|Tuesday, February 15, 2000,
notice to Chief Secy
Derailment throws traffic out of
Sonepat sans amenities
Ambala rail traffic resumed
Open cash counter: phone
Customer services to be
7-year RI for rapist
Farooqs stress on amity
PUNHANA (Gurgaon), Feb 14 The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah today lambasted the political leaders and vested interest who tried to divide the society on religious grounds.
Addressing an election related meeting here in Ferozepur Jhirka assembly constituency of Mewat along with the Haryana Chief Minister Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Dr Abdullah expressed concern over those who tried to confine Lord Rama to a particular religion. Simultaneously,he expressed annoyance against those Muslim leaders who tried to relate the Holy Quran only to Islam. No religion preaches hatred. He urged upon all the country men to preserve secular tradition of the country.
Incidentally Mewat area is dominated by Meo Muslims. Dr Abdullah was the chief guest at the rally. He had come here along with Mr Chautala to canvass support for the INLD nominee from Ferozepur Jhirka assembly segment and a former minister, Mr Illiyas Mohammad.
Dr Abdullah stressed that Pakistan will not be able to separate Jammu and Kashmir from India.The Muslims in the state had rejected the "Two Nation" theory for good.
Mr Chautala said that some of the Congress leaders are likely to be booked in criminal cases relating to forgery.He was referring to Congress leaders contesting in Hasanpur in Faridabad and Safidon in Jind district.He said Congress leaders Mr Ram Rattan and Mr Udai Bhan were in the fray in Hasanpur. Similar was the situation in Safidon where two Congress leaders were in the fray.The President of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has taken the stand that his signature had been forged."I feel that the Congress leaders will be booked for forgery and sent behind the bars instead of the Vidhan Sabha", he said.
The statement of Mr Chautala is bound to further raise the hackles in a section of the Congress. Already there is a whisper campaign in Congress circles on the role of the government machinery in the rejection of the nomination papers of Mr Udai Bhan in Hasanpur and Mr Kamal Sharma in Safidon. They are claimed to have the authorisation letters from the state president of the Congress as well as the seal of the HPCC. The nomination papers of the party leaders who had got the authorisation letters without the party seal in the two Assembly constituencies were finally accepted.The Congress leaders who smell rat on the neutrality of the election related officers say that as per the rules,the seal was the mandatory requirement for the nomination papers to remain valid.Incidentally,both Mr Udai Bhan and Mr Kamal Sharma are considered to be close to Mr Hooda.
Mr Chautalas speech was marked by hard hitting statements against the Congress. He said there were six candidates for the post of Chief Minister in the Congress and all of them were going to be defeated in the elections. He named Mr Hooda, Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Birender Singh and Mr Surjewala, whose son Mr Randeep Surjewala,is in the fray as the Congress nominee in Narwana. Mr Chautala is also contesting from Narwana.
He urged the people to vote for Mr Illiyas Mohammad saying that he would be made the Cabinet minister in his next government.
According to observers,the tone of Mr Chautala speech at the next public meeting in Nuh,where Mr Hamid Hussain is the INLD nominee,was equally hard hitting.
Speaking at another
public meeting in Sohna, Mr Chautala also urged the
people to teach an Independent,Mr Sukhvir Singh
Jaunapuria a lesson. Significantly, Mr Jaunapuria was an
aspirant for the INLD ticket from Sohna assembly
constituency. He said that he would also take care of
people like Mr Jaunapuria.
Not an easy task for
NARWANA (Jind), Feb 14 Indian National Lok Dal chief and Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala once again is contesting from Narwana, besides Rorhi in Sirsa district. It may not be a walkover for the Chief Minister, although he may be having an edge over his main rival Mr Randeep Surjewala of the Congress.
Mr Chautala is contesting from Narwana for the third time. He was elected from here in 1993 byelections by a comfortable margin. However, he lost to Mr Randeep Surjewala in 1996 elections from here.
Situation seems to have changed a lot since 1996. Electoral arithmetic of the previous parliamentary election gives several reasons to Mr Chautala to be confident. In 1998 parliamentary elections, the INLD (then called as HLD-R) candidate Mr Surinder Singh Barwala had managed a comfortable lead from Narwana Assembly segment. He repeated the performance in 1999 elections with improved margin.
