Friday, February 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Gurgaon traffic in fast lane now
28-km stretch of National Highway No. 8 to be converted into expressway
Tribune News Service

Delhi, Gurgaon super highway

* Eight-lane Delhi-Gurgaon expressway in three years

* Travel time to be 30 minutes less on signal-free road

* Users to pay toll; only four-wheelers would be allowed

* Service road to be built alongside for two-wheelers

* Rs 555 cr deal with UK co to be signed at month-end

New Delhi, February 21
A 28-km stretch of the National Highway no 8 linking New Delhi and Mumbai will be converted into an eight-lane access-controlled expressway in order to reduce travel time between Delhi and Gurgaon by 30 minutes.

The project, estimated to cost Rs 555 crore, has been awarded to the joint venture of Jai Prakash Industries and DS Constructions of the United Kingdom. The agreement is expected to be signed by month-end. To be built on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, the expressway, when completed in three years, would offer signal-free movement of vehicles. Road users, in turn, would have to pay toll.

The expressway would be built from the junction of Rao Tula Ram Marg up to the 42nd milestone in Gurgaon. Of this 28 km-stretch, 18 km fall in Haryana and 10 km in Delhi. For unhindered movement of traffic, flyovers would be built along the expressway, including one at the Rao Tula Ram Marg crossing. The expressway would also feed the Indira Gandhi International Airport for which a separate loop for the traffic turning toward the airport is proposed.

Under the terms of agreement, the private players would construct and maintain the expressway for 20 years by collecting toll from road users. Only four-wheelers will be allowed on the expressway. Two toll collection booths would be set up on the Delhi-Haryana border and at the 42nd milestone in Gurgaon. A Toll Plaza would be erected at the junction of international airport to collect toll from vehicles turning to and from the airport. For two-wheelers, cyclists and those not wanting to access the expressway a 7.5 metre-wide service road would be constructed alongside.

According to SC Saluja of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the need for an expressway was felt on account of the ever increasing outflow of traffic from Delhi. “The volume of traffic,” he said, “which is currently 1,40,000 passenger car units per day at the intersection of the India Gandhi International Airport and 1,00,000 at the border with Gurgaon is projected to grow at about five to seven per cent annually. Therefore, this expressway.”

According to Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor, who briefed mediapersons on Thursday about ongoing projects and works proposed to be undertaken under the Prime Minister’s National Highway Development Project, the expressway linking Delhi and Gurgaon will be “an asset for furthering the concept of National Capital Region” and for improving connectivity of the Capital with satellite townships.

NHAI Chairman Deepak Das Gupta, in turn, informed that the expressway project is to be undertaken as part of the National Highway Development Project’s Golden Quadrilateral and North-South, East-West corridor projects. While the Golden Quadrilateral linking the four metros is expected to be completed by December 2003, the two corridors of Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Silchar (Assam) to Gujarat would near completion in December 2007.

To reduce the stress on traffic during the period of construction of the expressway, the private bidder has been asked to submit a management plan. Also, to decongest the flow of traffic the Old Gurgaon Road would be strengthened which task has been entrusted to the Public Works Department (PWD). “The project,” the LG said, “would be carefully phased to cause minimum disruption of traffic.”

The National Highway no 1, linking Karnal and Delhi, is similarly being made into an eight-lane highway extending from the border to the Timarpur crossing.

On the anvil is an expressway between Shahdara and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh for which the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has engaged a consultant. The results of the feasibility study of constructing an expressway on BOT basis, he said, would be available in a month.



The grand old man of Delhi politics is dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
Senior Congress leader Jag Parvesh Chandra died following a massive heart attack on Thursday morning. Born on November 12, 1916 in Gujranwala, Pakistan, Mr Chandra breathed his last at 11.30 am before a medical team from the Escorts Heart Institute could reach his P 4/A Hauz Khas residence.

The grand old man of Delhi politics, Mr Chandra, a bachelor, held the posts of Chief Executive Councillor of Delhi and Chairman of the Interim Metropolitan Council. He was also senior vice president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC). He will be cremated at the Bela Road electric crematorium at 11 am on Friday with full State honours. His body would be taken to the DPCC office at 2, Talkatora Road at 9 am on Friday where it would be kept for an hour to enable the public, his followers, admirers, political colleagues and friends to pay their last respects.

