Sunday, November 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Neutral VC wanted, MPs tell Atal
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
More than 50 members of Parliament (MPs) today wrote to the Prime Minister demanding that a “person with intellectual prominence and academic and personal integrity” be appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

The missive came barely 10 days after the NCR Tribune reported about the possible pressures on the Human Resource Development Ministry to appoint someone sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar as the VC.

Fifty-four MPs, under the aegis of Parliamentary Forum for Education and Culture, wrote to the Prime Minister, observing that if the appointment was subjected to “ideological distortions and political machinations”, then the Government would be guilty of seriously retarding the country’s progress in the 21st century.

“Sound education underlines economic and technological achievement and also contributes to better political thinking,” the parliamentarians wrote, pointing out that it was very important for “the coming generations and for India to maintain a competitive edge in the world”.

Seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention in the matter, they underlined the need of having a neutral V-C for maintaining JNU’s standards as “it has the potential for becoming a model for other universities inside and outside India”.

The signatories include Mr Fali S Nariman, Justice Ranganath Mishra, Mr Mrinal Sen, Mr Kuldip Nayyar, Mr Eduardo Falerio and Mr Arjun Singh among others.

The NCR Tribune had reported on November 16 about the turmoil within the official establishment regarding the selection of a successor to Prof Asia Datta, whose term as V-C of the university ended on November 14.

Prof Datta continues to hold the administrative reins of the university till the time a successor is officially appointed.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is understood to have appointed a three-member search committee comprising former Director of Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Dr S K Joshi, former Chief Justice of India Justice J S Verma and noted historian Prof. D P Chattopadhaya.

Informed sources said that the main reason for the indecision was the fact that while the HRD Ministry – the administrative ministry – would like to have someone sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar, the so-called intellectual lobby was opposed to this move and would like someone e “with a more open mind to be at the helm of affairs”.

Secretary HRD M K Kaw’s name figures prominently in the race. Secretary, Department of BioTechnology, Dr Manju Sharma, is also among the contenders. Prof P Talgiri, currently the Director in the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad, is also being considered for the post, it is understood. Prof Kapil Kapoor, one of the three Rectors in JNU presently, is another name that is believed to be under consideration of the search committee.

The Ministry of HRD is already embroiled in a major controversy regarding the rewriting of history textbooks prescribed in schools. It is alleged that the new syllabus being formulated for schools is being done in a very hush-hush manner, and that no one is being shown the drafts of the new contents of the syllabus.

A heated debate has already taken place in Parliament with the Congress-led Opposition charging the Government of seeking to “Talibanise” the education process.



Shastri won’t be shielded: Sheila
However, she will wait for final report
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Pre-empting the Bharatiya Janata Party from wresting the initiative on the issue of corruption charges against her cabinet colleague, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday said that the corrupt would not be shielded and that her Government remained committed to good governance and providing a clean and efficient administration to the people.

Virtually sealing the fate of a scam-tainted Food and Civil Supplies Minister Yoganand Shastri, Ms Dikshit told The Tribune that corruption would not be tolerated. She would, though, wait for the final order of the Lokayukta before taking a suitable decision.

Responding to the heat generated in the wake of the Lokayukta’s order on the inquiry into allegations of corruption and favouritism against Mr Shastri, the Chief Minister said that she would not, just as yet, jump to any conclusions based on what was an “interim order”.

“Let the full picture emerge and then we will act accordingly,” she told this correspondent. She, however, was evasive when asked if the issue could become a liability for the Congress in the run-up to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. “Let us see,” is all she would say by way of sharing her thoughts on the controversy.

Having presented the Opposition a stick to beat it with, the Congress finds itself on a sticky wicket. Sources say the issue came up for discussion in the several meetings Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has had both prior to and after the Lokayukta pulled up the minister for the gross irregularities committed in the appointment and business deals of the Delhi Consumer Co-operative Wholesale Store Limited.

Compounding the Chief Minister’s woes is the clamour within her party for seeing the back of Mr Shastri. A section of Congressmen fears his continuance in office could become a liability for the party in the run-up to the polls.

