Munda sworn in, but BJP top guns skip ceremony
Digvijay takes a dig at Sibal
IIT medicine foray sparks debate
NCP link to Pune German Bakery blast
Copter crash kills 3 IAF men
Fans made me rejoin
about organ donation
count falls ahead of CWG
SC: Abu Salem can be
tried for offences entailing death penalty
rehabilitation package for squatters
SC seeks UP’s
reply on work at eco-park
Quota based on
medium of instruction
Ranchi, September 11
AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto and JMM leader Hemant Soren, the son of former chief minister Shibu Soren, were also sworn in at the ceremony, which was earlier scheduled to be held at 11 am but took place at 11:55 am, considered a more auspicious time.
Advani and other leaders, including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, kept away from the function apparently unhappy over the party coming together with JMM after breaking ties earlier this year when the Shibu Soren voted for the UPA government during voting on cut motions in Lok Sabha. Though, officially, BJP leaders have attributed Advani’s decision to not attend the function to festivals falling today, party sources said the veteran leader has decided to skip the event as he is miffed with the developments.
BJP leaders are said to be miffed with party president Nitin Gadkari and former chief Rajnath Singh taking a decision on forming the coalition government in Jharkhand without involving others.
Governor MOH Farooq, who invited Munda to form the government on September 9, had directed him to prove his majority on the floor of the house within a week. The 42-year-old BJP leader, who became chief minister for a third time, is the eighth in 10 years since the mineral rich state was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000.
Munda has the support of 45 MLAs in the Assembly with an effective strength of 81. No chief minister has ever completed a full term in the state. The BJP and the JMM came back together after three months of parting company, which had led to the imposition of President's Rule.
The President's Rule had been imposed in Jharkhand on June 1, with the Assembly being put under suspended animation after BJP withdrew support to the Shibu Soren-led government. No party had come forward later to form an alternative government. — PTI
Digvijay takes a dig at Sibal
New Delhi, September 11
Digvijay Singh, who is earlier known to have openly criticised Home Minister P Chidambaram for his handling of Left-wing extremism and “saffron terror”, said that the HRD ministry “should pay more attention to the development of school education and skill development centres than stressing on higher education”.
“I have full faith that they will look into the matter,” agencies quoted Digvijay Singh as saying, thereby adding another example to the list of Congress leaders publicly airing differences.
Digvijay Singh has been at loggerheads with Chidambaram on issues like tackling the Naxal menace and changes in the Arms Act. He recently also ticked off the Home Minister on his remarks regarding “saffron terror”, saying: “I have objection to the use of caste, colour and religion to describe terror.”
But Sibal appears to be on the receiving end of not just Digvijay Singh but other Congress leaders as well. Senior party leader K Keshav Rao recently sided with Opposition BJP in the Rajya Sabha to dismiss as “half-baked and hastily-drafted” the Education Tribunal Bill, 2010, moved by Sibal in the just-concluded session.
“This kind of hasty legislation for a subject like education does not augur well” and that “his (Sibal's) thoughts run faster than the deeds of his ministry,” Rao said, as he attacked the policies of the HRD Ministry in a debate that forced the government to defer the Bill and an “extremely hurt” Sibal to register a complaint with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the lack of proper floor management in the House.
Later, Sibal even hit back at his detractors by invoking Rajiv Gandhi. He said the former Prime Minister had desired that the task of imparting quality education should be achieved in a few months. “If people say that we are in a hurry, then I would like to state that Rajivji had said it in 1985 that this should be achieved in a few months,” Sibal said at a function in the presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
While Congress leaders who speak out of turn are generally ticked off for crossing the line, Rao’s stinging criticism of the Bill moved by Sibal was actually defended by party leaders. AICC media in charge Janardan Dwivedi described Rao’s diatribe as an instance of “inner-party democracy”, maybe because party general secretary Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Parliamentary standing committee on HRD ministry that vetted the Bill.
The committee made several recommendations, which were all rejected by the HRD ministry. Congress sources said when Rao slammed the Bill during the debate, many in the party felt that he was doing so with Rahul’s backing.
