Wednesday, October 31, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Victims of riots then, of apathy now
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

AFTER several court orders and tall promises, families of the deceased and the maimed in the ignominious 1984 riots are still grappling with the same old problems and some new ones.

New Delhi, October 30
Seventeen years have passed since 1984 riots, that erupted after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, turning the lives of hundreds of Sikhs in the Capital topsy-turvy. After several court orders and tall promises, families of the deceased and the maimed in the ignominious riots are still grappling with the same old problems and some new ones.

On the eve of the anniversary of the riots, which is observed as a black day by Sikhs all over the world, residents of Tilak Vihar, the colony specially set up for the riot victims, complain that the much-publicised compensation announced by the government is yet to trickle down.

The government had promised at that time that the next of kin of the victims would be given government jobs, houses and other facilities. But, a visit to the colony gives a different picture. Most of the youth living in the colony are unemployed and many have taken to liquor. At least, 20 of them died of the vice this year alone, Mr Mohan Singh, President of the All India Lubana Sikh Sansatha, an organisation working among the victims and their families, said.

With unemployment, especially among the youth, growing, many have taken to crime and this is reflected in the increasing number of criminal cases registered against them in the area police station.

When the colony was established in 1984, a factory run by the DSIDC was set up for riot victims. The victims were given temporary employment in the factory. And, they are temporary employees even now, Mr Mohan Singh claimed.

A market consisting of 200 shops was also constructed in Tilak Vihar. The shops were to be allotted to the riot victims. Instead, they were allotted to disabled persons living in other areas.

The politicisation of the misery of the victims was the root cause of the problem, Mohan Singh said. “The poor children are sandwiched between the government and Akali politicians,” he said.

The Akalis, for their political goals, pressurised the government to introduce Punjabi medium in primary schools. However, this had affected the children adversely. Students from Punjabi medium schools had not been able to compete with Hindi and English medium students, resulting in an increased dropout rate, Mr Mohan Singh said.

Mr Atma Singh, executive member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, said that in its order in 1996, the Delhi High Court had asked the Delhi Government to give Rs 3.5 lakh to each family of the riot victims as compensation for loss of life and property. The victims were given Rs 20, 000 in two equal installments as compensation in 1984 and 1986. The Ahuja Commission had identified a total of 2,273 victims in the Capital.

The government asks three documents – copy of the FIR, death certificate and proof that their names were mentioned in the report of the Ahuja Commission -- from the victims to prove their case. Most of the victims are unable to provide these documents.

The Delhi High Court had also ordered the city government in 1998 to allot houses and pension to old persons and widows. The court had also ordered the government to give jobs to one member of each family.

“Hardly 200 victims were given houses following the order. The files pertaining to others are kept in the offices of the authorities concerned and they are now gathering dust while the victims run from pillar to post,” Mr Atma Singh said.

Mrs Ponchi Kaur (65), a widow, whose four sons along with her husband were killed in the riots has neither been given any house nor any pension.

Another riot victim, Mrs Barfi Kaur, (50), who lives with her relative in the colony, said despite her several rounds in the corridors of power, her plea for compensation had always been brushed aside by the authorities concerned quoting one excuse or the other.

Will the new century bring some relief to them, she asked.


Posh DLF residents getting a raw deal
Ravi S. Singh

Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, October 30
Residents of the posh DLF Qutab Enclave are a bitter lot these days. Despite tall claims by the DLF group that it provides the best facilities in its colonies, residents lament that they have to cope with insufficient amenities. That too when only 25 per cent of the colony is occupied.

The DLF Qutab Enclave Residents' Welfare Association has alleged that the developer, instead of redressing the grievances, is resorting to gimmicks by sponsoring another organisation by the name of the DLF City Residents Welfare Federation, to create confusion among the residents.

