Saturday, November 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


LG proposes, Sports Authority disposes
Grappling with the WWE riddle: Is it sport or entertainment?

New Delhi, November 15
Is the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) show a sport or entertainment? This question is suddenly nagging DNA Network, a Bangalore-based event-management company, just as it is getting set to organise the mega WWE show at the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium on November 21.

Lt. Governor of Delhi Vijai Kapoor had ruled some time back that none of the Sports Authority of India-managed stadia in Delhi, renovated at considerable cost for the inaugural Afro-Asian Games, would be let out for any event other than sporting contests, before the Afro-Asiad. The Afro-Asian Games, which were to be originally held in Delhi in November last year but were postponed due to the September 11 terrorist strikes in the US, are now slated to be held in October-November 2003.

The SAI decision to let out the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium for the WWE show has thrown up the poser whether WWE is a sport or entertainment.

If it is not a sport, as sport is popularly perceived to be, then the WWE show cannot be held at the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium on November 21. But some people in the Sports Authority of India argue that it is a “sport” while some others claim that it is “pure entertainment”.

If it is entertainment, how has the SAI decided to let out the stadium for the WWE show, in violation of the Lt. Governor’s order?

M Shyam Sunder, Administrator of the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium, clarified that the WWE show is “considered as a sporting event of a professional nature” and, hence, a decision has been taken to allot the stadium for the show at the “highest level”.

But the rent for the stadium has been fixed in the “non-sport special category”, which is the highest amount the SAI can charge for leasing out the stadium for hosting a professional event. It means the SAI will charge Rs 5 lakh from the DNA Network for holding the show on November 21, and 20 per cent of that amount on the preceding two days and the day after the show, when the hosts would be erecting and dismantling their entertainment platform.

The hosts will also have to deposit Rs 3 lakh as security deposit, which is refundable. It is learnt that the show was cleared at the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Vikram Verma’s level, as he is also the chairman of the governing body of the SAI.

The Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium is not new to such “sporting” shows. Several years ago, a Delhi politician, the late Arjun Das, had organised a fortnight-long “dhangal” in a mud “akhara” at the indoor stadium. A few years ago, a mega WWW show, featuring some of the top stars in the field, was held there with a sell-out crowd going delirious over their “heroes”. Indian “Hercules” Dara Singh had also featured in several such “entertainment” bouts at the stadium. Kishore Kumar “nites” were just asides, in comparison.


The wee hour ‘kick’ for the morning chore
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 15
Private clinics in villages near Sonepat open shop much before dawn. In fact, this is the busiest hour for them. The clientele in the wee hours is rather peculiar, comprising mostly of milk vendors and manual labourers who drop in religiously at the clinics before cycling down to the city.

At the clinics they get their daily dose — an injection — which is invigorating and keeps them going for the day. The mysterious fluid in the injection could be morphine, but who cares. “We need a kick and we get it”, said some milk vendors who have been subsisting on the morning fare for the past few months, ever since opium became scarce in the area.

Incidentally, the `doctors’ are not qualified to run the clinics. Yet they charge anything between Rs. 30 and Rs. 50 per injection, depending upon how frequent is the customer. At times, the `doctors’ also hand over tablets which are to be taken orally.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, many `doctors’ said that on an average they administered injections to 40 to 45 persons daily. The mystery drug is either a painkiller or a sedative, which induces drowsiness, if administered in a large measure.

The so-called doctors have been running the clinics for the last few years after gaining some rudimentary knowledge at private hospitals in the city, where they had worked as helpers for two to three years.

There is a surfeit of so-called clinics in the rural areas. According to villagers, they had mushroomed after smuggling of contraband opium from nearby states ceased.

In the harvest season, the farm owners encourage the migrant labourers to take opium or some other intoxicant, so that their productivity is not impaired as the day drags on.

Apart from quacks, even registered medical practitioners are engaged in this lucrative business in some villages.


Probe panel member removed
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, November 15
The unexpected removal of the Presenting Officer from the four-member inquiry committee, constituted by the Maharshi Dayanand University administration for investigating into a complaint against the alleged irregularities committed by the principal of local University College, Dr Dharam Sukh Dahiya, has kicked up dust on the university campus.

The university administration replaced the Presenting Officer, Mr Surendra Sharma, by Mr Ram Kumar Jatian on Thursday without assigning any reason. Eyebrows have been raised on the campus as Mr Jatian has been serving as a superintendent in the college branch of the university and Dr Dharam Sukh Dahiya had recently been working as Dean, College Development Council of the university.

Maj-Gen Bhim Singh Suhag, Vice-Chancellor of the university, has not mentioned any reason officially for the replacement of Mr Surendra Sharma so far. However, a section of teachers and office-bearers of the Maharshi Dayanand University Teachers’ Association (MDUTA) fear that the replacement had intentionally been made to influence the investigation and favour Dr Dahiya.

The university authorities had recently received an anonymous complaint against the principal of the local University College. An inquiry committee was constituted headed by Dr Ram Naresh Mishra, head of the Hindi Department of the university.

Dr Sudha Jain and Mr Himmat Singh Ratnoo, president and secretary, respectively, of the MDUTA, had described the inquiry as mere eyewash and demanded a CBI inquiry instead. On the other hand, six members of the 11-member executive committee of the MDUTA had opposed the demand and argued that the anonymous complaint should not be considered by the authorities.

