Saturday, October 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Gurgaon land-grab bid shocks Sikhs
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

There are reportedly several gangs which find land grabbing a lucrative business. Their modus operandi is simple. They ask the owner to dispose of the sites, or face dire consequences. Once the owner yields, they buy the sites at throwaway prices.

Gurgaon, October 26
The forceful entry by two persons into a commercial building owned by Mr Santokh Singh Sahni --a prominent and well-known Sikh of the city -- in the Jacampura area of old Gurgaon is viewed by businessmen and the Sikh community here as the latest attempt by organised gangs to grab commercial sites.

There have been several instances in the recent months when similar attempts were made, sometimes successfully, to grab prime property by intimidating owners.

Incidentally, the Jacampura area is considered to be a residential and commercial hub of old Gurgaon. Mr Sahni is the senior vice-president of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha.

According to the FIR, a white Maruti van screeched to a halt at the gate of the site. One person remained at the wheel. The other person went up to the first floor of the building and asked the workers about the status of two empty shops in the building. The building has five rooms.

When the inmates tried to quiz him, he picked up a stone and threatened to hit them. Before the stunned inmates could react, he sped away in the van which was on the stand by.

Mr Sahni and the Sikh community have reasons to be alarmed at the development. Incidentally, there was a burglary at Mr Sahni’s house about two years back. His son and daughter-in-law had a close shave when the miscreants fired at them from point blank range. The police has not yet been able to trace the criminals involved in the incident.

Incidentally, Mr Sahni's father had succumbed to a cardiac arrest in the wake of 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Gurgaon. Mr Sahni's commercial site was also gutted in the riots.

Reacting to yesterday’s incident, a visibly shocked Mr Sahni said he did not know the intention of the miscreants and it was for the police to probe the matter. However, the general perception is that the miscreants were only interested in grabbing the shops.

The incident has shocked the businessmen and the Sikh community of the city. A delegation of Sikhs and other residents met the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldip Singh Sihag, immediately after the incident and pressed for effective action to thwart such attempts.

Grabbing of commercial sites has increased in the city. There are reportedly several gangs, some of them organised, which find grabbing of commercial and other sites a lucrative business.

With regard to commercial sites, their modus operandi is simple. They ask the owner to dispose of the sites, or face dire consequences. Once the owner yields to the threat, they buy the sites at throwaway prices and sell them at higher rates.

If the shops or commercial sites are on lease or rent, they manipulate the tenants and coax them to play along. They even forcibly enter the premises and approach the court, contending that the sites are disputed. While the civil case drags on, the criminals continue to enjoy ownership on account of possession. The law, till the ownership is decided, remains loaded in favour of the possessor of the land.

While the case is pending in the court, the gangs try all tricks in the trade to purchase the site/land from the real owner at a price well below the market rate. Tenants who prove to be a thorn in the flesh ,too, are given some amount by the gang involved, to leave the premises without any fuss.

The attitude of the police only helps the gang. The police, whose presence would have been enough to infuse terror among the miscreants, hesitates to interfere in such cases on the ground that it is a property dispute, and that the issue is sub judice.

Usually, owners of property succumb to the gimmicks of the anti-social elements. Recently, the owner of Luck Juice Corner here was shot dead by some persons. The provocation for the shootout is said to be a similar case of involving an attempt to grab his land, which went into a legal dispute.


Criminal wanted in 14 cases shot dead
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, October 26
The Modinagar police today claimed to have shot dead early yesterday morning a notorious criminal, wanted in 14 cases, in an encounter while his three companions escaped. The suspects were fleeing after stealing a Maruti car and cash.

The police later seized the car along with a German revolver.

Mr Subhash Singh Bhaghel, SP (Rural), said that Naresh, a resident of Gadana village, had informed the Modinagar police station at 11 pm on Tuesday that four persons had sped away towards Niwadi village after stealing his car and Rs 2,200 in cash at gunpoint in a jungle near Patla village. Instructions were immediately flashed to all police stations to check all the vehicles passing their areas.

The police intercepted the car at Gadana tri-junction at 12.30 a.m. on Thursday. The criminals fired at the police. The police returned fire in which Pawan was injured while the other three managed to escape. The injured Pawan succumbed to the injuries in a hospital.

Pawan, son of Manveer, hailed from the Baghla colony of Daurala in Meerut. He was wanted in 14 cases of loot, waylaying, murders and dacoity in Meerut, Khokheda, Daurala, Sardhana, Baghpet and Manwana, Mr Bhaghel said. 


