival AIADMK and others -- now that DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, too, has joined the “Eelam” (a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka) chorus -- the Congress has changed its tack.

Defending the DMK chief’s stand, a senior Congress leader said: “Karunanidhi has always advocated for a separate ‘Eelam’, but in different words”.

In a bid to match competing rivals, Karunanidhi on Wednesday said that he had assumed responsibilities of making all efforts that “Eelam” was created. In an appeal to DMK workers, he said he would spare no efforts in creating a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka. “We have ensured a fair quantity of relief for Sri Lankan Tamils. As a next step, they should get ‘Eelam’ and I assume the responsibility of making all efforts to ensure that it is created,” he asserted.

Asked whether the Congress endorsed DMK chief’s call for a separate “Eelam”, senior party leader Veerappa Moily said: “Karunannidhi is an important ally in the UPA. It is for him to take up the issue. We (Congress) are against aggressive attack but will favour a peaceful political settlement.” 

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Sanjay Dutt allowed to go abroad

New Delhi, May 8
Bollywood actor and Samajwadi Party general-secretary Sanjay Dutt, who is on bail in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, was today allowed by the Supreme Court to go abroad for six months for the shooting of five films. Dutt, who has actively campaigned for the party in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, had moved the apex court with the details of his itinerary about his visit to South Africa, Canada, the US, the UK, Zambia and Namibia from June to December this year.

Dutt, who was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment in the 1993 serial blasts case by a Mumbai TADA court under the Arms Act for possessing illegal weapons, has to take the permission of the apex court before leaving the country. The court has admitted his appeal against the conviction.

The actor, whose conviction and sentence was not stayed by the court for contesting the Lok Sabha poll from Lucknow, is on bail since November 27, 2007 and has been allowed in the past to go abroad for his business commitments but with certain conditions.

He has to surrender his passport to the CBI's Special Task Force, Mumbai, on his return from abroad by January 5, 2010. — PTI 

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Despite economic boom, job growth shrinks 

New Delhi, May 8
Raising questions over the government's slogan of inclusive growth, an official report said the rate at which new jobs were added to India's labour force had declined between 1993 and 2005, despite an economic boom.

The annual growth rate of employment declined to 1.85 per cent from 2.03 per cent between 1993 and 2005, despite higher aggregate growth, said the report released here by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector today.

“The net growth in employment has also been mostly of an informal kind,” the commission said in the report titled: “Challenges of Employment in India: An Informal Economy Perspective”.

“The national agenda of inclusion would be deficient, if its not able to provide a life of dignity and security to the poor and vulnerable in India, constituting over 75 per cent of the population. Employment, then, becomes the central objective.”

Equally alarming has been the finding that the growth rate of wages under all the categories of workers, including casual labourers, also declined during the period under review.

“Informal sector lacks access to credit, technology, marketing, skills and incentives,” said the commission, which was set up in September 2004 to review the status of the employment in India's unorganised or informal sector.

“Despite the private sector constituting merely 2 per cent of the workforce, it receives inordinate attention and preferred treatment,” says the commission, listing the incentives as cheap credit, access to overseas funds and export sops.

“Instead of bailing out big companies, the government should now shift attention to more local markets and the rural areas,” member of the commission KP Kannan told IANS, soon after presenting the report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

It, accordingly, says that were the Indian economy to grow at 9 per cent per annum during the period, some 488 million jobs will be created, leaving an unemployment level of 2.5 per cent by 2012. But, if the economy grows at just 5 per cent during the period, job creation will be around 465 million, leaving an unemployment level of a little over 7 per cent.

Nevertheless, it says that if the economy expands by 9 per cent per annum, there would be no unemployment by 2017. But, on the flip side, if economic growth is just 5 per cent, the unemployment level will be over 10 per cent. — IANS

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Azmi’s cavalcade attacked by Azam’s supporters 
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 8
The infighting within the Samajwadi Party today took a turn for the worse in Rampur with party leader from Mumbai Abu Azmi’s cavalcade being attacked, reportedly by supporters of veteran leader Mohammad Azam Khan.

