SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Violation of Norms
SC warns medical colleges
New Delhi, June 18
Smelling foul play in the process of admissions for medical courses and privatisation of education, the Supreme Court yesterday sternly warned the government, regulatory bodies and self-financing institutions against violating the laid down rules and norms.

Armed Forces Tribunal to start functioning next month
Chandigarh, June 18
After a series of delays, the much-awaited Armed Forces Tribunal is finally expected to start functioning next month. The AFT will adjudicate on matters pertaining to military justice and service matters, which at present are being dealt by the high courts and the SC.

Bansal’s priority: Safe drinking water for all
New Delhi, June 18
Safe drinking water for all and water for irrigation, hydropower and industry will remain top priorities of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who took the additional charge of the Water Resources Ministry on Thursday. Bansal was given the additional charge of the Water Resources Ministry after Meira Kumar was elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker.

Dacoit shot after 52-hour encounter
Chitrakoot (UP), June 18
A dreaded dacoit, who had held a strong posse of 400 Uttar Pradesh policemen on tenterhooks for over 52 hours, was today shot dead here but not before police lost four of its men.

Shiney in judicial custody till July 2
Mumbai, June 18
Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, accused of raping his domestic help, was today remanded in judicial custody till July 2 by a local court here.

Swine flu tally touches 44
Vaccine production fast-tracked
New Delhi, June 18
With the new swine flu infections more than doubling since yesterday, the government is learnt to have fast-tracked the work on vaccine manufacture to counter the deadly flu.


A sadhu shows his long hair ahead of a local fair at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati on Thursday.
Mane matter:
A sadhu shows his long hair ahead of a local fair at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati on Thursday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

Coastal Security
Cabinet Secy to head review panel
New Delhi, June 18
Backed by the Indian Navy’s assessment that it will take up to two years to make the 7,600-km- long Indian coast line “totally safe”, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home, in separate developments, today got down to ensure that the matter is speeded up and all plans are kept on track.

Bal Thackeray hospitalised
Mumbai, June 18
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, who has not been keeping well for sometime, was today admitted in a hospital, party sources said. “The Sena chief has been admitted in Lilavati hospital in Bandra for a routine check-up,” Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said. — PTI

Fellowships for minority students
New Delhi, June 18
The government today instituted a National Fellowship scheme to enable minority students to pursue higher education in UGC recognised colleges. Numbered at 252, nearly 30 per cent of these annual scholarships have been earmarked for girls.





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Violation of Norms
SC warns medical colleges
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 18
Smelling foul play in the process of admissions for medical courses and privatisation of education, the Supreme Court yesterday sternly warned the government, regulatory bodies and self-financing institutions against violating the laid down rules and norms.

Rejecting the contention of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) that “some communication gap” had resulted in a doctor not getting admission either in Amritsar or Lucknow, the vacation Bench said this was not possible “unless some fraud is involved”.

The Bench, comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam, also observed that it “is a fit case for (awarding) damages”.

The judges vented out their ire while disposing of an application by the DGHS, seeking the court’s directive to the Baba Faridkot University of Health Sciences, Punjab, for providing admission to Dr Ruchika Arora in MDS (Peridontia) at Government Dental College, Amritsar.

“Please don't play with the court like this,” the Bench warned a top DGHS official who first assured the Bench, through senior counsel PS Narasimha, that the directorate would ensure the admission of Dr Arora in Amritsar and later changed her stand, seeking a specific court direction to the college.

Dr Arora had taken admission in Amritsar, but was later allowed to migrate to the Faculty of Dental Sciences, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow, because of her better ranking. However, the Lucknow college refused admission on the plea that there was no vacancy. “How can you leave her in the limbo,” the Bench asked the DGHS and directed the directorate to ensure her re-admission in Amritsar. "We will reopen the whole thing and order an inquiry” and the DGHS would have to “face the consequences” if it failed to ensure admission, the Bench warned.

In another case filed by private educational institutions running B.Ed courses in Madhya Pradesh, the Bench described such colleges that obtained recognition through dubious means as “masked phantoms”.

