Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Saturday, 4 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 04 Aug 2012
Top Lashkar militant shot dead in Valley
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 3
Militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba’s “commander” in the north Kashmir region, who had a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, was today killed in an encounter with security forces in the frontier Kupwara district.

The operation in which Hanzallah was killed was launched on Thursday afternoon. There was specific information that he was hiding in a hut of Mohammad Ramzan Hajam in Dudipora village in Handwara area, some 85 kilometres from Srinagar. “A joint search operation was launched by 21 RR of Army and police.

At around 7 pm, the hiding militant opened fire on the troops, which was retaliated to, triggering an encounter,” SP Handwara Mohammad Aslam told The Tribune.

“The militant had a hideout inside the hut,” he added.

Aslam said the operation was halted during the night but a tight cordon was maintained and reinforcements were rushed to the area.
Broadbanding to apply to all disabled pensioners: AFT
Order to benefit thousands of veterans
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
In an order that could affect thousands of disabled armed forces personnel, the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal today ruled that the concept of “broadbanding” of disability element of pension shall apply to all disabled pensioners regardless of their manner of leaving service or completion of mandatory period of service.

Disposing of a bunch of similar petitions today, the Tribunal’s Bench comprising Justice NP Gupta and Lt Gen NS Brar ruled that every person who retires or is discharged in low medical category, even on completion of terms of engagement or on superannuation, is deemed to have been invalided out of service for the purpose of disability pension in accordance with the entitlement rules for disability pension.

The tribunal has considered all Supreme Court judgments on the subject, both in favour of and against broadbanding, and has come to the conclusion that it is the judgment of Capt KJS Buttar vs Union of India that shall prevail since it fully discusses the issue as well as rules and regulations dealing with the subject.

The concept of broadbanding had been introduced by the government to rationalise subjectivity and eradicate mistakes of medical boards while assessing disability percentages.

In the past, several courts had upheld the concept of broadbanding across the board, but the decision of the courts had been challenged by the government in the Supreme Court.

During the arguments before the Chandigarh Bench, Central government counsel Capt Sandeep Bansal, while elaborating on the concept, had argued that broadbanding should not be made applicable in cases where an individual had completed his terms of engagement and there has been no loss of employment.

Over time, lack of objectivity was observed on part of medical boards held at the time of discharge and different boards were granting different and varied percentages for similar disability.

To counter this subjectivity, the Fifth Pay Commission had recommended procedural changes and suggested disabilities less than 50 per cent be considered as 50 per cent for the purposes of calculation of disability pension, between 50-75 per cent be considered as 75 per cent, while disability percentage above 75 per cent be taken as 100 per cent. This policy is popularly referred to as “broadbanding”.

Not making broadbanding applicable to all affected personnel had also resulted in an absurdity wherein an invalided individual with 50 per cent disability, who was always drawing a lesser disability element than a person who had suffered 70 per cent disability, was after implementation of the broadbanding policy, getting a higher disability element by taking his disability percentage as 75, while the person with a higher disability continued to draw disability element at a lower rate i.e. 70 per cent because he retired on completing his terms of engagement.

About broadbanding

For the purpose of calculating disability pension, disabilities less than 50% are to be considered as 50%; between 50-75% as 75%; and above 75% be taken as 100 per cent. This policy is popularly referred to as broadbanding
CRPF jawan hurt in encounter with Maoists

Ranchi, August 3
A CRPF jawan today suffered bullet injury during a fierce encounter with the Maoists in Palamau district's Tal village and the police claimed that some rebels also suffered injuries.

"The CRPF jawan received a bullet in his leg, and he was immediately sent to Ranchi by a helicopter for treatment.

He is out of danger," Palamau Superintendent of Police Anup T Mathew said.

During search operation, the security forces found blood stains in the area, pointing at injuries suffered by the Maoists, he added.

The Maoists started firing from atop a hill at Tal village under Panki police station, about 180 km from here, necessitating the security forces to use high-explosive bombs to target them.

The left-wing guerrillas fled the spot after the bomb attack, Mathew added. In all, eight IEDs were unearthed during the search operation, he said adding all were planted at different places with a view to target the security forces.

Mathew, who along with CRPF commandant was present during the encounter, said raids were on. — PTI
India rolls out red carpet for Myanmar military chief

New Delhi, Aug 3 — India Friday rolled out the red carpet for the Myanmar armed forces chief, assuring that it will support its neighbour by providing military training to its personnel.

Myanmar armed forces commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing, who landed in India on Wednesday, met India's Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and Indian Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh Friday.

