Wednesday, February 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


I-T move upsets Gurgaon farmers
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 19
Hundreds of farmers of about 40 villages in the Gurgaon sub-division have started feeling the heat of the income tax department’s drive. The department is trying to recover the dues on their income. And the targeted income is on account of the compensation paid by the Haryana Government for the land acquired from them.

The farmers said that the department’s move to collect tax on the money given to them for their land was not justified. In a large number of cases, the farmers have not even got the payments, even though their land had been acquired years ago as the disputes on the compensation amount were sub judice in different courts

The farmers, individually and through the Gurgaon Kisan Sangharsh Panchayat, are planning to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court through a writ of mandamus or other necessary direction against the department to hold back its proceedings on the recovery of dues until the legal status of the cases was decided.

A visit to some of the big villages like Gurgaon, Jharsa, Wazirabad, Sukhrali, Silokhra, Islampur, Naurangpur, Khanda, Basai, Sarhol, Kaderpur, Chakkarpur, Sikanderpur, Nathupur, Dundahera, Maulahera, Choma, Bajghera, Dhanwapur and Basai has revealed that the farmers have started receiving notices for assessment of their property from the department. The vice-president of the Gurgaon Kisan Sangharsh Panchayat and a lawyer of the Supreme Court, Mr Khazan Singh, said that as per the new policy, the department would recover interest on the money accruing to them against the compensation amount for the acquired land, besides wealth tax and capital tax.

In effect, the farmers, on an average, will be getting only about 60 per cent of the compensation money after the deductions under these heads. The interest assessed would be with retrospective effect.

The farmers are apparently cut up with the policy of the state government and place the blame for the crisis at its doors. They said that they had high hopes from the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the state which publicly claimed to be the champion of the farming community.

The farmers alleged that even though the district court had enhanced the compensation payment, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), one of the agencies of the government, went in appeal to the higher court against the ruling. First, the farmers went to the lower court. Then, the Huda moved the higher court. The entire period spans years.

The original compensation amount fixed by the Government was allegedly meagre compared to the market rate. The farmers said that they were constrained to move the court against the original compensation amount. After all, they had not asked the Government to acquire the land.

Had the Government not acquired the land, they would not have had to face the brunt of the income tax department and continued with their settled life. They say that first, they were “duped” by the Government on the compensation amount. Now, they have to make payments against deductions on various heads. To cap it all, the interest charged on the amount, which was yet to be released, was stultifying their very existence.

A former sarpanch of Sukharali village, Mr Mukhtyar Singh, who has been served a notice by the department under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, argued that had the Government been honest and settled the matter with the farmers, whose land was acquired, they could have bought suitable alternative land. This would have saved them from the tax hassles as income from agriculture is non-taxable.

This apart, most of the farmers feel that the matter had been sub judice for long, in many cases for more than 10 years. During the period, the price of the land everywhere had appreciated manifold. They apprehend that in such a situation, they would not be able to buy alternative agricultural land for themselves, even after the final settlement of the compensation amount.

The bottomline is that they are facing the spectre of missing out on their cherished vocation of agriculture for good.



Cabinet fixes March 24 for MCD poll 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
The Cabinet of the Government of NCT of Delhi on Tuesday approved the holding of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls on March 24 and sought security forces from the Centre.

Briefing mediapersons after the weekly meeting of the Cabinet, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said that as per the understanding reached with the Union Minister of Home Affairs, Mr L.K. Advani, the Government found March 24 most convenient for the civic polls. Mr Advani had suggested a date between March 20 and 25 to the Cabinet delegation, led by the Chief Minister that had called on him a few weeks back.

Minister Deep Chand Bandhu, who holds the election portfolio, said that the Government had conveyed as much in a communique to the Union Home Secretary sometime last week. The notification, he informed, was likely to be issued by February 26 from which date the Code of Conduct would come into play. The counting would take place on March 26.

Detailing the mobilisation of security personnel and the staff on election duty, he said that 40 companies of security personnel had been requisitioned excluding the Delhi Police personnel that would be deployed. A 50,000-strong staff would be enlisted for the election duties.

About 9,500 polling booths would be set up for an estimated 79 lakh voters. The process of inviting objections in regard of electoral rolls, etc, would begin soon and it would be disposed of by February 26. The polling would be held in the 134 wards that fall under the Corporation.

