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Thursday, 9 April 2009

From Today's Papers - 09 Apr 09

Thursday, April 09, 2009
By Shahid Kardar
As there is an urgent need to reform the compensation structures for government employees we should welcome the setting up of another Pay Commission. Unfortunately, if history is any guide, the report of the commission is not likely to be made public, let alone the holding of public hearings of its deliberations. Moreover, the recommendations, as in the past, will be marked by secrecy, obfuscation and failure to tackle the fundamental questions head-on. The commission is likely to undertake a cursory, not comprehensive, review of the compensation structure. As the structure exists today, it buries a number of privileges under various budget and off-budget heads, many of which are not costed to enable taxpayers to know in a transparent manner the "price" that they have to pay for the services of a civil servant. True to tradition, it will be selective in its approach, mention but not the complete set of perks, and propose some percentage increase in salaries leaving the key issues unattended for some future commission to address.

The foremost issue that has bedevilled budgetary allocations and systems is lack of transparency. The technique adopted ensures opaqueness, concealment of information from the hapless taxpayer on what a senior bureaucrat like a Secretary actually costs the government. The most useless data in the public domain pertains to pay scales -- the portion of the salary paid in cash, which on the face of it, suggests that those in Grade 19 and above, considering the scope of responsibilities delegated to them, are grossly underpaid. But this information hides more than it reveals. The compensation system conveniently fails to value the following benefits and perquisites to which say a Secretary is entitled:

a) The furnished residence provided to him in a prime location of the city, whose maintenance and periodic renovation is shown respectively under operations of public buildings and under the much-celebrated term "development expenditure";

b) The cost of residential utilities like electricity, gas and telephone borne by the government;

c) The use of an official car for private use as well (including the cost of petrol). In fact, most Secretaries of Federal Ministries or provincial departments that have set up public-sector agencies have at least an additional car at the disposal of their families whose running costs are financed by one of these para-statals, that are also more than likely to be bearing the cost of his cell phone;

d) The costs of medical treatment of him/herself and his/her family;

e) A host of allowances, like entertainment, special pay at 15 percent of basic salary as is the case in Punjab, qualification pay, senior post, etc.

Almost all Secretaries also get a heavily subsidised, if not allotted (free of cost), a residential plot on retirement, apart from being entitled to retain (free of rent) for two years after retirement the official residence that they were occupying on the date of retirement.

They are also entitled to forms of social protection, both pension and non-pension in nature, such as life insurance, provident fund. Each of these benefits is briefly described below. An understanding of the pension system is important since average life-expectancy is rising and government functionaries as a group are likely to live longer than the rest of the population, which will push up the future pension payment bill even further.

Civil servants are entitled to a monthly pension payment after 25 years of service, which is linked to the salary drawn at the time of retirement and the number of years of service. This amount is then revised periodically to adjust for inflation. Under the pension entitlement rules they can "commute" 40 percent (reduced from 50 percent in 2001) of their gross pension in lump sum at the time of retirement. This is a generous benefit, since the amount paid as commuted pension is not discounted to arrive at the present value of this payment in advance that the retiree would have received as monthly pension over several years in the future. Family pension is also payable to the spouse or dependent children after the death of the civil servant, although at a reduced rate of 50 percent.

On retirement, civil servants are also paid a gratuity, equal to 40 times the last drawn salary. Under the current pension system, existing civil servants are not required to make any contribution to their eventual pension or gratuity benefit. This cost is borne entirely by the government.

Civil servants are also entitled to a General Provident (GP) Fund, to which only do they contribute, but on which, until 2001, they were a paid an interest rate that was 30 percent higher than the market rate (the current rate is 12 percent per annum).

Employees also contribute 2 percent of their basic salary to a benevolent fund, the benefit under which translates to 35 percent of wages for premature death or disability up to the age of 70.

There is also a life insurance cover under a Group Insurance Policy under which the benefit is roughly 2.5 times the annual salary--ranging from Rs100,000 to Rs1 million.