According to Rampur SP Jyoti Narain when Azmi and his supporters were having tea at a private house in the Ganj area of the old city, some people attacked their cars, smashed the windscreen and tore off clothes of around five of his supporters. An FIR has been filed at the Ganj police station against “unknown persons” for the attack.

Speaking to news channels, Azmi who is campaigning for party candidate Jaya Prada, said: “A supporter had invited me for tea. Just then a group of people shouting ‘Azam Khan zindabad’ slogan attacked us”

This attack comes a day after party national general secretary Amar Singh warned of taking some stern step (quitting?) after May 13 if the party president didn’t intervene.

Addressing a rally at Rampur yesterday he said he could not take insults from Azam Khan any longer.

Blaming Khan of continuously humiliating him, Amar Singh said: “Mulayam Singhji has asked me to keep Azam Khan happy if I had to remain in the party. He is clearly a favorite and I am expected not to react to his statements against me. Now only a shoe remains to be hurled at me. I am waiting for the shoe. There is a limit of taking such insults.”

However, Azam Khan, who is from the city and is openly opposing party candidate Jaya Prada’s candidature, while reacting to Amar Singh statements, said: “Using unparliamentary language against me was a routine for Singh”.

In Rampur, SP candidate Jaya Prada is virtually in a direct fight against her own party leader Mohammad Azam Khan. Reportedly protesting against Kalyan Singh’s new closeness to the party, Khan has launched his own campaign against Jaya Prada. Tomorrow party president is visiting Rampur to address a public meeting in support of Jaya Prada. It remains to be seen if Khan attends the crucial party meeting or even cold-shoulders the party president.

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Against all odds
Paanwallah’s son makes it to civil services
Asit Srivastava

Lucknow, May 8
Selling betel leaves (paan) from a makeshift shop just outside the gate of the Jaunpur district magistrate's office in Uttar Pradesh, he cherished a dream to see his son join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). With the dream turning into reality, 60-year-old Chandan Guru is a proud father today.

Guru's 24-year-old son Pradeep Shukla has cleared the civil services examination in his first attempt. All set to join the elite service, he shared the challenges his father had faced to help him to prepare for one of the toughest examinations in the country.

“It's all because of my father...I know the pains he took for to see me as an IAS officer,” Shukla, who secured the 427th rank in the civil services examinations, said . Choosing political science and history as his subjects, he cleared the exam without joining any coaching classes.

Despite his poor financial condition, Guru did not once ask his son to look for some job or part-time work to supplement the family income. “I know to supplement the paltry income generated from the betel shop, my father also worked as a labourer and performed other menial work so that I could continue my studies to fulfil his dream,” Shukla said. — IANS

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Karnataka to amend organised crimes act
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 8
The state government here has decided to amend the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) and bring acts of terrorism under its ambit.

The amendments were first introduced in Karnataka Assembly session held in Belgaum in January. It was stated that the amendments would be presented before the Assembly for ratification during its Budget session. However, the revised Bill was not presented when the Assembly met in February for passing the state Budget. Now the government has decided to promulgate an ordinance to introduce the amendments in KCOCA. The ordinance would be presented before the Assembly in its next session.

Briefing reporters here today after a meeting of the state cabinet, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Shobha Karandlaje said it was decided to make the Act more stringent so that it could be an effective deterrent against organised crimes that would include terrorist acts.

She said the cabinet decided to add five more clauses, including categorisation of acts of terrorists as organised crime, enhancing penalty limit to offenders from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh and attachment of properties of those booked under the act. 

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Keeping families together through technology
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 8
For those of you living abroad and looking for a way to constantly keep in touch with your elderly parents back home, here is a new tool.

With Rovio, a Wi-Fi-enabled robotic webcam launched in the Indian market by Buddibot, a Hyderabad-based web applications company, one can always be just a click away from one’s loved ones.

Rovio can move in any direction and enables to view and interact through streaming video and audio. The robot, which can be controlled from anywhere in the world using a web-enabled device, has a self-docking function that allows the user to send Rovio back to the charging dock to recharge, remotely.

