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Wednesday, January 6, 1999
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Mr Ishwar Prakash Vashist, taking the oath of office and secrecy as the first Lok Pal from Haryana Governor Mahabir Prasad in Chandigarh on Tuesday
Mr Ishwar Prakash Vashist, taking the oath of office and secrecy as the first Lok Pal from Haryana Governor Mahabir Prasad in Chandigarh on Tuesday— A Tribune photograph.

First Lok Pal of Haryana sworn in
CHANDIGARH, Jan 5 — Mr Ishwar Prakash Vashist, a Judge of the Allahabad High Court, has been appointed the first Lok Pal of Haryana.

district diary
  Haryana state map

Why ‘coup’ against Bansi Lal failed
CHANDIGARH, Jan 5 — If the Haryana Governor, Mr Mahabir Prasad, had not been away from the State headquarters on December 31 last, the Bansi Lal Government could have been in deep trouble.
Guessing the next move
BHIWANI, Jan 5 — Industrialists of the local industrial area heaved a sigh of relief last night when suddenly Special Vigilance teams were called back by the HVPN at Chandigarh.
50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence


LD prepares for poll
ROHTAK, Jan 5 — The Indian National Lok Dal will announce its candidates for the next elections before six months.

Cong not to ally with BJP in Haryana
SONEPAT, Jan 5 — Mr Birender Singh, MLA and former HPCC President has predicted the fall of the BJP-led coalition Government at the Centre and said that if the Congress got a chance to come to power with the help of like-minded parties, the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi would be the Prime Minister of the country.

Morcha platform for all castes, says Jindal
SONEPAT, Jan 5 — The Haryana Sarvjatiya Morcha is a platform for all castes and it was wrong to perceive it as a non-Jat organisation.

Seven trees felled illegally
AMBALA, Jan 5 — Seven green trees have been felled illegally in Government Primary School at Dalipgarh village near here.



Why ‘coup’ against Bansi Lal failed
By Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 5 — If the Haryana Governor, Mr Mahabir Prasad, had not been away from the State headquarters on December 31 last, the Bansi Lal Government could have been in deep trouble.

According to informed sources, managers of the coup which failed had planned to present 15 HVP MLAs before the Governor before the Cabinet meeting scheduled for that day. When they learnt that Mr Mahabir Prasad was not in town that day and was expected to come back early next day, the coup managers postponed their plans for the New Year.

But their strength came down from 15 as a number of MLAs had to go to their home constituencies because of their pre-engagements. However, the number of the rebels was still more than the minimum of 12 required to split the 35-member HVP Legislature Party without attracting the provisions of the anti-defection law.

Thanks to foggy weather, the Governor could reach Chandigarh only in the afternoon on January 1 by which time the strength of the rebels had fallen below the magic number. At least four MLAs had promised to return to Chandigarh from their constituencies on January 2. The anxiety in the camp of the rebels started building as the day passed. However, they were sure that the former Chief Minister, Mr Bhajan Lal, would keep his promise of "delivering" the Minister of State for Architecture, Mr Raj Kumar Saini, to the rebel camp. But their hopes were belied when they came to know that the ruling group had been successful in persuading their four colleagues, including Mr Saini, to dissociate themselves from the coup, which was abandoned late in the evening on January 2.

The sources say a former HVP MP and former Union Deputy Minister, Mr Jai Prakash, too was involved in the planning of the coup. He also remained in Chandigarh on the eve of the New Year like Mr Bhajan Lal and the former Haryana Congress President, Mr Birender Singh.

The coup was well planned. Many of its participants had booked accommodation in hill stations ostensibly to celebrate the New Year eve there with their families. But they did not reach the destination or came back to Chandigarh.

The pivot of the coup was an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Mohan Jain, whose Sector 21-B, house was virtually used as the control room, Hailing from Hisar Mr Jain has close links with the Lok Dal leader, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the former Haryana Congress President, Mr Birender Singh as well as with a number of HVP leaders besides Mr Jai Prakash. He has equally strong links with certain Punjab politicians also.

