Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Forced landing by helicopter

A helicopter of the Army had to do forced landing in fields in Gehri Butter village, near here, today because of poor visibility due to smog.

The helicopter carrying four Army personnel, including two crew members, was on the way to the cantonment here from Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

The pilot, Captain Muneesh, reportedly took the decision to land the helicopter on a patch in a field from where paddy had been harvested.

The village on the Dabwali road falls within the jurisdiction of the Sangat police station in Bathinda district.

Personnel of the Army and the police reached the spot and were guarding the helicopter.

The police said the helicopter would be flown from there tomorrow when visibility improved.

Meanwhile, a thick blanket of smoke caused due to stubble burning by farmers suddenly engulfed most parts of the district in the afternoon following bright sun in the morning after six days.

Security forces kill LeT militant

In a joint operation, the Jammu and Kashmir police and the Army killed a Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT) militant in Doda district late last night.

Defence sources said based on intelligence inputs regarding the presence of a militant in Kethinala,10 km from Doda, the security forces launched an operation and killed the LeT militant, identified as Mohd Hussain,a resident of Kethi, Doda.

He was responsible for throwing a grenade in Mandirwali Gali, Doda and other violent activities.

A UBGL, two UBGL grenades and a Chinese grenade were recovered from his possession.

UPA netas board economy, fly luxury

NEW DELHI: Pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines have blown the lid off the UPA's ongoing austerity drive which has seen ministers and MPs making a proud show of flying economy. In a letter to the airline management, they alleged that ``some'' ministers and MPs insisted on an upgrade — that is seats in business class — after boarding the aircraft on economy tickets.

Some VVIPs, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) complained, even ``forcibly occupy seats in J (business) class''.

The airline, on its part, maintained that it had not come across any such case. ``The ICPA has not cited any specific example. So the question of taking action for something that has not happened so far does not arise,'' said an airline spokesperson. Officials of several airlines, however, agreed that despite the austerity drive, not many VVIPs were comfortable flying economy class.

Steering clear of the austerity issue, the ICPA only requested airline CMD Arvind Jadhav not to take disciplinary action against pilots by holding them responsible for the upgrade ``if some person in power upgraded him/herself on their own''.

After taking over, Jadhav has come down heavily on the earlier common practice of upgrades in the Air India-Indian Airlines combine. Only very senior level employees can travel business class and even for other well-connected people, the economy ticket has to be of a certain minimum fare level to be considered for upgrade.

``Many private airlines have instructions fed into their systems to give upgrades automatically, subject to availability, to certain powerful names from the political and bureaucratic spectrum. The austerity drive has mainly meant loss of revenue for us as when certain VVIPs are checked-in, we do insist on upgrading them. Sometimes they don't accept the offer and sometimes they do. But they all want to know if some senior party leader or UPA functionary is on that flight before accepting the upgrade,'' said an airport official of a private airline.

Being a government airline, IA airport staff may not be under the same stress as their private counterparts to automatically upgrade the big names holding economy tickets — possibly, leaving VVIPs to use their clout on board the aircraft to seek upgrades.

``Since they are in positions of power, our commercial staff and cabin crew are helpless as any resistance (to forcible upgrades) will lead to an awkward situation... So, at times, keeping in mind on-time performance and to avoid agitation of mind, we have to turn a blind eye to (this) problem,'' said the letter written by ICPA general secretary R S Otaal on Wednesday.

Worldwide, it is customary for airlines to upgrade commercially important persons (CIPs) or even common fliers inconvenienced by the airline in any way. However, the desi VIP culture has meant that airlines have made a habit of upgrading netas and babus. 

UPA ministers' travel expenses: Rs 300cr in 3 yrs

NEW DELHI: Cabinet ministers in the previous UPA government ran up a bill of Rs 300 crore between 2006-09, the last three years of its term, travelling within and outside the country.

The staggering figure, revealed in a reply to an RTI query by activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal, indicates the extent of spending by public representatives even as the country was sliding into an economic slowdown.

According to the cabinet secretariat, cabinet ministers - 30 in all in the UPA's first term - spent Rs 137 crore on foreign travel between fiscal 2006-07 and 2008-09 with highest in the year 2007-08 when more than Rs 115 crore was spent.

Incidentally, domestic travel too cost the public exchequer a pretty penny with the amount spent totalling Rs 163 crore. The expenditure incurred by them during 2008-09 was Rs 94.4 crore, which was 38% more than the cumulative expenditure incurred on domestic travel in the previous two years.