The “protagonists of privatisation” should read the Madhya Pradesh High Court verdict in the matter and “we fully share the anguish and concern” expressed by the HC, the apex court Bench said. The HC had directed the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) to re-examine the recognition status of the colleges affiliated to all seven universities in the state.

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Armed Forces Tribunal to start functioning next month
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
After a series of delays, the much-awaited Armed Forces Tribunal is finally expected to start functioning next month. The AFT will adjudicate on matters pertaining to military justice and service matters, which at present are being dealt by the high courts and the SC.

Sources said the appointment of 15 administrative members, selected from among senior retired service officers, is over, though the appointment of judicial members, to be selected from retired high court judges, is underway. About 12,000 cases related to courts martial proceedings, and matters such as promotions, postings, pay and allowances, etc., which are pending before various courts, will be transferred to the AFT. Since the AFT will be dealing with military matters alone, it will ensure speedier disposal of cases.

For the Chandigarh Bench, the administrative members are Lt Gen HS Panag, former GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen AS Bahia, former Quarter Master General and Lt Gen NS Brar, former GOC 10 Corps. This Bench will have jurisdiction over the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Among other members are Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman, Lt Gen ML Naidu, both former Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen Thomas Mathew, former Adjutant General, Lt Gen RK Chhabra, former Chief of Staff, Southern Command and Rear Admiral R Contractor. The Parliament had passed the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill on December 7, 2007, following which presidential assent was received on December 27. Former Supreme Court judge, Justice AK Mathur, is heading the tribunal.

The AFT’s principal Bench would be based at New Delhi and premises for it have been earmarked in RK Puram. In addition will be eight regional Benches, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai. Each Bench will have judicial and well as administrative members. All administrative members will have the status of a judge of the high court with corresponding salary and service conditions.

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Bansal’s priority: Safe drinking water for all
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
Safe drinking water for all and water for irrigation, hydropower and industry will remain top priorities of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who took the additional charge of the Water Resources Ministry on Thursday. Bansal was given the additional charge of the Water Resources Ministry after Meira Kumar was elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker.

Another major concern for the Chandigarh MP would be the over-exploitation of ground water and its depleting levels in several parts, including Punjab and Haryana. Bansal said groundwater exploitation in the two states was a matter of worry for him. “I would like to discuss the issue with the Chief Ministers of two states,” he said.

Over-exploitation of ground water, causing lowering of ground water table and deterioration of water quality in some areas primarily due to unsustainable development, require serious attention and immediate action, he said.

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Dacoit shot after 52-hour encounter

Chitrakoot (UP), June 18
A dreaded dacoit, who had held a strong posse of 400 Uttar Pradesh policemen on tenterhooks for over 52 hours, was today shot dead here but not before police lost four of its men.

Ghanshyam Kewat, carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head and had been a terror in the area dotted by forests on the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border, had fled from a house in Jamuali village from where he was firing indiscriminately at the police, but was surrounded by the force and gunned down.

Several policemen were also injured in the encounter in which men of the special task force were also involved. IG V K Gupta and DIG S K Singh, who headed the operation, were among those injured.

“Ghanshyam Kewat has been shot dead by the UP police,” state police chief Vikram Singh said but did not rule out the possibility of more dacoits having helped him.

He said though Kewat was has been killed in a gunbattle outside the village, the encounter has not ended as there may be more dacoits hiding at the place in Rajapur area, 120 km from Allahabad.

Singh said that the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh police has paid dividends as the dacoit was liquidated by securitymen, who adopted a three-pronged strategy - to ensure no civilian casualty, minimum police casualty and minimum loss to property of civilians.

Kewat was wanted by the police in connection with 11 criminal cases, including a few murders and abductions. He was declared ‘most wanted’ after he killed a policeman last year.

The dacoit, who had let loose a reign of terror, had a fire power of 350 rifles of .303 calibre, .12 bore guns and hand grenades which he used at the police personnel during the fierce encounter. — PTI

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Shiney in judicial custody till July 2

Mumbai, June 18
Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, accused of raping his domestic help, was today remanded in judicial custody till July 2 by a local court here.

Shiney was remanded after the prosecution said they wanted to investigate if the actor had consumed drugs or was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. — PTI

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Swine flu tally touches 44
Vaccine production fast-tracked
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
With the new swine flu infections more than doubling since yesterday, the government is learnt to have fast-tracked the work on vaccine manufacture to counter the deadly flu.