According to the general secretary of the association, Mr T. K. Satheesan, all the phases of DLF Qutab Enclave are facing problems on various fronts, including an acute shortage of power. Marathon power cuts in the peak season are a recurring phenomenon and are generally taken in stride. However, the DLF group has been building huge air-conditioned multi-storeyed corporate buildings over the last few years. These new structures draw a huge load of power from the already depleted pool allotted to the colony. When these complexes use their captive power generating systems – whenever there is a breakdown – the average resident has to bear the brunt, Mr Satheesan says. The rate of power breakdowns is quite high in the area because of poor installation and maintenance by the developer, he says, and adds that there are not enough transformers to carry even the present load.

Residents here are worried that the power shortage has begun even when hardly 25 per cent of the colony is occupied. The installed capacity per unit (plot) is 5 kw whereas the average requirement of each plot is 21 kw. Residents are now demanding that the authorities and the DLF group must take steps to set up two more sub-stations.

The association says that as per the agreement with the government authorities, the DLF group was to provide material to the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Ltd (HVPNL) for installing the infrastructure. But the group has not fulfilled its responsibility, it says.

The association also point an accusing figure at the golf course, which is “guzzling water, when residents in several pockets, especially those living far off from the water towers, are facing an acute shortage. The failure to bring Yamuna waters to the area, as promised by the Haryana Urban Development Authority, has only added to the problem.

The water table in the colony is depleting owing to the extensive use of tube-wells. Nor has the promoter bothered to build overhead tanks or lay pipelines to cater to the increasing numbers, the association says.


NDMC determined to end parking blues
J T Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
The New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) is working on a new parking policy, which is likely to bring great relief to the beleaguered vehicle owners in Lutyens’ Delhi.

Realising the need to improve the existing facilities, Mr S K Sharma, Assistant Director, Enforcement, told The Tribune: “We are in the process of finalising a new parking policy. We have been giving advertisements in leading newspapers inviting public suggestions, which could help us formulate a comprehensive policy. I am hopeful that in the next two months the parking problem in Delhi’s busy areas would be reduced. An effort is being made to minimise congestion.”

Paucity of adequate parking space has been a big problem in the NDMC area where a number of important government and corporate offices are located. This had not only proved an irritant but also given rise to considerable tension, commented a senior traffic police officer.

Since most of the vehicle owners are forced to park in the no-parking areas, there is always the risk of vehicles getting stolen or towed away. The Capital, especially the NDMC areas, has the highest number of vehicles in the country.

Even though places like Connaught Place, Bharakhamba Road, ITO, South Extension, Karol Bagh and Lajpat Nagar have space to accommodate 800-1,000 vehicles everyday, there is a crying need for additional space.

“I have been working here for the last two years and there has been no case of car theft. There are about 800 vehicles here and most of them belong to office-goers. We charge them Rs 5 up to eight hours. If the time exceeds, they have to pay Rs 10. We also ensure safety and security of every vehicle parked here,” said Rakesh , a parking lot contractor in the parking area on Bharakhamba Road.

However, vehicle owners generally have a tough time everyday while parking their vehicles. “Whenever I come to Connaught Place, I face problems as the parking lot near my office in the inner circle will be filled. I am forced to park my vehicle opposite the coffee home and walk all the way to my office,” said a public relations executive.

Ronesh of Citibank faces another problem. “Since I am a marketing executive, I have to go out to meet clients quite often, and getting the vehicle out of the parking lot is quite difficult as generally the area is cramped,” he says. “One has to learn from other countries like Singapore and Malaysia where there are well-organised parking places.”

However, officials of the traffic police say that they are more concerned about the discipline on the roads. “In a way, we advise the municipal authorities to maintain parking areas in a better manner. We have written to the NDMC regarding management of the parking spaces in important areas like near Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhawan and Supreme Court.”


Mumbai lad is ‘Super Selector’
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, October 30
Twentyeight-year-old Amit Walinjkar, a die-hard cricket fan from Nai Mumbai, emerged the ‘Super Selector’ for October in the ESPN STAR Sports' ‘Super Selector’ game show.

He chose the best team and mustered a Super Score of 3704 points. Walinjkar has earned a free trip to South Africa and an opportunity to comment on the game along with Sunil Gavaskar, Geoffrey Boycott and Harsha Bhogle.

