SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
D E L H I   A N D   N E I G H B O U R H O O D

Demolition drive: HC for action
against ‘influential persons’
MCD recommends action against 94 errant engineers

New Delhi, January 10
Taking suo motu cognizance of news reports of influential persons allegedly being spared in the ongoing demolition drive in the Capital, the Delhi High Court has sought a report from the Government and the MCD on steps being taken to raze illegal structures belonging to MLAs, Corporators and other such persons.

SC ire on Yamuna pollution and misuse
of parks

New Delhi, January 10
In two separate orders pertaining to cleaning up of the highly polluted Yamuna and violation of its order restricting use of parks for holding public functions and marriage parties, the Supreme Court today took the concerned government agencies to task for their lacklustre approach on the twin issues.

Rs 1.70 crore disbursed as old age pension in Faridabad
Faridabad, January 10
In an effort to help unemployed youths start their own work, the district authorities has distributed Rs 39.23 lakh to them during the current financial year. It also released funds for as many as 63 self-help groups formed under the Swarn Jayanti Rojgar Yojna (SGSY), a regular scheme of the Union government.

JNU students unsure about banning cigarettes on campus
New Delhi, January 10
Endless discourses over a lit cigarette may well be history in Jawaharlal Nehru University if the proposal to ban smoking on campus comes through. While the idea mooted by the Campus Development Committee (CDC) to stop the sale of ‘gutka’ and cigarettes on campus is still being thrashed out, students have already begun voicing their concerns. An all-party meeting was called recently to discuss the implications of the proposal.

Demand to allow ‘legal’ mining in Aravali hills
Gurgaon, January 10
Pushed to the wall by the continuing loss of business due to the Supreme Court’s directive banning mining operations in the Aravali hills, various stone crushers’ associations in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts have urged the Haryana Government to find a way out to circumvent it.


Women activists of ‘All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan’ protesting against the increase in crimes against women, at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Tuesday
Women activists of ‘All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan’ protesting against the increase in crimes against women, at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Tuesday.
— Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

EARLIER STORIES
 

HC talks tough on lawyers’ strike
New Delhi, January 10
Taking strong view of the continuing strike by the lawyers of Tis Hazari courts here against setting up of a District court at Rohini, the Delhi High Court today directed all subordinate judges to decide cases after personally hearing willing parties.

Newly elected MPs felicitated
New Delhi, January 10

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee today felicitated newly-elected Rayja Sabha members from the national Capital Mr Karan Singh, Mr Janardan Dwivedi and Mr J P Aggarwal.


Newly elected Rajya Sabha MP from Delhi, Janardan Dwivedi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma and Jai Prakash Aggarwal at a New Year get-together in the Capital on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal
Newly elected Rajya Sabha MP from Delhi, Janardan Dwivedi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma and Jai Prakash Aggarwal at a New Year get-together in the Capital on Tuesday

CGHS scam: Four remanded to judicial custody
New Delhi, January 10
A Special Court today remanded four men accused in the Rs 4,000 crore Co-operative Group Housing Societies (CGHS) scam to judicial custody for 13 days. Additional Sessions Judge Indermeet Kaur Kochhar sent accused Sunil Kharbanda, Raj Kumar Pahuja, Vinod Kumar Gupta and one other person to custody till January 24.

Girl takes police for a ride 
Noida, January 10
A minor girl seems to have taken the police for a ride while lodging a fabricated rape case in Sector-24, Noida. The minor girl had alleged that four boys had kidnapped her in a Maruti car from Gijode village on January 6 and gang raped her.

A couple in a cosy mood to savour the warmth of their company on a chilly morning in the Palika park at Connaught Place
A couple in a cosy mood to savour the warmth of their company on a chilly morning in the Palika park at Connaught Place. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Three more temporary night shelters set up
New Delhi, January 10
To protect the have-nots from extreme cold conditions, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has set up three additional temporary night shelters. The shelters have been set up at Phool Mandi near Mori Gate, Kabir Basti, Malka Ganj and Sarai Phoos near Sabzi Mandi. They have a total capacity of accommodating 700 persons.

Students on tenterhooks as exams approach
New Delhi, January 10
Swollen eyes, forehead creases and faces full of anxiety. With the CBSE announcing its examination dates for class 10 and 12, tension among students has been increasing by the day. Soaked in worry, millions of students across the country are trying to beat the cut-throat competition.
“As soon as the exam dates were announced, the pressure has increased. I study 14 hours a day without watching television or having other entertainment,” said Spriha Nidhi, a class 10 student of Himalaya Public School.

ITIs asked to interact with industry for students’ benefit
New Delhi, January 10
The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, has asked ITIs in Delhi to have regular interaction with the industries to make training more purposeful for the students. She has further asked the Department of Training & Technical Education to review the fee structure.

Large-scale plantation of ‘Jatropha’ saplings planned
Faridabad, January 10
The district authorities have planned to go in for large-scale plantation of ‘Jatropha’ saplings, which could become a prominent source of bio-diesel production in the coming years. Bio-diesel is seen as an alternative that could fill the gap between the increasing supply and demand in the petroleum sector.

Charred bodies of couple found
Meerut, January 10
Police have recovered the charred remains of a couple from a house on the outskirts of Meerut and suspect they might have been strangled before being burnt. The badly burnt bodies of Dhirajmani, 42, and his wife Pramila, 35, were found in a house in Pallavpuram yesterday and the remains collected in two bags for post-mortem, police said today.

Rise in night temperatures in city
New Delhi, January 10
After two days of freezing cold in the Capital, which saw the mercury plummeting to 0.2 degree Celsius on Sunday and 1.4 degrees yesterday, Delhiites had some respite today as the minimum temperature rose to more than 4 degrees Celsius this morning.

Two held with heroin worth Rs 50 lakh
New Delhi, January 10
With the arrest of two persons, Delhi Police claimed to have busted a gang that was active in the narcotics trade. The accused have been identified as Mohd Hasib (23) and Mohd Tasleem (30). The police claimed to have recovered 500 gm of heroin.

Teachers meet UGC chief for grants to colleges 
New Delhi, January 10
A delegation of teachers affiliated to the Academics for Action and Development today met the acting Chairperson of the UGC, Prof R. Pillai, to put forth their demand for the release of grants to Delhi colleges.

LNJP Hospital to be upgraded
New Delhi, January 10
The Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital is likely to be turned into a super specialty facility hospital to provide ‘quality treatment’ to patients in the Capital, said Delhi Health Minister Yoga Nand Shastri at the closing ceremony of the hospital’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations today.

BSES clarification on news report
New Delhi, January 10
The BSES has clarified that it has not been directed to pay Rs 7 lakh as compensation by the court. It was reported that the Delhi High Court has asked the BSES to pay the said amount to the family of a man who died after his bike collided with a metal ladder placed negligently on the city’s road by company’s contractor.

Two held for raping 14-year-old

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Demolition drive: HC for action
against ‘influential persons’

MCD recommends action against 94 errant engineers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
Taking suo motu cognizance of news reports of influential persons allegedly being spared in the ongoing demolition drive in the Capital, the Delhi High Court has sought a report from the Government and the MCD on steps being taken to raze illegal structures belonging to MLAs, Corporators and other such persons.

Justice Vikramajit Sen, who issued notices to Delhi Government Principal Secretary and MCD Commissioner, asked them to file an ‘Action Taken Report’ in this regard by January 31, the next date of hearing.

The order came in response to a series of reports in a section of the media alleging that illegal and unauthorised constructions carried out by MLAs in Delhi.

Justice Sen’s orders assumes significance as a Division Bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma is already monitoring the demolition drive which has generated much heat in the political circles in the Capital.

Significantly, Justice Sen wanted the government to file a report in respect of the properties owned by MLAs Prahalad Singh Sahni who had earlier moved a PIL before the Division Bench seeking stay of the demolitions.

Justice Sen regretted that instead of agreeing to remove the illegal constructions and encroachments, prominent and influential persons were making statements that an Ordinance will be passed for regularising such structures.

“Public perception is that it is only the lower strata of society which encounters the brunt of the law. This perception must be rectified and this can only be achieved when the most influential meet with the rigours of law along with ordinary citizen,” Justice Sen said while making the directive.

The other influential persons on whose property the court had sought a report are Ram Babu Sharma, Jai Bhagawan Aggarwal, Mukesh Sharma, Ashok Kumar Walia, Prem Singh and Anjali Rai.

In a related development, the Vigilance Department of Municipal Corporation of Delhi today recommended initiation of penalty proceedings against 94 engineers for allowing unauthorised constructions in the Capital.

“The scrutiny of the records revealed prima facie responsibility of 58 junior engineers and 36 assistant engineers for 1,500 unauthorised constructions that came up in six specific zones in the year 2001,” Pradeep Srivastav, Chief Vigilance Officer of MCD, told reporters here.

“We have recommended to the competent authorities for initiating major penalty proceedings against them,” he added.

The civic body started scrutinising the records of the unauthorised properties in a phased manner after the Delhi High Court ordered it to fix responsibility on officials for the unauthorised constructions.

In the first phase, records of about 1,500 unauthorised structures from six zones – South, Central, City, Sadar Paharganj, Sahadara South and West – were scrutinised.

The action against these officials could range from reduction in rank to suspension, he added.

Earlier, the MCD had initiated 300 cases involving 931 officials for unauthorised constructions and proceedings are underway against these officials.

Asked to elaborate the irregularities by the engineers, Srivastav said the officials had not taken any action against the unauthorised structures and allowed them to come up in their area of jurisdiction.

“These unauthorised structures came up in the area of these 94 engineers. They did not take any action against the illegal buildings at that time,” he said.

The exercise to fix responsibility in the remaining zones with respect to the year 2001 is going on, he said.

Meanwhile, about 23 unauthorised structures were today demolished by the corporation as part of its ongoing demolition drive on the orders of the Delhi High court.

The corporation authorities also re-sealed 36 unauthorised properties in Rohini Zone whose seal had been broken by their owners.

While five properties were demolished in Shahdara zone, three each were demolished in the civil lines, Najafgarh and West zone, two each in the central, city and south zones while one property each was demolished in Narela, Karol Bagh and SP zone.

Of the demolished structures, 9 were residential properties while 14 were commercial constructions. Under its drive to demolish about 18,000 unauthorised structures in the Capital, which began on December 19, the MCD has till now demolished about 697 properties, including 487 commercial and 210 residential.

On December 7, the High Court had directed the MCD to clear encroachments in the entire city within six weeks. The deadline for the MCD to submit a report on the demolitions to the court is January 18. Given the tardy pace of demolitions, it now seems clear that the corporation may miss the January 18 deadline set by the court, as admitted by a spokesman yesterday.

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SC ire on Yamuna pollution and misuse of parks
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 10
In two separate orders pertaining to cleaning up of the highly polluted Yamuna and violation of its order restricting use of parks for holding public functions and marriage parties, the Supreme Court today took the concerned government agencies to task for their lacklustre approach on the twin issues.

While stating that the need of pure drinking water of Delhi citizens could not be made “subservient” to any other issue, a Bench of Chief Justice Y. K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice C. K. Thakker rejected an affidavit of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on the Yamuna Action Plan and setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs) on all 22 drains falling in the river, saying that it was not “satisfactory” as it did not give details about the action taken so far and plans for the future.

On the question of allowing use of green parks for public and marriage functions, the court reminded the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) of its order, issued way back in 1996, in which it had directed them to curb such use gradually by constructing more community centres.

In the 1996 order, the court had permitted the use of only 50 per cent of the total parks with the MCD and the DDA for such functions till such time that the community centres were built in every colony and protect the remaining 50 per cent parks.

But instead of reducing their usage, the MCD increased the usage number to 746 out of 1400 and the DDA was allowing 70 of its parks out of 146 for such functions.

Irked by the violations, the court directed the DDA to make its stand clear in a sworn affidavit whether the use of parks for such functions did not violate the Master Plan of Delhi. Both the MCD and the DDA were further asked to explain how the number of parks for such use was increased without the court’s permission. As per the 1996 order, permission for the use of only 512 parks in the MCD area was allowed, the Bench told the corporation’s counsel.

On the issue of the Yamuna Action Plan, the court said that it would not interfere with the Delhi High Court order for removal of nearly 40,000 ‘jhuggis’ from slums that had come up illegally on either banks of the river and on the sides of various drains flowing in it. The court said the entire purpose of setting up STPs on the mouth of the drains would be defeated if the slums were not removed.

It was up to the government how they are removed and whether it had any “obligation” to provide land for those who had encroached upon the public land.

Terming the DJB affidavit on removal of slums, increasing the water treatment capacity and setting up of the STPs as “far from satisfactory”, the court directed it to clearly state what was its future plan and how it would be implemented in time-bound manner to free the 300-metre stretch on either side of the river from any encroachment.

Taking into account various test reports of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on testing of river water in the 26-km stretch within the national Capital’s limit, which found it to be highly polluted and not even matching the minimum ‘C’ grade standard approved for human consumption, the court noted that there was “no improvement in the quality of water. Instead, it had deteriorated over the years and several crore rupees spent by the government on the Yamuna Action Plan has virtually gone down the drain.”

All government agencies were directed to submit their affidavits within two weeks and the matter was listed for further hearing after four weeks.

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Rs 1.70 crore disbursed as old
age pension in Faridabad

Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 10
In an effort to help unemployed youths start their own work, the district authorities has distributed Rs 39.23 lakh to them during the current financial year. It also released funds for as many as 63 self-help groups formed under the Swarn Jayanti Rojgar Yojna (SGSY), a regular scheme of the Union government.

According to the officials in the district rural development agency, as many as 358 persons in the category below the poverty line were distributed loans for a period of three years.

While the Union government shared 75 per cent of the funds for this project, the state government contributed the remaining 25 per cent of the finances.

However, due to the lack of awareness and illiteracy, most of the targeted groups have failed to benefit from these schemes.

It is reported that the office concerned had received an amount of about Rs 43.01 lakh under this project of which 39 lakh has already been used.

However, according to Subhash Dagar, a resident of Sagarpur village in the district, there were hundreds of unemployed youths in his village and nearby areas who were totally unaware of these schemes and as such had failed to take benefits from them.

Claiming that since majority of the schemes had several conditions attached, he said it was not easy for the youths to benefit from them. Moreover, he added that there was no agency to provide guidance to the unemployed persons in the rural areas.

Meanwhile, the district authorities distributed an amount of over Rs 1.70 crore as old age pension to about 56,819 persons in the district during the last month, stated a release. The government distributes an amount of Rs 300 per month to the beneficiaries above the 60 years.

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JNU students unsure about banning
cigarettes on campus

Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
Endless discourses over a lit cigarette may well be history in Jawaharlal Nehru University if the proposal to ban smoking on campus comes through.
While the idea mooted by the Campus Development Committee (CDC) to stop the sale of ‘gutka’ and cigarettes on campus is still being thrashed out, students have already begun voicing their concerns. An all-party meeting was called recently to discuss the implications of the proposal.

“There is no question of imposing such a decision in this university. We are mature people, who understand the implications of smoking,” said Bertin, an NSUI activist.

However, he added that if “a general consensus on the issue is reached, the party will support the ban.” The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), disapproving the ban, said the focus should be on awareness instead.

“You cannot impose an order and replicate it. The authorities first need to sensitise the students about the consequences of not just smoking, but of using alcohol, gutka and drugs in general,” said ABVP’s Shiv Shakti Nath Bakshi.

The ABVP also wants students to be consulted before the ban is enforced. “There is a pressing need to make the students aware of substance abuse. There are so many people in the campus who use drugs …that needs to be checked first,” it was pointed out.

Banning the sale of tobacco and its products on campus, say others, will not serve any purpose.

“Smokers will simply stock cigarettes; a ban on selling will hardly be a deterrent so far as smoking is concerned. Besides this is not just an educational institution, but has a residential complex as well,” said a student of the School of International Studies.

While the CDC is yet to take a formal decision on the issue, a member of the committee said, “We wanted to put an end to the menace of ‘gutka’ packets on campus. Gutka is not just a health hazard, but a major pollutant as well.”

He went on to add while they could not stop students from smoking, the aim is to ensure that the environment of the campus remains unharmed.

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Demand to allow ‘legal’ mining in Aravali hills
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 10
Pushed to the wall by the continuing loss of business due to the Supreme Court’s directive banning mining operations in the Aravali hills, various stone crushers’ associations in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts have urged the Haryana Government to find a way out to circumvent it.

The ‘Naurang Pur Stone Crushers Association’, which is part of ‘Gurgaon Crusher’s Association’, today lamented that the Haryana Government was gripped with “inertia”, whereas the Rajasthan Government intervened with the court and got some exemption for mining in the areas falling under its jurisdictions.

The office-bearers of the association, including Mr

Rajesh Sachdeva, said that the issue relating to mining in the Aravali region was pending disposal in the Supreme Court. He demanded that the authorities must allow legal mining where the required norms were being fulfilled.

The Association made out a case in favour of permitting mining operations in those mines which were not covered under section 4 and 5 of the Environment Protection Act and are not in the area of UN plantation programmes.

It also urged the government to open up those mines which have already got the clearance of the environment management plan and are not pumping ground water. He pointed out that the crushing business has suffered after the court’s directive in 2002 and the subsequent tough stand against the Haryana Government in the wake of reported cases of illegal mining in the Aravalis.

There are about 600 stone crushing units in Gurgaon and Faridabad.

Taking a dig at the Haryana Government, Mr Sachdeva said that hundreds of stone crushers dependent on the mining activities were facing an economic crisis.

The Association further pointed out that the closure of the stone crushing units in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts have led to astronomical rise in the construction materials on account of transportation charges.

Presently, the construction materials are being brought from Jaipur and other parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the far-flung areas of Haryana.

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HC talks tough on lawyers’ strike
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
Taking strong view of the continuing strike by the lawyers of Tis Hazari courts here against setting up of a District court at Rohini, the Delhi High Court today directed all subordinate judges to decide cases after personally hearing willing parties.

“No one can be allowed to hold the judiciary at ransom. We cannot standby and see the institution paralysed indefinitely. The state of affairs cannot be tolerated any longer. Enough is enough and everything has a limit,” full court of the High Court said in a resolution passed shortly after DBA lawyers decided to extend their strike till January 18.

The High Court also expressed anger at the “violence” indulged in by the DBA members during their agitation and “beating up” of some of the lawyers who appeared in the court.

After the meeting, High Court Registrar General S N Aggarwal briefed the media about the decisions taken by the Full Court.

The High Court said it had “observed restraint” till now thinking that the strike would be called off today, but had to intervene after coming to know that a section of lawyers were determined to continue the strike indefinitely causing immense hardship to the litigants.

The High Court directed all the judges of the subordinate courts to sit in the court during working hours and pass orders in the cases listed before them irrespective of whether the advocates are present or not.

The judges have also been asked not to accept any request to rise, or stop judicial work on the request of lawyers or litigants. They have also been asked to take up cases in which parties are willing to be heard personally and pass necessary orders in cases requiring no further evidence. 

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Newly elected MPs felicitated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee today felicitated newly-elected Rayja Sabha members from the national Capital Mr Karan Singh, Mr Janardan Dwivedi and Mr J P Aggarwal.

Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit, her cabinet colleagues, Delhi Lok Sabha MPs, MLAs and municipal councillors, besides members of All India Congress Committee and DPCC, including its president Ram Babu Sharma, were present on the occasion.

The three Rajya Sabha MPs were declared elected unopposed as no other nominations were received by the last date of filing on December 31.

On January 6, Delhi Assembly Speaker Prem Singh had also felicitated the new Rayja Sabha members for the city.

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CGHS scam: Four remanded to judicial custody
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
A Special Court today remanded four men accused in the Rs 4,000 crore Co-operative Group Housing Societies (CGHS) scam to judicial custody for 13 days. Additional Sessions Judge Indermeet Kaur Kochhar sent accused Sunil Kharbanda, Raj Kumar Pahuja, Vinod Kumar Gupta and one other person to custody till January 24.

The CBI, in its application for judicial remand moved before the court today, said that the interrogation of Kharbanda and Pahuja had been completed, and were no longer required to remain in CBI custody.

The probe agency had yesterday informed the Delhi High Court that cases had been registered in connection with 95 defunct societies, which had been illegally revived by the accused, in conspiracy with officers of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, including the then Registrar Narayan Diwakar.

The High Court was also informed that efforts were being made to declare Diwakar and certain other RCS officials as Proclaimed Offenders (POs) since they had been dodging agency sleuths after cases had been registered in the scam.

Meanwhile, the bail applications of four accused Ashutosh Pant, Gokul Aggarwal, Vinod Kumar Gupta and U S Bhatnagar will come up for hearing on January 24.

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Girl takes police for a ride 
Our Correspondent

Noida, January 10
A minor girl seems to have taken the police for a ride while lodging a fabricated rape case in Sector-24, Noida.
The minor girl had alleged that four boys had kidnapped her in a Maruti car from Gijode village on January 6 and gang raped her.

On the basis of this report, the Sector-24 police station had registered an FIR (No. 3/2006 under Section 376/342) against Vishesh Sharma, Rajeev and Uday and two other unknown persons as mentioned by the girl.

It may be pointed out that the brothers and other relatives of the girl had beaten up Vishesh Sharma, a shopkeeper in the village, who had to be rushed to a hospital.

It was found that her version of the event was incoherent and unclear. According to the police, the girl had fabricated her statement, but since it was made in the presence of her parent, they had accepted it as correct.

However, now that her brothers and other relatives are in the lockup, she has changed her statement again so that it could help free them, the police said.

“She is a clever girl who had successfully confused the investigating team,” the police said.

The Senior Superintendent of Police said that action under Section-142 and 34 will be taken and she will be produced before a magistrate tomorrow for recording her statement.

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Three more temporary night shelters set up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
To protect the have-nots from extreme cold conditions, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has set up three additional temporary night shelters.
The shelters have been set up at Phool Mandi near Mori Gate, Kabir Basti, Malka Ganj and Sarai Phoos near Sabzi Mandi. They have a total capacity of accommodating 700 persons.

Another 12 sites have also been identified for temporary night shelters. These sites are R K Puram, Okhla, Jheel, Pusa Road, Nehru Place, Sahadara near Railway Phatak, Chand Cinema, Kalyan Puri, Arya Samaj Road, Azad Pur Mandi, Raghubir Nagar and Meena Bjara.

This apart, efforts are on for setting up 10 permanent shelters located at various places. Presently, there are 41 night shelters in the Capital with an accommodation capacity for 4,800 persons.

At the last meeting of the Standing Committee, councillors Farhad Suri, Sanjay Puri and Chaudhary Ajeet Singh had requested the Municipal Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Nigam, and the Additional Commissioner, Slum and JJ Wing, Mr R. M. Pillai, to set up more night shelters to protect poor people from the chilling cold.

The MCD has requested Delhi Police that if their PCR vans came across pavement dwellers during the night, they should be brought to the nearest night shelter.

The Slum Department, which is responsible for maintaining the shelters, has also set up a control room at its headquarters at Punarwas Bhawan at ITO in order to have proper monitoring of shelters. The control room will operate from 9 pm to 6 pm till January 31.

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Students on tenterhooks as exams approach
Ishani Varma

New Delhi, January 10
Swollen eyes, forehead creases and faces full of anxiety. With the CBSE announcing its examination dates for class 10 and 12, tension among students has been increasing by the day.

Soaked in worry, millions of students across the country are trying to beat the cut-throat competition. “As soon as the exam dates were announced, the pressure has increased. I study 14 hours a day without watching television or having other entertainment,” said Spriha Nidhi, a class 10 student of Himalaya Public School.

Parents have not been spared either. “I feel more tense than my daughter. It’s more like a challenge for me to keep my child away from strain as well as make her do well in the exams,” said Meera Singh, a housewife whose daughter is appearing in the Board exams.

Psychologists and doctors are also busy giving examination tips to the students.

According to a psychologist in Delhi Medical Institute, “A few hours of entertainment such as music, television or even playing games help in reducing distress. It also helps in increasing the concentration level. Balanced diet and food supplements like juices, fruits and ample amount of water help overcome the pressure of examinations.”

Keeping in view the tension among the students, the CBSE has also initiated several measures to ease their burden.

Major reforms in the syllabus as well as question papers have ensured that students now will be provided with more options to answer.

Moreover, several sample papers and previous years question papers are available in the market to guide the students. It helps the students to test themselves so that they do not experience negative thoughts, which prevent them from performing their best. 

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ITIs asked to interact with industry
for students’ benefit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, has asked ITIs in Delhi to have regular interaction with the industries to make training more purposeful for the students.
She has further asked the Department of Training & Technical Education to review the fee structure.

While chairing second meeting of the State Council for Vocational Training, the Chief Minister stressed the need to increase the intake as 75% of aspiring candidates are unable to get admission in ITIs. There are 16 government ITIs and 55 private ITIs with total enrolment of 11,632 students. The intake of the government institutions is 8,852.

The State Council for Vocational Training has granted permanent affiliation to four institutions —Delhi Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Nav Bharat Vocational Training Centre, Satyam International Institute of Vocational Training and Baba Saheb Ambedkar ITC, BSAP and provisional affiliation for one-year duration to five other private institutions.

The CM has also asked Department of Training & Technical Education to start ITIs in IT park of DSIDC and multipurpose community centres of Government of Delhi.

The Chief Minister has instructed Department of Technical Education to review fee structure for which a sub-committee of the Council has been constituted. The upper age limit of admission to courses under the preview of State Council of Vocational Training has been raised from 25 to 40 years whereas for ex-serviceman and war widows, the upper age limit would be 45 years. No upper age limit has been prescribed for women candidates.

It has also been decided to enhance the remuneration for the examination and remuneration to the guest faculty for special lectures.

The State Council for Vocational Training has adopted the decision of the National Council for Vocational Training in this regard.

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Large-scale plantation of
‘Jatropha’ saplings planned

Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 10
The district authorities have planned to go in for large-scale plantation of ‘Jatropha’ saplings, which could become a prominent source of bio-diesel production in the coming years. Bio-diesel is seen as an alternative that could fill the gap between the increasing supply and demand in the petroleum sector.

An area of about 62 hectares in the district has already been used for the plantation of Jatropha. The district authorities have directed all block officials and the Panchayats to identify the vacant land for plantation of Jatropha saplings.

It may be pointed out that Jatropha becomes ready for commercial use after a gap of four years once it bears fruit, which contains oil like substance.

According to the officials, about 1.25 lakh Jatropha saplings were planted in the district during the last monsoon period in an area of about 50 hectares. The villages where sapling of Jatropha was planted included Tilpat, Dhauj, Mohabbtabad, Jakhukhera, Janacholi and Bhiduki villages.

The Deputy Commissioner has instructed all the officials posted in the blocks and sub-divisions to identify the vacant panchayat land, especially barren lands so that it could be used for Jatropha plantation.

It is claimed that Jatropha could be grown on any type of land and requires little care. The authorities plan to plant another 69000 Jatropha saplings during the coming rainy season. According to experts, Jatropha saplings could also be planted on water channels and minors. The Department of Forests has offered the sapling of this plant free of cost.

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Charred bodies of couple found
Tribune News Service

Meerut, January 10
Police have recovered the charred remains of a couple from a house on the outskirts of Meerut and suspect they might have been strangled before being burnt.
The badly burnt bodies of Dhirajmani, 42, and his wife Pramila, 35, were found in a house in Pallavpuram yesterday and the remains collected in two bags for post-mortem, police said today.

They said neighbours saw smoke billowing from the house at around 10.30 am after which they informed the police.

The door of the house was found unlocked and the bodies discovered on a bed that had been reduced to ashes. A TV, CD player and other household items were also charred in the fire but Dhirajmani’s clothes were lying on a chair.

They said the couple could have been strangled to death, during which their cries were muffled, then set ablaze and ruled out robbery as nothing was stolen or found amiss.

The police team found a match-box and a bundle of ‘beedies’ lying on a nearby table but there was no indication of a heater or other electrical equipment that could have ignited the fire, they said.

Pramila was Dhirajmani’s second wife and his first wife had died of cancer, they said, adding that their parents had been informed about the deaths. 

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Rise in night temperatures in city
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
After two days of freezing cold in the Capital, which saw the mercury plummeting to 0.2 degree Celsius on Sunday and 1.4 degrees yesterday, Delhiites had some respite today as the minimum temperature rose to more than 4 degrees Celsius this morning.

Though Delhiites continue to shiver from cold winds, the rise in the minimum temperature today brought some relief to the residents, many of whom had been largely ensconced in their homes due to the biting cold outside.

However, the minimum temperature of 4.3 degrees Celsius today is still 3 degrees below normal. There was also slight fog in some areas in the morning.

The weathermen expect the weather to improve further over the next two days with the rise in the minimum temperature up to 5 degrees Celsius in the next 24 hours.

It is the coldest January that the Capital has experienced in the last 5-10 years. The lowest temperature recorded in January during the last 5 years was 3.3 degrees Celsius.

The weathermen attribute the sharp fall in the minimum temperature since yesterday to a certain burst of cold air caused largely by western disturbances and fresh snowfall in several parts of north India, which led to sub-zero temperatures in northern parts. 

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Two held with heroin worth Rs 50 lakh

New Delhi, January 10
With the arrest of two persons, Delhi Police claimed to have busted a gang that was active in the narcotics trade. The accused have been identified as Mohd Hasib (23) and Mohd Tasleem (30). The police claimed to have recovered 500 gm of heroin. The international value of the heroin seized has been estimated to be around Rs 50 lakh.

The accused were arrested near the Telephone Exchange, Darya Ganj on the basis of a tip-off received by the Special Staff of Central District.

A case vide FIR no 18/06 has been registered under Section 21 of the NDPS Act at Darya Ganj police station.

Mohd Hasib and Mohd Tasleem are basically tailors and both used to supply readymade garments in Mustafabad, Delhi. In the guise of readymade garments, they brought the seized heroin from Sayeed alias Bade of Meer Ganj, Bareilly, UP, and were nabbed.—TNS

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Teachers meet UGC chief for grants to colleges 

New Delhi, January 10
A delegation of teachers affiliated to the Academics for Action and Development today met the acting Chairperson of the UGC, Prof R. Pillai, to put forth their demand for the release of grants to Delhi colleges.

The delegation apprised Professor Pillai that because of the delay in the release of grants, the staff members in many colleges are yet to receive their salaries and even pensions have not been disbursed in some colleges.

Among those who met Professor Pillai were Dr S. S. Rahti, D. K. Sethi, Dr V. K. Agarwal, Rekha Dayal, Dr Prakash Narayan and Aditya Narain Misra.—TNS

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LNJP Hospital to be upgraded

New Delhi, January 10
The Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital is likely to be turned into a super specialty facility hospital to provide ‘quality treatment’ to patients in the Capital, said Delhi Health Minister Yoga Nand Shastri at the closing ceremony of the hospital’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations today.

“At the moment, some seven to eight thousand patients are treated at the hospital and once it is expanded and more beds are introduced, an even larger number of patients can be treated here,” the minister said.

Mr Shastri said the hospital had done a “commendable job” in providing quality care and treatment to people in the Capital over the past 75 years.—TNS

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BSES clarification on news report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The BSES has clarified that it has not been directed to pay Rs 7 lakh as compensation by the court. It was reported that the Delhi High Court has asked the BSES to pay the said amount to the family of a man who died after his bike collided with a metal ladder placed negligently on the city’s road by company’s contractor.

In a statement issued here, BSES said the incident occurred on June 17 2002, during the regime of the Delhi Vidyut Board.

The tragic accident, the BSES said, occurred owing to the negligence of the staff of the contractors employed by the DVB and not the BSES.

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Two held for raping 14-year-old

Ghaziabad, January 10
Two persons were arrested today on the charge of raping a 14-year-old girl in a forest near here four days ago. The accused, Sonu and Rajkumar, were produced before a court and remanded in judicial custody, police said. The girl was allegedly raped by the two in a jungle in Babugarh area on January 6 and her medical examination confirmed the assault, they added.—TNS

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