The Opposition, however, seems in no mood to relent. Launching an offensive on Saturday, the Bharatiya Janata Party renewed its demand for Mr Shastri’s ouster from the council of ministers.

Addressing the party workers’ meeting, called ostensibly to regroup the organisation ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, Delhi Pradesh BJP President Mange Ram Garg said that the “scam-ridden” Congress dispensation had failed on all fronts and that the Chief Minister should remove the corrupt minister forthwith.

Joining issue with the office-bearers, MLAs and councillors were the party’s national president Jana Krishnamurthy, former president Kushabhau Thakre and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj. They exhorted the workers to “expose” the “inefficient and incompetent” administration and launch a public agitation against the wrong policies of the Congress Government.

“The Congress,” Mr Krishnamurthy said, “might have won the Assembly elections on the issue of hike in prices of onion but MCD elections would be different as they would be held under the shadow of war against terrorism … Delhi is the nation’s capital and the results of the MCD polls give a vital signal to the country.”

And as if on cue, former Chief Minister of Delhi Sushma Swaraj – who herself was at the receiving end of the ‘onion crisis’ – was to later say that the office-bearers, legislators and councillors should carry the achievements of the BJP-led MCD to the people.

“It is necessary that the information about the development works and schemes taken up by the Union Government are brought to the knowledge of Delhiites,” she said.

The meeting passed a political resolution, moved by Leader of House in the Corporation Mahesh Chandra Sharma and seconded by Delhi BJP general secretary Shyam Lal Garg, against the “negative stands” taken by the Congress Government.



Reel-life groom to lead ‘Monsoon’ baraat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Celluloid stars are all set to turn the seasonal clock backwards amidst a resplendent simulation of a conventional Punjabi marriage.

Movie director Mira Nair will tread the beaten paths of the Capital with a full baraat (wedding party), en route to the premiere of her award-winning cinema “Monsoon Wedding”.

In all, there will be 66 members in the baraat comprising not fewer than 15 actors and actresses which include the names of Naseeruddin Shah, Vasundhara Das et al.

The reel-life groom, Parvin Dabas, will be conventionally attired in an ornate sherwani suit with customary jewellery accessories and an ostentatious headgear.

Mounted on a mare, Praveen will enact the scene as shown in the movie and trot with the marriage party from the glittering Vasant Continental hotel to the Priya cinema hall about two kilometres away— the theatre where the premiere is scheduled to take place. The ‘lagan’ for the departure of the baraat is around 7 p. m.

“Mira Nair has always been avant-garde, even during the shootings,” Tilottama Shobha, who plays the role of Alice the maid, said. For the record, Shobha will be decked up in a conservative salwar kameez.

The other baraatis, Naseeruddin Shah and Vasundhara Das, will be draped in designer sherwanis and salwar suits a la reel-life script.

“Such a premiere has never been enacted. The movie is going to be amongst the best of Mira’s creations. I am certain, after watching the movie, the audience will identify themselves with the characters,” Naseeruddin Shah, who plays the bride’s father, said.

To provide the pulsating music, Delhi’s most sought-after brass band, Jiya, has been hired for the purpose which will accompany the baraatis. “We had to hire the band much in advance because of the fact that this is also the wedding season,” one of the organisers revealed.

To ensure that the actors and actresses are not harassed or mobbed en route by zealous fans, the Delhi Police will play its own role in providing security.

Familiar with the traffic jams, the police are also providing a control room Gypsy to lead the way for unimpeded progress of the baraat.

Shot in New Delhi in the summer of 2000, Monsoon Wedding is a film about a Punjabi family in contemporary India. The movie captures the emotion, ribaldry and love of music and dance epitomising Punjabi culture.

Mira Nair, herself a Punjabi, uses a wedding as the main plot to depict “a community that is known for living life with the hugest appetite possible”. As she herself puts it, “We work hard, we party hard, we live life to the fullest.”

“Monsoon wedding is a love movie, made on my own terms,” she said.



