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

SC blasts govt for ‘chaos and confusion’ on sealing issue
Bench virtually accuses govt of vested interest in the matter
New Delhi, September 18
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Centre and Delhi Government for their continued actions to create more “chaos and confusions” on allowing commercial activities in residential areas by issuing one order after another even when the matter is being dealt by it.

Villagers block Delhi-Jaipur highway
Gurgaon, September 18
Angry villagers of Chidrauli and Bilaspur Kalan near here blocked Delhi-Jaipur highway today at two points, causing chaos all around. The two villages are about 20 km from here towards Jaipur.

INLD to try to win over students from Haryana
Gurgaon, September 18
Rejoicing over its claimed success in the recent Delhi University elections, the INLD has decided to give a new thrust to its move to attract youths, especially the student community in Haryana.

Row over flats meant for economically weaker sections 
Gurgaon, September 18
One hundred and twenty-three flats built for the economically weaker sections (EWS) of society in 2000 by Unitech Limited are lying vacant even after six years at the prestigious Heritage City, MG Road here.


EARLIER STORIES




A Burmese girl hits the portrait of General Than Shwe of the ruling military junta with shoes during a protest in the Capital on Monday
A Burmese girl hits the portrait of General Than Shwe of the ruling military junta with shoes during a protest in the Capital on Monday. The protesters held the demonstration to mark the 18th anniversary of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which brought Burma under direct military rule. They demanded the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners and a dialogue to restore democracy in Burma. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Delhi ‘kabariwalas’ under the banner of Harit Recyclers’ Association participating in a march against the sealing of their godowns
Delhi ‘kabariwalas’ under the banner of Harit Recyclers’ Association participating in a march against the sealing of their godowns. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Soft toys a rich reserve of toxic metals: Study 
New Delhi, September 18
The seemingly-harmless soft toys that children like to cuddle with are in fact a rich reserve of toxic metals like cadmium and lead, claims a study. The study, conducted by an NGO ‘Toxics Link’, claims that in the absence of enforceable standards for lead and cadmium permissible in toys, children are unwittingly exposed to such dangerous metals. Soft toys, mostly made of PVC, account for 35 per cent of total production of toys in India, it says.

Complaints of fraud against banks 
Gurgaon, September 18
For most people, plastic money - credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards - means convenience, but in recent years, many fraud cases related to these have come to light.

‘Policemen behave in rude and hostile manner’
Gurgaon, September 18
The District Congress President (Rural), Mr Bhupinder Chaudhary, has complained to the Director General of Police, Haryana, against policemen posted in Manesar and Bilashpur for being "corrupt and rude".

Power dept opens single-window service at two centres 
Faridabad, September 18
Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has introduced a single-window service for the power consumers in the city here. The service is available at two centres in the city. The consumers may avail themselves of the Nigam’s services for various facilities, including fresh connection and any complaints at the centres located at Sector 6 and Sector 23.

Sonia Vihar water treatment plant inaugurated
New Delhi, September 18
“We would survive only when water remains; the towns and cities and earth would survive if water survives”, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the UPA Chairperson, said while inaugurating Sonia Vihar water treatment plant here today.
Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the UPA, presses the button to inaugurate Sonia Vihar water treatment plant while Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Minister of Power Sushil Kumar Shinde and Lt Governor of Delhi B. L. Joshi look on at a function in the Capital on Monday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal
Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the UPA, presses the button to inaugurate Sonia Vihar water treatment plant while Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Minister of Power Sushil Kumar Shinde and Lt Governor of Delhi B. L. Joshi look on at a function in the Capital on Monday

Man held for sodomising, killing minor
New Delhi, September 18
With the arrest of one Umesh (44), the North District police today claimed to have worked out the murder case of a minor boy who was found dead in a park behind Rani Jhansi Marg on April 16.

‘Ramlila’ to be webcast this year
New Delhi, September 18
This year, Indians living abroad can also enjoy ‘Ramlila’ celebrations, as the organisers of the Dusshera festival have made arrangements to webcast the 11-day festivities which begin this Saturday.

Protect your land even at the cost of your life, Tikait tells farmers
Ghaziabad, September 18
“If farmer wants to save his land from acquisition, he must learn to die for it because when farmers grow weak their land is acquired at dirt cheap rates,” said Mahinder Singh Tikait, chief of Bhartiya Kisan Union. He said farmers must understand that farming alone was their caste and religion.

