SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI




THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

TMC will not join hands with NDA: Mamata
Kolkata, May 10
Trinamool supremo Mamata Banejee today said after the Lok Sabha polls, they would in no case return to the NDA. On the contrary, she said the TMC would be supporting the UPA even if they fail to form the government.



TMC chief Mamata Banerjee addresses mediapersons in Kolkata on Sunday. — Reuters

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee addresses mediapersons in Kolkata

Left parties fume over TRS ‘betrayal’
New Delhi, May 10
The Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) announcement to support the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today caught the Third Front by surprise, with the CPM, a major party in the alliance, calling it as a “betrayal” of secular parties.

Mulayam to adopt wait-and-watch policy
New Delhi, May 10
Reiterating that the Samajwadi Party (SP) would lend support to that party which would dismiss the Mayawati-led BSP Government in Uttar Pradesh, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today said his party would decide on the support aspect only after the election results were out.





EARLIER STORIES



A BSP supporter wears an elephant mask during a poll rally in Moradabad
A BSP supporter wears an elephant mask during a poll rally in Moradabad on Sunday. — PTI

My only issue is Kalyan Singh: Azam
Rampur, May 10
After coming under fire from SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, party leader Azam Khan today maintained that he only had issues with joining hands with Kalyan Singh and said he was “waiting for Yadav’s decision”.

Gowda’s hopes of playing key role fade
Bangalore, May 10
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda turns 77 two days after the election results will be known on May 16, but it is highly unlikely he would want to celebrate, as his dreams of playing a major role in a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formation are rapidly fading.

Varun Gandhi barred from holding rally
Bareilly, May 10
BJP candidate Varun Gandhi was barred from holding a rally today in his mother Maneka Gandhi's constituency Aonla by the district authorities fearing trouble.

LJP slams Nitish for sharing dais with Modi
New Delhi, May 10
Lok Janashakti Party today slammed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "sharing dais with Narenda Modi" at an election rally in Ludhiana despite the JD (U) chief earlier ruling out the possibility of a joint rally with the Gujarat Chief Minister.

‘Only Left can secure loans for farmers’
Kolkata, May 10
After having faced flakes on the issue of farmland acquisition at Nandigram and Singur, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the Left Front would like to install a government at the Centre which would secure land and bank loans for farmers.

Music director AR Rehman gives autograph to a girl in Hyderabad
Music director AR Rehman gives autograph to a girl in Hyderabad on Sunday. — PTI

Post-poll, all eyes will be on President
New Delhi, May 10
With the elections widely expected to lead to a hung Parliament, all eyes will be on President Pratibha Patil, who will decide who to invite to form a government after the votes get counted on May 16.

Sonia vows to work for Lankan Tamils
Chennai, May 10
Breaking her silence on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, a couple of days before the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi today said her party was determined to work for equal status and rights for the island Tamils within the framework of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan accord.

Karuna reads poem on slain LTTE leader
Chennai, May 10

Even while Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was seated beside him, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader today read out a poem, condoling the death of SP Thamilchelvan, a former LTTE leader.

Assam hills face threat of ethnic violence
Guwahati, May 10
Spectre of ethnic violence looms large over volatile North Cachar Hill district in Assam where non-Dimasa tribes have ganged up against the dominant Dimasa tribe to derail latter’s efforts to rename the hill district as Dima Hasao Raji.

Terror groups may use minors: Nikam
Mumbai, May 10
The trial of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist caught in the November 26 attacks, has thrown up the possibility of minors being used for terror attacks and time has come for the country to strengthen the Juvenile Justice Act to deal with such impending menace, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has said.

Cholera outbreak hits Hyderabad’s hi-tech image
Hyderabad, May 10
The Congress government is caught in troubled waters following large number of deaths due to drinking water contamination and outbreak of cholera in the state capital. The city’s high-tech image took a severe beating with the death of nine persons, mostly children, due to contamination of drinking water early this week.





Top








 

TMC will not join hands with NDA: Mamata
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 10
Trinamool supremo Mamata Banejee today said after the Lok Sabha polls, they would in no case return to the NDA. On the contrary, she said the TMC would be supporting the UPA even if they fail to form the government.

Mamata was talking to mediapersons at the Calcutta Press Club.

When her attention was drawn to CPM general secretary Prakash Karat’s apprehension that after the polls the TMC would rejoin the NDA, Mamata said Karat should mind his own business.

