|Friday, April 7, 2000,
Row over cancellation of case
BKU warns against use of force
4 Haryana MLAs election
Dirty water supply in Ambala Cantt
Master-plan to develop Hisar,
& stick policy to recover power dues
More stations on Optical Fibre
KU Regional Centre at Sirsa soon
Hectic lobbying on for HAUTA poll
Shopkeepers block road traffic
Entrance test postponed
11 injured in road accident
Row over cancellation of
case against CM
CHANDIGARH, April 6 A controversy has erupted over the cancellation of a case registered against the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, under the Prevention of Corruption of Act following allegations of favouritism levelled against the investigating agency by a former Haryana minister and RPI MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, who demanded that it should be reinvestigated by the CBI.
The state government, on the other hand, was quick to react through its Additional Advocate-General, Mr Amarjit Singh. It termed Mr Dalals allegations as "a figment of the imagination and a bunch of lies".
Mr Dalal said here today that the case was registered against Mr Chautala by the Dabwali police on a complaint filed by Mr Pratap Singh, brother of the INLD leader, in 1997. The allegations levelled by Mr Pratap Singh were that Chautala had amassed wealth and property disproportionate to his known sources of income. Mr Pratap Singh had also given details of the property allegedly owned by Mr Chautala.
After Mr Chautala became the Chief Minister, the investigating officer (IO) filed a cancellation report before the Special Judge, Sirsa, Mr K.K. Chopra. The prosecution requested the court that the case should be cancelled.
The prosecutions plea was opposed by Mr Pratap Singh who alleged that the investigating agency had not properly looked into the allegations against Mr Chautala.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgement, the Judge said where the police reported to the magistrate that the allegations in the FIR were false, the magistrate "cannot take cognisance of the matter and he has to make an order of cancellation of the case".
Mr Dalal said it was for the first time in the country that a case of corruption against a sitting Chief Minister had been cancelled in such a manner. He said under the political atmosphere prevailing in the country it was unthinkable that the state police would report against the Chief Minister of that state.
The RPI MLA said it would have been appropriate and in tune with political morality if the case had been investigated by the CBI. It would have carried conviction with the people if the CBI had recommended the cancellation of the case. He said much hue and cry was being made against the corruption case against Laloo Yadav where an amount of about Rs 45 lakh was involved. But the Central Government was adopting a different yardstick in the case against Mr Chautala who had been accused by his own brother of amassing wealth worth crores of rupees.
Mr Dalal said he would approach the Governor, the Prime Minister and the President as well as various bar associations in the state to press his demand for investigation into the case by the CBI. If need be, he said, he would also approach the court of law.
Mr Amarjit Singh said the Special Judge had held that the matter was properly and thoroughly investigated and it did not require any further investigation. He said earlier the Punjab and Haryana High Court had held, while dismissing a petition filed by Mr Pratap Singh, that it did not feel persuaded by the counsel for the petitioner that "the investigation of the case is likely to be adversely affected simply because Mr Chautala is holding the office of the Chief Minister and therefore, we should order the withdrawal of the investigation from the Haryana Police and entrust thereof to the CBI.
Mr Pratap Singh had gone to the High Court with a plea that the investigation of the case should be handed over to the CBI.
Advocate-General went on to quote from the High Court
order to say: "The allegations of this nature are
not uncommon in the present-day politics and perhaps it
has become the fashion of the day that politicians and
public representatives accused their opponents of having
amassed wealth or indulged in criminal activities."
Recovery of power bills
ROHTAK, April 6 The move by the Haryana Government to recover pending electricity bills in the state from the rural areas will not be an easy task and the authorities might have to face a stiff resistance from the consumers. Bills over Rs 230 crore are reported to be pending for the past about three to four years in the agriculture sector alone.
A campaign launched by the previous government to recover such bills met with a limited success. The authorities could recover some money mostly in the urban areas. Several incidents of violence, including the beating up of the officials and employees of the power board (Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam) were reported and the authorities could not do much in this connection. They had to postpone the recovery campaign.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has been opposing the manner in which recovery is being made. BKU activists claim that farmers do not owe any power bill since they do not get power when they need it and allege rampant corruption in the power board.