Three meetings have already been held with the indigenous manufacturers - Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Panacea Biotech - and orders for vaccine production would be placed within this month. “We are in the final stages of proposal evaluation. We hope to complete the formalities this month and get the vaccine in place for a select group of high-risk population, which would include the doctors, paramedics and immigration officials handling passengers from the infected countries,” secretary, health research Dr V.M. Katoch today told The Tribune, adding that the government was considering placing orders with all three manufacturers to ensure fast availability of the vaccine at home.

Although the government had earlier held meetings with international vaccine manufacturers, it opted for indigenous producers to ensure cheap availability of the vaccine and future capability in the sector.

On the infection front, as against four new cases yesterday, India today recorded nine fresh infections-five in Delhi, three in Bangalore and one in Hyderabad (all imported), taking the total number of infections to 44.

There has been a four-fold rise in the confirmed infections in India over the past fortnight; the number of confirmed cases was about 11 on June 8; 15 on June 11 and 17 on June 13.

Between June 13 and today, confirmed infections have more than doubled - from 17 to 44. The nine cases confirmed today have been isolated. Three of the five new cases in Delhi travelled from the US, one from Japan and one from Australia. The other two cases in Delhi are the family contacts of the positive cases reported yesterday.

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Coastal Security
Cabinet Secy to head review panel
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
Backed by the Indian Navy’s assessment that it will take up to two years to make the 7,600-km- long Indian coast line “totally safe”, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home, in separate developments, today got down to ensure that the matter is speeded up and all plans are kept on track.

The Union Cabinet Secretary was today appointed to head a high-level committee that will, at regular intervals, review the measures taken for the coastal security. Other members of the committee will include the Chief of Naval Staff, Secretaries of Ministries like Defence, Home, Petroleum and Chief Secretaries of all coastal states.

The decision to set-up the committee was taken by Defence Minister AK Antony here today. The National Security Adviser, MK Narayanan and the Defence secretary Vijay Singh were a part of the decision making process. This comes within weeks of the Navy having conveyed that procurement of additional boats, setting up coastal radars, sensors and tracking equipment, besides having other systems in place, will take time.

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Fellowships for minority students
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
The government today instituted a National Fellowship scheme to enable minority students to pursue higher education in UGC recognised colleges. Numbered at 252, nearly 30 per cent of these annual scholarships have been earmarked for girls.

These can be given to boys in case enough girls do not apply. Instituted by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MOMA) on the recommendations of the UGC, the scheme seeks to support minority students, who pursue higher studies such as MPhil and PhD. The scheme will cover all universities and institutions recognised by the UGC and will be implemented by the ministry.

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BRIEFLY

MiG-21 crashes in Assam, pilot safe
Guwahati:
A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force on Thursday crashed soon after it took off from Chabua air base in Assam’s Dibrugarh district. The pilot, Flying Officer Hemant Dave, however, managed to bail out safely, said IAF sources. The fighter jet crashed over Hatiali Pathar about four kilometers from the IAF base. It is said, the aircraft, which was on a training sortie, developed a ‘technical snag’ soon after the take off. — TNS

Cell phones seized in jail
COIMBATORE:
The jail authorities here on Thursday seized five cell phones and related accessories in its premises. As a follow-up to the recent incident in which an inmate was murdered in the Chennai Puzhal prison, the authorities carried out these raids, jail sources said. The authorities recovered five cell phones, six SIM cards and eight chargers, which were buried near the hospital in its premises. However, senior jail officials were tight-lipped on the seizure. — PTI

Lizard in mid-day meal
BHOPAL:
A lizard was found in the lunch served to the students of Government Hindi Primary School-27 in Indore on Wednesday, officials said. The school help Kamla Bai was the first to spot the lizard and immediately informed principal Badrilal Rathore, who stopped the food being served to students and informed the Nandi Foundation that supplies midday meals to around 60,000 students at 348 primary schools and 184 middle schools of the state. Ever since its implementation, the scheme has been in the limelight more for its poor quality meals and instances of lizards, cockroaches and frogs being found in the served food. — IANS

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