IIT medicine foray sparks debate
New Delhi, September 11
The question then is why IITs, top technical institutes which must develop core science competencies to strengthen India’s knowledge society, should teach medicine which is not their strength.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal explains the shift in terms of the need of new knowledge in areas of medicine and science and the fact that medical technologists would be needed in future. That’s also the thought of Prof Yashpal, author of the report on higher education reforms in India, who said he was delighted at the IIT decision.
Asked why Health Ministry was opposed to the idea (it said IITs’ foray into conventional medicine was not advisable; they should focus on PhDs in medical engineering, biotechnology, bio-statistics and e health), Prof Yashpal said, “Health Ministry doesn’t understand education. You can’t teach medicine without technology. All growth in medicine in the past 40 years has been in technology. Dr A. Seth, chief cardiologist, Escorts Heart Institute, said the IITs could teach medicine provided they offered uniform curriculum, hospital and faculty standards set by the MCI.
That apart, Health Ministry is uneasy with the move and says it won’t serve India’s interests.
“If top technical schools start teaching medicine, who will AIIMS collaborate with for research? Seven new AIIMS-like institutes with focus on biotechnology are coming up. Who will they work with? Medical experts, too, are wary. “It’s a ploy to get money from alumni and divert focus from JEE reforms,” IIT faculty sources said. IIT Kharagpur has a School of Medical Science functioning for six years with about 15 seats. Barely five are filled annually.
NCP link to Pune German Bakery blast
Mumbai, September 11
Investigators said they are on the look-out for Syed Abdul Haq, son of Begun Baliga Syed, who is president of Udgir Municipal Council.
Both the suspected bombers had used Udgir in Maharashtra’s Latur district as their base, according to the Anti Terror Squad of the Mumbai police which is investigating the case.
Police said Baig, who was operating a cyber café in Udgir, had obtained a broadband internet connection in the name of Haq. Another relative of the politician, Saher Patel, is already in the custody of the ATS, say sources. However, Begum Baliga has denied any links with Patel.
In a letter to the NCP leadership, the lady said her son’s link with Baig was limited to helping him set up a cyber café in Udgir. However, party sources said they are keeping a close watch on the situation.
Following the arrest of Baig and Ansari, the police are questioning anyone who was close to the two in the town of Udgir. Among those taken in for questioning include a hotel owner whose establishment was used by the duo, police said. Investigators are also attempting to
find out if any Lashkar-e-Toiba operative from Pakistan was sheltered by these acquaintances.
Meanwhile, investigators are probing the source of RDX used by the duo in the Pune blasts. Baig, who, police say, was in charge of a LeT module tasked with checking out locations to carry out blasts, was in touch with another operative Fayyaz Kagazi who is wanted for attempting to bring in weapons to Aurangabad in 2006.
Shortly after the stockpile of weapons was intercepted, Kagazi is believed to have escaped to Pakistan. The RDX used in the Pune blast may have been part of the Aurangabad consignment, feel investigators.
Both Baig and Kagazi may have sent several young men from Maharashtra for terror training in Pakistan, feel police officials.
Pakur (Jharkhand), Sept 11
The chopper was on its way to Baghdogra airbase from air force station Kalaikunda in West Bengal when it encountered bad weather and crashed near Sinharsi airbase along the border of Pakur and Godda districts of Jharkhand, Eastern Command spokesperson and a senior state police official said.
The deceased were two pilots and a co-pilot of Chetak, Deputy Inspector General of Police DK Pandey said in Pakur. He said the crash took place in an area under Sundarpahari police station around 4 pm.
Bad weather was stated to be the cause behind the crash.
The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the incident to ascertain the causes behind the accident, the spokesperson said.
This is the second crash of Chetak in a fortnight. On August 27, another Chetak helicopter had crashed moments after take-off during a training mission at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport in Bangalore. — PTI
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 11
Justice Sen is in the eye of a storm following allegations that as a receiver of the court in a dispute he misappropriated around Rs 33 lakh and misrepresented facts to the High Court. As per the provisions of the Judges (Inquiry) Act 1968, the report of the committee will be laid before the two Houses in the next session.
Justice Soumitra Sen is alleged to have misused court funds even for his credit card payments when he was a court receiver in a case prior to his appointment as a judge of the HC in December 2003.
The Rajya Sabha inquiry committee, headed by Justice Reddy, also included Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and noted jurist Fali S Nariman.
