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    Doaba upbeat over new government

    Doaba upbeat over new government

    Deepkamal Kaur

    The change of government in Punjab has pepped up the mood of real estate players all over the state in general and in Doaba region specifically. Due to a prolonged slowdown in the property market and dismal sale and purchase the developers as well as property dealers had been lying low for the past several years. Real estate dealers of Jalandhar and surrounding areas have high expectations and expect the new government to give a positive boost to their business.  Rajan Chopra, a realtor,  says,“With the Congress  in power there is a positive sentiment in the market. But it will take some time for the government to effectively bring in some visible changes. In any case, the policies of the Centre will continue to matter.”Gearing to restart his unfinished commercial projects, Chopra added, “The market will have some positivity only if the industry and the NRIs are happy. A friendly message has to be given out to them. We know that NRIs had been supporting AAP. But if the Congress wins their confidence and creates an atmosphere for investment by inviting them, the real estate sector will definitely get some boost”.A Jalandhar-based property dealer, Prabhpal Pannu too opines, “There has been a change in perception since the formation of the new government. The feedback coming on the setting up of the new Cabinet, too, has been positive. The government has to revive the city’s industry, especially the sports and leather manufacturers. They are the backbone and will make the money come in circulation. As far as NRIs are concerned, they puzzled as of now and need to be taken into confidence. The mood for investment has to be set in slowly.”Sukhdev Singh, a builder from AGI Infra group, said, “The market is excited with a change in government. Thankfully, it is a very stable government. People actually have great hopes from them and think it will perform well. The Congress  will, however, have to work to boost the NRIs. While earlier as many as 50 per cent buyers of property were NRIs, their percentage has fallen to 10 per cent only.” 

    Is Pakistan outsourcing its water security to China?by LT GEN PRAMOD GROVER (RETD)

    • The views expressed are his personal)

    As water is becoming an existential issue for Pakistan, it has emerged as a cause of major concern between India and Pakistan. Unable to manage and utilise its water resources efficiently, Islamabad misses no opportunity to attribute its water woes to Indian action in developing its water potential of the western rivers.

    Pakistan is facing a grim situation regarding its fast depleting fresh water resources. The per capita water availability in Pakistan has decreased by over 406% from 5,260 cubic metres in 1951 to 1,038 cubic metres in 2010, just marginally above the 1,000 cubic metres per person threshold value under the global criteria. By 2020, the water availability in Pakistan would plummet to 877 cubic meters per annum. In such a scenario, its food security is in danger.


     Pakistan has been blaming India’s hydropower projects on the western rivers for water scarcity. But, that doesn’t hold water. Broadly, the problems may be attributed to Pakistan having drawn limited benefit of India’s generosity, even as it has been receiving more than its authorised share in the past 56 years. A case in point is the limited dam storage of just 15.9 million acre feet (MAF) developed by Pakistan so far at Tarbela, Mangala and Chasma. This gets further reduced (by about 25%) on account of excessive sedimentation. Pakistan thus has water storage capacity just for 30 days against the minimum requirement of 120 days.

    Post-September 2016, Pakistan has been raising the issue of water security at international forums and calling it “a corollary to the unresolved issue of Kashmir”. But Pakistan’s case before the World Bank, a facilitator of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), against the construction of Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower plants is a mere rhetoric. While the construction of Kishanganga project stands approved by the International Court of Arbitration, Ratle is a run-of-the river project permitted under the parameters of the IWT.

    The key question: Why is Pakistan approaching various world forums? Is it an issue that has an impact on Pakistan, or is it its covert plan to act on behalf of China and in turn draw benefit?


    The big picture indicates that Chinese are behind the present defiant stance of Pakistan. India is a power deficient nation. To draw benefit of various economic programmes, including ‘Make in India’, we need additional power. Our aim thus is to draw benefit of hydropower through projects on the western rivers as India is exploiting only one-sixth of its potential.

    One of India’s economic growth indicators is that it has become number one destination for FDI surpassing China. The neighbouring country (China) apparently plans to deny us the availability of additional power for setting up industrial base. So, China has brought Pakistan at the forefront to raise objections to hydropower projects on western rivers. China thus plans to return this favour by providing water security to Pakistan.


