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Teachers' strike: HC notice to UGC, Centre

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY, Sept 1: While many may already think of Mother Teresa as a saint, any official canonisation will has to wait, under Vatican rules that require a five-year interval after a candidate's death.

With the first anniversary of her death at the age of 87 on September 5 last year, tributes to the diminutive yet media savvy nun who catered to Calcutta's needy have again brought this question to the forefront.

Even a person like Mother Teresa, whose selfless devotion to the downtrodden and oppressed helped win her the 1979 Nobel Peace prize, cannot justify speeding up the process, said a Vatican spokesman.

``All candidates for sanctification are equal before God,'' he said. The rules require a five-year wait before the path towards sainthood starts. After her death, many voices within the Roman Catholic church tried to push for an exception in Mother Teresa's case and urged for an immediate canonisation. Among them was her close friend Italian cardinal Pio Laghi, now 76, who argued that MotherTeresa had ``done what Jesus did 2,000 years ago''.

In Rome, however, members of Her Missionaries of Charity, a community of 2,500 nuns around the world who minister to the poor, sick and abandoned, uphold Vatican rules and have not pressed for any early start to the canonisation procedure.

Though Pope John Paul II simplified the process in 1983, the path towards sainthood is still a long one. It starts with the local bishop in the diocese where the candidate lived, who must conduct a full inquiry into the acts, writings, and possible martyrdom of an individual whose ``reputation for holiness'' has been brought to the attention of religious authorities.

In the case of Mother Teresa, this would fall to the Calcutta diocese to collect evidence of what the church refers to as the ``heroic virtue'' of the candidate, meaning their practice of the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity to an outstanding degree.

Should this initial inquiry prove worthy in the bishop's eyes, the file will be transferredto a special Vatican committee for a second look to see if it is deemed worthy enough to send on the Pope, who makes the final decision.

In his 20 years as pontiff, John Paul II has broken church records for pronouncing the most number of beatifications - a first formal step on the road to sainthood - and actual canonisations. As of August, he has beatified 803 people and canonised 279 saints.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHENNAI, Sept 1: Virtually every major political party in Tamil Nadu is busy shifting loyalties and schisms in political alliances dominate the scene as the game of numbers at the Centre casts a shadow on them.

Poll allies from 1996, the DMK and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) continue to be part of the United Front (UF) but the DMK seems to be reaching out to the BJP in an effort to save its Government from the marauding influence of the AIADMK, while the TMC's G K Moopanar prefers a Congress-led Government at the Centre. The TMC's view is fortified by the Left parties' inclination to pave way for a Congress-led Government, which they consider is the lesser evil as compared to the BJP. However, with opinion divided in the UF, confusion pervades, with each constituent chalking out the best option for itself.

Despite different goals, the DMK and TMC continue to keep their alliance in Tamil Nadu afloat. However, a break will be inevitable if they have to choose between the BJP and the Congress as anational ally. It would require considerable sagacity to keep their alliance going in Tamil Nadu in the event of the two opting for different stable-mates at the Centre.

The picture on the other side is even more chaotic. The AIADMK's now-on now-off relationship with the BJP has even got her allies protesting. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) and the Tamizhaga Rajiv Congress (TRC) are willing to throw their lot with the BJP at the Centre but are reluctant to announce a break in ties with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

These AIADMK allies have announced that they would continue to back the Vajpayee Government and that they wanted the AIADMK to continue backing it. The PMK and MDMK have even struck a note of rebellion by declaring that they would continue to back the BJP Government even if Jayalalitha withdrew her party's support. The TRC has also made it clear that it would not pull out of the Government.

However, they are willing to wound but afraid to strike, when it comes totheir relationship with the AIADMK. Obviously, for the TRC, it is difficult to give up a good portfolio like Petroleum. These allies, too, are in a dilemma to choose between the BJP and the AIADMK as their future poll partner, just as the UF partners have their own choices.

It is thus that the MDMK leader Vaiko and the PMK founder-leader Dr S Ramadoss soft-pedal their parties' stand regarding the AIADMK and do not take their relationship with the AIADMK to the point of no-return, even while making it clear to the BJP leadership that they stand by it.

The misgivings of the MDMK, PMK and the TRC regarding the AIADMK's repeated threats against the Vajpayee Government can be traced to the political formations at the Centre. These three parties do not find a place in AICC president Sonia Gandhi's long-term strategy to form a Congress-led Government.

The perceived softness of the MDMK and PMK for the LTTE, which has been identified by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) as responsible for the assassinationof Rajiv Gandhi, has come in the way of any understanding with the Congress. Sonia Gandhi is also upset over the way in which Vazhapadi K Ramamurthy, who launched a party (TRC) in the name of Rajiv Gandhi, has teamed up with the BJP and joined its Government. With the Congress doors not likely to open for these three parties, they prefer to be within the security provided by the BJP, especially when lucrative ministerships are at stake.

Consequently, the fluid political situation has thrown up the curious spectacle of these three parties trying to please the BJP on one hand, even if that means displeasure for the Poes Garden lady; and on the other hand, humouring Jayalalitha to keep the AIADMK-led combine going.

Jayalalitha, on her part, is a prominent BJP ally but is more busy these days trying to establish lines of communication with the AICC leaders and usher in an alternative Government. Her only ally in this venture is Subramanian Swamy.

The decisive moment when parties will have to stand up and becounted will come when the Congress makes its moves to form a Government at the Centre and the AIADMK supports the Congress. If and when that happens, the AIADMK could gain some at the Centre and lose some in Tamil Nadu.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. OSLO, Sept 1: Not only did they probably discover America, the Vikings may also have invented the precursor of the modern pizza more than 1,000 years ago, according to findings published by a Norwegian archaeologist.

Flat, round crusts with an array of tasty toppings and toasted on stone platters in large pizza-style ovens were being consumed by hungry Vikings as early as the 9th century AD, researcher Astri Riddervold said in Oslo's Vaart Land

newspaper yesterday.

Digs have unearthed the ovens and the stone platters, she said, adding that the toppings clearly ran the gamut of ``everything available at any given season'' of the year.

She said the evidence indicates that seafood pizzas were a particular favourite for some 400 years up until innovations in grinding procedures and yeast-production gave rise to bread baking in the 13th century, ushering in the demise of pizzas in Scandinavia until the 20th century.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. BANGALORE, Sept 1: Karnataka's Agriculture Minister C Byre Gowda on Tuesday blamed the ``stupidity'' of the BJP government at the Centre for the nation-wide shortfall in fertiliser imports and held Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, who also holds the Agriculture portfolio, directly responsible for this ``neglect of the agriculture sector''.

He was countering Karnataka BJP president B S Yediyurappa's charge, made on Monday, that the State Government was neglecting the interests of farmers by not taking measures to meet their fertiliser requirements.

Defending the shortfall in the State's requirement of the fertiliser, Muriate of Phosphate (MoP) -- for this kharif season -- he said the country's entire requirement was being met through imports which have always been the responsibility of the Union Government.

Gowda told media persons here, that it was for the first time that the country was witnessing this unprecedented shortfall of over 50 per cent in the supply of MoP, which is not indigenously produced. Ofa total requirement of 21,40,000 metric tonnes (mt) of MoP, only 10,00,000 mt had been supplied throughout the country this year.

With the prime minister having retained charge of the Agriculture portfolio for himself, and Som Pal being only a Minister of State, this amounts to a ``sheer neglect of the agriculture sector in the country'' by the BJP government, he added.

In all the years since farmers started using fertilisers, the Central government had taken care of the fertiliser needs of the entire country. India Potash Limited, a wholly-owned Government of India undertaking was vested with powers to authorise imports in this regard.

However, this year the Centre had not imported the required quantity of potash and because of the ``BJP government's stupidity the whole country has to face this shortage now,'' he added.

Gowda himself had written both to Som Pal and Union Fertiliser Minister S S Barnala, in June this year, urging them to take measures to meet the State's need. Moreover, as far back asMarch, during the zonal meeting of agriculture ministers, Karnataka had indicated its requirement for the season. However, the response from both ministers had not been positive.

Subsequently Chief Minister J H Patel too had written to both Union ministers, with little success. Last month, both Gowda and Patel had also tried to meet them, but they were busy tackling the political problems in their respective states.

``We have made all-out efforts to make available the required quantity of MoP in the State. But it is the responsibility of the Government of India to meet it,'' he added.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, SEPT 1: The State government has awarded the contract for setting up a 12 MW hydro power station at Bhandaradara in Ahmednagar district to an NRI firm D L International.

Joshi today announced this decision after the State Cabinet approved the same in its routine weekly meeting at Mantralaya. DLI, owned by an NRI originally from Maharashtra, V Rajadhyaksha, will be involved in setting up the 36 MW plant to be completed in 15 months.

Talking to reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting, Joshi said the power station on completion would be given to the company on a 30-year lease. The power produce would be purchased by the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) at an initial rate of Rs 2.13 and subsequently at Rs 2.38 per unit.

DLI would pay Rs 18 lakh per year to the Irrigation Department of the state government as royalty to use water for generating power.

The said project was a result of the Advantage Maharashtra exhibition held recently to attract NRIs to invest in key sectors ofdevelopment in Maharashtra.

PATALGANGA PROJECT

: The State Cabinet, in another decision, conferred the rights on the MSEB to alter the agreement between the State government and Reliance Industries Limited on the Rs 463.13-cr Patalganga project.

The government and representatives of the company had signed an agreement recently according to which the MSEB was to buy about 410 MW power generated at the proposed plant. The agreement had provided that the levelised capacity charge would be Rs 1.55 per unit. But, when the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) imposed certain conditions before sanctioning the project to reduce project costs by Rs 32.82 crore and to increase the generation capacity to 447 MW from the projected 410 MW, it resulted in reducing the levelised capacity charge to Rs 1.41 per unit.

The Cabinet today accepted the request from RI on raising the rate and empowered the MSEB to amend the earlier agreement. The new levelised capacity charge will be Rs 1.48 per unit instead of theearlier of Rs 1.55 per unit.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MYSORE, SEPT 1: The Mysore chapter of People For Animals (PFA) has decided to campaign against the practice of making elephants carry the 750-kg golden howdah during the Dussehra celebrations.

``This amounts to cruelty on animals. Why should an elephant be forced to carry the huge weight for more than 4 km during Vijayadashami procession apart from having to practise carrying it weeks before the celebrations?'' Geetha Manja, PFA convenor asked.

Geetha said the matter had been discussed with the national PFA chairperson Maneka Gandhi on Sunday. ``We will not impose our will on the organisers or the people but try to convince them not to subject the elephants to such ardous tasks.''

The howdah is used to carry the idol of goddess Chamundeshwari during the festival. Suggestions to use a chariot to carry the howdah have been doing the rounds since an elephant, Arjuna, damaged it when he threw a tantrum four years ago. The death of another elephant, Drona, who had carried the howdah for 16 years, hasbolstered the idea.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that the scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, will not hand over the golden howdah to the State Government. Wadiyar had earlier gone on record saying he would hand it over as he did not want to be seen obstructing the celebrations. But with the President giving his assent to the take-over of the palace, Wadiyar is unlikely to stick to his words. The movables in the palace including the golden throne are listed as private collections of Wadiyar, with others are under joint management of the government and Wadiyar.

Culture Minister and Dussehra celebrations committee chairperson Leeladevi R Prasad is frantic to meet Wadiyar and have the matter sorted out as soon as possible at a ``time and place of his convenience''. But Wadiyar is out of town fighting legal battles to save his palaces.

Consequently, the minister left a letter with Dussehra special officer Bore Gowda to be handed over personally to Wadiyar when hereturns.

In the letter, the minister has sought total co-operation of the scion to organise the `Nada Habba' (a people's festival) without any hiccups.

However, she told The Indian Express

that she would resort to legal measures if necessary to secure the golden howdah. She said she has sought to prevail upon Wadiyar that the Government was not out to `insult' anybody.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: The Congress today finalised the list of executive members and office-bearers of its Karnataka unit after a long delay of about two years. It also filled the vacancies of chiefs of 12 district units in the State.

The process of finalisation went on till this afternoon. The KPCC chief, Dharam Singh, had extensive consultations over the last few weeks with the party high command represented by Tariq Anwar, general secretary in charge of the State.

The 152-member list has 18 vice-presidents, 25 general secretaries, 28 secretaries, 31 executive members, 42 permanent invitees, and 16 special invitees.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MOSCOW, Sept 1: Amidst the standoff between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Communists-dominated lower house of Parliament, acting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin today proposed a list of ministers for approval even as chances of his own re-election appeared shaky.

The Communists have express their determination to reject again Chernomyrdin's candidature in the Duma.

According to the list put forth by Chernomyrdin to Yeltsin for approval, the ministers of Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs and the all-powerful Federal Service looking after internal security, will retain their posts, news agency Itar-Tass said quoting government staff.

The development came even as the President and the Communist Party asserted their intention to stand by their positions.

While Yeltsin said he would insist on Chernomyrdin as his choice for prime ministership despite the resounding rejection of his nomination yesterday by the Duma, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said his faction would again reject theprime minister-designate's candidature in the second vote scheduled for next Monday.

``I insist that Chernomyrdin be confirmed as prime minister as soon as possible... He is my candidate and I will insist on it... I, of course, will fight so that, literally in the course of the week he will be confirmed as prime minister,'' said Yeltsin at a Moscow school to mark the start of Russia's new academic year.

Zyuganov, meanwhile, told reporters that ``our decision is firm -- we shall vote against the candidacy of Chernomyrdin.''

``He (Yeltsin) insisted on the appointment of Ilyushenko (former prosecutor general) and nominated his candidacy thrice, who later went straight to prison. He insisted on the nomination of (Sergei) Kiriyenko, who bankrupted the country. Now Yeltsin is again insisting on Chernomyrdin. This is molestation of the Duma, rape of Russia,'' Zyuganov said.

A motion to confirm Chernomyrdin's nomination was defeated by 253 votes against 94 yesterday but Yeltsin within hours renominated himfor a second vote.

Three rejections of Yeltsin's nominee by the Duma would lead to the Duma's dissolution and an early parliamentary election, an option Russia can ill afford at a time of deep economic crisis.

Asked about the prospect of an early dissolution of the Duma, Zyuganov said, ``What is at stake is not the dissolution of the Duma but the dissolution of the country.''

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September 1: The `Silent Assasin' is at it, once again. Enjoying an amazing season with his off-spinners, Muthiah Muralitharan added another feather to his cap by snaring 16 English batsmen in the Oval Test to script Sri Lanka's historic maiden Test win in the land of the Old Blighty. Not only were his figures the fifth best ever in Test cricket, he also became the second off spinner, after the legendary West Indian Lance Gibbs, to reach the coveted figure of 200 Test wickets.

His success has not only been a personal victory, but is also a tribute to the faith the Sri Lankan Cricket Board reposed in him. Under tremendous pressure, after being called for `throwing' by the Australian umpire Darell Hair on Lanka's tour Down Under in '95-96, most bowlers would have broken down. Not Murali, and what's more his teammates, and most importantly the Lankan cricket board rallied behind him.

``No bossing around,'' went the Lankan board's signals to the ICC. ``We respect his contribution to Lankan cricketand will play him even if Murali cannot bowl his off spinners. Sure, he will bowl leg spin in the next Test,'' said the board, even as the Australian Cricket Board was pressurising ICC to ban him.

Subsequently, cleared by the ICC, Murali, as indeed the entire Lankan side, were a changed lot. ``That incident changed the entire perception of cricket for us. It brought all the members together and hardened them. Actually, it went a long way in urging the players to show the world our potential. The World Cup win, by and large, was a result of that,'' once confessed Ranjit Fernando, a former Lankan player turned administrator, who himself was instrumental in counselling Murali during the turbulent period.

And now, the `cricketing powers' are at it once again. England coach David Llyod's ``suspicions about Murali's bowling action'' in English press on the eve of the final day of the Test match were no more than a gimmick, meant to unsettle Murali before the crucial last day's play. But, Murali was unruffledand as the result showed, Lloyd would have been better advised to counsel his own batsmen on the art of playing spin bowling rather than finding faults elsewhere. But the English are always known for nursing a grudge or tow, be it the Calcutta smog or the Madras prawns.

Lloyd's comments may have actually fired Murali up to expose the brittle English batting. They paid dearly for the line of indecision in their minds. Caught between whether to play forward or go back, they could not fathom Murali's skills. Had Alec Stewart not been run out, who knows Murali may have emulated another off-spinner, Jim Laker's feat of taking all the ten wickets in a Test innings.

Navjot Sidhu, arguably one of the best batsman of off spin bowling in the world, feels that Murali is simply unplayable for batsmen playing from the crease. ``You have to use your feet while playing him. He is very accurate and with the amount of turn that he gets, you have to get on top of him otherwise you are doomed. In between, padding is thebest defence to him.''

One can trust Sidhu as he has been fairly successful against Murali. The clobbering that Murali received from in the Lucknow Test in '93-94 (Sidhu hit six sixes off Murali) or the last season's S A S Nagar Test confirm Sidhu's theory. ``Still you cannot belittle him. He is a champion bowler with a great heart,'' Sidhu adds.

In fact, the new and exciting Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh sees Murali as a role model for himself and feels that he would be very happy to get a few tips from him

Smoke without fire is difficult and Murali's action sometimes does hinge on the verge of suspicion (almost every off-spinner is like that). Luckily, he has the support of his board quite unlike our own Rajesh Chauhan, who himself may have lost count of the number of times he was put under suspicion and then cleared by the ICC. A pity that our board could not stand up for an international player's cause.

Murali, the only Tamil in the Lankan squad, has always been overshadowed by the likes ofShane Warne, Anil Kumble and Saqlain Mushtaq in international cricket. Not any more as he has carved out a place for his art. For this he has to thank his own board more than anybody else.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sep 1: Industry Ministry Sikander Bakht said today that an effective system of protection of intellectual property is necessary for the country's development. Hinting at the political objection to product patents, he said, ``There is some hesitation in political quarters about patent laws changes. But I am convinced that better laws will help Indian industry and scientists.''

He also announced that the Government was trying to have the National Patent Office declared as an International Search Authority and as International Preliminary Examination Authority under the terms of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Speaking on the occasion of the first AGM of the Institute of Intellectual Property Development (IIPD), here today, he said that India had to globalise to survive. ``We have to enter the global game and win it to protect the interest of India,'' he said.

The declaration of the National Patent office as examination and search centre will give great boost to the domestic scientific andinventor community. They will be able to access patent information at their doorstep without incurring high costs. ``It is absolutely necessary to ensure that accurate and authentic information is disseminated widely to the people,'' the minister said.

Bakht said that the Government decision to accede to the Paris Convention would help Indian inventors and encourage them to market their inventions across the world.

Dr Anji Reddy, head of IIPD said that he was keen to see tough patent protection laws so that the Indian companies which were innovating would be protected. ``I spent Rs 60 crore on developing new drug molecules. I do not want someone else to copy them and make profit without investing anything.'' He said that India needed process patent in the 1970s so that the local drug industry could prosper. ``But we can't keep asking for protection forever. We have to start coming up with fresh research on our own,'' he said.

The Director General of CSIR, Dr RA Mashelkar said that information was thekey to success in the global environment. Unless India learnt to protect and nurture knowledge creation, it would suffer, he said, adding ``Future wars will not be fought with bombs but with knowledge. India has grey gold in its grey cells which can help it be on top. For this we must protect intellectual property creation.''

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September1: Talks between chemists and the civic authorities remained deadlocked today as pharmacies all over Mumbai shut shop on the first day of their indefinite strike to protest against the two per cent octroi duty on medical formulations.

Mayor Nandu Satam told the Joint Coordination Committee of Chemists that the levy would not be withdrawn, adding that the duty should have in fact been imposed 10 years ago. He asked them why the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should exempt medicines from octroi when the levy is charged on other products.

Over-the-counter sale of drugs was completely stopped with the 6,800 drugstores in Mumbai, affiliated to various chemists' and distributors' associations, remaining shut. The agitation has also received ``unconditional support'' from their counterparts in Thane and Navi Mumbai, who will down shutters on September 4 if the June 22 decision to levy octroi on medicines is not revoked. Life-saving drugs, though, were made available by the five controlrooms opened by the coordination committee.

``It has been an extremely hectic day. Our staff manning the control rooms attended to over 4,000 calls from people requiring medicines. However, they were supplied only to persons who could produce a medical prescription. We also did not entertain people who wanted over-the-counter household drugs,'' Kishore Shah, president of the Retail and Dispensing Chemists' Association, told Express Newsline.

``There were two cases in South Mumbai which urgently required anti-cancer drugs costing about Rs 25,000 per ampoule. Our control room at Prarthna Samaj procured the drugs and delivered them at the callers' doorsteps,'' Shah says.

The strike will not immediately affect civic and state-run hospitals in Mumbai as they have been supplied with additional stocks. Dr L B Khotkar, superintendent of J J Hospital, says government hospitals ``do no merely depend on supply from chemists'' and will not run out of stocks for 10 days at least.

However, they refused to sellmedicines to outdoor patients. ``We have to be prepared for contingencies in the wake of a calamity or a disaster when we might have to use large stocks of medicines without notice. Selling medicines to outdoor patients under these circumstances is virtually impossible,'' says a doctor from KEM Hospital at Parel.

Bombay Hospital in South Mumbai had some difficulty controlling the crowd which clamoured for supplies. The authorities divided the people into two queues - ones requiring medicines for the hospital's indoor patients and the other comprising outsiders.

However, tempers ran high as indoor patients were given preferential treatment. ``All seven chemists around the hospital are not open and I have been waiting for two hours to get Amoxicillin capsules for my daughter,'' said Upendra Tripathi, a resident of Colaba. ``Is my daughter's life less important than those who are admitted to this hospital,'' he asked.

The hospital though says it is not duty-bound to cater to the general public. ``Witharound seven large chemists around the hospital, we generally never get requests for medicines from outside. Since they are shut today, we obliged those who produced prescriptions,'' the hospital's pharmacy manager Lalit P Kaushal, told Express Newsline.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: About 25 per cent of the sorties by Pakistan military aircraft along the Indo-Pakistan International Border (IB) have violated international airspace norms.

Army and IAF agencies monitoring movement of Pakistan aircraft reveal that till date this year, there have been about 60 reported incidents of breach of the `Air Agreement' signed by the Indian and Pakistani government a couple of years ago.

As per the terms of the agreement, no military aircraft or unscheduled civilian flights are to approach the restricted airspace over the IB. This airspace, akin to no-man's land on the ground, extends atleast 1,000 metres on either side of the demarcated IB and is out of bounds for all aircraft except trans-border flights.

Military sources say that this year, about 264 Pakistani aircraft, both combat as well as non-combat types, were observed in close vicinity of the IB.

The number of violations show that on an average, there are eight reported intrusions into the prohibited air-zone. Theseflights are observed and reported by BSF personnel manning pickets along the IB or by Army troops where their deployment is imperative. The Amritsar Sector, having the highest reported number of sorties and breaches, was particularly ``hot'' when a lot of work was being done on bunds near Ranian during flood control measures. Bunds also form important defences.

The Dera Baba Nanak Sector along the Ravi, with its network of ditch-cum-bund defence system has also remained active.

As per procedure, details about the number and type of aircraft sighted, their flight configuration and time of flight are passed on to the nearest Army division headquarters, which in turn directly intimates Army Headquartes along with the Command Headquarters.

The Army Headquarters intimates the Ministry of Defence and a ``protest'' is lodged through the embassy of the concerned country by the Ministry of External Affairs. Though no `scramble' of interceptors by the IAF in such cases had been reported, sources say that anydecision by ground forces to shoot down hostile aircraft would have to be taken on the spur of the moment, after determining the threat it poses. There have been instances of hostile aircraft coming right over the IB.

The issue of airspace violation has also repeatedly been raised and discussed during operational conferences and tactical briefings at the highest level and concerned has also been voiced at their frequency.

The only known instance of a infiltrating Pakistan aircraft being shot down was in 1996, when a Remotely Piloted Vehicle was downed in Kutch. Military sources say that though the breach may be inadvertent at times, there is a possibility of such aircraft involved in mapping out local defences.

``Their purpose could be a visual, first hand appraisal of our defences by commanders, judging the strength and layout of border out-posts as well as getting the lay of the land,'' an intelligence officer commented. Carrying photographic and survey equipment by these aircraft, particularlychoppers and transport aircraft, is not ruled out.

Helicopters of the Pakistan Army Aviation Wing, headquartered at Dhanval near Rawalpindi with detatchements attached with all major airbases for liason and search and rescue roles are also known to fly in close viciinity of the IB.

Another reason for flying in close proximity to Indian positions is for new pilots getting themselves familiar with the topography of the area. Possible errors in navigation during training exercises are also cited as a reason.

Sources say that some concessions in airspace restrictions have been allowed by both sides in the Northern Sector on account of the mountainous terrain. ``But they are trying to take advantage of these concessions in other sectors too,'' an officer commented.

Pakistan does not possess any strategic reconnaissance capability, for which it depends on inputs from China and the US. Though the No 5 Squadron equipped with 13 Mirage-IIIRD carries out tactical reconnaissance sorties from its base atSargodha, experts say that for border observations it flies atleast two-three kilometers behind the IB, using its `sideways' looking camera for photography.

Though there have been no known instances of the Mirage infiltrating Indian airspace, there were unconfirmed reports sometime back of the more advanced F-16s carrying reconnaissance pods and electronic radar jamming equipment entering Indian airspace.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sep 1: The primary capital market continues to be in doldrums with the month of August, like July, witnessing only one public issue. This issue too like the July one was a debt issue from ICICI.

The current fiscal, in the first five months, has seen only 12 public issues raising a meagre Rs 1,402 crore, compared to 62 issues aggregating Rs 3,061 crore in full 1997-98 and 753 issues for Rs 11,648 crore in full 1996-97, according to a study done by Prithvi Haldea of Prime Database.

A significant, but worrying, feature, according to Prime, is the near-total absence of equity. Public issues of equity at Rs 182 crore have accounted for only 13 per cent of the five-month period's total mobilisation. These have successively been going down from a high 100 per cent (Rs 13,312 crore) in 1994-95.

The most adversely affected are the corporates. Only Rs 83 crore representing 6 per cent of the total funds raised in the five-month period of the current fiscal have been from the manufacturing sector, down froma high 83 per cent in 1994-95.

On the other hand, financial institutions and banks, as per Prime, have continued to dominate the market. Their offerings at Rs 1318 crore constitute 94 per cent of the five month period's total amount, up from a meagre 4 per cent in 1994-95. The government continues to monopolise the primary market, with a 93 per cent share in five month period's total mobilisation, up from 9 per cent in 1994-95.

According to Prime, it is now for the 14th month in succession that the primary market has witnessed an extremely low level of activity in public issues. Since July 1997, there have been only 38 public issues. While August 1998 had 1 public issue, the earlier monthly figures have also been equally dismal: July (1), June (5), May (3), April (2), March (2), February (0), January (4), December 1997 (6), November (4), October (4), September (1), August (3) and July (2).

Initial public offerings (IPOs), in specific, have been badly hit. IPOs, which are essentially first public issuesfrom unlisted companies, had already fallen from a high of 1,350 in 1995-96 to only 51 in 1997-98. These are now down to only 7 in the first five months of fiscal 1998-99 mobilising a meagre sum of Rs 124 crore.

Given the state of the market and economy, Haldea projects that the balance period of 1998-99 may also be dismal. One of the points is the number of public issue documents filed with SEBI for clearance. From an average of 87 documents per month in the January-December 1996 period, the figure fell to only 7 per month in the January-December 1997 period and is now down to only 3 per month in the January-August 1998 period.

It said rescue act, if any, may come only from some bank issues and from materialisation of the disinvestment programme. ``What we may continue to see is some amount of debt mobilisation,'' it said.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHENNAI, Sept 1: There is much at stake for Indian hockey at the next week's Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, admitted Indian Hockey Federation president KPS Gill at an impromptu press conference, here on Tuesday.

In the wake of the debacle at the World Cup in Utrecht, earlier this year, Gill felt that the results in Malaysia will count vis-a-vis revival of Indian hockey. ``We will be attaching a lot of importance to our performance in the Commonwealth Games, and if we play to our potential, then we will win the tournament,'' he said.

While expressing satisfaction at the fitness level of the players, Gill said he concurred with coach M K Kaushik's views that longer camps were needed to improve further. ``After we return from Malaysia, we will be giving a short break to the players who will reassemble in Bangalore for a long camp in our preparation for the Asian Games,'' the IHF chief said.

No tours:

Having learnt the futility of ill-advised foreign tours prior to a major tournament,Gill asserted that the Indian team for the Asiad will stay at home and probably play a few Test matches against visiting sides before the Bangkok Games in December.

However, the `developmental team' which suffered crushing defeats at Hamburg last month, might be engaged in a couple of tours, he said, but did not elaborate.

Indo-Pak series:

Gill confirmed that in 1999, India and Pakistan will be playing another series, like the one earlier this year. ``Since we have no major tournaments in 1999, a series against Pakistan will be of help,'' he said.

Payments to players:

Apparently, Gill believes in the adage, ``deserve and then desire''. He opined that money alone will not produce results. ``When you excel, the money will come, and not the other way round,'' he said.

Referring to the controversy over payment to players, earlier this year, Gill charged that it was a ``problem engineered by some ex-players''. He said it was absolutely ``disgraceful and reprehensible'' on part of the formerplayers who, by their action, had done a great ``disservice'' to the game.

In a hard-hitting statement, with obvious reference to former India captain Pargat Singh, Gill said: ``He wrote in his little magazine that my re-election had done harm to Indian hockey. But the same person wrote to me later that I was the right choice.''

Team physio:

Gill underlined the importance of a physiotherapist, more than a doctor, accompanying the Indian team. ``I had suggested to the Sports Authority of India that they must send a physio abroad for training and then attach him to the Indian team. I hope they accept my suggestion,'' he said.

No ill-effects:

On the thorny issue of former coach Vasudevan Baskaran's adverse remarks against certain players, Gill stated that the players had got over it. ``I was surprised that the report was made public. There is no way I can guarantee confidentiality because by the time I receive it, the newspapers have already published it.

Copyright © 1998 Indian ExpressNewspapers (Bombay) Ltd. September 1: For the first time this financial year, Indian exports started looking up registering a 7.71 per cent growth in dollar terms in July.

The latest trade data released today showed Indian exports during July was increased to $ 2.99 billion against $ 2.78 billion in July 1997.

However, exports during the first four months of the financial year registered a negative three per cent growth as shipments from the country from April to July slid to $ 10.62 billion against $ 11.03 billion during the corresponding period last year.

In rupee terms, exports were up by 10.82 per cent during the period and for July the growth was 28.12 per cent. Trade deficit during the period widened further to $ 3.30 billion against $ 1.83 billion during the same period last year.

The rise in trade balance was in tune with the fall in rupee value against the dollar during May and June this year as imports costs were up against lowered export value.

Imports during July registered a significant rise of 18.70 per centto $ 3.80 billion against $ 3.20 billion in July 1997 in view of the rupee fall.

During April-July, imports increased by 8.26 per cent at $ 14 billion against $ 13 billion during the same period last year. Oil imports during the period was valued at $ 1.8 billion, down 31.27 per cent against 2.65 billion dollars during April-July last year.

Non-oil imports during April-July were estimated at 12.1 billion dollars, up by 18.54 per cent against $ 10.2 billion during the same period last year. While exports during April-June had registered a 7.94 per cent fall and imports were up by 3.75 per cent during the period, compared to last year. Trade balance at the end of the first quarter was $ 2.4 billion.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MOSCOW, Sept 1: US President Bill Clinton today urged his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin to stop military cooperation with India and warned that nuclear rivalry in South Asia could lead to a ``direct war'' between the two nuclear super powers.

According to local radio ``Echo Moskvy'', Clinton's plea came during his 30-minute meeting with Yeltsin. Expressing American concern over arms race between India and Pakistan in the backdrop of nuclear rivalry in South Asia, close to the Russian borders, Clinton warned that it could lead to a ``direct war'' between the two nuclear super powers.

India remains the biggest customer of Russian arms in the world and Indian orders to the tune of two billion (US) dollars annually have a vital importance for the cash-strapped Russian economy.

According to the Russian Defence sources, Washington is greatly alarmed at the Delhi-Moscow negotiations for the development of an advanced Air-Defence system capable of protecting India from the ``punitive'' missile strikessimilar to the recent US attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan.

In the grip of political storm each in his own country, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and US President Bill Clinton today bear-hugged in the former's study to inaugurate, what promises to be, a summit of uncertain terms.

The first agreement to trickle out was a joint pledge to eliminate some stockpiles of plutonium taken from dismantled missile warheads.

With Russia reeling from a political and economic crisis, Yeltsin formally welcomed Clinton outside the Kremlin after wreath-laying at Moscow's tomb of the unknown soldier.

Republican senator Pete Domenici who flew here with Clinton, told a media person today that the two Presidents would sign tomorrow an agreement to get rid of about 50 metric tons of plutonium on each side and break down the weapons material so it cannot be used for military purposes.

A draft of the leaders' joint statement said the plutonium would be withdrawn in stages, with financing arrangements to be set by year'send.

The draft said: Measures to manage and reduce such stockpiles are an essential element of irreversible arms reduction efforts and necessary to ensure that these materials do not become a proliferation risk.

Earlier, Viktor Chernomyrdin, acting prime minister, met Clinton and his wife, Hillary, at the Moscow airport.

Hoping to get a boost from summiteering, and doing his bit as an ambassador of West's free market, Clinton pledged continued US support for Russia as long as its leaders ``stay on the path of reform'' and do not revert to the Communist ways of the past.

With a message of support but no financial help, the US President urged Russians to reject the ``failed policies of the past'' in coping with their current economic crisis.

``Given the facts before you, I have to tell you that I do not believe there are any painless solutions,'' Clinton told a new generation of Russian leaders at Moscow state university of international relations.

He repeatedly said that Russia must play by therules of international commerce.

With Russia's economic turmoil throwing the summit agenda into uncertainty, Clinton addressed the crisis with frankness, but offered no specific ideas on how the infant democracy could weather the tailspin of its currency.

Earlier, at the start of their meeting, Yeltsin presented Clinton with a loaf of salted bread, a traditional East European symbol of welcome. Clinton pushed at the bread with the heel of his hand, and it sprang back up. ``Amazing, kind of like you,'' Clinton told his embattled host.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: The Delhi High Court today pulled up the City Government for not placing on record the affidavit on unauthorised colonies despite the August 17 commitment to the effect by Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma.

A division bench, comprising Justices Y K Sabharwal and K S Gupta said, ``It is most unfortunate that on the one hand, considering the importance of the case, the Chief Minister thought it fit to appear in person (on August 17) and on the other, the affidavit in terms of the order passed by the court is still not filed.''