Trade fair traffic jam: Cops throw up hands
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The city traffic police officials are having a tough time, managing traffic in the New Delhi area where the India International Trade Fair (IITF) is on even as hundreds of traffic policemen are deployed there to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

The police officials maintain that even though it has become difficult to regulate traffic during normal weekdays, managing traffic on weekends has become a challenging task, as generally both the visitors and vehicle numbers are more on weekends and holidays. In fact, this year the trade fair has attracted a record number of people, posing a big problem for the commuters who have to pass through the area.

According to the officials, more than one lakh cars use the road in front of the sprawling Pragati Maidan road, causing major traffic snarls. They put the civic agencies like Municipal Corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), who manage the parking area, under tremendous strain, sometimes even forcing motorists to park in the no-parking zones. More than 200 cars were taken away by the traffic police, from the no-parking area, from Mathura Road and outside Supreme Court, during the last few days.

The commuters are forced to spend long hours in waiting as the vehicles move at a snail’s pace, taking at least an hour to cross the short stretch of the road.

In fact, the trade fair has caused a number of problems for the people, especially those in Supreme Court, ITO, Connaught Place. “Getting out of Tilak Marg, in the evenings has become a nightmare, with pedestrians crossing from either side of roads and vehicles trying to overtake in the already congested roads. One gets to see gross violation of traffic rules and indiscipline. This fair has put everyone in trouble,” said Viswanathan, a lawyer in the High Court.

“Crossing ITO has become a nightmare. Nowadays it is taking an hour to reach Nodia. This trade fair has completely brought down the traffic standards, maintained by the authorities in Tilak Marg. Traffic is in a total mess,” said Rakesh, an irate commuter, working in Connaught Place.



Students hurt in clash
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 24
Two students got injured after a clash between two groups at Town Railway Station today. The injured, identified as Anil and Dinesh of S.D. College, Palwal, were admitted to Civil Hospital.

It is reported that students of Palwal and S.A. College at Ballabgarh, had a quarrel in one of the EMU trains coming towards Faridabad. Some students who were coming here to see a film, clashed over having a seat. Two of them were beaten up mercilessly by the other group after they had got down at New Town Railway station. Meanwhile, a youth who got injured in a road accident, a few days ago, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital on Saturday.



Ranthambore’s USP: Trailing ‘friendly’ tigers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Situated between the Aravalli and the Vindhyan mountain ranges in south-eastern Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park's abandoned fortress, lakes and above all its ‘friendly’ tigers have made it one of the most filmed wildlife reserves in the world. More so than at any other Indian wildlife reserve, tigers can be observed during full daylight, lazing about or hunting, and rarely shying away from cameras and jeep-loads of tourists.

Ranthambore remains one of Rajasthan's last sizeable stretches of verdant grassland and jungle. The terrain is rugged with rocky escarpments, hills and valleys containing rivers and lakes. Its forests were once part of the jungles of central India and are of the tropical dry deciduous type. Ranthambore is fed by several perennial rivers and contains a number of permanent lakes complete with resident crocodiles. Commonly observed wildlife includes langurs, peacocks, sambar deer, spotted deer (chital), wild boars, blue bull (nilgai), crocodiles, Indian gazelle (chinkara) and black buck.

Ranthambore was once the private hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur and its royal heritage manifests itself in the picturesque ruins that dot the park. There are hunting lodges, chhatris, old fortifications and a majestic thousand-year-old fort overlooking the park.

Ranthambore was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and became part of Project Tiger in 1973. Ranthambore was the smallest of nine areas selected for Project Tiger, but it was believed that this 392 sq km, dry deciduous habitat could viably sustain a healthy tiger population. Later additions have increased the park size to 1,330 sq km but with a core area of only 275 sq km in size. Between 1976 to 1979, 12 villages that existed within the park were relocated outside.

Visitors to the national park can also view a variety of other animals such as leopards, jungle cats, sloth bears, crocodiles and several species of deer.

Ranthambore has many interesting places nearby. The 1000-year-old Ranthambore Fort within the Reserve has a very interesting story. Large water bodies in the reserve attract thousands of migratory birds every year.

After an adventurous day at the Tiger Reserve, guests can pamper themselves at Vanyavilas, the Oberoi Group’s jungle resort. Situated in a grove of fruit and flowering trees, Vanyavilas with its beautifully landscaped grounds presents a serene ambience. Top and mid-range hotels are spread out on the road between Sawai Madhopur town and the park entrance. Tented accommodation is available at the Ranthambore Bagh. The only accommodation inside the park is the Jogi Mahal, a former hunting lodge overlooking a lake. Budget accommodation can be found in Sawai Madhopur town.



This department only believes in paper work
R.D. Sapra

Sonepat, November24
Most of the irrigation schemes undertaken by the Irrigation Department in this district are widely infested with the potential for corrupt practices and have come in handy for certain officials of the department in making a quick buck.

According to knowledgeable sources, the bulk of the amount spent on these schemes, it is alleged, has been misappropriated by the officials entrusted to the job for the execution of these schemes. Some of the works executed remain on paper only and the officials allegedly made payment for the works, which actually had not been executed at all. The muster rolls also included the names of persons who were never put on the job, it is also alleged.

The Government of Haryana, with an aim to root out corruption from the Irrigation Department, had appointed an SDO (Vigilance) to supervise the works relating to the maintenance of canals, distributaries and minors. The officials also entrusted him with checking the ongoing works as well as the malpractices in the utilisation of public funds. But contrary to expectations no substantial action has been taken by the officer concerned.

On the other hand, it is alleged, he had become a part of the official machinery that flagrantly violates the government rules and indulges in financial and corrupt practices.

These sources also revealed that whenever the letter of credit are received by various water services divisions, the said officer is reported to be in the habit of receiving commission on the LOC received for various purposes.

The maintenance of canals, distributaries and minors continues to remain a major problem despite heavy expenditure incurred on them in this district, particularly in the Rai water service division of the Irrigation Department. Though the state government had made available lakhs of rupees to the water services divisions for the cleaning operations of the canal network, the position had hardly improved as the tail-end fields of the farmers continue to remain dry and the canal water had not been reaching there.

According to many farmers, embankments of various canals and distributaries have been facing the problem of siltation, resulting in waterlogging of large areas. They alleged that many officials of the canal department had been minting money by preparing bogus muster-rolls as the appointment of labourers existed only on paper.

On the orders of the state government, the officials of the Vigilance Department had made site inspection of the works relating to the deweeding and desilting operations carried out by the Rai water service division in this district and found at least 53 per cent of the works as bogus. Thus, the public funds were allegedly misappropriated by certain officials involved in this scandal.

Similar irregularities were also detected in other water services divisions of this district. The state government is, however, contemplating taking stern action against the erring officials of the department. This has caused panic among the corrupt officials.

Another racket has also come to surface about the preparation of bogus muster-rolls by the officials of the Irrigation Department in this district.

Informed sources have revealed that whenever canal cuts are made by some unscrupulous farmers, backed by some ruling party politicians, these are hushed up by showing mishaps.

In this way, the officials find an opportunity to dupe the government and misappropriate the public funds by preparing bogus muster-rolls in connection with the repair works and pocketing the money on this account.

Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has been suffering a huge financial loss owing to the use of substandard materials in the construction of water courses by the officials of the Command Area Development Authority (CADA) in this district during the past few years.

According to informed sources, some of the works executed in the past were found substandard and the higher authorities of the department have already taken serious note of it. This followed numerous public complaints received by the state government in this regard.

However, a high-level inquiry into the scandalous works is likely to expose the irregularities and malpractices of the officials entrusted to the job.

SOS to Haryana Governor on Ambedkar Park

A six-member delegation of the Dr Ambedkar Park Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, called on the Haryana Governor Babu Parmanand at Haryana Bhawan in Delhi yesterday and submitted a memorandum to him protesting against the demolition of the Dr Ambedkar Park near the general bus stand in this city by the district administration.

The members of the delegation include Mr Giasi Ram Thekedar, President of the Dr Ambedkar Janamotsava Samiti, Mr Balbir Chhachhia, convenor of the Samiti, Mr B.S. Bhoria, President SSEC Uthan Sabha, Mr Ranbir Singh Bajwan, General Secretary, Nationalist Congress Party, Mr Satpal Singh Kant, General Secretary, Kabir Chetna Manch and Ms Kalawati Panchal, Secretary Youth Congress Mahila Cell.