Family members said he was discharged last Thursday from Escorts where he had been admitted last month after he had suffered a heart attack. They said he had been doing well since then. This morning, he got up and was going for his bath when he fell unconscious. A team of doctors from Escorts was summoned but he died before they could arrive.

Mr Chandra, in his long political career, which began in the pre-Independence era, became the Leader of Opposition when Delhi was accorded an Assembly status. A journalist by profession, he authored several books on politics. A writer and a thinker, he was a familiar face in the political circles of Delhi and was respected by all, irrespective of their political affiliations. A simple and amiable personality with an astute understanding of the nitty-gritty of politics, Mr Chandra maintained an open house and everyone was free to meet him. Mr Chandra, who nurtured the Delhi Congress, saw his dream come true when the party swept to power in the 1998 Delhi Assembly elections. Declining to hold any position, he distanced himself from factionalism in the party and acted as an advisor.

Active in politics since student days at Lahore, Mr Chandra was secretary of the All India Student Federation in Lahore and general secretary of the All India Youth Congress. He was elected President of the Delhi State Refugees Association in 1957 and nominated member of the Rehabilitation Advisory Board of the Government of India.

Mr Chandra was the founder editor of “Monday Morning,” an English weekly brought out from Lahore in 1938. As a social worker, he introduced the “Bazar on Wheels” in 1972 which supplied essential commodities to weaker sections of society. He launched the “Miss a Meal” movement in 1949 after migrating from Pakistan and also started the consumer protection campaigns in Delhi in 1966.

He was a member of the Delhi State Legislative Assembly (1952 to 1956), chairman of Interim Metropolitan Council (1966-67), Deputy Chairman of Metropolitan Council (1972-77), and Chief Executive Councillor and Leader of the House from 1983 to 1989.

President KR Narayanan condoled the death of Mr Chandra, saying he was always in the forefront when it came to addressing the needs and concerns of common people. In his condolence message, the President said in Chandra’s death the country has lost an important and admirable figure.



A Trust that refuses to improve 
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 21
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala keeps making lofty proclamations about his resolve to weed out corruption from the state, but the Improvement Trust seems to have scant regard for his pronouncements, turning a Nelson’s eye to the encroachments on public land. The Improvement Trust is meant to improve the quality of civic life of the city. Contrary to its professed stand, a large number of shop owners have been allowed to encroach on the Khandsa Road. If all the individual cases are taken into account, it would show that the scam was worth a mint of money. It has also robbed the government of huge revenue. The trust had disposed of about 140 constructed shops on Khandsa Road a few years ago. Of them, about 70 shop-owners have raised unauthorised structures adjacent to their shops.

Besides indulging in corrupt practices, the encroachers have defaced the area. Several complaints have been made to the top echelons of the government, but in vain.

The Trust, revived after the INLD Government had come to power, initiated action against some of the illegal structures by razing them about five months ago. In the cleansing process, about a score of the shops having illegal structures were targeted. Some of the other defaulters were issued notices against the unauthorised constructions. The cosmetic but partial approach of the trust was the end of its cleansing drive.

It is an open secret that during the trust’s drive all the shop owners approached some of the trust members and the INLD leaders. The rest is left to imagination as the trust went into an ostrich-like shell on the demolition issue. There are many who feel that the selective action against the poachers was initiated just for the intended effect: to terrorise the parties so that they would approach the local politicians. It is anybody’s guess what could have been the ‘quid pro quo’.

The shop owners, whose structures had been demolished, have now constructed them again. In some cases, they have further expanded their structures. In the last general house meeting of the trust held on December 18 last year, some members raised the issue and it was decided to initiate fresh action against the encroachments on Khandsa Road. However, the issue appears to have been put on the backburner.

Given that there is a huge premium on land in Gurgaon, a section of the local politicians and even non-gazette government officials develop a vested interest in perpetuating the mess. No wonder, the politicians cast a hawkish eye on Gurgaon. Even the government officials lobby hard to get a posting there. In some cases, they run lucrative business, especially real estate. Against this backdrop, it would be a litmus test for the administration and the government to cleanse the Khandsa Road of the encroachments.



