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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 19 May 2010

Telegraph India
Telegraph India
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Times of India
DNA India
DNA India






Maoists strike again State must hit back harder 
By blowing up a civilian bus for the first time, the Maoists have crossed a line they had themselves drawn earlier. Claiming to wage a war on the state on behalf of the people, they had so far concentrated their attacks on security forces. But if Monday’s landmine blast does signal a change of tactics by them, it would really mean that no mode of public transport , specially the trains, would be safe any longer in Maoist strongholds. It would also mean that security forces will be vulnerable to attacks even when they travel in civilian clothes or avail of public transport. Maoists have been warning of an escalation if the government failed to withdraw the so-called Operation Green Hunt. It cannot be just a coincidence that the Maoists on the same day as the blast in Chattisgarh, left behind posters in Jharkhand demanding an end to the ‘Hunt’ even as their slippery spokesman Koteshwar Rao made a similar demand to a TV channel in West Bengal.  Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s credibility, meanwhile, is seriously at stake. While even the Opposition does not question his sincerity or determination to fight the Maoists, the Home Minister no longer provides the picture of a man in command or of a man sure of what is to be done. It is probably a case of crying wolf a little too often, flexing muscles without doing much groundwork and a case of waging a war through the media. This week he unfortunately came across as a commander whining over his ‘limited mandate’ and pleading for air-support in the battle against Maoists. The initial chest-thumping and rhetoric have now given way to a lament on the role of the civil liberties’ organisations. It is also significant that following Monday’s blast, the Home Minister did not make the kind of flying visit to the state he had made barely a month and a half ago. Indeed the Home ministry appears only too willing now to pass the buck to the state and remind people that law and order is the responsibility of the state government.  The Maoist menace, however, will have to be fought jointly by the Centre and the states and eventually will have to be sorted out politically. There does not seem to be any substitute for mobilising the masses and strengthening democracy at the grassroots level. But for that to happen, the state must first crush the military arm of the rebels.








Pak troops target Army vehicle, 2 jawans killed
Tribune News Service  Jammu, May 18 Two Army jawans were killed as the Pakistan Rangers targeted an Army vehicle at the Nangi Takri post near the LoC in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district this evening, the sources said.  They said around 4:30 pm the Pakistan Rangers fired a grenade on the Army vehicle, killing two jawans and injuring four others while they were patrolling near the LoC.  The sources added that the injured were hospitalised immediately and the bodies were also taken to hospital for post-mortem.  The forces have been kept on alert to tackle any untoward incident. The area has been cordoned off and searches started after the incident.  SSP, Poonch, Manmohan Singh said, “The Pakistan Rangers targeted an Army vehicle patrolling near the LoC killing two jawans and injuring four others.” He further said a police party had also been sent to the spot to get more information.









‘Misperception in Pak about India’s role in Afghanistan’
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC  Dr Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister of Afghanistan, says there is a misperception in Pakistan about India’s role in his country. Describing India's involvement in rebuilding Afghanistan as significant, Abdullah told an audience at the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Monday that no country should have a veto over Afghanistan's relationship with a third country.  “In Pakistan, there is a misperception of what India is doing (in Afghanistan),” Abdullah said. He said Pakistani officials constantly worry that India is running training camps for Baluchi insurgents in Afghanistan and that while he was foreign minister they often asked him about the number of Indian consulates in his country. “They had a problem with the number of these consulates... they often had the number of consulates and the RAW agents at these consulates wrong,” he said.  Abdullah said Afghanistan had also received significant support from Pakistan and needs the help of India and Pakistan. “But no country, whether big or small, should have a veto over our relationship with another country,” he said. “It is for Afghans to determine their national interests.”  Abdullah accused former Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, of playing a double game in Afghanistan-on the one hand positioning himself as a key ally in the US-led war on terrorism, while at the same time providing support for militants in Afghanistan. Abdullah hoped that a democratically elected government in Pakistan and rising public opinion against the Taliban would turn the tide against the extremists.  Abdullah dropped out of a runoff election with Afghan President Hamid Karzai last year amid widespread accusations of election fraud. He warned that a rigged parliamentary election in his country will be much more catastrophic than the discredited presidential election in August.  Explaining that he had dropped out of the runoff contest with Karzai last year because he was worried that Afghans would be subjected to the “same painful process” that would disappoint them and the friends of Afghanistan, Abdullah said he had urged his supporters not to protest in the streets. But, he added, in the event of a rigged parliamentary election, hundreds of candidates would find themselves in a situation similar to his which, he said, could lead to a security crisis. Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan are scheduled for September.  Abdullah said it was imperative for the international community to prevent a repeat of the previous election fiasco because “your taxpayers are paying for our elections, and your soldiers are providing security.”  “This is a big test for the people of Afghanistan and our friends,” he said.  “What is at stake for you is much more than the fate of one person, so your investment has to be in the people of Afghanistan,” he added.  He described as a “missed opportunity” a US decision to back a second term for Karzai after the August 20 election, which international monitors said had been rigged in the president’s favour.  “You are a big nation. You can recover from mistakes. But can we?” he asked, adding, “If we fail, you fail.”