It is for the first time that Mr Chautala is contesting from here as a Chief Minister. On earlier two occasions the situation was not favourable for him. This time his party has an alliance with the BJP, which adds to his strength. Except for some initial indifference by the BJP workers, (because of the INLDs support to an Independent candidate in Jind), the party now is involved in the campaigning. The BJP has considerable influence in Narwana town.
Mr Chautala is too much confident about his victory from here. His Additional political Secretary, Mr Vineet Punia, claimed, the INLD does not see any contest here and the campaign has been left to local workers only. However, Mr Ajay Chautala did visit the constituency recently and also addressed a well attended public meeting in local Grain Market. Mr Chautala himself has decided not to spend much time here, Mr Punia disclosed.
Mr Randeep Surjewala, a young man appears to be undaunted. For him, Mr Chautala is as good as any other contestant. His Chief Ministership hardly makes any difference. Mr Randeep is the son of senior Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala. But that is not an advantage. People have grievances against the elder Surjewala, who they say, despite remaining a minister for a long period did not do any significant work for the constituency.
The younger Surjewala, a soft-spoken lawyer seeks to rectify the omissions of his father. He mostly campaigns on his own, while the elder Surjewala stays at home. He tells people, "we may have made some mistakes in the past, but here I am to redress your grievances." These words find a warm response in rural areas.
Because of the considerable influence of the BJP in Narwana town, and coupled with INLD support pockets, Mr Chautala enjoys an edge over the younger Surjewala. However, in contrast to other rural areas in the state, the Narwana villages like Damtan give fair chance to Mr Surjewala also.
The elder Surjewala claims, this is because of Mr Chautalas allround failure to solve farmers problems. Mr Surjewala, who heads the Haryana Krishak Samaj, pointed out, Mr Chautala promised water and electricity free cost to farmers. But when he came to power, he backed out of it. Moreover, he added, the farmers in the state, for the first time sold paddy below the support price.
Things might have been
difficult for Mr Chautala, had the INLD not expelled its
rebel candidate Mr Gulshan Bharadwaj, from Jind, from the
primary membership of the party. In fact it was only
after Mr Ajay Chautala reviewed the situation in Narwana
and reported to the party chief about BJPs
resentment, which might have proved costly in this
important constituency, that the party decided to expel
Mr Bharadwaj. The BJP had planned protest demonstrations
at all places in Jind district including Narwana which
later were cancelled.
Contingents of cops for Rohtak
ROHTAK, Feb 14 The Chief Election Commission has allocated contingents of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) and the CISF for assisting the district police here in maintaining law and order during the Vidhan Sabha elections.
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr P.K. Aggarwal, told The Tribune that so far one company of the PAP and two of the CISF have been allocated to Rohtak district. He believed that few more companies would be allocated before the poll day.
The Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, Mr Rajesh Khullar, revealed that 53 villages and 18 localities of Rohtak town have been identified as 'sensitive'. Of these 15 villages fall in Meham, 11 in Kalanaur, 10 in Hassangarh and 17 in the Kiloi constituency. Most of the sensitive localities of Rohtak town also form part of the Kiloi and Hassangarh constituencies.
Mr Khullar told that the district has been divided into 44 sectors for the purpose of conducting the Assembly elections and maintenance of law and order. Each sector would be manned by an executive magistrate, deputy superintendent of police and other ranks, he said.
Mr Khullar disclosed that the Election Commission observers for supervising the Vidhan Sabha elections would arrive here on Wednesday. The expenditure observer, Mr Suborto Sarkar, Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax, Calcutta, however, would reach here on Tuesday evening. The other two observers are Mr Ranjan Chatterjee, IAS (1976 batch), Assam cadre and Mr B.K. Prasad, IAS (1983 batch), Tamil Nadu cadre.
Electoral Officers appeal to
PANCHKULA , Feb 14 The District Electoral Officer, Mr S.K. Monga, has called upon political parties and their workers to create amiable atmosphere for conducting of the ensuing assembly elections scheduled to be held on February 22.
Mr Monga was addressing a meeting of political parties and their workers for informing them regarding the election arrangements made by the administration, model code of conduct and the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India here today.
He appealed to all the political groups to take part in the elections with sportsman spirit and maintain amity and goodwill amongst themselves. They should not spread rumours and should provide factual information to concerned officers, he said.
Mr Monga added that the liquor vends would remain closed from February 20 to 22 till 5 p.m. and on February 25 and 26. Those found violating these orders would be liable for action under the Elections Model Code of Conduct. He urged the political parties to provide complete information to their election agents and workers regarding the Code.