Civil servants are also entitled to four days a month as leave that they can accumulate equivalent to one year's vacation with pay, of which six months can be encashed.

The discussion above has hopefully made out the case for the monetistion of the vast array of perks by costing the entire set of handouts listed above. This shift will make the compensation package more transparent and understandable while giving the officer the choice to say spend more on the education of his child as opposed to living in a palatial house. It will also help release prime commercial land, presently used for providing residential accommodation to these officers, that the provincial/federal government can use/sell to mobilise additional resources and meet the additional cash expenditures arising from the monetisation of the benefits, along with the money that will be saved on a recurrent basis for not having to maintain these properties and motor vehicles funded from the public purse.

The writer is a former finance minister of Punjab. Email: kardar@systemsltd .com

US Not Pressuring India on Ties with Pakistan: Holbrooke

With India a "vital leader" in the region, the US Wednesday maintained it was not pressuring New Delhi on its ties with Islamabad and would like to see a greater role for this country in Afghanistan, even as it said India had been consulted on President Barrack Obama's new Af-Pak strategy.

"The subject (India-Pakistan ties) did not come up," Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan said at a joint press conference here with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, after talks with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.

Holbrooke and Mullen were here on the concluding leg of a five-day "whirlwind" swing through the region that has already taken them to Afghanistan and Pakistan as they seek to take forward Obama's Af-Pak policy on the war against terror.

"We didn't come here to get the Indian government to do something. We came to inform and consult the Indian government (about the Af-Pak strategy)," Holbrooke said.

In this context, he noted that India had been kept in the loop while the Af-Pak strategy was being formulated and would continue to be consulted in future.

"We consulted the Indian government very closely," Holbrooke said.

"India plays a critical role in the region. We have the same priorities but no coordination. So we need to move forward on that," he explained.

Added Mullen: "India is a vital leader in the region. Its role is critical in so many constructive and positive ways."

Apart from Menon, Holbrooke and Mullen also met National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and the prime minister's special envoy S.K. Lambah for "terrific talks", as the envoy put it, on regional and security issues.

Holbrooke also noted that Menon had spoken on the telephone with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US National Security Advisor James L. Jones while the Af-Pak policy was being strategised.

"India's views will be welcomed in Washington at any and every level," the envoy maintained.

Mullen separately met Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta -- who is also chairman of the Indian chiefs of staff committee -- to discuss issues relating to maritime security.

According to Holbrooke: "What happens in Afghanistan depends on what happens in Pakistan. They are deeply inter-related. For the first time since partition, India, Pakistan and the US face a common threat, a common challenge and have a common task.

"It's in the national security interest of all three to work together and Pakistan is central to that. It's going to be difficult but we'll get there," the envoy maintained.

Holbrooke also lauded India's role in Afghanistan's reconstruction, particularly its initiatives in the agricultural sector.

"(Indian) Ambassador (Jayant) Prasad outlined for us what is being done. It's an impressive and very, very comprehensive agricultural programme," he said.

He also pointed out that the US effort in Afghanistan was focused "not just on the military side but in engaging civil society too. We have to see how to work together better".

N Korea warns of 'strong steps' against UN censure
Dharam Shourie/ PTI / United Nations April 08, 2009, 11:06 IST

Insisting that its long-range rocket was launched to carry a satellite into space and not a missile test, North Korea has warned that it will retaliate with "strong steps" if the UN Security Council takes any action against Pyongyang.

Any action by the Council would be "undemocratic" and "attack" on his country's sovereignty and "necessary strong steps" will follow, North Korea Deputy UN Ambassador Pak Tok Hun told reporters yesterday.

Pak's statement came even as the Security Council was deadlocked on its response to the Sunday's rocket launch with the United States and its allies. Japan has called for strong condemnation of North Korea while China and Russia have sought for a more measured and weaker response.

