Saturday, December 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Neighbours offer to bail out Delhi
Land for low-cost housing, slaughterhouses
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Haryana and Uttar Pradesh today extended their hand of friendship to Delhi and agreed to provide land to the National Capital Territory in order to meet its need for setting up sites for housing sector, land-filling and slaughterhouses.

Highlighting the problems faced by Delhi, the state Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, said that the NCT urgently required land for building low-cost houses, land-filling sites for dumping the garbage and slaughterhouses to meet the increasing demands of the people in the city.

She said that most of the problems arose because of the lack of development of cities along Delhi’s borders, forcing lakhs of people to come to the Capital for jobs. Many stay back, resulting in the growth of slums and unauthorised structures. Further, the city has a floating population in excess of one million.

“These could be tackled if the concept of National Capital Region, as envisaged, is developed. If the concept fails to take shape, we are all ruined,” Ms Dikshit said while addressing a conference of chief ministers of North India here today.

Urging the chief ministers of the NCR region to take the concept seriously, as it would be beneficial to all the states, the Delhi Chief Minister said: “The Centre has been made the nodal agency for the NCR, but little has been done as it is not a stake-holder. The states are the stake-holders and they should actively participate in resolving the disputes.”

Delhi produces about 7,000 metric tonnes of garbage each day and almost all the land-filling sites in the city have completely run out of space. The civic authorities collect about 4,000 tonnes of garbage each day. A large amount of garbage is left uncollected. All this leads to poor sanitation and other health problems.

The abattoir, which is presently functioning in the city, was built around 1910 to meet the demands of that time only.

Ms Dixit said, “We are ready to buy land for the land-filling site and for setting up an ultra-modern slaughterhouse, which would be clean and use modern technology.”

She said that the Government was ready to go in for a joint venture with the governments of the neighbouring states for building low-cost houses for meeting the increasing demand.

Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala said that the state would be willing to extend all help to Delhi in meeting its demands. Haryana had provided land for industrial units, displaced from the Capital for not conforming to the pollution norms.

Mr Chautala said that the state was willing to allow those buses whose licences had been cancelled for not converting to CNG fuel.

Echoing similar views, Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Hukum Singh said that there was plenty of land available in Greater Noida and asked Delhi to give its requirements.

Lauding the efforts of the states in developing cities like Noida and Gurgaon, Ms Dikshit said, “The NCT would be more than happy if similar cities come up along Delhi’s borders.”

The communication revolution brought about significant changes and boosted the growth of cities along Delhi borders, she said, “To make NCR a reality, Delhi would be only too willing to contribute its share to make the NCR concept a reality.”

She said that the chief secretaries of the NCR states should form a committee and discuss the issues, concerning the states and come out with a plan of action for the region.

“Such a holistic approach for the development of the region would be beneficial to the whole region. If we want to attract investment in the region and provide better quality of life to the people, a holistic approach to the problems would provide the solutions,” she said.



Chargesheet against cops in custody death case
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, December 7
The CB-CID has filed a chargesheet in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, naming the former incharge of Modi Nagar police Station Inspector R D Pathak and SI Jawaharlal as the main accused in a custody death case. The owner of the firm, where the deceased was employed, has also been named in the chargesheet.

Though the case is eight years old, no chargesheet or arrest warrant was ever issued against the accused. One of the accused has even obtained anticipatory bail from the High Court. The inspector, named in the chargesheet, continues to function as incharge of an important police station in Bulandshahr.

It may be recalled that a driver, Ram Kishore Prajapatti, had died in police lock-up in Modingar police station on July 23-24, 1993. The police said that he had died due to stomach pain.

According to information available in the case, Prajapatti had been picked up by the police from his house for questioning in connection with a loot case under crime case No. 351/93, filed by Ram Parkash Chadha.

The police allegedly beat up Ram Kishore so much so that he died in the lock-up. He was later removed to SMG Hospital and the police said that he had died from stomach pain.

The police had picked up ram Kishore on the complaint of Ram Prakash Chadha, the employer.

The final report of the sensational case had exonerated all police officials. This report is said to have been accepted by the CJM on January 31, 1995.

The filing of the chargesheet has renewed interest in the case.