Appointment of ex-servicemen could improve service performance  
Vishnu Mohan   Tue, May 18, 2010 15:26:11 IST   SOME INDUSTRIAL sectors, both in the government and private, are plagued with issues of corruption and pilferage, resulting in loss in earnings.   One example is that of government undertaking known as Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL). Coal is considered to be black gold but it is surprising that (BCCL) is unable to make tangible profits till date since inception.The question is what is hampering the organisation from making profits.  Part of the coal mines owned by this company is in a place called Jharia, Dhanbad (also known as Jharia Coal Mines) is beset with issues like constant burning of coal resulting in depleting the stocks and also good quality coals are lost in this way every day. There have been good studies made in 2004, by experts involving both from United States of Americas and Canada but I am not sure whether their recommendations for setting this issue rights have been implemented in good spirit as of now. Due to the constant burning of the coal the loss incurred is huge besides causing hardship to local inhabitants surrounding the place and also acute environmental hazard. This is one of the reasons why infrastructure development on a modern scale is not forthcoming in this ‘black gold deposit’ region.  There are also reports that e-auctioning done by Coal India Ltd is not proper; there seem to be gross irregularity in the whole process preventing free flow of bidders to exercise their rights of bidding. The process of e-auctioning has been controversial since its start in 2004 due to lack of transparency in the bidding process and malpractices exercised by some influential buyers who restricted other buyers from entering the bidding process.  Like the above example of BCCL, there are many other organisations both in public and private sectors which are failing to give in good performances. Studies suggest that those sectors where the services of ex-servicemen have been solicited, these sectors have done reasonably well. Therefore, one solution offered is roping in of ex-servicemen for rendering services to units like BCCL in bringing about complete transformation for the better.   Their service nature could include the following:     
*       The chief of security should be an ex servicemen;    
*       Security staff to be strengthened in a big way;    
*       More power and responsibilities given to these staff for having better control. 
Some successful organisations have benefitted immensely by apponting ex servicemen for bettering their performance especially in controlling pilferage and lack of administration.  Therefore, it is suggested, that those ex servicemen who are willing to offer their services for bettering the performance of under performing organisations both in public and private sectors should be strongly encouraged.









Army proposes new anti-Naxal training centre

Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 18, 2010, 19:19 IST  In the backdrop of major attacks by Maoists against paramilitary and central police personnel, the Army has proposed to set up a dedicated centre to ready the security men for the battle against the Naxals.  The proposal was made during the ongoing Army Commanders' Conference here and it was suggested that the new centre could be set up on the lines of the Army's Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Mizoram.  Army sources said here today that the Commanders discussed the issue and they were willing to offer the services of defence officers as instructors at the new school for training the paramilitary personnel.  The new centre, sources said, would be in addition to the anti-Naxal operations training that the Army has been provided for the last six years now.  The training all these years were taking place both at the Army's Corps Training Centres and at the Central Paramilitary Forces' training schools in the states affected by Maoist menace.  The Army has so far trained 46,343 paramilitary, state and central police personnel in anti-Naxal operations.  The Army commanders are also scheduled to get an update on Naxal menace in central states with the Central Army Command under Lt Gen V K Ahluwalia making a presentation on 'The Naxal Situation: Its Likely Developments and Resources Required' on the penultimate day of their five-day conference.  The idea of a dedicated training school for paramilitary and police forces was floated even as Maoists triggered an Improvised Explosive Device to blow up a bus killing 35 passengers, including 20 special police officers, in Dantewada district of Chattisgarh yesterday.







