SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Cong can’t take on Sena-BJP sans NCP crutches
New Delhi, February 2
The results of the Maharashtra civic elections have come as a jolt to the Congress as they have shown that it cannot take on the Shiv Sena-BJP combine without the help of Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

NHRC notices to Punjab DGP, Chief Secretary
Police brutality against farmers
New Delhi, February 2
Taking suo-moto cognisance of two reports published in The Tribune on December 27, 2006 and January 14, 2007, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed anguish and asked the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, Punjab, for factual reports.

Pawandoot steam engine arrives at the platform of Safdurjung railway station during a parade of steam engines, organised by the Northern Railways to sensitise the public about the heritage of the Railways, in New Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo




EARLIER STORIES




Vahini activists set train ablaze
Lucknow, February 2
Tension from east Uttar Pradesh is steadily spreading to other parts of the state. BJP activists today stopped a long-distance train in Meerut while Home Department sources claimed that two persons have been arrested for setting ablaze five compartments of the Gorakhpur bound Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan Express at Mohammadabad railway station last night.

Light combat helicopter to  fly at air show
Bangalore, February 2
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will mark its presence at the Aero India show being held here from February 7 with a detailed mock up of the light combat helicopter (LCH).

HAL bent on Dhruv despite design flaws
New Delhi, February 2
On a day when country’s premier aeronautical organisation, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), announced its plans to showcase a new attack helicopter at the Aero India-2007, being held at Yelahanka Air Base in Bangalore from next week, one of its much-touted helicopters, Dhruv, came down during rehearsals at the air base itself.

Motorola, Foxconn to join SEZs
New Delhi, February 2
The government today approved the proposals of telecom giants Motorola and Foxconn, and Singapore-based reality major Ascendas to join as partners in the special economic zones coming up near Chennai.

Vijay Arora passes away
Mumbai, February 2
Actor and cinematographer Vijay Arora, best known for his performance in the film ‘Yaadon ki Baraat’ today passed away at his residence, his family said.

India to get Israeli assault rifles
New Delhi, February 2
India will begin receiving the first of 3,070 Israeli 5.56 mm Tavor 21 (TAR-21) assault rifles for its Special Forces later this month, according to a leading British defence journal.

PM security breach: Cop suspended
New Delhi, February 2
The Delhi traffic police constable, who allegedly tried to enter the Prime Minister’s residence last evening, has been suspended from service but no formal case has yet been registered against him.

Surjeet hospitalised
New Delhi, February 2
Veteran Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet was today hospitalised following urinary infection.

Videos
Curfew relaxed in Gorakhpur. 
(56k)
Bhandarkar back with 'Traffic Signal'.
(56k)
Revival of traditional art in Orissa.
(56k)
Holp dip on the last day of 'Ardh Kumbh'.
(56k)



Top









 

Cong can’t take on Sena-BJP sans NCP crutches
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
The results of the Maharashtra civic elections have come as a jolt to the Congress as they have shown that it cannot take on the Shiv Sena-BJP combine without the help of Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

With the zila parisahd and panchayat elections coming up later this year, these results should serve as a timely warning to the Congress to be more generous to its alliance partners.

Though the two parties are having a coalition government in Maharashtra, the Congress and the NCP have been locked in a bitter battle as both are seeking to enlarge their political space in Maharashtra after the split in the Shiv Sena.

It was this ongoing tussle for supremacy, which ensured that the two allies failed to seal a deal for these elections. Besides, the Congress also paid a heavy price for its longstanding infighting in Vidharba, which saw the resurgence of the saffron camp even in its bastion Nagpur.

The Congress has clearly come out as the prime loser as it has not only lost ground to the Shiv Sena-BJP combine but has also ceded political space to the NCP, making it increasingly dependent on Sharad Pawar’s party.

For instance, the Congress lost its pre-eminent position in Pune and will now be the NCP’s junior partner in what was once its stronghold.

Given the fractured mandate in these elections, the Congress has no choice but to seek the NCP’s support in the constitution of at least six of the 10 civic bodies, which went to polls yesterday.

Admitting that the division in the secular votes had cost them dearly in these elections, the Congress drew solace from the fact that post-poll realignment of “like-minded parties” will keep the Shiv Sena-BJP out.

