N C R   S T O R I E S


BJP ‘Abhiyan’ sends traffic for a toss
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Traffic was disrupted today in Central Delhi and Trans-Yamuna areas due to the Sankalp Abhiyan rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a few religious programmes, organised near Ambedkar Stadium, Ram Lila Ground and the Red Fort. The Delhi Traffic Police had made elaborate arrangements for the vehicular movement and parking. But after 10 am, there was chaos on Ring Road, Rajghat and other adjoining areas.

The police directed the rally organisers to park their buses near IG Stadium and asked them to park their cars near Ambedkar Stadium. But as the bus parking had become full, the buses were seen parked on road. Likewise, the car parking in Ambedkar Stadium was packed to capacity. People had to walk from IGI Stadium to Ambedkar Stadium.

There was traffic jam from the ISBT to Sarai Kale Khan on Ring Road affecting the vehicular movement in Trans-Yamuna as the vehicles coming from Old Yamuna Bridge and the ISBT were stopped, resulting in chaos till Seelampur, the congested area of North East district.

The vehicles coming from South Delhi to ITO and other areas were diverted towards India Gate. A traffic police official said that the procession of Guru Ravi Dass Jayanti had affected the traffic in the Red Fort, Pahar Ganj, Sadar Bazar and Karol Bagh areas. Office goers were affected most by the jam. An employee of a private company said that he had to reach his office in Karol Bagh at 9 am, but he reached there after 11 am. He said that government should restrict rally and other functions in these congested areas. A salesman who works in a show room in Connaught Place said that he also reached his workplace late.

He said politicians do not care for the people. They just want to show their strength.

Elaborate arrangements for Bryan Adams’ show

The Capital is all set to play host to the much-awaited Bryan Adams’ live concert scheduled for tomorrow. To cater to the masses who will throng to catch a glimpse of the singer, elaborate arrangements have been made for smooth traffic and parking of vehicles.

According to the organisers of the Bryan Adams India Live Tour 2004 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, people coming from south Delhi (including Faridabad) could park their vehicles at the north gate of the stadium and those coming from Gurgaon, IIT and Vasant Vihar at the west gate. For traffic from north Delhi, central Delhi and west Delhi, the parking will also be at the west gate. For those coming from east Delhi, it will be at the north gate.

The parking for the west gate will be at the archery and football ground of the stadium. The north gate parking will be at Bajri ground and the CGO complex. Giant screens will be mounted in the stadium, which will reverberate to 300,000 watts of sound tomorrow evening.



Corruption is an election issue: BJP 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 6
The former Haryana Minister and BJP leader, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma, said that terrorism and rampant corruption in the state administration would be the two major issues that his party would raise in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a party workers meeting at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, he said that a state-level BJP ‘Shankhand rally’ will be held on February 8 at Gohana town in this district.

He said the BJP would highlight the achievements of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. He claimed that the BJP had proved itself to be the champion of the farmers and the poor people.

The BJP leader also referred to a number of pro-farmer policies of the Vajpayee government and promised that the party would continue to formulate pro-farmer policies in the nest term. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the functioning of the INLD government headed by Mr Om Parkash Chautala. He declared that the BJP was in favour of fighting the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections without any alliance.

According to another report, Mr Krishanpal Gujjar, leader of the BJP in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha said that the people of the state were fed up with the Chautala government and wanted a change in the government. He said that the Chautala government had failed on all the fronts, with the law and order situation having deteriorated.



RAF posse to ferret out militants in Sonepat 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
The Union Home Ministry has deputed a posse of the Rapid Action force (RAF) in Sonepat with immediate effect to curb the activities of the militants who are reported to be taking shelter in this district before entering Delhi.

According to a report, this posse No. 103 headed by the Deputy Commander, Mr J B Tushan, has been shifted from Wazirabad (Delhi) to Sonepat.

The officials of this posse have started getting information about the activities of some notorious criminals from the office of the Superintendent of Police, Sonepat. They have also taken a road map from this office and got information from all the police stations in the district about the criminals, prominent citizens, representatives of various organisations.

The officials have been briefed on different crimes committed during the past decade.

Besides, they have sought information on the bomb explosions in the district about six years ago.

To cap it all, the officials have got dope on the proclaimed offenders not arrested so far.

According to sources, the militants operating in Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir could strike in Delhi after passing through the Sonepat district, which is considered a safer place for shelter.

The RAF will remain in touch with the Union Home Ministry, IB as well as the district and police administration in the district till the time the force stays here.

Ethnic India union chief reinstated

The Haryana Tourism Corporation Managing Director, Mr Nav Raj Sandhu, has accepted the demands of the agitating employees of the Ethnic India, a tourist resort at Rai in Sonepat district and ordered the reinstatement of Mr Vijay Malik, president of the Haryana Tourism Karamchari Union. Mr Malik had been dismissed from service on the complaint of Tourist Officer Shiv Rana.