“He should better carry on his game plan of uniting NDA partners like Navin Patnaik, Chandra Babu Naidu and Jalyalalita, in the formation of the Third Front which I don’t think will ever materialise,” she said.

Mamata was confident that after the elections, the era of the CPM would come to an end since they had already been exposed to the people.

“The CPM still wants to dictate the country’s politics and enjoy power without shouldering any responsibilities,” she alleged.

Mamata said she did not find anything wrong in the cancellation of the election tours of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the state.

“Our joint campaigning programme with Pranab Mukherjee and other Congress leaders are continuing as usual and we are confident to win the maximum number of seats in the state,” she asserted.

Responding to the CPM’s criticism, the TMC leader admitted in the past five years she could not be present in the Lok Sabha on all days since she had been busy in the Singur and Nandigram movements and was also fighting against the CPM’s “terror” rule in the state.

“But I attended all important sessions and also took part in the debate whenever allowed. However, like the CPM MPs, I did not unnecessarily sign the attendance register only to get the MP’s full salary,” she said.

The TMC leader said after the Lok Sabha elections, their demand would be to hold the West Bengal Assembly polls immediately.

Top

 

Left parties fume over TRS ‘betrayal’
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
The Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) announcement to support the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today caught the Third Front by surprise, with the CPM, a major party in the alliance, calling it as a “betrayal” of secular parties.

“It is unfortunate… It is betrayal of the people of Telangana… It’s betrayal of secular parties and people who supported the TRS during the elections,” CPM leaders said. Trying to put up a brave front in the event of the TRS shifting its support, the CPM, however, said the move would not effect the emergence of the Third Front.

A CPI office bearer said: “If he (referring to TRS chief Chandrasekhar Rao) wanted to join the NDA, he should have done it before the elections. Still, his decision to join the NDA is not a jolt for us.”

Fighting for a separate Telangana state in Andhra Pradesh, the TRS formally joined the NDA at a public rally in Ludhiana today while the party had contested the elections in partnership with the Left-led Third Front (in AP).

Rao, who earlier announced his party's intention to join the NDA fold, was also at the rally that is being viewed as NDA's show of strength before the final phase of the elections on May 13.

A CPM office-bearer was of the opinion that the TRS would not even remain with the NDA for long if its demands were not met. He pointed out that the TRS was with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but after many flip-flops over the Telangana issue, the TRS finally walked out of the (UPA) fold. It then went with the Left-led Third Front. It has now joined the NDA after the BJP stated that it “favoured smaller states”.

The CPM office-bearer said it remained to be seen "how long would Chandrasekhar Rao remain with the BJP". "They (TRS) worked with the Congress. Now we want to see how long will they remain with the BJP," he said.

The Third Front is of the view that more like-minded parties from the BJP and Congress-led alliances would join it after the election results were out. The front expected that even Bihar chief minister and Janta Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar would join it.

Incidentally, Nitish Kumar swept aside all speculation of his switching sides by attending the NDA rally at Ludhiana, where the TRS leader was also present.

Top

 

Mulayam to adopt wait-and-watch policy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
Reiterating that the Samajwadi Party (SP) would lend support to that party which would dismiss the Mayawati-led BSP Government in Uttar Pradesh, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today said his party would decide on the support aspect only after the election results were out.

Talking to a television channel here Yadav stressed that he would go with the front that promises to dismiss the Mayawati government adding “We will decide after (the) elections... and we would like a secular government”.

Days ago, Yadav had shocked most of the political parties by saying that his party would support the front, which would dismiss the Mayawati government. He reiterated, “I will not go with the one, which will not dismiss,” suggesting the dismissal of Mayawati government.

With another round of hung Parliament expected, all regional parties are expected to extract their pound of flesh at the time of government formation.

The demand from SP is in that direction and the party could actually prove to be tough nut to crack eventually in the backdrop of the rivalry between the SP and Mayawati’s BSP.

He also held the Congress responsible for the deteriorating relations between the two parties in the ruling UPA alliance. He said, “I have never treated anybody that relations deteriorate. The Congress has deteriorated the relations. They kept us away and gave seats to the party which had less number of seats.” The SP had emerged as the supporter of the Congress-led UPA alliance government after the Left parties withdrew support on the Indo-US nuclear deal. But both the parties decided to go it alone in Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh after talks for a pre-poll alliance failed.

