Tuesday, January 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Delhi ready to thwart air strikes
Air Observation Posts to look out for unmanned aircraft 
J T Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
Anticipating aerial strikes in the form of microlight and unmanned aircraft this year during the Republic Day Parade, the Delhi Police in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, have established several Air Observation Posts (AOPs) in and around the city.

To cap it, several airborne “control rooms” will keep a vigil on any intrusion during the parade and they will keep in touch with the ground forces. Senior officials will monitor the arrangements. Heavily camouflaged anti-aircraft guns have been positioned at several vantage points, including near the central vista and the historical Red Fort. We are fully prepared to face any kind of attacks, said a security official.

Security has been beefed up on the borders. All the vehicles and buses were subjected to intense checking to prevent infiltration by the militant groups into Delhi. This apart, the local police have been asked to maintain high alert and verify the antecedents of all strangers in their areas.

Even the traffic police are not taking a chance. The cops have taken 12 parking areas under their control, with seven areas in the South of Rajpath and five in the North of Rajpath. Triangular car passes are being distributed for the South of Rajpath, while square passes are being given for the North of Rajpath parking. In order to avoid duplication and pilferage of the passes, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (VIP traffic), is personally signing the passes with the official stamp.

Traffic police personnel will be deployed all over the city in full strength to ensure the smooth flow of traffic in the city. Sufficient personnel will be deployed in Aurobindo Marg, Shantipath, New Delhi area, RML Hospital, Talkotora, Lodhi Road, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, IP area, Dhaula Kuan, Ashram Chowk and other vulnerable parts of the city.

The agencies of the Ministry of Defence, including Army, Navy and Airforce, civic agencies, Central Public Works Department (CPWD), civilian police are working in close co-ordination with the traffic police.

“This year, we are more stringent in checking and issuing parking labels,” said the Deputy Commissioner of Police (VIP traffic), S B S Tyagi, adding that separate parking areas for VVIPS, Cabinet ministers and other security personnel on duty are being provided and guarded in view of the threat.

During the parade, the commuters will not be allowed to pass Maulana Azad Road, Mansingh Road roundabout, Akbar Road, C-hexagon, Ashok Road, Janpath and Dr Rajinder Prasad Road.

The official said that normal traffic will not be encouraged in these areas during the parade and at the same time elaborate traffic arrangements have been made for the bus commuters to reach Rajpath.

Commuters who wish to go from North to South and South to North Districts are asked to take Wellington Crescent, Upper Ridge Road and Ring Road where there will be no restriction during the parade. Commuters who come from East to South are being advised to take Nizammudin and Ashram Chowk routes. For North to West ISBT flyover, Burf Khana route is advised. The outstation commuters and others who want to reach New Delhi Railway Station are asked to take Wellington Crescent, Connaught Place, Minto Road and Ajmeri Gate.


Cong continues to flip-flop on MCD poll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
The tug of war between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the schedule of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections entered the final phase with the Delhi Minister in charge of elections, Mr Deep Chand Bandhu, meeting the Lt-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, and urging him to announce an early date for the civic polls.

“We have urged the Lt-Governor to announce the polls in February itself. The polls cannot be held in March as school students would be taking their examinations,” Mr Bandhu said after meeting the Lt-Governor.

The holding of polls in February had gained credence as Mr Vijai Kapoor and the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, had expressed similar views. While the two leaders are silent about the date of the polls, the Congress and the BJP leaders have been expressing their opinions publicly for and against holding polls in February.

With Mr Bandhu joining issue, the rumblings within the Cabinet about holding polls in February are coming out in the open.

When asked whether the Cabinet had taken a decision to hold the polls in February, the Delhi Minister said, “I met the Lt-Governor as a minister in charge of holding the elections. I asked him to provide additional security personnel for the poll duty. If Mr Kapoor does not provide the forces, the elections would have to be postponed. It is not possible to hold them in March,” he added.

The term of the MCD expires in March and as per the Act, a new Corporation has to be constituted by April.

The state government’s apparent eagerness to hold polls in February, however, has found support amongst the BJP Delhi unit leaders, including its president, Mr Mange Ram Garg as well as the BJP-dominated Corporation.

The BJP state unit chief has been voicing the need to hold elections in February, but his voice is being subdued by the new-found campaign trail by the former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, and the former Delhi Minister and MP, Mr Lal Bihari Tewari.

Mr Khurana has raised the demand of separate corporation for East Delhi in an apparent bid to stall early polls. At the same time, the former Chief Minister has released a ‘white paper’ on the failures of the Delhi Government during the past three years.

While the legal wrangle over the rotation of seats in MCD and the presence of two state election commissioners are being indicated as excuses for the need to delay the polls, the two parties, the political pundits surmise, were gauging the public mood before entering the fray.

The poll survey commissioned by the Delhi BJP had hinted at the poor performance by the party. The Congress is not eager either for early polls as the party feared that it might not sweep the polls, which could reflect poorly on the performance of the legislators.


