15032019-TTC-01.qxd 15-03-2019 01:26 Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | vol.3 no.73 | 20 pages | ~5.00 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 | friday, march 15,2019 AMIT SHAH MAY REPLACE VETERAN LK ADVANI IN GANDHINAGAR PAGE 7 ~3,500-CR ARBITRAL AWARD: SC ASKS SINGH BROTHERS TO LIST PLAN PAGE 12 /thetribunechd IN BRIEF NIA issues fresh summons to Mirwaiz for March 18 Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday issued fresh summons to moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to appear for questioning at the probe agency headquarters on March 18 in connection with a terror financing case. He had been asked to appear before the NIA on March 11, but Mirwaiz had expressed his inability to join the investigation in the national capital, fearing for his security in view of “conditions of hostility”. PTI BSNL to clear Feb salary of employees by today New Delhi: Public sector telecom firm BSNL will clear salaries of all employees for February by Friday, its Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said on Thursday. “We expect total accruals of ~2,700 crore in March, of which ~850 crore will be used for salary disbursement,” he said. PTI SC to hear Opposition plea on EVMs today New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Friday hear the plea of 21 Opposition parties seeking an audit of at least 50 per cent of EVMs with corresponding Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) before the Lok Sabha results are declared. The case will be heard by a Bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi. In February, the Opposition parties approached the EC to audit at least 50 per cent of EVMs with corresponding VVPATs in all constituencies during the Lok Sabha polls. PTI for nuclear plants CORDIAL MEETING Must not be seen as resumption of talks: India to Pak Reducing space GS Paul for aggressive 6 power projects in offing, obstacles stay Attari, March 14 disagreement Sandeep Dikshit Amid simmering tensions, Tribune News Service officials from India and Pakistan held their maiden meeting here today to discuss modalities and the draft agreement on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor that will allow devotees access to the Sikh shrine in Narowal, across the border. The Indian delegation was led by SCL Das, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. The Pakistan delegation was headed by Dr Mohammad Faisal, DG (SA and SAARC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the meeting, a joint statement was issued which said the two sides had mutually agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the corridor. The next round of talks will be held at Wagah on April 2. These will be preceded by a meeting of technical experts on March 18 at Zero Point to remove flaws, if any, and finalise the logistics. The Pakistani officials were told to ensure that places of pilgrimage were not misused for propagating anti-India sentiments and the corridor was not used to push in infiltrators. Das said though the focus remained on facilitating hassle-free access to the shrine, the Pakistani delegates were told that “talks and terror can- eral KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, claimed privilege over documents pertaining to the fighter jet deal with France and told the Supreme Court that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned. Venugopal referred to Section 123 of the Evidence Act and provisions of the RTI Act to buttress his claim. He said no one can publish documents related to national security. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners seeking a review, opposed the submission and said the Rafale 45 unlicensed ortho implant makers raided New Delhi, March 14 Central drug inspectors have cracked down on unlicensed orthopaedic implant units across India and sealed 29 found violating safety standards. Five traders are also being proceeded against for producing orthopaedic implants with non-medical grade quality raw material and in unhygienic conditions. The Intelligence Cell at the Central Drug Standards Control Authority, constituted in March 2018, cleared the raids after information with respect to violations under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. “The cell received informa- /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com Kartarpur corridor opens doors US renews push Sandeep Dikshit Indian and Pakistani officials at a meeting held in relation with construction of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, at the Attari-Wagah border in Attari on Thursday. PTI not go hand in hand” and that this meeting should not be seen as a “resumption of bilateral dialogue”. The meeting was held exactly a month after the February 14 Pulwama attack. Deepak Mittal, MEA Joint Secretary, said: “We emphasised that no activity could be allowed which was against the spirit with which the pilgrims would be going to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. They assured us they would not let their soil be misutilised.” Nidhi Khare, Joint Secretary, MHA, said the prime objective was completion of the first phase by September 2019 and visa-free entry. The Indian officials demanded that the pilgrims be also allowed to travel by foot. “Passport as the sole identification document was tentatively agreed upon,” she said. tion that several unlicensed manufacturing activities are being carried out. Our officers physically verified the activities. In all, 45 manufacturers were identified for raids — eight in Maharashtra, six each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and 25 in Delhi. We formed 37 inspection teams with 125 officers and conducted inspections across all 45 locations in four states on March 11. Of these, 29 firms and five traders were found manufacturing or selling orthopaedic implants without licences,” Drug Controller General of India S Eswara Reddy told The Tribune. — TNS deal documents, which the AG says are privileged, have been published and are already in public domain. Former Union minister Arun Shourie, one of the review petitioners, submitted that he was thankful to the Centre