The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Air force to launch recruitment drive

new delhi: The Indian Air Force is beginning its biggest drive to recruit and will offer up to 7,000 jobs a year beginning December, reports our special correspondent.

The air force now recruits about 2,500 airmen every six months. This is set to go up to 3,500 half-yearly, said Air Marshal Narayanan Menon, Air Officer in Chief (personnel).

The force has a strength of 11,000 officers and 1.11 lakh other ranks. In each of these categories, this is 15 per cent less than the sanctioned strength.

The air force will also implement fast-track promotion policies. Outstanding airmen will be given commissioned ranks after 15 years of service. This now takes between 20 and 25 years. Branch commissioned officer who earlier could not go beyond the rank of squadron leader (equivalent of major in the army) will can now go up to wing commander (equivalent of lieutenant colonel).

The qualifying years of service for a wing commander to be promoted to the rank of group captain (equivalent of colonel) is also being rolled back by two years. Promotion to the ‘Air’ ranks — air commodore (brigadier level), air vice marshal (major general rank) and air marshal (lieutenant general rank) — which were earlier based on experience will now be merit-based.

Air Marshal Menon said this was being done because it was found that in inter-services outfits, IAF officers were junior in rank despite more years in service. Even with these changes, it will take the IAF about four years to keep pace with promotions in the army. He said unlike the army, the IAF does not have a “statewise quota” for recruitment into the other ranks because induction of sophisticated technology had made it imperative that all recruitment was merit-based.

Bengal tourists die in Sikkim

Gangtok: Five tourists, including four of a family from Behrampore in Bengal, were killed when their vehicle lost control and fell more than 800 feet near the Rang Rang bridge on the North Sikkim highway on Thursday, reports our correspondent.

They were among nine passengers travelling in a Mahindra Maxx to Mangan, the headquarters of North district. They were going to the scenic tourist spot of Yumthang.

The injured tourists have been admitted to Mangan district hospital. The condition of two persons is said to be critical.

The driver of the vehicle, Namdol, was brought to Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial Hospital here with serious injuries on head, face and chest.

One of the survivors is said to have told police that the vehicle fell into the gorge after it tried to make way for an army truck coming from the opposite direction.

Manisha contempt case

mumbai (PTI): Bombay High Court has dropped suo motu contempt proceedings against actress Manisha Koirala and producer Shashilal Nair for taking their dispute over objectionable scenes in Ek Chhotisi Love Story to a third person despite the matter being sub judice.

Justices R.M. Lodha and Dilip Bhosale dropped the contempt proceedings after both tendered unconditional apologies. The court had issued show cause notices to Manisha and Nair after reports appeared in a section of the media that they had referred their dispute to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

Mild quake

sonipat (PTI): An earthquake of mild intensity was felt here causing panic among residents, officials said. No loss to life and property was reported, they added.

Ex-militants killed

karimnagar (PTI): Two former militants were shot by Naxalites in the district, police said. PWG extremists killed Durishetti Thirupathi, (26), believing him to be a police informer at Maddirala village on Tuesday. In another incident at Menugula village, Naxalites of the CPI (M-L) Janashakti killed B. Mandaiah (32). He had surrendered in April.

Train speed limit

lucknow (PTI): A 10-kilometre speed limit was imposed on trains between Ramchaura and Lalgopalganj stations near Allahabad after a track fault was discovered on Thursday morning, railway sources said. Senior officials have rushed to the spot and repair work was on.

Dalit murder alert

Chandigarh (PTI): An alert has been sounded in Jhajjar district in Haryana after five Dalits were lynched by a mob. They were allegedly skinning a cow. Additional police forces have been deployed in the area. No one has been arrested so far.

Trader attacked

gurdaspur (PTI): A shopkeeper was injured when two unidentified men fired at him as he tried to prevent them from escaping with a bag containing Rs 7.80 lakh outside the LIC office here.

As many as 328 elephants have died in Orissa during the last one decade, wildlife department sources said. While 140 elephants were killed by poachers between 1992-93 to 2001-02, 79 died due to accidents and ailments.

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