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8 Pages Rs: 1.00 Jammu Edition

STUdenT aGe

JKENG/2012/41612 Vol. 2 No: 33

Arvind Kejriwal gets his way in court, refuses to apply for bail
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Growing chasm between a VIP India and an 'aam admi' India


Oz Labour Party heading for election defeat: polls

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Snowfall, rain lash North India, bring chill back

NEW DELHI: Snowfall and rain lashed North India for a second day on Tuesday, triggering landslides and cutting off parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, and waterlogging roads in Delhi. Delhi received the heaviest rainfall of the winter season since Monday, breaking a six-year-old record, at 46 mm. Delhi's Ridge at 50 mm, Delhi University northern campus at 51 mm and Lodhi Road at 53.6 mm were the wettest spots in the capital, and gave commuters a harrowing time with waterlogged key roads. The minimum temperature in the capital was recorded at 13.5 degrees Celsius. The maximum was 19.3 degrees Celsius. In Himachal Pradesh, the situation was worse as piles of snow blocked vehicular movements along road to towns in Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur districts. The heavy snowfall and rain will continue till Wednesday, the Met Office said. Traffic beyond Kufri, a hill station near Shimla, was suspended after a stretch of Hindustan-Tibet Road was closed due to heavy snow. Connectivity on KulluManali national highway was affected five km ahead of Manali. Kalpa in Kinnaur experienced 54.7 cm of snowfall and mercury dipped to minus 3.4 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature in Manali was 1.2 degrees below the freezing point. Further north, the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway No.1A, the lifeline to the Kashmir Valley, remained closed for the second consecutive day due to overnight snowfall and landslides. Hundreds of load carriers and passenger vehicles were stranded. A Border Roads Organisation official said the piled up snow blocked the road in the Banihal contd on page 2

J&K Highway closed for third day, 400 vehicles stranded

Jammu: Vehicular movement remained suspended on the 300-km-long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for the third consecutive day on Tuesday, as over 400 vehicles and passengers were stranded at various places. "The highway was closed for traffic for the third day due to heavy snowfall and landslides at various places en route", police officials said. Over 400 vehicles, including 60 Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) and mostly trucks, were stranded at various places on the highway at Banihal, Ramban, Patnitop, Kud and Udhampur contd on page 2

Man held over cartoons of PM, Mulayam on Facebook

India acts faster than the US in crisis: Washington Post

WASHINGTON, FEB 5: An influential US daily has hailed India's new laws against sexual violence, saying the political system can respond to urgent demands for change, and wondered if the US would respond the same way to the massacre of innocent children in schools. "India has a reputation as a place where needed government action comes slowly, if it all," noted the Washington Post Editorial Board in an editorial titled "India's government, impelled to action on rape." "This fault is often blamed on the country's democracy, which is said to be ineffective compared to the authoritarian regimes of China or Russia." However, on Sunday, the Indian president ratified a landmark package of laws dealing with sexual violence, just 56 days after the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus. "The reforms fall short of what contd on page 2

Modi to visit Kumbh Mela on Feb 12 to take holy dip

AHMEDABAD, FEB 5: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will attend the Kumbh Mela being held in Allahabad on February 12."Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Allahabad on February 12 to take a holy dip in the river Ganga during the Kumbh Mela," sources in the Chief Minister's office said. There were reports that VHP and some contd on page 2

NEW DELHI: India looks all set to cede the moniker of the world's second fastest growing major economy for 2012, a fall from glory for a country that was spoken in the same breath as China for much of the previous decade and even nursed ambitions of upstaging its larger neighbour. The latest global economic growth forecasts from theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) have India growing at 4.5% in 2012 (at mar-

NC blames PDP IMF forecasts 4.5% growth for India; to for imposition of lose 2nd fastest-growing economy tag AFSPA in J&K
ket prices), much less than the big guns of ASEAN such as Indonesia and the Philippines, and even Bangladesh. Although the size of the Indian economy is much bigger than these countries, making, for some people, comparisons with them odious, some analysts say these countries were benefiting from tailwinds while India faced headwinds. Their interest rates are lower compared with contd on page 2 SRINAGAR: The National Conference on Monday hit out at the opposition PDP, alleging that its patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was responsible for the imposition of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. "AFSPA is the creation of the PDP and people are being punished for the decision taken by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (who was the Union Home Minister when the law was contd on page 2

LUCKNOW: A man in Agra has been arrested for "communal and inflammatory" posts on social networking site Facebook targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal and Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, police said Tuesday. Sanjay Chowdhary, a resident of the Dayalbagh suburb of Agra, was arrested late Monday and his laptop, sim card and data card impounded. Police in Agra said the arrest, which some see as an attempt to muzzle freedom of speech and expression on social networking sites, that the arrest was made on "specific information" about cer-

tain "communal and inflammatory" posts by Chowdhary. However, officials here admitted that the "case became hypersensitive after some remarks were made on the SP chief". Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Agra, Subhash Chandra Dubey said police had acted "purely on law and order basis" in the matter. "We are not involved in the political angle of the whole issue, our concern were the inflammatory comments and posts on the Facebook wall of this man and we acted to prevent any communal flare up," Dubey said. Some officials, however, said the case was "fast tracked" once cartoons lampooning the three leaders were posted on his Facebook wall. contd on page 2

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Army wants to build close ties with locals: Maj Gen Patnaik
AKHNOOR (JAMMU): Bringing medicare facilities at the door steps of the people of remote border belt of Akhnoor here, Army today distributed spectacles among patients as a step to build-up relations with the local population. GOC Cross Swords Division, Maj Gen Rustam Patnaik, distributed the spectacles among 30 patients at the closing ceremony of 2012-13 eye camp held under Operation Sadbhavna, around 35Kms from here. This was a small step towards building close relationship with the people of the country, Maj Gen said. "We always engage in programs which help us in coming closer to the local population. The purpose of this eye camp was to provide medical care to poor people who live in far flung areas and cannot avail the medical facilities. We thought why not to help these people and that was the reason why we organised this eye camp," Patnaik said. "This is a small step and we wish to build such relations with the people that whenever they are in need we can help them and whenever we require their support they can help us," he said. Earlier in November, last year, eye specialist and anaesthetist at military hospital here had screened more than 100 patients for cataract surgery. All required laboratory investigations were carried out free of cost and 30 patients were shortlisted for surgery. The patients were then successfully operated on December 11 and 12 at Jammu military hospital, an army official said. Meanwhile, Patnaik said that they were looking forward to make contributions for the development of girl child in the months ahead. "This year we want to work particularly for the development of girl child and for the development of youth. If we can contribute for the girl children I believe that will be the real Sadbhavna," he added.

Antony "impatient" to see completion of LCA project

BANGALORE: Terming time slippages as a "real problem" for the defence forces, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday pulled up the DRDO for "delays in delivery" of military projects and said he was "impatient" to see completion of LCA project. "I am happy for your achievements of DRDO but not fully happy. Delay in delivery is a real problem... Try to speed up your process and reduce time for research, development and production. Delays should be avoided," he said while addressing an international seminar here. The seminar 'Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment' was held as part of the biennial Aero India show. On the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' project, he said the DRDO was getting ready for the second Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of the indigenous fighter but "I am impatient for the Final Operational Clearance (FOC)." The LCA project has been delayed by more than 20 years. After the FOC for the aircraft, the aircraft would be ready to be deployed for operational deployment in the IAF. The Defence Minister also expressed concern over the delay in the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) programme being developed by HAL, saying the IAF has "problems" with it. "That (IJT) project is delayed. You must focus on that project and by next conference that should be ready," he said. Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne also expressed his unhappiness over the delays in development projects. "So far our modernisation plans have been restricted due to slippages in time lines of many of our projects," he said. The IAF chief also suggested imposition of "financial penalties in case of poor performance of the work centre, either by withholding further payments or recovery of money already spent." To avoid problems in development projects in future, Browne suggested there should be "dual assessment" and the production and design agencies should be one. In the LCA project, the design agency is Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of DRDO while HAL is the production agency. In his address, the Defence Minister urged both private and public sector to shed their "miserly attitude" and increase their allocation for research and development in their companies. "I am not satisfied with the investment in R&D in government also. The private sector is very poor in R&D sector," he said. Antony said to continue the momentum of rising GDP and growing economy, the Indian industry will have to match up with global standards and for that investment in R&D will have to be increased. He warned the Indian industry that "era of cheap labour and cheap access to natural resources" is going to be over soon and the only way they could match up with the global industry would be through increased efficiency. Commenting on a future project to replace 56 Avro aircraft in the IAF, Antony said the Government has tried to give more role to the private sector despite HAL being "little unhappy and little angry" over it. "We are giving more space to the private industry. Even though HAL is little unhappy and little angry, it has agreed to give chance to Indian private sector for the Avro replacement programme, it is a beginning," he said. The Minister said if the programme succeeds, it will create rivals for the HAL, which so far does not have any competition. "They will also see competition. I want some rivals for HAL. That is how HAL would become world-class company," he said. Under the Avro replacement project, the IAF is planning to issue a global tender next month under which Indian private sector companies would be allowed to form joint ventures with foreign companies to produce transport aircraft.

Measures afoot to exploit the water resources for self-sufficiency in power: Rather
SRINAGAR, FEBRUARY 05: On the 2nd consecutive day, the Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs, Mr. Abdul Rahim Rather today held threadbare pre-budget discussions with the members of Kashmir Traders United Front, Intellectuals and Academicians to elucidate their view for making next year's Budget proposals more representative and feasible to the people including trade and industry. Mr. Rather said that the exercise of holding pre-budget discussions with the cross section of people have proved very fruitful as it serves the twin purpose of having an insight into the view point of the stakeholders, their problems as well as improvisation at the administrative level. He said basic objective behind this gigantic exercise was to associate the people in Budget formulation exercise by including genuine demands and suggestions of the stakeholders in the Budget proposals. He said in previous Budgets also most of the genuine demands and suggestions of the stakeholders were reflected predominantly adding that in future also such suggestions will be considered with open mind by the Budget formulators. ''It is due to such exercises that the entire agriculture sector has been made almost tax free and special incentives and tax concessions have been earmarked to boost the tourism sector in the State'', Mr. Rather added. The Economic Advisor to Government, Mr. Jalil Ahmad Khan, Commissioner Commercial Taxes, Mr. Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, Director Budgets, Dr. M. Ishaq Wani, Special Secretary Finance, Mr. Zubair Ahmad, Additional Commissioner Commercial Taxes, Mr. Rafiq Ahmad Hakim, Deputy Commissioner Commercial Taxes Central, Mr. Showkat Aijaz and other concerned Officers were also present in the meetings. Responding to the suggestions regarding exploitation of vast Hydel potential, Mr. Rather said it was for the first time in the history of the State that a well thought and realistic power policy has been announced by the present Government and construction of mini Hydel projects have been thrown open for bidding to the local entrepreneurs also. He said Cabinet Sub Committee (CSC) has already recommended taking back some power projects from NHPC. He also sought support of the business community to tide over the grim power receipt situation. Mr. Rather said business community is the responsible and integral segment of the society and its contribution in the socio-economic transformation of the State is pivotal. He said safeguarding their interests is the prime concern of the Government. However, he said as the tax revenue was imperative for the development and progress of the State there cannot be any compromise on the account. The members of intelligentsia and academicians also held a wide ranging deliberations with the Finance Minister along with the team of senior officers and gave their valuable suggestions for further improving and upgrading the State's overall socio-economic set up. The President Tax Bar Association, Srinagar, Mr. Firdous Atta Mohammad suggested to increase threshold level from Rs. 7.5 lakhs to Rs. 12 lakhs for registration purposes and sought one time amnesty for arrears under GST Act 1962. Academicians including Prof. Noor Ahmad Baba, Department of Political Sciences, Prof. F. A Masoodi and S.H. Rafiqi, Vice Chairman, Srinagar Chapter of Institute of Company Secretaries of India also presented their views to make the Budget proposal growth oriented. The 20-member delegation of KTUF was lead by its President, Haji Mohammad Sidiq Baqal. The demand put forth by the KTUF in its memorandum included proper rehabilitation package for the dislocated shopkeepers due to road widening of I.G road, Nowgam, Qamarwari, Rainawari, Batmaloo, Ram Bagh, Solina Silk Factory Road etc. and fresh amnesty to the traders to remit their outstandings, rationalization of tax rate in the wake of proposed GST and creation of international cargo handling facilities in the Valley.