Giving further details, he said that according to the guidelines of the EC, the canvassing should be done between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the permission of the concerned Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil). In case this time limit was reduced in certain areas, it would have to be observed strictly. Besides this, vehicles used for election campaign should not be more than three at a time and the canvassing should come to an end by 5 p.m. on February 20.
He said that electronic voting machines would be used for Kalka assembly constituency. For this purpose, the administration had put up special training camps on each polling centre after conducting advance publicity regarding the use of these machines. He urged the political parties to reach all polling centres on February 21 so that their party workers could inspect the machines on the morning of February 22.
Mr Monga said that the
ECI had given directions that all voters should use photo
identity cards. He advised that those voters who had not
got their photo identity cards made, could make use of
any of the 10 documents enlisted by the commission for
the purpose of identification. Besides the documents
enlisted earlier, now arms licence, handicap certificate,
students identity cards, railway or bus pass, freedom
fighter identity cards, ex-servicemens pass book,
age certificate issued by the school etc could be shown
to the Presiding Officer for identification provided the
name of the voter was in the voting list.
Swan flays Congress manifesto
PANCHKULA, Feb 14 The Vice-President of state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Hans Raj Swan, came out strongly against the manifesto released by the Congress, at a press conference held at the local BJP office here today.
He said that the Congress had yet again promised to fulfil promises it had filed to keep in previous elections. He stated that the Congress had taken up the issue of the Satluj-Yamuna link canal project now when the problem could easily have been resolved when the party had its governments in the Centre as well as in the states of Punjab and Haryana.
He said that the Congress continued to point a finger at the BJP for letting down the Bansi Lal government and later on came forward to lend support themselves. Mr Swan maintained that during the three-year stint of Mr Bansi Lal, the BJP kept up appearance but Mr Bansi Lal did not accede to any of their demands and failed to give them a hearing.
He added that the alliance between the two had been worked out since the top leaders of their party thought on the same wavelength as Mr Bansi Lal, who had the experience of an able administrator in the Congress government behind him. However, he had failed the BJP, Mr Swan said.
Mr Swan informed that for the forthcoming elections in the Kalka constituency the party was moving ahead under a planned strategy. He said that the whole constituency had been divided into five areas and 34 shakti kendras had been established. They were entrusted with the task of planning a strategy for their respective areas depending on the people and the problems in the area. Also, four party workers were incharge at the shakti kendras, two of the BJP and two of the INLD.
Security beefed up in Haryana
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 Security arrangements have been further tightened in Haryana in the wake of reports of Pakistans ISI sending terrorists to smuggle in counterfeit currency notes and create other disturbances.
Taking into consideration intelligence reports, security in Haryana for Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and other dignitaries has been beefed up for the February 22 polls.
Highly placed sources said special vigil was being maintained in Ambala, Kurukshetra and Sirsa districts bordering Punjab to guard against the entry of terrorists.
The sources pointed out that terrorist activities, particularly in Sirsa, Kurukshetra and Ambala districts, during the previous two years were the handiwork of Pakistan-sponsored terrorist outfits like Khalistan Commando Force, Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Khalistan Liberation Force.
The sources said special care was being taken in the constituencies from where the present and former Chief Ministers were in the fray for the assembly poll. They included Rori in Sirsa and Narwana in Jind district from where Chief Minister and Indian National Lok Dal supremo Om Prakash Chautala was in the fray.
Dara Singh to woo voters for
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 Film actor and former wrestler Dara Singh will be exercising a different set of muscles his vocal chords in the run up to the Assembly polls in Haryana by campaigning for the ruling INLD-BJP coalition candidates.
INLD office secretary Dharambir Singh said Dara Singh would be addressing daily public meetings in two villages each in three Assembly constituencies during his six-day tour starting from February 15.
Apart from Rai, Kailana and Rohat constituencies in Sonepat district, he would be addressing election rallies at Bahadurgarh, Pataudi, Bawal, Sohana, Palwal and Hassanpur.
The INLD functionary
said Dara Singh has a lot of admiration for Mr Devi Lal
and has always campaigned for him. He had also campaigned
for Mr Abhay Chautala, grandson of Mr Devi Lal, when he
contested an Assembly seat from Rajasthan.
Congress is a divided house
AMBALA, Feb 14 The Union Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, has advocated the presidential form of government in the country. He said the presidential form of government facilitated decision-making process.
