10 killed, 20 missing as boat capsizes in AP

At least 10 people were killed and 20 were missing Saturday after an overcrowded boat capsized in Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh.

A police officer said 10 bodies were recovered so far while a search was on for the missing people. The boat was carrying 70 people, mostly pilgrims. Local people rescued 40 passengers.

The incident took place at Upputeru in Narsapuram mandal of West Godavari district, near the mouth of the river. The pilgrims were going to Lakshmi Narasimha Swami temple, also known as Antarvedi temple, in East Godavari district on the other side of the river.

The police officer said the boat was carrying more people than its capacity, which led to the mishap.

Stop showing violence, vulgarity on TV channels

Justice T Goplalakrishna on Friday directed local television channels to stop telecasting programmes containing scenes of violence and vulgarity. The judge had earlier issued similar directions in a writ petition filed by Kameshwar Rao, a practising advocate who complained that such indiscreet telecast by channels had adverse effect on viewers.

The interim order which covered a vast variety of genres include visuals in crime teleseries and crime news in the name of Crime Watch, Neralu Ghorallu, etc; visuals of vulgarity and obscenity; visuals of dead bodies, violence against women and children; provocative or instigative speeches; visuals of persons destroying public and valuable property; visuals of innocent people committing or having committed suicide.

The interim order also included contents in scrolls apart from debates which are provocative and unwanted.

Proposal of underground cables for old city

It was the dream of the late CM of Andhra Pradesh Dr. YSR to bring the state to the level of any world class city as far as the progress and development is concerned. The government is leaving no stone unturned to make this dream come true.”

These were the words of in-charge minister for the city and home minister Mrs. Sabita Indira Reddy who was speaking at a meeting of district development board after a gap of one and half years.

She said that to make the city of Hyderabad, a world-class city, there is no dearth of budget. The meeting was well attended by honourable state ministers Mr. Nagender, Mr. Mukesh Goud, dist. Collector Mr. Navin Mittal and other officials of the various departments.

During the debate where many topics came for discussion, the representatives of the old city said that the electricity wires of the old city are very dangerous for life. This problem should be addressed as early as possible.

And for this very purpose, the laying of electricity cables underground was proposed to which the government has nodded to give it a second thought. Mrs. Sabita Indira Reddy, in the meanwhile, said to make the city of Hyderabad, a world-class city, a special fund would be released and said that the state government is bonded with the promise of the city’s progress.

The laying of modern lining system, repairing of the roads and the problems related to electricity and water supply would be redressed very soon. This question was also raised that the supply of electricity was disrupted even in winter season then what would be the condition during the ensuing summer?

To which the in-charge minister assured the installation of new transformers and new sub stations to meet this problem. It is to be recalled here that various metros including Mumbai, have underground cable system, which is fool proof. Moreover, by this system, the supply of electricity is never disrupted and the cases of electricity theft do not occur at all.

Congress core committee discusses Telangana issue

Ahead of the government’s expected announcement of a committee on the Telangana issue, the Congress core committee met on the issue at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here Friday evening.

The meeting lasted almost an hour, sources said.

The meeting discussed the composition of the proposed committee and an announcement of the members is expected next week.

Except for Pranab Mukherjee, who is not in Delhi, the meeting was attended by the other members of the core group, including party chief Sonia Gandhi, and senior leaders and union ministers A.K. Antony and P. Chidambaram and Ahmed Patel, political advisor to Sonia Gandhi.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Thursday that the committee on Telangana would be formed soon.

“We are almost at the end of concluding that exercise. If all goes well, we will have a committee by the end of this week. And we will announce it by next week,” he told reporters Thursday.

