Friday, November 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


The dogs of war send Siberian cranes scurrying
Ravi Bhatia and R Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
The unfettered extensive bombing in Afghanistan by the allied forces over the last one month has forced the Siberian cranes to change their annual flight plan, which normally extends over the mountainous region and culminates in Bharatpur, their winter destination in Rajasthan.

The annual ritual takes the birds over Afghanistan.
The annual ritual takes the birds over Afghanistan.

According to officials of the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo National Park), known the world over for its annual winged visitors, only two birds have had the courage to descend there, after ducking the hail of bombs and bullets over Afghanistan.

The rest have apparently settled for some other haven via a less dangerous route. “Normally about 10-12 cranes arrive here at this time of the year and they are the main attraction for the hundreds of visitors who take advantage of the holiday season to throng the sprawling sanctuary. The crowd has been much less this year. Apparently, the news of the non-arrival of birds must have reached them,” an ornithologist, Mr Nikhil Devasam said.

As if this is not enough, the sanctuary had to face a drastic cut in its water intake. Against the normal water supply of 500 cusecs to the Bharatpur Lake, the Rajasthan Government decided to supply only 250 cusecs of water this year.

Ornithologists have expressed concern over the state government’s decision to cut the water supply to the lake. The scarcity would adversely affect the marine life, and it would also have an impact on the bird population.

The desert state, which has been experiencing drought conditions for the past few years, has taken the step to reduce the water supply to the lake in a move to divert it for irrigation.

“Last year or the year before that, when the state was facing severe drought, one of the worst in decades, the water supply to the Bharatpur Lake was not reduced even then. The move to cut the water supply to the lake indicates the growing insensitivity to the winged creatures,” the ornithologist said, adding that the winged creatures attract tourists from across the globe and provide a major source of revenue to the state coffers.

The Siberian cranes have, for some inexplicable reason, made this sanctuary their winter abode for years together much to the delight of bird-watchers, putting this otherwise sleepy town on the world tourist map. However, for the last few years, the number of these birds arriving at the sanctuary has dwindled because of various reasons – the paucity of water being the main one. Dangers en route being another major impediment.

The birds have had to evade pot shots by sportsmen and poachers in many countries across the continent where their meat is considered to be a delicacy. The international community of nature and bird lovers had appealed to the governments of these countries to spare these magnificent birds by making it difficult for the poachers to operate.

Siberian cranes are the third rarest of all cranes, and are arguably the most seriously endangered. The western flock has held steady at about 7-11 birds for the last decade. The central flock, which winters at Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, dropped from 200 birds in 1965 to five in 1993.

In 1994 and 1995, no Siberian cranes reached Keoladeo. In the fall of 1996, four birds reached the park, including one chick, raising hopes that this flock might yet survive.

Hunting in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are the western and central flocks' greatest threats. Because of their strict dependence on wetlands, Siberian cranes are also very sensitive to habitat loss, especially at staging areas along their migration.

Since the early 1990s, International Crane Foundation (ICF) has collaborated with Russian, Indian, and Japanese researchers to try and learn the exact migration route of Siberian cranes.

Satellite transmitters (PTTs), attached to the cranes by light backpack harnesses, allow scientists to pinpoint areas, which are important to the cranes. ICF produced a video in 1997 that will be translated into 10 languages and distributed along the migratory path to teach people about this bird and the need to protect it.

This 29-sq. km. reserve locally known as Ghana is a mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps, and wetlands. These diverse habitats are home to 366 bird species, 379 floral species, 50 species of fish, 13 species of snakes, 5 species of lizards, 7 amphibian species, 7 turtle species, and a variety of other invertebrates.


Lokayukta outraged at ‘bogus job scam’
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
The Lokayukta, who is inquiring into the allegations of corruption and favouritism against Food and Civil Supplies Minister Yoganand Shastri, has described the process of selection and appointment of candidates in the Delhi Consumer Co-operative Wholesale Store Limited as a “bogus job scam”. It recommended that an independent committee from outside the store be appointed to screen all the appointments since January 1999.