Meanwhile, it is decided that the Government would opt for vote-on-accounts in the Budget Session of Delhi Legislative Assembly that will be held from March 27. The session will conclude in the third week of April. In a statement, the Speaker, Mr Prem Singh, said that owing to unavoidable reasons, the Budget of the Government will not be passed by March 31 which was why the vote-on-account would be passed on March 28. Although the Cabinet had met earlier in the day and agreed on the commencement of the session from March 26, the Speaker is learnt to have approved of the session beginning a day later on account of the counting of votes cast in the civic polls scheduled for March 26. According to the Speaker, Mr Prem Singh, several legislators had in their representations to him stated that as the counting of votes was scheduled for March 26, the House be convened a day later.

The Speaker said that he had discussed the matter with the Chief Minister and agreed on the scheduling of the Lieutenant-Governor’s address on March 27.

According to the Assembly Secretariat, the vote-on-account has been slated for March 28, a day after the Lieutenant-Governor’s address to the House. The Speaker also said that the Lieutenant-Governor’s address and the Budget were scheduled to be discussed in the first and second week of April, respectively.



Delimitation of DSGMC wards demanded
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
Even as the process of enlisting new voters, who have attained 18 years of age, for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee poll began here today, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has asked the Delhi Government to undertake fresh delimitation of the wards in the National Capital Territory.

“There is a need to undertake fresh delimitation of the gurdwara wards as they continue to be as they were 20 years ago. The demographic profile of these wards have undergone drastic changes,” the Delhi unit chief of the SAD (Badal) and DSGMC president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, told ‘NCR Tribune’.

He said, “If the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections does not undertake fresh delimitation, then it would be unjust to some of the candidates as some of them would be representing 2,000 persons of a ward, while some others would be representing 7,000 persons in another ward.”

When asked whether this was another move to scuttle the elections to the DSGMC, which are slated to be held in June 16, he said, “We want the directorate to hold the polls as scheduled. We are not demanding the creation of fresh wards. We only want the directorate to delimit all the wards proportionately.” He said, “Undertaking such fresh delimitation exercise should not result in the postponement of the polls. Even we are not in favour of it.”

Mr Avtar Singh Hit has written a letter to the directorate and the Delhi Finance Minister, Mr M. S. Saathi, who is in charge of gurdwara elections, seeking fresh delimitation of wards.

Meanwhile, the directorate has asked the Sikhs who have attained 18 years to enlist themselves at 16 centres set up at different parts of the Capital to be eligible to vote in the forthcoming gurdwara polls.

The electoral rolls for the gurdwara polls were last revised in 1999. As per that list, there are 2.67 lakh registered voters in 46 wards, the number of constituencies into which the National Capital Territory has been divided for the polls. The DSGMC comprises of 56 members; the general elections are held for 46 wards in the National Capital Territory. Four members from the Singh Sabhas, one from the SGPC and five Jathedars of the five Takhts in the country are members of the committee. Except the five Jathedars, all others have voting rights. The last general elections to the committee were held in 1995 after a gap of 17 years. The committee is elected for the term of four years and the existing committee had completed its term more than two years ago.

The spat between the two Akali factions continued today.



Blind to the needs of visually challenged
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, February 19
With barely 10 days left for the board examinations, a large number of visually impaired students are spending sleepless nights as they are yet to receive confirmation about their ‘writers’. All visually impaired students are allowed the assistance of writers during the board examinations. This is apart from other concessions, the CBSE has given to these students like alternative questions in science and mathematics.

“We have not still received a confirmation regarding the writers. We have approached many schools, but there has been no answer so far. I am so tense. What will happen to us? The exams start on March 1,” said Prakash Kumar Mahato.

Mahato is one of the 10 students of Blind School, Panchkuian Road who are scheduled to take the exams but have not received a confirmation from the schools who are willing to send their volunteers as writers.

“We always face the problem of finding writers during exams. The trouble is that this time, all other students are also busy with their exams. They are stopped from volunteering either by their parents or their tight schedules,” said the principal of JPM Senior Secondary School for the blind.

The principal said that the examination schedules should be so planned that the exams of the challenged children do not coincide with those of the regular students. Only then, this problem could be sorted out. “Ever since the exams have been advanced from April to March by the Directorate of Education, this problem crops up every year,” he said.

According to the rules laid down, the writer has to be a school student and has to be one class junior to the examinee. For a class 10 student, the writer has to be a student of class nine and similarly, for a class 12 student, the writer has to be a class 11 student.

