Monday, November 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


History note: CBSE exceeded its brief
Board only has to hold exams, provide affiliation
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The recent circular of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), instructing schools to delete certain portions in the history textbooks published by the NCERT, has come in for criticism from experts as well as academics, even though the circular was issued on the specific request of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

According to the Constitution of the CBSE, the domain of the Board is confined to the task of conducting national level secondary ( Class 10) and senior secondary ( Class 12 ) examinations and providing affiliations to schools.

Independent observers said that CBSE’s circular to the affiliated schools goes much beyond its mandate and is a manifestation of “State high-handedness vis-à-vis public institutions, in order to dilute their operative autonomy”.

The objectives laid down by the CBSE itself state that “the Board functions under the overall supervision of the Controlling Authority, which is vested with the Secretary Education, Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development. The Board has various statutory committees, which are advisory in nature. The Governing Body of the Board is constituted as per its rules and regulations. The recommendations of all the committees are placed for approval before the Governing Body of the Board”

Further, the CBSE was set up to achieve certain interlinked objectives which, among other things, include :

“To prescribe conditions of examinations and conduct public examinations at the end of Class X and XII. To grant qualifying certificates to successful candidates of the affiliated schools. To fulfil the educational requirements of those students whose parents were employed in transferable jobs. To prescribe and update the courses of instructions for examinations. To affiliate institutions for the purpose of examination and raise the academic standards of the country. The Board also promotes: Innovations in teaching methodologies by devising student-friendly and student-centred paradigms; reforms in examinations and evaluation practices; skill learning by adding job-oriented and job-linked inputs; and regularly updating of the pedagogical skills of the teachers and administrators by conducting in-service training programmes, workshops etc.”

Concerned academicians state that the manner in which the recent circular was issued by the Director (Academic) of the Board completely bypasses the laid down norms and procedures and sets a dangerous precedent, which “smacks of ad hocism and scant respect for transparent procedural norms”.

The Board has a full-time Chairman, who is the Chief Executive of the Board. He is assisted by three Heads of the Departments: Secretary, Controller of Examinations, Director (Academic). The Chairman and Heads of Departments are appointed by the Controlling Authority of the Board, the Secretary, Education, MHRD, Government. of India.

The Director (Academic) is responsible for all matters pertaining to the development of syllabi, textual and other materials, including publications of the Board. However, observers and professional educationists point out that in the case in question the Director (Academic) appears to have not deemed it fit to refer the matter of reviewing the textbooks to a designated committee. “ Even if it was referred to a committee, it appears to have been done in a hush-hush manner”, an educationist said.

Moreover, educationists point out that technically CBSE’s domain is “limited to secondary ( Class 9 and Class10) and senior secondary (Class 11 and Class 12). As such, it cannot direct changes in syllabi of classes other than these”.

The circular of CBSE seeks the deletion of 16 pages from history text books pertaining to classes 6, 7 and 11. The NCERT, on its part, has supported the decision of the CBSE to direct the schools to delete certain portions from history text-books.

“ It is true that the NCERT requested the CBSE through a letter dated October 19,2001 to immediately issue a notification to all its affiliated schools to delete with immediate effect some objectionable portions from its (NCERT’s) history books being taught in different classes”, an NCERT spokesperson said.


Sop for Sikhs as poll weighs on Cong mind
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
Just two months before the crucial Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, the Delhi Government is planning to waive loans given to the 1984 riots victims in an apparent move to woo the Sikh voters.

The Congress-led Delhi Government, since it came to power three years ago, has taken several steps to win the confidence of the community, which was shattered following the riots in 1984.

“Loans amounting to Rs one lakh given to riot victims would be waived. The orders to this effect would be issued by the state government soon,” a senior Delhi Government official told NCR Tribune.

The government of the National Capital Territory had provided compensation, as directed by the Delhi High Court, to a number of families of riot victims. Sources in the Delhi unit of the Congress party said the steps taken by the state government in the past three years had brought about a change in the attitude of the community towards the party. Moreover, with the passage of time – 17 years have passed since the riots – the wounds have also started healing, the sources claim.

However, the stumbling block for the party is the issue of elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. Although the four-year term of the DSGMC had expired in May, there has been an increasing demand from both the factions of the Akali Dal and members of the BJP for holding an early general election to the committee.

Mr M. S. Saathi, Delhi Minister in charge of gurdwara elections, said, “We cannot hold the MCD poll and the DSGMC poll simultaneously. The government officials would be busy with the corporation poll and it is not administratively possible to hold both the elections.”