Insisting that his country has launched a satellite and thus violated no Council resolutions, Pak said it is not fair for the western countries to launch hundreds of satellites each year and target his country when it puts one in the orbit.

But the US, backed by Japan and South Korea, claimed that the Pyongyang has launched a Taepo-dong-2 missile which travelled 3,100 kilometers before falling in the Pacific even though it did not attain its full orbit.

This was the farthest that any North Korean missile has travelled and Washington fears that it was aiming to develop a ballistic missile which could reach up to Alaska.

The Council resolution, adopted after North Korea conducted its nuclear test in 2006, bans Pyongyang from launching or testing a ballistic missile.

Pak said his country was exercising its "inalienable" right to use space for peaceful purposes.

The 15-member Council had met in an emergency session Sunday but could not formulate any reaction with China and Russia differing from the perceptions of US and its allies.

Diplomats of five permanent Council members – the US, Russia, Britain, France and China – and Japan met again on Monday but the discussions ended without any consensus. They were expected to meet yesterday but the meeting did not come off apparently because of sharp divisions.

Council diplomats said Beijing had proposed a non binding statement but was considered very weak by the US and its allies who wanted to bring a strong resolution.

But Chances of any resolution appear bleak unless the Western powers and Japan are able to prevail upon China and Russia, who have veto power, to at least abstain.

Advocating a cautious approach, China and Russia are advocating restarting of the stalled six-party talks to end North Korea's nuclear programme. The parties include North Korea, South Korea, the US, Russia, China and Japan

400 militants may cross over, Army pushes limits

Mufti Islah

Srinagar: Ahead of elections, infiltration bids across the Line of Control have increased. As many as 400 militants are reportedly waiting to cross over from Pakistan and the Army has launched massive combing operations.

The Army has killed 28 militants over the past two weeks in Kupwara but it has also lost 11 men, mostly from the elite Special Forces in the jungle warfare.

With Taliban on the loose in Pakistan, security forces have intensified patrolling and reviewed security along the LoC. A greater synergy of intelligence sharing between police and army has thwarted many such incursions.

But despite the counter-infiltration measures, sources say 20-40 militants - mostly from the Lashkar-e-Toiba – may have managed to sneak in.

It’s a clear and present danger, especially with intercepts by security forces suggesting that the Taliban might give direct or indirect support to the militancy in Kashmir.

Pakistan To America: Back Off

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—For the first time in a long time, the Pakistani government managed to turn heads in Washington by saying all things America doesn’t want to hear: Islamabad will not allow the United States to expand its war inside Pakistan, won’t allow U.S. boots on the ground, and CIA better stop its drone attacks ASAP. If this was not enough, the ISI chief reportedly refused to meet top U.S. officials and a former air force chief announced that the Pakistani Air Force is just a green signal away from shooting down CIA’s drones and that it only awaited orders from the President and the Prime Minister.

The week certainly did not start auspiciously for Mr. Richard Holbrooke, Washington’s arrogant special envoy who appeared visibly shaken yesterday in Islamabad. Apparently after getting used to apologetic Pakistani government officials, the sudden change of mood in the Pakistani capital was not something the seasoned diplomat anticipated. He was either too self-assured or was fed wrong reports by U.S. diplomats based in Pakistan. All of this coincided with another major news story: the former Chief of the Pakistani Air Force, Air Chief Marshal (retired) Kaleem Saadat, came out on television yesterday night to decisively settle all speculation about what Pakistan can do to stop repeated U.S. violations of Pakistani airspace through the CIA-operated drones.

‘Yes, we can shoot them down,’ Saadat told Express News, throwing to the dustbin repeated statements by the defense minister and other ministers in the pro-U.S. elected government over the past months where these officials claimed Pakistan did not have the technology required to shoot down U.S. spy planes that violate Pakistani airspace. Those statements disappointed a majority of Pakistanis who look up to their military, one of the best in the world, to stand up for Pakistan.