Asked about the possibility of the party lending support to the Third Front in the event of it emerging to adequate numbers, Yadav said: “Right now we are not ready to go with anybody. We will wait for the results and after results we will take opinion of Samajwadi party’s Rashtriya Karyakarini Board and MPs and then decide.”

Yadav also lent his support to his trusted aide Amar Singh in the ongoing differences between Singh and another party general secretary Azam Khan. He was of the opinion that Azam Khan’s, who has opposed the candidature of actress Jaya Prada from Rampur constituency, behaviour has not been appropriate. Suggesting that disciplinary action could be in the offing for Azam Khan Yadav said, “after elections, the party will decide what is to be done”.

Top

 

My only issue is Kalyan Singh: Azam

Rampur, May 10
After coming under fire from SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, party leader Azam Khan today maintained that he only had issues with joining hands with Kalyan Singh and said he was “waiting for Yadav’s decision”.

“I have said my only issue is Kalyan Singh. I have issues with no other person. Whatever he (Amar Singh) is saying, he must be knowing it better,” Khan said when asked about his rival Amar Singh’s ultimatum that Yadav will have to choose between him or Khan.

At a rally yesterday, Yadav attacked Khan, who has launched a campaign against SP candidate from Rampur Jaya Prada, for working against the party and betraying his trust.

“When the right moment came, the person whom we trusted, didn’t support the SP. Is this the right thing to do? ...He (Khan) reaped the plant and cut it on his own. I have never seen anyone doing this,” he said.

“Abhi bhi samay hai, samman sahit wapas aayiye, chunav prachar me lag jayiye (There is still time. Come back with dignity and and start campaigning for the party),” he said.

But Khan today said he was waiting for Yadav’s decision. “He (Mualyam) is the president. I can just wait for his decision and I am waiting for that.”

Amar Singh, at an election meeting here in support of the sitting MP Jayaprada, had said he would decide over continuing in the party after the end of the final phase of the 
Lok Sabha polls. — PTI

Top

 

Gowda’s hopes of playing key role fade

Bangalore, May 10
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda turns 77 two days after the election results will be known on May 16, but it is highly unlikely he would want to celebrate, as his dreams of playing a major role in a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formation are rapidly fading.

His party, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), is contesting 21 of Karnataka’s 28 Lok Sabha seats. The party is sure of winning two: Deve Gowda’s from his Hassan home district and of his son and former state Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is contesting from the Bangalore Rural constituency.

There is a huge question mark on the JD-S winning any other seat.

Including Deve Gowda, the JD-S had just three members in the outgoing Lok Sabha, two from Karnataka and one from Kerala. Against this, the BJP had 18 and the Congress eight.

Ahead of the polls, the other member from Karnataka, M Shivanna, defected to the Congress and Gowda’s Left allies scuttled the re-nomination of the lone JD-S member from Kerala, MP Veerendra Kumar.

Though the BJP claims it will win between 22 and 24 seats this time, party leaders unofficially concede the tally might go down by two to three seats. — IANS

Top

 

Varun Gandhi barred from holding rally

Bareilly, May 10
BJP candidate Varun Gandhi was barred from holding a rally today in his mother Maneka Gandhi's constituency Aonla by the district authorities fearing trouble.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Fareedpur, Munish Sharma cancelled the rally by Varun, who was cleared just two days ago of the charges under the stringent NSA for his alleged anti-Muslim speeches, last night after considering local intelligence reports, official sources said.

The reports had advised against allowing the rally, scheduled to be held at CAS inter college grounds in Fareedpur, 20 km from here, which witnessed communal tension in March, claiming that Varun’s alleged remarks on sterilisation policy, which he has denied as “false”, had sparked anger in a section of population, they said.

The 29-year-old leader, who is contesting from Pilibhit, today complained to the Election Commission on the cancellation, accusing the authorities of taking an “arbitrary” decision on the basis of a “false” press report.

In the complaint, Varun said permission for the rally had been obtained five days back but the Sub-Divisional Magistrate “arbitrarily” revoked it citing the report.

Gandhi demanded that the commission ensure that his and his mother’s “constitutional right” to “convey their message of hope and change to their electorate not be arbitrarily and summarily prevented”. An angry Maneka lashed out at the district administration’s decision to cancel Varun’s rally.

“Varun has been holding meetings everywhere....Nothing happened there. So in Fareedpur we were thinking we could unite the Hindus and Muslims, but authorities cancelled the meeting and created a new situation,” she said.