According to a report, this action followed a meeting of the representatives of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh, Haryana Tourism Karamchari Union and the Managing Director of the Haryana Tourism Corporation in Chandigarh yesterday.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Mr Sheelak Ram Malik, a member of the Central Committee of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh Haryana, Mr Rajinder Rathi and Ms Asha Sharma, both leaders of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh Haryana, and Mr Vijay Malik.

The Managing Director told the members of the delegation that he had already transferred the Tourist Officer, Mr Shiv Rana, and now agreed to reinstate Mr Vijay Malik.

The members of the delegation assured the Managing Director that the dharna by the employees would end immediately.



can of worms
Unfair means in DU exams: V-C yet totake action
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
The Delhi University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Deepak Nayyar, is being accused of ‘hushing up a major examination scandal’.
The allegation comes in the wake of a charge that the university has failed to take action on a complaint filed in November last year pertaining to irregularities during the examinations. “At a centre where the supplementary examinations were being conducted, the flying squad found that instead of two invigilators in one room, there was just one invigilator for four rooms, allowing the students to cheat,” said a university employee.

While the report was submitted to the Vice-Chancellor in November, there has been no action till date. “The results of these students have also been declared. Such incidents bring a bad name to the university,” he said.

While the Vice-Chancellor was unavailable for comment, an official of the university said that the whole issue is “an internal matter of the university and is being investigated”.

It is alleged that the flying squad comprising senior university professors and a university official found the examination centre littered with slips of
papers and pages torn off books, suggesting the use of illegal means.

“One of the members said the whole floor was covered with books and papers, and there were not sufficient invigilators to stop the students from copying. Yet, the university has taken so long to take any action,” said the employee.



Conman posing as scribe held, fake ID cards seized
Our Correspondent

Meerut, February 6
The Meerut police today claimed to have busted a racket of artful dodgers posing as journalists. They were allegedly operating in connivance with the district information officer of Muzaffarnagar.

The police have arrested the gang leader and several fake ID cards of various print and electronic organisations as well as fake government stamps, letterheads of high dignitaries, including the President of India, have been seized from his possession.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Meerut, Mr B P Singh, told a Press conference that a man had approached him posing as a journalist-cum-informer. He had demanded Rs 2,500 for exchange of information leading to the arrest of a history-sheeter from Muzaffarnagar district. As the matter was still being investigated, the credentials of Shauken Pal Gautam came into question. When he was searched, fake ID cards of journalists, issued by the UP Information and Public Relation Department, were seized. Later, his house was raided and ID cards (Press) of Aaj Tak, Zee News, The Tribune, HT and Times Group as well as various other local and national media organisations were also found. Several other accessories, government stamps of senior officials and fake recommendations on the letterheads of President, the Governor and chief ministers were also seized.

Shauken Pal Gautam alleged that a Muzaffarnagar district information officer and his employee were also engaged in the racket. They had allegedly issued hundreds of ID cards of various media organisations for Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000.

VVIP security can easily be breached with the help of such cards. The accused, Shauken, son of Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, had already cheated two senior police officials of Rs 4,000. Shaukeen has been booked under Sections 420, 468, 471 of the IPC.



Over 700 died on Ghaziabad’s killer roads last year
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, February 6
More than 700 people lost their lives in road accidents in Ghaziabad during 2003. While the rising graph of victims in the Ghaziabad district has once again highlighted the poor state of roads, lax traffic management and drunken driving, it has also increased the worries of the police officers.

Three months ago, SSP Jai Narain Singh had started a campaign to check the rising incidents of accidents in the district. But since all the police stations had not collected the requisite data, the traffic security scheme under the Sensitive Accidents Private Fund slated for 26 January could not be started. On an average, two to three victims of accidents die every day. Besides, more than 5,000 people are injured due to drunken driving.

To date this year, more than 70 people have died in accidents in the district. Over 40 per cent of the fatal accident victims are not identified on an average. This also deprives the next of the kith of the victim from financial assistance or compensation.

The number of deaths from the accidents is more than double than those murdered in the district annually, says SP (traffic) Vijay Kumar Garg. Data is being collected from all police stations so that effective steps can be taken to streamline traffic management and reduce the incidence of accidents. Twenty police stations have furnished the data so far, Mr Garg said.

On the basis of the data, sensitive accident points will be identified. Security and safety steps will be taken accordingly.

The number of those injured or maimed in road accidents far exceeds those who lose their life, SP (traffic) said. The actual number of those injured is also much higher than the police records indicate, as quite a few don’t even file a report with the police. The police feel that at least a dozen people are injured on roads daily. According to Mr Garg, the Sensitive Accident Private Fund could not be launched on January 26 due to the problems thrown up by the scrapping of Gautam Budh Nagar district.