And it can also double up as a roving home surveillance system during the nights. This company, a Hyderabad-headquartered startup, has launched the product here, targeting non-resident Indians (NRIs).

“We plan to launch the service in other parts of the country in two-to-three months. We expect to sell about 3,000 units in the country and garner 6,000 subscriptions worldwide this year,” the company’s chief executive Subbarao Machiraju said.

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HC orders techie to sweep hospital
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 8
In a novel punishment, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered a young software engineer to sweep the premises of a government hospital here for one month as an atonement for harassing two women.

M Dinesh Kumar (21), a software engineer working with Dell Computers, was accused of harassing two women at a public place in the city two months ago. While hearing the anticipatory bail plea of the techie, Justice B Chandrakumar handed out the unique punishment. Ordering the accused to surrender before the police, the judge asked him to sweep the premises of Gandhi General Hospital for one hour every day. The accused has been allowed to choose the hour according to his convenience.

The judge also asked the superintendent of the hospital to maintain a register for Dinesh Kumar to mark his attendance daily and to ensure that the court order was complied with. The charge against Dinesh Kumar was that he, along with his friend Balranga Sai, accosted two girls at Malkajgiri area in the city on March 21 and pulled their ‘dupattas’ (scarves). The harassed girls lodged a complaint with the local police. While locals caught and beat up his colleague, Dinesh Kumar managed to flee the scene.

On a complaint by the girls’ escort Venkatakrishna, the police registered a case against the two under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Kumar. After his anticipatory bail application was dismissed by the district court, Kumar approached the high court. The judge directed him to surrender before the police within a week and asked the police to release him on conditional bail.

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Producer-multiplex Dispute
Small film-makers may profit
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 8
Makers of small films and old-fashioned single-screen theatres may end up becoming the unlikely beneficiaries of the dispute between film producers and big theatre chains.

Earlier this week, film producers said they would go ahead with plans to release new films in single screen theatres across the country from later this month. Today, multiplex owners confirmed that they would purchase new films from small film makers for release in their theatres.

Multiplex chains and film producers have been locked in a major dispute over revenue sharing because of which new film releases came to a halt this week. No new film is likely to be released in the coming week as well, since the dispute shows no sign of getting resolved, according to trade sources.

According to veteran film distributor Shravan Shroff, whose family owns the Fame chain of multiplexes, “Several chains have come together to form a pool to buy films from small film makers. We have set up a corpus to buy distribution rights of small films for release.

Apart from Fame, cinema chains like INOX, Cinemax, Adlabs, PVR and Fun Cinemas have signed up as part of the deal. Some of these companies like Adlabs have their own cinema distribution network.

The multiplex owners have identified a number of small-budget films produced by outfits like Pritish Nandy Communications that has three movies in the pipeline. Subash Ghai, whose “Paying Guest” has been on the cards for a while, is likely to be another beneficiary.

Some other titles that could see the light of day include Sanjay Dutt starrer “Lamhaa” and Neeraj Vora’s “Shortkut-The Con is On”, Ketan Mehta’s “Rang Rasiya”, Nana Patekar starrer “Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss”.

The dispute came about after major production houses led by Yash Raj Films, UTV and Eros International insisted on sharing revenues at 50:50, 45:65 and 40:60 in the first, second and third weeks of release, respectively with the larger share going to the multiplexes.

The theatre chains instead demanded sharing on the basis of 50:50, 40:60 and 30:70 with the larger share going to the multiplexes.

The deadlock has resulted in a number of big budget productions stuck in the pipeline. Among the movies badly hit include Vishal Bharadwaj’s “Kaminey” starring Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor, Sajid Nadiadwala’s “Kambakkht Ishq” featuring Kareena Kapoor and Akshay Kumar, Kabir Khan’s “New York” starring Katrina Kaif, John Abraham and Irrfan Khan and “Kal Kisne Dekha” starring Juhi Chawla and Rishi Kapoor. 

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HC designates judges for special courts 

Ahmedabad, May 8
The Gujarat High Court had designated nine judges for as many special courts to carry out the trial in the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), High Court officials said here today.