In the order passed on Thursday, the Lokayukta said that favours were doled out in the appointment of staff in the store during the minister’s tenure and that appointments were made on a pick and choose basis without any guidelines.

It had been found that candidates from the constituency represented by Dr Yoganand Shastri were appointed in violation of service rules and regulations without advertising the vacancies and without constituting an appointment committee.

All these appointments had been made on October 14, 1999, to various categories of posts including deputy manager, assistant manager, sales supervisor, salesman and helper.

The inquiry revealed that the appointments had been made on casual basis/daily wages and later regularised. Interestingly, none of the applications of the recruits had been received before the publishing of advertisements for the posts.

Besides, 12 candidates were appointed though they were not present for the interview. The Lokayukta, in his order, records that there is no post of assistant manager in the store; yet, “the administrator and some other high-ups assumed virtually absolute powers” and recruited “their own favoured persons”.

Furthermore, the Lokayukta says, “There were overtones of favouritism” in the manner in which the minister’s son-in-law’s firm – M/s Vandana Enterprises (named after the minister’s daughter) – had secured orders for the supply of goods worth several lakhs to the Delhi Consumer Co-operative Wholesale Store Limited between February / March 2000 and September 2001.

The business deals were conducted by the manager and high officials working in the co-operative store who, the order states, knew the relationship of Sanjay Singh with the minister and that signatures on the bills submitted by Vandana Enterprises resembled those on the bills submitted by Surya Printers and Stationers – another firm owned by Sanjay Singh’s cousin.

When confronted, sources close to the minister said that he had taken remedial steps and issued a circular to all departments under his administrative charge not to give any preferential treatment to persons who may represent themselves as member of his (minister’s) family, relative or friend.

The next hearing is scheduled for December 10.


Dreaded criminal shot in encounter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
Rupa Gujjar, a dreaded criminal wanted by the police in connection with several heinous crimes, was shot dead by the special staff of South District today in an encounter near Kalindi Kunj adjoining Sarita Vihar.

Gujjar, the Meerut-based criminal, carried a cash reward on his head. He was involved in more than 40 cases of heinous crimes and was arrested once in 1993 under TADA. Later, Gujjar escaped from the police custody by jumping out from the train near Faridabad, when he was being escorted to Agra, after being produced in the Patiala House Courts here.

Acting on a tip-off that Gujjar would meet one of his relatives at Meetapur in the Badarpur area, the South District police team laid a trap and waited for him. Gujjar was spotted driving alone in a white Maruti car (with a tampered number plate) near Mohan Khadar in Kalindi Kunj. He had allegedly stolen the car from the Model Town area a few days ago.

The police swung into action immediately and tried to stop the car. But Gujjar tried to speed away ignoring the police warnings. The policemen gave a chase and after a few kilometres managed to come close to his vehicle and fired five rounds at the speeding vehicle. Gujjar was hit a couple of times and the car came to screeching halt in the centre of the road, He was taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he was declared brought dead.

A number of motorists passing by witnessed the afternoon high-speed chase. Many of them said that it was a miracle that innocent people were not injured. The police said that the Uttar Pradesh police had been informed and further investigations were in progress. Efforts were being made to ascertain the identity of his alleged accomplices.


Centre misleading SC on CNG: Shiela
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
Training her guns on the Union Government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday said that the Centre should not mislead the Supreme Court on the issue of converting the Capital’s public transport fleet into CNG mode.

Inaugurating a seminar on CNG as a transport fuel, Ms Dikshit asked the Union Petroleum Ministry to provide the apex court with the true picture and not aggravate the situation. CNG, she said, was an unripe technology and Delhi would become the first city in the world to have such a large fleet of CNG vehicles.

Suggesting that the court had ignored the ground realities before delivering the verdict, the Chief Minister said that there were bound to be teething problems as everything was arranged at a hurried pace. Finances, safety norms and supply of CNG were the three major problems faced by vehicle owners. Moreover, she said, compressors were not working and pipelines had also not been laid down fully.

Questioning the decision of having only one type of fuel for the Capital, she asked: “Can there not be two or three alternative fuels instead of just one ?”