Waning faith bothers theologian
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
Sikhism, one of the youngest religions in the world, can lose its popular following if adequate measures are not taken to spread its tenets, according to a member of the Dharam Parchar Committee of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

“Religion is more popular among the poor, yet efforts are not being made to spread Sikhism among these people,” Dr Komal Avatar Singh, a member of the Dharam Parchar Committee, lamented before The Tribune.

He said the members of the community should take it upon themselves to spread the religion; as a step in this direction, the committee should distribute booklets highlighting the basic postulates of Sikhism.

Dr Komal, a former diplomat, recalled that in London the Sikhs had deviated from the fundamentals: “Wearing of turban was not seen as an in thing. Similar was the attitude towards maintaining a beard and kesh. Many had shortened their hair, which is against the basic principles of Sikhism.”

Indicating that a similar trend was being witnessed here, he pointed out that many Sikh youth, under western influences, were becoming clean-shaven. “This trend has to be checked. They should be told the historic significance of the five Ks – Kesh, Kadha, Kirpan, Kacha and Kangha -- and the necessity of sticking to tradition.”

The parchar committee member disclosed that turban-tying competitions, which were initiated following his suggestion, are now a popular annual event in DSGMC-run schools.

“The students enjoy tying the turban. Many practice throughout the year. The winners are provided financial incentives,’’ he added.

The DSGMC has an annual budget of several crores. Of this, he felt, at least 10 per cent should be spent on social work.

“We should not spread the religion for conversion, but work with the poorer sections of the community to alleviate their problems,’’ said Dr Komal, who has undertaken studies in Gurmat and Sikh history.

“The move to spread Sikhism should be undertaken with caution as any wrong move or callous act could result in the birth of religious extremism,” he said.

“The world is passing through the worst period of suffering, hatred, religious intolerance, fear and exploitation. In an environment, where trust has lost its true meaning, the teachings and philosophy of spiritual leaders like Guru Nanak can function as a lighthouse,” he said

On the recent incident of burning of Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab, he said, “It was an unfortunate incident. However, we should not invoke Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder)… which would be a wrong projection of the religion..”

“Sikhism is a living religion and would continue to remain so. Its followers could dwindle if they do not make an attempt to preserve it”, he added.


Dasehra goes without hiccups
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
Even as the world wages its first war of the millennium against terrorism, Delhi today celebrated Dasehra, a symbol of victory of good over evil, with customary fervour. Sky-high effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnath and brother Kumbhakaran fell to the fiery arrows of Lord Ram and Lakshman on the historic Ram Leela Ground in the Capital.

The police and law-enforcing agencies heaved a sigh of relief as no major untoward incident happened in Delhi and surrounding areas. Amidst an elaborate security bandobast, the cracker-stuffed effigies were consigned to flames just before sunset in a carnival atmosphere.


60 cases of dengue so far in Ghaziabad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
More than 60 cases of dengue fever have been reported so far in and around Ghaziabad, with the number threatening to climb still higher. The disease is spreading to parts of east Delhi as well. The Directorate of Health Services will review the situation on Saturday.

A senior official in the Directorate told The Tribune that there was no reason to panic, but added that a review would be undertaken and steps taken to curb the spread of dengue fever. As of now, the government was monitoring the situation.

Responding to concerns that hospitals might be struggling to cope with the rising incidence of the disease, officials said that the situation was not as alarming as was being projected.

The incidence thus far has been localised, but the general lack of awareness about the fever and the precautions that need to be taken have aggravated matters.

Reports of an ‘outbreak’ in Ghaziabad has added to the consternation of people living in east Delhi and other areas bordering Uttar Pradesh. Earlier this week, two suspected cases of dengue fever were reported from Ramprastha Colony in east Delhi; they have been admitted to a hospital in Noida.

Soon after the initial cases surfaced, a team of experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases as well as officials from the Malaria Control Cell of Delhi reportedly visited the affected areas. Although the Directorate says all steps are being taken to check its spread, fears are being voiced that the disease might assume endemic proportions.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi have launched an awareness campaign to educate people about the measures to be taken to prevent the spread of dengue.

The civic officials have been carrying out house-to-house check of water coolers and other places, which are likely to have water stagnation. The disease claimed more than 400 lives in 1998 in the Capital when it attained endemic proportions. 


X-ray device that can detect anthrax rusts at post office
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, October 26
At a time when the mention of anthrax makes anyone sit up, a sophisticated X-ray machine, which can detect even pulverised powder, is gathering dust at the foreign post office at ITO, thanks to the war of attrition between the Customs Department and the Postal Department.