and the AG for saying in their affidavit that these are photocopies, proving the genuineness of these documents. Bhushan said provisions of the RTI Act say public interest outweighs other things and no privilege can be claimed except for documents which pertain to intelligence agencies. There is no government-togovernment contract in buying Rafale jets as there is no sovereign guarantee extended to India by France in the Rs 58,000-crore deal, Bhushan said. He also said the Press Council of India Act provides provisions for protecting sources of journalists. — PTI INDIA’S DEMAND PAKISTAN’S RESPONSE ON NUMBER OF PILGRIMS DAILY ■ Asked for 5,000 pilgrims to begin with and on special occasions, take the number of people to 15,000 ■ Wanted to restrict the number of pilgrims to 500 every day and was silent on the issue of special occasions TIMING AND PERIOD ■ Asked for keeping the corridor open from dawn to dusk on all 365 days in a year ■ Wanted to limit the pilgrims’ visit only to visiting days and indicated that it should be done for three to four days a week WHO ALL CAN BE ALLOWED ■ Asked for allowing all resident Indian citizens and also Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders ■ Initially agreed to allow only Sikh pilgrims, but when persuaded agreed to allow Indian citizens only ENCROACHMENT OF LAND AROUND GURDWARA ■ Registered strong objection over rampant encroachment of land around the gurdwara and asked for its early restoration. The land was donated to the gurdwara by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and other eminent Sikh devotees over a period of time Foot overbridge collapses, five die in Mumbai Mumbai, March 14 At least five persons died and 30 others were injured after a crowded foot overbridge outside the busy Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (formerly Victoria) Terminus railway station collapsed this evening, officials said. The toll was likely to rise as many people were trapped under the concrete debris. The mishap happened around 8 pm when office-goers were rushing to catch trains home. With huge crowds thronging the bridge, the bottom of a part of the structure suddenly gave way, causing people to topple onto DN Road below. There were some vehicles and passersby on the street below, police confirmed. Police said work on the bridge had started but the railways and the BMC, which owns the structure, allowed people to use it since CSTM station is crowded round the clock. — TNS ■ No specific assurance given on this count Tribune News Service TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE Will first decide objection by Centre on Rafale papers:SC New Delhi, March 14 The Supreme Court today said it would first decide on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre and then go into the facts of the Rafale fighter jet deal case. A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi wrapped up the hearing on preliminary objections by the Centre that the review petitioners in the Rafale jet deal case cannot rely on privileged documents obtained illegally. The top court asked the petitioners seeking a review of its order to focus on the preliminary objections regarding admissibility of the leaked documents. “Only after we decide the preliminary objection raised by the Centre, we will go into the facts of the case,” said the Bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph. At the outset, Attorney Gen- WING CDR ABHINANDAN’S COOLING DOWN PROCESS ENDS BACK PAGE New Delhi, March 14 The US is once again pushing ahead with its long-stalled plan for a lucrative business deal with India for setting up six nuclear power plants. The latest thrust came during a visit to Washington of an Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale when the US State Department ensured that the subject remained in the top half of the agenda. It was in 2005 that India promised six nuclear plants each to the US, France and Russia in exchange for ending India’s isolation from mainstream nuclear trade after its 1974 nuclear tests. Since then, only the Russian project is up and running while the French are grappling with land acquisition headaches in the backyard of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The Americans were allotted the more conducive Andhra Pradesh but their plans went into a tailspin due to a series of disagreements capped by Toshiba-Westinghouse filing for bankruptcy. However, there are two obstacles to tide over before Westinghouse can hope to get into the business end. Like the French company Areva, Westinghouse too has to NEW DELHI, MARCH 14 The successful meeting between India and Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor today marks a rare chapter in bilateral ties when both countries are on the same page despite an atmosphere of unprecedented discord. The two sides have remained undeterred in pursuing the project despite the recent backhistory of the Pulwama bombing, followed by the Balakot raid and the military clashes. So far, the project has been more of a commentary on the underlying sub-continental bonds of recognising spiritual needs rather than to leverage Kartarpur for an overall improvement in India-Pakistan ties. Pakistan, as is to be expected, has portrayed the lead taken by PM Imran Khan as the harbinger of a turnaround in ties, but India remains mistrustful and apprehensive. That is the reason why India has sought to delink the corridor from the deep freeze in bilateral ties. It fears the euphoria over the corridor has the potential to sweep away its insistence on staying away from dialogue continued on page 7 Class 8 students get Punjabi paper on day ofsocial studies Balwant Garg Tribune News Service Faridkot, March 14 In a goof-up during the Class VIII examination of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) today, students who had come to take the social studies examination were handed the question paper of Punjabi. The Punjabi paper is scheduled to be held on March 19. As soon as the wrong paper was handed out, students raised the alarm, forcing the staff on examination duty to swing into action and collect Punjabi question papers from the