L A T E S T      N E W S

100.88 lakh tonnes of paddy procured in Punjab so far

Chandigarh: More than 100.88 lakh tonnes of paddy has been procured by government agencies and private millers in Punjab during the current crop year (October-September) till last evening, as against 95.09 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.

An official spokesman said here on Tuesday that out of the total procurement of 100.88 lakh tonnes of paddy, government agencies accounted for 97.28 lakh tonnes (96.4 per cent) and private traders the remaining 3,59,558 tonnes (3.6 per cent) till date.

He said that PUNGRAIN was the major procurer of paddy, lifting 27.95 lakh tonnes (28.7 per cent), followed by PUNSUP with 24.34 lakh tonnes (25.0 per cent), MARKFED with 22.10 lakh tonnes (22.7 per cent), PSWC with 11.42 lakh tonnes (11.7 per cent) and PAIC with 09.83 lakh tonnes (10.1 per cent). Central government agency FCI lifted another 1,61,867 (1.7 per cent) tonnes, he said. 

Ludhiana district led the rest of the state in terms of paddy procurement, with 11.31 lakh tonnes lifted, while 10.27 lakh tonnes was procured in Patiala district and 10.13 lakh tonnes in Sangrur district, he added. The state government has set up 1,745 procurement centres to ensure smooth procurement of paddy, the spokesman added.




Libya elects new PM, UN warns on weapons

Tripoli: Libya's new Prime Minister pledged his interim government would set respect for human rights as its priority, as the UN warned against the proliferation of arms looted from Muammar Gaddafi's huge stockpile.

Abdel Rahim al-Keib, an academic and wealthy businessman, who is a native of Tripoli, was elected interim prime minister in a public vote carried out by the members of the National Transitional Council (NTC) on Monday night.

Keib told a news conference shortly after beating four other candidates in the vote that he would set human rights as a priority.

"We guarantee that we are going to build a nation that respects human rights and does not accept the abuse of human rights. But we need time," he said. Keib spent decades abroad as an opponent of Gaddafi before joining the pro-democracy revolution that overthrew him. He replaces Mahmud Jibril, who resigned three days after Gaddafi was captured and killed when NTC fighters overran his hometown Sirte on October 20.

"This vote proves that Libyans are able to build their future," NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said after Monday's vote.

Under a political roadmap, Keib now has until November 23 to form an interim government that, parallel to the NTC, will run Libya for eight months after which elections for a constituent assembly will be held.





2G scam: Controversy over FM note refuses to die down 

New Delhi: The controversy over a Finance Ministry note seemingly blaming      P Chidambaram in the 2G scam has refused to die down with a new document emerging that the note was "revised" after "consultations" with the Cabinet Secretariat and the PMO.

At the height of the row over his ministry's March 25 note on 2G, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee suggested to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the sentence which appeared to blame Chidambaram, former Finance Minister, was "revised" after consultation with the Cabinet Secretariat and the PMO.

Mukherjee wrote to Singh on September 26 last after his return from New York, where he met the Prime Minister, that the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) was "not in favour of sending the note after its finalisation through a formal OM (office memorandum).

"It was upon the insistence of JS (Joint Secretary), PMO through her phone calls to Secretary, DEA that the communication was sent through a formal OM on March 25, 2011." Mukherjee, who wrote to PM amid a major controversy which broke out after the March 25 note became public through an RTI application, referred to one sentence in that note which sought to suggest that Chidambaram, as the then Finance Minister in 2008, could have prevented the 2G scam by insisting on auctioning the 2G spectrum.

"The media and the opposition have specifically picked up one sentence contained in this note which makes it necessary to clarify the circumstances in which the said communication was sent by DEA as also how the sentence appeared in the note," the two-page letter said. 





Issue of withdrawal of AFSPA complex question: BSF

New Delhi: The BSF, which is entrusted with security-related duties in Jammu and Kashmir, on Tuesday said the issue of withdrawal of the AFSPA from the state is a "very complex" question and will not yield a "very simplistic" solution.