    Pakistan has requested China to undertake construction of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam on the Indus in Gilgit-Baltistan. The proposed 4,500MW hydropower plant would eliminate about half of Pakistan’s power shortfall and irrigate millions of acres of parched farmland. The presence of Chinese elements in Pakistan occupied Kashmir will provide additional security to Pakistan. Incidentally, due to opposition by India, both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have in the past refused to lend money. To formalise this understanding, a decision was taken during the meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to include water security to Pakistan as part of CPEC projects.


    From India’s perspective, inclusion of water security into CPEC is a political choice for Pakistan and China, though the issue does not fall within the mandate of the CPEC. New Delhi needs to understand the nuances of this action by Pakistan and China in PoK and raise objection to the Chinese presence. To counter Pakistan’s rhetoric against Kishanganga and Ratle, we must highlight that run-of-the-river dams such as Baglihar consume nothing as water must flow to run turbines. Such a dam delays a river with no consequential effect on the quantity of water reaching Pakistan.


    • (The writer is an expert on the Indus Water Treaty. The views expressed are his personal)

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    Posted: 23 Mar 2017 08:24 AM PDT


    One of the biggest expectations among central employees is dearness allowance. The govt announced the 2% DA hike from 01/01/2017. In March salary employees will receive hiked DA and the balance arrears will be paid later in the midst of April.

    But regarding house rent allowance and other allowances till date govt didn’t take any decision.The central minister replies to a question raised in Lok sabha about allowances he replied that the high-level committee has not yet submitted reports to the government. This was the latest news of all allowances.

    On 16/03/2017 most of the federation decided to do one day strike to force the govt to finalize against their charter of demands which includes minimum wage increase,fitment factors, all allowances and scrap new pension scheme etc.

    Actually, the strike news was ignored by most of the media so the impact of strike work will not bring any favor to the employees. The central government did not take much effort to stop the strike. More than 10 lakhs employees participated in this strike. Defense civilian employees and railway employees did not get involved in the strike work but they organized Dharnas in front of the office and the factory.

    Most of the employees felt that July 11th indefinite strike must have began and force the govt to decide on demands. If that happened minimum wages may get hiked and allowances will also be implemented as per 7th cpc recommendations .

    Five states assembly election results are also in favor to govt. So govt thinks the way govt moves is right.However final decisions is in govt hands. Struggling and agitations will not make any changes. So NC JCM and NJCA should get an appointment voluntarily to discuss the matters of central employees wages and allowances and try to find a decent agreement. Already fifteen months have been passed from the date of 7th CPC implementation. To minimize the recurring loss of employees, union leaders must take all initiatives to get maximum benefits for employees.


     2 Will announcements regarding 7th CPC Allowances be made this week?  Click here
     3  Seventh Pay Commission: Allowance Hike Announcement Likely Soon  Click here


    Pay revision ‘letter’ goes viral

    Posted: 23 Mar 2017 07:58 AM PDT

    The Defence Ministry said here on Wednesday that a letter in circulation since Tuesday on the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations for the armed forces was fake.

    The letter follows a pattern of false communication on social media in recent times on the pay commission and one rank, one pension.

    With the subject line “Revised scale of pay in 7th CPC”, the letter said: “It is submitted that the JCM proposal has been approved by the Cabinet on March 16, 2017 with the conditions placed by the commission. But the same is not included for defence employees (combatant).”

    It further stated that during the Cabinet meeting on March 16, the proposal was approved and it would be implemented with effect from April 1.

    The origin of the letter remains unknown, but it went viral among military and veteran groups on social media.
    ‘Makes no sense’

    Defence Ministry spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said the letter was fake. A defence source said the contents did not make any sense in the first place.

    “This is a fake, planted one to create unrest among the ranks so that an odd revolt type situation will force the Army to accept the recommendations as they are,” another official said.

    A few weeks ago, a message on WhatsApp went viral among military personnel, promising better salaries.