Moreover, the elections to the DSGMC have already been delayed. If they are held a month or two later, it will not make much of a difference, he said.

A section of the Akali Dal has moved the Delhi High Court, demanding immediate holding of the DSGMC general election.

“If the court directs us to hold DSGMC elections before the MCD poll, then we will do the needful,” he said. Congress party sources said the state government intentionally does not want to hold the general election to the DSGMC as it would affect the party’s prospects for the MCD poll.

“If the general election for the gurdwara committee is held now, then the 1984 riots, which are an emotive issue for the Sikhs, would be raked up and the alleged role of the Congressmen would be highlighted. This would mar the prospects of the Congress in the MCD poll,” party sources said.

The outgoing corporation, dominated by the BJP with 90 corporators, is pitted against the anti-incumbency factor. The Congress has 45 members in the 135-member corporation. Congress sources alleged that the Akalis, who are the major players in the DSGMC, are being used by the BJP to demand elections to the DSGMC as elections to the Sikh body would mar the electoral prospects of the Congress. Another factor, which has weighed with the Akalis, is the desire to wrangle more seats from the Congress and the BJP during the MCD poll. Further, both the factions of the Akalis want to continue in power and are raising the issue merely to give an impression that they are for democratic process to prevail in the committee, observers said.


Dedicate the trade fair to pedestrians
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
All roads, even the clogged ones, led to Pragati Maidan on Sunday as hundreds of thousands of visitors converged at the complex to be a part of the India International Trade Fair (IITF) extravaganza which folds up on Tuesday, even as nervous security agencies kept their fingers crossed.

“Approximately 3.5 lakh persons visited the complex today. It being the last Sunday before the fair folds up on Tuesday, the number of visitors was higher than usual”, the police sources said.

No untoward incident, however, was reported even as irate commuters huffed and puffed their way through the long serpentine vehicular queues.

A harried traffic police official, who was on duty on one of the intersections leading to Pragati Maidan, said: “I will distribute prasad after the fair concludes. It has been too much of a nightmare for us as well as the commuters”.

Today, people were seen trudging from as far as the Nizamuddin bridge intersection. In fact, the day can be easily dedicated to pedestrians. The resultant traffic chaos extended from Nizamuddin bridge upto the ITO flyover and from DPS, Mathura Road, upto Tilak Bridge, sending motorists into a tizzy.

“It took me more than an hour to travel from Tilak Bridge to DPS. This is disgusting and it is high time the authorities did something”, a harried motorist said.

Paucity of parking space is one aspect which continues to remain unattended. Informed sources in the ITPO, however, say that the creation of additional parking slots, specifically for Pragati Maidan visitors, was not an economically viable venture. “Construction of dedicated parking space will involve several crores of rupees and, most of the time, the space will remain underutilised”, an ITPO source said.

This time round, ITPO appears to have woken up to the idea of decentralised ticketing facilities to de-clog the fair premises. Entry tickets this year were available at about 1,000 designated centres in Mother Dairy booths and Kendriya Bhandar stores in the National Capital Region.

Over 6,500 companies from all over India, along with exhibitors from 21 countries, including Brazil, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Belarus, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Korea, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam, are taking part in the mega event. Besides, trade and business delegations from Russia, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Norway, Moldavia, UK and Pakistan were expected to visit the exhibition.

Spread across an area of 150 acres on the Mathura Road, in the heart of the capital, the complex has 27 permanent pavilions of various ministries and state governments equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

Since the traffic chaos is an annual ritual, a debate is raging whether the fair should be shifted to some other spot for the benefit of all and sundry.


Govt hospitals slam doors on dengue cases
R D Sapra

Sonepat, November 25
The incidence of dengue fever is still on the rise in Sonepat and other parts of the district, owing to the failure of the Health Department to take immediate and effective steps to check the disease.

According to informed sources, at least 20 persons suffering from dengue fever are undergoing treatment in various private hospitals in the district. It is alleged that the patients were turned away by government hospitals, dispensaries and primary health centres. The medical officers declined to treat them as the government-run bodies had no facility for examination of blood etc.

The blood of dengue patients is sent to NIC, New Delhi, for testing.

Inquiries revealed that most of the dengue cases originated in urban areas and a son of a medical officer of the civil hospital was among those suffering from the disease.

The Health Department had sent blood samples of at least 50 patients to NIC for testing last week; of these, 15 samples have tested positive.

This has created a scare among the officers of the state directorate of the department.