The CM had, on his voluntary appearance in court on August 17, submitted that a decision on regularisataion or demolition of 1,071 ``unauthorised'' colonies in the Capital would be taken within 45 days and an affidavit on the Government stand filed within 10 days.

The court had allowed Verma's plea for construction of roads and drainage systems in these colonies, stating that the provision would not come in the way of the Government taking a decision.

``It seemsthe Government is not interested in filing the affidavit and wishes to rely upon the affidavit to be filed by the Centre,'' the bench observed, while expressing anguish over the Government taking the court direction lightly.

The court gave two more weeks to the Government to file its affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on September 17.

The court reminded the Government to enforce strictly its decision of December last, banning further construction in the city till it (the Government) took a decision on the issue of regularisation of the ``unuathorised'' colonies.

The bench further directed the Government that water and electricity connections in unauthorised colonies would be provided after they were given on ``priority'' to the colonies built by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

This direction came after DDA counsel Surinder Sethi submitted that thousands of DDA flats were not being allotted to applicants due to the lack of water and power connections.

The court also directed theGovernment to submit a report on the boundries of each ``unauthorised'' colony to ensure that no further construction took place.

Sethi told the court that 392 of the 1,071 unauthorised colonies in the Capital were raised on DDA land and the rest were either on the land owned by the State Government or the local civic bodies.

The CM, on his personal appearance, had told the court that the Government has, in principle, decided to fix December 31, 1997 as the cut-off-date for regularisation of the colonies.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. September 1: With six Indian pairs competing in Societe Genarale World Open bridge pairs championships, three pairs are in with a good chance to make it to the finals.

The scratch partnership of Vinod Sharma and Alok Sadhu had a 59.9 per cent score. They added a 50.8 per cent score in the second session to end day one of the semifinals in position 28 with a healthy aggregate of 53.36 per cent.

JM Shah and Rajiv Khandelwal of Mumbai, and Prabhakar and Krishnan of Chennai are other two who show some promise of making the cut as well.

Shah and Khandelwal had poor 47.64 per cent (rank 115) in session one but recovered to position 92 with a 54.94 per cent in session two to aggregate 51.14 per cent.

Prabhakar and Krishnan made a good start with 53.36 per cent (rank 40) but dropped to rank 106, scoring a poor 45.95 per cent in session two. Their session average of 50.66 per cent.

Three other Indian pairs languish in the bottom half of the draw and will need huge scores in both sessions to make the cut. Atthe bottom of the Indian rankings are Tewari/Gupta of Delhi who had led the six Indian pairs into the semi-finals. Scoring 43.37 per cent and 45.97 per cent in two sessions, the Delhi pair find themselves in rank 207 at the end of day.

Ajay Khare and Vinay Desai of Mumbai improved from rank 190 45.3 per cent in session 1 to rank 165 in session 11 (50.04 per cent), but this rate of improvement will not be adequate to see them into the finals. Their cumulative scores are 47.66 per cent. Agarwal/Bandi from Indore are ranked 159 at the end of day 1, with 47.64 per cent in session 1 and 48.48 per cent in session 11 (48.07 per cent cumulative). Michael Rosenberg/Steve Weinstein from USA lead the field with 61.95 per cent. Followed by Poland's Pityr Gawrys/Marcin Lesniewski (59.62 per cent).

In the Louis Vuitton women's pairs where 119 pairs competed, the Indian challenge ended in the 1st elimination where the four Indian ladies' combinations finished in the bottom half of the draw.

Copyright © 1998 IndianExpress Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. PATNA, SEPT 1: Cooking oil including mustard oil and other grocery items worth over Rs 25 crore have been seized as raids on business establishments continue unabated after the Bihar Government enforced ban on sale of mustard oil following detection of dropsy cases.

Official sources said today that district officials assisted by food inspectors and police had during the last five days conducted raids on over 750 places across the State to seize the ``adulterated'' cooking mediums.

The sources said the samples of the seized edible oils were being collected to send them to different laboratories for test.

The district magistrate were supervising the operations in their respective districts.

The Chief Minister had on Friday ordered ban on sale of both packed and unpacked mustard oil till ``laboratory examination'' of samples of the oil being sold in open market was done.

In the State capital, district magistrate Rajbala Verma led the team to conduct raids on departmental stores and premises ofstock-holders to collect samples of edible oils for laboratory examinations.

The district administration had so far seized cooking oils and other grocery items worth over Rs 8 crore by conducting searches on around 45 business premises, they said.

In Marufganj business locality, a raiding team stumbled upon packets of poisonous chemicals. According to experts, ``if the chemicals are mixed with ordinary oil, it will look and smell like mustard oil''.

``The mix of the chemicals in small quantity cannot cause any harm but an inadvertent excess use of the chemicals may prove to be fatal,'' experts opine.

A Begusarai report quoting official sources said over ten oil tankers filled with over 50 lakh litre mustard oil value of which being estimated to be around one crore were impounded during the last two days and samples of the oil sent to laboratories.

Over 285 tins of edible oils were seized from business premises and factories at Hajipur township in Vaishali district since yesterday, the districtmagistrate R N Prasad said.

Reports of seizure of several tankers fully loaded with edible oils continue to pour in from different districts in the state.

According to State health department sources a few more fresh dropsy cases were identified at Madhepura and Bhagalpur as an intensive campaign continued to detect such cases and take preventive measure to check further spreads of the disease.

Over 200 people including traders and labourers have so far been arrested during the raids at different places in the state.

The State Government had also banned supplies of mustard oil from outside Bihar till samples of existing stocks of the cooking oils were tested in laboratories.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: India had witnessed more than 30 epidemics of dropsy over past hundred years due to the wild weed argemone mexicana (mexican poppy) and its non-edible oil getting mixed with mustard oil naturally or because of deliberate adulteration, according to Prof Gunavant Oza, emeritus fellow of the University Grant Commission.

Oza, a botanist from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, who had worked extensively on the plant for decades, said the only method of preventing further dropsy epidemics was to eradicate argemone mexicana from the country which, of course, was a herculian task.

The introduced mexican weed, naturalised throughout India and reaching the hilly regions upto 5000 feet, can tolerate almost any set of climatic conditions and bear flower and fruit most of the year.

The plant produces numerous seeds, roughly about 20,000-30,000, and since it resembles black mustard seeds (brassica nigra) there were enough chances of it getting mixed with mustard seeds, Oza said.

He saidthough `hakims' and `vaidyas' use argemone for its medicinal properties, it was high time for its eradication from the country.

Oza, in one of scientific papers, had said ``We can destroy the seedlings by pulling them out of the soil during the rainy season and repeat the operations several times during monsoon and not allow the plant to grow and shed the seeds''.

He pointed out that since argemone seeds were collected by certain local people in large quantities and sold in the market, there was a possibility of taking their help for identifying the plant and seedlings for its complete eradication.

Since the plant finds shelter in the cultivated fields quite often, chances of the seeds getting mixed with other grains were more, he said.

Oza said the mysterious disease of the swelling of legs in Mumbai in late 1960s, a disease of similar nature in late 1950s in Nadiad (Gujarat), West Bengal and Bihar and the epidemic of dropsy had all resulted due to consumption of edible oil contaminated with argemoneoil.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. DURBAN, Sept 1: Despite round-the-clock lobbying by Pakistani delegates, nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting today refused to tow its line on having one comprehensive resolution on the US missile attack on Sudan and Afghanistan with majority of countries feeling that the Taliban regime was sponsoring terrorism the world over.

Pakistan received this major diplomatic set-back when the issue came up for discussions at the ministerial and official level meetings of the NAM. An overwhelming majority of member countries felt that Washington's attack on militant camps in Afghanistan cannot be equated with its strikes on Sudan.

While the NAM is yet to formulate its response on attacks on militant camps on Saudi billionaire Osama bin Laden, it was already agreed to condemn the US action on a pharmaceutical company in Khartoum.

Pakistani representatives were working hard for the last few days to convince and persuade NAM members to accept its proposal for a common resolution on Afghanistan and Sudanbut there were not many takers for their theory. Pakistan was left with no option but to give up its efforts.

Interestingly senior officials of US government who arrived here to seek observer status for their country were overtly and covertly lobbying for toning down of the NAM resolution on its attacks.

The NAM in its resolution on the US attack on Sudan felt that the action was a ``serious violation of principles of international law and UN charter and contrary to the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes.''

The resolution stated that ``such acts are a serious threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan and to regional stability and international peace and security.

``The NAM condemns this act of aggression and continuing threats made by US against Sudan.'' it urged Washington to refrain from such unilateral acts.

NAM sources said that India had played a vital role in delinking of the grouping's approach on attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan. The Indian government alsobelieved that the Taliban was providing training in arms to mercenaries who operate in Jammu & Kashmir.

The Arab countries, which form a dominating group in the NAM, were eager to have a strongly worded resolution on Sudan but most of them were not keen to have an identical resolution on strikes in Afghanistan.

India also received a boost when its consistent efforts to mobilise international support for eradication of terrorism bore fruit.

The NAM accepted the Egyptian proposal which called for an international summit conference under the auspices of the United Nations to formulate a joint organised response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Egyptian proposal is similar to India's position on combating the menace of terrorism. India has proposed an international action plan to fight and tackle terrorism.

A further boost to Indian diplomatic efforts came when the NAM expressed its serious concern on the role of mercenaries in acts of terrorism. Theconcern vindicates India's position that it is facing terrorism being exported and executed by mercenaries from across its border in Jammu & Kashmir.

While making its standpoint, the Indian representative said the country was a serious victim of cross-border terrorism and hence was keen that there should be a major initiative to fight terrorism which posed a serious challenge to the sovereignty of a number of countries.

The resolution said that the UN organs should take appropriate decisions, consistent with its charter, to fight and eradicate terrorism. It emphasised that international cooperation to combat this menace should be conducted in conformity with the principles of UN charter. It suggested strengthening of international legal regimes for combatting terrorism.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who arrived here last night, is expected to make a strong plea for coordinated action against terrorism.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. BANGALORE, Sept 1: Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda today ``unconditionally apologised'' to State unit Janata Dal president B L Shankar over his son's alleged misconduct with him.

Gowda's son, H D Kumaraswamy, a former MP, had allegedly threatened and abused Shankar last week over phone on party affairs.

His apology comes in the wake of reports which said Kumaraswamy had used foul language against Shankar over reported attempts to wean away Gowda's supporters to the Patel group and that the former prime minister was interfering in the appointment of chairmen to boards and corporations.

Gowda told reporters it was true that his son spoke in `an angry tone' but he had denied having abused Shankar.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sep 1: In a significant move today, the new telecom secretary Anil Kumar met with the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Justice S S Sodhi at his 20th floor office housed in the STC building in the capital today. While there may be nothing unusual in the event itself, telecom observers have attached importance to this meeting as signifying a change in approach in the building up of dwindling investor confidence in the telecom sector.

TRAI Chairman Justice Sodhi said that the meeting today was too preliminary for any conclusions to be drawn and included just an exchange courtesies. The meeting has however assumed importance as despite directions from the former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramaniam last year insisting on a monthly informal interaction between officials on both sides, only one such meeting took place almost ten months ago.

The impasse between the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the TRAI has now become legendary in telecom circles with the TRAIhaving pushed into a corner ever since the recent High Court judgement in July curtailed the latter's powers by refusing to allow its jurisdiction to interfere in the licensing rights of the DoT. This has left the TRAI virtually with no powers to interfere in any disputes that pivate operators in the field of basic, cellular and paging services, and the DOT on encashment of bank guarantees for delayed licence fee payments.

Before this, in February, the TRAI had acted tough with the DoT staying its proceedings in announcing the new internet policy, encashing bank guarantees of operators defaulting on licence fee payments and going as far as cancelling the licence issued by the DoT to the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) for allowing it entry in the field of cellular services. This had forced the DoT to drag the TRAi to court to get the jurisdiction of the authority sorted out.

In the words of Sodhi himself, the TRAI has been reduced to being a "toothless wonder". He says, the government has to have itsobjectives clear in forming a regulatory authority - it has to be an independent forum, expeditious in settling disputes and inexpensive for disputing parties to approach. If these are the objectives of any regulator then this is how these bodies should be allowed to function.

Whether today's meeting will herald a new chapter in the TRAI-DoT relations, only time will tell, but for the moment industry hopes are high.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: The Mule track connecting the landslide-hit Malpa village and Dharchula, which was completely destroyed, was today recreated by the Army and it would be ready for vehicles by tomorrow.

Announcing this here, Army and Air Force officials who led the rescue and relief operations in the area said the joint operations carried out by defence forces, Indo-Tibetan border police, the State police and administration, under very trying circumstances could well be taken as an example for successful large-scale disaster management in future.

Air Commodore HPS Sidhu and Col Vikram Singh, who planned and got the operations implemented at the site, explained in detail the situation as it developed from the wee hours of August 18 when rocks, boulders and slush came rumbling down taking away with them the Malpa village and its inhabitants, including several Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims.

They said at least 200 people would have been buried dead in the debris, but bodies of only about 45 could berecovered.

Elaborating how best man and machine were put to use to meet the massive devastation and trying to save those few who were still alive, they said Cheetah helicopters which could land at a maximum height of 10,000 feet were made to land at about 11,000 feet at another village of Gunji, which lay north of Malpa.

As part of the ``Operation Blue Angels'', braving foul weather 14 IAF choppers, including six MI-17s called from Western Command to Bareilly, carried out about 300 sorties, flew about 79,000 kgs of load and 572 passengers besides rescuing the injured, ferrying the dead and dropping rations and medicines.

Sidhu said it was difficult for the helicopter pilots who had to fly only on one side of the river Kali, dividing India and Nepal, and through the deep gorges. Even at Bareilly, which had an average rainfall of 200 mms in August, the rains last month totalled a whopping 710 mms, he said.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Mumbai, Sept 1: Kinetic Engineering of the Firodias and Japanese automobile giant Honda Motor Corporation have decided to part ways with Pune-based Kinetic Engineering buying the entire 51 per cent stake held by Honda in the joint venture company, Kinetic Honda Motor Ltd (KHML), with effect from Tuesday.

The Firodia takeover of the company is bound to trigger the SEBI's takeover code and the company will have to make an open offer to the shareholders of Kinetic Honda Motor. The SEBI has asked Nestle to make an offer to its shareholders as the Swiss firm had bought three per cent stake from one of the co-promoters, the Khaitans and did not make the offer to the small shareholders. The price of the acquisition was not made public by the Firodias in their statement though insiders say that the deal would be around Rs 32 crore.

With this, the equity stake of Kinetic Engineering in the company will go up to over 76 per cent in the listed company. The Kinetic Honda Motor scrip remained static at Rs 42 ascompared to yesterday's closing while Kinetic Engineering was marginally up at Rs 97.60 (Rs 95).

In a statement to the stock exchanges, both companies said with the departure of Honda, the Kinetic Honda Motor will become a KEL group company and subsequently change its name. Both companies have been working as co-promoters and partners since 1985 and producing premium segment scooters -- Kinetic Honda ZX and Marvel.

As per the agreement, Honda would continue to provide technical support to the venture and the company will continue to make the current scooter models. The company will also continue to export vehicles under the Honda's network under Honda's brand name.

Honda Motor Corp is having a presence in the Indian market through its other joint venture with the Munjals of New Delhi which is making motor cycles and with SIEL to make Honda City cars.

Among Honda's various joint ventures, Kinetic was the only company which was not doing well. Despite 15 years of operations, the company was unable tobreach the 10 per cent market share in the scooter segment. Due to its low pricing, Bajaj Auto and LML are presently having a virtual monopoly in the Indian scooter market.

The new arrangement between the two partners is subject to all necessary government approvals. KEL has already filed an application today with the RBI for its approval. KEL has said that with the departure of Honda, high overhead costs of the Japanese managers would be reduced along with communication costs and office locations in Tokyo, New Delhi, Indore and Pune. It said Honda will continue to provide technology for the current products so that they can met the year 2000 emission norms.

It said the takeover of the joint venture company by the Indian promoters will reduce overheads by cutting out duplication of efforts in areas such as IT, training, selling and top management time. Further, Honda will also help the Indian company by providing it own manufacturing facilities in Japan or its authorised vendors for the critical partswhich cannot be indigenised at present.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Sep 1: Chief Minister E K Nayanar has ruled out inquiry into the alleged lapses in the implementation of People's Planning programme.

He said this during the Cabinet briefing yesterday when his attention was drawn to the demand by Opposition UDF for an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in People's Planning.

Nayanar said that he himself had noted that there had been lapses in the implementation of the programme. But the Government had no plan to institute an inquiry into it, he said.

In yet another development, the memorandum of understanding signed with International Network on Small Hydel Power of China for setting up of 18 mini hydel projects in the State was approved by the Cabinet.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. GUWAHATI, Sept 1: The murder of three former militants by a Major of the 11 Jat regiment on the night of August 27 at Dibrugarh, has not only served a big blow to counter-insurgency operations in Assam, but has also painted a poor picture of the security force.

The Dibrugarh deputy commissioner, meanwhile, has instituted a magisterial probe into the incident, while the army has begun its own investigations, after finding prima facie evidence against Major Jamir Khan of the Jat Regiment.

The media, especially the vernacular press has come all out against the army in the state, more so after the army authorities tried to justify the detention of one Atanu Sarma, accusing him of being a pick-pocket, for nearly an hour after a major blast occured in the Guwahati Railway Station earlier last week.

The wives of the three former ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam) leaders who were gunned down by Major Khan on the other hand have filed a petition in the Guwahati High Court seeking a high-level probe intothe killings, as also praying for exemplary punishment to Major Khan and his accomplices.

The issue has shot into prominence because Major Khan did not kill the three youths, Rana Gogoi, Utpal Barua and Rajiv Phukan, as part of his counter-insurgency operations. The officer is stated to have gone to the house of one of the youths, took part in a drinking session, and then accused them of lodging a complaint against him with the higher-ups in the army, and then shot them dead.

There are at least a dozen witnesses to the gruesome murders, with some even from the regiment to which Major Khan belonged. Reports have said that Major Khan snatched an AK-47 rifle from one of his jawans to shoot down the three youths. Other witnesses include some Assam Police constables deployed as personal security officers to some of the former ULFA leaders, and also five or six other former ULFA cadres.

The former militants had apparently complained to the General Officer Commanding of 2 Mountain Division at Dinjan that MajorKhan had embezzled about Rs three crore, which was part of about Rs 4.4 crore which Khan's unit had recovered during a recent operation against the ULFA in a nearby village.

The killing has embarrassed the army and the various organisations have once again demanded withdrawal of the army from operations against militants in Assam.

Prominent organisations which have pleaded for withdrawal of the army and vesting of responsibility of tackling the situation on the state police, include the Assam Sahitya Sabha, the All Assam Students' Union, Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti and Asom Jatiyabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad.

Some groups have also accused the army of having a hand in the killing of several family members of top ULFA leaders like chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, commander-in-chief Paresh Barua and publicity secretary Mithinga Daimari.

Last week's triple murder is not the only instance of the armymen crossing limits. Armed with the Armed Forces (special powers) Act, the army had in 1994, killed five innocentyouths in Tinsukia district in a fake encounter, while in several other instances, the high court has pulled up the army for various crimes inflicted upon the common people. It was only a few weeks ago that two jawans of the army were found guilty of raping a married woman in Nalbari district, with an army court awarding both of them ten years rigorous imprisonment.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW YORK, Aug 31: Wimbledon runner-up Goran Ivanisevic avoided his usual US Open first-round jinx and Thomas Muster registered the first knock-out of a seed today as the last Grand Slam tournament of the year got under way at the National Tennis Centre.

Ivanisevic, a first-round loser at the US Open in three of the last four years, ripped past Australian doubles specialist Mark Woodforde 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 with the sun pouring down on Centre Court at Arthur Ashe stadium.

``The last time I won the first round I made the semis,'' said Ivanisevic, recalling his 1996 Open campaign that ended with a defeat against eventual champion Pete Sampras. ``Maybe this is a good sign.''

Ivanisevic, who also fell to Sampras in this summer's Wimbledon final, crashed 23 aces past Woodforde during the one hour, 27-minute match.

While the lanky, goateed Croat was dismissing Woodforde, former world number one Muster, of Austria, mustered his ground-stroking arsenal to oust 15th-seeded clay courter Alberto Berasategui of Spain,the 1994 French Open runner-up, 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-3.

Muster, three times a quarter-finalist at the Open, improved to 4-1 lifetime against the Spaniard as he avenged a defeat in the final of this year's clay event in Estoril.

World No 1 and top seed Pete Sampras was following the 14th-seeded Ivanisevic onto Centre Court, beginning his quest for a record-tying 12th Grand Slam title against Marc Goellner of Germany.

On the women's side, top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland was due to follow Sampras and begin defence of her Open crown with a Centre Court test against Aleksandra Olsza of Poland.

Early women's winners included 11th-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, who beat Japan's Yuka Yoshida 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, Poland's Magdalena Grzybowska, Americans Kimberly Po and Laura Granville.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. World No 1 American Pete Sampras began his campaign in style, getting past German Mark Kevin Goellner in straight sets while the Wimbledon runner-up Goran Ivanisevic avoided his usual US Open first-round jinx and Thomas Muster registered the first knock-out of a seed today as the last Grand Slam tournament of the year got under way at the National Tennis Centre.

Sampras, who recently lost to the Indian ace Leander Paes in the Pilot Pen International tourney, was in total command in his 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win.

Ivanisevic, who also fell to Sampras in this summer's Wimbledon final, crashed 23 aces past Woodforde during the one hour, 27-minute match.

While the lanky, goateed Croat was dismissing Woodforde, former world number one Muster, of Austria, mustered his ground-stroking arsenal to oust 15th-seeded clay courter Alberto Berasategui of Spain, the 1994 French Open runner-up, 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-3.

On the women's side, top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland was due to follow Sampras and begin defence of herOpen crown with a Centre Court test against Aleksandra Olsza of Poland.

Early women's winners included 11th-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, who beat Japan's Yuka Yoshida 7-6 (7-5) 7-5, Poland's Magdalena Grzybowska, Americans Kimberly Po and Laura Granville.

Results

Men's singles: (1st round) 1-Pete Sampras bt Marc Goellner 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Thomas Muster bt 15-Alberto Berasategui 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-3; 14-Goran Ivanisevic bt Mark Woodforde 6-3 6-4 6-4; Gustavo Kuerten bt Noam Behr 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Davide Sanguinettei bt James Sekulov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Michael Tillstorm bt Andrew PArk 7-5, 6-3, 6-1; MArtin Damm bt Sjeng Schalken 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.

Women's singles: (Ist round) Magdalena Grzybowska bt Katarina Studenikova 6-0 6-1; Kimberly Po bt Kerry-Anne Guse 6-4 6-1; Laura Granville bt Paola Suarez 6-4 6-4; 11-Patty Schnyder bt Yuka Yoshida 7-6 (7-5) 7-5; Miho Saeki bt Jill Craybas 6-1, 2-6, 6-3; Sung-hee Park bt Lenka Nemeckova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4; Amelie Mauresmo bt Ludmila Richterova 6-2,6-1; Sandrine Testud bt Shi-ting Wang 6-0, 6-2; Evegenia Koulikovskaya bt Sandra Kleinova 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI: The Indian Olympic Association and the Union Sports Ministry's pressure tactics seem to have worked as the cricket Board is veering around to the fact that the ``best team'' should be sent to Commonwealth Games. The turnaround came after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Raj Singh Dungarpur met Union Sports Minister Uma Bharati who is said to have expressed concern that India could lose face if it sent a weak team to Kuala Lumpur.

The selectors have made it known that some players are automatic choices for the `Top 14'. If the `strongest' team is chosen for Toronto, the automatic choices would figure in that team. But with a compromise being worked out, it is learnt that the Board will ask the selectors to include some of the automatic choices in the side for Kuala Lumpur.

According to sources, the list could even include Sachin Tendulkar, who has apparently said that while he has no objection to playing on either side, he would not want to be made captain for KL. In sucha situation, Ajay Jadeja is likely to lead. Mohammed Azharuddin, who will lead the side to Toronto, is believed to have been informed of this. After some discussion Azhar is also said to have agreed to this compromise, even though the absence of Tendulkar would be a big blow for him.

Meanwhile, at least one selector is opposed to the idea of having two equally `strong' teams but the other selectors say that they can only select teams from the pool of players the Board has made available to them for a specific event. In this case, the Board will mark some of the ``automatic choices'' for Toronto and some for Kuala Lumpur. The selectors will then work out the remaining slots on either side in an attempt to find the right balance.

The controversy over the team has been raging for the past three weeks and both the IOA and the Government have been demanding that the Board send the strongest team to KL so that India could make a bid for a gold medal. At the same time, the Board has contractual obligations withInternational Management Group, the promoters of Sahara Cup. The Board stands to make upwards of a million dollars as its share from Sahara Cup, but there is no money guarantee for Commonwealth Games.

Some members of the Board feel that this compromise could mean India losing at both Toronto and KL. In Toronto, Pakistan is fielding its best 14 and in KL, Australia who are in India's group, have their best one-day side led by Steve Waugh. Since only team from each group goes to semis, India could well be out before the medal stage in Malaysia.

But the Board, which has known about this possible clash of dates for the last two years, would have satisfied both the IOA and the organisers of Sahara Cup. The coffers would be full alright, but at the same time it could mean India losing at both places. But then, that's what happens when you try to kill the `Goose that lays the Golden Eggs.'

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for a report from the Bihar Chief Secretary on the police firing on a demonstration of flood victims at Dumra in Sitamarhi district on August 11.

The Commission called for the report on a memorandum submitted by the Nagrik Sewa Morcha (NSM) demanding a probe into the unprovoked police firing on flood victims who were peacefully demonstrating for relief. Five persons died and 15 people sustained serious injuries in the firing. The report is to be submitted within six weeks.

The memorandum said the police did not resort to lathi charge, water cannons, tear gas, or firing in the air, but directly opened fire on the demonstrators. The police also arbitrarily arrested 52 people and seized 350 bicycles, nine tractors, 25 motorcycles, two tents and loudspeakers and microphones, the memorandum said.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: SHIV Sena chief Bal Thackeray today contended before the Election Commission that there was no justification for him being disqualifed from contesting or voting in elections for having appealed to the electorate on ground of religion during a Maharashtra assembly bye-election in 1987.

This was stated by Sena chief's counsel Raju Ramachandran during the hearing of a reference sent to the commission to decide the quantum of punishment after the Supreme Court dismissed in 1995 a special leave petition filed by Thackeray and former Maharashtra MLA Yashwant Prabhu against a 1991 Mumbai High Court verdict.

Thackeray was not present at the hearing and was represented through his counsel.

The apex court had found them guilty of electoral malpractice under section 8-A of the Representation of People Act for having appealed to the electorate on ground of religion while campaigning for a Vile Parle assembly bye-election in 1987. Prabhu was disqualified from contesting election for six yearsfollowing the Supreme Court order.

Former Maharashtra minister and defeated Congress candidate Prabhakar Kunte had filed the election petition against Thackeray and Prabhu in the high court soon after the bye-election.

Ramachandran told Chief Election Commissioner M S Gill and Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh that there was ``no justification'' for initiating action to disqualify Thackeray ``at this late stage''.

Besides, Ramachandran contended that no action to disqualify Thackeray was called for as the Sena chief, who has never contested polls, has declared that he would never enter any electoral fray in his life.

Though the hearing in the case concluded today, the Election Commission did not give any indication as to the time by which it would send its recommendation to the President in the matter.

Gill declined to comment on the proceedings as it was a judicial matter.

Besides Thackeray's counsel, senior Sena leader, Subhash Desai attended the hearing.

Under the Representation of PeopleAct, the commission could recommend that Thackeray be disqualified from contesting or voting in elections up to a period of six years.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: Rattled by the frontal attack on the government by one of its own organisations -- the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) -- the BJP today defended the government saying it was pro-swadeshi

. The party also ruled out acceding to the Manch's demand that the two economic advisory panels set up by the Prime Minister be reconstituted.

``The BJP and the government are not wholly in agreement with the criticism made (by the SJM). But we will consider any constructive suggestions,'' party spokesman K L Sharma said today. He said that the Budget and the policies of the government reflected its commitment to swadeshi

.

Yesterday, the SJM launched a scathing attack on the government accusing it of ``side-stepping'' the BJP manifesto which made swadeshi

the pivot of economic policies. It demanded that the government review the direction in which it was taking the economy. It also demanded that the government ``undo'' the recognition and promotion given to known anti-swadeshi

bureaucrats like Montek Singh Ahluwalia and N K Singh.

Top RSS leaders such as K S Sudarshan, Madan Das and Dattopant Thengdi and representatives of other Sangh Parivar frontal organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and ABVP were present at the meeting at which the resolution castigating the government was passed.

Sharma, however, insisted that the BJP-led government was working according to the National Agenda of Governance and that it believed that swadeshi

was important. ``What the SJM has said is their opinion. There can be two opinions,'' he said.

He remained silent when asked if the Maruti-Suzuki deal, giving the Nyveli extension project to an inexperienced Italian company and the government's decision to significantly reduce its stake in Air-India could be characterised as pro-swadeshi.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. September 1: India's leading automaker Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) has been ranked 24th among the global vehicle manufacturers by an international automobile magazine.

Another Indian automobile company, Telco has been ranked 28th by the `Automotive News, 1998 market data book' on the basis of production and sales in the year 1997.

Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Company, which is about to launch its first vehicle `Santro' the small car in India later this year, stood 13th in the list of leading auto companies topped by the U S-based General Motors.

Quoting the magazine, Hyundai claimed in a statement here today that it topped the Korean auto market, edging out the nearest rival Daewoo Motor Company. Daewoo stood 18th in the list and second in Korea, according to the magazine's global list.

While MUL produced 3,49,230 vehicles and sold 3,46,159 during 1997, Telco, the only other Indian company to figure in the list, manufactured 1,83,982 vehicles and clocked a worldwide sales of 1,81,328 during thesame year.

The worldwide sales figures by the magazine for 1997 stood at 53,404,834 vehicles that included passenger cars, light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Three Japanese companies made it to the first ten in the group with Toyota Motor Corporation being ranked third and Nissan Motor Corporation seventh.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. September 1: The Bombay High Court today admitted a writ petition alleging involvement of Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde in a Rs 185-crore fraud in the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB).

The petition, filed by three consumers including Congress MLA Digvijay Khanvilkar, alleged that MSEB awarded the contract for retrofitting of 15 turbines and other machinery to Power Plant Performance Improvement Ltd. (PPIL) without considering other biddings of lower cost. The petition further said former MSEB chairman P L Gajralwar and three other board members were also involved in the fraud.

However, the division bench of Chief Justice M B Shah and Justice Y S Jahagirdar refused to grant stay on the contract awarded to PPIL who have been allowed to proceed with the retrofitting of turbines in seven units as work on them are scheduled to commence in the next two years.

As regards other units the court directed MSEB to advertise for fresh bids and consider tenders quoting lesser price withoutcompromising the condition of increasing power generation. The board has been directed to place the tenders before the court on November 10, 1998.

The petition alleged that at a meeting of the directors of the board on January 28, 1998, Gajralwar along with board members Sudam Mandlik, Ashok Sampat and Anil Rathod hurriedly decided to grant the contract to PPIL. ``The chairman pressurised other directors to award the contract to PPIL,'' the petition said adding that the technical and accounts members of the board were not in favour of awarding the contract to PPIL while another company LMZ had quoted lower rates.

The petition stated that the board meeting was held to decide on the work on one unit. However, the chairman and the three members decided to award PPIL with contracts for other units as well. ``This is illegal, arbitrary and against the interests of consumers because it would affect the performance of the MSEB,'' the petition said.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sep 1: The government has increased drawback rates on 219 items, lowered rates for 290 items and introduced six new items into the list.

Major items on which drawback rates have been increased are readymade garments, hand tools, bicycle and bicycle parts, brass artware, brass hardware, leather and leather products, made-ups including handloom made-ups, and certain machinery items. The new rates will come into effect from Wednesday.

Referring to the special additional duty levied in the budget, the finance ministry release says the levy of 4 per cent SAD has been taken into account alongwith 5 per cent SAD applicable on various imported inputs. This will provide export products the necessary leverage to compete with products of South East Asian Countries where prices have fallen steeply on account of the collapse of currencies,it says.

The release adds that the increased drawbacks take into account ``the increased incidence of duties introduced on different inputs used by exporters.'' It hasbeen the endeavor of the finance ministry to ensure that exports do not suffer on account of high custom and excise duties, it says.

Highlights of the changes are as follows (i) the six new products which have been included are surgical blades, heat resistance rubber, non-computing registers, dual type, electrical motors and tennis rackets (ii) 219 items on which rates have been increased are items where duties have increased or the total incidence of duties have increased due to rise in input prices (iii) rates in respect of 238 products are being continued at existing levels as there is no change in input duties and prices (iv) rates of 290 products have to be revised downwards in view of reduction in duties and prices of inputs used by manufacturers (v) on handloom products rates have been revised upwards and the description has been revised to include all varieties of made-up articles.

This will enable exporters to earn drawback on any article including new varieties which are in demand in theinternational market (vi) draw back rates have been re-introduced for garments exported from EOU/EPZ units which have inputs on which duty has been paid (vii) the major benefit extended to all export products on which government had decided to restrict the Modvat credit availed to 95 per cent is a new provision in the drawback table which compensates exporters for the 5 per cent Modvat credit which cannot be otherwise utilised. This removes the disability of 5 per cent which was making inputs costlier to exporters (viii) in the case of handloom products, handicrafts including handicrafts of brass artware, finished leather, grey fabrics and other export products which are unconditionally fully exempt from excise duty, it has been decided to dispense with the need to produce certificates regarding non-availment of Modvat facility as a measure to simplify export procedures and pay drawback more expeditiously to exporters (ix) in respect of certain other products a circular has been issued on guidelines to befollowed for verification of Modvat availed.

The range of exports which will now get higher duty drawback is wide. This is because the special additional customs duty is being levied -- on top of the 5 per cent special customs duty -- on a large variety of imports which go into exports. Among the beneficiaries of higher duty drawback are thrust items like textiles, drugs and pharmaceuticals and electronic hardware.

On the flip side, duty drawback rates have been lowered for 290 items. This seems to be an economy drive. Apparently, duty foregone in favour of exports is large -- a consequence of efficient computerised settlement of drawback claims -- and is more than 25 per cent of annual customs revenue.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. New Delhi, Sept 1: Tatas today announced their formal decision to pull out of their proposed Rs 1,475-crore airline project with the Ministry of Civil Aviation continuing to delay the project for one reason or another -- the project has been delayed by over 43 months already.

