Sunday, October 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 
H A R Y A N A

Higher education turns people-centric
Chandigarh, October 27
With an eye on maximising public satisfaction through prompt and responsive functioning, the Directorate of Higher Education, Haryana, has opened its doors to public feedback.
 

Power Utilities asks IOC to cut power rate
Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana Power Utilities has asked the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to bring down the per unit rate of electricity, that will be produced by the proposed petrocoke-based 360 MW power plant of the IOC.

House tax: MLAs’ meeting on Oct 30
Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana Government has convened yet another meeting of urban MLAs from various political parties to discuss the issue of the controversial house tax policy.
Official sources here said that the meeting would be held at Haryana Nivas here on October 30.

Chautala promises potable water for all
Sirsa, October 27
“Each person in all 7,000 villages of the state will get 70 litres of potable water”, promised the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, here yesterday. He also announced that his government would ensure an additional power generation capacity of 3,000 MW in the state during the next three years. 

Tension among farmers on Haryana-UP border
Karnal, October 27
Tension is prevailing among farmers of Haryana and Uttar Pardesh on the Haryana-UP border official sources in Muzzaffarnagar said the UP Police and the PAC had been deployed in strength at Udhami village on the UP-Haryana border to check clashes.



YOUR TOWN
Ambala
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Faridabad
Karnal
Sirsa
Sonepat


EARLIER STORIES
 

AICC serves notice on Sultan Singh
Sonepat, October 27
The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) has served a show-cause notice on Mr Sultan Singh, a veteran Congress leader and former Tripura Governor, asking him to explain why he should not be expelled from the party for his anti-party activities.

PINJORE DIARY
A by-pass too far
Pinjore
The much talked of by-pass on the National Highway No 22, which is intended to relieve traffic congestion in Pinjore town remains a distant dream even though a survey has been completed in this regard. It appears that this plan has become a gimmick resorted to by political parties before elections in Haryana as well as in Himachal Pradesh.

Iron, steel traders oppose excise duty
Faridabad, October 27
A confrontation has erupted between iron and steel traders here and the central excise authorities over the action taken against some steel cutting units at Nehru Ground here a few days ago in connection with tax implementation.

Redeeming alcoholics anonymously
Ambala, October 27
It was last year that a chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was started in Ambala. It can now boast of several members who have left alcohol , and thus making a positive difference in their lives as well as that of their family members.

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Higher education turns people-centric
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
With an eye on maximising public satisfaction through prompt and responsive functioning, the Directorate of Higher Education, Haryana, has opened its doors to public feedback.

Successfully replacing the “take-it-or-leave-it” approach prevalent in government offices compounded by lack of accountability, the Directorate has introduced the public evaluation system for its employees, for a deeper insight into how they function.

Under this scheme, every visitor to the office is given a small feedback form, enabling him to comment on the quality of service delivery at the Directorate. While the form gives the evaluator the option of disclosing his name, the detailed form makes queries of the officer visited as well as his rating in terms of honesty, courtesy and promptness in addition to asking for suggestions for improvement.

Computerised for record, this information is sent to the Commissioner, Higher Education, as well as the employee concerned on a fortnightly basis.

Initially, the move was resisted by the staff since it entailed a complete change in the existing system, leading to fears and misgivings on the part of the officials.

To counter this, all employees were addressed by the Commissioner, Higher Education, Mrs Anuradha Gupta, who exp-lained that the move aimed at improving service-delivery rather than prosecuting employees.

Elated with the success of the move and the response of the public, Mrs Gupta, said the system had generated enormous pressure on the employees to discharge their duties responsibly and promptly.

“The receipt of regular feedback has helped us realise our strengths and weaknesses requiring improvement on the basis of credible inputs. Also, it has enabled identification of good and bad workers. While good work will be acknowledged by appreciation letters, remedial measures will be taken to correct those falling below public expectations,” she added.

Based on this feedback, the office will prepare Annual Confidential Reports of its employees on “more factual and less judgemental” inputs as was done previously.

“It has brought about a change in mindset as well. With the general public occupying the centrestage, working in our office has become people-centric rather than employee-centric. Everybody has decided to stop wallowing in sloth and, instead, is striving for diligent delivery,” Mrs Gupta said.

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Power Utilities asks IOC to cut power rate
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana Power Utilities has asked the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to bring down the per unit rate of electricity, that will be produced by the proposed petrocoke-based 360 MW power plant of the IOC.