A senior leader of the BKU said there were several charges which were added two monthly bills, these were the liability of the board and not of the consumers. He alleged that the farmers were being forced to pay these charges. He said if the government could come up with any proposal to remove the alleged discrepancies in the billing system, all consumers would come forward to pay the bills.
The BKU leaders have warned the state government against the use of force in the recovery of bills.
In a Press release, a spokesperson of the BKU said farmers would not bow to any pressure but were ready for talks to resolve the problem. It said, in no case, the farmers would pay the surcharge or interest on the pending bills, and the penalty imposed on them was unacceptable.
It also criticised the
new minimum support price for wheat announced by the
Centre. Describing it as a joke the BKU
threatened to hold back the wheat and said the
farmers might not sell the produce to government
4 Haryana MLAs
CHANDIGARH, April 6 In separate petitions filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court here today, the election of four candidates to the Haryana Assembly, including two from the Indian National Lok Dal, were sought to be declared void.
The candidates were INLDs Mr Ranbir Singh and Mr Bhagwan Sahai Rawat, besides Mr Jai Parkash of the Indian National Congress and Independent, Mr Udai Bhan.
Accusing Mr Ranbir Singh of indulging in corrupt practices during the election to the Badhra Assembly constituency, the Haryana Vikas Party candidate Mr Narpinder Singh alleged that Independent Mr Amir Singh was induced by the returned candidate to contest the election. Mr Amir Singh, the petitioner added, was assured that all the expenses, including the security deposit, would be borne by Mr Ranbir Singh.
Seeking directions for declaring Mr Ranbir Singhs election as void, "as required under Section 100 (1) (b) of the Representation of the People Act, the petitioner also asked for disqualification of both candidates for allegedly indulging in corrupt practices.
He stated that 18,415 votes were polled in his favour, while 25,205 votes were cast in Mr Ranbir Singhs favour. Mr Amir Singh secured 88 votes, he added. The counting had taken place on February 25.
In a separate petition, another HVP candidate Mr Harsh Kumar, sought directions for declaring as void Mr Bhagwan Sahai Rawats election to the Hathin Assembly seat.
Accusing the returned candidate of indulging in corrupt practices, the petitioner alleged that three advertisements for several posts were issued at Mr Rawats behest after the model code of conduct came to force on January 8, 2000. This, he added, was done only to lure unemployed educated voters of the constituency.
Challenging Mr Jai Parkashs election to Barwala Assembly constituency, the Independent, Mr Anant Ram alleged that gross irregularities and illegalities were committed during counting.
Seeking directions for declaring him duly elected, the petitioner also alleged that valid votes polled in his favour were improperly rejected while invalid votes were counted in Mr Parkashs favour. Claiming that his application for recounting of votes was rejected by the returning officer, the petitioner said no reasons were given for the same.
Alleging irregularities at the time of counting, Mr Jagdish Nayar of INLD, in another petition, stated that Mr Udai Bhan did not get the majority of votes but was declared elected. Mr Bhan was declared elected from the Hasanpur seat.
Dirty water supply in Ambala
AMBALA, April 6 The water-supply pipes had been laid in 1903 and it had been working well for Sadar area of Ambala Cantonment. However, since the past few days, the residents of Timber Market in Sadar area are complaining of foul-smelling dirty water in their taps. They said the water which was being supplied had become mixed with the sewerage water and was unfit for drinking.
"About four days ago, we saw that the tap water was very dirty and a foul smell was emanating from it," a resident of Timber Market said. Residents fear that drinking the water may lead to various diseases.
The Chairman of the Citizens Council of Ambala Cantt, Dr N.C. Jain, said the water in that area was highly contaminated and not fit for human consumption. "Samples of the water have been collected by residents of the area and have been sent to the Public Health Department authorities, the CMO of Civil Hospital, the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council of Ambala Sadar and the Deputy Commissioner."
Officials concerned said following a complaint by the residents, action had been taken and the connections to the affected houses were being shifted from an old pipe to a new one.