A good Samaritan who has no messiah
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
This is a story of penury, principles and an apathetic State. Inder Pal Mishra, a 29-year-old auto-rickshaw driver, is a classic example of how lopsided government policies can drive people to the verge of bankruptcy, and yet, against all odds, some display a strength of character and do not get lured by the lust for money.

On Wednesday, Inder was hired by a Delhi University lecturer to commute from Saraswati Vihar to Prashant Vihar – a distance of barely four km. Inder asked for Rs 25 and the latter, though initially reluctant, relented as she was hard-pressed for time. In the rush, she dropped her leather purse containing Rs 680 in the auto. The visibly upset lecturer had hardly reconciled to the loss, when she learnt from a neighbourhood auto-repair mechanic that Inder had come searching for her. The next morning, Inder, with the mechanic in tow, was at her doorstep to duly return the purse – untouched and intact – and also to tell his tale of survival and fortitude.

After several abortive attempts in various businesses in the mistaken belief that he would get self-employed, Inder finally purchased a CNG-run auto-rickshaw, after raising a loan of Rs one lakh, which involves an outgo of Rs 6000 each every month.

Weeks after the vehicle was purchased, Inder realised that the cost of upkeep of the vehicle was prohibitively high. “The cost of maintenance of a CNG vehicle is several times more than that of a petrol vehicle. An engine overhaul of a petrol auto costs Rs 700 while in a CNG-driven vehicle the cost is a whooping Rs 2,500,’’ he said. Add to this the long unending queues at the refilling stations and the woes double.

“The inconsistencies in government policy are affecting us in two ways. First, we were not told that the CNG technology is not cost-effective in terms of maintenance. Second, there has been no improvement in the supply of CNG”, he said in a nonchalant tone.

Currently, he says, he is barely earning enough to feed six members of his family, including his parents. He has been engaged by a school for ferrying children, which fetches him about Rs 200 per day. In addition, in the evening, he lets out his auto on a charge of Rs 150 per night.

But Inder has not lost hope. He says that his financial situation will improve after the loan has been repaid. Already, he is 14 months into it. “With 10 more EMIs remaining, the situation should improve,” he says. Hopefully.



Cash-starved MCF unable to auction sites
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 21
An attempt by the cash-starved Municipal Corporation Faridabad to sell about 211 commercial sites proved a damp squib as there were few takers for the auction. The Authorities could sell only eight sites. The authorities had hoped to earn about Rs seven crore from the sale of these sites, but could only collect Rs 87 lakh only from the sale of a school plot and seven shops.

There were less than 20 bidders in the auction hall and nobody turned up for the majority of sites, on the plea that the reserve price was too high. Some of the bidders, who wanted to purchase some shops, left the auction hall after the reserve price was made public. No one turned up to bid for 32 shops

constructed by the MCF under the Neelam flyover. The reserve price of each shop was Rs four lakh and the market is being touted as MCF’s Palika Bazar. Similar was the fate of about 18 shops and kiosks located in the stone crusher zone, for which no one put up a bid. Only seven out of 65 shops in Sector-23 came under the hammer. A site for primary school also found a customer who made a bid at Rs. 57 lakh. But there were no bidders for about 25 auto spare shops, 16 heavy vehicle repair shops, 10 books and two dhaba plots located in Sector-26 of Ballabgarh zone.



Drive against autos without proper meters from today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
The Delhi Transport Department will launch a drive against all commercial vehicles, including autorickshaws and taxis, from tomorrow and would impound those vehicles, which ply without valid fitness certificates and electronic meters. The Delhi Transport Minister, Mr Ajay Maken, said: “The defaulters cannot skip from the responsibility of installing electronic meters on their vehicles. There would be no leniency from the government side.”

He said the department had made a computerised list of vehicles that were to get fitness certificates up to February 1 and it was going to serve a notice to all defaulters. Fitness certificates are being issued to only those vehicles that have installed electronic meters.



Two shot dead at wedding party

Sonepat, February 21
Two persons were shot dead in a marriage party at Palra village about 15 km from here last night. According to preliminary reports, the victims have been identified as Narain and Suraj Mal. The duo belonged to Bichao Kalan village in Delhi. Both had come to the village to attend the wedding where they had a spat with some unidentified persons, resulting in the shoot-out.