Waza welcomes Hails Pakistan for their continuous support to the Kashmiri people
SRINAGAR, FEB 5:Executive member of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Jammu and Kashmir People's League Chairman, Mukhtar Waza today, on the eve of Kashmir solidarity day welcomed the statements of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, in which they have assured continuous support to Kashmiri for securing birth right 'right to self determination'. He also thanked Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Political Parties, Pakistani intelligentsia and especially Public for observing Kashmir solidarity day every year. Addressing party meeting in Dooru Shahabad after expressing condolence to the Alsafa Reporter, Hilal Ahmah whose sister-in-Law died before days said, "Pakistan has right from the begging supported Kashmir indigenous struggle for securing right to self determination. They have supported us morally, diplomatically and politically so we can't sideline the role that Pakistan has played and is commented to play peacefully." Adding the statements of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pravez Ashraf are highly appreciable statements that will encourage Kashmiri people at large for securing birth right. He also welcomed the stand of Pakistan and promise made by the Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Parvez was deactivated. Chowdhury, a civil engineer and chairman of a public school, was booked under sections 153 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 66 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act. "We have arrested him and he is being sent to jail under the due process of law," a police official said. Ashraf in which he has said that the Kashmiris would continue getting whole-hearted moral, diplomatic and political support from Pakistan for their struggle and Pakistan will stand by them until the realisation of our demands. He thanked other organization who observed Kashmir Solidarity day in various foreign countries including Britain. while endorsing the role of Pakistan, he said that Pakistan as role in Helbling, division chief in IMF's research department while releasing the outlook for World's major countries last month. The IMF world economic outlook update showed the ASEAN 5 region comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam growing by 5.7% in 2012, while the Emerging Market and Developing Economies block is forecast to grow 5.1%. Growth in the Developing Asia block was pegged at 6.6% in 2012. Growth is likely to stay strong in economies such as Indonesia and the Philippines due to strong fundamentals such as strong consumption and investment, diversified exports and low policy rates in both countries. Economists say that it will be hard for India to match up to these economies if it does not keep performing, adding that India is to be blamed for the much of the deceleration "India has only itself to blame for the slowdown. External factors acted only the periphery," says Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC BankBSE -0.31 %, adding that countries that are growing faster actively worked on curbing corruption and governance to overcome the global headwinds. Crisil's Joshi, who sees India growing more than 6% in 2013-14, says the country needs to sort out its domestic problems. "India needs to work harder on supply side issues, then investments." South Asia and can pressurize India by the support of international community for the resolution of Kashmir issue that is pending from last six decades, according to the United Resolutions. Addressing the Party activists, he said that Peaceful Kashmir settlement can only bring peace in south Asia and appealed party activists to continue their activities amid to strong the indigenous movement for securing right to self-determination. bers like JD(U) nervous and resulting in a gag order on the issue by BJP president Rajnath Singh. Even VHP leader Ashok Singhal had aired his opinion that Modi should be declared as the prime ministerial candidate. BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, reacting to the opposition on sadhus discussing the name of prime ministerial candidate, had said, "If saints will not discuss the name of prime ministerial candidates, will Hafeez Saeed (Pakistan based terrorist heading Laskhar-i-Toiba) decide about it."

Kamal's startling revelations: Indian Army and IB responsible for the miseries of kashmir
SRINAGAR, FEB 5: In a scathing attack on the Indian Army and Intelligence Bureau (IB), the National Conference additional General Secretary, Dr Shiekh Mustafa Kamal Tuesday said that both Army and IB are meddling in the state politics to disintegrate 'Azad Kashmir' on the pattern of Bangladesh. "Army and IB are repressing the people of Kashmir and they want to enslave people of Kashmir completely. For my bold statements against them, I am being loathed by both these agencies while my party patron Dr Farooq Abdullah even advised me to shut my mouth as he fears that these agencies will not let me breathe freely." Kamal told news sources Kamal said that he is being loathed by all because he speaks truth. "Let me tell you that IB and Army are not sincere. They have wicked designs and want to wage a war to secede 'Azad Kashmir' from Pakistan on the pattern of Bangladesh. They want to have complete control over Kashmir and want to enslave Kashmiri's by hook or crook," he said and added that both Army and IB must remember that the state of Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to and not merged with the Union of India. "Jammu and Kashmir is today a headache and a drain on New Delhi's resources only because it was not given a fair deal and the constitutional arrangement between New Delhi and Srinagar was tampered with," he claimed. Hitting out at Congress High Command and State Congress president, Kamal said that Soz openly opposed his induction to Cabinet. "How can he like me when I know where does he stand? The aim of Congress party is power and we all know that all is not well in Congress party. So many Congress leaders have been showing resentment openly for not getting berth in Cabinet. They are power mongers and anti-people." He said. "From last 60 years, Congress party in state is exploiting people of Jammu and Kashmir. The destination of Congress has been always the power. Congress leaders are responsible for the miseries of common people and now they are hitting the target by placing gun on the shoulders of National Conference." Kamal said and further added that the sole aim of forming National Conference was to wipe out injustice and transfer powers from monarchial system to a democratic system but the political treachery and deceit in 1953 by the Government in New Delhi changed things and the people of the state have been suffering not at the hands Army and Security Agencies but at the hands of Congress Party too.

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Snowfall, rain....
sector while landslides hit the road in Panthal, Seri and Kela Morh areas. He said if weather permitted, stranded vehicles would be allowed to move on from Jammu to Srinagar. There were about 200 people stranded at Jammu bus stand due to closure of the highway. Almost all mountainous parts of the Jammu region too remained cut off. The 100-km stretch between Patnitop and Banihal had over a dozen road blockades caused by snow, landslides and shooting stones. Police said they have given food and shelter to stranded passengers who could be reached while police units were trying to access those who are cut off. Even telecom links and electricity supply were disrupted. The number of pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi hill shrine also fell drastically to about 5,000, from 8,500 on Monday, a Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board official said. The snowfall in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh brought on heavy rains and strong winds in the plains of Haryana and Punjab. In Haryana, Narnaul and Karnal received 30 and 23.8 mm of rain, respectively. Rain was also reported in Ambala and Hisar. In Punjab, Patiala received 13.6 mm of rain. Amritsar and Ludhiana also had showers. Chandigarh received 11.5 mm of rain till Tuesday morning. The rain was accompanied by high velocity winds. Incessant rain also brought back winter chill in Uttar Pradesh. The weather department forecast more showers. The rainy weather forced Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh to postpone their trips to the state, party leaders said. The rains, with lightning, thunder and icy winds, began late on Monday and continued till Tuesday, pulling down mercury. The minimum temperature in Lucknow was 4.7 degrees Celsius -six notches below normal. In Kanpur, it was 5.3 degrees Celsius, while Allahabad recorded 5.1 degrees. The rains were caused by a westerly disturbance - a storm system emanating from the Mediterranean and moving onto the Himalayas in Afghanistan and Pakistan - and the situation was likely to remain more or less similar for the next few days, said a Met official.

NC blames...
imposed in the state)," NC state president Nasir Aslam Wani said. He alleged that the PDP does not want the act to be revoked from Jammu and Kashmir. Wani said the party is committed to revocation of the AFSPA and will ensure it is done soon.

India acts faster....

is needed and must be seen only as the beginning of a struggle to protect women from rape, trafficking and other abuses," the Post said. "But they also demonstrate why India's political system can respond in a way unthinkable in Beijing or Moscow. "India has nevertheless shown how its political system can respond to an urgent popular demand for change," the Post said, suggesting that the same could certainly not be said of China or Russia. "As for the US, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings occurred two days before the New Delhi rape; whether our political system will respond to the subsequent outcry remains to be seen," the daily said. The Delhi gang-rape triggered national outrage and widespread protests in the capital and scores of cities, forcing the government to set up a panel headed by a former Supreme Court judge to review rape and other laws. The judge submitted a set of sweeping suggestions, some of which the government capsuled in the form of an ordinance. The government says it is open to other suggestions and ideas too.

IMF forecasts ....

India and much lower than what they were at the time of Lehman crisis. Their exports are growing, while Indian exports are seeing a steady contraction. "These economies look strong and would give a strong competition to India, if we do not keep performing," noted DK Joshi, chief economist with ratings firm CrisilBSE -0.35 %. A cocktail of policy missteps, administrative paralysis in the early part of the year and poor investment activity has hit growth in India this year, changing its profile from one of the biggest boosters of regional growth in the past to one that could weigh it down last year. The IMF, which had earlier pencilled in 4.9% growth for India in 2012, has blamed the country's poor showing on weak investments and warned that, unless reversed, this could cast a shadow over future growth too. "India's fixed investment has slowed down considerably after the global financial crisis leading to a slowing in growth.... It has also led to concerns about growth," noted Thomas

J&K Highway....
areas due to closure of the highway, they said. Over 400 passengers are also stranded on the highway, they said. The men and machines of Border Road Organisation (BRO) are working to clear the highway of snow and landslides but bad weather, snowfall and heavy rainfall together are making the task difficult, they said. Traffic towards Kashmir valley has been stopped at Nagrota and Sidhra by the traffic police and over 1000 vehicles remain stranded there. Rains continue to lash the plains of Jammu and other areas whereas continued snowfall was reported in Pirpanchal ranges, upper reaches of Kishtwar, Ramban, Doda, Poonch and Kathua districts.

Modi to visit ....

Hindu religious groups close to the Sangh Parivar might discuss Modi's candidature at a conclave during the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. Modi's visit comes at a time when the chorus within the BJP for declaring him party's prime ministerial candidate has grown loud, making NDA mem-

Man held over ....

Soon after his arrest, the inflammatory posts were deleted from his Facebook profile and later his account

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Kashmiri Pandits outfit displeased over 'measly' relief amount

JAMMU: Expressing displeasure over the "measly" amount as relief for displaced Kashmiri Pandits, an organisation of the community today demanded the payment to be linked to cost of price index for a permanent solution to the issue. "We express serious displeasure over the quantum of relief enhanced to the relief holders of displaced Kashmir Pandits community," said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, President of 'Panun Kashmir'. The Government of India had enhanced relief amount by Rs 400 per person to Rs 1650 per person from Rs 1250 person. The maximun increase per family is of Rs 1600 and currently stands at Rs 6600, up from Rs 5000 since July 2012. Chrungoo appealed to the government to link the payment of relief with the cost of price index as a permanent solution to the issue. He also demanded that the arrears of enhanced relief for seven months be paid to relief holders immediately along with the amount of the current month, keeping in view the festival of Mahashivratri.

Taj for rationalizing human resources in medical services, adoption of MCI norms
Directs immediate installation of RO plant at Super Specialty Hosp Jammu
JAMMU, FEBRUARY 05: Flagging off issues for better management of hospitals and healthcare in the State, Minister for Medical Education, Youth Services & Sports, Mr. Taj Mohi ud Din today stressed the need for rationalizing human resource in medical services for better results to the society. He asked for adoption of Medical Council of India (MCI) norms for better and quality services at the hospitals. Chairing a joint review meeting of Health and Medical Education Departments here today, the Minister asked for ensuring quality surgical equipments and using generic medicine at hospitals which are in line Specialty Hospital. He specifically reviewed the process of installation of Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant for Dialysis at the Nephrology unit of the Hospital. He directed the Hospital administration to immediately get the plant installed and also complete the remaining works for which he also asked the engineers of Central Public Works Department to comply. Commissioner-Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Mr. M. K. Dwevedi, Director, Health Services, Jammu, Dr. Madhu Khullar, Principals of Government Medical Colleges of Jammu and Srinagar and other officers were present in the meetings.

Minister for Medical Education, Youth Services & Sports, Mr. Taj Mohi ud Din chairing a joint reviewing meeting of Health and Medical Education Departments at Jammu. with the prescribed norms throughout the country. Minister of State for Heath, Mr. Shabir Ahmad Khan was also present in the meeting. Mr. Taj impressed upon the officers to regularize the tenure of registrars at the GMCs and ensure a roster regime for the same. He asked for immediate shifting of doctors who have overstayed as registrars for a long period. The Minister advised sharing of human resources between Health and Medical Education Departments in view of the shortage of staff. He suggested checking the huge rush of referrals cases to tertiary care units and ensure that non fatal complicacies are handled at district and sub district hospital levels. Mr. Taj said Government is willing to make rules governing the services of doctors more flexible hinting at making amendments in existing rules as well to make their working more comfortable. The Minister also, in a separate meeting, reviewed the pace of completion of works on the Jammu Super

Troops alert on Line of Control: Army

AKHNOOR (JAMMU): Asserting that troops are alert along the borders with Pakistan, a senior army officer Tuesday said, no untoward incident will be allowed to happen along the Line of Control (LoC). "Our boys are alert and we will not allow any untoward incident to happen (along the LoC)," General Officer Commanding (GOC), Cross Swords Division, Maj Gen Rustam Patnaik told PTI on the sidelines of an army eye camp organised under Operation Sadbhavna, here. Patnaik was replying to questions on the situation along the borderline in the backdrop of beheading of two jawans by Pak troops in the Poonch sector in the first week of January. Maj Gen Patnaik said, confidence building measures were working (between the two sides of LoC) and they are carrying routine activities. Replying to another question about the posture and body language of Pakistani troops after the incident, the officer said: "We cannot see their body language, we can only see them through binoculars."