This makes it the second time in as many months that the Tatas have been forced to pull out of a major venture involving prestigious foreign investors because of the delay tactics of this very ministry -- in July, the Tatas pulled out of the Rs 1,200-crore Bangalore airport project after the ministry tried to change the terms of the project and later refused to honour commitments given by them to the Tatas at the time of the original bid.

The Tatas' decision to pull out of the airline project was communicated to Civil Aviation Secretary P V Jayakrishnan in a letter written by Tata Industries' director Sujit Gupta. Gupta also sent a separate letter withdrawing the group's application with the FIPB to its chairman T R Prasad. Copies ofthe letter were also sent to all FIPB members including Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar, Commerce Secretary P P Prabhu, and A N Ram who is the economic secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

While no comments could be got from either the Civil Aviation Minister Anant Kumar or the Secretary, when contacted FIPB officials said the Tatas had in fact appreciated the positive role played by them and had said the main reason for the delays lay with the Aviation Ministry.

Briefing the press shortly after today's letters were shot off, Gupta said their decision to pull out of the project was not in any way a vote of no-confidence in the government but was really a vote against the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Today's decision was interpreted by observers as a smart one since the expert committee set up by the Aviation Ministry to examine their project after sitting on it for eight months was sure to reject their case. As a Tata spokesperson put it at today's briefing: ``The committee has been set up bythe same ministry which has been opposing the project.''

Indeed, all evidence seems to suggest that the ministry has played foul with the Tatas, with the aviation policy itself being changed, and several amendments added to it, to prevent the airline from taking off (see box). So, for example, while the earlier policy allowed foreign airline companies to have a 40 per cent stake in local carriers, this was changed when the Tatas roped in Singapore Airlines as their partner. This, despite the fact that the government allowed Jet Airways to carry on with a 40 per cent stake by foreign airlines. And, in December 1997, also allowed ModiLuft to sell 40 per cent of its equity to foreign investors -- the latter deal never worked out eventually, but for different reasons -- but never asked it to disclose who the investors would be.

Similarly, when Jet Airways was given six months to divest the stake of foreign airlines -- Kuwait Airways and Gulf Air -- it just gave a three-line letter to the ministry saying itwould comply. Nor were any questions asked about the details of the shareholders of its holding company, Tailwinds which is registered in the Isle of Mann.

The Tata proposal was, however, put off for several months with the ministry insisting on getting full details of who the investors would be -- the fact, however, is that with the proposal not even cleared, how could the Tatas get any investors in the project.

The key problem, as is evident to all including those in the government --the PMO, the Finance Ministry and the Industry Ministry have been strong supporters of the project -- is that the Tatas were checkmated by domestic vested interests, generally suspected to be competing airline companies. In fact, at one stage, even the state-owned Indian Airlines was brought into the act and put out a note saying that they would be hit badly by the proposed Tata Airline.

Most of the facts in this note, however, were incorrect -- the note, incidentally, formed the basis on which several MPs opposed theproject. The note, for example, talked of how IA's capacity utilisation (load factor, in jargon) had fallen in the last few years, when it had actually gone up. It also spoke of how there was plenty of excess capacity in the industry today, when in fact the civil aviation ministry itself had pointed out that there was a demand of 47 additional 120-seater aircraft in the next three years. Add to this the fact that, in the last two years, 17 aircraft of different airlines have gone out of use.

The Tata Airline which would involve foreign equity of Rs 278 crore was expected to generate direct employment to around 2,400 people by the fifth year of its operations, and to 10,000 people indirectly in terms of support staff at airports, baggage handlers, and so on.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sep 1: The strong builder lobby of the Vasai-Virar region is taking on the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) for the latter's incompetence to announce a development plan for the region. Even as the last date to submit the final plan is fast approaching, CIDCO officials are not showing any signs of action.

As per the provisions, the special planning authority has to submit the final plan to the State Government for its sanction on or before September 6. If CIDCO fails to do this then there will not be any development plan for the region which is legally valid. This will create a vacuum which means unauthorised construction and haphazard development, say builders.

In 1990, the state government had appointed CIDCO as a Special Planning Authority for this region replacing the Bombay Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA). CIDCO took almost two years to prepare and publish the interim development plan, which was full of anomalies. It was expected that the final plan wouldbe published after hearing suggestions and objections from the public.

However, it turned out other way round and this time the objections, suggestions were to the tune of about 6000. It is mandatory for any planning authority to finalise the plan within three years from the date of publication. It was felt by the builders that CIDCO's Vasai office may not be able to complete the legal formalities before the final date. But even after almost eight years, CIDCO could not finalise even a Development Plan about the implementation.

Recently in many building permission cases, CIDCO has refused to grant the development permission due to expectations of substantial modification in the published draft development plan. If major modifications are expected, the plan needs to be republished and once again the entire procedure of calling the objections/suggestions and conducting the hearing will have to be followed.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, September 1: In order to check the incidence of adulteration of edible oil, the Department of Sugar and Edible Oils of the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs has intensified its quality control measures.

The department would hold surprise checks at units that manufacture vegetable oil products and solvent extracted products. Besides, the frequency of regular inspection has also been increased.

Last week, the Government had taken a decision to import edible oilseeds. In order to ensure the availability of unadulterated oil at reasonable prices, the Government has also strengthened the public distribution system in edible oils and has made arrangements for the supply of imported oil wherever needed.

All field officers have been instructed to draw samples from all manufacturing units in their zones for purity checks. These officers have also been directed to lift samples from the market.

The Ministry has also strengthened the Consumer Service Centre of the Directorate of Vanaspati,Vegetable Oils and Fats at Super Bazaar (Connaught Place) in the Capital in order to provide testing facilities to the consumer. A fee of Rs 10 is being levied per test, at present.

Besides, the industry has also been directed to check the purity of the raw materials and finished products. Operations are being suspended at manufacturing units that have found items to be adulterated till the time they set up adequate analytical facilities for checking their purity, to the satisfaction of the Government.

The department has already banned the use of mustard oil in the manufacture of vanaspati oil. Besides, the state governments and Union Territories have been asked not to sell mustard oil in loose form. The states have also been directed to monitor the quality of edible oils more stringently.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September 1: Hectic consultations are taking place between banks, financial institutions (FIs) and the RBI to come up with a bailout package for the thousands of small/medium sized industries which are facing problems repaying their interest or capital, due to the industrial slowdown. Among the suggestions doing the rounds are that FIs/banks be more liberal in considering the request of companies in distress and grant a three-year moratorium on repayment of interest/principal in a larger number of cases.

The proposal has gathered steam in the last month, with major political parties putting pressure on banks/FIs to reschedule loans of various companies, especially those in the small and medium sector -- FIs are, in any case, rescheduling several loans of larger corporates these days. It is believed that the matter also figured during the last meeting of the standing committee on finance. In the last month, three sets of meetings have taken place on this between various banks, FIs and theRBI.

Interestingly, in this case, the banks/FIs are also keen on working out something, as their non-performing assets (NPAs) are increasing since their borrowers are not paying their interest or repaying the capital borrowed in the past. It is now being proposed that the RBI change the classification of NPAs to take care of the interests of the banks/FIs.

Under the present norms, if interest is not paid on a loan for two successive quarters, it is to be declared as an NPA. Under the proposed scheme, this will be increased to four quarters.

The proposal, which will be widely welcomed by both industry as well as banks/FIs has, however, sent chills down the spines of several top bankers as this will make banks more lax in their loan appraisals and is also prone to a lot of misuse. If it is generally known that banks will be a lot more amenable to granting a moratorium, then there would be increased pressure to grant this to favoured companies.

Among the other proposals being considered as part of thispackage are that, for new projects, loans be provided at a zero interest rate for the first three years, and to charge this from the companies by levying higher rates for the later years -- thus companies would not face a cash-flow problem in the early years.

Another proposal is to allow banks/FIs to reschedule loans of companies engaged in new projects without attracting the provisions of NPAs. So, if a company is setting up a new project but does not start production, the FI/bank can renegotiate the loan, and make it more attractive for the company. This will benefit several greenfield projects currently underway and which are facing severe problems in their cash flows.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. September 1: Defending champions Air-India swelled their WIFA Super Division League points kitty today after registering a convincing victory over Central Bank of India (CBI) here at the Cooperage.

In another Super Division match, substitute ME Satish's last minute strike a saw Bank of India (BoI) derail Central Railway (1-0).

With today's victory, Air-India are sitting pretty at the second spot havign logged 18 points from 9 matches. Bengal Mumbai Football Club (BMFC) head the standings with 22 from 10 matches.

Air-India who dominated the proceedings shot into an early lead, thanks to a bad collection by CBI goalkeeper Jerome Ghanekar. Mid-fielder Khambiton Singh's goal-ward bound aerial long-ranger found Ghanekar making a mess of it. Opportunistic striker Debdas Sen, who migrated from Eastern Railway this season, made full use of the chance at his feet to lob the ball into the net.

Anthony Fernandes sealed victory for A-I in the 50th minute when he outpaced the Bank defenders and thumped into thenet from close.

The Central Railway-BoI encounter was an evenly contested affair. Though Railway dominated the first quarter of the match, BoI settled down before creating openings.

The bankmen's endeavour paid dividends in the last minute when Satish shocked the railwaymen when he nodded in a Navin Kotian's cross. The opposition were found flatfooted as they waited for off-side trap.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: The Bombay High Court today allowed Revenue Minister Narayan Rane's plea requesting the deletion of his name from the list of respondents in a public interest petition filed by Nashik Municipal Corporation member Gajanan Shelar.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice M B Shah and Justice Y S Jahagirdar however admitted Shelar's petition challenging a state government order restoring land acquired for the Nashik-based Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute (MERI) to its original owners.

In his prayer, Shelar had urged the court to direct the Anti-Corruption Bureau to file a case against Rane under the Prevention of Corruption Act, contending that the order passed by the minister to restore the land was bad in law and with malafide intention.

In 1963, the state government had acquired 400 acres of land for MERI at Nashik. The farmers were compensated as per the provisions of law. In 1993, some of the farmers approached the district collector, asking that theunutilised land be returned to them.

The farmers submitted that as per the provisions of an order passed by the government, if the acquired land was not utilised within three years and if it was not required for any other public purpose, then the same should be returned to the original owners at a price, which should not be more than double the price of the original compensation.

The plea however was rejected by the Nashik Collector, following which the farmers filed an appeal before Rane. The minister ordered that in addition to the 176 acres of land on which some construction had already taken place, MERI should retain an additional 50 acres of land and that the remaining land be restored to the original owners.

Challenging Rane's order, Shelar alleged that it was passed with malafide intention and named Rane, along with the Revenue secretary and the Nashik Collector, as a respondent in his petition.

Appearing for the minister, counsel Dhananjay Chandrachud urged the court that Rane's name bedropped from the list of respondents since the order was a quasi judicial verdict in his capacity as a Revenue Minister and that it was passed after taking into consideration the facts brought before him by the farmers. The court accepted Chandrachud's plea and dropped Rane from the list of respondents.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MOSCOW, Sept 1: In the grips of political storm each in his own country, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and US President Bill Clinton today bear-hugged in the former's study to inaugurate, what promises to be, a summit of uncertain terms.

The first agreement to trickle out was a joint pledge to eliminate some stockpiles of plutonium taken from dismantled missile warheads.

``Clinton and I know one another well, and we are friends,'' Yeltsin said earlier at a Moscow school.

With Russia reeling from a political and economic crisis, Yeltsin formally welcomed Clinton outside the Kremlin after wreath-laying at Moscow's tomb of the unknown soldier.

Republican senator Pete Domenici who flew here with Clinton, told a media person today that the two Presidents would sign tomorrow an agreement to get rid of about 50 metric tons of plutonium on each side and break down the weapons material so it cannot be used for military purposes.

``We both have way more than we need,'' Domenici said.

A draft of theleaders' joint statement said the plutonium would be withdrawn in stages, with financing arrangements to be set by year's end.

The draft said: Measures to manage and reduce such stockpiles are an essential element of irreversible arms reduction efforts and necessary to ensure that these materials do not become a proliferation risk.

Earlier, Viktor Chernomyrdin, acting prime minister, met Clinton and his wife, Hillary, at the Moscow airport.

Hoping to get a boost from summiteering, and doing his bit as an ambassador of West's free market, Clinton pledged continued US support for Russia as long as its leaders ``stay on the path of reform'' and do not revert to the Communist ways of the past.

With a message of support but no financial help, the US President urged Russians to reject the ``failed policies of the past'' in coping with their current economic crisis.

``Given the facts before you, I have to tell you that I do not believe there are any painless solutions,'' Clinton told a new generation ofRussian leaders at Moscow state university of international relations.

He repeatedly said that Russia must play by the rules of international commerce.

With Russia's economic turmoil throwing the summit agenda into uncertainty, Clinton addressed the crisis with frankness, but offered no specific ideas on how the infant democracy could weather the tailspin of its currency.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: Former Prasar Bharati Board chief executive officer (CEO) S S Gill today filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the ``constitutional validity'' of the Prasar Bharati ordinance which terminated his service by reducing his tenure as CEO.

The petition, which will come up for hearing tomorrow, termed the ordinance unconstitutional, saying a Bill of the same nature was awaiting the Rajya Sabha (RS) nod after being passed by the Lok Sabha on July 31.

The 72-year old Gill said the ordinance, which fixed the age limit of the CEO at 62 years, was ``politically motivated'' as the Bharatiya Janata Party Government, ever since its inception, had a one-point agenda to oust him from the post.

He alleged in his petition that the Government was inimical to his continuation as CEO as he did not operate as per their whims and fancies.

The way the ordinance was promulgated, he said, was a subversion of democratic and parliamentray norms, as one House of Parliament has passed the Bill andthe other is yet to discuss it. By bringing in this ordinance, the Government has bypassed the RS, Gill said.

The ordinance, restoring the original 1990 Act, was promulgated on Saturday night and the Government immediately appointed All India Radio Director General O P Kejriwal in Gill's place.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September 1: Tata Industries has roped in ICICI Securities and Finance Company (I-Sec) managing director Kishor Chaukar as its new managing director. Chaukar, who has been associated with the investment-banking arm of ICICI since its inception, will put in his papers over the next few days.

"Tata Industries is appointing a mew managing director shortly. He is KA Chaukar, currently the managing director of I-Sec. Chaukar brings to Tata Industries considerable experience in project evaluation and project finance," a Tata Services press release said.

Tata Industries is the main promoter of the Tata group in new projects in the areas of information technology, telecommunications and other high technology areas.

"It happened very fast. It is not an opportunity in finance. I will be involved in setting up new projects for Tata Industries. It is a challenge I am looking forward to," he said.

The financial sector has not been surprised by the development, as Chaukar is believed to be not enjoying hisassignment in I-Sec for quite some time now. The massive loss posted by I-Sec in 1997-98 did not go down well with the ICICI management. More complications cropped up when overseas partner JP Morgan decided to call it a day early this year.

I-Sec has also lost the prime of place in the new scheme of things at ICICI, which is fast turning into a universal bank, following the recommendations of McKinsey & Co. A sizable number of I-Sec employees left the fold to join JP Morgan, few departments wound up and some of I-Sec executives were called back to ICICI.

Chaukar, however, was made ICICI executive director and sent on deputation to I-Sec as its managing director. Chaukar has been associated with ICICI over 14 years. Joining as an officer in 1984, he spent four years with the merchant-banking wing and another four years heading ICICI's Delhi operations. In 1995, he took over as CEO of I-Sec when NJ Zaveri called it a day.

A release issued by ICICI said that since Chaukar had decided to join TataIndustries, he would relinquish his position as director on the boards of ICICI, I-Sec and TDICI in October. "Related directorships would be relinquished simultaneously," said the release.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: The cold war between the alliance partners over the Rs 10,000 crore Shivshahi Punarvasan Prakalp scheme is still simmering if the drama at today's special cabinet meeting is any indication.

After BJP leader Kirit Somaiyya publicly criticised high-profile Housing Minister Sureshdada Jain over the housing scheme, it was Jain's turn to hit back and he did so by halting a proposal mooted by Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde.

Munde, who also holds the energy portfolio, had put forward the revised Power Purchase Agreement between the Reliance and Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) for the 410 MW Patalganga power project before the cabinet members at a special meeting on August 29.

Taking objection to it, Jain urged the Chief Minister to defer the proposal for the next cabinet meeting since he had not read the cabinet note drafted by the Energy Department. Joshi readily agreed to the proposal and accordingly, it was postponed and brought up again at today's cabinet meeting.

Butwhen Jain made the same plea at today's meeting, Munde virtually stalled the cabinet for a while, saying, that since he had not read any of the cabinet notes, all the items of the agenda should be taken up at the next meeting of the cabinet.

Not only BJP Ministers, but a section of the Shiv Sena cabinet members openly came out in support of Munde, saying, such a practice should not be encouraged. Secondly, they also urged the Chief Minister to circulate the cabinet note atleast one day in advance so as to allow Ministers to carefully study them.

Apparently sensing trouble and the possibility of BJP members boycotting the cabinet for a second time, the Chief Minister declined to take note of Jain's plea and took up the proposal moved by Munde.

Meanwhile, Jain looked completey disappointed over the progress of the slumdwellers scheme. ``So far we have met on three occasions, but we have not touched the basic objections raised by the BJP,'' Jain said.

Following objection taken by Somaiyya, Thackeray hadset up a committee comprising Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde, Sureshdada Jain, Kirit Somaiyya and Housing Development Corporation Chief Deepak Parekh to review the project and examine the objections raised by BJP.

On the objection raised by the BJP over the tendering system, Jain said for more transparency in the entire process, he was prepared to appoint former Chief Secretary D M Sukthankar, Kirit Somaiyya, Congress leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Madhukar Pichad on the committee.

When his attention was drawn to the objections raised by the State Planning Board headed by BJP leader Prakash Jawdekar, Jain said since the project has been approved by the Cabinet, the highest decision making body, he was not concerned about the views of the planning board.

Referring to the threats received by him and Housing Secretary V P Raja, Jain said it was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, who has enhanced security for him with immediate effect. ``I do not know as to what isthe additional security provided to him. But I am told that the security has been enhanced,'' Jain added.

Munde confirmed that additional security has been provided to Jain following threats to his life. ``Like the security to former Ministers Ganesh Naik, Suresh Navale and Gulabrao Gawande, additional security has been provided to Jain and Raja,'' Munde pointed out.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI: Union civil aviation minister Ananth Kumar on Tuesday said the centre will allow 100 per cent participation by international consortiums with local partners in the construction of domestic airports.

Inaugurating the first electronic international exhibition and conference "Nepcon India '98" organised by the Confederation of India Industry (CII) and Electronic Components Industries Association (Elcina) here, Kumar said the centre had decided to allow consortiums to invest fully as against the earlier 74 per cent.

Kumar said his ministry will clear the international airport project at Devanahalli within a week if the Tata consortium approached them. During his recent meet with the Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, the latter had promised to come back to him after revaluating the project with the consortium partners--Raytheon and Singapore consortium, besides consulting Karnataka chief minister JH Patel.

Kumar said the review of the project was not put forth by his ministry but was suggested by Tatahimself during the meeting.

He said he had agreed to release the excess land held by the airport authorities near the Bangalore airport for construction of a four-way freeway to develop the whitefield IT Corridore. If the four-lane highway was completed, the proposed Pragati Maidan-like exhibition complex and international technology park, besides the airport, would stand to gain.

On the exhibition, Kumar said the centre was committed to make the country a global IT destination and urged the sector and the state government to integrate technology as it would be more relevent in the 21st century.

The four-day exhibition will have exhibits from Germany, Italy, Japan Switzerland, Taiwan and Singapore.

Electronic component is one of the fastest growing sector with the estimated demand-supply gap expected to increase from $1.14 billion in 1997-98 to $2.94 billion by 2001-2002. While 18 companies under the banner of Udyog Mitra are participating from Maharashtra, ten manufacturers from Andhra Pradesh haveput their products on display.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW YORK Sep 1: White for day, black for night. And on that fashion note, Pete Sampras and another pair of former champions got the US Open started on a run that could end in Grand Slam history.

Sampras, dressed all in white, but no country-club gentleman, starred on a sun-drenched Monday afternoon on the stadium court.

Monica Seles, wearing a black dress to mourn this spring's death of her father, outslugged Florencia Labat of Argentina 7-6 (7-0), 6-2.

And Andre Agassi, merely making another in a series of fashion statements, beat France's Sebastien Grosjean in the last match of opening day, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

The afternoon crowd didn't see the best Sampras, the one who took Wimbledon for the fifth time and is trying to add a fifth US title and record-tying 12th Grand Slam singles crown.

It didn't have to be. Goellner, a 27-year-old German, last won a match more than two months ago. His game consists primarily of a first serve that reaches 115 mph if he's on, and against Sampras much more isneeded.

Sampras had eleven aces and dropped just 15 points on his serve, clocking one first-set ace at 131 mph. He didn't allow Goellner, ranked 109th in the world, a break point, and toyed with him from both baseline and net in winning in just 84 minutes.

``You just try to get through the early rounds,'' said Sampras, eliminated in the fourth round a year ago. ``It's nice to get that monkey off your back and get into the tournament. I tried to stay focused and I think I did.''

Six more wins over the next two weeks and Sampras joins Roy Emerson as the only players to win an even dozen Grand Slam singles tournaments, the milestone the tradition-minded Californian treasures above all others.

``What more can you do in the game? Win the French Open, maybe, or all four Slams in one year,'' Sampras said. The French Open, on clay, is the only Grand Slam tournament sampras has not won.

``I'm thinking of entering the ladies' tournament next year,'' he said. Maybe I can get lucky and win that.''

Adding asecond Grand Slam title for the year also would do plenty to clinch the No 1 ranking for the season, the sixth straight year that would end with Sampras on top, breaking the record he shares with Jimmy Connors.

``All those records are important to me,'' Sampras said. ``I'm not focused on this tournament any more than any US Open, but I hope to get some things done over the next two weeks.''

No fighting words there, nothing for defending champion Patrick Rafter, No 2 Marcelo Rios or any other challenger to hang on the refrigerator for inspiration.

Sampras is no trash-talker. But he has an edge, and the crowd that half-filled the 20,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium saw it a couple times against Goellner.

Meek Pete looked positively McEnroesque as he stared down a line judge he felt missed an ace. He smirked at the umpire, and tried to get the fans who remained in the third set back into the match, waving his arms like a cheerleader.

He even took a light shot at Emerson, the storied Aussie who won a largeshare of his slams while Rod Laver was on the sidelines in the dispute between amateur tennis and the emerging professionals.

``I am not trying to take anything away from Emerson and what he did, but the competition is probably tougher today than it was 30 years ago,'' he said. ``Laver could have had 15 or 20.''

That's not dissing anyone or stepping out of character, Sampras said. Just responding to the surroundings.

``This is the most hectic of the Grand Slams,'' he said. ``You walk out at Wimbledon and you feel the history. You walk out here and you feel the electricity.''

The player Sampras beat at Wimbledon, 14th-seeded Goran Ivanisevic, had 23 aces in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Australia's Mark Woodforde.

Agassi, who is seeded eighth and could meet Sampras in the quarterfinals, kept Grosjean pinned to the baseline with forehands and slicing backhands. After wasting a string of break points in the third set, the 1994 Open champ finally broke for a 5-4 lead and served out the match atlove.

``I like to be here,'' Agassi said of a tournament where he has played consistently well and a court he called super-fast.''

You have to prioritise tournaments, but this is certainly at the top of my list. This is a city where I've had some fantastic results.''

Defending women's champion Martina Hingis beat Aleksandra Olsza of Poland 6-2, 6-0. The Swiss teen-ager, who won the Australian Open in January has struggled recently and hopes the open will end that.

``I'm definitely not as confident as I was last year,'' Hingis said. ``This is the last Grand Slam of the year and you put all your energy into this tournament.''

Seles, a two-time open champion and a quarterfinalist a year ago, traded groundstrokes and errors with labat before blitzing through the tiebreak, then dominated the second set.

With her grunting subdued from her heyday and at times mixing with the squeals of a child in the stands Seles did not allow a point on her serve in the second set until she held triple match point.Labat tied it 40-all before Seles wrapped up the victory with a service winner and a lob that labat netted.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. DURBAN, Sept 1: A strong resolution condemning the US attack on Sudan will be passed by NAM during the two-day summit which starts here tomorrow.

For India, the bright side is that there will be no similar resolution on the US aggression on terrorist camps in Afghanistan, with which India is directly concerned. India has consistently sought to differentiate between America's actions in Sudan and Afghanistan.

The strongly worded draft resolution condemning the US for its ``unilateral and unwarranted action'' is despite the presence of US Assistant Secretary of State Princeton Leeman in Durban as an observer. The formal opening of the 12th Non-Aligned Movement meet tomorrow with representatives from 113 countries follows sessions between officials and foreign ministers over the last four days to finalise the draft resolutions.

The resolution against the US actions in Afghanistan could not be taken up since the Rabani government has not asked for a condemnation. Effectively, however, it is the Taliban andnot the official Rabani government which is in control of the country.

Apart from the resolution on terrorism being in tune with India's own perception, India also scored a victory in members' acceptance of Egypt's proposal that there should be an international conference under the aegis of the United Nations to discuss how to combat terrorism globally.

While India has got its way on the NAM resolutions relating to terrorism, it still is uncertain whether India and Pakistan will be indirectly rebuked by NAM for their recent nuclear tests.

Till this evening, there was no final decision on the wording of the resolution on disarmament. While India will not be named, the phrasing of the resolution will be significant.

Several countries, including reportedly the host country South Africa, have been pressing for a resolution which will call for halting nuclear weaponisation and tacitly support the existing nuclear power structure under NPT and CTBT.

India's stand, however, is that its nuclear tests cannotbe seen in isolation but in totality. India is pressing for non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament within a specified time frame.

While for India the focus this summit has been on the terrorism and nuclear issues, most African and Asian countries leaders felt that the summit's economic resolution is most important.

The draft of the NAM economic resolution stresses the need to set up a forum where developing countries can consider ways of re-structuring the international economy so that an economic crisis like that in South East Asia can be avoided.

At tomorrow's function, President Nelson Mandela will take over as chairman of NAM. This is seen as a significant point in NAM's history vindicating the movement's struggle against apartheid and other forms of discrimination over the past three-and-a-half decades.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MOSCOW, Sept 1: Acting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin today proposed a list of ministers for the President's approval, even as his own nomination remained shaky in the wake of the Communists' determination to reject again his candidature in the Duma.

Observers say there is little chance that Chernomyrdin's nomination will be approved. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said they would again vote against Chernomyrdin.

President Boris Yeltsin had asked Chernomyrdin to submit the list of Cabinet members to him, Public Russian Television (PRT) reported.

Quoting unnamed Kremlin insiders, it said that according to the list put forth by Chernomyrdin, foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov, interior minister Sergei Stepashin, defence minister Igor Sergeyev, and federal security head Vladimir Putin would retain their posts in the new Cabinet.

Before going into summit talks with US President Bill Clinton in the Kremlin today, Yeltsin made it clear that he would stand by Chernomyrdin.

``I insist thatChernomyrdin be, as soon as possible, approved as Prime Minister because it's impossible to have a temporary person at such a post,'' he said, greeting students at a Moscow school on the occasion of the first day of the academic year in Russia.

``I insist on the speedier confirmation of the candidate, because he is my nominee,'' noted Yeltsin, calling on the defiant Duma to approve Chenomyrdin in the second vote, scheduled for Monday.

Under the Constitution, Yeltsin can submit the same nomination thrice and if the Duma refuses to confirm thrice in a row, he is entitled to dissolve the House and call for an early election.

Zyuganov, however, made it clear that the Communists would again vote against Chernomyrdin. ``I am not concerned about the dissolution of the Duma. I am concerned about the dissolution of the country,'' he said, expressing the mood of majority of the deputies.

``He (Yeltsin) insisted on the appointment of Ilyushenko, (former prosecutor-general) and nominated his candidacy thrice. ButIlyushenko went straight to prison. He also insisted on the nomination of (Sergei) Kiriyenko, who brought the country on the verge of bankruptcy. Now he is insisting on Chernomyrdin. This is the molestation of Duma, rape of Russia,'' he said.

Speaking to commercial NTV, recently-appointed Russia's Federal Security chief Vladimir Putin said Yeltsin was not considering use of force to solve the economic problem of the country as claimed by many lawmakers.

Putin said he had no instructions from either the Kremlin or the government to use force to deal with Yeltsin's Communist rivals.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CALCUTTA: Formidable East Bengal defeated strong contender Mohammedan Sporting 2-0 in the first round of the Tata Tea-IFA Super League soccer at Salt Lake Stadium here today.

The match was organised just to complete the formality as both these clubs along with Mohun Bagan had already assured their places in the second round of the league which would be contested between five top finishers of the first round.

Dipendu put East Bengal in the lead in 34th minute converting a spot kick which was awarded when he was tripped inside the box by Mohammedan defender Soumen Sarkar. East Bengal kept up their pressure and buttressed the margin three minutes later. This time Dipendu collected the ball following nice through by medio Tushar Rakshit who beat a couple of defenders and scored.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: S Ramaswamy tamed the firepower of Nachiket Chawathe 17-21, 21-19, 21-15, 23-21, to win the men's singles title in the Clinic All-Clear sponsored Mumbai YMCA Major State Ranking Table Tennis tournament at the Sachivalaya Gymkhana here today.

Chandani Asher won the women's final, clawing back from a 1-2 deficit to defeat Deepali Zaveri 21-18, 10-21, 18-21, 21-15, 21-6. However, Chandani blew a 2-0 lead in the junior girls final that allowed Sherry Crawford to win a double (16-21, 16-21, 21-19, 15-21, 22-20). Sherry had won the sub-junior title earlier.

Eric Fernandes confirmed his status as the top-ranked junior in the absence of fancied Aditya Mahagaonkar to claim the boys title beating Kalpesh Mohite 21-15, 21-14, 18-21, 22-20.

Ramaswamy, who had to bear the brunt of Chawathe's attack in the first game, which resulted in a 17-21 loss.

However, Ramaswamy slowed down the game in the second, forcing Chawathe to jab and make errors. Then came his familiar rally. Down 16-19, Ramaswamy wonthe next five points to win the second game. After winning the third game, Ramaswamy faced a determined Chawathe in the fourth game.

Chawathe forced an 18-16 lead but Ramaswamy fought his way to take lead at 19-18. At 19-all, he hit a brilliant forehand topspin that gave him one match point. But Chawathe levelled the scores once again with a swift back-hand jab. After sharing two points each, Ramaswamy won the match on two errors to bring an end to a fine duel.

Chandani tried to defend too much after winning the first game and lost the second and third. When she play a bit more positive, it gave her results as she won the fourth game and then won 11 points consecutively in the decider as she moved from 6-4 to 17-4. Deepali's fight ended then and there.

Eric looked to have lost his concentration in the third game which he lost but he regained it on time to win the fourth game in extra points and claim his second title within a week. He had won the junior boys final in the state Ranking tournament atAnushakti Nagar on Saturday.

The girls final was exciting and it showed the spirit of Sherry Crawford. She fought back from the loss of the first two games to win the title. In the first two games, it as a battle of patience and it was won by Chandani. In her eagerness to attack, Sherry made several mistakes.

But a slight change in tactics turned the fortunes for her. Instead of attacking, she started pushing the ball and forced Chandani to attack paving way for more errors from the latter.

The decider was tight with the scores running close from 15 all onwards. Sherry had one match point but Chandani saved it only to lose the next two points for a 20-22 loss in the decider.

Yadav, Mamta triumph

Sagar Yadav of Mithibai and Mamta Prabhu of Mulund Commerce won the boys and girls singles titles in the Junior Collegiate Table Tennis championships at the University Pavilion here today.

Second seed Sagar defeated top seed Karan Kapoor 21-19, 21-11 while Mamta won 18-21, 21-19, 21-16 againstShriti Doshi of Podar. Shriti had knocked out top sed Janhavi Deshpande of Mulund Commerce in the semi-finals.

Vaze won the boys team championships beating KC 2-0 in the final while the strong Mulund Commerce trounced Mithibai by the same margin to claim the girls title.

RESULTS

Boys singles (final):

Sagar Yadav (Mithibai) bt Karan Kapoor (Jai Hind) 21-19, 21-11. Semis: Yadav bt V Srinivasan (A Energy) 21-12, 21-14; Kapoor bt Gunjan Wagle (Vaze) 21-16, 21-14.

Team championships (final):

Vaze bt KC College 2-0 (A Ganpatye bt A Khambatta 21-10, 24-22; G Wagle bt B Mistry 21-12, 29-27).

Girls singles (final:

Mamta Prabhu (Mulund Commerce) bt Shriti Doshi (Podar) 18-21, 21-19, 21-16. Semis:

Shriti bt Janhavi Deshpande (Mulund Commerce) 21-12, 21-12; Mamta bt Bindu Suvarna (Mithibai) 21-13, 21-13.

Team championships (final):

Mulund Commerce bt Mithibai 2-0 (J Deshpande bt B Suvarna 21-7, 21-9; M Prabhu bt S Shroff 21-6, 21-6).

Sujata, Nimkartop

Unseeded Niranjan Nimkar and second-seeded Sujata Hailinge won the men's and women's singles titles, repectively, in the first Dilip Babar-sponsored Thane District Ranking carrom tournament, organised by the Sainath Seva Mandal (Bhayander), today.

Sujata shocked top seed Shilpa Joshi, 25-12, 25-20 and Nimkar beat unseeded Shabbir Khan 25-8, 23-25, 25-3.

Other results:: Men's (semi-finals):

Niranjan Nimkar bt Sanjay Mande 25-1, 25-11; Shabbir Khan bt Priyang Vaidya 25-16, 25-17.

Women's (semi-finals):

Shilpa Joshi bt Minal Lele 11-25, 25-22, 25-24; Sujata Hailinge bt Sumedha Karkhanis 25-11, 24-25, 25-18.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI: Project 2000's Manisha Gawande was crowned the Best Athlete in the Freedom Road Race organised by Ryan International Sports Club at the St Lawrence High School yesterday. She was awarded the IC Colony Sports Club Trophy donated by former national long distance runner Dayanand Kumar.

More than 4000 athletes from 45 institutions took part in the competition co-sponsored by Corporation Bank and KV Pai, according to reports reaching here.