The committee was set up by the Rajya Sabha Chairman in March last year in the wake of an impeachment motion moved by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and 56 other members of the Upper House. This is the second time in the history of the country that the Parliament initiated proceedings for removal of a judge. It had initiated similar proceedings against former Supreme Court judge V Ramaswami.
Another Rajya Sabha inquiry panel, headed by SC judge VS Sirpurkar, has been set up to go into the charges of land grabbing and corruption against Karnataka High Court Chief Justice PD Dinakaran.
Fans made me rejoin cinema: Chiranjeevi
Hyderabad, September 11
The 54-year-old megastar will don the greasepaint after a gap of over two years that saw his political journey take a bumpy ride. “At present, I am working on the script and most probably, the shooting will begin early next year. It will be a masala commercial film but with powerful social message,” Chiranjeevi said
The actor said he had taken the decision to make re-entry following pressure from his fans and general public. Incidentally, the forthcoming venture will be Chiranjeevi’s 150th film. The last time he donned the greasepaint was for “Shankar Dada Zindabad,” a Telugu remake of the Bollywood hit “Lagey Raho Munnabhai”. The comeback movie will have all the ingredients of a commercial film, including dance numbers, he said.
“My fans will not accept a film without song and dance,” the megastar says. The details regarding the producer, director and heroine of the forthcoming movie are kept under wraps. The comeback announcement has brought cheers to Chiranjeevi’s fans. The megastar’s tryst with politics has been anything but fruitful.
Despite being a hugely popular actor, he had failed to convert his star power into votes. As a result, his Praja Rajyam Party bombed at the ballot box in the 2009 elections. Promising “social justice and change”, Chiranjeevi entered politics with a bang on August 26, 2008, conducted hugely successful road shows, reminiscent of the NTR magic, and raising hopes that he might emerge as an alternative to the two main contenders for power - the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party.
However, his political show turned out to be a flop. The PRP drew blank in the Lok Sabha while managing to win just 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly. Since then, the party’s support base been steadily eroding amid reports that the actor is warming up to the ruling Congress for a long-term alliance. Though Chiranjeevi politely turned down the demand from his fans to get back to films in the past, the artiste in him was rekindled while he was watching the promos of ‘Robot’ starring Tamil superstar Rajnikanth and Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai in the lead.
During the film’s audio release function, Chiranjeevi spoke of his desire to get back to the silver screen. That was enough to send his fans into a tizzy, and Rajnikanth, who was also present at the function, did his bit by encouraging his friend to seriously consider a return to films.
Spreading awareness about organ donation
Hyderabad, September 11
The Cadaver Transplantation Advisory Committee (CTAC), an apex body comprising senior officials and experts, would be set up for policy design and implementation of the scheme, the officials said.
The CTAC would frame guidelines and protocols on various aspects relating to declaration of brain death, harvesting of organs from the deceased, storage, preservation and transportation of organs for transplantation. The Appropriate Authority for Cadaver Transplantation (AACT) would cover registration of hospitals and patients as well as allocation of organs.
The introduction of the scheme comes in the backdrop of poor public awareness about organ donation across the country and lack of regulatory mechanism for transplantation. Though a legislation covering organ transplantation was enacted in Andhra over 14 years ago, the number of transplantations, especially the cadaver transplantations have not increased significantly, primarily because of lack of a centralised coordination mechanism and the absence of a streamlined procedure for facilitating and regulating the cadaver transplantations on an end-to-end basis.
“We want to bridge this gap and set a role model for the country,” an official of the Medical and Health Department said. A portal, www.jeevandan.org, would be set up to provide real-time information about the availability of organs and allocate them to the needy patients. The portal receives applications from hospitals for registration as the Non-Transplantation Organ Harvesting Centres (NTOHC) and the Organ Transplantation Centres (OTC) and also applications for registration with the AP Network for Organ Sharing (APNOS) by the OTCs and the NTOHCs.
The Director of Information and Public Relations would undertake an extensive campaign for promoting the scheme among the general public, according to a government order issued recently. The AP Network for Organ Transplantation (APNOS) would be set up to act as a virtual coordinating mechanism for providing round-the-clock services to donors, recipients, hospitals, the NGOs and the general public.
The other innovative aspects of the scheme include appointment of Transplantation Coordinators and professional counsellors for its efficient implementation. The hospitals (both NTOHCs and OTCs) shall have a full-time transplantation coordinator who should be able to handle the situation arising out of the donation and transplantation, the government order said.