A Public Health Department Executive Engineer, Mr R.K. Singla, said since the beginning of the week, there had been complaints regarding the supply of foul-smelling water to some homes in the Timber Market area. "In that area, we have two types of pipes. The first is a 5-inch pipe and the second a 6-inch one. While the 5-inch pipe was laid way back in 1903, the second was laid recently," he said.
Mr Singla said the water supply through the old 5-inch pipe had been affected and several connections on that pipe were receiving water which was foul-smelling. "The pipes laid in 1903 had given way and the areas where these had been laid over sewer lines, the water was getting mixed up. So we shifted the connections from the old pipe to the new," he said.
He said an old pipe from Kali Bari to Sadar police station was the worst affected and the connections were being shifted in the past two days. "Forty connections have already been shifted. We are telling all to shift the water supply connection from the old pipe to the new, but, many still prefer to use the old one. They say the motor is more effective when used on this pipe as it is at a lower level," Mr Singla said.
Master-plan to develop Hisar,
HISAR, April 6 The state government has envisaged a comprehensive master-plan for the development of Hisar city protecting it from floods. The thrust of the plan is said to be on regulating the traffic and providing major civic amenities to the people. Besides, an industrial township is also envisaged.
Sources said the plan, which would be a development model for other rapidly growing cities in the state, has been developed keeping in view the fast growing population of the city. The population, which, according to the 1991 census, was said to be around 2 lakh is expected to touch the million mark in 2001.
Although the plan is still in the preliminary stage, the broad outline shows that a bypass will be developed in the southern part of the city. This will be connecting the Delhi-Fazilka National Highway Number 10, also called Maharaja Aggarsen Marg with the Rajgarh Road. This will facilitate the smooth flows of traffic in the city. The heavy vehicular traffic coming from Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan will be diverted without touching the city. Similarly, the Raipur road will also be connected with National Highway Number 10 through the main road via Vidyut Nagar.
The plan also envisages developing some historical places as tourist spots. The historic Gujari Mahal would be developed as a tourist and picnic resort. There is also a move to shift the milk dairy and the Canal Colony out of the city.
The plan further includes construction of a few more water reservoirs to meet growing demand for drinking water.
Hisar city is also vulnerable to floods. The city can be inundated anytime due to heavy rain. Located at a comparatively lower height than adjacent areas, there is always a chance of the excessive water from Hansi, Narnaund and Barwala getting into the city. The water from these areas during the rains will be diverted through a drain towards Ghaghar.
To give a boost to the
industry the government is planning to acquire 1200
hectares of land for developing an industrial township.
Hisar city, is already famous for steel industry. The
government plans to develop it as a major industrial
Carrot & stick policy to
recover power dues
HISAR, April 6 Power utilities in Haryana have launched the final phase of their campaign to recover arrears of power bills which now amount to a whopping Rs 900 crore.
Under instructions from the state government, the power utilities are asking defaulters of all categories to pay up by April-end or face disconnection and eventually criminal proceedings under the Land Revenue Act from next month.
The current phase of the campaign began on April 3. A two-pronged strategy has been devised for this phase. The urban areas and those villages where the number of defaulters is less than 50 per cent of connections have been placed in one category. The second category comprises problem villages where the amount of arrears is substantial and the number of defaulters is more than 50 per cent of connections.
In the first category, power utility officials are now meeting defaulters individually. If they fail to pay up immediately the supply is disconnected there and then. It is learnt that power supply to 820 consumers owing arrears of bills was disconnected in Delhi zones Narnaul circle on April 3 and 4. Together, these consumers owe the power supply corporation Rs 1.37 crore. Arrears to the tune of Rs 27 lakh were recovered during the first two days of the month-long campaign.
In the Delhi zone alone, the arrears amount to over Rs 108 crore. The domestic sector in this zone is the biggest defaulter with arrears of Rs 73 crore followed by the non-domestic sector with Rs 18 crore and the agricultural sector with arrears of Rs 16 crore.
In Hisar zone supply has been disconnected in the case of 415 defaulters. In this zone, too, domestic consumers owe the corporation over Rs 70 crore followed by the agricultural sector with Rs 34 crore as arrears.
In the problematic areas, the authorities have adopted a cautious policy since most of these areas are under the influence of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and earlier attempts to recover dues or disconnect supply had resulted in violence.