Amit Walinjkar's Dream Team, which fetched him a place among the cricket experts, included Gary Kirsten, Sachin Tendulkar, Nick Knight (who was substituted by Harschelle Gibbs), Virender Sehwag, Grant Flower (who was substituted by Saurav Ganguly), Andrew Flower, Jacques Kallis, Shaun

Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Matthew Hoggard (who was substituted by Justin Kemp) and Martin Suji.

Walinjkar's team scored over the world record 118,000 teams selected by participants and cricket experts from across the country. Walinjkar said he played the ESPN STAR Sports Super Selector game show not with an intention to win “but just to do the analysis of my own cricketing knowledge”.

He has played in many tournaments for his school. Cousins Manveet and Harinder, a first year commerce student from Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce and an 11th Standard student from Guru Nanak Public School, respectively, won the Northern India Super Selector contest. Their team included Gary Kirsten, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Grant Flower (who substituted Nick Knight), Andrew Flower, Matthew Hoggard, Martin Suji, Srinath, Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis.


Security for MNCs beefed up
A. Jain

Gurgaon, October 30
The security has been strengthened for American and British multi-national companies here.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh Siag informed newspersons that various measures had been taken to provide fool-proof security to America's establishments and their foreign and Indian staff.

The management of these companies have been directed to check all the visitors thoroughly before allowing them to enter the premises, said a security guard.

He said that they had been asked to depute a special team to check the vehicles parked near their premises.

The SSP revealed that the police patrolling had been stepped up around the UK and the US-based units. Security personnel had been deployed in plain clothes to thwart any untoward incident.

Pepsi Foods, American Express, Silicon Graphics, GE Capital, Motorola India, Hughes Escorts Communications, Coke, Hughes Software System, Carrier Aircon, American Institute of Indian Studies are some of the companies where security has been beefed up.




SHE came, she saw and she launched. Not a thousands ships though, but a collection of jewellery titled “The Imperial Collection, poetry in 22 karat gold” manufactured and presented by Lalsons Jewellers. And the lady in question is the beautiful former Miss India, Gul Panag.

Charming the audience with her much-celebrated dimpled smile, the lady apologised for being late: “I was caught up in a jam. I’m not lying.”

Gul was the picture of patience as she posed for the seemingly insatiable requests of the photographers, who went berserk capturing the beauty in their 52-mm lens.

The beauty gave adequate display of her grey cells while responding to questions from the press. The beauty queen will shortly be pursuing a course in TV Management at the prestigious Kellogg University in the United States. “ One should have something substantial to fall back on. I want to choose what I want to do, not be pushed into doing something. Besides I dream of running a network someday”.

Like her fellow beauty queens she too has given in to the lure of the tinsel town. She has a Bollywood and also a Hollywood film in the pipeline. “I can’t talk about it now, it’s too soon”, was the politically correct reply when asked to elaborate.

The brand ambassador for “Essential 20,” a personal care product from the house of Modicare, Gul has also made a foray into the land of letters. “I am penning down a collection of 11 short stories. These are basically autobiographies of various things like a pen or a car. I hope the book will see the light of the day”, says the writer in her.

Whether she leaves her footprints on the sands of time as a model or as an actress, a corporate bigwig or a writer, only time will tell. Until then let yourself catch her infectious smile.


A do-it-yourself nirvana kit for yuppies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
In an age of instant gratification – be it coffee or two-minute noodles – you need not wait for the hitherto-indispensable PanditJi to perform Lakshmi Puja before venturing out to celebrate Divali.

A do-it-yourself (DIY) kit, tailor-made to suit your requirements, has hit the market that would enable you perform an elaborate puja and win the blessings of the goddess of wealth without the nagging intervention of panditji.

The kit consists of an audio-cassette or a compact disc with a booklet detailing precise instructions for preparations and performance of the puja. The cassette contains all the shlokas. The kit comes in contemporary packing that makes it an innovative gift option for those who revere tradition but have lost the know-how in the muddle of contemporary living.

