”People”s Tribunal” to deliberate on Kandhamal riot victims complaints

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): The National Solidarity Forum (NSF) has announced plans for holding a three-day “people’s tribunal” from August 22 to 24 here to address and hear grievances of victims of communal violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal District.

A jury of eminent persons will preside over the deliberations of the tribunal. Among the jury members likely to attend are Justices A.P. Shah and Rajinder Sachar, former chief of naval staff, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, film director Mahesh Bhatt, social activists Ruth Manorama and Harsh Mander, besides others.

Noted Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar will inaugurate an exhibition on August 22 at noon that will feature the tragedy of Kandhamal.

Last week, a local court had sentenced 16 persons to three years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them in a 2008 communal riots case in Orissa”s Kandhamal district.

According to a DNA news report, Additional sessions judge, fast track court-II, C R Dash convicted the 16 persons for torching houses belonging to the minority community at Sindrigam village of the district in the week following the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23 that year.

Dash sentenced them to three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,500 each under section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), two years RI and a fine of Rs 2,000 each under section 427 (mischief causing damage) and one year RI and a fine of Rs 500 under section 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The sentences will run concurrently.

The convicts were Kambhu Nayak, Subash Sahu, Binay Mallick, Debeswar Mallick, Mane Mallick, Premananda Mallick, Sisir Mallick, Sima Mallick, Srikanta Mallick, Pavitra Mallick, Tuna Majhi, Bagera Mallick, Mahanta Mallick, Bhima Bagh, Sukadeb Bagh and Kantheswar Majhi.(ANI)

Parliament adjourns following uproar over MPs” ”poor” salary hike

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 2 p.m on Friday after lawmakers from various parties stalled house proceedings seeking more money.

Members of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and other parties protested over the “minimal” hike and demanded that the proposed increase by the Cabinet be taken back.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav triggered the protest, demanding that the salary of MPs be upped to Rs.80,001.

Speaker Meira Kumar repeatedly pleaded that the issue could be raised during Zero Hour, but the protesters didn”t relent.

Kumar then adjourned the house till 2. p.m.

The Rajya Sabha was also been adjourned on the same issue.

The Union Cabinet today approved a bill to hike MPs” salary from current Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000.

The decision comes few days after the Cabinet deferred its decision on the proposed three-fold increase.

The Bill will now be placed in Parliament for final approval.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Salaries, Allowances and Pensions, headed by Congress MP Charan Das Mahant, had proposed a salary of Rs 80,001, arguing that an MP””s salary should be at least a rupee more than that of an officer of the rank of Secretary (Rs 80,000), whom an MP outranks in the list of protocol.

The recommendation to hike the salary was made taking into account the consumer price index and the wage index for skilled urban labour.

Apart from the base salary, an MP gets a daily allowance of Rs 1,000 for each day when Parliament is in session or a sitting of a House committee is scheduled.

A member is entitled for constituency allowance of Rs 20,000 per month and office expense allowance of another Rs 20,000 per month.

Every MP can avail 34 single air journeys during a year with spouse or any number of companions or relatives.

The last hike in salaries and allowances of 795 MPs — 545 members of Lok Sabha and 250 members of Rajya Sabha — came into effect about 10 years ago. (ANI)

Japan Foreign Minister to visit India

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The Foreign Minister of Japan, Katsuya Okada, will undertake a two day visit of India, and will meet External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Saturday.

The two are likely to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues during the Fourth Round of the India-Japan Strategic Dialogue.

Foreign Minister Okada will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit, a ministry statement said. (ANI)

”People”s Tribunal” to deliberate on Kandhamal riot victims complaints

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): The National Solidarity Forum (NSF) has announced plans for holding a three-day “people’s tribunal” from August 22 to 24 here to address and hear grievances of victims of communal violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal District.

A jury of eminent persons will preside over the deliberations of the tribunal. Among the jury members likely to attend are Justices A.P. Shah and Rajinder Sachar, former chief of naval staff, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, film director Mahesh Bhatt, social activists Ruth Manorama and Harsh Mander, besides others.

Noted Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar will inaugurate an exhibition on August 22 at noon that will feature the tragedy of Kandhamal.

Last week, a local court had sentenced 16 persons to three years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them in a 2008 communal riots case in Orissa”s Kandhamal district.

According to a DNA news report, Additional sessions judge, fast track court-II, C R Dash convicted the 16 persons for torching houses belonging to the minority community at Sindrigam village of the district in the week following the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23 that year.

Dash sentenced them to three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,500 each under section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), two years RI and a fine of Rs 2,000 each under section 427 (mischief causing damage) and one year RI and a fine of Rs 500 under section 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The sentences will run concurrently.

The convicts were Kambhu Nayak, Subash Sahu, Binay Mallick, Debeswar Mallick, Mane Mallick, Premananda Mallick, Sisir Mallick, Sima Mallick, Srikanta Mallick, Pavitra Mallick, Tuna Majhi, Bagera Mallick, Mahanta Mallick, Bhima Bagh, Sukadeb Bagh and Kantheswar Majhi.(ANI)

Delhi hit by season’s heaviest rains, traffic jams strand commuters

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): Commuters in national capital New Delhi continued to face the impact of this season’s heaviest downpour, with a majority wading through knee-deep water or being stranded in traffic jams.

