N C R   S T O R I E S


Khurana’s fate: BJP’s Catch 22
Tribune News Service

Madan Lal Khurana
Madan Lal Khurana. — File Photo

New Delhi, December 13
With the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) having put the unseemly events of the last few days behind it at least for now, the week ahead is likely to see the Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) putting its head together to chart its future course of action.

What happens to Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Madan Lal Khurana is still uncertain. Khurana has declared on more than one occasion that he would vacate his Assembly seat of Moti Nagar but nothing has been heard from him since. He has another five days to decide.

Besides deciding the fate of Khurana, the party has to nominate a person as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly who would at least ensure that the Treasury Benches are not given a free run of the proceedings of the House. Jagdish Mukhi occupied the post in the outgoing Assembly.

Although a post-mortem of the election debacle is due, there is an opinion that favours a generational change and handing the reins of the party to a younger face. This notwithstanding the fact that in a certain post-poll survey, the respondents felt Khurana was still a safe bet.

Provoking a change in the party’s attitude is the accent Chief Minister-designate Sheila Dikshit has placed on blending a mix of experience and youth in her Council of Ministers, in the process nurturing a second rung of leadership.

Critics of Khurana say his style of campaigning has become “dated”. The veteran appears to have fallen into a time warp; his rabble-rousing ways stand out in stark contrast to the sophistry employed by a savvy Sheila who is positioning herself as a doer.

The disenchantment with the Delhi Pradesh BJP also has to do with the “retrograde” promises made in the run-up to the election. Its promise of making illegal constructions legal and amending the Master Plan were seen as taking Delhi back in time and rendering it an urban nightmare.

A vocal section within the party, however, insists on a smooth transition and persisting with experienced and able hands. Although it is still not certain who will be nominated Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Mukhi could end up continuing on the post.

Meanwhile, Khurana is expected to meet with Prime Minister Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani to sort out outstanding issues. The report of the committee constituted to ascertain the reasons for the election loss would also discussed then.

The party won 20 seats in the December 1 Assembly election, which is an improvement of five seats. The party’s tally in the outgoing Assembly was 15; it was given a drubbing in the 1998 election after the prices of onion soared in the Capital.

Looking ahead, the party will also have to draw up a suitable strategy for the Lok Sabha election next year. In the last parliamentary election, the party won all seven seats. That was less than a year after the defeat in the Assembly election. 



Sonia to attend swearing-in
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
When the new seven-member Council of Ministers headed by Ms Sheila Dikshit takes oath of office for a second term on Monday, the Lt-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and six other ministers at a function at Raj Niwas.

The ministers include Dr A. K. Walia, Mr Haroon Yusuf, Mr Raj Kumar Chauhan, Mr Mangat Ram Singhal, Mr Yoganand Shastri and Mr Arvinder Singh ‘Lovely.’

Several senior Congress leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, are expected to attend the function. Ms Dikshit met Mr Kapoor last night, handing over the list of her party MLAs.

The Congress government, which first wrested power in Delhi in 1998 by ousting the BJP, romped back in the December 1Assembly poll with two-thirds majority for the second time. The Congress bagged 47 of the 70 seats at stake, five less than the previous score.



Zakir Hussain and Bangash brothers’ ode to heritage
Tribune News Service

Zakir Hussain (middle) and the Bangash brothers
Zakir Hussain (middle) and the Bangash brothers

New Delhi, December 13
These days it is a rare treat to watch brothers Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash perform together, with both having developed their own distinctive styles.
And if the joint performance of the two sons of sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is propped up by tabla wizard Ustad Zakir Hussain’s magical fingers, it definitely is an occasion to remember.

Delhiites got an opportunity to watch the trio at a concert, held on December 12 in aid of Srimanta Sankardeva Bhawan. (The Bhawan is a centre of research, development and training in the famous Sattriya dance and other forms of Assamese folk music.)

The performance, “ An Ode to Heritage 2003”, held at Sir Shankarlal Hall on the Modern School complex on Barakhamba Road was special for another reason: the Bangash brothers, who are proud of their connection with Assam through their mother, former Bharatanatyam danseuse Subhalakshmi Barua Khan, played for the first time ever in public a piece based on the famous Bihu music, apart from a piece based on the traditional Borgeet tunes composed by 15th century saint Srimanta Sankardeva and the Jikir composed by Sufi saint Ajan Pir.

For Amaan and Ayaan, who represent the seventh generation in an unbroken chain of the Senia Bangash school of sarod players, this concert also came at an important juncture of their career as they are soon to make their debut as music directors on the silver screen through the Roger Christian directed and Bobby Bedi produced English film “American Daylights”.

The charity concert is the latest example of the famous sarod maestro’s family’s close involvement with the Srimanta Sankardeva Bhawan project, the land for which was acquired largely with the help of another concert about a decade ago by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan himself.

The proceeds of the charity concert, sponsored by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), Oil India Ltd (OIL), the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (BRP), Coca Cola, Café Coffee Day and Divinity, will be utilised to complete the construction of the Srimanta Sankardeva Bhawan, which will also house a school for imparting a short-term certificate course in Assamese as part of the overall goal of creating better awareness about Assamese culture in Delhi as well as the rest of India.

Incidentally, Srimanta Sankardeva, a Vaishnavaite guru, social reformer and the architect of a distinctive Assamese culture, himself was a pioneer in integrating the people of North-East India with the mainstream.



Want to be a millionaire? Open a nursing home
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 13
“Own a nursing home and be a millionaire”. The slogan works for property dealers, builders, contractors and quacks who have got into the nursing home business for earning big bucks and rising high on the social respectability ladder.

Drive into any area of this fast growing industrial city which is a district headquarter and you will see a plethora of private clinics, polyclinics, laboratories, blood banks, sex and skin cure shops, charity hospitals and huge nursing homes.

The recent spurt in the number of nursing homes is attributed to the new consumer culture, with people wanting a quick fix for everything. The clients of these nursing homes are therefore the well-heeled, who are looking for instant cure and special care.

A normal upper class nursing home charges between Rs 100 and Rs 300 per room, excluding medical care, medicines and the food parties in celebration of the newly born.

For a minor ailment, the specialists will ask for several tests that are of no relevance. The tests serve to inflate the bill and gratify the patient’s ego.

Many doctors feel that the fleecing by the nursing homes is a two-way traffic. The homes are eager to earn more while the rich patients are eager to pay more for facilities that have little bearing on their medical treatment.

There is a 100-bed government hospital and a civil dispensary here. However, the civil hospital is about 3 km from the city, a prospect frightening enough to push patients inside the doors of private clinics and nursing homes.

Some doctors, who have worked in nursing homes and private clinics, allege that there is a nexus between some private medicine shops, clinics and laboratories. Patients are sent from one place to another and the spoils are shared.

A patient, who was admitted to a nursing home recently with loose motions, was put on an IV drip which, according to the doctor attending on him, was not needed. However, the IV drip did generate more cash for the owner of the nursing home.

At another nursing home, amends were made for the non-availability of sterilization technique by administering a heavy dose of antibiotics. The antibiotics might have insulated the patient from bacterial attacks, but the side-effects of the treatment were overlooked with disastrous results in the long run.

Still, the outlook is not all that gloomy. There are many persons wedded to public cause. There are some who help needy patients. But all gets lost in the miasma of greed.



in a nutshell
Two SDMs suspended for role in land scam
Parmindar Singh

Greater Noida, December 13
Two Sub Divisional Magistrates posted in Guatam Budh Nagar during Mayawati’s tenure have been suspended by the administration for their involvement in a land scam.

The two had allegedly helped the land mafia in grabbing 250 bigha of community land belonging to a village society in Amarpur.

The SDMs had allegedly transferred the village society land to Greater Noida Authority.

This scam had been highlighted by the Press, after which a probe had been ordered by the administration. The suspensions are a fall-out of the inquiry. A few more heads in Greater Noida Authority are expected to roll in this connection.

The two errant SDMs have been identified as Mange Ram Thiman and Ashok Kumar Singh. The mafia had got an illegal registry done on July 10 and got the land transferred to the Noida Authority.

Criminal lynched By crowd: One of the three men, who were trying to barge into a house in Mohalla Brihapuri, was caught by the people and beaten to death. His other two companions escaped by firing in the air. The police recovered a revolver, cartridges and a knife from the deceased.

According to information, at about 11 pm yesterday, Jayaveer Tyagi’s house was targeted by the trio. The people of the locality, who were on routine patrol, raised the alarm on seeing the criminals. A large number of people of the locality came running to the spot and surrounded the thieves who were attacked with sticks and stones. As a result, one of the criminals reportedly died on the spot while two others fled from the scene, firing from their revolvers in the air.

The police launched a hunt for the criminals, but could not find anyone.

There is a power cut in the locality from 9 to 12 pm daily, which is a god sent opportunity for criminals to commit thefts and other crimes.

Paramour behind Sena leader’s murder: An older woman, who loved him deeply, got Shiv Sena leader Veer Singh Bhatti murdered last Friday. Reason: Bhatti had reportedly begun eyeing the daughter of his paramour. Bhatti allegedly made Bunty a victim of his lust. When Mumtaz learnt of it, she flew into a rage and decided to eliminate Bhatti.

According to the police, Bhatti, on his way back from Dadri, had asked Mumtaz to come along. On her suggestion, three others, including her brother, had also joined them. First, all of them had a bout of drinks. Then, Hari Veer was shot dead and his body was dumped on the road. The police could not have possibly traced Mumtaz had it not learnt that Bhatti had been seen with a woman in Dadri on that day. During interrogation, Mumtaz had spilled the beans. The police are now hunting for her brother, a resident of Ghaziabad, and his two accomplices for their role in the murder.



Chautala opens state’s biggest old age 
home at Gurgaon
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 13
Haryana Chief Minster Om Prakash Chautala today inaugurated the state’s biggest old age home of the state in Sector 4. The home has been set up at a cost of Rs 43 lakh. Incidentally, this is the 21st old age home in the Gurgaon assembly segment and the 120th in the district.

He later inaugurated a primary school and a community centre in Sector 9. While the primary school has been set up at a cost of Rs 15 lakh the community centre cost Rs 27 lakh.

Earlier, he accompanied the Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Mr Vikram Verma, who inaugurated Haryana’s first astro-turf at Nehru Stadium here. Mr Verma also inaugurated the 65th National Table Tennis Competition in Manesar, about 25 km from here.

Addressing a gathering at a public function relating to the inauguration of the astro-turf, Mr Chautala said the state had taken several measures to promote sports. He expressed the hope that sportsmen from the state would show greater success at national and international fora in future.



Citizen Charter to take care of people’s grievances 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 13
If your grievances have not been taken up or redressed so far at any level, you still have a chance to be heard. The state government has come up with a new scheme to be known as ‘Citizen Charter’ to take care of the issues and problems left unattended by the authorities concerned.

According to information released here, the `Complaint Redressal Cell’ working under the direct supervision of the Chief Secretary, Haryana, will address all such complaints and grievances not heard or settled at various levels.

It was claimed that this cell would issue guidelines and instructions to the department heads and district officials so that the grievances were redressed in a judicious manner and without unnecessary delay.

However, the complaints could be forwarded directly to the cell if there was unsatisfactory handling of cases or problems thereof, it was added.

The district level authorities and departmental heads ought to acknowledge the receipt of each complaint and the complainant needs to be informed within a `months time’ about the action taken, and if the matter was delayed, the complainant should be informed within 15 days of the receipt of the complaint.

Although the Haryana Government had set up district level grievances and redressal committees, it was reported that many of the complaints against the district officials, particularly the Police Department, were not allowed to be put up in the committee.

It was also alleged that the inclusion of supporters and activists of the ruling party in these committees reduced it to a ‘party meeting’ when the CM presiding over it.

The officers to be contacted for lodging complaints with the special cell at Chandigarh include Mr

Krishan Mohan, director, public relations and special secretary, grievances, Room No 20, 8th floor, Civil Secretariat, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Mr Rajiv Khosla, room no 21, 8th floor, Civil Secretariat.

The phone numbers of Mr Krishan Mohan and Mr Khosla are 270335(O) 2794040 (R) and 2740730 (O), 2585816 (R) respectively.



Delhi peace summit: Who will bring us peace?

The four-day conference organised by the Delhi peace summit and the Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions as a prelude to the world body’s meeting to be held at Barcelona in July 2004, concluded in New Delhi on December 10. It was indeed a ‘joyful coming together’ of people of all religions to promote harmony and peace in the world.

The delegates came from all parts of the country and the world. It was colourful and vivacious while it lasted. Indian President Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the Dalai Lama, Dr Karan Singh, Swami Agnivesh, Rajyogini Dadi Prakashmani, Fr Thomas and other dignitaries made impressive speeches emphasising the oneness of the human race and its common goal and destiny.

In a beautiful introductory article written for the august occasion, Dr A. K. Merchant, vice-chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai’s of India, impressively catalogued the principles contained in all the major religions that pointed to the Golden Rule the great Creator had engraved on the tablet of the human heart. It is worthy of reproduction here.

The Mahabharata says: “This is the sum of all true righteousness: deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbour which thou wouldst not have him do to thee after.”

Jainism: “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self” declares Yoga Sastra.

Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful” commands Udana Varqa, 5:18.

Sikhism: “Be Thou not estranged from another. For, in every heart pervades the Lord’’ cautions Guru Granth Sahib, Volume 1, Page 250.

Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law, all the rest is the commentary.” The Talmud, Shabbat, 31a.

Christianity: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

The Gospel of St Luke 6:61 Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Sunnah.

Bahai Faith: “He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself: nor promise that which he doth not fulfill’’ Gleanings from the writings of Baha’u’llah.

Zoroastrianism: “That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.” Dadistan-i-Dinik, 94:5.

With such a rich spiritual heritage preserved in all the scriptures, one wonders how the human race has managed to divide itself into warring factions, building walls around them and flouting every commandment of the Creator from the beginning of time. History points out that men who had wandered through the forests with huge clubs in hand to confront animals as well as his neighbour, had come a long way. Elephants or lions or monkeys, as one participant pointed out, do not sit together to dine and confer on great matters. But mankind has evolved to a point when such things are possible in spite of differences of race, creed, region or language.

The great puzzle of the ages is why man has not yet learnt to live in peace. In many parts of the world, man constitutes his own worst enemy destroying peace and corrupting the environment. Urbanisation, breakdown of families, the dramatic increase in racial, caste, cultural and regional hatred, vast technological changes and inability of world’s politicians and statesmen to manage human affairs clearly bring out the many dilemmas facing mankind.

Great advances in science and development has not made man happier. “Speak up for those who can not speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy,” commands the scripture (Proverbs 31:8). But there are millions of men, women and children in various parts of the globe who are compelled to go to bed without their morsel of food. No, they don’t have a place to lay their head.

Looking at the world situation, one can not but agree with this scriptural indictment of man: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have altogether become worthless; There is no one who does good, not even one.

Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” (Romans 3: 10 –17)

This is painful to acknowledge. And quite contrary to the statement uttered in the course of some speeches that man is man’s only hope, we should rather acknowledge the wisdom of the scripture: “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostril; Of what account is he?” (Isaiah 2: 22)

In the words of a great theologian and author, John MacArthur, the human society is far from perfect: "Its society is hostile to Godliness; it is dominated by carnal ambition, by pride, by greed, by self-pleasure, by evil desires. Its opinions are wrong; its aims are selfish; its pleasures are sinful; its influence is demoralising; its policies are corrupt; its honours are empty; its smiles are fake; its love is fickle.”

Promoting peace is not simply a question of marrying science and spirituality for it is only a partial truth. Man’s attitude must change. The limitations of his own righteousness must be acknowledged. Man should get down on his knees, humble himself, confess to one another and to God, his Creator, his transgressions and plead in the lines of the Vedas: “Tamasso ma jyotirgamaye’’ (Lead me from darkness to light). It is not the glory of man that should occupy the human heart, but the glory of God, and a spirit of humility and repentance so that He will show mercy and direct the steps of man.

M P K Kutty



Holistic implementation of Tobacco 
Products Act needed: ICS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
The Indian Cancer Society (ICS), Delhi, has urged the government for an holistic and imaginative implementation of the ‘Tobacco Products Act’ with a view to halt the near epidemic of oral and other cancers caused by tobacco consumption.

Complimenting the government on broad-basing the ambit of the law to include popular and uniquely Indian forms of smokeless tobacco and bidis, Mrs Jyotsna Govil, joint- secretary, ICS, Delhi, said the challenge lies in imaginative implementation of the law to cover all forms of tobacco. Non-implementation or partial implementation will relegate this important law to the ranks of other toothless legislation.

The Society expressed its dismay over the over-all increase in the consumption of tobacco in the country, despite the growing understanding of the dangers of tobacco, as well as growing activism against it. According to available figures, the curbs by various state governments on smoked tobacco in public spaces has seen a huge growth in the consumption of chewing tobacco, in essence, increasing the overall tobacco intake.

The easily available and inexpensive, sweet, scented and flavoured pouches of tobacco, including the insidious imports of so called “filtered” gutkha, have become a rage, with teenagers and others. According to newspaper reports, nearly 40 per cent of school and college students, some as young as eight years old are addicted to chewing tobacco.



Wheat sowing exceeds target
Our Correspondent

Rewari, December 13
During the ongoing rabi season, so far wheat has been sown on 48,000 hectares, sarson on 65,000 hectares, gram on 2,500 hectares and barley on 2,000 hectares by farmers in the district against the target of sowing wheat on 35,000 hectares, sarson on 65,000 hectares, gram and barley on 5,000 hectares each fixed by the district Agriculture Department.

This information was given by the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Neerja Shekhar. She also informed that 5,877 tonnes of urea and 3,993 tonnes of DAP were made available to the farmers during the past one month while 3,000 minikits of sarson and 800 minikits of gram of superior quality were also distributed free of cost among farmers by officials of the Agriculture Department. Besides, 800 packets of PSB culture and 600 packets of Ryjobium culture were also supplied to the farmers at subsidised rates.

Forty schools upgraded: As many as 40 schools have been upgraded in Rewari district during the past three and a half years by the present state government.

Giving details in this regard, the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Neerja Shekhar, informed that 11 primary schools had been made middle schools while 18 middle schools and 11 high schools had been upgraded, respectively, to the level of high and senior secondary schools.

She also said that eco clubs, constituted in 107 schools of the district, had set up eco gardens as well as kitchen gardens and also done extensive tree plantation on school complexes.

She further informed that primary school children of classes I to III had been provided 16,000 dual desks while an additional quantity of 1,152 dual desks had been made available to students of classes IV and V in primary schools in the district.



Human rights promotion award for DPS principal 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
The principal of Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, Mr M. I. Hussain, was conferred the prestigious ‘World Human Rights Promotion Award, 2003’, at the India
International Centre on December 11 on the occasion of the 5th World Human Rights Congress, organised by Indian Institute of Human Rights.

This prestigious award is a tribute to Mr Hussain’s leadership skills and initiative in promoting environmental and human rights issues. Several initiatives have been zealously followed in DPS, Mathura Road, which include cleaning of River Yammuna, recycling of waste, anti-cracker drive, anti-pollution drive, use of solar energy etc.

Care for the elderly, road safety drives, education for the girl child, drive against child sex abuse are some of the areas that Mr Hussain is especially concerned about.

Besides this, Mr M I Hussain has established an afternoon school for the underprivileged children of the neighbourhood (DPS), which offers quality education, completely free of charge. Bus facility, tuition fee, uniform, books and stationery were provided free of cost.



NCR Briefs
Medical reimbursement made hassle-free
Tribune News Service

Panipat, December 13
In a significant decision, the Haryana Health Department has decided to delegate more financial powers to various authorities in the matters of medical reimbursement.
According to official sources, the head officer will now be able to sanction an amount up to Rs 10,000. Similarly, the head of the department can now sanction an amount of Rs 50,000 while the administrative department had been given full powers to reimburse any amount.

Till now, the head of the officer could sanction an amount up to Rs 1,000 and the head of the department up to Rs 2,000.

Sources said the decision would benefit lakhs of officers, employees, pensioners and family pensioners.

However, while sanctioning the enhanced amount, no relaxation would be given under the Punjab Service (Medical Attendance) Rule, 1940.

It may be recalled that the decision would come as a boon for the staff undergoing treatment at the government hospitals. Currently, the staff faced a number of bureaucratic problems to get their medical reimbursements.

LJP to take stock of developments

The state executive of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will hold a meeting here on December 16 to take stock of the political developments in the country.

According to Mr Surender Hooda, general-secretary and the state spokesman of the party, the main issues to be discussed at the meeting would include an upsurge in the crime, problem of unemployment, privatisation of education and problems of the farmers and traders.

A political strategy for the general elections next year would be also worked out at the meeting.

Coming down heavily on the Chautala government for its failure on all fronts, Mr Hooda expressed concern at the rising crimes against the Dalits. He demanded that the ‘Right to Work’ should be included in the Fundamental Right under the Indian Constitution.

Two peacocks found dead

Jhajjar: Two peacocks were found dead near Dev Mandir on the Delhi road here yesterday. Reportedly, the cause of the death was the consumption of some poisonous substances from the wheat field nearby.

The residents informed the police about the death of the peacocks near Dev Mandir outside the town.

The police recovered a dead peacock yesterday. Later, the district administration swung into action fearing that the number of casualties might be higher.

The SDM along with the DSP went to the spot and recovered another peacock, which was buried in the field.

The people suspect that some more peacocks could have died due to poisoning. The dead birds have been sent to the Wild Life Department, Rohtak. OC



delhi digest
Shiv Sena demands tough action against Pakistan 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
On the second anniversary of the attack on Parliament, the Shiv Sena today burnt an effigy of ‘Islamic terrorists’, and urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to repay Pakistan in its own coin instead of extending a hand of friendship towards it.

The activists of the Shiv Sena, under the leadership of Jai Bhagwan Goyal converged at Jantar Mantar and carried placards and shouted slogans like “Pakistan Aatankwad Ka Masihah Hai”, “Mia Musharraf Murdabad”, “Jail Main Bandh Aatankwadion Ko Phansi Do”.

After performing a “havan” at the party office to pay homage to those who died defending Parliament two years ago, the activists burnt the effigy of “Islamic terrorists”.

Later, a memorandum was submitted to Mr Vajpayee, which claimed that some of the accused in the Parliament attack case were still operating from jails.

“Such terrorists should be hanged so that Pakistan, a sponsor of terrorism, gets the right message,’’ the memorandum said. “‘This would be the real homage to those who died fighting the terrorists inside the Parliament complex.”

It also urged the Prime Minister not to extend a hand of friendship towards Pakistan, which had always aided terrorists on Indian soil.

EMU trains rescheduled: Due to technical reasons, the following EMU trains running on Ring Railway either will not halt at Delhi Safdarjung Station or will be diverted to run on alternative route on Dec 15, a Northern Railway release said today.

The HSNH-1 and HDSH-2 Hazrat Nizamuddin-Shakurbasti-Hazrat Nizamuddin EMUs will not halt at Delhi Safdarjung station on December 15.

The HS-1 Hazrat Nizamuddin-Shakkurbasti EMU Train will be diverted to run via Tilak Bridge, New Delhi-Delhi Kishanganj, Dayabasti instead of Lajpat Nagar, Brar square, Patel Nagar to Shakurbasti.

The NHS-1 New Delhi-Shakurbasti EMU will be diverted to run via Delhi-Kishanganj, Dayabasti to Shakurbasti instead of Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi Safdarjung, Brar Square, Patel Nagar.

The DDSN-1 EMU train running between Dankaur and Shakurbasti via Ghaziabad, Delhi, New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Brar Square, Patel Nagar will be diverted to run via Ghaziabad-Delhi Jn-Delhi Kishanganj-Dayabasti to Shakurbasti on December 15. The HNH-2 EMU running from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Hazrat Nizamuddin via New Delhi, Patel Nagar, Brar Square, Delhi Safdarjung will be terminated at Patel Nagar and will go up to Hazrat Nizamuddin via Delhi Kishanganj-New Delhi-Tilak Bridge on December 15.



Girls coaxed into ‘marriages’, then into prostitution
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 13
Every year thousands of young women and teenaged girls are lured or sold into ‘involuntary marriages’ in northern India. These girls, mostly from poor background and hailing from West Bengal, Assam and Orissa, were bartered like a product and used as a ‘sex slave’ by the traffickers. The ‘trade’ has taken strong roots due to official apathy.

This was the conclusion of the detailed survey and report released by an NGO, Shakti Vahini, based here.

The NGO, which was able to rescue 15 girls in Haryana and Punjab during the past year, has strongly recommended that an immediate effort to tackle this growing ‘unholy trend’ be undertaken. It has suggested strong measures to check trafficking of minor girls and rehabilitation programme for the victims.

It has advocated the setting up of special cell involving the district administration, police and social activists to carry out awareness programmes and aid the sufferers.

It has also recommended sensitization of agencies like the state police, Railway, BSF, judiciary and other officials of the administration.

According to the report, the state governments in Punjab and Haryana were still to recognise the issue as a problem affecting the society in an adverse manner. It was claimed that even as thousands of ‘innocent’ women were ‘forced’ to live under all kinds of exploitation, being sold and resold, and were waiting to be rescued, the authorities concerned have ignored the problem.

The executive director of the NGO, Mr Ravi Kant, claimed that the trafficking had led to coerced ‘marriages’ in both Haryana and Punjab. He said while the girls and their parents were told that the girls would be provided with good jobs and families for settlement, the girls were treated like slaves who were exploited physically (sexually), mentally and economically in utter disregard to all norms of law and dignity.

The report claimed that the abnormal decline in the sex ratio (decline in female population) in the region had fueled the process of import of girls for brides and sex slaves.

The report stated that while Shakti Vahini had been able to rescue many innocent victims, a large number of girls were still bearing the inhuman treatment and `torture’ as the administrative support and required infrastructure for helping the victims were missing.

Lack of sufficient number of juvenile homes, deficiency in protection and socio-psycho counselling to rescued victim, failure to trace the culprits and their linkages and improper functioning of juvenile boards and committees had been the primary factors for the failure to check this menace. The authorities were satisfied by lodging the victims into overcrowded and ‘poorly managed’ Nariniketans.

The report claimed that while it was difficult to find out the exact number of victims in these states, estimates point that at least ten thousand girls had been coerced into forced marriages in the Mewat area of Haryana and the Mansa region of Punjab.

Calling for a national level policy and framework to tackle `girl trafficking’, the NGO has emphasised the need to amend certain laws, including the effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act 2002.

It has called for the setting up of special district level board to work as nodal agency and compulsory registration of all marriages.



Job depression drives two to suicide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 13
Two incidents of suicide were reported from Dakshin Puri and Sangam Vihar. In the first incident, one Manoj Kumar (26), who had been suffering from mental depression, committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan. The deceased, who was working in Dubai two months ago, had been unemployed ever since he came to India. Manoj is survived by his wife and his one-year-old son.

In another incident, a twenty-year-old unemployed youth, who was having a love affair, committed suicide today by hanging from a ceiling fan in the J J Colony, Tigri in Sangam Vihar. The deceased, Anwar, was unhappy as he was unemployed, the police said.

Fatal Accidents: Three cases of fatal accidents were reported over the last 24 hours in different parts of the city. One Sanjeev (22), resident of Partap Garh, was hit by an unknown vehicle near the ISBT flyover last night. The victim died on the spot and the police have registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving, and have launched hunt for the erring driver.

In another incident, one Hari (18), resident of Shriniwas Puri, was hit by an unknown vehicle near Lal Sai Market last night. In the third incident, one truck driver, identified as Bandi (25), resident of Chhattarpur was hit by another truck near CRRI, Mathura Road. He was rushed to the AIIMS where he succumbed to his injuries. The police have registered a case and are investigating into the matter.

Proclaimed Offender Held: The Crime Branch has claimed to have arrested a notorious proclaimed offender, Shyam, resident of Kanpur, from ISBT, Sarai Kale Khan. The accused, involved in 16 cases of electric wire thefts, was apprehended by the police.

Man sentenced to 8 years’ RI for rape: Five years after a man raped his 16-year-old relative, a city court today sentenced him to eight years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs 10,000.

Additional Sessions Judge Bimla Makin pronounced the verdict after finding Sanjay Kumar guilty of committing the crime. He had also threatened to kill her and beat up her father if they failed to secure a compromise with him.

The incident took place on October 1, 1998, while the girl was on her way to ease herself at a jungle near Jahangirpuri. A married man with two children, Sanjay had raped the girl at knife-point and threatened to kill her if she disclosed the incident to anyone.

When the victim told her family about the rape, Sanjay and his brothers had beaten up her father. The family later left their house in Jahangirpuri and shifted to Samalkha and lodged a complaint against Sanjay.

The victim told the court “that the accused threatened her that her sister would also meet the same fate if she did not change her statement in his favour.” 



Loan applications for khadi village industry after clearance of backlog
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 13
Educated unemployed youths looking to set up khadi village industries would be disappointed by the decision of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission not to entertain new loan applications during 2004. The decision was taken in light of the fact that a backlog of nearly two thousand applications were lying with the Commission in Haryana, which were sought to be cleared before new applications were accepted.

The Commission provides easy loans to the educated unemployed youths for setting up Khadi industrial units in rural areas. It provides a special quota of 30 per cent to the youths belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.

Though it has never been easy for the manufacturers to find an easy market for their products, the number of applicants interested in availing of loans has been on the rise in recent years. The Commission provides subsidised loans upto the maximum limit of Rs 25 lakh.

An official of the Commission informed the NCR Tribune that more than 2,500 applicants have applied for loans during 2003. The Commission had advanced loans to 1,128 persons during 2002 on the basis of the allocation of the subsidy amount for the year.

As the number of eligible applicants who have applied for loans during this year was more than double the annual target of the Commission, it was not in a position to clear all the backlog during this year’s financial allocations, said an officer of the Commission.

A meeting of the Commission held to discuss this peculiar situation decided to first clear all pending applications. As such, it was decided that no fresh applications would be entertained during 2004.

The official added that it was also decided in the meeting to review the situation in the middle of next year.


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