Sakina distributes cheques worth Rs.27 lakh among 45 beneficiaries

R.S PURA, FEBRUARY 5: Minister for Social Welfare, ARI and Trainings, Sakina Itto today said that the Government was committed to reach out to the doorsteps of the people, especially those belonging to the remote, far-flung areas, to meet their developmental aspirations. " Improvement of the economic condition of People living Below The Poverty Line, destitues and those belonging to the economically and socially backwards classes is the top priority of the present government", Ms. Sakina Itoo, who is also Chairperson, J&K SC, ST, OBC Development Corporation, said while addressing the participants at one day Awareness Camp here today. The Camp was organized by J&K SC, ST & OBC Development Corporation at R.S Pura, in Jammu District here today. MLA, RS Pura Prof Gharu Ram and MLA Suchetgarh, Ch Sham Lal were present on the occasion. The Minister said that right from the day from assuming office, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, has taken a number of drastic steps towards socio-economic development of the state , besides providing good governance, prompt disposal of public matters by enacting significant and revolutionary Acts like PSGA , besides revving State A c c o u n t a b i l i t y Commission(SAC) and bringing in force RTI in the state . She said that main aim and objective of such moves was to provide speedy and time frame justice to the common people. She said that

FIR filed against alleged hate mongers

SRINAGAR, FEB 5: Several youth are on run for commenting against the all-girl rock band "Pragaash" page on social networking site, facebook. "We have registered an FIR against hate mongers and they will be arrested within few days." Senior Superintendent of Police, Sringar, Syed Ashiq Bukhari told news sources and added that investigation is going on to identify those who threatened the band sources told that on the instructions of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir Police has registered an FIR under a section of the Information Technology Act in Police Station Raj Bagh to book all those youth who have allegedly commented against the musical band on the social networking site, facebook. The three members of an all-girl rock band "Pragaash" comprising of vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, guitarist Aneeka Khalid and drummer Farah Deeba had won the best performance award in the 'Battle of the Bands' competition in Srinagar. They along with their parents had alleged that some users were threatening them on social networking site. The issue came to lime light after about a month when Omar Abdullah tweeted about it criticizing the hate mongers. Surprisingly the band members told a news channel that they respect the opinions of Kashmiri people. "We quit because of the people of Kashmir, we didn't know they were unhappy with our music. As Mufti saheb said that it is unislamic and it's 'haraam' and we should not continue, that is why we have disbanded. We respect him; we respect people of Kashmir and their opinions." They said. Meanwhile, a case under Section 66 A of the IT Act and Section 506 RPC (Criminal Intimidation) has been registered in police station Rajbagh and police has started investigation to nab the alleged violators.

More snowfall, rain as cold persists in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Rain continued to lash Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir Valley along with fresh snowfall at the ski resort of Gulmarg for the second day running even as the mercury rose slightly in the Ladakh region. Night temperatures across the Valley dipped further with the Srinagar recording a low of 1.6 degrees Celsius as against the previous night's 2.2 degrees, a MeT official said. The summer capital received 12mm rainfall during the night. The mercury settled at a low of 0.8 degree Celsius in the gateway town of Qazigund in south Kashmir, which received rainfall of 25mm during the night. The minimum in Kokernag was up from the previous night's low of 1.1 degrees to 2.1 degrees Celsius with the town receiving 13mm rainfall. In north Kashmir's Kupwara town, where the minimum the previous night was 0.6 degrees, the mercury settled at 0.5 degrees Celsius. Kupwara received 3cm of fresh snowfall and more than 27mm of rainfall. Gulmarg, on the other hand, received a foot of fresh snowfall as well as 17mm rainfall and recorded a low of -5 degrees Celsius, same as the previous night. Another hill resort, Pahalgam, touched freezing point at a low of 0 degrees Celsius, as against 0.2 degrees yesterday, and reported 2cm snowfall and 18mm rainfall. And, although Leh and Kargil in the Ladakh region continued to reel under severe cold, there was a slight increase in the minimum temperatures. Kargil recorded a low of -9.2 degrees Celsius while the mercury settled at -3.4 degrees in Leh town. The previous night?s low in Kargil and Leh was -12 and -5 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Minister for Social Welfare, ARI and Trainings, Sakina Itto distributing cheques among beneficiaries at RS Pura under PSGA, applicant can get his work done within the stipulated time and if any officer found guilty of deliberately delaying the redressal of grievance has to face action as per law. Ms Sakina said that it was the dream of the Late Sheri-Kashmir to uplift the downtrodden, needy, poor, destitute, women in distress, by bringing far reaching reforms in the working of the government. She said the major achievement of the present coalition Government was conduct of Panchayat elections and involvement of the Panchayat Institutions in the development of the rural areas. She these Institutions have been given supervisory powers of 19 departments for monitoring their services and run these efficiently and transparently. The Minister said that Omar led Coalition has fulfilled almost all the promises made with the people and the State was progressing in leaps and bounds. She said that other mile stone of the present Government were restoration of the confidence of the common masses in democracy, connecting every nook and corner of the State, opening of new and up-gradation of existing Schools, besides opening of Colleges to expand the reach of education to the doorsteps of the people . She due to pro- people policies, the present NCCongress coalition government was day by day becoming strong and is earning credibility of the people through its conviction and commitment. She said that the Coalition would continuously pursue pro-poor people agenda to restore dignity of the people and establish sustainable peace, stability and prosperity. On the occasion, the Minister distributed cheques worth Rs.27 lacs among 45 beneficiaries of R.S Pura Tehsil belonging to SC, BC and other economically weaker sections. The Minister was informed that a financial assistance to the tune of Rs 345 lakhs have been provided to 576 beneficiaries of SC, ST, OBC, Safai Kramcharies and Handicapped Categories during the current financial year in Jammu District under direct financing and Bank tie-up schemes.

Fraudsters booked by Crime Branch

JAMMU: Crime Branch, Jammu have registered a criminal case FIR No. 04/2013 u/s 420,423,465,466,467,468,471, 120-B/RPC r/w section 5(2) P.C. Act Svt. 2006 against the accused persons Sohan Singh S/o Puran Singh R/o Lower Gadigarh, Jammu, Prem Nath S/o Sham Dass R/o Gadigarh, Jammu, Sultan Mohd. S/o Shah Mohd. R/o Jhanda, Samba, Kartar Raj S/o Devi Singh R/o Yogpur, Samba, Balwan Singh S/o Inder Singh R/o Palanwala, Akhnoor, Dr. Narinder Kumar Sharma S/o Shri Rattan Chand R/o Tarore, Tehsil and District Samba, Varun Sharma S/o Dr. Narinder Sharma and officials of the Custodian/Revenue Departments for hatching a criminal conspiracy and preparation of fake and fabricated Revenue documents/Power of Attorney by way of fraudulent means. Brief facts of the case are that a written compliant was lodged by complainant Manmohan Singh R/o H. No. 42/43 Sector-5, Nanak Nagar, Jammu alleging therein that he had purchased a piece of land measuring 7 Kanal and 04 marlas from one Mehar Singh through his attorney Surinder Singh, however, the accused person Dr. Narinder Sharma and his son Varun Sharma while encroaching upon the adjacent Govt. land measuring 4 kanal and 11 marlas had also encroached upon the front portion of land of the complainant measuring 9 marlas. On receipt of this complaint, a P.V. was initiated and during the course of enquiry it was found that Kuldeep Singh and Prem Nath with malafilde intentions hatched a criminal conspiracy with other accused persons mentioned above including officials of the Custodian/Revenue Departments and got prepared fake/fabricated revenue documents/Power of attorneys by resorting to fraudulent means in order to usurp the State/Custodian land thereby causing wrongful loss to the complainant and state and wrongful gain to themselves. On this a formal case has been registered and investigation of the case is in progress.

Vikar attends power ministers' conference

JAMMU, FEBRUARY 05 Highlighting the necessity of single window clearance at Centre for timely clearance of power projects submitted by the states, the Minister of state for Technical Education and Power, Mr. Vikar Rasool has said that development of small hydro projects was high on the priority of the state government for which an investor-friendly policy has been notified. The Minister was speaking at the Power Ministers' conference at New Delhi presided over by the Union Minister for Power, Mr. Jyotiraditya M. Scinida . Mr. Vikar said that the state government was committed to development of hydro power projects in the state and is also aware of the challenges in meeting the aspirations of the local peo-

Development of small power projects high on state govt's priority

time bound. He said that implementation of 14 RGGVY projects is under process in the state. However, he said that there was a sizeable portion of unelectrified/de-electrified and partially electrified villages/hamlets which need to be taken up under RGGVY Phase-II. He said that RAPDRP is under implementation in 13 towns of the state, while the works under all components of Part-A were also in progress adding that go line of 2 pilot towns is proposed to be commissioned by ITIA in April-2013 as data and recovery centre have been completed and hardware installation by ITIA is in progress. He further informed that the consumer indexing and asset mapping in two cities of Jammu and Srinagar is under process. Mr. Vikar said that the state has taken an initiative to harness its available thermal potential and a 5MW Technology-cumDemonstration-cumResource Assessment GeoThermal project being set up in Puga, Leh has been awarded. He said that the state has a huge hydro power potential of around 11,000 MW in Chenab basin and several projects are under execution or planned along the river. The minister stressed need for developing a comprehensive and integrated transmission network instead of laying individual dedicated lines is the requirement, besides the construction of pooling station of 765 KV level in the area so that upcoming projects can conveniently evacuate power to the any part of the country, this he said, needs to be expedited. While thanking the Prime Minister for offering massive re-construction programme in transmission sector, the Minister said that the benefits of the same can be better passed to the people of the state if matching investment is also approved for distribution segment. He said that an amount of around Rs. 1300 crore for transmission under PMRP should normally be accompanied with an amount of Rs. 2600 crore for upgrading the distribution system so as to manage the load growth over the years.

Minister of state for Technical Education and Power, Vikar Rasool along with others during conference at Jammu. ple apart from environmental and forest clearances, difficult terrain and fragile mountains which often lead to time and cost overruns making investors wary of investments in the sector. He said in the backdrop of rising local aspirations, the policy of 12% free power to the generating states needs to be revised for equitable development of all stakeholders, including local communities. The Minister said that the process of clearance of hydel projects by various central agencies like CEA, CWC, Indus Water Commission and the Ministry of Environment and Forest needs to be streamlined and to be made

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STUDENT AGE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2013 PDP leader Abdul Zargar passes away
SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir minister and PDP leader Abdul Aziz Zargar died on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was 87. Zargar breathed his last at his Jammu residence this morning, a PDP spokesman said, adding that he had been ailing for some time. Zargar was a member of the constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in 1951 and served as Agriculture Minister in the Mir Qasim government in 1972. Later, he held the same portfolio in the PDP-Congress coalition government from 2002 to 2008. His body will be brought to the Valley later in the afternoon and taken to his native Manzgam village in south Kashmir's Kulgam district for last rites. He is survived by his wife, four sons and three daughters.


Governor inaugurates conference on Dogri language

JAMMU, FEBRUARY 5: Mr. N. N. Vohra, Governor, today called for identification, collection, preservation and codification of all available old manuscripts in Dogri for undertaking research for the enrichment of literature and promoting this language. The Governor, as Chief Guest, was inaugurating a 2day Conference on "Dogri: Challenges and Opportunities", organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, at Government Degree College for Women, Gandhi Nagar, here today. The Governor observed that considerable good work is being done by various organizations and significant valuable literature is being published every year, which is further enriching Dogri language. He

Calls for formulating time bound action plan for promotion of Dogri
called upon the Cultural Academy, Dogri Sanstha and all those associated with the promotion of Dogri language and literature to come up with a 5 to 7 year Action Plan, indicating the areas which require greater focus and assured that, for implementing the envisaged plan, all possible support would be provided by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The Governor suggested for bringing out a monthly tabloid in Dogri language for the benefit of Dogri knowing people, which could be gradually converted into a fortnightly and subsequently brought out as a weekly publication. He observed that this publication could be utilized as an effective medium by upcoming writers for having their contributions published. The magazine could also bring out extracts from the works of known Dogri writers. Such an initiative could go a long way in the promotion of Dogri language. He observed that if requisite priorities are fixed and agreed strategies put in place, the promotion of Dogri as a popular spoken language can grow on a sustained basis. Earlier, the Governor lit the ceremonial lamp to mark the commencement of the Conference. Mr. Raman Bhalla, Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Culture, speaking on the occasion, said that the 2-day conference will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss ways and means for the promotion of Dogri language and literature. He added that the roadmap evolved during the conference would help in the growth of Dogri language. He said that all required measures would be taken for the promotion of this language. Mr. Devender Singh Rana, MLC, speaking on the occasion, said that people in particular have a significant role in the promotion of any language, adding that everyone should feel proud in speaking his mother tongue alongside learning other languages. He added that with the inclusion of Dogri in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, new opportunities have come up for the promotion of this language. Prof. Lalit Magotra, President, Dogri Sanstha, in his Keynote Address, congratulated Mr. Khalid Bashir, Secretary, Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, for presenting his welcome address in Dogri language. He extensively dwelt on the challenges and opportunities for the promotion of Dogri language and called for effective utilization of new technologies to achieve this objective. In his welcome address in Dogri, Mr. Khalid Bashir, Secretary, Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, threw light on the activities of the Academy aimed at the promotion of various languages in the State. Speaking about aims and objects of organizing this Conference, he said that it will be spread over five working sessions. He also gave details about the papers to be presented during the Conference. He thanked the Governor for taking keen interest in the activities of the Cultural Academy. Mrs. Savita Bakshi, Additional Secretary, Cultural Academy, presented a Vote of Thanks. Two Dogri Bhakhs were presented on this occasion by Mr. Praduman Singh, Mrs. Krishna Kumari, Ms. Usha Sharma and Ms. Chinmay Sharma. Mr. Ajaz Ahmad Jan, MLA, a number of prominent writers, including Mrs. Padma Sachdev, Dr. Ved Kumari Ghai, Mr. Nilamber Dev Sharma, Dr. Jitendra Udhampuri, functionaries of the Cultural Academy, Dogri lovers, prominent citizens, Principal, Faculty members and students of the college were present on the occasion.

Alleged occupation of parking zone triggered protest in Batamaloo

SRINAGAR, FEB 5: Alleged occupation of parking zone by Sumo drivers triggered protests in Batamaloo area when dozens of shopkeepers accused Srinagar Municipal Corporation for encouraging sumo drivers to occupy the parking zone which was exclusively reserved for the shopkeepers from last 15 years. According to reports , traffic in Batamaloo area came to stand still when dozens of shopkeepers took to road and raised slogans against Srinagar Municipal Corporation. Protestors were demanding the immediate evacuation of Sumo drivers from the Parking zone. Shopkeepers managing their business in Chinar Shopping Centre told media that they have been using the parking zone in Batamaloo from last 15 years. "A few days before, SMC employees advised us not to park their vehicles in the parking zone due to some unknown reasons but today we were aghast to see that parking zone was occupied by sumo drivers with the tacit consent of SMC." They said and added that the concerned Revenue officer is himself admitting that this parking zone has been reserved for the shopkeepers. After the assurance of Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the shopkeepers dispersed peacefully with the hope that sumo drivers will be soon evacuated from the zon.