Nation following Guru’s maxim on border: PM
Tribune News Service
Sweet sherbat being offered to devotees on the occasion of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary in the Capital on Monday.
Sweet sherbat being offered to devotees on the occasion of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary in the Capital on Monday. — Tribune photo

New Delhi, January 21
The teachings of Guru Gobind Singh about ‘shakti’ and ‘bhakti’ still hold good for society, and the government is attempting to use these principles to deal with the situation on the Indo-Pak border, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said here today.

The Sikh Guru had used both ‘shakti’ (force) and ‘bhakti’ (devotion) to protect the nation and religion. “While he used ‘shakti’ to check oppression and violence, ‘bhakti’ was used to lead people on the path of peace and love,” Mr Vajpayee said while addressing a congregation at Rakab Ganj Gurdwara here on the occasion of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary. Centuries have passed, but the message of the Guru has “remained alive” in the hearts and minds of the people, Mr Vajpayee said.

“Guru Gobind Singh’s life is a perfect example of sacrifice, compassion and universal brotherhood of man,” Mr Vajpayee said, adding that his birth anniversary was “a day to re-dedicate ourselves to the virtues and ideals espoused by the Guru”.

He virtually rejected the charge that the BJP was attempting to exploit the current Indo-Pak tension in the coming Assembly elections. “Our jawans are guarding the borders to protect us. The entire nation is standing unitedly behind them. No one is thinking of political parties or elections now,” Mr Vajpayee said. ‘’When crisis escalates along the borders, the soldiers remember ‘Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Ehe’...,’’ the Prime Minister said in reference to one of Guru Gobind Singh’s heroic ballads, invoking God’s support during crisis.

The Guru had bound the Sikh fraternity together as the Khalsa or the Pure and led numerous military campaigns against the Mughal Army. The Prime Minister also referred to Guru Gobind Singh’s use of military power against the Mughals and his practice of mysticism. ‘’Guru Gobind Singh used ‘Shakti’ (military power) to eliminate terror and practised ‘Bhakti’ (mysticism) as a means of salvation,’’ he said.

Mr Vajpayee ended his speech with ‘’Bole So Nihal’’ – a spiritually uplifting cry which literally means, ‘’He will be spiritually uplifted who says — God’s truth is eternal.’’

He presented a “rumala” or holy cloth and a canopy for the Guru Granth Sahib. The DSGMC president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, requested the Prime Minister to declare the Martyrdom Day of Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru and father of Guru Gobind Singh, a national holiday.

Mr Hit and a host of other DSGMC members and Akali leaders honoured Mr Vajpayee with Siropas and presented swords and a picture of the Golden Temple.

Paying tribute to Guru Gobind Singh on his 335th birth anniversary, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said that the concept of universal fatherhood of God led to his belief in the universal brotherhood of man. Guru Gobind Singh, she said, had a unique place in Indian history: his teachings were a blend of the highest spiritual conception and the great human virtues of character and nobility.


Mewat: Bringing girls out of closet
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Nuh (Gurgaon), January 21
The Haryana Government will set up three hostels for girls in Mewat. The work will be undertaken by the Mewat Development Agency (MDA), with financial assistance from the Centre and the Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development. The hostels will cater to Faridabad and Gurgaon districts. The revenue blocks identified for the proposed hostels are Taoru and Puhana in Gurgaon and Hathin in Faridabad district. Each hostel will be able to accommodate 100 students. The cost per hostel is estimated to touch Rs 25 lakh. They are expected to be ready by next fiscal.

These hostels will be in addition to the 200-student-capacity hostel for girls in Nuh, the construction for which is already complete. According to official sources, it will be operational from the next financial year.

The MDA has already asked the voluntary organisations working with it in all the six blocks of Mewat to identify deserving students from standard 1X to X1 who would like to avail the hotel facility in Nuh. Each NGO will recommend 30 names, which will be finally cleared by the MDA. A senior functionary of the MDA said that there is also a move to set up a degree college in Nuh, exclusively for females. The International Fund for Agriculture Development is understood to have assured the MDA that it will provide financial assistance for setting up the college. The Planning Commission has also assured the MDA that it will okay the project when the Haryana Government submits budgetary proposals for its ratification.

The importance of setting up a degree college will be better appreciated, if one considers that there are only eight college-going Meo Muslim girls in Mewat.The Meo muslims are in an overwhelming majority in Mewat. Almost 87% girls drop out of school standard V onwards. One reason for the high drop out rate s the lack of girls schools and hostels. As Mewat is a patriarchal society, Mewatis are averse to sending their girls for higher education to distant schools. Another impediment is the lack of transport. Women are generally not comfortable while travelling by buses and other modes of transport. The setting up of hostels is a move that dovetails with the future plans of the government. The government hopes to set up more institutes in Mewat. Once that happens, the hostels will be begin catering to female students residing in interior areas of Mewat.