RESULTS

8 kms Men:

1 Vijay Kashte (LIC) 22.36 mins, 2 Mahesh Monde (VPM), Yogesh Satam (VPM)

Boys U-16:

Vivek Pratap Singh (Project 2000) 6:53, Deepak Thakur (Project 2000), 3 Dinesh Acharya (VPM)

U-14:

Rajul Paigaonkar (VPM) 9:16, Ashwin VK (United Athletes), Sameer Phople (VPM)

U-12:

Kailash Rao (VPM) 5:35:9, Khaiyam Malbari (VPM), Sumeet Roy (Holy Family, Andheri)

5 Kms Women:

V Satyabhama (WR) 12:47, Arti Malekar (Prabhodan), Sushma Chalke (WR)

Girls U-16:

Judy Verghese (Project 2000) 9:35, Sushma Amre (OmTrack), Manisha Tawade (Prabhodan Krida Bhavan)

U-14:

Manisha Gawande (Project 2000) 9:33, Shimona D'Costa (United Athletes), Smita Salvi (Om Track)

U-12:

Aditi Tawade (Om Track) 6:28, Ramya Rao (VPM), Nafisa Khan (St Anne's, Borivli)

Andrew's champs

ST Andrew's Junior College beat G N Khalsa 2-0 to lift the title in the Bombay Division hockey boys under-19 Junior Colleges final of the Multigames City and Suburb competition, organised by the District Sports Govt of Maharashtra, at the BHA today.

Outside-left Gilroy D'Mello scored both the goals in a match totally dominated by Andrew's. Khalsa's had just one look at the goal in the first-half.

In the sixth minute, Eldridge Saldanha, playing in the deep defence, moved well up to send a neat diagonal hit to find an unmarked Gilroy in the dee. Gilroy collected neatly and sent a rasping shot giving the Khalsa goalkeeper no chance to effect a save.

Though Andrew's dominated, they were unable to convert their chances. The culprits beingGalvin Alfonso, Marshall Nazareth and Roshan. Warren Carvalho, at centre half position, played on the heels of his forwards and distributed well.

In the 44th minute, Warren found Marshal who beat his left-half and sent in a cross. Gilroy, lying handy, collected the ball and scored with a reverse hit. Thereafter, the match was as good as won by Andrew's, though superior but goal shy.

Other results (all finals):

Boys under-17:

St Anne's, Orlem, 13 (Savio Nayak 5, A Sequeira 3, Snedden Pereira 3, Lawrence Soares, Adrian D'Souza) bt St Sebastian Goan 0.

Boys under-14:

St Andrew's, Bandra, 11 (Tyron Pereira 3, Dexter Manki 2, Farhan Khan 3, Jerry Almeida, Gavin Pereira, Naeem Jagani) bt St Sebastian Goan 0.

Girls under-19:

Khalsa 2 (Mamta Singh 2) bt St Andrew's College 0.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: Nina Pillai, widow of biscuit baron Rajan Pillai, today filed a petition of criminal contempt against the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for not complying with the court orders and investigate the alleged conspiracy behind her husband's death in July, 1995.

The petition -- the first ever case of contempt against the CBI -- charged director Trinath Mishra and SP D P Singh of ``abuse of the process of the court calculated to hamper the due course of a judicial proceeding and the orderly administration of justice.''

Filed in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Prem Kumar today, the petition said the CBI had failed to comply with two of the court's orders dated August 12 and August 20, respectively, both directing the CBI to register a case and probe the conspiracy angle in the death of Rajan Pillai in Tihar jail. Nemi Chand Jain, better known as tantrik Chandraswamy, is the main accused in the case of conspiracy.

However, Nina Pillai's counsel Anitha Shenoyalleged that ``it is abundantly clear from the pattern of litigation initiated by the CBI that they are not interested in investigating the case and have therefore have tried every method to delay the proceeding.'' The CBI had filed its third application making the same request of adjournment for 15 days.

``There does not seem to be an end to these applications. This is nothing but a mockery of the court,'' Nina Pillai charged in the petition, adding, ``the repeated applications by the CBI despite refusal amounts to a daring `raid' on the court and is calculated to obstruct the due course of judicial proceeding and administration of justice, and thus falling squarely within the ambit of criminal contempt.''

Giving the details of the CBI conduct, the petition stated that on May 24, 1997 CMM Prem Kumar said that the CBI was a competent authority to investigate Pillai's death. The CBI was asked to file a compliance report before September 30, 1997. But, the petition added that in order to delay thecompliance, the CBI filed an application for recall of the order which was dismissed on August 14, 1997.

The CBI then filed a revision application in the Delhi High Court saying that the lower court could not direct the agency to investigate a case. However, this too was dismissed by the High Court on August 7, 1998. The CBI, at the stage of passing the order by the High Court, requested for one month adjournment in order to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) but this too was turned down.

In the meantime, CMM Prem Kumar too rejected the CBI application for adjournment on the plea of filing a SLP on August 12.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW DELHI, Sept 1: Union Minister of State for Urban Affairs Bandaru Dattatreya said it would have been better if Secretary Kiran Aggarwal had been transferred rather then being divested of all her responsibilities (while still in the ministry). Otherwise, he said, the ministry's functioning and the officials' morale suffered.

While emphasising that he had the best of relations with Jethmalani and that he agreed with all his policy decisions, Dattatreya has said that the present crisis in his ministry should have been handled in a more smooth manner.

Yesterday, his senior, Urban Affairs Minister Ram Jethmalani, had divested Secretary Kiran Aggarwal of all her powers as a sequel to differences over the MRTS project and the decision to re-allot a complex to MS Shoes in the Capital.

``He (Jethmalani) is a dynamic minister and wants his decisions to be implemented quickly but the bureaucracy works within a set framework and system. This is what has led to delays or objections to some of his decisions, onthe matter of procedure,'' Dattatreya said.

``When a controversy becomes public, it is exploited by the Opposition to embarrass the government even though there may be no credibility in its attack,'' he said, referring to Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy's accusations.

He said he agreed with Jethmalani's views on the controversy regarding the award of general consultancy for the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS). The credibility of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had come under a cloud over the manner in which the bid was awarded. He added that it was not correct for DMRC to question the authority of the Urban Affairs ministry in making inquiries in this regard.

Aggarwal, a 1964 batch officer of the Haryana cadre, is an old hand with the ministry, having joined as Secretary in January last year. Sources said that Jethmalani had been asking for her transfer for quite sometime but his move was resisted by the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet Secretary Prabhat Kumar.

Meanwhile,Jethmalani today defended his decision to remove all important matters from Aggarwal's charge. Speaking to The Indian Express

, he said that he had some suspicions about the goings-on in the ministry and that a re-allocation of work among officials was required to increase coordination and efficiency.

Jethmalani prepared to face CBI inquiry

Union Urban Affairs and Employment Minister Ram Jethmalani said that he is prepared to face any inquiry or raid following charges levelled by Janata Party national president Subramanium Swamy recently.

In a letter to director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) T Mishra, Jethmalani has stated that he will cooperate with the CBI authorities to exercise their powers including search, seizure, and arrest at any time against him and waive from using any legal obstacles to protect the inquiry. He said he suspected that some disgruntled officers of his department were passing official papers to Swamy. This aspect of the matter should be investigated bythe CBI, he said. Jethmalani has requested the CBI chief to invite Swamy to file an FIR against him (Jethmalani) and alleged that if this turns out to be one of Swamy's fabricated falsehoods, he should be prosecuted.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. New Delhi, Sept 1: Investigating authorities today made simultaneous raids in three cities to put an end to what they believe is one of the biggest networks from which illegal international `call-back' phonecalls are made. According to the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) which participated in today's raids, the total value of such illegal `call-back' services is around Rs 800 crore per annum -- with today's network itself resulting in `call-backs' of around Rs 250 crore, it is clearly among the largest.

According to the raiding parties, from this evening itself, several of the flourishing illegal call-back services would have been disrupted. While there are hundreds of illegal call-back operators in the country -- the VSNL catches them from time to time, but they then change addresses -- all of them have to route their calls through a network, or a carrier. And this is what today's raid busted.

Today's raids were jointly conducted by VSNL, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the EnforcementDirectorate and the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. No arrests have been made so far as the owner of the operations is a US national and is untraceable. The company who's premises were raided and which conducted the call-back services is called Cyberfast Network Systems Corporation (CSNC).

Under a `call-back' service, users from India wishing to make a call to, say the US, call a local number which then connects them to the desired US number, and later bills them at a fraction of what one has to pay the VSNL. The way this is usually done is that a party which has a `dedicated' line to the US -- this facility is available from VSNL and is itself legal -- misuses this and allows outsiders to dial into this line and, then, connects them to the US. If calls have to be made to say, the UK, the user gets connected to the US, and then from there to the UK.

How lucrative this operation is can be judged from the fact that VSNL charges a mere Rs 15 lakh per year for providinga dedicated line, operators who misuse this can make crores. Dedicated lines are taken by several people such as computer companies or simply corporates who make a lot of telephone calls and want a secure and efficient telecommunication network. CSNC, for example, had a 512Kbps dedicated line from New Delhi to California.

Today's swoop showed that the three installations were completely unmanned, and had sophisticated equipment worth a few crores each, which actually routed the calls by using the dedicated VSNL line. Each of the installations had high-capacity modems which allowed most repairs/servicing of the network to be done through a telephone line. In all cases, some poorly-paid local help was hired to do some routine work. If, say 15 telephone lines went dead, then a message would be sent to the local help to have them repaired.

Interestingly, while VSNL says it has been writing to the DoT about the menace of call back services -- VSNL's international call traffic has been falling by around 5 percent per year due to diversion to such `call-back' service providers -- it has taken little concrete action so far. Indeed, while its agreement with users of such dedicated lines allows for a penalty of Rs 4.5 crore for such misuse, it does not ask for any bank guarantee for this amount. Nor has it built in any clause in the agreement which would allow it to monitor such illegal traffic and actually charge for it.

Today's swoop in fact, was based on the intelligence efforts of the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) and not the VSNL. What the CEIB did was to get a list all users of dedicated lines from the VSNL, and then match this with the MTNL directory to see how many MTNL phones each one of these companies had. When it found that some of these companies had a huge number of MTNL lines -- CSNC had 70 in Delhi alone -- it asked MTNL to provide billing details. In CSNC's case, in Delhi alone 62 lakh local calls had been made in the last 18 months.

Clearly, something was wrong. Several visits toits office in Bhikaji Cama Place in New Delhi showed that there were no visitors to the small one-room office, incidentally always kept locked and guarded. And since there were no people in the office, this clearly couldn't be a small-time `call-back' service provider -- it was clearly something larger. Telecom experts were consulted, and pointed that this was probably one of the networks through which the `call backs larger. Telecom experts were consulted, and pointed that this was probably one.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. ST JOHN'S (ANTIGUA), Sept 1: Trinidadian fast bowler Ian Bishop, a stalwart of 43 Tests and 161 wickets, was named captain of a 15-member West Indies A team to tour India in November and December, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced today.

The 30-year-old Bishop, who lost form and his place during England's tour of the Caribbean earlier this year, is among five players on the team with test experience.

Leg-spinner Rawl Lewis, whose one Test cap was on the senior tour of Pakistan last winter, completes the quintet.

Right-handed batsmen Richard Smith, Keith Semple and 20-year-old wicket-keeper Wayne Phillip earn their first overseas assignments at this level.

The squad:

Ian Bishop (captain), Richard Smith (Trinidad Tobago); Sherwin Campbell, Floyd Reifer, Adrian Griffith, Courtney Browne, Pedro Collins (all Barbados); Wavel Hinds (Jamaica), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Neil McGarrell, Keith Semple, Reon King (all Guyana); Wayne Phillip, Rawl Lewis (both Windward Islands) and Carl Tuckett (LeewardIslands).

The schedule

November 18-20:

vs Board President's XI at Mumbai; Nov 23-25:

vs BCCI Youth Team at Pune; Nov 28-Dec 1:

1st Test at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai; Dec 4-7:

2nd Test at Chennai; Dec 9:

One-day practice match at Bangalore; Dec 11:

1st ODI at Bangalore; Dec 13:

2nd ODI at Hyderabad; Dec 15: 3rd ODI at Ahmedabad.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW YORK, Sept 1: Americas' famed economic might staggered from stunning blows that sent its Dow Jones industrial average plummeting by a record 512 points on Monday. More volatility was in the air as the index remained unsteady in the opening hours on Tuesday casting a pall over a nation where more than half the population has a finger in the stock market pie.

After an unsteady but unspectacular start on Monday morning, the Dow Jones index began a dipping run in the late afternoon that saw it lose 450 points in two hours, including 250 points in just half an hour before close. Millions of investors found themselves poorer in the evening than at lunch time as the fall cleaned out 6.37 per cent from the index.

Many wondered if this was the end of the American economic honeymoon, a journey that had carried the Dow to a record of 9337.97 on July 17 when the manna of the 10,000 mark seemed imminent.

Instead, in six weeks of sustained selling since then, the slide has left share prices 19 per cent belowtheir peak, vapourising more than $ 2.3 trillion in paper profits. In the last three trading sessions alone, the Dow has been shaved of a whopping 1100 points, wiping out allinvestor gains during the current year.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. No one would make the mistake of saying the Vajpayee government is steering the economy in any particular direction. The last six months have been marked by so much policy confusion that only the determinedly blind would find some kind of orientation. The RSS evidently thinks otherwise and has fired a warning shot across the BJP's bows: change course or else. That it means business is obvious from the fact that a number of saffron organisations have formed a steering committee, the Swadeshi Vichar Manch (SVM), passed resolutions, announced a plan of action and told the BJP to watch out when Assembly elections are held in a couple of months in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram. This spells trouble for policy-makers. The thinking in the SVM may be limited, its goals vague and its alternative prescriptions suspect. The charge of ``compromising the national interest'' may disguise a number of other realities such as business rivalries, disgruntled trade unions and gut-level hostility toward anyone whodoes not mouth swadeshi slogans. But who is to take this up with the RSS, now openly associated with the Swadeshi Jagran Manch's Pepsi-bashing notion of economics?

When the conscience-keeper of the BJP makes public its discontent in this fashion, the fear of a 1980s-style breach will be enough to pull the BJP up short. What are the government's options? It could decide that Indian manufactured foreign liquor is swadeshi whereas foreign liquor made by foreigners in India is abhorrent. That would be a relatively small price to pay for peace. But it will not be enough to divert the SVM from key issues on the reform agenda. It is hard to see how the cabinet, at no time oversupplied with pragmatists, is going to be able to prise the insurance sector open. The norms for foreign entry are already scarred by intra-BJP battles. With the RSS throwing its weight on the side of the nay-sayers, the ministerial committee might well find the issue more or less dead on the table. The more is the pity becauseinsurance reform did appear to be creeping forward inch by inch despite the efforts of hardliners.

It could be counted as progress if economic policy-makers were taking two steps forward and one step backwards. This is not the case. Torn in diametrically opposite directions, they are going nowhere. Any radical thrusts from the finance or commerce ministries, or the Disinvestment Commission, are neutralised by retrogressive political pressures. Citing the national interest is no substitute for rigorous economic analysis. The swadeshi corps do not offer facts and sound arguments, they prefer to look for foreigners or quasi-foreigners under every bed. The complaints about the composition of the Prime Minister's economic and business advisory councils are a giveaway. Perhaps there are no names on either council that the SVM can identify with. So the feeling may be that the Sangh Parivar has been left out in the cold. Vajpayee could do two things. One, point out that there are many more points of view inIndia than the Parivar contains. Two, improve communications between the BJP and the RSS and make the latter see reason.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. There may never be a dull moment in Russia, but the situation there is clearly now reaching a crescendo. For starters, as if symbolism was in short supply, is the spectacle of Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin the two emasculated leaders of the world's one present and one erstwhile superpower meeting to set Russia's colossal disaster to rights. It sums up, sadly but succinctly, how powerless either man is to halt Russia's nightmare and how each got himself into this mess with all the goodwill in the world. Boris Yeltsin today must be painfully conscious of chickens coming home to roost. As many difficulties as he faced in his dealings with Russia's notoriously recalcitrant parliament, Yeltsin has hardly done all he could to win its support. Monday gave the Duma its sweet revenge on a dictatorial president for the humiliation he heaped upon it only months ago by forcing it to rubber stamp his choice for prime minister: Sergei Kiriyenko, who later surprised his critics by his reformist conduct. At that time theDuma, which can reject the President's nomination for Prime Minister three times, was still intimidated by Yeltsin's power to dissolve it and call elections. The reason was simple. The President was more popular than the parliamentarians. The tables have since been spectacularly turned. Any threat of dissolving the Duma now must ring singularly hollow from a President who needs to be thankful for every day he spends in the Kremlin.Yet it would be unfair to the Duma to say that it is motivated entirely by vengeance. Chernomyrdin is hardly the man to lead Russia out of a crisis which was partly of his making. Yeltsin appointing him as acting Prime Minister was a shamefully self-serving act, and the Duma is right to reject it. Somehow it no longer seems realistic to expect Yeltsin to do any single thing right, and he is giving evidence by pressing Chernomyrdin's nomination a second time. The only wise course for him now is to accept the Duma's own suggestions for Prime Minister. For, even as Russia's politicsfalls apart alongside its economy, he should be trying to get the Duma behind him rather than opposite him. It could come to that, but meanwhile precious time is being squandered in a country which has no time to waste.

The West is desperately continuing to pin its hopes on Yeltsin, for it has no one else to pin them on. Witness Clinton's failure to call off his visit in spite of fears of comparison with Yeltsin, for that would only further damage Yeltsin. Yet Clinton is wrong. It is time the West realised that Yeltsin is no longer the man to push forward its agenda. It behoves it to stand aside and leave Russian politics to play itself out as it will. Of course there are huge risks in that for America and its allies, but they needed to have thought about that when they failed to give Russia unstinted support in its early days of reform. Yeltsin's replacement will more likely than not have communist or nationalist antecedents which so threaten the West. But it is helpless now. Russia will not even see aserious attempt to address its predicament till Yeltsin is gone. A firm leadership tackling Moscow's multifarious crises is in the world's interest as well as Russia's. It should not try to prop a President who has outlived his utility.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. US missile strikes on Khartoum and terrorist sites in and around Jalalabad have been seen as a new phenomenon in the international situation. There is cognition about their legitimacy and implications. Yet this operation was not unprecedented. The US has taken unilateral punitive military action in foreign territories as retaliation or a pre-emptive measure. Recent examples are Lebanon, Libya, Grenada, Panama and Haiti. The most large-scale action was in Iraq, though undertaken under Security Council resolutions. The military build-up to compel Iraq to accept continuous UN inspection of its military facilities in February was also in essence a unilateral US action.Memories are short, but India has been a target of such action. Nixon sent the aircraft carrier Enterprise to the region in 1971 to press India to stop its military operations against Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. Britain, France, Israel and Russia have also undertaken such intervention.

The only difference between the latest US strikes andthe other examples is that the latter were reactions to political events or crises, whereas the US has now retaliated against what it identified as terrorist groups led by Osama bin Laden. America's allies and a number of South American, African and Asian countries have welcomed the decisive action against international terrorism. The majority of Muslim countries and many developing and non-aligned countries have criticised it as a violation of international law and interference in sovereign states. A third reaction is that the US should have ensured legitimacy for the strikes from the Security Council. This was articulated in Boris Yeltsin's outrage at not being consulted.

India's reactions have been mixed. According to information available so far, about 70 Tomahawk missiles were fired from the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea, traversing 1000 to 1500 miles in each case. These missiles overflew the coastal waters and air space of countries other than those which were targeted. The governments of the targetedareas were given no advance information. Nor were the countries whose coastal seas and air space were involved. The only exception was perhaps the visit of the Vice-Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff General Ralston to Pakistan to clarify that the missiles overflying their territory were not fired by India but were missiles from a ``friendly'' US aimed at specific targets. Reports state that while the missiles fired on the Khartoum chemical factory achieved pre-designated damage, those fired into Afghanistan destroyed more than the specific target, one or two even falling inside Pakistani territory and causing civilian casualties. The US says it targeted a group which had carried out anti-US terrorist activities; which bombed the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya; which is likely to undertake further violent activities against US personnel and establishments; and that the US could take such action under the provisions of article 51 of the UN Charter.The first three reasons given are factualpredications rooted in the judgment of the US government. The provisions of Article 51 are worth recalling: ``Nothing in the present (UN) charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security''. The US has not formally mentioned article 51 as the umbrella for its action. It has just implied that this is justification. But can the terrorist bombing of American embassies in third countries be perceived as an armed attack on US territory? Nor has the US so farformally reported its action to the Security Council. In fact it has precluded, by implication, the necessity of the Security Council taking further action by categorically stating that the US will carry out further unilateral strikes against its terrorist enemies if necessary. The US may participate in Security Council proceedings on the complaint lodged by Sudan in the Council.

The political reality is that the UN has been given the go-by. In terms of normative requirements, America's actions can be considered illegal. It has violated the territorial jurisdiction of a number of countries. From one point of view it creates a dangerous and destabilising precedent. It is that if a state is powerful and immune from retaliatory action, it can indulge in unilateral and coercive military operations against other countries or sections of their people at will. Israel perhaps is the only other country which has undertaken similar anti-terrorist action, but it has never launched large-scale missile attacks on othercountries. Most of its operations have been commando operations. If the US considers a military or security posture of a country like India a threat to its security or to its stipulations on peace and stability in our region, it would feel free to undertake long-distance military strikes against Indian targets. Even if this is far-fetched, the fact remains that Tomahawk missiles can carry nuclear warheads. How does the international community cope with such a prospect? The Security Council and the General Assembly in its sessions between September and December should focus on this.

Indian reactions have been mixed. Atal Behari Vajpayee, without commenting directly, has stated that the American action provides the basis for unified efforts by the international community against terrorism. This presumably is the government reaction: unified support for the US action. America's action will certainly make it difficult for it to lecture us if we decided to take pre-emptive action against terrorist headquartersin Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. But George Fernandes has roundly criticised the Americans. So has the Communist Party, and Pranab Mukherjee of the Congress. Pakistan faces a contradictory predicament. If it supports the US, it risks strong domestic opposition and trouble from the Taliban and militant Afghan elements. If it opposes it, American pressure will debilitate it. It is also potentially vulnerable to India considering retaliatory strikes in PoK. India's primary stance should be to utilise this precedent for its security interests while remaining committed to broad stipulations of international law.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. The Supreme Court has become an arena of intra-judicial warfare on the issue of appointments. One bench of the court is handling the issue of whether a direction (writ of mandamus) should be issued to the Union Government to make the appointments to the high courts and the apex court of the persons recommended by Chief Justice of India, M.M. Punchhi. Another nine-judge bench is handling the reference made by the BJP-led government through the President for clarifying its doubts about the interpretation of the apex court's own judgment, Supreme Court Advocates on Record vs Union of India, about judicial appointments. The net result for the moment is that silently and implicitly the government has asserted its right to veto the recommendations of the Chief Justice of India. With the Attorney General himself presenting the reference to the apex court, the primacy given to the judiciary over the ruling politicians by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record judgment stands erased as of now.

This is more so afterthe August 25 order of the nine-judge reference bench directing the Union Government to submit to it the written consultations held between Chief Justice Punchhi and his two senior colleagues Justices G.N. Ray and S.C. Agrawal for making the Supreme Court appointments and also with the various chief justices of high courts for filling in the high court vacancies. The order ends the shadow boxing over a reference that made no mention about the recommendations of Chief Justice Punchhi by linking the reference to the record of such recommendations. For the first time the apex court has indicated that it will get to the bottom of a Presidential Ref-erence by going beyond and even behind it. Hence in sum and substance the nine-judge bench has positioned itself to judicially review the acts of a Chief Justice of India and his two senior most colleagues at the time of making the recommendations. This is to be done by applying the standards laid down in the Supreme Court Advocates on Record case. If this is not to bedone then there is little logic in calling for the confidential records of the recommendations made by Chief Justice Punchhi. But the irony is that the views of the nine-judge bench in the Reference are themselves recommendatory. It is upto the same ruling politicians who made the Reference to accept wholly or in part the views of the nine-judge bench finally expressed in the Reference. And if a different political party comes to power by the time the nine-judge bench answers the Reference then the fate of the answers really hangs in the political balance.

Hence from the making of the Reference to its end the political encirclement of the judiciary is complete. This encirclement remains even if the nine-judge Reference bench ultimately reiterates the Supreme Court Adv-ocates on Record Association judgment to ensure judicial primacy through the Chief Justice of India and two of his senior most colleagues. This is so because henceforth any set of ruling politicians can through the Attorney General appointedby them freeze a Chief Justice of India's recommendations for judicial appointments by simply making a reference without mentioning the recommendations. This innovative use of the constitutional provisions for a Presidential Reference is now a permanent weapon in the hands of ruling politicians to play with the Supreme Court.

The linking of Chief Justice Punchhi's recommendations with the Reference strikes at the ruling in the Supreme Court Advocates on Record case that such recommendations cannot be made part of a litigative debate through petitions challenging the appointments or the recommendations, except on the ground of absence of the written consultation between the chief justice of India, his two senior most colleagues and the high court Chief Justice. Without a stay order from the apex court and without mentioning Chief Justice Punchhi's recommendations in the Reference, the appointments stand stayed simply because the ruling politicians will neither openly challenge them by a regular petition norissue warrants of appointments on those recommendations. Little enlightenment can be expected from the politically appointed Advocates General of each state government to whom notices have been issued. There is today no equivalent of the late H.M. Seervai who could fearlessly address the judges with the sharpness derived from intellectual integrity.

The apex court can break this impasse by two steps. One, by realising that it is secrecy and lack of accountability of the Chief Justice of India in making appointments that has given rise to the problem. The documents of written consultation by the Chief Justice of India are kept secret from the public but are known to the ruling politicians who can then play with that information as it suits their political design. The political lawyer with a foot in the judicial door can make selective leaks. The moral test now is whether such documents are made public by the Reference bench. The second step is to realise that a national judiciary that determines the life ofIndians is being fashioned not for judges and lawyers alone. That calls for participation of NGOs and professional associations other than participation of NGOS and professional associations. Only then will the Reference bench hear the relevant national vocabulary and idiom. The strength of the court lies in its association with the honest, educated citizenry.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. DENVER, Sept 1: French researchers have isolated a new strain of the AIDS virus in West Africa that appears to have close genetic links to a version that infects non-human primates such as chimpanzees.

It's a reminder, they said, of how genetically flexible and cunning the human immunodeficiency virus can be.

The new strain so far has been found only in one patient, a 40-year-old woman in Cameroon who died of AIDS in 1995. In the past two years, new HIV strains also have been discovered in Thailand and India. However, they were more conventional variants that did not have close links to non-human primate viruses.

French and African officials have launched a public health investigation in Cameroon and neighbouring Gabon to determine if the new strain is being widely transmitted.

Infectious disease experts are publishing a report on the new strain in the September one issue of Nature Medicine. They said they do not expect it to become prevalent, but it could escape detection by current diagnosticmethods used in laboratory screening programmes.

``The present isolate is rather a rare bird,'' said Simon Wain-Hobson of the Institute Pasteur in Paris, who did not participate in the study.

HIV constantly evolves into new strains, even as researchers develop new combinations of therapies to control its proliferation.

On a global scale, there are two simultaneous epidemics, HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is the more widespread of the two viral groups HIV-2 is mainly in Asia and East Africa.

Most of the strains in HIV-1 belong to a group designated as M, for major strains. There is also an O group for minor, outlying strains that appear to be clustered in West Africa.

The new strain in Cameroon is HIV-1 but is neither an M or an O. Instead, the study's lead author, Francois Simon of the Hospital Bichat in Paris, said the new strain veers noticeably from both established groups and deserves the new label of N.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. URI, Sept 1: Incredible as much as it may sound, Uri region villagers are condemned to live with live unexploded bombs in their houses, roads and fields.

They have been living with the constant fear of death for more than a month now, since Pakistani artillery guns, mortars and multi-barreled rocket launchers rained an estimated 16,000 shells of 160 mm, 130mm, 105 mm and 84 mm on 55 villages in this LoC sector out of which about 250 shells in Uri region remain unexploded.

A boy and girl of Danisydena village were blown into pieces after they threw some stones on an unexploded shell, thus taking the death toll of people killed in Uri region by live shelling to 14.

In another incident, a security force jawan suffered serious leg injuries after a live artillery shell left at his post by villagers in order to defuse it, went off.

Villagers have evacuated their houses due to the Pakistan shellings. Among them is little Shugufta Bano's house in Dara village. She is at present staying at her uncle's housewith her brother, sister and parents. A Pakistani artillery shell tore through their kitchen roof and still lies unexploded next to the fireplace underneath the rubbles.

``I cannot stop Shugufta from frequenting the house during the day as she is very attached to it. The kids don't realise the dangers of the unexploded shell and my repeated warnings are of no avail,'' said a harassed-looking Saleema Begum, as she calls out to her son, Majid, to keep away from the bomb in the kitchen.

Villagers feel the Army and the police are indifferent to their plight. ``The SP, Baramulla, and Army officers visited the area and took note of the unexploded shells a month back. But they have not shown their faces after that,'' says Sain Khan, as he points to an unexploded shell buried deep in another villager, Matoli's maize field in Gutlian village.

Unexploded shells, as Khan expertly points out, are recognised by the presence of a huge crater at the point of impact with the ground. ``Matoli's crop was ripe but he wasforbidden from entering his field. He used to cut two-three stalks of the ripe maize and then run back to deposit them far away from the field. He would then again gather courage and venture to cut some more stalks,'' said Khan.

Police constable Sitar Mohammad's six-member household in Dara village is virtually sleeping next to the bomb. One shell exploded on his walnut tree, charring half the branches and knocking off the roof of his house situated a 100 yards away. Another shell lies unexploded less than 10 m away from his doorstep.

Sher Ali's eight children sleep in a neighbour's house in Gutlian because a shell is buried in the gallery of their own house. Three shells lie in his fields. Same is the case with Baroli's house in Dara village while Zaibuudin of Dwaran village lives with a live shell outside his bedroom.

An unexploded shell, suspected to be of the Bofors equivalent of 155 mm, has a gaping two feet wide and 10 feet deep hole on the side of Dwaran road. In the affluent Garkote village,native place of State Finance Minister Mohammad Shafi Uri, three unexploded shells have forced five households to stay in Srinagar and Baramulla.

``The Police has tried to restrict movement and educate the people to keep away from the points where the unexploded artillery shells lie as children bear a major risk of casualty,'' said SDPO, Uri, Rafiq. But there is no estimate to the number of unexploded shells that lie buried in the higher grasslands, which were targeted for the Indian Army's pickets, and are used by the people for grazing cattles during summer months.

The Army and the Police have managed to explode only 25 shells, mainly in the forward areas along the LoC. But villages like Dachi, Daragnathia, Basgaran, Madian, Gowalta, Novarunda, Kamalkote and Zambarpattan are still under threat from at least five unexploded shells each.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. TEHRAN, Aug 31: Iran is set to stage major military exercises on its tense border with Afghanistan beginning tomorrow, Iranian state television said today.

"The large-scale Ashoura-3 military exercises in the northeast will begin tomorrow morning with the use of 70,000 troops in the general area of Torbat-e-Jam," the television said.

The air and ground war games, covering an area of 600 square km, would test recently acquired modern weapons and equipment, it said. Torbat-e-Jam is about 60 km from the Afghan border.

The television did not say how many days the exercises would last but some newspapers said it would be three days.

Meanwhile, the stand-off between the ultra-Islamic group Taliban and Iran over Iranian hostages entered another phase with the Taliban saying that they will release Iranian hostages at an ``appropriate time''.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA, reporting from Dubai quoted Mullah Hassan Qalcheie, a close aide of Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Omar Taliban as saying:``Taliban will show its good will for improvement of relations with Iran by setting free the Iranian hostages at an appropriate time.'' He declined to say when they would be freed.

Referring to the Iranian diplomats and IRNA reporter, he said that they are kept in a safe place near Qandahar, southern Afghanistan, and taken care of by senior Taliban commander Mulla Raketi. This was the first time that Taliban acknowledged the detainment of the eleven diplomats and IRNA correspondent Mahmud Saremi, who were taken hostage on august eight when the group captured the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

``The IRNA correspondent was ill and later underwent medical treatment by a physician dispatched by Taliban to the prison and is now in a good condition,'' Qalcheie told IRNA.

Earlier, Afghanistan's Taliban authorities invited the United Nations to mediate in the controversy over the Iranians, whom Teheran says were taken hostage after the Taliban captured the northern town ofMazar-e-Sharif.

Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) news agency quoted a Taliban spokesman, Mulla Wakil Ahmed, as saying that although the UN had failed in its responsibilities towards Afghanistan, the Taliban would still want it to play its role in resolving the dispute.

Meanwhile, US President Bill Clinton has used a conference on religion and peace to strike out at terrorists using Islam to justify their attacks. In a message to the Bucharest International ecumenical conference on "Men and Religions", Clinton said: "some have tried to justify terrorist attacks on American interests as part of jihad "But hundreds of millions of Muslims oppose terrorism and deplore the twisting of their religious trackings into justification of inhumane, indeed, ungodly, acts."

Bhutto fears US-like strikes by Iran

ISLAMABAD: In a related development Pakistan Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto called on the government to give Afghanistan's Taliban 48 hours to free missing Iranian diplomats,reports from Islamabad said.

Benazir Bhutto said Pakistan should sever relations with the Taliban if its leaders refused to release the 10 Iranians. ``Give the Taliban 48 hours and tell them that unless they produce the Iranian diplomats, we will break off ties with them," The News daily quoted Bhutto as saying during a speech here yesterday in the National Assembly. Iran had always stood by Pakistan and provided it with strategic depth, Benazir is reported to have said.

"Any attack on our friends is an attack on us," the former premier said. The paper quoted her as saying that the possibility of Iranians carrying out military retaliation similar to that launched by the US on Afghanistan cannot be ruled out.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Life has changed a lot for Mark Saunders in the past year. Last August, he was a puffa-jacketed royal paparazzo, cameras round his neck, permanently on Diana's chase. ``It could be a rainy Monday morning, and I'd be standing on a street in Knightsbridge. Then, by 6 p.m. I'd be on a plane to the West Indies,'' he says. ``It was a laugh.''

It was also a life. At least 90 per cent of Saunders's waking hours were occupied by Diana waiting for her, stalking her, chasing her and then, in paparazzi slang for taking photographs, ``whacking'' her, ``blitzing'' her, ``hosing her down''. He did this for years, and he enjoyed it.

He also earned a great deal of money. ``We were a bunch of lads. We had a sixth-form mentality and in lots of ways we couldn't believe our luck.'' Then Diana died, and immediately, Saunders's book, Dicing With Di, co-written with fellow snapper Glenn Harvey, was withdrawn from the shops by its publisher. Peppered with disrespectful references to ``That Woman'' and the ``loon'', andlurid detail about how Saunders and Harvey would track Diana ``like big game hunters'', it was too close to Charles Spencer's funeral oration for comfort. Saunders began to see that life was going to be tough. He was busy for a while, giving television interviews about what it was like to stake out Diana. As a teenager, inspired by All the President's Men, Saunders had wanted to be a political journalist. That was still his aim when he joined the Slough Express as a reporter straight out of school. Only somewhere along the way, he got lost. He decided last spring to go back to local journalism, ``to start again at the bottom''. It didn't work. ``You can't go from the front page of Newsweek to a local rag. I suppose I was trying to find my roots or something, but I should have known better.''