She asked the organisers of the seminar to present a copy of the conclusions to the court and also publish them so that the people were made more aware of various aspects to the issue.

“I am willing to go to jail and even willing to be hanged for contempt of court but will keep on saying that the Supreme Court has refused to take the ground realities into consideration in this case,” she concluded.


Super Bazar bosses responsible for losses 
Ex-chairman, vice-chairman and board member asked to pay Rs 24,45,780
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
Top officials of the Super Bazar have been held responsible for the financial losses in the government-run departmental store in Delhi since 1996, Parliament was informed today.

An inquiry was instituted by the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies under Sections 69 and 73 of the Multi-state Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 into the affairs of the Super Bazar, the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr V. Sreenivasa Prasad, told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.

Based on the findings of the inquiry report, the Central Registrar had issued show cause notices to the persons involved for recovery of loss.

The Central Registrar had established Mr S. S. Dhuri, the then chairman of the Super Bazar, was responsible for the loss and ordered the recovery of Rs 24,45,780 from him and others.

Apart from Mr Dhuri, Mr Surender Gandhi, the then vice-chairman, and Mr R. P. Maheshwary, the then member of the board of directors, were also held responsible for causing financial losses, the minister said, adding that they had been jointly and severally held responsible to make good for the loss of Rs 24,475,780 along with the interest to be charged at the rate of 15 per cent per annum effective from January 1999.

The Central Registrar had also directed the Super Bazar to initiate recovery proceedings against the alleged persons in accordance with law, Parliament was told.

The Super Bazar started incurring losses from 1996-97. The accumulated losses had reached Rs 39.28 crore by the end of 2000-01. Besides, the minister informed that the Super Bazar had liabilities including dues to suppliers, salary to employees, loans, etc of about Rs 65 crore.

Its sales turnover had reduced drastically and reached a level of Rs 37 crore per year, the minister said.

The liabilities of the Super Bazar included dues to suppliers of about Rs 38.5 crore, unpaid dividend of Rs 23.32 lakh, vehicle loan of Rs 34 lakh, cash credit from Syndicate Bank of Rs 144.21 lakh.

Other liabilities of Rs 265.25 lakh and government loan of Rs 2186.64 lakh, besides the staff salary due from April, 2001 make the store unable to meet these, the minister said in reply to a separate question.

The Indian Government was considering the revision of rental of 2, Rajaji Marg in New Delhi which is leased to the British High Commission, the Minister of External Affairs, Mr Jaswant Singh, informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.

The proposal for the renewal of lease of the property had already been forwarded to the British High Commission, the minister said.

A total of 43 jewellers in Delhi had adopted Hallmarking Scheme of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for testing the purity of gold, the Minister of State of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Mr V. Sreenivasa Prasad, informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.

The BIS recently conducted a survey in some of the major cities of the country.

Of the 75 samples of gold jewellery tested, only nine samples were found to be of the claimed purity, the minister said.

An amount of Rs 11,08,27,723 was collected through entry tickets for the period April 2000-August 2001 as entry fee to ASI monuments in Delhi, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, informed the Lok Sabha today.

While an amount of Rs 37,88,675 was collected from Indian visitors during the period, Rs 2,37,347 was collected from foreign visitors in Delhi, the minister said, adding that the differential in tariff between Indian and foreign citizens became effective from October 28, 2000


MBC status sought for Jat Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, November 22
The Uttar Pradesh Minority Commission has recommended to the state government to include the Jat Sikhs in the list of most backward classes(MBC)of the state.

According to the UP Minority Commission member, Mr S P Singh, the Sikh Jats and Jats without turban are of the same racial stock. When the Jats without turban have been included in the list of MBC, why the Sikh Jats should be deprived of this privilege, the member queried. A meeting of commission, convened to discuss the agenda, decided to ask the Government to include the Sikh Jats in the MBC fold, Mr S.P. Singh added.

He said that of 1,150 cases before the commission, the comments on 300 are still awaited. They are related to services, police atrocities and scholarship to the students. The commission had decided to hear the cases on the spot and not in Lucknow. The UP Minority Commission has decided to split the state of UP into 17 zones to increase its administrative efficiency. It has also decided to invite the intellectuals' opinion to give justice to the victims of minority communities.

