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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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City’s green belt grew by 13 times in 8 years: CM
New Delhi, June 5
The Capital’s green cover has expanded significantly in the last eight years and now spreads across an estimated 330 square kilometres, reducing pollution levels drastically, Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit said today.




Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit plants a sapling at Dhaula Kuan Ridge on World Environment Day on Monday. — Tribune photo.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit plants a sapling at Dhaula Kuan Ridge on World Environment Day on Monday.

C’wealth Games chief in town to take stock
New Delhi, June 5
The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mr Michael Fennel, will meet the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, tomorrow to take stock of the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the city.

‘Senior citizens being deprived of pension’
New Delhi, June 5
The Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, pulled up the government for its failure to distribute the full pension amount to the needy and demand inquiry into the case.


EARLIER STORIES




Weather likely to stay pleasant, says weatherman
New Delhi, June 5
After three days of pleasant weather in the Capital, which saw cool South- Easterly winds and a heavily overcast sky plummet the mercury to eight to ten degrees below normal, the mercury rose to 38.3 degrees Celcius today.

Students on the way to submit their admission forms at Delhi University in the Capital on Monday.
Students on the way to submit their admission forms at Delhi University in the Capital on Monday. — Tribune Photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Gurgaon civil hospital to be expanded
Gurgaon, June 5
The long-standing demand of local citizens for expanding the 120-bed civil hospital here to 200-beded hospital has been conceded by the Haryana government.

Labour laws antiquated, admits Minister
Faridabad, June 5

“Labour laws had become outdated and needed to be changed in accordance with time and requirement. But a majority of the rules and regulations had been under the jurisdiction of the Union government and the state government was dependent on the former to bring about the required changes”.

Noida hotel industry to get a fillip
Noida, June 5
In a significant decision taken by the Noida Authority Board in its 135th meeting today, it has been decided to give a boost to the hotel industry in preparation for the Commonwealth Games as well as to give a fillip to the tourism industry.

Man, son assaulted in sleep; son dies
Ghaziabad, June 5
Half a dozen armed youths came on a vehicle to the house of Vidhu, son of Mohinder Singh, at Rahul Garden Colony in Loni and assaulted them while they were sleeping on the terrace.

DDA auctions hotel sites
New Delhi, June 5
The Delhi Development Authority today auctioned several hotel sites in the national Capital. Four hotel sites were among the seven sites sold and a total return of about Rs 465.4 crore was realized.


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City’s green belt grew by 13 times in 8 years: CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The Capital’s green cover has expanded significantly in the last eight years and now spreads across an estimated 330 square kilometres, reducing pollution levels drastically, Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit said today.

The city, known for its pollution blues, has over the years seen a significant fall in the density of pollutants sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, she said on the occasion of World Environment Day. “The green cover of Delhi has expanded over 13 times in the last eight years. We now have 330 sq km of green cover as against 26 sq km in 1997,” Ms Dikshit said after inaugurating an environment protection drive here. Delhi has an estimated 19 per cent green cover now owing to over 74 lakh tree saplings planted across the city in the last six years by various government agencies and departments and other stakeholders.

Planting a sapling on the occasion, she asked Delhiites to inculcate the habit of gifting tree saplings to near and dear ones and make concerted efforts to expand the city’s green belt.

The Delhi Government has also been taking several steps for the implementation of various environment-related projects and encouraging setting up of eco clubs for preservation of the ecological balance, she said.

She commended the role of students in making successful the various programmes relating to greening in Delhi.

The involvement of schoolchildren in environment awareness programmes has been ensured by establishing eco-clubs in schools and colleges. She later released a book ‘Towards Greener Delhi’, a compilation of her government’s environment-friendly initiatives, and inaugurated an eco-friendly exhibition at Dilli Haat to mark the occasion.

In another function, Mr A. Raja, Union Minister for Environment and Forest, today flagged off an environment jatha-cum-tableau organised by the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and the Federation of NCR Doctors (FOND) in association with the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Raja said that ideally at least 33 per cent of total land area of India should come under forest, trees and plants to maintain the ecological balance and India at present is short by 10 per cent. The Minister stressed that this shortage has to be covered by the year 2012. Further, Dr Prodipto Ghosh, Secretary with the Ministry of Environment and Forest added that, “every citizen of India should do something to keep the environment under control.

The best thing is to grow plantations depending on the space available and if nothing is available to grow at least one money plant at home.”

Dr K.K. Aggarwal said that acute disasters cause environmental catastrophes but chronic disasters lead to lifestyle disorders like hypertension, obesity, kidney disease and heart attack. Dr Aggarwal said that the message to take home was that even soil has a life, it should be kept alive and not be allowed to deteriorate by disobeying the laws of nature.

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C’wealth Games chief in town to take stock
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mr Michael Fennel, will meet the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, tomorrow to take stock of the preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the city.

He will discuss matters like traffic control, facilities to be provided to the participants, security, development of stadiums etc.

However, sources in the government said that the Delhi Government was far from fully prepared for the Commonwealth Games. The Union Government had to give Rs 5,500 crore to the Delhi Government to improve the transportation, health services, supply of water, construction of new stadiums, development of Khelgaon, hotels and to make the Yamuna green before the beginning of the games.

However, this money has yet to be sanctioned to the city government.

Sources in the government said that so far the Delhi Government had constructed 27 flyovers from its own budget.

The improvement in transportation was to be made through Metro rail, Monorail and high capacity buses. The government has planned to finish the Metro rail work by the year 2010. Monorail was meant for the walled city but so far no progress has been made in the project. The government has not even surveyed the area. With this speed, it is not possible to complete the project within the given time, the sources said.

As far as high capacity buses are concerned, so far only two buses have been launched in the national Capital. According to sources, a large number of people, including foreigner are expected to visit the national Capital during the Commonwealth Games. Even as the government has planned to develop Khelgaon just behind Akshardham Temple, it is yet to be started.

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‘Senior citizens being deprived of pension’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, pulled up the government for its failure to distribute the full pension amount to the needy and demand inquiry into the case.

He alleged that the Social Welfare Department of Delhi Government had failed to distribute pension to thousands of citizens, who have been deprived of the benefit of the scheme.

Even as he approached the officials of the department, nothing had been done to solve the problem of the people, he said.

When the needy people go to the department to collect their pension, they are returned back on the excuse that the department is yet to receive the pension amount, sources in the department said.

According to the sources, the department was sanctioned Rs 94.94 crore in 2004-2005 for distribution as old age pension but it distributed only Rs 70.99 and the rest of the money was returned.

In 2005-2006, it was sanctioned Rs 107.23 crore but only Rs 93.87 crore were distributed.

An annual pension of Rs 4,200 is given to each pension holder every year.

But the department distributed just Rs 1,050 to each pension seeker.

This year, when the pension holders were to be given nine months pension, they were given only one month pension, that is just Rs 350. 

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Weather likely to stay pleasant, says weatherman
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
After three days of pleasant weather in the Capital, which saw cool South- Easterly winds and a heavily overcast sky plummet the mercury to eight to ten degrees below normal, the mercury rose to 38.3 degrees Celcius today.

The sharp rise in mercury, from 31.1 degrees Celsius on Saturday, was largely an offshoot of the decreasing influence of the upper air cyclonic movement, which lead to a heavy overcast sky and light rains over the weekend, the weatherman said.

The cyclonic storm led to light showers on Friday, bringing down the mercury by as much as ten degrees Celsius, from 41 degrees Celsius on Thursday to 31 degrees Celsius on Friday.

“The cyclonic air movement, which originated from Haryana and its neighbouring areas, was active over the weekend but has now considerably weakened as it is on its way to other areas,” the weather office said.

So, while Delhi is unlikely to witness, at least for another week, a return to sultry conditions, there is little likelihood of heavy rains.

The Met office has forecast a partly cloudy sky with possibility of thundershowers or rains, accompanied with squalls, in some areas.

The maximum temperature tomorrow is likely to be 38 Degree C.

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Gurgaon civil hospital to be expanded
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, June 5
The long-standing demand of local citizens for expanding the 120-beded civil hospital here to 200-bed hospital has been conceded by the Haryana government.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R. P. Bhardwaj, informed that the hospital would be expanded to 200-beded hospital with the creation of 49 additional posts.

Mr Bhardwaj revealed that Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) was also constructing one more 100-beded hospital in Sector 10 in the city. The construction of the building was at its final stage, informed the officer.

In the private sector, leading medicare players like Dr Naresh Trehan has already started constructing his multi-specialties hospital costing more than Rs 1,000 crore at Medi City in Gurgaon. Fortis Healthcare, another medical giant has also purchased the land to construct a huge hospital with an investment crossing Rs 1,000 crore in the city.

Giving details of the sanctioned expansion of the hospital, the Civil Surgeon, Gurgaon, Dr D.V.Saharan, said that five medical officers and one house surgeon each, one audio-metrist, biochemist and dietician, among others, would be added to the strength of 131 in the hospital. Twenty more nursing sisters would be added to the present strength of 40 sisters, said the officer.

Dr Saharan added that the recruitment for the posts had already been started. “We planned to convert the hospital to 200-beded hospital within a couple months. At present, we have an OPD of around 900 patients per day and expect to cross 1,800 patients per day after the expansion of the hospital,” claimed Dr Saharan.

The Civil Surgeon informed that a senior doctor of the rank of a Principal Medical Officer (PMO) would be appointed to supervise the expanded hospital. He would be of the rank of Civil Surgeon, informed the officer.

In Haryana, Faridabad, Hisar, Ambala and Karnal have a 200-beded hospital each while Bhiwani has a 300-beded hospital and Rohtak has a medical university with more than 1,200 bed facilities, informed Dr Saharan.

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Labour laws antiquated, admits Minister
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 5“Labour laws had become outdated and needed to be changed in accordance with time and requirement. But a majority of the rules and regulations had been under the jurisdiction of the Union government and the state government was dependent on the former to bring about the required changes”.

This was stated by the Finance, Labour and Employment Minister of Haryana, Mr Birender Singh, while chairing a meeting of the Faridabad Industries Association (FIA) here recently. He said the demand for changes in labour laws or reforms had been quite old. He admitted that several rules had been rendered irrelevant with the changing economic and business environment. But he claimed that since 28 out of 34 rules were under the jurisdiction of the central government, the state government had little to do to but accept and implement the demand.

He said notwithstanding the hurdles his department would do whatever possible to make the laws simple. Regarding the problem of power supply to industrial units, Mr Birender Singh said that the Government was ready to provide its sanction or allowance to any industrialist who wanted to set up a small power plant (with a capacity of 25 MW or above).

Accepting the need projected by the FIA for constituting the Faridabad Development Authority, he said the proposal must be discussed in detail and in the light of the fact that several towns of NCR, including Faridabad, Gurgaon, Sonepat, Sohna and Rohtak, were in the process of development in the next about 10 years.

Regarding the pending demand for construction of a flyover at the Badarpur border, the Minister 
said that the Government was committed to having it built at the earliest. 
Claiming that the Government would not let the 
district slide further, he said full support would be given for the district’s revival.

New industrial plots would be developed with the provision that manufacturing process should start within a set time limit. He commented that such plots should not go into the hands of property dealers or agents.

The association however expressed its concern over various issues which included delay in the construction of the Badarpur flyover, the establishment of the proposed Faridabad Development Authority, improvement in ESI facilities, setting up of a mother industry, a textile processing zone and a labour colony. 

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Noida hotel industry to get a fillip
Parmindar Singh

Noida, June 5
In a significant decision taken by the Noida Authority Board in its 135th meeting today, it has been decided to give a boost to the hotel industry in preparation for the Commonwealth Games as well as to give a fillip to the tourism industry.

Briefing the press, Addl Chief Executive Officer Noida Authority, Ravindra Naik said for the first time the hotel industry has been recognized as a separate industry. This has been done as per the UP government policy enunciated, vide notification No 986/41-06-080/2005, dated May 22, 2006, with a view to attracting the maximum investment in the hotel industry in the area.

A tourism committee under the divisional commissioner, Meerut Division, will approve the cities identified for setting up the hotels. Besides, it will approve the viability of the proposed hotel projects for which guidelines have also been laid down.

For example, those desirous of setting up 5-star hotels will have to have Rs 100-crore turnover for the past three years; those for 4-star hotels will have to prove that they have a turnover of Rs 75 crore and those for 3-star hotels will be required to show Rs 50 crore turnover for the three preceding years. Besides, they will be required to have professional experience for 10, 7 and 5 years respectively, Mr Naik added.

In another decision, it was decided to allow the software industrial units having buildings on 500 sq mt plots to let out their surplus space to other software units which are not in a position to buy plots to build their own buildings on them.

They will, however, not be allowed to rent out space to any other industry than software units. Layout plan of Sector 68 has also been approved by the board today.

As regards the approval of layout plans for buildings, it has been decided to do away with the practice that after 40 days of submission of plans, it could be presumed that the plan had been approved and the party could proceed to construct the building. But it will not be so any more. Now the whole period has been reduced to 30 days, but the approval is a must before starting the construction of the building, ACEO Ravindra Naik added.

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Man, son assaulted in sleep; son dies
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, June 5
Half a dozen armed youths came on a vehicle to the house of Vidhu, son of Mohinder Singh, at Rahul Garden Colony in Loni and assaulted them while they were sleeping on the terrace.

The miscreants brought both father and son downstairs and started beating them. They had beaten up Vidhu’s mother Kamlesh and his brother-in-law Raj Kumar also. In the commotion, one of the assailants repeatedly stabbed Vidhu on forehead and chest. Leaving him seriously wounded, they fled away. Vidhu was rushed to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in Shahdara, but declared dead by doctors.

The police have, however, arrested Kailash, his father Besant and mother Lajja and registered a murder case against them.

The victim’s family alleged that Kailash and his maternal uncles who had come from Delhi were all known bad characters.

People said the real assailants were Kailash’s uncles against whom the police had not taken any action.

SO police station, however, said the investigations were on and if the names of some other assailants came up, action would be taken against them.

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DDA auctions hotel sites
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The Delhi Development Authority today auctioned several hotel sites in the national Capital. Four hotel sites were among the seven sites sold and a total return of about Rs 465.4 crore was realized.

The total reserve price for the 4 plots was Rs 348.61 crore. The hotel sites offered were located at Wazirpur District Centre, Shalimar Bagh District Centre, Shastri Park District Centre, Mayur Vihar District Centre, Paschim Vihar District Centre and Dwarka.

Two hotel sites at Dwarka were, however, withdrawn before the auction. 

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