2 Indian soldiers killed in Pakistani firing
IANS  Jammu: Two Indian soldiers were killed on Tuesday evening when heavy firing from Pakistan destroyed an army truck moving near the border in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, military sources said.  Three soldiers were also injured in the firing by the Pakistanis from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Nangi Tikri area of Mendhar. All five victims were in the truck.  The dead men were identified as Lance Naik Atul and Lance Naik Yogesh. Their full names were not immediately available.  This is the third such incident in the area this month. The earlier firing from Pakistani troops took place May 1 and 6.  Tuesday's attack took place around 7 p.m. when heavy firing hit an Indian Army 2.5 tonner.  The firing is seen as a major ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops.  A defence ministry spokesperson in Jammu told IANS that the two soldiers died "in hostile fire".







India, Oman to step up military ties
TNN, May 19, 2010, 01.10am IST NEW DELHI: In a bid to step up strategic ties with the Gulf, India on Tuesday decided to expand its bilateral military cooperation with Oman in fields ranging from maritime security and anti-piracy measures to joint training and combat exercises.  This emerged after defence minister A K Antony, on his first-ever visit to West Asia, held discussions with his Omani counterpart Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi in Muscat on Tuesday.  Taking note of the `Eastern Bridge' exercise held between the air forces of the two countries in October 2009, Antony said, "We have laid the foundation and should now work towards adding more content to our defence cooperation.''  With India sourcing the bulk of its energy needs from the Gulf and keen on ensuring the protection of its huge sea-borne trade, especially from the growing menace of piracy, New Delhi is now steadily trying to enhance its security cooperation with the countries in the region.  "Maritime security has become a global concern due to pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been growing over the years and has now assumed alarming proportions,'' said Antony.  Discussing the regional security situation, the minister said both India and Oman had a common aim in not allowing Afghanistan to become "a safe haven for terrorists again''.  Holding that India's efforts in the war-ravaged country focussed on economic and social development, Antony said, "We intend to continue such activities even though we have lost personnel and have suffered attacks on our embassy in Kabul. We want a stable, moderate, unified and democratic Afghanistan.''








Widow of 1962 war hero still lives on 1986 pension  
Suman Sharma       / DNA Wednesday, May 19, 2010 0:01    On November 18, 1962, amid India’s disastrous retaliation to the Chinese offensive, Major Shaitan Singh stood as a rock defending Rezang La in the Chushul sector of east Ladakh. Led by Singh, a small band of 120 soldiers of the C company of the 13 Kumaon regiment fought to the last man, engaging in hand-to-hand combat when their guns ran dry.  They pushed back waves of Chinese invaders before being wiped out. A grateful nation honoured Singh with the Param Vir Chakra (PVC).  Decades on, the widow of one of India’s greatest war heroes makes do with a measly pension of about Rs5,000, far less than what the spouse of a war hero decorated with PVC is entitled to. For the last 15 years, she has remained stuck in the fourth pay commission scales of 1986, drawing less than what a junior commissioned officer of the Indian Army draws today.  She is not getting the special family pension as per the latest sixth pay commission recommendations and is yet to receive the arrears under the fifth pay commission recommendation of 1996.  An upset army brass has decided to raise the issue at the ongoing Army Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi. The issue is serious and it will be resolved at the conference, army sources told DNA.   When DNA contacted the Controller Defence Accounts (CDA), Allahabad, which is responsible for the PVC martyrs’ pension and arrears, an officer put the blame on the bank concerned.  “The bank from which the pension is drawn is responsible for the goof-up. All banks have a chart of the revised payments as per the pay commission recommendations. CDA steps in only when there’s a change in entitlement,” the officer said.  As the widow of a major who died in action in service, she should have drawn special family pension of Rs7680 (DA and other allowances extra) under the fifth pay commission since January 1, 1996. Under the sixth pay commission, she should have drawn Rs28,928 (plus DA and other allowances) per month since January 1, 2006. The pension Shaitan Singh’s widow is entitled to excludes the cash allowance given to PVC winners - the sixth pay commission had raised it from Rs1,500 to Rs3,000.  Liberalised family pension is calculated at the rate of emoluments last drawn by the officer, at 100% of his basic salary. Special family pension is granted when death is attributable to, or aggravated by, service while liberalised family pension is granted in case of deaths which are declared as battle casualties.  Highly placed sources in the army told DNA that the station headquarter in Jodhpur, where Major Shaitan Singh came from and where his widow is presently based, is said to have got in touch with her and explained the faux pas. The army’s 12 Corps is based in Jodhpur.




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