Monday, October 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Bio-terror or not, onus is on public to respond
Delhi government grapples with disaster management
Ravi Bhatia and Ramesh Ramachandaran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Hindsight is an exact science and for that reason alone, experts believe, the September 11 terrorist strikes in New York and Washington should be seen more as an opportunity than a threat and “corrective” measures must be undertaken without delay to “reduce” casualties in the event of a similar attack here. The accent, they say, should be on pre-disaster and consequence management.

A secretary-level official concerned with formulating disaster management policies in the Union Government told The Tribune that the Delhi Police would take an estimated three minutes and the Fire Department anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to respond to a “situation”.

Therefore, almost always, it is the people (read community) that is the First Responder. “Response time is absolutely crucial and that calls for a certain degree of preparedness and planning,” he says.

Although the Delhi Government has undertaken a review of the security set-up and placed agencies concerned on alert, officials entrusted with devising disaster management practices say these should be complemented by a general awareness among the people and to that extent, media management also plays a key role.

Delhi Health Minister A. K. Walia says disseminating information can prove vital and cites the anthrax scare to highlight that the general precautions and dos and don’ts publicised in its wake are equally applicable in the event of a “contact” with other bio-organisms that might be unleashed during a terrorist attack.

Among the proposals forwarded to the government is setting up of an emergency operations centre – a “secured” building in the Capital and elsewhere equipped with high-end technology, but not a bunker – that would remain operational during crises. Also, a corps of volunteers drawn from the National Cadet Corps, universities, etc is to be formed. Upgrading the police force and raising of specially trained personnel is another priority area as, officials concede, the threats posed by ‘professionalisation’ of terrorists and the spectre of bio-terrorism have added a new dimension to disaster mitigation.

Even after the Delhi Government claimed to have secured vital installations and stepped up vigil, the question that troubles Delhiites today is how safe is the Capital given the general apathy of the officialdom and those manning emergency services.

The experience of many in times of emergency has not been a very happy one, some of the experts recalled with concern. “We first need to change the attitude of the general public and particularly those manning emergency services instilling in them constantly a culture of safety that is based on reduction, preparedness and mitigation,” they feel.

The absence of an integrated policy might also lead to overlooking of some of the vital aspects of disaster management. “Retrofitting of concrete structures is a good example of taking a precaution,” an official says. The move could minimise casualties but little progress has been made in that direction. “Every hazard need not become a disaster,” he adds.


3 criminals killed in encounter
Parminder Singh

Ghaziabad, October 21
Three alleged criminals were killed in an encounter with the police early morning on Saturday in the Hapur tehsil area.

The police also seized a rifle, a revolver, cartridges, a car, two mobile phones and a scooter.

Two among the dead, Promod and Kuldeep, were dreaded criminals from Bulandshahar wanted in a number of cases including murder, kidnapping and looting, the police said.

According to the police, when the officer in charge of the Hafizpur police station signalled a car coming from Bulandshahar in full speed to stop, the driver increased its speed and those inside the car fired at the police party.

By the time, the officer in charge of the Hapur police station, Mr Vishesh Kumar, also reached the Bulandshahar road with his force.

Finding themselves surrounded by the police, the miscreants turned the car away from the road and ran towards the fields. They kept on firing at the police. The police returned the fire in which two died on the spot.

According to the Circle Officer, Mr Alok Priyadarshi, there were nine cases against Promod in Jahangirabad and some other police stations including five looting cases.

Kuldeep also hailed from the Bulandshahar area under the Prem Garh police station and had four murder cases pending against him, he said.

The police said that it is apparent that the suspects were on the prowl in the night and were planning to strike in the area.

A senior police officer claimed that the encounter, second in a week, was the result of increased vigilance and intensive patrolling in the area which is considered to be a crime prone area.

Meanwhile, all the police stations in the area have been asked to stay extra alert to ensure safety of the citizens. The area is in grip of fear psychosis.


MCD has no pennies for illegal clusters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Buried deep in financial crisis, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today is unable to take up any development work in unauthorised colonies which have come into existence haphazardly in different areas of the Capital. In a way, these unauthorised colonies have been the bane of the MCD. They have bled the corporation to the last penny in its coffers.

The financial support by the Delhi Government and the money it generates through its own sources are not sufficient to fulfill the requirement of the MCD. Most of the money it had had been spent on the development works undertaken in unauthorised colonies, a senior official of the MCD said. It was like mixing salt to the sea.

Most of the unauthorised colonies have come into existence in the Capital after land development was entrusted with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Since the pace of development could not match the need for housing units in a fast-expanding metropolis, unscrupulous developers carved out a large number of colonies unauthorisedly without providing basic amenities. Thus the onus fell on the MCD to provide these facilities.

The standing committee of the MCD finally allowed the building activities in unauthorised colonies by charging Rs 50 per square metre. However, people did not come forward to pay the development charges despite the provision that they could pay them in instalments. Interestingly, the MCD has received only Rs 4 crore as development charges so far. It is not a surprise as most of the buildings have come up without the builders informing the MCD.

The MCD took a loan of Rs 1,644.46 lakh in 1999 from the Delhi Government to develop the unauthorised constructions. Of them, the MCD has returned only Rs 118.35 lakh. It is unable to pay back the remaining amount, as there is a wide gap between the development charges collected and money spent towards providing amenities in the unauthorised colonies. It is now not in a position to continue its development activities.

Now with its coffers drained, the MCD plans to develop only link roads of unauthorised colonies in future.


Music treat at Qutab
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, October 21
The still night and the star-spangled sky provided the right ambience for melody to bloom. And bloom it did on yesterday with stalwarts of the music world Shubha Mudgal and Wadali brothers lifting their performance to new heights at the Qutab Festival. The melody lovers were treated to Sufi and Nirjan music and also to the traditional Qawwali and were mesmerised.

The icing on the melody cake came in the form of a dance performance by Daksha Seth’s troupe at the end of the memorable evening.

The dance titled “Search for my Tongue” was an adapted version of the poem by the same name, woven around the theme of social and cultural dislocation and transformation.

On the second day of the two-day function today, it was for danseuse Manjari Chaturvedi, singer Jaspinder Narula and celebrated Sabri brothers to continue what Mudgal and others did on Saturday. Manjari Chaturvedi with her Sufi Kathak performance and Sabri brothers entranced the audience.

This year’s festival inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, was aimed at reflecting the troubled times and conveying the theme of love and peace. Organised jointly by the Ministry of Tourism, Sahitya Kala Parishad, Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation, the festival has been going on for the last eight years.


Tabs needed on unfettered security agencies
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Gun-totting security guards is a recurring sight these days. Most of them are employees of private security agencies, which have mushroomed in the Capital in the last few years. The trend may be a manifestation of increasing paranoid, for Delhiites don’t feel secure even in their own backyard.

But what if the guard fires that gun in your face one fine day? You could see your smug world crumbling around you in a second. It is happening now in Delhi.

An incident three months ago, when security guards disappeared with Rs 2 crore from a bank van which they were hired to guard, highlighted the need to keep stringent checks on private security agencies.The suspects in the bank robbery are still at large.

This was not an isolated incident. According to the police, there have been several incidents involving security guards, including thefts, scuffles and burglaries.

Senior Delhi Police officers say there is an urgent need to regulate the functioning of private security agencies. They are in the process of finalising a proposal to issue licences to the agencies and screen their staff thoroughly.

The lack of regulations means the Delhi Police has no record of the number of agencies operating in the Capital or the number of employees hired by them. Every colony in the metropolis boasts of several such agencies, most of which have come up in the last two years. Even the Delhi Government's new Sachivalya building is guarded by a private security agency, notwithstanding the threats from militants.

Thefts, burglaries, robberies and murderous assaults have exhibited a rising trend in the Capital in the last few years, despite aggressive policing. Except for a few larger agencies, which are run professionally, most others are fly-by-night operators, hiring guards on daily basis, as and when required. Most of these guards are unskilled and semi-educated who have come to the Capital looking for employment from other states. There is no clear figure available about the number of such daily wagers working for the agencies.

Moreover, since arms licences are issued to individuals and not to institutions, there is no record of the licences held by the agencies. As a result, the police find it difficult to trace the suspects when a crime is committed by an employee of a private agency, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Licensing) K C Dwivedi said.

“The licensing department of the Delhi Police cannot take any action against the security agencies as they are beyond its purview,” the DCP says.


Queen’s English goes for a toss in chat rooms, on e-mail
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, October 21
It is a language that is easier on the fingers than on the lips. The purists are shocked. But then who cares! It is the era of digital communication.

A la chat and e-mail, the peculiar lingua franca in cyberspace is threatening to redefine the paradigm of English language.

Cyber language Decodified
Typ in u’r ASL Type in your age, sex and location
4 get it, Y wst time, talk 2 me Forget it, why waste time, talk to me
Don’t talk 2 strangers Don’t talk to strangers
g 2 g Got to go
CU See you

Consider this: Pawan: Typ in u’r ASL

Simran: 4get it, Y wst time, tlk 2 me

Pawan: don’t tlk 2 strangers

Simran: _ g2g

Pawan: c u

This is no locker room talk. Neither is it school-goers’ coded lingo. This is a cyber chat. And that is how it is conducted.

A simple decoded transcript of the above quoted chat would read:

Pawan: Type in your age, sex and location.

Simran: Forget it. Why waste time? Talk to me.

Pawan: Don’t talk to strangers.

Simran: (Giggles) Got to go.

Pawan: See you.

This is not the English that we were so religiously taught in school. But it is on its way to emerge as the New English as defined by the SMS based on the WAP, which seems to be the order of the day.

For the uninitiated, the SMS stands for Short Messaging Service and is used essentially through a technology called the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).

Experts in English language have cautioned that if the trend continues unabated, it could cause serious distortions in the way the language is written.

“The use of the digital mode of communication will only increase with time. And if the trend continues, composition, grammar and spelling may go haywire,” said a linguist.

The dying art of handwriting is a similar manifestation of this potentially dangerous phenomenon. “Time is not far away when students will be required to punch in answers on computer keyboards.

The days of artful cursive writing, where toddlers are painstakingly taught the basics of handwriting, including that of holding the pencil, would disappear,” observed the linguist.

The users of the new language, the majority of whom are quintessentially generation X, are unperturbed and most of them feel it makes communication easier, faster and simpler.

When asked whether they were bothered that their linguistic skills could suffer because of excessive use of the SMS, most preferred to laugh it off.

“ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing), I do not think it as an issue at all,” said Tarun.

“It’s so easy and better. One need not bother about composition. The idea is to get the message through in the shortest possible time,” said Rina.

In short, cyberchatters are having gr8 fn (great fun), even as purists fret and fume about the emerging blur inflicted by the cyberworld.


Noida hooch tragedy: official nexus to the fore
Our Correspondent

Noida, October 21
The Nithari hooch tragedy continued to claim its victims, with three more deaths reported in hospital on Saturday and one more on Friday. The toll in the tragedy has risen to 32, besides12 victims reported in Bulandshahar and Ferozabad.

Dhanpal, Ravi and Jeevan who died on Saturday and Raju who died on Friday were among those admitted to the Noida MedicareCentre.

All of them were living in rented houses in Nithari village.

The Noida police claimed to have exposed the racket of illicit liquor in the state in which one ex-minister of Uttar Pradesh was alleged to be the kingpin.

The seven accused arrested had stated that they used to bribe

the officials at Sector-31 police post in order to continue with their nefarious trade of illicit liquor.

The arrested persons involved in the illegal liquor trade were preseted to the media at Sector-20 police station by the district administration. Senior Superintendent of Police(SSP) P Nasar Kamal said that after the liquor tragedy, four teams under the command of Circle Officer(CO), Rakesh Pandey and Rambadhan Singh of Dadri and Noida respectively, were put on the job to trace the culprits.