Now the scheme will be put in place after the requisite data is collected and sent by the police stations in Noida, Greater Noida.

Cart before the horse, yet once again

Greater Nodia: Call it a lack of clear perspective or an afterthought, the UP government has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore for the construction of duplex residential flats for the staff of GB Nagar Collectorate.

Not a single rupee was sanctioned on this account during the past six years for the Gautam Budh Nagar district staff, but as soon as district was denotified, the state government has sanctioned a largesse of Rs 2.50 crore for the purpose, remarked an official.

All these years, the staff of the GB Nagar Collectorate and tehsil offices had put up with a lot of difficulties in finding suitable residences–some used to come from Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Nodia, even Muradnagar and Hapur etc.

This grand New Year gift in the form of Rs 2.50 crore for building staff quarters had been conveyed to the GB Nagar Collectorate in a letter, dated December 31, 2003 by the state government. Most of the flats under this scheme were to be duplex. 



public vs pvt land
No plan to regularise Sainik Farms
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
The Union Government on Friday clarified that Sainik Farms, the posh South Delhi colony spread over 300 acres, is not included in its plan to regularise the unauthorised colonies in NCT of Delhi that have come up till March 2002. Union Urban Development Minister Bandaru Dattatreya denied any plan to regularise the farm houses that exist in gross violation of civic and revenue laws.

He told media persons that since the government’s decision pertains only to the colonies that have come up on public land, it does not apply to the farm houses which are on private land.

The Sainik Farms that has come up on agricultural land continues to be an unauthorised colony, he said. The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday decided to make the illegal colonies legal. Most of the farm houses have come up over the plots measuring one thousand square yards. There has been a consistent demand for their demolition as they grossly violate land use regulation and civic and building by-laws.

Mukhi flays inaction on schools: While welcoming the Delhi High Court’s direction to the Government of NCT of Delhi to provide basic amenities in the schools run by it and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the BJP has said that the Sheila Dikshit Ministry ought to do better than just implementing the order on paper. Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly Jagdish Mukhi on Friday said that the pitiable condition of the schools ‘worried’ him as there were schools where the students were made to sit in tents. “Some schools do not even have a tat-patti (carpet),” he said in a statement released to the media. The Delhi High Court had recently directed the Government of NCT of Delhi and the MCD to provide basic amenities in the schools within four months.

Mr Mukhi said that since then, the Sheila Dikshit Ministry had constituted a committee only. “It has informed the court that the basic amenities have been provided but the fact is quite different,” he said.

Appreciating another judgment of the Delhi High Court wherein it has directed the government to get private schools admit 25 per cent students hailing from the economically weaker section of society, Mr Mukhi said that the judgment would give equal opportunity of education to the students of all sections.

Heritage status for old Yamuna bridge soon: The old Yamuna bridge, a rail-cum-road bridge dating back to 1867, will soon attain a heritage status, according to Railway Minister Nitish Kumar.

Flagging off the construction work on a new railway bridge, upstream to the existing bridge (No 249 on the Delhi–Shahdara section of the Northern Railway), the minister said it was expected to be completed by March 2007. While the new bridge would be exclusively for rail traffic, the old bridge would not be dismantled as it is a national heritage, he added. The old bridge, still in use, is in two tiers with the double- line railway tracks on top and the road underneath. It comprises 12 spans of 202.5 inch each with two end spans of 34.5 inch. Built by the East India Railway in 1867 at a cost of Rs 16,16,335, it has withstood the test of time thanks to regular maintenance.



Special Focus on jhajjar/Bahadurgarh
Development at a snail’s pace here
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, February 6
The historic township of Jhajjar, which was upgraded to a district headquarter seven years back, lacks almost all the facilities needed in a town. The growth of the town has been literally nil after its new upgraded status in 1997.

The then Haryana Vikas Party government led by Bansi Lal might have taken a politically correct step, however, it failed to address the actual requirements of the citizens here, except sending some reluctant administrative staff to man the dingy and dilapidated government offices.

“We have never thought that the pace of development would be so sluggish and were hopeful that things will change in near future, but things are almost unchanged. In fact, after the fall of the Bansi Lal government in 1999, Mr Om Prakash Chautala of the INLD came to power and the development activities come to a standstill owing to the obvious reasons,” mourns a resident of the town.

You name a civic facility, educational need or an entertainment activity sure to be found in a district town and it will be missing here. First, taking up the list of basic civic availability, there is no residential sector developed by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), not any locality could boast of most of the adequate water supply, proper drainage and street lightening, pucca streets etc. No train services are available here, although the interim Rail Budget included the project connecting Rohtak and Rewari via Jhajjar, while Haryana Roadways is unable to cope with the transportation needs of the commuters here. The township sans a town park. No hotel, even of a lesser standard, and obviously no industries to provide employment opportunities to the local youths.

In the education field, there is a government co-education college and a private girls college. But postgraduate educational facilities are not available here. The government college has been providing MA Hindi course for many years and started PG in English also, but the state government discontinued these courses in 2000.

However, MA English was resumed this year. Still, the student aspiring for PG studies especially in Hindi, and Science subjects are deprived of educational opportunities.

Another minimum need of a district library for the readers in the town is unfulfilled. The district libraries exist in every district town, but after the passage of seven long years there is none here. Although its sub-divisional town Bahadurgarh has a public library, laments a resident of the town.

There is no place to visit for the entertainment seeking persons; no theatre, no children fun corners or parks.

According to the residents here, there was a small cinema hall before it becomes a district, but after that, this one also has reduced into a video parlour screening c-grade and obscene films. Even, the only stadium is lying unkempt for years depriving the sports enthusiasts their only playground. The Jhajjar Stadium is used in every official function that added to its already miserable condition.

Health services are also well below the required standard as the only civil hospital is waiting for the minimum facilities like adequate staff and beds for the doctors, repair of its dilapidated portions, and proper drinking water and other related amenities. The mini-secretariat, which was originally scheduled to complete in 1999, is likely to be completed shortly this year. In the field of communications also, the district is without services of many private mobile service providers. There is no cyber cafe’ in the town. Important buildings, including Tehsil office, Bus Stand and Municipal committee buildings are very old and crying for maintenance, which has been declared unsafe.

Although the town boast of some historic buildings including Kalalon ka makbaras, Bua ka talab etc, but days are yet to turn for the good for the dwellers of this historically important township.



A fleet of outdated govt vehicles still on road
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
Outdated vehicles, which ought to have been declared condemned, are still a part of the fleet of official vehicles of the state government machinery in the district. This has resulted not only in frequent breakdowns but increase in the expenses required for their upkeep.

According to a report, about 30 to 50 per cent of the vehicles in every state government department had completed the km target allotted to them. However, most of the vehicles, which have over-run their total mileage, continued to be used, if they are still in affordable shape. According to information, a jeep or a car (light vehicle) needs to cover a distance of about 2.50 lakh km or be in use for a few years, whichever is earlier, to be declared as unfit.

But it has been found that most of these vehicles have touched the 2.50 lakh km mark. Still they are being used to carry the officers to the field and the offices. According to sources, the maintenance cost of these vehicles had gone up in the recent past owing to frequent breakdowns.

The driver of one such vehicle revealed that the cruising speed of the vehicle was only 50 to 60 km per hour. When a VIP, which could be the Chief Minister, visits the area officer travelling in the jeep is always a laggard. It is also reported that inadequate care and maintenance at the initial stage results in poor condition of a large number of official vehicles. It has been found that drivers of new vehicles normally drive them in a rash and irresponsible manner. The wear and tear of vehicles of senior officials in the district is much more compared to other department vehicles as they were put to maximum use and the average speed of such cars was also very high.

These vehicles normally travel at top speed, as these are a part of the VIP motorcade for several months in a year. But vehicles of senior officials are replaced frequently and the authorities do not wait for the completion of the time period target.

The Public Relations Department of the state government normally is a victim of vehicle shortage or is burdened with outdated vehicles. The department has to requisition vehicles from other departments during official functions, but normally the vehicles provided are again in poor shape.



Fernandes releases Indian Defence Yearbook
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Defence Minister George Fernandes released the Indian Defence Yearbook 2004 at the DEFEXPO here yesterday. Describing the book as extremely useful, Mr Fernandes said it is a good reference tool.
The yearbook has been edited by former Lt-Gen R. K. Jasbir Singh, who was the commander of the Srinagar based 15 corps and military secretary.

The issue focuses on various facets of the Iraq war and the recent developments in relations between India, China, Pakistan and Iran.

Published by the Nataj Publishers, the yearbook is a digest of information and analyses of important defence and security issues.

It examines the global and regional security environment, defence expenditure, strategic and operational developments, current conflicts and defence technology.

It also discusses progress made in defence research and development, production, weapons systems introduction, force levels and related subjects. The book has useful additions on paramilitary forces, logistics as well as ceremonial matters.

The yearbook also covers India’s paramilitary forces, the BSF, ITBP, CRPF, Territorial Forces and the coast guard.

It also includes detailed coverage of India’s strategic and defence relations with Russia, USA, Israel, France and South Africa and carries data on the force structure of Chinese and Pakistani forces and defence development projects.



Action against cola companies sought 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Why are soft drinks available in the markets when they have been banned in the canteen of the Parliament House? Why has no action been taken against the soft drinks companies yet? What does the government intend to do with the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee?

The National Akali Dal on Friday raised these queries, besides slogans against the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the Vajpayee government at a sit-in held near the Parliament House. They demanded that the companies be asked to shut shop and their properties confiscated.

The office-bearers and members of National Akali Dal assembled at Jantar Mantar and proceeded to the Parliament House. The police detained them at the Parliament Street Police Station, where they held the sit-in and burnt banners and posters of the cola companies.

On the occasion, the president of he National Akali Dal, Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma, said, “The Vajpayee ministry is hand-in-glove with the companies because no action has been taken against them after the report was made public.” He said the government was putting public health at risk by not taking action against the managements of the companies.



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ attitude of the Union Government has caused much bitterness among senior pensioners. The fixed rate of 11 per cent on deposits in National Saving Scheme 87 has been slashed to 7.5 per cent unilaterally by the government whereas the commuted value of pension continues to carry a 44 per cent rate of interest. For example, under the rules governing commutation of pension, a pensioner, who starts drawing a pension of Rs 1,365 per month on superannuating at the age of 58 years, gets a lump sum amount of Rs 57,112 as the commuted value of pension for the portion of pension of Rs 455. In lieu thereof, he has to repay at the rate of Rs.455 per month for a period of 15 years and draw reduced Pension of Rs 910 per month for the said period. The total Amount of repayment works out to Rs 8,1900. In other words, a simple interest rate, as high as 44 per cent, is charged by the government on the principal amount of Rs 57,112.

The Fifth Central Pay Commission had taken note of the anomaly. In its report (paragraph 13.16), restoration of commuted portion of pension after 12 years, as against 15 years at present, was recommended in all fairness, to give relief to pensioners who are ipso facto senior citizens. It is very unfortunate that the Union Government has been sitting on this genuine recommendation, notwithstanding the fact that its implementation does not involve much financial outgo in view of the mortality rate at this age. We do hope the government will look into the natter and reduce the period to 12 years and thus give some respite to the surviving senior pensioners.


Marriage pandals or death traps

It was a black Friday (January 23) when the marriage pandal at Tiruchchiranpally near Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nnadu witnessed 52 people being charred to death. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms Jayalalitha, has announced ex gratia compensation of Rs 50,000 to the relatives of the deceased, Rs 15,000 to those who have been seriously injured, and Rs 6000 to those who sustained simple injuries. Whatever compensation has been announced to the victims will never make up for the loss of their kith and kin. The death trap on the first floor, which became the scene of a heart-pending tragedy for the bridegroom Guru Raghavendra (42) and the bride Jayashri (35), needs a thorough probe and the guilty need to be punished for criminal neglect.

Marriage palaces, banquet halls and wedding vatikas have been proliferating and flourishing due to the lure for easy money. Barring a few, most do not fulfil necessary safety conditions. They are, therefore, death traps. Their licenses need to be cancelled immediately.

It is saddening that we do not learn from the past. The victims of Dabbwali banquet pandal (Haryana), Uphaar cinema and the Kutub Minar stampede are easily forgotten.

The state governments all over the country shed crocodile tears and offer lip sympathy. These gory incidents should serve as grim reminders to the authorities that be, otherwise their repetition in one part of the country or other will make responsible persons `a laughing stock’ in the eyes of the vigilant citizens all over the world.


Railway Board fails to respond

The proposal for a Civil Lines halt at Rohtak on Rohtak-Gohana-Panipat branch line has been pending before the Railway Board since January 1999 for reconsideration in compliance with the assurance of the then Minister of State for Railways, conveyed to us in his letter No. MOS (R)/B/11143/99 dated 28.1.99.

In this context, it is quite relevant to recall that the proposal was viable both from financial and operational angles, but it was turned down by the Railway Board vide their letter No.95/TG-IV/3/N/16/NR dated 24.12.98 by assigning stereotype reasons: That it involved a huge recurring loss and was also not operationally viable. These observations were made by the Railway Board only perfunctorily and without applying its mind judiciously.

Attention is drawn to the General Manager, Northern Railway, letter No. 51-RD/1309/91 dated 5.1.98, which showed only a negligible amount of deficit of Rs 134 per day on the provision of this passenger amenity and a report to this effect was sent by him to the Railway Board for consideration. The Minister of State was apprised vide our letter No. RWA/MOS/99/1 dated 4.1.99 of the routine disposal of this important issue by the Railway Board; besides other points raised by them were also negated, including the one relating to operational viability as similar halts have been provided under similar conditions by the Railways.

The Minister of State for Railways felt convinced of the genuineness of the case and assured us re-examination vide his letter No. MOS)R)/b/11143 dated 28.1.99. Since then our long chain of follow-up letters has not elicited any response whatsoever from the Railway Board. We fear that complete facts might not have been placed before the competent sanctioning authority and the case seems to have been dumped or filed arbitrarily, perhaps to hide the irrationality which had initially crept in its perfunctory disposal of the mater, as exposed in our letter dated 4.1.99 addressed by name to the then Minister of State for Railways. The change of guards after election might have facilitated the aforesaid undesirable action at the branch level in the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board).

The Minister of Railways is requested to please look into this episode and put an end to this unpleasant controversy by ordering the provision of requisite halt which will help revamp the branch line and boost the revenue earnings.


A meaningful satellite town

Bahadurgarh is located at a stone’s throw from the National Capital, but in the NCR it is treated as a poor cousin of Faridabad, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad. Result: Its enormous potential remains untapped for want of proper attention by all concerned.

The town may have certain problems like poor infrastructure, inadequate availability of good quality of water, absence of proper civic amenities etc. But steps can be taken to improve the situation and turn Bahadurgarh into an attractive town at the doorstep of Delhi. This will help decongest the national Capital and also supplement the role of sister satellite towns already in the limelight.

The movement in this direction needs a strong will on the part of Government of Haryana, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and various development agencies in public and private sectors, which can act as facilitators. Solid works needs to be done to convert Bahadurgarh into a meaningful satellite town.


SSA must reach the poor

The aim of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan is to provide middle standard education to all up to 14 years of age, be it poor or rich. Rich people can send their children to schools of their choice. They are least concerned about the expenditure. Mediuim families do keep it in mind while admitting their children in schools. But the poor have no choice in this regard. They send their wards in government schools, where expenditure is affordable, or they do not send them at all. The poorest of the poor cannot think about giving education to their wards. They cannot worry about education of their children, because they have to worry about their next meal. These children too have to worry about their meal. They live from hand to mouth. They are often seen begging in streets or sifting through garbage bins. Really, words fail to describe their plight.


Need for fewer diesel cars

Indeed there is merit in the suggestion of CSE (the Centre for Science and Environment) that the prices of diesel cars be increased, so that their demand may decrease. It has come to notice that diesel fumes can cause cancer.

Due to the difference in the rates of petrol and diesel, people prefer diesel cars. The share of diesel cars, which was a mere 4 per cent of the total cars registered in 1999, had climbed to 16 per cent in 2003.

Before it is too late, the Central Government should take strong action, so that diesel cars come on road in small numbers. Otherwise, we will be killing so many citizens with its lethal fumes.


The system stinks

The whole system of democracy is in need of an overhaul. Why should one blame the so-called authorities. Who are these authorities. 600-odd MPs? 500-odd Rajya Sabha members? or the MLA/MLCs, who fight elections to hold some position of ‘power,’ repay their debt to a the moneybags who have funded their election, and to build a few lakhs for the next poll. As against this, the bureaucrats are assured of their monthly salaries, but they are still not happy? Instead, they are out to teach the politicians how to loot. It is the ‘Bura cats’ which need to be eliminated, drawing fresh blood from among academicians, professionals, sports persons and artists.

Who is the author of corruption. The CBI, the police, the judges or the Low-rung constable? The lower rank only follow the example of their officers who are dishonest, corrupt and have caste biases. We need a different system. We must switch over to the “jury system” as the judiciary is in a jam. It is the ‘judiciary’ which is the `root’ cause of many evils that are ruining this country.

Major H. mandal, poorval

Concrete increasing, soil cover shrinking

The concrete jungles of cement are replacing farms and forests around Indian cities. The prime minister shall build millions of new roads. Soon concrete cover will develop on both sides of the roads. Food productive land shall shrink. The whole of India will become like Delhi, a 100 per cent concrete jungle. In the name of development and infrastructure, our self-sufficiency in food shall vanish. Having lived in Australia, I found that that country is happy with farms, forests and feeds most of the world. Roti is the biggest thing in the world. Australia has less of concrete and more of soil cover. India, with one billion people to feed, is fast losing its soil cover. In 100 years, with a complete concrete cover, India shall beg for food.

An ex-Australian resident



ncr briefs
Divisional office of ESIC inaugurated at Okhla
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
A new divisional office of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Labour, Dr Sahib Singh, at Okhla today. This office will cater to the social security needs of about two lakh insured persons covered under the ESI scheme in South Delhi, particularly the Okhla Industrial Area, besides servicing over ten thousand employers.

The Minister also dedicated a new female ward, set up at ESI Hospital, Okhla, to the beneficiaries of the scheme.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister re-iterated the commitment of the ESI Corporation for speedy improvements in social security services, particularly the medical facilities. He said that the scheme in the national Capital shall be run as a model for other states to emulate. Indian system of medicine, particularly Ayurveda and Yoga would be promoted and popularised among the working class by creating additional facilities in this stream of medication. The Minister disclosed that an integrated ISM hospital would be set up at Narela very shortly at a cost of Rs 10 crore for ESI beneficiaries of Delhi area.

The director-general, ESIC, Dr Ajay Dua, in his address stated that the effort of the Corporation was to take quality services nearer to the doorstep of the beneficiaries. He said it was in this spirit that the Corporation had set up four ESI hospitals in the city on a zonal basis. The facility is now being further augmented by the four newly created divisional offices, he said.

He further disclosed that the divisional office, Okhla, had processed 263 accident cases and 23 death cases over the last six months and ensured timely payment of related benefits. This office will be in direct control of four ESIC branch offices already functioning in south Delhi area.

Dr Dua further said the Corporation was spending Rs 100 crore on medical benefit and yet another Rs 50 crore on payment of cash benefits so as to provide social security services in the national Capital to about 20 lakh beneficiaries.

A large number of ESI beneficiaries, employers and social activists attended the inaugural function and benefited from the health check up camp and health exhibition organised on the occasion.

Creamy layer limit hike inadequate: JD (U)

Faridabad: The Janata Dal (U) leader, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, called the recent hike in the limit of the annual income for determining the ‘creamy layer’ among the Backward Classes as inadequate. The annual income limit should be raised to at least Rs 5 lakh, he demanded.

In a statement here today, Mr Vidrohi said the government’s decision although had been a welcome step, the new limit of Rs 2.5 lakh was still inadequate as the value of the Rupee had declined due to the growing inflation. He said even the new limit would eliminate a number of deserving persons from the benefit of reservation.

He said the decision to hike income limit had been a delayed one, which necessitates that the government take into consideration the rapid increase in inflation in the country.



Mayor inaugurates gymnasium 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
A newly constructed gymnasium was dedicated to the residents of Walled City today by the Mayor, Mr Ashok Kumar Jain. It has been constructed at the Old Shah Burj, Kucha Mohttaram Khan.

The area MLA, Mr Prahlad Singh Sahni, and Councillor, Mr Brij Mohan Sharma, were also present at the inaugural function.

Speaking on the occasion, the Mayor announced the release of Rs 5 lakh from his development fund for the underprivileged sections of the area. Mr Brij Mohan Sharma said that construction of the gymnasium was a long-standing demand of the residents of Mori Gate.

In another function, the Chairman of the Standing Committee in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Mr Mukesh Goel, today laid the foundation stone of a school building at village Poothkalan in Outer Delhi. The building is being constructed at a cost of about Rs 50 lakh.

On this occasion, the Deputy Leader of the House and area Councillor, Mrs Memwati Barwala, the Chief Engineer, Mr V. K. Malhotra, the Superintending Engineer, Mr Sanjay Jain, the Deputy Commissioner of Rohini Zone, Mr. Manpreet Singh and other senior officers of the department were present.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman said that the MCD was committed to provide better environment to the students in its schools.

He informed that in Rohini Zone, 26 school buildings having 333 classrooms and 16 halls have been constructed, while the construction work in 12 schools were in progress.

Besides, 11 new buildings were in the pipeline, which will have 119 classrooms and eight halls.

The Chairman said that MCD is dedicated to provide better civic services to the citizens, apart from paying special attention to education of schoolchildren.

He said that four buildings of the community halls in Rohini Zone area have been constructed. A cremation ground and a swimming pool will also be constructed in the area.

In the field of public health, the construction of a polio clinic in Sector 7 would soon be over. A maternity and child welfare centre at Sector 3 and a dispensary at village Rithala was also coming up.

Mrs Barwala demanded the re-modeling of drains of village Poothkalan for proper disposal of the sewage water.

Study Centre opened: The Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr K.K. Paul, today inaugurated a study centre at the New Police Lines. The centre will function under the over all supervision of the Police Families Welfare Society. Such centres have been opened in other police colonies also.

Each centre will function under the guidance and supervision of a committee, which will be constituted under the chairmanship of a DCP or senior ACP, preferably located near the study centre.

The committee will consist of representatives of the welfare association of the area or police colony representative from Police Families Welfare Society and any other official of the Delhi Police. The committee will also have two women representatives.

Load shedding announced: The NDPL today announced power shut down in Pitampura areas due to maintenance work at sub stations. The affected areas will be FP block at Pitampura from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. There will be no power supply in Raghu Nagar, Janakpuri, Manglapuri, Peeragarhi, Sunder Vihar, Paschim Vihar and adjoining areas from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. 



5 inter-state Nepali burglars held after encounter 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
The Delhi Police Crime Branch claimed to have apprehended five inter-state Nepali burglars after an encounter in the Paschim Vihar area. One English revolver, one country-made weapon and three live cartridges along with one laptop were seized from their possession.

The burglars were identified as Shankar Singh alias Prakash (29), Anil Bahadur alias Bharat Singh (24), Kamal Singh (42), Karan Kumar (22) and Kalu Bahadur (19), all residents of Nepal.

The accused had also sent their wives to the house of some businessmen as sex workers and looted them after drugging them.

Based on a secret information that some Nepali burglars were active in Delhi and Bangalore and would be meeting near the DDA Park, Paschim Vihar on February 4, the Police team laid a trap.

When the police team intercepted them, the burglars whipped out a revolver and started firing at them. However, the police team overpowered them.

During interrogation, they revealed that they were active in Delhi and Bangalore and had recently arrived in the national Capital after committing a burglary in Bangalore.

They also confessed to have been involved in a burglary case in Adarsh Nagar area in 2001. One of the accused, identified as Kamal Singh, had even sent his wife, Bimla, as a call girl to a businessman’s house.

Later, they had drugged the businessman and robbed him of cash and jewellery.

Moreover, they were also involved in several crimes in the other areas of the Capital. They mainly targeted businessmen and landlords and followed the same modus operandi to commit their crimes.



2 arrested with duplicate spare parts of Mercedes Benz worth Rs 30 lakh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
With the arrest of two suspects, the Delhi Police today claimed to have seized duplicate auto spare parts of Daimler Chrysler AG (Mercedes Benz). The suspects were identified as Sandeep Munjal and Parveen Bajaj.

The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police received a complaint from Daimler Chrysler along with an order of the court about the manufacture of duplicate auto parts.

A special team was constituted, which conducted a raid at S. K. Industries and Sanson Exports at Anand Parbat Industrial Area.

A huge quantity of duplicate auto spare parts like rubber ring bearing, bush, exhaust ring etc. were seized in the raid.

The premises were being used for manufacturing, stocking and selling duplicate auto parts. The value of seized material has been estimated to be Rs 30 lakh.

SI Arrested for graft: The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government arrested a Sub-Inspector, identified as Kedar Singh, posted at Bawana Police Station in North-West district, for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 1000.

The complainant, identified as Ranvir Singh, had been involved in a dispute with his neighbour.

Ranvir Singh had lodged a complaint against his neighbour in the police station.

The SI reportedly demanded a bribe to help him out of his problem with his neighbour. He reported the matter to the Anti-Corruption Branch. Subsequently, the sleuths laid a trap and arrested him red handed, the police said.



Business and pleasure go hand in hand 
at Elecrama 2004
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Elecrama 2004 organized a cultural evening at Pragati Maidan, where the Indipop sensation Euphoria mesmerised the audience by playing Bollywood hits and special remix versions of R D Burman. The band also performed their original hits such as ‘Dhoom Pichuk Dhoom’, ‘Maaeri’, ‘Aana Meri Gully’, ‘Ab Na Jaa’ and ‘Mantra’ amongst many others. The performance was part of the cultural evenings being organized at Elecrama 2004.

According to Mr R N Khanna, chairman, Elecrama-2004, “Elecrama 2004 is not only the largest platform to showcase the prowess of the electrical sector but also provides an opportunity to put on show India’s abundant culture. Therefore, we have organized cultural evenings at Pragati Maidan itself for the delegates and tried to create an Indian ethos through themes such as `Made in India’,

`Bollywood’, `Indipop’ and folklore. Unlike other exhibitions held in the country, for the first time, delegates can mix business with pleasure without needing to go far from the Elecrama exhibition site”.

Euphoria comprises of Dr Palash `Polly’ Sen, who a year back also featured in a Hindi film, ‘Filhaal’ opposite Sushmita Sen. He is the lead vocalist of the group while Debajyoti `DJ’ Bhaduri is the base guitarist. Gaurav `Gary’ Misra and bandana-clad Hitesh `Rikki’ Madan play the guitar. The keyboard player is the long-haired guy Benjamin `Benny’ Pinto, while “Christopher `Chris’ Powell is the drummer.

Supported by the Union Government, the exhibition is spread over around 30,000 sq mts. covering 7 halls at Pragati Maidan. Companies from more than 26 countries, including US, UK, Germany, France, Taiwan, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Korea, Spain among others are taking part in this exhibition. About 1000 exhibitors including BHEL, ABB, L and T, Crompton, GE, Siemens, Controls and Switchgear group, Havells, Indo Asian Fusegear Ltd. etc., are showcasing their electrical and allied products and services. The exhibition, which is on till February 7, has already attracted more than 1,00,000 visitors.


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