Since then, Saunders has drifted into what he calls photojournalism. What he really does is chase around America after celebrity gossip stories for the TV networks and magazines.

His beat isfilm-star haunts in Florida, LA, the West Indies. He's 34 and unmarried. He misses the Diana trail -- not so much the thrill of the chase as the closeness to other men, the friendship.

Doesn't he feel guilty, thinking back? He made her life hell, she told him so, many times. ``No, no,'' he says. ``You've got to understand. She used us as much as we used her. If there was a good picture of Camilla Parker-Bowles in the paper that day, then Di would be out early, ready to be photographed. Some days she smiled and talked, some days she argued. It depended on her mood.''

No one has emerged yet, in paparazzo terms, to take Diana's place, but Saunders reckons it's only a matter of time.

``The whole circus will start again with William. I got a great picture of him rowing on the Thames the other week and sold it all over the world. They were mad for it, but no editor in this country would touch it. That won't last. You wait until he gets his first girlfriend.''

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CALCUTTA, Sept 1: A french girl, a car accident and a Jesus-embossed medal. Three tenuous links in a spiritual story, that could well seek its logical conclusion in the canonisation of Mother Teresa.

Archbishop of Calcutta Henry D'Souza, in a television interview last weekend, mentioned how the girl, whose bones were battered in a car accident, was cured after she was given a medal by Mother Teresa.

Ever since, the Missionaries of Charity headquarters here have been receiving lots of queries about the case.

If it is proved that the cure was ``organic'', the Saint of the Sewers, Mother Teresa, may well attain sainthood.

D'souza said the `miracle' had not yet been confirmed, but told The Indian Express that the documents relating to the case had been sent to experts for examination.

According to him, the French girl had met with the accident in the United States of America, but could not recollect the girl's name or the place of the accident. The Missionaries headquarters received a letterabout three months back, in which the case was mentioned.

According to the letter, the French girl had met Mother Teresa, who gave her one of the Jesus-embossed aluminium medals she used to bless visitors with. After the accident, the French girl was miraculously healed with the touch of the medal, claimed the letter.

But Sister Christie of the Missionaries, however, said that the case was not considered ``an organic miracle'' because it involved a ``gradual cure''.

In an interview with The Indian Express on August 17, Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's successor at the Missionaries, made no mention of the case.

She had, however, said that she was receiving letters from various parts of the world containing claims of Mother Teresa's `miracles'. Some of these were documented and sent to the Vatican for scrutiny.

Sister Nirmala had said that ``not all kinds of miracles'' were acceptable for canonisation. According to her, ``It had to be an organic miracle.''

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. The bollworms which invaded Marathwada's cotton fields about seven years ago have developed a frightening immunity that is threatening the crop. Over the years, they have burrowed deep into the State's cotton-growing heartland, while the cotton farmers, who till about 10 lakh hectares of cultivable land in Marathwada, drenched the fields with destructive chemicals.

Having lured the farmers into bathing their plants in pesticides, pesticide companies and dealers have pushed the crop to the point of diminishing returns.

But the Pundalik brothers couldn't care less. They gape in amazement at the lush green foliage which covers their seven-acre plot north-east of Aurangabad city. After completing the fifth round of spraying since sowing in early June, the Pundaliks are looking forward to the Rs 2,100-per-quintal offer by the State Government's cotton monopoly purchase scheme.

With cotton being a perennial crop peaking three times a year, the brothers are anticipating a veritable bounty in October/November.And at 50 quintals per harvest, they couldn't ask for more.

The `new art of cultivation' advocated by the friendly pesticide dealer, who has asked them to ``sincerely'' spray his pesticides at least 10 to 14 times, is ravaging soil fertility and helping the pests build resistance to the chemicals.

However, for the Pundaliks and thousands of others like them, the dealer is the first and last word on expert advice. They have no use for agricultural experts for unlike the dealer, the latter have nothing to offer. The dealer lends them money, sells them pesticides and fertilizers and after the harvest, why he may even agree to buy their cotton with ready cash.

Farmers, who have little capital to invest at the time of sowing, buy seeds, fertilizers and of course, pesticides, on credit. While most dealers in urban areas readily offer attractive discounts on the maximum retail price (MRP), they sell the pesticides to farmers at a price much higher than the MRP.

The farmers are told they can become richovernight by using pesticides and seeds of high-yielding varieties, says economist, H M Desarda, former member of the State Planning Commission. ``What we should be telling them instead is that though natural varieties of seeds are low on productivity they are high on stability for the agricultural sector,'' the economist says.

Cotton is extremely vulnerable to pests, especially bollworms which turn into moths, and it consumes nearly 55 per cent of pesticides manufactured the world over, says Dr N L Bhale, a cotton expert and former director of the Nagpur-based Central Cotton Research Institute.

Farmers have been induced by dealers to spray the plants at least 12-18 times per harvest against the recommended average six to seven times during the crop's 160-180-day cycle. In fact, they begin spraying the plants from the day the first leaves sprout.

But the consequences are devastating. For one, the pests develop a fierce immunity and once they cross the first two of their five-stage life cycle, there isno known chemical in the world potent enough to kill them, says Uttamrao Ingale, director of Extention Education at the Marathwada Agriculture University in Parbhani, who is doing extensive research on cotton, besides coordinating programmes to take the results of university research to the farmers.

Having thus survived to the last stage of development, the moths lay as many as 300 to 900 eggs at a time and wreak havoc on the crop.The prospect of a rich harvest also discourages cultivators from using traditional methods for farming like crop rotation, which naturally ensures soil fertility. The cotton craze drives many of them to cultivate cotton and only cotton, further eroding soil fertility. This also frustrates every attempt of scientists to break the moths' life cycle, explains Dr G V Pote, an entomologist with the National Agriculture Research Project, Aurangabad.

Besides, the plant's roots burrow deep into the soil, rapidly absorbing minerals. When a cotton crop is not followed by another whoseroots spread only on the surface, the soil loses its fertility permanently, experts say. This has led to a dreadful situation in the region and agricultural experts fear there is no way out. ``Our farmers have all but forgotten what rotation of crops means to the soil's fertility,'' Ingle observes.

The cotton monopoly purchase scheme makes it worse. Though the yield from the last two harvests (called `further' cotton) is especially poor, the government pays as much as Rs 900 per quintal against the Rs 500 it would fetch in the open market. Why would the tillers, always in dire need of ready cash, switch crops even though research and logic dictate otherwise?

Another fallout of the addicting lure of pesticides is that farmers pay scant attention to soil preparation. Experts have repeatedly asked them to plough their fields deep while the summer is still hot and nurture it with nitrogen-rich urea at least a fortnight before sowing. However, anxious to reap yet another harvest, they immediately proceed withthe next round of sowing, Pote says.

Modern methods like the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) too have not found favour with a majority of farmers. ``Farmers are careless about plant protection. They are even reluctant to stay in the fields at the time of spraying to ensure that the labourers they employ are using the right combination of chemicals,'' Ingle says.

Experts say the unhealthy trend has taken an ominous turn with farmers in districts like Beed, Latur and Osmanabad also opting for cotton cultivation. This despite the fact that soil conditions there are suitable for the crop.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. THANE, Sept 1: Bajrang Dal activists staged a dharna here late tonight and held up a Ganesh immersion procession in protest against ``police high-handedness.''

Traffic near the Holy Cross High School, close to the Ganesh immersion venue, was blocked for over three hours following the dharna by the activists, who led the Sriram Ganeshotsav Mandal procession.

According to Dr Sudhir Panade of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, when the procession was going past a place of worship, Senior Police Inspector Nishantdhar abused the activists, roughed them up and made derogatory remarks.

After walking some distance, the procession ground to a halt and the activists began shouting slogans against the police. To add to the tension, two police constables allegedly damaged a drum belonging to the processionists.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Gosavi and the mayor tried their level best to quieten the crowd, in vain. The mob wanted an apology from the inspector and an undertaking that no cases will be filedagainst them.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NASHIK, Sept 1: A police inspector with the Chhavni police station in Malegaon has been transferred to Peth following repeated complaints and a `rasta roko' by Shiv Sena workers on Sunday.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Shantaram Waghmare, told The Indian Express there were too many complaints against Inspector V K More for his arrogant behaviour. On one occasion, a scribe, Nagesh More, even went on a hunger strike in protest and complained to Guardian Minister Babanrao Gholap.

On Sunday, More arrested Dattatrya Mistry, brother of former Sena corporator Rama Mistry, as a preventive measure. When local Sena leaders approached the police officer, he allegedly insulted them. The Sainiks then blocked traffic on Mosam bridge, demanding More's transfer.

Waghmare said the rasta roko and a complaint to Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, who was in Malegaon on Sunday, was the last straw in More's case. ``He was going to be transferred anyway,'' he added.

congress stir: THE city unit of the Congresswill stage an indefinite dharna in front of its Ganesh pandal from tomorrow, to protest against the removal of cartoons of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders by the police on Monday. The party's city unit president and former member of Parliament, Murlidhar Mane, told The Indian Express that attempts are also being made to urge other Ganesh mandals in the city to join the protest.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

  • Ivanisevic snubs `old' Woodforde

    WIMBLEDON runner-up Goran Ivanisevic slammed 23 aces to beat Mark Woodforde yesterday, and then traded insults with the Australian veteran. The Croatian suggested the 32-year-old doubles star give up on singles. "The way his game is, it's very tough to watch. It's time for him to retire from singles," Ivanisevic said. "He looks very poor at the court. Too old. Can't move. With that (lousy) backhand, you can't beat anybody."

    Woodforde suggested Ivanisevic was a one-trick player with nothing beyond his blazing serve. "Goran has his serve and not much else. Ivanisevic said Woodforde hit him with a shot at one point and did not apologize. "He hates me," Ivanisevic said. "But then I hit an ace after that and that kills him. I see on his face. It's a poor thing."

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHERTHALA, Sept 1: Gopi, 21, died in October 1988 in police custody. He was cremated only yesterday.

    For 10 years, his father Thankappan kept the body in a concrete tank filled with formalin in the front yard of his house in Cherthala and waited for justice. He hoped that the police officers who he thought was responsible for his son's death would be brought to book.

    Governments came and went, visiting journalists wrote stories on the father's `bizarre' way of seeking justice, leaders and village elders asked Thankappan to end his fight. But he remained adamant -- till yesterday.

    Thankappan, in his late 70s, reduced to skin and bone by poverty and disease, has partially won his fight. The Kerala High Court has ordered a CBI inquiry into the incident and a departmental inquiry into Gopi's death in police custody and awarded a compensation of Rs 3 lakh. Thankappan finally decided to cremate the body on the advice of Father George Pulikuthi and his advocate Shaji Thomas, both associated with Jananeethi, ahuman rights organisation which helped him with the case. In the presence of an anxious local crowd, reporters, camera crews of various private TV channels and human rights activists including Justice T Chandrashekhara Menon, Gopi's last rites were performed.

    Gopi was summoned to the Cherthala police station on October 5 on suspicion that he was involved in a petty theft case. His father and a neighbour also went to the police station but were told to come back the next morning. The next day Thankappan received a telegram from the police saying his son had committed suicide by piercing his abdomen with a tubelight used as a ruler in the station.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Teachers' demand on arrears

    NEW DELHI: The striking college and university teachers today welcomed the government's offer to pay salary arrears in one installment as ``a big step forward'', but accused it of misleading them on many technical points regarding their demands.

    ``If the government is serious about giving 100 per cent arrears from January 1, 1996 in one installment, we will think about withdrawing our three-week strike,'' All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) president K K Theckedath told reporters here.

    Vittal is new CVC

    NEW DELHI: Chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board, N Vittal was appointed the Chief Vigilance Commissioner on Tuesday.

    Thackeray vs EC

    NEW DELHI: Rejecting any moves to disqualify him on a charge of misusing religion in a state Assembly election campaign eleven years ago, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today argued before the Election Commission that there was no justificationfor his disqualification from electoral activities ``at this late stage''.

    Gill moves HC

    NEW DELHI: Axed CEO Surrindar Singh Gill filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, challenging the Prasar Bharati ordinance issued by the Government on Saturday. He has prayed for the quashing of the ordinance on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. No moratorium on loans

    NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank on Tuesday clarified that it is not considering any proposal for granting a moratorium on repayment of loans or interest to financial institutions or banks by corporates.

    The RBI said it was also not considering any changes in the definition of non performing assets or a general reduction in debt-equity ratio. The clarification came in the wake of media reports that RBI in consultation with finance ministry was considering a three-year moratorium as part of a five-point package for the revival of the economy.

    Groundnut oil prices decline

    MUMBAI: Groundnut oil prices declined further steeply by Rs 10 per ten kg on the oilseeds market here Tuesday due to fresh arrival from producing centres like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, traders said. On the other hand, prices of castor oil, castorseeds and castorseed December contract rallied sharply due to heavy industrial and export demand. In the edible section, groundnut oil declinedsteeply by Rs 10 to close at Rs 588 while groundnut bold was untraded. Imported palm oil eased to Rs 374 from Rs 375.

    Nocil prunes dividend to 10 pc

    MUMBAI: The net profit of National Organic Chemical Industries Ltd (Nocil) has dropped to Rs 37.63 crore during the year ended March 1998 from Rs 59.81 crore last year. The directors have pruned the dividend to 10 per cent against 25 per cent paid last year. The turnover of the company for the year was Rs 1,100 crore as compared to Rs 1,174 crore in 1996-97. The decline was mainly due to lower sales volumes of petrochemical and polymer divisions consequently to the planned maintenance shutdown undertaken in March 1997. The company has earned a lower gross profit of Rs 60.10 crore against Rs 94.19 crore. The provision for depreciation amounted to Rs 17.87 crore (Rs 15.78 crore and for taxation at Rs 4.60 crore (Rs 18.60 crore), according to a company press release issued here today.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: St Andrew's Junior College beat G N Khalsa 2-0 to lift the title in the Bombay Division hockey boys under-19 Junior Colleges final of the Multigames City and Suburb competition, organised by the District Sports Govt of Maharashtra, at the BHA today.

    Outside-left Gilroy D'Mello scored both the goals in a match totally dominated by Andrew's. Khalsa's had just one look at the goal in the first-half.

    In the sixth minute, Eldridge Saldanha, playing in the deep defence, moved well up to send a neat diagonal hit to find an unmarked Gilroy in the dee. Gilroy collected neatly and sent a rasping shot giving the Khalsa goalkeeper no chance to effect a save.

    In the 44th minute, Warren found Marshal who beat his left-half and sent in a cross. Gilroy, lying handy, collected the ball and scored with a reverse hit. Thereafter, the match was as good as won by Andrew's, though superior but goal shy.

    Other results (all finals)

    Boys under-17: St Anne's, Orlem, 13 (Savio Nayak 5, A Sequeira 3,Snedden Pereira 3, Lawrence Soares, Adrian D'Souza) bt St Sebastian Goan 0.Boys under-14: St Andrew's, Bandra, 11 (Tyron Pereira 3, Dexter Manki 2, Farhan Khan 3, Jerry Almeida, Gavin Pereira, Naeem Jagani) bt St Sebastian Goan 0.

    Girls under-19: Khalsa 2 (Mamta Singh 2) bt St Andrew's College 0.

    Manisha declared best

    Project 2000's Manisha Gawande was crowned the Best Athlete in the Freedom Road Race organised by Ryan International Sports Club at the St Lawrence High School yesterday. She was awarded the IC Colony Sports Club Trophy donated by former national long distance runner Dayanand Kumar.

    Results
    Men (8 kms):
    1 Vijay Kashte (LIC) 22.36 mins, 2 Mahesh Monde (VPM), Yogesh Satam (VPM). Boys U-16: Vivek Pratap Singh (Project 2000) 6:53, Deepak Thakur (Project 2000), 3 Dinesh Acharya (VPM). U-14: Rajul Paigaonkar (VPM) 9:16, Ashwin VK (United Athletes), Sameer Phople (VPM). U-12: Kailash Rao (VPM) 5:35:9, Khaiyam Malbari (VPM), Sumeet Roy (Holy Family, Andheri).

    Women(5 kms): V Satyabhama (WR) 12:47, Arti Malekar (Prabhodan), Sushma Chalke (WR). Girls U-16: Judy Verghese (Project 2000) 9:35, Sushma Amre (Om Track), Manisha Tawade (Prabhodan Krida Bhavan). U-14: Manisha Gawande (Project 2000) 9:33, Shimona D'Costa (United Athletes), Smita Salvi (Om Track). U-12: Aditi Tawade (Om Track) 6:28, Ramya Rao (VPM), Nafisa Khan (St Anne's, Borivli).

    Sujata, Nimkar top

    Unseeded Niranjan Nimkar and second-seeded Sujata Hailinge won the men's and women's singles titles, repectively, in the first Dilip Babar-sponsored Thane District Ranking carrom tournament, organised by the Sainath Seva Mandal (Bhayander), today. Sujata shocked top seed Shilpa Joshi, 25-12, 25-20 and Nimkar beat unseeded Shabbir Khan 25-8, 23-25, 25-3.

    Other results
    Men's (semi-finals):
    Niranjan Nimkar bt Sanjay Mande 25-1, 25-11; Shabbir Khan bt Priyang Vaidya 25-16, 25-17. Women's (semi-finals): Shilpa Joshi bt Minal Lele 11-25, 25-22, 25-24; Sujata Hailinge bt Sumedha Karkhanis25-11, 24-25, 25-18.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW YORK/MUMBAI, Sept 1: Stock prices nosedived on the world markets with Dow Industrials of the New York Stock Exchange losing 6.4 per cent on frantic sales by investors nervous over collapse of the Russian economy, the Asian meltodown and possible slowdown in the US economy. Sensex (BSE sensitive index) slumped by 71 points due to the selling pressure on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

    Monday's loss at the Wall Street wiped out all this year's gains. The Nasdaq composite index, heavily weighted with technology stocks, saw its worst one-day loss, wiping 140.43 points or 8.57 per cent to touch 1,499.25 as "bluest of blue" chips took the beating.

    Asia-Pacific stock markets opened lower with Tokyo stock prices hitting a new 12-year low in early trading. The Nikkei average fell immediately after the market opened, dropping over 440 points at one point to hit an intra-day low of 13,664.74, the lowest since 1986. Last Friday, the Nikkei average fell below 14,000 for the first time since March 1986.Australianmarkets were down 2.5 per cent, New Zealand down 3.7 per cent, Hong Kong lower by 3.6 per cent, Singapore down by 2.2 per cent and Taiwan by 4.4 per cent.

    As the day ended, the market was still under pressure and analysts were trying to figure out whether it was a correction or bears had taken over from bulls. No one knew for certain and trend over next few days should clarify.

    The Standard and Poor 500 index on the US markets too fell 69.72 points, losing 6.8 per cent at 957.53 points yesterday. One of the major concern was said to be the fluid political situation in Russia and fears that the Communists might again take over with President Yeltsins's position becoming shaky. Morevoer President Clinton is not going for the Moscow summit with any bail-out proposal.

    In India, the BSE sensitive index (Sensex) started lower at 2862.24 but touched the day's high of 2882.88 and a low of 2850.30 before finishing at 2862.55 with a sizeable loss of 71.30 points as compared to its pervious close of 2933.85. TheBSE-100 index lost 29.49 points to 1281.11 from the previous level of 1310.60.

    Brokers said the trading sentiment was affected following the crash in the Dow Industrials on the New York Stock Exchange. The Asian markets followed suit as they dipped southwards during the day. ``The economic crisis in Russia, the problems in the Japanese economy and the dollar's decline against major currencies affected the sentiment in Indian markets also,'' said an analyst.

    Foriegn funds sold in major counters like MTNL, ITC, SBI, Infosys, Zee Telefilms and Satyam Computers which brought down the index heavily. Even domestic funds were sellers of MTNL, SBI, Asian Paints, Gujarat A Cement and Satyam for squaring up positions on the last day of the current settlement at the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

    In other markets, Taiwan is considering banning short selling to arrest fall in stock prices. The decline in the stock markets in the region is attributed to yesterday's fall in US markets. The panic started with reportsindicating that American banks might have lost millions of dollars in russian investments and the south asian crisis is affecting the profitability of international corporations.

    Wall Street loses $ 3 tn

    NEW YORK: Nearly $ three trillion, representing the equivalent of Germany's economy, have gone up in smoke on Wall Street in the last five weeks, estimates from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq said.The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tumbled 512.61 points (6.36 per cent) to 7,539.07 last night, erasing gains for the year and falling to its lowest level since last November.

    For the 30 Dow stocks, the losses amounted to $ 2.24 trillion since July 17, when the index hit a record high of 9,337.97 points. On the Nasdaq, dominated by high-tech stocks, the losses amounted to $ 588 billion since its record high set on July 20. The Nasdaq composite, off 20 per cent since its record, suffered its worst point drop ever -- 140.43 points or 8.56 per cent -- bringing it to itslowest level since July last year.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Real Madrid thrash Villarreal

    MADRID: Real Madrid made an emphatic start to their Spanish League campaign yesterday, sweeping to 4-1 home victory over 10-man Villarreal. But the European Cup winners were given an early shock, as Romanian international Gheorghe Craioveanu put the visitors ahead after only four minutes. But they pulled back Pedrag Mijatovic, Savio Bertolini and Raul.

    Six month suspension for Italian rider

    MILAN: Italian rider Francesco Casagrande was handed a six month suspension by the Italian cycling federation here on Tuesday for returning two positive drugs tests this year. The 28-year-old, who recently won the San Sebastian Classic and is ranked fifth in the world standings, returned an illegal level of testosterone and epitestosterone in April's Tour of the Trentino.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Ginola in Angola for anti-mine campaign

    LUANDA: Exactly one year after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, French football star David Ginola arrived in Angola to carry on the Princess' work raising funds for victims of landmines. "I hope to sensitise everyone - through football, the media and the international Red Cross - to the problems of landmines," Ginola told journalists on his arrival in Luanda. The footballer, who plays for the english club tottenham Hotspur, will visit Huambo and Kuito, the two cities which suffered the greatest devastation during Angola's 20-year Civil War. Aside from watching mine clearers at work and visiting amputees, Ginola will lace up his football shoes for a friendly game with some mine victims.

    Oliver Bierhoff new captain of Germany

    ST. JULIANS (Malta): Oliver Bierhoff, the striker who shot to fame two years ago with the `golden goal' which won the European Nations Cup for Germany, has been named captain of the German football team, it was announcedhere today. Bierhoff, 30, who had played in obscurity for years before he scored the goal that earned him fame, will replace veteran striker Juergen Klinsmann, who ended his career for Germany after the World Cup. Bierhoff's appointment as captain was announced by German coach Berti Vogts here today.

    Mike Tyson's car accident leads to a near brawl

    WASHINGTON: Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was treated and released from a Maryland Hospital last evening after a minor traffic accident nearly turned into a fist fight, local police officials said. Montgomery county police received calls from witnesses after Tyson's green Mercedes, driven by his wife, collided lightly with another vehicle in Gaithersburg, Maryland, police spokesman Derek Baliles said.

    The witnesses said Tyson "appeared as if he wanted to fight the driver of the other car" and had to be restrained by his wife and bodyguards travelling in a vehicle behind him. The other driver was identified only as an adultmale.

    Police arrived on the scene just after Tyson had left, but pulled him over a few minutes later.

    While they were talking with him, Tyson complained of chest pains and his wife took him to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where he was evaluated and released, a hospital spokesman said adding Tyson suffered no serious injuries. Baliles said no charges were brought against either driver because police had not witnessed the incident. Either party could still bring charges, he added.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Chennai, Sept 1: The Indian cricket probables had a surprise caller on Tuesday in Kapil Dev, whose timing of the visit was not even known to the BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur, cricket manager Anshuman Gaekwad and consultant Bobby Simpson.

    Kapil was with the cricketers, chatting with them in the pavilion and watching the entire duration of the match played by the probables on Tuesday.Though he retired from the game four years ago, Kapil is a much sought after cricketer, going by the autograph hunters who besieged him when stepped on the turf after the match.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. LONDON, Sept 1: England coach David Lloyd was called to task by the England Cricket Board (ECB) today for his criticism of Sri Lankan off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan's bowling technique.

    Lloyd's questioning of Muralitharan's bowling action came as the prolific off-breaker snared 16 wickets for the match as Sri Lanka cruised to a 10-wicket victory over England in a one-off Test at The Oval.

    But today, in the wake of a humiliating defeat and as his Ashes touring party was announced, Lloyd was being called to face the repercussions of the comments he made on Sunday.

    ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said Lloyd's comments were ``inappropriate and insensitive'' and senior officials expected an explanation from him at ``the earliest opportunity.''Lloyd said he had certain ``opinions'' about the bent arm action of Muralitharan and promised to inform ``the proper authorities.''

    Lamb said Lloyd's remarks were his own and not in line with the ECB position, which is to abide by the International Cricket Council's(ICC) ruling on Muralitharan's action.

    ``We are disappointed with the way (Lloyd) handled the whole issue as there is a set procedure -- and we have made our views known to the ECB,'' he said.

    HICK AXED: Graeme Hick, the only batsman still playing first-class cricket to have scored 100 centuries, has been left out of England's party to tour Australia later this year

    The Team

    Alec Stewart (captain), Nasser Hussain (vice-captain), Michael Atherton, Mark Butcher, Dominic Cork, John Crawley, Robert Croft, Angus Fraser, Darren Gough, Dean Headley, Warren Hegg, Ben Hollioake, Alan Mullally, Mark Ramprakash, Peter Such, Graham Thorpe, Alex Tudor. Tour Manager: Graham Gooch. Coach: David Lloyd.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. 3 thieves remandedAdditional chief metropolitan magistrate Namdeorao Pokharkar today remanded Abdul Latif alias Babu alias Babli Abdul Rauf Sheikh (23), Man Bahadur Amar Tiruva alias Mujeeb (22) and Mohammed Afzal Mohammed Hayat Qureshi (22) to police custody till September 11. The three robbers were arrested on Monday afternoon by the detection of crime branch unit-4 when they had assembled at the Nair-Cyrus road junction at Agripada. On a tip off that the robbers are likely to visit the area, the police laid a trap. When the six robbers riding on three motor cycles arrived on the scene the police asked them to surrender.

    CM waives tax on papad

    Chief Minister Manohar Joshi today announced that the state government would completely waive the sales tax owed to it by the Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, the largest co-operative society run by women. The CM said the co-operative society owed the government Rs 1.12 crore as sales tax which was 2 per cent since October 1, 1995. The period of taxwaiver would be from October 10, 1995 to March 31, 1999 and every year the burden of the state exchequer would be Rs 70 lakh, he added. Joshi, however, said that the government had not agreed with the request of the co-operative society to waive sales tax on detergent manufactured by it.

    Security to hsg minister, secy

    Chief Minister Manohar Joshi today said that adequate security cover was provided to Housing Minister Suresh Jain and Housing Secretary V P Raja after both complained of receiving threatening calls.

    ``After Jain told me about the calls, I had a talk with the police commissioner and the security being provided to him was increased. Though Raja did not complain to me that he was being threatened, the police would conduct an inquiry into it. We have provided police protection to him also,'' Joshi said.

    Jain and Raja have alleged that they were threatened by the city builders lobby over the much publicised Shivshahi Punarvasan Prakalp Ltd, the company set up by the government toprovide free houses to 40 lakh slum dwellers in Mumbai.

    Robber fires at police

    Police fired at a robber after he allegedly tried to assault a policeman at Khar on Tuesday evening.

    According to a police officer at Khar station, the police received a call of `trouble' at 14th road, Khar and rushed a police party, led by PSI Mohite, to the spot. On seeing the police, the accused Rahimtullah Subhan Shaikh alias Kaliya, who was armed with a chopper, reportedly advanced towards an officer despite repeated warnings. Mohite then fired three rounds at Kaliya, who received injuries on his leg. He was rushed to Bhabha Hospital at Bandra, where he is reported to be out of danger. Kaliya has several robbery cases registered against him.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Paes vs Sampras on ESPN

    MUMBAI: ESPN will telecast Leander Paes' victory over World No 1 Pete Sampras in the third round of the Pilot Pen tennis tournament recently.

    The match will be beamed at 2000 hrs on Wednesday.

    Paes had scored a sensational victory over the reigning Wimbledon champion 6-3, 6-4 at New Haven in the United States to pull off his biggest career win.

    Rohtas rules

    BANGALORE: Veteran Rohtas Singh of Delhi led his team to victory in the Wills Southern Open Pro Am, a prelude to the main tournament, at the Karnataka Golf Association Classic Golf course on Tuesday.

    On a water logged course, the event was curtailed to just nine select holes. Rohtas team comprising M Aiyappa, Indur Hirani and Ramesh Rao totalled 72 points, but the team handicap being six, the net score read 66.

    Top six in fray

    HYDERABAD: The top six team of the country will be seen in action in the 15-day long Blender's Pride Hyderabad Polo National which gets underway atthe lush green Bison Polo Ground from Wednesday.

    Cricket telecasts

    MUMBAI: Both Indian cricket teams, which are to be picked tomorrow at Chennai, will be seen in action on foreign sports television channels during the Sahara Cup Indo-Pak five-match series at Toronto and the Commonwealth one-day matches at Kuala Lumpur.

    All the Toronto internationals will be telecast live on ESPN from 1850 hrs on Sept 12,13,16,19 and 20. But t Games will be shown later (taped version) on Star. India will have only one match on the channel against Australia on Sept 16 at 1800 hrs.

    The recorded semi-finals on Sept 17 and 18 will be beamed at 1800 hrs while the final will be shown on Sept 21 at the same time.

    Jadeja XI win

    CHENNAI: Mohammed Azharuddin's heroics notwithstanding, the team, Azhar XI, crashed to a five-wicket defeat against Ajay Jadeja XI in the second of the practice matches the Indian probables played at MAC Stadium on Tuesday. Azhar's XI made 226 for 9 in 48.2 overs and inreply Jadeja XI scored 227 for 5 in 43.2 overs.

    Technical matters

    BANGALORE: The technical committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today approved three recommendations of the ICC. The committee amended rule 25 deeming an additional run would be awarded even if runs were allowed of that ball besides an extra ball.

    Another suggestion accepted was that the umpires would mandatorily change the ball after completion of 100 overs in a match of three days or more. The third change was to reduce the condoning time for a fielder from 15 minutes to eight minutes.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. NEW YORK, Sep 1: India's challenge in the men's singles event of the US Open tennis tournament came to an end when the country's No 1 ranked player, Leander Paes lost in the opening round to Alex O'Brien of the United States 5-7, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9) here today.

    Paes put up a brave fight in the third set which O'Brien won 9-7 on the tie-breaker. Paes now teams up with Mahesh Bhupathi to play in the men's doubles. The Indian pair have been seeded fourth.

    Earlier, Steffi Graf won a match at the US Open for the first time since 1996 when she beat American Corina Morariu 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 today to advance to the second round as the US Open began Day 2.

    After winning the year's final Grand Slam tournament in 1995 and '96, Graf missed last year's US Open because of knee surgery. Her victory today ran her consecutive match winning streak at the Open to 15.

    ``It's been two years. I don't look back on what happened before,'' Graf said. ``I look at now as a new start.''

    In another early match, Mark Philippoussis ofAustralia defeated Norway's Christian Ruud 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.

    The forehand that once ruled women's tennis made only occasional appearances against Morariu. But it was there every time Graf needed it.

    It was in the second set, when she made 15 of her 28 unforced errors on the day, that the eighth-seeded German appeared in danger of matching her 1992 US Open result.

    That was the only time she has failed to make it out of the opening round.Graf, making her debut in Arthur Ashe Stadium, grabbed a 3-0 lead in the opening set. She held her last two service games in the set at love and appeared headed for a straight-set victory.

    Morariu had other ideas. The Floridian, hitting as hard and as deep as her opponent, broke Graf at love in the sixth game and pulled even at one set apiece.

    Graf then tightened her game, setting up a second-round match against compatriot Marlene Weingartner.

    Last night, Andre Agassi, hoping to cap his rise from the satellite tour with his second US Open title, found the Ashe Stadiumcourt to his liking as he overpowered Sebastien Grosjean of France 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

    ``The court is definitely quicker, no question bout it,'' he said.Also advancing into the second round yesterday were the two No 1 seeds, Pete Sampras and Martina Hingis.

    No 9 Karol Kucera and No 14 Goran Ivanisevic won in men's singles and No 6 Monica Seles, No 9 Irina Spirlea, No 11 Patty Schnyder, No 14 Dominique van Roost and No 16 Ai Sugiyama were winners among the women.

    The only seed ousted on the first day was No 15 Alberto Berasategui of Spain, who fell to Thomas Muster of Austria 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, 6-3.

    How the seeds fared

    Seedings in prefix
    Men's Singles (1st round): 8-Andre Agassi (US) bt Sebastien Grosjean (France) 6-4 6-1 6-4; 9-Karol Kucera (Slovakia) bt Steve Campbell (US) 6-4 6-2 6-4; 12-Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden) bt Cedric Pioline (France) 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-2
    Women's singles (1st round): 1-Martina Hingis (Switzerland) bt Aleksandra Olsza (Poland) 6-2 6-0; 6-MonicaSeles (US) bt Florencia Labat (Agrentina) 7-6 (7-0) 6-2; 9-Irina Spirlea (Romania) bt Elena Likhovtseva (Russia) 7-6 (7-0) 6-4; 14-Dominique van Roost (Belgium) bt Julie Halard-Decugis (France) 6-2 6-2; 16-Ai Sugiyama (Japan) bt Ruxandra Dragomir (Romania) 6-1 6-2.

    Other results

    Men's singles: Wayne Black (Zim) bt Justin Gimelstob (US) 3-6 7-5 2-3 (retired); Bob Bryan (US) bt Marcos Ondruska (SA) 3-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-4 6-4; Wayne Arthurs (Aus) bt Carlos Costa (Spa) 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-4; Slava Dosedel (Cze) bt Filip Dewulf (Bel) 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4; David Nainkin (SA) bt Mark Merklein (US) 6-7 (3-7) 6-0 6-4 6-4; Bohdan Ulihrach (Cze) bt Sargis Sargsian (Arm) 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-4; Paul Goldstein (US) bt Andrew Ilie (Aus) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 3-0 (retired); Taylor Dent (US) bt Alex Radulescu (Ger) 4-6 7-5 2-1 (retired); Jonathan Stark (US) bt Koon Yong-Il (Kor) 6-2 6-4 6-4; Dominik Hrbaty (Slo) bt Marc Rosset (Swi) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 7-5; Adrian Voinea (Rom) bt Andrea Gaudenzi (Ita) 6-4 3-6 6-2 2-0(retired); Guillaume Raoux (Fra) bt Nicolas Escude (Fra) 6-3 3-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (8-6); Jan Siemerink (Net) bt Dinu Pescariu (Rom) 6-4 6-3 6-0; Todd Martin (US) bt Jeff Tarango 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-5; Sebastien Lareau (Canada) bt Ramon Delgado (Paraguay) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 6-3).