The visually impaired children find themselves segregated from the regular students as they cannot study with them, nor can they study subjects like mathematics and science from class 9 onwards. “Due to the lack of equipment and facilities, we cannot study math and science. I enjoyed science and math and would like to continue, but we do not have the facilities to study further,” said Rakesh Prajapati, a student of class 10 in JPM School.

The students of the Institution for Blind in Amar Colony seem to be luckier of the lot, as most of the students in classes 10 and 12 have found writers. “Those in classes 10 and 12 have found writers, but for those of us who are in class 11, we are still looking for writers. The schools are giving priority to those who are appearing for the board exams, but they fail to see that our exams are equally important,” pointed out Deepak, a class 11 student.

“The exam schedules are decided by the CBSE, it is done so all over the country. The Directorate of Education has nothing to do with the dates of the exams. However, we are sure that finding a writer is not a big problem. At least in the schools run by the directorate, there is no such problem. There are so many students in the schools who can volunteer as writers, if one child is not available there are 10 others. I have not received a single complaint so far,” said Mr Gyanendra Srivastava, Director, Education. Despite repeated attempts, the CBSE officials could not be contacted for their comments.



Plea against EC appointment dismissed 

New Delhi, February 19
The Delhi High Court today dismissed the petition filed by Mr S. Malaichamy, a serving IAS officer, challenging his removal and appointment of the retired IAS officer, Mr M. P. Tyagi, as the Election Commissioner for Delhi.

The counsel for the petitioner had contended that the appointment of the Election Commissioner for Delhi was governed by the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 and the Election Commissioner of NCT of Delhi (Condition of Service and Tenure of Office) Rules, 1973 that prescribed three years tenure and the same statutory provisions stipulated against the removal other than in the manner prescribed for the removal of a judge of the High Court.

The Counsel for Mr Tyagi had submitted that the conferment of additional charge upon Mr S. Malaichamy till further orders was not an appointment of a regular nature or in the substantive capacity to the post of election commissioner, and therefore, taking away the said additional charge did not amount to the “removal” and consequently there was no requirement to follow the procedure applicable to the removal of a High Court judge.

Meanwhile, the matter of seat-rotation in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has been transferred for hearing by another Bench of the court. TNS



No plague threat in Capital, says Walia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
Reassuring Delhiites that there is no cause for panic in the wake of cases of plague reported in Himachal Pradesh, Health Minister A. K. Walia today said there was remote likelihood of outbreak of the disease in the Capital.

After his meetings with the officials of the Directorate of Health Services, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council, Infectious Diseases Hospital and consultants of World Health Organisation, he said the government was fully prepared to meet any emergency in this connection. The Infectious Diseases Hospital at Kingsway Camp, he said, was fully equipped with sufficient beds and enough stock of antibiotics to receive and treat patients.

Civic authorities, the minister informed, had been instructed to take sanitation measures to ensure and maintain sanitation with a view to controlling the vector of this disease.

Dr Walia said the disease was caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. The symptoms of the disease were the onset of fever, chill, chest pain and blood-tinged sputum. In some cases, he said, lymph glands might be enlarged. Since the disease was noticeable, all the hospitals in the Capital had been directed to report about any patient having these symptoms to the civic authorities.



Child prisoners beat up wardens
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 19
Quite a stir was caused when a group of child prisoners assaulted two wardens, including the Head Warden, in the State After-Care Home here yesterday. The Head Warden, Mr Ram Pal, was beaten up mercilessly resulting in multiple injuries. His condition is reportedly serious
According to a report, the child prisoners were lined up by the wardens for taking a headcount. Some of the prisoners took the broomsticks in the meantime and started beating up the wardens.

The injured wardens raised an alarm. Some security men arrived on the spot immediately and managed to take away the prisoners to their barracks. The authorities of the State After-Care Home informed the police about the incident. On receiving the information, the Civil Lines police arrived and a case was registered against the alleged assailants under Sections 148, 149, 223, 332, 342, 353 and 511 of the IPC. The child prisoners, who were allegedly involved in the assault, include Kamlesh, Anil, Deepak alias Babloo, Dinesh, Anil Kumar, Rahul, Naresh and Vinay Kumar.

The badly injured Head Warden was immediately taken to a hospital. His condition is stated to be serious. It is alleged that some child prisoners tried to take away the keys from the pockets of the injured wardens in a bid to escape but failed in their attempt. Further investigations are in progress.