students. Inderjit Singh, Director, State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT), said the error happened as the papersetter had mismatched envelopes in which the question papers were sealed. “We have taken a serious NO MISTAKE OF STAFF, PUNJABI PAPER ANEW There was no mistake on part of the staff posted at examination centres as the envelope containing Punjabi papers was marked “social studies”, said Inderjit Singh, Director, State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT). “We have decided to cancel the Punjabi paper,” he added. note of the lapse and decided to blacklist the vendor who provided the question papers, besides imposing a penalty on him,” the Director said. The envelope containing Punjabi question papers was marked “social studies”. In the absence of social studies question papers, the staff on examination duty at various centres requisitioned copies of question paper from other centres via WhatsApp and email, took out prints and distributed these to the students. “We obtained the question paper from a centre in another district via WhatsApp. In absence of a printer or a xerox machine, we wrote it on the blackboard after which the exam started around 1.45 pm. The scheduled time was 1 pm,” said a teacher on exam duty in a nearby village here. Jaswinder Singh, district coordinator for Class VIII examination in Faridkot, said the students were given extra time because of the delay in the start of the exam. Lose some, gain some in season of defections Old Cong hand Vadakkan joins BJPI Speculation rife BJP veteran Khanduri’s son may join Cong Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service New Delhi, March 14 The season of defections is finally here. As Lok Sabha elections draw close, the Congress, BJP and a section of regional parties are bracing for the impact of political exits and entries. In this game of poll time switches, the Congress is increasingly finding itself at the receiving end. The party was stunned today when its longtime loyalist and an old AICC media hand, Tom Vadakkan, crossed over to the BJP . Vadakkan was one of the four Congress leaders the late PM Rajiv Gandhi had Former Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan joins the BJP in the presence of Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi. MUKESH AGGARWAL handpicked in 1989 to lead the first dedicated AICC media cell. Until May 2015, Vadakkan ruled the roost in the party’s communication department as AICC secre- Today’s issue is of 20 pages, including four-page Jalandhar Tribune. tary (media). But after Haryana Congress strongman Randeep Surjewala took charge of Congress communications, Vadakkan found himself progressively sidelined. Besides, he had been putting up with the denial of the Lok Sabha nomination from Kerala for years. Personal reasons apart, Vadakkan’s political reason for switching to the BJP was interesting. He blamed Congress’ response to post-Pulwama attacks for his exit. “When my party started questioning the integrity of the armed forces and acting against national interest, I had no option but to leave it,” said Vadakkan, accusing Congress under Rahul Gandhi of “using and throwing people”, “spawning dynastic politics” and “constricting the space for selfrespecting people”. Even Trinamool Congress’ Arjun Singh, a four-term MLA, who joined the BJP in Bengal today cited West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s post-Pulwama reactions as an alibi to shift loyalties. The BJP too is feeling the defection heat. Its Uttarakhand unit was on the edge today amid a possible Congress switchover of Manish Khanduri, son of state BJP stalwart BC Khanduri. continued on page 7 HANGING FIRE ■ In 2005, India promised six nuclear plants each to the US, France and Russia ■ The aim was to end India’s isolation from mainstream nuclear trade after 1974 ■ While Russian project is on track, the French and US ones are struggling demonstrate that it is operating a plant of the same design it intends setting up in India. As a source put it, “Any forward movement will depend on the operation of reference plant of a similar design in the US.” That is still some years away. The second is that the plant will have to produce electricity at reasonable rates. Russia has stolen a march on both the counts. Westinghouse has top-level US backing. A year back, US Energy Secretary said Westinghouse was “lean and mean and ready to get to work” on India projects. But till the cost-effectiveness of the AP plant is established, the deal will represent the untapped potential of Indo-US ties. NC skips election observers’ meet; party block chief shot at in Valley Srinagar/Anantnag, March 14 A block president of National Conference was shot at and injured by unidentified gunmen in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Thursday, on a day the NC chose not to send a delegation to meet special observers of the Election Commission of India, who arrived on a three-day visit to assess if the ground situation was conducive to holding Assembly polls along with those for the Lok Sabha. The injured 60-year-old Muhammad Ismail Wani of Dupathyar village was shifted to a Srinagar hospital. “He has been shot in the abdomen,” a health official said. Police sources said Wani was targeted while he was in his apple orchard. The three-member EC panel — former IAS officers Noor Mohammad and Vinod Zutshi and former DG of CRPF AS Gill — also held discussions with officials of the civil administration. They are likely to undertake a similar exercise in Jammu. Among the delegations that met the EC team were those from the Congress, BJP PDP , , JD(U), BSP and the Peoples Conference. Former legislator Er Rasheed (AIP) met the observers too. “We had nothing to add…..Our party had already made its viewpoint clear, while reiterating the demand for simultaneous elections,” NC leaders said. Former CM Mehbooba Mufti too sought simultaneous polls in view of the “difficulties being faced by people, the continued arrests and harassment”. The Congress said the decision to put the Assembly elections on hold was wrong. — TNS
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).