On receipt of information, the police officials arrived on the scene and sent the bodies of the victims for the post-mortem examination. The police have registered the case. Further investigations were on. However, no arrest has been made so far. The incident has caused a gloom in the marriage party. OC



Sarpanch loses job for siring too many kids

Faridabad, February 21
The District Authorities here seem to have launched a campaign to take legal action against representatives of local bodies who fail to adhere to provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act. A Sarpanch, Gyasi ram, of Ferojpur village panchayat, and a woman panch, Kiranvati of Sikrona vilage, were stripped off their posts yesterday for having more than two kids. Another sarpanch was removed in a similar fashion a few days ago. TNS



Their childhood lies in tatters
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, February 21
At a time when most of the teenagers go to schools, travel in luxurious vehicles, sleep on the cozy beds, there is also a group of the same age that peeps into garbage bins in the hope of finding something to eat.

There are a number of homeless children, who live at the New Delhi Railway Station.

And what these children have to go through to survive at the station is unbelievable. About three years ago, a 13-year-old girl was raped by a gang of homeless boys at the station, where she also lived. “They did it to me again and again after that,” the girl said. She is 16 years now and has not been well ever since. “A doctor has told me that I am suffering from a disease (tuberculosis). But I do not make enough money for the expenses on treatment. Whatever I earn is spent on food. If I don’t earn anything, I have to rely on the garbage dumps here,” she said, but refused to divulge where she had come from and why she had left her home.

She said she collected plastic bottles and glasses thrown away at the station for recycling. “I don’t earn more than Rs 30 daily.”

Dr Bitra George of the Salaam Balak Trust, an NGO working for street children, said that most children at the station were suffering from one disease 
or the other and were prone to AIDS.

About 60 girls and double that number of boys have made the railway platforms their home. The girls are fewer in number, as the touts take them away the minute they set foot on the railways station.

However, some of the girls that do survive their clutches, give sex to the boys at the station in return for protection from the touts “as well as cops”. Even the boys aren’t spared. Dr George admitted that homosexuality was common among the boys living on the station.

“Though we have spoken to the children about safe sex, it seems to be impossible to implement it. But, we are trying.”

Most of the children, who have made the station their home, are mainly from the small villages from all over India. And most of them would say that they had run away from home because of alcoholic parents who had made their life hell. Many children complained that they were even physically abused.

“I came from Bihar,” said a 13-year-old boy, foraging for food in one of the dustbins.

“My father was an alcoholic. He beat me up every day. So I ran away from home and landed up here.”

The boy, who has been living at the station for a year, said he was sodomised just a few days after he set foot on the station. And now he is “used to it”.

With a smile on his face, he said: “About two weeks ago, a foreigner (man) gave me a hundred rupee note and asked me to accompany him to his hotel. He paid me a hundred more for my ‘services’.”

These boys and girls in their teens, are extremely vulnerable, said Dr George, and even as they hardly realise it, their life was slowly slipping out of their hands. “But our efforts are on to salvage some part of it,” said Dr George. Salaam Balak Trust has opened night shelters at the station, where the boys and girls are asked to spend the nights and use the bathroom facilities.

It is a matter of pride for the Salaam Balak Trust that in the past 8 months, only one case of AIDS had been detected among the children. “Earlier, AIDS symptoms were spreading rapidly (among children on the station).

But we are very happy that only one case has come up in so many months. The dent has been made and a little more effort might really make a difference,” Dr George said.



MCD poll: BJP corporators recap achievements 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
After the flurry of inaugurations of parks and community centres, corporators of the Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped on to the next stage of their campaign for the MCD polls that were announced by the Centre recently. They have started tom-tomming about their five years’ performance before the public with an eye on the crucial elections.

The Chairman of the Conservancy and Sanitation Engineering Committee, Mr Mahesh Chand Nagar, claimed that the BJP tried to make the corporation self-reliant with the launching of several profit-making projects during the last five years.

He said that the MCD was an autonomous body, which was funded by the Union Government. However, the funds were released through the Delhi Government.

The present corporation, which is led by the BJP, faced a lot of hurdle in getting the financial aid due to the lackadaisical attitude of the Delhi Government, he alleged.