During these meetings, the two sides are believed to have discussed the regional security situation, apart from new ideas for ramping up the bilateral military relations between the two nations.

The Myanmar general's visit comes just over two months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon towards end-May, the first by an Indian prime minister in 25 years.

While India and Myanmar signed a dozen bilateral agreements during this visit, Manmohan Singh also met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his three-day stay.

Gen. Hlaing is scheduled to be in India till Aug 8.

Apart from visiting Buddhist sites in Bodh Gaya, the Myanmarese general will also be hosted at the Eastern Army Command at Kolkata, Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam and other defence establishments during the visit.

India had in late-1990s decided to increase its bilateral relations with the then military-ruled Myanmar after having backed the pro-democracy Suu Kyi for years. That turnaround in its strategy happened after the realisation that China was getting entrenched in Myanmar, which is India's gateway to Southeast Asia.

India had cast aside concerns of other global powers and agreed to supply military equipment to Myanmar, the only Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-country with which it shares a land border.

It had also transferred an Islander maritime patrol plane as well as 105mm light artillery guns, naval gun-boats, mortars, grenade-launchers and rifles to Yangon since then.

Since 2010, Myanmar has been gravitating towards a democratic form of government and had held its first elections in several decades that year.

Earlier this year, pro-democracy crusader Suu Kyi had won a landmark by-election to the country's parliament.
Credit for Vijay's success goes to Indian Army: Father
An ecstatic father of Vijay Kumar attributed his son's Olympic success to the years of hard work and discipline inculcated in him by the Indian Army.

"I don't have words to express my feelings. Full credit to Indian army which supported his training and the discipline that he inculcated is because of the defence background.

He has made the country proud and also put Himachal Pradesh's name in the sporting history," Subedar Kumar told mediapersons after his son clinched silver in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol.

The senior Kumar said that the feeling is yet to sink in that his son achieved the ultimate glory in sport.

"We are a very average middle-class family and who would have believed that my son would win an Olympic medal. In army, practising shooting is common but he grew interest in pistol shooting.

When he first won a gold medal at the National Championship back in 2003, I knew that he had the firepower in him."

The father informed that Vijay had called him up before the final round and sounded confident about bringing back a medal.

"I just told him "Zor lagana" and he said that he would come back with a medal."
London Eye: Vijay Kumar needs true recognition from Indian Army
It's been crazy as I have been chasing three possible Indian medals in one day at the London Olympics.

Okay, before you think I have lost it, this is how Friday panned out.

Sunrise was early and not just because of early day break in summer but how every Indian wanted to make a dash to Wembley to see Saina Nehwal in action against Wang Yihan. 

Had Saina won, she would have been sure of a silver, though it did not happen.

A 9am start was indeed challenging not just for Saina but even me. From the Main Press Centre in Stratford to Wembley, it's a long run.

No matter how fast the Olympics bus takes you in the dedicated lane, it means nothing when you have got into a wrong bus! Instead of Wembley, it was talking us to Excel, where boxing takes place.

It was harrowing, using all forms of transport available and making it to Wembley just in time for Saina's match. While the average fan would say it was bad Saina lost, reality is the Indian queen is still not good enough to beat this tall girl Wang. The Chinese girl's smashes are so hard and she moves like a hare. Actually, if we were to have a "Battle of Sexes" match in badminton, the Indian men may lose to her!

From Wembley to the Royal Artillery Range was another mad dash. News of Joydeep Karmakar in the prone final and Vijay Kumar going great guns made me believe this was truly going to be a 'Game for Gold' day.

Karmakar shot as well as he could, though nerves played its part towards the end. Yet, for someone who had lost his ammunition in Hanover and was left with the last lot of his Eley cartridges, this was a great show.

I have no doubt with the focus on Gagan Narang, Ronjan Sodhi and Abhinav Bindra in London, Karmakar was relaxed. He had his chances and blew it but all is not lost.

It's just his first Olympics and a fourth place show is indeed creditable. Leave aside India's Olympic medallists a fourth place showing in an Olympics final is the best I have got to see.

Back to the real silver medal which came after two dreams went up in smoke in the space of hours.

I knew Vijay Kumar had been waiting for this big day. Unlike other Indian sportspersons, he has liked to keep the spotlight away from him.

After watching him shoot the final, I am convinced when we talk of killer instinct and so on, if we could get the Indian Army to train more sportspersons, it will be good.

Shooting is a sport in India where there is a proper system and there is good synergy between civilians and the Army and corporate also chip in.

While we know the Mittal Champions Trust has been funding athletes, the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) also needs to be recognised for their support. Both Narang and Vijay Kumar Sharma are supported by OGQ.