Besides, the hospitals should also appoint professional counsellors to motivate the relatives of the deceased persons to take a decision in favour of organ donation. The hospitals registered as the OTCs should have the stipulated infrastructure, manpower and facilities to undertake organ transplantation.
Mahanta rejuvenates AGP workers
Guwahati, September 11
The AGP who has been out of power for since the 2001 Assembly elections. It has passed through a very lean phase dogged by crisis of leadership after the party had relegated Mahanta to background after the poll debacle in 2001 virtually holding Mahanta responsible for it because of his failure to deliver as the Chief Minister during 1996-2001.
With the Congress baying for Mahanta’s head at that time for allegedly master-minding many killings of innocent kin of members of the banned United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) during 1996-2001 and belligerent attitude of several influential indigenous people’s organisations towards him, the AGP thought it prudent to dump Mahanta.
However, for the last nine years the regional party failed to find a suitable replacement for Mahanta. No wonder, the AGP now hopes for Mahanta’s fading charisma to work in favour of the party in the next Assembly polls.
Mahanta is now leading the party’s ‘mass contact’ programme along with the party president Chandra Mohan Patowary. The AGP leaders started the innovative ‘yatra’ a few days back from the eastern most tip of Assam at Sadiya and travelling down the Brahmaputra Valley holding public rally in various places to highlight the ‘misrule’ of incumbent Congress government. It has apparently rejuvenated the mood of the party workers who are thronging the AGP rally venues even as the ruling Congress is watching the developments closely.
The ‘mass contact’ rally was stated immediately after the AGP last week decided to make Mahanta the leader of the AGP Legislature Party (AGPLP).
The AGPLP decided to elevate Mahanta as its leader after the incumbent leader and party president Patowary offered to quit to remain focused on leading the party in the next Assembly election due early next year.
Foreign tourist count falls ahead of CWG
New Delhi, September 11
While 4.52 lakh foreign tourists visited India in July 2010, their number decreased to 3.82 lakh in August 2010. The tourism industry, however, can draw solace from the fact that the number of foreign tourist visiting India in August this year is more than it was in the same month last year. It so appears that 3.50 lakh foreign tourists had visited the country in August, last year.
Foreign tourist arrivals during August 2010 were 3.82 lakh as compared to 3.50 lakh during August 2009 and 3.83 lakh in August 2008. In other words, August 2010 saw a growth of 9 per cent over August 2009. But the foreign exchange earnings (FEE) growth rate in August 2010 over August 2009 declined to 12.3 per cent as compared to 13.5 per cent in August 2009. FEE during August 2010 went up to Rs 4,620 crore as compared to Rs 4,115 crore in August 2009, as per the statistics released yesterday by the Tourism Ministry.
Industry stakeholders are yet to register any significant spurt in bookings ahead of what is being sold abroad as the greatest international sports extravaganza India has ever seen. The stakeholders fear that foreign visitors during the 12-day Games may fall way short of the anticipated build-up.
The Games are expected to bring lakhs of tourists to India, immensely benefiting aviation, hospitality and tourism sectors, before, during and after the period. Fans are expected to go to the Games and alongside take package tours for rest of the country Foreign tourist arrivals between January and August this year are 34.67 lakh with a growth rate of 9.7 per cent, as compared to 31.60 lakh and a negative growth rate of 7.7 per cent between January and August 2009 over the corresponding period of 2008.
New Delhi, September 11
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Asok Kumar Ganguly held that Salem can be tried for murder (Section 302) and criminal conspiracy (120-B) of the IPC, besides other offences under the TADA in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
The apex court rejected the argument of Salem that he could not be tried for the offences, which entailed death penalty as the same was the pre-condition agreed by the Indian government at the time of his extradition from Portugal. The prosecution had, however, argued that the Portugal government could not impose any pre-condition on the Indian courts. It was also submitted that Salem's apprehension of being awarded death penalty was “preposterous” as the trial was yet to conclude and the punishment was yet to be decided.
The apex court, in its judgement, while concurring with the prosecution's argument, pointed out that notwithstanding the pre-condition imposed by Portugal authorities, the two countries were signatories to the international convention on elimination of terrorism, hence, it felt that there was nothing wrong if the various provisions under TADA and the IPC were invoked against him.