Cases of malaria and water-borne diseases were also on the increase and the department authorities have so far failed to check them effectively.

Representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations as well as trade unions today expressed their grave concern over the increasing incidence of dengue, malaria and water-borne diseases and urged the State government to order a high-level probe into the alleged negligence of the local authorities. They also threatened to organise protests, if no action was taken against the erring officials and authorities.


Murdered by friends for a few thousands
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 25
A property dealer of Anand Parbat area of Delhi was murdered by his friends. His body was later burnt and dumped in the jungles of Budena village in the district about 10 days ago. The disclosures followed the arrest of one of the accused, who told the police that the victim, Kuldeep Saini, had won a great deal of money from them during a gambling bout. The kin of the victims have identified the half-burnt clothes as those belonging to Saini. The body was cremated a few days back as no one had claimed it.

It is learnt that the deceased, who was a property dealer, was carrying about Rs 24,000 on his person when he joined his friends for a game of cards. In the course of the game, he won an additional Rs 18,000. Dharampal and his associates were livid and allegedly offered liquor laced with sedatives to Kuldeep, Vijay and Pasi soon after the game. After they were unconscious, the accused abandoned Vijay on the Gurgaon road and decamped with his car and cash. Then, they divested Kuldeep of his cash before eliminating him. His body was burnt and disposed of in the jungles of Budena. However, the body was recovered by the Faridabad police and handed over to a social organisation for cremation.


Malviya Nagar residents drinking a lethal mix
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, November 25
It has come to light that the water pipes running through the lanes of Malviya Nagar in South Delhi carry a mix of sewer water and fresh drinking water. As a result of this, there is an imminent danger of jaundice spreading in the area. A few residents were almost hospitalised recently.

Mr S.P. Tyagi, a prominent citizen and former president of the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA), was shocked to see the state of the water he had been drinking for the past few days. “The water was full of the lethal mix, which was giving out a foul smell”, he said.

“The DJB (Delhi Jal Board), whose approach is generally sympathetic, has given us a blank register to note down the points where water pipes are old and leaking, thus entailing a danger of contamination. Since most of the pipe network is underground, we can do precious little to identify the particular points where leakage and contamination have occurred,” said a representative of the RWA.

“It is the DJB’s job to see where the pipes are leaking and how they have to fix it. We are not supposed to do all this. What is the DJB there for?” asked Mr S.S. Madan, a resident, angrily.

For the past couple of weeks residents of Malviya Nagar could not even dare to look at the water that was flowing out from their taps. Dirty is an understatement. It didn’t look like water at all though it was certainly liquid. It lacked all the properties of water. It was not colourless and odourless. Instead, the liquid was yellow and a foul smell was emanating from it. One got the feeling that a nullah was running through one’s kitchen. And all of this, thanks to the DJB!

A senior DJB official, requesting anonymity, said, “It is not impossible for the pipes to have some leakage and contamination to have crept in at some point. It is quite possible. But this is not a permanent thing. This can happen anywhere. The pipes can leak and get contaminated with dirty water. Once the leakage is fixed the water will be perfectly alright.”

Ms Chander Prabha, a resident, said, “We usually never notice the quality of water when it is running from the tap. Though it did give a bad taste, we always ignored it and put it down on our imagination. We realised the problem soon enough when we had diarrhoea cases and the doctor told me that it was because of the dirty water.”

Next it was Prabha’s granddaughter’s turn to fall seriously ill - again, only because of the water.

A related problem is of ammonia and nitrate contamination in ground water. A majority of Delhi residents are forced to drink water contaminated by nitrates, ammonia and chloroform. In some places residents are unaware of the quality of drinking water, but in other places they drink it being well aware of the fact of contamination, as there is no other alternative.

A survey, which was recently conducted, revealed that in Begampur, near Malviya Nagar, the level of nitrates in the ground water was much higher than the prescribed limit of 45 mg/1.

According to the test results, the level of nitrate was in the range of 100-250 mg/1. The water was also found to contain ammonia.

It is also a well-known fact that at the main pumping station of every area in Delhi, ground water is being mixed with supply water in order to meet the demand. The problem of contaminated ground water is not peculiar to Malviya Nagar or Begampur but is prevalent in the entire National Capital Territory.

According to doctors, the presence of nitrates in water is usually due to domestic sewage (toilet water) and run off from the agricultural fields, which are saturated with fertilisers.

“To kill bacteria present in the available tap water, it is imperative for water to be thoroughly boiled and chlorinated for at least 30 minutes before use. The same procedure can be adopted to get rid of the water with excess ammonia content,” said Dr Ramesh Kumar of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).