NCERT unveils new syllabi to restore ‘balance’
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, January 21
After a long gestation, the new syllabi for classes I to XII have finally been released by the NCERT. The new courses have been prepared strictly in conformity with the stipulations of the National Policy on Education, 1986, according to a release.

For the primary students, the immediate environment has been kept as the central factor in mathematics and language disciplines. Mother tongue has been given due importance.

For the students of third and fourth classes, Work Education, Health and Physical Education courses have been developed.

The practical aspect of language use has also been stressed for those in the upper primary stages. Courses in the languages, mother tongue and the second language have been developed to help students evolve language skills. The social sciences too have undergone changes. It now comprises relevant portions from history, geography, civics and economics and is touted to develop basic citizenship skills among learners.

The NCERT informed that for those in secondary classes, the science text is an integration of biology, physics and chemistry and thematically relevant content from history, geography, civics and economics has been grouped together for the social science text.

Diversified courses have been proposed for academic and vocational areas for the students of higher secondary. Some new features of history syllabus, include a regional balance in treatment of the kingdoms of the North and the South. Contemporary national scene and world perspective have found their way into the new books.

Textbooks adhering to the new curriculum, will be available from the next academic session beginning in April 2002.

In the past year, the NCERT has had to face the wrath of academicians and historians alike for not revealing the draft of the new syllabi. It was alleged that those having vested interests were involved in drafting the courses.


Probe begins into graft case against PA
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 21
The Faridabad Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Mr Mehtab Singh, has started the probe into ‘corruption’ charges against the PA of the Deputy Commissioner, who was suspended recently.

The ADC has invited all concerned people to meet him in the post noon session on working days to submit any information through affidavits.

The affidavits can be submitted within two weeks after January 23. The PA, who was working in the same post for the last five years, was suspended when he allegedly offered to collect and submit graft money to the DC.


Truck race kills Delhi woman

Jhajjar, January 21
A woman was killed and two seriously injured in a road accident, involving a car and two trucks on the Jhajjar-Delhi Road near Mohammad Pur Majra village here today.

The deceased, Mrs Maya along with her husband, Mr Mahavir, and son Narender, residents of Mohan Garden in Delhi, were returning to their house in a Maruti car. On the way, two trucks coming from the opposite direction, hit their car head on, when they tried to overtake each other. While Mrs Maya died on the spot, her husband and son were struggling for their lives in a private hospital in Delhi. OC


Scrap house tax on small units: Rajesh Yadav
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
Senior leader of the Delhi Congress Rajesh Yadav on Sunday demanded that the government should scrap house tax on the 26 square metre dwelling units and include the house tax issue in the Congress manifesto for the next month’s municipal elections.

Speaking at a well-attended public reception to congratulate him on his being appointed as secretary of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC), Mr Rajesh Yadav said the decision to scrap house tax for owners of 26 metre dwelling units would benefit more than 20,000 people.

Mr Yadav, who is an important leader of the community and has been the president of the All India Yadav Mahasabha for several years, said though the market value of 26 square metre dwelling units had swelled to Rs 26 lakh from Rs 2,600 when the scheme was launched several decades back, the fact was that these people still remained in the “poor” category.

Mr Yadav said the government must immediately order a re-look into the house tax policy and the Congress must include it in the party manifesto for the February municipal elections because thousands of residents of Rohini and Pitampura in North-West Delhi were not paying house tax in view of its “high rates”. The house tax rates needed to be rationalised, he argued.

Mr Rajesh Yadav accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments of Mr Madan

Lal Khurana, Mr Sahib Singh Verma and Ms Sushma Swaraj of not giving a single plot to jhuggi jhompri dwellers. He also accused the BJP governments of doing precious little about displaced farmers whose land was acquired by the government for developmental works.

Mr Yadav said the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, had hiked the compensation fee from Rs 6 lakh per acre to Rs 23 lakh per acre, though he acknowledged that Mr Sahib Singh Verma had indeed raised the compensation amount to about Rs 13 lakh per acre.

Thousands of Congress workers from the Rohini and Pitampura areas had converged on the venue at Sector 8 of Rohini on Sunday to felicitate Mr Rajesh Yadav. The function, among others, was attended by DPCC president Subhash Chopra, vice-president Sajjan Kumar and prominent DPCC leaders from Outer Delhi such as Sanjay Gulla, Rajender Joon and Ramesh Pradhan.

Mr Sajjan Kumar praised Mr Rajesh Yadav saying that the exercise to reconstitute the DPCC was undertaken and Mr Rajesh Yadav was appointed a secretary to give the much-needed representation to the vast and thickly populated areas of North-West Delhi.

Mr Subhash Yadav said the BJP was running away from the municipal elections “because they know that they are not going to be re-elected”. The BJP enjoys a comfortable majority in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi at present.