The High Court, in an order issued in this regard as per the SC judgement delivered early this month, had designated nine special courts, one for each case, which will become operational soon, they said.

Out of the nine special courts four will be in Ahmedabad, two each in Mehsana and Anand, and one in Himmatnagar of Sabarkantha district.

According to the Court’s order, additional sessions judge PR Patel has been designated to conduct the trial in the Godhra train carnage case which would be held in the premises of the Sabarmati Central Jail here.

Judge SH Vora and additional sessions Judge Jyotsna Yagnik will be presiding over the trial of Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya cases, respectively.

For the Gulburg society case, where Congress ex-MP Ehsan Jaffery was killed during the riots, Judge BU Joshi has been designated as judge for the special court.

For the two cases in Mehsana district - Dipda Darwaja and Sardarpura - the Court has designated Judge BN Kariya and Judge SC Srivastava, respectively.

Judges SY Trivedi and RM Sarine have been deignated to conduct trial in two riot cases in Khambodaj and Ode of Anand distict, respectively.

While for the riot case in Prantij taluka of Sabarkantha district where some British nationals were killed, Judge HP Patel has been deignated as judge of the special court which will be based in district headquarters Himmatnagar.

The Supreme Court on May 1 lifted stay on trial of nine cases, including Godhra train carnage and post-Godhra riot cases, and ordered day-to-day hearing by fast track courts in Gujarat. — PTI 

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Polls over, it’s time for some ‘hard’ decisions
Amrish Herdenia
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, May 8
The party is over and it’s time for some unpleasant decisions in Madhya Pradesh.

With the voting for General Election over and done with, almost every elected body - from the state government to the municipal committees - is now taking and executing unpalatable decisions which had been put on hold till the people had voted. Power cuts are back with a vengeance. The government, which was spending a fortune on buying electricity from other states till recently, has suddenly discovered the merits of economy. It has tightened its purse strings and the cities, towns and villages are being subjected to much longer power cuts than earlier. The searing heat has made the power cuts even more difficult to bear.

The state government has also backtracked from its promise of implementing the sixth pay commission report for its employees. The announcement was made before the polls but the implementation was put off quoting the model code of conduct. However, now the government does not seem to be in the mood to implement the report. In fact, much to the chagrin of the employees, even the additional DA installment has been sanctioned from April this year rather than from January 2006, depriving the employees of the arrears.

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BJP way ahead, will form govt: Advani

Bhopal, May 8
BJP prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani Friday expressed confidence that his party would emerge the single largest after the polls and form the next government at the centre with its allies.

During a stopover at Bhopal airport, on way to Kolkata from Chennai, Advani told reporters that with four of the five phases of polling over, he had no doubt that the Congress would be much behind the BJP after the elections.

Advani also said that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was ahead of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) according to trends available.

"Our alliance too will be ahead of the UPA. Thanks to the hard work of our party workers and leaders, due to which the situation as on date is very much in our favour."

The BJP leader reiterated that the NDA lost in 2004 due to "overconfidence" but this time there is no such feeling.

Asked to comment on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's statement that he would support anybody who dismisses the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh, Advani expressed surprise. He also said that there is no such provision in the constitution and it does not allow the union government to take such a step.

"I am surprised at such a public statement. The constitution does not give any such right to the central government to dismiss a democratically elected government," Advani said. "Such things are against democracy."

The BJP leader also rubbished Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's wooing of Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar and said the Bihar chief minister is very much with the NDA. "I am confident of Nitish's friendship. I am sure he will not leave NDA." — IANS

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Aviation centre lacks facilities

Ranchi, May 8
The Jharkhand government is considering a vigilance probe to fix responsibility for the decision in which officials selected an institute lacking basic infrastructure for training tribal youth of the state as pilots and air crew.

The three officials, who are facing heat over the issue are KK Sone, Sunil Kumar Barnawal and Nitin Kulkarni, all posted as tribal welfare commissioners, when the process of floating the tender, selecting the institute and signing the MoU were done.

The institute was selected through tender, but the officials failed to verify its credentials and the facilities it provided. — IANS

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