Saadat gave an example: Pakistani Air Force jets shot down a sophisticated, Israeli-manufactured drone that India sent deep inside Pakistan on Jan. 7, 2002. The Indo-Israeli spy plane was supposed to be undetectable and beyond the reach and the capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. The Indian military was stunned. It initially tried to feign ignorance but then had to grudgingly half-accept the truth. And even then it was surprising for Pakistanis how Britain and the United States failed to censure India for a confirmed act of war. ‘The U.S. drones are much bigger in size [in comparison to the Indo-Israeli plane],’ said Air Marshal Saadat, and hence easier to target. The former air chief left no doubt about who was failing in protecting Pakistani sovereignty.

‘The issue,’ said the former Chief of Air Staff, ‘is not military but a political one.’

This statement throws the ball in the court of the elected politicians who have long been suspected of quietly permitting Washington to mount missile attacks inside Pakistan. Saadat’s statement came a few hours after a joint press briefing in Islamabad where visiting U.S. officials appeared shaken and confused. Richard Holbrooke, America’s envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared surprised at the friendly but firm and straightforward talk by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Qureshi was blunt, something new for a member of the Zardari-Gilani government. Mr. Qureshi went as far as snubbing President Obama, who had earlier said Pakistan would get "no blank checks" and the release of more U.S. aid would depend on how it dealt with terrorism.

In response, Qureshi turned to both Holbrooke and Mullen who shared the stage with him and firmly said: “It works both ways. We'll neither accept one nor will we give one”.
Mr. Qureshi also said a “gap” existed between Islamabad and Washington on the problem of CIA-operated drones.


The mood is changing in Pakistan and the United States is increasingly seen as a dishonest friend.

One day before the arrival of Holbrooke and Mullen, the leader of the main opposition party in the country, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi of PML, told a press conference that his party favored rejecting U.S. aid if the trade off is to give up Pakistan’s national interest. This was the first call by any major Pakistani political party head to turn down the much needed U.S. financial assistance.

During the talk show where the former Chief of Air Staff Kaleem Saadat spoke, the other two panelists, a retired Army General and a retired Foreign Secretary, shared similar misgivings regarding the U.S. policy toward Pakistan. Although not stated openly, but Pakistani officials are seriously concerned about mounting circumstantial evidence indicating the U.S. is actually using Afghanistan which it occupies since late 2001 as a base for spreading terrorism and mayhem inside neighboring Pakistan.

The suspicions are especially centered on evidence that someone in Afghanistan is pumping trained operatives and saboteurs in the garb of Islamic militants inside Pakistan. These operatives and agents then go about spreading death and destruction in the name of ‘Pakistani Taliban’. There are also serious questions about why the CIA drones fail to attack shadowy militant leaders inside Pakistani tribal zone whose main mission is to attack and kill Pakistanis. In comparison, the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan focus on fighting the occupation forces and have never advocated attacking Pakistani interests despite Islamabad having ditched them seven years ago.

Exploiting religious terrorism is one dimension of the problem. There is even more evidence that Afghan soil is also being used to spread ethnic and sectarian tensions inside Pakistan and recruit, train and sponsor separatists for this purpose. The sudden rise since 2005 of well armed and funded insurgent groups and death squads along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, where they never existed before, and their continued finances and arms supplies despite a blockade by Pakistani security, all of this has poisoned Pakistani perception toward the U.S. role in Afghanistan.

Most of the evidence regarding anti-Pakistani activities in Afghanistan is linked to the huge presence of Indian intelligence in that country disguised as diplomats and social workers. This, many Pakistanis believe, cannot happen without U.S. consent at some level. Some Pakistanis gave the U.S. the benefit of doubt on this point, arguing that the Indians were exploiting Afghan mess to drive a wedge between Washington and Islamabad. One way to do this, they argued, was to indirectly arm and finance terrorists posing as Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan. But after repeatedly bringing this to the attention of the highest levels of government in Washington without any result, it is quite clear that someone in the U.S. capital is condoning or maybe even permitting what the Indians and their Karzai puppets are doing there.