Lokayukta report submitted, skirts role of
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The Lokayukta, inquiring into the allegations of corruption against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and others in the Delhi Jal Board case, has submitted his final report to the Lieutenant-Governor. The report is expected to be made public on Monday.

The 100-odd page report containing the Lokayukta’s observations in the case (DO 45/LOK/SUO MOTU/2000/823, 822, 816) was delivered to Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor on Friday evening.

The report contains all the relevant records and documents filed by the Delhi Jal Board, Werm India Ltd and Advanced Ocean System Private Ltd; affidavits and other documents filed by Jagdish Anand, MLA, and his counsel; and the reply of AK Talwar, Director (Operations), Cemcon Builders Private Ltd.

According to sources, the observations contained in the voluminous report pertain mainly to officers and engineers of the Delhi Jal Board. NCR Tribune has also reliably learnt that the report does not dwell much on the Officer on Special Duty in the Chief Minister’s Office whose role was also inquired into by the Lokayukta.

The Lokayukta had passed the last order on July 6 this year. He had issued show cause notices to the then Chief Executive Officer of Delhi Jal Board, Mr Pradeep Mehra, Chief Engineer R.K. Jain, an assistant engineer and junior engineer, Werm India Limited and its director.

The case pertains to four contracts awarded to Cemcon Builders Private Limited, Werm India Limited and Advanced Ocean System Private Limited for undertaking works on sewer lines of the Delhi Jal Board using “trenchless technology”.

The contracts were awarded between May 2000 and September 2000. These sewer lines were on Bhairon Road near Pragati Maidan and on Mathura Road. Using the trenchless technology, which is in vogue abroad, sewer lines are repaired and desilted without having to dig earth. Since the technology was new to India, the bids invited for the project were on the higher side.

Not only had the parties concerned filed false affidavits, but also allegedly tampered with the files. The private companies had allegedly misrepresented and undertaken the works worth several crores of rupees without incorporating the trenchless technology. Also, they had not used equipment (called super sucker) that had to be flown in for the purpose.

During the course of the inquiry, Werm India had submitted before the Lokayukta that the equipment had reached Mumbai. Upon perusal of the records, it was detected that the Delhi Jal Board had made an entry, suggesting that on the same day, the equipment had reached Delhi and also on the site.

Besides, an estimate was prepared and payment made to the companies without adhering to the norms laid down by the Delhi Jal Board. Furthermore, the multi-crore project was undertaken without the “prior” approval of the Delhi Jal Board. For projects worth Rs 1 crore or more, prior approval of the members of the Jal Board has been stipulated.



Tractor-trailers banned from ferrying goods
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 7
The State Transport authorities have banned the use of tractor-trailers for transporting goods without permit.

Tractor-trailers cannot be hired now for both government as well as private jobs. Stating this, Deputy Commissioner Anil Malik said that the action had been taken in view of repeated complaints by the truck unions. He said the truck owners had complained that they were suffering a financial loss as the tractor-trailers could be hired at much cheaper rates for transporting goods. He said a decision in this regard had also been taken by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Commenting on the steps taken against plying of illegal vehicles, he said 507 vehicles, including Tata Sumos and jeeps, were challaned by the transport authorities and the police during last month and an amount of Rs 7.5 lakh was recovered as fine.

Besides, he said, 111 vehicles were challaned, out of which 48 were impounded during a special campaign carried out from October 21 to 31 last in the district.



Clampdown on Gurgaon sex test clinics
A. Jain

Gurgaon, December 7
Alarmed by the fast depleting female sex ratio in Haryana, the Health Department has decided to take to task the hospitals and nursing homes engaged in sex determination tests, and thereby encouraging parents to opt for female foeticide.

After Punjab, Haryana is witnessing a frightening sex ratio in the country. Compared to the national ratio of 933 women per 1,000 men, Punjab and Haryana have 793 and 820 women, respectively, against 1,000 men as per the 2001 census. According to the Gurgaon Civil Surgeon, Dr N. K. Jain, the department was keeping a watch on the hospitals and nursing homes, which were carrying out such tests.

Various teams, led by medical experts, had been formed to raid such premises and take action against the offenders. The teams would inspect at random one or two hospitals and nursing homes every week and inspect their records, revealed the Surgeon.