Trenchless wonder for cleaning sewers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
It would be a convergence of two eras – about a century-old choked sewer system would be cleaned by the 21st- century trenchless technology in the National Capital Territory.

‘’At present we are facing a lot of difficulty in clearing and cleaning the choked sewerage. By utilising the new trenchless technology we can ensure easy clearance of the drainage sewer system by putting only one hole,” the Delhi Health Minister, Dr A. K. Walia, said.

He said under this technique without disturbing the transport system and the public and without polluting the environment we could clean the sewers by special methods. No building would be disturbed, no road cut open and no burden would be imposed on the public,’’ he said.

Delhi has an 80-year-old sewer system which needs proper and timely maintenance as well as replacement, if possible. But due to increasing population and transportation, it has become very difficult for the agencies to dig the land and clean the sewer system. He said this while presiding over the seminar-cum-training programme on “Aspects of Wastewater and Water Systems Rehabilitation and Maintenance” organised by the Indian Water Works Association.

The minister said in London the sewer lines were laid 250 feet deep and only by adopting and utilising trenchless technology proper maintenance and clearance of sewerage and drainage was ensured. Besides, trenchless technology was being used in 40 countries but in India the use of technology was on a very limited scale.


Chautala gets JD (U) support on nationalisation of water, power
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 25
The President of the Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal(U)Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi today supported the Chief Minister Mr Om Parkash Chautala on the issue of nationalisation of water and power resources in the country.

In a signed press statement issued here, he praised Mr Chautala for raising the question at the inter-state council meeting organised by the Central Government. He said that his party would extend its support to this demand at all levels. He clarified that equal distribution of power and water resources in the country would give a relief to those states which were starving on account of power and water crisis as well as prevailing drought conditions.

Mr Vidrohi, however, criticised Mr Chautala for diverting the power and water to the selected areas at the cost of the southern parts of the state which were facing an acute shortage of canal water and power. He demanded equal distribution of power and water to all the areas in the state for the benefit of the farmers.

Referring to the dispute over Ravi-Beas water and the construction of SYL canal in the Punjab territory, the Janata Dal leader urged the Chief Minister to file the necessary affidavit soon in the Supreme Court in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court so that the interests of the state would be safeguarded.

He alleged that Mr Chautala was delaying the filing of the affidavit in order to help the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal during the forthcoming assembly elections in Punjab.

Body identified

The half-burnt body recovered from Khewra village is reported to have been identified as of Mr P. L. Chaudhary a former ACP of Delhi. According to the report, the body was recovered on the night of November 17 last. The victim was reportedly missing from his house. Being informed about the body, the officials of the Delhi Police arrived at the police station and identified the body. Further investigations were in progress.

Power shutdown

Normal life and business activity remained disrupted in Model Town and its neighbouring areas throughout the day yesterday following the shutdown of power by the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) without any prior notice.

According to a report, loud noise of diesel run generators in commercial establishments also led to air pollution in the whole area.

The working of the District Telegraph Office (DTO) remained paralysed as the incoming and outgoing telegrams were delayed for at least 10 hours. Media persons were the worst-hit as they could not send their report to the national dailies during the period of shutdown.

Many residents alleged that the power shutdowns in the area have become routine and the officials never inform them about such shutdowns applied frequently.

Meanwhile, enquiries made by this correspondent have revealed that the employees of the UHBVN were put to work for laying of new transmission lines in the area and this was the main cause of the day-long shutdown.

This correspondent made a series of attempts to contact the officials of the Nigam to get information about the restoration of power supply but none of the officials could be contacted because of the public holiday.

The Residents Welfare Association also protested against the day-long power shutdown without prior information to the residents of the area.

In a press release, it demanded stern action against the officials found responsible for this negligence.

Driver attacked

Mr Karamvir, a driver of the Haryana Roadways sustained injuries when he was assaulted by a passenger Jayalal while on duty on the Sonepat-Gohana road near Barwasni village about 5 km from here last evening. According to a report, the police has registered a case and further investigations were in progress.

Ticketless fined

The officials of the Sonepat depot of the Haryana Roadways has hauled up as many as 5,576 persons travelling without tickets in buses during the first half of the current financial year.

Mr H. C. Jain, General Manager of the depot told media persons here today that a sum of Rs 5.20 lakh has been recovered from the ticketless travellers as actual fare and the penalty.