The members of the delegation apprised the Governor of the facts relating to the construction of the park. It was pointed out that the park was constructed by Dalits and it was inaugurated in 1987 by the then Union Minister Ms Rajinder Kumari Bajpai. The Dalits had been holding functions in it in the memory of Dr Ambedkar and other leaders regularly.

They also said that the former Deputy Prime Minister Mr Devi Lal had also given assistance to the Dalits in the construction of the park. They also protested against

the demolition of the park and said that this has caused widespread resentment among the Dalits and other people.

The members of the delegation demanded immediate construction of the boundary wall and a face-lift to the park by erecting iron grills around the statue of the great leader. They also demanded that the bus stand chowk be named after the great Dalit leader.

Later, Mr Chhachhia, convenor of the Samiti told Media persons that the 41-member samiti would meet here tomorrow to chalk out the future course of action on this issue.

Hike wages call

The district unit of the Haryana Chowkidar Union today urged the state government to order the increase in the wages of chowkidars working in the rural areas of the state. In a press release, it also demanded other facilities at par with the government employees.

Ping–pong X-ray

The Directorate of the Health Department, Haryana has stopped the work for the installation of new X-ray machine in the 100-bed civil hospital in the city. It has ordered its shifting to Fatehabad civil hospital immediately. According to official sources, this X-ray machine was sent to the civil hospital, Sonepat, for installation about four months ago. However, the work for its installation was started only on Monday last. In the meantime, the order to shift it was received by the civil surgeon who had stopped the work and directed the staff to pack it again to be sent to Fatehabad.

Many doctors and para-medical officers have been perplexed by the incident. They felt that if the X-ray machine was not necessary in the civil hospital here, why did the directorate of the department send it? The Civil Surgeon and the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, however, declined to make any comment on the issue.

GM summoned

The Chief Judicial Magistrate Ms Ritu Tagore yesterday summoned the Deputy General Manager of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Mr Chander Shekhar and two others and directed them to appear before the court on March 4 next year in a case filed by Azad singh, a driver of the Nigam.

Date extended

The Gurdwara Election Commission of the Central Government has extended the date for submission of forms for enrolment as voters within the stipulated period, which is December 12 next.

According to official sources, this step has been taken on the persistent demand of various individuals and organisation including the SGPC.



Guru Nanak preached the eternal truth

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, was born in 1469 in a village called Talwandi, which later came to be called Nankana Sahib, now in Pakistan. Seen through the historical prism, centuries later, his teachings are as relevant now as then.

All around the world, there is a revival of the religious spirit, but somehow it does not manifest itself in our lives. Increasing violence and hatred are only too evident, the latest example being the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York and its aftermath.

When Guru Nanak appeared on the scene, it was the same story — A widening chasm between what men preached and how they lived. People had enough religious fervour to hate one another in its name, but not enough to enable them live in peace. Muslim kings were then ruling India..

In their enthusiasm to convert non-Muslims to Islam, these rulers oppressed their subjects in several ways. They imposed Jaziya, a religious tax to be paid by all non-Muslims.

The Hindu religion itself was bogged down in rituals, ostentatious ceremonies and the like, giving the pandits and the shastris a tenacious hold over the commoners. Then, there was the caste system, with its oppressive and obnoxious practices.

The Sikh religion took birth at this juncture, offering the people an alternative to the all-pervasive evil practices in the name of faith.

Guru Nanak proclaimed unambiguously that there was only one God, Ek Omkar Satnam, and he found willing followers.

He thought of God as the supreme being, universal, all-powerful and loving. He placed truth and God above all religious ceremonies and manifestations. Other Sikh Gurus, who followed him, remained faithful to his teachings and these tenets formed the basis of a vibrant religion.

The Guru Granth Sahib has incorporated Guru Nanak’s teachings as well as hymns sung by saints and sages, which invoke God in the manner the former did. The oneness of God, devotion to the Creator and service to fellow-beings are the dominant themes of the scripture.

