Manmohan Singh dedicates Chenab Bridge to nation

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Akhnoor (J-K), Apr 25 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday inaugurated the country's longest cantilever bridge on the Chenab River.

J-K Governor Lt Gen (retired) S K Sinha, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed were among others who were present during the occasion.

Soon after inaugurating the bridge, Dr Singh expressed hope that India and Pakistan would be able to put the "past behind" and move forward with a "sense of urgency" without "false fears or narrow agendas."

"I hope that we (India and Pakistan) will be able to put the past behind us and that we can move forward with a sense of urgency, not inhibited by false fears or narrow agendas," said the Prime Minister.

"I have been heartened by the very positive statements made by the new leaders (of Pakistan)," he added.

After inaugurating the bridge, Dr Singh left for Katra where he will address first convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) University.

On April 26, the Prime Minister will inaugurate Dul Hasti project and address a public meeting at Kishtwar. |

|Bhopal gas victims protest against registration of a harmful Pesticide|National[ New Delhi {New Delhi, Apr 25 : Victims of the Bhopal gas leak staged a demonstration here on Friday against the registration of Dursban, a harmful pesticide that is being freely sold in India by Dow Chemicals, the new owner of Union Carbide plant in Bhopal.

Protesters walked all the way from Bhopal to New Delhi to express discontent against the free use of Dursban which is banned in the U.S for commercial use because it has a deleterious effect on children's brains.

The agitated protesters said that the officials of the Agriculture Ministry were allegedly bribed with rupees 8.8 million to have this pesticide registered.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar ordered an enquiry into the matter on May 4, 2007 but no action has been taken so far against those who are guilty. Dow Chemicals has allegedly earned rupees 0.45 million by selling Dursban in India.

"We have come here to tell Sharad Pawar that the registration of Dursban should be immediately cancelled. There are two other pesticides namely Nurail and Pride and unless the registration of these are cancelled, we will continue with our protest," said Rachna Dingra , a protester.

The victims, having lived through the nightmarish experience of the gas leak disaster in Bhopal are concerned about the deadly impact of pesticides.

More than 3,500 people died in the days and weeks after the toxic Methyl Iscocyanate (MIC) fumes spewed out of a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.

Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for victims. Later Union Carbide was taken over by Dow Chemicals.

The company also paid 470 million dollars to the Indian government in 1989 in a settlement reached after a protracted legal battle.

The victims received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees in the case of a death in the family.

Michigan-based Dow Chemical says it is not responsible for the clean-up as it never owned or operated the plant. The Madhya Pradesh government now owns the abandoned plant.

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