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First United States C-17 cargo plane lands in Gujarat

THE FIRST of the seven US Air Force C-17 cargo planes loaded with aid arrived in Gujarat on Saturday as relief workers race to distribute food, medicine and supplies among hundreds of thousands of survivors before disease

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AHMEDABAD
THE FIRST of the seven US Air Force C-17 cargo planes loaded with aid arrived in Gujarat on Saturday as relief workers race to distribute food, medicine and supplies among hundreds of thousands of survivors before disease spreads. The demolition of damaged buildings gathered pace. Soldiers piled clothes, broken furniture and children’s toys in front of ruined buildings and survivors made last-minute forays into the rubble to scavenge possessions before crews moved into to knock down the remains of their homes. The first American C-17 touched down just before 8 am on Saturday in Ahmedabad carrying personnel. A bottleneck in the relief effort has been a lack of people to unload vital aid off cargo planes.

“This is just one part of the US relief effort and we are very pleased to help in this time of need,” said Major Jeffrey Wright, assistant Army attache at the US Embassy in New Delhi.

Wright dismissed complaints that the recovery effort has been disorganised, saying: “Given the size of the calamity, there are a lot of people doing a lot of good work.” More US planes were headed in. The second, expected on Saturday afternoon, was carrying equipment such as forklifts. The other five were loaded with aid, including sleeping blankets, tents and other supplies for the survivors of the 7.7-magnitude January 26 earthquake.

A six-person military assessment team was sent from US Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii to assist the US Embassy in evaluating potential additional Pentagon assistance to the relief effort.

An American 747 cargo plane, carrying an additional $4 million in aid from the US Agency for International Development will land on Monday, probably in New Delhi. – AP

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Dearer trend prevails in tea auction in COIMBATORE

EUROPEAN Union proposals on trade in farm products presented to the World Trade Organisation has met resistance from Pakistan and India.

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EUROPEAN Union proposals on trade in farm products presented to the World Trade Organisation has met resistance from Pakistan and India.

However, the proposals from the 15-strong EU on Monday got a less hostile hearing than usual from the cairns group of agricultural exporters, according to an EU official.

Reforms in the farm sector are a major element in the WTO’s mission to open up national markets to free trade. The talks are aimed at agreeing common rules for liberalising markets.

“Our impression is that the Gairns Group, in spite of plenty of reserves … has several parts of our proposals they endorse, they see it as a constructive attempt,” the official said.

“Most critical remarks came from Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, from India … reflecting their feeling that they want to make progress in the discussion on implementation before they are prepared to contemplate serious negotiations on agriculture,” the official added.

The EU proposals covered five issues: Market access, competition in export matters, domestic support, non-commercial concerns, and different treatment for developing countries. Resistance from Pakistan and India stemmed from their desire to see measures implemented from the previous Uruguay round of trade talks, which lasted from 1987 to 1994, the official said. – AFP

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Know your rights before I-T swoop @ MUMBAI full report

FROM now on, all income-tax raids will begin only after providing to the person being searched, an “information pamphlet”, listing the rights of the person in such situations.

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FROM now on, all income-tax raids will begin only after providing to the person being searched, an “information pamphlet”, listing the rights of the person in such situations.

This step has been taken by I-T authorities to ward off the allegations of harassment that often crop up after the raids. The fact that the assessee may not be aware of his rights in such situations is another reason for certain officers to misbehave.

The rights of the searched party include the presence of two respectable witnesses from the locality, personal search of all members of the search party before the start of search and after the conclusion of search, to have a copy of panchnama (list of the items at site) together with all the annexes, to call a medical practitioner, if unwell, permission for children to go to school after examination of their bags, to inspect the seal placed on various articles and have meals at normal time.

The assessee also has the right to inspect the books of account seized and make copies of extracts from these books in the presence of an authorised officer, or to make an application objecting to the approval given by the income-tax commissioner for retention of the book of accounts.

The assessee also has the right to receive a copy of any statement recorded before it is used against him, in any proceedings — including prosecution proceedings

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Urea production capacity sufficient till 2020 – KOLKATA

INDIA does not need new investment for urea production for the next three years, Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Satyabrata Mukherjee said on Saturday.

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INDIA does not need new investment for urea production for the next three years, Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Satyabrata Mukherjee said on Saturday. “The government is at present not encouraging setting up of new capacities for production of urea in the country till the year 2003-2004 other than those fertilizer projects in public and co-operative sector for which in principle approval has already been accorded,” Mukherjee said.

This was on account of near self-sufficiency achieved in the production of urea and also on the basis of an assessment of the demand-supply scenario till the year 2003-2004, he said.

The minister, who was speaking on “Prospects of Chemicals and Fertilizers Industry in West Bengal” said the future prospects of the industry in the state would have to be viewed in the context of the emerging policy scenario, availability of feedstock and the scope for new projects in the context of the macro demand-supply scenario.

The state has not even a single urea producing unit and even those started had never commenced commercial production, he said while referring to Haldia unit of Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation which was set up in 1979 but never went into commercial production and was closed down in 1986. The other unit of HFC in Durgapur was also lying closed since 1997.

Mukherjee said the state, with its vast reservoir of knowledge base, excellent port and a large market in hinterland was ideally placed for new investments in pharmaceutical industry. – PTI

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