About Rs 127 crore was spent by central ministers in 2008-09, Rs 138.7 crore in 2007-08 and about Rs 82.3 crore during 2006-07 on their visits abroad as well as within the country.

The reply from cabinet secretariat did not give any further break-up of expenses in different heads as they are held by the Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDO) of different ministries.

"This office does not have any record of any individual minister as all the expenditure is booked under one respective head of account of all the ministers. As per existing rules... the details of each and every payment to the individual concerned by the DDO of that ministry," J L Khurana, senior accounts officer at the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pension said. 

30,000 personnel to ensure free poll in Jharkhand

In the wake of a boycott call by the Maoists and the banned outfit’s statements threatening to target the Congress party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha during the polls, the Centre on Monday said that over 300 companies (30,000) of paramilitary personnel would be placed at the disposal of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair Assembly election in Jharkhand.

The deployment of the Central Para-Military Force for the polls is over and above the deployment of 11 battalions (11,000 personnel) for anti-Maoist operations in the State, official sources said.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs would like to assure all voters in Jharkhand that they should have no concerns about their security and they will be able to exercise their franchise freely and fearlessly,” a Union Home Ministry spokesperson said.

The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) has given a call to boycott elections to the State Legislature in Jharkhand. The Maoists are opposed to parliamentary democracy.

In a recently issued statement, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) said, “We think that the trend of boycott will grow stronger as the revolutionary movement grows stronger, the organs of people’s revolutionary power come into being in vast tracts of the country, the armed strength of the people grows and the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) makes impressive gains and wins decisive victories in some areas.”

In its bid to impress upon the frontal organisations and NGOs supporting the Maoists’ cause, a Ministry statement said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs would like to draw attention to such statements and to ask all those who believe in democracy and a republican form of Government to ponder over the implications of these statements and threats.”

Mallojulla Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji has, in a recent interview, stated that the Congress and JMM would be ‘targeted’ during the elections. Similarly, Samar Jee alias Anmol, Secretary, South Chhotanagpur Zonal Committee has, through a Press release, warned that those who participate in the election process would be ‘punished’ by Maoists.

IAS officer caught taking bribe, arrested

Chandigarh, November 9

A senior civil servant belonging to the 1989 batch of the Indian Administrative Service landed in the Punjab Vigilance net on the alleged charges of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 lakh from an industrialist of Ludhiana for facilitating allotment of a vacant plot adjoining to his existing unit.

The civil servant Vijay Kumar Janjua, who is Director-cum-Secretary in the Department of Industries and Commerce, has been charged under Sections 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The arrest has sent shock waves in the state’s bureaucracy as the arrest was made from the Udyog Bhavan, the headquarters of the Industries Department in Sector 17.

Immediately after his arrest, a team of the Vigilance Bureau led by its Joint Director Rajinder Singh searched the house of Janjua in Phase VII of Mohali. The arrested civil servant was also taken to the hospital for his medical examination. He was then taken to the Punjab Vigilance headquarters, also in Sector 17, for preliminary questioning by a deputy director of the bureau.

Meanwhile Prabhjot Janjua, wife of the arrested civil servant, has alleged that her husband is innocent and has been framed. ”He has fallen victim to a clique that has been resorting to unlawful methods to trap civil servants who refuse to follow its diktats. It is probably the handiwork of a lobby at Ludhiana that has its roots in Bihar. This lobby has been blackmailing people. The Vigilance team has searched my house and nothing incriminating has been found. It has taken some documents, for which I have given them the explanation,” she added.

This is the first ever case in the state in recent years where a serving civil servant belonging to the country’s premier civil service has been nabbed red-handed in his office with the “bribe money”.

“It is part of the state government’s drive to weed out corruption from public life that a senior civil servant has been arrested. There has been no such precedent — of such a senior civil servant being proceeded against after his formal arrest from his own office in the state,” said a spokesman of the Punjab government.

The complainant in the case, T.R. Mishra, a vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ludhiana, had been pursuing since 2001 a case for allotment of a vacant plot adjoining to his existing unit located in Focal Point, Ludhiana. There is a provision in the industrial policy that an industrial unit can ask for allotment of an adjoining industrial plot on payment of reserve price.