“We believe there has been an unfortunate division of secular vote and this is the main and only reason for the disappointing results in these elections,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.

He, however, refused to take the blame for this, saying that “you cannot clap with one hand”, adding that the Congress made every effort to have an alliance with the NCP but it fell through at the last minute. However, he repeatedly maintained, that the post-poll options were wide open and a different picture will emerge in the coming days as the Congress is willing to partner with “like-minded” parties.

Speaking in the same vein, NCP spokesperson DP Tripathi also favoured a partnership with “like-minded” parties while maintaining that they had wanted an alliance with the Congress but it broke down because of its unreasonable stand.

Top

 

NHRC notices to Punjab DGP, Chief Secretary
Police brutality against farmers
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
Taking suo-moto cognisance of two reports published in The Tribune on December 27, 2006 and January 14, 2007, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed anguish and asked the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, Punjab, for factual reports.

While one report pertains to the death of a six-year-old girl, the second one was about farmers, agitating over land acquisition, being beaten by the police.

As per the report published in The Tribune on January 14, a six-year-old girl died after being beaten by her teacher. The NHRC has issued notice to the Punjab DGP in this regard.

The NHRC, after going through the "distressing news" has directed the news report to be transmitted to the DGP to look into the matter and send a factual report within four weeks.

In the report “Farmers face police action” published on December 27, 2006, the police used brutal force while handling an agitation by farmers over land acquisition at Chabba near Amritsar, saying that as many as 35 farmers, including women, were injured. This was the second time in three days that farmers had been beaten black-and-blue by the police.

Expressing anguish over the report, the commission said that if true, it raised a serious issue of violation of human rights of farmers in the state and asked for a factual report from the Chief Secretary and the DGP within two weeks. The report also mentioned a separate incident where the police manhandled a large number of teachers of aided schools at Dhuri.

Top

 

Vahini activists set train ablaze
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, February 2
Tension from east Uttar Pradesh is steadily spreading to other parts of the state. BJP activists today stopped a long-distance train in Meerut while Home Department sources claimed that two persons have been arrested for setting ablaze five compartments of the Gorakhpur bound Mumbai-Gorakhpur Godan Express at Mohammadabad railway station last night.

The day-long peace was shattered late last night when suspected Hindu Yuva Vahini activists set ablaze S-2 and S-3 compartments of 1055 UP Godan Express soon after the train started moving after a brief halt at Mohammadabad Gohana in Mau district, some 300 km from Lucknow. They were protesting against the arrest of BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, who is presently lodged in Gorakhpur district jail.

Before the railway authorities could detach the burning coaches from the train, the fire had spread and five compartments were gutted. No loss of life was reported although some passengers sustained minor injuries while jumping out the burning compartments.

According to passengers, as the train was moving out of the station three persons boarded the train and pulled the chain.

They then set fire to a bundle of cloth that they had brought with them.

This is the fourth train to be targeted by Hindu Yuva Vahini protesters demanding the release of Yogi Adityanath since January 30.

Top

 

Light combat helicopter to  fly at air show
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 2
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will mark its presence at the Aero India show being held here from February 7 with a detailed mock up of the light combat helicopter (LCH).

The LCH is a dedicated combat and gunship variant of the existing advanced light helicopter (Dhruv/ALH), being developed to cater to the requirements of both the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Army. The LCH model, on display at the Aero India show, will be loaded with a 20-mm gun, 70-mm rocket and an electro-optical pod. The display follows the clearance of the LCH programme by the Cabinet Committee of Security.

HAL will also showcase a fully functional front section of a Jaguar upgrade with the DARIN-2 version. This version has an entirely new cockpit, which includes a digital map generator, smart multi-functional display, mission computer and initial navigation platform with ring laser gyros. All systems have been manufactured indigenously, including the mission computer.

The advanced light helicopter (ALH- Dhruv), intermediate jet trainer (IJT) and the light combat aircraft (LCA) will be the other aircraft on show. While HAL is enthusiastic about getting orders for the ALH, the IJT and the LCA are still at the prototype stage and the aeronautics company is displaying the aircraft to showcase the achievements made by it on both the projects. The company will also exhibit its advancements in machining, composites and state-of-the-art technological capabilities in aviation and aerospace.