The UP Government had recently constituted the Minority Commission with Dr Ashish Kumar Messy as its chairman while Mr S P Singh from Ghaziabad, Ms Renuka Deen from Lucknow, Mr Mohd Iftakhar Azam from Bahraich and Mr Khurram Rauf Khan from Sant Ravi Dass Nagar have been nominated as its members.


MCD is on a toilet building spree
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has finalised a scheme for the construction of 1,146 community toilet complexes, sewage treatment plants, procurement of sanitation equipment and public participation and awareness programme under the Yamuna Action Plan.

The MCD was forced to adopt the scheme by the councillors who demanded the construction of public toilets and sewage treatment plants as there is hardly any arrangement in the resettlement colonies and slum clusters. Residents of slum clusters generally use open areas to relieve themselves, causing both sanitation as well as health problems.

The sewage treatment plant is not enough in the Capital. To meet the rising demand of sewage plants, the MCD has now decided to construct more plants.

The MCD has also not made proper arrangements for disposal of waste material and garbage which continue to litter on the road side.


Few takers for mayor’s open darbar
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 22
The decision of Faridabad mayor to hold an ‘open darbar’ has not found favour among a section of the elected members of the Municipal Corporation here. Although some members have been openly voicing their dissent, the Mayor, Mrs Anita Goswami, seems unfazed and refused to budge. In Fact, she went ahead and held the third darbar today, a part of the series.

The Mayor and some of the corporators strongly feel that the ‘open darbar’ provides them with a forum to interact with the common man besides giving the people an opportunity to air their grievances. There was, therefore, nothing wrong with such ‘darbars’ per se.

It is also pointed out that as many people may not be able to contact the Mayor or other senior officials during working hours, the ‘Darbar’ brings the Mayor in their midst instead of the locals trying to access the former through his office for redressal of their grievances.

But a group of corporators are opposed in principle to the idea of holding a darbar. They claim that it hardly serve any purpose as most of the complaints come through the members of the corporation.

The members, unhappy with the decision to hold a darbar, have also launched a campaign to put a stop to the practice. It is reported that a memorandum was recently submitted to the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, in which it was claimed that the darbar is against the interests of the members and the corporation.

Only a few among the elected members of the corporation attended the first and second darbar while only one member attended the third darbar today.

According to some members, this was a result of the ‘boycott.’ According to Municipal Corporation sources, the boycott could snowball into a major wave of dissidence among the members and the Mayor may not find the going smooth in near future. Some senior members of the corporation are of the view that the members of the ward or wards concerned should be taken into confidence.


Who will stop encroachments on public land?

Sonepat, November 22
Going by the large-scale encroachments on public land along the main roads of the city that have been taking place in utter disregard of the government's urban development policy, it is now quite clear that the district and civic administration as well as the PWD (B and R) and the HUDA authorities have abdicated their basic responsibility for ensuring orderly and planned growth of the city. The alleged indifferent attitude of the administration in checking and removing encroachments has ruined the concept of planning for this "A" Class city which has today a population of more than 2 lakh with unchecked migration of thousands of families every year. The municipal council, the PWD (B and R) and other official agencies which have been indulging in wasteful expenditure because of their heavy administrative infrastructure have not only failed to solve the problem but allowed it to come to a point where it defies solutions.

It is widely admitted that the prime duty of the administration and the municipal council is to initiate some deterrent action against those indulging in land grabbing and encroachments on pavements with impunity. Squatting on pavements along important city roads today only exposes the pedestrian traffic to increasing road hazards.

Not only have the official agencies concerned failed to check the increasing menace of encroachments they have in their own way been abetting this illegal activity by conferring ‘tehbazaari’ rights, allowing the problem to assume gigantic proportions.

No amount of public criticism or complaints seems to move the officials controlling civic affairs or those connected with planning in the administration. By conferring ‘tehbazaari’ rights, the municipal council has in a way legalised what has admittedly been an illegal activity, violating well-laid down policies with regard to the problems being posed by large-scale encroachments.