Div Com reviews the ongoing sewerage and drainage works in Srinagar city
SRINAGAR, FEBRUARY 05: To review the ongoing sewerage and drainage works being executed in Srinagar city, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon convened a joint meeting of officers of National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) and Urban Environment Engineering Department (UEED) here today. Among others Chief Engineer, UEED, Mr. R.C. Gupta, Executive Director NBCC, Mr. S.K. Koul, Senior General Manager, NBCC, Mr. Rafiq Ahmad, Collector, Land Acquisition, Tehsildar South and other officers attended the meeting. It was informed that under trunk sewerage in Srinagar city, NBCC has completed 90 percent of the work under execution while under lateral sewerage 97 percent has been completed. As many as Rs. 132 crore are Bazar, Down Town, Mala Bagh, Rampora, Hawal and Nallamar road. The five developmental schemes being executed by UEED at a cost of Rs. 2 crore out of which Rs. 62 lakh have been utilized till late, the meeting was informed. Dr. Samoon exhorted upon the officers to expedite the ongoing sewerage and drainage works in Srinagar to facilitate the people. He also enjoined upon them to work with coordination and devotion to achieve the tangible targets within stipulated time. Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir while taking stock of the available essential commodities in the Valley was informed that 24,296 metric tons of rice, 7473 metric tons of wheat and 1936 metric tons of sugar besides 264710 cylinders of LPG and 4896 kilolitres of kerosene oil are available for the consumers of the Valley.

Ministers condole demise of Zargar

JAMMU, FEBRUARY 5: The Council of Ministers, including Minister for Finance Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister for Haj, Auqaf and Floriculture Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Minister for Rural Development Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for Forests Mian Altaf, Minister for Medical Education Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Minister for CA&PD Chuadary Mohammad Ramzan , Minister for Urban Development and Local Bodies, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Hassan Mir, Minister for Higher Education Mohammad Akbar Lone, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Mir Saifullah, Minister for Tourism G A Mir, Minister PHE, Sham Lal Sharma, Minister for Social Welfare, Sakina Ittoo, Minister for Housing, Raman Bhalla, Minister for R&B Abdul Majid Wani, Minister for Planning and Development, Ajay Sadhotra, Minister of State for Revenue, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Cooperative Dr. Manohar Lal Sharma, Minister of State for Health Shabir Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Home, Industries & Commerce Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, Minister of State for Animal and Sheep Husbandry Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, Minister of state for Power Vikar Rasool Wani and Minister of State for Medical Education Feroz Ahmad khan, have condoled the demise of former Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar, who passed away here today after brief illness . Highlighting the contribution of late leader towards the socio-economic development of the state, the Ministers said that during his political career spread over to six decades, Mr Aziz Zargar remained a frontline freedom fighter and later Secretary of first State Constituent Assembly. He was closely associated with Cooperative Movement in early 70 and worked a lot towards development of Rural economy, they said adding that his demise has created a vacuum in the social and political arena of the state, which will be difficult to fill. The Ministers conveyed their heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family and prayed for the eternal peace to the departed soul.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon convened a joint meeting of officers of National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) and Urban Environment Engineering Department at Srinagar. being utilized on the execution of these works out of which Rs. 70 crores have been expended till date. Regarding the implementation of Jawahar Lal Nehru Renewable Urban Mission, it was given out that sewerage work has been completed on 132 kms, out of which 60 kms have been tested by UEED. It was further informed that work is apace at Noor Bagh Sewerage Treatment Plant which shall be completed by March 2014 and shall benefit 4.5 lakh souls of Soura, Buchpora, Lal

13 criminal cases settled in Lok Adalats

UDHAMPUR, FEBRUARY 05: In order to increase awareness among the masses regarding the legal rights of women, children and senior citizens, the Mobile Lok Adalat and awareness camps were organized in the district Udhampur, under the Chairmanship of Mr. A.K. Koul who is also the Chairman Legal Services Authority Udhampur from January 28 to February 4, 2013. These awareness camps and Lok Adalats were held in Mobile Van equipped with court room facility and Public address system. In total 42 cases were taken up in five tehsils of district Udhampur out of which 13 criminal cases were settled besides nine awareness camps were also held in far flung areas of the district.

Bhalla calls for educating children about State's rich culture

JAMMU, FEBRUARY 05-Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Culture Mr. Raman Bhalla has called upon the teachers and parents to educate the children about the rich culture and heritage of the State, adding that it would help them to work towards communal harmony in all circumstances. This was stated by the Minister, while addressing a large gathering of students, parents, teachers and nonteaching staff, besides prominent citizens at a prize distribution function organized by Youth Talent Search Forum (YTSF) here at Police Auditorium, here today. Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr. J P Singh, Joint Director School Education Mr. A C Aima, Chairperson Lawrence Public School Brig M M Joshi, President YTSF Mrs. Prabha Jain, General Secretary Mrs. Esther Williams, besides other representatives of YTSF were present on the occasion. The function was organized by YTSF with a forum of ten CBSE and State Board affiliated schools of city of temples with the aim to provide an organized platform where children can exhibit their hidden talent in the best spirit of competition and excellence. The Minister appreciated the efforts of YTSF and congratulated the organizers for providing the students an opportunity for showcasing their talent. Urging upon students to take keen interest in studies to achieve excellence, Mr. Bhalla said that the Government has expanded the opportunities of higher and professional education across the State. He advised students to take full benefit of congenial academic atmosphere and achieve excellence in their streams of interest besides extra-curricular activities. He said "youth are the future builders of a nation and they have to prepare themselves fully to face the future challenges". The Minister said that the Government was committed to ensure equitable development of all the three regions of the State and in this direction numerous innovative steps have already been taken by the Government during last four years. Earlier, the function commenced with the lighting of the traditional lamp by the Minister. The students of the schools presented a colourful cultural programme depicting the rich cultural ethos of the region. Later, Mr. Bhalla also distributed mementos and certificates among the participants students of the cultural show. At Rampura, the Minister kick started upgradation work of three lanes and drains, for which Government has earmarked Rs. 14 lakh. He asked the executing agency to complete the projects within time frame by using quality material.

Cheaters booked by Crime Branch, Jammu

JAMMU: Crime Branch, Jammu have registered a criminal case FIR No. 05/2013 u/s 420,466,467,468,471,120-B RPC against the accused persons namely Ramesh Kumar S/o Sh. Parmanand R/o House No. 779 Rehari Colony, Jammu, Tilak Raj S/o Sh. Harbans lal R/o Channi Himmat, Jammu, Varinder Kumar S/o Sh. Thudu Ram R/o Channi Jammu and Harbans Lal S/o Sh. Ram Chand R/o Sunjwan, Narwal Jammu for hatching a criminal conspiracy and preparation of fake and fabricated Route Permits by way of fraudulent means. Brief facts of the case are that a communication made by the IGP Traffic, J&K, Jammu with the Inspector General of Police, Crime Branch, J&K, Jammu enclosing the report of Regional Transport Officer, Jammu, was received in Crime Branch, Jammu wherein it was stated that Route Permits of four vehicles bearing Registration Numbers JK02AG-5396, JK02AL-5435, JK02AN-1557 & JK02S-3667 seized and forwarded by the Traffic Police, National Highway, Ramban for verification were found fake and fabricated. From the aforementioned facts, it spells out that the Route Permits which were produced by Ramesh Kumar S/o Sh. Parmanand R/o House No. 779 Rehari Colony, Jammu, Tilak Raj S/o Sh. Harbans Lal R/o Channi Himmat, Jammu, Varinder Kumar S/o Sh. Thudu Ram R/o Channi Jammu and Harbans Lal S/o Sh. Ram Chand R/o Sunjwan, Narwal Jammu before the Traffic Police during routine traffic checking and subsequently found fake on verification from Regional Transport Office, Jammu, have been prepared/got prepared by the above named persons with malafide intentions in connivance with some other persons and officers/officials of the Regional Transport Office, in order to cheat the Traffic Police Authorities and the Public at large and get illegal benefits. On this a formal case has been registered and investigation of the case is in progress.

NC for dignified return of KPs: Rana

JAMMU, FEBRUARY 05: Provincial President J&K National Conference Jammu province Devender Singh Rana Tuesday assured full support of National Conference to Kashmiri Migrants in mitigating their difficulties and facilitating dignified and peaceful return to their native land. Addressing a deputation of Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj who called on him here today at party headquarters Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan, Rana said that National Conference has always held KPs as an integral part of Kashmir and worked sincerely for their welfare, rehabilitation and dignified return to the Valley in a conducive and peaceful atmosphere. He said that soon after taking over a Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah constituted an Apex Body of Kashmiri Pandit society representing all shades of opinion to converge and come fice made by National Conference to nurture secular traits and hold the society together. Rana said that just like the history of Indian freedom is incomplete without Indian National Congress similarly, history of modern and secular Jammu and Kashmir is incomplete without National Conference. He said adding that the popularity of National Conference is deep rooted and imprinted in the hearts and minds of the people for its sacrifices and struggle. Rana said that power has never been objective of National Conference but public cause and equitable development of all is the only goal of National Conference. He said the joining of youth in the party from all across the State has given further strength to this party which is going to elections in 2014 with a mission of peaceful, plentiful, progressive and economically self reliant Jammu and Kashmir.

Provincial President J&K National Conference Jammu province Devender Singh Rana addressing a deputation of Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj at party headquarters Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan at Jammu. up with a comprehensive policy of welfare and return for KPs to the Valley. "It was after discussing the matter in the Apex Committee Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah discussed the employment and economic package for Kashmiri Pandits with the Prime Minister which was approved at the Central Government level and is under implementation at present", he said adding that enhancement of cash relief and other concessions to KPs intending to return to the Valley have been taken up by Omar Abdullah at the Central Government level. Rana said that it is only National Conference who sincerely bats for the welfare of Kashmiri Pandits and wants their return in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. He said National Conference would continue its efforts in this direction adding that united approach by Kashmiri Pandit Samaj to resolve difficulties is key to success in this regard and National Conference is making all efforts for this unified approach by all shades of opinion in Kashmiri Pandit Samaj. "Those who come from outside the State and hold press conferences in favour of KPs are in fact bereft of any concern for them. They do it just for politics otherwise they do not have any interest in the return or welfare of KPs", he said and made reference without naming PDP leadership for its dubious role in the exodus of KPs and dislodging democratic institutions for their self interests. Rana said that those (PDP) who are giving sermons on secularism have record of creating hatred and conflict between various sections and regions of the State and damaging democratic institutions. He said secular credentials of National Conference are glaring in the skies of the sub-continent and each one in the country is well aware of the struggle and sacri-

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hina's recent takeover of the management of the Gwadar port in Pakistan has understandably been a cause of concern in New Delhi. Once fully-operational, this warm water deep sea port located in the restive Balochistan Province could easily prove to be the most lustrous element in China's much talked about 'string of pearls' - a reference to Beijing's many strategic investment projects in South and South East Asia. Apart from the Gwadar port in Pakistan for which China provided about 75 per cent of the initial $309 million in construction costs, these projects include the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, the Marao port in The Maldives, the Chittagong port in Bangladesh and the Sittwe port in Burma. When plotted on a map, they look like a 'string of pearls' encircling India. Of course, China has consistently denied that the investments are part of any overall design to 'contain' India. Towards that end, it has repeatedly pointed out that the ports are purely commercial in nature and essentially aimed at securing its own sea lanes. For instance, the Gwadar port has the potential to open up a new trade route for China in the Indian Ocean and towards West Asia that does not cut through the Strait of Malacca. Dominated in the north by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Malacca Strait is under the purview of US naval power, and China would like nothing better than to have access to a sea port that is not controlled by a superior military power. In fact, even South Block has sought to soothe frayed nerves by urging people not to "overreact" to the development and instead, accept the handover of Gwadar port from the Port of Singapore Authority to the Chinese

With Gwadar port deal, China flexes muscle

Overseas Port Holdings Limited as a purely commercial transaction carried out in the "normal course of things". Unfortunately, China's recent record of assertiveness and indeed even outright belligerence in its immediate neighbourhood, particularly in the South China Sea region, offers little comfort. After all, a commercial port today can always be converted into a naval base tomorrow. And even if that is not the case, the Gwadar port in its non-military avatar will still serve as a good listening post for the Chinese. This will be particularly valuable to Beijing as it allows it some presence in the Indian Ocean region where it has no territorial presence. Moreover, when fully developed, the Gwadar port will also be beneficial to the Pakistani military. Located 400 kms away from India, the port offers a perfect alternative to the one in Karachi that is within India's striking range and through which passes almost all of Pakistan's trade. Having said that, however, it must also be made clear that it will probably be a while before either China or Pakistan can exploit Gwadar to its full potential. one, the supplemental infrastructure work that was to be done by the Pakistani Government in terms of building a transport network leading to the port is still far from complete. Consequently, the port has seen minimal activity in recent months - in fact, no ship has docked at Gwadar since November 2012. Finally, there is also the Baloch unrest factor that has to be taken into consideration. The Balochis are strongly opposed to the Chinese in general and the project in particular, and they are certain to put up a strong resistance.

