In short

Published: Tuesday 15 July 2003

smokescreen: Two persons were charred to death and 25 injured in a major fire at pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy's factory in Mohali, Punjab, on June 11. The blaze was preceded by blasts at the production centre. Though the plant uses highly inflammable chemicals, Punjab chief minister (CM) Amarinder Singh curiously exonerated the management declaring that the "fire was accidental and could happen anywhere". One wonders whether the CM's being the director of the company for 20 years could have a bearing on his soft stance. The incident did create a ripple at the Bombay Stock Exchange, as Ranbaxy's share price fell from Rs 700.30 to Rs 624. But thanks to the summary burial of the controversy, it bounced back strongly and closed at around Rs 703.

land reforms panel: The Union ministry of rural development will constitute a separate body for land reforms and wasteland development. Rural development minister Kashiram Rana reportedly said that a proposal to this effect had been sent to the Union cabinet for approval. The body, 'Jayprakash Mission For Land Reforms', will comprise 11 members and would draft policies. Surprisingly, however, ministry officials appeared ignorant of the development.

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