MLAs to get lessons in House procedure
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
A two-day orientation programme for legislators and middle-level officers of the Delhi Assembly, aimed at making them conversant with the intricacies of parliamentary procedure, gets underway tomorrow.

The Speaker, Chaudhary Prem Singh, who will inaugurate the programme in the Old Secretariat, told reporters that senior officers of the assembly would deliver lectures to “re-freshen and update” the knowledge of lawmakers and officers about constitutional issues and parliamentary processes.

“The Delhi Assembly has the distinction of wasting minimum time during its various sessions as compared to any other assembly in the country. The orientation programme will further enable the House to conduct its proceedings in a smooth manner,” he said.

The Assembly Secretary, Mr S. K. Sharma, and the Joint Secretary, Mr Siddharth Rao, are among the distinguished panel of speakers who will deliver lectures on issues like the legislative proceedings, call attention and short duration discussion, committee system, Question Hour, motions and resolutions and adjournment motion and no confidence motion.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will deliver the valedictory address on January 23 while a minister or a senior MLA will preside over the each lecture session.

“Efforts will be made to ensure that the training programme should be practical in nature and avoid the ponderous theoretical aspects of the issues,” Mr Prem Singh said. He said mediapersons and editors of national dailies had also been invited to join the programme to enhance their skills in the coverage of assembly proceedings.

The Speaker further said the computerisation of the Assembly Secretariat was almost over and a programme had been chalked out for making legislators computer-savvy. The NIIT experts would begin imparting computer training to them in the first week of February. Computers were provided to the MLAs by the Delhi Government last year.


Social service gives me enormous satisfaction’
J T Vishnu

Fifty-two-year old Harmanjit Singh combines business, education and politics in his everyday life and perhaps this is the recipe for his success. From an employee in a Sadar Bazar shop to the chairman of Khalsa College and the Vice-President of the Shrimoni Akali Dal (Badal), he has come a long way. Once a small time businessman, Harmanjit attributes his phenomenal success to his dedication and hard work.


What are your future plans, will you enter politics?

Yes, I have an ambition in politics, but I won’t contest elections. I am already serving the people in various capacities.

So I would prefer to be a nominated member or accept some government nominated posts.

My name is already under consideration for the Director’s post in National Fertilizers Limited (NFL).

He served as the Chairman of the Khalsa College from 1994-97, and is again serving in the same position for the last one and half years.

Mr Harmanjit is also the nominated member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (DSGPC), and was the chairman of its purchase committee from 1997-98.

“I like social service and serving people in my own capacities, and this gives me enormous satisfaction,” said Harmanjit in an interview with the NCR Tribune. Excerpts:

You are a nominated member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, what are the activities of the committee ?

Ever since the inception of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee in 1968, the Badal group has been elected to it for the maximum number of times. Even in the present committee, about 80 per cent of them support Badal and 20 per cent are Independents. In Delhi, a total of 66 institutions come under the committee – including hospitals, schools, colleges and Gurdwaras. There are also 16 government aided schools under the committee.

Presently, the committee is involved in many activities like constructing a hospital in Baba Sahib Gurdwara, with a capacity of 300 beds in Bhogal, an Engineering college in Rajouri Garden and a school in Shahadara.

Besides, the committee is also involved in the construction of an auditorium in the Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College with an allocated fund of Rs one crore. Moreover, five acres of land in Moti Bagh was allotted to the committee and we are planning an underground parking there. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has approved the construction of a parking lot for 5,000 vehicles near Bangla Sahib, which will start soon. There is also a proposal pending with the state government for a medical college in Vasant Kunj area.

Could you explain the reason for the delay in the construction of the Khalsa College auditorium ?

The construction of the Khalsa College auditorium ran into some problems with the previous committee. But that has been solved and the tender has also been cleared. We hope to start the remaining part of the construction in a week’s time and by the end of year 2002, we would have the auditorium ready for the students. The auditorium would have the capacity to accommodate more than 600 students.

How far has the Khalsa College succeeded in promoting Sikh students in the national Capital ?

The Khalsa College was started in 1951 in Dev Nagar with a student strength of 300 and 15 staff members.

Later in 1974, due to the lack of adequate space, the college was shifted to the University campus in north Delhi. At present, we have about 7,000 students and 700 staff members in various disciplines and the Dev Nagar campus has been converted into an Evening college. We give some concessions to Sikh students like providing them with scholarships and helping them in various other activities.

In fact, a leading English magazine rated the Khalsa College as one among the top ten colleges in India.

But there are reports that even Sikh students feel insecure in the college, is it because of the poor teaching staff ?

No, the quality of the teaching staff is the major strength of the college. But, in any case, we cannot stop those students who prefer to go abroad to study or those who are looking for avenues in other universities in India for different reasons.

We have students from all communities studying in the college, as such, in most of the activities of the college, we go strictly by merit.

However, a special preference of 5 five per cent is provided to Sikh students in the college admission. We also look for students who have potential in extra-curricular activities including sports.

In fact, the college ranks at the top in the inter-college tournaments such as cricket, hockey and basketball. To instill confidence and encourage the students in sports, leading cricket players like Maninder Singh and Mohinder Amarnath have been invited to the college.

The minority status to the college is long due, will it empower the college ?

Minority status has more disadvantages than advantages. Now, the college produces bright students and does not succumb to pressure from other sources. But once the minority status is provided to the college, then we will have to accommodate dull students and oblige recommendations based on ulterior motives. At the moment, the college has a good reputation and we strictly adhere only to merit consideration, and we are showing good results.

With the Assembly elections in Punjab just round the corner, how do you view the situation in the state ?

I think the Akali and BJP alliance will come to power because they enjoy the confidence of the Punjabi community in the state. The Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has done extremely well in his tenure and even enjoys the support of the Sikh community and of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

But the Congress party seems to be in a position to put up a tough fight against the present government ?

According to me, the Congress party will not get a majority. There is constant infighting in the Congress party and that will apparently stall their chances. Ever since the 1984 Sikh riots took place, the majority of the Punjabi community have been working against the Congress party.

In fact, none of the Congressmen involved in the riots were punished, and the Nanavati Commission, which is inquiring into the cause of the riots, has not indicted anyone who was involved in the riots.

The people of Punjab are amazed that various commissions have failed to take action against the culprits involved in the massacre of Sikhs. There should be fixed time frame for conducting such inquiries, particularly, since it involves the sentiments and emotions of thousands of people.

For instance, in the aftermath of the September 11 attack in the US, many angry Americans mistook turbaned Sikhs as Arabs and had to face physical and verbal abuse. But within two months, the US commission, which inquired into these cases, punished those who inflicted violence on the Sikhs.

Do you mean to say that there is no in-fighting in the Akali Dal ?

I am not denying the fact that there is in-fighting even in the Akali Dal. Due to this in-fighting, the party may lose 10 to 15 seats in the coming Assembly elections. However, in the final analysis, we will form the government with a thumping majority.

You have an export business apart from these activities ?

I export fabrics of designer brands to Russia, Europe and the USA, apart from having business in the local market. We have a textile mill, Paltex, in Mumbai which produces the fabrics. Our business in the export market is to the tune of Rs 20 crore, apart from Rs 30 crore in the local market annually.

Moreover, we also run a hotel business, the revolving restaurant Parikrama in Connaught Place, Hotel Ashok Palace in Moti Bagh, and Ashoka Deluxe in Karol Bagh. We are introducing a food chain by the name of Taco-Maco, a Mexican food outlet in both Delhi and Bombay soon.

What are your future plans, will you enter politics ?

Yes, I have an ambition in politics, but I won’t contest elections. I am already serving the people in various capacities. So I would prefer to be a nominated member or accept some government nominated posts. My name is already under consideration for the Director’s post in National Fertilizers Limited (NFL).


More trains on Delhi-Gurgaon section promised
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, January 21
The train services from Delhi to Gurgaon and from Delhi to Rewari and to Mahendragarh are expected to improve in the next financial year, according to local MP Dr Sudha Yadav.

Addressing mediapersons here, Ms Sudha Yadav, who represents Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendragarh districts in the Lok Sabha, said that the Union Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, had assured her that a number of projects would be started for the benefit of the commuters of the three districts.

She informed them that like other parts of the National Capital Region (NCR), DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) trains would soon start plying between Rewari and Delhi. A broad-gauge line would be laid between Rewari and Rohtak via Jhajjar, the MP disclosed. She added that the metre gauge from Rewari to Ringus Phulera, falling in Rajasthan, would be converted into a broad gauge in the next financial year.

Dr Sudha Yadav said that Mr Nitish Kumar had promised her and the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, in a recently held meeting that these services would be announced in the Railway Budget.

She said that Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains (shuttles) between Delhi and Manesar and Delhi and Gurgaon were already in the pipeline. The Haryana and Delhi governments and the Union Urban Development and the Railway ministries were jointly working on the project, she added.

The MP said that they had also requested the minister to increase the halt time of Pooja Express train, which would start stopping at Gurgaon railway station from January 26. The Railway Minister was positive in his response.

She further informed mediapersons that a soft loan of Rs 60 crore from the World Bank had been approved for improving the water level in Mahendragarh district. The project involves widening of canals and village ponds in the district.

The local people would also be encouraged to adopt rainwater harvesting techniques to improve the water level.

Mr Sita Ram Singla, former chairman of Haryana Public Enterprise Bureau, was also present at the press conference.


DVB making light of Anand Lok woes
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, January 21
Big, beautiful houses. Trees almost everywhere. The parks, lush green, absolutely spick and span. South Delhi’s posh Anand Lok residential complex is indeed beautiful. But the beauty is seen only during the day. Night falls and nothing’s clear to the eye. More than half the streetlights have been out of order for several years now. Night sees the colony in pitch dark, which causes a lot of security hazards, said residents.