Talk of faujis in sport, their discipline and dedication are amazing. Being a subedar, Vijay Kumar knows what the 'differences' are between him and the officers in Indian Army.

While I saluted Vijay in London and you will do so when he touches down at the IG airport in the capital, he knows in the Indian Army, there is a divide.

Yes, unlike others athletes who work in public sector undertakings and the Indian Railways, Vijay doesn't have to attend office. He can just keep training.

There will be huge cash awards and so on for Vijay, but where he needs true recognition is from the Indian Army.

From Dhyan Chand to Milkha Singh and Sriram Singh, they were all from the Indian Army.

Vijay Kumar has done his regiment proud and become a national hero now. Yet, as one who serves the Army, he knows the class difference will always exist. Sad, isn't it?
Army finds soldier guilty of molesting Assamese girl
GUWAHATI: The Indian Army has completed the trial against one of its soldiers and found him guilty of molesting an Assamese girl in Nitaipukhuri Naujan, Sibasagar district on July 13.

"The guilty is currently in our unit lock-up and, within one week of taking over the case, our enquiry has been completed. I, as the head of the DAO Division, assure you all that, the guilty will not be spared, and the girl will get justice," GoC of Army's 2 Mountain Division (DAO Division) said in an open letter to the women of Sibasagar district.

The letter acknowledged the "angst against the molestation case" and noted that the Army took over the case from the civil court to ensure speedy justice. "Unlike the normal court process, in the Army a court is formed to try a particular case thus ensuring speedy justice. We abhor such crimes against women and never condone it. It is against our 'Kshatriya Dharma' (warrior duties)," the letter said.

Over one thousand male activists of 22 organizations Sibasagar town last week staged a half-nude protest against the state government's failure to punish the soldier who had allegedly molested the Assamese girl in Dolpa area in the district.

The incident took place when a 13-member army team belonging to the Nitaipukhuri Naujan camp was patrolling the flood-affected Dolpa area around 5pm on Friday. Upadhyay tried to molest a local girl who was collecting firewood near the breached part of the embankment. Some other women working in the embankment saw Upadhyay trying to manhandle the girl and raised an alarm, helping the girl escape.

Outraged locals gheraoed the army team till 8pm and demanded punishment for the guilty. Later, the angry locals withdrew their protest after the police arrived at the spot and arrested the accused.

The army commander in his letter has appealed to the agitating people "not to take any step that would help anti-national and anti-social elements in creating further disturbance and law & order problems."
Army ex-chief joins Anna bandwagon
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Former Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh Friday lent his voice to Anna Hazare's anti-graft movement and also joined the protest at Jantar Mantar here where the fasting social activists ended their hunger strike.

Expressing his strong support to Hazare and his movement against corruption, Gen. Singh, who had blown the lid off the Tatra army trucks bribe offer while still in office, also warned Hazare to be prepared to face opposition from anti-democratic forces.

Supporting Hazare and his team members coming out with a political alternative, Singh said: "Team Anna must be prepared to face opposition from those who do not believe in democracy."

He also said Hazare had taken the right call by calling off the fast.

Terming corruption as the most important problem faced by the country, Singh said: "The next change should come in politics, as the country is now directionless."

"Team Anna has to clean up the political system," he said, speaking in Hindi.

Singh also sat with the fasting Team Anna members for some time to express solidarity with the cause.

Congratulating Team Anna for fighting against corruption, Singh said he supported their decision to provide a political alternative to the people.

Hazare and his team members Thursday announced that they will call off their fast Friday.

Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia began their fast July 25 and were joined by Hazare July 29.
Sino-Indian border road works hit after BRO lay off 1,000 workers
New Delhi/Itanagar, Aug 3 (ANI): In a shocking development, the Border Roads Organization (BRO), which has been entrusted with the responsibility of building strategic border roads, has reportedly laid off 1,000 causal workers, mostly Arunachalees.

This clearly indicates that New Delhi is yet to learn from the 1962 Chinese aggression when the Indian Army suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Red Army due to a lack of roads in the Tawang sector.

This again contradicts Defence Minister A.K. Antony's public commitment at Itanagar on February 20 last, that: "By and large, the border is peaceful, and at the same time, India is taking care of strengthening its capabilities to protect our national interest from any kind of challenges from any quarters. The Eastern border is safe, and, we will make it safer, and for that, whatever is needed to strengthen our security apparatus, we are taking care of it continuously, in a systematic manner."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may not be aware that the huge package, including the 158-km-long Joram-Koloriang Road in remote Kurung Kumey district bordering China, he had announced for the sensitive border state of Arunachal Pradesh on January 31, 2008, is in the doldrums with Project Arunank of the BRO laying off its workers, mostly locals for the last 15 days, as the road project worth Rs.200 crore, would be reportedly be given over to a private contractor.