He said that several public lavatories were under construction on the basis of “pay and use” through which the MCD would earn at least Rs 2.4 crore per year.

The lavatories would be constructed in busy markets, highways, bus stands etc.

The MCD would also earn Rs 2.6 crore with the change of sanitary landfill sites in commercial complexes. Besides, the corporation would earn crores of rupees with plants being established for processing the waste materials. The waste materials would be used to make manure for farming, and chicken feed, he said.



All-woman police station takes up cudgels for women
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 21
The contribution of an all-woman police station to the women’s causes has been widely acknowledged in the city. Established in July 1995, the police station has rendered a noteworthy service to the womenfolk, particularly in checking crimes against women in the district.

Functioning from a separate building, this police station, equipped with women staff, a telephone and other facilities, deal with the cases like dowry harassment, dowry deaths, kidnapping, abduction and rape.

It is connected to three police stations, Sonepat City, Sonepat Sadar and Sonepat Civil Lines. The police station has predominantly women staff, consisting of one SI, two ASIs, five Head Constables (HCs) and five constables. There are two male ECs and one constable who mainly investigate cases outside the police station.

Mrs Luxmi Devi, a sub-inspector in the police department, was appointed the first Station House Officer (SHO) of this police station. She was transferred about two years ago after a reported tussle with a village sarpanch.

At present, Mrs Asha holds the charge of this station. She is satisfied with its functioning, by and large. Even though it was established in July 1995, it had taken some time for the people of the area to understand its utility.

The first FIR was lodged on April 23, 1999, in this Station. Thereafter, the people of the area have started making use of it more often, particularly in cases of crimes against women.

Police sources said that most of the complaints were related to dowry harassment and dowry deaths. Other cases, including rape, kidnapping and abduction are also registered and investigated in this police station.

As compared to the 19 cases registered during the year 1999, as many as 28 cases were registered in 2001, which included cases of rape (6), molestation (2), and dowry harassment (14).

At least 11 cases under Section 498-A, four under Section 304-B, two under Section 376 and 11 under Section 306 IPC were registered in the police station. Besides, one case of abduction was registered here.

Official sources also revealed that as many as 137 complaints were directly registered in the police station while 198 were received from other police stations during 2001.

Of these, 150 cases were disposed of on a priority basis. Similarly, the police station received 244 complaints during 2000, including 129 registered directly.



Power reforms must to tide over shortage: workshop 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 21
The shortage in power availability and reforms in this sector were directly related to each other and till the reforms were properly implemented, it was not possible to achieve the target of uninterrupted round-the-clock supply to the consumers. This was the gist of the conclusion arrived at the one-day workshop on `power reforms’ organised by the National Power Training Institute (NPTI) and the Faridabad Small Industries Association (FSIA) here on Wednesday.

The Director-General of the NPTI, Dr B. S. K. Naidu, in his keynote address said that rampant political interference, rising incidences of theft and non-cooperation from consumers had been bane of the reform process. He said excessive leniency towards the agriculture sector due to political reasons and the inability of the department to check transmission loss and large-scale thefts had made the issue more complicated. He said while the electric motors used in the rural sector were substandard and caused more wastage of power than providing the utility, and the lack of proper awareness among a section of consumers on the wastage of power in daily life were the issues of major concern. A campaign needed to be launched at the ground level to provide a proper thrust to the much-needed reforms. He said if the reforms were not carried out in a proper manner, the whole exercise might prove futile.

The Managing Director of the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (DHBVN) Mr V. Umashankar, who was the chief guest on the occasion, revealed that the power department of the state was registering an annual loss of about Rs 220 crore. If this was prevented, the same amount could be used for development of basic necessities, including roads and water supply, he said. Besides the line loss of about 40 per cent, thefts of power had taken the toll on the system, he added.

He said about 73 per cent meters in Faridabad, 61 per cent in Gurgaon and 68 per cent in Hisar had been found faulty in the recent meter replacement drive. The Director of NPTI, Mr P. K. Sharma, said that his institute had been providing training about power sector to representatives of commercial and non-commercial organisations. He said the awareness level of the common man about the sector ought to be raised. Mr Rajiv Chawla, general secretary of the FSIA said the vote of thanks. Mr S. K. Choudhary, Mr G. S. Tyagi, Mr Baldev Bhatia, Mr M. L. Sharma, Mr Pradeep Sethi, Mr Gurmukh Singh, the Superintendent Engineer, DHBVN, Ms Chande Saini, and Mr Anand Mehta were among others who attended the workshop.