Talking to reporters after taking over as the new Director General of BSF, senior IPS officer U K Bansal said an appropriate decision on the issue will be taken by the government in the larger interest of the country.

The issue of removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from J-K is "a very complex question and it will obviously not yield a very simplistic solution," he said. "All I can say is that an appropriate decision would be taken by the government in the larger interest of the country and the region which is being discussed and BSF will implement it," Bansal, who was Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs prior to assuming charge as BSF chief, said. Asked whether the force has sufficient immunity and if it works without AFSPA, he said, "AFSPA is to give cover to armed forces of the Union under some special circumstances. Since BSF is also an armed force of the Union, hence it also got a cover under it".

"BSF does not make policy. But BSF is in forefront of implementing (government) policies as regards to border guarding and border management," Bansal, a 1974 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, said. To a question about infiltration activities in Jammu and Kashmir, he said that our figures reveal attempts to infiltrate during the current year are down from the previous years.

"However, successful infiltration is roughly at the same level as the last year," the DG said. About 2.22 lakh strong force guards India-Bangladesh and India-Pakistan borders besides being involved in anti-Naxal operations in the country. 




IT Dept sends notices to persons involved in black money cases

New Delhi:The Income Tax Department has started sending notices to persons involved in black money cases on the basis of information received from abroad, even as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said their names would be disclosed after initiation of prosecution proceedings.

The notices are being sent by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to individuals and entities across countries following scrutiny of classified banking data received from foreign countries about Swiss Bank accounts.

"As and when the information (is received), investigation starts, prosecution takes place (and) matter comes to the court. Then, as per the existing treaty terms, we can reveal the names in cases of prosecution by the Income Tax Department," Mukherjee told reporters here when asked whether the government has received information about industrialists and MPs in connection with black money.

The minister had earlier said the government has received information from France about the overseas bank accounts of Indians. "In 69 cases, the taxpayers have admitted to unaccounted income of Rs 397.17 crore. Taxes of Rs 30.07 crore have also been paid," he had said.

India, according to the Finance Ministry, has so far received over 9,900 pieces of information from several countries regarding suspicious transactions by Indian citizens, which are now under different stages of processing and investigation.

The Department of Criminal Investigation will initiate legal proceedings in several cases in the next few months, sources said, adding that the cases would be dealt with under criminal provisions of the IT Act. In a number of cases being probed by the DCI, the department plans to conducts searches and surveys for obtaining additional information. 



New signs of Syria-Pakistan nuke tie 

Washington: UN investigators have identified a previously unknown complex in Syria that bolsters suspicions that the Syrian government worked with A Q Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, to acquire technology that could be used to make nuclear arms.

The buildings in northwest Syria closely match the design of a uranium enrichment plant provided to Libya when Muammar Gaddafi was trying to build nuclear weapons under Khan's guidance, officials said.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency also has obtained correspondence between Khan and a Syrian government official, Muhidin Issa, who proposed scientific cooperation and a visit to Khan's laboratories following Pakistan's successful nuclear test in 1998.

The complex, in the city of Al-Hasakah, now appears to be a cotton-spinning plant, and investigators have found no sign that it was ever used for nuclear production. But given that Israeli warplanes destroyed a suspected plutonium production reactor in Syria in 2007, the unlikely coincidence in design suggests that Syria may have been pursuing two routes to an atomic bomb: uranium as well as plutonium. Details of the Syria-Khan connection were provided to the AP by a senior diplomat with knowledge of IAEA investigations and a former UN investigator. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Syrian government did not respond to a request for comment. It has repeatedly denied pursuing nuclear weapons but also has stymied an investigation into the site bombed by Israel. It has not responded to an IAEA request to visit the Al-Hasakah complex, the officials said. The IAEA's examination of Syria's programmes has slowed as world powers focus on a popular uprising in the country and the violent crackdown by government of President Bashar Assad.






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