When the US fails, others suffer

By Abhijit Iyer-Mitra uclear' Iran is getting to be a bigger bother for the US and the rest of the world than many had assumed in the earlier stages. It is fallacious to argue that Tehran will become a stable partner in global peace by having a nuclear arsenal. Iran will either get 'the' bomb or get bombed. What this means regionally is anyone's guess since there are too many variables surrounding these two possibilities. One thing that is invariable though, is America's dogged adherence to icons and dogmas which ensures that only the extremes are possible. As the situation stands, no one, not even the Russians and the Chinese, doubt in private that Iran is accelerating its efforts to build a bomb. In public, though, there are two narratives - the first is of the crazy suicidal mullahcracy so rabidly obsessed with killing Jews that another holocaust is on the horizon. The other, less printed, argument is that a nuclear Iran would actually bring a greater level of stability to what is a highly volatile region. Both of course are hyperbolic, but they dominate print and broadcast opinions in one variant or the other. The former needs no serious refutation. The latter is true to a certain extent in that it alleviates Iran's acute conventional inferiority vis-vis its neighbours, but this is only half the story. As the experience of Pakistan and North Korea has shown, nuclear weapons provide revisionist states with a shield for a whole new paradigm of provocations like Mumbai 26/11 or the sinking of the South Korean warship, The Cheonan. Nuclear weapons, therefore, provide a certain strategic stability in that it prevents all-out war, but then introduce great levels of sub-conventional instability either by covert actions or by non/sub/quasi state actors. The problem here is, the proponents of the theory that a nuclear Iran will bring stability have very frequently lost credibility either because they misdirect their fire,


obfuscate the nuance or engage in hyperbole - all aimed at exculpating the United States. Take for example Kenneth Waltz arguing that Iran is attempting to balance the 40-yearold Israeli arsenal. This ignores the fact that the prime 'sabre- rattler' and major nuclear power in the Middle East is, in fact, the United States that has already regime-changed two of Iran's neighbours - Afghanistan and Iraq, has Iran completely encircled and has skewed the conventional balance by reckless arms sales to Iran's arch rivals. To blame Israel for the situation is as incredulous as

bilised by Iran to drag the Soviets in. Today Iran's 'mischief' is directed largely by default - against the Unites States' interests. It is of course quite natural for any country to adopt double standards; no country on earth has a double standard-free foreign policy. But what is worrying about the United States is how the information and the intelligence loops form a closed circuit that filters out any divergent opinion - where the Government actually starts believing its own spin, and sadly the academia tends to buttress this. Take for

t is of course quite natural for any country to adopt double f standards; no country on earth has a double standard-free foreign policy. But what is worrying about the United States is how the information and the intelligence loops form a closed circuit that filters out any divergent opinion - where the Government actually starts believing its own spin, and sadly the academia tends to buttress this. Take for example Saddam Hussein's use of nerve agents in Halabja in the 80s. Till the invasion of Kuwait, most US experts were keen to emphasise that "doubts existed" over who had resorted to using mustard gas and in some form or another and it was implied that Iran had done it. Similarly, in spite of overwhelming evidence that Georgia had disrupted the status quo in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, most US 'experts' on television went out of their way to either claim that the evidence wasn't clear.
example Saddam Hussein's use of nerve agents in Halabja in the 80s. Till the invasion of Kuwait, most US experts were keen to emphasise that "doubts existed" over who had resorted to using mustard gas and in some form or another and it was implied that Iran had done it. Similarly, in spite of overwhelming evidence that Georgia had disrupted the status quo in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, most US 'experts' on television went out of their way to either claim that the evidence wasn't clear. This pattern of self-delusion continues to buttress United States rigidity on Iran and revolve around five main points. First, the United States actually seems to think the sanctions on Iran are smart and should humanitarian concerns arise,

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding the Elders of Zion responsible for Iran's travails. The prime mover of a nuclear Iran was in fact the United States spearheaded by arch neo-cons Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in the 70s - ostensibly to buttress Iran's position vis-vis the USSR. Though suitably couched in terms of energy, the deal would have ensured that Tehran received both enriched uranium and plutonium - all but providing for the existence of a latent arsenal. Iran's 'policies' in those days, of course, were directed in the pursuit of US policy. William Blum, for example, in his book, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, lists how Afghanistan was deliberately desta-

they will be suitably modified. Second, that sanctions are still an effective tool that will achieve results. Third, no geopolitical concessions need to be made to Iran - or as Americans claim "the world has moved on from spheres of influence driven politics". Fourth, the only 'carrots' Iran needs to be offered are economic - like membership of the World Trade Organisation at some distant point in the future. And fifth, Mr Ahmadinejad's statement on wiping Israel off the map is proof of Iran's diabolical designs. As far as one can remember, images of horribly deformed Iraqi children did nothing to change the US hard line on the causative sanctions for 13 long years after which the Washington, DC solution was to invade. That sanctions can be effective has been discounted time after time. Anybody who bothers studying Myanmar and Libya knows that the former's compliance had more to do with a series of complex issues and the latter's compliance with Gaddafi's succession plans. The notion that somehow Iran will sit pretty and accept the fall of its allies like Syrian President Bashar alAssad, the crushing of the Shias and its conventional inferiority is laughable at best. As for the world moving on from spheres of influence one would like to see how the United States reacts to a Chinese announcement of setting up a nuclear missile base in Venezuela or Cuba. The navet in believing that a country that has endured severe sanctions and embargos for the better part of the last 30 years will be tempted by WTO accession boggles the mind. Finally, it is curious that the United States does not accept at face value the absence of homosexuality in Iran given that President Ahmadinejad claims just this, but his pronouncements on wiping out Israel are of course gospel truth. Between rigid dogma and iconoclastic hyperbole, the only thing that gets reinforced is the United States' sense of infallibility and the consequences for everybody else - paying the price for America's failures.

Genetically Modified Corn Data Growing chasm between a VIP India and an 'aam admi' India Raises Serious Concerns

By Ignatius Joseph: n a startling development an independent scientific analysis released by Greenpeace India on January 29, 2013 exposed major flaws in the Genetically Modified (GM) corn biosafety assessment process done by the regulatory bodies in India. Greenpeace India had commissioned Testbiotech, an independent research agency, to assess data presented by the US biotech giant, Monsanto, to the Indian authorities 'for biosafety tests prior to commercial approval' of its GM corn variety. The stacked gene GM corn (MON89034xNK603 ) with bacterial genes for pest resistance and herbicide tolerance leads the GM crop approval pipeline in India and has been released into fields for trials several times in the past four years. The biosafety and field trials data of the GM corn was accessed by Greenpeace through RTI procedures from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)- the nodal agency for all environmental releases of genetically modified organisms in India. The RTI exercise also saw the Chief Public Information Officer of the Department of Biotechnology being reprimanded by the Appellate Authority for providing wrong information to Greenpeace. Shivani Shah, Sustainable Agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace India says, "On one hand the GM regulatory system in our country tries to hide crucial public information like the biosafety data of GM crops and on the other hand allows open field trials of them, which can lead to contamina-

tion of our food and seed supply chain. These field trials have been permitted for the last four years without biosafety studies being completed". According to the Department of Biotechnology the field trials were permitted in India based on biosafety data generated by Monsanto itself in its labs in USA. The Testbiotech analysis highlights that the data and assessments presented by Monsanto are incomplete and lacking in scientific rigor. Interestingly most of the data provided by Monsanto was not for the stacked gene variety of Monsanto's corn, which is the one mentioned in their application. Hardly any study was provided for this stacked gene variety and most data was about the parent lines with single genes. The Testbiotech report concluded that based on the data presented by Monsanto, no decisions can be taken on the safety of the plants. Apart from missing data and inadequate investigations, there are in fact substantial indications for health and environmental risks. Even in 2011 Greenpeace exposed grave violations of rules during field trials for the same corn by Monsanto in Bijapur District in Karnataka. In light of increasing evidences of failure of the GM regulatory system in India and the potential impacts of GM crops to our health, environment and socioeconomic realities, Greenpeace India demands the Union minister for Environment and Forest, Jayanthi Natarajan, under who sits the GEAC, to stop all open releases of GM crops, including those for field trials.

By Rajdeep Sardesai n the classic BBC political satire serial, Yes Minister, the minister Jim Hacker asks his senior bureaucrat Sir Humphrey Appleby how to deal with a group of protestors. "Don't worry sir, just appoint a committee to examine their grievances," is the reply. "But won't that be seen as surrender," asks the worried minister. Sir Humphrey smiles: "Committees buy you time, Mr Minister, and time is on our side!" What was true of the past is no longer the case: notions of time have shrunk. This is the age of 20-20 cricket, of fast food, of 24 x 7 television, where today's news can become the next hour's history. Like all else in society, governments too have to adjust to new age protests with an immediacy that perhaps was not required even a decade ago. Unfortunately, as we have discovered in the last fortnight, there is still a mismatch between a young and restless generation and a political class which believes that the wheels of government must move at their own pace. "You cannot have instant solutions," muttered a beleaguered home minister Sushil Shinde, when asked whether his government was willing to give the protestors a time frame within which various proposals for the safety of women would be implemented. Yes minister, you are right: in a patriarchal society which

for eons has treated women as second class citizens, you cannot expect dramatic results overnight. But surely Mr Minister, genuine voices of protest have a right to be heard with empathy and not met with the old fashioned lathi.

the moment. Failed opportunity Unfortunately, the political class failed to seize the moment, preferring instead to remain closetted in their bhavans and Lutyens bungalows. The home minister was particularly

chasm between a VIP India and an 'aam admi' India lies at the heart of the current crisis. VIP India which gets dozens of well armed securitymen to guard them day and night versus an Aam Aadmi India which has no such protection. A VIP India

Given these ever-widening divides in our society, it is imperative for governments to summon up the courage, enthusiasm and imagination to reach out beyond traditional lakshman rekhas. Communication is no longer simply about holding press conferences in Shastri Bhavan; it is about stepping out of the confines of the power apparatus and rediscovering the human touch. That is what the country's original and most effective political communicator Mahatma Gandhi would have done. In fact, a Gandhi would probably have sat on the streets with the protestors, listening to them, giving them a sense of direction and leadership.
The distance between the home ministry's forbidding walls at North Block and India Gate is less than two kilometres. But the psychological distance is much, much greater. Till a lumpen element attempted to take over the agitation, a majority of the protestors at India Gate were an enthusiastic crowd of energetic, bright-eyed Indians seeking to express their anger at the failure of the 'system' to protect a young girl. Their anger was not against any individual or political party: it was the rage of a generation that felt lost and helpless in the face of perceived state apathy and misgovernance. It was a group that needed comforting; compassion; more than confrontation was the need of incensed when I asked him whether he or any senior member of his government should have gone to India Gate to meet the protestors at the very outset. "Governments cannot go anywhere like this. Tomorrow, it could be Congress activists, next day it could be BJP, you will even ask us to meet armed Maoists. What if 100 tribals are killed in Gadchiroli or Chattisgarh, you will expect us to go there too," was his agitated response. The truth is, Mr Minister, governments must go to the people, be it Gadchiroli or India Gate. The idea of a home minister stepping out to meet students is not a 'dangerous' precedent, but an idea whose time has come. The wide and growing which travels in their lal batti cars versus an Aam Admi India which takes an antiquated public transport system. A VIP India which can walk in a luxurious Lodhi Gardens versus an Aam Admi India which walks home on poorly lit streets. And what is true of Delhi is even worse in far flung Gadchiroli where neither government nor the television camera will turn their gaze. If a 23 year old was gang-raped in a small village in Chattisgarh, she would probably become just another statistic. It is unlikely that anyone would light a candle for her or spark off street protests in her name. Her story is that of not even an Aam Admi India, but an 'Andhera India', an area of darkness

where few dare to venture. Given these ever-widening divides in our society, it is imperative for governments to summon up the courage, enthusiasm and imagination to reach out beyond traditional lakshman rekhas. Communication is no longer simply about holding press conferences in Shastri Bhavan; it is about stepping out of the confines of the power apparatus and rediscovering the human touch. That is what the country's original and most effective political communicator Mahatma Gandhi would have done. In fact, a Gandhi would probably have sat on the streets with the protestors, listening to them, giving them a sense of direction and leadership. If 'protocol' didn't permit a home minister from visiting India Gate, what of our numerous young MPs? Couldn't they have been part of a delegation that met the protestors and heard their grievances? What of Rahul Gandhi, the politician who sycophantic Congressmen refer to as a 'youth icon' and the 'conscience of the nation'? Could there have been a better issue for Rahul to appropriate and take a leadership role in than the safety of young women? Forget the photo-op, this could have been an issue that would have given him a much-needed emotional connect with a new India that is yearning for a new leadership that can break the feudal stereotypes of netas as 'rulers' and not as one of 'us'.