Godhuli in Dwarka: A home for the good old days
Smriti Kak

A WELL-STOCKED LIBRARY: Something to write home about.
A WELL-STOCKED LIBRARY: Something to write home about. 

New Delhi, February 19
When the sun sets on the horizon of youth and dusk sets in, there is an uncanny feeling of isolation. Old age is the dusk when you see yourself in the light of a different perspective. You are no longer the breadwinner; you are a liability, perhaps.

Physical deterioration is just one aspect of old age, the other and most prominent being a sense of psychological unrest. In most cases, incompatibility between the older members and the youngsters often leads to a friction, leading to a split in the family structure.

With the nuclear families becoming the rule rather than an exception, and space constraints in the metropolitan cities adding to the woes of the elderly, they are compelled to move into retirement homes.

While in certain families, the elders are shown the door, still in others, they themselves choose to live independently in the old-age homes.

However, what is a major deterrent for the educated middle class is the lack of facilities in most of the retirement homes.

Godhuli in Dwarka is an old-age home which has opened its door to the middle class people. It offers them a quality life for a price that they can afford.

In Godhuli, which means dusk, the senior citizens can spend the evening of their life in peace. Built on a spacious well-landscaped ground with serene ambience, it has been established by the women’s wing of the Delhi branch of the Servants of the People’s Society 14 years ago.

The home is run on a no-profit basis and houses around 60 residents above the age of 60. It has 25 single and 12 double rooms. It has an additional capacity of nine single and double rooms to accommodate 15 elderly people of meagre means who stay here free of charge.

Godhuli offers its inmates a choice of buying either the rooms or paying for them every month. For a single room, one has to pay Rs 3 lakh and for a double room, the charges are Rs 5 lakh. For those who want to pay a monthly rent, a single room costs Rs 2,500 and a double room costs around Rs 3,500. Besides, the people have to shell out Rs 2,000 for food and other utilities.

Airy rooms, a telephone connection, attached bathrooms and other mod cons are the features of the rooms at Godhuli. Health centre, infirmaries, a physiotherapy clinic are also provided to the residents.

The residents may also make use of a well-stocked library, well-furnished recreational lounge and a satsang hall for the religious-minded. They may relax on the expansive lawns.

Another unique feature of Godhuli is the neighbourhood benefit programme, which focuses on serving the elderly in the entire community around Godhuli. The programme will extend medical benefits on a daily basis through an outpatient department.



Ex-CM showers praise on Ahir society
Our Correspondent

Rewari, February 19
Rao Birender Singh, former Chief Minister as well as former Union Minister and president of the Ahir Education Society, has asserted that Ahir educational institutions, which are the oldest ones in Haryana, have rendered most valuable services in the sphere of education during the past five decades, particularly in the backward Ahirwal region.

In his keynote address at the joint prize distribution function of the local Ahir College and Rao Birender Singh College of Education, held on the Ahir College campus here today, Rao Singh maintained that while Ahir College, set up in 1945, was one of the two oldest colleges of the state, while Rao College, set-up in 1953, was the oldest non-governmental teacher’s training college of joint Punjab.

He said that it was a matter of great pride and joy that RBS College of Education had produced over 25,000 teachers, who all have made a most remarkable contribution in the expansion of education during the last five decades in the region of Ahirwal. He further said that there were hundreds of teachers in certain villages of Ahirwal, whose presence had brought about a significant change in the social environment too. The achievements of the prestigious Ahir College had also been remarkable, he added.

Taking a dig at all such parents, who previously sent their wards to this college just to raise their value in the wedding-market, he said that effective steps had been taken to restrict the rising strength of such students in the classes and provide the opportunities to receive meritorious education. Rao Singh advised the teachers to be sincere and dedicated in their work and always eschew malpractice and copying.

Making a special mention of the enfranchisement of boys and girls above 18 years, Rao Singh said that most of the college students now enjoyed this right to vote which had a special significance. Rao Singh said that he would urge them to take part in politics in such a way as to change the negative and dirty tactics used by selfish politicians. Rao Sheoraj Singh, secretary of the Ahir Education Society, expressed concern at the growing lack of interest in sports among the college students. Mr J. N. Yadav, principal of Ahir College, read out the annual report. Students presented a colourful cultural programme comprising bhajan, folksong, ghazal, folkdance, humorous couplets etc.

In the end, Rao Birender Singh gave away prizes to the students of both the colleges, who had distinguished themselves in studies, sports and extra-curricular activities. Mr. M. R. Popli, principal of RBS College, thanked the gathering.



Huda to relocate marble dealers

Faridabad, February 19
As part of the beautification and decongesting the National Highway No. 2 (Mathura Road) passing through the district, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) here has decided to relocate marble stone dealers from Sector 20-A and 20-B.

According to Administrator HUDA, Mr Vijayendra Kumar, the department has chosen an alternative site in Sector 21-C to relocate about 110 marble dealers now occupying land in Sector 20-A and 20th, just adjacent to the highway.

He said the proposal had been acceptable to the majority of stone dealers and the department had arranged about 120 plots for the purpose in Sector 21-C, just near the Railway track. No such dealer would be allowed to cut or polish the stone in the new zone.

He said the department would plant about 10000 trees in the area to be vacated.

The district Administration has also taken some measures to decongest the National Highway and improve its condition.

It is claimed that work of repairing and replacing the sodium lights on the 30rm long stretch had already started and the authorities have decided to build proper bus shelters having facilities like public toilets and capes on the highway. The Administration has started the work of widening some crossings and banned parking of trucks and commercial vehicles along the highway. The HUDA and Municipal Corporation have agreed to share the burden of lighting the highway and its upkeep.



Thirty-two couples tie the knot
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 19
The Lioness Club, Faridabad Central arranged the marriage of seven couples belonging to the less privileged section of the society here recently. The club has arranged about 32 such marriages in the past six years.

The `Lioness’ had not only arranged the marriage in a traditional style but also acted as kin of the brides and grooms, besides ensuring that not a single ceremony was left out, claimed the president of the Lioness Club (321-A), Lioness Madhu Mittal.

She said while every member of the club was full of enthusiasm and showed the spirit of togetherness and the event was conducted quite smoothly.

Lioness Pushpa Sharma, chief of the district unit, said that an amount of about Rs 25000 was spent on each couple and the club presented some of the basic necessities of daily life to newly weds, which included a cycle, a sewing machine a wristwatch, clothes and kitchen items.

The SDM, Faridabad, Mr Jitender Dahiya, who was the chief guest, blessed the newly wed couples. Members of the club, including Lioness Sita Gupta, Darshana Gupta, Anuradha Ber, Shikha Aggarwal, Trishla Jian, Harnet Sawhney, Asha Duggal, Alka Singh and some members of the Lions club, including Vinay Gupta, I D Mahajan, Jai Bhagwan Gupta and Parveen Garg were among those who were present on the occasion.



It will be desi vs videshi at New Delhi Fashion Week
Smriti Kak

Unconstrained, unrestricted creativity. Hyatt Regency in the Capital will play host to a concourse of creative genius as some of the world’s best-known designers come under one roof to display their very best.

As a part of the New Delhi Fashion Week, designers from across the globe will congregate in the Capital to showcase their collections on a unique platform before key industry delegates, the media and consumers.

Representing India will be Mona Pali, Ashish Soni and Rohit Bal. Organised by Sanjay Kapur, chief executive of Riya Communications, the participating designers have been chosen by an international jury.

Designers from represent Switzerland, the UK, Greece, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, China, Sweden and the USA participating in the Fashion Week that begins on March 15.

Fashion by tech

Models walking down the ramp.
Models walking down the ramp. 
Ashish Soni et al, all set for the International Fashion Week.
Ashish Soni et al, all set for the International Fashion Week. 

Technology has taken over fashion, claims Ashish Soni, one of the few Indian designers who has helped focus international attention homewards. Ashish is all set to participate in the weeklong New Delhi International Fashion Week scheduled to take place next month.

“It is going to be a completely different event. It will have fashion packaged in a way never seen before. The international fashion week will not just be a fashion show for the consumers or the markets or for shock value, it will be an event. We will be using the best of what we have, in terms of design, techniques and the hand crafted styles that the West doesn’t have access to or maybe, is new to them”, elaborates Ashish, who was discovered by India’s finest designer, the late Rohit Khosla, who roped him in to model for his firm.

The concept is to create designs that can be worn across geographical boundaries. “We are giving a whole new look to things. For instance, we have done up trousers with the same kind of embroidery that we use on Lehngas, we have translated the designs of a sari on to a skirt. And all this without going overboard”.