HAL officials said the IJT, which had been designated at HJT-36, was an example of the quickness with which HAL had completed a jet trainer project. They said the prototype had been developed in just 20 months after metal cutting.

The IJT incorporates state-of-the-art avionics and instruments with the integrated avionics system (IAS) consisting of an open systems architecture mission computer, head-up display (HUD), HUD repeater, attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) and air data computers (ADC). It also has five hard points to carry a variety of armaments up to a total load of 1000 kg.

HAL chairman Ashok K Baweja feels this aero show is likely to stamp HAL’s authority in rotary wing capabilities, weaponisation programmes and strengths in aerospace. HAL is likely to sign memorandums and agreements for co-operation in thrust areas.

The company will also explore sourcing possibilities from aerospace companies and pitch in for strategic alliances for IT-based services in design and development.

He said HAL’s top brass have also scheduled talks with a few air chiefs from abroad, set to land at Yelahanka for the show. The HAL chairman said HAL will use Aero India as an ideal platform to forge ties in a couple of new ventures, including that of the multi-role transport aircraft (MTA), medium-lift helicopter, MRO for civil aircraft, and the design, development and manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
HAL is also set to interact with aviation majors including Boeing, Airbus, GE, Safran, Martin Baker, Elbit, Pratt & Whitney, Dassault, Eurocopter, Honeywell, Bell, EADS, BAe Systems, IAI, GAE, SAAB, Alenia, RUAG, Lockheed Martin, Irkut, Sukhoi Design Bureau, Rosoboronexport, RAC-MiG and NPO Saturn. 

Top

 

HAL bent on Dhruv despite design flaws
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
On a day when country’s premier aeronautical organisation, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), announced its plans to showcase a new attack helicopter at the Aero India-2007, being held at Yelahanka Air Base in Bangalore from next week, one of its much-touted helicopters, Dhruv, came down during rehearsals at the air base itself.

The advance light helicopter, part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sarang aerobatics team, suddenly plummeted during the rehearsals killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot.

The three wings of the Indian armed forces had grounded the Dhruvs in their inventory just about a year ago after major snags were detected in the tail-rotor of the helicopter, which is being touted as India’s window to the world of international arms market. The Sarang team was to have performed during the opening ceremony of the Aero India, being organised by the FICCI in conjunction with Farnborough International Limited (FIL) from February 7.

The exhibition is the largest ever to have been held in India and when the crash took place a large number of aircrafts from the around the world were already parked at the air base as part of the preparations of the air displays.

Although reports suggested that there would be no effect on the Aero India, which would go ahead as planned, yet there were doubts over the performance of the Sarang team.

The IAF, which has already ordered an inquiry into the incident, was officially not ready to comment on the reasons of the crash but sources said as part of the normal procedures all the Dhruv choppers would be grounded for further check-ups and would not possibly be a part of the opening ceremony.

Sources in the IAF said all three arms of the Indian armed forces have time and again been insisting with the HAL that there were snags persisting in the Dhruvs but that had been ignored.

A senior officer said even after the last round of grounding, the HAL had taken in the helicopters and later insisted that all the snags had been rectified following certain modifications. However, there had always been a doubt over its credibility.

There have been too many of these choppers which have gone down in comparision to the average number of flying done by these choppers, commented the officer. The same was the reaction of the Indian Army and the Indian Navy all of whom have these choppers in their inventory.

There was a possibility that the Army and the Navy would also seek to have a complete check of their inventory from the HAL again before flying Dhruvs again.

Reports suggested that the HAL had been insisting the Dhruvs to be part of the Republic Day parade also. But the IAF had been persistent that this would be keeping in mind the safety of the people coming to watch the parade.

The officer said the HAL had to prove the mettle of the chopper before it could showcase it. Showcasing the new attack helicopter would have no meaning as the technology in it would be same as in Dhruv, he commented.

The Indian armed forces had grounded the entire fleet of Dhruv in late December 2005 following the crash of a helicopter in Hyderabad.

The chopper meant for the Jharkhand government came down near Hyderabad after taking off from Bangalore. A total of over 45 helicopters with the three arms of the Indian defence forces had been put on ground for rectifying the technical faults.