    Women's singles: Park Sung-Hee (Kor) bt Lenka Nemeckova (Cze) 1-6 6-3 6-4; Amelie Mauresmo (Fra) bt Ludmila Richterova (Cze) 6-2 6-1; Gala Leon Garcia (Spa) bt Janet Lee (Tai) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4); Miho Saeki (Jpn) bt Jill Craybas (US) 6-1 2-6 6-3; Sandrine Testud (Fra) bt Shi-Ting Wang (Tai) 6-0 6-2; Serena Williams (US) bt Nicole Pratt (Aus) 6-3 3-6 6-4; Evgenia Koulikovskaya (Rus) bt Sandra Kleinova (Cze) 4-6 6-1 6-3; Annie Miller (US) bt Sandra Nacuk (Yug) 6-2 6-3; Iva Majoli (Cro) bt Anke Huber (Ger) 6-3 6-3; Nathalie Dechy (Fra) bt Barbara Paulus (Aut) 6-2 7-5; Pavlina Stoyanova (Bul) bt Tamarine Tanasugarn (Tha) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2; Miriam Schnitzer (Ger) bt Elena Tatarkova (Ukr) 0-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3; Aubrie Rippner (US) bt Amy Frazier(US) 6-3 6-1; Amelie Cocheteux (Fra) bt Sandra Dopfer (Aut) 6-3 6-3; Kveta Hrdlickova (Cze) bt Barbara Schwartz (Aut) 6-2 6-3; Mary Joe Fernandez (US) bt Tina Krizan (Slovenia) 6-4 7-6 (7-4); Alexandra Fusai (Fra) bt Alexandra Stevenson (US) 6-4 6-4; Mirjana Lucic (Cro) bt Kristie Boogert (Net) 6-3 6-2; Marlene Weingartner (Ger) bt Meghann Shaughnessy (US) 6-4 1-6 6-2; Sylvia Plischke (Aut) bt Nana Miyagi (Jpn) 3-6 7-5 6-2; Naoko Sawamatsu (Jpn) bt Cristina Torrens Valero (Spa) 4-6 7-5 6-1Joannette Kruger (South Africa) bt Barbara Rittner (Germany) 6-1 6-3; Maria Alejandra Vento (Venezuela) bt Magui Serna (Spain) 6-7 (2-7) 7-5 6-4; Laura Golarsa (Italy) bt Emmanuelle Gagliardi (Switzerland) 6-3 7-6 (7-3); Radka Bobkova (Czech Rep) bt Jean Okada (US) 6-2 6-2; Lisa Raymond (US) bt Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo (Spain 6-3 6-3); Lori McNeil (US) bt Samantha Reeves (US) 4-6 6-4 6-1.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September 1: Over 2,000 college teachers from various parts of the state who converged at Azad Maidan on Monday decided on a unique form of protest against the central government's handling of the nation-wide teachers' strike.

    The teachers have decided to innundate the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) with a flurry of telegram messages from all over the country in order to press their point of view. The `high-handed attitude' of the central Human Resource Development ministry towards the strike, which was kicked off almost a month ago on August 11, was also flayed.

    A striking activist of Bombay University and College Teachers' Union (BUCTU), Professor C R Sadashivan, said: ``The HRD ministry had recently published an appeal to teachers asking them to go back to the classes. But why has the central government still not responded to our plea of keeping at least three promotions for the teachers in their career span? And there is also no hope so far of raising the retirement age to 62 years.''

    Some ofthe professors who had come to the city from places like Latur, Beed, Nanded and Konkan, said they are even prepared to start a jail bharo andolan like their colleagues in Delhi if the strike does not end soon. On the eve of Teacher's Day, teachers from various parts of the country will assemble in thousands at Shivaji Park in New Delhi.

    The teachers also distributed pamphlets detailing their charter of demands and a recent letter written to the Governor of Maharashtra, Dr P C Alexander, urging him to intervene in the matter and negotiate a settlement between the HRD ministry and the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO).

    ``In other states, for example in West Bengal, chief minister Jyoti Basu has written to HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi in an attempt to end the strike. But we can't say the same about Maharashtra,'' said Sadashivan.

    Another teacher pointed out that the recent University Grants Commission (UGC) recommendations clearly stated that it is noteasy to attract talent in the teaching field these days, therefore it was necessary to offer lecturers and professors attractive pay scales.

    In a signed press statement, General Secretary of BUCTU, Dr S M Paranjapes, stated: ``Frustrated by his inability to break the ranks of the striking teachers, the HRD minister has stooped to a very low level by calling a special meeting of hand-picked hard core party hacks to bully the teachers into accepting his `offer' of giving arrears in one lump sum, if they summarily withdraw their strike.''

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: It was a robbery carried out with great precision, and it initially left the police baffled. But the mystery was cracked within 24 hours, after the cops had got an `insider's' angle to it.

    Sanghvi Art Jewellers on Agripada's B J Road, owned by Mansuklal Sanghvi, was robbed in broad daylight between 4.30 and 7.30 pm on Monday, when it was closed. But the heist on the usually busy road came to light only after 7.30 pm, when three of the shop's workers opened the shop.

    The robber had opened the main door and the safe vault with duplicate keys before escaping with 5 kg of gold and other valuables worth Rs 33 lakh.But prima facie evidence suggested it could be the handiwork of some known person.

    Police, who had earlier wondered how the heist on a busy road could have been carried out with such exactitude, then interrogated all of Sanghvi's family members. There were discrepancies in Sanghvi's nephew Amit's statements, a police officer informed.

    Sustained interrogation revealed that Amit hadgained entry into the shop with duplicate keys after the shop's three employees had gone out for some work around 4.30 pm.

    Amit had worked in the shop three years ago, and it was during this stint that he managed to duplicate the keys so that he could carry out the robbery in future. ``The robbery was planned in advance, and Amit seized the opportunity yesterday,'' an officer said.

    Amit was arrested this afternoon, and the entire booty has been recovered from him, police confirmed. Amit told the police that he wanted a jewellery shop of his own, and he needed money for the purpose. Police are still questioning him to find out if he had any accomplice.

    In another case, a chain snatcher and two receivers of stolen goods have been convicted to imprisonment by a magistrate at Girgaum Court today.

    Mohammed Yakub Babu Azim Shah, a chain snatcher, who was named in 37 cases of chain snatching under the jurisdiction of Malabar Hill police station, has been convicted to rigorous imprisonment for 11 years. Tworeceivers of stolen goods, Ramesh Dhumal and Babulal Soni, have also been given three years in prison. The order was pronounced by a magistrate at Girgaum court today. Investigations were carried out by senior inspector D Bhonsale and police sub-inspector A Mane.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Debate on teachers' stir

  • The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has organised a `Chattra Adalat' in Sydenham College on September 4 at 11 am. Representatives from the government, striking teachers' organisations, student representatives and media persons will air their views on this issue. Call office secretary ABVP Ashok Chavan on 4306321/4378866.

    Priyadarshini awards

  • The Priyadarshini Academy has announced the international award winners for the year 1998. Indonesia's Meghawati Sukarnoputri, member of house of representative, foreign and interparliamentary commission gets the Global award for International Understanding, while Japan's Toshitami Kaihara, gets the award for Humanitarian Services.

    The global award for outstanding contribution to corporate social responsibility goes to Hari N Harilela, chairperson of the Harilela group, Hongkong.At home, the academy will honour Dr Nitin Mandke for his contribution to medicine, Hafeez Contractor for contribution in the field ofarchitecture, Ashok Wadhwa for financial management, while the Smita Patil Memorial Award for best actress will be given to Tabu. The awards will be given on September 19.

    Watumull college festival

  • The Watumull Institute of Electronic Engineering and Computer Technology, a government-aided affiliate of the Mumbai University, is organising WATTS 98, a national level technical symposium on September 11 and 12. The technofest will involve a paper presentation contest, a graduate level project competition and a technical quiz.

    Frontier Mail's 70th anniversary

    The Frontier Mail, once known as the Pride of India, and now the Golden Temple express, celebrated its 70th anniversary on Monday with the general manager of the Western Railway V D Gupta flagging off the train from Mumbai Central.

    The train started its service on September 1, 1928 between Colaba station, which was subsequently dismantled in 1933, and Peshawar in the North Western Frontier Province in Pakistan. It was among thefastest trains run during British colonial rule, and continued to retain the position until the introduction of the Rajdhani Expresses. Starting off as a six coach train, the train today has 19 vestibular coaches transporting people from Mumbai Central to Amritsar. The steam engine used to power the train was replaced by a diesel engine in the late 1970s.

    Morcha to demand ATKT

    Engineering students from various city colleges held a morcha outside the University of Mumbai in Fort on Tuesday morning to demand for reintroduction of the old ATKT (allowed to keep terms) rule. The students also submitted a memorandum in this regard to authorities.

    Previously, the rules allowed engineering students to have more than four ATKTs and yet go into the next semester. However, as per the new rules introduced by the varsity, the students could not afford to have more than four ATKTs.

    SBI association officer retires

    The general secretary of the State Bank of India Officer's Association, Mumbai circle,R D Shendurnikar, retired on Monday, August 31, after serving the bank for 40 years and four months. Shendurnikar worked with the Officer's Association for the last 30 years and has worked on numerous social projects for the members. Some of these are Association's Guest Houses at Panchgani and Amboli, the employees' Credit Society and Educational Trust for Schools at Aurangabad and Nerul.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI,SEPT 1: A businessman who was served a bill for a telephone he didn't possess in the first place has been given a breather by the consumer courts. The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Forum, in a recent judgement, has ruled that the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd can recover dues only from the actual subscriber.

    In 1991, B R Mistry purchased a flat in Vile Parle, which had a phone connection (6129200) left behind by the previous owner. Mistry was assured that the phone would be transferred soon, but as that did not happen, he got his own phone (6133290). In May 1993, Mistry was served a bill of Rs 39,717 on the previous owner's phone. MTNL said since it had been unable to trace the original owner, Mistry would have to pay the charges for the phone, which was in his custody. He said the phone had been dead during the period of billing. When he complained to MTNL, he was told that his connection would be cut if he didn't pay up. He was asked to pay in 10 installments.

    When Mistry failed to cough upthe first installment, his telephone was disconnected on March 24, 1995. He then paid the first installment of Rs 4,375 on March 30, and his connection was restored that very day. Mistry, with the help of consumer activist Kirit P Doshi, filed a complaint. The MTNL argued that Mistry had at some point used the owner's telephone, and said they had never threatened to disconnect his phone.

    The court ruled that ``for non-payment of a bill for a phone in the name of someone else, a phone standing in the name of the subscriber cannot be disconnected.'' The court also directed MTNL to pay back the installment amount of Rs 4,375 and also Rs 100 to meet the legal expenses incurred by the complainant. However, the court refused to grant Mistry damages as he owned up to using the phone to make local calls.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September 1: The Mumbra police arrested three men in connection with the shootout at Kismat Colony, Mumbra, on Monday afternoon.

    Shaukat Khilji, Mohammed Arab and Abdul Tahir, all cable operators, were picked up from the Pydhonie area in south Mumbai. The trio had started a new cable business with Umar Bangdiwala by the name of Eagle Satellite. Before starting their business, Bangdiwala had raised a loan of Rs 20 lakh from the bank. In between there was some dispute between the four partners. Later, they separated and distributed the area cable network in Pydhonie area. The threesome got into frequent quarrels after Bangdiwala insisted that Rs 20 lakh he had given as loan be repaid by them. The police claimed that it was because of this fight that Bangdiwala and his companion Parvez Ansari were shot dead. The police claimed that the killing was executed by Arif Jafar alias Kaliya at the instance of the trio.

    While Arif Jafar is still at large, the police have no clue on the motive behind thekilling of Parvez Ansari.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, September 1: The Bombay High Court has, in an interim order, directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) or the state government to take over the management of Govandi's Dynansampada High School and hand it over to the association of teachers, after the Chhatrapati Shivaji Education Society, which manages the school, expressed its inability to run the school and pay salaries to its teachers due to financial difficulties.

    The next hearing of the case is scheduled for tomorrow. The trustees, in their plea, claimed they lacked funds to pay the teaching and non-teaching staff of the pre-primary and primary sections. The school's secondary section is funded by a state government grant. The Dynansampada school is situated in the Shivajinagar area of Govandi, and its students mostly comprise slum children. The trustees' petition has been clubbed with that of the teachers, which was filed in January. The teachers say they've been paid less than half the BMC scales and also forced to sign receiptsshowing they had received salaries in keeping with the scales. For at least five months in 1994, they were denied their salaries. In 1995-96, they received 75 per cent of the BMC scales; between June 1996 and January 1997, they got 50 per cent, and since then, they've received a mere 40 per cent of the scales. Ten of the 22 primary teaching and non-teaching staff refused to collect their salaries all through 1997 as a mark of protest.

    The trust had, in 1995, urged BMC to give it grants, but BMC refused, saying the school didn't meet its criteria. The school didn't have a Building Completion Certificate, essential to get a grant. In June this year, the trustees filed a plea challenging BMC's refusal and explaining the financial crunch the school faced as it couldn't even hike fees beyond a certain level because it catered to slum children. The teachers, on their part, had approached the Mumbai Khazgi Prathamik Shikshak Shikshaketar Karmachari Sangh in 1997. The union, representing primary school teachers inMumbai, advised them to seek legal intervention, said the union's vice-president, S R Khopkar. The teachers filed a case in HC in January 1998.

    In an interim order in February and another in April, the court ordered the management to pay teachers for the first four months of 1998, this time according to BMC's scales. But parents of students say the trust shouldn't have any difficulty in running the school, given the ``donations'' sought at the time of admission. A trustee, Shankar P Shedge, maintains that the school has never accepted donations. The school raised the fees for its primary section in June 1997 from Rs 60 to Rs 70, and in June 1998 to Rs 100. During the same period, the fee for the pre-primary section was raised from Rs 70 to Rs 150. In June 1998, the parents united under the banner of the Palak Kruti Samiti to protest the fee hike. The Samiti has, with the help of an NGO Apnalaya, since made representations to the state education department and the mayor, but their pleas have been ignored.Siraj Momin, an Apnalaya worker, said the trustees were quick to hike fees, but they haven't bothered to maintain the school premises. Shedge admitted the trust is in dire straits, and that teachers were paid only a percentage of their salaries. ``But if we don't hike fees, how will we meet the expenditure?'' he asked.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: Renu and Tikamdas Ahuja have been locked in battle over property at Ulhasnagar's barracks for 15 long years. Now the plot thickens, with the feisty lady also slapping a civil suit against the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC), charging the civic body in its erstwhile form as a municipal council with allowing a building to be constructed on land which is rightfully hers.

    In a special civil suit against the UMC, Renu has charged the corporation and a junior engineer in the erstwhile council with permitting a promoter Devandas Chugh to construct a building, Sai Kripa Apartments, on barrack No 190 at Camp 1, after demolishing rooms 1, 2, 3 and 4 without her permission. She has also claimed Rs 21 lakh as compensation.

    Renu alleges that V D Gosavi, then a junior engineer in the Town Planning Department, sanctioned the construction after her husband submitted an affidavit relinquishing ownership of all four rooms. Renu, however, points out that the title deeds of the property indicate thatrooms 1 and 2 stand in her name while her husband owned the other two.

    ``This was done in spite of the fact that my husband, with whom I have differences, owns only rooms 3 and 4,'' she told Express Newsline.

    She and her husband have long-standing differences, she says, explaining: ``I work as nurse with the Central Railway and my husband and I clashed over my decision not to quit my job despite being posted at the CR hospital in Byculla. Though we have reconciled, he has also been sent a legal notice besides the 12 other tenants in the building.''

    Despite their differences, the Ahujas share a flat in Sai Kripa Apartments, which was constructed in 1981-83 when the civic body was still a municipal council. Its status was upgraded to a corporation in October 1996.

    Questioning Gosavi's intentions, Renu points out: ``I had not given permission for the construction. Nor have I given my husband power of attorney. How then could a commencement certificate (dated March 30, 1981) have been issued forrooms 1 and 2?''

    In her suit, she also asks how a junior engineer could sanction permission for construction without consulting higher authorities.

    Located off a busy lane which approaches the Sadhu Bela School in Camp 1, the four-storey building is located on a plot admeasuring 427 sq mt. It comprises 12 flats and seven shops. Real estate agents peg the property's current market value at Rs 25 lakh, says Renu.

    But how has the UMC reacted to the litigation? Save for issuing Gosavi a show cause notice, it has precious little. Confirming that he has received the notice, Gosavi told Express Newsline, ``I acted on the basis of the affidavit provided by Tikamdas Ahuja,'' asking whether (Tikamdas) Ahuja would be willing to take responsibility for trying to ``mislead'' the civic body through a ``wrong affidavit''.

    He also alleges that the Ahujas are trying to ``make money out of a small error'' on his part, adding that the marital discord is a mere smokescreen. ``Otherwise, why would she have given up herquarters provided by the railways and choose to live with her husband,'' he asks.

    Tikamdas, however, maintains that he has differences with his wife. ``We have still not been able to reconcile on issues like this property matter,'' he says, refusing to explain why it took so long for the couple to initiate action against Gosavi. Adds Renu: ``We kept trying to get the administration and the councillors/corporators to do something but had to finally approach the court when everything else failed.''

    UMC Commissioner A D Kale says the law will take its own course, adding, ``I cannot make any remarks without apprising myself of the details of the case.''

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. MUMBAI, Sept 1: No loudspeakers belching out discordant tunes, no blinding lights, no overenthusiastic crowds. Only a 106-year-old attempt to get as close as possible to Lokmanya Tilak's original aims.

    The Keshavji Naik Chawls at Girgaum, where the Sarvajanik Ganpati celebrations began in 1893, simply refuse to end their romance with tradition. At these chawls, unlike in other parts of the city, even youngsters shun the song and dance of shimmering Venuses and Adonises on the streets, and instead, embrace traditional modes of worship. ``The idol is brought to our chawls in a palkhi which was made in 1935,'' said mandal president, Vinay Rahatekar. ``The aagamana procession, during which all chawl residents walk barefoot, takes place to the tune of tasha and lezim.

    When the palkhi reaches the chawls' entrance, the Lord is welcomed by womenfolk dressed in traditional Marathi attire. Fifty women stand on either side of the entrance to perform the pancharati, and then the idol is installed andconsecrated.''

    The programmes organised by the mandal over the next ten days, too, keep it from becoming an accredited member of the modern festival marketplace. ``Religious pravachanas are held on the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhaktisutras. Then there are kirtans (religious songs) based on stories from Puranas, the mantrajagara, recitation of Vedic and religious verses, and the sahastravartanas, verses glorifying Lord Ganesh, on all ten days,'' informed Rahatekar.

    The mandal, though, doesn't just make for a calcified relic of a spiritual past, but also addresses itself to the problems of the day. ``For the last five years, a lecture series called Lokmanya Vyakhyanmala has been organised by us to discuss pressing issues,'' says a mandal member Vinod Satpute, adding, ``Debates are also held on local problems every year. This time, we have a special programme on Mumbai, Mumbai Mazhi Ladki, and an interview with Everest veer Surendra Chavan.''

    The immersion procession here is also unique. In addition tothe singing of bhajans, the pushpavrushti (showering of flowers) on the Lord seated in the palanquin takes place all the way through the narrow bylanes of Girgaum to the Chowpatty sands. Among those who have delivered lectures here and participated in the annual debates are Veer Savarkar, N C Kelkar, Barrister Jamnadas Mehta, Senapati Bapat, historian Setu Madhavrao Pagadi, and recently, Bal Thackeray, Murli Manohar Joshi and L K Advani. And stalwarts like Comrade S A Dange, Prabodhankar Thackeray and S M Joshi have at some point of time in their lives been residents of this cluster of six chawls.

    Concurred 22-year-old Mandar Kulkarni: ``This discipline and this way of organising things is the need of the hour. The other day, we organised a lecture in which the speaker initially entertained us with dollops of humour from the treasure-house of Acharya Atre. By the time he ended his speech, he had set us thinking on the state of the nation and the need for us youth to do something about it. Can a programme bemore relevant and apt?'' His 67-year-old father, Ramesh, who's lived here all his life, added; ``It's our tradition that sets us apart, and we're proud of it. Such a tradition undergoes the test of carrying high promise and uncertainty in roughly equal measure, but we'd always like to have a celebration commensurate with the wealth of our chawls' spirit.''

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Just beyond this stretch of road there ahead lies the station... from the station leaves the train leading to the city

    There, with the crowd will I merge
    And till dusk there's no fear
    No need to go in search of myself
    near the sea shore
    over the road...
    The crowds, the smell of sweat, the noise and dust of Mumbai are like oxygen for poet Saumitra. And his poems make that evident. He writes with simplicity about already-known facts -- but he is able to put words to things one can only feel. And with those same words, he changes his entire persona. Right before your eyes to become Kishore Kadam, the actor. Or Harilal in Gandhi Virrudh Gandhi. Or Ambedkar in Gandhi and Ambedkar.

    And after a while it is difficult to separate the actor from the poet. "Why let people know that the same man is doing badly in two fields?" grins Kadam. More simply, the fact is that he hates his name. "I wonder why my parents called me `Kishore'," he says. Instead he chose Saumitra, as hismother's name is Sumitra and "Sumitra's son is Saumitra". Writing for the last 15 years, his poems have been published in various magazines. Now his collection of poetry is due to be published by Granthali publication. And Kadam knows that he can't hide anymore.

    Born and brought up in Bandra, Kadam's first poem was inspired by an unknown singer who used to practise in a temple, close to his house. One day, the singer -- Kadam still knows nothing about him -- gave the young listener a metre and asked him to write a poem. Kadam penned a verse and the singer used that for his next riyaz. "I don't know what I used to write, what it meant, but the fact that people read my poems was unique in itself," says Kadam.

    Not any more. Today, he has written over a 100 poems, reflecting a range of experience. There are poems on Vincent Van Gogh's paintings which he penned after reading Lust For Life. On theatre -- which came to him while waiting in the wings. "Here I am looking at Seema Biswas's face (GandhiVirrudh Gandhi) going through the act while my mind is reciting a poem," says Kadam. And on cinema -- when he worked as an assistant director and actor, in films like Antarnad and Mammo with Shyam Benegal. Kadam has also worked with Amol Palekar in Bangarwadi and Sudhir Mishra in Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin.

    And then there's a series of poems on Mumbai, and the eternal search for one's identity. "If I am working for 15 days at a stretch, then on the one day off, I love going to the city. I spend hours on the pavement going through books, hours at the Jehangir Art Gallery staring at paintings, which I don't understand but I like looking. And then I like to watch a movie," he says. But what he loves most is getting into trains and walking on platforms. That is what also takes most of the space in his poetry.

    A lyricist for Marathi cinema, he recently released his first Marathi music album, Gaarwa, sung by Milind Ingle. Awaiting the release of his book (as yet untitled),Kadam still feels he is not taking his poetry seriously. "I don't think I am concentrating. If I concentrate then I might end up writing bad poems," he says.

    Kishore Kadam will read out his poetry at the Little Theatre, NCPA. On September 3, 1998. Time: 6.30 pm.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Reena Saini's works are thoughts strung over two galleries -- Pundole and Chemould which are jointly hosting her first solo show. Twenty-five now, she graduated two years ago from the J J School of Art and has been working on her own since. Reena, who has never designated dimensions to her art -- "didn't consciously decide to do 3D work after 2D" -- has added an intangible penumbra of contemplation to her mixed media constructions which comprise the show.

    Called Orchards of Homegrown Secrets, a name which evokes mystery, mazes and intrigue, this extra dimension to the show is because her works give shape to musings which run like a subterranean spring in the overt stream of urban living. Trickles of thought which are pushed to the back of the mind because they interfere with the business of living. And traitorous because they slip in through the staccato of city life to reveal just how transient the carnivorous consumerist culture is. So balloons reaching for the sky with house, car, planespainted inside them reoccur in her exhibited works.

    "Balloons are fragile so putting these aspirational things inside them is a way of putting across how ephemeral are the objects we most chase," she says. And a painting with a grabbing fist locked inside a narrow-mouthed bottle which contains colourful items -- jewels perhaps -- restates the idea. The central thought to her work though, is growth, as the title of the show reflects. And it is portrayed best by her construction titled `Joint Family', which is a large house built of acrylic, corrugated paper, metal and stone. Among the meanings it is imbued with, the house is an ironic statement on the much-hyped evolution of the global village at a time when joint families are splitting into nuclear ones and individuals are careening off their own paths like stray electrons. But the home is also a green house for her, a place of germination where life carries life and individual legacies and histories are written, only to be overwritten. The birth andgrowth is symbolised by a pair of copulating cement serpents on the house floor, the Hindu motif of fertility. And the huge leaves painted on the blue-green exterior, reminiscent of Jack's beanstalk, is the family tree climbing the walls of the family house. Each leaf is spiralling upwards, like ambitions and desires which push people out of the nest. But inside these leaves are painted objects of desires and figures. "Because usually, what we most want can be found inside ourselves," says Reena.

    The house also has a huge clockwork key on one side which denotes the sense of external control in our lives, "There is a feeling that things are programmed to work in a certain order. Even though that is the natural order, it is as if we are puppets of something," she says. But opposite to the key, is the keyhole in the transparent belly of the fiberglass fish whose insides contain a smaller fish. A repetition of life carrying life and how most answers we seek outside are sealed inside us.

    And juxtaposed tothe vague fear of external control is the realisation that life is after all a wild card which can turn out to be anything. One installation is a series of house of cards made from a deck of 26. The cards of each house, made from thick paper by Reena, have painted images of hands holding each other in various ways. "It is on how life is about building and collapsing and building again. And then of course, the cards signify that all of it just a gamble, after all," she laughs.

    The interconnectivity of themes in Reena's works is very apparent but it does not make them repetitive, only more fluid and lucid like completing a circle of thought. She says there is distance between her and her works in the sense that they are not autobiographical. "People ask me whether I have studied Hindu mythology. I have not. But living in India, of course I have picked up some symbols and some thoughts. Though my work talks about materialism I am just like any other person. I am not very materialistic but neither am I anascetic," she says.

    Gallery Chemould, (1st floor, Jehangir Art Gallery,) and at Pundole Art Gallery (D N Road). Till September 9, 1997. Time: 10.30 am to 6.30 pm.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. In the past year and a half, 16 plays have been read at Theatre Positive. That is, at 8.00 pm, on the first Monday of every month at Prithvi Theatre. And -- of the 16 (unpublished and unperformed) plays -- four plays have had full-fledged productions. These are: Premanand Gajvi's Gandhi-Ambedkar, G P Deshpande's Shevtacha Dees, Sayaji Shinde's Tumbara, and now Satyadev Dubey's Insha Allah.

    That's not all. A couple of plays (which have been read at Theatre Positive) are also scheduled to open in the near future.

    It all began... in April 1997. A month after a gruelling three-day play-reading festival of Indian English Plays during which four full-length and four one-acts were read. Since then, Sanjna Kapoor and Prithvi Theatre have been very keen that the theme should continue -- the playwright be placed under the spotlight and be provided a forum.

    What is Theatre Positive? The expression has been coined by a highly-rated academician and intellectual in Malayalam literarycircles, TMP Nedungadi (alias Nadir Shah). Once during an abysmal production of a Habib Tanvir play at Ravindra Natya Mandir, a few of us were whispering, sniggering and shifting our weight. Nedungadi silenced us. He ordered all of us, whose "blood group was not Theatre Positive to leave the auditorium".

    The idea with Theatre Positive... is to tap, a playwright for a script (preferably unperformed and unpublished, in any Indian language) and then hand it over to a director, who in turn has to organise a reading. These readings are open to the public and there is no entry fee. Post-reading, there is a discussion in which the audience interacts with the playwright, director and actors.

    But there will always be criticism .... Satyadev Dubey (who read his Inshallah in December) feels Theatre Positive is excessively rule-bound. It's a valid argument. Because we would like to read all the 30-plus scripts that have been sent to us. Also, ideally, one aspires that the selection of plays and their readingto be more free-wheeling and genuinely anarchic. But to achieve this Theatre Positive will require time.

    The achievement of Theatre Positive... To start with: it has survived a year. But the readings have fertilised into positive gains. For eg, there have been four productions. Also, of the 16 readings, we have witnessed two exceptional playscripts. These are: Sayaji Shinde's Tumbara, which was subsequently directed by Sunil Shanbag. And an excellent translation of Satish Alekar's Begum Barve into Gujarati by Chandrakant Shah. This translation (aptly titled Opera), magically recreated the entire Bangwadi tradition.

    Then, there is the living truth of the audience who have been trickling in. This audience has an unusual demographic mix which ranges from Juhu and Matunga to Thane and Nalasopara. They are well-informed and have high expectations from the reading.

    Is It Enough? This is a relevant question, which has developed on that bleak datum: Much ado about nothing. For one, readingshave existed in the past. If one looks back -- PEN (courtesy Nissim Ezekiel); and the formal readings organised by Vijay Tendulkar and Awishkar can take credit for sowing the early seeds. Even today, there is a definite trend towards play-reading.There is Nehru Centre's Samvaad (on the third Friday of the month). Then there is Chauraha at the NCPA, and Awishkar's readings (on the last Monday of the month) which is organised by Chetan Datar. However, today, the question is, what is the future. Because, as Girish Desai (who will be, shortly, organising readings of K M Munshi at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan) points out: "So far, these readings have excluded all those who don't belong."

    And this is worrying. It's a chastening experience to realise that one's ideas are not upto the real thing. That these ideas are limited since one sees very little of it in real performance with actors and productions. Play readings have to be made relevant. To achieve this, a network of readings will have to grow out of theBrahminical environment. They will have to be read at schools, colleges, building-terraces, drawing rooms, etc. It's the only way to beat the system. And the theatre of star-hierarchy and the box-office. Yes, there's a lot of work still to be done. But things should be easier if your blood group is Theatre Positive.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Wither India Inc?

    Returned to Mumbai last fortnight, to the sad news of the untimely death of two of the icons of my youth -- Protima Bedi and Persis Khambata. How many hours one had spent admiring their irreverent exploits, vicariously basking in their anti-establishment stances, lapping up their uproarious quotes, subconsciously taking from their public personas their glittery joie de vivre and making it a part of our own. They were the epitome of a culture in transition, children of a post-colonial India that lived in a subcontinent where it was hip to be western yet scorned for that very brashness. A cultural chaos that was masterfully exploited by the Nari Hiras of this world and gave rise to Shobha De-isms that in time has become the media-led society that we resentfully dwell in.

    Persis's bald pate and Protima's streak down the beach were the purity of action that has propelled those of us less idealistic to scavenger round their carcass of hope. How ironic that Sushma Swaraj chose this veryjuncture to announce a ban on the right of an individual to make a personal phone call to sex lines overseas. Her assertion that these phone sex lines were a cultural invasion of India Inc and that the STD phone bills were a drain on the exchequer are as laughable and despicable as this twisted sister's other general utterances. If the Government of India's employees are running up huge bills on these phone lines why can't this lady insist on an STD lock on these phones instead of interfering in our right as individuals to make a call overseas. Be warned, dear reader, this lady's actions are far more sinister than the sin she claims to be exorcising.

    Flower Child

    Not one to sit idle is Poonam Bhagat, friend, socialite, irreverent gossip, and now floral arrangement specialist. Eight times a year la Bhagat heads off to the West to seek masters in various skills to whet her latest passions. In the past, she has studied the art of paint finishes, art appreciation, furniture design, etc. This year,under the watchful eye of Ken Turner (not to be mistaken for Ted Turner) she has returned to create some of the most fabulous floral sculptures, seen this side of the Suez. These compliment her other skills and in her magnificent home at Pali Hill her craft vies for attention amongst the other works of collected art (Husains, Anjolie Ela Menons, Gujrals, Vaikunthams and a must for every home -- Badri Narayan). Turner, whose work is the toast of New York, London, and Tokyo found Poonam to possess a keen eye and deft touch. Reluctant to commercialise her artistic ability Poonam is none the less open to sharing her knowledge with like-minded Mumbaikars.

    Set it right

    News on the block is that Lilette Dubey is preparing the groundwork for her new play scheduled to open end of the year. The play has been commissioned by her team and is penned by the noted writer Mahesh Dattani of Bangalore. Dattani's work is always interesting and rivetting and he is one of the few Indian playwrights to tacklesubjects and characters that are three-dimensional. This new play deals with gender identity and sexual exploration, subjects that have finally gained mainstream societal acceptance. Also working on this production is Delhi-based production designer Sumant Jayakrishnan who is a fascinating talent. His sets and bold artistic design for Jaya (the rock version of Mahabharata) were the best input in an ambitious but shaky production. Winner of several awards and grants, Sumant's work has travelled to South Africa recently, and Paris, New York and London before. Sumant is also an installation artist and actor. He plans to bring all his skills together in the coming months as he contemplates several offers, including one from film-maker Govind Nihalani, whose next feature film project he might design the sets for. Sumant is also one of an evolving breed of artists who have no real geographical base but can be easily contacted in their virtual home on the internet via email: sumantjk@hotmail.com.

    Musical mavericks

    The MTV-organised `War of the DJs' contest was a phenomenal success and proved that the music business in India has come of age. DJs are artists who mix recorded music with additional sampled music and sound tracks to create an enhanced spatial feel. These artists have so far been undervalued in India and with the non-existent radio scene and lack of clubs where DJs can create their own brand of sound, it is encouraging to see that these musically-inclined mavericks have persevered with their interests. MTV has continued to break new ground in India and also souped-up its public profile, a large part of that due the energetic efforts of Rupali Wadhi who drives their communications department.

    Riyad Wadia is an avant garde film-maker

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Graf, Aggasi show flashes of brilliance
    The Andre Agassi Travelling Road Show hit New York, to headline opening night at the U S Open tennis championships, and the Las Vegas showman did not disappoint his loyal fans. Steffi Graf also won her first round women's singles match against American Corina Morariu 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

    Sachin for KL?
    The Indian Olympic Association and the Union Sports Ministry's pressure tactics seem to have worked as the cricket Board is veering around to the fact that the "best team" should be sent to Commonwealth Games. The turnaround came after the BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur met Union Sports Minister Uma Bharati who is said to have expressed concern that India could lose face if it sent a weak team to Kuala Lumpur.

