The government is likely to arm itself with powers to detain without trial antisocial elements including hoarders and blackmarketeers. An ordinance will be issued in the next few days: The Union Cabinet, which gave its approval to the measure, felt there should be some means of curbing antisocial elements. Conscious of the criticism that such a step would evoke, the government would ensure that the detention was subject to review by a board whose members would be chosen by the chief justices of high courts. Under Article 22 of the Constitution, a law can be made to detain a person for three months “without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board”.
While governments and aid agencies debate the politics and fine print of the problem, relief officials and diplomats say hundreds, if not thousands, may already be dying in Cambodia every day of hunger and disease. Why isn’t large-scale international aid going to Cambodia — a country which has been stalked by wars and a reign of terror, and which now faces what US state department officials say is a famine “terrible beyond imagination?’’ US officials say the fault rests with the Phnom Penh government and its Vietnamese backers since they have thus far refused to agree on a programme of international controls over relief distributions.
Paddy Prices Fixed
The Centre has told state governments to ensure that the implementation of any system evolved by them for procurement of paddy, rice and coarse grains does not impede free flow of kharif cereals from one state to another. The method of procurement has been left to be determined by states taking into consideration local conditions. In a communication to the state governments and union territories, the union agriculture ministry has intimated procurement prices of different varieties of paddy. The procurement price of fine variety has been fixed at Rs 93 and superfine variety at Rs 103 for the 1979-80 marketing season.