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Pradesh Government sought exemption from personal appearance of its Chief Secretary. Similar remarks were made by the court for the non-appearance of the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The NGO in its PIL had alleged that over 1.7 lakh children had gone missing in the country between January 2008 and January 2010, many of whom were kidnapped for trafficking in flesh trade and child labour. It also took exception to the plea seeking exemption from personal appearance of the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu."We will issue nonbailable warrant next time," it said. "What do you think? We pass orders just for the sake of passing orders?" the court asked. The bench rejected the plea for personal exemption of the Chief Secretaries of these states, saying, "In spite of our January 17 order, the said three officials have once again thought it fit to treat the matter with extreme casualness as if the order passed by this court has no meaning." The judges made it clear that they have to appear personally and not through their representatives. The court also said that there were two counsel for the Centre, including Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok, but there seemed to be no coordination. "The left hand doesn't know what is there in the right hand," it said, adding, "You are the biggest defaulters. You have no concern with children's issues. Who is the person responsible? Shall we call him." The ASG said whatever he has to say he will place that on record. The apex court concluded today's hearing by asking the ASG to file appropriate status reports on behalf of Ministries of Women and Child Welfare, Social Welfare and Home Affairs. The court noted that not only the Centre but also the Governments of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Uttrakhand, West Bengal and Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, NCT of Delhi and Lakhshadweep have not filed their status reports. The court had on January 17 directed the states which had failed to file their response earlier, to do so by February 5 while stating that if they failed to do so, then their Chief Secretaries would have to appear before it. The apex court had on March 16, last year issued notices to the Centre, the states, the UTs directing them to file their response on the issue of missing children.

6 Tewari takes dig at Rajnath over PM candidate issue

NEW DELHI: Taking a dig at BJP President Rajnath Singh over his appeal to colleagues not to air opinions regarding the party's prime ministerial n o m i n e e , Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday said such home remedies cannot treat "chronic delusionites". Tewari made this comment in an early morning post on the social networking site Twitter. "Even Rajnath Singhji's home remedies can't treat the chronic delusionites his esteemed colleagues suffer from. Fantansyland is addictive place," Tewari said. In a bid to put down partymen airing views on its prime ministerial candidate, the BJP President had yesterday issued a virtual gag order on the issue which was breached by two leaders from Bihar pitching for Narendra Modi. Concerned over party leaders voicing their opinion in public and the fissures within NDA on the issue of declaring Gujarat Chief Minister as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, Singh had made a "final appeal" to his party leaders not to speak on the issue. "I want to humbly appeal to BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will be the candidate for the Prime Minister's post. As I have said earlier, the BJP convention is that any deci-

SC pulls up Centre, states on missing children' status report

NEW DELHI: The Centre and several state governments on Tuesday came in for sharp criticism by the Supreme Court for their failure to file status report on the issue of missing children with the bench saying that nobody seems to be concerned about them. The apex court also came down heavily on the Chief Secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for their failure to comply with its order to be present before it today on the issue, observing that they are "playing the fool with the court" and threatened to issue non-bailable warrants against them. The bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir gave last opportunity to the Centre and the states which have not filed their affidavits on the matter and posted it for further hearing on February 19. "Nobody seems to be concerned about the missing children. This is the irony," the bench also comprising justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen said when senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, stated that hundreds of children were going missing every day. The bench was upset at the outset when it was told that Chief Secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were not present despite its earlier order. Out of the five states whose Chief Secretaries were asked to appear, only the Chief Secretaries of Goa and Orissa were present. "Why they are not present? Shall we issue non-bailable warrant? They are playing the fool with the court. They can't say they are indisposed. Don't play fools with this court. There was a direction, they had to be present here," the bench said when counsel for the Arunachal

I am innocent, in eyes of god and court too: Kurien

THIRUVANANTHAPURA M: Three police investigations and the apex court had exonerated him of involvement in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Tuesday and asserted that he was innocent in the eyes of god too. "Please note that I have been cleared by three different police investigation teams; besides the apex court exonerated me and the final discharge in the case following a private petition filed by the victim came from the Kerala High Court. In the eyes of god also I have done no wrong," Kurien told IANS. The horrific case in Suryanelli in Kerala's Idukki district took place in January 1996 when a 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor. She was brutally sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men. The victim had named Kurien as among those who exploited her in 1996. The case is back in the the government guesthouse here that it was all about politics. "My name surfaced ahead of the then Lok Sabha elecand the victim. "I did not go ahead with it because by then Nayanar had passed away. If I wanted, I could have sought compensation from the girl for maligning me. I did not do it. "Mind you, if I had gone ahead with it, then this present round of media bashing would not have happened," said he. "In my discharge granted by the Kerala High Court, it asks who will compensate me for tribulation that I have been subjected to for almost a decade. "While the prosecution (then Left government in 2007) was arguing against me, the police investigation report gave me a clean chit. I am happy my party is fully with me because they know the entire case," added Kurien. He said his family had stood by him like a rock from day one.

MIM leader's voice recorded, custody extended

HYDERABAD: Experts of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory recorded the legislator's voice as he has reportedly claimed during the interrogation that the voice in the video footage of his speech is not his. Official said the voice sample would be sent to a laboratory in Chandigarh to match it with the voice in the video footage of the public meeting. Akbar Owaisi was brought from the district jail in Adilabad to Nirmal, where he was produced before Judicial First Class Magistrate K. Ajesh Kumar. After the recording of voice, the magistrate extended the legislator's judicial custody till Feb 19. The police later shifted him back to jail in Adilabad, about 300 km from here and 90 km from Nirmal. Akbar Owaisi was arrested Jan 8 for making a hate speech at a public meeting in Nirmal Dec 22. He is since lodged in Adilabad jail. A member of assembly from Chandrayangutta constituency in Hyderabad, he is facing charges of sedition, waging war against the nation and promoting enmity between people. The MIM leader was also produced before a court in Nizamabad Jan 24 in another case of hate speech booked in that town. A court in Nizamabad is set to pronounce later in the day orders on his bail petition and also on police's request for permission to record his voice.

spotlight after the Supreme Court on Jan 31 ordered a retrial, setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused. Exuding calm and confidence in the face of an aggressive Left opposition, the Congress leader told at

tion; and then at the next election came the girl's private complaint. Hence, there is no doubt that it is just nothing but politics." He added that he had not proceeded with the defamation case that he had won. The case had named then chief minister E.K. Nayanar

sion on the chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate is taken by the Central Parliamentary Board," he had said. Singh had issued a similar directive earlier but it seems to have had little impact on the BJP leaders. No sooner had Singh issued his directive, former Bihar BJP Chief C P Thakur had reiterated his support for Modi as the PM candidate, saying the party would gain from it. Insisting that Singh has not issued a gag order, Thakur had said, "BJP will gain (by declaring Modi the candidate). By declaring him (Modi) the candidate BJP will certainly gain because of many factors... There is a feeling among the people that he should be the candidate." Another BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha had backed party colleague Yashwant Sinha who has openly pitched for declaring Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. "Yashwant Sinhaji is a senior and an experienced leader. He never talks light. He speaks only after giving deep thought on an issue, I stand with him on what he has said," Sinha had said.

RSS, VHP to revive Hindutva at Maha Kumbh

ALLAHABAD: BJP's ideological founder the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is set to revive the Hindutva agenda by shifting the focus back on the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. Reports, Tuesday, said that the top RSS ideologues, who are due to meet tomorrow during an event organized by its affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), will deliberate on how to resurrect the Ram temple issue that was once the main political plank of the BJP. According to the sources, during the day-long meet, the RSS and the VHP top brass is expected to set a new deadline for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The VHP has begun to distribute pamphlets on the Ram temple - a move backed by the saints, pontiffs and heads of the religious sects. During the day-long meet, the VHP, RSS top brass is also expected to chalk out a strategy on how to harness a soft Hindutva appeal in the run-up to the 2014 General Elections. In order to set the stage for pushing its Hindutva agenda, the RSS is also expected to kickoff a "Hindu awakening" drive next year covering three lakh villages. The VHPsponsored meet will be attended by top RSS functionaries and BJP leaders, including new party president Rajnath Singh. However, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will not be there. Modi will, instead, come to Allahabad on February 12. VHP has clarified that it has not invited Modi for tomorrow's meet and also denied that during the Maha Kumbh meet the Gujarat leader will be endorsed as BJP's candidate for the Prime Minister's post in 2014. The insiders say that the firebrand Gujarat leader is being strategically kept away from the VHP-backed event since the RSS does not its top leadership to join the 'Modi as PM' debate. The sources further say that the BJP also plans to induct Modi into the party's parliamentary board asking him to lead the party's campaign committee for the Lok Sabha elections. The RSS' plan for 2014 is simple and clear - keeping the focus on Hindutva with the help of VHP, and the BJP putting up concerted efforts to win votes on an agenda of good governance.

North India shivers as temp dips due to heavy showers

NEW DELHI/ AMRITSAR/ SGR: Wet spell in northern India brought back the chill on Tuesday, as temperatures plunged several notches below normal, forcing people to stay within the confines of their homes. The nip in the air was quite palpable, after incessant rains and thunderstorms lashed New Delhi. According to the meteorological department, Delhi is likely to be enveloped in a pall of fog, indicating chilly days ahead. The temperatures are declining steadily; with maximum and minimum temperatures predicted for the day are 19 and 11 degrees respectively. Several parts of the city were waterlogged, which lead to traffic snarls and dampened the spirits of office goers. In Amritsar, there was no relief from cold wave, as the city braved a low of eight degrees Celsius, three notches above normal. Locals, wrapped in woollens, sat around a bonfire to warm themselves. The icy cold winds coupled with a modest spell of rain, troubled locals, who stepped out of their houses

Arvind Kejriwal gets his way in court, refuses to apply for bail
NEW DELHI: After Arvind Kejriwal and other members of his political party steadfastly refused to apply for bail, a court in Delhi said they will not be arrested because they have promised to attend future hearings of the case that charges them with defying police orders to protest at the Prime Minister's house in August. The next hearing is scheduled for February 23. Mr Kejriwal, despite being urged by the judge to argue his case, said he would rather go to jail than apply for bail because he believes he is being politically persecuted for taking on the government. "We confess to violating Section 144," he said defiThe co-founder of Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan told the judge, " T h e imposition of Section 144 is a violation of fundamental rights to protest peacefully in a democracy." In August last year, Mr Kejriwal and his associates led a demonstration towards Dr Manmohan Singh's home demanding his resignation over an alleged coal scam. A report by the government's auditor or CAG said that the country had lost upto 1.856 lakh crores because coal fields had been allotted to private firms without adequate transparency. For three of the four years in question, the Prime Minister held direct charge of the Coal Ministry. Coal-Gate, as it was named, adrenalised Mr Kejriwal's campaign against the government, which he charges with indefatigable corruption. The police had at the time banned large groups from gathering near the PM's home.

antly court. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code bans groups larger than five from gathering as a precaution for maintaining law and order.

India gang-rape trial starts with testimony from victim's friend

NEW DELHI, FEB 5: The trial of five men charged with gang-raping and murdering a young woman on a bus in New Delhi opened on Tuesday with closeddoor testimony from her friend who appeared at court in a wheelchair, still bearing the scars of injuries from the attack. The 28-year-old software engineer, who may not be identified, is the prosecution's star witness in a case that has triggered nationwide protests, an intense debate about rampant crime against women in India and tougher antirape laws. The five accused are Vinay Sharma, a gym assistant, Ram Singh, the bus driver, his brother Mukesh Singh, bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh and fruit vendor Pawan Kumar. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and murder. A sixth accused is being tried separately as a juvenile. Police allege the six attacked the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her friend on the bus as the couple returned home from watching a movie on December 16. The woman was repeatedly raped and tortured with a metal bar. The couple were also severely beaten before being thrown onto a road. The woman died of internal injuries in a Singapore hospital two weeks later. As the trial got under way, the victim's father made a surprise appearance at a news conference organized by the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to call for his daughter's attackers to be hanged. At one stage, the friend, defense lawyers and some policemen moved from the courtroom to a courtyard where the bus on which police say the attack took place was parked. Journalists saw some of them board the vehicle, which was white with tinted windows and orange curtains. Above the windshield was painted "Praise the Goddess" in Hindi. The victim's friend was not seen boarding the bus. The friend's father said later it was the second time his son had seen the bus since the attack. In his statement to police after the assault, the friend said their attackers had asked "where are you going with a girl so late at night?" before launching a furious assault in which he was beaten with a metal rod and his clothes ripped off. While he was being beaten, the woman was repeatedly raped, he said, according to a police charge sheet seen by Reuters. The prosecution says articles stolen from the couple, including their cellphones, rings and debit cards were found in raids conducted on the homes of the accused. DNA evidence and bloodstained clothes also form part of their case. Defense lawyers say they will highlight what they say are discrepancies in the account given by the victim's friend. The five men are being tried in a special fast-track court opposite the shopping mall where the victim and her friend went to watch the film "Life of Pi" before boarding the bus. About 30 policemen were deployed outside the courtroom on Tuesday as the five accused arrived wearing scarves or handkerchiefs to mask their faces.