It is quite obvious that Washington, or ‘non-state actors’ in the U.S. capital, are pursuing an agenda that exceeds what is stated publicly by U.S. officials with regards to Afghanistan. In fact, former Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mirza Aslam Baig wrote a paper as far back as 2007 that listed locations inside Afghanistan where U.S. or some of its allies have established intelligence outposts focused on penetrating four nations that share borders with or are close to Afghanistan. These four nations are Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan.

In mid 2007, both Ahmed Quraishi and Zaid Hamid, two Pakistani policy commentators, raised eyebrows when the state-run PTV News aired shows featuring the two criticizing what they said were early signs that someone was using Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan and that the U.S. was either involved or was turning a blind eye as India and pro-Indian former Afghan communist officials who sit in key positions in Kabul exported terrorism to Pakistan. The television shows led to queries from within different parts of the Pakistani government on whether there has been some subtle change in the policy that was being pursued then by President Musharraf.

In November 2007, Quraishi authored a report that said that the next logical step for the severe destabilization seen in Pakistan that year would be a high-value assassination of either President Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, the two key leaders in Pakistan at the time, which would spin Pakistan out of control. That would be the natural next move for interested to terminally cripple the country. Truly enough, Ms. Bhutto was assassinated a month later and her violent murder almost led to a revolt in one of the four federating provinces of Pakistan. It was a miracle that Pakistan was not sent into a tailspin, a testament to the strength and endurance of this nation despite heavy odds.

All of this serves to highlight that Pakistani grievances against the United States, which the British and American media deliberately hide from their people, run back in time and are not the result of recent events in the Pakistani tribal zone.


The performance of Foreign Minister Qureshi certainly was a welcome surprise for many skeptics who had all but given up on the Zardari-Gilani government taking any stand on Pakistan’s legitimate interests when it came to American policy in Afghanistan. And the reason is simple. This government owes its existence and power to direct U.S. support. U.S. is using Pakistani democracy as a Trojan horse, playing off one set of politicians against the other and then using all of them against the military. There have been reports for some time now that certain departments within the U.S. government have been conducting ‘private foreign policies’ directly with the families that control Pakistani political parties. Some of the leaders of these families were invited to secret visits to Washington as part of this confidential dialogue.

Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen are good examples of this American manipulation of key Pakistani political players. Both of them, and especially Mr. Holbrooke, would come to Pakistan and separately meet senior Pakistani politicians alone, each one separately, and often inside the fortified U.S. embassy compound to avoid the preying eyes of Pakistani media and also Pakistani intelligence. He would also make sure to meet the Pakistani President, Prime Minister, Army chief, ISI chief, and whoever else mattered, and all of them separately, and then play one party against the other, a sort of an improvement on the old British method of divide and rule. Another sign of manipulation is the Zardari-Nawaz rivalry. When President Zardari began to appear weak, the Americans leaked a story – through the usual mouthpieces NYT and WSJ quoting no names – that “U.S. officials” were considering getting closer to Nawaz Sharif. The story was obviously meant to throw fuel on the fire of the cutthroat internal Pakistani politics and increase domestic instability by playing on the insecurities of the two key players.

While Mr. Zardari’s closeness to the Americans is indisputable [last week Dubai’s Gulf News reported Mr. Zardari met secretly with Mr. Holbrooke in the emirate without the knowledge of any Pakistani official or diplomat, except the organizer of the meeting Mr. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s envoy to Washington, who is sarcastically referred to in Islamabad’s drawing rooms as ‘Washington’s envoy to Pakistan’], Mr. Nawaz Sharif is the new surprise. While he disagrees with President Obama’s policies in public, Mr. Sharif hurried to Islamabad on Tuesday to meet Mr. Holbrooke at the U.S. embassy compound. Why would Mr. Sharif present himself to the Americans privately as an alternative partner while keeping a nationalistic posture in public is something that only Mr. Sharif can explain.