“It is unbelievably dark at night. So dark that if a thief comes in, he would not have to hide. Even if he stands in the centre of the colony, our guards would not be able to see him,” Mr Indu Vira,

President of the Anand Lok Residents Welfare Association (RWA), commented. Apart from the security hazard, Mr Vira said that a lot of road accidents had taken place. The residents complained that the service lanes of the colony had no lights at all and the residents were “terrified to go anywhere close to the lanes.”

Mr Vira said that the RWA had made a proposal to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) about a couple of years ago to install flood-lights on both ends of the service lanes, but he had not got any feedback yet.

Mrs Monica Gupta, a resident, who loves to walk in the mornings and evenings in the colony, said that because of the light problem, she was not able to take her constitutional. “It becomes very difficult to walk in the colony after dark. It is scary, in fact. There was a time when the colony was beautifully lit up at nights. Though I know the colony is very safe, it doesn’t take long for something to go wrong. Lighting is the first and foremost thing,” Mrs Gupta said.

She added that not only the RWA but also several other residents had made complaints to Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) on many occasions, but the governmental agency never responded to their woes. Even if they did once in a while, the lights would go off again permanently after a day or two.

Mr Vira said, “We have made several written and verbal complaints to the DVB. Sometimes, they say they don’t have the material, or they don’t have the vehicle or there is a labour strike. And we are now tired of complaining.”

A DVB official said that they had received complaints from the residents of Anand Lok and the “lights were repaired immediately”.

“In fact, we have repaired about 23 lights in the colony in a day. And the lights get damaged not because we don’t work on them properly but because the children of the colony break them. We can’t go and fix them again and again,” said the official, adding that they had not received any complaint recently, but if they did they would attend to it immediately. But, it seems the residents of the National Capital Territory, have got used to hearing such excuses of the authorities. So have the residents of Anand Lok.

“We have decided to ask the residents to contribute money to solve all the problems of the colony ourselves. If we depend on the governmental agencies to get their act together, we just might never see how beautiful our colony looked at nights. I just hope the residents cooperate,” said Mr Vira.


33 kv grid substation commissioned

New Delhi, January 21
A 33 kilovolt grid substation was commissioned today by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for the Delhi Vidyut Board in East Delhi. “With the setting up of the substation in Krishna Nagar, around 40 megawatt of additional power will be available to this area,” a statement said. The public sector undertaking had commissioned two 33 kv gas-insulated substations and Delhi’s first microprocessor-based 66 kv grid substation.

The DVB had placed a turnkey contract on BHEL for setting up a total of 10 substations, comprising five each of 66 kv and 33 kv capacity as part of its network augmentation programme. The contract includes three gas-insulated substations, to be set up at Lajpat Nagar, VSNL near Savitri Cinema and IIT in South Delhi.

Recently, the DVB had placed orders for two 66 kv grid substations for improving the power supply in the Bawana Industrial belt. The BHEL is setting up a 220 kv switchyard as part of the environment friendly gas-based 330 mw Pragati Power Project in the Capital, which is the first power project in the country to have very low emission levels. TNS


Labour Welfare Board constituted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
A 12-member Delhi Labour Welfare Board was constituted today to address the needs of industrial workers employed in factories across the National Capital Territory. It would have a corpus made up of contributions by employees, employers and administrator of the board and unpaid accumulations that have not been claimed.

The board has two independent members, three representatives — each of trade unions and industry — and three women besides the e Labour Commissioner. The members of the “reactivated” board are Mr Rajendra Pal Chauhan, Ms Bindu Goyal, Ms Kamlesh Sharma, Ms Nirmala Sharma, Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Girish Mittal, Nanak Chand Jain, Mr Mahavir Prasad Gupta and the Labour Commissioner, Mr S. C. Poddar.


Total polio immunisation by July
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, January 21
The Ayurvedic and Medical Education Minister, Mr M. L. Ranga, today launched the second phase of polio immunisation programme by administering polio drops at the slum area in Bahadurgarh town of the district today. The local MLA, Mr Nafe Singh, the SDM, Mr Dinesh Yadav, and the Civil Surgeon, Mr Gupta, were present on the occasion.

Addressing the people on the occasion, Mr Ranga said around 37 lakh children throughout the country would be administered polio drops in this phase and more than 56,000 employees of the health and education departments had been involved in the campaign.

He told that 600 mobile centres and 14,000 other centres had been established for the purpose under the supervision of 2,000 officials.

The minister informed that Haryana would accomplish the target of total immunisation by July this year, much before the set deadline. The Civil Surgeon, Mr Gupta, said that total 479 centres and 28 mobile centres had been established in the district.

DD kendra by September

A full-fledged Doordarshan Kendra will start functioning in Haryana from September 25, the birthday of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Chaudhary Devi Lal. This was announced by Mr S. Y. Quraishi, Director General, Doordarshan while inaugurating the two-day centenary celebrations of Pt Laxmi Chand, a legend in folk music in Haryana, at the HSIDC complex at Rai, 13 km from here, yesterday.

Mr Quraishi also said that the Doordarshan Kendra would relay the programmes of Haryanvi culture and others of public interest. Paying rich tributes to Pt Laxmi Chand, he said that the ragnis of Pt Laxmi Chand were full of social values and ethics and the people must follow the principles laid down by him through his ragnis.

Guru's birthday

The birthday of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city and other parts of the district today.

According to a report, devotees thronged the gurdwara and joined the religious congregations organised on the occasion. ‘Path’ of Guru Granth Sahib and kirtans were the main attractions of the programmes. A langar was also organised on the occasion.

Hundreds of Hindus, Sikhs and schoolchildren and a large number of women took part in a procession organised in connection with the celebrations yesterday. The procession passed through the main bazars and streets of the city.

The entire route of the procession was decorated with welcome gates and the people lined up on both sides of the roads and threw flowers on the rallyists.

Iron rods stolen

Thieves reportedly broke open the shutters of Lucky Steel and Timber Store in the mandi area here last night and escaped with iron rods worth several thousands of rupees in a vehicle.

According to a report, the store is situated near a police post on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near Kalupur village octroi post. The thieves have also taken away cash from the store.

On receipt of the information, the police arrived on the spot and pressed into service a dog squad but failed to trace the culprits. The increasing incidence of thefts and other crimes has caused panic among residents of the city.

Army jawan dies

Mr Baljit Singh, an Army havildar, died of heart attack at the railway station here yesterday. According to a report, the victim got down from the Jammu Mail around 4.30 am and reached the tea stall at the station. He suffered a severe heart attack and died on the spot before he could get a cup of tea.

The victim belonged to Bahalgarh village of the district and had come on a two-day leave from his headquarters at Jammu.

Girl dies in mishap

Miss Rita, a 13-year-old girl, was injured seriously when she was hit by a vehicle on the Sonepat-Gohana road near Mohana village, 19 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, the girl was crossing the road when the accident occurred. She was rushed to a hospital in the city but she succumbed to the injuries. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress.

MLA felicitated

Mr Dev Raj Dewan, an independent MLA, was felicitated by Ms Manju Bala, municipal councillor of Ward No 8, at a function here last evening. A large number of people of the area also greeted Mr Dewan on the occasion.

Youth killed in accident

A youth who took lift on a scooter of a friend here yesterday was killed when the vehicle was hit by a speeding Tata-407. The owner of the scooter was injured seriously in the accident. The deceased identified as Kuldeep was a resident of Lakadpur village. He had taken lift from Amresh on the latter’s scooter. The driver of the truck has been arrested.

Bid to rape four-year-old

A youth of Ballabgarh town was booked on charges of attempting to rape a four-year-old girl at Azzi Colony yesterday.

According to a complaint lodged with the police, the accused, Vasudev, took the baby girl of his neighbourhood to his room on the pretext of playing with her.

But parents of the girl rushed to the spot after they heard her screams. They noticed that girl was lying naked. But the accused fled as soon as they reached there.


AIIMS ex-chief passes away
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, January 21
Former chairman of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Padmashree Dr M. L. Dhar passed away last night after a prolonged illness. He was 97 and is survived by his two sons. A distinguished scientist, Dr Dhar held the post of Director, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow. After retirement, he was appointed the chairman of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He also held the post of the Vice-Chancellor of Benaras Hindu University.


3 cheat 240 job aspirants of Rs 3.36 cr
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
With the arrest of three persons, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police today claimed to have unearthed a racket of manpower recruitment.

The ‘agents’ had been duping innocent people on the pretext of sending them abroad for various jobs. The suspects, Zaffar, Nadeem and Shakar Dass, had reportedly cheated over 240 people of Rs 3.36 crore, the police said. Operating from their office in Central Market in Lajpat Nagar, they used to take between Rs 80,000 and Rs 2 lakh depending upon the nature of the job on the pretext of sending aspirants to the Middle East countries for jobs.

They had made a duplicate stamp of the Office of Protector of Emigrants (POE) to affix on the passports of the victims.

The racket came to light when a victim, Jamil, went to the POE office to make an enquiry whether the stamp affixed on his passport was genuine.

On verification, it was found that the seal impression as well as the signature of the POE was forged and a complaint was registered with the EOW.

Sleuths of the EOW arrested the prime suspect, Zafar, from Central Market while Nadeem was arrested from Khirki Extension where he was going in his Maruti Car.

After their interrogation, Shakar was also arrested as he manufactured the POE stamp. Shakar was earlier arrested on the same charge of making the seal of government departments.