So far, the city has received over 105 mm of rainfall. The saving grace was the drop in temperatures.

The rain has spelt chaos at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and at Palam Airport. Flight landings are being temporarily halted because of slippery runways.

Major crossings in the city have been cut off and there have also been reports of road cave-ins.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has received 23 tree falling complaints and 106 water-logging complaints so far. (ANI)

Cabinet clears salary hike of MPs

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Friday approved a bill to hike MPs” salary from current Rs 16,000 to Rs 50,000.

The decision comes few days after the Union Cabinet deferred its decision on the proposed three-fold increase.

The Bill will now be placed in Parliament for final approval.

The Parliament on Wednesday witnessed huge protests from RJD chief Lalu Prasad who vociferously demanded the hike. He was joined by Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and other members of SP, BSP, RJD, JD(U), Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Salaries, Allowances and Pensions, headed by Congress MP Charan Das Mahant, had proposed a salary of Rs 80,001, arguing that an MP””s salary should be at least a rupee more than that of an officer of the rank of Secretary (Rs 80,000), whom an MP outranks in the list of protocol.

The recommendation to hike the salary was made taking into account the consumer price index and the wage index for skilled urban labour.

Apart from the base salary, an MP gets a daily allowance of Rs 1,000 for each day when Parliament is in session or a sitting of a House committee is scheduled.

A member is entitled for constituency allowance of Rs 20,000 per month and office expense allowance of another Rs 20,000 per month.

Every MP can avail 34 single air journeys during a year with spouse or any number of companions or relatives.

The last hike in salaries and allowances of 795 MPs — 545 members of Lok Sabha and 250 members of Rajya Sabha — came into effect about 10 years ago. (ANI)

Eleven Manipuri rebels arrested in Guwahati

Guwahati, Aug 20 (ANI): Eleven United National Liberation Front (UNLF) militants, including two women cadres, were arrested in Guwahati on Thursday.

The arrests were made from Hengerabari, Borbari, Chachal and Mathgharia areas of the city by a security forces team.

Among those held are several top leaders of the outfit, including two self-styled lieutenant colonels, two majors and two captains.

Twenty mobile phones, six lap-tops, Rs 3.5 lakh in cash and several incriminating documents were recovered from them.

According to police sources, the arrested militants were running organizational activities while staying in a rented house at Guwahati. (ANI)

Environment ministry committee to discuss mining projects report

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The Environment Ministry”s Forest Advisory Committee will meet today to discuss recommendations of the N C Saxena panel report that seeks a ban on the mining projects of UK-based Vedanta Resources in Orissa.

The committee will be submit its recommendations to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, after which a final decision will be taken.

“After FAC makes its observations, I will take a decision in totality, taking into account the various laws, economic consideration. Only then will final clearance be given to the mining project,” Ramesh had said.

The Saxena panel had found serious violations in the provisions of environmental clearance and the Environment Protection Act by Vedanta.

One such violation related to the unauthorised expansion of capacity from one million tonne a year to six million tons.

The expansion had no environment clearance and Vedanta is said to have ignored repeated notices sent by the Orissa Pollution Control Board to stop work.

Set up by the Environment Ministry early this year, the committee, which investigated alleged violations of environmental laws by Vedanta, also accused the company of illegally occupying forest land for its USD 1.7 billion project. (ANI)

Nation pays homage to Rajiv Gandhi on his 66th birth anniversary

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The nation on Friday paid homage to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 66th birth anniversary.

President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid floral tribute to the former prime minister.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with her son and MP Rahul Gandhi reached “Vir Bhumi” to pay their tributes and his memorial.

A series of functions scheduled cross the country to mark the day.

Gandhi”s birth anniversary is observed as “Sadbhavana Diwas” . The theme of “Sadbhavana Diwas” is to promote national integration and communal harmony among people of all religions, languages.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu while on a poll campaign. (ANI)

Cabinet clears Nuclear Liability Bill

New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the Nuclear Liability Bill after the contentious word ”and” was removed from its text.

The Bill will now be introduced in Parliament.

The report of Standing Committee on Science and Technology proposed that the Clause 17(A) may end with the word ”and”.

It also proposed modification of Clause 17(b) to say “the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services”.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contended the “efficacy and utility of Clause 17 (b) on the supplier is completely destroyed by the supplier not agreeing to an agreement in writing.

The 31-member parliamentary Standing Committee on Science And Technology had tabled its report in both houses of Parliament on Wednesday.

The report was finalised after the government agreed to accommodate most of the concerns of the opposition BJP, including raising the compensation cap to Rs 1500 crores from Rs 500 crore.

The passage of the Bill is considered important for starting nuclear commerce between India and the international community.

Earlier, the government had listed the Bill for introduction on March 15, but had to defer it at the last moment after it realised that it did not have the requisite numbers to see its introduction in the Lok Sabha.

In the present form, the Bill limits liability to the operator for each nuclear accident at Rs 500 crore. (ANI)

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