Even as a child, Guru Nanak seemed different from the other children of his age. While others made merry and indulged in revelry, he chose to spend most of his time in meditation.

“There is no Hindu and no Musalmaan,” he once declared

before the Governor of Sultanpur, Nawab Daulat Khan, and his former employer.

Asked for an explanation, he said: “It is true thousands call themselves Muslims and thousands call themselves Hindus. All the same there is no Hindu and no Muslim, for both have forgotten their true religions. Since all Hindus and Muslims are sons of the same father, they are brothers, and should live together. But they are not doing so. A true Hindu and a true Muslim must not do anything to displease God.”

There is no denying that Sikhism has imparted to its adherents a work ethic and a disposition to brotherhood, often commended by followers of other faiths. Their langars (kitchens), attached to gurdwaras everywhere, espouse the feeling of brotherhood and kinship.




Greater use of non-conventional energy advocated
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 24
The government has been working on a extensive programme for promoting the use of non-conventional energy resources with a view to reduce the dependency on depletable energy sources.

Stating this, Mr A.K. Mangotra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Government of India, said at seminar here today, that a report was underway which would calculate the amount of energy that could be produced from non-conventional sources.

It would especially consider the possibilities from thesolar energy across the country.

He said the scheme would be implemented in two phases for which about 178.29 crore would be spent.

He informed that about 34.92 crore would be received as grant from the United Nations.

The Seminar on ‘Solar technology’ was organised jointly by Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Haryana and the Faridabad Industries Association (FIA).

It attracted both officials and local industrialists of the area .

Mr Mangotra, while stating that conventional energy sources like petrol and gas were not likely to last forever, the economy of a developing country like India was ‘dependent’ directly or indirectly on developments in other countries.

He said the September 11 incident at New York had ‘threatened’ to have long lasting impacts on Indian economy due to the rise in oil prices in international market.

He said that Haryana was one of those states where the potential of using solar energy was immense as ‘sunny’ weather are available for almost 200 days in a year.

Moreover, he said, non conventional sources of energy pose various health hazards due to environmental pollution.

Mr Mangotra said six types of gases emitted in the atmosphere had not only disturbed the ecological balance but had polluted the air to a dangerous levels at many places, leading to diseases like Cancer and Asthma.

He said the Union government had been providing special help to those who want to go in for tapping solar energy for heating purpose, especially in the winter months.

Mr K.K. Khandelwal, Director, NES and Labour Commissioner, Haryana, Mr R. C. Brar, President of FIA and Deputy Commissioner also outlined some important thing on the occasion.



Eminent Sikh scholar flays text-book purge
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The members of the Sikh community today flayed the dangerous process of “history rewriting.” Responding to the issue, eminent Sikh scholar called for an immediate stoppage of the process.

However, they emphasised the need for a standard rule to prevent the publication of religiously biased contents. “Matter that smacks of bias or hatred against any faith should be avoided at all costs and authors need to exercise caution in this regard. In fact, there should be a standard rule to prevent their misuse,” Dr Jaspal Singh, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), said.

“Any attempts to distort historical facts are condemnable as they amount to encroachment on education,” Mr Jaspal Singh, Principal of Delhi’s Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce told newspersons at a function in the Capital.The former envoy, however, urged caution against the use of religiously ‘’biased’’ passages in textbooks.

Academics are objecting to the deletion of certain passages from NCERT history textbooks, describing the move as “blatantly communal.” Opposition Congress Party has accused the NCERT of “secretly rewriting history texts” as part of what they call the BJP government’s attempts to “saffronise education. "A Class XI medieval India history textbook recently attracted a storm of Sikh protests because it contained references the religious community said insulted their faith, prompting the government order their deletion.

While the government asked the schools to delete the controversial portions of the Class XI history textbook, a section of the community have demanded banning of the book and the seizure of all existing copies of the book.



82,000 get pension in Faridabad
Bijendra Ahlawat

Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 24
Over 82,000 persons in the district are drawing pension of one kind or the other.

While old age pensioners constitute the major chunk (56,401), about 22,444 widows are drawing about Rs 45.47 lakh as pension each month. The State government has earmarked a budget of Rs 13.38 crore and Rs 3.98 crore, respectively, for ‘old age’ and family pension fund for the current fiscal.

About 56,401 persons were beneficiaries under the old age pension Scheme last month, drawing Rs 1.12 crore under the scheme. A committee takes a decision on new beneficiaries every month and about 259 persons were included in the list in October this year. Similarly, 274 names were added in the widow pension list last month.

As many as 3214 persons are entitled to pension in the `handicapped’ category. An amount of Rs 44.21 lakh has been disbursed so far under the programme. Another 58 persons were identified last month in this category.

The district authorities have also been providing financial aid to the educated, but physically challenged youth. An amount of Rs 150, Rs 200 and Rs 250 is given to ‘selected’ persons, depending on whether they are matriculates, graduates or post-graduates. But, surprisingly, only six persons have been identified under this scheme so far, for which an amount of Rs. 4410 has been disbursed. The annual budget for this category is about Rs. 20,000. The authorities also claim that they have provided scholarships worth Rs. 100, Rs 120, Rs 125, Rs 200 and Rs 300 to physically challenged students, depending upon their degree of handicap and education.

The government has identified about 842 orphans in the district so far for direct financial aid of Rs. 30 per month. A sum of Rs 1.34 lakh had been disbursed to the aforesaid till last month. As many as 12 families have been getting aid under the `National Family Benefit’ scheme.



New JNUTA president elected 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Dr Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Professor in the School of International Studies was today elected as the new President of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA). Dr Chenoy polled 186 votes and defeated his nearest rival, Dr Ashwin Kumar Mahapatra, Professor in West Asian Studies, by 100 votes. JNUTA will also take over at the President of Federation of Central University Teachers Association (FEDUCTA) from the outgoing JNUTA President Anand Kumar. Dr Chenoy had earlier served as Vice President of JNUTA in 1995 and as joint secretary in 1993.

The other office bearers of JNUTA were elected unopposed. While Prof K. C. Upadhyay, Dean of School of Life Sciences was elected the Vice President, Prof S. K. Sharma of the School of Languages was elected as joint secretary of the association.



Worker stabbed, grocery shop looted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Three youths reportedly robbed a grocery shop after stabbing Manoj (26) who was alone in the shop in Lado Sarai area last night. The victim was admitted to AIIMS where he was stated to be out of danger. He belonged to Bihar and worked as a servant in the shop. The victim was alone in the shop when one of the suspects, Sunder, came to purchase a cigarette packet and a matchbox. However, he refused to pay any money. An argument ensued between Sunder and the victim. Sunder left the cigarette and match box and went away. He returned a few minutes after along with his two associates. The three of them then stabbed Manoj repeatedly and robbed about Rs 15 000 from the cash box, police said.

Case solved

With the arrest of three persons, North district police today claimed to have worked out a robbery case of Rs 17.5 lakh. The money was robbed from a businessman in Lahori Gate area in August this year. The suspects, Saleem, Harsh and Naushad were arrested after a minor shoot out in Deewar Bagh area in Lahori Gate. A country made revolver along with two live cartridges and knife were recovered from their possession.

Harsh and Saleem belonged to the Walled City and operated in Lahori Gate area in co-operation with Ibrahim gang of Meerut, the police said.

Racket in credit card

The Delhi Police seized traveller cheques, demand drafts and credit cards worth Rs 50 lakh with the arrest of two persons, Naresh Sharma and Nagender Shah. Naresh Sharma was arrested from Sangam Cinema where he had gone in a Hyundai Accent car. The police recovered two credit cards, traveller cheques worth US $ 3600, demand drafts of Rs 60,000, cheques of Rs 1 lakh and two mobile phones from his possession. Following his interrogation, Nagender, a driver with the Postal Department, was also arrested. The police recovered the traveller cheques $ US 65, 500, demand drafts of Rs 14,000 and cheques for Rs 19,970 from his possession. Nagender used to steal traveller cheques, demand drafts, credit cards from postal mail while transporting the vehicles to the various destinations in the Capital. He used to take the stolen goods to Naresh Sharma, the police said.


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