During interrogation, Zaffar disclosed that since he had worked in Dubai he had connections and thought to do the manpower business. But instead of doing the business, he had started cheating people. He made Nadeem his partner as he felt that it was difficult to manage the whole affair alone. He used to give Nadeem 30 per cent of the amount collected from the victims, the police said.

Extortionists nailed

With the arrest of two persons in Malviya Nagar, the South district police today claimed to have busted a gang of extortionists and seized one country-made pistol and two live cartridges and Rs 25,000.

The police arrested Rajesh alias Sanjay Chaudhury (26), resident of Bawana, and Narender Kumar alias Kalu (35), resident of Chirag Delhi.

The district police was acting on a complaint by a retired Lieutenant Colonel that his wife and he, who run a business establishment in the Malviya Nagar area, were receiving threat calls from Brijesh, reportedly a close aide of a desperate criminal, Satish.

A special team was formed and the Lt Colonel was asked to negotiate with the unidentified caller and finally the person came to the business establishment to receive the first instalment of the extortion money yesterday.

While he was about to leave the place with the money, Rs 25,000, the police team overpowered him and took him into custody. Both the accused were produced in the court and sent to judicial custody.

MCD engineer held

The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government today arrested an Executive Engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), I. C. Gehani, for allegedly giving a bribe of Rs 10,000 to the municipal councillor of ward number 126, Madan Lal Balmiki.

The engineer was posted at Karol Bagh Project Division and tried to bribe the councillor to suppress his complaint about the delay in taking up the mastic work of Madhav Setu in New Ranjit Nagar and for the quality of the work.

The material used in the construction of the bridge was found to be of bad quality.

The councillor made a complaint against the engineer about the bid to bribe him. A team of the Anti Corruption Branch laid a trap and arrested the engineer while he was reportedly giving the bribe amount to the councillor, a release of the branch said.


Industries struggling to take off in Sonepat
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, January 21
The industrial complex in the city has all the potential of becoming the industrial nerve centre of the state. It houses diverse units of large, medium and small-scale industries manufacturing bicycles, bicycle parts, auto-mobile parts, electric transformers, electric lamps, steel billets, tools, steel tubes, dehydrated vegetables, vanaspati, desi ghee etc.

A large number of medium and small-scale units are located in the complex employing nearly 50,000 workers. These units can yield much dividends if they are provided with the necessary infrastructure and other facilities by the Industries Department.

Many industrialists complain that the authorities of the department had been indifferent towards them and harassing them on one pretext or the other for minting money. The single-window system introduced by the state government had utterly failed, they alleged.

Some other industrialists complained that not only higher-ups in the government and the industries department, but even local officials of the District Industries Centre had seldom felt necessary to visit the industrial belt to know the problems by the units established there.

However, they never forget to summon the industrialists whenever they want to collect funds for various activities. A similar situation persists in the industrial belts on the National Highway No 1 and HSIDC complexes at Rai, Bari and Kundli.

Many industrialists at Kundli, Bari and Rai HSIDC complexes alleged that the authorities of the HSIDC had failed to redress their grievances so far, as a result of which the setting up of new units had been delayed.

Meanwhile, a probe into the difficulties being faced by the industrialists had revealed that there was an acute shortage of housing accommodation for the workers.

During the past five decades, no addition had been made to the number of such houses originally provided in the double-storey quarters in the city. Although some industrialists had acquired houses on rent for accommodating their workers and employees, the shortage continues to hinder the development of industries, as workmen generally prefer to take up jobs at places like Delhi which offer far greater facilities to them.

Transport is another big handicap faced by the industrialists. Transport operators are charging higher rates for carrying goods of the industrialists. The unified stand of the truck operators charging high freight rates is stated to be a constant headache for entrepreneurs.

Train services are equally bad. The timings of the outgoing and incoming trains are most unsuitable for the factory workers and office-goers. There is no train between 8 am and 12.50 pm for Sonepat from Delhi. Road transport facilities are also deplorable. Buses playing between Sonepat and nearby towns like Delhi are unable to meet the people’s requirements.

Many factories have been closed down in the industrial area as well as the industrial estate of the city due to the lack of amenities like roads, drinking water, sewerage and streetlights. Not only the sanitary conditions have worsened, but the power supply has been erratic.

Many industrialists said that they had already converted their units into warehouses or shifted their offices elsewhere. The appalling civic conditions and poor infrastructure in the industrial belt are retarding Sonepat’s industrial growth and also tarnishing the image of the Indian industry abroad, according to these entrepreneurs.

Some of the entrepreneurs wonder as to how any foreign investor could be inspired to come to the primary industrial area when it has a garbage dumping ground dotted with wholesale waste paper market as the ambience. If the facilities are available, exports will go up considerably, feel representatives of export-oriented units whose buyers refuse to meet them in their factories because of the terrible conditions in the area.

Several leading industrialists demanded immediate transfer of all the officials of the DIC and the HSIDC who have had a long stay here and utterly failed to redress their grievances.

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