Dr Jain figured out that in the district, 36 nursing homes/laboratories/hospitals/institutions having ultrasound machines (capable of detecting the sex of foetus) had been registered with the department. These centres had been authorised to carry out prenatal diagnostic techniques for disease/medical purpose only. The department received a total number of 53 applications, of which 17 were rejected on various grounds such as lack of proper space, absence of qualified radiologist or out-dated machine, added the official.

As per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971 and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (PNDT) Act 1994, it was illegal if a doctor tested the sex of a foetus, and wrote, spoke or used any means (impressions), which would inform the parents about the sex of the child, Dr Jain said.

The punishment for the offence is severe, both for the doctor and the patient. For breaking the rule first time, the fine is Rs 5,000 and a jail term of three years and for the second-time offence, the fine goes up to Rs 50,000 and a jail term of five years including the cancellation of the medical degree of the doctor. The sources informed that a District Advisory Committee consisting of medical specialists, legal experts (District Attorney) and representatives of three women voluntary organisations (NGOs) had been formed.

The committee would advise the Civil Surgeon on the action to be taken to check female foeticide.

To observe the activities, the District Appropriate Authority-cum-Civil Surgeon, Gurgaon, has recently directed all the gynaecologists of Gurgaon to register themselves.



This ‘blind’ man has everybody rubbing their eyes
Our correspondent

Jhajjar, December 7
What would your first reaction be, if you spotted a blind-folded man riding a bike? Shock, disbelief or plain surprise. The residents of Jhajjar experienced all of these and more. To see a virtually blind man take to the road on a bike was far from anyone’s expectation of a magical feat.

Jadugar Shankar won the applause of an awestruck audience as he zipped past on his LML Adreno Motorcycle. He sure had adrenal pumping with his amazing display of talent, or should we say his genius. A veteran of more than 15,000 magic shows, Shanker has wowed audiences all over the world by some spine chilling tricks, including passing a sword through a human body, turning a beautiful girl into a bear, changing the sex of a person and overpowering a gigantic dragon with bare hands. The entertaining performer, on his part, admitted that magic “was 75 per cent hypnotism and 25 per cent will power”.

“It is a fine art that requires extraordinary will power, determination, concentration and loads of self-confidence”, Shanker, also known for his legendary “Indrajal” items, said. The Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr K K Rao flagged off today’s impromptu feat while Dr Gulshan Kumar, a popular medico of the area, did the honours of blindfolding the enchanter. Covering his face with a black cloth, Shanker kicked off his odyssey that would send unaware passersby into a tizzy.

Soon either side of the road was lined up with curious and enthralled onlookers. The jaunt started from Bahadurgarh, went through Jhajjar Road, Gandhi Chowk, Subhas Chowk, Main Bazaar, Old Najafgarh Road, and Anaj Mandi before culminating at Kundan Theatre. During the unpremeditated and breezy excursion, Samrat Shanker, an original native of Allahabad, greeted and shook hands with awestruck onlookers who were too spellbound to react.

From his modest beginnings in Allahabad, Shanker today moves around with a complete troupe of 55 members, visiting places in India and abroad, equipped with the all-necessary optical and acoustic paraphernalia. For his feats, he has been conferred with various awards, including the Best Magician of the East, in 1981 and 1982. While magic and magicians have always added a bit of mystery and intrigue to the otherwise mundane life of people in the cities, this appears to be the season of magic. Almost every north Indian City has one or the other magician holding forth. From reports, it appears that the shows are being extremely well received, thanks to what the people are referring to as the Harry Potter effect. With the intense publicity on the visual medium about the soon-to-be-released blockbuster, based on the famous character of these books, which have revived the interest of children in reading, magic seems to be the perfect foil.


No revival of Super Bazar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
There is no proposal to revive the Super Bazar, the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Mr V. Sreenivasa Prasad, told the Lok Sabha today. The government had examined various options including the revival of the Super Bazar. The Board of Directors had also examined the possibility of its revival and concluded that the revival/return to the profitability would not be possible without substantial financial support, the minister informed the House.

Replying to another question on whether the Super Bazar was given 169.25 acres of land in Delhi on lease and its management had used the land for growing vegetables, the minister said information on it was being collected and would be laid on the table of the House.

