Friday, April 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Budget pins hopes on privatisation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The Delhi Government Budget, which envisages higher allocation for the social sectors, seems to be relying heavily on the success of the privatisation plans of the Sheila Dikshit government. Presenting the Budget proposals for 2002-03 here today, the Delhi Finance Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh Saathi, said the 11 per cent plan outlay saved in the energy sector would be invested in the education, health, transport and water supply sectors.

The finance minister came to the rescue of the middle class, making mobile phones, lubricants and writing instruments cheaper. However, the lower middle class has a reason to be annoyed. Food grains, cigarettes, gutka and pan masala would be dearer.

Presenting the Rs 8,850-crore Budget in the Delhi Assembly for the fourth consecutive time, Mr Saathi said: “Eighty-five per cent of the plan outlay has been earmarked for areas like transport, energy, education, health, water supply and sanitation and other areas of urban development.”

In the Rs 8,850 crore Budget, the plan outlay is Rs 4,700 crore, non-plan outlay is Rs 4,095 crore and Centrally sponsored schemes account for Rs 54.37 crore.

While energy sector gets the highest allocation of 30.09 per cent, followed by transport with 19.13 per cent, the welfare of SC/STs gets a meagre 0.52 per cent, followed by the public works sector (0.83 per cent).

On the receipt side, sales tax contribution was the highest at 68 per cent, followed by state excise duties. Stamps and registration, taxes on motor vehicles account for the rest. Despite the sluggish growth, sales tax collection experienced a growth of 44 per cent, which sent the revenue soaring to Rs 3,379 crore.

“Notwithstanding the serious adverse economic circumstances, we are expecting a growth in revenue of above 9 per cent this year,” the Finance Minister said.

The minister has imposed luxury tax on select commodities like cigarettes, gutka/pan masala (without tobacco), smoking mixtures and other tobacco/ tobacco products to the tune of 20 per cent. Besides, a luxury tax on gutka/pan masala (with tobacco) at the rate of 50 per cent has been proposed.

The minister further proposed the rationalisation of the tax rate on mobile phones from 12 to 4 per cent and lubricants from 20 to 12 per cent.

Mr Saathi also proposed the imposition of 4 per cent sales tax on CNG, on conversion of commercial vehicles to CNG. “This has been done to partly compensate the revenue losses,” he said.

The minister also proposed four per cent tax on food grains, cereals, pulses, and processed food grains, cereals, pulses only when sold packed and under a brand name. But, wheat flour (atta) will continue to be exempt from this tax. In a move to protect the vanaspati trade in Delhi from the imported variety, the tax rate on imported vanaspati has been hiked from 4 per cent to 12 per cent.

While there were no sops for the hotel industry and luxury tax will continue to be charged at 10 per cent for another six months, he granted entertainment tax exemption for children upto 15 years for facilities used at fun parks.

The minister said the tax measures would mop up additional revenue to the tune of Rs 20 crore in the current financial year, taking the total revenue receipts (estimate) to Rs 6857.69 crore.

The state has been able to achieve near parity in tax rates in the northern region, Mr Saathi said. He added: “We will ensure that the proposed VAT policy not only preserves, but also promotes the distributive character of Delhi.”

The proposed Right to Use Tax and the existing Works Contract Tax will be merged into VAT when the VAT law comes into force, he added.



Congress fields nominees, Jaishree set to be mayor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Congress candidates Ms. Jaishree Pawar, Mr. Panna Lal Khairwal and Mr. Ram Babu Sharma today filed their nominations for the posts of Mayor, deputy mayor and chairman of the standing committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, respectively, after the party high command cleared their names earlier this morning.

Accompanied by their supporters and office bearers of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, the trio arrived at the Town Hall in a procession to file their papers for the April 10 election to these crucial posts. Their election is a foregone conclusion as the Congress has 108 seats in the 134-member corporation. Today was the last day for filing of nominations. For the record, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had dominated the earlier corporation but managed only 17 seats this time, has fielded Ms. Arti Mehra and Mr. Onkar Singh Thapar (Akali Dal) for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Under the rules, a woman has to be the mayor for the first year.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee had held several meetings to short list the names of the candidates with the final meeting running well into the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Ms. Jaishree Pawar, who was returned from Greater Kailash with a resounding victory, comes from a family which has been in politics for a long time. Daughter-in-law of a former MP, Choudhary Dalip Singh, Ms. Pawar has been an active Congress worker for years.