Youth booked for forging PNB draft
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 21
The police today registered a case against a youth who had allegedly tried to encash a forged bank draft at the Jhajjar road branch of Punjab National Bank here.

The manager of the branch concerned stated in the FIR that Mahender Gulati, a resident of Arya Nagar locality here, produced a forged bank draft of Rs 80,000 for encashment. However, the youth fled from the branch when the dealing employee told him that the draft was forged. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC was registered in this connection.

Rs 52,000 stolen

Thieves broke open the locks of the house of Mr Sanjay Nandal in HUDA Sector 1 and decamped with Rs 52,000 and other valuables. He registered a complaint to this effect today with the police.

‘Lahan’ seized

The police seized 230 kg of ‘lahan’ (an ingredient in making illicit liquor) from two fields in Khidwali village Wednesday evening. According to information, the police seized 150 kg of ‘lahan’ which was buried in the fields of Azad Singh and 80 kg of the same from the land of Beera. In a similar incident, the Kalanaur arrested a youth and seized 250 kg of ‘lahan’ from the fields at Sudana village today.

Jawan cremated

The body of Mr Shyam Lal (40), a BSF jawan, was cremated with state honours at his native Gokalgarh village near here this morning. Prior to the cremation, Mr Raj Kumar Garg, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kosli, Mr Ishwar Singh, Welfare Organiser of the District Sainik Board, and others placed wreaths on the body on behalf of the state government.

Mr Shyam Lal was posted at Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, where he died of heart failure on February 19. He is survived by his father, mother, wife and a son and a daughter.

Sainik bhavan

The Haryana Government has sanctioned a Sainik Parivar Bhavan at Rewari. The bhavan will provide boarding and lodging facilities to girls, besides training facilities in stenography (Hindi and English), cutting-tailoring and on computers to ex-servicemen and their wards, according to Mr Vineet Garg, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the District Soldiers Board.

He further said that during the past one year, financial assistance totalling over Rs 45 lakh was provided under various heads to 1,826 ex-servicemen and their dependants in the district by the board.

Booked for power theft

The Bahadurgarh Sadar police have registered a case of power theft against Balwan Singh of Upania village of the district here today. According to a police spokesman, the UHBVN in its report lodged with the police said that a raiding party had caught the accused while he was stealing power. The nigam had also imposed a fine of Rs 13,648 against him. A case under Section 379 of the IPC and 39 of the Electricity Act has been registered in this connection.

Goats taken away

Around 60 goats were forcibly loaded and commandeered away by a group of eight-nine persons who arrived in a canter and a car in Oranagpur village of the district Wednesday evening. According to police sources, Rajender along with his cousin Bholoo were grazing their herd of goats outside the village when some unidentified persons approached them and offered ‘prasad’ to eat. The miscreants, then, reportedly overpowered the duo and tied them with ropes. They loaded the goats in the canter and drove away. The police have registered a case under Section 395 of the IPC.

Four vehicles stolen

At least four vehicles, including two cars, were stolen in the town in the past 48 hours. Two of the cars were stolen from two places in Sector 16 here. These were parked inside the house premises and were taken away by breaking open the locks of the iron gates. One motorcycle was also stolen from another spot on Wednesday. Complaints about the theft of a Maruti Esteem from Old Faridabad and a tractor from near Palwal town have also been booked.

Prizes distributed

The Commissioner of Rohtak Division, Mrs Anita Chaudhary, gave away prizes to meritorious students of a local girls college here yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, she called upon the student community to be conscious about their self-respect and rights and prepare to face the challenges of life. She also advised them to play a leading role in the eradication of social evils which threatened the harmonious relations among various sections of the society.

Shop looted

Burglars reportedly entered the shop of a property dealer in Sikka Colony here last night and escaped with a colour TV and other goods. According to a report, the police summoned the dog squad but the culprits could not be traced. According to another report, thieves broke open the locks of a house in Garhi Ghasita area here last evening and took away jewellery and other goods worth several thousands of rupees. The owners have reported the thefts to the police.