Antony ''impatient'' to see completion of LCA project

BANGALORE, FEB 5: Terming time slippages as a "real problem" for the defence forces, Defence Minister A K Antony today pulled up the DRDO for "delays in delivery" of military projects and said he was "impatient" to see completion of LCA project. "I am happy for your achievements of DRDO but not fully happy. Delay in delivery is a real problem... Try to speed up your process and reduce time for research, development and production. Delays should be avoided," he said while addressing an international seminar here. The seminar 'Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment' was held as part of the biennial Aero India show. On the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' project, he said the DRDO was getting ready for the second Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of the indigenous fighter but "I am impatient for the Final Operational Clearance (FOC)." The LCA project has been delayed by more than 20 years. After the FOC for the aircraft, the aircraft would be ready to be deployed for operational deployment in the IAF. The Defence Minister also expressed concern over the delay in the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) programme being developed by HAL, saying the IAF has "problems" with it. "That (IJT) project is delayed delayed delayed. You must focus on that project and by next conference that should be ready," he said. Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne also expressed his unhappiness over the delays in development projects. "So far our modernisation plans have been restricted due to slippages in time lines of many of our projects," he said. The IAF chief also suggested imposition of "financial penalties in case of poor performance of the work centre, either by withholding further payments or recovery of money already spent." To avoid problems in development projects in future, Browne suggested there should be "dual assessment" and the production and design agencies should be one

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yesterday. "The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities," he said. Speaking in Tamil too, President Rajapaksa gave the example of people of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities living together in harmony in Colombo and the South with Trincomalee being a very good example for this. Rajapaksa has long promised India and other countries that he would offer power sharing to the Tamils. Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council sessions beginning later this month in Geneva, Rajapaksa said that nothing contained in the present UN charter has authorised it to intervene in domestic issues. "The UN charter gives no powers to interfere in internal affairs of countries", Rajapaksa said, quoting Article 2 of the UN charter. The US has already indicated of moving a resolution against Sri Lanka. At the corresponding session last year the India-backed US sponsored resolution urged the Sri Lankan government to show progress on reconciliation. Sri Lankan forces had crushed Tamil rebels in May 2009 after nearly three decades of brutal fighting. The conflict claimed up to 1,00,000 lives, according to UN estimates, and both sides are accused of war crimes. Sri Lanka while formulating an action plan for implementation maintained that most of the recommendations were already put in to effect. Dismissing criticism against his government as baseless misinformation, Rajapaksa invited critics to "come over and see for yourselves". Reconciliation and development would be the best answers to false propaganda, the President said. He said Sri Lanka would continue to pursue a non-aligned foreign policy and would always uphold the UN charter. "Sri Lanka's foreign policy is that of non-alignment. It is necessary for us to build a new era in foreign affairs based on this policy. This is essential for the freedom of Sri Lanka", Rajapaksa said.

Public diplomacy with India extremely important: US

WASHINGTON: As John Kerry began his term as the new Secretary of State, the US said people-to-people and public diplomacy relations with India are extremely important going forward. Kerry had yet to make any calls to his Indian or Pakistani counterparts, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland reporters Monday. But a senior official was in New Delhi to highlight the breadth and depth of the US-India people to people relationship. "Obviously people-to-people and public diplomacy relations with India are extremely important going forward," she said. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine, who would be in New Delhi Feb 5-7, was likely to discuss issue like rapes and violence against women, she said. "She almost always has broad, public meetings of one kind or another when she travels, makes an effort to reach out to the public," Nuland said. "So given that this issue is very much on the minds of Indians, I'm sure it will come up in the context of her visit." Earlier, a state department media note said Sonenshine's "visit to India will highlight the breadth and depth of the USIndia people to people relationship, particularly our strong educational partnership." Sonenshine will meet Indian officials to discuss US-India education collaboration. She will lead the US delegation to the Government of India conference "Mainstreaming Skills in Education" on Feb 6-7, where she will deliver remarks on US support for India's development of community colleges and the expansion of skills development education. The US delegation to this international conference will include representatives from twelve community colleges. Sonenshine will also meet with Fulbright-Nehru scholars and will tour Indian historical preservation projects that receive funding from the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Sri Lankan President rules out autonomy for Tamils

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled out greater political autonomy for Tamils, saying ethnicity-based division was "not practical" for the country, appearing to back away from his promise made as part of the country's reconciliation process. "When the people live together in unity there are no racial or religious differences. Therefore, it is not practical for this country to be divided based on ethnicity," Rajapaksa said during his address at the 65th Independence day celebrations

Oz Labour Party heading for election defeat: polls

MELBOURNE ; Australia's ruling Labor party is heading for a huge defeat in the upcoming elections in September and Prime Minister Julia Gillard's popularity is on the wane, according to new national polls. The latest Newspoll conducted over the weekend gave a strong lift to opposition leader Tony Abbott in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, The Australian reported. The survey is being dubbed as a complete reversal of fortune for the Australian Labor party from the summer-holiday affected January poll, and a much-needed personal boost for the opposition leader Abbott. The poll puts Labor's primary support at 32 per cent, a wipeout of the sixpoint gain recorded between December and January, as the opposition's support rose four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks, the daily said. The Greens steady on 9 per cent and "others" going from 9 per cent to 11 per cent since the poll in January, the two-party-preferred figure has the Coalition, a group of centre-right conservative parties in the opposition, back with a huge election-winning lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent, it said.

CAIRO: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday discussed the crisis in Syria and ways to improve bilateral ties with his Egyptian counterpart Muhammed Mursi during the first visit by the head of the Islamic Republic since 1979 revolution. Mursi, who gave a red-carpet welcome to Ahmadinejad, discussed ways of boosting relations between the two countries and resolving the Syrian crisis "without resorting to military intervention", Egyptian state media reported. The Iranian President is on a three-day visit to Cairo to attend the Organisation of Islamic Conference's summit on February 6-7. Ahead of his visit to Cairo, Ahmadinejad said, "I will try to pave the ground for developing cooperation between Iran and Egypt," Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. Egypt and Iran both enjoy "distinguished standings" on an international level that allowed them to influence regional and international issues, he said. "If Tehran and Cairo see more eye to eye on regional and international

Iran's Ahmadinejad discusses Nepal President's intervention Syria crisis with Mursi sought for appointing new PM
issues, many (issues) will change," the Iranian president said. Tehran, which severed ties with Cairo in 1980 in protest against a peace treaty Egypt signed with Israel, has sought to renew ties with the country since Islamist President Mursi was voted to power in June 2012. Egypt, however, has responded cautiously to Iranian efforts to revive ties, with the two nations adopting opposing positions on the Syrian conflict. Iran stands by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Egypt has been a leading voice in urging his departure -- along with regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Reacting to Ahmadinejad's visit, the hardline Salafi Dawa has issued a statement listing the points it believes the Mursi government should adhere to while holding talks with the Iranian President. Apprehensive that CairoTehran rapprochement might be at the expense of the supreme interest of Egypt and Sunnis, the Salafi Dawa party also asked Mursi to confront Ahmadinejad with alleged persecution of Sunnis in Iran. KATHMANDU: With Nepalese parties failing to select a consensus prime ministerial candidate, a top Madhesi leader Tuesday sought President Ram Baran Yadav's intervention in appointing an independent person to lead a national unity government for holding fresh elections. "As major political parties have failed to forge consensus to give a name of the Prime Minister to lead a national unity government, we have suggested to appoint an independent person as the Prime Minister," Sadbhawana Party President and Health Minister Rajendra Mahato told reporters. He was speaking after at the end of the four-day long extended meeting of the central working committee of the party at Newbaneshwor in Kathmandu. "If political parties failed to reach an agreement to recommend the name of a single candidate of the Prime Minister, we advise to give all the names of the independent candidates recommended by various parties to the President and authorise him to choose among them," Mahato said. Such a prime minister will lead the government for a three-month period to conduct polls, he said. Maoist chief Prachanda had floated the idea of appointing an independent candidate as the prime minister. The Maoists had rejected Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala as the candidate for new Prime Minister. Nepali Congress had proposed Koirala for the top post after the Maoists and CPNUML asked the party to name its Prime Ministerial candidate last month. Mahato, however, warned that if the parties failed to agree on the date of fresh election by April, his Sadbhawana Party will go for agitation. There is a need to institutionalise the achievements of the Peoples Movement of 2006 by promulgating the constitution through the Constituent Assembly at the earliest, Mahato said. He also warned conspiracy is being hatched against democracy, federalism and republic system by regressive forces. It is high time to preserve the achievements of the struggle by institutionalising federalism, republic system and democracy by holding the Constituent Assembly elections as soon as possible. Nepal plunged into political and constitutional crisis after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai dissolved the Constituent Assembly without promulgating the Constitution as promised by him in May. The political crisis further deepened after the elections announced by the Prime Minister could not be conducted on the stipulated date of November 22.


Green ministry not a bottleneck for development: Natarajan

NEW DELHI, FEB 5 : Amid the ongoing debate over delay in green clearances hampering key development projects, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan Tuesday said her ministry is not a "bottleneck" for economic development but "partner in development". "There has been considerable debate about environment ministry being a bottleneck for economic development. But I want to say that there has been no delay in terms of processing clearances and we are no bottleneck," Natarajan told reporters here. She said none of the development projects seeking forest clearance are pending with the ministry. Giving details of projects, Natarajan said: "Of the total development projects, only 9 percent comes to the ministry for clearance while 74 percent are cleared by the state government and rest 17 percent by the regional offices of the environment ministry." "With just 9 percent of clearances, we cannot be a bottleneck for development. All projects that can be cleared have been cleared," ment." She said in her one and a half year year tenure, 754 proposals calling for diversion of 18,204 forest land for development purpose have been cleared while 74 projects seeking diversion of 1,554 hectares were rejected. Natarajan said the ministry is taking several steps to speed up the process of clearances so that industry is not put to hardship and any kind of harassment. She said the ministry has issued some circulars in past few months to simply the clearance process and for linear projects - roads, oil pipeline and transmission lines, the provision of gram sabha's consent has been done away with it, which is mandatory otherwise under Forest Rights Act. Relaxation has also been done for development projects in Maoist-affected areas, she added.

Aadhaar: Govt eases norms for quicker direct benefit transfers

NEW DELHI: Finance Ministry today relaxed the norms for depositing funds in the bank accounts of beneficiaries under the Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) scheme. "In the case of schemes covered under DBT, where the fund flow is directly from the Central Government to the beneficiaries', the intimation from the bank or National Payments Corporation of India ( Aadhaar Payment Bridge System) regarding deposit of funds in the beneficiaries' bank accounts may be treated as a Utilisation Certificate," a Finance Ministry circular said. The Ministry or Department releasing the grant should keep proper record and accounts relating to such direct releases under DBT to the beneficiaries' bank accounts, it added. The government launched its ambitious Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) programme on January 1 this year. The welfare plan was initially rolled out in 20 districts and covered seven schemes, mostly scholarships, and is likely to have benefited more than 2 lakh people. The programme was expanded to another 11 districts on February 1 and further 12 more districts will be added on March 1. A total of 43 districts in 16 states have been identified for the first round of DBT that will cover 26 social welfare schemes. However, while launching scheme earlier, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that the government will look at other schemes and subsidies that can shift to DBT mode in 2013 but will do so carefully and keeping in mind the capability of the system to cope with more schemes.

East-West Corridor in Assam likely by December 2014

GUWAHATI: The 670-km East-West Corridor in Assamis expected to be completed by December 2014, Union Transport Minister C P Joshi said on Tuesday. despite challenges of law and order as well as weather conditions, said So far 431 km of the corridor in Nagaon-DabokaLanka-Udali section has completed, while another 63 km length is likely to be ready by June this year, he told reporters here. Work at Jalukbari junction near Gauhati University is likely to be completed by November this year and the Brahmaputra bridge near it by December next year, he said. The project since its beginning in 2005 had encountered imponderables like law and order, adverse weather conditions affecting working hours and transportation of raw material. Joshi reviewed with Assam and Arunachal Pradesh chief chief ministers, transport ministers and officials the progress made so far to identify problems encountered in implementation of the project. The meeting deliberated on wide-ranging issues, including tackling delay in pre-construction activities such as land acquisition, shifting of utilities and forest and environment clearance impeding the progress of the major schemes in the north east region. The union transport ministry, he said, has also taken up the ambitious Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for development of road network in the NE states. The programme envisages providing a total 10,141 km road connectivity to backward and remote areas, places of strategic importance and neighbouring countries, Joshi added.

Handicraft exports likely to meet $3.3 bn target for FY'13

NEW DELHI: This fiscal's $3.3 billion target for the export of handicrafts is likely to be met on account of growing demand for such items from emerging markets like China, Latin America and Africa. Their exports stood at $ 2.7 billion, according to the data provided by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH). "These exports have performed really well in the first 10 months of this fiscal due to rising demand from not only US but also from emerging markets like China, Latin America, Middle East and Africa," EPCH Chairman Arvind Vadhera said. "So, we expect this year's target will be met," he said. He added, however, that demand is yet to pick up in the European markets. The US and Europe together account for about 60 per cent of the country's total handicraft shipments. During April-January 2012-13, the handicraft exports have grown 22 per cent to $ 2.3 billion compared to the same period last fiscal. Among the items that registered maximum growth during this period are woodwares (72 per cent), imitation jewellery (61 per cent), shawls as art-ware (53 per cent) and handprinted textiles and scarves (14 per cent). Besides, EPCH said the exporters have started focusing on the local markets. "Many exporters have tied up with stores like Westside and Big Bazar for supplying items like home furnishing, decor products and imitation jewellery," EPCH Executive Director Rakesh Kumar said. Further, the council said it is organising a four-day long Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF) beginning February 8, to create niche for such products globally. Over about 2,500 Indian exhibitors are expected to participate in the fair showcasing products -- decoratives,Christmas gifts, woodware, paper and fragrance items. Last year, about 2,300 exhibitors had participate in the fair. "The fair is expected to attract more than 4,000 buyers from various countries including the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa," Kumar said. Last year, it attracted about 3,800 buyers. The handicrafts sector employs one million people. Moradabad, Jaipur, Saharanpur and Jodhpur are the major handicraft hubs in the country catering to global markets.

she said. Asserting that sustainable development is the government's agenda, Natarajan said: "There is no difference in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that economic development which leads to degradation and destruction of environment cannot be true develop-

India's high trade deficit due to oil, not gold import: HSBC
MUMBAI: Global banking major HSBC today said rising oil consumption, and not gold import, is the real culprit that is pushing up India's current account deficit (CAD) to record high. "The biggest risk to the exchange rate is the current account deficit (CAD) which is almost entirely on account of oil imports. But I know all the focus is on gold," HSBC head of global markets for India Hitendra Dave told reporters here. The comments come on the back of raging debate over rising gold import and its impact on CAD, which hit a record high of 5.4 per cent in second quarter. Both the Reserve Bank as well as the government have taken a slew of steps to curtail gold demand. They are also planning to launch financial instruments which reduce the need to physically import the yellow metal. The oil bill, which stood at $140 billion in FY'12, will come down only if crude prices go down by 10-12 per cent and the rupee is constant. Both are not happening, Dave said. India imports over 70 per cent of its oil demand. "Oil is the biggest risk, the other inputs could be coal...may be the energy basket," he said, underplaying the role of gold imports leading to higher CAD.