    When the OROP protest flared last year, similar communication created confusion.

    While the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations have been implemented for civilian staff, it is yet to be implemented for the services because of some core anomalies pointed out by them.

    Read at:

    7th Pay Commission: Can Narendra Modi government gift you higher allowances from April?

    Posted: 23 Mar 2017 07:50 AM PDT

    All hope may not be lost for Central government employees who were expecting the government to make an announcement on higher allowances under the Seventh Pay Commission after the election season.

    According to some media reports, the Committee on Allowances headed by Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa may submit its report before the end of this month, giving a glimmer of hope to employees who can expect to get revised allowances from April.

    The Committee on Allowances missed its earlier February 22 deadline for submitting its review report on the recommendations by the Seventh Pay Commission on allowances.


    1. Replying to a question on Seventh Pay Commission in Lok Sabha on March 10, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal had said the committee on higher allowances was yet to submit its report. The minister, however, added that deliberations with the committee were in the final stage.

    2. The Committee on Allowances was formed in July last year after government employees protested against the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. The commission had recommended scrapping 53 of the 196 allowances for government employees and also suggested merging a few others.

    3. The Ashok Lavasa-led committee was given four months’ time to submit its review report on the recommendations made by the Seventh Pay Commission. The deadline for report submission was later extended to February 22, 2017.

    4. Allowances form a significant part of a government employee’s salary and the delay in announcement on a proposed hike has led to growing resentment among nearly 50 lakh employees.

    5. It was believed that once the model code of conduct was lifted following the end of the elections in five states, the government would soon make an announcement on higher allowances.

    6. The second part of the Budget session is still on and the Committee on Allowances, as per some media reports, is expected to submit its report before the end of March. If the recommendations are implemented by month-end, employees can expect to get revised salaries from April.

    7. Among allowances, the Lavasa committee’s recommendation on house rent allowance will be most-closely followed. HRA is one of the fatter allowances that employees get and the Seventh Pay Commission had recommended reducing it by 2-6 per cent depending on type of cities.

    8. If reports are to be believed, the Committee on Allowances is likely to recommend no changes in HRA, keeping them as they were under the Sixth Pay Commission at 10, 20 and 30 per cent for different tiers of cities.

    Read at:

    7th Pay Commission: Allowance Committee Likely To Hold Talks With Union Officials Soon

    Posted: 23 Mar 2017 07:36 AM PDT

    The government had in June accepted the recommendation of Justice AK Mathur-headed Seventh Pay Commission in respect of the hike in basic pay and pension but its suggestions relating to allowances were referred to the Ashok Lavasa committee.

    The allowance committee on 7th Pay Commission is likely to hold a meeting with employee representatives later this month, Shiv Gopal Mishra, the convenor of National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) told NDTV. After further talks with employee representatives, the 7th Pay Commission allowance panel may submit its report to the government, he added. Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal had earlier clarified that the allowance committee on 7th Pay Commission has not yet submitted its report. The minister said the government will decide on the implementation after the report is submitted by the committee.

    Mr Mishra also said that the employee representatives recently held a meeting with another panel that is looking into NPS or National Pension Scheme. The government had in June accepted the recommendation of Justice AK Mathur-headed Seventh Pay Commission in respect of the hike in basic pay and pension but its suggestions relating to allowances were referred to the Ashok Lavasa committee. The 7th pay commission had examined a total of 196 existing allowances and, by way of rationalisation, recommended abolition of 51 allowances and subsuming of 37 allowances. The Union Cabinet had also constituted a separate committee for suggesting measures for streamlining the implementation of National Pension System (NPS).

    As regards allowances, the unions have demanded HRA (house rent allowance) at the rate of 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent. The Seventh Pay Commission had recommended that HRA be paid at the rate of 24 per cent, 16 per cent and 8 per cent of the new basic pay, depending on type of cities.

    The 7th Pay Commission had also recommended that the rate of HRA be revised to 27 per cent, 18 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively when DA crosses 50 per cent, and further revised to 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent when DA crosses 100 per cent.