JNU students on hunger strike 
New Delhi, September 18
Heralding in the election season, students in Jawaharlal Nehru University, led by their union, have begun a relay hunger strike to protest against the administration’s refusal to accept some of their demands.

‘Rational laws needed for dealing with refugees’
New Delhi, September 18
A five-day international workshop on ‘Forced Migration’ opened today at the Jamia Millia Islamia University. The workshop is being organised by the Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, in collaboration with Calcutta Research Group.

MCD intensifies sealing drive 
New Delhi, September 18
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today intensified its sealing drive following the Supreme Court direction in which the court criticised the government for announcing notification permitting commercial activities on thousands of roads.

‘Delhi not to face power shortage for C’wealth Games’
New Delhi, September 18
The Union Minister for Power, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, today assured that Delhi would not face any shortage of power for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Worker charred to death in factory fire 
New Delhi, September 18
A worker was charred to death in a major fire that broke out in a factory in Geeta Colony area of East Delhi early this morning. The fire in plastic material packing factory in Ram Nagar at about 5.50 am was brought under control in two hours by six fire tenders, Fire Brigade sources said.

One killed, 5 injured in road mishap 
New Delhi, September 18
One passenger was killed and five others injured seriously when a DTC bus hit a road divider on Dhaula Kuan–Gurgaon Road near Subroto Park early this morning. The bus was on its way to Sohna from Karol Bagh. All the injured have been admitted to AIIMS.

 

 

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SC blasts govt for ‘chaos and confusion’ on
sealing issue

Bench virtually accuses govt of vested interest in the matter
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 18
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Centre and Delhi Government for their continued actions to create more “chaos and confusions” on allowing commercial activities in residential areas by issuing one order after another even when the matter is being dealt by it.

Using strongest possible words against the Central and the NCT Government and their agencies, a Bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Mr Justice A R Lakshmanan and Mr Justice C K Thakker said the government had not even bothered to take the court into confidence and was virtually acting in a competitive manner.

When the traders’ counsel sought an order for maintaining status quo and not to proceed with the sealing till their petition was heard, the Court declined the request.

The Court fixed the next hearing for September 25 when it would consider the petition of traders as well as citizens.

But it said that “the total confusion and chaos is created none other than by the Government even when the Court in its order of August 10 had clearly said that the sealing would continue from September 16.”

The Bench told Solicitor General G E Vahanvati, who had to field all the brickbats from the Court on behalf of the government, that if it wanted to do something on the lines it had done, the Court should at least have been informed.

Referring to the notification of September 7 issued by the DDA, which virtually overreached the Court’s August 10 order, the Chief Justice said “We don’t know which of the agency the Centre, the state government or MCD would do what.”

Disapproving the government interference, the Court said that the manner in which the matter was being handled by it ensured that every citizen in the city — whether residents or traders — was being harassed.

The Court said the government was speaking in different languages in the court and outside in its efforts to please everyone for obvious reasons.

The Bench pointed out that when the August 10 order was passed, the government did not give any hint that it was contemplating another notification after the one issued by it on July 21 which was taken note of by the Court.

At the end, the Court gave an indication that if the government wanted that during the interim period, till the petition of traders was decided that the commercial activities in areas notified as mixed land use area, commercial venture in ground floor could function but with due certificates from licenced architects that the area covered was fit for any commercial activity.

But the decision should not be left to MCD officials and the architect’s licence would be cancelled if any certificate was given by it in violation of the norms. This was purely an indication given by the Court to give some relaxation only for interim period on which further deliberations are expected in the next hearing.

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Villagers block Delhi-Jaipur highway
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, September 18
Angry villagers of Chidrauli and Bilaspur Kalan near here blocked Delhi-Jaipur highway today at two points, causing chaos all around. The two villages are about 20 km from here towards Jaipur.

While residents of Chidrauli village blocked the road in protest against the erratic supply of power and water, those of Bilaspur Kalan were demonstrating against the alleged police failure to arrest the accused in a death case.

The residents of Chidrauli alleged that the village had been facing erratic supply of power and water for several days.

They blocked the highway at about 2.30 pm and lifted it only around 6.30 pm after the local Deputy Commissioner assured them of necessary action.

By that time there was about six kilometers of serpentine queues of vehicular traffic on either side of the highway. The angry villagers raised slogans against the government and the district administration. They alleged that they were facing sever power crisis.

At Bilaspur, the villagers relented only when the police announced suspension of two policemen, including the Investigation Officer (IO), in a death case.

Two youths of the village had clashed on September 11 which led to one’s death on September 16.The post-mortem was conducted today. The relatives and friends of the deceased took the body in a procession and blocked the highway at Bilaspur Kalan in protest against the police failure in arresting the accused. They blocked the road from about 3.10 pm to 5:45 pm, leading to similar chaotic scenes.

The Delhi-Jaipur highway is busy with traffic at most times since nine states get connected through this highway.

According to some witnesses, the two blockades were of longer than any seen before in Gurgaon district.

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INLD to try to win over students from Haryana
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, September 18
Rejoicing over its claimed success in the recent Delhi University elections, the INLD has decided to give a new thrust to its move to attract youths, especially the student community in Haryana.

The general secretary of the INLD and party MP, Mr Ajay Singh, told ‘The Tribune’ that the party would make special efforts to bring the students of Haryana to its fold.

He dropped broad hints that the INLD’s drive would vigorously attract students in the National Capital Region (NCR). Besides, the party would continue to strengthen its base in Delhi University, he added.

Mr Ajay Singh said here that although the INLD has been working for long to attract students in Haryana, it has got a shot in the arm following the expansion of the Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), the student wing of the party, in the consecutive elections of students in DU.

According to him, INSO’s panel won in 15 colleges of Delhi University in the recent students’ election. Also, it did reasonably well in the college of North Campus as well as the Law Centre. Except for the post of vice-president, all the nominees in the INSO panel stood third, he claimed.

On the whole INSO nominees secured 2000 more votes in comparison to the votes they mustered in the last elections.

The INSO put up such creditable performance despite the fact that it was constituted only four years back, he claimed.

As per INLD’s analysis, the students from Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonipat, Bahadurgarh and other areas near Delhi, join Delhi University in large numbers.

The influx of students from Haryana to DU has been steadily increasing over the years. Hence, it made sense for the INLD to focus on students, he said.

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Row over flats meant for economically weaker sections
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, September 18
One hundred and twenty-three flats built for the economically weaker sections (EWS) of society in 2000 by Unitech Limited are lying vacant even after six years at the prestigious Heritage City, MG Road here.

According to the documents available with ‘The Tribune’, 13,882 persons applied for the flats costing Rs 15,000 by depositing Rs 1,500 each with the company in May 2000.

The eligibility criterion for the flat with a covered area of just 200 square feet (18.58 square metre) was that the applicant’s total family income (inclusive of income of husband/wife and dependent children) should not exceed Rs 1,500 per month.

Another precondition for the applicants was that they should be residents of Haryana or should have been working in Haryana for the last six months on the date of registration or should be an employee of Haryana government or of a corporate body working under the supervision of the government of Haryana.

To ensure that the flats were allotted to the needy, there was another clause, which stated that the applicants should not own any residential plot/house in his/her name or in the name of his/her dependent family members in the urban estate.

After getting the applications, Unitech Limited constructed the 123 flats in the complex of Heritage City where posh luxurious apartments with all modern facilities had already been allotted and occupied.

The owners of these luxurious apartments, however, objected to the ownership rights of these EWS flats and claimed that as these flats were constructed in the same complex of Heritage City, they should be the owners of these flats as per the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act 1983. This is the same complex where leading politicians like BJP leader Mr L K Advani and former Prime Minister Mr V P Singh have their apartments.

The Heritage City Resident Welfare Association filed its appeal in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) and got a stay against the allotment of these EWS flats to anyone.

The developer Unitech Limited was thus mired in a Catch 22 situation, as neither can it allot the flats nor can it refund the amount taken from the weaker sections. Thus, the applicants are made to suffer for no fault of theirs.

When contacted, the company’s legal advisor said that out of the 13,882 applicants, around 2,000 persons had asked the company to refund their booking amount which was refunded to them.

The Town and Country Planning department had given a go-ahead for conducting a draw of lot for the remaining applicants. That way, except 123 lucky winners, the booking amount of Rs 1,500 would have been refunded to the remaining applicants, he added.

But the MRTPC did not permit the draw and the situation remains the same for the last six years, he claimed.

He said that the company constructed the EWS flats only because of the provisions of the licence granted under the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act 1975.

An applicant, Mintoo Gutpa, said that the company should be directed to build flats at another location and allot them to the same applicants. However, a number of other applicants demanded a draw. The collected amount can be transferred to the Heritage City Resident Welfare Association if the RWA wins the case, said Sanjay Jain, another applicant.

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Soft toys a rich reserve of toxic metals: Study 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
The seemingly-harmless soft toys that children like to cuddle with are in fact a rich reserve of toxic metals like cadmium and lead, claims a study. The study, conducted by an NGO ‘Toxics Link’, claims that in the absence of enforceable standards for lead and cadmium permissible in toys, children are unwittingly exposed to such dangerous metals. Soft toys, mostly made of PVC, account for 35 per cent of total production of toys in India, it says.

The study, expressed dismay the presence of alarming levels of lead and cadmium in PVC soft toys being sold in three cities, including Delhi.

There are no legal and binding standards that stipulate safe percentage for heavy metal content in toys, locally manufactured or imported, the authors said.

It was mentioned that both the metals are ‘proven poisons’ and can cause ‘toxic effects on the nervous system and the kidneys’. The study, released here today, points out, “Even the tiniest amounts can have long term and measurable effects on children, while at the same time displaying no distinctive symptoms. Lead, being cumulative in nature, is absorbed into the blood stream. Some of it is filtered out and excreted, but the rest is distributed in the liver, brain, kidneys and bones.”

Samples were collected from Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai that were studied by the team found to have varying concentration of lead and cadmium.

“Plastics like PVC are chemically dependent and need additives like lead, cadmium and other chemicals for them to be useable. These additives leach from the PVC and contaminate our bodies, putting children at risk,” said the report.

Seeking safe environment for children as also stringent laws, Ravi Agarwal, Director, Toxics Link, said, “Since we hope this study will trigger off larger investigations both in the amounts of heavy metals as well as the exposure they cause to children.”

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Complaints of fraud against banks 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, September 18
For most people, plastic money - credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards - means convenience, but in recent years, many fraud cases related to these have come to light.

In one such case, an army officer has alleged that Rs 45,623 was withdrawn from his account in ICICI Bank using his debit card which he had deposited in the bank for renewal in August, 2005. A principal of a college has also complained that Rs 15,000 was fraudulently withdrawn from his ATM account in April, 2006 from State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.

According to Gurgaon-based Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Yadav, he deposited his debit card for renewal after its expiry in August 2005 with ICICI Bank's Vasant Vihar branch. However, in September, 2005, Rs 45,623 was allegedly withdrawn from his account fraudulently, while the card was never received by
him or any member of his family.

Accusing the police of not taking his complaint seriously, he alleged that police officials first refused to lodge an FIR in this connection. However, after he filed a case in a court, the police lodged an FIR in December, 2005 against bank officials. But no progress had been made in the case since then, he alleged.

When contacted, a police official at the Vasant Kunj Police station said that as Lt Col Yadav had approached the Consumer Redressal Forum, the court would decide the case and the police would follow its direction.

A college principal, Mr Surjit Misree, alleged that some persons in connivance with bank officials of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Civil Lines, Rohtak, withdrew Rs 15,000 from his ATM account in April, 2006. Mr Misree, who holds his account at State Bank of India at Sohna, Gurgaon, informed that he went to Rohtak on April 6, 2006, and withdrew Rs 15000 using an ATM from the above said branch.

However, to his surprise, he found that Rs 15000 was withdrawn again from his account just after two days on April 8. The branch manager of the bank where this bungling allegedly took place had informed him that their ATM had been equipped with a hidden camera which would show the person who had committed the fraud, informed the principal.

But till date, no concrete action had come out, lamented Mr Misree.

Both the complainants demanded that the culprits be booked and their money be credited in their accounts by the concerned banks.

Talking to 'The Tribune', Mr A. K. Gupta, branch manager of the State Bank of India, Sohna, said, "As per our preliminary investigation into the case, Rs 15000 were withdrawn on April 8 using the same ATM that was issued to Mr Misree. It is possible that a relative or friend may have used his card without his knowledge". 

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‘Policemen behave in rude and hostile manner’
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, September 18
The District Congress President (Rural), Mr Bhupinder Chaudhary, has complained to the Director General of Police, Haryana, against policemen posted in Manesar and Bilashpur for being "corrupt and rude".

Mr Chaudhary, also an MLA from Pataudi constituency, said that the local villagers had told him about the "rampant corruption" prevailing there during his visit to the villages near Manesar Police Station and Bilashpur police post recently.

The police staff had been accused of behaving in a very rude and hostile manner, the MLA alleged.

He further alleged that hundreds of trucks loaded with stones of illegal mining passed through the villages daily with the connivance of police staff, who were paid a "fixed monthly". He claimed that some of the police staff had been posted there 8 to 10 years ago.

In the letter written to the DGP, the Congress leader has demanded that the police staff be transferred immediately. One copy of the letter has also been sent to the Inspector General of Police, Gurgaon Range.

However, when contacted, the DGP said that it was not the duty of the police department to stop illegal mining. The concerned forest department must be asked to take action against the defaulters, he added.

The DGP further claimed that no police staff had been working there since the past 8 to 10 years.

However, he added that the department would investigate the whole matter and would take necessary action against the erring police officials, if any.

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Power dept opens single-window service at two centres 
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 18
Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has introduced a single-window service for the power consumers in the city here.
The service is available at two centres in the city. The consumers may avail themselves of the Nigam’s services for various facilities, including fresh connection and any complaints at the centres located at Sector 6 and Sector 23.

The DHBVN has proposed to open more such centres in the city during the next few months.

According to the department officials, the consumers would be able to lodge complaints and apply for new connection or reconnection at the centres. Now, they would not have to visit various offices of the Sub-Divisional Officers (SDOs) of the Nigam, they claimed.

The centres would also provide information to the consumer regarding the action taken report or the stage of the processing of any complaint or application for any service.

To make its services more efficient, the DHBVN has already issued instructions to the officials concerned to redress any complaint or process any application within a timeframe.

The Nigam has given the details about the documents required for fresh connection or an application for enhancing the present load on their premises with the announcement that the consumer would be sent the demand notice for a new connection through a courier after the submission of the application.

It is added that the new connection would be released within a set timeframe after completion of the required formalities.

However, the Nigam officials have not said as to what action would be taken against the officials and employees for deliberate delay in processing of an application.

The Nigam had opened a Bijli Suvidha Kendra (BSK), a customer care center outsourced to a private company on monthly rent basis, about two years ago in sector 23 for lodging the complaints regarding the supply. But the residents alleged that this centre had become a cause of inconvenience.

“The phone of the BSK was always found engaged even at odd hours. The complaint regarding the disruption of supply was hardly attended to by the staff concerned due to lack of coordination between the linemen and the centre,” claimed a resident of sector 10 here. 

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Sonia Vihar water treatment plant inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Hundreds of billboards greeting the party president dotted the road leading to the water treatment plant, ignoring government norms
SYCOPHANCY UNLIMITED: Hundreds of billboards greeting the party president dotted the road leading to the water treatment plant, ignoring government norms.

New Delhi, September 18
“We would survive only when water remains; the towns and cities and earth would survive if water survives”, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the UPA Chairperson, said while inaugurating Sonia Vihar water treatment plant here today.

Ms Gandhi described water as the most important life-source and exhorted Delhi Government to undertake serious efforts for bringing awareness concerning conservation of water.

She also urged various state governments to make joint efforts with the public to preserve the precious water resource. Ms Gandhi also urged all the residents of the Capital to render constructive contribution in conservation of water.

“Water, along with power and roads, form the basis of development of a nation. Every drop of water is precious and I urge all the state governments as well as the Centre to raise awareness among the public of the need of water conservation,” she said after dedicating the 140 MGD Sonia Vihar Water treatment plant set up at a cost of Rs 8,000 crore.

Speaking on the occasion, the UPA Chairperson said that despite several obstacles, Delhi Government had been able to successfully commission the water treatment plant and lay its connected pipelines in minimum possible time. The plant will help overcome drinking water problems in the large parts of the city, particularly East and South Delhi.

Lauding the effort of Delhi Government, Ms Gandhi added that she shared the joy of Delhiites in seeing their dream come true. She made reference of rapid urbanisation in several parts of the country wherein people require basic amenities such as water and electricity.

“Governments many a times find difficult to cope up with growing infrastructural requirements amidst fast pace of urbanisation, but Delhi Government has done extremely well by providing better roads and modern flyovers,” she said, adding that even Delhi Metro had matched international standards.

There had been improvement in the water and electricity supply in Delhi, but some headway was yet required, she said.

She further added that fruits of urbanisation must reach the poorest of the poor residents of slum and JJ colonies.

Addressing the gathering, the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dixie, said that following the commissioning of the plant, a total of 140 MGD of additional water would be available to Delhi, of which 90 MGD would be available to South Delhi, while the remaining 50 MGD would be received by people of East Delhi.

The additional feature of the plant is the minimum use of chemicals in the treatment. Further as against a high percentage of leakage in the existing distribution network, the leakage in the water distributed from the Sonia Vihar plant would be just 1.5 per cent.

The Delhi Lt. Governor, Mr B.L. Joshi, who was also present on the occasion, claimed that keeping in view the Commonwealth Games 2010 all efforts would be made to ensure amenities in Delhi.

The Union Water Resource Minister, Mr Saifuddin Soz claimed that his Ministry was committed to ensure safe and pure drinking water to all citizens. He exhorted Delhi Government to implement Water Management System on the lines of Singapore where the system of Water Management has brought wonderful results.

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Man held for sodomising, killing minor

New Delhi, September 18
With the arrest of one Umesh (44), the North District police today claimed to have worked out the murder case of a minor boy who was found dead in a park behind Rani Jhansi Marg on April 16.

The head of the body was found smashed in and the post-mortem report suggested that there was an attempt of sodomy on the minor.

With the help of telephone numbers written in a pocket diary found on the body, the police later identified the victim as Tiwari from Moga district of Punjab.

The police had received a tip-off that a person living in Sadar Bazar area targetted minor boys on the pretext of giving them jobs and committed immoral acts with them.

The suspect was arrested yesterday when he was roaming in suspicious circumstances on Idgah Road along with two boys.—OC

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‘Ramlila’ to be webcast this year
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
This year, Indians living abroad can also enjoy ‘Ramlila’ celebrations, as the organisers of the Dusshera festival have made arrangements to webcast the 11-day festivities which begin this Saturday.

“We have taken this step keeping in mind the needs of our international audience,” said Arjun Kumar, secretary of Luv-Kush Ramleela Committee, which has been organising the festival for the past 23 years.

This year, the festival will be organised in the ‘sanatan’ style wherein the male actor plays the role of a female as against the ‘vrindavan’ style where male and female actors play their respective roles.

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Protect your land even at the cost of your life, Tikait tells farmers

Ghaziabad, September 18
“If farmer wants to save his land from acquisition, he must learn to die for it because when farmers grow weak their land is acquired at dirt cheap rates,” said Mahinder Singh Tikait, chief of Bhartiya Kisan Union. He said farmers must understand that farming alone was their caste and religion.

Mr Tikait said that the Bahujan Kisan Dal would not enter into an agreement with any political party for the next assembly elections in UP.

He said the Bahujan Kisan Dal was a powerful organization but at some places it had shown signs of weakness. At such places farmers’ land has been acquired at Rs 100 to Rs 150 per yard and farmers had just looked on as mute spectators.—OC

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JNU students on hunger strike 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
Heralding in the election season, students in Jawaharlal Nehru University, led by their union, have begun a relay hunger strike to protest against the administration’s refusal to accept some of their demands.

Starting Saturday night, close to 30 students have joined in the relay hunger strike in the foyer of the administrative block. These students, led by JNUSU President, Mona Das, want the administration to accept all the conditions included in the charter of demands that was submitted to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr B B Bhattacharya, in February.

“Following our negotiations with them on September 14, the authorities have accepted our demands to democratise the Equal Opportunities Office, seek our opinion over the amendments made to the GSCASH and have agreed to make the examination process more transparent by making public the marks scored in entrance exams, M.Phil and Ph.D,” Ms Das said.

She, however, regretted that the authorities had failed to meet “the other more important demands”. “Despite the fact that the University has received a grant of Rs 80 crore, it is unwilling to increase the number of freeships and scholarship money and refused to have a 24-hour health service on the campus,” she said.

The students had asked the administration to increase the number of merit-cum-means scholarships, which is meant for those students whose total family income does not exceed Rs 75,000 a year. “We wanted them to increase the bar from Rs 75,000 a year to Rs 1 lakh a year. Also, while they have agreed to extend scholarships to Ph.D students, they refuse to increase the amount,” Ms Das complained.

“The university should make provisions for the construction of new hostels which will be required to accommodate the additional 900 students who will come when the 27 per cent OBC reservation is implemented. And for this, they should ensure that the construction that takes place does not disturb the ecology. We have also demanded that there should be students’ representation in the environment committee set up by the university,” she added.

The Union has also alleged that the proposal for the implementation of the OBC reservation that the University had submitted had not been discussed with either the students or the faculty members.

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‘Rational laws needed for dealing with refugees’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
A five-day international workshop on ‘Forced Migration’ opened today at the Jamia Millia Islamia University. The workshop is being organised by the Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, in collaboration with Calcutta Research Group.

The workshop is structured around five basic modules, one for each day. These are: the context and issues of forced migration, gender dimensions of forced migration, refugee protection: laws and regimes, resource politics and displacement and internal displacement: causes, voices and representation.

The keynote address was delivered by Ms Carol Batchelor, Chief of Mission, UNHCR, New Delhi, a renowned specialist on ‘statelessness’. Dr Batchelor stressed on the distinctions in the status of refugees who have crossed national borders and hence have no national protection, internally displaced people (IDPs), conflict-generated IDPs and non-conflict-generated IDPs which includes people displaced due to natural disasters and voluntary migrants. She quoted UN statistics informing that there were currently 8.4 million refugees and over 20 million IDPs out of whom over 6.6 million were conflict-generated IDPs. She also referred to the 4.3 million Palestinian refugees, many of whom had been in exile for over five decades.

Dr Batchelor further explained that, “Often, countries have no legal framework to deal with refugees although Article 14 of the Human Rights Declaration included the Right to Asylum for everybody. 

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MCD intensifies sealing drive 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today intensified its sealing drive following the Supreme Court direction in which the court criticised the government for announcing notification permitting commercial activities on thousands of roads.

The MCD sealed 226 properties for misuse in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court.

In Central zone, 6 properties were sealed, while in other zones City – 40, Civil Lines – 10, Karol Bagh – 12, Najafgarh – 14, Rohini – 16, South – 5, Sadar Paharganj – 44, Shahdara (North) – 9, Shahdara (South) — 42, West – 28.

In addition, 11 properties were also sealed in three zones for unauthorised construction in compliance with the High Court order. These comprised three in City zone, five in Civil Lines and three in Rohini.

When the MCD squad reached Kotla Mubarakpur, the local traders resisted the sealing process and forced the corporation officials to leave the area. The police force accompanying the MCD team could not control the mob.

The Corporation had to face the resistance of the local people in Seemapuri area of trans-Yamuna also. The MCD team sealed a liquor shop after the women of the area forced the officials to close liquor shops before sealing the shops selling daily use items.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Professor Jagdish Mukhi, alleged that the Delhi government and the MCD were responsible for the present “critical situation” in the Capital. “Now, the only solution left with the government to save the shopkeepers, is implementation of the Master Plan 2021,” he claimed.

The Leader of Opposition in the MCD, Mr Subhash Arya, also accused the government of “failing miserably” to present its case before the Supreme Court. 

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‘Delhi not to face power shortage for C’wealth Games’

New Delhi, September 18
The Union Minister for Power, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, today assured that Delhi would not face any shortage of power for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“We are fully prepared to meet the power needs for the Commonwealth Games. About 5200 MW of power will be made available for Delhi from the Damodar Valley Corporation and the National Thermal Power Corporation in the next three years. In addition, Delhi and Haryana have jointly agreed to set up a 1500 MW coal plant, out of which 750 MW power will be available for Delhi,” Mr Shinde said at a function organised by the Delhi Government.—TNS

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Worker charred to death in factory fire 
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, September 18
A worker was charred to death in a major fire that broke out in a factory in Geeta Colony area of East Delhi early this morning.
The fire in plastic material packing factory in Ram Nagar at about 5.50 am was brought under control in two hours by six fire tenders, Fire Brigade sources said.

The charred remains of the victim, Gopal (25), have been recovered.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire had broken out due to short a circuit, sources said.

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One killed, 5 injured in road mishap 
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, September 18
One passenger was killed and five others injured seriously when a DTC bus hit a road divider on Dhaula Kuan–Gurgaon Road near Subroto Park early this morning. The bus was on its way to Sohna from Karol Bagh. All the injured have been admitted to AIIMS.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the driver lost control over the bus after a portion of the vehicle suddenly cracked, police said. Subsequently, the bus hit the road divider.

   



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