The X-ray machine -- which is lying abandoned in a corner on the second floor of the post office here-- was bought for Rs 27 lakh 10 years back by the Customs Department from a foreign company. The purpose was to screen overseas mail, especially obnoxious and dangerous substances inside envelopes and parcels. However, the machine has not been installed since then. The machine needs an air-conditioned cabin. But both the departments are at loggerheads, unable to decide which of them should install the cabin. Customs officials say it is the responsibility of the Postal Department to install the machine, but the Postal Department flatly denies that. A similar machine is fully operational at the Customs Clearance Department in Indira Gandhi International Airport. With both departments unable to pin down the responsibility for the cabin, the machine, whose current market value is about Rs 1 crore, is rusting at the foreign post office.


Anthrax fear stalks Ghaziabad
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, October 26
After the receipt of two envelopes carrying powdery substance, the anthrax fear seems to have gripped Ghaziabad.

While both the envelopes have been sent for examination to the National Institute of Communicable Disease in New Delhi, the State health department has constituted a control committee which has set up an anthrax control cell in the district hospital, Ghaziabad. A rapid response team has also been set up in Ghaziabad, Dr Vinode Kumar, CMO, said.

A sensation was caused with the receipt of an envelope in a pharmaceutical firm from Singapore containing some powder. The health department officials were sent to the firm by Magistrate Puja Singhal.

The envelope was later sent to Delhi for investigation. The principal of JLM Girls College in Murad Nagar had received a suspicious looking envelope. Since it apparently carried a powdery substance, the health department officials were informed by the college authorities. The envelope was duly sent to Delhi for examination.

An anthrax control committee has been set up, headed by the Chief Medical Officer, Ghaziabad, Dr Vinode Kumar. The committee which has different specialists on it, will meet daily in District Hospital, Ghaziabad and issue guidelines regarding anthrax control. The phone number of this special cell is 4731970.


Wattal’s odyssey: From Daler Mehndi to Ramayana
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
The man who is credited with catapulting several Punjabi singers like Daler Mehndi, Malkat Singh and Baba Seghal to fame is now on the threshold of launching a six-part musical on the epic Tulsi Ramayana.

“The six-part album would be based on 52 ragas sung in light and semi-classical style,” said Jawahar Wattal, the producer and composer of the album.

Wattal, an MBA from Delhi, said: “Noted classical singers and bhakti sangeet artistes like Suresh Wadkar, Sanjeev Miglani and others have sung the songs.”

“Each doha of the Tulsi Ramayan is sung in a different raga. The ragas catch the mood of the time and the musical note brings out anger, milap and happiness as the story passes through different phases,” he said.

Yesteryears’ singer Mukesh had tried his hands on the Tulsi Ramayana about two decades ago, he said, and added that “the new album, which would be released in the first week of December, would catch the attention of the young and old alike”.

Narrating his enriching experience in composing the music for the epic, which would be compared with the popular tele-serial, Ramayana, Wattal said: “It was quite a challenge. The attempt was to bring in fusion of classical and mythological text in a manner which catches the attention of everyone.”

He said the roaring success of Shubha Mudgal’s ‘Ali More Angana’ album, which he produced, had given him immense confidence in the fusion of classical notes and popular tunes of the time.

“It was my idea to bring in a classical musician in the popular arena. Shubha Mudgal, at first, was taken aback with the idea of singing a pop song. I was sure from the beginning that the music album would be a success,” he said.

Another album, which the youth can look forward to for foot-tapping music, is the second volume of Punjabi Munda. “The first volume sold over 10 lakh and the second volume has been made on the popular demand of the youths,” he said.

With over 60 albums to his credit, the music composer trained in classical western music has tried his hands on Punjabi bhangra, Rajasthani folk music, Christmas carols, sufiana, ghazal and even a pop album in Tamil.

On his successful production of several platinum discs, he said: “For each album, I work for at least two to four months. But, now-a-days, people are producing albums within 15 days. Commercialisation is throwing up ‘stars’ who vanish with the same speed as they come.”

Some of his productions and musical compositions are the household names – Bolo Tara Ra Ra by Daler Mehndi, Dilruba by Baga Sehgal, Deewane To Deewane Hain and Mahi O Mahi by Ali Haidar, Piya Se Milke Aaye Nain by Hema Sardesai, Mera Dil Bole Piya Piya by Poornima.

“All these people were launched by me. I am satisfied that my music has clicked and is popular on the lips of everyone,” he said.


Garbage in your backyard: courtesy MCD
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, October 26
How would you define a posh area? Big luxurious houses, greenery all around, a five-star hotel, a multiplex theatre, a hospital! Everyone sees all this, but who sees the big open garbage dumps right outside the hospital? No one except those affected!

Well, the affected ones are those working inside the GM Modi Hospital in South Delhi’s Saket and the ones going inside the hospital for treatment.