The Direct Project Report (DPR) for the project submitted by the BRO for departmental execution was sanctioned in December 2011, with a rider for its execution through contract as decided by, it is reliably learnt, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), with a coterie allegedly serving as the bridge in the unholy nexus between the decision makers and people with vested interests.

As the road leads to the Sino-India border, will it not be a compromise of national security to allow a private agency to build the road along the international border? Would it not violate the Union Cabinet's decision not to award strategic border roads to a private agency?

Most interestingly, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju, after chairing the Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) meeting held for the first time in the state here on January 20, 2010, had announced that the Centre has earmarked Rs.1,000 crore for construction of border roads in Arunachal, which is 22 percent of the BRO's total budget for 2009-10.

Talking to media persons, Raju had said that the meeting was aimed at giving an accelerated thrust to border roads in the state.

Arunachal Pradesh has longest international border in the country, including 160 km with Bhutan, 1080 km with China and 440 km with Myanmar.

The Centre prioritized the development of infrastructure, in particular of roads and bridges, for connecting far-flung areas in all border states, particularly Arunachal Pradesh, as per the PM's vision of rapid economic development in the country by announcing a special package for Arunachal, he said.

Raju had disclosed that of the 5,061 km roads in the state, 2,764 km ongoing road projects are to be completed by 2012 by the BRO. Thus, the board discussed ways to tackle numerous challenges, like manpower, equipments, forest clearance and lifting of equipments, being faced by the BRO.

Projects Vartak, Udayak and Arunank are in progress in Arunachal Pradesh now. In all, 27 strategic and 2 SARDP (Special Accelerated Road Development Programme) roads, 11 major bridges (more than 100 meters each), including the ongoing work on the Dibang and Digaru Bridges on NH-52 are noteworthy, Raju had said, adding that the 76 km Bona-Gelling and 100 km Taliha-Tato roads have been taken up this year. He said there are seven projects involved in infrastructure development in the Northeast region.

Though the Indian Air Force has been assisting in airlifting, the board has decided to outsource that service too to expedite the process, he had said.

The BRO, in service since 1960, has constructed 46,780 km of roads in different parts of India so far, but now has only 42,646 personnel, a shortage of about 7,000 officials and staff in various categories, Raju had added.

Raju had also announced plans to recruit more engineers and constitute more border road task forces (BRTF), which led to the formation of the Brahmank for Arunachal. Will the engineers appointed be terminated and the huge equipments procured at the taxpayers' expense auctioned?

Raju frequents Arunachal Pradesh, the latest being to inaugurate the BRO's longest Bailey bridge, the 720-metre Digaru Bridge linking Lohit and Dibang Valley districts, on April 9. He is expected to visit again soon.

The BRDB has decided to procure six helicopters to overcome the shortage of airfreight, and to modernise its equipments, officials informed this editor on condition of anonymity.

It has also been decided to improve the service conditions of BRO personnel who have been working in hard areas against harsh conditions, BRO Director General Lt. Gen. M.C. Badhani has told the board, highly placed sources had informed this editor.

Had the road been allotted to the BRO in December last year, the progress by now would have been satisfactory by employing its huge manpower and equipments. Even a considerable number of heavy equipments are lined up heading towards the border areas, sources told this editor.

This would not have made the BRO engineers idle while drawing fat salaries and caused retrenchment of the local tribal people who have been working hard in developing the border road for the last few years. When the Government of Arunachal Pradesh is working hard to create employment opportunities, is this how Antony's promise of working for the greater welfare of the border people being fulfilled?

The BRO of late has been subjected to criticism for various reasons, particularly in the Tawang sector. There are laid down BRO rules for taking the guilty to task, which includes issuing show cause notices for not achieving targets, and even court-martialing corrupt officers. Why not apply the rules to restore its image, for it is a defence organization?

Tall claims are aplenty about the efficiency of engineers. There is the example of an engineer who was honoured with a gold medal for his engineering marvel in building a bridge in Itanagar, the state capital in the past, which collapsed within a few months. Is there any criterion for leveling charges, or for heaping praises?

With so many poor people losing their bread and butter - and with creating avoidable human and social problems - who will be responsible? Will it be those who have decided to deviate from the Union Cabinet's decision? (ANI)

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal