Thursday, February 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Fear of seat delimitation brings BJP, Cong together
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
Representatives of the BJP and the Congress are likely to come together to take stock of the situation arising out of the redrawing of boundaries of parliamentary and Assembly constituencies as proposed by the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice Kuldeep Singh.

The meeting of representatives, who are also associate members of the Delimitation Commission, comes in the backdrop of a persistent opposition from the politicians to a change in the status quo given the crucial Assembly elections scheduled to be held later this year.

The Delimitation Commission has suggested radical changes to the delimitation of the seven parliamentary and 70 Assembly constituencies in the NCT of Delhi. The rationalisation or reorganisation of constituencies has the potential to alter the political landscape.

Incidentally, the Congress and the BJP find themselves speaking in the same voice on the issue. Veteran politicos from both parties have registered their displeasure over the impact the redrawing of boundaries of constituencies will have on their respective fortunes.

None of the elected representatives from the Congress and the BJP want to lose out constituencies they have nurtured to the rivals – within the party or outside. Particularly concerned are those elected from the Reserved constituencies.

Five Members of Parliament – Madan Lal Khurana, Vijay Goel, V. K. Malhotra, Sahib Singh Verma and Lal Behari Tiwari – are the associate members from the BJP while the Congress is represented by Industries Minister Deep Chand Bandhu and four other legislators.

Among the worst affected could be the troika of Mr Verma, Mr Khurana and Mr Malhotra who represent the Outer Delhi, Delhi Sadar and South Delhi parliamentary constituencies. Their concerns are shared by the troika of Mr Sajjan Kumar, Mr Jagdish Tytler and Mr J. P. Aggarwal of the Congress.

Although the two parties would make their stands clear to each other and, in turn, the commission, the outcome of the meeting is not likely to influence the commission much. 



Dacoits loot train, shoot at checker
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, February 12
In a daring incident, about a dozen dacoits had a field day in Sangam Express between Khurja City and Khurja junction. The train was going to Allahabad.

One ticket checker (TC), who had caught one of the dacoits by his neck, was shot at and seriously injured. He has been taken to a hospital. About a dozen passengers were also assaulted by the outlaws. Six miscreants had reportedly boarded the train at Meerut while another six had come in at Khurja City, all between the age group of 25 and 30 years.

The dacoits, wielding pistols and knives, snatched jewellery from the women passengers and looted cash, watches etc from other passengers. Those who resisted were beaten up.

As the train, which had started from Meerut, left Khurja City station at about 9.35 pm on Tuesday, the miscreants started depriving passengers of their valuables in general compartment No. 16215. Soon the train reached Khurja junction where ticket checker Ranvir Singh boarded the compartment and caught hold of one of them by neck. Another dacoit then shot at Ranvir Singh and injured him seriously in the face. Ranvir Singh fell down and was rushed to the hospital later. It caused a commotion on the railway station.

The dacoits also misbehaved with women and injured about a dozen passengers. Varinder Pandey and Prabhu Nath Rai, GRP cops, were on duty at the time of the incident.

Many passengers were robbed of their valuables: Murli Lal of Ferozabad was deprived of his rifle and cash; Asghar Ali was robbed of Rs 4,000; Promode Gupta of Rs 2,500; Chander Pal and Sajid of Aligarh lost Rs 2,000 each. Details of jewellery looted were not available, the Khurja police said.



Sarpanch comes down on admn
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 12
While the administration has gone on overdrive to remove encroachments in the district as per the expressed wishes of the Chief Minister, a controversy has erupted over the way in which it has gone about it. The sarpanch and panchayat members of Junhera village of Ballabgarh subdivision of the district have raised objections over the manner in which about 100 houses, several of them built many decades back, were pulled down a couple of days ago.

The agitated sarpanch of the village, Mrs Anita Kaushik, and some of members of the panchayat said here today that the whole action and the manner in which the demolition was carried out spoke of the high-handedness of the administration. They said it was also a great injustice to the villagers.

Alleging that the village panchayat was not taken into confidence prior to the demolition, the sarpanch said that several of the houses razed down belonged to the Dalit families and these had been built on the plots allotted by the gram panchayat several years ago. At least seven plots were allotted way back in 1977. Declaring them encroachment was improper, she said.

Despite being the sarpanch of the village, she was not told about the time of demolition, she said. Claiming that a majority of the residents who had been accused of encroaching were ready to remove these themselves, she alleged that the authorities did not even provide two days to the persons to do so. As a result, the people suffered huge losses in terms of property and household items that got damaged. The villagers had suffered losses of up to Rs 2.5 crore in the demolition, which, she said, was carried out in a haphazard manner.

She and other panchayat members alleged that the illegal occupation by at least six persons on a village plot had been spared due to their affiliation to the ruling party in the state. She admitted that there were encroachments on public land in the village but claimed that the people were ready to remove these themselves provided they were given adequate time. The panchayat was not given the exact measurement of the area under encroachment, she alleged. Moreover, the demolition on Monday and Tuesday had affected normal life as the streets had been strewn with waste and scrap and the supply of electricity and water had been disrupted.

Deep Chand, Ram Karan, Ved Ram, Shyam and Phoolwati (all panches) were present at the press conference here today. 



Newly wed soldier robbed, shot dead
Our Correspondents

Rewari, February 12
In true movie style, a young newly married soldier riding a motorcycle with his wife was shot dead near Jiwara village on Monday evening by two unidentified car-borne desperadoes who also decamped with his vehicle as well as a bag of cash and ornaments. His wife escaped unhurt.

The police have registered a case of murder and robbery under Sections 302 and 392 of the IPC and also under the Arms Act.

The police have impounded the Maruti car, used by the criminals who later abandoned it near the incident site. It has been found out that the car had been stolen from Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon earlier on February 4.

It is reported that Rahul along with his wife Maya Devi, was returning to his native Hansawas village from Maya’s house at Sikri village near Ballabgarh in Faridabad district when he was given a chase by the armed desperadoes whose Maruti car ultimately knocked down the motorcycle near Jiwara village. Rahul and Maya Devi fell down. The miscreants came out of their car and tried to snatch the bag containing cash and ornaments as well as the motorcycle.

Rahul gave stiff resistance and also raised the alarm, but before the farmers working in the neighbouring fields could come to their rescue, one of the two desperadoes pumped two bullets into Rahul and they decamped with the bag and the motorcycle. Rahul, who was lying in a pool of blood, was rushed to a private hospital at Pataudi and later shifted to a Gurgaon hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

On receiving information about the incident, the Rohrai police swung into action but could not trace the culprits. The post-mortem examination was conducted at the civil hospital here on Tuesday.

Farmer beheaded in brawl

Noida: In a bloody brawl over the right of way between two groups of farmers in Barpura village under the Dadri police station area, one person was beheaded and a few others were injured badly today.

According to police Circle Officer Pradeep Gupta, two farmers, Subash and Kishan Pal, were neighbours in Barpura village. They had a dispute regarding the right of way in front of their houses.

Both the parties came to blows over the dispute today. Kishan Pal, Ajit Pal, Shiv Kumar, reportedly armed with swords and other sharp-edged weapons, allegedly attacked Subash, injuring him critically. Though he was rushed to Yashoda Nursing Home, Ghaziabad, he was pronounced “brought dead” by the doctors, Mr Gupta said.

Subash’s brother, Suresh, has filed an FIR against Kishan Pal, Ajit Pal, Shiv Kumar and Raj Kumar in the police station. Though the police say they have started investigations, many in the village allege that the police are taking a partisan view. As a proof of the police taking the matter lightly, they cite the fact that nobody has been arrested so far.



Fake appointment letter lands duo in jail
Our Correspondent

Noida, February 12
An appointment letter, purportedly issued by the UP Secretariat, Lucknow, for the post of Assistant Cashier in Noida administration has landed two persons in jail as it was found out to be fake. Apart from the appointee, his companion, an Assistant Development Officer, Farm Protection in Gautam Budh Nagar district, is also cooling his heels in the lock-up.

According to the information available, the appointee has been identified as Desh Raj Singh, son of Banarasi Das, resident of Karanpur Jatta village, Dholana who had been working as a private typist in the district courts. His companion, Vijay Pal Singh, also hails from Karanpur Jatta.

When Desh Raj and Vijay Pal presented the “appointment letter” at the Personnel Department in the Noida administration yesterday, the officials smelt a rat. The appointment letter had been issued on the official letterhead of the Special Secretary (Appointment), Ms Nivedita Shukla Varma, duly carrying the official emblem of the UP Government. On one side, two telephone numbers -– 2238240 and 2720030 — were also printed. The letter (268/AR/Appointment/Authority) showed that it was issued on February 8, 2003..

The letter aroused suspicion because instead of the CEO, it was addressed to the Additional CEO of Noida. The letter said: “Shri Desh Raj has been appointed Assistant Cashier in Noida Authority in the pay scale of Rs 4,500-7,000.” The letter also recommended a three-month training at the government expense. The copies of the letter were marked for Principal Secretary (Finance) and Town Development.

The Noida officials had never seen such an appointment letter. Desh Raj and Vijay Pal were sent to report to the Additional CEO, Mr Hira Lal, who asked them to wait outside. Mr Hira Lal then contacted the Lucknow Secretariat and spoke to Ms Nivedita Shukla Varma, IAS, who said she had never issued such a letter.

At this, Mr Hira Lal summoned Inspector Harsh Vardhan on duty at the Noida administration office and handed the duo to him.

Assistant Development Officer (Farm Protection) Vijay Pal said that one Anil Kumar Gautam had handed over this letter to him at the UP Bhawan after introducing himself as an officer in the appointment wing of the state government in Lucknow. Gautam had told Vijay Pal that he had come to meet Chief Development Officer Chander Kant on February 5. Vijay Pal said he was taken in by the get-up and mannerism of Gautam, who, he was convinced, was an influential officer in Lucknow.



Airlines putting the disabled through hell
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
Post-December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament, security agencies armed with the zeal to ensure that there is no security breach have left the citizens bewildered rather than secure, especially the disabled.

When a visually impaired, S S Deshpande was told that he could not take his walking stick on board, the man had little choice, but to agree to the Indian Airlines resolve of ‘maintaining security’. In a similar incident, a visually challenged Finnish national was barred from taking his guide dog on board by the Jet Airlines.

According to the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), Deshpande who was travelling from Bangalore to Pune was not allowed to carry his white walking stick on board. The Airlines substantiated their decision by claiming that the cane and the dog could pose a security threat.

While the cane was eventually checked in with the cargo, the Finnish National was offered a two-day taxi drive from Bangalore to Chennai. Intervention from the Disabled Rights Group made the last leg of his journey from Chennai to Delhi possible.

The NCPEDP has raised questions about the credibility of the security systems adopted by the airlines. It pointed out, “The fact that a blind person’s cane cannot be cleared of suspicion by the systems designed to protect life and property worth millions is a telling comment on both the technology in question and the people who deploy it.”



Magical tour de force: Qutab Minar vanishes 
into thin air
Tribune News Service

Master of abracadabra
Master of abracadabra

New Delhi, February 12
Iltutmish, the medieval Indian ruler, must be turning in his grave. The 72.5 m Qutab Minar which he built so passionately is being made to disappear in a jiffy. T K Pandey, who performed the feat, claims that there is no optical illusion, no curtains, no frames or stages. But, he will not let out the secret of his magical tricks.

An employee of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Pandey’s passion for the esoteric goes back to his childhood days. He performed his first feat at the age of seven.

While the Qutab Minar act is surely one of his prized deeds, his repertoire contains the rope trick, the floating girl, the zig-zag lady, cutting the lady to pieces, the great escape, the vanishing trick and levitation.

Late last year, he had received a commendation certificate and cash reward from the Delhi Police for driving a motorcycle blindfolded from Old Secretariat to Rajghat during peak traffic hours.

A gold medallist in Distance Education from IGNOU, he has performed magic shows for the dignitaries, including Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, former President Giani Zail Singh, former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana and Wisconsin (USA) Governor Tommy G Thompson.

He is famed for his mastery over the traditional Indian tricks. The magician, who likes to perform in Indian costumes, has demonstrated his tricks in countries like Japan, Nepal, England, France, Dubai, Switzerland and Austria.

A winner of the Magic Award (1984) and Honorary President of the Magic Academy of India, he was invited as a Special Guest of the Ceremony at the International Congress of Magicians at Reinbek, Germany. He has also authored a book, ‘Magic Tricks’.

For his valuable contribution in the training, research and development of magic, The Society of Indian Magicians conferred on him the title of ‘Professor of Magic’ in 1987.



Designer wall first, development works later
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, February 12
Misplaced priorities seem to be the forte of the district administration when it comes to development works. Even as the civic amenities await maintenance, the district administration, infamous for putting the cart before the horse, in its wisdom has decided to complete the designer wall, a sort of “great wall of Panipat” along both sides of the GT Road, at a cost of lakhs of rupees.

This is being done, hold your breath, to beautify the affluent handloom city.

The construction of the wall, which is in the final stages, is a part of the “Green Panipat” campaign launched by the administration a few months back. However, what one fails to understand is the claim of the administration that the wall will beautify the city and be an attraction for motorists. Similarly, the claim of the administration that it will help control traffic is also debatable.

Even as the authorities go the whole hog to complete the wall, the other projects on the priority list continue to hang fire. The proposal to construct three subways for the pedestrians on the GT Road has been awaiting the official nod for quite some time now. As a majority of the schools, colleges and other commercial offices besides the handloom and blanket factories are situated along the GT Road the pedestrians find it difficult to cross the GT Road and as a result traffic jams are the order of the day.

But the administration, in its wisdom, first wants to complete the wall in a bid to ease traffic. On the other hand, the construction of the wall will only help add to the traffic confusion since pedestrians now will be able to cross the GT Road only from a few selected points. Any way, what will happen to the wall if the administration decides to take up the construction of the subways in future. A part of the wall may have to be demolished to pave way for the construction of much needed subways. If that happens, lakhs of rupees of the taxpayers’ money will go down the drain—not an uncommon example of the bureaucratic wastage of public funds. Yet the administration is least bothered..

The construction of the wall notwithstanding the civic amenities continue to cry for attention. The power and water situation are miserable. Roads, even in posh colonies, will give you bumpy rides and the less said about the internal streets the better. The garbage collection system is virtually non-existent and sewer system is in doldrums. Maybe, work on bettering them can wait as the administration is busy constructing the wall.

Meanwhile, nobody knows the fate of the Green Panipat Committee, constituted to spruce up the industrial city. Early last year, the district administration had acquired 25,000 tree guards at a cost of Rs 12.5 lakh. However, the location of the tree guards continues to be surrounded in Mystery, thus giving a severe blow to the “eco-friendly” image of the city.



HVP demands inquiry into functioning of sugar mill
Tribune News Service

Panipat, February 12
The general secretary of the youth wing of the HVP, Mr Surinder Ahlawat, demanded an independent inquiry by a committee of lawyers, journalists and intellectuals into alleged irregularities in the functioning of the Panipat Sugar Mills.

In a signed statement here today, Mr Ahlawat alleged that the farmers were being harassed. Farmers unable to bring sugarcane to the mill at the stipulated time were being asked to pay a fine of Rs 250. Moreover, even the superior quality of sugarcane was being bought at low price.

Mr Ahlawat regretted that the farmers were being harassed when INLD was in power, which claimed to be the champion of the farmers. The HVP leader alleged various irregularities in the Cooperation Department.

Raids conducted

A team of the Haryana Excise and Taxation Department raided two factory premises and a transport company on Tuesday.

According to information, the team acted on the basis of specific information about the evasion of Excise duty and other taxes by the owners. The raid spread a panic among the manufacturers and exporters of handloom products in the area.



Uttaranchal CM visits Surajkund fair
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 12
The Chief Minister of Uttaranchal, Mr Narain Dutt Tiwari, visited the 17th Arts and Crafts Fair at Surajkund here today.
Uttaranchal is the theme state of this year’s fair. Mr Tiwari met artistes and craftsmen of various states. He said being a new state the fair would prove handy in promoting the interests of the state, especially vis a vis tourism and culture. At least 54 craftsmen have been invited from the theme state and a replica of the main gate of the famous Badri Nath Temple has been set up on the mela grounds.

But the official media coverage of the fair has been very poor so far, residents here feel. They say the district authorities have put in tremendous efforts to ensure the success of the trade fair held in December-end last but it is stated that since the crafts fair is a joint venture of Haryana Tourism, the Union Tourism Ministry and the Union Handicrafts Department the mela authorities here care to cover the visits of VIPs only. 



New world of cyber medicine
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, February 12
Realising problems related to prescription of drugs, Dr Anil Vij of Sunderlal Memorial Hospital, Khanpur, with the help of his friend, Dinesh, has prepared software programmes that can help the doctors overcome this problem.

The ‘Prescription Pad’ software has been made in such a way that even a minimally qualified doctor can prescribe medicines without the fear of going wrong. The ‘Prescription Pad’ contains complete information for more than 11,000 drug brands of Indian pharmaceuticals. It also has full monograph of nearly 1,700 drugs and has the ability to search the ideal drug through multiple options. “Being a doctor, I am aware of the problems that we face while writing prescriptions and so I thought of writing this programme”, said Dr Anil Vij. Dr Vij said that “we have limited memories and cannot remember everything but ‘Prescription Pad’ makes it easy”. The ‘Prescription Pad’ also has provision for updating drug database and contains associate programmes for managing appointments. Dr Vij is also planning to launch the same programme for Ayurvedic medicines. 



Grandfather shot dead over land dispute
Our Correspondents

Rohtak, February 12
A youth shot dead his grandfather over a land dispute at Krishna colony here today. According to information, Mr Dharampal(80), was sitting in front of his house when Krishan, alias Kala, allegedly opened fire on the old man. Mr Dharampal died on the spot.

Mr Jagdev Singh, the son of the deceased, stated in the FIR that Krishan had also shot dead Virender, a member of the same family some time back. He said the assailant had come to kill him but could not succeed due to his security guard. The suspect is reportedly a dreaded criminal.

Club members sore

Members of the Gymkhana Club are sore over the shifting of the club to a community centre in HUDA Sector 3. In a letter recently written to the president of the Gymkhana Club, several members alleged that shifting of the club had adversely affected the interest of the members.

Teachers play truant

Sonepat: Mr Jeet Singh Mehra, SDM, Ganaur, conducted a surprise raid on government schools at Bali Qutabpur and Atayal villages on Tuesday and found four teachers absent from duty.

According to a report, the SDM has directed the authorities of the Education Department to take stern action against teachers who were found absent during duty hours.

Id celebrated with fervour

Thousands of Muslims all over Sonepat district in Haryana on Wednesday celebrated Id-ul-Zuha by offering prayers and exchanging greetings with followers of other religions.

In Sonepat city, the biggest gathering was witnessed at the Idgah where a large number of Muslims offered namaz. Many Hindus exchanged greetings with their Muslim friends.

Injured cop dies in hospital

Sumit, an employee of the Police Department, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital here yesterday. According to a report, Sumit was injured in a road accident near Sehoti village on February 6 last and was undergoing treatment in the hospital since then. The Kharkhauda police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress.

According to another report, three persons, including a police constable, were injured when a Maruti van and a car collided on the GT Road near Rai, about 13 km from here, last night. The injured persons were identified as Virender Kumar, a police constable posted at the Bahalgarh police post on the GT Road, Manoj of Deepalpur village and Dharminder of Kalyan Nagar, Sonepat.

All injured persons were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger.

Fire in Panipat Refinery

Panipat: A fire was reported in the auto atmosphering vacuum distillation unit (AVU) of the Panipat Refinery here today. According to information, the unit was shut down and fire tenders were pressed into service to put out the blaze. The fire tenders were battling it out till late in the night when this report was filed. TNS



‘Wrong references’ to Gurus in book flayed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
The Shiromani Gurdwara Sewadar Committee has taken umbrage at the “objectionable references” about Sikh Gurus in the NCERT textbook for Class XI. The president of the committee, Mr Tehal Singh Taneja, said the textbook, “Medieval India”, is causing harm to the basic teachings of Sikhism and should be republished after removing all objectionable portions.

He said the book had several denigrating references to Sikh Gurus and wrong interpretations of facts. The book stated that Guru Nanak renounced the world, which, he said, was against the Sikh philosophy.

The book also described Guru Gobind Singh as a devotee of goddess Chandi, despite the fact that Sikhism as a faith does not accept any avatar between God and humanity.

The implication that all non-Islamic communities who revolted against the Mughal Empire were Hindus, as mentioned in the book, was against the thesis of the independent Sikh identity, he said.

Several Sikh scholars had pointed out the objectionable portions in the NCERT textbook and the educational body had given an assurance to the National Commission for Minorities that it would republish the book after removing the objectionable portions.

Shahtoosh shawls seized: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested two persons in the Capital for allegedly possessing banned shahtoosh shawls on Tuesday night. The market value of the recovered 26 shawls has been estimated at Rs 20 lakh.

Acting on secret information, the CBI raided a five-star hotel last night and nabbed Quresh Ahmed, resident of Darbhanga, and Azam Amin Dar, resident of Srinagar. They were booked under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. Both the accused were produced before the court and have been remanded in CBI custody till February 14.

In December 2002, the CBI had seized six shahtoosh shawls from Greater Kailash in South district.



Couple held for betting in Hari Nagar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
The Economic Offences Wing of the Crime Branch has arrested a couple, husband and wife in Hari Nagar, Ashram on charges of illegal betting during the ongoing World Cup cricket matches. Four mobile phones, five MTNL telephones, two personal computers, one telephone recording system, one Panasonic TV set and Rs 35,000 were recovered during the raid. Incriminating materials showing illegal betting amounting to crores of rupees have also been recovered.

Acting on a tip-off that a couple were involved in the betting between Australia and Pakistan, the police nabbed Tajinder Singh, alias Ashu, along with his wife Prabh Simran Kaur. According to the police, the person was so known in his locality that the lane used to be called as Ashu Wali Gali.

The rate of the satta was in the ratio of 1:5 and they used to accept a minimum of Rs 5,000. If the person wins the satta, he would get Rs 75,000 and he if loses, he gets nothing. Mostly they had clients from the adjoining districts of Delhi who were known to them.

Based on the records seized, the police estimated the betting amount during the match to be Rs 12.5 lakh. During the South Africa-West Indies and New Zealand-Srilanka matches, it was estimated Rs 30 lakh and Rs 22 lakh respectively.

During interrogation, the couple revealed that they had been in the business for the last three years and had not employed anyone for the purpose for assistance and maintaining records.


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