This American manipulation of Pakistani politicians, in and out of government, means there is little chance most of these politicians would really want to get tough with Washington. Foreign Minister Qureshi’s newfound assertive tone has probably more to do with restlessness within the Pakistani strategic community, which consists of civilian and military policy analysts, that is apparently beginning to prevail upon both the Pakistani Foreign Office and the Pakistani military to do something when the government appears incapable or unwilling to stand up for Pakistani interests. That’s one way of explaining the reports of how ISI chief refused to meet Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen despite the duo’s request. [The ISI chief did not meet Mr. Holbrooke alone but did meet the U.S. official along with the Army chief.]

But there is another reason for this. Some Pakistani officials were determined this time not to allow Mr. Holbrooke to meet senior Pakistani officials separately. An intra-agency meeting, bringing top officials from several federal departments was scheduled for Monday, before Mr. Holbrooke’s arrival. The brainstorming session was supposed to bring minds together from the Foreign Office, the Interior, the military and others in order to present a unified Pakistani response to American policies. But the meeting failed to materialize because Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, tired from a range of foreign trips throughout last week, was resting in his hometown in Multan and failed to show up for the meeting, which then was called off.

Yet Mr. Qureshi surprised the observers with his performance in the press conference with Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen. The Pakistani Foreign Minister was poised and assertive. It was a good show for one day. The best way to achieve something for the long run, however, is to match the rhetoric with some actions. If the ISI chief did indeed refuse meeting U.S. officials [he did attend Holbrook’s meeting with the Army chief] then this is the first of a series of steps that Pakistan needs to take to ensure that Washington understands it cannot pursue a selfish policy of achieving its own goals in the region while Pakistan’s interests get trampled in the process.

Zardari wants drones to fight militants
by Andrew Buncombe

Pakistan’s president has called on America to provide his country with an arsenal of drones and missiles to target militants blamed for a wave of violence rather than carrying out independent operations that violate the nation’s sovereignty.

In an interview with The Independent, Asif Ali Zardari said Pakistan had made it clear that it was willing to “take out high-value targets on our own, and we welcome the technology and intelligence assistance that will give us the ability to succeed”.

He added: “I cannot condone violations of our sovereignty even when they are done by allies and friends. We would much prefer that the US share its intelligence and give us the drones and missiles that will allow us to take care of this problem on our own.”

Mr Zardari’s comments, made in a wide-ranging interview in which for the first time he conceded more than one of the 10 militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks may be Pakistani, came as senior US officials visited Islamabad and called for greater trust between the two countries.

The Obama administration’s regional envoy, Richard Holbrooke, said: “The United States and Pakistan face a common strategic threat, a common enemy and a common challenge and therefore a common task.”

Pakistan is confronted by a fresh spike in militant violence. Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in recent weeks and a senior Pakistani Taliban leader has vowed that his suicide bombers will carry out two attacks every week.

Ironically, the wave of violence, believed to have been carried out by militants loyal to the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, has been seen as a response to an escalation by the US in the number of missile attacks launched against militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas using pilotless drones. Mr Mehsud told journalists his recent operations were a direct act of revenge.

Pakistan is under intense pressure to deal with the militants, especially those blamed for cross-border raids against Western troops in Afghanistan. Despite public denials, it is understood Pakistan co-operates with the US drone strikes. But there is little doubt that such tactics are increasingly unpopular with the Pakistani public.

Mr Zardari said: “President Obama once said that he would act if we weren’t willing and able. We certainly are willing and with international support we will become even more able.”

The President also acknowledged that more than a year after elections, many in Pakistan are growing frustrated with a seeming lack of progress. “After a decade of dictatorship the people had enormous expectations of rapid improvement in their lives. That is still very much our priority but the enormity of the economic crisis both within Pakistan and internationally, compounded by the war that we fight within and along our borders, has made progress much slower than we hoped.”

