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

CBI told to probe MP power cuts

bhopal: The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has directed the CBI to investigate the power cuts in the state, putting Digvijay Singh in the same boat as his Chhattisgarh counterpart Ajit Jogi, who is also facing a CBI probe.

Both Digvijay and Jogi are facing Assembly polls later this year, reports our special correspondent.

The court asked the bureau to constitute a team under a joint director to probe the shortage and directed it to make sure that all erring officials are present at the next hearing.

At present, Madhya Pradesh is witnessing mandatory four-hour cuts across the state from 8.30 to 10.30 am and 9 to 11 pm.

The judges expressed displeasure with the Digvijay government’s inability to abide by an earlier court order that prohibited power cuts after 8.30 pm. For an impartial inquiry, the court also asked the CBI to constitute a team of officials who “are not associated with the state of MP”.

The terms of reference include a probe into Digvijay’s claim of non-availability of surplus electricity from “any source for purchase at any cost”. Digvijay had said he was not in a position to ensure power supply, as it was not available during the “peak hours”.

The CBI would also probe allegations of pilferage ranging from 30 to 40 per cent of the supply.

Digvijay reacted cautiously. “If the court and the CBI can ensure uninterrupted power supply, I will have no objections.” This was in sharp contrast to his earlier remark in response to the court’s directive that he was prepared to go to jail for violating a court order.

Hours wasted in Andhra House

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Assembly, in its budget session during the last 31 days wasted 18 per cent of its 222.17 hours, reports our special correspondent.

The statistics provided by the Assembly revealed that while leaders of all parties, including the ruling Telugu Desam Party, spoke for about 40 hours the waste of time due to dharnas, deviations and disturbances in the House was almost 28.04 hours.

Among those who spoke most in the House, CPM leader N.Narasimhaiah spoke for 12.20 hours against 12.47 hours of Congress leader Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu emerged a poor third with 10.18 hours.

The statistics showed that the government, including the Governor, ministers and the chief minister spoke for 69.05 hours. Among the political parties, the Telugu Desam spoke for 33.04 hours while the Congress spoke for 71.40 hours.

While the Desam and the Congress accounted for a loss of Rs 1 crore with 28 hours of deviation, it is debatable whether the ministers and the chief minister made any worthwhile contribution in their 69 hours of deliberation in the House.

Canada aid for HIV prevention

New Delhi (PTI): Canada will provide Canadian $1 million to the United Nations Population Fund to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in India.

The grant, being provided through the Canadian International Development Agency, would support the integration of HIV/AIDS prevention into reproductive health services in India with special focus on adolescents, a Canadian high commission release said. The programme aims at informing adolescents through counselling. At the community level, the programme would support HIV prevention education.

Police-mob clash

Motihari (Bihar) (PTI): Police fired four rounds in the air to disperse a mob that blocked the National Highway at Chhautauni Chowk to protest the killing of a fish vendor allegedly by the police. Nearly a dozen policemen were injured in stone-throwing and as many locals hurt when the police lathicharged and fired on Tuesday. The police claimed that an inebriated and profusely bleeding fish vendor was picked up from a temple, where he was banging his head on the floor, and was sent to a hospital where he died, but the locals alleged that a police patrol beat him to death.

Leopard skin haul

Pithoragarh (PTI): Special Service Bureau personnel on the Indo-Nepal border seized 14 leopard skins at Dharchula, in Uttaranchal. The skins, worth Rs 20 lakh were seized after an SSB patrol party challenged the alleged poachers, who escaped leaving the leopard skin behind.

PWG kidnaps cops

Hyderabad (PTI): Four policemen, including a sub-inspector, were kidnapped by Naxalites of banned People’s War Group in Nallamalla forest in Prakasham district. The police party was returning from Katamraj in a vehicle after duty.

Sandalwood seized

Guna (PTI): Three persons have been arrested for their alleged involvement in sandalwood smuggling in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The trio included gang leader Kamlesh Lodhi from Morena district. The police also recovered sandalwood worth Rs 50 lakh.

Over 120 artists will display their work at the Harmony Show 2003 to be inaugurated on Friday in Mumbai. An initiative of Tina Ambani, 125 artists have been selected for this year’s show. More than 60 per cent of the exhibits will be those of young artists.

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