In this case, the reserve price was Rs 2,000 per square yard. Talking to the Tribune, TR Mishra said that when he approached the officer concerned, he was told that since there was a huge difference in the current market price and the reserve price, adjoining plot might not be allotted to him.

“A deal was reached that I would pay him Rs 5 lakh in two instalments to get the allotment. The first instalment of Rs 2 lakh was to be paid to him. I told him that since I was no in a capacity to pay Rs 2.5 lakh, I would pay Rs 2 lakh in the first instalment and the remaining Rs 3 lakh after the allotment had been made. I took the money after informing the Vigilance Bureau and gave him the money in the presence of a shadow witness, Ram Swarath, and two gazetted Class I officers.” Ravcharan Singh Brar led the vigilance team. The accused took the money and put it in a file cover. Subsequently, he put the file cover containing the money under two other files. Finally, he put the money in his drawer before the Vigilance men pounced on him and recovered the money slithered with invisible phenol pathylene powder. The accused on touching the money gets some invisible powder on his or her hands. On coming in contact with water, the powder turns red. The vigilance team found nothing incriminating from the house of the arrested civil servant. Sources revealed that neither any Indian currency nor any item of jewellery was recovered from the home.

Navy shows coast might

Paradip, Nov 9: The nation’s harrowing experience on 26/11 continues to haunt its people, as was evident from the enthusiasm with which people watched and lauded a massive naval drill carried out in the Bay of Bengal, 100km off Paradip coast, yesterday.
As many as seven warships participated in the drill.
“The Indian Navy has to protect the country’s coasts at any cost,” said Rear Admiral P. Murugesan, the flag officer and commander of the Eastern Fleet, while talking to reporters on board from INS Jalaswa.
The Indian Navy, with a fleet strength of more than 140 warships, has been assigned to co-ordinate coastal security operations across the country following the 26/11.
“We are co-ordinating with the marine police of respective states and Indian Coast Guard to see that no more such incidents take place along the 4,700km coastline,” said the Rear Admiral. “The eastern coastline is as vulnerable as any other,” he added.
The Eastern Fleet, which has more than 60 ships under its disposal, displayed its firepower as a part of the Navy Week celebrations.
From the INS Jalaswa, the navy’s first landing platform dock and an amphibious assault ship capable of transporting 1,000 combat troops, tanks and artillery vehicles, Rear Admiral Murugesan guided missile destroyers, INS Rajput and five missile corvettes — INS Kora, INS Kulish, INS Kuthar, INS INS Khanjar and INS Kirpan.
Missiles were fired to the mid-sea from INS Kuthar and INS Khanjar with a speed of 40km-per-hour. The colours glowed red and green as the powerful bombs detonated far out into the water.
The display of underway replenishment showed how resources are exchanged under-water between ships travelling in the same speed. There were also close-range anti-aircraft firing exercises and simultaneous anti-aircraft firing display.
A Chetak helicopter, which took off from Visakhapatnam base, conducted a mock search and rescue operation displaying how the ships are used for landing and takeoffs from the helipads of ships on move. There was a breathtaking fly-past by the Chetak helicopter and Dornier aircraft.
Later talking to reporters, Rear Admiral Murugesan told reporters later that the navy had plans to set up a forward operating base at Paradip to provide logistic support such as fuel, water and ration to the ships.
“A request has been made to the government for allotting land,” he added.