Addressing a press conference here this evening, he said the Congress is a divided house and direction less. That is why it is committing blunder by opposing the proposed review of the Constitution.
He said even after 50 years of Independence, the country had been facing the problems of corruption, political instability and unemployment. In this situation, the decision of reviewing the Constitution was justified. He said the Congress had lost its base in the country. He, however, mentioned that the basic structure of the Constitution would not be disturbed at any cost.
He said with the formation of NDA government, the country had achieved political stability. The degree of reliability acquired by the NDA government was never there in the past.
Mr Shanta Kumar said the Congress was losing in Bihar, Orissa and Haryana. He said the RSS issue regarding the government employees should be considered as a closed chapter after the clarification on the subject by Rajju Bhaiya. He said the people had accepted the RSS as they had given their mandate in favour of Prime Minister and Home Minister, who belong to the RSS.
Replying to a question,
Mr Shanta Kumar said the public distribution system would
be restructured as it had some shortcomings. Later, he
addressed a election rally in Ambala city in favour of
the BJP candidate Mrs Veena Chibbar.
Congress wave, says Hooda
AMBALA, Feb 14 There is a Congress wave in urban and rural areas, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, claimed here today.
Mr Hooda said the alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Lok Dal would not work out. After the elections, the alliance is going to break up, he said. The BJP-INLD combine cannot provide stability, he claimed.
He said during Mr Chautalas tenure, there had been a rise in crime graph and the Chautala government had been following a casteist policy. The promises made by Mr Chautala are hollow and none of the promises have been fulfilled, Mr Hooda alleged.
Reacting to Mr Chautalas statement about the people seeing a trailor of his government, Mr Hooda said the real movie would be even worse.
Ex-IAS officer with social
SAMALKHA (Panipat): From donning the police uniform for 34 years to entering the political arena, Mr Rishi Prakash Sharma has come a long way. A retired Superintendent of Police, Mr Sharma is testing the political waters for the first time, contesting as Independent candidate from the Samalkha Vidhan Sabha constituency. Pitted against seasoned campaigners like, Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana of the INLD and Mr Hari Singh Nalwa of the Congress, this former IPS officer says that social justice to all remains his dream.
Having remained active as a public servant for over three decades, Mr Sharma even after his retirement from the police kept himself going through various social activities. Be it to solve the petty village disputes or arranging marriages of poor girls, Mr Sharma with his panchayati style of functioning led the way. In 1993 soon after his retirement, he formed a non-political organisation called the Sarvjatiya Kalyan Manch. "The idea behind forming this manch was to bring people from every community on one platform to stem the rot of communal divide. Unless the people are awakened politically they can never understand the political gimmicks, he says.
But what actually has brought him into active politics? "This is one way I can serve the people after my retirement. I have risen from the ranks (he began his career as an Assistant Sub-Inspector) and cannot forget my roots. Political parties have been increasingly promoting sectarianism. Hereditary considerations weigh a lot when it comes to priorities. What about the man who do not belong to any of these categories? Does he not deserve impartial hearing from his elected representative? We will have to rise above the individual interests so that there is all round uniform growth of every section of society. No particular community or caste should get a special favour nor any should be neglected. When I retired from the service, people from the Brahmin community wanted to project me as their leader but I could never digest the idea. Being a public servant all my life I have served the people from every caste and community, so how could I confine myself to just one community" he says.
How does he feel
competing against a big-wig like Mr Bhadana? "I can
never match the money power of Bhadana but my strength
comes from the people. If they feel that I am the correct
person then I have no regrets," he stresses.
Its bhai vs
bhai in Rori
RORI (Sirsa) It is bhai versus bhai in this rural constituency divided in two distinct belts the Bagri belt and the Punjabi (Sikh) belt. The INLD chief and Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, will have to cross swords with his younger brother, Mr Ranjit Singh (Congress), to re-enter the Haryana Assembly from here.
Mr Chautala has left the INLD show here entirely to Abhey Chautala making it a "chacha versus "bhatija" affair. If Mr Chautala is able to win Narwana seat also, it is generally believed that Abhey will enter the assembly for the first time from here.
Rori is witnessing the first-ever electoral battle between the two siblings of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Devi Lal, though the two had been battling over the issue of inheriting the political legacy of the octogenarian leader for long.
Mr Chautala, who represented Rori in the dissolved House also, filed his papers the day the nominations opened. Mr Devi Lal was there to bless him. Since then the INLD has been conducting a high-voltage campaign in his favour. Abhey has succeeded in winning over several families which voted for the Congress in the past by working on the youth.
The INLD campaign is centred mainly on various development works started by the Chautala government in the area. The central theme of the campaign is;" "Elect the Chief Minister to ensure the development of the area", which is known for the smuggling of opium and poppy husk. Mr Devi Lal too has personally sought votes for his elder son. The INLD poll managers would like one to believe that it a one-sided affair in Rori.
Mr Ranjit Singh, who was MLA from Rori in 1987, is however, determined to prove them wrong. He banks upon the goodwill earned by him during the eighties. He says he got jobs for hundreds of youth of the area when his father was the Chief Minister. In fact that was the starting point of the clash between the political ambitions of the two brothers.
Both Mr Chautala and Mr Ranjit Singh to withdraw their nominations from Darba Kalan and Rori, respectively, before the 1991 general election. When Mr Chautala emerged as the clear political inheritor of Mr Devi Lal, Mr Ranjit Singh joined the Congress, courtesy Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao and an astrologer close to the then Prime Minister, despite opposition by several leaders like Mr Bhajan Lal.
Why Ranjit chose to take on his Chief Minister brother in what may be perceived by many as an unequal fight?
Ranjit projects himself as an aggrieved person, whose elder brother is out to finish him politically. He tells his voters that since he belongs to a national party, he had no say in deciding from where to contest. But Mr Chautala as the chief of his party could contest from anywhere.
Another member of the Chautala clan, Mr Pratap Singh, who is estranged from his father and the elder brother, Mr Om Prakash, regrets that his efforts to avoid a clash between the two brothers did not succeed. He says Mr Ranjit Singh did not accept his suggestion to contest from Bhattu Kalan, from where Finance Minister Sampat Singh is the INLD candidate, because he (Ranjit) was afraid that Mr Bhajan Lal might work for his defeat. Bhattu Kalan has a considerable Bishnoi population over which Mr Bhajan Lal virtually has unshakeable control.
Abhey does not agree that his father is in anyway responsible for the marginalisation of Mr Ranjit Singh in the Lok Dal politics because of which the latter had to join the Congress. Mr Chautala always treated his 12-year-junior brother with affection and gave him his due. Things got soured when Mr Ranjit Singh, he says, was misguided by certain vested interests and he started eyeing what rightfully belonged to the elder brother.
The bhatija says the supporters of Mr Devi Lal never forgave his chacha because of his "betrayal" in 1991 because of which the Janata Dal government.
In view of the large presence of the Sikhs in the area contiguous to Punjab, both brothers are relying on the support of Punjab leaders. The INLD plans to bring the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to campaign for Mr Chautala and the other INLD-BJP alliance candidates in Sirsa.
Mr Ranjit Singh says Mr Jagmit Singh Brar, a Punjab Congress MP, who defeated Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal son of the Punjab Chief Minister, from the neighbouring Punjab constituency of Faridkot, will campaign in Rori. The Punjab Congress chief, Captain Amarinder Singh, and a senior Congress leader, Mr Madhavrao Scindia will also address a public meeting at Rori.
Show-cause notice to Chief
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 On a petition seeking to punish the Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Verma, for contempt for allegedly not paying the medical reimbursement as ordered by the High Court, Mr Justice V.S. Aggarwal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued show-cause notice to the Chief Secretary for May 3.
The contempt petition was filed by Mr P.D. Atri, who was working as Superintendent in the Haryana Civil Secretariat, who underwent bypass heart surgery at the Escorts Heart Institute, Delhi on April 20, 1996.
He stated that after surgery he submitted his claim which was partly allowed by the government. For the remaining amount he filed a writ petition, which was allowed with the direction that the government should pay all expenses in connection with the room rent at Rs 2400 per day and pay 75 per cent within two weeks.
The government paid only
Rs 600 per month as the basis of rent at the All-India
Institute of Medical Sciences. The room rent at Escorts
was Rs 3000 per day. The court had directed the
respondents to calculate the amount at the rate of Rs
2400 per day. However, the respondent allegedly did not
pay the amount even after three months which, according
to the petitioner, amounted to contempt of court.
Derailment throws traffic out of
AMBALA, Feb 14 The derailment of three wagons of a goods train at about 4.40 a.m. threw traffic out of gear, causing inconvenience to commuters. The derailment did not cause casualties.
The goods train of the South Eastern Railway was headed for Chandigarh when the incident took place at the Ambala cantonment yard.
The wagons derailed during "cross over" of the train from one track to another. The derailed wagons blocked three lines Up Ludhiana line, Dn Ludhiana line and the Kalka line.
According to the Divisional Railway Manager of Ambala Division, Mr Vijay Kumar, the downline was made operational at 15.30 hours and the upline at 9.30 a.m. "All lines have been cleared and we are permitting train traffic at a restricted speed on the particular section. The work on the signalling system is on at full swing and it would be operational by late evening," he said.
He said that the coal-loaded wagons have been re-railed and "the goods will definitely reach their destination."
Mr Kumar observed that apparently a "hanging part" from one of the wagons led to the three wagons being derailed. The exact cause would be known only later after a thorough examination.
The derailment affected several trains. The Shatabdi (2011) headed for Chandigarh and the Himalayan Queen (4095) were terminated at Ambala cantonment while the Shatabdi from Chandigarh was cancelled.
Six pairs of passenger trains were cancelled. They include Ambala-Sirhind, Ambala-Chandigarh and Ambala-Patiala and the corresponding trains.
Following the derailment several trains, including those coming from Amritsar, were diverted through Dhuri Jakhal. The diverted trains include 2014 Shatabdi Amritsar, Deluxe 2926, Jhelum Express, Sadhbhavna Express, Barauni Express and Paschim Express, a railway official said.
Another official said that the movement of freight trains was regulated till 15.30 hrs at their respective stations. "The 2012 Shatabdi from here was started late by a few minutes to allow passengers from Chandigarh to board it," he said.
Incidentally, the Ambala division late last night conducted a mock drill to test the alertness of its employees. The mock drill led to the impression that another incident had taken place at Nabha.
Mr Vijay Kumar said that the mock drill is necessary to find the speed with which the staff reacts. "We hold such drills regularly. The important thing is to note the movement of the Accident Relief Train and the Auxiliary Relief Medical Equipment. Both these facilities are available at select places, including Ambala cantonment, Saharanpur and Bathinda," he said. Mr Kumar stated that Ambala division had been declared a model railway division by the Railway headquarters.
The derailment of the
three wagons of the goods train caused inconvenience to
train passengers, specially the office-goers who commute
from Ambala to Chandigarh. An office-goer said that the
train cancellation forced him to travel to office at
Chandigarh in a jam-packed bus.
Sonepat sans amenities
SONEPAT, Feb 14 Roads in this industrial city a district headquarter, are in bad shape and waterlogged. Many roads which were repaired last fortnight, have also turned into earlier condition due to "sub-standard material" used in repair.
Choked sewers throw up sullage fouling up the atmosphere. Lifting of garbage is irregular. Air and water pollution are on the rise due to failure of the Pollution Water Control Board.
Supply of contaminated water in Sector 14 and 15 as well as in Model Town areas is causing water-borne diseases. Parks are in shambles and the streetlight is erratic especially in the old town.
The authorities continue to be unconcerned. The Sonepat Municipal Council, and the Divisional Town Planner, monitoring the office of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), none is answerable for chaotic conditions in the city as well as in the Sectors 7, 12, 14, 15 and 23 cut and sold by the HUDA more than three decades ago.
Residents of these sectors have been demanding improvement of civic amenities but the authorities have not moved in the matters. They complained that most of the roads were full of pot-holes and the people had to wade through water during rains. They also said that majority of roads need repair inside the town works. Drains and sewers are choked and garbage is not lifted for days. Vacant plots have become dumping grounds for garbage. Almost all sectors are victims.
Ambala rail traffic resumed
AMBALA, Feb 14 All trains on the Ambala-Kalka tracks here were detained following derailment of three coal wagons of a goods train here today.
Daily commuters on Ambala-Chandigarh, Ambala-Patiala and Ambala-Nangal routes were worst affected as three suburban trains were cancelled, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
According to railway sources, the three wagons of the goods train, on its way to Chandigarh, derailed at the Ambala Cantonment yard, blocking the tracks.
Trains coming from Amritsar were diverted via Dhuri-Jakhal to Delhi while Kalka-Delhi morning Shatabdi 2006 was cancelled and the Delhi Kalka-Shatabdi was terminated here. The Himalayan Queen was also terminated here. The Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi started from here. However, the Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi was also run from here at 3 p.m. instead of Kalka.