Mr Jain first came into prominence in the early nineties when he successfully contested a case against the former Minister, Mr Mange Ram Gupta, regarding the allotment of plots by the Jind Improvement Trust. Earlier, he had appeared against the Lok Dal leader, Mr Prof Sampat Singh, in what had come to be know as the Gurdev Singh detention case.

It is for the first time that Mr Jain had stepped out of the legal field to actively participate in political activities.

Meanwhile, political observers feel that with the seeds of the revolt sown in the HVP, the crisis managers of the Bansi Lal Government will have to be on their tows all the time to ward of any destabilisation threat in future, notwithstanding the assertion by Mr Bansi Lal today that his Government would complete its tenure of five years.


First Lok Pal of Haryana sworn in
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 5 — Mr Ishwar Prakash Vashist, a Judge of the Allahabad High Court, has been appointed the first Lok Pal of Haryana. The Haryana Governor, Mr Mahabir Prasad, administered the oath of office of Lok Pal to Mr Vashist at a simple but impressive function held at Haryana Raj Bhavan here today.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, a number of his Cabinet colleagues, Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, members of the Haryana Public Service Commission, and a number of senior civil and police officers attended the ceremony.

Mr Vashist was born on October 18, 1938, at Rohtak. He obtained his degree in law from Delhi University. He joined the State Civil Service in 1961 and became District and Sessions Judge in 1983.

Mr Vashist worked with the Central Government in the Labour and Finance Ministries. He also remained a judicial member of the Central Excise and Customs Tribunal at Mumbai. He was elevated as Judge of the Allahabad High Court in 1994 and continued as such till his appointment as Lok Pal in Haryana. He was a member of the Special Full Bench dealing with the title suits related to Ram Janma bhoomi and Babri Masjid.

With a view to checking corruption at high places, the present Haryana Government got the Haryana Lok Pal Act, 1997 enacted which came into force on November 9 last.

The term of the Lok Pal will be for a period of five years. He will be entitled to the pay and allowances equal to the pay and allowances as admissible to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court from time to time.

The Haryana Lok Pal Act, which extends to the whole of the State of Haryana, provides for the appointment and functions of a Lok Pal for inquiry and investigation into the allegations and grievances against public servants and related matters. Those who will come under the purview of the Lok Pal include the Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers, Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary, a member of Legislature Assembly, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly, Chairman, Vice-Chairman or member of the Board of Directors of a Government company or nonstatutory body incorporated, registered or constituted by the State Government, besides all persons covered in the definition of public servant as per Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

It will also cover a Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor of a Municipal Corporation constituted or deemed to have been constituted, President,Vice-President of a municipal committee or municipal council, President, Vice-President of a Zila Parishad, Chairman, Vice-Chairman of a Panchayat Samiti or of any managing committee of an apex society incorporated or registered under the law relating to cooperative societies. The Lok Pal will also cover the President, Vice-President, Managing Director of the Board of Directors of other cooperative societies incorporated or registered by or under the law relating to the cooperative societies.

The Vice-Chancellor or a Pro Vice-Chancellor of a university will also be under the ambit of the Lok Pal.

The Lok Pal may, on receipt of a reference from the Government or suo motu, proceed to enquire into the allegations or the grievances made against a public servant. He may inquire into any act or conduct of any person other than a public servant in so far as he considers it necessary to do for the purpose of his enquiry into any allegation of misconduct against a public servant provided that the Lok Pal will give such a person a reasonable opportunity of being heard and to produce evidence in his defence.

A complaint may be made under the Act to the Lok Pal in case of grievance by the aggrieved person, in case of allegation by any person provided that where the person aggrieved is dead or for any reason, unable to act for himself the complaint may be made by any person who in law represents his estate or, as the case may be, by any person permitted to act on his behalf.