Ashish revealed that for the upcoming event, his collection has pieces that have been done in the past by him, “I am giving some of my old designs a more contemporary look. These designs have been molded to suit the present trends.”

For the designer who loves to dress men, designing for women is a challenge he loves to accept. The Raymond’s has roped in Ashish to design for their in-house brand called the B Store. “ Through this store, I hope to bridge the divide between the designer and the masses. The range I have designed is priced at competitive rates. There are things that cost just Rs 900, with the upper limit around Rs 10,000. We hope to reach the Indian consumer through these shops.”

Referring to the increased awareness and the emerging fashion consciousness in the country, Ashish believes that we will soon have Indians as one of the most fashionable people in the world. “The rate at which the fashion scene is growing in our country, we have reasons to believe that we are soon going to emerge as one of the most fashion conscious people in the world.”

Undeterred by the presence of international fashion giants like Armani and Versace, Ashish feels that Indian designers score over their western counterparts as they know not just the psyche of the domestic consumers, but are also aware of the limitations in terms of climate, colour and sizes. “The western designers do not have an Indian consumer in mind when they create their products. Their colours and cuts are not for everyone, whereas we pay attention to those details,” says Ashish, admitting that a certain amount of competition does exist between the desi and the videshi designers.

This designer is now competing with himself and feels at peace with himself.

“Till about five years ago, I would spend most of my time in night clubs, but now I am transformed. I am competing with myself, and want to outdo my last success. I have no clue as to how this transformation came about, but I am happy,” says the man who has been blessed with the joy of newfound fatherhood.

For the year 2002, Ashish spells a boom time with the age-old favourite denim. “We are going to go berserk with denim, right from sweaters to T’s, we are ushering in a denim mania. The emphasis will be on denim, indigo, breathable fabrics, surface texture and a lot of knits,” he says.

The designer claims that technology can stake a major claim in the new and bizarre avtaar of fashion that we are going to witness this year.

Cupid at Floats

A dancer at Valentine’s Day party at the Park Royal hotel.
A dancer at Valentine’s Day party at the Park Royal hotel.

Cupid came calling at the Smirnoff Valentine’s Day party organised at The Float, Park Royal. The evening saw the colours of love splashed across as mesmerising music played at the chords of the heart. Flamenco and salsa dancers set the hearts fluttering. For the winners of the contest, a shining Skoda Octavia drove them to a special screening of Ocean’s Eleven.



Brawn plus brain

Close on the heels of Femina Miss India comes a pageant for men. Instead of beauty, it is the brawn that will have these men vying for the title of Grasim Mr India. Thirty-one youngsters from across the country will meet eyeball to eyeball and sweat it out to take home that title which spells success and fame.

Scheduled for the February 23, Grasim Mr India will be held in the Garden city of Bangalore. Like the beauty queens, who are the epitomes of grace, intelligence, wit, compassion and, of course, good looks, the participants in Mr India contest too will have to live up to these standards. Did we hear you say equality of the sexes?

This year, four boys from Delhi have been short-listed to participate in the prestigious contest, which will separate the boys from men. Vikas Sharma, Mohan Gill, Prashant Ranyal and Donovan Wodehouse are all set to flex those muscles and the grey cells to win their way to the top. These wonder boys have carefully chosen their role models.

No, we don’t have Mother Teresa and Indira Gandhi, instead we have Nelson Mandela and Sachin Tendulkar. One wonders whether it is misogyny or a plain boy’s thing.



CM’s intervention sought in fee hike by private schools
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 19
The Haryana Nagrik Samiti has demanded the immediate intervention of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, in the issue of fee hikes by private schools in the city and elsewhere in the district.

In a press release, it emphasised the need to keep a check on the powers of private schools to arbitrarily increase fees. It described as vague the reasons given by private schools to justify the increase in fees.

The authorities of the private schools said that they had increased the fees to neutralise the burden of payment of an additional instalment of dearness allowance and the likely impact of recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission for teachers. But the increase effected in fees was disproportionate, the samiti claimed. Some schools had increased fees by 100 per cent, it said.

Ex-cop’s house burgled

A series of thefts were reported from different parts of the city and Ganaur sub-divisional town in this district last night. According to a report, thieves reportedly entered the house of Mr Krishan Kumar Rawat, retired police official, in the New Colony here last night and escaped with valuables worth several thousands of rupees.

According to another report, the thieves also entered the shop of a tailor in Patharonwali gali on the Rohtak road here last night and took away clothes and other goods. It is stated that the thieves broke the locks to enter the shop and escaped with the goods. The police, on a tip-off, immediately swung into action and summoned the dog squad but failed to trace the culprits.

A third theft case was reported from Ganaur town where burglars broke the wall of an electronic shop and took away goods worth about Rs 50,000. The stolen goods include car stereos, videocassettes, VCRs etc. The owner of the shop has lodged an FIR with the police.

The spate of thefts has caused panic among residents of Sonepat city and Ganaur town as the police had failed to solve any of the theft cases reported during the past few months.

Representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations and trade unions today expressed concern over the increasing incidence of thefts and demanded immediate steps for intensifying night patrolling to curb the activities of the anti-social elements and the criminals.

Mill closed

A HAFED-sponsored sugar mill, which was commissioned only on Sunday, was closed down at Ahulana village, about 40 km from here, yesterday.

According to official sources, this followed a snag developed in the machines.

This has caused resentment among sugarcane growers of the area, who had to take back their produce to their homes.

BSNL officer held

Ankur Chanda, an official of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), was arrested by officials of a raiding party headed by Dr Sultan Singh, SDM, and Mr Hardeep Singh Doon, DSP, Headquarters, while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 1,400 from Mr Vimal Kishore, president of the Janhit Samiti, Sonepat yesterday.

According to a report, the officials also recovered the notes from the pockets of the employee. Mr Kishore has offered the money for a telephone connection.

A case under the Anti-Corruption Act was registered against the employee.

Found  unconscious

A 12-year-old son of a herdsman was found unconscious near Sector 15, a residential colony of HUDA here, yesterday. According to a report, he was immediately hospitalised. He is stated to be out of danger. The boy had gone for grazing cattle there. It is stated that an unidentified man had offered him sweets and he fell unconscious after he ate them. The man who had offered him sweets immediately fled from the scene.

PDS items diverted

Resentment prevails among families living below poverty line (BPL) in the city and elsewhere in the district against the release of poor quality of wheat flour (atta) at the fair price shops.

Many ration cardholders alleged that all their complaints made to the authorities concerned and other officials in this regard have fallen on deaf ears. The ration cardholders are also at the receiving end as some depot holders are selling kerosene and sugar in the black market. It is alleged that some fair price shops had been converted into provision shops and private shops, where non-rationed items are being sold without any fear of authority.

Motorcyclist killed

A 30-year-old motorcyclist was killed on the spot when he was hit by a vehicle near the HAFED-sponsored sugar mill at Ahulana village, about 40 km from here, last night.

According to a report, the victim had gone to the sugar mill to meet his brother who was there to supply sugar cane. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress.

According to another report, two other persons sustained injuries when a car hit a scooter near Akbarpur Barota village, 8 km from here, today. Both the injured were immediately hospitalised and the condition of one of them is stated to be serious.

Another accident occurred on the G.T. Road near Murthal Chowk when an autorickshaw rammed into a stationary tempo which overturned. One of the passengers who sustained injuries was immediately hospitalised. He is stated to be out of danger.

Flower show

Garden Society has decided to organise a one-day flower show on March 10 on the premises of S M Hindu Senior Secondary School in the city. Competitions will be held in following categories: potted seasonals, potted foliage, potted vegetables, cut seasonal vegetables, flower arrangement, home gardens/factory gardens and institutional gardens.

Eye camp

More than 130 children belonging to the weaker section of society got their eyes checked at a camp organised by Quota International, DLF City Chapter in DLF City here today. Dr Vikas Tukral of Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre who attended the children said that most of the children had no problem with their eyes.

Some of them who had a deficiency in Vitamin A, were suggested to eat fruits such as carrots and papaya, said the doctor.

Sangita Bansal, member of the organisation informed that the Quota International was running a charitable dispensary for the labourers and their family members for the last one year, providing free medicines to them in the DLF City Phase 1.

A lady doctor attends the patients three days in week, said Mr Bansal.

“As we completed one year of the dispensary, we decided to organise a separate event for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society”, said Ritika Bhatia, Joint Secretary of the NGO.

Husband held

The Bahadurgarh sadar police have registered a case of dowry death against the husband of the deceased, Sunil, Ashok and five of his family members Kharar village, yesterday. A district police press note said here today that the deceased, Sunil, daughter of Mr Mahendra Singh of Jhaswa village, was married to Ashok in 1998. Her husband and in-laws started harassing for bringing more dowries after the marriage.

Her husband and his family members reportedly poisoned her to death on February 16. The police registered a case under section 304-B, 498-A and 201 IPC against all the accused.

Power theft

The district police have registered cases of power theft against Pawan of Nourangpur village, Raj of Jahidpur village, Babloo of Dadri Toe and Rajbir of suhra village on the basis of complaint lodged by the Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam.

The Nigam official raided their premises and caught the power pilferage.

The Nigam also imposed penalties of Rs 4182 on Babloo and Rs 20000 against the remaining three for inflicting loses by stealing power.

100 illegal structures razed

About hundred structures were demolished by the municipal corporation authorities as part of its anti-encroachment drive.

The encroached structures that were razed today were located at Bata Chowk and Muyesar village. These included hutments, stalls and some shops. The Municipal Corporation, Faridabad has already razed hundreds of illegal structures in the NIT Zone in the past few days.

Minor raped, killed

An unknown person reportedly raped a four-year-old girl and murdered her with a sharp-edged weapon. According to the police sources, Araseen, daughter of Rajesh Kumar, was found missing on the night of February 17-18 from her jhuggi in DLF. The parents searched for the missing girl throughout the night but to no avail. They found the body of the child with the bloodstains on her face and neck near their residential cluster in the morning. The police said that the child was first raped and then murdered. TNS



Cash, jewellery looted from wedding house
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
Five persons in their twenties entered the house of a Kashmiri migrant in the Begampur area of North-West district in the wee hours today and decamped with cash and jewellery worth Rs 30,000. A wedding was scheduled in the house and the assailants struck at the 'right' time.

The incident occurred around 2 am in the house of Mr Radha Krishan Dhar who sustained head injuries when the assailants hit him with a sharp-edged weapon. He was immediately taken to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital and was reported to be out of danger.

The police said that the assailants had information about the wedding. Seven persons were present at the time of the incident. Since the house is situated in an isolated area, no neighbour came for their rescue. A case of robbery has been registered in the local police station and a massive hunt is on for the assailants. The police suspect the involvement of local boys in the robbery.

Rs 3 lakh looted: In another incident, three youths armed with knives reportedly entered a thread godown in the Bara Hindu Rao area in North district and decamped with Rs 3 lakh last night.

According to the police, the incident occurred around 10 pm when three unidentified youths armed with knives barged into the godown, used for storing threads. They locked up the three employees who were present and asked for the accountant, Jawanniah (52). They robbed Rs 3 lakh from him and fled from the spot.

The police have registered a case of robbery and launched a manhunt for the culprits.

licence racket: The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police today arrested a person, Devender Kumar, and claimed to have unearthed a racket in issuing fake driving licences in the Adarsh Nagar area of Azadpur Mandi.

The police said that the accused, a truck driver, used to make fake licences for fellow drivers and charged Rs 200-500 per licence.

He had visited almost every state in the country and managed to get the rubber stamps used by the transport authorities.



Gang involved in forging transport papers busted
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, February 19
The district police have busted a gang involved in forging documents like fabricated driving licenses, road tax receipts, challans etc.

According to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh Siag, the police got an information that one Pritam Singh along with the owner of Sharawat Bus Services, Jahawar Singh, and other accomplices used to forge documents like driving licences and road tax receipts and sell them at high rates to the people who approach them.

The police team led by Inspector Balbir Singh raided a building and recovered various fabricated papers, including fake driving licenses, which had been made for various customers, tax penalty receipt book, three blank driving licenses, challan forms of motor vehicles with the stamp of the Regional Transport Authority (RTA), Rohtak and some papers concerning the Delhi Transport Authority.

The police also seized some stamps of the Licensing Authority of Gurgaon, Rohtak and Delhi and Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer. Mr Siag informed that the police arrested Mr Pritam Singh on the spot while his accomplices succeeded in running away from the scene.

The police lodged an FIR under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of IPC against the offenders.



4 including cop, guard killed in Ghaziabad

Ghaziabad, February 19
A security guard in a flour mill under Musori Police station, was shot dead by criminals last night and took away his gun and Rs 22,000 from the mill office also. A head constable who was on duty in the second phase of assembly elections has reportedly been shot dead at Jalone. Besides, the dead bodies of an unidentified person, who had been stabbed to death and a fourth person, who was murdered in a village Chhallera under Babugarh police station. OC


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