Monday, August 2, 2010

'Shortage of over 14,000 officers in defence services'

New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) The three defence services are facing a shortage of 14,244 officers and the Coast Guard was short of 679 officers and over 2,500 personnel below officer rank, the Lok Sabha was informed today."The shortage of officers is around 11,500 in the Army, 1,507 in Navy and 1,237 in the Air Force," Defence Minister A K Antony said in reply to a query.He added that the shortage of officers was "partly attributable to accretions from time to time, tough selection procedures, difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk involved in recruitment and training.

NACO for condom machines in CWG venues

New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) With the Commonwealth Games expected to bring in a flood of guests to the country, the National AIDS Control Organisation is gearing up to meet the challenge of HIV/AIDS by putting in place condom vending machines in all the CWG offices and venues.The vending machines would be put up at all the venues and the guests would be free to either buy them or avail of free samples which will be given at particular places, NACO Director General K Chandramaouli said at a function here."We are in talks with the state (Delhi) government and other civic authorities to rope in manpower to put up the condom vending machines," Chandramouli said.He also announced the NACO's expansion of its Condom Social Marketing Programme (CSMP).

350 students detained for organising Friendship Day party

Pune, Aug 2 (PTI) About 350 students of the Symbiosis Institute were detained by police for allegedly organising a "friendship day" party without "proper permission" at a farm house in nearby Theur, police said here today.Some of the students, including women, had consumed alcohol at the party which was held last night, they said, adding the detained students are being subjected to a medical test to determine alcohol level in blood under provisions of Bombay Prohibition Act.When contacted, Dr Vidya Yeravadekar, director of the Institute told PTI that the students had sought permission of hostel authorities for a "late out" but had failed to return within the time limit prescribed by the institute authorities.It was not a "rave" party at which narcotic drugs are consumed, police said.According to Yeravadekar, the girls detained at the farm house, were released by police.

'CVC was asked not to inspect Games projects'

New Delhi: After all the allegations of corruption in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) preparations, many are asking why it took so long to for the scams and financial irregularities to be disclosed. Now Sudhir Kumar, the chief Commissioner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in 2006, has said that the CVC was asked not to inspect CWG projects. He also added that the Committee was asked to give a blanket exemption from vigilance action as there work was considered an "obstruction.""The representatives of the Delhi government and engineers from all agencies had met me around 2006. The (then) Chief Secretary of Delhi (R Narayanaswamy) was also present. CVC was asked to not inspect any of the CWG projects because this sort of vigilance would be considered an obstruction," Kumar said."There was a concern expressed by the then Delhi Government to the CVC to the effect that since they were starting to take up major projects, could CVC give them some kind of blanket assurance that no vigilance enquiries would be instituted now or taken up in the future for their sort of acts of omission and commission in the course of handling these projects," he added.Kumar also said that hurried work always indicates corruption, and that the projects must last beyond the two weeks that the Games are held. "We all know that the amount of money put in is not just for those 15 days but, for a lifetime. My concern is whether it is going to last that," the former CVC said. (Watch: 'CVC was asked not to inspect Games projects')The CVC has found serious discrepancies like award of works at higher rates to bidders, poor quality of construction and grant of work to ineligible agencies in different Games-related construction works being carried out by various departments in the Capital. (Read: CWG- Delhi's missed deadline)As per the assessment report prepared by the CVC's Chief Technical Examination Wing, large-scale procedural violations, including corruption, have been noticed in 16 projects. The estimated worth of these projects about Rs 2,000 crore.Six of them are being done by Public Works Department (PWD), three by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), two each by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and one by RITES, a Government of India Enterprise, the report said.The CTE Wing has made the assessment of construction projects following complaint of alleged corruption in them. The CVC has asked Chief Vigilance Officers to re-examine all the tenders and procurement process related to the projects.Detractors say the report should not have been made public till the games were over. But the former CVC, Sudhir Kumar says the report is very timely, "I think they made it public so as to alert the authorities instead of just coming up with a list after the games."

TSR to do duty during CWG

Tripura State Rifles (TSR)would be deployed in maintaining security during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, a senior police officer said today. "One battalion of TSR would be sent to Delhi for providing security during the Common Wealth games. The state Government has agreed to send the forces following request from the Central Government," DIG, Police Control, Nepal Das said today."The TSR jawans would be posted in and around the Games venues and Games villages under the command of senior police officials from September 15 to October 20," he told PTI.The TSR, an elite force was raised in 1984 to counter insurgency in the state and at present there are 13 battalions of TSR of which nine battalions of TSR are India Reserve Battalion category.

North East can mitigate country's power deficiency: NEEPCO

The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) on Saturday said that only two per cent of hydro-electricity generation capacity of North-East has been harnessed so far. "Only 2-3 per cent of 70,000 MW power potential of the NE - with Arunachal Pradesh alone accounting for 50,000 MW -have been harnessed so far," NEEPCO CMD IP Barooah said at an event here."The region has the capacity to meet half of India's power requirement with scientific approach to power generation," he said.Indian Chamber of Commerce Director General Rajeev Singh assured of continuing support to "inclusive developmental activities," especially in the power sector of North-East.Besides representatives of various government agencies and business houses, those who attended the conference included Kencho Dorji, Chief Engineer of the Druk Green Power Corporation of Bhutan and Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam Chairman of Rural Electrification Board of Bangladesh.

Naga highway blockade from August 4

A Naga organisation on Sunday announced its decision to impose a 20-day economic blockade on Manipur from 6 am of August 4. The United Naga Council (UNC) said the "partisan" government's indifference to their "just demands" was the reason behind the decision to choke national highways 39 and 53. Life along these arterial highways - they connect Manipur capital Imphal to the rest of India - was beginning to normalise after a 69-day blockade that ended June 18.The UNC had supported the earlier blockade the All Naga Students' Association, Manipur had imposed to protest the elections to "dummy" tribal councils across the hills of the state."The government of India failed to response to our ultimatum which ended on July 31," said a UNC communiqué on Sunday. "The ultimatum was served following the severance of all political ties with the government of Manipur by the Naga people in the Naga Peoples' Convention held on July 1 and their decision to seek New Delhi's intervention for an alternative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur."The UNC had in its memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 27 outlined four demands. They included a judicial probe into the May 6 incident at Mao Gate (Manipur-Nagaland border) where two students were shot dead by the security forces.Another demand was the immediate withdrawal of section 144 and 'demilitarisation' of Naga areas by removal of the Indian Reserved Battalion and Manipur Police commandos. The UNC also sought dissolution of the "undemocratically instituted" autonomous district councils."We appeal to all to extend their cooperation towards this expression (20-day economic blockade) of our democratic rights," a senior UNC functionary said.