Centre starts dairy scheme with Rs 130 crore outlay for FY'13
NEW DELHI: The government today said it has commenced the first phase of a central scheme in 13 states to develop dairy sector with an outlay of Rs 130.71 crore for this fiscal. The National Dairy Plan, a central scheme funded by the World Bank and being implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has started operations in 13 major dairying states, an official statement said. Highlighting the progress made by the scheme so far, NDDB Chairman Amrita Patel said, "Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are likely to be covered in a month's time." An outlay of Rs 130.71 crore has been approved for 2012-13 fiscal and covers 49 proposals. A baseline survey has been completed in nine states and all 14 major dairying states will be covered by the end of the current fiscal, she added. Under the scheme, milk production would be raised by increasing the productivity of milch animals through a scientific and systematic process.

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Sardar Singh to lead India in Hockey World League Round 2

NEW DELHI: Sardar Singh will lead India's 18-man squad Hockey India in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from February 18-24. Hockey India selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist Jason Konrath along with government observer Harbinder Singh selected the team and six standbys on the basis of their performance in the ongoing Hockey India League. VR Raghunath has been named the vice-captain of the team. The preparatory camp for the event will start from February 11. Hosts India (FIH World Ranking 11) will play against Oman (February 20), Ireland (February 21), China Netherlands. The Squad: Goal-keepers: PR Sreejesh, PT Rao, Fullbacks: V R Raghunath (vice-captain), Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh,Halfbacks: Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Sardar Singh (captain), Gurjinder Singh, Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malik Singh, S V Sunil, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi,Stand-byes: Sushant Tirkey (Goal-keeper), Sandeep Singh (Fullback), MB Aiyappa (Halfback), Gurmail Singh (Halfback), Akashdeep Singh (Forward), Imran Khan (Forward)

Ritu Rani to lead Indian eves

NEW DELHI:Mid-fielder Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member Indian women's team in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi from February 18 to 24. The team was handpicked on Tuesday following a selection trial at Netaji Subash National Institute of Sports in Patiala on January 19, which was witnessed by Hockey India selectors Balbir Singh, Surinder Kaur, Government observer Harbinder Singh and chief coach Neil Hawgood. Chanchan Devi has been named as the vice-captain of the team, according to a HI statement. Keeping in mind the preparations for the tournament, the Indian eves have already started their training camp from January 4 and it will continue till the commencement of the event, which is a part of the qualification process for the FIH Women's World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands. Apart from India (FIH World Ranking 12), other participating nations in the six-team tournament are Japan (9), Russia (20), Malaysia (22), Kazakhstan (33) and Fiji (59). The Indian eves will open their campaign against Kazakhstan on February 18, followed by matches against Malaysia (Feb 19), Fiji (Feb 21), Japan (Feb 22) and Russia (Feb 24). Squad:Goal-keepers: Yogita Bali, Savita, Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Jaspreet Kaur, Joydeep Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur,Midfielders: Ritu Rani (captain), Chanchan Devi (vicecaptain), Namita Toppo, Vandana Katariya, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Lily Chanu Mayengbam,Forwards: Poonam

against Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71) in the round-robin tournament. India will open their campaign against Fiji February 18 followed by matches

(February 23) and Bangladesh (February 24). All India matches will be played under lights. The tournament is part of the qualification league for the Hockey World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague,

Biased officials won't resolve issues:Bhupathi

NEW DELHI: Mahesh Bhupathi, who led a revolt of 11 players against the All India Tennis Association, on Tuesday slammed the AITA for the way it formed a threemember panel to look into the issues raised by the rebels, alleging that the panel would be "biased" and serve no purpose. The AITA on Sunday formed a three-member committee, which includes Justice Deepak Verma and former Davis Cupper Naresh Kumar, to resolve the issues with the rebel players, but Bhupathi said the panel was formed to divert attention from the "real issues". "I am very sceptical about the formation of the committee because the committee has been given a mandate to submit a report in four months while India's next tie will be held in a few weeks' time. This was a ploy by the AITA to divert attention from the real issues. I don't see any urgency on the part of the AITA," Bhupathi said. India play Indonesia from April 5-7 in the first round play-off encounter. Bhupathi also said that he had reservations about the notepad which has been shared in the media have not gone down well with a lot of people," he said. "All in all, it is very frustrating for us and it is not going to do any good to Indian tennis. We have expressed our views and we will stick by them which we believe would serve Indian tennis well," Bhupathi said. Bhupathi also slammed AITA Chief Executive Officer Hironmoy Chatterjee for his remarks against the rebel players but said that he and other players were not interested in joining issues with him. "Hope something comes out soon. It was very disappointing to see India losing to South Korea but if the AITA remains like this more disappointment will be in store against Indonesia in April," he added.

Rani, Soundarya Yendala, Anupa Barla, Rani, Navjot Kaur, Lilima Minz.

Prepare sporting pitches for IPL 6: BCCI

CHENNAI: The BCCI on Tuesday gave clear instructions to the curators of all IPL venues not to bow down to the pressure from the franchises regarding the preparation of tailor-made wickets for their respective home matches in the sixth edition of the cash-rich league. The decision was taken at a meeting of the members of various state associations and their curators with the top brass of BCCI. Clear instructions have been handed out to the curators that they should prepare sporting wickets and should not listen to any requests from the franchises. The franchise owners have also been apprised that they should not put any type of pressure on the curators to prepare wickets of their choice.Neither the curators nor the franchises will be allowed to speak to the media on pitch related issues. During the meeting, the BCCI also decided that Jaipur's Sawai Mansingh Stadium won't hold any matches of IPL 6 due to the long-standing impasse between the state's sports council, custodians of the stadium, and the Rajasthan Cricket Association. Instead Rajasthan Royals home matches will be held at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedamad and at the newly-built Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. During the meeting, the Mumbai Cricket Association also asked the BCCI to form a uniform guideline regarding who all can sit in the dug out or enter the playing arena of the stadium apart from the players during IPL games. This has been done in the wake of the controversy that erupted during the last edition of IPL when Kolkata Knight Riders principal owner Shah Rukh Khan entered the Wankhede Stadium turf allegedly in an inebriated state and had massive altercations with MCA officials and one of the security guard, who supposedly misbehaved with the children accompanying the Bollywood superstar. Incidentally, the MCA has banned Shah Rukh from entering its premises for five years. "There has been a discussion on this matter. Even a top BCCI official also agreed that the rule regarding franchise owners should be uniform at all venues," the member said.

"It is very disturbing and frustrating for us. We were hoping that somebody from the management would take charge and try to sort out the issues. It seems that the AITA does not want to engage with us," he said. After losing to South Korea 1-4 in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie,

composition of the committee. "Two of the members have no tennis background and by putting Naresh Kumar in the committee, there is no chance of the committee being unbiased. I have a lot of respect for Naresh, he has been India captain but some of the writings from his

Soccer Match-Fixing: Investigation Finds Global Betting Scam Fixed Hundreds Of Matches
THE HAGUE: European investigators have uncovered evidence that hundreds of football matches at club and national level were fixed around the globe in a scam run from Singapore, police said . A joint inquiry by Europol, the European anticrime agency, and national prosecutors has identified about 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and for the Champions League for European club sides, Europol head Rob Wainwright said. The matches, some of which have already been subject to successful criminal prosecutions, were played between 2008 and 2011. About 380 of the suspicious matches were played in Europe, and a further 300 were identified in Africa, Asia, and south and central America. Football is the world's most popular sport, watched by billions live and on televior $3 billion a day - with most coming from Asia and put on football matches. A German investigator "We have evidence for 150 of these cases, and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up investigation proceeded. However, the fixing also included top flight national league matches in several European countries, as well as two Champions League matches, including one played in Britain. Singapore police said last month that they were helping Italian authorities to investigate alleged match fixing involving a Singaporean, but said he had not been arrested or charged with any offence there. Althans said that, though German police had concrete proof of 8 million euros ($11 million) in gambling profits from the match fixing, this was probably the tip of the iceberg. Investigators described how gang members immediately subordinate to the Singapore-based leader of a worldwide network were each tasked with maintaining contacts with corrupt players and officials in their parts of the world. Laszlo Angeli, a Hungarian prosecutor, gave an example of how the scam worked. "The Hungarian member, who was immediately below the Singapore head, was in touch with Hungarian referees who could then attempt to swing matches at which they officiated around the world," he said. Accomplices would then place bets on the internet or by phone with bookmakers in Asia, where bets that would be illegal in Europe were accepted. "One fixed match might involve up to 50 suspects in 10 countries on separate continents," said Althans. "Even two World Cup qualification matches in Africa, and one in Central America, are under suspicion," Althans added.

India crash out of ICC Women's World Cup

MUMBAI: India were knocked out of the ICC Women's World Cup after suffering an upset 138-run drubbing at the hands of Sri Lanka in a crucial Group A encounter on Tuesday. Chasing a challenging total of 283, the hosts put up a pathetic show to be bowled out for 144 in 42.2 overs at the Brabourne Stadium. Incidentally, this was India's first defeat to Sri Lanka in 18 matches, having won their previous 16 encounters with one ending in no result. India lost three wickets for 38 runs in the 13th over, which included opener Poonam Raut, skipper Mithali Raj and last match centurion Harmanpreet Kaur. Kaur failed to score a run, while Raut (5), Raj (20) were trapped leg before by Eshani Kaushalya and Udeshika Prabodhini, respectively. The India skipper shone briefly with the bat, striking four fours in the 35 minutes she spent in the middle. The hosts reached 50 in 17 overs and it was always going to be an uphill task from there on, and they lost left-handed opener Thirushkamini Murugesan at the same score, adding to the woes. The middle-order failed to forge a partnership and things plummeted for India as they kept losing wickets in quick succession. India's best partnership was for the sixth wicket between Jhulan Goswami and Reema Malhotra, who added 37 runs. Malhotra was the top scorer for India with her 38 coming off 51 balls, and which included two fours. India needed at least 251 runs to edge out the West Indies by virtue of having a better net run-rate and enter the Super 6 stage. Sri Lankan skipper Shashikala Siriwardene and Chamani Seneviratne bagged two wickets each. Earlier, Sri Lanka's batting fired in unison as they posted a competitive 282 for five. But Mendis and one-down batter Rasangika stabilised the innings and scored runs at a quick rate. The duo forged a 117-run stand for the second wicket in 140 balls, before Mendis was caught by Gouher Sultana at mid-on off the bowling of Amita Sharma. For India, former skipper Jhulan Goswami bagged three wickets for 63 runs in her 10 overs. Rasangika, during here 151-minute stay at the crease, struck 11 fours. India tried to rein in the run rate even as Rasangika shared a 67-run partnership with skipper Siriwardene for the fourth wicket. She was dismissed, when Raj ran backwards to take a catch at extra cover off Goswami. The Sri Lankan skipper and Lokusooriya upped the ante adding 58 runs in 43 balls. Siriwardene, who scored 59 in 67 balls, was run out in the 47th over. India will play Pakistan for the seventh position in Cuttack on Thursday.

sion around the globe and making huge profits for some clubs and broadcasters. Last year the head of an anti-corruption watchdog estimated that $1 trillion was gambled on sport each year -

described a network involving couriers ferrying bribes around the world, paying off players and referees in the fixing which involved about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries.

to 100,000 euros paid per match," said Friedhelm Althans, chief investigator for police in the German city of Bochum said. Investigators said no names of players or clubs would be released while the

Nadal to make a comeback at Chile Open

PARIS: Rafael Nadal's return to action after a seven-month injury layoff will be the focus of attention in tennis in Chile this week. The 11-time Grand Slam champion has been on the sidelines since he was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon by Czech journeyman Lukas Rosol in late June. During that time, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have won Grand Slam titles and, as the other member of the sport's Big Four, the question is whether the Spaniard will ever be able to compete again at the highest level. Nadal, who will be 27 in June, has been careful to play down expectations. Yes, he still has some pain from his troublesome knees and no, he does not expect to immediately rediscover his old winning ways in his first tournament back at Vina del Mar in Chile, the starter for the claycourt season that climaxes with the French Open in Paris in May/June. knee that sometimes stops me from playing, but you have to start sometime and I am here to try and give my best and hope that my knee comes through it," he added. "Undoubtedly the clay surface is a little less aggressive on my knee," he said. "My aim is to compete courageously and hopefully the knee will stand up to it. "There is always the possibility that I will lose in the first round after so many months without competing." The consensus is that Nadal, who had been due to return to action at the notoriously physical Australian Open in January, but who pulled out due to a viral condition, has been wise to bet on clay once again.

"Of course I still feel pain in the

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