Commandos to guard Puri temple
B>Bhubaneswar: Trained but unarmed commandos will now guard Lord Jagannath in Puri while a host of gadgets, including close-circuit cameras, will keep an eye on the visitors inside the 12th century temple, reports our correspondent.
Following complaints about poor security, the temple administration has decided to install five secret close-circuit cameras at strategic locations, with a police officer in a nearby control room monitoring the pictures. “The commandos will be placed at various locations inside the temple,” said a temple official.
The identity of everybody working in the temple, other than the servitors, will also be recorded.
During a visit to the shrine, the National Security Guards commander had advised the temple administration to evacuate all encroachers from the vicinity. A proposal for an extensive security arrangement was submitted by the Puri superintendent of police in the aftermath of the attack on the Akshardham temple in Gujarat last year.
Temple officials said metal detectors at the four main gates and four heavyduty searchlights are also part of the security programme.
Sahara joins The Rising row
B>Mumbai: The Rising seems to sink deeper into controversy every day. In a retaliatory move, Sahara India on Thursday withdrew its “support” to the film, saying that its producers dropped actress Aishwarya Rai from their rolls last week “unceremoniously”, reports our correspondent.
The actress is closely associated with the Sahara family and is a director on its board.
Sushanto Roy, chief of Sahara media and entertainment, said in a statement that it was unfortunate that Sahara was having to withdraw its association from Mangal Pandey — The Rising.
But co-producer Bobby Bedi, speaking from Delhi, dismissed the Sahara statement. “How can they withdraw support' They were never in,” he said. “Sahara is associated with Manmohan Shetty, who is very closely involved in financing and presenting the project. But Sahara had nothing to do with this project so far,” he said.
The film’s producers said Rai was dropped because she wanted to double her fees after the agreement was drawn up on the advice of her American agent, a claim corroborated by her Indian agent.
But the Sahara statement came out emphatically in support of the actress. “We had planned to be joint partners in the project, however, we shall never continue with any association where the concerned people shall not care for the respect of our pariwar and pariwar people.”
Rail roko for sand licence
B>Mumbai (PTI): Police fired in the air to disperse agitators who resorted to a rail roko on Thursday at Vaitarna station, about 65 km from here, to protest against the Maharashtra government’s decision to cancel their licences for sand excavation and implement the auction system.
Over 1,000 contractors of the Reti Utpadak Sangh, who are engaged in the excavation of sand from creek areas in Thane district, placed wooden sleepers on tracks and set them on fire to block trains.
B>Sonepat (PTI): Haryana will observe November 26 as Anti-Dowry Day. The government has appointed all city magistrates and sub-divisional magistrates as anti-dowry officers with wide powers.
Rahul Roy respite
B>Mumbai (PTI): A metropolitan magistrate has cancelled a non-bailable warrant issued against actor Rahul Roy in a cheque bouncing case. Magistrate V.K. Sharma cancelled the warrant after the actor appeared before him. The court deferred till March 18, 2004, his plea to discharge him from the case on the ground that the complaint was false and no offence was made out against him.
LIC damages order
B>Sirsa (PTI): The District Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum has ordered LIC to pay not only the insurance amount of Rs 50,000 but also compensation to the widow of a policy holder. Munni Devi had alleged her husband got himself insured for Rs 50,000 in 1993. But after his death in 2001, LIC refused to pay.
Six children injured
B>Srinagar (PTI): Six children were injured when a shell they were playing with exploded in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, official sources said. The children, all between 8 and 10, were playing cricket on Wednesday when they found the unexploded shell, the sources said.
B>Guntur (PTI): Two convicts gave police, preoccupied with arrangements for . Chandrabau Naidu’s visit, the slip and fled from a court room soon after it delivered their sentences. The two had been punished with life in jail for killing a tailor in 1998.
The Badrinath shrine, situated in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttaranchal, closed for winter on Wednesday night. Badrinath and the three shrines of Kedarnath will reopen for pilgrims in April-May next year.