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

Govt holiday policy under scanner

New Delhi (PTI): The government on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that it was considering a review of its holiday policy for its employees.

“The holiday policy review is under consideration of the government,” minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions Harin Pathak said during question hour.

Former Maharashtra governor and independent member P.C. Alexander said he was in favour of reducing religious holidays.

“Why should Good Friday be a holiday for 98 per cent of people who are not Christians, or for that matter why should Budh Poornima be a holiday for everyone. Religious holidays should be reduced,” he said.

In his written reply, Pathak said it is not desirable to restrict employees to avail themselves of holidays based on religious faiths only.

Pathak, however, parried a query on whether there was any proposal for reducing the retirement age of government employees from 60 to 58.

On whether the government is considering reverting to a six-day week for its employees from the five-day week, he said the group of ministers had already decided against it.

He said consequent to the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations, the re-introduction of the six-day week was re- examined.

It was, however, decided to continue the five-day week in central government administrative offices.

Demolition spree after collapse

Surat (PTI): The Surat Municipal Corporation on Wednesday demolished a three-storey building in Varachcha area and sealed nine factories, official sources said.

The demolition is part of the civic body’s crackdown on illegal and unsafe constructions after the collapse of a building killed 43 people on Sunday.

The corporation had also sealed 39 factories on Tuesday, which takes the number of such units to 48.

“Officials are inspecting the status of another commercial-cum-residential building in Mahadevnagar and several other buildings in the congested Varachcha area to decide whether to demolish them or not,” town planning officer Ketan Patel said.

The sources said a five-member team of structural experts has been engaged by a non-government organisation and it will submit their findings and suggestions to the inspecting officials.

Thrashing lands cop in soup

New Delhi (PTI): A Delhi police head constable allegedly thrashed a tempo helper during the movement of the convoy of visiting Lesotho Prime Minister, Bethuel Pakalitha near Rajghat on Monday, police sources said.

Head constable Mahendra Singh was immediately suspended and an inquiry ordered, the sources said. The helper, Pushpinder Singh, was allegedly thrashed as he wanted to move immediately after the convoy passed Rajghat.

Blood bag risks

New Delhi (PTI): Patients receiving frequent transfusions of blood stored in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bags, supplied by blood banks, are exposed to the risk of brain disorders, a study warns. Blood banks store blood in PVC bags for convenience. During manufacture, PVC uses a chemical, DEHP, as a plasticizer. Significant amount of DEHP (as much as 0.15 gram per litre of blood) leaches into the blood, says the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology.

Pak doctors invited

Islamabad (PTI): The Delhi-based Maulana Azad Medical College has invited Pakistani ENT surgeons for a conference next month. The head of the college’s ENT department, Dr A.K. Agarwal, has invited the secretary general of Pakistan Association of ENT Surgeons, Dr Nasrullah Rana, and others for the conference starting on September 5.

AIDS legislation

New Delhi (PTI): The government is drafting a legislation to provide legal rights to persons living with AIDS (PLAS), the Lok Sabha was informed. Deliberations are on to develop a framework for a legislation to protect the rights of people with HIV/AIDS, minister of state for health A. Raja said.

Kumbh thefts

Nashik (PTI): The city and neighbouring Trimbakeshwar have seen a spurt in thefts since the Kumbh mela began last week. A foreigner, July Loice Home Aspha from Spain, who was visiting sadhus in Sadhugram, lost his visa, passport and Rs 12,000 after a pickpocket lifted his bag on Tuesday. In Trimbakeshwar, Saraswatigiri Chetan Mahantgiri’s bag was stolen. The sadhu from Surat was carrying Rs 35,000 and a mobile phone in the bag.


An alert has been sounded in desert areas of western Rajasthan, along the border, against an invasion by locusts. The monsoon, which has brought cheer to farmers, has created good conditions for locusts — the biggest enemy of crops.

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