And just in case you might wish a similar DIY kit existed that could be used on occasions such as marriages, there is an entire collection from the holy Vedas waiting for you. These designer kits contain prayers for matrimony, progeny, prosperity, domestic rites, etc. Also, hymns from all the Vedas translated into English for the benefit of those not having a nodding acquaintance with Sanskrit.

Another kit, called the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, is meant for those wanting to improve the quality of their life. The audio unit provides seven principles for success in all areas of life.

Critics would say the designer kits strip solemn occasions like marriage or ceremonies of their purity and trivialise them. Some like 61-year-old Ramakant Mishra, who is a regular on occasions such as pujas and ceremonies in east Delhi, opine that it goes against the ancient Hindu tradition and beliefs. “Digitised shlokas hold no sanctity … it would reduce sombre occasions to a farce,” he says contemptuously.

There are others who see it as a welcome departure. Ankit, a yuppie employed in an MNC, wonders if such designer kits would facilitate to solemnise quick-fix marriages without bothering about the ubiquitous panditji.

Besides generation-divide, gender-divide becomes evident when the idea of designer kits is communicated to the fairer sex. “Rubbish,” said a homemaker while the elderly ladies wondered what the world had come to. Adolescents and students too shared similar sentiments although they would not want to dismiss an “innovative idea” just yet.


Delhi pregnant with teenage troubles
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, October 30
Moments of reckless passion – sometimes coupled with ignorance - have unleashed a social problem - adolescent abortions.

The Parivar Seva Sanstha (Marie Stopes), one of the top abortion clinics in the country, says on an average 1,560 teenage abortions take place in the Capital every month and there are many more that go unreported.

“The number is alarming,” says Ms Poonam Arora, General Manager of Parivar Seva Sanstha. “Ironically, most of the youngsters who come for abortions are well aware of the precautions. But what we have gathered is that they just don’t think about the consequences until it happens,” she adds.

“Most of the abortion clinics in Delhi are not registered hence they are illegal and abortions are not recorded there. And I hate to say it but most of the teenagers who get pregnant always go to these clinics because it is cheaper. What they don’t realise is that it is extremely risky,” says Ms Arora.

She feels sex education plays a very important role in bringing up a healthy society. “Counsellors from our sanstha are sent to teach and encourage family life education (FLE) to school-going students and the response we get is wonderful.”

But do the youngsters act like they respond to such topics of discussion?

Geeta (name changed), 18,a student of a top Delhi college, has got an abortion done twice. The first time it happened she was just 16 years old. “The first time I had to go to a small clinic. I was so scared. My parents would have killed me if they had got to know about it. I took my boyfriend along with me. It took me just Rs 500 to get the job done.”

“I am aware about safe sex but I am just too lazy to take precautions. So is my boyfriend. Anyway, the second time I got an abortion done it was pretty cool. It hardly matters,” she says.

Most of the youngsters are exactly like Geeta who are aware of safe sex but are “just too lazy to work on it.” And there is yet another section of youngsters.

Sheetal (name changed), 19, says,”How can I go to a chemist and ask for a condom? I can’t do it. I am too shy. It’s so embarrassing. Why can’t they have condom machines?”

Ms Sudha Dhingra, a teacher by profession, says, “The whole problem is that here in India children are taught `no sex’. Instead, they should be taught `safe sex’. In today’s world there is no probability of `no sex’. So why not just let them be safe.” Ms Dhingra says in schools in the USA condoms are distributed to children. “It is because they are well aware that the children will have sex so they should rather be safe. And that is being wise,”she adds. Certain doctors feel efforts are still being made through various advertising channels to promote contraceptive services. “Sex education is discussed but has not yet been adopted by most of the schools,” says a senior doctor of Delhi.

Adolescents of the high-income group handle their problem by taking the highly paid secret abortion services. But for the poor girl the only recourse left is either termination by an illegal abortionist or continuation of the pregnancy, depending on the time at which she seeks medical attention. Sixteen-year-old Basanti (name changed), a maidservant in one of South Delhi’s posh localities, says she has got an abortion done thrice for Rs 400 each from a clinic near Panchsheel Park in South Delhi.