The problem of encroachments, land grabbing and subsequently sale of government land by unscrupulous colonisers has been revealed at high-level meetings but the problem has only aggravated. The people have often been assured about the government's resolve not to allow encroachments on public land or pavements exclusively meant for pedestrian traffic. But what is happening all over the city only proves that the district administration has been reduced to behaving like helpless spectators.

While the number of vehicles has gone up manifold, the road expansion programmes have virtually remained static.

This has resulted in total chaos and confusion on the city roads. Despite several initiatives undertaken by the traffic police to cope with the ever-increasing problem of traffic, the civic administration entrusted with the responsibility of road planning and development has been indifferent. As the pavements have been taken over by encroachers, pedestrians are being forced to walk in the middle of the roads. They are thus at a risk of being knocked down by vehicles.

The anti-encroachment campaigns launched by the district administration in different parts of the city from time to time have had to be abandoned as the politicians patronise squatters, who constitute their vote bank. Unplanned and haphazard growth of the city can also be partly attributed to local political parties.

The municipal parks in the Model Town and Prem Nagar areas have been grabbed by influential persons for the construction of a library and a temple, respectively.

Similarly, shopkeepers near the button factory area have also grabbed the land meant for a park. They have constructed a concrete platform for the parking of vehicles. Some of the shopkeepers have started using it for the sale of their goods by placing `takhtposh' and rehris there. On the other hand, the authorities of the municipal council have become silent spectators though this land costs crores of rupees.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.N. Roy, has stated that it is high time the residents realised the problem and cooperated with the administration in making Sonepat a place worth living.

Contrary to the claims of the authorities that the city's drainage system has improved owing to the construction of big sewers under the Yamuna Action Plan, the situation continues to be the same as before. The spell of rains has exposed the hollowness of the official claims. Unimaginative planning and poor maintenance of the city's drainage system and above all lack of coordination among the official agencies often leads to chaotic conditions during the monsoon.

The present drainage network laid under the Yamuna Action Plan is today unable to carry water discharge. The conditions become worse during the rain season. A high-level inquiry is likely to expose the wasteful expenditure incurred by the Public Health Department on the laying of the sewerage.


Drive against polythene bags comes a cropper
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 22
The campaign to curb the menace of polythene bags and plastic wastes launched by the district administration has failed to take off for the want of co-ordinated efforts on the part of the authorities responsible here.

Ms Shashi Gulati, Deputy Commissioner, initiated the campaign over a month ago by holding meetings with the municipal councillors, senior citizens, representatives of voluntary organisations and traders and shopkeepers associations at Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh towns of the district. Many administrative officials concerned, including the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, were also present in these meetings.

After having an open dialogue with them, it was unanimously decided that the use of polythene would be stopped in a phased manner. The Deputy Commissioner had also issued some categorical instructions asking the officials concerned to work out time-bound steps to be taken to do away with the use of plastic bags and cleaning of plastic waste in the residential areas. The DC also instructed the civic bodies at Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh to install grills at the points where open drains were joining the sewer and also to locate garbage bins at the main spots apart from holding awareness rallies against the use of polythene.

However, the whole programme went awry due to the half-hearted efforts by the related agency. Visits to various localities of both the towns reveal that after performing the initial formalities, no one seems interested in tackling the problem which is not only polluting the environment but also taking its toll on

the stray cattle, especially cows. Several cattle had swallowed the plastic bags laced with eatable wastes and had died painfully.

There is virtually no control over the use of polythene bags as there were no effective alternative to them to carry household commodities bought from shops. The secretary of the municipal committee here admitted the fact and observed that it would continue until the offenders were dealt with a firm hand. He informed that as of now, they had been persuading the shopkeepers to use white bags instead of colourful ones which are comparatively more harmful.


Coconut husk can be a soil substitute
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, November 22
Mehrauli-based food processing company Sterling Farms Research and Services Private Limited has come up with a unique item in the ongoing Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan. This item is a soil substitute, which derives from coconut husk and pit.

According to the Chairman of this company, Mr Shiv Das Menon, this product is being introduced in India for the first time. However, a similar product has been used in Sri Lanka since years. Outlining the features inherent to this product he further reveals this eco-friendly soil substitute, Neopeat, is four times lighter, more water-resistant than original soil and a bad conductor of heat.

Another special feature of this soil is that it is free from Nematodes worms, weed seeds, salmonella, ecoli and pathogenic fungi normally associated with soil. No chemicals are added to it as it lasts for about five to seven years. It is highly suitable for greenhouse farming, commercial plantation, flower beds, potted plants, horticultural crops, golf courses, landscaping, roof gardening and for nursery polybags.

He informs that this soil is available in various packs (bales). A 4.5-kg bale can produce about 80 kg of soil after adding 20 litres of water to it. The price of this pack is Rs 125. Keeping in view the deficiency of good soil in metro cities, it is a good substitute for this. He says at Sri Wardhan Nursery in Maharashtra about 25,000 plants are growing on this soil. A golf course turf has also been developed from this soil in that area.

Dabur is also using this soil and developing medicinal plants in Nepal. The company is also exporting this product to some countries like the Netherlands and the UK. The company's present turnover is Rs 10 crore.


Absence of key PWD officials irks DM
Our Correspondent

Fifteen complaints were settled on the tehsil day, held at Sadar Tehsil Kasna on Thursday, even as the absence of key officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) annoyed the District Magistrate (DM), Mr Deepak Kumar.

In all, 20 complaints were received by the DM. Most of the complaints pertained to cleaning canals and waterways, public works and electricity departments.

The DM took a serious view of the non-availability engineers of the Public Works Department in the district and their inability to prepare the Prime Minister’s road plan on time.

He instructed the Chief Development Officer to recommend to the administration to take suitable and severe action against these officials, including deduction of wages.

It was recorded that it was not possible to contact the Superintendent Engineer, Executive Engineers and Assistant Engineers of the PWD even at their residences. As a result, they had been failing to attend important meetings and proper feed back about the ongoing works had been denied to administration on time.

Mr Deepak Kumar was annoyed at the absence of the consolidation department representative in the meeting and ordered the deduction of their wages for the day. Cases pertaining to consolidation could not be disposed of for want of their presence in the meeting.

The DM also passed an order that each district officer should ensure that he personally attended the tehsil days.

Mr Deepak Kumar informed the meeting that a special committee of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council on Gautam Budh Nagar district would hold a review meeting with the offices of the district in UP Bhavan, New Delhi on November 24.

Officials have been asked to prepare a factual report on 24 points for meeting with the committee.

Lion skin seized

The Sector-39 police here arrested two persons and seized skin of lions and tigers worth lakhs of rupees on Thursday. The skin of a lion and two tigers was seized.

The police conducted a raid on the basis of a secret information and arrested the two persons, Shiv Kumar and Shyam Lal of Delhi.

The chief of the gang is reportedly one Sunder Chauhan from Himachal Pradesh, an apple merchant who is involved in smuggling and selling of animal skin to the duo. Further investigations are on.


INLD govt has nexus with criminals: Cong leader
Our Correspondent

A Congress leader, Mr Azad Singh Nehra, on Thursday accused the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) of having a nexus with criminals which had led to the increase in the crime rate as well as deteriorating law and order situation in the state. In a signed press statement issue here, he alleged that the police were helpless in taking punitive action against such criminals.

The Chautala government was pursuing anti-farmer policies and the farmers were not getting adequate remunerative prices for their produce in the state, he said.

Mr Nehra also said that the Chief Minister was fooling the farmers by paying visits to the foodgrain markets as the authorities of the official procurement agencies were taking all steps before his visits and did not allow the farmers to present the real picture.


On the advice of the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice A. B. Saharya, the Executive Chairman of the Haryana State Legal Services Authority and Judge of the same high court, Mr Justice V. K. Bali, has appointed Prof P. M. Gaur of the local Hindu College as counsellor and conciliator of the authority.

Dr Gaur is a veteran social worker and has been a member of the permanent Lok Adalat for the last three years. The district administration and the state government had honoured him several times for his exemplary social work and services.