Shushila, the sister of a victim, Kailash told the police that he used to sell illicit liquor and had himself become its victims when he consumed the same killer brew.

She had also provided the first clue to the police when she informed them that two of her brother’s partners in this illegal business would be coming to condole his death at his Sector-10 jhuggi in the evening. The police, accordingly, arrested Munish of Kalyanpuri and Isherat of Hapur.

The two had sold pouches of liquor on October 14, along with Ram Chander Balmiki alias Kundan Khalifa and Promod, both of Bulandshahar to Muni Lal Panwadi, Kailash Pradhan and Kailash’s sister Shushila in Sector-10 of Noida.

Later, the liquor pouches were sold to other consumers in Sector-8, Sector-5 and in Nithari village, the SSP said. Many of the other accused are still absconding, said Mr Nasar Kamal.

Two constables of police post Sector-31, used to collect Rs 2,500 every month from them, Raghuvir told the police, according to SSP. The SSP said that special spirit used to be procured from a godown in Baster village of Muradabad district.

The premises had been taken on rent by Lala Om Prakash, Pintuand Zahid who would purchase the spirit at the rate of Rs 4,000 a drum from truck drivers plying on Muradabad-Sambhal highway.

These drums were carried to Ramchander’s house in Bulandshahar where the brew used to prepared by mixing it with water, spirit, and chlorine. A packing machine was also available in the house.

Empty pouches of various liquor brands including that of “Tohfa” were procured from a printing press in Kanpur. Ramchander alias Kundan told the police that they also used to get country liquor from neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan.

Om Prakash, owner of the godown, is among the seven persons arrested so far, said
the SSP.


Narcotics control agencies lack teeth to fight peddlers

States follow different laws
J T Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Narcotics control agencies in India are ill-equipped and under-staffed with no proper infrastructure and funds. There is much concern among the country’s narcotics control agencies like Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Bureau of Narcotics, and the Delhi Police narcotics cell that they lack a proper system to deal with the drug peddlers effectively.

For a city which has about 17 million people, one narcotics cell will not do any justice. The narcotics cell would request for two police stations, additional staff with competent officers and better infrastructure to deal with drug peddlers, said a senior official in the Delhi Police narcotics cell.

At present, there are only 20-member staff in the Delhi Police narcotics cell with one inspector, six sub-inspectors, six head constables and eight constables. In fact, there are no proper equipment with the cell to handle narcotics substances.

In Delhi, there are 130 police stations but a Station House Officer (SHO) has no right to arrest a drug peddler. In spite of this, the narcotics cell has seized 61 kg of hashish, 19 kg of opium and 15 kg of heroin in the last nine months, and we will certainly do more, said the DCP narcotics cell, Mr Kashyap. According to an official in narcotics cell, there are a number of retailers supplying all types of drugs like heroin, hashish, opium and ganja in small quantities. But cocaine is not available much as it is very rarely supplied. Drugs like charas and opium are usually supplied in resettlement colonies in Wazirpur, Seelampur, Yamuna Pushta and jhuggi clusters where the retailers also function from the same areas.

Traditionally, India is a major transit point. Delhi is emerging as a transit point and consumption zone as there is more demand in the capital. Delhi gets the major supply from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as indigenous production of brown sugar is made in these three states . In fact, there is a lot of spillover of drugs like opium, morphine and heroin from these areas. In addition, there is also large-scale supply of hashish from Nepal apart from Uttranchal, Punjab and other north-eastern states.

According to the official, the government had recently made some amendments in the provisions of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) ACT, which would give some relief. Laundering money made from drugs would now be an offence under the act. The revised act also provides for a graded punishment system wherein only those caught with large quantities of drug would receive the maximum sentence.

In fact, the Delhi Police narcotics cell has successfully implemented the provision of Preventive detention Act in eight cases. The cases which are screened under the Chairmanship of Director-General narcotics control bureau, helps the narcotics cell to seize the entire property of a drug peddler. The provision which was passed in 1988, has been utilised by the cell after 13 years.

According to an Additional Director in the Narcotics Control Bureau, “The drug enforcement agencies of the United States have their agencies all over the world and are doing a wonderful job. But in India there is no common law practised, as different state agencies follow different laws.

Sources say that besides the two traditional routes like Golden-Triangle (Vietnam-Laos-Myanmar) and Golden-Crescent (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) used for illicit trafficking of drugs, there is one more route – Golden-Corridor (Uzbekitstan Tazhiskistan– Turkmenistan) which is emerging as the most hottest route for trafficking. 


Drugs killing them slowly, but who cares?
Rohit Wadhwaney
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Why Drugs? The reply from a large number of boys and girls in the Indian capital would vary from “it’s different” to “good to get stoned” to “it’s a walk in the clouds.” That the malaise runs deep is revealed in the telling statement of a drug dealer: “Alcohol is not the way to socialise anymore, drugs have taken its place. It gives them (youth) a better high.” Samir (name changed), 18, a first year student in a top Delhi college, is aware that the poisonous smoke is killing him slowly, but does not feel guilty.

Samir said: “They (drugs) are just a way to get high. It’s about happiness. I just want to feel different.” He believes youngsters like him are into drugs because they are banned. “what is the point of banning them? Anything banned attracts attention and youngsters feel it is something big. Cigarettes kill many more people than drugs do, why aren’t they banned?” Samir said banned drugs like hash (hashish or charas), weed (marijuana or ganja), coke (cocaine) and opium (afeem) are so easily available that it is not surprising that the “trend” is spreading. Official sources said drug dealers sell 10 to 15 kilos of marijuana every week with a “turnover of at least Rs.50,000.” Beggars, with broken legs and missing hands, seated on wheelchairs outside a temple in Connaught Place in central Delhi or at slums across the capital supply hash, weed and coke. “All you have to do is to mouth ‘Mahol Banana Hai’ (I want to create an ambience) - the password. In 15 minutes flat you have scored,” revealed an addict. Delhi University final year student Geeta (name changed), 20, said: “My friends and I buy the stuff from Govindpuri slums (south Delhi). These drugs are supposed to be banned and see how easily we get them.” Maria (name changed), 17, a student of a top south Delhi school, cajoles her “guy” friends to to get her weed from Paharganj, a congested area in the heart of the Capital dotted with hundreds of cheap hotels frequented by foreign backpackers. Maria, who in the past has bought hash from a parking lot near her school in Chanakya Puri, said: “It is not safe for girls to go there. I feel good when I get stoned, so I ask the boys to go. I know drugs are harmful.

But who cares?” A Delhi Health Ministry official said: “A few rehabilitation programmes are on in the city for drug addicts. A number of NGOs work as well in that area, but the problem is police are not doing their job properly. Why are drugs available so easily?

As long as they are available more and more youngsters will do them.” Gaurav (name changed), 20, said: “I get drugs from five different places.

Those who do drugs know they are sold at every corner. And hash and weed are not very expensive. You can easily get 300 grams of weed for Rs.100.” A police inspector said: “We know it is happening, but these peddlers are so well informed that they get to know about raids before hand.

We are never able to seize anything. We need people’s help to stand as witnesses against the crime, but no one is ready for that.” But an Assistant Commissioner of Police, on condition of anonymity, countered: “The police can do a lot. We are raiding places.

We have the names but need concrete proof to take action against drug suppliers.

Even if we catch them, the courts set them free. But it is our job and we will carry on doing it. The whole system has to be set right." Experts feel it will take more than just law to weed out drugs.


Two more accused in Red Fort case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
With the special cell of the Delhi Police giving an additional charge sheet before Additional Sessions Judge M S Sabharwal including two more militants in the accused list in the Red Fort shootout case, the total number of the accused have gone up to 10.

The police named Farooq Ahmed Quasid and Nazir Ahmad Quasid recently in the additional charge sheet. At present, both are lodged in the Jammu jail in connection with another case. Both the accused have been charged of murder.


Sikh jatha gets nod for Pak

The Sikh jatha to Nankana Sahib and other holy sites in Pakistan will go ahead as scheduled this year, despite the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, has said. TNS


Martyr’s relics

Gurdwara Sis Ganj (Situated in Chandni Chowk): By Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s order Guru Tegh Bahadur’s leading apostles and companions in prison were tortured to death. Bhai Dayal Das was thrown into a boiling cauldron. Bhai Mati Das was sawn alive. Bhai Sati Das was burnt on the stake. The sight of the heroic martyrdom of his disciples did not disturb Guru Tegh Bahadur’s mind. He was beheaded in the presence of a large crowd under a tree, the trunk of which is still preserved in Sis Ganj shrine. Around the site of martyrdom grew a holy place now known as Sis Ganj.


Gurgaon glitterati finally wake up to city’s plight, give media a role
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, October 21
The gliteratti of Gurgaon, representing various walks of life today emphasised the need for a greater role of the media in providing an impetus to the planned growth of Gurgaon city and helping it to emerge as a model centre of the country.

Several dignitaries, having association with the city, expressed their views in favour of an expanded role of the media in a seminar on the “Role of Media in making Gurgaon a millennium City” organised as part of ‘Gurgaon Millennium 2001.’

The three day mela which got underway today, is being organised by prominent voluntary organisations operating in Gurgaon.

A former Union Minister, Mr Vasant Sathe, who presided over the seminar, expressed the view that the media can play a constructive role and help the policy makers and executors with
valid inputs.

He lamented that there was lack of planning in setting up of roads. He cautioned that if the problems were not taken care of at the preliminary stage, the problem would become intractable in the future.

Taking his discussion at a higher plane, he said that both politicians and bureaucrats have an inflated sense of ego about their abilities.

However, the fact is that they are “generalists.” Hence, there is a greater need for the media to come in with a positive role.

He was, however, also critical of the governmental practice of constantly transferring them before they find their bearing in a station of postings.

Authority accountability, and continuity should be the watchword while tampering with the postings of officers, especially in the developing cities like Gurgaon.

The administrator of Haryana Urban Development(HUDA)Gurgaon ,Mr Anurag Aggarwal, who was the chief guest on the occasion, suggested that the media should constantly give inputs with regard to the development of the city.

He said that the city cannot be developed as a model centre by the government alone.

The participation by the public at large is an essential ingredients towards the goal, he added.

Referring to the development projects in the pipe-line and those which were under the implementation stage, Mr Aggarwal said that soon the HUDA will initiate the project on the eight-lane Mehrauli-Gurgaon road and six-lane Old Delhi-Gurgoan road.

He also mentioned about building a flyover at Sikandarpur to increase the connectivity within the city and with Delhi.

Also, there are plans to further expand the proposed railway connectivity with Gurgaon and Delhi.

The Chairman, Haryana Affairs Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.K. Jain expressed the view that media has greater reach and it can play an effective role in keeping the development plans of Gurgaon on course.

The president of the Gurgaon Industrial Association, Mr Jagan Nath Mangla peppered the discussion saying that the government and the policy makers did not heed the suggestions and criticisms of the media.

However, he urged the media to carry on with its efforts in highlighting the problems of the people.

He supported the view that the development of old Gurgaon city

was neglected at the altar of new Gurgaon.

The executive director of National Real Estate Development Council, Col Prithvi Nath urged that the policy makers need not be worked up on the word “millennium” and should focus on the present.

The convenor of the Federation of Residents Welfare Associations of Gurgaon, Col H.N Handa was of the view that there should be transparency in the functioning of the administration.


Policemen pay homage to brethren
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Fourteen personnel of the Delhi Police were among several among other policemen of the central and state cadres who lost their lives during the last one year remembered on the Police Commemoration Day observed at the Kingsway Camp Police Lines here today.

The policemen from states like Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and personnel of the National Security Guards, Border Security Force, Railway Protection Force, Central Industrial Security Force and Central Railway Protection Force were remembered for their selfless service to the nation.

The Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr Ajay Raj Sharma, who read out the names of these men who sacrificed their lives during the last one year, commended their commitment and brave work to the nation. “We mourn the death of our brave policemen. We also feel proud of their service. The responsibilities of the police force have increased as destructive forces raise a threat to the security of the nation daily,” Sharma told the gathering.

Earlier, the IB Director along with heads of Central Police Organisations placed wreaths on the memorial dedicated to the ‘Unknown Policemen.’


Durga Puja celebrations begin today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
The Durga Puja celebrations begins in the Capital tomorrow with puja samities vying with one another in putting up decorative and eye-catching pandals to attract the devotees.

While the hub of puja celebrations would be at the Bengali-dominated Chittaranjan Park, the devotees would have great religious fair in Kali Badi area and Minto Road in the heart of the city.

The Chittaranjan Park puja samity’s pandal is a replica of Dhilwara temple near Mount Abu in Rajasthan. The pandal appears as a white marble temple.

The puja samity had in the past put up its pandals as replica of different temples and historical monuments like ISCON temple, Satyanarayan Seva Mandir of Bangladesh.

The collection during the puja is used by the samity to do social work like donating to destitute children, grants to poor meritorious school students, relief to victims of natural calamities.


MCD files affidavit on illegal clusters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
With the increase of illegal colonies and large-scale unauthorised construction in the Capital’s ‘urbanised,’ villages, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), has filed an affidavit in the Delhi High court, and said of the 369 villages in the national capital, 135 had been declared ‘urban,’ and in these the ‘lal dora,’ ceases to exist.

Besides, large-scale unauthorised construction works were being undertaken by villagers in blatant violations of building bye-laws.

The corporation in its affidavit said, that people in urban villages do not get the building plans sanctioned before undertaking any construction and as a result there has been wide spread unauthorised construction. These unauthorised constructions further aggravate the available civic amenities and public facilities resulting into deteriorating living standards and overstressing of services due to over congestion in these villlages, the affidavit said.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), on its part filed an affidavit through its Director Surendra Srivastava, said all rural villages were exclusively in the jurisdiction of the MCD and the DDA had no jurisdiction on the development of these villages other than those rural villages which fell in the development area.

The authority’s affidavit said that till 1985 development plans were prepared by the DDA but afterwards all plans were being prepared by the MCD. It further added that it was submitted that the central government had formulated a scheme for development of 96 villages under its five year plans.

The DDA was required to implement the scheme for development in respect of 72 villages whereas 24 villages were assigned to the MCD.

The development work started in 1979-80 and on its completion in 1988 the schemes were handed over to the MCD, it added. It was also stated that the DDA was undertaking developmental urban extension projects in Rohini, Dwarka and Narela.


Small is no longer beautiful in Faridabad
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 21
A concern has been voiced at the deteriorating state of the Small Scale Industry(SSI) in the country. In just three decades, Indian small scale units had reached a state of `perish’, as per the studies and reports, says Mr M.P. Rungta, President, Faridabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI).

“The days of `small is beautiful’ are clearly over’ and a large percentage of small scale industry has either been `closed’ or has been struggling to survive the changing economic scenario. `.

About the ever growing problem of sickness in SSI, the principle reason according to Mr Rungta had been the `lopsided’ policies and `failure’ of the bodies overlooking the sector.

Majority of the SSI sector at the industrial town like Faridabad constitute the ancillaries.

One of the main reason associated with the problem had been the `mismanagement by both the family managed and professionally managed businesses, added the FCCI chief.

He elaborated that ‘buyers’ have not followed the basic principle of purchase and have evaluated their managers by the amount of credit raised, even if it is by resorting to unprincipled and extra-constitutional methods.

According to Mr Rungta, small scale manufacturers markets have been eaten away by ‘unscrupulous’ traders and their desire for ‘business without bills.’

He further said that ‘blackmoney’ had grown hand in hand with sales tax ‘officials’ sharing the booty.

He said that even as such `loot’ went on for the last 30 odd years, the technology of SSI units went obsolete.

He lamented that the ‘closed door’ policies prevented the manufacturers from the ‘exposure’ to the latest revolution in technology taking place abroad.

Citing an example, he says, the policies made for SSI’s did not involve any inputs from the concerned sector and as a result, the level of competency got lost.

He complained that subsidies provided by Commissioner, SSI, was not enough and it required a major modification.

He added that while banks have been asking the

SSI’s to mortgage their assets and property, it did not realise that credit was effectively being enjoyed by large industries.

He said the big industrial houses often did business with them on the assumption that SSI had no liabilities in the form of provident fund, gratuity and such other social responsibilities.

Another area where government could help was to allow banks to sanction loans for computer and Internet connections to SSI’s without much hassels.

About imposition of ‘VAT’ system on western pattern, Mr Rungta said that it should be in a form of a ‘single window tax’ and not as multi-point tax, as prevalent at present.

He also suggested proper changes in the labour laws.

The SSI should be allowed to hire a worker for one month, before having to enrol him on the ESI, with the provision of retirement with reasonable pay off. Mr Rungta also suggested, ‘council’ be set up at district headquarters comprising of members drawn from industry to oversee the functioning of `ESI’ and look into other issues concerning units and workers.


Greeting cards: Peace is the motif
Tribune News Service

A new range of season’s greeting cards in 50 attractive designs has been launched by Archies by joining hands with CRY and Helpage India. The range comprises exquisite and innovative designs contributed by the two NGOs. This season’s cards have the theme of spreading tranquillity and harmony within the anguished and distressed society.

The designs comprise beautiful floral exhibiting the serene beauty of nature in its most vivid form. The splash of colours in the floral designs is mesmerizing and entices the viewers with their striking contrasts and combinations.. The cards are in myriad colours and somber pastel shades. A few cards have the graphics of a globe depicting the attempt to attain global peace. The cards are priced between Rs 7 and Rs 14.

Shelter options

A unique alternative to tents for all outdoor activities – Unifold Fast Shelter – by Calcutta Commercial Corporation. The shelters are developed with modern designs making it faster, lighter and stronger compared to the prevailing tents in the market. The design uses polypropylene corrugated sheet folded in an accordion fashion, eliminating the need for a frame and ropes.

The shelter does not require any tool or special skills to erect it. It can be reused multiple times and can be stored without rotting or succumbing to insect damage. They are available in four different sizes. They have an inbuilt door and a window.

Silken shave

Gillette Satin Care wild berry shave gel for women has been launched to provide another exciting way to smooth skin. The gel is a non-soap-based gel. It incorporates seven enriching moisturizes that replenishes moisture loss while its rich luxurious lather enables smooth razor glide.

The gel lathers up quickly and holds up throughout the shave to help protect skin from nicks and cuts and leaves skin feeling smooth and soft. The gel, priced at Rs 185 for 73gm can, is available in an aerosol container with a rust -resistant bottom, featuring a unique dispenser that is easy to grip when wet.

Chic shirts

Van Heusen has launched its latest collection of shirts titled ‘corporate cocktails’. As forecast by fashion experts around the world, the colour for the latest collection is purple. Traditionally purple is the colour of royalty, associated with prosperity and affluence. In current times, high profile corporate executives sport the colour as a fashion statement to mark their presence in the corporate world.

The new collection of shirts in flamboyant shades of purple, lilac, lavender, mauve and plum are made from fine cotton. A part of the collection is also available in wrinkle-free fabrics. They are available in different styles ranging from regular to button-down collars. The shirts range from Rs 895 onwards.

Larger screens

Sony India has introduced projection DRC WEGA-MF range of large screen TVs that presents viewers with true-to-life images that are richer in colour, higher in contrast and finer in detail with four times the normal picture density.

The range offers multi-function (MF) capability and two picture modes – DRC 1250 and DRC 100 progressive and comes in 43-inch priced at Rs 199,000, 53-inch priced at Rs 299,000 and 61-inch priced at Rs 429,000 models.

The unique feature includes digital quick focus, which adjusts colour misalignment and smearing to show the clear picture, new super bright screen which improves the screen brightness and contrast by 20 per cent as compared to normal projection TVs.

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