Mumbai newgen’s tryst with the Army

By: Prasoon Kumar with inputs from Pramod Chavan
Powai - 08 November 09 : We at 'Planet Powai' have always been inspired by positive stories in our neighborhood and have always highlighted them on front page to make headlines. When we are nearing seven years of existence to community journalism we would like to bring a very powerful positive story to inspire our youth of today, though not from Powai.
The story is a tale of two people got to do with the army. One is a martyred youngster from Carmichael Road named Lieutenant Nawang Kapdia (25) who attained martyrdom on 11 Nov 2000 fighting Pak terrorists in J&K. I had a dear course mate Capt Kashinath in the same4/3 GR battalion who got killed in insurgency operations from the same battalion in 1985.
The other one is a little boy Om Udeshi (7) who lives just a km from Nawang's home in Mahalaxmi. This boy has some strong past connection with the Indian Army. He lives, sleeps and dreams to be in the army when he grows up. I happened to bump into his father at an exhibition in Bandra-Kurla last year while looking for camouflage pants for my son and then sharing the passion of his son for the army.
With Lt Kapadia's 9th death anniversary falling on 11 Nov, we have timed the story for this issue. We salute this brave soldier who shall inspire the youth of this country.
Om Udeshi, just 6 years old - lives, sleeps and dreams to join the army. “I want to join the Army and serve my country” - Om Udeshi
Om Udeshi is a six year old boy, son of Vikram Udeshi who lives in Mahalaxmi. Om was born in 2003 in Baharain when his parents were posted there for three years.
Now Om's father has joined his family business and stays in Mumbai. Om studies in the New Modern School, Breach Candy in first standard.
Om has a compulsive obsession about the army, rather he seems to have some past connection with the olive green. His parents started noticing Om's interest with anything connected to army like interest ever since he had been two and half years.
It was not the common infant interest of boys to play with guns, tanks and dress in army uniform he had, but as he started growing he has keen interest to watch war movies. He even started talking about army with his father and showed keen desire to dress in camouflage dress all the time. He has been lifestyling himself to a soldier.
He has also featured in some commercials of Orient PSP fans and Amrutanjan Balm, he has also featured in kids commercial in Baharain too.
Last year he happened to visit relatives in Delhi and stayed in West Patel Nagar near to an army base camp. He made it a point to cajole his father to show him the place. His father took out some connection with some army officer and took Om to show him inside the base camp. So fascinated was the little boy with everthing there that he went bonkers seeing and understanding the way army works.
His father even took him on the INS Vikrant ship now anchored as a museum on Bombay docks, he got a first hand account about the weaponry to have captured his impressionable mind. The 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai has left an indelible impression on his mind and his resolve to join the army has further strengthened.
It is difficult to say how and when he developed this deep passion for army. His father narrates one incident when he was 4 or so that in an exhibition there was game to shoot enemy soldiers, so fascinated was Om that he almost spent one hour doing this shooting.
To everybody's surprise Om has now started exercising regularly for an hour in the mornings of what he has seen in the army training at Delhi in the camp. For the future, his parents say once he reaches sixth standard and his interest remains for army they would put him in a military school to realize his passion.
Time alone will tell how and when Om's passion will take him in the olives, but as of now it is an excellent spirit shown by the little one to create inspiration and instill motivation into our youth to look into the army as a career when there is disenchantment in urban youth.
Lt Nawang Kapadia of Carmichael Road got martyred in 1999
Lieutenant Nawang H. Kapadia (15 December, 197511 November, 2000), was an Indian Army officer who died fighting Pakistan supported terrorists in the jungles of Rajwar in Kupwara district of Srinagar on 11 November 2000.
On the 10th of November his Battalion received information of a large number of terrorists hiding in the jungles of Rajwar near Kupwara. Search and destroy operations were immediately launched with Nawang leading his own platoon. At approximately 11 a.m., a large hideout was discovered by the Battalion and the platoon came under fire from a group of eight to ten terrorists in the vicinity.
Havaldar Chitra Bahadur was mortally wounded and Kapadia rushed to rescue him under the covering fire of his comrades. A terrorist who was hiding in the nearby foliage fired at Kapadia, hitting him in the face and killing him.
The encounter resulted in the deaths of two terrorists of the Al Omar Tanzeem, a Pakistan-based organization, with reports of two others grievously wounded and likely to have died. Large quantities of arms and ammunition were recovered, with the fight itself lasting over 36 hours. The terrorists who killed Kapadia were later killed by the same unit. They turned out to be Pakistani Pathans.
His parents are mountaineers Geeta and Harish Kapadia. From his early childhood, Nawang had imbibed the adventurous talents of his parents, both of whom were famous in their own right. Siblings Sonam and Nawang were named after Sherpa mountaineers; both are Gurkha names: Nawang means "leader of men." Nawang did his initial schooling at New Era School and subsequently at the St. Xavier's Boys' Academy. He studied for and received his Bachelor of Commerce from Jai Hind College in Mumbai.
The 24-year old Mumbai-born Kapadia joined the Officers' Training Academy at Chennai in 1999. He received his commission on 2nd of September 2000; he received Lieutenant stars on commissioning to the Fourth Battalion, The Third Gurkha Rifles. Kapadia proceeded to the Regimental Centre at Varanasi from which he joined his Battalion on October 29, 2000.
To commemorate this soldier the Maharashtra govt has named the crossing near his house at Carmichael Road as “Lt Nawang Kapadia Chowk”.