“I did use contraceptive pills but they never worked. The abortion fees in better and safer clinics are very high and I cannot afford it,” she says. Ms Arora says illegal abortions can pose life threatening hazards. “It is the responsibility of the government and voluntary health organisations to provide free sympathetic counselling and services for induced abortions which are legal in India.”

In 1971, India became one of the first countries in the world to pass legislation granting liberal, social, socio-economical and medical grounds for the termination of an unwanted pregnancy. The Medical Termination Act of 1971 was the government’s response to the illegal abortions taking place in the 1960s and 70s. According to Ms Arora, abortion is a reproductive health measure that enables women to opt out of an unwanted pregnancy “without endangering her life or well-being.” Another senior practising gynaecologist of Delhi feels that prevention of unwanted pregnancy should be given highest priority. However, “girls who wish to terminate their pregnancy should have ready access to reliable information for the prevention of unsafe abortions.” Being a girl is not something to be ashamed about. Today she has such wide range of options to protect her from the ravages of a naive, maybe foolish, act. She should go for it and have the best of both the worlds.


At long last, Ashram Chowk breathes easy
Tribune News Service

The flyover at Ashram Chowk was opened for commuters on Tuesday by Lt-Governor Vijay Kapoor. — Tribune photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, October 30
Travel time between Noida and Delhi has been reduced after the flyover on Mahatma Gandhi Marg at Ashram Chowk was opened for commuters today. While earlier it took anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes to reach Delhi, people from Noida will be able to make it in about 10 minutes.

Where commuters had to spend nearly 30-odd minutes at the Ashram Chowk intersection itself owing to the traffic jam during office / peak hours, after the construction of the flyover transit time will be reduced further.

People from Noida will be able to reach Lajpat Nagar in less than 10 minutes and South Extension in about 15 minutes.

Travel time to Dhaula Kuan, which is a nodal point for further westward journey, will be reduced by about 15 minutes when compared with the Nizamuddin Bridge-Pragati Maidan route.

The flyover will ease the traffic on Ring Road although commuters who want to cross Ashram Chowk and go to Faridabad via Mathura Road might still have to put up with some trouble.

Built at a cost of Rs 15 crore, the flyover – built as part of the Noida Toll Bridge project – was inaugurated by Lieut-Governor Vijay Kapoor. On the occasion, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said her government would ensure that the flyovers envisaged to ease the traffic in Delhi were completed by 2003.The number of vehicles in Delhi, she noted, was growing at an annual growth rate of nearly 8 per cent and had exceeded that of the other three metropolitan cities.

Delhi Transport Minister Pervez Hashmi said the project that had been estimated to take 15 months had been completed in eight months’ time. The minister had said during the budget session of the Assembly that the project would be completed by October. Prior to the construction of the Ashram flyover, Ashram Chowk was one of the most congested intersections in Delhi and also had some of the highest levels of pollution, thus discouraging commuters from using the Noida Toll Bridge.

The agreement for construction was signed between the Delhi Government and the Noida Toll Bridge Company Limited (NTBCL) in August 1999. The agreement stated that construction cost would be borne by the NTBCL, which would later hand over the flyover to the Public Works Department. (The NTBCL had awarded the contract for construction of the flyover to Afcons Infrastructure Limited through a competitive bidding process.)


Guns and bombs alone don’t make a terrorist...
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
To state that the September 11 attacks in the United States have stirred the collective conscience of comity of nations would not be wholly inappropriate given the debate that is engaging the attention of policy and opinion-makers worldwide.

The situation at home is not entirely different with think tanks facilitating interaction and information sharing among individuals and organisations. The Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) is currently playing host to an international seminar on the global threat of terror with special focus on the ideological, material and political linkages.

Observing that the battle for freedom is the battle against terrorism, jurist and Member of Parliament Dr L.M. Singhvi told a distinguished gathering during the course of an international seminar on terrorism that “it is not possible to reason with a terrorist” as they are people “who have lost faith in every system of conflict resolution.”

It was not guns and bombs alone but supporting ideologies that constitute the greatest threat of terrorism, he said, and it was necessary to address the problem of the breeding grounds of these ideologies. Stressing on the need for understanding the causes of terrorism, Dr Singhvi cautioned that intellectual enquiry should not be allowed to become an alibi for condoning terror or an excuse for terrorism. Debunking the idea of a “moderate Taliban” propounded by Pakistan and the United States, he said that the concept was a contradiction in terms.

Dr William Maley, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Australia, noted that the Indian political system had proved vigorous and survived the 1975-77 Emergency due to the power of socialisation. Pakistan, by contrast, had difficulties in this sphere partly because of tensions over the substance of national identity and partly because of the weakness of the education system and mass media.

Dr Reuven Paz, academic director of the International Policy Institute for Counter-terrorism in Israel, said that Jehad had led to the development of new and larger bases of Islamic radicalism and terrorism or political violence. An example, he noted, was the spread of suicide terrorism – from Lebanon to East Africa, Jammu and Kashmir, Chechnya and the US.

The Ambassador of Egypt, Mr Gehad Madi, while challenging Paz’s account of the roots of terrorism, said that terrorism in West Asia commenced in the 1940s with Jewish terrorism. He opined that occupation was the worst form of terrorism. He blamed the increase in suicide terrorist attacks by Palestinians as desperation that arose out of the overwhelming use of force by Israel.

Mahmoud Mourad, a senior journalist working for Egypt’s leading Arabic newspaper, said that Osama bin Laden had a special status among the ‘Mujahideen’ in Afghanistan. Condemning terrorism as a foolish evil without homeland or identity, he said that politics is the reason behind the burst of terrorism in all its forms.

A former Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, B Raman debunked the larger than life images of the Taliban and Mullah Omar. He said that there was a “brain trust” that was manufacturing and projecting these false images.


Progressive solutions focus of Punjabi literature
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
Noted Punjabi author Gurbachan Singh Bhullar has bagged this year’s premier Sahitya Satkar Award of the Punjabi Academy.

Mr Bhullar has written 14 books and translated more than 30 books. He has also edited more than two dozen books.

His much-acclaimed work is the Encyclopedia of Punjabi Short Stories, which is the first book of its kind in Punjabi.

He has been given the award for his outstanding contribution to the Punjabi literature. He would be given a cash award of Rs 1.11 lakh and a memento.

Analysing the literary trends over the year, Mr Bhullar told The Tribune that the issues concerning the people and progressive solutions to the problem continued to dominate the theme of the Punjabi literature over the years and the trend continued.

“Most of the literature in Punjabi has been left to the centre in viewpoint,” he said, adding that “other extreme views of radical left or rightist views have not engrossed the attention of the readers.”

Stating that the consumerism and materialism have affected the Punjabi literature, he said, “In order to gain immediate popularity, several writers have introduced sleazy material, though it is limited to a few persons and has not been welcomed by the readers.”

The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, would present the award, to Mr Bhullar and 12 others at a function in the Capital on November 6. Other award winners include Mr Manmohan Bawa for his contribution to Punjabi literature, Mr Baldev Singh Badhan for translation, Mr Devendra for Punjabi journalism, Ms Gurinder Harnam Singh for his contribution to Punjabi music and Jagdish Kaushal for the promotion of Punjabi Language.

They would be given a cash award of Rs 21,000 and a memento. The Punjabi Academy Secretary, Dr Rawail Singh, said that the award was aimed at promoting Punjabi literature and awarding those who had made distinguished contribution to the promotion of the language.

He said that a distinguished panel of eminent persons from the literary world selected the award winners.

The award committee members included Dr Sutinder Singh Noor, Dr Prem Singh, Dr Karanjit Singh, Dr Mohanjit, Dr Harcharan Kaur, Dr Kuljit Shelley and Dr Rawail Singh. He said that the Delhi Chief Minister, who is the head of the Punjabi Academy, finalised the names of the awardees.

Others to be presented the award for their books, include Dr Jaswant Singh Neki for his book on poem, Dr Mahendra Kaur Gill for Sikh philosophy, Mr Nachhtar and Mr H S Hanspal for fiction, Dr Harbans Singh Chawla and Mr Sukerath for short stories and Mr Gurcharan Singh Jasuja for play. They would be given a cash award of Rs 15,000 each and a memento.