Asked about the disputes between his party and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N at a time when many hoped the country’s democratic parties would be working together, he said: “The ups and downs of democracy should not be interpreted as a lack of stability ... There is the usual tug of power politics and the tendency of some observers to paint Doomsday scenarios. But I think the people appreciate that our democratic government is functioning.”

He claimed Pakistan was co-operating with India’s investigation into November’s Mumbai attacks that left 164 people dead and that a “substantial” number of arrests had been made. He said those responsible were also threatening the “very existence” of his country.

— By arrangement with The Independent

Army officer booked for dowry
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 8
Panchkula police today booked an Army officer allegedly for demanding dowry and cruelty against wife. The accused, Major Vivek Pandey, is posted at Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir while his wife, Anshula, also a Major in the Army, is posted in EME at Chandimandir here.

Raminder Prasad Pandey and Usha Pandey, parents of Major Vivek, along with his brother Vikas Pandey, were also booked under Section 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC.

According to the police, the couple had gone through counselling sessions organised by the Army authorities as well, but the wife said she was compelled to approach the police when things became “unbearable”. Their marriage was solemnised on November 23, 2005, in Panchkula.

Panchkula SP said the case was registered after the efforts of the police to settle the matter failed.

The complainant alleged that Vivek and his family members pressured her to transfer the house owned by her mother in Sector 12 in the name of her husband. The husband was also seeking money from her on the pretext of payment against a flat reportedly bought by him, she alleged.

Inquiry officer DSP Varinder Singh said that both were posted in Pathankot earlier and for better education to their two-year-old son, the complaint had shifted to Panchkula where her mother was staying.

Parachute factory rises to demands of market

8 Apr 2009, 2159 hrs IST, Harsh Pandey, TNN

KANPUR: Whenever a news of Indian defence forces acquiring overseas weapons and aeroplanes hits headlines, more iron is added to the steely determination of few good men who are focused on making India self-sufficient in field of defence productions here in city.

Sandwiched between Delhi-Howrah railway route and prestigious NH-2, is factory of OPF (Ordnance Parachute Factory), where a silent technological revolution unfolds every day. The factory has received fresh orders for parachutes from Mongolia and workers in factory are busy checking the tenacity of cord-strength of para-chute, so vital for the para-trooper's life.

Talking to TOI, joint general manager, VK Chaudhari said," This is testimony of our indigenous specialisation in defence production. We are producing one of the best parachutes in the world and their is increasing acceptance of our products in international markets."

The acceptance is indeed growing, particularly in Asian markets. About 600 break-parachutes used to slow down multi-utility Sukhoi air-craft worth Rs 1.5 crore were exported to Indonesia recently. Similarly, Algeria and Malaysia have also received break parachutes used in Mig-29, Mig-23 and other Mig series aircrafts developed in parachute factory of Kanpur.

Chaudhari added, "Even developed nation like Japan have also expressed interest for the parachute orders. India is one of the leading parachute markets apart from UK, USA, Germany and South Africa because of hard-work of our men."

This government-owned parachute factory is dedicated to the cause of meeting parachute requirements of Indian armed forces and is only one of its kind in entire Asian continent. Detailing about the technical aspect while making a parachute, Chaudhari said, "Strict adherence is maintained on quality-check during construction of parachutes like what should be dropping load and what should be dropping height. What is aero-foil design of canopy and how does air rams into cells of parachutes when it opens."

Chaudhari further added, "Currently we are working on reducing lift to drag ratio of our parachutes so that time spent by a para-troopers in air gets reduced and stealth is added to them."

The other prestigious production from the stable of OPF include Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) suit, an all-weather stocking which has been handed over to Army and Air Force.

Chaudhari added, "Apart from that various other stocking requirements of clothing, leather, textile and general store items of Armed Forces are also met by us.",prtpage-1.cms

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