THE KARGIL FUND Set up by The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika
More than a hundred soldiers have already died in the undeclared war in Kargil. Many more are lying injured in hospitals. No assistance is compensation enough for the mother who has lost her son or the wife her husband. But we, the citizens of this country, need to help, in however small a way. The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika are setting up a fund with that modest aim in mind. The fund is being started with an intial contribution of Rs 5 Lakh from the ABP Group. If every reader of The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika donates a small sum, we can raise a huge amount for the families of the soldiers killed or injured in action. As a token of appreciation, both papers will publish the names of donors contributing Rs 500 or more. This is a time to ask yourself what can you do for the nation.   Only account payee cheques and drafts - payable to 'ABP Kargil Fund' - will be accepted. Put the cheque/draft in an envelope with your name and address. Write 'ABP Kargil Fund' and mail it to or deliver (between 10 am and 6 pm except on Sundays) at  
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
Army to keep finger on trigger
Red tape villain for planet?s hero
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, July 18 
India today made it clear it was in no mood to declare a ceasefire or roll up Operation Vijay though the last of the intruders had pulled back, sending a signal within and without the border that the once-bitten armed forces would not leave their flanks open for a re-run of the Kargil ambush.

The army said it would continue to keep vigil throughout the year on key posts along the Line of Control (LoC), despite the ?complete? withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Batalik, Kaksar and Drass sub-sectors. In the remaining Mushkoh sector, Indian troops are expected to reach the LoC tomorrow.

?The army will maintain troops even during the winter months at some key posts in Kargil,? spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said.

Though defence minister George Fernandes said yesterday the conflict had come to an end, a formal declaration is expected only after the completion of a ?physical verification? of the areas held by the enemy.

The cautious approach helps the government to assure the domestic audience that the border is not kept open and warn Pakistan that India would not be taken by surprise again. The Opposition?s criticism of the intelligence fiasco in Kargil has also prompted the government to tread such a path.

Keeping up the tempo, foreign minister Jaswant Singh said no talks were possible unless Pakistan gave up its path of confrontation against India.

?This kind of evidence, this kind of aggression by night and dialogue by day, how do I sustain this, unless Pakistan gives up the path of confrontation and recognises that promotion of terrorism across the border in India is not an affirmation of the inviolability of the LoC?? Reuters quoted Singh as asking.

On when the talks could resume, Singh said: ?I just defined the route chart. Unless we go down that route, how do you find shortcuts? There are no shortcuts.

?There has to be a beginning made with restoration of trust and confidence... as initiators of dialogue, we are not opposed to dialogue. But dialogue has to be based on fundamentals.?

Singh is scheduled to address a gathering of diplomats and intelligentsia on Tuesday at the India International Centre to put across New Delhi?s position on Kargil. He is also likely to explain why at this juncture India cannot resume the bilateral talks and what Islamabad should do to restore India?s confidence.

Singh denied New Delhi had entered into a deal with Islamabad and Washington.

Fatal mix-up

Three soldiers, including a Captain, were killed near the LoC after a BSF patrol fired on them mistaking them for intruders, says our correspondent.

The incident took place at Akhnoor in Jammu around 2 am on Sunday when the patrol noticed movement inside a bunker and opened fire. A BSF officer said the force had not been informed of army presence there.    

Lucknow, July 18 
What do you call a white-robed priest who teaches civil engineering, uses social engineering and Pete Seeger with equal ease to pursue his mission, and traces his roots to Tulsidas?

Hero of the Planet will be fine, feels Time magazine. But the professor-priest himself and his hometown Varanasi prefer a more modest ?Mahantji?.

Labels haven?t cramped the style of Mahant Veer Bhadra Mishra, named one of the seven Heroes of the Planet by the magazine, as he courses ahead with his 17-year-old campaign to cleanse the Ganga river of its man-made sins. And his relentless drive across a labyrinth of filth ? and red tape ? has made a difference where the government has failed.

As the government sunk as much as Rs 60 crore in the ambitious Ganga Action Plan launched by Rajiv Gandhi and still managed to pump toxic sewage into the river, the 57-year-old Mahant has developed and put in place an intricate drainage system that prevents the water from being polluted further.

?I could not sit and watch pollution levels of the world?s most revered river rise. The Ganga Action Plan has been caught in a bureaucratic web and money has gone down the drain,? the Mahant told The Telegraph from Varanasi.

The Mahant hopes the magazine?s recognition will help him in his battle against red tape as he tries to organise grants and enlist support of the local administration for his projects taking shape in four villages on an island in the river.

Mishra, the senior-most civil engineering professor at the Benaras Hindu University, is one of the most revered priests of the Sankat Mochan temple and runs a foundation for setting up small, indigenous sewage treatment plants in villages.

His foundation has also worked closely with the municipal corporation to develop a blueprint to improve the city?s drainage system and a network of underground canals which open into the Ganga far away from the bathing ghats.

In the village treatment system, sewage is dumped into four ponds and processed. The sewage water which comes out of the last pond is clean, and instead of being dumped into the Ganga, is used for irrigation. This is in sharp contrast with the soured outcome of the Ganga Action Plan, whose ?treated? water has destroyed crops because of toxicity.

This is not the first time that the Mahant, who lives near Assi Ghat on the banks of the Ganga where his forefather Tulsidas wrote the Ram Charit Manas, is hitting the headlines.

In 1992, with a copy of the Ram Charit Manas and a bottle of Gangajal, Mishra went to Rio de Janeiro to attend the Earth summit.

There he was awarded the Global 500 roll of honour by the United Nations Environment agency for his work on the Ganga.

Before his departure, referring to the ban on overseas travel, he had said: ?For the cause of the Ganga, I am crossing the ocean.? He has also not fought shy of adopting unconventional means to propagate his cause or defying tradition.

His foundation invited legendary folk singer Pete Seeger to perform in Varanasi for the cause of the Ganga.

Seeger, who has for long been a crusader for cleaning the Hudson river in New York, sang a ?clean water? song in Varanasi.

Under the Mahant, the Sankat Mochan temple also lifted the performance bar on women during the renowned Hanuman Jayanti music festival.

Breaking tradition, Odissi dancer Samyukta Panigrahi was allowed to perform here, followed by Sonal Mansingh and Swapna Sundari.    

Today?s forecast: A few spells of light rain with the possibility of one or two spells of showers or thundershowers

Temperature: Maximum 30.8?C (1?C below normal)
Minimum 26.5?C (1?C above normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 94%
Minimum 75%

Rainfall: 0.6 mm

Sunset: 6.21 pm
Sunrise: 5.04am

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