Sarna opposes funding by DSGMC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi, president Paramjit Singh Sarna today opposed the proposed move by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to contribute Rs 1 crore for the bicentennial celebrations of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in November.

The money is being sent to Punjab on the order of state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, apparently as a contribution for the coronation celebrations in Amritsar. As it is an official function, which is hosted by both the state and central governments, they should not have any dearth of money for a function of this level, Mr Sarna said.

He alleged that “the occasion is being used as an excuse to siphon off DSGMC funds for election purpose in Punjab.”

Mr Sarna said, “If the DSGMC want to contribute for the coronation celebrations of Sher-e-Punjab the committee should convene an emergency general council meeting to decide on the issue.”

“The funds of the DSGMC cannot be used for such political activities. The DSGMC should utilise the funds for the betterment of the gurdwaras in the Capital,” he said.

Mr Sarna said the term of the present executive of the DSGMC had ended in May this year and the Delhi High Court has given it the right to utilise the funds of the committee for routine expenses.

“The sum of Rs 1 crore for the Ranjit Singh celebrations does not come under the category of routine expenses. So, any move to divert the funds would also be a violation of the court directive,” he added.

He also questioned the state government’s move to publicly adorn the throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when such a tradition did not exist in the state.



Call for foreign funds in tourism
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
Demanding “corrective measures” to bring about a change in the tourism sector, Delhi Tourism Minister Narendra Nath said today there was a requirement for greater analysis and insight for the state to emerge as a facilitator of gigantic economic turnover in the tourism sector.

“There is a clear need to recognise institutional deficiencies, adopt corrective measures and evolve mechanisms needed to bring about the change that we are hoping to achieve in the coming years,” he told the Conference of Chief Ministers and Tourism Ministers.

Describing blending of central and regional authorities or boards as one of the options, the minister said these superstructures should have the requisite authority, power and financial autonomy to create new destinations on the country’s map.

Emphasising the involvement of private sector in the endeavour, Mr Nath said it was essential to translate intentions into reality by attracting investment, including that from foreign countries, generate employment and foster a synergised relationship in which the private sector shall play the predominant and crucial role.



‘Make Delhi city of peace’

New Delhi, October 3
Affirming her government’s commitment to making Delhi a city of peace, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said people of all faiths should be discouraged from spreading communal hate and tension. She was addressing members of the Committee for Communal Harmony – an organ of the Delhi Minority Commission – that met for the first time today.


Bus stand work still far away
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 30
The promise to set up a new bus stand complex at Hathinn town in the district, has not been fulfilled despite the statement made in the `sarkar apke dwar’ programme about two years ago.

It is reported that while the land for the proposed bus stand was acquired way back in 1985 and the foundation stone was laid in 1995. But no work has been started so far, even the present chief minister had reportedly accepted the demand at `sarkar apke dwar programme’ held at Palwal on December,2, 1999. While a board describing the timetable of buses has been put, but the passengers have to wait in uncovered without any facility to sit, for the buses on side of the main road. 


DPS boy’s murder shatters family
Our Correspondent

Ghazibad, October 30
Jatinder, who had abducted Vishal Chaudhri and later murdered the innocent boy of eight, has snatched the darling son from the Chaudhri family. He has committed the most heinous crime, for Vishal would have turned 6 February next.

“We had brought him up like a member of the family and given him all care and love,” rues Sanjay Chaudhri, the steel merchant father of Vishal.

Vishal being the only son was loved by the entire Chaudhri household. He was kidnapped from his house No C-3 in Vakil Colony of Neeti Nagar, Sector 23 on October 24 and was later strangulated and thrown in Ganga Canal near Muradnagar.

As we were going here and there to look for Vishal, Mr Chaudhri said, “We could not go to the marriage of my brother’s daughter at Arya Farm House in Ghaziabad the same evening. And the most surprising part of the episode is that this man (Jatinder), after having murdered our little son had the temerity to attend the wedding on returning from Muradnagar.

When asked whether he had ever observed any criminal streak in Jatinder, Mr Chaudhri replied in the negative. “As a matter of fact, he is my maternal uncle’s son and was very much a part of the family. He was very fond of Vishal and Vishal also liked him. He took advantage of this love and stabbed us in the back,” Mr Chaudhari regretted

SSP Prashant Kumar, however, said that the crime seemed to be a result of the joint planning of Jatinder and Neeraj who is the son of Jatinder’s maternal uncle. The plan was executed by both apparently to strike rich overnight.

They have been sent to jail under Sections 302, 364 and 201 and the vehicle used in the crime has also been recovered.


Kalkaji businessman robbed of Rs 1 lakh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
A businessman was robbed of Rs 1 lakh in the Kalkaji area of South Delhi last night. When Rajender, a wholesale dealer, after closing his shop in Kalkaji market, headed for the parking lot, a youth in his early twenties snatched the bag containing the money, police sources said. The youth fled in a Maruti car parked just a few yards away from the spot. The Kalkaji police has registered a robbery case. A manhunt has been launched to nab the culprit.

Murder solved

The West district police today solved the sensational Khayala murder case by arresting three persons. Hoshiar Singh, a Khayala vegetable vendor, was murdered on October 27. According to police sources, Hoshiar Singh, a resident of JJ cluster, was brutally stabbed to death in a deserted area in Vikaspuri.

Mr Kewal Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police, West district, said during investigations the police found out that Hoshair Singh had a dispute with a relative, Gurmeet Singh ,over money since the past few months. In fact, Hoshiar Singh had been repeatedly demanding money from Gurmeet Singh. On the fateful night Hoshiar Singh with two of his accomplices, identified as Man Singh and Mahender, murdered Hoshiar Singh with a sharp- edged weapon in an isolated area near the Keshopur DTC bus depot, police sources added.

Death on bridge

The East district police is still investigating the death of R. K. Gupta, a retired senior doctor of GB Pant Hospital. Gupta’s body was found burnt on the pontoon bridge on the Yamuna last week.

Gupta, a physically handicapped man, walked with the help of a walker.He was found burnt under mysterious circumstances on October 23.

The police said that on the day of the incident Gupta and his wife Snehlata took an auto from their residence in Anand Vihar to spend some time at the pontoon bridge. However, the police does not rule out the involvement of his wife in the murder.

2 mowed down

Two unidentified persons were killed as they were overrun by trains in the district in the past 24 hours. According to police, while a 30-year-old man was killed yesterday near railway station at Palwal town, a train near Ballabgarh overran another youth this morning. In another incident, two persons were arrested for possessing about 1,670 pouches of illicit liquor.


Escape foiled

The escorting policemen foiled an escape attempt by an undertrial when he was being brought back after his appearance in the court here on Tuesday.

According to police sources, Ramdhari ,alias Bali, was an accused in several dacoity cases. He was brought to Rohtak on Monday night from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan where he is in judicial custody. He was brought to the local court here on Tuesday, escorted by Mr Gurdyal Singh an ASI in Rajasthan Police, along with three other policemen.

When he was being brought back after the appearance, at least six youths gheraoed the police party on the main road. One of assailants opened fire and Bali, who was handcuffed, also overpowered one policeman. But two personnel of the Haryana Police arrived on the spot in time and helped the police party engaged in a physical duel with the assailants. They succeeded in overpowering them.

In the meantime, the assailants managed to escape but the accused could not follow them. The police has identified two of the assailants as Suresh and Pappu of Gudhan village in Rohtak and seized a 315 bore pistol and a cartridge.

Scooterist hit

A scooterist was killed when a Tata Sumo hit his vehicle near Muma Majra village on the Bahadurgarh-Jhajjar road here on Tuesday. The police said Ramesh was going to his village, Lowa, when a Tata Sumo tried to overtake him but hit the scooter along the side. He was being rushed to a hospital in Delhi but succumbed to serious head injuries on the way. A case has been registered.

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