He disclosed that the department has constituted as many as four special flying squads in addition to seven existing flying squads for conducting special raids in buses and apprehending the ticketless travellers. The ticketless travellers, he said, were being charged 10 times the fare as also the penalty.

Mr Jain further said that the officials of the department caught 738 ticketless travellers and recovered Rs 61,850 as penalty from them, during the month of April this year. Similarly, Rs 76,740 was recovered from 931 ticketless travellers in May; Rs 77,800 from 342; Rs 90,150 from 905 and Rs 1.04 lakh from 1,082 ticketless travellers during the months of June, July and August last respectively.

He also disclosed that the department, in a three-day special campaign, fined more than 100 maxi-cab jeeps while plying on the National Highway No. 1 and other state highways in this district.

Factory gutted

Goods worth about Rs 1 crore were gutted in a fire which broke out in a chemical and plastic factory on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh road about 5 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the municipal fire brigade of the city and other neighbouring towns brought the fire under control within five hours. A short circuit in the power lines is stated to be the main cause of the fire.



Sonepat IT office accorded regional status
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 25
The Income Tax Department has upgraded its office at Sonepat to a full fledged regional office taking into consideration the increase in the number of income tax assesses.

Mr A.K. Aneja, Commissioner Income Tax, Rohtak division told media persons here yesterday that additional income tax office and their subordinate staff have been appointed in this regional office and Mr G.D. Goel has taken over the charge as the Joint Commissioner, Income Tax Department in it.

In future, all the income tax cases would be decided in this office, without referring them to the Rohtak office.

However, the Sonepat office will continue to remain the part of Rohtak range for some more time, he added.

Mr Aneja called upon the people to file income tax returns voluntarily as per new rules. The people residing in this range were required to file the income tax returns if they were covered under the six conditions fixed by the department.

He also said that any person owning a big house, a telephone, a car, a telephone, credit card or being a member of costly club or gone abroad, was required to file the income tax return by November 30 next positively.

He warned that if any person covered under the new conditions failed to file the return, they would be penalised with a fine of Rs 5,000.

Mr Aneja further disclosed that a special cell has been set up in the Sonepat office to help the assesses for filing their returns. He said that notices are being issued to the telephone subscribers and the owners of the STD booths asking them to file their returns within the stipulated period.

He said that special camps would be held at Ganaur, Kharkhauda and Gohana towns as well as in big villages by the department soon to make the people aware of the new rules.

The Joint Commissioner Mr Goel said that special efforts would be made to increase the number of assesses and the department has fixed the target of 12,000 new assesses in addition to the present 25,000 assesses during the current financial year in this region.

The local income tax office, it may be recalled, was previously controlled by an income tax officer under the over-all charge of Commissioner Income Tax at Rohtak.


3 more Faridabad units face unrest
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 25
Just when Faridabad was breathing easy, with the industrial strike in the Escorts group blowing over, labour unrest has erupted in at least three more companies.

Agitating employees of Bhartiya Cutler Hammer Factory took out a procession on the Mathura Road yesterday in support of their demands. The main reason behind the agitation is reported to be the recognition accorded to a union leader by the management.

The workers’ union claims that the management has recognised a `dummy’ union leader as its President and that it is refusing to accept the duly `elected’ office bearers. The union is also agitated over the decision of the management, asking every worker to sign an `undertaking’ before entering the premises.

It has further alleged that the management had `failed’ to honour `the agreements’ signed in 1995, 1998 and 2001. It has sought acceptance of its demands and reinstatement of some of its leaders.

The two other companies, where the workers are agitating, are Hindustan Wire and Tallbross. The employees of Hindustan Ware are unhappy over ‘non-release’ of bonus and retrenchment of some workers.


Roof collapse
Tribune News Service

New Delhi November 25
At least 16 persons, including two of them seriously, were injured when the roof of a house collapsed in Malka Ganj area of North Delhi this morning. The victims were taken to Hindu Rao Hospital from where they were discharged after being administered first aid. A woman and a child who received serious injuries are still admitted to the hospital, the police said.


Man shot dead in Anand Vihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi November 25
Sukhwinder Singh (32) was shot dead this morning by three unidentified suspects in CBD ground in Anand Vihar in East district where he was playing cricket. The suspects came on a motor cycle to CBD ground to meet Sukhwinder. The suspect whipped out the revolver and shot at Sukhwinder. He was taken to a nearby hospital where Sikhwinder was declared brought dead, the police said.

The police suspected that it could be the result of an enmity. Sukhwinder had two marriages. The case is being investigated from different angles, the police said.

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