Meanwhile, Dr Wazir Nehra, vice-president, All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO) and convener of the state unit of the organisation, today said that the inquiry into the alleged irregularities should be conducted at the level of the Governor-cum-Chancellor of the university. He said the MDUTA had also written a letter to the Chancellor in this connection.


HUDA: Getting richer by giving extensions
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 15
The extension of the deadline for constructing buildings on vacant plots in the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) sectors may have brought some cheer to the plot-holders who have failed to fulfill this condition, but the decision to extend it has not surprised anyone. Huda authorities have been doing this for the past 15 years. And why not, when it is quite lucrative not only for Huda but also for the property dealers.

About 1,500 plots are lying vacant in various Huda sectors developed in this town. There are also a large number of plots whose owners have gone for partial (20 to 25 per cent) construction to escape the penalty or extension fee charged annually. But the plot owners who have failed to construct any building so far have to pay the extension fee to retain the plot as per Huda rules. It is reported that as the extension fee rate was Rs 85 per square yard, an owner of a plot of 500 square yards will have to shell out Rs 42,500 per year as penalty.

The penalty imposed as extension fee by Huda is reported to be proving quite a revenue spinner. It is stated that if there was no provision to impose extension fee or if the authorities had not extended the deadlines in the past, the department would have been poorer.

Thousands of Huda plots are reported to be lying vacant across the state. Huda authorities here had started developing urban sectors way back in 1970s and the process of extending deadline for construction on plots came into effect in 1987. Since then, the ‘extensions’ have been given several times.

Faridabad is one of the towns where development of Huda sectors has been the maximum. The department is planning to carve out more residential and industrial sectors here in the near future while the total number of sectors here has touched 58 already. These include industrial and commercial sectors.

According to insiders in the department and experts dealing with the Huda authorities, there were several rules adopted by the department that were quite flexible and the violations of several of these were proving very lucrative as the department earns quite a handsome amount as penalties.

It is alleged that several rules were made or framed deliberately so that the department could get an easy chance to impose penalty on plot holders later. For example, the outer boundary wall of a residential plot in a Huda sector should not have more than 3.5 feet height, when this condition is not at all viable or acceptable these days. “Even a cow or a stray animal could cross over such a wall and the safety of the house itself is at stake,” says a resident.

While most of the people construct walls of around 5 feet height, they are asked to pay a penalty for doing so.

The flexible rules framed for construction have also resulted in promoting corruption in HUDA offices. “No file could move further until the palms of the employee concerned was greased,” said a resident of Sector 14 here. He alleged that after imposing heavy penalties at the time of issuing completion certificates, the officials concerned demand bribe to scale down the same. If not obliged, they threaten to pull down the construction or resume the plot itself. 


3-tier development plan
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 15
The 112th meeting of the Noida administration took some important decisions that will have far-reaching effects. It has approved Noida 2021 Master Plan in which Sectors 96, 97 and 98 will constitute a hi-tech city while Sectors 94 and 124 will be home to pollution-free industry. An area of 50 acres in Sector 88 has been earmarked in principle for a market for fruits, vegetables and flowers run by private owners on build, operate and own basis. It will be a market of international standards.

On both sides of Noida expressway, an institutional area will be developed, land for which will be allotted at the rate of Rs 330 per sq m. Organisations going in for more than 10 acres will be given 50 per cent concession.

According to Noida Secretary Rajiv Routela, Noida 2021 Master Plan has been approved. The highlight of the plan is that a special development zone, which will be divided into three parts, will be developed.

It will have an information technology city spread over 300 acres and a biotech city on 150 acres, while another 300 acres have been earmarked for super-specialty medical facilities, comprising hospitals and medical colleges. The information technology city will be known by the name SDZ 5, biotech city by SDZ 6 and super-specialty medical zone by SDZ 7. Sectors 96, 97 and 98 will be a residential high-tech city having sophisticated facilities.

Over 200 acres have been earmarked for high-tech industries in Sectors 94 and 124, which will have zero polluting units. The land here will be allotted at the rate of Rs 2,100 per sq m to units, which will be handpicked by the CEO of Noida.

The Master Plan has been drawn keeping in view a projected population of 12 lakh in the NCR. The international level vegetable, fruit, flower and grain market will be managed by the Noida administration itself.

Different types of institutions, including senior secondary schools, will be able to get land allotted here. Approval has also been accorded to the proposal for a metro rail link project, and as per the technological feasibility study of Noida railway networking, viz the Noida Master Plan, it has been approved that Rites will prepare a railway master plan for the purpose. The meeting was attended by Industrial Development Secretary Netram, Chairman and CEO of Noida Lalit Srivastava and D. S. Bains respectively and the Chief Country and Town Planner.


Sonepat lawyers convene mahapanchayat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 15
The law and order situation in and around Sonepat city and other parts of the district seems to have collapsed, following a spurt in cases of loot, snatching of vehicles and extortion.

The rising incidence of crime and the police inaction have generated a fear psychosis. Many shopkeepers alleged that the gangs have been active in and around Sonepat for the past few months but the police have failed to nab the culprits.