    The National Joint Council of Action or NJCA is a joint body of unions representing central government employees.

    Read at:

    Implementation of creamy layer criteria

    Posted: 23 Mar 2017 07:23 AM PDT

    In case of recommendation of name of a candidate by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for service allocation, the candidate is considered for allocation to one of those services by the Government for which he has indicated his preference subject to fulfilment of other conditions like Medical fitness, eligibility for availing reservation as per Civil Services Examination Rules and extant instructions on the subject. Further, vacancies reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC) candidates are filled by the candidates eligible for availing OBC (Non Creamy Layer) reservation.

    The Supreme Court of India in the Indra Sawhney judgement referred to ‘creamy’ layer as those sections or identified groups among the backward classes who are excluded from the purview of reservation. Further, the criterion for determining creamy layer amongst OBCs is provided in the Schedule to the OM dated 08.09.1993. For Category VI of the aforesaid Schedule, wherein Income/Wealth Test for determination of creamy layer has been prescribed, the income ceiling is revised from time to time. The current income ceiling for that purpose is Rs 6 Lakh per annum, as stipulated in DoPT OM dated 27.05.2013.

    This was stated by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question by Shri Devender Goud T. in the Rajya Sabha today.


    ‘Can You Give us What We Need’ Asks Army Chief

    The Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat releasing the ‘Compendium of Problem Statements Vol II’, in New Delhi on March 24, 2017.
    CNR :94857 Photo ID :100246

    General Bipin Rawat chaired a combined session of ‘the user and the provider’ attended by renowned industrialists, academicians as well as the decision making hierarchy of the Army and released the ‘Compendium of Problem Statements Vol II’, which has been prepared by Army Design Bureau (ADB) after detailed interaction with all stake holders including soldiers deployed in field.

    The first volume, with 50 problem statements released on 5th December 2016, was received with tremendous amount of enthusiasm, 28 new problem statements have now been added which will enable industry and academia to understand the ‘Felt Needs’ and come up with indigenous solutions incorporating the latest technology trends for India’s military power.

    Giving feedback on the first vol, industrialists and academicians expressed keenness to step up R&D for solutions to Army’s problems and deeply appreciated Army’s efforts calling the raising of ADB as a path breaking step. Mr RS Bhatia pointed that India is probably the only great nation where Industrial might of the country is not yet reflected in its Defence Forces.

    General Rawat took the opportunity to challenge the industry and academia by asking them to align the solutions to the stated problems. ‘We want to fight next war with technology on our side and not like the past’, he said. He sought efforts towards the most important need to bring in transparency of the battlefield to allow better decision making. Pointing out the drawbacks in trial equipment, he asked the industry and academia to focus on the fact that Indian Army will fight its wars in varied terrain and weather conditions seeking them to come up with robust, rugged, miniaturised yet technologically compatible solutions. He further nudged them to come up with a ‘Society for Defence Manufacture’ as the next step.

    Industry leaders and the academicians who seemed greatly ‘fired up’ committed to work towards ensuring that‘Indian Army Will Win India’s Wars with Indian Solutions’.


    Col Aman Anand

    PRO (Army)
    (Release ID :159931)

    Welfare Of Families Of Martyred Soldiers

    Assistance / other facilities provided to and welfare schemes for the families / Next of kins (NoKs) of martyrs and disabled soldiers are at Annexure.  In addition, some State Governments also extend benefits to the families of martyrs.

    Petitions are received from widows and dependents of Defence Personnel disabled, incapacitated or killed in action with regard to payment of family pension, special family pension, ex-gratia etc. from time to time.  Efforts are made to dispose these petitions expeditiously, based on the Government policies in this regard and their disposal is monitored at appropriate levels.

    This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Naranbhai Kachhadiya in Lok Sabha today.


     (Release ID :159867)

    Navy conducts maiden firing of missile from INS Vikramaditya

    Navy conducts maiden firing of missile from INS Vikramaditya

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, March 24

    The Indian Navy has successfully conducted the maiden trial firing of newly installed surface-to-air missile system from its sea-borne aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

    During the firing carried out in the Arabian Sea, the missile—from the Barak series—was fired against a live low-flying high-speed target. The target was successfully engaged and destroyed, Indian Navy spokesperson Capt DK Sharma said on Friday.

    The firing was conducted as part of the Operational Readiness Inspection of the Western Fleet by Vice-Admiral Girish Luthra, the Western Naval Commander. The missile marks a significant milestone in providing Air Interception and Defence capabilities, of the Navy’s aircraft carrier and the fleet.

    I prayed for death, says Indian soldier who strayed into Pak

    I prayed for death, says Indian soldier who strayed into Pak
    Photo of Chandu Babulal.

    Mumbai, March 24

    The Indian soldier who was returned by Pakistan after four months in captivity said he was so fed up with torture by Pakistanis that he often prayed for death while in their custody.

    “I was assaulted. I told them: Kill me. I realised that this was the end of the road for me,” Chandu Babulal Chavan, who was handed over to India on January 21, said here on Friday in conversation with a Marathi channel.

    The 22-year-old had crossed into Pakistan on September 29, the day India hit terror launch pads across the line of control (LoC), and 10 days after an attack by suspected Pakistani militants on a camp in Uri that killed 19 soldiers.

    Chavan was posted on the LoC in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

    Describing the scenario after he was caught by Pakistani soldiers after straying across the border, Chavan said, “they checked me, took out my clothes, put on black robes (on me) and took me away in a vehicle.” “I was put in a room which was always dark. I did not understand a thing. The bathroom and toilets were also in the same room,” the soldier, who returned to his native Borvihir village in Dhule district, earlier this month, told the channel.

    “When I used to bang my head and ask them to kill me, they gave me injection doses. They used to beat me. There came a time that I didn’t have any more tears in my eyes,” he said.

    “I did not understand whether it was day or night. I remembered my family in those harrowing times. I used to pray God to end my life,” he said.

    Describing the Pakistani torture, he said, “They used to give me sedatives through injection. They put drops in my ear when it was bleeding.”

    “There was a time when I told my captors that I had crossed into Pakistan to avenge the Uri terror attacks,” he said. — PTI

    Newly elected MLAs take oath in Punjab

    Newly elected MLAs take oath in Punjab
    Chief Minister Amarinder Singh being greeted at the Punjab Assembly in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

    Ruchika M Khanna and Rajmeet Singh

    Tribune New Service

    Chandigarh, March 24

    Lawmakers of the 15th Vidhan Sabha took oath of office on Friday in a session marked by absence of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal.

    Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was the first to be sworn into the new assembly. Six Aam Aadmi Party and two BJP MLAs were present in the House.

    Highlights         2:00 pm: So far only NK Sharma from the Akali Dal seen in the House. Six AAP MLAs and two BJP MLAs present

    2:00 pm: Bikram Singh Majithia, Gurpartap Singh Wadala and Ajit Singh Kohar among five others MLAs who have arrived

    2:01 pm: Capt Amarinder Singh takes oath.

    2:03 pm: Governors gallery brimming with relatives of MLAs.2:03 pm: Oath taking in order of seniority.

    2:08 pm: Amarinder Singh shares lighter moments with his MLAs.

    2 08 pm: Bains brothers — Simarjit Singh and Balwinder Singh — sit with AAP MLAs.

    2:10 pm: Aruna Chaudhary takes oath in English

    2:13 pm: HS Phoolka takes oath. Two former MLAs — Lal Singh and Mohd Sadiq — in the governors’ gallery. Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, who abdicated her seat for her brother in law, fatehjung bajwa, also sitting in governors’ gallery.

    2:33 pm: Majithia and Amarinder shake hands after former takes oath.

    2:34 pm: Most AAP MLAs do not greet the CM.

    2:36 pm: Senior Congress MLAs who have not made to the Cabinet, so far, get opportunity to share their view point with Amarinder.

    2:39 pm: Parminder Dhindsa greets both Capt and Phoolka. First time MLAs cheered by their family members.

    2:47 pm: Sukhpal Singh Khaira only AAP MLA to first greet all on treasury Benches before taking oath.

    2:58 pm: Akali Dal deputy leader Ajit Singh Kohar greets all Congress and AAP MLAs.

    3:01 pm: Every Congress MLA takes blessing of Amarinder Singh

    3:11 pm: Ramanjit Sikki takes oath in English.

    3:19 pm: Amarinder Singh leaves the House.

    3:20 pm: Navjot Singh Sidhu sits on his seat; being greeted by MLAs taking oath.

    3:25 pm: A staff member asks Sidhu to return to his seat.

    3:27 pm: Madan Lal Jalalpur takes oath.

    3:34 pm: Kultar Singh Sandhwan first touches the ground and then climbs the stairs to take oath. He is an MLA from Kotkapura.

    3:51 pm: Amarinder Singh Raja Warring first removes his shoes before taking oath.

    4:03 pm: Navjot Sidhu and Simarjit Bains hug after the latter takes oath.

    4:05 pm: Kuldip Singh Vaid, Congress MLA who was deputy commissioner under Akali Dal government, greets Bikramjit Singh Majithia before taking oath.


    Headlines 24 March 2017

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    An Army veteran’s homage journey reaches city

    Tribune News Service

    Bathinda, March 23

    A veteran’s homage journey’ has entered Punjab through Bathinda, the 155th location, after traversing through most states of the country before moving up North and finally to conclude the pilgrimage at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ (War Memorial), New Delhi, on April 19. Punjab is the 27th state that General Jha is journeying through on the saddle, as part of the 12,000 kilometers of the homage journey.This homage journey is a personal quest of Major General Somnath Jha (retd), a third generation soldier who gave the best of life to the honorable service of the Indian Army for over 37 years and hung his boots at the age of 58 last year.As a soldier he witnessed loss of many brethren who could not make it to their retirement day and sacrificed themselves for the nation. This personal loss of friends and peers inspired this Army veteran to take upon himself, this mission of bicycling solo, down the entire length and breadth of the country, paying homage to the fallen heroes, over 20,600 of them since the Independence. As he cycles two minutes for every fallen hero, he also carries with him the message of ‘One Nation’ and ‘Love’.A journey that began as a personal quest, today has more than a thousand citizens following it on the social media and countless people who have connected with it at locations which have been visited by him; hundreds of villages, small towns and districts in the past five months. A seven-month-long journey that rekindles the spirit of being one as a nation, and lights up so many hearts everyday, is not just about the number of hours he has spent on and off road, nor the number of homes that have been visited but a story of courage, perseverance and above all love; the only intention.‘Behind every successful man and his story is a woman who has faith in him’. Chitra Jha, wife of Major General Jha, is this pillar of strength and a writer of international acclaim herself with four successful books to her credit in the past few years.

    IAF chopper makes emergency landing at Rajaji Tiger Reserve

    IAF chopper makes emergency landing at Rajaji Tiger Reserve
    An IAF chopper grounded at Rajaji Tiger Reserve due to some technical fault in Haridwar on Thursday. Tribune photo: RAMESHWAR GAUR

    Tribune News Service

    Haridwar, March 23

    A helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) made an emergency landing at Rajaji Tiger Reserve here today. An Army Major and Captain were on board when the chopper (IA 3106) had to land due to some technical glitch in the dense forest terrain at Baniyawala, Chillawali Range of Rajaji Tiger Reserve.The chopper had taken off from Haldwani for Solan in Himachal Pradesh. Its first abrupt stoppage was at Raiwala. After the snag was fixed, the chopper flew for its destination, but it had to land once again at Baniyawala after the pilot sensed some error. Finding it tough to resolve, another helicopter from the nearest Army Cantt area in Raiwala was called with a technician.Komal Singh, wildlife warden, Haridwar Range, Rajaji Tiger Reserve, said two Air Force officials — Major BP Singh and Captain Abhinav — were aboard when the chopper made emergency landing. “They are safe. After getting technical assistance, the fault was rectified and the IAF helicopter took off for the further journey in the evening. An alert had been sounded in the range area when news about it flashed,” he added.