    Approval for BCCI
    The domestic cricket beginning 1998-99, would include three major changes including one on the wide ball, approved today by the technical committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on recommendation of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Sources said that the committee agreed to amend the rule number 25 on wide ball. Now an additional run would be awarded even if runs were allowed off any wide ball besides an additional ball.

    Bishop skipper
    Trinidadian fast bowler Ian Bishop, a stalwart of 43 Tests and 161 wickets, was named captain of a 15-member West Indies A team to tour India in November and December, the West Indies Cricket Board has announced.

    Murali's feat
    The `Silent Assasin' is at it, once again. Enjoying an amazing season with his off-spinners, Muthiah Muralitharan added another feather to his cap by snaring 16 English batsmen in the Oval Test to script Sri Lanka's historic maiden Test win in the land of the Old Blighty. Not only were his figures the fifth best ever in Test cricket, he also became the second off spinner, after the legendary West Indian Lance Gibbs, to reach the coveted figure of 200 Test wickets.

    Kapil's visit
    The Indian cricket probables had a surprise caller on Tuesday in Kapil Dev, whose timing of the visit was not even known to the BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur, cricket manager Anshuman Gaekwad and consultant Bobby Simpson. Kapil Dev said there was no truth in the reports that he was expected on Aug 30. `` I was supposed to be here for a day talk to the boys, `' he said.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sep 1: Title holders Shivalik Public School, Sector 41 beat Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, 2-1 to retain the title in the Chandigarh Sub-junior football championship for the Shivalik Trophy, which concluded at the Sector 17 Football Stadium here today.

    SPS-41 dominated the proceedings, but were held back by GNP's strong wall like defence for the initial fifteen minutes of the play. However, an infringement by GNP's Amrit Pal Singh inside the penalty area forced the referee Bimal Sharma to point to the dreaded spot in the 17th minute. Joginder Singh made no mistake in converting the penalty kick and put his team up by a goal.

    Buoyed by the lead, the SPS lads kept up the tempo of the game and made inroads into the rival territory. However, they failed to increase the margin.

    Shivalik's Vinay Antil was the culprit on at least two occasions and just before the lemon break Sukhwinder's shot was easily saved by the GNP custodian Jasneet.

    The second half of the encounter saw both the teams had at their best. Guru Nanak's forward line, comprising of Sandeep Singh, Mandeep Singh and Babocha, which failed to make an impact in the first session, was very organised in the second half. They were successful in their venture in the 40th minute when Mandeep Singh's direct shot from the top of `D' beat the advancing keeper Sanjay Uppal, dipping into the far right corner of the net (1-1).

    The teams were under tremendous pressure for the remaining period of the contest. An indirect kick awarded to Shivalik in the 59th minute, which was converted by Vinay Antil (2-1), further escalated the tension between the teams. The Guru Nanak lads protested against the awarding of the kick and refused to continue.

    However, the referee, after waiting for the remaining playing time (only 60 seconds) blew the whistle for Shivalik lads to emerge victorious.

    The winners also qualified for the Subroto Mukerjee Cup football tournament to be held in Delhi in the second week of September.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sep 1: There was a large turn out for the Cycle Rally-cum-Race organised jointly by Haryana Tourism and Sports and Youth Welfare Departments to mark the Haryana Toursim Day. The 24 km route in the senior men's section was won by Sukhjeet Singh while the girls section went to Shailja. The rally was held over a disance of 14.5 km route which began from Puffin Complex, Chandigarh to Red Bishop Complex, Panchkula.

    The junior boys and girls event was held over a distance of 8 km. Gurpreet Singh and Monica Sharma bagged the first positions in the boy's and girl's groups respectively.

    A prize money of Rs 15,000 was at stake in both the senior and junior sections.

    Tushar Malik, who was the youngest participant was given a consolation prize.

    Results
    Boys: Senior: 1 Sukhjeet Singh, 2 Nirmaljeet Singh, 3 Rohit Sharma. Junior: 1 Gurpreet Singh, 2 Harsimran Singh Brar, 3 Ankur Kaul.

    Girls: Junior: 1 Monica Sharma, 2 G Nice Kang, 3 Jyoti Chanden. Senior: 1 Shailja, 2 Suneli Chug, 3 Preeti Dutta.

    Tennis trials
    Trials to select the Haryana Civil Services team for the All India Civil Services tennis tournament to be held at Calcutta from September 8 to 13 will be held on Septemebr 4 at 3 p.m., at the Tennis Courts, Sector 6, Panchkula.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sep 1: The Air Force Regional School and Manav Mangal School, Panchkula were the winners and runners-up in the first Inter-School taekwondo championsip held in the DAV School-8 here.

    Results
    Boys: Under 13 yrs: Below 20kg: 1 Amit Kumar, 2 Ishant SOni, 3 Manu Singh Bndra. 20 to 24 kg: 1 Sandeep Kumar, 2 Pankaj Sharma, 3 Gaurav Sharma. 28 to 32 kg: 1 Naveen Kumar, 2 Vishal, 3 Manjot Singh. 32 to 36 kg: 1 Jaspreet Singh, 2 Jitin, 3 Sunil Mishra. Above 36 kg: 1 Gurpreet, 2 Sahil, 3 Neeraj.

    13 to 18 yrs: Below 45 kg: 1 Amit Bakshi, 2 Prince Sharma, 3 Sanjay. 45 to 50 kg: 1 Nayab Qurashi, 2 Surinder Singh, 3 Kulbir Singh. 50 to 55 kg; 1 Charanpreet Singh, 2 Arun Sharma, 3 Panchanan Samol.

    Above 18 yrs: 46 to 52 kg: 1 Balvir Singh, 2 Shiv Kumar, 3 Ravi. 58 to 64 kg: 1 Gurpreet Singh, 2 Feroz Ahmed, 3 Sanjay Kumar. Below 52 kg: 1 Manjeet Singh, 2 Rajinder Nagar Koti, 3 Rakesh Kumar. 52 to 58 kg: 1 Kishan Singh, 2 Sunil Channa, 3 Vinod.

    Girls: Below 13 yrs: Below 20 kg: 1 Sonia, 2 Deepika, 3 Maneshi Joshi. 20 to 24 kg: 1 Hema Rani, 2 Raj Kumari, 3 Yashandeep. 24 to 28 kg: 1 Bhawana, 2 Geeta, 3 Meenakshi. 28 to 32 kg: 1 Vandana, 2 Bhawana Thakur. 32 to 36 kg: 1 Neha, 2 Shirin. Below 40 kg: 1 Rekha, 2 Rajni.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sep 1: Amidst the annual hype and hoopla over individual sporting honours like Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards, the acknowledgement to universities as the springboard for excellence receives scant attention.

    The Maulana Abul Kalam Azad trophy for all-round best performance by a varsity in a year brings up the rear on the scale of popularity attached to the awards given away by the President on the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand which is celebrated as `National Sports Day'.

    Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, claimed the latest award for its performance during 1996-97 carving a special place for itself with its 13th triumph in 21 years to equal Delhi's record for the trophy instituted in 1956-57.

    Sports at the varsity level, which once held much glamour as hordes of young stars graduated to represent India, today is crying for rejuvenation with even the Rohington Baria Trophy tournament for Inter-University supremacy in cricket slowly fading into oblivion.

    Amidst such a slump, Punjab remains wedded to the uplift of sports at the college level as amply reflected in the performance of GND University, founded in 1969, and Panjab University, Chandigarh as 12-time winners of the Azad trophy. Apart from Delhi's distinction, only Bombay (thrice) and Kurukshetra (Haryana) find place in the roll of honours to form an exclusive sporting club among varsities.

    ``There is a great sports culture in the colleges under GND University. We have been able to create such an atmosphere and principals of all the colleges under us have keenly promoted sports,' the varsity Director of Sports, Kanwaljeet Singh said after collecting the running trophy from President K R Narayanan alongwith Pro-Vice Chancellor Inderpal Singh.

    The list of stars to emerge from the GND University stables is enviable with former India hockey captain Pargat Singh and his woman counterpart Rajbir Kaur, former India cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi, Mohinder and Surinder Amarnath, Madan Lal and international wrestler Kartar Singh among the best.

    Colleges located in the five districts of Amritsar, Jalandar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahar in the north-west border areas of India which come under GND University have always imparted excellent training with coaches showing lot of dedication, Inderpal Singh said.

    Pointing out the special reason for excellence by the two Punjab universities, Kanwaljeet Singh said, ``If you notice there are a number of Arjuna Awardees also who were from our university, and many of them are from the rural areas.''

    GND University's focus on holding separate competitions among colleges set up in rural areas has consistently ensured that sportspersons who would otherwise have been overwhelmed competing with better-endowed rivals from urban areas, gain lot of confidence winning at a certain level before moving up. ``Competing at this `B' level competitions makes it easy for them to do well at the `A' grade later on,'' Kanwaljeet Singh added.

    Colleges take extra interest in absorbing talented youth and provide funds, free hostel facilities to the economically underprivileged and cash awards for performances.

    GND University entered the race for the Maulana Azad Trophy only in 1970-71, but has since then won it 13 times and has been adjudged runner-up eight times apart from coming third overall twice to reveal its consistency.

    Inderpal Singh however was not satisfied with the Rs one lakh grant that goes with the trophy for buying sports equipment. ```It is a meagre amount. The government should increase it to around Rs 10 lakh so that the winning varisty can provide scholarships, diet money and build its sports infrastructure.''

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sep 1: The Chandigarh Women's Hockey Association has decided to implement the new rules in providing kits to its players who will take part in the Senior National hockey tournament to be held in Chennai from September 27 to October 2. This was stated here today by JPS Sidhu, secretary of the association.

    Chest numbers with names of the players for easy indentification would be provided to the each members of the Chandigarh team.

    The probables will be selected during the trials to be conducted by the CWHA on September 8 at 4.30 p.m. at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium. Sidhu, who is also the Joint Director, Chandigarh Sports Department, said that 25 probables would be selected for coaching camp. The final 16-member team would be finalised during the camp.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: Student activists today held a rally at the Punjab University campus demanding an inquiry into the recent shooting incident that took place in the university campus involving former student union leader, Kuljit Singh Nagra.

    Activists of the National Student Union of India, Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), Haryana Students Union (HSA) and the Jat Students Union (JSU) alleged that the FIR was fabricated and that the university should intervene in the issue. In a separate press statement, state vice-president of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Arun Sood also demanded an inquiry into the issue.

    Later, in a memorandum to the university, H S Lucky, president, Chandigarh unit of NSUI, Binder Singh, president, PUSU and Ashwini Kaushal, president, JSU demanded that the names of innocent students should be withdrawn from the FIR, and that action should be taken against those who had falsely implicated innocent students and misled the police. They also demanded the lodging of an FIR against the "actual aggressors" in the shooting incident.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. PUNE, Sept 1: Apoorva Sontakke played a captain's role to enable defending champions Pune to a convincing 43-33 win over Mumbai South-West in the boys Group A league encounter of the XV Youth Inter-District basketball championship at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Solapur today.

    Apoorva, with 16 baskets to his credit, played a responsible all-round game to lift Pune to a 10 points victory. The Pune captain was ably supported by Omkar Nadkarni, both of whom combined well in the offense and used the height advantage to beat their opponents in rebounds.

    Meanwhile, Chandrapur cagers shocked Mumbai South-East 35-30 in a close contest in the Group `F' league to keep their hopes alive of entering the knock-out phase. The one man army of ChandrapurMahesh Parkhi scored 23 points for the winners.

    In another match Sangli beat Yevatmal 54-37 in the same group. Another interesting encounter of the day was witnessed between Satara and Aurangabad. In a keenly contested Group `E' match, Satara overcame the Aurangabad challenge winning it 29-23. Down 11-14 at the half-time, Satara changed their strategy of the game opting for man-to-man defence and soon were on equal terms, thanks to Aniruddha Deshmukh, who netted 13 baskets. Aurangabad hoopsters had a tough time in breaking in stopping the Satara attack.

    In Group B section, Ahmednagar trounced Akola 32-15, with Vikas Godge (12) and Vinay Bagi (14) being the scorers. Hosts Solapur, down by 21-24 in the half-time lost to Mumbai North by 32-36 in Group `D'. The hosts had another blow when their team in the distaff section could score only five points against Central Mumbai's 50, loosing it by 45 points, in the Group A.

    While, Nagpur and Thane eves qualified for the knock-out stage from Group `B', while Ahmednagar loosing both their matches are noe out of the championship.

    Thane, who also enjoyed a similar win to that of Central Mumbai against Ahmednagar, with a 41-6 score in the end. While, Satara defeated Bandhara 42-23 in Group C.

    Boys
    Group `A': Pune: 43 (Apoorva Sontakke 16) bt Mumbai South-West: 33 (Hussain Shaikh 8). H/T: 32-14.
    Group `B': Ahmednagar: 32 (Vikas Godge 12, Vinay Bagi 14) bt Akola: 15. H/T: 16-9.
    Group `D': Mumbai North: 36 (Sameer G 12, V Sunil 15) bt Solapur: 32 (Daniel Kamble 9). H/T: 24-21.
    Group `E': Satara: 29 (Aniruddha Deshmukh 13) bt Aurangabad: 23 (V Rane 6). H/T: 11-14.
    Group `F': Chandrapur: 35 (Mahesh Parkhi 23) bt Mumbai South-East: 30 (Farhan Khan 8). H/T: 12-03.
    Sangli: 54 (Anil Sankpal 14, Mahesh Nagne 9) bt Yavatmal: 37 (Parag Pophali 16). H/T: 26-11.
    Girls
    Group `A': Mumbai Central: 50 (R Balkrishnan 8, Shweta R 8) bt Solapur: 5. H/T: 31-03.
    Group `B': Thane: 41 (Prachi Gole 8, Rucha Marathe 8) bt Ahmednagar: 6. H/T: 30-0.
    Group `C': Satara: 42 (Suchitra Deshmukh 12, Pallavi Gujar 8) bt Bhandara: 23 (Bharti Kulwant-6). H/T: 24-10.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. PUNE, Sept 1: The Pune district handball championship for both men and women will be held at the Sadhana High School ground, Hadapsar on September 6 and 7.

    The tournament assumes importance as it would be the basis of selection of the Pune District squad for the forthcoming State championship to be held in Kolhapur from September 18 to 20. The district championships will be held on a league-cum-knock-out basis. Interested teams have been asked to contact Prof. Manju Jugadar on (Tel: 344258) or Sudeep Wagchoure on (Tel: 671188) before September 5.

    Participating have been asked to report at the venue at 7.30 a.m on September 6.

    PSAAA football: The Poona Schools Amateur Athletic Association's (PSAAA) junior football final slated for September 2, has been put-off by two days, according to the organisers J N Petit Technical High School.

    The final clash between J.N Petit and Bishop's High School scheduled at the formers ground has now been shifted to the Bishop's school ground (Jeejeebouy ground) and is slated on September 4.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADADORA, Sept 1: As you sit in your easy-chair having your evening bhajia or fafda-jalebi, you may think that all's well with the world. Dropsy? It's only for those who have mustard oil. We in Gujarat are safe with groundnut oil.

    Or so we'd like to believe. Sure, there hasn't been a oil-related health problem even remotely as serious as dropsy in Gujarat, but the seeds of such a disaster have been sown and are taking root.

    Notwithstanding the State government's precautionary measures against adulteration of edible oils, you could still be exposed to health hazards in Gujarat, especially if you are eating anything cooked in `disco oil', an inappropriately light name for something so potentially dangerous.

    Highly placed sources in the Food and Drugs Department, Gandhinagar and Food and Drugs Laboratory, Vadodara, inform Express Newsline that while the incidence of adulteration in several edible commodities, especially edible oils, milk and spices is on the rise, what concerns them the most is the practice of adding castor oil to groundnut oil. Within the trade, the resulting mixture is called `disco oil'.

    In Saurashtra, the `oil bowl' of Gujarat, `disco oil' is the new kid on the block, but fast off the block. Obviously, the major motivating factor here is pricing; the result is that `disco oil', though ostensibly groundnut oil, is priced at Rs 35-40 per kg; groundnut oil, by comparison, was last heard of at Rs 55 per kg.

    During a special statewide drive to check the quality of edible oil ever since the scarcity since the beginning of the year, at least one in every 200 samples was found to be of this `blend'. In fact, this practice has been evident in about two percent of the 500-1,000 samples of edible oils tested throughout the State every year.

    While this form of blending is infrequent, it can hurt. Officials say action is taken as and when such cases are detected. S P Adesara, commissioner, Food & Drug Control Administration, Gandhinagar and Public Analyst for the State at FDL, Vadodara V R Narendra, could not offer details `off-hand', but other senior officials at the district level admit it on the condition of anonymity.

    Disco oil is by far the most serious addition to Gujarat's beloved groundnut, but not the only one: palmolein, cottonseed and rapeseed oils are also commonly added. And though the difference won't tell on your health, you are not getting your money's worth.

    Other edibles too are not necessarily pure. Figures available with the FDL in Vadodara indicate that there's been a rise in the cases of adulteration of edibles tested there. In 1995, for example, tests on 4,128 samples of edibles -- mainly milk, oils and spices -- saw adulteration in 5 per cent of the cases. In 1997, the number of tests came down to 3,010, but the proportion of adulteration went up to 7.5 per cent.

    However, as with mustard oil, not all mixing is deliberate; a lot of it is contamination, says Adesara. For example, due to lack of proper storage facilities, the seeds or oil may be exposed to excess moisture and turn rancid. This would also reduce the pre-fatty acid contents, changing the chemical composition of the commodity.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. AHMEDABAD, Sept 1: Leaders of Opposition parties in Gujarat, who are meeting here on Wednesday, are likely to give a call for a state-wide bandh, in spite of the fall in the price of groundnut oil following raids on millers and traders in the last few days. In all likelihood, the date is going to be September 19.

    Senior Rashtriya Janata Party leader and former Chief Minister Dilip Parikh said his party was firm on its decision to go ahead with the bandh. Congress spokesman Hasmukh Patel also said so. RJP president Shankersinh Vaghela and state Congress president C D Patel, both of whom are away, are expected to reach here on Thursday.

    In the last one week, the wholesale price of oil has come down from Rs 1,000 to Rs 815 per tin of 15 kg. But Parikh described the fall as ``temporary'', while Hasmukh Patel claimed the retail price was still Rs 70 a kg the same as it was a week ago. ``The price has come down only in forward trading, which doesn't mean any relief for the consumer,'' Hasmukh Patel said.

    Parikh dismissed the raids on millers as ``for appearance sake''; Hasmukh Patel likened the government action to ``locking the stable after the horse has bolted''. In the past, both parties have accused Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel of being hand in glove with the millers. The chief minister's political base is Saurashtra region, which is the oil bowl of Gujarat.

    At the all-party meeting, held on August 28, the leaders of the Congress, RJP, CPI, CPM and the Janata Dal had agreed on united action on the issue of oil price, which had risen to a peak of Rs 70 a kg last week from Rs 40 in March, when the BJP government assumed office. Although Vaghela took the initiative for the meeting, he agreed to accept C.D. Patel as convener for the sake of opposition unity.

    Alarmed over the development, the chief minister, who had persistently refused to take action against millers in spite of demands from his own Food and Supplies Minister Jaspal Singh, ordered a crackdown. In the past, he had attributed the price rise to countrywide shortage of edible oils, while Jaspal Singh blamed the millers.

    However, the raids conducted to unearth hoarded stocks did not yield much oil or groundnut. A senior officer said that most of the millers had perhaps got an inkling of the raids. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the price has come down. On Tuesday, the government also started supplying packed palmolein oil to ration card holders at the rate of Rs 35 a kg.

    The decision was taken following reports that loose oil, which was already being sold, may be finding its way out of the PDS. But a senior minister admitted that the action against millers had come ``too late''. Already, the government inaction had brought the opposition parties on one platform. ``It is not a happy omen. So far, the government has been bumbling along. We cannot afford to function in this manner in future,'' he said.

    The minister indicated that some of his cabinet colleagues and other party leaders are likely to speak to BJP national president Kushabhau Thakre about the mishandling of the oil issue, in particular, and the chief minister's style of functioning, in general. Thakre arrived in Gandhinagar on a two-day visit this morning.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Teachers' pay to be cut
    The State government has ordered all universities in the state to deduct salaries of teachers who have been on strike from the past 20 days. University officials told Express Newsline that the notification said teachers should be paid only for the numbers of days they had worked the previous month.

    Mumbai flight
    Flight number IC 689/690 Mumbai-Vadodara-Mumbai of the Indian Airlines will not operate on September 2, 4 and 6 due to technical reasons, according to a statement issued by IA Station Manager B S Dhani here on Tuesday.

    Derailment
    Nine wagons of a goods train were derailed between platforms number three and four of the Vadodara station early on Tuesday. Railway officials said normalcy was restored by 6 am. No damage was reported nor was the passenger train schedule disturbed, they added.

    Blood donation
    A blood donation camp will be organised by Friends Society, Fatehgunj, and Lions Club West Wing on September 3 at the Science Block, Faculty of Technology and Engineering, Kalabhavan, between 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. A thalassaemia minor testing will also be conducted under Friends' Society's Thalassaemia Support Project.

    Thakre meet
    Mayor Bharati Vyas, Deputy Mayor Dinesh Chokshi and Standing Committee chairman N V Patel will meet national BJP chief Kushabhau Thakre in Gandhinagar on Wednesday and represent various issues related to the city.

    English classes
    City-based English education institute `Vyaktitva' has offered free enrollments to eager students unable to afford the fees. For details call 353968 or visit 29-A, Shrenik Park Society, Opp Akota Stadium, Productivity Road, between 5.30 and 6.30 pm.

    Cultural event
    A cultural programme by Vadodara Telecom District Office employees will be held on September 4 at the Gandhi Nagar Gruh from 7 pm. Telecom General Manager Rakesh Babu will distribute the Sanchar Sarthi Award 1997-98 on the occasion.

    Public hearing
    A public hearing of more than 400 child labourers of 20 industrial sectors will be held on September 4 at the Samarpan Vidyapith, Satellite Road, Ahmedabad. The hearing will be conducted by a jury, who will deliver their verdict at the end of the day. The next day, the children will take out a rally for their rights. The two-day programme has been organised by the Gujarat chapter of the Campaign Against Child Labour.

    Cattle selling
    The District Rural Development Agency will purchase cattle for families below the poverty line from sellers with necessary documents. The cattle will be purchased from Marketing Yard, Hathikhana, Vadodara on September 11 and 24, from Marketing Yard, Dabhoi, on September 15 and 25, from Veterinary Hospital, Karjan, on September 18, from Veterinary Hospital, Savli, on September 17, from Veterinary Hospital, Tilakwada, on September 18.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. GANDHINAGAR, Sept 1: Amidst reports of growing resentment among Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, including some ministers in Gujarat, the party's national president Kushabhau Thakre began his two-day visit to the State on Tuesday to ``assess the performance of the five-month-old Keshubhai Patel Government''.

    Though discontent is reportedly brewing among many MLAs and workers against the style of functioning of Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, the disgruntled appear to have adopted a ``wait and watch'' policy. Among other things, what makes them do so is the political development in neighbouring Rajasthan, ruled by a BJP-led government.

    ``Quite a good number of MLAs and workers have reservations against the style of functioning of the chief minister, but the time is not ripe to express it in public. However, some of them may prefer to air their grievances before Kushabhau, if they are allowed to meet him individually,'' a senior legislator said on condition of anonymity.

    Hours after he landed in Gandhinagar this morning, Thakre held a meeting with newly-appointed chairpersons and directors of the various government-owned boards and corporations.

    In the evening, he addressed a meeting of the party MLAs and MPs, where he advised them to nurse their respective constituency and further boost the party's image. None of the MLAs was reported to have expressed dissent at the hour-long meeting.

    When contacted at the meeting venue, Thakre said his visit was ``routine'' and that reporters should ``not read too much between the lines''. He said he was not averse to meeting legislators and workers individually.

    Commenting on the political situation he said, ``All is well with the BJP and its government in Gujarat, and I am satisfied with the performance of Patel as the chief minister. I and Keshubhai have not yet met separately during the day.''

    Water Supply Minister Narottam Patel and former minister Atmaram Parmar, owing allegiance to the Kashiram Rana faction in the party. were reported to have met Thakre separately earlier in the day. However, it was not known what had transpired at the meeting. Though a senior member of the party, Parmar has neither been inducted in the Keshubhai Patel ministry, nor has he been graced with the chairmanship of any key corporation.

    Food and Civil Supplies Minister Jaspal Singh, the most vocal member in the ministry, had requested the state party leadership to arrange a separate meeting with Thakre. But, Singh was away in Saurashtra on Tuesday.

    It may be mentioned here that Singh had locked horns with the chief minister recently on the issue of skyrocketing prices of edible oils, particularly that of groundnut oil, attributing the price rise to the faulty policy of the chief minister. In fact, as admitted by party spokesman Bharat Pandya on Tuesday, the edible oil price rise was one of the issues worrying the central leadership, which, too, ``has prompted Kushabhau to visit Gujarat''.

    The party high command believes that the contentious issue of edible oil price hike has considerably brought down the popularity graph of the BJP Government in Gujarat, providing a much-needed stick to the opposition Congress and RJP to beat the government with.

    Besides, the law and order situation especially arising out of the recent series of mob attacks on Muslims and Christians and their institutions seems to have caused a great deal of embarrassment.

    Significantly, the prices of groundnut oil started falling down just a couple of days before Thakre's visit to the state on Tuesday, following a belated decision by the chief minister to come down heavily on hoarders and blackmarketeers.

    ``The belated action appears to impress upon the BJP national president that the government is very much concerned about the price rise. The chief minister could have initiated such an action much before the prices of groundnut oil had started skyrcokecting,'' a senior party MLA said. He said, ``There is no point in bolting the stable, when the horses have run away.''

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Under pressure from residents of 18 villages located around chemical industries, District Collector Anil Mukim has postponed the public hearing scheduled to be held on September 4 by IPCL and GPCB in connection with the proposed expansion of IPCL. The hearing is now likely to be held at the end of September.

    The decision on postponement was taken on Tuesday afternoon following a meeting between villagers, activists of the Vadodara Pradushan Nivaran Samiti and the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, the collector and IPCL representatives.

    Alleging that the chemical units, including IPCL, were spreading noise, air and water pollution, villagers said an expansion would only aggravate the situation. According to official information, the public hearing was put off after the GPCB and the IPCL said they could not distribute 20 copies of their plans to each village panchayat. Officials said they had limited copies of the voluminous text. The IPCL authorities, however, are said to have said more copies would be printed and made available to 18 village panchayats soon.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad have decided to ask senior students of various faculties to conduct classes to compensate for junior students' loss during the teachers' strike.

    ABVP member Mayur Patel told Express Newsline, ``We have already launched similar programmes elsewhere in the country''.

    Students of various faculties had been asked to assemble at the Faculty of Arts, Patel said, adding that they had already identified the students who attended their classes regularly and were among the toppers.

    Pointing out that university students had already lost two months because of the teachers' strike, he said there wasn't any chance of it ending soon. ``Soon the Navratris will be upon us, and then the university will close for Diwali'', Patel said. ``The first and second year students should at least be able to attend a few classes before they go on their vacations.''

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Haste is not a word most residents of the Vadodara suburbs will associate with post, if their experience of the past few days is anything to go by. Pockets of Channi, Fatehgunj, Ajwa, Gotri, Race Course, Subhanpura, Padra, Akota and Manjalpur have been facing receiving mail at long intervals in the recent past, an occurrence the Department of Posts blames on the 10-year-old recruitment ban and ``popular ignorance''.

    A resident of Bharat Samaj Society on Waghodia Road complained to Express Newsline, ``Only recently, our locality received no mail for eight to 10 days as the postman had gone on leave. We had to trek to the post office to pick up our mail''.

    When asked about it, Ajwa Road postmaster Ramesh Parikh explained that the Waghodia Road postman's leave had been sanctioned at the last moment. ``Though we did assign the beat to someone else, he too had to go on leave suddenly. I could have assigned a third person but the others are not familiar with the area, besides having to cover their respective beats. It would have only led to further complications,'' he said.

    According to senior departmental officials, delays in delivery was inevitable in view of the rapid growth of the city in the past 10 years and the zero recruitment of staff during that time. A senior official told Express Newsline on condition of anonymity, ``Incoming mail has increased 15 per cent in the past 10 years; new housing colonies have come up in the suburbs. With just 250 postmen the same number we had 10 years ago delivery of mail has become a stupendous task.''

    A postman earlier covering a maximum of five km/day is thus required to travel upto 15 km daily. Moreover, post offices are often as far apart as five km, though the specified distance is two km, he said. Added the official, ``We tried to minimise delays by asking sorters to do overtime. However, the government has limited the overtime hours for the department. So there is precious little we can do. In the moffusil areas at least, we can recruit limited extra-departmental staff.''

    Vadodara Region Postmaster-General Vijay Chitale, however, claimed that the responsibility for postal delays lay largely with the letter-writing public. ``We recently visited the Race Course post office and realised that every second letter bore the wrong pincode. After questioning some people availing of the services, I realised that few knew their pincode. Our sorting system, on the other hand, depends entirely on the pincodes. So letters with the wrong codes get misplaced while ones without codes do not get priority''.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. AHMEDABAD, Sept 1: It was once an imposing Haveli located in the serene surroundings of Doshiwada-ni Pol in Kalupur area here till 15 years ago.

    Zaveri-ni Haveli, as the neighbours say, did not have a single iron nail used in it and still it stood proudly for over 150 years. But that is a thing of the past. Now the haveli has been not only dismantled, but it is being relocated in Gandhinagar. However, it took over ten years for the state government to decide where to relocate the Haveli after dismantling it from its original site.

    Why dismantle it and relocate it elsewhere? State archaeology director D.P. Mehta, quoting from the old files, says that owners wanted to dismantle the haveli and sell the wooden articles outside Gujarat.

    Someone drew the government's attention to this and the director of museums was asked to buy the Haveli without the land. Ultimately it was sold to the State Archaeology Department for Rs 3 lakh. Now the problem was where to keep the dismantled structure till a suitable relocation site was finalised? The empty premises of the State Archives Department was found suitable for it. There it remained for around nine years.

    Finally in 1994, it was decided to relocate the building to the cultural complex of the state government at Sanskruti Dham in Gandhinagar.

    Mehta said the department had many options about whom to engage for relocation work. Public Works Department was ruled out as the work it carries out is usually of a routine nature, and relocation of an old structure demanded specialised skills.

    Finally it was decided that well-known architect Ravindra J Vasavda would be engaged as advisor to the department in this project. The entire project of relocation costs around Rs 30 lakh and it includes creation of a surrounding similar to Doshiwada-ni Pole at the new site.But the idea of relocation, for whatever compelling reasons it had, does not find favour with residents in the neighbourhood.

    Mahesh Shah, a trader whose office once shared the walls of the Haveli, says it was not a dilapidated structure, though it was some 200 years old. ``There was not a single nail used anywhere in the haveli, this came to be known when it was being dismantled,'' he said. The walls of neighbouring houses got weakened due to dismantling, according to the neighbourhood.

    Mehta denies not getting suitable skilled carpenters for the project where work up to plinth level has been finished. But what do experts say about the very idea of relocation of an important pieces of architecture for preserving them? According to one of them not wanting to be named, the concept of preservation by relocation does not hold much weight.

    Preservation experts say it is best to retaining original attributes of the structure and doing so at the place where it is located. You just can't remove architectural marvels from their original places and relocate them elsewhere.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Election of chairmen and vice-chairmen of 10 committees in the VMC on Tuesday has brewed discontent among a section of councillors, who have alleged that they were sidelined to please others.

    The discontent, however, is unlikely to come out in the open as the councillors have silently accepted party's mandate. The committees were reconstituted few days ago after their one-year term ended.

    In the list declared then in the General Board, the names of the chairmen and vice-chairmen were already stated, and today's announcement in respective meetings was just a formality.

    According to sources, a councillor, who extended financial help to a senior BJP leader in the election, was elected chairman of one of the important committees. Former Lokshahi Morcha councillor Savitri Sharma, who switched over to the BJP during the last general election, was also rewarded by being appointed chairpersonship of the Recreational and Cultural Committee.

    Few councillors have also questioned the appointment of Vidya Rajput as chairperson of the Estate Committee.

    Lalita Oza, with RSS backing, was not included in the Standing Committee, but made the chairperson of the Health Committee. Jasoda Sonera continues as Drainage and Sewage Committee chair person.

    Jitendra Parmar and Ramila Vasava of the same ward were made deputies in the Gas and Town Planning Committees respectively.

    However, councillors have welcomed the appointment of Indravadan Modi as chairman of Public Works Committee, Pradip Joshi in Gas Committee and Arvind Patel, who replaces Ganibhai Qureshi, in the Electricity Committee. Qureshi was denied the chairmanship following his appointment as chairman of Waqf Board in Gujarat. Joshi had earlier served as chairman in the Gas Committee.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: The Maharaja Sayajirao University proposes to introduce a three-month certificate course in Jainism, which would familiarise students with the principles and values of Jain culture. The Varsity will be second of its kind in the state after the Saurashtra University to introduce this course.

    The authorities, who have already received an amount of Rs 11,00,000 from Sankalchand Doshi of the Mumbai for the purpose, intend to conduct the classes at the General Auditorium of the university.

    Talking about the programme, Co-ordinator R I Nanvati said that age would not be a bar for those interested to join the course, which would be inaugurated by the chancellor of the university on October 13.

    According to Nanvati, the course had been restricted to three months so that students could have enough time to learn about the life and teachings of Mahavir. The course would primarily be designed on the lines of an academy already established in Mumbai, he added.

    There were plans to introduce these courses in various other universities of the state and later at certificate, diploma, graduate, post-graduate and research-levels too, he said Seminars and lectures on the subject would be held and a library of Jain manuscripts created for the purpose, he said.

    ``There are similar academies even outside the country where the teachings of Mahavir are taught to the students,'' he added.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Provision of footpath for pedestrians, easing the flow of traffic between Sayajiganj and Railway Station further and, making some amendments in the parking space near the Station came up for discussion before the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) traffic meet on Tuesday. It was decided to hold a meeting of experts next week to chalk out a final plan on easing traffic congestion.

    Earlier, the meeting was to be held in the afternoon. However, as more suggestions came up in the preliminary meeting among Mayor Bharati Vyas, Deputy Mayor Dinesh Chokshi, City Engineer B K Desai, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) M K Tandon and others, it was decided to give time to experts to give plans with amendments.

    The on-going exercise is part of the VMC's efforts to draw common suggestions from the plan submitted by planner Kolhatkar, Rahul Dalvi of Dalvi Associates and Architects Association. After the VMC had decided to implement the Kolhatkar Plan, the Association and Dalvi associates had come up with their suggestions.

    The representatives of elected and administrative wing discussed how people coming from Railway Station to Sayajiganj can take a right turn towards Sardar Patel statue instead of taking a circular route to Kalaghoda. Representatives of the State Transport Service are also likely to be invited before finalising the plan.

    Some changes are also likely to be made in the current parking system near the Railway Station. Sources say, certain space given to the local buses for parking might be taken away to make way for other vehicles to pass by.

    Slaughter houses: The VMC on Tuesday swooped down on slaughter house owners, who carried out business without permission. A wooden cabin from where hens were sold on Jetalpur road was and the cages housing the hens have been deposited with the Corporation.

    The squad, which acted on the instructions of Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Administration) H S Patel, also seized mutton from the Sayajibaug Zoo.

    Helped by employees of the Market Department, the squad razed cabins from over a kilometer stretch in different parts of the city. It also brought down pakka shops where mutton was being cleaned.

    Among those who carried out the drive included Bajrang Pardeshi, Bhargav Vyas, N J Chavda and K C Patel.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Dena Bank has introduced tele-banking in three of its branches and extended business hours by 30 minutes in all the computerised branches in the city. The facility was inaugurated by bank customers at a simple function at the Raopura, Alkapuri and Sayajigunj branches on Tuesday afternoon.

    Talking to reporters here on Tuesday, Nirmal Jain, bank assistant general manager, said tele-banking would allow customers to get instant information about their accounts, deposit interests, remittance and foreign exchange rates over the telephone. Customers can also access statements of account on the fax by dialling the phone numbers.

    The bank's branches at VIP Road, Makarpura, Bahucharaji Road and Fatehgunj would get this facility within two months, he added.

    Jain and senior manager J G Pandya said the Vadodara district had recently organised a lok adalat exclusively for Dena Bank in which 241 cases involving bad debts of Rs 83 lakh were settled. A similar lok adalat would be held in Rajpipla on September 20, they added.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Held under PASA
    One Ramanbhai Shivabhai Patel, residing at Patel Phalia in Yaqutpura area of the city, has been booked under Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act for bootlegging and sent to jail. The PASA orders against the accused were passed by Commissioner of Police Kuldip Sharma.

    Arrested
    The crime branch detectives arrested one Jayesh, residing in Surat, who during preliminary interrogation admitted to have escaped twice from police custody in the past and conceded to have committed several burglaries in Vadodara and Surat. Further investigations are on.

    Theft
    Wash basin and plumbing items worth Rs 10,000 were stolen from a house, belonging to Niteshbhai Prabodhbhai Shah, in Ganga-Yamuna Society in Subhanpura locality of the city on Tuesday night, the police said. A case has been registered in this connection and is being investigated.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: The State Government has asked all government departments of Vadodara District to contribute Rs 3 lakh on the occasion of Teachers Day.

    This was stated at a joint meeting of District Education Officer V Nanavati and District Collector Anil Mukim on Monday. The amount collected by the various departments will go towards the Teachers' Welfare Fund.

    President of the Vadodara District President's Management Association Prakash Desai said 50 teachers from various schools will also be felicitated on September 5. He said every year teachers were honoured and this year would be no exception. He added that the function would be held jointly with the Rotary Club of Jawaharnagar and Bright School.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Several local leaders belonging to different political parties have threatened to launch an agitation collectively against the alleged failure of the Bharatiya Janata Party to check inflation and spiralling prices of essential commodities in general and edible oil in particular soon.

    A decision in this regard was taken following an all-party meeting held here at Sardar Bhavan on Monday evening. Co-ordinator of the meeting, Bhupendra Rathod told Express Newsline that a large number of senior leaders from Congress, Rashtriya Janata Party and trade unions participated in the meet. The leaders exhorted the workers of different parties to sink political differences, if any, and join hands to ``expose the corrupt BJP government.''

    Rathod said the leaders decided to form a joint-action panel which would chalk out an agitation plan in two days. He said participants also condemned the state government's apathy, especially Civil Supplies Minister Jaspal Singh's, to check inflation and the rising prices of edible oil in State.

    Senior leaders Ashwin Shah and Manubhai Patel from Congress, Dr Rajendrasinh Rathore and Hemchandra Bochare, RJP, Rajendrasinh Patel, MLA, Godhra, Motilal Kanojia and Jang Bahadur Rajput, Janata Dal and Manzur Saleri from the Socialists Party among others were present in the meeting, Rathod said, adding the leaders would again hold a meeting in two days time to decide the future course of action.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: The Baroda Management Association (BMA) and Oxfam, an international development agency, organised jointly a meeting on `Business for Social Development' here recently.

    While the meeting was chaired by Tushar Dayal, managing director, Transmetal Limited, several social workers and representatives from corporate sectors participated in the meeting.

    Oxfam regional representative Rajni Khanna and other experts including Bhavna Ramrakhiani and professor Anil Bhatt represented Oxfam (India) Trust, spoke on the partnership between Shaishav group of social activists and the Bhavnagar Steelcast Industries.

    The participants stressed the need for corporate sectors to contribute in the field for social development, environment and the health of the workers in areas around industries.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Director General of Police C P Singh, on Monday, inaugurated the first block of 32 houses in Makarpura by unveiling a plaque and handing over keys to allottees belonging to Group 9 of State Reserve Police.

    The inauguration programme of the houses, constructed by the Gujarat State Police Housing Corporation (GSPHC) at a cost of about Rs 60 lakh, was accompanied by firing of light machine guns by SRP jawans in the backyard of the housing colony on Vadodara-Mumbai Highway.

    A total of 244 houses are to be constructed under the scheme at an estimated cost of Rs 4.5 crores.

    Speaking on the occasion, Singh said that it was difficult for the policemen to carry out their duties effectively without proper housing facilities for them and their families. He also praised GSPHC director S S Khandawala's for expediting the construction of the houses.

    Khandawala said that while construction of the remaining houses would be completed by March next, another 200 houses were also planned to be constructed for Group I employees of the SRP.

    SRP Group 9 Commandant L H Nathani said that though the land had been acquired 26 years ago, construction began just a year ago and thanked Khandawala for getting the houses constructed in record time. A cultural programme was also held on the occasion.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. VADODARA, Sept 1: Concern for human rights by the police. Sympathetic approach towards the people, especially women, children and senior citizens. An understanding attitude towards complainants and crime victims.

    An attitudinal change among policemen may become a reality in Gujarat, even if theoretically to start with. How much of it comes into being is something for time to tell, but compassion has now become a part of training at the Police Training School in Vadodara, one among the three in the State.

    Set up as a regional training centre in 1955, the Vadodara Police Training School is going in for a complete overhaul of its syllabus. Explaining the reasons, its vice-principal H M Saiyed says, ``The role of the police in the national scenario has undergone a change and the police force need be transformed from a wholly law and order oriented force into a force which cares for the aspirations of the weaker sections of the society.'' Training, he observes, should not be restricted to just instructions regarding how to write FIRs and do patrolling.

    Though constables are educated about various acts and laws necessary for dealing with day to day crime, training in human rights has been given weight in the PTS, in keeping with changes in international policing as well as crime scenario, he says.

    On why police officers do not prefer to work at police training centres and treat it just a stop-gap arrangement till a ``better'' posting came their way, he said it was a difficult question to answer, but asserted that a permanent faculty on the pattern of other educational institutions would go a long way in improving the training standard.

    PTS provides training in handling modern weapons like AK-47, AK-57, light machine guns and thompson machine guns, though the police force in Gujarat is not provided with these sophisticated weapons.

    The training school has also started training its candidates in judo and karate. A total of 3,185 candidates have so far been trained in martial arts and another 868 in swimming in order to keep the force well-equipped for any rescue and relief work in case of any natural calamities.

    Though the institute is fully equipped with indoor and outdoor firing ranges and a model police station for practical training to recruits, lack of staff is a major obstacle in proper training of constabulary. Out of 19 PIs and 23 PSIs for imparting practical training, there are only 16 and 10 PSIs respectively at present, regrets institute principal H C Solanki.

    Spread over several acres of land across the Palace, PTS is one of the three police training institutes in Gujarat, the other two being in Junagadh and Chowki.

    While Junagadh's Police Training College trains police sub-inspectors and Gujarat Police Service candidates recruited through the Gujarat Public Service Commission, the Chowki Training Centre provides training to State Reserve Police personnel.

    The PTS's annual budget is Rs 3.25 crore and it has the facility to train 850 to 1,000 constable annually. So far, it has in 239 sessions trained 13,608 constables. Each session is of 8 months, with four examinations conducted every two months.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Cong attempt to burn CM's effigy foiled
    Surat: The Surat unit of Congress attempted to burn the chief minister and civil supplies minister in effigy to protest against the rising prices of essential commodities in the state. However, the Chowkbazaar Police intervened and foiled the programme. The Congress leaders accused the BJP government of being hand in glove with the oil lobby. The corrupt practices adopted by the BJP leaders were adding to the already exorbitant prices, they alleged.

    Honoured
    S K Bhattacharya, principal of the Chandrabala Modi Academy, Ankleshwar, was awarded the International Business Council's Excellence Award by the Tourism and Welfare Minister. Bhattacharya is also a recipient of the Order of Merit and the title of `Samaj Shree' (in 1994-95) instituted by Mumbai-based Indian Council of Management Executives for his contribution in the field of education.

    SGCCI meeting
    The Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Gujarat Sales Tax Bar Association jointly organised a public meeting at the Surat People's Bank Hall in Samruddhi on `The Impact of the Sales Tax Amendment Act 1998 on Local Entrepreneurs and Industrialists.' Former president of the Sales Tax Tribunal, Ahmedabad, D M Vasavda, who was the chief guest on the occasion, spoke on the impacts of the legislation on industrialists, changes in the act and their impact on entrepreneurs. SGCCI president, Rajendra Chokhawala also spoke on the occasion.

    WWF appeal
    The city branch of the World Wide Fund For Nature has appealed people not to throw thermacol, plastic and other non biodegradable substances into the Tapi during immersion. In an appeal on Tuesday, Rohit Bhujbal, education advisor of branch, said throwing plastic would disturb the eco-balance of the water life. He said the organisation had taken up a drive `Save Our River' and appealed people to contribute towards its success. The organisation also appealed to the SMC and SUDA to take up the cause.

    Ban on entry
    Residents of Dindoli village of Choryasi taluka, on the outskirts of the city, have been asked not to venture into the Dindoli lake or take their cattle to the lake as the zilla panchayat had taken up deepening of the lake. A release issued here stated that the lake was not uniformly deep, and could could pose a threat to life of people and cattle. All those entering the lake will do so at their own risk, the statement added.

    Felicitation
    A number of primary teachers of the district will be felicitated at a function to be held here on September 5, on the occasion of Teachers Day. Similar felicitation programmes have also been organised by the SMC and other educational institutions on the day.

    Blood donation
    Vadodara: A blood donation camp will be jointly organised by the Friends Society, Fatehgunj, and Lions Club West Wing on September 3 at the Science Block, Faculty of Technology and Engineering, Kalabhavan, between 9.30 am to 1.30 pm. A thalessaemia minor testing will also be conducted at the camp.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. GANDHINAGAR, Sept 1: Amid reports of growing resentment among ruling BJP legislators, including some ministers, in Gujarat, BJP national president Kushabhau Thakre began his two-day visit to the State on Tuesday to ``assess the performance of the five-month-old Keshubhai Patel Government''.

    Though the discontent is reportedly brewing among a large section of the party MLAs and workers against the style of functioning of Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, the disgruntled appear to have adopted a `wait and watch' policy strategically in view of, among other things, the political developments in the neighbouring BJP-ruled Rajasthan.

    ``Quite a good number of our party MLAs and workers do have reservations against the CM's style of functioning but the time is not ripe to express them in public. However, some of them may prefer to air their grievances before Thakre, if they are allowed to meet him individually'', a senior legislator told Express Newsline on condition of anonymity.

    Hours after he landed in Gandhinagar this morning, the BJP supremo held a meeting had a meeting with newly appointed chairpersons and directors of the various government-owned boards and corporations, where Thakre took stock of the functioning of these government bodies. Later in the evening, he addressed a meeting of the party MLAs and MPs, where he advised them to nurse their respective constituency and further boost up the party's image. None of the MLAs was reported to have expressed a voice of dissent at the hour-long meeting.

    When contacted at the venue of the MLAs' meeting, Thakre told Express Newsline that his visit was a ``routine one and that reporters should not read too much between the lines''. Responding to a query, the BJP chief said he was not averse to meeting the party legislators, ministers or workers individually.

    To another question, he said, ``All is well with the BJP and its government in Gujarat, and I am satisfied with the performance of Keshubhai Patel as the Chief Minister. I and Keshubhai have not yet met separately during the day".

    Water Supply Minister Narottam Patel and former minister Atmaram Parmar, loyal to the Kashiram Rana faction in the party, were reported to have met Thakre separately earlier in the day. However, it was not not known what had transpired at the meeting.

    Though a senior member of the party, Parmar has neither been inducted in the Keshubhai Patel ministry, nor has he been graced with the chairmanship of any key corporation.

    Food and Civil Supplies Minister Jaspal Singh, the most vocal member in the ministry, had requested the State party leadership to arrange his separate meeting with Kushabhau.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: The general body of the Surat District Bar Association is meeting here on Wednesday to decide when to file the defamation suit against Deputy Commissioner of Police (Prohibition and Excise) N D Solanki. SDBA representatives met both Solanki and Prohibition Commissioner B J Gadhvi to resolve the issue, but made no headway.

    Incidentally, the SDBA's original demand -- scrapping of a directive on confiscation of vehicles used in bootlegging -- now seems to be on the backburner, with all its members focusing on the defamation suit. The SDBA claims that Solanki can be sued for defamation for alleging at a Press conference that the lawyers were agitating for ``personal benefits''. The DCP, on his part, said he had never used the phrase, but admitted that everyone was according priority to their own interests.

    ``After the meeting, we'll probably file a defamation suit in the civil court as we were given no concrete assurance on the directive'', SDBA president Ashit Mehta told Express Newsline. The meeting at the course premises at 3 p.m. would also decide on the future course of action, he added. In an earlier statement, the lawyers had said their stir would go on till August 30, on which date the prohibition commissioner was to visit Surat.

    ``Though the prohibition officials were very understanding, we didn't get the written assurance we wanted, and so, the agitation will continue'', said Ramesh Kapadia, a senior member of the SDBA.

    Since the confiscation of vehicles by the department has been challenged by the SDBA, prohibition officials said only a court judgement on the validity of the confiscations would stop the department. ``Let the courts decide on this matter. We can appeal to higher courts and until then, continue to confiscate vehicles used in bootlegging'', Gadhvi told the lawyers who met him yesterday.

    Maintaining that the commissioner had not come to Surat just to solve the DCP-lawyers dispute, prohibition officials said his visit had been finalised much before the tussle erupted. Gadhvi is leaving for Ahmedabad on Wednesday after visiting all the major prohibition stations in the region.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: Oil merchants have divulged ludicrously low stocks of edible oil in response to District Collector R M Shah's directive seeking to know how much they had in stock in view of the prevailing shortage.

    If the traders are to be believed, there is only enough stock to last about two weeks. Chhagan Narottam's company, one of the biggest, claimed to possess only 257 tins (15 kg) of groundnut oil; 21 tins of five kg each; 37 tins of cottonseed oil; and 46 tins of palmolein oil.

    Raunak Mill, an equally big party, declared only 46 tins while Rajhans Oil told the collectorate that it had 1844 kg of groundnut oil, 656 tins of cottonseed oil and 384 of palmolein oil.

    Only traders of Chowkbazaar, Rander, Nanpura and Varachha registered their stocks when the officers of district supplies department undertook stocktaking on a zonal basis.

    Of the 51 traders who had registered their stocks till last evening, Jigar Traders declared stock of 14,167 kg of oil seed and 5720 kg of groundnut.

    Among the other traders declaring their stocks were Saurashtra Sugar (230 ground nut oil tins and 524 cottonseed oil tins); Ambika Sugar (764 groundnut oil tins and 147 cottonseed oil tins); Punam Traders (382 groundnut oil tins); Bharat Traders (266 groundnut oil tins); Khodiar Sales (146 groundnut oil tins); Gurukrupa Trading (384 groundnut oil tins, 163 cottonseed oil tins) and Vishwas Agency (39 groundnut oil and 288 cottonseed oil tins).

    The district collector is away in Gandhinagar, where he was attending a high level meeting.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Murder case
    The Salabatpura police have registered a case of murder against two persons after a complaint was lodged against them on Tuesday afternoon by the kin of the deceased. According to Abdul Hamid alias Anna, the complainant, Sabbir Mohammed Kadiwala and Mohammed Hussain Kadiwala, both residents of Momanwad, Salabatpura, strangled Ghulam Shabbir Abdul Karim to death on Monday evening. According to the police, the deceased, Ghulam Sabbir, had an affair with the daughter of the accused. The accused warned Ghulam not to meet the girl and in the argument that followed, they strangled him. A case of murder under section 302 of the IPC has been registered and is being investigated.

    Dowry case
    A woman lodged a case against her husband on Monday night stating that he was physically and mentally torturing her for dowry. On Monday night, however, the accused doused her with kerosene and even set her on fire, but was eventually saved by the neighbours, the victim added. The Limbayat police have registered a case of attempt to murder against the accused under sections 307 and 498 (a) of the IPC as well as sections 3 and 5 of the Dowry Act.

    Theft
    Twenty tins of mustard oil, worth Rs 15,700, were reported stolen in a case of house-breaking registered in the Katargam police station on Tuesday. Somchand Shah, the owner of a godown located at Khadi Mohalla, Phoolwadi in Katargam, told the police that unidentified people broke the lock of his godown after 11 pm on Monday and took away the oil tins. A case under sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at the police station.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: First year students of the M.Sc (Chemistry) evening course -- 15 of whom were passed after reassessment -- have threatened to launch a non-violent agitation if their various demands, including action against head of Chemistry department Dr K R Desai, were not honoured.

    A statement signed by Prashant Gohil and S Desai and S D Patil, among others, complained that the fact that 15 of the 27 students -- all of whom were declared to have failed previously -- had passed vindicated their charge that they had been deliberately failed to allow the discontinuation of the one-year-old course.

    They alleged that former vice-chancellor Ashwin Kapadia and Desai had opposed the introduction of the course and had attempted to block its progress. While both Kapadia and Desai have denied those allegations in the past, the head of the department told Express Newsline that he resisted not so much the course but the venue of the classes.

    In a statement, Desai said he advocated shifting of the classes, as the university -- where they were held at present -- became deserted in the evenings and might be inaccessible for teachers and students at odd hours.

    Claiming that a handful of teachers were responsible for the continuation of the course, the students alleged that the attempt to fail all the 27 students was the last-ditch efforts of the authorities to have their way.

    The students maintained that they had been given low marks in both the theory and the practical examinations. While objective checking of the theory papers had allowed some of them to clear the year, the practicals were yet to be scored justly, they said, adding that though the authorities had promised to increase their practical marks, they should do so soon.

    They also pleaded that the 12 students who had not been able to clear the examination even after reassessment be allowed to keep term (ATKT) and admitted to the second year.

    The students also demanded that Desai and those of his ilk be suspended immediately, along with a teacher who was giving private tuitions. They sought an inquiry into the gold medals awarded to Desai's son in Part I and Part II of M. Sc (regular), pointing out that he had not even cleared the HSC examination.

    If these demands were not fulfilled, they would take to the streets, they warned.

    In his statement, Desai said as the chairman of the examination committee, he could not have added or subtracted marks in answer scripts assessed by others, but could only give two grace marks to pass a student.

    Maintaining that the examiners were all senior teachers and did not deserve to be accused in this manner, Desai demanded that the answer scripts be further assessed by teachers other than those attached to South Gujarat University.

    Referring to the allegations over his son's gold medals, the Chemistry department head said he was neither examiner nor paper-setter when his son appeared for the examination. The university was welcome to get his son's answer scripts reassessed, he added.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India, on the occasion of its 43rd anniversary, announced the opening of a new section in its premises to deal more effectively with pensions and group insurance holders. The new division has been made operational from today.

    The separate section began operating simultaneously in 69 offices of the LIC throughout the country.

    S Sarker, divisional manager of LIC, Surat, while inaugurating the new section on Tuesday, urged employees to work with commitment to meet goals the corporation had set for itself. He praised the employees for performing exceptionally well in the past year.

    Marketing manager Vidyadhar and senior branch manager Bhupatrai Mehta stressed on the need and importance of pension and group insurance schemes. They said the role of LIC, especially in the rural areas, was exceptional.

    Meanwhile, the LIC has organised a number of programmes including seminars, debates, elocution over the next two days to mark the occasion.

    A statement issued by the LIC on Tuesday said that the correct figure of the Insurance Sum Assured was Rs 800.19 crore and not Rs 8000.19 crore as printed mistakenly in Tuesday's edition. The organisation also stated that while development officer S R Joshi sold the highest number of policies, the highest amount of insurance was procured by H G Lapsiwala, development officer of LIC's Udhna branch. He also brought in the highest First Premium among the offices of the Surat Division.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: A delegation of the Surat Diamond Association and the Gem and Jewellery Council submitted a memorandum to Police Commissioner Maniram, expressing grave concern over the recent cases of armed loots, where diamond merchants have been targeted.

    Pointing the spurt in cases of armed robberies targeting diamond merchants, the delegation said they were feeling insecure and urged the commissioner to accord top priority to their safety.

    Commissioner Maniram, while stating that the police were keeping around-the-clock vigil in sensitive areas, assured that he would do the needful to make traders feel safe.

    There have been at least 25 attacks and loot cases, many of them committed during the day, in the past four months.

    Specifically pointing out three cases in the past one week where diamond merchants of the city were relieved of valuables and cash worth lakhs of rupees, the members said robberies were being committed at will, and the only instance when the gangsters were nabbed was the Mahidharpura case a fortnight ago. Two gangsters were caught, one of them battered to death and the other seriously injured, in the foiled loot case.

    On Saturday, a diamond merchant Suresh Sutaria was kidnapped from the Mini Bazaar area of Varachha and looted of diamonds worth Rs 2.55 lakhs and Rs 40,000 cash at knife point.

    Earlier last week, armed robbers looted Rs 25,000 from one Jayantibhai, a diamond worker, in Varachha Road area. On August 24, a watchman working in a diamond workshop at Umiya Mata Mandir on A K Road was attacked, though nothing was looted from the workshop. The delegation has also claimed that not only diamond merchants, even cloth owners and the common people were being targeted by criminals. The delegation included Nanu Vanani, Dhanji Dhaduk and Jivraj Surani of the Surat Diamond Association and Chandrakant Sanghvi of the Gem and Jewellery Council, among others.

    Meanwhile, the police have stepped by night patrolling and vigil in the Mahidharpura, Varachha and Katargam areas, where maximum number of workshops are located. The police chief assured the delegation that the matter would be taken up with urgency.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: The Khajuria camp of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Surat Municipal Corporation received one more setback with the appointment of Ajay Choksi as standing committee chairman and Natubhai Patel as leader of the House.

    Their names were read out late on Monday night by the party's city unit president Pravin Naik from an envelop brought by Surat affairs in-charge Jayantibhai Kevat and observer Thakorbhai Naik.

    Patel is the outgoing standing committee chairman, while Choksi is not even a member of the standing committee. Patel will tender his resignation paving the way for the former's entry into the standing committee.

    The general board meeting will have to be convened shortly to facilitate Choksi's entry first as a member and subsequently as the chairman. Choksi has held the post three times in the past. Incidentally, Choksi was once close to Fakirbhai Chauhan and Kashiram Rana before he got disillusioned with them and shifted loyalty to the Hajuria camp.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. SURAT, Sept 1: Irregular power supply in the Dangs, especially in and around Saputara, the only hill station of the State and being vigorously promoted by the State government as a tourist spot, is the biggest hurdle in its development.

    So much so that P K Lahri, principal secretary to the chief minister, `enjoyed' his three-day vacation to the hill resort in total darkness.

    He was so cut up with the erratic power supply that he reportedly called up member secretary of the Gujarat Electricity Board S K Nanda and expressed displeasure over the mismanagement by the Gujarat Electricity Board officials. He is also reported to have told the secretary that unless the Gujarat Electricity Board does not act swiftly, all plans to convert Saputara into a major tourist attraction would go haywire.

    It may be noted that the State government has for long been stating that a 66 KW sub-station would be set up in the Dangs. But unfortunately nothing seems to have been done in this regard.

    In addition, the district development officer and MLA Madhu Bhoye have received a number of complaints in the past few months where villagers have been handed out heavy electricity bills. There have even been instances where villagers who don't have electric connections were also given the bills.

    The perennial issue at every district co-ordination and complaints committee held in Ahwa every month has been the shortage and irregularity in power supply.

    General secretary of the Dangs Hotel Owners' Association Navin Patel, while expressing anger at the frequent power failures in the district, suggested that hotels be provided with generators until the government was able to provide uninterrupted power supply. He added that unless the electricity issue was not resolved, plans of developing Saputara into a hill station would not materialise.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: The Department of Telecommunications has introduced the "Calling Line Identification" facility in the City and its satellite towns, with which the telephone number from which the call is coming will be identified.

    To begin with, the facility is being launched on the levels 26, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 64, 66, 67, 77 and 78, providing service to Chandigarh, S.A.S. Nagar and Panchkula. According to Principal General Manager, Telecom, Prithipal Singh, those who want to avail of the service will have to give an application to the commercial officer concerned. There are four commercial officers in the Chandigarh Telecom District -- one each for north, south, Panchkula and S.A.S. Nagar. One-time processing charges of Rs 50 will be levied for providing the facility. Thereafter, a monthly rent of Rs 50 will be charged for the purpose. Singh added that this facility is "another first of its kind service" in Chandigarh.

    Officials specify that for availing the facility, either a new kind of instrument will be required or a special equipment that can be attached to the existing telephone. This new kind of instrument or the attachment will have a display panel on which the number of the telephone from which the call is coming will be indicated automatically. Officials add that the subscriber will have to purchase the instrument or the attachment; it will not be provided by the department. It is learnt that this instrument or the attachment is not available locally and inquiries may have to be made for it in metropolitan cities.

    With this facility, subscribers who face the problem of objectionable or "blank" calls will be able to trace them. They will also have the choice of taking or not taking a particular call once its number is displayed.

    The department had earlier launched a special directory inquiry facility. By dialling "1961", one could punch the telephone number to get the address of the person or alternatively, punch in the address to get the telephone number of the person. In this way, once the telephone number of the objectionable call is traced, one will also be able to easily get the address of the person. This will be of considerable help to the Chandigarh Police and the Fire Department.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: The UT Health Department tonight banned the sale of two local mustard oil brands -- Mashal and Ganesh -- after laboratory tests confirmed adulteration. The Administration had earlier banned the sale of loose mustard oil besides five brands -- Kanodia, Haathi, Scooter, Pariwar and Dhara.

    Of the 30 samples of loose and packed oil taken from various shops and oil mills in the City, three tested positive for the presence of Argemone oil. Two of these samples are manufactured by Khandelia Oil Mills and Ganesh Oil Mills in Industrial Area (Phase II), according to sources.

    The third sample, of loose variety, was recovered from an oil manufacturer in Manimajra. The samples subjected to the "nitric acid test" on Saturday had tested negative for Argemone oil, before the chromatography test.

    Dr R.S. Sandhu, director, UT Health Services, issued the orders to ban these brands soon after test reports by public analyst Suresh Kumar Kalra confirmed adulteration. "While a few samples have been found to be positive for Argemone oil, no deaths have been reported so far due to mustard oil adulteration," Dr Sandhu told Newsline. The concentration of the Argemone oil must be in less concentration, he added.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: The decision of the Municipal Corporation to introduce paid parking in Sector 17 could not be implemented today following protests by traders and employees. The MC had auctioned seven parking lots and the three contractors who turned up today failed to introduce paid parking.

    Even the police was of no help as the public objected to SHO (Central) Moti Ram's intervention in the matter. Majority of the shops in the Sector 17 market also remained closed till 11:30 a.m. as a mark of protest. The protests started right in the morning when traders and employees refused to accept any paid parking chits for parking vehicles. The contractors were also refused entry in the parking areas. When a contractor manning the GPO parking lot insisted on issuing paid parking slips, the protesting public forced the refund of the slips already issued.

    Later, during lunch hours, the traders and employee leaders held a rally at the Sector 17 Piazza and marched in the market, raising slogans against the MC. Some Congressmen, led by CTCC joint secretary Sandeep Singh, also joined the traders and employees in their protest and opposed the introduction of paid parking.

    While some contractors met MC officials, Mayor Gian Chand Gupta told Newsline that he had talked to the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP to maintain law and order in the parking lots. "Since it is the decision of the MC, it will have to be implemented." However, since there was no formal complaint by the contractors, no action has been initiated against the protesters.

    Meanwhile, an "Anti-Parking Fee Co-ordination Committee" comprising 20 government employees and traders has been constituted to coordinate with other employees and traders on this issue, according to committee spokesman Jagdish Pal Singh Kalra. The committee members also warned the MC against the use of force.

    The two parking lots in Sector 8, in the meantime, started functioning without any protests. The MC had auctioned nine parking lots: seven in Sector 17 and two in Sector 8 for an annual amount of Rs 68 lakh.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. Tatas pull out of airline project
    The Tatas today announced their formal decision to pull out of their proposed Rs 1,475-crore airline project with the Ministry of Civil Aviation continuing to delay the project for one reason or another. The project has been delayed by over 43 months already.

    Gill files plea in Delhi HC
    Axed CEO S S Gill filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court today, challenging the Prasar Bharati ordinance issued by the government. He has prayed for the quashing of the ordinance on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

    Yeltsin's rivals dig in heels
    Amidst the stalemate between the Kremlin and the State Duma, acting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin today proposed a list of ministers for the President's approval, even as his own nomination remained shaky in the wake of the Communists' determination to reject again his candidature in the Duma.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: Taking cognisance of reports that the police officer inquiring into the alleged beating and humiliation of Pinky, a Class VI student who committed suicide, had recorded evidence and statements of the students in presence of teachers, a senior police official has ordered a fresh inquiry into the matter.

    Sources point out that Senior Superintendent of Police C.S.R. Reddy this afternoon issued instructions that a woman sub-inspector inquire into the matter. The inquiring officer has also been instructed that all children be questioned individually, it was added.

    This was done following allegations from the deceased's parents that the students were questioned by the police in the presence of teachers and others students and that had intimidated the students, sources said.

    The local police had earlier submitted a report to the SSP, stating: "The allegations of beating up Seema and Pinky could not be substantiated during the inquiry except in the statements of Seema and Jagwati."

    The report was based on the basis of inquiries made by Sub-Inspector Pala Ram on August 25, it was added. The SI is stated to have recorded statements of five teachers and 25 students.

    On August 22, Pinky, 12, a student of Class VI at Government High School, Sector 38, had burnt herself to death at home. The deceased's parents and companion Seema alleged that the girl had committed suicide due to "beating and humiliation" at the hands of her teachers. The police inquiry was conducted on August 25 and the report was forwarded to the legal advisor. However, no case has been registered.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: The City police have registered a case against five of its men, including a sub-inspector, for allegedly detaining two women in the now defunct Special Cell in Sector 36, and torturing them. The women had also alleged stripping.

    On July 9, Sub-Inspector Devinder Sharma, ASI Jagat Ram, Head Constables Lokinder Singh and Mohan Singh and Constable Jagbir Singh had allegedly stripped two women in the basement of the Sector 36 police station, which housed the Special Cell of the CIA. When the two reported the incident at the Sector 39 police station, an inquiry was conducted by SP (City) Baldev Singh. The five cops were suspended on July 11 and a Departmental Enquiry was ordered against them. The Special Cell too was dissolved.

    The police on Monday, on the basis of findings of the DE, registered a case against the cops for torture and illegal confinement, a police official said.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: The Administration has set up an anti-piracy cell to take steps against copyright violators, UT Administrator B.K.N. Chhibber said at the 23rd Conference of Ministers of Information and Cinematography in New Delhi today.

    Chhibber said there was an urgent need to check piracy of films and music in video parlours and homes. He added that during the past year, some cases were registered against persons involved in pirated cassettes, mixers and books. The move to rationalise entertainment tax was timely, he said, adding that the entertainment duty and tax were much lower in Chandigarh.

    Thanking Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj for laying the stone of a television centre at Chandigarh, Chhibber stressed that construction must be completed in a time-bound manner. "The facilities of producing programmes should also be made available," he said. He suggested that telecasting of TV news should be initiated from Chandigarh. He added that Chandigarh should be given a wider news coverage on both radio and television. He urged the Centre to allot special time to Chandigarh in the Pradeshik Samachar relayed from Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Rohtak radio stations from 6.10 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily.

    For the promotion of local talent, an independent primary channel should be started from All India Radio, Chandigarh, which at present is broadcasting Vividh Bharti programmes only, he pointed out.

    The administrator welcomed the decision of the Central government to declare film as an industry. He stressed that this must be followed up by spelling out the concessions which will accrue to the industry so that they derive optimum benefit in this regard. It was also important to concretise the various modalities for the purpose.

    On these issues Sushma Swaraj said that the Ministry will make recommendations for taking appropriate action on them.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. CHANDIGARH, Sept 1: Taking up the issue of college and university teachers' strike, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today impleaded the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Union of India through the secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, as parties in the case and issued them notice for September 9.

    A division bench of the court, comprising Justice J.L. Gupta and Justice N.C. Khichi, today also sought written replies from the respondent parties by the next date of hearing. On the plea of Bharatiya Janata Party's student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, to become an intervening party in the case, the bench asked them to move an application in this regard.

    Hearing the arguments, the bench expressed its anguish over the continuation of the strike and observed that it should end. "We have seen workers going on strike, but not teachers," the judges observed, adding that "we do not want the teachers to sit in dharna".

    Punjab University teachers' representative S.P. Gautam was questioned as to whether or not he was satisfied with the strike and the bench asked him to withdraw the strike. When Gautam replied that he was not an authority to take such a decision on his own, the bench asked him to raise the issue before a general body meeting of the teachers' association and let it take a decision.

    Earlier, when Gautam offered that the teachers would compensate the loss caused by holding extra classes during weekends and shortened vacations, the judges observed that there was no cause for the students to suffer because of them. "The students would not be ready to spoil their vacations," the bench observed.

    Arguing the case of teachers, their representatives blamed the attitude of HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi for the strike, "who did not even care to meet them when their representatives had gone to meet him". The teachers' representatives also sought directions from the court to include them in the discussions held with the Ministry representatives in Delhi.

    The counsel for ABVP also alleged that the examination, admission and viva-voce work was stalled due to the strike.

    Representatives of Punjab and Haryana governments, Punjab University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Kurukshetra University Teachers' Association were also present and spoke during the discussions.

    Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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