On crackers, the Union Minister of Environment and Forest, Mr T. R. Baalu, informed the Rajya Sabha that a study carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board in association with the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, in March-April 2001, indicated that some of the crackers were not complying with the noise standards notified. The Department of Explosives had been directed to restrict the manufacture and sale of crackers exceeding the notified noise standards.

In response to another question, the minister said the concentration of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) exceeded the permissible limits at several areas in the Capital at times owing to the gaseous emissions from different sources including bursting of crackers during Divali.The RSPM in July 2001 was 62 and in October it was 129. The national ambient air quality standard for RSPM was 100 micrograms per cubic metre, the minister added.

Mr Baalu said no case of negligence had been brought to the notice of the ministry regarding the violation of the Municipal Solid Waste Management Regulation, which makes it mandatory for all garbage trucks/vehicles transporting the garbage from one spot to another to be fully covered. The minister said most of the vehicles used by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) were designed with covers and hence they had complied with the rules.

However, the vehicles used by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Cantonment Board were not designed according to the rules. The MCD was in the process of purchase of specially designed vehicles to comply with the rules. On a temporary basis, all the old vehicles had been attached with sheets made of tarpaulin or thick jute material to cover the wastes during transportation. However, about one third of MCD vehicles observed during monitoring by the CPCB were not covered.

On the reports that the potable water made available by the Delhi Jal Board at New Delhi Railway Station was unfit/dangerous for consumption and could cause diseases, the Minister of State for Railways Mr O Rajagopal, informed the Lok Sabha that the board had stated that water samples collected from the station showed that it could be used for drinking after adequate chlorination. Mr Rajagopal said water was being supplied from Ranny Well since January 2001 after taking clearance from the Delhi Jal Board about its quality. Water samples were checked frequently and results were satisfactory.

The Minister of State for Communication, Mr Tapan Sikdar, informed the Rajya Sabha that Dolphin, cellular mobile service started by MTNL, was giving good service in Delhi and Mumbai. A total of 33,184 mobile connections in Delhi had been given so far since the commissioning of Dolphin service in February 2001.



Road to hell paved with good intentions
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, December 7
Bhagidari was a genuine effort on the part of the government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) to involve Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWA) in the challenging task of removing grievances of the citizens and creating harmonious equations between the rulers and the ruled. But, residents say the scheme has run aground and is hardly ever talked about now.

The Bhagidari scheme was started with much fanfare and with hopes that this would become an effective mechanism for removing the general feeling of alienation and frustration prevailing among some sections of society, who always believed that their grievances could never be redressed through the normal constitutional channels, and the only way open for them to get things done, was to grease the palms of the officials.

Few meetings were arranged by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), which were followed by three-day workshops. An ambitious agenda for the four government agencies, mainly concerned with the civic problems, was drawn up and circulated. Officers were appointed in various agencies to carry further the aims and objectives of the scheme. However, within a short span of only three to four months of the scheme coming into force, voices of discontent and frustration began to surface regarding its working. And now they say the Bhagidari scheme is a “big flop” and is not serving the purpose at all.

Some associations complain that departmental officers did not listen to them and resorted to slighting and even insulting them. In one case, certain associations complained that they were being compelled to come through the area Councillor or MLA in order to be heard.

S. S. Madan, a resident of Malviya Nagar and former Head of Department (HoD) of the CPWD, admits: “The complaints that residents have are not wholly baseless. It is quite true that the government officers have the ‘we-the-king’ attitude and they don’t want to get rid of it.”

“At meetings organised by some nodal officers, everybody wears a smile and the participants are given full freedom to give vent to their grievances in their own way. Nobody is lacking in courtesy and politeness and refreshment is liberally distributed, but because of various limitations and reservations, the actual removal of even minor grievances remains a wish unfulfilled,” says Mr Madan.

Now the question arises, why this scheme, launched with the best intentions, has not worked to the satisfaction of the people and why people lack enthusiasm in giving it a trial? Reasons are not far to seek, say representatives of many RWAs.

“Bhagidari literally means partnership. Its declared purpose is to create a partnership between the departments concerned and the representatives of the RWAs, to ensure healthy governance. But the exact nature of the partnership has not been properly defined,” says Yogesh Khanna, president of the Forum of RWAs of Vasant Kunj, one of the biggest colonies of Delhi.