Salem was extradited from Portugal on the basis of an undertaking given by the previous NDA government after then Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah promised that he would not be awarded death penalty.
Mamata announces rehabilitation package for squatters Kolkata, September 11 Now 12,000 such one-room flats would be built in the Kolkata municipal areas for which she had already sanctioned necessary funds. The scheme would be subsequently extended to other areas and other states, where thousands of hapless people and daily wage earners had been living under great hardship and uncertainties. Banerjee also sanctioned the health insurance scheme to the Railways registered hawkers and coolies all over the country, adding that the Railways would make the insurance premium on behalf of these wage earners and accordingly, necessary funds had been already earmarked. The Railway Minister made the announcement while laying the foundation stone of the double railway lines of Kolkata’s circular rail from Dum Dum to Majerhat via Princep Ghat, which would ultimate terminate at the far-flung Budge station. Mamata also declared that the proposed extension of the city’s metro railway to Salt Lake, Howrah, Barrackpore and Diamond Harbour would be completed within the stipulated period and accordingly, necessary funds were also sanctioned. Afterwards, Mamata opened a nursing training institute at Garden Reach.
Kolkata, September 11
Now 12,000 such one-room flats would be built in the Kolkata municipal areas for which she had already sanctioned necessary funds. The scheme would be subsequently extended to other areas and other states, where thousands of hapless people and daily wage earners had been living under great hardship and uncertainties.
Banerjee also sanctioned the health insurance scheme to the Railways registered hawkers and coolies all over the country, adding that the Railways would make the insurance premium on behalf of these wage earners and accordingly, necessary funds had been already earmarked.
The Railway Minister made the announcement while laying the foundation stone of the double railway lines of Kolkata’s circular rail from Dum Dum to Majerhat via Princep Ghat, which would ultimate terminate at the far-flung Budge station. Mamata also declared that the proposed extension of the city’s metro railway to Salt Lake, Howrah, Barrackpore and Diamond Harbour would be completed within the stipulated period and accordingly, necessary funds were also sanctioned. Afterwards, Mamata opened a nursing training institute at Garden Reach.
SC seeks UP’s reply on work at eco-park
New Delhi, September 11
Observing that the state government intended to construct a “huge structure” if the “way in which material is dumped” on the site was an indication, a Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Anil R Dave directed the Mayawati government to file a status report in a week.
Rejecting the contention of the state government counsel that the structures shown in the photographs submitted by the petitioner were nothing but the compound wall of the 195-acre park, the Bench said the structure looked like the embankment of a huge dam.
The government also contended that the buildings shown were the entry plaza to the eco-park and public facilities for the visitors. But the Bench said it was unable to accept that the construction of more than “100 pillars” was necessary for the purpose.
The SC had stayed construction work at the old jail premises on July 8 last year following a petition by advocate Sangam Lal Pandey that the state government was demolishing the jail for facilitating a Dalit memorial. The jail is located at the eco-park.
The Bench directed the state government to file a status report on the compliance with the stay order, without restricting itself to the points raised in the petition by Pandey.
Quota based on medium of instruction
Chennai, September 11
The ordinance issued last night said Tamil candidates had little chance of getting employed in the Central government, other state governments or in the private sector. Hence, they should be given preference in the state government services, it said.
The Tamil Nadu government will reserve 20 per cent seats to candidates educated under Tamil medium for direct recruitment in the state’s services, the ordinance said. The government also pointed out that a majority of schools and colleges in the state was using Tamil, one of the world’s most ancient languages, as the educational medium. It also recalled that the World Classical Tamil Conference held had passed a resolution recently to give preference to Tamil medium candidates in the state government services.
The prime objective for the move was to conduct the state administration with “transparency in the vocal language of the masses” in “accordance with the provisions of the Constitution” and other laws of the land, the government said. With the Assembly elections about seven months away, parties supporting the LTTE and Tamil nationalist groups have launched a campaign to dislodge the "DMK government, which is part of the UPA government at the Centre, which provided funds, training, intelligence, weapons and moral support to the Sri Lankan government's war against Tamils".
The parties are alleging that the DMK was using pro-Tamil sentiments to capture power, but betrayed the struggle for a separate homeland for Tamils in the neighbouring island.