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Nation at a Glance

Govt drive to better passport service

new delhi (PTI): The government has directed that the passport officer or any other responsible officer should be present at all passport offices throughout working hours to attend to public grievances.

“The situation has to improve.... Action should be taken against those responsible for harassment of the applicant,” minister of state for external affairs Digvijay Singh said at the concluding session of the two-day passport officers’ conference on Thursday.

The minister, who had an intensive interactive session with passport officials, was apprised of the numerous problems that applicants face.

One officer said there have been instances of applicants paying forged currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs100 and suggested that all payments at passport offices be made only by demand drafts.

Shortage of staff, increasing workload, need for better working conditions and promotion opportunities were among the other issues raised by the officials.

Reminding them that they were engaged in an important public service organisation, Singh said the staff was required to have a “pro-active and applicant-friendly approach”.

Pilot killed in Jaguar crash

jaipur (PTI): An Indian Air Force fighter aircraft crashed over the Maharajan firing range in Bikaner district late on Tuesday night, killing the pilot, police said.

The Jaguar, which was on a routine sortie from the air force station, lost contact with air traffic control at about 10.30 pm and could not be traced till early morning, police said.

The pilot has been identified as Mukhopadhya, they added.

Residents of Kankrola village near the Maharajan range spotted the plane wreckage on Wednesday morning.

Senior government officials have rushed to the spot.

HC rejects plea against Advani

gwalior (PTI): The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed a petition seeking action against deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani for registering himself as a voter simultaneously at two places in the mid-eighties.

The bench disallowed the petition filed by one S.P. Johri and upheld a lower court order which had rejected the plea for action against Advani under the Representation of People’s Act.

New train

bhopal (PTI): A new weekly train linking Bhopal and Howrah was flagged off on Wednesday. The train will leave Bhopal at 5.30 am every Wednesday and reach Howrah the next day at 3 pm, while it will leave Howrah on Monday at 1.10 pm and reach here at 11 pm on Tuesday, railway sources said.

Building blaze

vadodara (PTI): Several government offices, including that of the Local Crime Branch deputy police superintendent, were gutted in a major fire late on Tuesday night at the Raopura locality. However, no one was injured in the fire that engulfed the 110-year-old building.

Cake heist arrest

nicosia (AFP): An Indian student who went hungry for two days until tempted into stealing a $1 cake from a bakery was jailed for 20 days by a Cypriot court. Gurminder Singh’s cake heist also cost him more than a spell in prison — while trying to get away, the luckless thief fell and gashed his chin, which needed stitches, reported the daily Simerini. The 25-year-old was writhing in agony on the floor when the police came to arrest him. The sentence has sparked widespread press and radio comment.

Raj Bhavan intruder

raipur (PTI): A man was arrested on Wednesday when he tried to enter the Raj Bhavan complex, official sources said. Heera Singh, hailing from a village in the Naxalite-infested Bastar district, was caught by the security staff while jumping over the boundary wall. A police official said primary interrogation had revealed that the man was mentally disturbed.

Frames — a global convention showcasing the best of the Indian entertainment industry — will be held in Mumbai from March 14. The three-day event will be organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.


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