Monday, November 30, 2009

Paper for sepoys’ recruitment leaked, 3 arrested

The question paper of the exam for the recruitment of sepoys in the Army, which was held in many parts of the country today, was allegedly leaked last night by some unscrupulous agents from Amritsar.

This startling disclosure was made by none else than sleuths of the Intelligence Wing of the Army functioning from the city after it managed to apprehend three candidates from Faridkot Railway Station last night.

A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said three candidates- Satnam Singh, Jagmeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh from the Malwa region- were allegedly noting down questions on a paper while talking to Amritsar- based agent Daljeet Singh over the phone. When these questions were matched with the question paper issued by the Army authorities, which was held at Faridkot today, both turned out to be the same.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that due to the leakage of the paper, the start of the exam at Faridkot was delayed by half an hour.

Sleuths of the wing handed over the trio to the Faridkot police, which after carrying out preliminary investigations found that the paper was actually leaked in Jalandhar.

Faridkot SSP Arun Mittal said as the paper was leaked in Jalandhar, a case could be registered in that district only.

The sleuths also did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of high rank officials of the Army and retired personnel.

They have also written to the Army authorities for conducting a thorough probe into the matter and cancel the exam.

Ex-servicemen’s rally held

An ex-servicemen’s rally-cum-Fauji Mela was organised at Palma Academy in Palma village of the frontier district of Rajouri.

The event was organised by a Rashtriya Rifles battalion under the aegis of the Counter- Insurgency Force (Romeo).

The rally was inaugurated by General Officer Commanding, Counter-Insurgency Force (Romeo).The Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, the Secretary, Zila Sainik Board, Rajouri, representatives of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), Rajouri, Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad, and nationalised banks attended the rally and addressed the ex-servicemen to educate them about various welfare activities and schemes launched by the government for their benefit.

A medical camp was also organised wherein Army and civil doctors, including medical specialists, surgery specialists and gynaecologists /lady Medical Officers provided healthcare advice and free medicines to the ex-servicemen. A dental detachment was also available.

An information cell to provide multifarious information to the ex-servicemen and register their grievances was set up during the occasion. ECHS information and Smart Card counters were also established at the rally venue for the benefit of the ex-servicemen.

Over 500 ex-servicemen attended it.

21 impersonators held

The Army today apprehended 21 persons who were impersonating in the written exams held for recruitment to various categories of soldiers.

The Jammu-based PRO of the Ministry of Defence, Lt-Col Biplab Nath, said the written examination was being conducted for the candidates, who had already cleared the first round of physical and medical tests held last month. “When the recruiting officers were conducting preliminary identification, they became suspicious and found that some candidates were impersonating ,he said.

On investigation, it was found that 21 fake candidates had been impersonating.

“All 21 impersonators were handed over to the police at Channi Himat and a complaint stands lodged against them,” the PRO said.

The test was postponed and the new dates would be announced later.

MoD pays for ignoring SC ruling

The Delhi High Court and the Armed Forces Tribunal have, in separate cases, imposed costs on the Ministry of Defence and the Army for not taking due cognizance of a Supreme Court order pertaining to grant of pension to disabled veterans and filing appeals contrary to the “settled legal position”.

The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that disabled ex-servicemen are entitled to pension even it they have sought retirement voluntarily. The MoD, however, is continuing to file appeals against the order of single benches of high courts allowing pension in such cases. Disability pensionary benefits were not being released by the MoD to voluntary retirees though the Supreme Court had held voluntary retirees entitled to disability pension in 2008.

Acting on a petition file by Bachan Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, the Delhi Bench of the AFT had a few days ago, imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Adjutant General’s branch. The Bench observed that the approach of the authorities was casual, which drove poor personnel to unnecessary litigation when the issue stood decided by the high court and the Supreme Court.

The AFT order also quotes a recent case where the Delhi High Court had imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on the MoD for denying disability pension to a voluntary retiree contrary to the settled legal position.It is learnt that the MoD had filed appeals against benefits granted by the courts to disabled veterans by sweeping under the carpet the legal opinion of the office of the Solicitor General.

Even after a bunch of judgments of the Supreme Court upholding an earlier decision by the Delhi High Court, the Legal Advisor of the MoD had recommended further SLPs in similar cases. The matter was then referred to the Solicitor General’s office for opinion. The Additional Solicitor General, however, clearly opined that similar matters had been decided by the Supreme Court and had attained finality and such cases were not fit for SLPs.

Army Headquarters also requested that the MoD sanction disability pension to voluntary retirees citing that the same would result in reduction of court cases on the subject. The Army HQ had further pointed out that cases were “being contested by the government despite knowing the settled position of law.”

Maoists blow up railway station, school buildings

Two persons were killed in an explosion triggered by Maoists during their two-day Jharkhand bandh that began today. They also blasted a railway station, uprooted tracks and blew up school buildings.

The blast triggered by Maoists at Amjore village in East Singhbhum district, DSP (PCR) Dinesh
Oraon said.

A contingent of security forces have reached the spot to track down the ultras, he said.The extremists also blew up Mahubuang railway station in Simdega district and railway tracks early, IGP V Deshmukh said, adding that they also blew up a stretch of railway track between Jageswar and Dania stations in Bokaro district late last night.

The blasts disrupted train services on the route, Railway officials said. However, security personnel have reached the spot and repair work is going on, they added.