According to a senior HVPN official, the IOC is demanding Rs 3.50 for each unit of electricity and the state government has asked it to reduce the rate. The Haryana Power Utilities presently purchase power from two IPPs (Independent Power Producers ), namely, Magnum and Maruti. Though the rate stated to be quoted by the IOC is more than what is being charged by Maruti, yet it is less than that of Magnum’s. Moreover, the petrocoke-based IOC plant is likely to take two to three years for coming up and the rate quoted by the IOC may appear reasonable by that time.

While the HERC has approved a rate of Rs 2.20 per unit for electricity purchased from Maruti, it has approved Rs 3.65 per unit for purchases from the Magnum plant. Following the state government’s demand for the reduction of the rate, the IOC has reportedly sought time so that it can make an assessment about the cost likely to be incurred by it for setting up the power plant as part of the Panipat Refinery expansion project. The IOC has already floated global tenders for purchasing machineries for the power plant and it will start receiving offers by next month.

The IOC is also asking the government to give it concessions regarding the Local Area Development Tax and the sales tax for the expansion plan. The state government is reportedly examining the pros and cons before it agrees to give any concession to the IOC. A lower rate is one of the “benefits” that the state government is trying to extract from the IOC in lieu of the tax concessions sought by the latter.

The proposed expansion project has been estimated to cost Rs 11,000 crore and of which the power plant alone is expected to cost Rs 2,500 crore. The IOC is also trying to convince the state government by projecting a massive growth of ancillary industries, attracting investment to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore, which it says will result from the expansion of the refinery. The state Industry Department, which is studying the IOC’s projection of the growth of ancillary industry, is reportedly not yet fully convinced by the IOC’s arguments.

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House tax: MLAs’ meeting on Oct 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana Government has convened yet another meeting of urban MLAs from various political parties to discuss the issue of the controversial house tax policy.

Official sources here said that the meeting would be held at Haryana Nivas here on October 30. Forty seven legislators from various parties, representing constituencies having municipal councils, were being invited for the meeting, the sources said.

Confirming the meeting, the Haryana Local Bodies and Urban Development Minister, Mr Subhash Goyal, said that the meeting was being called for inviting “constructive” suggestions from the Opposition legislators regarding rationalisation of the house tax policy. “The policy will have to be rationalised and we will not entertain any suggestion if it is not in accordance with this fundamental premise”, Mr Goyal said.

The state government, it may be stated, had convened a similar meeting on October 4, which had failed to attain its stated objective of arriving at a consensus regarding the method of house tax assessment, as not only the Opposition MLAs, but also the BJP, an ally of the ruling INLD, kept away from the meeting.

Mr Goyal said that the exercise was being repeated so that the Opposition MLAs did not accuse the state government of not listening to them while formulating the house tax policy. “The congress also had recently demanded holding of an all-party meeting on the issue”, Mr Goyal said.

Importantly, the Congress has called a statewide strike on November 2 on the issue of house tax. The all-party meeting, being called by the state government, is believed to be aimed at taking the steam out of the Congress party’s call.

Mr Goyal did not disclose if any concession was being made in the house tax assessment as per the suggestions made by legislators who attended the October 4 meeting. “Only the ruling party MLAs attended that meeting. But we want Opposition MLAs also to come up with suggestions”, he said.

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Chautala promises potable water for all
Our Correspondent

Sirsa, October 27
“Each person in all 7,000 villages of the state will get 70 litres of potable water”, promised the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, here yesterday. He also announced that his government would ensure an additional power generation capacity of 3,000 MW in the state during the next three years. He was addressing a gathering at Kharian village in the district after laying the foundation stone of a 33 KV power substation and unveiling a life-size statue of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal in the village.

He said the state government would ensure the supply of water to every village even if it required setting up of water works in the villages. Regarding irrigation water, he disclosed that Haryana was not getting its full share of 10,500 cusecs of water from Bhakra because of silting in the Bhakra canal which had reduced its carrying capacity to merely 9,000 cusecs. His government has given Rs 12.5 crore to the Punjab Government for desilting, he added. He said the government was committed to make water available at the tail-ends, for which the distributaries and channels were being cemented in the state.

The Chief Minister envisioned a self-reliant Haryana in the power sector within three years. He said with 3,000 MW of additional power generation in this period, the state would be in a position to sell power to other states. He stated that the Centre had sanctioned 500 MW power houses at Hisar and Yamunanagar.

Brushing aside the opposition’s allegations regarding his hatching of concocted cases against his political rivals, Mr Chautala said his party had always campaigned against corruption and only those who were robbing the public of their money and property were being booked.

Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated a rice mill constructed by Hafed at a cost of Rs 2.75 crore in Kalanwali in the district. 

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Tension among farmers on Haryana-UP border
K.G. Dutt

Karnal, October 27
Tension is prevailing among farmers of Haryana and Uttar Pardesh on the Haryana-UP border official sources in Muzzaffarnagar said the UP Police and the PAC had been deployed in strength at Udhami village on the UP-Haryana border to check clashes.

It is learnt that clashes among farmers residing in border villages of the two states are an annual feature. Police sources from Muzzaffarnagar said on telephone that tension was building up among farmers at Sahpat and Dunda Khera village of UP and Udham village of Bapoli tehsil in Panipat district.

There have been bloody fights among farmers of the border villages of the two states in the past. The district administrations of the two states had directed that tree plantation on a large scale should be undertaken on the disputed land by the villages. But the farmers have defied these instructions. The farmers of Sahpat village have once again ploughed the area earn marked for tree plantation leading to the present dispute.

Even after the Dixit Committee award which had earmarked the boundary between the two states along the rear of the Yamuna, the clashes among the farmers have been on the rise. The meandering river changes its course during the rainy season and disrupts the boundary line. The dispute between the border villages of the two states has remained unresolved despite frequent meetings even at the commissioner’s level. 

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AICC serves notice on Sultan Singh
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 27
The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) has served a show-cause notice on Mr Sultan Singh, a veteran Congress leader and former Tripura Governor, asking him to explain why he should not be expelled from the party for his anti-party activities.

Stating this, Mr Bhajan Lal, former Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, told mediapersons here last evening that Mr Sultan Singh had been served the notice for hobnobbing with the Haryana Chief Minister and INLD supremo, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and accepting the chairmanship of the Chaudhary Devi Lal Smarak Samiti. He said some other reasons for the action had also been given in the show-cause notice issued to Mr Sultan Singh.

Mr Bhajan Lal also indicated that the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, had taken a serious note of the complaints received by her against Mr Sultan Singh for his anti-party activities. He would be expelled from the party shortly, Mr Bhajan Lal said.

Mr Bhajan Lal, who attended the Dasehra festival here, also lashed out at Mr Chautala for pursuing “anti-people, anti-workers, anti-farmers and anti-employees” policies and vowed to ensure his exit from power.

He said he would get support from the INLD legislators who were annoyed with the Chief Minister and wanted a change in the government. He also said that the Congress had already launched an anti-Chautala campaign in the state and it had received overwhelming support from the people of the state. He hoped that the Congress would come to power in the state after the next Assembly elections as the people of the state were fed up with the Chautala Government.

He alleged that Mr Chautala had backed out of the pre-poll promises he made to the people for coming to power. He said he had already given a no-confidence notice against the Speaker of the Assembly for being partial to the ruling party.

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PINJORE DIARY
A by-pass too far
M.M. Bhandari

Pinjore
The much talked of by-pass on the National Highway No 22, which is intended to relieve traffic congestion in Pinjore town remains a distant dream even though a survey has been completed in this regard. It appears that this plan has become a gimmick resorted to by political parties before elections in Haryana as well as in Himachal Pradesh. That is the time when announcements are made that the project would be taken in hand. Both governments have given the approval to the project.

The need for a by-pass has become acute due to the growing traffic between Parwanoo and Pinjore and in the rising number of accidents on the stretch of the highway between these towns. According to reports, a feasibility study for a by-pass was handed over to the Public Works (B&R) Department of Haryana by the Ministry of Surface Transport for execution. The study report is believed to have suggested three alternative plans for the by-pass, which will have a total length of 8.77 km. The cost has been worked out to be about Rs 80 crore. Beside easing the traffic, the by-pass will also reduce the travelling time. Villages which will fall on the road, will also be benefited.

* * *

The Municipal Committee of Pinjore came into existence long time back but it has failed to provide basic amenities to the town. The town finds mention on the tourist map of India and thousands of persons from different countries visit the town to see the famous Yadavindra Garden but the town greets the tourists with foul smell, heaps of garbage, dark streets and stray cattle. The municipal committee has not even been able to give the town a sewerage system. Open drains along the streets emit a foul smell. Even the street lights provided by the committee are inadequate and wherever light points have been provided, these seldom work.The committee had also installed some sodium vapour lamps which have also gone out of order.

* * *

The Pinjore unit of HMT recently celebrated its 39th foundation day. Saplings were planted on this occasion by the president of the HMT Officers Association and the president of the HMT Karmik Sangh. An exhibition “journey through visitors book” was also held. This unit was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru on October 23, 1963, and it started production of tractors in 1971.

* * *

The driver of a school van, who crushed a child near Manakpur village on the Pinjore-Nalagarh road, was produced in a court at Panchkula and released on bail. The driver, Karnal Giri, had taken the van of Pushap Vatika School to drop Neeraj (5), a student of the school, at his village. Neeraj was run over when the driver was turning the vehicle. 

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Iron, steel traders oppose excise duty
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 27
A confrontation has erupted between iron and steel traders here and the central excise authorities over the action taken against some steel cutting units at Nehru Ground here a few days ago in connection with tax implementation.

The authorities have claimed that steel sheet cutters have been evading the excise duty of about 16 per cent and the sales tax of 4 per cent. The excise officials conducted a raid and seized documents of some of the units recently, said a steel trader.

Alleging that no prior notice was given, the association of steel traders claimed that coil and steel-cutting work did not come under the provisions of the excise duty. On the other hand the authorities have described sheet cutting as a manufacturing activity. The steel traders have decided to agitate against the action of the Central Excise officials, demanding the withdrawal of the excise duty on such trading.

Nehru Ground, which is the main steel market of the town, has about a dozen coil and steel-cutting units and about 500 trading houses. The market has been closed down for at least two days since the raid. The association has also convened a meeting to discuss the situation with trading associations of other towns like Delhi, Ghaziabad and Ludhiana.

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Redeeming alcoholics anonymously
Tribune News Service

Ambala, October 27
It was last year that a chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was started in Ambala. It can now boast of several members who have left alcohol , and thus making a positive difference in their lives as well as that of their family members.

The local chapter of AA began with just two members and in the past couple of months, its membership has steadily increased. It is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem, and help others to recover from alcoholism.

A founder member of AA in Ambala said the only requirement for membership was a will to stop drinking. “There are no dues or fees for AA membership. We are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, or institution etc. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and held other alcoholics achieve sobriety,” he said.

Regular meetings are held every week at primary school, near church opposite the Central Telegraph Office at Ambala cantonment. Often the first signs of an alcoholic’s desire to stop drinking come at the end of a desperate and hopeless period. It may come during hangover or may be precipitated by a crisis that bring realisation, said a member of the organisation.

“It is then that the knowledge about alcoholism and wiser attitudes towards an alcoholic will pay off,” an AA member said.

An alcoholic’s indulgence of alcohol in any form, either continuously or periodically, usually results in a disruption of his family and social relations. His mental and physical condition is so affected by the continuous use of alcohol that everything is neglected or ignored for long periods, said a former alcoholic.

An AA member, who has left drinking, points out “remember it is not how much you drink, how often you drink, when you drink or what liquor you drink. Alcoholism implies compulsive drinking. If you drink when you don’t want to drink, you are certainly an alcoholic”.

The AA meeting usually consists of three parts, including a talk on alcoholism or the recovery programme of AA, an autobiographical story and questions and answers. The sufferer usually finds someone else in AA who had faced identical difficulties.

Alcoholics Anonymous in Ambala, and elsewhere, is doing a yeoman’s service by helping alcoholics overcome addiction. The impact is evident when a person who has left alcohol talks about having got back the love of family members, respect from friends and others.

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H.C. Disodia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana Government has appointed Mr H C Disodia, Commissioner and Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development, as Commissioner and Secretary, Technical Education department, in addition to his present duties during the foreign training period of Mr Dharam Vir.

MrP. K. Chaudhary, Commissioner and Secretary, Education department, has been given additional charge of the Information Technology department during Mr Dharam Vir’s absence.

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VHP leader’s remarks flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
A meeting of the All-India Confederation of SC/ST and BC Organisations (Haryana unit) today condemned Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Vice-President of the VHP, for his alleged remark that Dalits would embrace Christianity in a function at Ramlila Ground in Delhi on November 4.

“In reality, Dalits will change their faith to Buddhism on that day”, a press note issued by the confederation said. A large number of people from Haryana would become Buddhists on that day.

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Counselling for computer courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Haryana State Board of Technical Education has announced the counselling schedule for admission to different courses of computer science and information technology at 11 Hartron workstations located at Ambala city, Faridabad, Hisar, Jhajjar, Nilokheri, Rohtak, Sirsa, Gurgaon, Sonepat and Narnaul, a spokesman of the board said here yesterday.

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