Clock tower demolished

Officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) demolished the 50-ft high Jesh clock tower outside the main bus stand here last night for widening of the crossing there. The officials pressed into service three cranes, JCB machines and a number of tractor-trolleys for the demolition of the clock tower which was built about four years ago.

All the routes leading to the clock tower were blocked. A large number of policemen were deployed in and around the place as a precautionary measure. Informed sources also revealed that on the persistent demand of some people, the district administration is planning to erect the statue of former Deputy Prime Minister late Devi Lal at the place. The authorities, it may be recalled, had already widened the roads of this crossing by including some portions of Dr Ambedkar Park which had become controversial.



Global tenders for Delhi roads likely
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
The Delhi Government is considering floating global tenders for the construction of roads in the Capital.

“Cold emulsion technology is being used for the construction of some of the roads and if this experiment is successful, then global tenders would be floated so that there would not be any complaint of pits and patches on the roads, even during the rainy season,” Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit said here today.

Laying the foundation stone of a subway at Ring Road in Naraina, she said the subway would cost the exchequer Rs 1.65 crore and would be completed in 11 months time.

The Delhi Urban Development Minister, Dr A.K. Walia, said 12 flyovers have been constructed and 11 are under construction. He said 18 more flyovers are in the pipeline, the construction of which would also be start soon.



Delhi bags prize at PNB cultural meet
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, February 21
On the first day of the 19th All India PNB Inter Zone Cultural Meet, Delhi snatched the first position in the group dance pushing UP Central and the Northern zone to second and third places, respectively. In the mono acting category, Alpana Kulkarni of Western zone clinched the first prize whereas Umesh of the South zone and Parimal Dass of Eastern zone came second and third positions, respectively. Rajasthan bagged the first position in the skit category, where as the second and the third places were bagged by Punjab and Eastern zone respectively.



Party ‘animal’ held for links with drug peddlers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21.
The Delhi Police Special Cell has apprehended a Delhi-based businessman and party-hopper, Rajesh Bhalla, for his alleged links with drug peddlers.

During interrogation, the police found that Bhalla, who runs a business in undergarments, had issued a cheque of Rs 55,000 in favour of a narcotics dealer, Naqibullah alias Ali.

Bhalla, a graduate of Delhi University, told the police that during his days in the university, he became addicted to drugs. He later worked in a number of garment factories in the city and finally set up his own factory in Kirti Nagar in 1978.

He said he was a regular at parties, and used to procure drugs for consumption. During this phase, he was introduced to Ali, a drug peddler who used to do the rounds at various hotels.

Bhalla’s arrest came after the confession of Neeraj Wadhera, owner of Hans Plaza, who was earlier nabbed by the Special Cell for allegedly supplying drugs in parties. He told the police that Bhalla used to consume drugs at parties organised by him.

The police have a long list of well-known names who were involved in the racket, but are finding it difficult to book them under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Fake lubricants: In another case, the Timar Pur police have arrested three persons and unearthed a spurious lubricant-manufacturing unit in Burari village.

The owner of the unit, Deepak Nanda, along with his two employees, Ram Chander and Anil Kumar, were arrested and a huge quantity of packed and unpacked spurious lubricant oil were seized from them. Besides, the machines used for the purpose, including a grinding machine, sealing machine, empty cartons and chemicals were also seized.

During interrogation, the owner revealed that he used to procure oil from Punjabi Bagh and convert it into lubricant oil by mixing with some chemicals. The lubricants were sold in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh under the brand name of ‘SMO.’

Gangster nabbed: A member of the notorious Yash Pal Rathi gang, Tapender Singh alias Pahalwan (31), who was involved in more than 30 cases of murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery and extortion, was nabbed by the anti- robbery cell of the crime branch Wednesday night near Radhu Cinema. The police also seized one loaded sophisticated country-made pistol and one live cartridge from him.

The police were acting on a tip-off that the gangster, who had shifted his base to Delhi, had been threatening an industrialist with firearms. Last night, he was spotted in an Indica car (DL-3CS-2682), by the special team near Radhi Cinema and was nabbed from the spot. During interrogation, he confessed that after coming out from Dassna Jail, Ghaziabad, he had committed a number of crimes. The crime branch is investigating the case and has launched an intense drive to nab his other associates.