While the Army Aviation has about 30 Dhruv helicopters in its inventory, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy together have about 16. The helicopter is also in regular service of various state governments. Some have also been supplied to Nepal.

A major defect had been in the tail-rotor of the helicopter, which also led to the crash in Hyderabad. The rotor needed to be strengthened which the HAL claimed to have done while clearing the choppers again for flying.

The chopper has a bearingless composite tail-rotor, which had been designed in a bid to make the craft lighter. The HAL has been trying hard to sell these choppers to some countries around the world and has been in advance stage of talks with Chile on it.

Top

 

Motorola, Foxconn to join SEZs

New Delhi, February 2
The government today approved the proposals of telecom giants Motorola and Foxconn, and Singapore-based reality major Ascendas to join as partners in the special economic zones coming up near Chennai.

The Board of Approval in the Commerce Ministry allowed six others to join as co-developers in SEZs that had already been notified. Besides, the Board gave approval to 30 zones to begin their operations, officials said.

However, pending the resolution of crucial issues identified by the Empowered Group of Ministers, the Board did not take up any of the 600 pending new cases.

US-based Motorola and Taiwan-based Foxconn would join the SEZ at Sriperumbadur near Chennai that had been promoted by state-owned SIPCOT. Ascendas is joining the Mahindra World City SEZ in Chennai. Wipro, DLF, Ansal, Satyam, L&T, Zydus, FabCity and K. Raheja are among the 30 SEZs that had been allowed to kick-off their operations. — PTI

Top

 

Vijay Arora passes away

Mumbai, February 2
Actor and cinematographer Vijay Arora, best known for his performance in the film ‘Yaadon ki Baraat’ today passed away at his residence, his family said.

The 62-year-old actor had been suffering from an intestinal ailment for the past few months and passed away due to complications arising out of it, they said.

Arora has acted in over 50 films and was a cinematographer of over 20 movies but lingers in public memory for his performance in the 1973 hit ‘Yaadon ki Baraat’ featuring music by R D Burman.

A ’71 acting graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Arora featured in many serials as well, notably in the Ramanand Sagar production of ‘Ramayana’ where he portrayed the character of Meghnath. — PTI

Top

 

India to get Israeli assault rifles

New Delhi, February 2
India will begin receiving the first of 3,070 Israeli 5.56 mm Tavor 21 (TAR-21) assault rifles for its Special Forces later this month, according to a leading British defence journal.

This follows the resolution of technical and other problems with the $20 million (Rs 880 million) deal it finalised for the weapons almost five years ago.

Jane’s Defence Weekly reports in its latest issue that the TAR-21s will have a “modified” single-piece butt and new sights, as also Turkish 40mm M-203 under barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) that make the rifle somewhat heavier.

Singapore Technologies will supply the 5.56 mm ammunition.

The deal for TAR-21 and ammunition was clinched in late 2002 with the Israel Military Industries (IMI). After the company’s bifurcation over two years ago, the contract was taken over by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) that acquired control of the IMI’s small arms division. India continued dealing with the IMI and in 2005 invoked contractual obligations claiming damages for the delayed deliveries, further deferring their arrival, the weekly reported.

Meanwhile, IMI-IWI has also entered into partnership with India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to locally build under licence the TAR-21s 9mm version - called ZTAR - for use by India’s Special Forces and parachute regiments. The OFB-produced ZTAR is now undergoing user trials. — IANS

Top

 

PM security breach: Cop suspended
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, February 2
The Delhi traffic police constable, who allegedly tried to enter the Prime Minister’s residence last evening, has been suspended from service but no formal case has yet been registered against him.

Constable Bhurra Singh, had been placed under suspension but no case has been registered against connection so far, the police said today.

Bhurra Singh had allegedly tried to enter the high-security premises reportedly in an inebriated condition .

Top

 

Surjeet hospitalised

New Delhi, February 2
Veteran Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet was today hospitalised following urinary infection.

The 91-year-old leader was admitted to a private hospital in Noida this morning after he felt uneasiness, party sources said.

They added that the doctors attending the former CPM General Secretary said his condition was serious but stable and were conducting various tests. — TNS

Top

 

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