Yudhvir, a dreaded criminal who is included in the list of most wanted criminals, was produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Mr Paramvir Nijjar, who remanded him in police custody for two days, Wednesday evening.

The culprit, it may be recalled, was arrested by the Delhi police and handed over to the Sonepat police in a case of murdering Mr V. K. Jain, Deputy Registrar of Indraprastha University, Delhi and an RSS leader of Haryana in broad day light in the Model Town area of the city last year. Later, he absconded and evaded arrest. The Sonepat police had carried out a number of raids at his hideouts in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and some other states but had failed to arrest him. The culprit is allegedly involved in as many as 19 cases of murder, dacoity, looting and extortion. He also carried a reward of Rs. 25,000 on his head.

Canal breach

A section of canal is reported to have been breached near Khanda village, about 25 km from here, Wednesday night, inundating the standing paddy crop in an area of 50 acres.

According to a report, the farmers whose crops had been damaged have demanded suitable compensation for the loss. Many farmers pointed out that this was the third such breach occurred in this section during the past 10 months.

They also alleged that authorities of the Irrigation Department had used sub-standard material in the repair work of this section and this was the main cause of frequent breaches there. A high-level inquiry into the work would expose the misdeeds of the officials and mis-utilisation of public funds, they said.

Two hurt

Two youths, Ram Niwas and Rajinder, sustained serious injuries when they were attacked by a rival group of persons in Dhanuk Basti, near the general bus stand, here Wednesday evening.

According to a report, both the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger. The police have registered a case and further investigations are on.

Scooterist killed

A scooterist was killed on the spot when he lost control over the vehicle and fell down on the Kharkhauda-Bahadurgarh road near Kanaundha village, about 30 km from here, on Wednesday. The victim has been identified as Dharam Singh of Nahra village. He was on his way to Nahra village from Bahadurgarh.

Nine held

The Murthal police have arrested nine persons of Islampur village under the Barot police station area of Uttar Pradesh in connection with the alleged assault on some persons working on a field at Machhraula village of the district on October 31. A woman was killed and seven persons were injured in the assault.

The arrested persons have been identified as Suraj Bhan, Vinod, Sunil, Sukhpal, Krishan Pal, Iqbal, Roshan and Virender. All of them have been charged with murder, murderous assaults, rioting and intimidation.

According to the police, a dispute over the agricultural land was the main cause of the clash, which followed the decision of a court.

Shifting dairies

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. N. Roy, has ordered the shifting of all dairies of the city to the outskirts within a month. According to official sources, the Sonepat Municipal Council will allot land on Kakroi Road, Gohana Road and Murthal Road on the outskirts of the city.

Withdraws power

The Directorate of Health Department is reported to have withdrawn the disbursement and drawing (DD) powers from the Medical Superintendent of the local civil hospital, Dr O. P. Hooda, with immediate effect.

According to official sources, the action followed the non-depositing of the amount of arrears which were given to a number of medical officers by committing some irregularities.

The action of the directorate has been resented by subordinate employees of the civil hospital.

Dengue again?

Another case of dengue fever has come to light in the city. According to a report, a six-month-old girl, suffering from dengue fever, was referred to a Delhi hospital for further treatment. Last year similar cases of Dengue related fever en gulfed the city.



Traffic police on the prowl to sanitise roads
J. T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi November 22
The elaborate traffic enforcement plans drawn up by the Delhi Traffic Police, after the Sunday night’s gory accident, is looked upon by many as an effort by the authorities to sanitize roads and to maintain increased discipline, besides a warning to the erring drivers. Officials feel that launching of such drives are very essential in the city to keep the drunken, reckless and rash drivers under tight leash.

In fact, every year, the Capital records the highest number of accident cases in the country.

Official record clearly bring out the fact that 956 fatal accidents were reported till October this year, as compared with 1,051 last year. Accident wise the current year, with a figure of 5,260, has been slightly better than last year which had recorded 5,450 accident cases.

Traffic police officials assert that this year the cases of drunken driving have taken a dip, as compared to the corresponding year in 2000. Statistics reveals that in 2001, 256 cases of drunken driving were booked, as compared to 686 cases in the previous year.