About a year ago, Sanjeev Pandey, personal secretary of the Chief Minister, stated, “If you just listen to the grievances of the person who comes to you, half of his grievances will stand removed. The other half you can remove conveniently.”

Representatives of RWAs say this is the technique universally applied by good doctors, who relieve half the pain even of a dying patient by just sympathetically listening to his tale of woe and say some cheering words.

“Leave alone doing something, the officers of MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) or DDA (Delhi Development Authority) don’t even listen to our complaints,” says Gulab Rai, president of the Lajpat Nagar RWA.

An official at the CMO says that the only ones to be blamed for the “so-called failure” of the scheme are the residents themselves. “Ever since the scheme has been started, residents have started jostling for power among themselves. Every colony has two to three different RWAs. How can anything work? If the Bhagidari system has to work efficiently, the residents will have to stop quarrelling among themselves and do some work rather than just finding ways to criticise us. The RWA elections are getting worse than the governmental elections.”

While the government has made special arrangements to explain the aims and objectives of the scheme to the RWAs, residents feel there is also a need to organise such camps for departmental officers to bring home to them the actual scope and nature of the scheme and to reassure them that RWAs are only meant to assist them in their work and take some load off their shoulders and “will not in any way usurp any part of their authority.” The feeling that the RWAs will in any way interfere in their work is wholly unfounded.

Mr Rai says that the officials of MCD, DDA or Delhi Jal Board have a feeling that the residents are trying to usurp their powers. “Whenever we go to complain or try to organise meetings with them they say we are interfering in their job.”

Mr Rai gave a classical example of Queen Elizabeth I, who chose to remain unmarried all her life because she was reluctant to share her authority with anyone else.

“In the Bhagidari scheme we will play only the role of catalysts, not of a ‘Souten,’ the other woman,” said Mr Rai.



This mela takes up cudgels for women
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, December 7
This mela promised mouth-watering delicacies from the Makki Ki Roti and Sarson ka Saag to tender fish cutlets. The mela, a one-day event was organised by the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) to raise funds for their legal aid cell.

Home-cooked delicacies at a mela organised by the NFIW to raise funds for the women legal aid cell.
Home-cooked delicacies at a mela organised by the NFIW to raise funds for the women legal aid cell.

Women from the various centres, run and looked after by the NFIW, won over the people with their home-cooked delicacies. Each woman had volunteered to cook for the mela.

Apart from food, there were cotton and silk sarees and woollens at reasonable prices. “We organise this mela twice every year to raise funds for the legal cell of NFIW. This mela is unique because it has women striving and raising funds for their counterparts who need help. Each woman does something in her own way to contribute to the cause,” said Ms Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary of NFIW.

The proceeds from the sale of goods like clothes and mementos are shared between the ladies and the NFIW, but the money earned through the sale of foodstuffs is kept exclusively for the legal cell.

“There are so many destitute women who need legal aid and cannot afford to pay a lawyers’ fee. They come to us for help. Sometimes we send them to family counselling centres run by the Government, but for those who are in no condition to pay even for the legal work, we take up their responsibility,” added Ms Kaur.

The NFIW’s family counselling cell receives cases of domestic violence, sexual harassment at work and even molestation.

The legal advisor at the NFIW assists these battered women to fight for justice.

“There are innumerable cases of domestic violence that are brought to our notice. We then take care of them by providing the necessary help, which can be counselling or even helping them fight a case in the court,” said a NFIW member.

“It’s a good feeling that we are capable of helping not just ourselves, but also others. The very fact that women can help other women fills you with a sense of achievement and also pride,” said a visibly proud and happy participant who tempted the onlookers with her delicious fare.



Gul cheers up cancer patients
Our correspondent

New Delhi, December 7
The day was far from the usual for hundreds of patients afflicted with cancer. It gave them moments, which they can cherish in their moments of pain and loneliness. Cancer patients from AIIMS, Safdarjung and LNJP hospital today became the first visitors at the Oysters Ice Park at Appu Ghar, which has re-opened for the season. The senior most member of the group lit the ceremonial lamp, while the chief guest, State Minister for Commerce and Finance, Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy declared the Oysters open for this season.

The day out for the patients was organised by the Cancer Patients Aid Association, an NGO. It is the fourth time that an event such as this has been planned.

Those who attended the event to support and bring cheer included noted actress Sushma Seth, newscaster Rajdeep Sardesai, dancer-bureaucrat Shovana Narayanan, former Miss India, Manpreet Brar and Gul Panag.

Punjabi pop singer, Bhupi with his foot tapping numbers had the audience put on their dancing shoes.

The chairman of the Appu Ghar, Mr Gian Vijeshwar, said that God has willed him to perform these small gestures that bring cheer and happiness to these people and make them forget their personal pain and anguish.



‘Install Ambedkar statue in 15 days’
Our Correspondent

The Dr Ambedkar Park Bachao Sangharsh Samiti on Friday gave a 15-day ultimatum to the district administration asking it to either install the statue of Dr B. R. Ambedkar at the bus stand chowk or face a state-level agitation on the issue. Mr Aman Kumar Nagra, former president of the state unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party told mediapersons here today that this was part of a conspiracy of the state government as it wanted to install a statue of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal at the chowk.

Lok Adalat on February 16

The Sonepat District Legal Service Authority has decided to hold a one-day Lok Adalat on February 16 next year in the judicial complex of the city. Mr S. K. Sardana, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of the authority told mediapersons here today that all the judicial officers and the Revenue Department authorities were directed to send the lists of cases to him by December 20 so that these could be disposed of in the Lok Adalat on February 16.

Factory godown gutted

The godown of a `katta’ factory on the Sonepat-Meerut road near Bahalgarh village, about 11 km from here, was gutted in a fire on Thursday. The fire broke out due to a short circuit. According to a report, fire brigades from Sonepat, Ganaur and other places were rushed to the site and brought the fire under control after two hours.

Youth shot at by three

Manoj, a youth, was shot at and wounded by three assailants as he was going towards Drain No. 8 near Mahra village, about 40 km from here, on Thursday. According to a report, the injured youth, who belonged to Shimli in Uttar Pradesh, was rushed to PGI, Rohtak for surgery.



A place for everything & everything in its place, please

I would like to point out a glaring lack of proper placement with regard to a traffic signboard, which has been put up next to Dr Dang’s Pathological Laboratory in the Hauz Khas market. The board, which has been put by the traffic police, is about two feet in height and rests against a residential wall. It has not been put on the pavement on an iron frame, as should be the practice for all to notice and abide by. It appears the traffic police have done this at the behest of private crane operators so that they can generate enough business from unsuspecting offenders.

On December 3,2001, I had to go to Dr Dang’s lab to collect an important medical report. Even in my state of anxiety I searched for a proper parking place and looked for a sign to make sure that it was not a tow-away zone.

I was shocked to find on my return that my car was missing.

My request is that to prevent such avoidable offences, the traffic police should display a prominent signboard. I am sure no one feels happy about being hauled to the police station.

While the traffic police maintain that signboards are the responsibility of the municipal authorities, I am sure they can ensure that the general public is not harassed.

Proper signboards would reduce the workload of the police substantially and enable them to concentrate on other important spheres, like rash driving.

New Delhi

Thank you note

NCR Tribune highlighted the pitiable condition of this road, prompting the authorities to take up repair work in right earnest.
NCR Tribune highlighted the pitiable condition of this road, prompting the authorities to take up repair work in right earnest. —  Tribune Photo

We would like to thank NCR Tribune for highlighting the condition of the road in front of our society (apropos Restoring a dug up road takes an eternity, in the October 29 issue). After the publication of the article, the authorities have finally started work there but we are still not sure how long it is going to take. In the meantime, traffic chaos prevails, posing a threat to the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren who have to wait for their school buses near the diversion, which has some of the heaviest traffic in the area.

It would be heartening if the traffic police take note of this and at least post some men there to regulate the traffic till the work on the road is completed. Without any traffic lights, motorists tend to overspeed and overtake others near the stretch. As it is a two-way road the risk to the pedestrians is even greater. We, the residents, would like to request the authorities through the columns of your esteemed paper to take heed of the situation at the earliest.

S. K. Goyal, Delhi

Plea for GPF

As enshrined in the Indian Constitution, every citizen has the right to a life with dignity and honour. With sufficient means of income a citizen can survive gracefully and happily. A financially and physically challenged old man with extra liabilities and responsibilities finds it very difficult to live a peaceful life. For instance, I cite the example of Mr Radhey Lal, a teacher who retired on March 31,2001. The Accountant General, Haryana, ordered the Block Education Officer, Palwal, to make Mr Radhey Lal the final payment of his GPF, amounting to Rs 2,09,653 on May 4 this year. Disinclination coupled with the unfeeling and callous attitude of officials in the BEO’s office has denied the payment due to him. For the past seven months he has been going from pillar to post to seek justice but to no avail. The whims and caprices of the officials in the BEO’s office have caused him unnecessary harassment and vexation without any rhyme and reason. The postal authorities have also confirmed the delivery of the letter. It appears to have been misplaced.

I urge the authorities in the Accountant-General’s Office, Haryana, to release his payment order afresh to enable him to receive the amount at the earliest along with interest accrued thereon. Mr Radhey Lal’s GPF account no is HR Edu 66576.

Trilok Chand, Palwal

Held to ransom

Fleecing made tough: Will the autorickshaw meters show the true readings after the Supreme Court order to install tamper-proof meters?
Fleecing made tough: Will the autorickshaw meters show the true readings after the Supreme Court order to install tamper-proof meters?
 — Tribune Photo

It is indeed heartening to note that the honourable Supreme Court has intervened and ordered the Delhi Government to ensure that the meters on the autorickshaws and taxis are made tamper-proof. For long, residents of the national Capital as well as thousands of daily visitors have been held to ransom by unscrupulous auto drivers who have extorted excessive amounts from citizens by speeding up the metres.

The problem has been further compounded because of the lack of CNG. Ever since the order on CNG none of the meters in the autorickshaws works properly. If the passenger argues with the auto drivers, they claim that they have to spend so many hours at the filling station that they have no choice but to overcharge. The traffic police is aware of all this but do nothing for some inexplicable reason. The honourable apex court of the country should hold the area traffic policemen responsible for any overcharging by autorickshaw and taxi drivers and recommend exemplary punishment for them.

H.S. Sawhney, New Delhi

Can we bank on bank staff?

I have been forced to write this letter on the advice of the Chief Manager of the Janakpuri branch of the Bank of Baroda.

I have a savings bank account (no. 24580) since 1977 in the branch mentioned. Till some time back I had never had any problem regarding service and behaviour of the staff. But with the change of new staff I have found that apart from a few most of the staff are arrogant and discourteous.

On October 27, I had gone to deposit money in my account and there were only three persons ahead of me. Out of the three counters for cash, only two were operative, one for receipts and the other for payments. Even after waiting for more than 80 minutes my turn did not come and by that time the queue had also swelled. In the meantime I observed that the lady at the payment counter accepted some cash receipts from some customers who looked like businessmen and who were not even part of the queue. Some of us requested the lady at the payment counter to accept our money also. She refused and left the cabin since there were no payments to be made and started gossiping with one of her colleagues who was sitting outside the cabin. We went to the Manager and requested him to open another counter for receipts. He refused and laughingly advised us to contact the Chief Manager as he himself was not empowered to open new counters. The Chief Manager was not only rude but very arrogant and told us that if we had any problem we could write to the head office to provide more staff to him.

We were surprised at his attitude and failed to understand how a nationalised bank can afford this type of attitude in a time of stiff competition. Should we take this as a signal to stop business with the branch/bank?

Yogesh Sharma, New Delhi



JNU murder case solved, four held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
The South-West district police today claimed to have solved a murder mystery within 24 hours with the arrest of four persons from Budh Vihar in Munirka. The police also recovered three blood stained knives from the accused. All the accused have been sent to judicial custody.

On December 4, Amit alias Lara, resident of Budh Vihar, was found murdered in Jawaharlal Nehru University’s New Campus jungle with multiple stab injuries all over the body.

A special team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police S. K. Tiwari, arrested Chaman Lal, Jagdish alias Shyam Singh alias Jaggu, Ganesh Kutia alias Kutti and Tahel Jeet alias Tahu all from Budh Vihar in Munirka. Interestingly, all the accused confessed to the police that the deceased was an alcoholic and used to extort money from them by threatening them.