In Pipra village at Palamau district, the Maoists blew up a panchayat hall and five school buildings hours before the bandh, Palamau police chief Jatin Narwal said. — PTI

Red Fort to be cleared of Army remnants

NEW DELHI: The ugly tin sheds, toilet blocks and hutments, which were built by the Indian Army during its stay in Red Fort from 1947 to 2003, are finally on their way out. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to demolish the structures as part of its conservation plans for the citadel. It also plans to reopen the drains along Red Fort's walls, which had been closed by the British.

Over 100 such structures that have no archaeological or historical merit have been identified in the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) prepared for Red Fort."These structures were built by the Indian Army when they stayed inside the Red Fort complex from independence to December 2003. They will be phased out in the next few weeks,'' said a senior ASI official. Two canteens within the fort grounds will also be removed.

According to conservationists, spaces like these have been an eyesore for tourists visiting the Red Fort complex, which boasts of buildings from three different eras, including the Mughal and British periods. "The Army built many structures small hutments, tin sheds, toilet blocks to house soldiers in the fort. For conservation purposes, these structures need to be removed and the space they are occupying opened up,'' said a senior official. Once the structures have been removed, the Diwan-i-am and Rang Mahal will be renovated and the fort's many museums will be shifted to the British-era barracks.

ASI is also planning to open the six-foot deep drains that run along the citadel's outer walls. According to sources, they were blocked by the British when they took over the fort after the 1857 uprising, a move that is now posing problems. "The water trapped in the drains is stagnating at various points, triggering capillary action in the fort walls. During the Mughal era, the drainage ensured that not a single drop of water would enter the Red Fort. However, the British wanted huge lawns so they had the drain blocked,'' said an official.

ASI officials said the blocked drainage has also damaged the two gateways to the fort Lahore Gate and Delhi Gate. "The blocked drainage causes water to seep inside the foundation of the fort wall and the two gates. This weakens the structure and the problem had to be addressed urgently,'' said officials.

Conservation work is expected to kickstart once the CCMP gets the final nod from the Supreme Court-appointed expert committee. Red Fort is the second most visited monument in the city after Qutub Minar. ASI has also constructed a parking lot at the fort, which is awaiting clearance from Central Public Works Department. 

Navy, Army race-cum-expedition to Kochi sails off

An Indian Navy and Military College of Electronics & Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) joint race-cum-sailing expedition to Kochi set sail from Mumbai Sunday.

A total of four teams, including an all-women civilian team, are participating in the Mumbai-Goa leg of the expedition which will culminate at Kochi Dec 17, an official spokesman said.

The expedition will be conducted in four laps - Mumbai-Goa, Goa-Mangalore, Mangalore-Bevpore and Bevpore-Kochi, covering a total distance of 1,200 km in 18 days.

The Corps of EME comprises the maintenance engineers of the Indian Army for the entire range of vehicles and equipment, ranging from the smallest medical equipment to the most advanced helicopters.

The event is part of the MCEME 9th Corps Reunion celebrations at the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad Jan 8-10, 2010.

Besides the race-cum-sailing expedition, other sports and adventure activities, including high sea sailing, hot air ballooning, white water rafting, desert safari, and mountaineering expeditions spanning different regions are currently in progress to commemorate the occasion. 

Post-26/11, number of Army jawans from Maharashtra doubles

MUMBAI: Until now we have seen candle-light vigils and peace marches, debates and prayer meetings. But there has been another response to the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai that has gone largely unnoticed. And it has come not from the educated, well-to-do elite visible in the media but from every nook and corner of Maharashtra.

Since 2007, and especially in the wake of 26/11, the number of persons volunteering to serve in the armed forces to defend the country has doubled in Maharashtra. While there were a little more than 2,000 recruits in 2007, over 5,000 have already enlisted till November this year. These numbers relate not to officers but what the defence forces call personnel below officers’ rank (PBOR).

Simply put, they are the ordinary jawans or footsoldiers who form the fighting mainstay of our country. These recruits have come from both rural and urban areas of Maharashtra and their social background can be gauged from the fact that they do not possess the educational qualifications to seek service as officers.

The volunteers have been lining up at selection centres in Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Lonavla, Pune and Mumbai. As a result, recruitment from the state to all three wings of the defence forces — the army, navy and air Force — have shown a significant jump this year. In fact, in 2009, Maharashtra sent the second-largest number of PBORs to the Indian army.

Following the brutal 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai there was a surge of patriotism across the country. After watching images of military commandos fighting terrorists, several young men expressed a desire to don the army’s olive green uniform. Thus, states such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have also shown an increase in fresh recruits to the defence forces, but nowhere have the numbers gone up as significantly as in Maharashtra.

The armed forces are short of over 13,000 officers but there is no such problem with regard to PBORs. In the last three years, more than 1,24,000 PBORs have joined the army, navy and the air force. 

Sound infrastructure needed on border with Tibet: Kapoor

PUNE: Chief of army staff General Deepak Kapoor on Sunday stressed the need to build sound infrastructure on the Indian side of the Tibetan border.

“Such development is necessary in view of the huge infrastructure build-up on the Chinese side of the border with Tibet. We have been constantly saying that we need to bring infrastructure on our own side up to the acceptable levels,” he said.

The army chief was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the passing-out parade
(PoP) of the 117th course at the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla here. His comments were in response to a query regarding the threat perception from China.

“Both India and China have an appropriate mechanism in place to take care of minor skirmishes or disputes, if and when they arise on the border front,” Kapoor said.