In these areas, powermen first visit the villages and prepare the ground for the visit of the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police concerned. The DCs have been authorised to deal with any situation. The visits by these officers have already begun in several districts.
They have been authorised to even announce relaxation in the imposition of surcharge and interest. Those who are unable to pay the bills in single instalments are being given an opportunity to do so in three instalments of 50, 30 and 20 per cent of the due amount. However, surcharge or interest waivers, if any, will only be available in case of lumpsum payment or at the time of payment of the final instalments.
In a bid to persuade villagers, several deputy commissioners have also announced during their visits that pending development projects for their villages would be cleared soon after they pay their arrears. Likewise, in several instances, promises have been made to sanction new development projects in the villages once the power bill arrears are paid.
Power utility officials describe the response to the campaign as "encouraging" but add that they are adopting a carrot and stick policy. The unpleasant part of recovery proceedings will begin from May against those who fail to comply. They say the government has already taken a decision to invoke the Land Revenue Act to recover the arrears.
However, officials are tight-lipped if similar steps would also be taken against government departments and local bodies who, too, owe substantial arrears.
A visit to a few
problematic villages, however, revealed that farmers are
still reluctant to pay their bills despite relaxations.
Many of them said, the arrears were beyond their capacity
to pay even in instalments. However, they said they would
pay their bills regularly in future, if the arrears were
waived. However the government is in no mood to oblige
them for the simple reason that power reforms cannot be
initiated till arrears are cleared and future payments
are on time.
KU Regional Centre at Sirsa
KURUKSHETRA, April 6 Kurukshetra Universitys Regional Centre at Sirsa will start functioning from the current academic session. The university has earmarked Rs 1.5 crore in the university budget for this regional centre.
Stating this here today, the Kurukshetra University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Hoshiar Singh said with the start of regional centre at Sirsa, the students of the area would be benefited in getting higher education without facing any hardship.
He said in the beginning, four postgraduate courses would be started from the current academic session including computer application, public administration, LL.B. and MBA. Other courses would also be introduced shortly after consultation with the Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, he added.
He further said that Rs
14.7 lakh would be spent for construction work and Rs 8
lakh for the computer department, Rs 3 lakh for public
administration department, Rs 2.5 lakh for law
department, Rs 13 lakh for providing drinking water and
electricity, Rs 24.5 lakh for eight staff flats and Rs 70
lakh for the construction of hostels.
Shopkeepers block road traffic
SONEPAT, April 6 Shopkeepers on the Sonepat-Gohana road put up their shutters and blocked the traffic in front of the police post here yesterday in protest against the alleged beating up of a kiryana shop owner by a person who was defeated in the civic poll and his supporters.
The shopkeepers shouted slogans against the police and blocked traffic. A large number of vehicles were lined up on both sides of the road.
The Station House Officer pacified the mob assuring that the culprits would be brought to book.
Hectic lobbying on for HAUTA
HISAR, April 6 With only one day left, hectic lobbying is on for the annual Haryana Agricultural University Teachers Association (HAUTA) elections scheduled for tomorrow.
Interestingly this year the contest for the HAUTA President is going to be between the current president, Dr Dalel Singh of the Department of Microbiology, and Dr H.K. Verma of the Department of Extension Education, Secretary, HAUTA. The two were on the same panel last year.
In a triangular contest for the presidents post, Dr S.S. Bisla of the Department of Agroforestry is also in the fray.
Dr Avtar Singh of the Department of Vegetable Crops is pitted against Dr Azadvir Shanwal of the Department of Soils for the post of vice-president.
Dr M.S. Yadav of the Department of Livestock production Management will take on Dr Surender Kandian Department of Veterinary Microbiology for the post of secretary while Dr Nand Kishore Sharma of the Department of Vegetable Crops and Dr Rajvir Singh of the Departments of Chemistry and Physics will be contesting for the post of treasurer.
More stations on Optical
Fibre Cable System
AMBALA, April 6 "We plan to connect 200 more stations on the Optical Fibre Cable System during 2000-2001, replacing non-reliable media," Chief General Manager, Telecom, Haryana Telecom Circle, Mr N.K. Mangla, said here yesterday.
Talking to newspersons, Mr Mangla said Optical Fibre Cable System had been installed at 187 stations. "All the stations are planned to be connected on reliable media by 2002," he said. He said Intelligent Network switches, providing the facility of making any type of calls by pre-paid cards, were commissioned at Ambala, Gurgaon and Faridabad this year. "Similar switches will be commissioned during the next two months at Panipat, Hisar and Rohtak and before March 2001 at Sonepat and Rewari," he said.
Telephone exchange capacity increased by 1,62,222 lines during the year, out of which about 70,000 lines were installed in rural areas, he stated. He pointed out that 51 new telephone exchanges were opened during the year, out of which 37 were in rural areas, he said. This has brought the total number of telephone exchanges in Haryana to 868, he added. The Interactive Voice Response Systems for fault booking, billing enquiries and changed numbers were commissioned at Panipat, Karnal and Rohtak during this year, he further said.
Arrangements were made
with nationalised banks at Jind, Ambala, Faridabad and
Gurgaon for the payment of telephone bills, Mr Mangla
disclosed. "Due to reduction in STD/ISD tariff, the
revenue per line has registered a shortfall of 10 per
cent as compared to last year. Efforts are being made to
cover this loss by providing better services," he
said. There were plans to provide 1,50,000 new telephone
connections and 2 lakh lines additional telephone
exchange capacity during 2000-2001, he added.
Seminar on AIDS to mark Health
FATEHABAD, April 6 Programmes of health will be organised in the district from April 7 to 13 to mark World Health Day.
At a meeting held today to celebrate World Health Day, Mr Anil Malik, Deputy Commissioner, said a seminar would be held in Bal Bhavan on April 7 at 5 p.m. to scrutinise the high-risk groups for AIDS like drivers, helpers, commercial sex workers, highway dhaba owners, drug addicts, integrated labour, medical and para medical staff. Mr Leela Krishan, local MLA, would be the chief guest at the seminar. The City Magistrate, Mr Naresh Yadav, and the Civil Surgeon, Mr B.S. Beniwal, participated in the meeting.
The Deputy Commissioner
said counselling to high risk groups on AIDS would be
provided at the block and subdivisional levels by the
respective SMOs/MOs on April 8 and April 9. Declamation
contests, slogan writing, writing and painting
competitions on AIDS would be organised on the occasion.
Lectures on AIDS would be arranged in high school and
colleges from April 12. to 13. Anganwadi workers, Mahila
Mandal workers and panchayat members would also be
involved in these programmes.
Uncovered manholes pose problems
AMBALA, April 6 It has become risky to walk along one of the main roads entering Ambala City, named as Civil Hospital Road, leading toward Sarafa Bazar. At least two 4 feet deep manholes are without covers for the past two months. These have become death traps for the passers-by.
No signboards giving any warning have been put up there by the Municipal Council. Several vehicle drivers have had providential escape at these sites. During the night hours, it is all the more difficult to pass from here.
Residents of the area said they had informed the authorities concerned in this regard on may occasions but nothing has been done in this regard. The municipal council authorities said they had put the cover on these manholes a number of times but these were stolen by miscreants.
An official said that initially covers of iron were provided on the manholes throughout the city, but most of these were stolen. Later, cemented covers were provided but at some places these were also taken away.
Mr Vipin Chopra, who runs an electric goods shop close to an open manhole, said that people had been facing great inconvenience due to these uncovered manholes and many had sustained injuries at this spot. Some vehicles had also got stuck in the manhole.
Entrance test postponed
HISAR, April 6 The entrance test for MD, Ms and postgraduate diploma course of Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma PGI, Rohtak, scheduled for April 9 has been postponed by Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar.
11 injured in road accident
SONEPAT, April 6 At least 11 persons were injured when a Canter carrying them, dashed against a tree near Mahra village, 45 km from here, yesterday.
According to a report
reaching here, the injured were going from Golimajra
village in Karnal district to Jindran village in Rohtak
district to attend a ceremony. The driver of Canter lost
his control when his vehicle was hit by a speed-breaker
and dashed against the tree.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |