Wednesday, October 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



DDA sets eyes on Narela green cover
Freight complex proposed on prime farm land
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
The Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) move to acquire more than 100 hectares of prime agriculture land in Narela area of north-west Delhi, to build a freight complex, is threatening to escalate into a major battle between the authority, on one hand, and the landowners and ecologists, on the other.

According to landowners and ecologists, the green cover in the area, which is considered to be the respiratory tract of the beleaguered Capital, may be shorn of all plantation, if the project is implemented; this, in turn, would add to the worsening atmospheric pollution in the National Capital Region.

The DDA has already issued a public notice (No.F.10 (4)/97/L&B/LA/7329 dated August 22, 2001) informing citizens that more than 100 hectares of land is likely to be acquired for the development of a freight complex and the construction of a 100-meter-wide road for the “Planned Development of Delhi”. The notification has been issued under the provisions of Sub-section 1 of Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

The new road is supposed to relieve the Capital’s roads of the heavy interstate cargo traffic.

Residents and owners of farmhouses in the area, however, have charged that the “acquisition proceedings are mala fide, invalid and unconstitutional”.

“The notified scheme is discriminatory in nature. There are instances where certain khasra numbers have been left out,” an affected farmhouse owner told The Tribune.

Moreover, the residents point out that the DDA could have chosen a vacant land in the vicinity of the farmhouses, where there is no plantation. It would have not only worked out cheaper but would also have ensured ecological balance, aggrieved parties say.

Residents of the area fear that if the project is implemented, it will result in felling of close to five lakh trees (most of them teak) and uprooting of several thousands of fruit and ornamental trees.

“There are about 150 farmhouses in the area duly approved by the government. These farmhouses, now proposed to be acquired by the DDA, played an effective role in providing a green belt around Delhi,” one of the farmhouse owners said.

They also point out that the land in question has been declared as a development area under Section 12 (1) of the Delhi Development Act. The present acquisition proceedings relating to the agricultural land are without any sanction, as contemplated under the Act, they say.

The DDA, however, is of the view that the proposed complex was indicated in the Master Plan of Delhi, 2001. It also says that `managed foresting’ is a mechanism that will be extensively used in the development of the project.

“Managed foresting involves the felling of trees that are scattered and planting trees in clusters in other areas. Wherever there is an expansive green cluster, it will not be touched,” the Commissioner (Planning) of the DDA, Mr Vijay Risbud, told The Tribune.

“As cities develop over time, ways and means need to be devised to maintain the economic and ecological balance,” Mr Risbud added.

Under the Master Plan, four such complexes are proposed to be built -- one each in east, west, north and south Delhi.

“The one proposed in Narela is for west Delhi. Two other complexes, one in Ghazipur in east Delhi and another one in Dwarka in south-west Delhi, are already under implementation. Another complex is proposed in Madanur Khader on the Mathura road. However, a part of this land falls under the jurisdiction of the Uttar Pradesh Government and we are holding discussions with them to enter into some kind of a tie-up for the development of the project,” he said.

Affected landowners, on the other hand, point out that the purpose of acquiring land was "extremely vague, euphemistic and devoid of any specific content".

"The very idea of the Master Plan would be violated and frustrated and the very purpose of having a green agriculture belt around Delhi will be jeopardised and ecological balance will be destroyed", they pointed out.

Further, the latest notification of the DDA is in contradiction of a an earlier policy decision of the government. An aggrieved landowner pointed out that Delhi Government had said in 1993 that as a general policy, the area covered by the approved farm houses should be left out of acquisition.


Tips from Tokyo on managing disasters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
A team of Delhi Government bureaucrats has returned from Tokyo, armed with information on the latest practices in disaster management. “Knowledge-sharing” is how a top-ranking official chose to describe the visit that was aimed essentially at building linkages with Asian cities.

If all goes well, Delhi might soon see the advent of electronic eye (cameras installed at vantage points) that would serve as an early warning system and alert agencies like the police and emergency services to a crises.

Also, there would be a corps of trained personnel specialising in disaster mitigation, who would be entrusted with the task of manning emergency operations centres in the event of a terrorist strike.

A senior official told The Tribune that post-September 11, there was a need for upgrading the skills of the agencies that would come into play in crisis situations.

