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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Obama praises Taj Manager.. SS Ray former CM dead

SS Ray:(Photo-TT)
IANS,Kolkata, Nov 6 : Siddhartha Shankar Ray, chief minister, governor, ambassador and one of the architects of the national emergency of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, died at his south Kolkata residence Saturday following renal failure, family sources said. He was 90.
Ray left behind his wife Maya Ray, a former MP. The couple was issueless.
The end came at 6.50 p.m., ending the noted barrister’s long battle with kidney problem and old age complications.
A grandson of freedom fighter Chittaranjan Das, Ray served as the West Bengal chief minister from 1972 to 1977, playing a pivotal role in crushing the Maoist movement which had assumed alarming proportions in the state.
One of the most colourful personalities in not only state politics but also at the national stage, Ray was an efficient administrator who was made the governor of Punjab on April 2, 1986 at a time when the Khalistani terrorist movement was at its peak in the northern state.
Aided by a tough supercop K.P.S. Gill, who took over as Punjab Police Director General in 1988, Ray succeeded in considerably weakening the militants in the state.
Born in 1920, Ray jumped into politics by joining then West Bengal chief minister Bidhan Chandra Ray’s cabinet in the 1960s. However, he went on to revolt against him and sided with the opposition Communists for a few years.
He joined the union cabinet of Indira Gandhi in 1967 as education minister and was later also given the additional charge of West Bengal, then under President’s rule.
Despite being the chief minister he wielded considerable influence in national politics, and was said to be one of the architects of Indira Gandhi’s decision to clamp nationwide Emergency on June 25, 1975. The decision caused the Congress to lose the central government two years later, when the Janata Party came into being.
It is also said that it was Ray who drafted a letter for then president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to issue the proclamation for the Emergency.
After the Congress lost power at the centre and was also voted out in the state, Ray turned against Indira Gandhi and even contested for the Congress presidency, but lost.
However, he returned to the Congress fold after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, and was made Punjab governor.
In 1992, then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao made him India’s ambassador to the USA. Ray’s successful tenure ended in 1996, with the change of power at the centre.
It was during his four-year period that Ray became the first ambassador to put business on the Indo-US agenda.
Ray's unpopular measures were part of political compulsion
ENS, Kolkata:Asim Kumar Mitra, 73, happens to be one of the two surviving journalists out of five who were put behind the bar by Siddhartha Shankar Ray as Chief Minister of Bengal during the Emergency. Talking to the The Indian Express after Ray passed away this evening, Mitra recalled those tumultuous days and the love-hate relation between Ray and the press. Jyotirmoy Dutta, the other surviving journalist, stays abroad. In retrospect, Mitra likes to believe that many of the “unpopular measures” taken by Ray were actually prompted by the then Indira Gandhi government at the Centre. Emergency was also part of it as was putting the journalists behind the bar. The five who were arrested and put into jail for their writings included Gour Kishore Ghosh, Barun Sengupta, Nisith Dey besides Jyotirmoy Dutta. and Asim Mitra.
Mitra was a sub-editor with the Jugantar Patrika, one of the leading Bengali dailies in 70s, when Ray was the CM. Mitra recalled that once emergency was declared by Indira Gandhi, Ray put in force censorship on press and every evening an official from Writers’ Building used to come to the newspaper’s office and check the editorial content. “It was a suffocating situation and I decided to protest in my own way,” Mitra said. Any criticism of the Emergency, or the ruling government used to be struck off, meticulously and religiously. “I, as a sub-editor, used to feel humiliated,” Mitra said.
“Gour Kishore Ghosh had shaved off his head in protest against the Emergency, Barun Sengupta had been writing against the Emergency and I as a member of the West Bengal Union of Journalists — a body affiliated to the National Union of Journalists — decided to sit in a satyagraha outside Bidhan Bhavan,” said Mitra.
“It was on December 2, 1975. There were just about 10 members. But a police team came from Hare Street PS and picked me up under the Defence of India law. Next morning, I was produced before the court and lodged in Presidency Jail. I had to stay three-and- a half months there. Later, I got bail and I was acquitted of all the charges,” said Mitra. Despite having been put behind the bars, Mitra says Ray was a man of quality and had taken the development initiatives of Bidhan Chandra Roy forward.
Obama praises Taj Manager Kang Moshes Nanny
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady
Michelle Obama arrive in Mumbai,...
Mumbai: Karambir Singh Kang, general manager of the Taj hotel here who saved lives even after losing his wife and sons in the 2008 terror attack, and the Indian nanny of a Rabbi couple killed by terrorists came for special praise from US President Barack Obama on Saturday.
After signing the visitors' book at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, the first halt after he arrived here just before 1 p.m., Obama described Mumbai as a 'resilient' city.
In his brief speech at the hotel, Obama mentioned by name Kang, who he said risked his life to save the hotel guests after it came under attack by a group from among the 10 Pakistani terrorists who went on a killing spree in Mumbai in November 2008
Obama pays homage to Mumbai terror victims
Kang lost his wife Niti and their sons Uday, 14, and Samar, 5, in the sixth floor of the Heritage wing of the Taj hotel.
Despite losing his family, Kang continued to supervise rescue operations at the hotel and helped numerous guests to escape.
The president also praised Sandra Samuel, the Indian nanny 'who braved bullets to save the baby' of the rabbi couple.
Samuel worked for Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg at the Chabad house in Mumbai which was also attacked by the terrorists. She spirited their son Moshe, who was two years old then, away to safety during the attack.
Obama uses chopper for short Mumbai flight.
Obama was full of praise for the resilience of the people of the 'dynamic and historical city' of Mumbai.
He said his presence at the Taj Hotel, where he is staying overnight, was a 'clear message' to the people. 'The Taj is a symbol of the strength and resilience of the people' of Mumbai, he said.
Michelle dances into little hearts What's the capital of America, kids ask
Satish Nandgaonkar, TT, Mumbai,Nov 6: How do you make Michelle Obama hop and dance with joy? Just ask her easy questions like " What's the capital of America?"
The US First Lady made a group of poor children’s day here this evening, playing hopscotch with them and swaying to a Bollywood number.
If the poll-scarred Barack Obama, away at Hotel Trident to talk business, was worrying how to match predecessor Bill Clinton in winning Indian hearts, his wife did it for him.
The venue was the Mumbai University library on the heritage Fort campus where Michelle, wearing a coffee-coloured top and a multi-coloured skirt, arrived to meet 23 poor children and 18 volunteers from four NGOs.
“I love dancing,” she told the children, perhaps remembering how Clinton had charmed women at a Rajasthan village with an impromptu jig a decade ago.
Someone started playing the title track of Rang De Basanti, composed by A.R. Rahman. Michelle, joined by the children, began shaking a leg to the number sung by Daler Mehndi.
She chatted easily during the half-hour interaction. A girl said meeting Michelle had made her dreams come true. “No. You are my dream,” the American mother of two said. “We are very proud of you.”
She added: “President Obama is trying to make this world better so that kids like you can get better opportunities.”
Soon, they began a game of hopscotch, in which the players hop across a court, advancing a square each time after answering a question correctly.
“We asked her to spell ‘Washington, DC’ and asked her ‘what’s the capital of America?’” said one of the children. The First Lady also spelt “happiness” and correctly named the “Father of India” — she had just visited the Gandhi Museum at Mani Bhavan. Her audience clapped and cheered.
Michelle, though, advised the children that all life’s questions would not be easy, and that education was the key to success.
“She said the children could rise (in life) just as she had with the power of education. She said her journey had not been an easy one, but she could do justice to all her responsibilities as the First Lady only because of her education,” said Vikas Hotwani, a volunteer for one of the NGOs, Making A Difference or MAD.
Michelle gifted the children stationery, an autographed bag carrying a White House picture, and toys, one of which was a stuffed canine resembling the Obama family dog. She autographed the children’s T-shirts and hands.
“Dancing with her was the best part. I have taken her autograph; she was very nice,” said Sagar Jadhav, 12.
“I have learnt from her that education is important in life,” said Johny David, 13, who danced with Michelle and played drums.
53000 jobs in reverse swing US signs 20 deals worth $10 billion
(From left) Industrialist Anil Ambani, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Barack Obama at the business summit in Mumbai. (PTI)
Mumbai, Nov. 6: Barack Obama has something to show for his three-day visit to India, his longest to any country since assuming presidency two years ago: 20 deals worth $10 billion that will create over 53,000 jobs in America.

The deal size may be small but for a President coming off a major election setback in the US where unemployment is hovering at 9.6 per cent, the creation of jobs is a little salve for a bruised economy and battered egos.
But let’s put that job creation number in perspective: in October, the American economy created 151,000 jobs. By that token, the promise of creating 53,670 jobs on the first day of his 10-day waltz through Asia isn’t going to be seen as too modest an achievement. He goes next to Delhi before travelling to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.
The deals were largely confined to the aviation, power and other infrastructure sectors.
The biggest deal was a preliminary agreement worth $4.1 billion between Boeing and the Indian Air Force for the purchase of 10 C-17s, a military transport aircraft. This deal alone will support over 22,000 jobs in the US.
Boeing also struck a $2.7 billion deal with SpiceJet — the low cost carrier in which SUN TV founder Kalanidhi Maran acquired a controlling interest recently — for the sale of 30 Boeing 737 aircraft.
This is a win-win situation for both companies: the deal is expected to support over 12,900 jobs at Boeing. SpiceJet, which reported a Rs 10-crore profit in the second quarter ended September 30, hopes to expand operations in India and start international flights.
Reliance Power Ltd, the flagship company of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, signed a $2.2 billion deal with General Electric for supply of gas turbines for the 2500MW Samalkot power project in Andhra Pradesh.
According to Reliance Power, the deal will create nearly 5,000 jobs in the states of South Carolina, New York and Milwaukee.
Reliance Power and the Export-Import Bank of the United States also announced a memorandum of understanding. This MoU will indicate Ex-Im Bank’s willingness to provide up to $5 billion in financial support to Reliance Power for the purchase of US goods and services to be used in the development of up to 8,000MW of gas-fired electricity generating units and up to 900MW of renewable (solar and wind) energy facilities.
Addressing a galaxy of corporate CEOs from India and the US at the US-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit organised by the US-India Business Council, CII and Ficci, Obama said several of these deals had been agreed on before his arrival.
“Several landmark deals have been done shortly before my arrival here. Boeing is going to sell dozens of planes to India and GE is going to sell hundreds of electric engines. The deals are worth $10 billion and will create more than 50,000 jobs in the US,” he said.
Separately, the ministry of railways also announced the pre-qualification of two US firms — GE Transportation and Electro-Motive Diesel — for a venture to manufacture and supply of 1,000 diesel locomotives over 10 years.
Obama told the gathering there was no reason why India could not become America’s top trading partner; it currently ranks at a lowly 12th, lower than the Netherlands that has a population the size of Mumbai.
“I have no doubt that we can do much better,” he added.
The Key Deals
● Boeing sale of 10 C-17s to IAF: $4.1 billion
● Boeing sale of 30 Boeing-737s to SpiceJet: $ 2.7 billion
● GE sale of engines for Tejas LCA: $822 million
●Reliance Power Samalkot order for GE: $2.2 billion
●Total: $9.82 billion

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