The ones who don’t give a damn about it are the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and those who have never gone close to this hospital.

Ms Alka Bhatia, a resident of Saket, had taken her 12-year-old son for treatment at the Modi Hospital. She said: “I don’t understand the mindset of our authorities. Where was the need for garbage dumps outside the hospital? It is so ironical.”

“Even the stench from the garbage dump reaches inside the hospital. This is a place where sick people are supposed to be treated, but here the sick would become more sick and the ones with no problems will have problems galore.”

There are two open garbage dumps right outside the hospital and the garbage in it accumulates to the extent that it actually spills out on to the roads because the “authorities do not clear it regularly.”

Medical Superintendent Dr Ambrish Jain told The Tribune: “I agree it is disgusting. The authorities should have been more thoughtful before making garbage collection dumps outside a hospital.”

Dr Jain said he had complained to the MCD authorities on several occasions that there was a constant threat of deadly epidemics spreading in the area but all his complaints have “fallen on deaf ears.” “They should remove the garbage dumps from here and it should not be relocated within at least 100 meters of the hospital. Even the sewers outside the hospital gates overflows with dirty water all over the roads. It is pathetic,” he laments.

“We are losing out on business. No one wants to enter a hospital which has sights like this all around it,” Dr Jain remarked.

In contrast to the feeling of disgust by the residents of the area, MCD Commissioner S.P. Aggarwal said: “We have become very strict with the karamcharis and I don’t think the problem of collecting garbage from the dumps should arise anymore. We see to it that the karamcharis collect garbage from all the dumps in the city.”

In a typically bureaucratic response about relocating the dumps from outside the hospital, Mr Aggarwal said he would “definitely look into the matter.”

Another MCD official said all the dirt existing in the garbage dumps was because of the people living across the road in Hauz Rani Village. “They throw all the dirt all over the place. As such, it becomes very difficult for the karamcharis to clean it.”

However, Ms Sarah Singh, a resident said: “I have never seen the MCD collecting garbage from these dumps. They come here once in a month and in the meanwhile, the smell and look of the garbage is unbearable.”

Elaborating on the carelessness of the MCD, Dr Jain said: “One side of the road outside the hospital has been blocked since over a year now. The MCD, which had dug it up to clean the sewer line is yet to be put it back in proper shape.” Dr Jain also blames the residents of Hauz Rani Village who don’t want the road to be repaired because they have conveniently turned one side of the road into a parking area and have even encroached upon the road, Dr Jain said.


Coping with red light blues, demolition-happy DDA & spitters

If there is any award for the most dusty and bumpy red light crossing in Delhi, I am sure the Ghazipur crossing will bag the first prize.

The municipal and traffic authorities are least bothered about this bottleneck. The whole problem with the crossing, which happens to be an important intersection on the Delhi-UP national highway, is the sewer line, the installation work for which was initiated three to four months ago.

Although the sewer was completed a month ago, the authorities have not bothered to lay a fresh concrete road. Motorists, as a result, have to face numerous problems, especially while driving in the night.

When it rains, the area gets water logged, thanks to potholes.

Even though traffic cops man the crossing, they do not seem to be exerting pressure on the civic authorities for expediting the laying of a concrete road.

Karthik Subramaniam, New Delhi.

DDA nightmare

Man and dog share the same roof in a DDA building
Man and dog share the same roof in a DDA building. — Tribune photo

The new Minister for Urban Development, Mr Ananth Kumar, has asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to reform itself by working as a facilitator and not as a mere builder. He asked it to shed its image of a demolition squad.

The directive given by the minister seems to be a tall order. In the words of a former IAS Officer, " The total monopoly resulted in the most corrupt and inefficient organisation totally oblivious of peoples' problems, creating an acute shortage in housing, sub-standard construction, congestion, lack of amenities and illegal structures."

According to a senior DDA official, ignorance about the rules and procedures of transactions was the main reason for touts flourishing at DDA offices. In an effort to curb their activities, the DDA has appointed 12 counsellors for providing guidance to the public.

This innovative step by the DDA management is a welcome move but there is a need to change the mindset of those manning DDA desks. Further, incognito visits by ministry officials and the senior management could detect and punish the guilty staff. Efficiency and service without graft is the need of the hour.

R.K. Bhatnagar, New Delhi.


Spit and be merry

If Delhi is a public urinal after dark, it is a public spittoon during daytime. This is in spite of the fact that there is a heavy fine for littering.

Spitting in India is as Indian as rogan josh. For a Delhi'ite it is his birthright, nay a fundamental right. He spits with impunity anytime and anywhere. There are people who spit out of spite. There are others who spit apropos of nothing.