Criticising the decision, BJP district president Subhash Patel said while a public meeting of Samajwadi Party was being allowed in the district, they were being denied their “Constitutional right” by the authorities. — PTI

Top

 

LJP slams Nitish for sharing dais with Modi

New Delhi, May 10
Lok Janashakti Party today slammed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "sharing dais with Narenda Modi" at an election rally in Ludhiana despite the JD (U) chief earlier ruling out the possibility of a joint rally with the Gujarat Chief Minister.

"After elections came to an end in Bihar, Nitish Kumar has exposed his real face by sharing the dais with Modi," LJP Secretary General Abdul Khaliq said.

In an apparent reference to AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had earlier praised Kumar, the LJP leader said, “Those who were declaring Nitish Kumar secular and want to form government with him should now take a lesson.” Khaliq's remark comes hours after Kumar attended the NDA rally, in which chief ministers of all NDA-ruled states, including Gujarat CM and BJP's Hindutava mascot Narendra Modi participated.

"Kumar, who used to say Modi will not come to Bihar for election campaign today virtually embraced him," Khaliq alleged.

While Congress today played down Nitish attending the NDA rally claiming that the JD(U) chief's move was on "expected" lines. Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the JD (U) leader attending the NDA rally was expected. "It is expected. It is politics. It is Nitish's politics. You do not expect him to sing paeans for Congress on the eve of elections." — PTI

Top

 

‘Only Left can secure loans for farmers’

Kolkata, May 10
After having faced flakes on the issue of farmland acquisition at Nandigram and Singur, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the Left Front would like to install a government at the Centre which would secure land and bank loans for farmers.

“We want a government at the Centre which will secure land and bank loans for farmers. It is only the Left and like-minded parties that can give such a government at the Centre,” Bhattacharjee said at an election rally in the prestigious South Kolkata Lok Sabha constituency which is held by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.

Claiming that neither the BJP nor the Congress can ensure welfare of the poor of the country, he said, "The country’s politics is in such a state that it now seems practical that we will be able to defeat not only the BJP, but also the Congress to form a new government with a new policy.”

Lauding China for its success on the economic front, he wondered why “they succeeded and we failed”.

“When we talked about China 10 years back, we were termed its stooges. Their success is now for everybody to see,” the Chief Minister said at a rally attended by a few hundred people at Deshapriya Park. — PTI

Top

 

Post-poll, all eyes will be on President

New Delhi, May 10
With the elections widely expected to lead to a hung Parliament, all eyes will be on President Pratibha Patil, who will decide who to invite to form a government after the votes get counted on May 16.

“The President will have a most crucial role in such a fluid situation,” senior advocate and constitutional expert Anil Dewan told IANS.

KK Venugopal, another leading constitutional expert and lawyer, said: “The safest and most prudent rule for the President will be to first invite either the single largest party, though a minority, or a pre-poll alliance with the largest number of MPs to form the government.”

According to convention, the President will then set a time for the leader of the single largest party or pre-poll alliance to prove its majority on the floor of the house.

If this option does not work out, the leader of the second-largest party or alliance will be invited to form the government. If the second largest party or pre-poll alliance is not able to form a stable government, then the president will have no choice but to dissolve the house and ask for fresh elections.

“The President has to take care to act in such a manner that her subjective decisions will not be open to attack or criticism. Basically, she should act in an impartial manner and should be seen to be doing so,” Venugopal told IANS.

According to Dewan, the key question the President has to ask is who will form a stable government.

“For that purpose, the pre-poll alliance with the largest number of MPs should be given the first chance, subject to an overwhelming majority by a single party.”

Imagine a scenario in which the Congress at 160 seats emerges as the single largest party, but its allies don’t bring a substantial number of MPs to the UPA. Then it may not be invited to form the government.

The President may then decide to call the BJP-led NDA, if it is numerically superior to the UPA by a wide margin, to form the government.

The confusion is compounded this time as both the Congress and the BJP are actively courting parties to expand their coalitions.

Pre-poll alliances are traditionally understood to have a common manifesto and comprise a group of like-minded parties which either have a common candidate or do not campaign against each other.

But neither the NDA nor the UPA has come out with a common manifesto. Moreover, the UPA may not qualify as a pre-poll alliance as many of its constituents are pitted against one another in different states.

The focus, therefore, will be on the relative strengths of the post-poll alliances that the BJP, the Congress and the Third Front are able to cobble together.

In the end, it will all depend on the president for whom the supreme criterion will be to see which party or alliance can provide a stable government to the country.

“Minority governments are also legitimate. The question of a government having legitimacy has to be settled only on the floor of the house, only through a no-confidence motion, if necessary," said Subhash C Kashyap, former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha and the author of a six-volume “History of Parliament”. — IANS

Top

 

Sonia vows to work for Lankan Tamils
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, May 10
Breaking her silence on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, a couple of days before the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi today said her party was determined to work for equal status and rights for the island Tamils within the framework of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan accord.

“Even though our Prime Minister has yesterday explained what the UPA government is doing for the serious and heartbreaking plight of Tamil brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, I want to express how I am deeply pained and anguished about the sufferings of thousands and thousands of women, elderly people and children who are caught in the cross-fire,” she said, addressing a joint rally with the DMK president M Karunanidhi here. Sonia said, “Our government has done everything possible to end the hostilities (in Sri Lanka). We are determined that all the people are moved to the safety zone and humanitarian assistance is provided to them.”

Ending speculations about her party’s ties with the DMK, she described the DMK leader as a “pillar of strength for the UPA” and the relationship as “a lasting partnership”. She said “there are few political leaders, who can match him in experience, wisdom and long years of public service”.

There are deep emotional ties that bind myself to Tamil Nadu, she said, revoking the memory of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated in the state.

Asking the people of the state to renew the mandate of 2004, when the UPA won all the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, she said, “UPA government has not let down the people of Tamil Nadu and people of the state stood by us. We have fulfilled all our promises made in 2004”.

Listing the achievements of the UPA government for Tamil Nadu, she said the Centre allocated funds for he desalination project in Chennai to provide drinking water for the people. Tamil was declared as a classical language and funds were allocated to set up the Central Insitute of Tamil Classical Language, she said. Reservation for OBCs in higher educational institutions was a major achievement of the UPA government.

The UPA chairperson also said massive investments were made in the state in the automobile and IT sector and educational loans were provided to thousands of youths.

Having a dig at the Third Front, she said, “some political parties have found new friends in an opportunistic alliance. How can such an alliance hold together. It will fall like a pack of cards before it is erected.

Accusing the Third Front parties of joining together for power, she said, “Our aim is service of the people”. She said, “As for the BJP, they have no alliance in the state and cannot sustain their poisonous divisive politics”. The Congress leader promised a secular, stable, responsive and responsible government.

Top

 

Karuna reads poem on slain LTTE leader
Tribune News Service

Chennai, May 10
Even while Congress leader Sonia Gandhi was seated beside him, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader today read out a poem, condoling the death of SP Thamilchelvan, a former LTTE leader.

Reading out the poetry that he composed last year, Karunanidhi said the eulogy was condemned by AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa who demanded the dismissal of the DMK government. Now, the same Jayalalithaa was promising a separate homeland for the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Chief Minister said. When Jayalalithaa was the Chief Minister, she refused to allow LTTE ideologue Anto Balasingam into Tamil Nadu and now she was promising to carve out a separate nation for the island Tamils, he said and added that some people were appreciating her statement on Eelam.

Sonia, who spoke after Karunanidhi, did not respond to Karunanidhi’s poetry on slain LTTE leader and avoided negative comments on Tigers.

Top

 

Assam hills face threat of ethnic violence
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 10
Spectre of ethnic violence looms large over volatile North Cachar Hill district in Assam where non-Dimasa tribes have ganged up against the dominant Dimasa tribe to derail latter’s efforts to rename the hill district as Dima Hasao Raji.

A senior police official informed that tension was escalating in the hill district ever since North Cachar Autonomous Hill District Council (NCAHDC) had approved rechristening of the hill district in response to the demand of majority Dimasa tribe.

The non-Dimasa tribe have floated a new outfit called Citizens’ Right Protection Volunteer to oppose the move to rename the hill district. The group claimed responsibility for torching 37 houses of Dimasa tribe at Phaiding village under Mahur Police Station in the hill district and killing three persons yesterday. The raiders also burnt down five rice mills. According to villagers, a group of 20/25 armed men swooped down on the village and opened indiscriminate fire. The miscreants then set fire to all the houses in the village.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today directed the administration and police to pull out all stops to put out the ethnic violence in the bud before it spreads to other parts of the hill district that has history of ethnic unrest.

Condemning the violent incidents, Gogoi, who is closely monitoring the situation, has asked the law enforcing agencies and the Army to start joint operations against the group involved in the latest incidents of violence.

Top

 

Terror groups may use minors: Nikam

Mumbai, May 10
The trial of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist caught in the November 26 attacks, has thrown up the possibility of minors being used for terror attacks and time has come for the country to strengthen the Juvenile Justice Act to deal with such impending menace, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has said.

After Kasab unsuccessfully attempted to plead that he was a juvenile, a possibility has arisen that terror groups might use minors to carry out suicide attacks, he warned.

“Juvenile offenders are likely to infiltrate into the country... time has come to change the archiac Juvenile Justice Act to ensure that terror suspect below the age of 18 should be tried under the stringent laws,” Nikam said in an interactive session with journalists here. — PTI

Top

 

Cholera outbreak hits Hyderabad’s hi-tech image
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 10
The Congress government is caught in troubled waters following large number of deaths due to drinking water contamination and outbreak of cholera in the state capital. The city’s high-tech image took a severe beating with the death of nine persons, mostly children, due to contamination of drinking water early this week.

Even before the residents could recover from the shocking deaths, the incidence of cholera has come as a rude jolt, exposing chinks in the civic infrastructure. As many as 16 patients have tested positive for cholera, a majority of them from Bholakpur area where polluted water had claimed nine lives and left over 500 people sick early this week.

The contamination was caused by seepage of sewage into the drinking water pipelines. A string of unauthorised tanneries, located in the area, had contributed to the pollution. The patients are still undergoing treatment at various government-run hospitals in the city.

Special teams from National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata, arrived in the city and conducted the tests on the patients. The outbreak of cholera triggered panic in the city whose hi-tech image has taken a thorough beating.

The reports of water-borne diseases are pouring in from various localities, raising concerns over the quality of water being supplied by the metro water board. The Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) has already confirmed that the drinking water supplied in Bholakpur and surrounding areas was contaminated with sewer water.

The institute’s analysts found E.Coli, a bacteria found in human faeces, in water samples collected from the areas. The outbreak of cholera set the alarm bells ringing in the administration. Facing all round flak, the government ordered suspension of Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board General Manager Praveen Kumar and Deputy General Manager Rajasekhar Reddy.

A departmental inquiry found that the authorities had failed to take remedial measures despite several complaints from the residents. The water board has constituted four rapid action teams to take immediate steps to arrest water contamination. The officials also conducted raids on tanneries, which are also blamed for water contamination in the area.

Meanwhile, the issue has acquired political overtones with the opposition parties blaming the Congress government for collapse of civic amenities in the city. “Never in the past did the city witness outbreak of cholera. The Congress government has failed to provide basic needs to the people,” TDP president and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said.

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Woman kills sons, attempts suicide
ETAWAH:
A woman allegedly killed her two minor sons before attempting suicide here, the police said on Sunday. Prabha Devi, 30, hanged her two sons, aged eight and ten-years-old, from the ceiling last night. Both the boys died on the spot. She then tried to hang herself but the rope gave away and she fell on the floor, the poilce said adding that Prabha was rushed to the hospital, where her condition was stated to be out of danger. The woman’s husband is an army man and posted in Jammu and Kashmir, the police said adding that the reason behind the extreme step could not be ascertained. — PTI

Chhota Shakeel gang member shot dead
MUMBAI:
Chhota Shakeel gang member Anil Mhatre, wanted in at least 22 cases, including murder and extortion, was gunned down by the police on Sunday in an encounter at Kalachowke in south Mumbai, the police said here. Mhatre, a sharp shooter, allegedly opened fire at the police personnel who asked him to surrender after they surrounded him near Peninsula tower at 06.30 am following a tip-off. Mhatre tried to escape from the spot, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria said. “In self-defence, the police opened fire and Mhatre received serious injuries. He was rushed to nearby hospital where he was declared dead,” Maria said. — PTI

Tourists evacuated from Sikkim
MANGAN (SIKKIM):
Around 350 tourists who were stranded Saturday night along the North Sikkim Highway after a massive landslide blocked the road have been evacuated, officials said on Sunday. The tourists were stranded between Mangan and Lachen and Lachung in remote north Sikkim. According to the District Magistrate North TN Kazi, the landslide had left about 40 vehicles with tourists stranded on the highway. The tourists were either turned back to their respective places of origin by their travel operators or taken to safer areas by vehicles, Kazi said. Paljor Lachungpa, president Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), confirmed that representatives of travel agencies from Gangtok had reached the spot and taken care of the tourists. — IANS

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |