The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sinha in AIDS fight

New Delhi, Nov. 22: Though the Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s condom show has turned off the BJP, its senior leader and Union health minister Shatrughan Sinha fully endorsed Chandrababu Naidu’s initiative to combat AIDS.

Naidu had yesterday got an eight-foot-tall pink-coloured condom strategically placed in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly corridors as part of a campaign against AIDS. Last week, a huge condom had greeted Microsoft chief Bill Gates when he had visited Hyderabad.

In the Assembly yesterday, BJP floor leader Indrasena Reddy condemned the condom display inside the House, evoking a Naidu retort that he was serious about combating the disease. The chief minister drew support from Sinha. “The issue has to be taken seriously and none should make fun of it. It is a deadly issue,” the health minister said today in New Delhi.

The government was, however, against mandatory HIV testing for students at the time of admission and for drivers of heavy vehicles as it would not serve any purpose and also violate human rights, Sinha had said earlier in the day during a discussion on a private member’s Bill on AIDS in the Lok Sabha.

Congress member Renuka Choudhry wanted the use of condoms to be propagated in a big way. “It is all right to hang huge condoms for Bill Gates,” she said, adding that concerted efforts should be made to educate the masses.

Nitish move on safety

Railway minister Nitish Kumar informed the Rajya Sabha today that he would bring out a white paper on passenger safety and try to table it during the budget session of Parliament. Kumar stressed he would accord top priority to passenger safety.

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