Mr Panna Lal, the son of a freedom fighter from Rajasthan, won the MCD election from Madangir with a heavy margin of 5,500 votes. He is the deputy chairman of the South Zone Congress Committee.

Mr. Ram Babu Sharma, who was returned from the Nand Nagari ward, is a veteran party worker who was also the leader of the opposition in the last corporation. He was also active in student politics and actively involved in party work in the trans-Yamuna area. Son of a school teacher, he was also the general secretary of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.

The Congress also nominated Virender Kasana and Ishwar Dass as MCD representatives to DDA and Nirmala Vats, Sugreev Singh, Hiren Tokas and Rohit Manchanda to the Advisory Council of the DDA. 



Schooling is a cottage industry in Faridabad
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 4
While the recession has hit most industrial units here, there is one area which has grown by leaps and bounds untouched by the market slump. This area is school education, which has grown by leaps and bounds, becoming a veritable industry.

According to sociologists, the development of the Faridabad-Ballabgarh industrial complex has spawned the growth of public schools, which have witnessed a kind of revolution in the last three decades. (There are about 350 schools at present in Faridabad and Ballabgarh. Most of these are public schools and claim to provide `English’ and convent education.)

In fact, the number of schools has kept pace with the number of sectors carved out by the HUDA (the Haryana Urban Development Authority). Incidentally, there are hardly any government schools in these sectors.

The success of the public schools is highly exaggerated, feel some parents. ``Public schools have failed to deliver,’’ feels the Faridabad Abhibhavak Ekta Manch (Parents’ Association). Deploring the hefty fees charged from the students, the association claimed that the HUDA authorities had also failed to enforce the rules and regulations while allotting land to the schools in its sectors.

According to the association, the schools make lofty promises in advertisements, but are propelled only by commercial considerations and fleece the parents on one pretext or the other.

The Manch says that ‘schooling’ has emerged as the most profitable business with the unaided private (public) schools increasing the tuition fees by about 375 per cent and the annual charges by almost 300 per cent in the last seven or eight years. Besides, the admission and security deposit has also increased manifold.

The General Secretary of the Abhibhavak Ekta Manch, Mr Kailash Sharma, alleged that while many schools did not follow the CBSE rules even though they were affiliated to it, the rules laid down by the HUDA were also violated with impunity. This was especially the case with respect to admission of local students and while reserving seats for poor students.

The MLA from Ballabgarh, Mr Rajender Singh Beesla, had also taken up the matter in the recently concluded State Assembly session and had asked the authorities to provide the details of the `functioning’ of such schools and the alleged violation of rules.

Although HUDA reserves the right to take over the schools operating in these sectors if they do not follow the rules and guidelines, no such action has been taken so far, claims the Manch.

The Manch, in its complaints lodged from time to time, has pleaded for curbs on schools which hike their fees in an arbitrary manner. The Manch has also demanded the strict enforcement of the Haryana School Education Act, 1995, to keep a check on wayward schools which disregard the CBSE affiliation bye-laws. (The CBSE has defined the role and the aims of the society or trust managing the school.)

On other hand, the managements of various public schools contend that the demand of good quality education concomitant with modern infrastructure had led to an increase in the running costs. More so, because these schools were unaided; it was not possible to keep the tuition fee and other charges at par with that in government schools.



Cable operators dragged to court
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 4
A Faridabad-based social activist has filed a civil suit against the local cable operators. This is perhaps the first time that a civil suit has been filed against cable operators in which the district authorities have been made a respondent. The complainant had also filed a criminal case against the cable operators about four weeks back.

The plaintiff wants that the cable operators should charge only Rs. 50 per month as subscription, give proper receipts, ban the telecast of advertisements and local news on various channels, and reveal the exact number of subscribers. If they do not deliver, the equipment of the errant operators be seized under Cable and TV Network Act, 1995, it is contended. The plaintiff has alleged that while the cable operators were violating the rules with impunity, the authorities, including the deputy commissioner and the head post master, had failed to take any action against the accused. It is stated that the district authorities had been petitioned, but there was no response. Exasperated, the plaintiff filed a case in the court for permanent injunction against the accused.

