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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
H A R Y A N A

Khap panchayats are not legally recognised: govt
Chandigarh, July 4
The Haryana Government has informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the self-styled khap panchayats, which are caste-oriented and have been acting as parallel courts, have no legal sanctity and are not recognised under any law.

Surjewala says Centre anti-farmer
Chandigarh, July 4
The chairman of the Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress, Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, today alleged that the Union Agriculture Ministry and its senior officers "are anti-farmer and anti-poor and are misleading the Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, on the number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in northern states."

VDS to regularise power overload starts today
Bhiwani, July 4
On the persistent demand of electricity consumers and for their convenience, the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam has decided to introduce the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme for unauthorised extension of load for one month with effect from tomorrow.

Sex ratio improves in 14 dists
Chandigarh, July 4
Fourteen out of 20 districts of Haryana have shown an improvement in the sex ratio as per the statistics available for 2005. The sex ratio in the state was 861 females per 1000 males according to the census of 2001.

Agrofed scam: ex-MLA demands special police cell
Ambala, July 4
Former Ambala Cantt MLA Anil Vij today demanded that a special police cell be formed to deal with the multi-state multi-crore Agrofed scam. At a press conference held today, a victim of the Agrofed scam, narrated his tale of woes.

Kidwai exhorts teachers to impart quality education
Kurukshetra, July 4
Inaugurating the state-level leadership conference of heads of institutions in the Kurukshetra University auditorium here today.


Stories from Haryana towns falling in the National Capital Region are put in
 Delhi & neighbourhood.



YOUR TOWN
Ambala
Bhiwani
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EARLIER STORIES



Gulzari Lal Nanda museum opened
Kurukshetra, July 4
After inaugurating the Gulzari Lal Nanda Institute of National Integration and Peace on the occasion of birth anniversary of the late leader on the eastern bank of Brahamsarover here today.

The Haryana Governor, Mr A.R. Kidwai, unveils a statue of former Prime Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda in Kurukshetra on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Neeraj Chopra

The Haryana Governor, Mr A.R. Kidwai, unveils a statue of former Prime Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda in Kurukshetra

Mother, daughter burnt to death
Rewari, July 4
Rekha (25), along with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Shivani, was allegedly burnt to death by her in-laws in Garhwal Colony behind Power House on the Rewari-Jhajjar road here this morning.

One robbed at gunpoint
Sonepat, July 4
Two car-borne armed gangsters reportedly looted Rs 1 lakh and gold ornaments worth Rs 10 lakh from Mr Anil Bhatia of Panchkula near Murthal crossing on the GT Road around 2 a.m. today.

Idols stolen from temple, one booked
Bhiwani, July 4
Costly “ashtdhatu” idols were reportedly stolen by thieves from an old temple at Nanda village in the district. The stolen idols were stated to be worth lakhs of rupees. A case has been registered at Badhra police station in this connection.

CITU threatens to take Liberty Shoes to ILO
Gharaunda (Karnal), July 4
Alleging that the management of the Liberty Shoes Company was underpaying the staff, national secretary of CITU, Mr Dipankar Mukherjee, has threatened to approach the International Labour Organisation for stalling the export consignments of the company.

Bhajan loyalist resigns from party
Karnal, July 4
A staunch supporter of Bhajan Lal and chairman of the city Congress committee, Karnal, Mr Tarlochan Singh, tendered his resignation today. In a latter , to the chairperson of the AICC, Ms Sonia Gandhi, he mentioned the sidelining of Bhajan Lal as the reason for the resignation.

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Khap panchayats are not legally recognised: govt
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 4
The Haryana Government has informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the self-styled khap panchayats, which are caste-oriented and have been acting as parallel courts, have no legal sanctity and are not recognised under any law.

An affidavit filed by a senior Home Department officer in an ongoing PIL, challenging the action of a khap panchayat asking a pregnant woman — Ms Sonia — to dissolve her marriage with her husband — Mr Rampal — and treat him as her brother, says that the members of the khap panchayat have already been warned against interfering with the lives of the married couple.

It may be recalled that the patently illegal actions of some khap panchyats in asking married couple to annul their marriages for having married within the gotra or outside the caste have been challenged in the High Court by way of many public interest litigations (PILs), including those by the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Panchkula chapter, through its convener, advocate Ujjal Singh Sahni.

Taking up the PILs, the court, on various occasions, had directed the Haryana Government and the Haryana Police to protect the life and liberty of the couples and their families.

The petitioners had also prayed for registration of criminal cases against the office-bearers of these panchayats for issuing diktats which were illegal and against the Constitution.

In one of the matters, the SP, Bhiwani, had informed the court that four persons had been arrested in connection with the matter.

The latest case involving these khap panchayats pertains to the diktat issued by a maha panchayat of the Jats of 84 villages in Bhiwani district to a newly-married couple to annul the marriage. The marriage, which had been solemnised with the consent of the respective families of the couple, had been objected to by the self-styled guardians of the castes on the ground that the boy and the girl belonged to different castes. Not only did the panchayat force the couple to stay apart but the girl was also forced to marry another boy of her own community.

Now, the government has informed the court that even though such khap panchayats are traditional institutions, which have existed for a very long time, they don’t have any legal status.

Moreover, any panch or sarpanch, elected under the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, can invite action if he participates in the activities of such khap panchayats, the government reply says.

Today, a Division Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, while disposing of the petitions challenging the action of the khap panchayats, directed the Haryana Government to take strict action against the members of these khap panchayats in case they violated the rule of the law.

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Surjewala says Centre anti-farmer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The chairman of the Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress, Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, today alleged that the Union Agriculture Ministry and its senior officers "are anti-farmer and anti-poor and are misleading the Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, on the number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in northern states."

Talking to newsmen here, Mr Surjewala said a probe should be ordered to identify such officers and action should be taken against them.

He said he was "shocked" when in response to his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Pawar wrote to him that the number of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Punjab and Gujarat was low. Mr Surjewala said he had demanded a package for the debt-ridden farmers of the northern states, including Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. He said while Mr Pawar talked of Punjab and Gujarat, he sidelined the issue of special package by remaining silent about Haryana and other northern states.

Mr Surjewala said according to a sample survey, nearly 1,000 debt-ridden farmers committed suicide in Punjab and Haryana every year.

Mr Surjewala and his son, Randeep, were the first to highlight the issue of suicides by debt-ridden farmers, at least in this region, when they persuaded Mrs Sonia Gandhi to visit certain villages in the Narwana Assembly constituency in 1998. These villages had reported a number of suicides by farmers who had taken loans from private and public sources.

Mr Surjewala said the senior officers of Mr Pawar's Ministry misled him into believing that only the debt-ridden farmers of Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were committing suicide and not those in the northern states.

The Centre, Mr Surjewala demanded, should immediately extend a special package to farmers of the northern states and draw up a detailed policy to tackle the problem in the long term.

He said the package should include a reduction of interest on agricultural credit to 5 or 6 per cent, regulation of the private moneylending system, settlement of mounting debts through debt conciliation boards and exemption of the land of farmers, their households, foodgrains and farm machinery from attachment.

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VDS to regularise power overload starts today
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, July 4
On the persistent demand of electricity consumers and for their convenience, the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has decided to introduce the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) for unauthorised extension of load for one month with effect from tomorrow.

A spokesman of the DHBVN said here today that the VDS is meant for domestic, non-domestic and tube well consumers in the area of the DHBVN for declaring their unauthorised load voluntarily to get it regularised without paying any penalty.

Giving further details, he said that the consumers of domestic and non-domestic categories, who are willing to declare their load would be required to deposit an Advance Consumption Deposit (ACD) and complete the usual formalities to get their unauthorised load regularised.

There will be no need to submit a test report up to an extension of 5 KW of load. The applicant will have submit a certificate that the wiring for the extended load has been carried out from an authorised contractor and the same has been tested as per the provisions of the relevant Act.

For extension beyond 5 KW of load, the applicant would be required to submit a test report. The extended load shall be considered as regularised with immediate effect after the completion of formalities as per existing terms and conditions.

The Nigam would not charge any penalty from the applicants for regularisation of their unauthorised load.

He further stated that tube well consumers might declare their extended load by submitting an application and agreement form. The submission of terms and conditions forms or affidavit would not be mandatory for the applicants in this category. However, the consumer would have to certify that he will abide by all the terms and conditions of the power supply.

The applicants of agricultural category would have to submit a test report for the extended load alongwith an Advance Consumption Deposit (ACD).

The extension of load shall be regularised with the existing system i.e. where the lines and transformers etc are in a position to take up the additional load. In case, the existing system requires to be strengthened, the authorities would lay additional lines and transformers also.

This scheme would also be available to the consumers who had already applied for extension of load and the applications were under process for approval.

The spokesman urged the consumers to take full advantage of this scheme to avoid penalties. He said that the DHBVN would launch a campaign after the scheme is over to detect the cases of unauthorised extension of load and theft of electricity.

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Sex ratio improves in 14 dists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Fourteen out of 20 districts of Haryana have shown an improvement in the sex ratio as per the statistics available for 2005. The sex ratio in the state was 861 females per 1000 males according to the census of 2001.

The Haryana Health Minister, Ms Kartar Devi, said the districts where the ratio improved in the calendar year 2005 were Fatehabad (873 females per 1000 males from 828 females per 1000 males in 2001); Faridabad (869 females per 1000 males from 850: 1000 in 2001); Panipat (862: 1000 from 809: 1000 in 2001); Panchkula (856 : 1000 from 829: 1000 in 2001); Sirsa (856 : 1000 from 817: 1000 in 2001);Jind (856: 1000 from 818: 1000 in 2001); Hisar (834: 1000 from 832: 1000 in 2001); Kaithal (830: 1000 from 791:1000 in 2001); Yamunanagar (830:1000 from 806: 1000 in 2001); Rohtak (820: 1000 from 799: 1000 in 2001); Karnal (811: 1000 from 809 : 1000 in 2001); Sonepat (790: 1000 from 788: 1000 in 2001); Ambala (790: 1000 from 782:1000); and Kurukshetra (781: 1000 from 771: 1000).

The sex ratio was alarming in the age group of 0-6 years as it was 819 females per 1000 males according to the census of 2001. But the statistics of the calendar year 2005 showed that the number of females had increased to 823 in this age group, she said. 

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Agrofed scam: ex-MLA demands special police cell
Tribune News Service

Ambala, July 4
Former Ambala Cantt MLA Anil Vij today demanded that a special police cell be formed to deal with the multi-state multi-crore Agrofed scam.

At a press conference held today, a victim of the Agrofed scam, narrated his tale of woes. Mr Surjit, a resident of Jathwad village, said that he was given an appointment letter for the post a clerk. He was posted at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

“We had no inkling that Agrofed was a fake organisation. I had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to Mr Bhupinder Singh, who is a person known to us. At Bareilly, we had practically no work. There were about 14 persons in the Bareilly office,” he said.

“I just want that my money should be returned to me,” he added.

Mr Vij said that although fake Agrofed chairman PS Sandhu had been arrested, it could not be considered a major success. “It will only be a major success when the real perpetrators of the scam are arrested. Those who introduced Mr Sandhu to the common people as Agrofed chairman need to be immediately arrested,” he said.

Mr Vij alleged that people were misled due to the assurances given by ruling party politicians. “About five dozen scam victims have already met us and they have spoken out about their woes,” he said.

He stated that there was no doubt regarding the patronage enjoyed by fake Agrofed chairman PS Sandhu from the ruling party politicians. “We understand that during questioning Mr Sandhu has mentioned names of politicians and other conduits. These revelations must be properly investigated,” he said.

Mr Vij said that the police is under considerable pressure from the Haryana Government. “The police does not want to lie and it is not being allowed to speak the truth. The recoveries made so far in the Agrofed scam are just tip of the iceberg. Agrofed scam is an estimated to be a Rs 200 crore scam,” he said.

He said that money spent by Agrofed in bolstering the political career of Ambala Cantt MLA DK Bansal should be recovered from him. “Placing of large advertisements in newspapers, arranging buses and putting up water coolers are some of the expenditure carried out by Agrofed to improve the image of Mr Bansal,” he alleged.

Mr Vij claimed that all cases were not being registered by the police. “We are receiving complaints from far-off places like Bareilly and Rampur. Those in Rampur learnt about the scam, two days back,” he said. “Therefore, it is suggested that there should be a centralised system for dealing with these innumerable cases,” he said.

A special police cell would enable speedy justice. Also help can be sought from NGOs. “There are several unanswered questions. Where were the stationary of Agrofed, claiming to be a Government of India undertaking, printed and who issued the VIP pass for PS Sandhu,” he asked. He said that they would hold demonstration against the police, if speedy action was not taken against the real perpetrators of the scam.

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Kidwai exhorts teachers to impart quality education
Our Correspondent

Kurukshetra, July 4
Inaugurating the state-level leadership conference of heads of institutions in the Kurukshetra University auditorium here today, the Haryana Governor, Dr. A.R.Kidwai, called upon the pioneers in education to take up the challenge of producing brilliant students so as to utilise the opportunity of India becoming one of the leading powers in the world by 2020.

Dr Kidwai said the teaching community had great responsibility in imparting quality education to the students as the Haryana Government had been very liberal in providing adequate funds and the best infrastructure to them. They had also been given power and authority to recruit the guest faculty on any post lying vacant in their respective institutions so that the students’ studies did not suffer.

The Haryana Education Minister, Mr Phool Chand Mulana, said the aim of convening the conference was to acquaint the Principals about the latest education techniques, develop good rapport between students and teachers and to improve the standard of education. He claimed that Haryana was the first state in the country which had introduced semester system in its schools and was imparting education by Eduset. He congratulated them as there had been 18 per cent increase in the admission in the government schools, which showed their popularity. On the demand of the Principals he extended the admission date of the schools to July 15.

He also read the message of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who could not attend the function due to an urgent meeting in Delhi. In his message, the Chief Minister asked the teachers to achieve first place for the state in the country.

Addressing the conference, Kurukshetra University, Vice- Chancellor, Prof. R.P. Hooda, said teachers should motivate the students to study and create a congenial atmosphere in schools to check dropouts. They should also interact freely with the villagers to improve the ratio of girls in the schools.

In his key note address, the Haryana Education Financial Commissioner, Mr R.S. Gujral, informed that all vacancies in the educational institutions would be filled so that students might not suffer. He said that to improve the infrastructure in the schools Rs. 69 crore had been allocated. All secondary schools would have library, laboratories and computer centers to bring them at par with the private institutions.

In his welcome address Commissioner and Director General of Secondary Education, K.K. Khandelwal revealed that the state government was spending Rs. 14,000 for imparting education to each child in the government schools where there were 22 Lakh students on the roll. He asked the Principals to take a pledge that they would be instrumental in checking dishonesty and improving the performance of their colleagues.

Mr Raghubir Singh of senior secondary school, Kaithal, Mr. Satya Narayana of senior secondary school Mowana, Jind and Mr. Anil Mehta of senior secondary school, Barna Kurukshetra were honoured by the Governor for achieving 100 per cent result.

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Gulzari Lal Nanda museum opened
Our Correspondent

Kurukshetra, July 4
After inaugurating the Gulzari Lal Nanda Institute of National Integration and Peace on the occasion of birth anniversary of the late leader on the eastern bank of Brahamsarover here today, the Haryana Governor, Dr A.R Kidwai, said talks were in progress with the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture for the development of holy areas in an around Kurukshetra at a cost of Rs 200 crore in order to bring the town on the world tourism map.

Dr Kidwai called upon the people to spread the message of national integration and peace among the masses so that the youth could take inspiration from it. He said Nanda would be remembered for his simplicity and honesty. ‘‘He was one of those extraordinary leaders of our country who devoted their life to the service of the people’’, said Dr Kidwai.

The Governor said by setting up a library and a museum the people visiting this holy town would get to know about the great leader who besides holding many important portfolios in the Union Ministry had also served as Prime Minister twice.

He said it was good that university research work would be associated with the museum and library for spreading the message of the revered leader.

He also went around the museum and library. He also talked to Dr Pushpa Naik, daughter of the late leader and Dr Tejas Naik grandson of Nanda who had come specially from Ahmedabad to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations. They were very much impressed with the work done by the Haryana Government and the Kurukshetra Development Board to perpetualise the memory of Gulzari Lal Nanda.

Mr Kidwai also unveiled the statue of Nanda and planted a sapling on the occasion.

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Mother, daughter burnt to death
Our Correspondent

Rewari, July 4
Rekha (25), along with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Shivani, was allegedly burnt to death by her in-laws in Garhwal Colony behind Power House on the Rewari-Jhajjar road here this morning.

The gruesome crime was allegedly perpetrated by her in-laws owing to her parents’ failure to meet their demand of enhanced dowry.

It is stated that after kerosene was sprinkled she was set on fire while her daughter was charred while she lay beside her.

On a complaint lodged by Mr Jawahar Lal, an uncle of Rekha, the Sadar police here has registered a case of dowry death as well as murder under Sections 498-A, 304-B,302 and 34 of the IPC against Rekha’s husband Harphool, mother-in-law Khanori Devi and brother-in-law Naresh Kumar.

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One robbed at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 4
Two car-borne armed gangsters reportedly looted Rs 1 lakh and gold ornaments worth Rs 10 lakh from Mr Anil Bhatia of Panchkula near Murthal crossing on the GT Road around 2 a.m. today. However, the car of Mr Bhatia was found abandoned near a petrol station on the Bahalgarh road along with cash and jewellery by the police around 4 a.m. according to the police.

Mr Bhatia, along with his sister-in-law and her two children, was reportedly returning from Delhi airport when his Esteem car was stopped by the gangsters by parking their Santro car in front of Esteem.

At pistol point, the gangsters allegedly took possession of the car and looted the cash and jewellery and left the victims near Hotel Dewan Palace on the Bahalgarh road.

The police claimed that after receiving information, the police on patrol was alerted and fearing their arrest, the gangsters abandoned the car. The car, cash and jewellery were handed over to Mr Bhatia.

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Idols stolen from temple, one booked

Bhiwani, July 4
Costly “ashtdhatu” idols were reportedly stolen by thieves from an old temple at Nanda village in the district. The stolen idols were stated to be worth lakhs of rupees. A case has been registered at Badhra police station in this connection.

According to a report, thieves barged into the temple late last night and stole costly idols. The priest who came to perform pooja in the morning found the idols missing. He reported the matter to the police. The police registered a case and booked Pradeep of Jhojhu Kalan village in this connection.

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CITU threatens to take Liberty Shoes to ILO
Tribune News Service

Gharaunda (Karnal), July 4
Alleging that the management of the Liberty Shoes Company was underpaying the staff, national secretary of CITU, Mr Dipankar Mukherjee, has threatened to approach the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for stalling the export consignments of the company.

The firebrand trade union leader, Mr Mukherjee, was here to attend a protest rally organised by the state unit of the CPM at grain market this afternoon.

Lamenting the district police for lathi charging the Liberty workers on June 26, he said the Hooda government had adopted anti-worker policies. He charged the Karnal police for shielding the Liberty management and demanded an immediate release of the arrested workers.

The CITU secretary cautioned the management of the footwear company to adhere to the labour laws.

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Bhajan loyalist resigns from party
Tribune News Service

Karnal, July 4
A staunch supporter of Bhajan Lal and chairman of the city Congress committee, Karnal, Mr Tarlochan Singh, tendered his resignation today.

In a latter , to the chairperson of the AICC, Ms Sonia Gandhi, he mentioned the sidelining of Bhajan Lal as the reason for the resignation. He has reasoned that since there was no party president in the state he was sending it to the national president.

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