In fact, this had prompted the accused to hatch a conspiracy to kill Lara, and get rid of him. Police said, all the four persons, on the evening of December 3, took the already drunk Lara to the JNU jungle on the pretext of giving him more liquor. On reaching the jungle, the three accused, stabbed Lara all over the body and crushed him with a huge stone. After killing him they fled from the spot.

Auto-lifter held

The Anti-Theft Squad of the Delhi Police Crime Branch has apprehended Ranbir Singh and seized one Mahindra Jeep, which was stolen in 1997. The police, acting on a secret information, nabbed Ranbir Singh, resident of Najafgarh . On interrogation, the accused revealed that the vehicle was given to him by Jheeshan alias Chote, Mehraj alias Raju in 1997.

In fact, the jeep was hired by the accused to travel to Haridwar. The driver, Ravi Bhardwaj was killed on the way. The duo, after killing the driver, sold the jeep to Ranbir Singh. Police said both Jheeshan and Mehraj were notorious criminals of Modi Nagar in UP. Jheeshan is presently lodged in Meerut Jail. Police have also launched a manhunt to nab the absconding suspect Mehraj and raids were conducted in Modi Nagar, Meerut and Muzaffar Nagar.

Visa racket

A manpower agent was arrested for allegedly cheating poor labourers by promising employment in West Asian countries. The agent was nabbed by the Anti- Kidnapping squad of the Crime Branch and 23 passports from his possession, mostly belonging to people hailing from Bihar were seized. Naseem Ahmed, resident of Hari Nagar, Ghanta Ghar, a manpower agent operating from Maharani Bagh, has an office in Sunlight Colony area. Police acting on a secret information apprehended Naseem, who had duped a number of innocent labourers. Police said that Naseem used to charge from Rs 80,000 to Rs One Lakh per person for getting them employment abroad. 



Youth shoots uncle through car window
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 7
In a sensational incident, a youth on a motorcycle allegedly fired at his uncle who was driving his Maruti van today in the morning killing him on the spot.

According to police sources, a driver by profession, Mahavir Singh (50) used to drop some children to a school in New Delhi. He left his house on Mojiwali Street in Gurgaon village in his Maruti van (DL 4C 6030) at about 7.30 am. Hardly had he crossed hundred yards from his house when two youths on a motorcycle overtook him and forced him to stop the vehicle. The youth who rode the motorcycle was Surjeet Singh, son of Ranvir Singh, brother of Mahavir Singh.

As Mahavir screeched his van to a halt, Surjeet Singh fired two shots at him. One fire reportedly hit him on his chest killing him on the spot. The duo sped away on the motorcycle. The district police have lodged an FIR under Section 302 against Surjeet Singh. The police claimed that the two brothers had a dispute over a piece of land, which had strained their relations and ultimately led to the murder.



The making of a child burglar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 7
Sonu is only 11. He and his mother indulge in minor thefts in the Vasant Kunj area. Why? His father is a TB patient and had to leave his job as a security guard. His wayward brother had been in the judicial custody after the South-West police launched a drive and nabbed him and four others after a spate of burglaries involving minor children were reported from the Vasant Kunj area.

The family has to meet the advocate’s fee to get him released. It was the poverty, father’s illness and the money needed for the advocate’s fee that forced Sonu and his mother to take to thefts.

The South-West district police had rounded up five juvenile delinquents aged between 10 and 14 and seized Rs 28,000, two cameras, gold jewellery and one transistor from them recently. One of them was Sonu’s brother.

According to the police, there has been a spate of burglaries during the last few months in pockets 8 and 9 of Sector C in Vasant Kunj. And only items like cash, jewellery and small electronic gadgets like camera, walkman and watch were normally stolen. They couldn’t have been the work of gangs.

Officials, who visited the houses where such burglaries were reported recently, spotted palm prints and footprints of minors. The district police launched a special drive and picked up minors who are school dropouts in the vicinity and interrogated them.

While the investigation was in progress, another burglary was reported from the same locality. The footprints of a small boy were found and the police suspected the involvement of some accomplices of the arrested five in the incident.

A boy, aged about 11 years, was stopped by the police while he was roaming in a suspicious manner. He was Sonu. During interrogation, he confessed to have committed two burglaries. A transistor, camera and some jewellery were seized from the possession of his mother.


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