Thieves who stole cash and other articles by breaking the locks of shops are still at large. Recently some miscreants removed the sanitary fittings, including water taps, from the houses of some judicial officers. A large number of cases have not been reported to the police as the loss was minimal.

Cases of snatching of vehicles have become routine, owing to the failure of the police to crack them. The victims have demanded effective night patrolling to control the situation.

Mr Rajiv Jain, General Secretary of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP), today expressed grave concern over the deteriorating law and order situation and blamed the police for not taking steps to book the culprits.

In a press statement issued here, he alleged that the extortion threats to some lawyers had exposed the week-kneed approach of the police.

The District Bar Association of Sonepat has convened a Mahapanchayat of lawyers on November 18 to consider the issue of extortion threats to some lawyers of Sonepat and Gohana. The association has invited the presidents of all the District Bar Associations of

Haryana to take part in the Mahapanchayat, which will be presided over by Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, President of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council.

The Mahapanchayat will discuss the issue in detail and chalk out the future course of action. The Mahapanchayat is likely to urge the state government to order a CBI probe into the cases and transfer the Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramjit Singh Ahlawat, with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the District Bar Association was held here yesterday; the association expressed its displeasure over the failure of the police to apprehend the culprits. The meeting also pointed out that the members of the association were not satisfied with the arrest of one Krishan Kumar of Braham Nagar. The meeting also decried the fact that the President of the District Bar Association was not informed about the arrest of Krishan Kumar in the case.

Meanwhile, the members of the association observed a strike for the 16th day today, paralysing the working of the civil courts at Sonepat and Gohana.

The decision of the District Bar Association to convene a Mahapanchayat on November 18 has thrown the authorities into a tizzy. Some police officials have approached the leaders of the association and are keen to resolve the issue through negotiations.

According to a report, the relatives of Krishan Kumar called on the President of the District Bar Association, Mr Prem Atray, and contested the police claim that he was involved in extortion.


Condoms worth Rs 5 lakh seized

New Delhi
A joint raid on Thursday by the Department of Drug Control of the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Crime Branch of Delhi Police has yielded illegally-manufactured condoms worth Rs five lakh.

In a statement released to the media, the Controller of Drugs on Friday said the raid was conducted at House No 178 in Pocket D-13, Sector 7 of Rohini. The condoms were manufactured illegally without licence. The condoms had the foreign labels of Taifeng Rubber Pte Ltd, Korea, Thunder Ball, Hodson Incorp, USA and Love Time Condoms, Rock Field, USA. Also seized was the machinery used for manufacture.


Panel wants recovery of property tax through UAS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
The tax assessment committee of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has recommended recovery of property tax through Unit Area System (UAS) of tax assessment, a new system of tax collection in place of the one being followed at present for larger coverage of properties in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The recommendations will now be placed before the Corporation for approval.

The Chairman of the tax assessment committee, Mr K Dharmarajan, announced this following presentation of the tax assessment report prepared on the basis of the new tax assessment system. At present, the corporation collects tax from only eight lakh properties while the new system will cover 30 lakh properties. If the new system is implemented, property owners will not be able to evade the tax.

Under the UAS of tax assessment, the committee has made special provision for senior citizens and women owners as they are exempted from the payment of property tax.

While presenting the report, Mr Dharmarajan said that the committee had prepared a list of all colonies, including unauthorised areas, which were exempted from the payment of property tax in the present system. The property owners in unauthorised colonies will be given 30 per cent rebate.

Before preparing the report the committee took opinion of experts and consulted practitioners of other cities where this system is in use Patna, Chennai, Hyderabad. Besides, the committee discussed with heard representatives of the public, interest groups, residence welfare associations, chambers of trade and industry, legal and financial experts, representatives of urbanised villages and religious organisations and elected public representatives to make the report free of lacunae.

He said that present system is based on ratable value linked to rent reasonably expected. The tax rate of residential building is assessed on the basis of cost of land at the time of purchase plus construction cost.

The tax of the commercial building is assessed on the basis of cost of land at the time of commencement of construction and construction cost. He further said that tax rate of a residential unit is based 20 per cent ratable value while the non residential one on the basis of 30 per cent of ratable value.

The UAS will be based on the total covered area of the property. The tax will be charged on the unit area value per square metre and the factors based on objective parametre.

The unit area value will depend on location of the property, road, type of structure, age of construction, type of settlement and use of property.

Dharmarajan also pointed out various defects of the new system like wide variation between similar placed properties, incidence of tax in old regular colonies, scope for collusion by owner, discretion at lower level leading to corruption, long term tenancy, harassment by inspectors and excessive litigation resulting in loss of revenue.


SYL issue: LJP threatens to gherao Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Rewari, November 15
Mr Surender Singh Hooda, general secretary of the Haryana unit of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), has asserted that his party is quite firm about getting for the state its full share of Ravi-Beas water through the completion of the SYL Canal, notwithstanding the unsavoury utterances of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Addressing a press conference here today, he mentioned the efforts being made by his party towards this end. He recalled that thousands of LJP activists had gheraoed Parliament on September 14 and courted arrest. Later, an 11-member delegation led by state president of the party, Capt Shamsher Singh Malik, had called on President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and submitted a written memorandum seeking his good offices to expedite the resolution of the SYL tangle. He also informed that this memorandum was now lying with the Union Water Resources Ministry to which it had been forwarded by the President.

Claiming that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had cancelled his official visit to Rewari (where he was to chair the Rezangla day celebrations on November 18) in view of the LJP’s assertion that its activists would gherao him on his arrival here, he further warned that the party would gherao him if he made an official visit to Haryana in the future too.

Referring to the LJP’s ongoing membership drive, Mr Hooda claimed that it was getting enthusiastic response, which indicated that its target of enlisting 10 lakh activists would be easily achieved by December 31. He also said that the LJP under the stewardship of its national president Ram Bilas Paswan and state president Capt Shamsher Singh Malik was making rapid strides and was all set to make an effective entry into the poll arena during the next assembly elections in Haryana.


Yet another study on air pollution in Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
The effects of air pollution, though already established, have initiated scientists and health experts to conduct another study, this time in the National Capital. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in collaboration with the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute of Kolkata, has initiated a study to assess the harmful effects of air pollution in Delhi.

The study will prepare a database on air pollution-related respiratory symptoms, assess the degree of lung function impairment and explore underlying mechanism of pollution-related pulmonary dysfunction.

The ill-effects of air pollution on health will be assessed in a cross section of population, including schoolchildren, housewives and office workers, through a questionnaire survey and free health check-ups, a CPCB release issued here today pointed out.

The CPCB is organising a series of health camps where lung function tests, collection of sputum and blood samples will be carried out to check the effects of the Capital’s ambient air quality.


NTPC presents awards to regional plants
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), a leader in the power sector, has instituted awards to inculcate healthy competition among its projects for better competitiveness. The awards are given in the various fields like safety, industrial relations, rajbhasa, productivity and protection and improvement in environment.

Mr C. P. Jain, chairman, NTPC, presented the awards to the winners today. The awards for the year 2001-2002 was given to Ramagundam and Dadri plants of the NTPC for rajbhasa; Dadri and Kayamkulam for industrial relations, Korba and Talcher Super Thermal Power Project for productivity, Ramagundam and Kahalgaon for safety, and Kayamkulam and Kawas for safety (gas/small projects).

Awards were also presented for the year 2000-2001. Singrauli and Unchahar plants won the award for industrial relations, Dadri and Korba for productivity, Ramagundam and Dadri for rajbhasha, Farakka and Kahalgaon for safety (for major projects), Kayamkulam and Kawas for safety (gas/small projects), Badarpur and Kahalgaon for protection and improvement in environment. The awards for the year 1999-2000 in respect of safety was received by Ramagundam and Farakka.

Directors and senior officials of the corporation were present on the occasion. The NTPC has an ambitious growth plan to become a 40,000 MW plus company by the year 2012. With 10 per cent of India’s total installed capacity, the NTPC generates about 26 per cent of country’s entire generation (20,749 MW).


Special scheme for girls launched
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 15
The Haryana Government has launched an ambitious scheme for the welfare of girls, especially to ensure hygiene among them. Mr R. R. Banswal, Commissioner, Rohtak division said this while speaking at a function organised on the Children’s Day at Bal Bhavan here yesterday. It was organised by the District Chief Welfare Council (DCWC).

Mr Banswal said girls would be apprised of various issues relating to health, cleanliness, environment, nutrition, first aid, vaccines against different contagious diseases, family life, nourishment of children and the constitutional rights of women.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, read out the message of the Governor on the occasion. He discussed various schemes launched by the DCWC.

He said books and uniforms were provided free of cost to the school-going children of financially weaker section by the council. Besides, 120 children had been availing the facility under `Street Working Children Programme’ at present, he said.

Children’s Day was also observed by the District Congress Committee (rural) and the district unit of the Haryana Pardesh Youth Congress Committee by organising different programmes.


Haryana Govt to set up two posts to collect toll tax
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 15
The Haryana Government proposes to set up two posts one each at Sonepat and Panipat near the inter-state bridges on the Yamuna river for the collection of toll tax from the vehicles passing through these bridges.

According to a report, it has already called the tenders for the collection of the toll tax on these posts. The authorities of the Public Works Department (Buildings and Roads) have received the tenders from the parties and Sonepat post has fetched Rs 17 crore whereas the Panipat post Rs 6.50 crore.

The state government proposes to collect Rs 100 from each truck and Rs 150 from the vehicles having 10 wheels or more, while passing through these bridges. All other vehicles including cars, jeeps and three or four-wheelers have been exempted from the purview of the toll tax.

The state government also proposes to grant contract for two years in the initial stage. Further action would be taken in due course, the sources revealed.

Chemists’ rally

Members of the Sonepat Chemists and Druggists Association closed their shops and took out a procession here today to register their protest against the looting incident with a chemist on the evening of November 13.

According to a report, the striking chemists also sat on a day's dharna in front of the office of the Superintendent of Police and submitted a memorandum to him demanding immediate arrests of the culprits involved in the case.

The SP told them that he has handed over the case to the DSP Mr Arun Nehra for investigations, and the culprits would be brought to book shortly.

Meanwhile, the association has decided to impose a penalty of Rs 5,000 on those chemists found opening their shops on the day of a statewide `bandh' today in protest against the levying of the sales tax on the minimum retail price (MRP) of medicines and other items.

Mishaps on G T Road

Two labourers namely Shahab Khan and Mohammad Rozit were seriously injured when they were hit by a speedy car on the G T Road near here on Thursday night. According to a report, both the injured persons were rushed to the local civil hospital. Later, they were referred to a trauma centre in Delhi for further treatment. The police are investigating into the case.

According to another report, a two-year-old girl, Bala, was seriously injured when she was hit by an unknown vehicle on the G T Road near Bahalgarh village about 10 km from here on Thursday evening. She was sent to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment.


Navy gives disabled kids a rail ride
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
Rail Museum came alive as sounds of laughter created ripples on a warm November day. Forty elated children had a chance to explore and enjoy, thanks to the initiative taken by the India Navy.

These children with mental and physical disabilities were taken to the Rail Museum to enjoy a day out courtesy the Indian Navy, which is celebrating the Navy Week. The children were taken for rides and also shown around the Museum.

Children from four schools, three run by the armed forces and one civilian school, were part of this special picnic. The purpose was not just entertainment but also to encourage these children to interact with each other.

According to one of the organisers, the idea of such a picnic was mooted a year back to increase interaction among such children and more essentially among their parents.

Curiosity and awe got the better of children as they were seen exploring the imitations of railway paraphernalia accumulated over the years.

The special outing is the first of various activities planned during the Navy Week celebrations and will be followed by a picnic on November 20 for underprivileged children and a three-day medical camp in villages around Delhi, pointed out the Navy PRO, Commander Rahul Gupta.

Navy Day is celebrated every year on December 4, to commemorate the ‘Victory at Sea’ in the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict, during which naval ships are open to public viewing.


Prakash Utsav of Guru Nanak Dev
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
The Prakash Utsav of Guru Nanak Dev is being celebrated on November 19. The DSGMC has organised a variety of events to commemorate the day.

A grand kirtan will be organised in Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib on November 18 at 10 am. The Nagar Kirtan will then pass through Chandni Cowk, Fatehpuri, Hari Baoli, Azad Market, Roshanara Road and terminate at Gurdwara Nanak Piao, G T-Karnal Road.

The Prakash Utsav celebrations on the 19th will begin with the recitation of Sri Sukhmani Sahab and Nitnem in the early hours of the morning. Bhai Gurmez Singh from Amritsar will perform the ‘Kirtan asa di Var’. The ragi jathas will recite the katha and the shabad kirtan, which will then continue till midnight. A community kitchen, Langar, will also be organised on the occasion.

An exhibition of religious books is being held at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and it will continue till November 25. 


20-km march by Eicher School kids
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 15
Student of the Eicher School here took out an `Awareness March' on the occasion of ‘Children's Day' on Thursday.

Covering a route of about 20 kms, the students carrying placards appealing to the residents to keep the environment clean, eradicate child labour and save electricity and water. The march touched several leading schools of the town. The aim of the march was to create awareness and sense of responsibility especially among the younger generation about some of the problems of common concern, said Ms Ritu Kohli, Principal of the school. She said that there was a need to involve students and youth in such programmes, as they were future citizens.

DRDA spendings

Rohtak: The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) has spent an amount of nearly Rs 4.30 crore on various schemes for public welfare and developmental works carried out till October during the current financial year.

According to official sources, 172 persons were provided employment under a scheme and 14 houses were constructed for the people living below poverty line in rural areas.

Besides, 37,900 quintals of wheat was distributed to 509 persons under `food for work' scheme.

Six hurt

Sonepat: A youth, Kuldeep, was seriously injured when he was allegedly attacked with lathis and knives by some persons at Deepalpur village about 13 km from here last evening.

According to a report, another youth who came to his rescue, was also attacked and injured. However, the alleged assailants managed to escape. Both the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger.

The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress. However, no arrest has been made in this connection.

According to another report, Raju a youth of Basodi village, sustained knife injuries when he was attacked by some youths at the bus stand here last evening. The injured youth was rushed to the local civil hospital for treatment. The alleged assailants are still at large and a hunt is on to apprehend them.

Two more persons Suresh and Ranbir sustained injuries in clashes took place between the rival groups at Bhatgaon and Shadipur villages near here on Thursday. Both the injured persons were hospitalised. A youth, Sanjay, was injured while he was boarding a moving bus on the bus stand here on Friday evening.


Dikshit to withdraw case against Verma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her predecessor and Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma have agreed to reach an amicable settlement on the defamation suit she filed against him.

According to the Chief Minister’s aides, Mrs Dikshit had decided to withdraw her defamation suit after Mr Verma agreed to withdraw the allegations he had levelled against her.

The Chief Minister had filed a suit for a symbolic damage of Re 1 for Mr Verma’s baseless charges of corruption against her. Mrs Dikshit had sought permanent injunction against Mr Verma, restraining him from making any defamatory statement against her in future.

Mr Verma, on the other hand, claimed the suit was not maintainable as the claim of Re 1 was below the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court.

Power cut in Sultanpuri

North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) today announced a power cut in Sultanpuri and adjoining areas tomorrow between 10 am and 3 pm. The power supply cut is being initiated by NDPL to conduct maintenance work of the 11 KV bus bar at 66 KV Mangolpuri grid substation.

Yadav Shaurya Divas

To commemorate the sacrifice of 114 Ahir jawans of Kumaon Regiment during Indo-China war of 1962, the All India Yadav Mahasabha will organise a ‘Yadav Shaurya Divas’ tomorrow in the Capital.

Several union ministers including Sharad Yadav, Sahib Singh Verma, Hukum Deo Narayan Yadav, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and MPs are expected to attend the ceremony in Teen Murti Bhawan.

Sudha Yadav, MP, has also given a memorandum to Union Communications Minister Pramod Mahajan to release a stamp to commemorate the 40th Shaurya Diwas of Rezang La.

The ceremony will be presided over by D Nagendran, president, All India Yadav Mahasabha.



Some five years ago the Delhi Government took a commendable step when it launched a medical scheme for its serving and retired employees. The scheme was conceived on the lines of the CGHS. But the similarities, if any, have remained only on paper. In actual practice the two schemes are poles apart.

Delhi traffic back-up.
Delhi traffic back-up. — Photo by Anil Sharma

Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme has not made any special arrangements (as promised on paper) for issuing life saving medicines to patients suffering from heart ailments and from such chronic diseases as hypertension and diabetes. No attempt is made to procure the needed medicines for the treatment of individual patients. In some hospitals doctors discourage patients from coming to them. The Delhi Government hospitals and dispensaries often do not have enough stock of medicines. For laboratory tests patients have to travel long distances.

The entire exercise is especially taxing for old, retired persons suffering from serious diseases. The list of approved referral hospitals for specialised treatment does not include such prestigious hospitals as RML Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. These hospitals are included in the approved list of referral hospitals under the CGHS. The least that the Delhi Government Health Department can do is that it should include these hospitals in its list for the benefit of the members of the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme. Doing so will immensely benefit those old retired employees who are living in West and Central Delhi as at present there is no other big hospital within a reasonable distance for them.

Further, under the CGHS, the central government has an agreement with specialised hospitals. According to this agreement, a patient does not have to pay anything to the hospital if he undergoes bypass heart surgery. The bill for this is totally paid directly by the government. This facility needs to be extended to Delhi Government employees under the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme. At present for such an operation the patient has to first pay the entire amount from his own pocket, which means spending one’s entire life’s savings, and then apply for reimbursement. Reimbursement of these expenses often takes more than a year. And if, God forbid, the patient dies the plight of his/her family can be well imagined. Even ordinary medical bills amounting to a few hundred rupees keep shuttling between the parent office and the Pay and Accounts Office for months during which period the old, retired, infirm “beneficiary” of the scheme is made to run from pillar to post.

The membership rules are vague and ambiguous. The retired employees were required to pay a lump sum membership fee for five years. Since the rule says nothing more, it was presumed that it was the total fee for life.

Consequently, most offices issued medical cards marked “For Life”. Some offices, however, arbitrarily marked the cards “For Five Years”. In the absence of any clear instructions, those who got medical cards five years back are now facing difficulties. Because of this lack of clarity in this particular rule, it is being bent at will.

There is urgent need to review and improve the scheme and implement it effectively to make it of real worth to its members. As it is the scheme seems to have died in its conception. It is hoped that the Delhi Government’s Health Department will look into the matter and take effective steps to ensure proper working of the scheme.


New Delhi

This darling of the masses will live forever

Priya TendulkarPriya Tendulkar died of cardiac arrest on September 19 this year, leaving behind lakhs of her admirers friendless, as it were. She was suffering from cancer. She felt pain in the chest but collapsed before she could be taken to the hospital. Popularly known as Rajani, Priya shot into prominence for her participation in the TV serial titled “Rajani”. She acted so well in the serial that people waited for it with bated breath. She virtually became the darling of the masses who are cheated everyday by all and sundry. She unleashed terror through her all-out crusade against such reckless people by creating awareness to that effect through serials and films.

“Rajani” was directed by Basu Chatterjee. Daughter of popular playwright Vijay Tendulkar, she was initiated into films in Shyam Benegal’s “Ankur” in 1973. She always stole the show on the Marathi stage, especially by playing outstanding roles in plays like “Kanyadaan” and “Sakharam”, written by her father. Her teleserial, “Rajani”, was seen as a watershed in the history of Indian television. It was truly a crusade against rampant corruption all around.

She became a symbol of boldness to fight out the atrocities on women even as she fought so valiantly in order to secure `empowerment’ for them so that they could fight the greedy ones decisively.

While she appeared to be a terror for the unscrupulous people in her private life she was always like a good friend and had a ready ear for listening to the woes of the oppressed and helping them as best she could.

Do such figures ever die? They may have to shed their mortal frame but they live in the sweet memories of their fans forever. That’s why it is said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Priya Tendulkar, alias Rajani, will not fade out from the memories of her fans so soon and indeed so easily either.

R L Pathak

New Delhi

Of panic and fear

I would like to draw the attention of people through your esteemed column that earlier Divali was an occasion for celebration for each and every individual - young and old alike — but now it has become an occasion for fear and panic for the old, asthmatic patients, children and the common people at large.

People celebrate Divali with great pomp and show all over the country by wasting crores of rupees on crackers and fireworks. Though the Constitution of India has given the freedom and right to the people of India to express their happiness and joy but I do not think this is the right way. Bursting crackers results in heavy increase in air and sound pollution levels and is an open invitation for many fatal diseases.

What an irony that the government on the one hand spends a huge amount of money to reduce pollution and on the other hand people splurge on crackers, thus increasing the pollution level. Despite all anti-cracker campaigns by the government, schoolchildren, college students and other social organisations the people’s reaction shows an unenthusiastic, unhelpful and negative trend as usual. Whether it is a matter of cleaning the Yamuna river or illegal constructions on government land people are least bothered about the adverse effects. The government is also not seriously taking the matter. Strict action is not being taken to discontinue the licences of those factories that are producing crackers that do not have regulated better quality.

The department concerned should categorise the maximum decibel level of crackers and factories that do not adhere to that limit should be closed down. The policy makers must ensure the law against cracker. Not a single party wants to take the initiative to put forth a proposal in Parliament to enforce such a law. Always, the Supreme Court has to intervene, whether on the Cauvery waters issue, the CNG problem, cleaning the Yamuna, as there is no understanding among the coalition government at the Centre, other state governments and the Opposition in joining hands to solve various increasing problems. I think we should let the government take rest and the Supreme Court should be made the decision-making body.

N.C. Pandey


Triumph of truth

Divali doesn’t mean lights. Nor does it mean bursting of crackers or exchange of sweets. Neither does it entail worship of the goddess of wealth. It is in truth a symbol of triumph of truth over an absolute rule of falsehood. It is related with eternal happiness. It is in this spirit that our ancestors have been celebrating Divali since times immemorial to highlight the underlying virtues/values. Rama stands for truth. According to custom he was to be the inheritor of the kingdom of Ayodhaya, he being the eldest son and a man unparalleled in virtues. But his father, King Dashratha, having been indebted to his youngest wife, Kaikeyi, for her extraordinary services was promise-bound to fulfil two of her wishes at an opportune time.

In keeping with the first wish Rama was exiled to the forests for 14 years. By the second he was dispossessed of his right to the kingdom. Rama complied with his father’s promise and mother’s wishes without holding any grudge as boons destined for him. Sita, his consort, in her dedication accompanied him to the forests.

His brother, Lakshmana, decided to go along too. No pulls or pressures, neither allurements nor enticements nor supplications could deter Rama.

It is said of Ravana, the wealthiest emperor of the most fabulous kingdom island of Sri Lanka, that he was the most learned and endowed with 10 heads. But it is a bitter truth that arrogance of power and pelf had turned his head. In absolute arrogance he kidnapped Sita, the paragon of beauty and embodiment of innocence, with the mala fide intention of marrying her. Ravana had extracted a boon from Lord Shiva that he could die neither in day nor at night.

Ravana’s brother, Kumbhkarna, was a mighty royal personage. But he was an epitome of sloth. Ravana’s son, Megnatha, a renowned warrior, was too arrogant of his skills to see through the false power of his father. The nobles and progeny of the mighty Ravana were drunk with power. His army had become a symbol of terror. Rama, an epitome of truth, sought simple tribesmen’s help. With his spirit of courage and determination he turned the tribesmen into powerful warriors and a force to reckon with.

In the fight between truth and evil, the truth of Rama and his allies was triumphant over the evil of Ravana and his allies.

So was the fight of Swami Dayanand triumphant over the evils of Hindu society. One of the evils was named `Sati Pratha’. In order to perpetuate the system the so-called leaders of the time called it ‘truth’. But along with other reformers Swamiji tore the veil and called it a falsehood. Though he passed away on Divali yet in his death he stands glorious.

Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru of the Sikhs, was different from his predecessors. He equipped himself with the swords of `Miri’ and `Piri’: of a soldier and a saint. He had decided to shape his Sikhs in the mould of soldiers and wage war against the tyrannical Mughal Empire. The contemporary Mughal Emperor Jehangir could not digest the awakening in Guruji. He saw in him a threat to his empire. Guruji was imprisoned in Gwalior Fort.

Spirituality in Guru Hargobind and the dedication of the Sikhs towards Guruji was so overpowering that it overwhelmed Mian Mir, the Sufi faqir, and Noor Jehan, Jehangir’s wife. Both prevailed upon Emperor Jehangir to free Guruji. But Guruji stood by justice and truth. He made it clear to the empire that he would not go out of the prison if all 52 innocent kings/ nobles were not set free along with him. The falsehood of the Mughal Empire relented against the power of truth of Guruji. Such is the eternal strength of truth that despite falsehood rampant in our society we worship truth. This is the hallmark of our civilisation.

Ujjal Pal Singh


Disgrace to Divali

The bursting of crackers causes irreparable damage to the environment. Those who celebrate Environment Day (June 5), No Tobacco Day (May 31) are the prime violators of environment ethics. The high-ups too are responsible for the social malaise. The bigger the house the murkier the flame of fireworks. A parsimonious disposition is usually mocked at by the moneyed classes that squander ill-gotten money on crackers.

The naked dance of smoke and soot, the greed of consumerism make holy Indian festivals disgraceful. The vulgar display of money and filthy ceremonial use of fireworks is like a contagious disease. Fireworks cause copious harm to greenery. The educated youth are swayed to such a large extent by trivial ceremonies that there is hardly any discernible difference between the well-educated and those not educated. The most affected are only those who are environment-friendly and nourish civic sense.

Who will dare discourage and discard such filthy habits? Who will save the environment from the treacherous hands? The poor and the maltreated are the prime targets of pollution-borne diseases in general. What a disgrace to Divali! What a dishonour to our environment.

Ramautar Yadav


Death traps on roads

There are several roads in Faridabad which the pedestrians can cross only at a great risk to their life and limb but at the following three points these traps are deadlier than elsewhere: Badshah Khan Chowk, Neelam Cinema Chowk and Ajronda Chowk.

I humbly beseech the authorities concerned to provide underground pathways here for the pedestrians and in the process save human lives.

Ram Saran Bhatia


Charm of riddles

Who does not remember the riddles one asked each other in childhood, the bewilderment-real or assumed-when the riddle was set, the shout of triumph when it was solved? The riddle is more important than a game to make children happy and all over India it has played a serious part in religious ceremonies, as a test at weddings (chhand), and as a trial of intelligence whereby one may gain or lose.

What sort of riddles is asked in India? These are generally concise, often rhymed, sometimes carrying a taunt, such as if you can’t guess it proves you are a fool, are generally witty with homely poetry. I give a few examples:

* This peacock has only one leg — an umbrella.

* A little plough wanders fearlessly through the jungle — a razor.

* A little brat that feeds from the plate of a king-a fly.

* A leaf blown round the world — a letter.

* This music drops from heaven, but who is the player? — Lightning.

The wit combat has now yielded to the quizzes on TV and radio.



Quota for sportsmen

It is heartening to learn the Haryana Government has decided to reserve 3 per cent jobs for sportsmen. This will encourage the youth to take keen interest in sports activities and spur them to participate in national and international meets. The country, which has a population of more than 100 crore, is lagging behind in sports. Talented players can prove their talent only if they devote maximum attention towards the game and are able to secure their future without any financial problem or any other liability.

Subhash C Taneja



Bank dacoity solved, two held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
The East district police today claimed to have solved the sensational dacoity case of ICICI, where Rs 2 crore was robbed by two persons on July 23 when the money was being transported in Brinks Arya van.

The police arrested the accused, Jaswant Singh (25) and Dharmabir Singh (30), both residents of Sonepat, from Anand Vihar inter-state bus terminus, when they were coming from Bareilly.

The Commissioner of Police had announced a total cash reward of Rs 1,20,000 in the case.

At the time of the incident, the van was driven by Dharambir with armed escorts Jaswant Singh and Ram Bahadur. Cashier Madanpal and loaders Gopal and Sehdev accompanied them.

Both Dharambir and Jaswant overpowered the other occupants of the van at gunpoint and took it to a deserted area near the Airport Authority Transmission Centre where Jitender Singh alias Kaka alias Tempo and Jagbir Singh waited for them in a Maruti car. All the four shifted the money from the van to the car and then sped away.

Gang of robbers held

With the arrest of three persons, the West district police today claimed to have busted a gang of robbers. The suspects have been identified as Ajay (26), Sri Bhagwan (29) and Manoj (20), all residents of Bakarwala village. The police recovered a country-made weapon and one live cartridge from their possession.

Burglars apprehended

The Police Control Room (PCR), deployed at Kotla Mubarakpur, apprehended three burglars, Ballu (18), Sonu and Sanjay, all residents of Gautam Puri in Badarpur. The police also recovered six wristwatches, two gold bangles and a camera from their possession.


All-weather bricks that have great finish
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
Eco-friendly, all-weather maintenance-free bricks, manufactured by India’s first state-of-the-art extruded brick and block kiln, is the main attraction at the Buidtech section of the ongoing IITF at Pargati Maidan. The stiff extrusion bricks are popular world-wide for various construction uses, including in building high-rise buildings and sewers.

The products and the process for manufacturing extruded bricks has been indigenously developed by a company, Priya Clay Products, under the aegis of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research under their PATSER programme. The unit has been set up in Jhajjar in Haryana with financial assistance from HUDCO.

The brick manufactured with extruded technology, besides being of superior quality, is also eco-friendly as it has less soil and more fly ash. The process also uses less energy for baking the bricks. Another advantage is that these bricks give an extraordinary external finish without any additional cost and require no maintenance.

This manufacturing process makes it clear that bricks can be made using various raw materials, including fly ash. It also uses various alternative fuels such as sawdust, lignite, agro wastes and industrial wastes. The quality of the bricks is of world class.

Due to its maintenance-free and higher strength features they can be used for various construction purposes, including exterior interior and exterior walls, staircases. They also help in bringing down the construction cost drastically. Cost of construction of flat based on carpet area comes down from Rs 7,438 per square meter to Rs 6,671 per square meter (approximately saving 11 per cent of the cost).

Besides products for the housing sector, products for sewerage application such as sewer bricks have been developed for the first time in India. These products have also been approved by the CPWD. The products are being seriously examined by the Delhi Jal Board for their suitability in construction of different types of sewerage structure, especially manholes.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |