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

Sonia at hand, Atal makes merry music

New Delhi (PTI): Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, apparently in a light vein, said on Sunday he would have had second thoughts on attending a musical function had he known leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi was to attend.

“I did not know that the leader of Opposition was coming for this function. If I had known it, I would have thought again,” Vajpayee, who sat next to Sonia, Priyanka and Robert Vadra, told the gathering at the Parliament library auditorium at the end of the 80-minute musical interpretation of the national flag, Tiranga, evoking peals of laughter.

Ye achha hua. Sur hamare milne chahiye. Sur se phir aisa sangeet nikalna chahiye jo sabko jhakjhor ke rak de (Our notes should converge. The music that emerges should enthrall all).”

Congress spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy said Vajpayee’s remarks were made in “good humour”.

Daman engineer suspended

Daman (PTI): The executive engineer of the public works department in Daman has been suspended on Sunday in connection with the bridge collapse that killed 29 people on Thursday.

The Daman administrator and collector visited Nani Daman on Sunday, where maximum number of the families of the victims lived. The main grievance of the people was that there was a lapse by PWD in maintaining the bridge, leading to its collapse.

Administrator Arun Mathur said he had suspended Bharat Gupta, holding charge of the office of superintendent engineer, pending an inquiry to be conducted by a central government agency from outside Daman to maintain transparency and fairness.

The inquiry will be conducted within a month and determine whether there were any lapse or breach in the repairs of the bridge undertaken by PWD.

Police registered an FIR following the collapse accusing officials of the department of not properly maintaining the bridge connecting Nani Daman and Moti Daman.

The Centre has already announced a high-level probe into the bridge collapse.

The situation in Daman was fast returning to normality and prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons were relaxed on Sunday in two phases from 6 am to 10 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm, collector Gyanendra Srivastava said.

RBI mulls coin for Rs 10

Shillong (PTI): The Reserve Bank is contemplating introducing 10-rupee coin after the popularity of the 5-rupee coin.

RBI deputy governor V. Kameshan said on Saturday that “preliminary work is going on” As a life of a coin is about 15 years as against a note’s one-and-a-half year, the RBI last year produced more 5- rupee coins than paper notes.

Bogie derails

Mumbai (PTI): One bogie of the Dadar-Amritsar Express derailed early on Sunday morning near Lasalgaon in Pune district, disrupting rail traffic on the Bombay-Pune route, central railway sources said. The sleeper class coach of the train derailed between Lasalgaon and Summit stations around 5.55 am. Trains bound for Pune were disrupted but those coming to Mumbai have not been affected.

Absence stick

Srinagar (PTI): Nine teachers of a higher secondary school in Ganderbal have been suspended for unauthorised absence during a surprise inspection by Jammu and Kashmir minister Qasi Mohammad Afzal, official sources said. Afzal, the public health engineering minister, conducted the surprise inspection of the government-run school in his constituency on Saturday. He has asked the deputy commissioner to get an explanation from the principal of the school, the sources added.

Looters kill 3

Pratapgarh (PTI): Members of the Bawaria gang killed three members of a family before looting cash and valuables at a village in the district, police said. The gang raided the house of Gaya Deen Yadav on Saturday and hacked Yadav, his wife and his grandson to death before looting cash and valuables. Three gang members were later caught in the district and some looted articles were recovered, the police said.

Balcony collapses

Hamirpur (Uttar Pradesh) (PTI): Two women were killed and 36 injured when the balcony of a house collapsed in Sumerpur town in the district, police said. The mishap occurred when the victims were watching a religious procession on the occasion of Teej.


The Indian Air Force organised a static display of aircraft at Meenambakkam airport in Chennai to attract the youth to the IAF. Chennaites had a close look at SU-30, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguars, An-32 and Kiran copters, IAF officials said.

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