Motivate Muslims for T-state:Muslim Intellectuals Forum

Honorable Chief Guest Prof Kottapally Jayashanker Speakers, Prof Kodanda Ram, Md Azharuddin Ahmed Ismathuallh Khan, Lateef Md Khan, Dr. Rafat Seema,C. Vital, Datuvu Ellanna District Convenor / Presidents of Telangana Muslim Intellectuals Forum Syed Arif Ali, M.A.Rauf, Syed Abdul Ghani M.A Quddus Dr A.A. Khan. Mohd Qasim Raziuddin, Mohd Raiyaz , Other Guests and all Participants including media representatives, Assalan Alikum

This forum was formed under special circumstances, at one side hunger strike / fast on to death was going on.K.C.R and at other students Relay hunger strike was going on. We were regularity Visiting the Osmania University Students what we have observed is, many organization were coming and expressed their solidarity and open support to the struggle for the telangana state. At this juncture we thought some Muslim organization should come forward

Then we had discussion with professors, Advocates, Lecturers and Teachers and decided to form the Telangana muslim Intellectuals Forum. This Forum has fixed two objectives for it.

The first one is, giving motivation to muslim population in general and the muslim Organizations in particular to take an active role in the struggle to achieve the telangana state.

For this:-

1 we have given letters to almost all muslim Organizations, asking their open support ti the struggle.

2 We visited Osmania University Camus and expressed out solidarity. To the students JAC, we visited to indira park and supported and participated in employees JAC, Relay hunger strike, we have participated in dharna at charminar organized by muslim forum for telangana, like these , we have participated at various levels and at various places in struggle for Tlangana state

3 We went to Delhi and submitted a letter to Ms. Sonia Gandhi requesting her to speedup of the process of formatin of Telangana state

Jr NTR to marry Naidu’s relative

Popular Telugu film actor Junior NTR will marry Narne Pranita, daughter of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s niece Narne Mallika.

The former chief minister Thursday confirmed that the young actor would soon enter into wedlock with Pranita, whose father Narne Srinivas is a businessman and owns Telugu news channel Studio N.

Junior NTR, 27, is the grandson of thespian, TDP founder and former chief minister N.T. Rama Rao, who was popularly known as NTR. Naidu is the son-in-law of NTR.

Junior NTR, son of N. Harikrishna, is one of the leading actors of Telugu cinema and has churned several hit movies since he made his debut in 2001.

He had campaigned for TDP in few districts in the last year’s elections but a road accident forced him to cut short his election tour.

TDP sources said the alliance would help Chandrababu Naidu to further cement his ties with the NTR family. In 2007, the former chief minister’s only son N. Lokesh had married Brahmani, daughter of popular actor N. Balakrishna, son of NTR.

Balakrishna too had campaigned for the TDP in 2004 elections while Junior NTR’s father Harikrishna is already a leader of TDP and member of the Rajya Sabha.

Naidu had led revolt against his father-in-law NTR in August 1995 with the support of Harikrishna and other family members. NTR, who had accused Naidu of back-stabbing him, died in 1996.

Committee on Telangana next week

The much-talked about Committee to examine the demand for separate Telangana will be announced next week, home minister P Chidamabaram.

The Home Minister said the government would have more or less finalised the names and will do by the the end of this week. “Perhaps by the next week, the committee will be announced,” he said.

“We are almost at the end of concluding that exercise. If all goes well, we should have a committee by the end of this week. We will announce the committee by next week,” he told reporters declining to give out the names.

The much-talked about committee to examine the demand for separate Telangana will be announced next week, Home Minister P Chidamabaram said on Thursday.
“We are almost at the end of concluding that exercise. If all goes well, we should have a committee by the end of this week. We will announce the committee by next week,” he told reporters declining to give out the names.
The Home Minister said the government would have more or less finalised the names and will do by the end of this week. “Perhaps by the next week, the committee will be announced,” he said.
Chidambaram in the meeting with political parties from Andhra Pradesh on January 5 had said that its agenda was to “deliberate on the mechanism and lay down a road map for consultations” on the Telangana issue.
The meeting followed Chidambaram’s statement on December 23, 2009 when the government put on back burner the formation of the separate state for which it had on December 9, 2009 promised to initiate the process.
Chidambaram in the meeting with political parties from Andhra Pradesh on January 5 had said that its agenda was to “deliberate on the mechanism and lay down a road map for consultations” on the Telangana issue.

The meeting followed Chidambaram’s statement on December 23, 2009 when the government put on back burner the formation of the separate state for which it had on December 9, 2009 promised to initiate the process.

On law and order situation in Andhra Pradesh, the Home Minister said much of the agitation has cooled down while there are some protests here and there.

“My greatest regret is that a couple of students reportedly committed suicide. That, I think, should have been completely avoided. Why should children commit suicide. Parents, teachers have responsibility to stop this. But keeping that apart, by and large, things are peaceful there. There is no major law and order violation. We are sticking to our words,” he said.

No dilly-dallying on T: BJP

The BJP has warned the Congressled UPA Government at the Centre against delaying tactics on Telangana.

The party has demanded that the proposed committee to be set by the Centre should complete its consultative process ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament. The Bill for creation of separate Telangana should not only be introduced but passed in the Budget Session of Parliament.

The BJP reaction was in response to the statement of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that the Centre was almost at the end of concluding that exercise of constituting a committee on Telangana and if all goes well, it will announce it by next week. BJP Andhra Pradesh incharge Prakash Javadekar said the consultation process, whether through the committee or otherwise, should be concluded within a timeframe. At any rate, it should not be delayed beyond mid-February, when the Budget Session of Parliament is slated to commence.

“The proposed committee should not become an excuse for delaying the process of creation of Telangana,” Javadekar said.

The BJP leader insisted that the Bill for the formation of the separate State of Telangana should be brought and passed in the ensuing Parliament Session.

Yet another college girl attacked with blade

Yet in another shocking incident, a youth attacked a college girl with a blade, when she turned down his request to accompany him for a chat at Sulurpet today.

According to police the girl A Vijetha, (16), was attacked by a stalker near her house in DVS Nagar, when she was on her way to college. He attacked her with a blade slashing her forehand and fled away leaving behind the girl writhing in pain.

The girl was rushed to Government Hospital.

The identity of the youth was still not known as the victim, studying first year Intermediate, did not disclose the identity of the youth.

Based on a complaint by Vijetha’s father Amod, police registered a case and are on the look out for the youth.

Though the motive behind the attack was still to be established, police believe that the youth was known to the girl.

Sulurpet police registered cases under Section 324 and 506 of the IPC.

Bangalore woman, son commit suicide in Tirumala

A 55-year-old woman and her 28-year-old adopted son, residents of Bangalore, committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance.

The mother and son, left a suicide note that says that they killed themselves because they were ‘disgusted with the society’.

The were found dead inside a newly-purchased car parked near Lepakshi junction in Tirumala on Tuesday.

According to police, the deceased used to live in Santhosh Nagar, Thoorpu, near Bangalore.

The mother, V M Sumathi and her son, Pawan, had driven down to Tirumala in the car on the evening of January 25, according to the toll receipt found in the car.The suicide came to light on Wednesday morning when some passersby noticed the bodies inside the car alerted the police.

The suicide note, written in Kannada, says, “We have decided to kill ourselves, this car has to be handed over to Thimmappa (Lord Venkateswara), kindly donate it to him. Don’t send our bodies to Karnataka, cremate it here itself.” Tirumala police have contacted the family members of the deceased and they are on their way to Tirumala.

Indian Airlines lets Airbus off Rs 788 crore hook

The CBI is investigating how a clause requiring Airbus, a leading manufacturer of airliners, to invest $ 175 million in India was glossed over in an agreement it signed with Indian Airlines to sell it 43 aircraft in 2006.

Airbus was to invest that money (about Rs 788 crore) in creating training and repairs facilities in India, according to that clause as stated by the government in press statements issued then.

This was mandated by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM), which monitored the purchase because of the sheer size of the deal, and it was endorsed by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, according to a statement issued by the civil aviation ministry in September 2005.

Indian Airlines was to buy 43 Airbus aircraft — 20 A319s, four A320s and 19 A321s — for $ 2 billion (Rs 9000 crore).

The delivery has already begun.

But the final agreement signed between the two sides “does not clearly mention the commitment of Airbus”, the CBI has said in a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) filed on January 14, No. DAI 1020-A-001.

“European Aeronautical Defence Systems and Airbus are working closely with Natio-nal Aviation Company of India Limited (name of the company formed by merging Indian Air-lines and Air India) to fulfill our obligation to create an MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) in India,” an Airbus spokesperson told HT from France.

The PE has been filed against unnamed officials of the civil aviation ministry and Indian Airlines.

“There appears collusion between certain unscrupulous officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation as well as Indian Airlines, which has resulted in signing of a purchase agreem-ent in clear deviation from the decision of the EGOM,” the PE said.

“We have replied to the CBI and will provide them with whatever help they require,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official when asked for comments. He did not want to be identified.

The agency files PE as soon as it is convinced there is material evidence to investigate a case. This is turned into a Regular Case if the offence is found serious enough to be sent to court.

“A reliable information has been received that EGOM after internal deliberations made with representatives of M/s Airbus Industrie and it was decided that on purchase of 43 aircraft by M/s Indian Airlines, M/s Airbus Industrie, inter alia, would make an investment of  $ 175 million,” the PE said.

“It was agreed by M/s Airbus Industrie that they would make an investment of  $ 100 million to facilitate creation of, maintenance, repair and overhaul unit in India and another  $ 75 million for setting-up a training centre. The minutes of the meeting of EGOM clearly reflecting the commitment of M/s Airbus regarding investment of  $ 175 million was sent to Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“However, agreement signed between IA and Airbus for purchase of 43 aircrafts does not clearly mention the commitment of Airbus to invest US $ 175 million.” Is there enough here to ground the deal, or merely cause some turbulence?

Krishna condemns attacks on Indians in Oz

S m krishna

S M Krishna hoped that a high-level committee set up by Australia would comprehensively study the issue of attacks on Indians.

Expressing “distress” over the spate of attacks on Indians in Australia, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has said he hoped that a high-level committee set up by Canberra to comprehensively study the issue would take a “serious view” of such incidents.

“I would like to condemn unequivocally the attacks on Indian students being repeated over and over again. This has distressed me because just yesterday we had a long talk with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.

“And even before the high-level committee is due to meet sometimes tomorrow or day after (to look into the issue), some more (attacks) have taken place. So I think the high-level committee should take a serious view,” Krishna told reporters after his meeting with Smith, their second in two days in London.

During their meeting on Thursday on the sidelines of a global conference on Afghanistan hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Krishna is understood to have conveyed India’s displeasure over continuing attacks against the community members despite assurances from the Australian Government.

The meeting came as four more Indian youths – three cabbies and a pizza delivery boy – were attacked in Brisbane.

Under pressure from India, Australia earlier this week set up a high-level ministerial working group to comprehensively study the spate of attacks on Indians in the country.

Over 100 incidents of attacks on Indians, particularly students, were reported in 2009 in Australia and the assaults have continued this year unabated.

Govt all set to start process of reducing Rathore’s pension

SPS rathore

Rathore has been sentenced to six months jail for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika nearly 19 years ago.

The Government is all set to initiate the process of reducing the pension of former Haryana DGP S P S Rathore, convicted in the Ruchika molestation case, next week even if he did not reply to the show-cause notice served on him.

Rathore, who was served with a show-cause notice asking why his pension should not be reduced for allegedly abusing power and bringing disrepute to the police service, has sent an acknowledgement of the notice but no reply.

“He has time till first week of February to reply to the show cause notice. But, even if he does not reply to the notice, we will start the process of reducing his pension,” a Home Ministry official said.

As part of the exercise, after taking a view on how much Rathore’s pension should be reduced — fully or partly – the Home Ministry will seek opinion from the Union Public Service Commission on the issue as part of the rules.

“Following UPSC’s opinion, we can go ahead with our decision,” the official said.

The show cause notice, stating his conduct was allegedly unbecoming of a police officer, was served on Rathore on December 26, 2009. A reminder of the notice was also served on January 19.