The operators, it is alleged, fleece the consumers by charging a hefty amount as subscription fee; also, the majority of subscribers are not given proper receipts. It is further alleged that by not revealing the number of subscriptions, the operators had been evading tax. It is further alleged that the telecast of Doordarshan programmes, which are normally beamed through the antenna, were `blocked’ through by the cable operators. Result: Any person who wanted to see only DD programmes was forced to take a cable connection. The petition has been filed in the court of civil Judge (Senior Division) Mr Jagdeep Jain.



High Court bails out Rewari employees
Our Correspondent

Rewari, April 4
Mr Justice V K Bali of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the Rewari civil court’s orders, thus paving the way for the release of the salary for March 2002 of several thousand employees of Rewari district. The stay has also made ineffective the attachment orders of the official car of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vineet Garg, who is also the inspecting judge of the Rewari, Narnaul and Gurgaon districts courts. The stay orders have come in the wake of an earlier order passed on March 30 by Mr M M Dhonchah, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Rewari. The earlier order had stopped the salary of the employees working with the offices of the Deputy Commissioner, the Rewari and Kosli subdivisions, Bawal Tehsil, Dharnhera subtehsil, District Education Officer and various government schools of the district.

Through the same order, Mr Dhonchah had also attached the official car of the Deputy Commissioner. The civil court’s order came after the failure of the state government to release the arrears of Mr Ganeshi Lal, a teacher of government high school, Tumbaheri. Ganeshi Lal had filed a petition in the civil court seeking the release of arrears. But when nothing happened, the aggrieved teacher again approached the civil court on March 27, seeking the execution of the court’s earlier orders.

Taking a serious note of the contempt of court by the authorities, civil judge M M Dhonchah then passed the above order on March 30, which virtually put the district administration as well as the employees in an awkward situation. Consequently, the affected employees on Wednesday approached Mr Justice V K Bali at Gurgaon and sought the revocation of the above orders of the civil court, complaining that they had

been victimised for no fault of theirs. Subsequently, Mr Justice V K Bali stayed the civil court’s orders. 



When cops are shy of policing
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Mahendragarh, April 4
The police inability to arrest the culprits who set a house on fire in a village after a dispute over a piece of land in Mundain village, about 30 km from here, on Wednesday, has caused wide resentment in the area. Although the culprits have been named in the FIR, the police were trying to soft-pedal the issue. The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon when Mr Ved Prakash, the complainant in the case, had a fracas with his neighbour over a piece of land in the village.

According to him, his neighbour indulged in arson at his house when he had gone to the police station, Kanina. Three cattle had also perished in the fire.

The staff members of police station, Kanina, where the FIR has been lodged, refused to comment anything on the development. They said that they had been strictly directed against it by the Superintendent of Police, Mahendragarh. “Please talk to the district police chief” was their refrain. The district police chief could not be contacted despite several attempts. The police sensitivity on the issue is understandable. The aggressive party is said to be from the dominant caste of the area. The feeling in some quarters is that the law-enforcing agencies were so far going soft on account of the demographic profile of this Ahirwal belt.

The general view is that the law and order situation has deteriorated in the district recently. The anti-social elements have started rearing their heads. In the third week of last month, four lumpen elements gang raped a minor girl at the dead of night in Mahendragarh town and finally dumped her on the spot. While two of the culprits raped her while she was alive, the other two committed rape on her dead body.

Subsequently, there was outrage in the town with massive demonstrations. A bandh was observed to press for an immediate police action in the case. The Dadri-Narnaul Road was blocked near Rao Tula Ram Chowk. The public relented only after the arrest of all the four accused.



22-yr-old thrown to her death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
22-year-old unidentified girl was reportedly thrown from the terrace of Rajasthali Apartments by somebody in Saraswati Vihar area in North-West district late Wednesday night. There was considerable commotion in the apartment complex when the body of the girl was discovered sprawled on the ground this morning. It was noticed by a security guard of the housing society who informed the secretary of the society.

The police said that the body of the girl had been sent for a post-mortem examination and efforts were being made to identify her. She was described as five feet tall, fair, round-faced, sporting long hair and was clad in a light blue top and a brown pair of trousers.

A sum of Rs 87 and a ticket was found in the trouser pockets. The description has been flashed to all the police stations. The police said that preliminary enquiries revealed that the girl was not a resident, as such the security guards and other residents were being contacted to ascertain if she was a visitor or brought there by someone.

In another incident, Dharam Singh alias Dharma, a resident of Bhalswa in North district was reportedly stabbed to death by his friend Shiv Dutt alias Titu on Wednesday evening. They had dispute over money matters, which provoked Shiv Dutt to stab Dharam Singh, the police said.



Sectoral reforms to be extended to 
sanitation, transport
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The Delhi Government Budget proposal has pinned all hopes on the successful privatisation of the energy sector as it would reduce the government expenditure in the sector to 15 per cent in the 10th plan outlay compared to 26 per cent spent in 9th plan.

Presenting the budget proposals for 2002-03 here today, the Delhi Finance Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh Saathi, said the 11 per cent plan outlay saved from energy sector would inter-alia be invested in the education, health, transport and water supply sectors. The share of these sectors would increase from 47 per cent in the 9th plan to about 59 per cent in 10th plan.

Following the reform process at the state level, Mr Saathi stated that “we are planning to extend sectoral reforms to transport, water supply and sanitation and health sectors during the 10th plan.”

Admitting that the utilities like the Delhi Jal Board, DTC and Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) are a drain on the state government’s resources, the minister said, “We are taking up privatisation and restructuring exercise in the DTC and DJB. A consultant has already been appointed to study the functioning of the DJB and recommend suitable steps to restructure it. A similar exercise would be taken up in respect of the DTC.”

The transportation sector, the minister said, had been allocated Rs 899.19 crore, an increase of 41 per cent from the previous year. The feasibility study for the second phase of the MRTS would be taken up this fiscal. Eight more flyovers would become operational by March 2003. The feasibility report of regional rail network by Rites would be submitted by July this year and the construction of the western peripheral expressway as a highway project would commence this fiscal.

The hitherto neglected health sector found liberal allocation in the Budget proposals with an increase in the allocation to the tune of 125 per cent. The allocation for the sector increased to Rs 2381.50 crore in the 10th plan from Rs 1056.61 crore in the 9th plan, he said, adding that “the government is committed to make hospitals people friendly and present their best human face while dealing with patients.”

By building new hospitals and expanding the existing ones during the fiscal, about 800 new beds would be added, he said, adding that separate counters would be set up in all government hospitals for women under the Stree-Shakti programme. The total quality management programme, which was introduced as a pilot project in G B Pant Hosptial, would be extended to all hospitals of the government, he said. Education is another thrust area with the government proposing changes in the face and character of primary schools with liberal funds. The proposals include making computer science as a subject at 10+2 stage in 740 schools by increasing the allocation from Rs 8 crore to Rs 23 crore, providing one-time assistance to Delhi University and colleges managed by private trusts to preserve heritage and old buildings.

Stating that the Delhi Government has requested the Centre to assign due priority to the development of the National Capital Region during the 10th plan, the minister said the state government would contribute Rs 250 crore to the NCR Development Fund.

“However, this contribution may be raised further provided the Centre and the states concerned also came forward with a commitment for developing the region in a time-bound manner,” he said. With regard to solid waste disposal, Mr Saathi said the state government was pursuing the matter with the NCR Planning Board for development of new sanitary landfill sites in the NCR area which might take care of the disposal of solid waste both from Delhi and the adjoining towns of the NCR.

Mr Saathi proposed 100 per cent increase in the outlay for water supply and sanitation sector. The outlay has been enhanced to Rs 3,766 crore in the 10th plan as compared to Rs 1,882.27 crore in the 9th plan.

The minister also stated that the government planned to constitute a Yamuna River Authority to take care of all issues like pollution, encroachment on river bed, flood control, storage of flood water, beautification and development of the river banks.

Emphasising the importance of the environment, he said the different measures of the government had significantly reduced the pollution levels in the Capital. As the pollution level in the Yamuna was a matter of concern, he said the government would conduct a feasibility study on installation of suitable treatment mechanism on the outfalls of all 18 major drains falling in the Yamuna.

To boost the tourism sector, the minister said the government would come out with a comprehensive culture and entertainment policy, which would be aimed at employment generation and stimulating growth.

The MCD bashing continued with the minister stating that the civic services could not be improved by the civic body to the targeted level despite the state government releasing Rs 3,049 crore during the last three years.

Assuring that there would be no shortage of funds for improving the civic services in the Capital, he said with the changed political set up in the MCD, our government expected that the new leadership would tackle the problems with a more positive and aggressive manner.



Move to close down MITC draws flak
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 4
The Communist Party (Marxist) has criticised the contemplated closure of government departments and privatisation move of certain public utility services and thus threatening the jobs of thousands of employees.

The recent announcement to close down the Minor Irrigation Tubewells Corporation (MITC), attempts to privatise Haryana Roadways and to introduce contract system in the municipal committee and public health works have been quoted as a few retrograde steps of the state government. The measures would deprive thousands of people of their jobs and also deprive the public of welfare services which formed the constitutional and moral obligation of any welfare state.

The state secretariat of the party has said that the Haryana Government was blindly pursuing the policies of privatisation by the Vajpayee government at the Centre as a result of which discontentment was simmering among the employees.

The party has strongly objected to the manner in which the state government was taking vital decisions in an undemocratic manner without transparency and without involving unions of various sections of the employees.

The CPM state secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh, has expressed dissatisfaction over the clarification of the state Transport Minister, Mr Ashok Arora , by calling the privatisation move as restructuring the transport services. His so-called clarification would hardly satisfy anyone. It would rather confirm the government’s move to privatise Haryana Roadways, he said.

The party has extended support to the one-day national level strike of joint trade unions in the public sector on April 16. It has also called upon all sections of the people to forge broad-based unity towards launching a widespread movement against policies of liberalisation and privatisation.

Describing the increase of mere Rs 10 in the minimum support price of wheat as meager, the party has expressed deep concern over abandoning the grain procurement policy from next year by the Centre, which has been confirmed by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.



Bid to purchase tractors puts BMC in a spot 

Jhajjar, April 4
The Municipal Council of Bahadurgarh has been caught on its wrong foot once again, thanks to its strange ways of functioning. The case of purchase and return of two tractors has completely exposed the decision makers of the council, who have reportedly given all rules and regulations the go by.

The controversy centered around two tractors that were “purchased” by the council from a tractor agency reportedly owned by the brother of the local MLA without seeking permission from the office of the City Magistrate (CTM) at Jhajjar. According to the inside sources, the deal was struck on the condition that the payment of the tractors would be made after getting sanction from the CTM. But much to their disappointment, the council could not make it as the proposal was rejected by the CTM’s office stating that it should be supported by the recommendation of the condemnation committee that the old tractors, in possession of the council, were not in working condition. It may be mentioned that the council has two tractors that are in good condition. Moreover, the officials of the council failed to inform the CTM about the specific purpose for which the tractors were to be purchased or hired.

However, the council used the tractors for around two months, sources said. When they were returned, the tractor agency demanded that rent should be paid for using them for two months. On this, the influential councillors close to the local MLA got a resolution passed in the House about the hiring of tractors.

According to the Sanitary Inspector with the MC, Mr Rambhaj Rathee, although two tractors were “purchased” and returned after using them for three months, the council paid rent for only one tractor at the rate of Rs 600 per day. However, he failed to inform about the accurate figures of amount paid for tractors and the months in which the tractors were used after purchasing.

When this correspondent met Ms Roshni Malik, Chairperson of the MC for clarification, she could not divulge any information and called Mr Baljeet Nandal, a councillor,. Mr Nandal refused to accept the fact that the council had ever purchased or hired any tractor, but when the version of the Sanitary Inspector was presented to him, he admitted that a tractor was hired for one month from an individual and not from any tractor agency. He stated that it might be possible that the person who provided us with tractor would have hired the tractor from the agency, adding that a tractor from the agency was brought here but was returned the same day.

In fact, the secretary of the council today out rightly rejected the fact that any tractor was hired or purchased by the MC ever. When the issue was brought to the notice of the SDM, Bahadurgarh and the CTM at Jhajjar, both of them expressed their ignorance about any such transaction of tractors by the MC.



Row over bid to force lecturer to vacate house 
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, April 4
The district administration and the teaching community of the local Polytechnic College came on a collision course today on the issue of allotment of a house to the secretary of the District Red Cross Society (DRC) here.

According to sources, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) recently ordered a lecturer of the college, Mr Krishan Dahiya, to vacate the house allotted to him for the secretary of the DRC. The house, in fact, is meant for the lecturers of the college.

However, the lecturer filed an appeal in the court of the Civil Judge, Ms Gagandeep Kaur, against the orders of the district authorities. The teaching community also came to his support and held a dharna in protest against the unlocking of the house of the lecturer by the district and police administration.

According to sources, the secretary of the DRC, Mr Mahesh Gupta, had applied for the allotment of an official residence with the district administration. The DC, Mr Ashok Khemka, talked to the principal of the polytechnic and allotted the house occupied by its Mr Dahiya. The DC ordered the lecturer on March 15 to shift from the house, but he did not leave the house. Orders were passed again on March 25 by the DC and March 26 by the principal of the college asking Mr Krishan Dahiya to vacate the house.

When he refused to budge, a team of the police and district officials, including the SDM, DSP and Tehsildar and the secretary of the DRC reached the house to get the house vacated. At this point, all the lecturers came out in support of their colleague and protested against the authorities’ bid to break the locks of the house. They held a dharna in front of the house and asked why a non-lecturer is being allotted the house, which is meant for them only. They said that already six lecturers of the college were waiting for the allotment of houses.

In the meantime, the victim lecturer appealed in the local court against the orders of the district administration. The Civil Judge, Ms Gagandeep Kaur, has summoned the DC and the principal of the college to appear in his court tomorrow. Meanwhile, the secretary of the DRC compromised and accepted to stay in another house, the sources informed late this evening.



Haryana BJP calls for judicial probe into 
Loharu riots
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 4
The Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded a judicial probe into the recent communal riots at Loharu and the immediate release of innocent people who are held in this regard.

Mr Pradeep Jain, spokesman and secretary of the state BJP, said a delegation comprising senior party leaders led by the state unit president, Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, today met the Union Home Minister, Mr L, K. Advani, in Delhi. He said the delegation consisted of Mr Om Prakash Kohli, national secretary and in charge of the party affairs in Haryana, Mr I. D. Swami, Union Minister of State for Home, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, MP and vice-president of the state unit, Dr Sudha Yadav and Mr Ram Chandra Bainda, both MPs, and Prof Ram Vilas Sharma and Mr Om Prakash Dhankar, senior party leaders.

The party spokesman said the delegation submitted a detailed report of the violence at Loharu and the subsequent arrest of 21 innocent persons, including certain BJP leaders. Describing the arrests as politically motivated, he alleged that the action was taken at the behest of the state government and a minister hailing form the area.

The delegation alleged that a mafia of land-grabbers had been active in Loharu under the government patronage. The delegation submitted a number of affidavits provided by the people of the minority community stating that those arrested were innocent and not responsible for the killings.



Delhi Shiv Sena unit dissolved

New Delhi, April 4
Stung by the miserable performance in the recent elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Shiv Sena dissolved the working committee of its Delhi unit today.

Senior party leader and in charge of Delhi affairs of the Shiv Sena Satish Pradhan and northern unit president Jai Bhagwan Goel in a joint statement said after a meeting of the working committee members and heads of various units, it was unanimously decided to reorganise the party unit to ensure a better performance during next time.

The members of the party contested in Mustafabad and Buradi wards in the polls and failed miserably against the Congress candidates. The joint statement said besides the party working committee, various cells, districts, wards and branches were also dissolved and would be reorganised in the coming weeks. He also said that the reorganisation of the unit and various bodies would be done by party supremo Bal Thackeray in the coming days. TNS



Women bear the brunt of monkey menace 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, April 4
The housewives and women residents of Sector 14 here are among the most harassed persons in the city these days. They do not know how to mitigate their sufferings.

At home, the women have to face the monkey menace and when they step out, they suffer at the hands of chain-snatchers and swindlers.

The sector developed by Huda is inhabited mostly by the upper middle class families and the government officials. Many employees of the Maharshi Dayanand University, including teachers and the PGIMS, have also constructed houses in this posh locality.

Dr S. K. Gakhar, secretary, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 14, told that the residents, especially women, had been facing the monkey menace for the past many months. The monkeys often enter the houses, attack women and children and destroy eatables. The matter was brought to the notice of the district administration many times but of no avail.

The situation becomes the worse when these women go to market to purchase vegetables and other household needs. As soon as they emerge from their houses, the chain-snatchers and swindlers roaming unchecked in the sector, corner them and rob them of their purses and chains.

Mrs Madhu Arora, Principal, Hindu Girls College is the latest victim. The purse of Mrs Arora was snatched when she was on her way to her house in Sector 14.

The snatching incidents are reported from many parts of the city almost daily, but the inaction on the part of the police is baffling, several residents said.


Janpath Hotel to be razed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The Union Tourism Minister, Mr Jagmohan, said a major tourism and cultural complex, housing all departments of the Culture and Tourism Ministry with all basic infrastructures would come up at the site of the present Hotel Janpath in central Delhi.

Hotel Janpath is one of the two hotels, which were taken out of the disinvestment list of the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the other being Hotel Ashoka. He said that the new complex would also house different state governments offices linked to tourism and would have modern telecom, rail and air reservation and infotech facilities.

The minister said the Union Cabinet had in principle given its green signal to the plan and therefore other details were being worked out. The ITDC has already announced its plans to disinvest all its hotels, numbering 32, except its flagship Hotel Ashoka. Mr Jagmohan said the present Hotel Janpath would be demolished to make way for the new complex.


Molestation charge against SSP
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 4
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C. B. Sheoran on Thursday fixed May 7 as the next date of hearing in a molestation case registered against the SSP, Mr A. S. Ahlawat. Ms Bimla Kadian, a resident of Dubaldhan Majra village had alleged in her complaint that the SSP had tried to outrage her modesty when she went to his office in connection with a job.

Bail rejected

The anticipatory bail application moved by a suspended Tehsildar M.S. Kadian was rejected by the District and Sessions Judge, Mr R. S. Madan on Thursday. A corruption case was registered against the tehsildar on March 18 following an affidavit by a property dealer Pawan Kumar who had alleged that the tehsildar received a bribe of Rs 15 lakh from him for helping in the ending of the ban on the registration of land in the region.


A woman strangled herself at Dairy Mohalla locality here on Wednesday night. She was cremated on Thursday. The cause of the suicide is unclear.

Local bus service

The Haryana Roadways has introduced local bus service from Badarpur border to Ballabgarh town. The local service has 15 stop points and officials of the roadways have been deputed at various places for supervision. The department has also extended the routes of cooperative buses up to the border to improve the frequency of service.



Traffic to be diverted today

New Delhi, April 4
The Delhi Traffic Police will enforce some diversions on various routes for the Shobha Yatra on the occasion of 96th birth anniversary of Babu Jagjiwan Ram organised by the Samta Sanvardhak Sangh tomorrow at 2 pm. The yatra will start from the Red Fort ground and end at Samta Sthal. The yatra will pass through Red Fort ground, Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli, Shardhanand Marg, Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, Delhi Gate and reach Samta Sthal. Another procession is being organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Nishad Raj Samaroh Samiti on the occasion of Nishad Raj Jayanti from the Red Fort ground to Ramlila Ground tomorrow at 2 pm. It will pass through Parade Ground, Chandni Chowk, Fatehpuri, Naya Bans, Sharadhanand Market, Ajmeri Gate and Asat Ali Road. TNS



Jeweller robbed, beaten up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Four unidentified persons, armed with country made weapons and knives, robbed a jeweller Jagdish Prasad (45), resident of Brahampuri, who runs his jewellery business from his home.

The police said that the robbers entered the house on Thursday morning in two groups and took away silver jewellery. During the robbery, both Prasad and his wife received minor injuries when the robbers beat them up.

A case of robbery has been registered and a massive hunt is on to trace the absconding culprits.

Car robbery foiled: The police nabbed a person Raghvender Singh near the Ghaziabad border, who along with his associate had tried to rob the car of one Jitender, resident of Shastri Nagar, Ghaziabad, on Wednesday night.

Police said that while Jitender was returning home from Dilshad Garden telephone exchange on Wednesday night in his Indica car no UP-14L-5821, he was intercepted by two men on a Bajaj scooter. One of the two men managed to get inside his car and threatened to take away his car.

When the car reached the border, Jitender shouted for help from the police personnel in a PCR van. The PCR staff immediately gave a chase. The duo abandoned both the car and the scooter and fled from the spot. Later the police identified one of the suspects as Raghvender Singh, resident of Mansarover along with a truck driver. A massive hunt is on to trace the other suspect.



Clerk flees with gurukul money

Jhajjar, April 4
A clerk-cum-teacher of a local gurukul reportedly fled after embezzling Rs 1,93,340 from the institution. The suspect, clerk Bhagawan Singh, had gone to the Maharshi Dayanand University for depositing the fees of the students. However, when he did not return, the gurukul authorities smelt a rat and ordered an audit of the accounts under his charge upon which money under various heads was found to be missing. Mr Vijaypal, principal of the gurukul, in his complaint lodged with the district police, alleged that the suspect had gone to Rohtak on March 19 for depositing the fee, but did not return. During the auditing, some more cases of swindling of funds were detected. The clerk and given his permanent address as: Tulsidas Chhawani, Naya Ghat, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The district police have registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC and handed over the case to the Crime Branch, which has started its investigation.

Liquor seized: The district police have booked Kunda Ram of Bhatera village under the Excise Act and seized 24 bottles and 48 quarters of English liquor and 120 pouches of country-made liquor from him. The accused has been arrested. OC



Equal facilities for all exporters demanded
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
The Delhi Exporters Association (DEA) has asked the government to give equal facilities to all exporters and alleged that the new Exim Policy offers facilities for only 3,000 status holders leaving out the 1,47,000 small and medium exporters.

“Facilities announced in the Exim Policy are mostly targeted at around 3,000 status holders which leaves out the 1,47,000 small, medium and tiny exporters. We want that exporters from all sectors are given equal concessions and facilities,” president of the DEA S. P. Agarwal told reporters here on Wednesday.

“A major thrust area of the policy appears to be the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which is a long-term strategy. However, the government should not neglect the existing exporting sectors,” he said.

Under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) scheme, the government has announced facilities like exemption of compulsory negotiation documents through bank, 100 per cent retention of foreign exchange in EEFC Account, enhancement of repatriation period from 180 days to 360 days, rebate for neutralising high fuel cost and transport subsidy.

The DEA president said the removal of quantitative restrictions (QRs) meant nothing for the exporters as, at present, there were no restrictions on export of handicraft, carpet, fashion jewellery, leather goods, engineering goods and other products. The restriction was only on commodities.

He suggested all small-scale industry (SSI) sector towns like Moradabad, Agra, Bhadohi, Aligarh, Saharanpur and Jaipur must be given the facilities at par with SEZs.

Describing the continuation of the DEPB as a cumbersome procedure, the exporters wanted it to be made hassle-free and all claims should be routed directly to their accounts in the wake of the EDI system in operation.

Seeking the reduction in transaction cost, the exporting community also demanded restoration of the exemption of 80 HHC, seven-day working for all departments connected with exports, expediting the drawback payments and customs clearance of shipments and setting up of an Export Facilitation Cell in each state.

The association also demanded the establishment of a separate ministry for international trade, which would sort out various problems faced by the exporters in a stipulated timeframe.

“All SSI sectors in the country should be given same concessions as are being given to the SEZs,” Mr Agarwal said, adding “the Rs 5 crore allocated for cottage and handicrafts sector under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is too meagre and money should be allocated for sectors outside KVIC”.

“The government should attempt to explore markets in western Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan instead of poor countries like Ghana and Nigeria which have very less purchasing power,” Mr Agarwal said. 


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