“Rescue, evacuation, mitigation and transportation are of paramount importance during a crisis similar to the strikes in the US and that calls for training of personnel and adopting the best international practices,” he said.

The idea, according to him, was to draw up a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and train personnel accordingly. “The objective is to be able to respond to a situation quickly and effectively,” he said and recalled that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government had perfected the system, whereby it could respond to disasters within three minutes flat and enable the decision-makers to marshal their resources in under 15 minutes.


Delhi Police vetting US laws to tackle hoax callers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
Concerned over the increasing number of hoax calls and the absence of a strict law to tackle the calls, the Delhi Police is understood to have sought details of the laws recently enacted by the United States and Britain to deal with the menace, which had caused considerable panic after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

Senior police officers of the Delhi Police are working overtime to combat the nuisance. “Mischief will no longer be considered fun; it would be taken seriously. This time, the police is taking all necessary measures to control it, and we are studying all related laws to deal with hoax callers,” said a senior officer.

Both the US and Britain have enacted new laws, under which a hoax caller can be sentenced up to seven years in prison. In fact, these countries have been under constant threat, following a spate of anthrax-related hoax calls in the wake of the attacks in the US.

Even the beleaguered Delhi Police received a number of hoax calls recently, but it is helpless as there is no proper law to deal with such a caller. Mischief cannot generally be proved to be a serious offence in the court of law.

Now, the anthrax scare is spreading in the Capital’s post offices and hospitals. A number of hoax calls related to anthrax have been reported, leaving the authorities and public in panic.

Prior to anthrax, two calls were reported in the Alliance Air office that the flight would be hijacked, which later turned out to be hoax.

Sources also said the authorities had a tough time tackling hoax calls related to terrorism. They were handicapped due to the absence of a concrete law to tackle the problem.

The need for such a stringent law is felt by the law enforcement agencies as they fritter away their time checking out calls, which turn out to be a hoax subsequently. “We cannot take chances in the present scenario, when life and property of the general public is at risk,” a senior police officer said, confirming that they were seriously looking into all aspects, so that they have a befitting deterrent.

A senior Delhi Police officer said that a team of officers along with legal advisers would study the US and British laws before finalising the proposal for enactment. At the same time, a concerted effort would be made to educate the general public that hoax calls served no real purpose and only caused confusion and misgivings among the police personnel and the community.

This officer cited the distress caused to the passengers of a flight to Mumbai, which became the victim of such a call. Not only the flight schedules were disrupted, passengers had to spend hours in agony inside the aircraft while the authorities tried to ascertain the facts.


Badal sounds poll bugle
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today virtually launched his election campaign by calling for Panthic unity to fight divergent forces for the sake of the community and the nation.

“We are ready for unity, but there should be no pre-condition to this move,” Mr Badal said while addressing the members of the Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) here this evening.

The SAD president was referring to the unity move proposal mooted by the former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and his conditional unity proposal.

Mr Badal said that the former SGPC chief broke away from the party even though he was offered the post of chief ministership or party presidentship.

Accusing Mr Tohra and his supporters of acting in a manner which benefited the Congress, Mr Badal said that the community should unite under one banner and fight dividing forces.

Recalling the role played by the Tohra group in the recent by-elections in Punjab, the Chief Minister said such acts only help the Congress and their rule would not be beneficial to people of the state.

Stating that desecration of Guru Granth Sahib by certain elements in the state was “unfortunate”, he said action had been initiated against those who tried to denigrate the Sikh Guru.

He said that politicisation of the incident was “most unfortunate” as they send a wrong message to the community and vitiates the cordial atmosphere in the society.

Urging the members of the DSGMC to participate in grand manner in the Maharaja Ranjit Singh bi-centenary celebrations, Mr Badal said that the event marking the coronation of Sher-e-Punjab was an occasion to celebrate.

He said that the members of the Delhi unit should hold functions in the Capital to mark the occasion and participate in large number in the functions to be organised in Amritsar next month.

Earlier, addressing the gathering, the DSGMC president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, highlighted the programmes undertaken during his tenure and the issues taken up by the party during its tenure of one year.

Regretting that the denigrating chapter on Sikh Gurus in the NCERT history book for Class XI had not caught the attention for a long time, Mr Avtar Singh welcomed the government’s move to delete the chapter from the book and the directive to the CBSE not to ask question from the chapter.

However, he said, “We would not stop our agitation unless the government bans the book.”

Among others who addressed the meet, included Kulmohan Singh, Kuldip Singh Bogal and Sukhbir Singh Badal.


Graft cases against five MTNL officials
S Satyanarayan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) today registered corruption and cheating cases against Mafatlal Industries Limited, Sandhya Textiles, five MTNL officials and a ‘middleman’ for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 3.5 crore to MTNL in supply of uniforms to its employees.

The premier investigating agency has arrested the ‘middleman’ Gautam Guha Takurta and MTNL staff union leader Swarup Singh on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating/forgery and corruption, even as further investigation in the case was on, CBI sources said here.

The other MTNL officials accused in the case are Narender Kumar, General Manager (MM), Shabhaz Ali, Deputy General Manager (Finance), Vineet Saxena, Deputy General Manager (IR) and M Ram, Deputy General Manager (MM).

The CBI has also registered a case against MIL’s Senior Manager M B Raghunath.

In the raid at Takurta’s residence at H-1472, Ajeet Kutir, Chittaranjan Park in South Delhi, a lot of ‘incriminating documents’ were recovered which are being probed, sources said adding that an amount of Rs 60,000 was recovered from the residence of Shahbaz Ali during the raid.

Meanwhile, the designated CBI court in Tis Hazari has remanded Takurta and Swarup Singh to CBI custody for three days.

According to CBI, the accused public servants of MTNL have abused their official position and entered into a criminal conspiracy with M/s Mafatlal Industries Ltd, Mumbai and other with an ‘intention’ to cheat the MTNL.

“In furtherance to this conspiracy, they cheated the MTNL, Delhi to the tune of about Rs 3.5 crore by purchasing the cheap quality uniforms at exorbitant rates for MTNL employees,” the CBI alleged.

The investigation revealed that the MTNL had published a tender notice on August 12, 2000,inviting quotations for the supply of summer and winter uniform cloth to be issued for their Group C and D employees along with the technical specification of the cloth material formulated by IIT, Delhi.

The tender notice also contained the indicative prices of each item which is against the rules and defeats the purpose of competitive bidding.

Total 11 bids were received, which were evaluated by a senior Technical Evaluation Committee, consisting of accused MTNL officials and the said committee rejected 6 bids on the pretext of non-fulfilment of tender conditions which included NTC, a government undertaking and another reputed company, the CBI said.

The samples of the rest five firms were forwarded to IIT, Delhi for testing under suspicious circumstances and without maintaining the secrecy of the sample codes, it said adding that all the said five firms had already submitted test reports from the government-approved labs along with their samples.

However, the IIT test report rejected the samples of well-reputed companies who are leaders in textile manufacturing and cleared the samples of only M/s Mafatlal Industries Limited for winter uniforms, even though it is alleged that they are no manufacturers of woollen cloth.


In the service of the ailing

Gurdwara Bala Sahib: Situated at Bhagwan Nagar near Ashram (Outer Ring Road).

In 1664, most of the people who suffered from cholera and small pox were shifted to camps on the banks of the Yamuna. Guru Hari Krishan spent the last two weeks of his life looking after these poor and destitute people irrespective of their religion, caste and creed. The Guru passed away on March 30, 1664, asking his disciples to seek his successor in Bakala, whom he addressed as “Baba”. He was cremated at the present site of Gurudwara Bala Sahib. This was the place where he had camped to look after the sick and suffering poverty-stricken people of Delhi.


Lad from Bhangra land excels in Bharatanatyam
R Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

Guruden Singh giving a performance.
Guruden Singh giving a performance.
— Tribune photo

New Delhi, October 23
Lada Guruden Singh to perform Bharatanatyam. That’s what the invitation said. But nothing could be more enigmatic, for a Sikh boy’s name is seldom heard in esoteric classical dance circles. The mention is more likely to evoke images of virile and robust Bhangra rather than the rasas and bhavas one associates with an exquisite form of South Indian classical dance.

The drone of a tanpura (tamburu) heralded what can only be dubbed the inevitable outcome of fusion of regional cultures. As the arc lights illuminated a Nataraj statue – the cosmic representation of Lord Shiva in his Tandav nritya mudra – Guruden stepped on to the stage, hands firmly placed on the waist, in sync with the beats of mridangam, the percussion instrument.

Exhibiting intricate footwork, in tandem with the beats of a drum, Guruden began swaying and gliding on the stage, even as his abhinay (expressions) brought out the years of practice. The audience, needless to say, was swaying in admiration, mesmerized by his repertoire.

The 19-year-old college student has been practising Bharatanatyam since he was seven. But it was never a conscious decision to learn the art form. “A Baharatanatyam school was right next to our house, so it was the obvious choice.” Incidentally, his mother Kuljit Shellie was a regular in the cultural circuit. “She encouraged me to learn the dance form and took me to different concerts,” he explains.

However, he wouldn’t have taken dancing seriously but for one incident. “I had gone with my mother for Pandit Birju Maharaj’s performance. I was restless and wanted to go back home. The maestro sensed my restlessness and announced that he had come to perform only for me.’’ That became the turning point in my life. From that moment onwards, I made up my mind to emulate the Kathak exponent. My dream was realised when he witnessed my performance and lauded my efforts.”

A disciple of N V Venkataraman, initially, and that of Jayalakshmi of the Triveni Kala Sangam, subsequently, Guruden gave his maiden performance (arangettam) at the age of 11.

Unmindful of taunts of his classmates, who found the dance too feminine, he went on to win a string of awards, including the gold medal (thrice) at Nehru Bal Mela, the best dancer award at Sangeetyan’s all India music and dance competition and a Sahitya Kala Parishad scholarship.

“My Sikh background takes everyone by surprise. But once they see my performance, they change their opinion,” says Guruden. The sculpted music in space is a pleasant surprise for an audience accustomed to seeing Sikh boys whirling and performing somersaults on the stage.

Guruden, a student of the Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam, specialises in stylized geometric movements. He strongly feels that a fusion of contemporary dance and traditional forms would go a long way in popularising this genre among the youth, even though he realises that the purists would frown upon such cross-fertilisation. Guruden has in fact experimented with this genre to enact Heer Ranjha and Sufi Kalam.

What next? Possibly jugalbandi. If Guruden Singh has his way, a Bhangra–Bharatanatyam fusion may not be far away.


A slum in residential complex!
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, October 23
In 1982, when residents first set foot on Lodhi Road Complex (LRC) in the heart of south Delhi, they thought it was almost paradise.

But then even Paradise - Eden - had to lose out to temptation. In the case of LRC, the temptation was the complex itself, for the workers refused to vacate the colony after building it. During the time of construction, they were living in makeshift huts. From a few huts, the number has gone up to 1,000 huts now. A slum colony within a residential complex!

The slum cluster, which lies between Rai School and the Type V flats, also blocks the road that runs between the school and the flats. “We have complained to the authorities and they have promised us that the slums would be relocated,” said LRC Residents’ Welfare Association president V.P. Kaushik.

Residents said that the population of the slum cluster was increasing and creating a lot of “unbearable” problems.

“They occupy all our parks and it becomes very difficult for us to enter them. Either they are sleeping there or they are bathing. It is so embarrassing to even cross.

If we protest they turn violent,” said Mr Kaushik.

An official of the Delhi Urban Development Ministry, on condition of anonymity, told The Tribune: “Yes, we can imagine. It must be quite tough for the residents. We are looking into the matter.

In fact, the slums would be relocated very soon, but first we have to make them believe that there would be better facilities wherever we locate them. Last year, quite a number of slum clusters were relocated to Narela in the outskirts of Delhi by the then Urban Development Minister Jagmohan. After the relocation, the slum population referred to the place as ‘hell’ as there were no proper schools or homes for them.”

The official added: “This time when we relocate them we will make sure that they get all the facilities they require. Until that happens, living in LRC is hell as far as ladies are concerned.”

Mr Gomti Anil, a resident, said: “We can’t even move out of our homes. These people launder on the colony roads and parks throughout the day. They are so rude. We don’t feel safe moving out. When I look out of the window, I see naked men having a bath in our parks. The sight is disgusting. If we go out for walks we can hear whistles and all sorts of remarks.”

The other major problem the residents are facing is that most of the cluster population is alcoholic.

“These people during the day, beg outside the Lodhi Road Temple and then buy alcohol. You can hear people screaming at nights. They get drunk and wander about on the colony roads. The next morning you can at least spot a couple of them lying on the roads unattended,” Mr Kaushik said.

Mr Rekesh Gupta, another resident, said: “Oh, I could leave this place on the first opportunity. The slums have made my life hell. We can’t move out of our homes. We can’t enter our parks.

We try to keep the colony clean but they keep throwing garbage all over the place. No one of us can even stand close to the slums for a minute. The stink is unbearable.”

The slum cluster has around 1,000 families. Of which only about 450 hold ration cards. Birju, one of the slum-dwellers, said: “Many times some officials have come here and told us that we will be shifted to Narela. But we don’t want to go. We don’t mind going from here, but not to Narela.

We have heard that life over there is hell.”

However, Shankar, another dweller, countered: “Narela or anywhere, none of us will leave our homes. Let us see who tries to demolish our houses. We are poor but not weak. If we stand up together we will be tough even for the army. These are our own homes that we have built with our own hands and we won’t let them come down, no matter what.” 


NGOs win local hearts at Millennium Mela
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, October 23
Local citizens have had their best chance to know the leading non-government organisations (NGOs) and their activities in the area during the three-day `Millennium Mela 2001’ and they responded with full support.

The Mela, which began on October 19 at the ground of Leisure Valley, Sector 29, gave a window to the contributions of the NGOs in the upliftment of the downtrodden.

Their roles in the field of education, spirituality, health, disaster management, eye care, vegetarianism and rural development, alternative medicine, etc were on show at the mela.

The Joint Assistance Centre (JAC), an agency working for the disaster management, put an exhibition displaying the pictures, posters and other relevant articles to guide the masses what to do immediately in case of a man-made or a natural disaster.

Visitors took keen interest in the displays in the backdrop of American-Afghanistan war as the public knew such things could happen in India also, said Mr N K Jain, director of the JAC and one of the organisers of the mela.

During the course of the Mela, the SNS Foundation organised various seminars shows, competitions, street plays, cultural programmes especially encouraging the economically backward children.

“Besides other projects, our vision is to mobilise collective participation of all segments of the Guragon society in enrolling all children who are deprived from getting any education in educational programmes,” said Mr Indira Varadarajan, project director of the SNS Foundation.

Camps for Hepatitis B vaccination and eye check-up were also held during the mela by the Manav Mahaveer Navchetna Vinyas and Om Indu Jain Charitable Trust respectively. More than five hundred persons got the benefits of these camps.

Acupressure, Gomutra Chikitsa, girl child, vegetarianism were other aspects which were covered in the mela showing their benefits in the day-to-day life.

The main objectives of the mela had been achieved as it facilitated an attractive ground for the rural producers and urban customers, Mr Jain said and added works of the NGOs were encouraged by the masses by extending moral support to their activities.


DMS declared a public utility for six months
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
Apprehending labour unrest, the Centre today extended the term of its earlier notification of bringing Delhi Milk Supply under public utility service for another six months which makes six weeks’ notice for a strike by the employees mandatory.

A Labour Ministry notification said that this was being done in public interest. The services in the DMS were earlier declared a public utility service under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947, on April 24 this year.

The DMS, which is running in loss, caters to the citizens in the Capital and is crucial for the supply of milk and other dairy products.

The Centre is apprehending a possibility of industrial unrest and strike in the wake of a dispute between the employees’ unions and the Government on the issue of restoring financial health of the DMS through waiver of the losses or selling it to any other company as possible measures to pull it out of the red.

As per the notification, employees in the DMS would, among other things, be required to give notice to their employers six weeks in advance of going on strike so that the conciliatory proceedings could be started.

During these proceedings and seven days after their completion, the employees cannot go on strike, it added.


Does ICT bridge digital divide?
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, October 23
Does Information and Communication Technology (ICT) bridge the digital divide and the gender gap or does it widen it? Is ICT an answer to India’s problems? If so, then how?

These were some of the questions which were raised at the fourth Dr Mahbub ul Haq Inter-school debate. Organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the debate was organised in two phases.

Of the 25 schools in and around Delhi, which participated in the prelims, 10 reached the finals. The topic for debate was “Digital Age does not widen the gender gap”.

The chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Mrs Sonia Gandhi gave away the prizes and spoke about the merits of ICT. In a lighter vein, she added that her views were unbiased as she was not present during the debate. In her speech she said, “ICT in India has a dual task.

On the one hand, there are studies that estimate that India’s exports of information technology products and services will shoot up to 50 billion US dollars in 2008, accounting for 30 per cent of exports and 7.5 per cent of GDP. On the other hand, 30 million is only 3 per cent of India’s population unfortunately untouched by this. The UNDP tells us, following Dr Mahbub ul Haq’s pioneering work, that in spite of 50 years and more of planned development, India ranks 115th out of 162 countries in the human development index. The adult literacy rate used to be only 52 per cent and now has inched up to 65 per cent.”

She went on to add, “ My point is a simple one. Does ICT help the cause of the poor and the deprived? Can ICT help in achieving the UN Millenium Declaration’s goals on development and poverty eradication?”

Winding up her speech she said, “The development dimension is the touchstone.

Let us work together to overcome the constraints that stand in the way. Every Indian cannot possibly make a home in Silicon Valley. For most of you who remain, let us ensure that Silicon Valleys flower and prosper throughout India.”

The occasion was seen as a move to assist the UNDP in its poverty eradication drive by the UNDP resident Representative and Coordinator in India, Ms Brenda McSweeney.

“Partnership to fight poverty is UNDP’s central goal. As a global community, we’ve set ourselves the goal of halving world poverty by 2015.


‘Our role is of a watchdog’

Meera Bhardwaj, the MLA of Mandawali has recently been nominated as the Chairman of District Development Committee (DDC) of East District by the Delhi Government. Her association with politics (Congress) dated back to 1969 when Indira Gandhi was the Information and Broadcasting Minister. She became active member of the party in 1973. In 1977, she became the Vice-President of Youth Congress.

In early 1980s, she was active member in Mahilla Congress. In 1998, she contested the maiden election of her career and won. After 23 years, this seat went to the Congress.

She speaks to Nalini Ranjan on various topics related to the District Development Authority. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What is this committee all about and how it is different from the existing Trans-Yamuna Development Board?

Ans: On the lines of similar body running in other States, this committee was founded by the Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dixit, about two years back for better development of the districts. The MLA from Vishwas Nagar, Mr Naseeb Singh, was the first Chairman of this committee. Tenure of chairmanship is 1 year.

And it is transferred to another MLA in the next year on his performance in his respective constituency. This committee is a statutory body and it does not have financial power like that of Trans-Yamuna Development Board. This committee is basically a watchdog of the Delhi Government through which we keep a close watch over developmental projects which are being carried out in this area. As far as fund is concerned, this committee does not have any of its own.

Through this committee, we prioritise the project area-wise and decide on which projects fund is to be spent. This committee also supervises projects which are in the pipeline. However, this committee has to take the proper shape for which it was founded.

Q: What you have done after attaining this coveted post?

Ans: We have given proposals to upgrade the DDA parks and Government schools. Status of both of them are very deplorable. Many of our proposals have been accepted and implementation is going on.

Q: What have you done for your constituency?

Ans: We have installed new lines and boosters for drinking water in some parts of our area. We put up main sewer line in our area which was long awaited. Two water reservoirs installed in Mandawali to ease the water problem. Mandawali railway halt was also inaugurated during my tenure.

A community centre is almost finished and another is coming up in School Block, parks are being developed in each colony of the area where we have installed high-mast lights which facilitates visitors.

Besides, seven new transformers have been installed to sort out the electricity problem. Moreover, many transformers have been upgraded from 430 KVA to 600 KVA and 600 KVA to 1000 KVA in order to remove fluctuations in power supply.

Another important project is the covering of drains that connects Kalyan Marg to Shanti Marg and its diversion. This will help solve the water-logging problem in Mandawali area.


Woman commits suicide in Trilokpuri

A 32-year-old woman, mother of three children, committed suicide by hanging from the roof of her house in Trilokpuri yesterday. Kaushalya Devi, alias Baby, wife of Beer Singh, reportedly hanged herself from the roof when her husband and children went out to witness Ram Leela around midnight.

All the four came back home only to find her hanging. Family members told the police that Kaushalya was suffering from some chronic disease, and this could be the possible reason for her suicide. However, the Mayur Vihar police are initiating inquest proceedings.

In another incident in the Capital, one head constable and two constables, who were on night patrolling in the Shahdara area of North-East district, were hit by a speeding truck near Shahdara flyover last night.

All the three, head constable Kishan Pal, and constables Ashok Kumar and Anil Kumar, are admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. The condition of the constables is reported to be serious.

Fake currency: The Special Cell of the Delhi Police, on a tip off by BSF officers in Jammu and Kashmir, arrested Wasim Ahmed Lilly, alias Wasim Ashraf, yesterday at ISBT for allegedly carrying counterfeit Indian currency worth Rs 1.8 lakh in a bag. On October 12, a team of BSF officers led by Mr Anil Kumar Singh, Deputy Commandant, BSF, Srinagar came to Delhi and informed the Special Cell that counterfeit Indian currency of Rs 100 and Rs 500 denominations is being sent to Srinagar from Delhi.

The Special Cell of the Delhi Police, on a tip-off by BSF officers in Jammu and Kashmir, arrested Wasim Ahmed Lilly, alias Wasim Ashraf yesterday at ISBT. TNS


Couple killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
A man and his wife, Bateshwer Nath (40) and Surja Devi (35) of HimmatPuri in Trilokpuri, were killed when their two-wheeler and a private bus collided on the Nizammudin flyover today morning.

While Surja Devi died on the spot, Bateshwer Nath died on the way to JPN Hospital.

The bus was plying under DTC operation from Kalyan Puri to Hauz Khas when the incident took place on Nizamuddin flyover.

The Nizamuddin police have registered a case of death due to rash and negligent driving and launched a manhunt to nab the erring bus driver.


Land mafia ‘kills’ man to get land
Parmindar Singh

Noida, October 23
A conspiracy hatched by the land mafia recently has come to light. A living person was shown as dead in the tehsil records so that his land worth crores of rupees could be usurped.

The accountant, who planned and accomplished this daring but nefarious act, has been suspended. The District Magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, Mr Deepak Kumar, has issued very strict orders in this connection.

According to a reliable source, Suresh Kumar of Delhi owned 20 bighas in Sutyana village under the Sadar tehsil area. Since the land was situated in Greater Noida industrial area it was estimated to command a market value of about Rs 1 crore.

The land mafia had reportedly contacted Sanjay Singh, an accountant in the Sadar tehsil office, a few months ago to annex this piece of prime land.

Sanjay Singh is alleged to have shown Suresh Kumar as dead in the revenue records of the tehsil and transferred the land in the name of Karan Singh. This fraud was not limited to declaring Suresh Kumar as dead only.

The accountant also got a fictitious will made and submitted papers with the recommendation that the land in question be transferred in the name of Karan Singh. The tehsil court, acting on the accountant’s recommendation, had actually transferred the land in the name of Karan Singh in the revenue records. When Suresh Kumar learnt about the transfer of his land to someone else without his knowledge he was shocked. He immediately contacted the Additional DMSB, Mr Tiwari, who was dumbfounded to find a “dead man” very much alive and in front of him. He has recommended the dismissal of Registrar Kanwarpal Gupta, for his involvement in the fraud to the District Magistrate.


‘Ravan’ abducted, attacked
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 23
A person portraying the role of `Ravana' in the `Ramlila' here was attacked and injured by some antisocial elements here last night. The victim has been admitted in a civil hospital.

The incident occurred in Parvatiya colony here, when Anil Kumar, son of Radhey Shyam playing the character of `Ravana' was allegedly abducted and assaulted with a sword and sticks by some persons who wanted to know whereabouts of the third person, Kishan from him.

According to the FIR, the accused identified as Guddu, Rishipal, Nitin and two others `barged' into the make-up room, near the stage and pulled out a revolver and a sword and demanded the whereabouts of Kishan. It is reported that when Anil Kumar responded in negative, they took him to Sohna road and attacked. The accused fled away after the incident.


3 held for Railway helper’s death
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, October. 23
The police have registered an FIR against three railway engineers in connection with the suicide of a Railway employee Brij Behari Lal Gupta, 40, on October 20.

Brij Behari was employed as a helper in an EMU car shed near village Chipyana. He had committed suicide by consuming poison at 11 am, while on duty, in
protest against the attitude of his superiors.

He had been reportedly pressing for a change in shift as his 20-year-old daughter, Kavita, was sick.

In his FIR, the victim’s brother Avadh Behari alleged that his brother was forced to commit suicide and that all the three engineers abetted his death.

A section engineer, a divisional electrification engineer and a junior engineer have been named in the FIR.

Brij Behari Lal had asked his superiors to change his duty as he wanted to be with his daughter, who was admitted in a New Delhi hospital during
the night.

Behari had also obtained the consent of a colleague, who was prepared to exchange his shift.

But, in spite of all this, his superior did not heed his request and, thus, abetted his suicide, the FIR said.

The police have initiated an inquiry in the matter, but so far no one has been arrested.


Driver shot by helpers near Hodal
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 23
With the intention of looting a tanker two cleaners allegedly murdered a driver at a place near Hodal town in the district last night.

The two accused were, however, nabbed soon after by the police. According to information, the victim, Shiv Dayal, driver of the tanker, was returning to Hodal along with the two cleaners.

The accused took out a revolver and asked the driver to stop the tanker near Banchari village in Hodal subdivision. The driver was shot dead.

The two were in the process of disposing of the body when a police patrol party noticed the tanker and decided to conduct a check. The cleaners were arrested.


Jewellery for the wardrobe, not the vault

Fascination for jewellery dates back to the stone ages. Designs, which attract the human eye enough to send one digging deep into the pockets is what manufactures and marketers of jewellery, are looking for. Plain and simple gold jewellery, which passed from the mother to the daughter, is no longer in vogue, unless it is antique. It is time for a change. It is the era of modern- concept jewellery. Customers are being offered exclusivity, amalgamated with tradition and innovation. Keeping this in mind, designer jewellery and accessory makers Carbon is stretching its imagination to great lengths. Unique and trendy offerings are projected into the living rooms. In a chit -chat with the CEO Mr. Mahesh Rao we find out more about the company and its future plans.

Q: The jewellery market is flooded with concept designs and novelties, but these are not pocket friendly. Shouldn’t your clientele be class specific too? (It is only the upwardly mobile that understand the concept of fashion accessories. How do you sell the idea to a middle class consumer).

A: Carbon understands that there is a specific segmentation in the society. Carbon is not for the 1 billion population, it is for those who are educated, aware, and exposed to the concept of lifestyle and accessories. We are for those who have the ability to accept the brands.

Q: It is rather difficult to convince a buyer to shell out a good sum for something which is not accepted, like steel and gold. How do you go about it?

A: I had a hard time convincing my directors that this new, but bizzare concept will work. We had to sell a new idea which takes time, but we tried. The consumer is aware and our products are innovative, trendy as also cost friendly.

Q: What exactly do you mean when you say that gold and jewellery will grow beyond an investment need?

A: You see, when you compare accessories like Carbon to a branded item like Reebok, you will find that Carbon is an investment unlike Reebok. Carbon will last longer, it is a lifestyle product. It is meant for the wardrobe not the vault.

Q: Are these lifestyle products as popular in smaller cities, or is the market limited to the metros?

A: We operate in smaller cities like Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Guwahati through retail chains like Ebony. We have plans of opening stand alone store in Ahmadabad and the above mentioned places. Infact, we have marked 23 cities for launching our products.

Q. What is the feed back from cities like Chandigarh and Ludhiana? Is the concept popular there as well?

A: We are very happy with our performance in Chandigarh. Punjabis are a community with a zest for life, they love to live life and also to experiment. I believe Punjab and Delhi are markets for experimentation as they have a modern mind set. Also, Punjab is an agro-based economy, sentiments of the Wall Street and the Bombay Stock Exchange do not affect the moods here.

Q: What is the growth recorded by your company so far?

A: We have recorded a growth of 250 per cent in the previous year and we managed a turn over of eight crore in the last financial year. People pay for the designs. They are aware that they are buying an exclusivity and the designs have been selected after a thorough research. We sell style to those who are aware of it. Across the country, we were the first to offer MRP cost, our price perceive theory has been successfully. Our communication with the consumer is radical, it talks of an attitude.

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