In his latest book, entitled History of Manners, Norbert Elias points out that the evolution of manners is both a key element in the psychic development of society and a crucial means for dominant culture to reproduce itself in the psychology of an individual.

Any quest for manners in social life makes two basic assumptions, that is existence of social life and absence of manners. Both these assumptions have been questioned first by the sociologists who believe that human life is livable in spite of its ugliness and, secondly, by biologists who think that life is much more important than living.

The Delhi School of Manners can prepare a suitable syllabus. Perhaps that may usher a new social order.

K.K. Khullar, New Delhi.

Milky trains

“It is not for nothing that I travel with all these milk cans in the local trains. I pay Rs 500 per month as hush-hush money to the Railway cops every month. And so do other milkmen. We have a well-organised network. Now, if you bandy words any more, I shall throw you out of the running train."

A milkman, who gave a dressing down to a gentleman, uttered these words. The well-dressed middle-aged passenger, silenced and awed, quietly crouched in a corner of the compartment. The fault of the commuter was that he had dared to object to the stacking of scores of milk cans everywhere in the compartment.

This is no exaggeration. It is a daily agony suffered by thousands of commuters, travelling to and from Palwal, Delhi and Ghaziabad in the shuttles called Electric Motor Units (EMU). Milkmen board these EMUs from the wayside stations with hundreds of milk cans, filled as well as empty, and dump them in every nook and corner of the compartment, to the consternation of the daily passengers. Not only that, even the ladies' compartments are not spared. Milkmen gatecrash into these compartments, smoke bidis and crack filthy jokes, all the while ogling at women.

This causes a lot of inconvenience to the commuters, who have to wade through the sea of cans to hurriedly board or alight from the shuttles. And if they object to this kind of high-handedness at the hands of the milkmen, they are humiliated. The milkmen have virtually become a law unto themselves. Both the railway cops and Railway Protection Force personnel turn a Nelson's eye to the complaints of the commuters, for obvious reasons. There is a well-organised network. Any new milkman ferrying milk to Delhi has to become a member of the network and pay Rs 500 per month as illegal gratification. While the milkman-cop nexus thrives, the commuters are suffering. Will the authorities swerve into any tangible action to right the wrong and redress the grievances of the commuters?

C.D. Verma, Faridabad

Adoptive parents

It is doubtful whether the government is really concerned about controlling the alarmingly increasing population. But many progressive, thinking and educated young couples are concerned. They would prefer to adopt a child, instead of having one of their own and further adding to the population of India. As after adoption the child shifts to a different environment, couples have no knowledge of child rearing. Spending time together is of vital importance, so that a bond of love and affection is formed slowly and deeply. The government must pass an Act giving special leave to adoptive parents.

If a few couples are making their contribution towards solving the population problem of the nation, the government should also act positively. It must not discriminate between biological and adoptive parents! For example, currently a 1/2 per cent rebate in interest payable towards house building advance and an additional annual increment is granted to employees who observe small family norms. It'll be worthwhile to allow these incentives to adoptive parents also as a part of natural justice and motivation, please.

Mohan Bhatnagar, New Delhi.

Printers’ devil

Printers operating from residential and non-conforming areas of Delhi, who had paid 50 per cent of the cost of plots allotted to them by the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation at Bawana under its scheme for relocation of industries, are a harried lot today. The DSIDC, vide its notice dated October 2, 2001, had slammed them with a sudden and short notice, demanding the balance 50 per cent amount by October 31, 2001, failing which "the allotment of plot shall be cancelled and no further correspondence shall be entertained in this regard."

After the allottees had paid 50 per cent of the cost of plots in instalments the DSIDC, vide its letter dated October 23,2000, had given the allottees a schedule whereby they were required to pay the balance 50 per cent in three instalments of 20,20 and 10 per cent at intervals of six months each.

How can the printers of residential/non-conforming areas, a majority of whom run small units, pay such a huge amount running into lakhs of rupees within a short period ?

The association had written to the Delhi Lt- Governor, the Chief Minister, the Minister for Industries and the Chairman of the DSIDC to realise the plight of owners of these affected units but so far there has been no response.

The Delhi Printers' Association wishes to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the grave situation which has hit its members and demands that the DSIDC split its single demand into easily payable parts so that its members have to pay minimum amounts in maximum number of instalments. The DSIDC should also help the allottees in securing desired loans at the minimum rate of interest.

H.L. Khanna, New Delhi.

Elusive schools

The Faridabad-Ballabgarh Industrial Complex has come up in a big way on the industrial map of India. The complex has carved out a rich and sound industrial base and continues to attract a large number of entrepreneurs.

At present it has about 20 lakh people living here. The population consists of mostly workers and middle class people. It has, however, not been possible for the Haryana Education Department to increase educational facilities vis-à-vis the phenomenal growth of this industrial complex, by increasing the number of government schools or setting up government nursery and model schools in various residential sectors developed by HUDA, Faridabad. In fact, there is no government school in any HUDA sector. With parents hankering after English-medium education for their children, privately owned public schools have been springing up like mushrooms in the complex. These private public schools are mostly affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE, Delhi) and if not affiliated proclaim to follow the CBSE, curriculum, pattern and syllabus.

These public schools are causing financial harassment, year after year, to the parents, particularly in relation to the arbitrary and exorbitant tuition fee hikes and other charges in utter disregard of the provisions of the CBSE affiliation bylaws, and the terms/conditions on which land was allotted to them by HUDA at throwaway prices for setting up of the schools.

In order to put an end to the financial exploitation of parents by the private public schools, the Haryana Education Directorate should immediately enforce the provisions of the Haryana School Education Act, 1995. The government should, without succumbing to the pressure of the schools, open government nursery, junior, senior model schools in every HUDA sector to end commercialism and monopoly of the private public schools.

O.P. Sharma, Faridabad


Operation clean-up launched in Faridabad
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 26
The Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) seems to be coming out of `slumber’ at last after reports of malaria and dengue in this industrial town, the civic authorities have decided to launch a campaign involving the residents in its drive to clean up the `stinking’ areas.

The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation has issued a notice-cum-warning to all residents, including commercial houses and shopkeepers to remove the encroachments raised on the roadside drains.

It is learnt that these drains have been covered permanently by the inhabitants and this could not be cleaned up regularly by the safai employees, leading to choking of filth and dirt and stagnation of water, which becomes a breeding source of mosquitoes.

Moreover, it leads to flooding of roads and low-lying areas during rainfall.

It may be recalled that about 38 persons had `died’ of dengue in 1996 and about 50 suspected cases have been reported this year. At least two persons have fallen prey to the disease this season. But the MCF has `failed’ to launch any extensive programme to prevent the outbreak so far, claims a local physician.

The MCF has also been a target of indirect criticism by the health authorities who claim that improper cleanliness and unhygienic conditions had led to the eruption of cases like malaria and dengue.

The MCF authorities have now warned against encroachments on `drains’ and sought public cooperation for proper cleanliness of their surroundings. A ‘Lok Chetna Rally’ was also organised by the MCF and Sulabh International here on Tuesday to create an awareness about the harmful effects of polythene bags.

It included a 3 km run by students, youth and officials.

The participants took an oath not to use polythene bags ever again.

Participants included students and staff of educational institutions like local DAV college, Government Women College, Aggarwal College, Ballabgarh Vidya Niketan School, NIT, Faridabad.


This Home overflows with the milk of human kindness
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, 26 October
Praveen Kumar, 23, a physically handicapped man had lost all hopes of surviving when his parents, unable to cope with his disability, left him at Delhi Cheshire Home three years ago. But Kumar says it was only for the best.

“I found a new life altogether. My parents were very poor. They could not afford me. And I know they would get very upset seeing their physically handicapped son. At first, I was very sad, but then I realised I could not have been at a better place than Cheshire (Home),” Kumar said.

Devoted to the service and painstaking care of men, women and children who are either incurably sick, permanently disabled or mentally challenged, the Delhi Cheshire Home fills their life with love, care, self-respect and dignity.

“Here, the physical and emotional needs of the inmates are properly attended to by specially trained people and voluntary social workers. In most of the cases, it is the beginning of a new, meaningful life for the handicapped people. A concern, which fully justifies our motto: We care - We share,” said S.K. Bhalla, administrator of the Home.

Mr Bhalla said that there was space to accommodate 100 people at a time in the Home and the vacancy would be there only if someone died or was taken away by their relatives.

Running on donations, the concept and the working philosophy of Cheshire Homes, a worldwide organisation, was founded by Group Captain Lord Leonard Cheshire of UK in 1948.

Today, Cheshire Homes are functioning in 50 countries, with a total of 287 Homes. In India, there are 26 such Homes.

The Delhi Cheshire Home, which is located near Jamia Millia Islamia University in south Delhi, is the biggest Home of its kind in the entire world, Mr Bhalla said.

The organisation has set an example of unpretentious but effective work for the relief of the suffering humanity without fanfare. “The Homes are open to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or nationality,” Mr Bhalla said.

Leonard Cheshire joined the RAF just before the Second World War and as a Bomber Pilot earned Britain’s highest honour - the Victoria Cross.

After the war, Lord Cheshire decided that he had to do more with the rest of the time granted to him on earth.

He started a scheme by setting up a series of “settlements” for the disabled ex-servicemen in which “the strong would support the weak, the rich the poor.”

In 1947, Lord Cheshire fell ill and was advised to go on a holiday. He then learnt that one of his friends, who had been in hospital with an incurable cancer, was being discharged because the bed was needed for another patient who could be cured.

Lord Cheshire kept him in one of the many rooms vacant in the failed “Settlement” that he had started. His friend died in his arms a few months later.

As time went by, people heard that Lord Cheshire was tending the sick and the incurable and more and more turned up at his door.

Hence started the Cheshire Homes one after the other in 1948, and Lord Cheshire could not find a better place than India to help the needy, who are “found everywhere” in the country. Though Lord Cheshire died in a few years later, the mission “to give love to those that never found love” continued.


IIC-like destination soon in East Delhi: Gulati
Nalini Ranjan

A. S. Gulati, has been the Vice-Chairman of Trans-Yamuna Development Board, since its inception about 5 years back when Mr Sahib Singh Verma was the Chief Minister of Delhi. Since then, he has come a long way as far as developmental works related to this body is concerned. Mr Gulati is basically a technocrat and his company Monto Motors Limited has the distinction of introducing the first motor cycle in India in a joint venture with the Chinese. He spoke to The Tribune about his multi-faceted activities. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What is the story behind the inception of this board?

A: As a matter of fact, trans-yamuna has been deemed as

a very undeveloped area a few years back. There was acute shortage of even basic amenities and on the service front, there was a big backlog. The actual level of trans-yamuna area is below the water level of Yamuna river, that is why there was an acute shortage of drinking water in this area. Drinking water sold like milk in those days. Apart from drinking water, there was no electricity or sewer in any part of this area. Keeping this in mind, this board was formed to provide some of the most basic amenities combined with quality development.

Q: But very few qualitative development works have been carried out by this board in this area so far?

A: To some extent, it is true. But despite our utmost effort, we are still struggling to reduce the gap between the demand and supply of basic amenities to the people of this area. In the course of this, qualitive development has been sidelined. But we are trying our level best to provide basic amenities along with well developed parks in every constituency. We are also constructing two big auditoriums, one in Preet Vihar and another at Shahdara, with a cost of Rs 30crores. These auditoriums will be only one of its kind in Delhi and it will be a cultural-cum-commercial joint under one roof. We hope that it will be completed by the end of the next year. We are also going to set up recreational-cum-business centre in East Delhi on the lines of Delhi Hatt, with a little support from the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation. (DSIDC) We are also toying with the idea of constructing a big indoor Stadium and the famous India International Center (IIC) like cultural destination in this area. After the construction of Vikas Marg and Nizamuddin Bridges, people of different walks of life will prefer to dwell in this area. We are also planning to set up a big park in Yamuna Pushta.

Q: How does the board work?

A: Actually, this Body is dependent on other agencies like Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD, Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB),Public Works Department (PWD) and Jal Board etc. We provide extra funds to these agencies in accordance with their needs. Fund allocated to this body is distributed on the basis of constituency but its concerned MLA or Councillor do not get it in cash. For example, if a MLA gets a fund of Rs 10 lakh, he can carry out development works worth that amount in his constituency with the help of the MCD, DVB and other agencies.

Q: What other developmental works are you going to initiate?

Ans: In areas like Krishna Nagar, Dilshad Garden and Gandhi Nagar, there is a big problem of water disposal. For this, we are working on different schemes of water disposal.


Boy burnt by power line in Faridabad
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 26
A 16-year-old boy of Old Press Colony of NIT area here got severely burnt when he accidentally touched a high tension line passing over a house today.

He has been referred to Safdarjung Hospital in a critical state.

According to eyewitnesses, the victim identified as Vijay alias Vicky, son of Sohan Lal had gone on roof-top of a house to get his cricket ball this morning when he came into contact with the power line. He got burnt and was thrown on the ground.

The electrocution led to a fire in the house resulting in damage to several items.

The doctors of the civil hospital here have referred the case to Delhi.

This is a second incident in the past one and a half month. Four children aged between seven and 14 years had died and two others had been injured in a similar incident in Sanjay Nagar in the first week of September.

Local residents have demanded the removal of all the low overhead power lines passing in residential areas.


Rain harvesting measures stressed
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 26
While the underground water table in the district has gone down steeply in the past couple of decades, it seems the `corrective measures’ to tackle the problem have not got the attention of the residents so far.

The Central Ground Water authority (CGWA) which has been assigned the work of creating awareness and implementing the guidelines concerning such issues, has issued notices.

The measures include holding of seminars and debates, adoption of proper techniques of `rain harvesting’ by individuals and organisations. However, the authorities which had set May 31, 2001 as deadline for adopting of ‘roof-top rain harvesting

system’ for organisations like residential societies, institutions, schools, hotels and industrial units in the district, has now decided to extend the date to December 31, 2001. Failure to abide by the rule could invite sealing of the tubewells installed by these institutions, under Environment (Safety) Act 1986 (Section-15).

The Director of the CGWA, Dr A N Bhowmick, at a seminar held recently stressed the need of adopting roof-top rain water-harvesting system by all concerned.

According to experts, the underground water table in Faridabad had been receding at a rate of 1.442 metres every year which was by any standard too much. The main reason behind it was excess use of tubewells and `failure’ of rain water to recede to water table. The experts have warned that if proper measures were not taken immediately, the shortage of water could become a very serious matter in next 10 to 15 years.

The receding water table could also lead to mixing of brackish water with sweet one and the whole water table could turn into `unfit’. Experts have suggested proper rain-harvesting measures so that the rain water do reach the water table and do not get wasted in sewerage and draining system.

The problem is getting more serious in several areas of Municipal Corporation, Faridabad and Ballabgarh as polluted water and toxic emittants of industries were finding its way to the water table.


MCD sets up grievance committee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
To bring greater transparency and accountability in administration of the MCD, a seven-member grievance committee has been set up. The Mayor of the MCD, Mr Shanti Desai, has been nominated as Chairman of the committee.

Mr Shanti Desai said, “We have always given great importance to the speedy removal of public complaints, difficulties and grievances brought to the notice of the public representatives and authorities concerned by the Delhiites.

The purpose of forming the committee is only to speed up effective redressal of grievances. It does not reflect on anyone’s performance . The committee will also probe reasons for delay and recommend appropriate action against the guilty officers and employees, Mr Desai said.

He said that reference of the committee would cover property tax, building plans, factory licence, trade licence tebazari, health licence, sanitation.


INLD leaders, Dy Mayor cross swords
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 26
A piece of development work at one of the wards here by the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad (MCF) has put a senior Deputy Mayor and some local Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)leaders at loggerheads.

The senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Shiv Charan Lal Sharma, Congress, is unhappy over the alleged interference in development works in his ward (No.6) by some INLD leaders and a former Mayor.

He claimed that these INLD leaders got a junior engineer placed under suspension or alleged irregularities in construction of a drain in his ward yesterday.

He said that while the work was `satisfactory’, the INLD leaders got the action taken against the JE and the contractor, without any basis.

Charging that it was an attempt to stop the development work in his ward, he said that he would complain it to the Chief Minister.

But on other hand, the INLD leaders and their supporters charged the contractor with using old bricks of a kutcha road for construction of a drain, which they said was violation of norms.


Suicide by woman

A 30- year-old woman, who reportedly had strained relations with her husband, today committed suicide in Okhla Industrial Area. She consumed poison with her three children. One of her children also died.


Stabbed to death by friend
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 26
A 45-year- old man, Mr Misri Lal, was reportedly stabbed to death at his residence in Gautampuri in North East district last night by his friend, Raghubir Singh, following an altercation between them. Mr Misri Lal, who worked with Punjab National Bank, was taken to AIIMS where he was declared brought dead. He was the only earning member in his family.

Robbery on road
Mr Om Singh (22) was reportedly stabbed and robbed of Rs 2.11 lakh by two unidentified youths near Chandgi Ram Akhara on Outer Ring Road in North district this morning.

The victim was involved in the job of money exchanging. He was taken to a Trauma Centre where his condition was stated to be serious.

The victim, who belongs to Kanpur, came to Delhi by bus to exchange old currency notes. He got down from a bus near Nehru Vihar and took an autorickshaw for Chandni Chowk. Another person was also sitting in the autorickshaw

When the autorickshaw reached Chandgi Ram Akhara, the driver and the co-passenger stabbed the victim and robbed of him Rs 2.11 lakh. The suspects decamped with the booty, leaving Mr Om Singh on the road.

Hunt for servant
The Paschim Vihar police has launched a hunt for a domestic servant who robbed his employer yesterday.

The incident occurred last morning when the family members of the victim, Mr Kamal Kishore Aggarwal, had gone to the temple.

The servant, Dharmender, who had been employed 10 days
ago, took with him Rs 10,000 in cash, some jewellery and a licensed revolver.

When members of the victim’s family returned from the temple they found the servant missing. The house had been completely ransacked. 

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