Apart from these, 4,578 persons have sustained injuries due to accidents on the city’s roads in the period between January and November, this year as against 4,650 accidents, last year.

Ritu Sharma, who lost a relative in an accident last year in Vikas Puri, while appreciating the initiative of the traffic police, also feels that there should be more stringent action against rash drivers. Besides spot fining, and strict punishment they also deserve imprisonment of at least a year, she said.

The traffic officials, under the instruction of Delhi Police Commissioner, Ajay Raj Sharma, have launched a major drive in accident prone intersections in the city between 10 pm and 2 am to nab drunken drivers from Wednesday night.

The main reason for undertaking this drive after 10 pm is mainly because a report of the Traffic Police states that most of the fatal accidents take place at nights as heavy vehicles like trucks and buses apart from cars travel at very high speed due to empty roads.

The report said adequate precautions should be taken like putting barricades to reduce speed, deploying police personnel at intersections and greater presence of PCR vans to check speeding vehicles. The report also emphasized the need for constant checking to nab drunken drivers.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Sanjay Singh, the police is working on Three-E plan, Education, Engineering and Enforcement.

While education is about educating the public about safe driving, the engineering aspect deals with the facilitation of smooth flow of traffic. The enforcement angle looks specifically into traffic violations, he said.

The DCP said that major traffic intersections and accident prone areas in the city have been identified.

Intersections in Dhaula Kuan, ISBT, Punjabi Bagh, Safdarjung, and Nehru Place, are marked by officials to check the traffic violators. Officials say that South Delhi has the worst record as the highest number of fatal accidents are reported in the area. and is followed by North-West and West district.


Stale Divali sweets still on discount sale
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 22
The sweets prepared on the occasion of the Divali festival are still on sale at various towns in the district, according to reports.

It is learnt that halwais, who prepared a large quantity of sweets in anticipation of getting heavy orders from other towns including Delhi, in towns like old Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Hodal and Palwal could not dispose of the stocks in time. As a result, several of them have been selling old stocks at low prices.

The ‘discount’ in rates of ‘khoya’ sweets has lured many customers, especially rural people and the poor, who could not afford to buy at market rates earlier. But the sale of such sweets has put the health of the common man at risk as the sweets are not normally fit for consumption after two days.


Model towns on Noida: Rajnath
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 22
The Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, wants to develop other towns of Uttar Pradesh on the pattern of Noida to make available commercial, industrial and residential facilities to people in an efficient and practical way.

Releasing a book, ‘Industrialisation of Noida – New Directions and New Ideals’ at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, yesterday, the Chief Minister said that Noida, with its excellent and modern infrastructure, represented the future concept of town planning in the National Capital Region. Noida had developed all the facilities on the pattern of the national Capital.

Mr Rajnath Singh said Noida had entered the silver jubliee year with its resounding achievements and was destined to achieve all its targets fulfilling the expectations of the people.

The Chief Minister said that Noida, which had excelled in information technology, had also established large industrial houses in various fields. For the welfare of workers and labour classes, which are the backbone of any industrial town, a project for the construction of 10,000 residential units had been taken up.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of the Noida Authority, Mr B. K. Malhotra, said that Noida in its 25 years of existence had crossed many a milestone and would realise its ideals in the future also.


Bhaskar Award presented

New Delhi, November 22
The executive director of Blazeflash Couriers, Mr S. D. Aggarwal, has been given this year’s Bhaskar Award. The Union Cabinet Minister, Mr Ashok Pradhan, presented the award to him for his role as the best administrator. The awards are given annually.


Bid to rob trader foiled
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 22
An attempt by two persons to rob a trader at gunpoint at his shop in the Sabzimandi area of Bahadurgarh sub-division was foiled by him and his two sons here last night.

According to reports, Mr Pratap Singh along with his sons, Harmilap and Shiv Dayal, were counting the cash at their shop around 8 pm when two robbers wielding a gun arrived there and ordered to hand over the cash to them. But Mr Pratap Singh suddenly pounced on one of them.

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