Clothes seized: The North district police have apprehended three persons and seized 25 bundles of stolen velvet cloth material worth Rs 1 lakh from their possession.

The suspects, Ram Babu, Vidha Nand and Sushil Kumar, were arrested with 25 bundles of clothes when they were about to sell them in Kamala Market. On interrogation, they revealed that they were working in a cloth shop at Dev Nagar and in the absence of their shop owner, they had stolen the materials. 



Spurious henna: Owner of factory remanded
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 21
The Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Y. S. Rathore, has sent Rajesh Bhambri, owner of the factory which was allegedly involved in the production of duplicate brand of henna, to four days police remand. The accused was booked by the drug control officials after a raid at the factory about a month back. He had been avoiding arrest since then. He surrendered before the court today after his anticipatory bail application was turned down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently.



Street-smart BSNL trying to cash in on Touchtel’s misery in Gurgaon 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, February 21
Encouraged by the poor response to the services being provided by private telephone operator Touchtel, the Gurgaon telecom circle of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has announced various steps to wean away more subscribers by offering an expanded network and a number of services.

Touchtel, a unit of Bharti Enterprise, started providing telephone connections in selective areas of Palam Vihar, DLF City and Udyog Vihar around two months back. Though the company had launched its booking campaign six months back in this “demanding area”, they had managed to sell only a couple of thousand connections till today.

Some persons, who had booked their connections with the private operator, complained that Touchtel had laid telephone cables in only selected areas in these three colonies. The company had now refunded their booking charges on the plea that their areas had not been wired by the company, revealed agitated customers.

“At the time of booking, I was promised a number of my choice. But now the company had refused to give me the number of my choice,” said Mr Amit Katyal. Mr Katyal, who felt cheated, said that he had applied in the impression that the private operator would provide better services. If one applied for a telephone connection with them, it would take six to eight weeks to process the forms though the company claimed otherwise, he said.

The disappointment among subscribers of Touchtel has added to the glee of the BSNL. The Gurgaon Telecom General Manager, Mr S. K. Sharma, said that the department had started various services to provide better facilities to its existing customers to compete with the private operator. A van had been introduced to collect telephone bills through cheques in DLF, Sushant Lok, Palam Vihar and Sector 4, informed the GM.

He said that Gurgaon Telecom would soon launch its website on Internet where all information relating to its commercial and account procedures and service facilities would be available. Even the forms, needed for different purposes, could be downloaded from the site, said the officer. The website would provide a very helping hand to the existing as well as the upcoming subscribers, expected the officer. Gurgaon Telephone Directory had been made available in CD for just Rs 100, he added.

To provide fault-free services to its corporate customers, the BSNL had drawn a scheme — key account holder — where the officer of the department had been directed to keep in touch with corporate offices and ensure that their phones did not go out of order. The officer would be held responsible if the telephone lines of the corporate offices failed to work properly, said the GM.

A corporate office was also entitled for 2.5 per cent discount in its bills if the amount of combined bills was between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh and 5 per cent discount in case of bills exceeding Rs 2 lakh per month.

Gurgaon Telecom had decided to give 30 per cent discount to corporates which executed data transmission using bandwidth 2 Mbps and above on high usage routes linking New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Pune. To encourage the STD/PCO holders, the BSNL had increased their commission to 22 per cent from 20 per cent, said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma claimed that there were several applications for the telephone connections from residents in Sector 18, Sector 17 and Udyog Vihar Phase 1,

2, 3 and 4. Efforts were being made to give connections in DLF City, Palam Vihar and the city area on demand soon, claimed the GM. He added that there were more than 1.5 lakh connections in Gurgaon district today.

The BSNL could not confine itself to the creamy layer as was done by the private operator. The department had a number of social obligations like providing phones in remote areas, opening internet dhabas, telephone on demand to some deserving categories, etc, said the GM.

On the other hand, a spokesperson of Touchtel, which has got the license for basic telephone services in Haryana, said that the company was offering a number of new facilities like voice mail services, outgoing and incoming call barring, automatic announcement of charge at the end of a call etc to woo the customers.

He further informed that Touchtel also offered easy bill payment options, 24 hour customer care centre, reliable maintenance and free internet.

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