The trains, which were diverted via Ludhiana-Dhuri-Jakhal to Delhi from Amritsar, included the Amritsar Shatabdi, Sachkhand Express, Brauni and Paschim Express. All suburban morning trains emanating from here were cancelled. Passengers remained stranded for more than five to 10 hours.
The railway authorities claimed that the up track was cleared around 10 a.m. but the down track was cleared around 3.30 p.m. Trains coming from Delhi after 10 a.m. were detained for about five hours.
Open cash counter: phone
SONEPAT, Feb 14 Telephone subscribers here have been facing great difficulties for paying telephone bills at the Departmental Telegraph Office (DTO) in the city. The situation has worsened since the making of payment at this counter was discontinued.
Official sources say only cheques and bank drafts for paying telephone bills are accepted at the DTO counter. Many times, this counter does not function due to want of staff and the subscribers are told to come again. The subscribers wanting to deposit cash return disappointed.
Inquiries revealed that non-acceptance of cash payment had been stopped since the looting of the cash from the in charge of the DTO, while he was going to deposit the cash with the bank in the Mandi area of the city. After the incident the DTO counter was closed.
After a hue and cry against the closure of the counter, the authorities directed the DTO to reopen it but accept only cheques and bank drafts in payment of bills.
Since then, despite repeated representations, the department has not opened the cash counter causing resentment among people who now are thinking of moving court on this issue.
various political, social, trade, business and industrial
organisations have jointly requested the Union Minister
of Communications as well as the higher authorities of
the department to take steps for accepting cash in
payment of bills at the DTO's counter. They have also
threatened to gherao the DTO and other local authorities
of the Telecom Department if this demand was not
Customer services to be
KURUKSHETRA, Feb 14 The customer services in Haryana will soon be computerised in a big way. This was stated by Mr N.K. Mangla, Chief General Manager, Haryana Telecom Circle, at the inaugural session of the two-day circle conference of the Haryana unit of the Telecommunication Engineering Services Association here yesterday. Mr Mangla said the work regarding the project of computerisation had already been started.
He lauded the role of telecommunication engineers in the state for the rapid development and growth of modern telecom network. He further said he was fully aware of the problems being faced by members of the association and assured them of his cooperation.
Mr D.S. Sandhu, secretary of the association, spoke about their demands.
The organising secretary
(North), Mr Lokesh Chopra, said the stagnation in the
Telecommunication Engineering Services, Group B, had led
to frustration among members of the association. He said
the association would launch an agitation if their
demands were not accepted.
SONEPAT, Feb 14 The single digit lottery business has turned the district into a gambling den.
It is big business for the government, private lottery sellers and their agents but a loss to all those who buy the ticket. Lottery buyers are largely 'babus', small businessmen and at times professionals who buy tickets and then look to the goddess of wealth to smile on them.
It has hooked people more than ever. Travel anywhere in the district and you will come across people selling lottery tickets. These dream-sellers crowd bus stands, railway stations and busy markets.
While no one cares about the economic ethics or political morality, social organisations want the Centre to enact a law to stop the mushrooming growth of lotteries.
The police attributes the growing popularity of the trade to the disquieting fact that certain illegal activities are being carried out in the garb of the lottery business in the city.
A personnel of the city
police revealed that the daily trading in the lottery
business in the city was worth several lakhs of rupees.
The practice has become so widespread that it is posing
law and order problems, he added.
7-year RI for rapist
FARIDABAD, FEB 14 Mr R.L. Sankhla, Additional District and Sessions Judge, today sentenced Hukmi of Gharot village to seven years rigorous imprisonment for raping a married woman on November 14, 1997.
According to prosecution Hukmi told the woman that there were evil spirits in her house and these could be removed with tantrik rituals. He gave her ash of cigarette and made her eat it with water on November 13. The next day Hukmi took her to the cremation ground where he raped her.
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 A rally was organised today by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the employees of Haryana State Co-op Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Limited, Chandigarh, in front of the bank building here.
The rally was addressed by Ajit Singh Bagri of the Punjab Government Employees Federation, Prem Sagar Sharma, president of the Punjab State Pensioners Confederation, Jaljit Singh Mann, president of the HSARDB Employees Union, and leaders of the employees. The speakers criticised the appointment of Sandip Bhatti, son of Ranjit Singh, a former manager of HAFED, as LVO in the bank on compassionate ground.
The JAC has also supported the dharna by Narinder Kumar, son of driver Kansi Ram, seeking job on compassionate ground.
Magistrates for poll
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