The disgraced police officer has been sentenced by a court to six months jail for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika nearly 19 years ago.

With the light sentence awarded to him creating an uproar, the Central Police Awards Committee (CPAC), headed by Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai, on January 4 had recommended to the President for the withdrawal of police medal given to Rathore.

Food prices to ease next fiscal: Pawar

Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar has hinted at food prices coming down in the next fiscal.

Food prices are expected to decline in the next fiscal on the back of higher farm output and the only worry then for the government would be on storage, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has said.

He, however, said that the country would remain import dependent when it came to pulses and edible oils for the next 10 years.

On the possibility of prices coming down in the next financial year beginning April one, Pawar told in an interview to a news channel: “100 per cent. In 2011-12 the problem which the government of India will have to worry about (is) what to do and where to store”.

Food inflation touched 17.40 per cent for the week ended January 16 on account of high prices of vegetables and pulses. On controlling prices of pulses, the minister said:

“Pulses we have to import, edible oil we have to import even for another 10 years or so. Because day by day, demand is growing, purchasing power of the weaker section is also improving.”

India imported a record 8.1 million tonnes of edible oils in 2008-09 season (November-October). The country imports 3-4 million tonnes of pulses every year to meet domestic demand. The prices of essential food items have risen sharply in last one year, partularly of sugar, pulses and vegetables. Sugar prices have more than doubled since January 2009 and is ruling at Rs 43 a kg in the national capital.

Pulses are ruling high, with arhar being sold at about Rs 85 a kg.India faced a severe drought this year affecting over 300 districts that resulted in loss of Kharif production. Rice output is estimated to decline by 13 million tonnes in Kharif.

India becoming a hub of child prostitution: SC

India is ‘becoming a hub’ for largescale child prostitution rackets, the Supreme Court said on Friday and suggested the setting up of a special investigating agency to tackle the menace.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to examine the idea of setting up a special investigating agency to combat child prostitution rackets and assured that courts would deny bail to those who engage children in commercial sex.

“It’s happening because of abject poverty in the country.

This is also because of the very high and largescale unemployment. All our cultural ethos are going down the drain.

India is becoming a hub of such activities,” the apex court said while dealing with a PIL filed by an NGO Bachapan Bachao Andolan.

The apex court also wanted to know why government is not invoking section 376 IPC (rape) against those exploiting the children in such prostitution rackets.

“Majority of sex workers are children. Why don’t you register 376(IPC) against them? If you do it in 10 cases, they will fall like a pack of cards. Courts will also not grant bail to them. Unfortunately, we are putting such sex workers to a lot of problem forcing them to face criminal prosecution,” the apex court said.India is “becoming a hub” for largescale child prostitution rackets, the Supreme Court said on Friday and suggested the setting up of a special investigating agency to tackle the menace.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to examine the idea of setting up a special investigating agency to combat child prostitution rackets and assured that courts would deny bail to those who engage children in commercial sex.

Padma not for tainted, check with govt on Chatwal: Cong

The Congress today signalled distancing itself from the government on the issue of awarding the Padma Bhushan to US-based NRI hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal. Maintaining that such awards should not be given to “those with a taint”, the ruling party said it was for the government to explain the reasons for the award to Chatwal who, as first reported by The Sunday Express, had been chargesheeted by the CBI in a fraud case.

“In general, this award should be given to people who enhance its prestige and not to those with a taint. As for the specific case of Chatwal, it is for the government to decide. Only the government can explain,” said AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed, adding that the Ministry of Home Affairs might have reasons for giving the award to the hotelier.

Ludhiana MP and Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said: “There is a rigorous committee-based process which scrutinises and vets every recommendation…It is incorrect for any party to try and score political brownie points.”

Gopinath Munde, BJP Deputy Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, had earlier written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, objecting to the Padma award for Chatwal.

A PTI report from Washington quoted Chatwal as saying: “I have really no idea about BJP’s objection. I love my country and I have been working for the past 30 years. I don’t care for the parties. They will come and go.”