Every complaint involving an allegation or grievance will be made in such form, and in such manner and will be accompanied by such affidavit as may be prescribed. However, the Lok Pal may dispense with such affidavit in any appropriate case for reasons to be recorded in writing.

Any letter written to the Lok Pal by a person in police custody or in a jail or in any asylum or any other custodial place, will be forwarded to the Lok Pal unopened and without delay by the police officer or the person in charge of such jail, asylum or any other custodial place. If the Lok Pal is satisfied, that it is necessary to do so he may treat such letter as a complaint. Any person who wilfully or maliciously makes any false complaint under this Act, will on conviction, be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine, which may extend to Rs 10,000, or with both and the court may order that out of the amount of fine, such sum as it may deem fit, be paid by way of compensation to the person against whom such complaint was made, provided that no court will take cognisance of an offence punishable under this section except on a complaint made by or under the authority of the Lok Pal.

The Lok Pal will not enquire into any matter in respect of which an inquiry has been ordered under the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act, 1850, or which is not connected with the discharge of functions as public servant of the person against whom allegation is made or relating to an allegation against a public servant if the complaint is made after expiry of a period of 10 years from the date on which the conduct complained against is alleged to have been committed.

Every inquiry under the Act will, unless the Lok Pal for reasons to be recorded in writing determines otherwise, be conducted in camera. The Lok Pal will have the power to summon record of the State Government, local authority, corporation, Government company, society, university, any college affiliated to or constituent of a university or from any other person in connection with any inquiry or investigation against public servant undertaken by him. Top


Bansi Lal defends Lok Pal’s choice
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 5 — The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, today strongly defended the selection of Mr Ishwar Parkash Vashist as the Lok Pal of Haryana. Mr Vashist, who was sworn in today, was a sitting Judge of the Allahabad High Court.

Talking to newspersons after the swearing in ceremony, Mr Bansi Lal said that he had gone through all legal and constitutional aspects while making the choice of an eminent Judge of great integrity. He said Mr Vashist had a long and illustrious career. He wondered at the criticism of the leader of the Opposition, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, regarding the choice of Lok Pal.

Answering questions, the Chief Minister said that he had written thrice to Mr Chautala as he was duty bound to seek his advice, but sadly he got no response to his letters. "I have consulted the Haryana Speaker, the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and the Leader of the Opposition as per the Lok Pal Act and the Governor finally gave his concurrence. We were already late and the Supreme Court had issued strict instructions that this appointment should come fast", he said.

Mr Bansi Lal said that the criticism of Mr Chautala was not fair and was motivated by other considerations.

The Chief Minister was asked to comment on the sacking of the Naval Chief, Admiral Bhagwat, but he refused. He said: "The defence issues concern the security of the country and these should not be played around in this manner. We should be careful in running an open debate on defence issues. What is appearing in the media is too much. Restraint should be exercised, "he pleaded. Asked to comment whether during his tenure as Defence Minister he experienced any such problem, the Chief Minister's reply was the curt no. He refused to be drawn into any further debate.

About the attacks on Christians in Gujarat, Mr Bansi Lal said that the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister had already expressed their concern which all people share and adequate steps were being taken to stop this.

Mr Bansi Lal denied that there was any threat from any quarter to his government. Asked to comment on the report that he has succeeded in thwarting another attempt to topple his government, he said he came to know about this from a newspaper only. "Both Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Chautala have been trying to topple this government ever since I took over and they have miserably failed. They keep attempting all the time. They will not succeed. They are now scared of our achievements and the peoples' response to our rallies all over the state. By June end, there will be no dearth of power. This will mean better production in all sectors like agriculture and industry and more industry would also come. We are trying hard that the power reforms succeed. This is disturbing these phoney leaders", he said. Asked about the bad conditions of roads, Mr Bansi Lal said that every effort was being made to improve that area and these too surely should be better now.

Asked about any plans to expand the Council of Ministers, Mr Bansi Lal said that he would do so whenever it was necessary. One BJP position was vacant and when a name was suggested by that party's high command, that person would be included.

The Chief Minister said that the Assembly session would be summoned this month itself and its duration would depend upon the legislative business.


Bansi Lal not to join Cong
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 5 — The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, today made it clear that he had no intention of rejoining the Congress and added that some Congressmen were of their own, creating a false impression as if he was desirous of reinduction into the party.

Mr Bansi Lal was reacting to the statement of the Congress General Secretary, Ms Meira Kumar, which appeared in a section of the Press yesterday.

He also ridiculed the assertion made by the Haryana Pradesh Congress chief, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, that the Congress was prepared for elections in Haryana, saying that the HVP-BJP combine was strong like a rock and it would complete its full tenure of five years. He said the present State Government was enjoying the support of all sections of society as it had accelerated the pace of development and made the administration more responsive to the aspirations of the people.

Mr Bansi Lal said that had the previous Governments of Congress or the Lok Dal taken any step to meet the growing demand for power, the State would have not faced such an acute shortage of electricity. None of the previous governments tried to bridge the gap between increasing demand of power and its short supply. Also, the irrigation system was completely neglected by them.


Power theft: HVPN’s drive, what next?
From Our Correspondent

BHIWANI, Jan 5 — Industrialists of the local industrial area heaved a sigh of relief last night when suddenly Special Vigilance teams were called back by the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam at Chandigarh. This step has come as a surprise about the intention of the authorities.

After several cases of power theft in the industrial area where the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam conducted raids last week on the industrial units for electricity theft, the manner in which the industrialists here indulged in the theft of electricity revealed that the extent of theft was to crores of rupees. Five of the officers and employees of the Nigam were arrested by the police in connection with theft of electricity and were on judicial remand. Criminal cases had been registered against officers and employees of the Nigam and four industrial houses.

In the matter of plying of private buses illegally the Chief Minister has ordered an inquiry but nothing came out of it instead a private bus owner who plied his bus illegally misbehaved with the General Manager of the Bhiwani depot of Haryana Roadways and things are moving slowly. One and a half years ago one sprinkler set company was cheating the farmers. An inquiry was ordered but till date nothing has happened.

Under these circumstances people think that nothing will happen, the electricity theft cases of crores of rupees and whether there will any logical end to the action taken so far by Vigilance Department of the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam.

Under the special campaign of recovery of outstanding dues launched by the Haryana Vidyut Parsaran Nigam more than Rs 1.84 crore has been recovered in Yamunanagar circle.

Mr R.S. Nandwani, Superintending Engineer, Operation Circle, Yamunanagar said here today that one crore has been recovered in Yamunanagar division alone from 11000 consumers. He further added that with the World Bank's assistance, various works connected with strengthening power supply system, about Rs 75 lakh had been executed up to December, 1998 under reforms programme. He added that about 4,000 defective energy meters and about 40 km old and deteriorated PVC mains and sub-mains and services have been replaced to bring improvement in consumer services.

Mr Nandwani added the work of strengthening of 11 KVA Dhanura feeder is being executed on war-footing. The existing feeder is being trifurcated and lower size conductor of 11 KVA and low tension lines shall be augmented with higher size conductor. About Rs 1.11 crore are estimated to be spent on these works, which are targeted to be completed within one month. A large number of consumers of 51 villages including Bilaspur, Dhanaura, Ranjitpur, Kapal Mochan etc shall be benefitted in terms of power supply.

With the replacement of old PVC cable and defective energy meters, augmentation of distribution transformers and strengthening of power distribution network, the consumers shall get improved power supply.


LD prepares for poll
From Our Correspondent

ROHTAK, Jan 5 — The Indian National Lok Dal will announce its candidates for the next elections before six months.

Declaring this at a party workers meeting held at Sampla, 25 km from here, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, President of the party, said that his party would take the people into confidence before selecting the candidates.

Mr Chautala called upon party workers to enroll genuine members so that the Lok Dal would fight for the betterment of people of the state. He asked the workers to raise the problems of the masses because the Bansi Lal Government had failed on all fronts. He told the gathering that in the 1977 flood, the then Chief Minister, Mr Devi Lal, had made available government tractors to farmers for sowing, but Bansi Lal government has failed to ensure sowing of crops in the 27 per cent of cultivable area in the rabi season.

Mr Chautala assured the people that he would increase the amount of old age pension from Rs 100 to 200,if his party was given a chance to serve the people.

The prominent leaders who attended the meeting were Dr Virender Pal, Srikishan Hooda, Balwant Myna, Nafe Singh Rarathi (all MLAs) and Dr Dharampal Makroliwala, leader of the Opposition in zila parishad.

Mr Om Parkash Chautala promised to exempt farmers from paying water and power bills and demanded the withdrawal of all taxes imposed during the prohibition in the state.

Later on, Mr Chautala addressed a gathering of local traders and businessmen and listened their problems. Supporting the demands of traders, the Lok Dal leader assured that he would relieve them from "inspector raj" if people of the state would give the party an opportunity to serve the state. He told the businessmen that it was Mr Devi Lal who had sanctioned land and grants for Medical College, Agroha, while the Bansi Lal government had stopped the grants for political reasons.


Cong not to ally with BJP in Haryana
From Our Correspondent

SONEPAT, Jan 5 — Mr Birender Singh, MLA and former HPCC President has predicted the fall of the BJP-led coalition Government at the Centre and said that if the Congress got a chance to come to power with the help of like-minded parties, the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi would be the Prime Minister of the country.

Talking to reporters here last evening, he also said that after becoming the President of the Congress party, Mrs Gandhi had infused a new confidence in the party workers and people of the country as well. The Congress wave had been sweeping the country and if the mid-term elections were held, the Congress would be voted to power as people wanted a change at the Centre.

The Congress leader also ruled out the possibility of the Congress extending support to the BJP in the formation of the Government in Haryana in case the Bansi Lal Government was dislodged.

He declared that the Congress party did not believe in the horse-trading and would not join in any of the attempt to dislodge the Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal from power as his government would fall on account of its own weight soon.

Describing the Bansi Lal Government as anti-farmer, the Congress leader stated that it had failed to safeguard the interests of the farmers who had also been denied of compensation for damaged crops by rains and storms last year despite special girdawari made by it. He said that vegetable growers had been facing great difficulties in marketing the produce and they had been forced to take their produce to the Capital. The construction of the Asia's biggest vegetable market at Rai in this district, he said, had been shelved for want of funds.


Morcha platform for all castes, says Jindal
From Our Correspondent

SONEPAT, Jan 5 — The Haryana Sarvjatiya Morcha is a platform for all castes and it was wrong to perceive it as a non-Jat organisation.

This was asserted by Mr O.P. Jindal, President of the Morcha, while talking to mediapersons at Ganaur, a sub-divisional town of this district, about 16 km from here yesterday.

He also declared that the Morcha would hold a rally at Gohana town in this district on January 17 where the announcement about the forming of a political party would be made by the Morcha leaders. This, he said, would automatically put an end to all kinds of speculations regarding his political future.

Mr Jindal also announced that the Morcha would contest all the 90 seats of the Haryana Assembly in the next elections.

Mr Jindal who was accompanied by the Morcha patron, Mr Ashwani Kumar Minna, Vice-President Dr Arvind Sharma, President, Samajik Ekta Party, Mr Nafe Singh Dahiya, to Bari village to address a public meeting there.

Mr Minna made it clear that the Morcha would not be merged with any political party but would emerge as a new political party in the state. He disclosed that a massive rally would be held on January 14 at Rewari.


Seven trees felled illegally
From Our Correspondent

AMBALA, Jan 5 — Seven green trees have been felled illegally in Government Primary School at Dalipgarh village near here.

According to sources, the headmistress of the school, Mrs Prem Kochhar, has complained to senior officials of the Education Department that some panchayat members had felled forcibly the trees ignoring her objections. She said that she had proposed to get a new classroom built in the school for which funds had been allotted.

While Mrs Kochhar suggested to the authorities that the new room should be built at a place where there was no need to fell these trees. Some members of the village panchayat did not pay any heed to her request.

Mrs Kochhar, a state awardee, also pointed out to her seniors that she had been threatened by these panchayat members. The trees later were sold off for Rs 4000 which she pointed out was much less than the market price.

As per government rules, no tree can be cut without permission of the Forest Department. Enquiries from the Forest Department revealed that no permission had been obtained in this case. According to government directives, it is only the Forest Department which can fell and sell the wood so that due price was got.

A senior official of the Education Department lamented that in a similar case last year, trees from the government primary school at Unjala were cut off and sold for Rs 1.25 lakh. But the money was not spent on school by the panchayat. Official assailed the panchayat for disposing of school property without any permission and then browbeating the teachers.

It is learnt that Mrs Kochhar is fearing a reprisal at the hands of the panchayat for taking up the issue with senior officials.


Appointment: college management
denies charge

Tribune News Service

ROHTAK, Jan 5 — The president of the Mahasabha Gurukul Vidyapeeth, Haryana, and Kanya Gurukul, Khanpur Kalan, Mrs Subhashni has denied the management adopted strong arm tactics in the selection of lecturer in Hindi for BPSM Girls College, Khanpur Kalan.

Mrs Subhashni said the management had appointed the meritorious candidate duly recommended by the selection committee. The committee comprised nominees of M.D. University, Director, Higher Education, Haryana, subject expert Dr Rajinder Singh and the principal of the college.

She said the allegations of using strong arm tactics by the college management at the time of interview on December 11, were baseless and aimed at prejudicing the university vice-chancellor for disapproval of the selected candidate.

According to the Registrar of the university, Mr Sriksant Walgad, the decision for approving the appointment of lecturer made by the college management would be taken in a couple of days.

He said the university nominee, Dr R.N. Mishra, had complained that he, nominees of the Director, Higher Education, Haryana, and the subject expert were not treated well by the college management. Dr Mishra was not even allowed to put a question to the candidate on the ground that only the subject expert was entitled to ask questions.


2 killed in road mishap
From Our Correspondent

SONEPAT, Jan 5 — Two persons were killed when a Haryana Roadways bus hit them on the Sonepat-Gohana road, near Mohana village, about 20 km from here, yesterday.

According to the police, the accident occurred during the dense fog which engulfed the area in the morning and the poor visibility is stated to be the main cause of this accident.

The victims have been identified as Rajesh (22) and Deepak (9).

The police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving and causing death against the bus driver.


Rural banks' staff to court arrest on June 7
Tribune News Service

FARIDABAD, Jan 5 — Officers and employees of regional rural banks from all over the country would hold a demonstration and court arrest in Delhi on January 7 to protest against the indifferent attitude of the central government towards their demands.

Mr Mukesh Joshi, President of the Regional Rural Bank Workers Organisation, said here today that a strike would be observed in rural banks all over the country on January 11.

Mr Joshi said the sixth bipartite wage revision settlement had been implemented in the banking industry in November, 1992, except in rural banks, on the plea that they were running in loss. He pointed out that a number of public sector banks were also running in loss but the wages had been revised for their employees.

The Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Allahabad, Karnataka and Kerala High Courts had given their judgement in favour of the rural bank staff but it had not been implemented.

He regretted that 12 ministers of the BJP government at the Centre when they were in Opposition, had supported their demand for the amalgamation of 196 regional rural banks for the formation of the National Rural Bank of India, but were now not bothered to take any step in that direction.


Couple found murdered
Tribune News Service

FARIDABAD, Jan 5 — Mr Prem Shanker Ghai (45), manager of herbal farm of famous beautician Shahnaz Husain, situated in Dhauj village in Faridabad district and his wife Madhu (42) were found murdered this morning.

The police believe that the couple was gagged to death by fixing tape on their mouth and nose. Mr Ghai had gone to Delhi yesterday to bring cash for the distribution of salary to the farm workers, but due to some reason he came back without money.

Mr Mohammed Aquil, Superintendent of Police, who rushed to Dhauj, said the motive of the killers was to loot the cash from one of the almirahs which was found ransacked.

He said five watchmen of the farm, including Vikram, Hari Singh, Jivan and two others had been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the crime.



Inner roads cry for repairs
From Sushil Manav

FATEHABAD: The running away of a local trader-cum-miller firm with debts of over Rs 8 crore has sent shivers down the spines of many. Scores of traders from the local grain market, and in the surrounding areas besides bankers have been affected badly by the incident. The incident has hit business in the area.

The traders, Jagmohan and Jagbhushan, brothers and partners of a local grain market firm M/S Bhushan Brothers, vanished suddenly from the town along with their family members.

The firm owed a sum of over Rs 8 crore to traders from Fatehabad and surrounding areas besides two bankers. The run-away firm was one of the biggest business firms having two cotton mills at Fatehabad and Rattia. Some creditors had given money in lakhs to the firm. Some small-time business men who earned their livelihood by purchasing cotton from villagers on credit and supplying this to the mills have been ruined. Even those traders who have not directly been affected by the incident have also been hit. The incident has hampered circulation of money in the market. Payments for farmers, who have their accounts with the affected traders have also been delayed. The incident has also led to some sort of mistrust among the millers, traders and farmers.

The incident is not the first of its kind. Earlier, a mill owner had fled away to Nepal. He owed over Rs 1 crore to local traders.

* * *

Almost all inner roads of this district headquarters are in bad shape. The roads passing through the local Basti Bhavan, Thana road bazar, Dharamshala road and Sanyas Ashram bazar are in a pitiable condition and it is very difficult to cross these roads on a vehicle. There are big potholes and stagnant water could seen in potholes. Though local residents have been making a hue and cry about this, the administration has been doing nothing to improve the condition of these roads. The roads that bifurcate the Gurunanakpura and Inderpura is no better. Even the Rattia road that leads to Chandigarh is in very bad shape.

* * *

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr V. Rajashekhar, has ultimately vacated the Papiha tourist complex and shifted to his new residence at Hisar road. The complex was acquired by the administration and the tourist complex closed when the town was accorded the status of a district headquarters on July 15, 1997.

The complex was converted into a DC residence-cum-camp office.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on a public interest litigation filed by a local lawyer has directed the district administration to get the premises vacated by December 31 and restore it to the Tourism department. Mr Rajashekhar, who joined here as DC last month, directed the officials of the state PWD department to complete the construction of his new residence by December 15.

* * *

The district police is setting up two assistance booths on the national highway. The local Aggarwal Sabha has come forward in sponsoring the construction of the booths. The Sabha made the promise when it honoured the local SP, Mr Rajbir Deswal, here earlier when the district police solved a case of a dacoity in just two days.

The robbers had looted a sum of Rs 3 lakh from the accountant of Mr Ram Niwas Goyal, president of the local Aggarwal Sabha. The police arrested the accused within a week and recovered the entire amount.

* * *

Blood Bank is one of the biggest necessities of this new district headquarters of Haryana. Patients who need blood transfusion have to suffer a lot in the absence of a blood bank. The attendants of the patients have either go to Hisar to fetch blood for their dear ones or manage blood at the local level, thereby risking the patients to dangers of HIV and infective hepatitis in the absence of blood tests here.

The local unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad had made efforts to start at least blood storage facility in the local general hospital and incurred a lot of expenditure on the repairs of refrigerators of the Health department for this purpose. But the health authorities had done nothing except giving an assurance that a blood storage facility would be provided here in the hospital, where blood brought from the blood bank in Hisar could be stored and distributed to the needy.

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