Tuesday, November 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Hot pursuit in hospital premises, Bollywood style
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
An armed desperado, who tried to escape after robbing a hospital employee inside the Maharaja Ugrasen Hospital in Punjabi Bagh today, was caught by an off duty Delhi Police constable and a constable of the Delhi Traffic Police after a short but dramatic chase, reminiscent of Bollywood action movies.

The suspect was identified as Ajit alias Joginder of Narela. A country-made pistol and the money he had looted was seized. A hunt is on to nab his other two alleged accomplices, who escaped after abandoning the getaway car. The car – a Maruti – was reportedly stolen from Saraswati Vihar a few days back.

According to the police, at around 11 a.m. the hospital employee, Satish Pandey, went to the Oriental Bank of Commerce, located inside the hospital premises, to deposit about Rs eight lakh. He was carrying the money in a polythene bag.

As soon as Pandey reached the bank, the suspect, who was apparently lying in wait, pounced on him and tried to snatch the bag containing the money. Pandey, however, resisted and in the melee the suspect could only manage to flee with Rs. 20,000, which fell out of the bag.

A large crowd gathered at the site, in response to the victim’s call for help. Seeing this, the two accomplices, who were waiting in the Maruti, abandoned the vehicle and slinked away.

However, Ajit was not so fortunate. A Traffic Police constable, Dinesh Kumar, who was on duty at the venue, tried to grapple with the suspect. The latter pulled out a gun and threatened the traffic cop. Then, he clambered on to a motor cycle and forced the driver to take him on pillion at the point of gun.

Showing extreme perseverance, the Traffic Police constable also managed to commandeer a van and followed the suspect who, by then, for some inexplicable reason, switched over to another motor cycle.

This, perhaps, was his undoing because the motor cyclist turned out to be a Delhi Police constable in mufti, Subhash Chand of the local Punjabi Bagh police station.

The constable in civvies sensed something was amiss when he found the traffic police constable in hot pursuit. The two cops exchanged a secret nod and, in a deft move, the constable allowed the motor cycle to skid and crash to the ground. Just as Ajit lost his balance, the duo wrenched the gun out of his hand and marched him to the nearest police station. The stolen booty was also recovered.

The police said that the suspect, Ajit, was a habitual offender and involved in several cases. Further investigation is on.

Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma has announced a cash reward of Rs. 5000 each for the two constables while the Deputy Commissioner of Police, West District, Mr. Kewal Singh, has recommended both of them for out-of -turn promotions.

In another case, four unidentified armed suspects barged into the Mehrauli house of a businessman, Ved Parkash, early this morning and, after threatening him and his family, escaped with cash and jewellery valued at around Rs. 2.5 lakh.

The suspects locked the family in one room before ransacking the house for cash and valuables. The businessman had only recently withdrawn the cash and jewellery from the bank for a marriage in the family.

The police said that a case had been registered and efforts were on to trace the suspects.


Domestic help snubbed, fires at DIG’s kin
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, November 26
The wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law of the DIG, Moradabad Range, Provincial Armed Constabulary, Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma, were shot at and injured by the domestic help employed in the house of Mr Sharma’s in-laws in Kavi Nagar here this morning.

The domestic help, Kishen Bahadur, employed in the house of the DIG’s brother-in-law, Mr Utkar Vats, had reportedly been rebuked by Mr Vats. This, apparently, angered and upset him so much that he brought the DIG’s revolver and shot at the brother-in-law. When Mr Vats’ mother (the DIG’s mother-in-law) tried to intervene, he shot at her also.

According to the Kavi Nagar police, Mrs Parveena Sharma, wife of the DIG, was also injured along with her brother Utkar Vats and her mother, Mrs Shakti Bala Sharma.

All three were rushed to Yashoda Hospital where

doctors performed an operation on Mr Vats to remove the bullet lodged in his abdomen. The other two have been discharged, as their injuries are not very serious.

Kishen Bahadur has been arrested and the weapon used in the assault seized, according to the SSP, Mr Prashant Kumar.

Kishen had reportedly procured the DIG’s service revolver from his driver who, it is learnt, normally keeps the officer’s weapon. After hearing the gunshots, the DIG’s driver, Satya Prakash, had come into the house and overpowered the domestic help.

According to one report, Kishen Bahadur had demanded a big sum of money (Rs 10 lakh) from his employer Mr Vats. On being rebuffed, he is reported to have lost his cool. He went out in a rage and somehow procured the DIG’s revolver from the official car driver and aimed it at whoever confronted him.

The police are making inquiries and investigations are on.



Anti-Shastri wagon gathers speed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
The Opposition parties in the National Capital Territory today demanded the immediate resignation of Delhi Food and Supply Minister Yoganand Shastri for his alleged involvement in the “store scam”.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party plans to hold a demonstration outside the Delhi Assembly tomorrow, the Lok Janshakti Party would hold a public rally on Thursday.

Lok Janshakti Party national vice-president Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the Opposition parties should join hands in fighting against the government on issues like corruption. “We are ready to extend our issue-based support even to the BJP on such matters.”

“The BJP demands the immediate removal of Shastri for his indulgence in corrupt practices and nepotism. The Lokayukta has declared that gross irregularities were committed in Delhi Consumer Cooperative Wholesale stores, and the appointment of Iqbal as Chief Administrator and employment of a teenager were illegal,” Delhi BJP president Mange Ram Garg said here today.

He said “Shastri has no right to continue as a minister and should have been sacked immediately after the Lokayukta gave its order. Shiela Dikshit government has not taken any action against the corrupt minister and the officer.”

Delhi Chief Minister had told NCR Tribune that she would not shield any person, who is involved in corruption cases. She would, however, wait for the final report of the Lokayuta before taking any action. Mange Ram said they would hold a demonstration outside the Delhi Assembly and wait for a few days for the state government to act. “If there is no action by the Sheila government and the minister does not resign on his own, then we would seek the intervention of the Lt Governor.”

“We would also rake up the issue in our people-to-people contact programme and highlight corruption in high places during the three-year tenure of the Congress-led Delhi government,” he said.

Delhi BJP chief said the state minister had violated all norms and rules in inducting his favourite, Iqbal, as the Chief Administrator of Delhi Consumer Cooperative Wholesale stores. He had also got 150 persons employed in the stores in an illegal manner. The minister also flouted rules in promoting one DPC member, Ramanand, and in employing his minor son on the basis of false and fabricated certificates. Mange Ram said the Delhi minister had also sheltered his son-in-law Sanjay and another relative, who had committed fraud and gross irregularities in the supply of items.


New Delhi getting flabbier by the day
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Amidst the mushroom growth of anti-obesity clinics, New Delhi faces a serious and weighty problem, which, medical practitioners and nutritionists warn, could cause serious imbalances in the country’s human resource equilibrium with the scales tantalisingly tilted between the undernourished and the plump.

A survey conducted by the University of North Carolina, USA, has showed that 37 per cent of women living in various urban areas in India are overweight or obese.

The problem acquires additional weight in the Capital with an independent study conducted by the New Delhi-based Nutrition Foundation of India revealing that a phenomenal 50 per cent of the women from the high-income group are overweight; 32 per cent males are also obese.

Medical practitioners and nutritionists warn that with growing obesity there was the added danger of an increase in the incidence of chronic diseases, such as heart ailments, hypertension and diabetes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the incidence of such cases was likely to triple in the next 30 years – from 19.4 million cases in 1995 to 57.2 million in 2025.

Experts point out that obesity is more due to “malnutrition and bad eating habits, rather than due to excessive appetite”.

Surveys showed that 5 per cent of the population was consuming 40 per cent of the available fat. “By nearly any measure, India remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with a population of over one billion and a fertility rate well above replacement level,” Dr Paula Griffiths and Dr Margaret Bentley of the North Carolina University wrote in their research paper.

In urban areas though, obesity has thrown open a new service area and is attracting a strong clientele among the rich and the upwardly mobile.

“Obesity has emerged as a serious health issue among urban Indian men and women. Excessive bulk is not only unsightly but also leads to chronic diseases. So, this must be controlled at any cost”, Mrs Vandana Luthra, president of a chain of anti-obesity clinics, said.

For the record, her chain of clinics today observed the ‘Anti-Obesity Day’ in association with the Indian Medical Association (IMA); cricketer Ajay Jadeja and 350 schoolchildren were in attendance. Her clinic is not alone in this business of arresting the menace of obesity. Similar clinics are flourishing in almost every colony of urban centres.

Modern marketing packages and promo wars are all part of the game – all in the name of obesity and excess weight. And thanks to time-bound offers, the scroll of clients at such clinics is fattening by the day.



Jhajjar SSP in the dock over court shootout
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 26
The District Bar Association today decided to file a writ petition in the High Court against the district police chief on the charge of dereliction of duty in handling a shooting incident in the civil court complex on October 31.

In a meeting today, chaired by its president, the association decided to call off their 26-day-long strike, demanding the transfer of senior superintendent of police Mohammad Vakil. The association has alleged that the district police had failed to stop or disarm the criminals during a shootout in the court premises, which continued for around 40 minutes. They have also questioned the role of the SSP in the incident.

According to the Bar Association spokesman, Mr K S Sahrawat, a deputation of five advocates is going to Chandigarh tomorrow to file a PIL against the SSP on the ground that he failed to discharge his duty during the shooting incident, which could have caused immense human loss. The delegation had met the Chief Minister in this regard, but in vain.


Another child electrocuted in Faridabad
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 26
Cases of children getting electrocuted after coming in contact with overhead power lines or electric cables seem to have become the order of the day in the district. The most pathetic case is that of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, who was playing on the rooftop of a house in Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Nagar here; he was electrocuted when he came into contact with a live wire this morning. At least seven persons, including five children, were killed and a few others got burnt in similar incidents in the town in the last three months.

Ajay, son of Sri Kishan, a resident of house no 1055 of C-Block in Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Nagar, got burnt after he came into contact with a power cable. The cable is reported to be still uncovered and criss-crosses several houses. The victim has been admitted to the local Bhadshah Khan Civil Hospital. It may be recalled that two youths were electrocuted after a high- tension wire fell on them near the Sarai Khawaja locality about three weeks ago. Five children of Sanjay Nagar locality died of burns when they came into contact with an overhead high tension cable in September. About half a dozen cases of similar nature have been reported from various densely populated localities. The local residents have written to the Electricity Department, urging the authorities to remove dangerous high-tension cables.


Beaten by cops for daring to lodge FIR
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 26
A resident of a village in the Hathin sub-division of the town, who had gone to the police station for lodging a complaint, was allegedly beaten up by some policemen at the station.

The complainant, identified as Shibu of Malokhra village, had gone to the police station on the `directions’ of a DSP for lodging an FIR against a diesel engine dealer.

The dealer had reportedly supplied him a `defective’ diesel engine, after he purchased it under a DRDA scheme.

When he went to the DSP’s office, he was told to contact the police station.

It is alleged that some of the policemen on duty at the station, including an ASI, ignored his complaint and, instead of lodging a complaint, beat him up and `threatened’ to book him. The victim has now sought the intervention of the DSP and other senior officials.


Delhi is still most polluted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Delhi continues to remain the most polluted metropolis in the country, followed by Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. In a written reply today, the Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr T. R. Baalu informed the Lok Sabha that the level of sulphur dioxide was recorded at 17 micrograms per cubic metre while the corresponding figure of Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai were 14.0, 8.5 and 9.7 respectively. Oxides of nitrogen in Delhi stood at 31 micrograms per cubic metre and suspended particulate matter in the Capital city was recorded at 370 micrograms per cubic metre, the Minister said.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) along with the State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committees are regularly monitoring ambient air quality at 290 stations covering 92 cities and towns in 24 states and five Union territories, the Minister informed the House.

The ambient air quality is being monitored for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, suspended particular matter and respirable suspended particulate matter, he said.

Action plans, however, had been implemented for control of pollution in Delhi and Mumbai. Low sulphur fuel (Petrol and Diesel) with 0.05 per cent maximum Sulphur content had also been introduced in all the metropolitan cities.

The total installed capacity of water treatment plants in the National Capital is expected to be increased to 950 MGD (Million Gallon Daily) by the end of the 10th Plan to meet the total requirement of 800 MGD of potable water in Delhi for all uses, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar said at present 650 MGD of potable water is supplied by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) by optimising production from various sources like the river Yamuna, Bhakra Storage, Upper Ganga Canal and underground sources.

He said the DJB has initiated or has proposed to initiate various measures to augment water supply in Delhi by commissioning or constructing water treatment plants at Nangloi, Bawana, Sonia Vihar and Dwarka. The Minister said the per capita availability of piped or potable water in Delhi was 180 litres. In Kolkata it was 173 litres, followed by 168 litres in Mumbai, 106 litres in Chennai, 95 litres in Hyderabad and 80 litres in Bangalore, he added.

The total requirement of 800 million gallons of potable water for Delhi can be fully met by the next two years, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the US, the government has issued instructions to modify the Safdarjung Airport’s circuit so that aircraft do not fly over the diplomatic areas, Minister of Civil Aviation, Syed Shahnawaj Hussain informed the Lok Sabha today.

Replying to a question on the steps taken to protect government, private buildings and nuclear establishments, Mr Hussain said orders prohibiting flying in the defined airspace’s already exist. He, however, refused to reveal the details and the money spent thereon as it was not in the public interest.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has said that allegation of corruption have been levelled against 36 officers and employees, the Minister of Sate for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya informed the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply he said that cases have been registered against 36 officers and employees and on completion of inquiry by the CBI and the Delhi Police, chargesheet against 20 officers/employees have been filed in the Court while inquiry against 16 officers and employee is under process.

He refused to elaborate as the matter is subjudice. In reply to a separate question, the Minister said that the government had been issuing instructions to local bodies including DDA and other land owning agencies from time to time. He said that the DDA has received the complaint of Budhela Welfare Association regarding public nuisance due to illegal encroachments and dumping of rubbish in the village pond, east of Charak Sadan in Vikaspuri. The Rajya Sabha was further informed that the government had considered restructuring and the reorganisation of the DDA through modernisation and rationalisation in different spheres of its activities so that it becomes more result oriented.

DDA has initiated action for improvement in the working of its various departments and several short term and long term measures have been initiated, the Minister told the House.


Saddled with load-shedding for all seasons
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, November 26
Whether it is winter, summer or the rainy season, residents of this fast growing industrial city and a district headquarters in Haryana as well as those of other towns and rural areas of the district reel under load-shedding. There are many reasons for the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) resorting to load-shedding. The principal reason is said to be power theft, usage of load more than the sanctioned one and the mushroom growth of residential colonies.

Another reason for the continual load-shedding is that the transmission and distribution network is not able to carry the increased demand for electricity. Until this system is strengthened, according to senior officers of the UHBVN, the people cannot get relief from load-shedding.

The problem becomes acute during the summer season when the demand for electricity touches a new height. One of the senior officers of the UHBVN said even the rising demand could be met had the UHBVN regulated the supply from Bhakra as there was no shortage of electricity.

Besides, the UHBVN’s own generating units at Panipat and Faridabad, the UHBVN can draw as much power from these units as it wants. But the distribution system was not as strong as it should have been to be able to carry this much load, the officials said.

The question of augmenting the transmission and distribution system has been raised many a times in the past but to no avail.

It is observed that even if there is no load-shedding, people remain bereft of power for many hours. According to officials of the UHBVN, power cuts in different areas occur due to local faults.

A spokesman of the UHBVN said there had been no load-shedding for the past two months but complaints about frequent power cuts and breakdowns continued to pour in from different areas. Residents alleged that they were facing load-shedding for two to three hours almost everyday and the UHBVN staff did not attend to their complaints.

No prior information was being given to them by the staff about the load-shedding and this caused inconvenience to them.

Residents also suffer water shortage during the period of load-shedding. The water problem becomes acute when tubewells stop functioning on account of non-supply of electricity.

Meanwhile, the worsening power situation in the state seems to have put the credibility of the state government at stake.

Power supply has always been an important issue in Haryana and has decided the fate of the state governments in the past decade. The previous governments of Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Bansi Lal were shown the door by voters in 1996 and 2000 basically on a battery of issues, including their failure to ensure proper and round-the clock-power supply in the state. In order to increase the availability of power and improve the functioning of the then Haryana State Electricity Board (HSEB) the Bansi Lal government had decided to partially privatise the board and convert it into a nigam by bifurcating it into separate companies for the generation and distribution of power.

The board, now known as the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN), has allegedly failed to improve the power supply.

The situation, like previous years, has worsened during the summer months when the temperatures are normally very high. The present government had promised to improve the power situation in the state before coming to power but it seems things are going the way they were during the regime of the previous governments.

According to some leaders of the Opposition, the government has nearly lost control over the HVPN and the nigam is going its own way without caring for the welfare and interests of the consumers who are paying one of the highest charges for power in the country. They say it is shameful that while the supply situation has worsened the government has been thinking of hiking the power tariff again.

The Congress and other Opposition parties said if the present situation continues people might come on the roads to teach the government a lesson. These parties point out while there are no power cuts in the HVPN residential colonies, life in both urban and rural areas has become miserable because of the interminable power cuts during day as well as night.

Leaders of these parties also criticised the government for its failure to ensure regular power supply both in urban and rural areas of the state.



This visually-impaired aerobic instructor needs no help
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, November 26
Are the handicapped dependent or is dependence a handicap? If you consider the case of Ms Preeti Monga you are sure to agree with the latter.

Being visually impaired has not been a deterrent for this woman with a never- say- die attitude. She made her foray into various challenging activities and emerged a winner. From being the first visually impaired person in the country to have successfully completed the Aerobic Instructor’s Training programme from the United States to marketing food products Preeti has proved that handicap is not one until you let it become one.

“I am a terribly emotional person, my emotions drive me to fear that I may not be able to survive and do well. This eggs me on to do better and better. I am a go-getter once I am driven hard enough”, says the talented Preeti.

A student of music, she passed the fifth year of Visharda from the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in instrumental music. Preeti plays the sitar with as much aplomb with which she operates the computer. Yes, she is also proficient in computers and with the aid of a voice synthesiser she has acquainted herself with Word Star and Lotus 123.

“The need to survive plays a predominant part in my life. My talent is a product of my survival techniques”, says the multi -faceted woman, who is also the recipient of many awards, including the Manav Seva Award in 1995 for her outstanding services in the field of disability.

The Rotary Club Delhi also presented her with Vocational Services Award in 1996 for opening vocations for the visually impaired, like teaching aerobics. She is also the recipient of the Full Circle, an award for extraordinary courage. Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral presented the award to her.

At present working as the head of public relations in Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, Preeti dreams of opening a ‘sharing centre’. “I want to something for the visually impaired, I don’t want to open a school, but a sharing centre where I will be able to share my experiences and my life with others. It is important to help people and teach them the way of carving their own niche in the world.”

A mother of two, Preeti manages her household work without the help of any servants. “My husband and I share the house work. I cook and clean and enjoy my work”, says Preeti, emphasising that her family has been an effective support system. “Music and a good sleep help me unwind. I get bored easily. If a job becomes too monotonous I move to where the excitement lies”, revealed Preeti.

There is a need to improve the condition of the physically impaired in the country and provide them with substantial support and opportunity for development, points out Preeti. “ It is so simple, that is why perhaps it is difficult. People should understand that it is easy to learn and do well in life. I want to reach out to people and through my own example want to tell them that nothing is difficult. You only have to try”. Words of wisdom from someone who has done it and done it right.



Sonepat’s burning issue
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 26
Nearly 800 persons every year sustain burns in this city and elsewhere in the district. The number of women who receive treatment for burns is significantly high.

However, many of the doctors in the government and private hospitals have discounted its relation to the evil dowry system and refuse to accept that most of these women are victims of dowry demand. The number of burn cases in the area has been on the rise for the last few years. But most of them are related to accidents, though they could occur as a result of the pressure being faced by women in their in-laws houses mainly related to dowry demand.

Many of those who report with burns seem to have suicidal tendencies, according to many doctors. Though the number of patients coming to the hospitals with burns is on the rise, the number of beds have remained limited.

As a result, many of these cases are referred to hospitals in Delhi and Rohtak. Burns can be thermal, electrical or chemicals in nature.

Most of the mishaps occur at home. Fire is the main cause of the burns. Treatment is costly. And there is a need for well-trained personnel at various levels. So measures for reducing the cost of treatment are urgently required.

Many doctors feel, to a large extent, modernisation is responsible for the increase in burn cases.

A plethora of gadgets have been introduced in the market.

As most of them are expensive, people tend to buy cheaper and sub-standard electrical appliances. This can cause mishaps.

Moreover, in homes where a single room was utilised for cooking as well as living and sleeping, accidents have often tended to occur. Many inflammatory material lie next to the cooking device and coupled with the hectic pace of life, fire accidents have often tended to take place.

Most doctors feel that prevention is the best cure for it. Parents should make children aware of the dangers of fire and the electrical equipments. The school curricula should include lessons on burn injuries. Laws for the fire safety should be strictly enforced.

Lack of burn units in the local civil hospital has forced the burn patients to get their treatment done in Delhi or Rohtak. It leads to tremendous financial strain on the patients on account of transportation and treatment.



Power disruption hits normal life
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 26
Normal life was thrown out of gear following the shut down of power supply in Model Town, Subhash Chowk and the adjoining areas again throughout the day yesterday, without any prior notice. It caused great inconvenience to thousands of people living in these areas. The housewives could not run their washing machines and much of their washing of clothes remained incomplete. Residents alleged that their complaints made to the officials and complaint centres in this regard have fallen on deaf ears.

The working of the Departmental Telegraph Office (DTO) Were the worst-hit as the incoming and outgoing telegrams were delayed inordinately for the second day yesterday. The Residents Welfare Association and the Sonepat Citizens Forum today decried the day-long shutdowns of power and demanded stern action against the officials found responsible for such shutdowns Resentment prevails among the passengers and the commuters against the non-availability of drinking water at the railway station in the city for the last one month. According to a report, two tubewells had run dry and the third one is functioning only for a few hours as its ground water had gone down considerably.

Road accident

A youth Richpal was injured seriously when he was hit by a three-wheeler on the Sonepat-Dewru road near here yesterday. According to a report, the injured person who belonged to Garh Shahjahanpur village, was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger. The Sadar police has registered the case and further investigations were in progress. However, no arrest has been made so far.


Representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations and trade unions today sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala urging him to shift back the office of the Civil Surgeon to the old hospital building for the benefit of the people.

No water

Thousands of people living in the old section of the city had to go waterless last evening following the disruption in the supply system. Many residents alleged that the disruption in the supply of drinking water in the evening in this area has become a routine thanks to the failure of the Public Health Department to take action against the keymen on duty inspite of their complaints. The residents demanded stern action against the keymen found responsible for the drinking water crisis in the area.

Hit and run

An unidentified youth sustained serious injuries when he was hit by a speeding truck on the G.T. Road near Rai about 15 km from here last night. According to a report, the injured youth was immediately rushed to the local civil hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The Rai Police has registered a case against the truck driver on the charges of rash and negligent driving and causing the death of the victim.



‘A fusion of Shastra and Shashtra is must’
Nalini Ranjan

B. L. Sharma 'Prem' is a veteran politician. He came into mainstream politics in 1991 with a landslide victory over H.K.L. Bhagat in Lok Sabha elections from East Delhi constituency. Prior to this, Bhagat, was considered `undefeatable’. He was, however, trounced by more than 88,000 votes. This seat went to the BJP after a gap of 21.

In the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, he again rose to the occasion and Deep Chand Bandhu was defeated by a humuliating 1,92,000 votes. Interestingly, both the candidates of Congress were erstwhile presidents of the Delhi region and assumed to be political heavyweights. In 1997, he resigned from his post, saying that politics was not his cup of tea.

On 14th August, 1997, he set up his own organisation, 'Akhand Hindustan Morcha’. Apart from this, he is also the General Secretary of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (Delhi region).

Sharma has been an avid reader of The Tribune and hails from Sialkot, now in Pakistan. After contesting two consecutive Lok Sabha elections, he found himself in the red, to the extent of Rs 3.00 lakh.

Prior to entering mainstream politics, he was General Secretary of the biggest government employee union, the `Sarkari Karamchari Rasthriya Mahasangh.’ He has given an extensive interview to Nalini Ranjan.

At the peak of your political career, you stepped on the sidelines. What was the reason behind this move?

I had joined politics to do something new, to bring about a sea-change in the society, but we got despair and nothing else. We wrote 1,25,000 letters to different agencies in a span of one year for redressal of people’s grievences in a span of one year. According to the Guinness Book, this is a world record. Action was taken on a few letters. The rest went into the dust bin. Keeping in view this sorry state of affairs in politics, it was better for me to keep away from this mirage. In my opinion, the biggest threat right now is to our integrity. Separatist forces are continuously threatening us. Politicians are ignoring this fact due to their vested interest. To keep this issue forefront, we founded the Akhand Hindu Morcha.

What is the agenda of your organisation?

There are 62 districts and 218 religious places in our country over which we have no control. These places have been encroached upon by other countries. Unless we bring these places back into the mainstream, the dream of national integrity will not get fulfilled. If Israel can fight the battle for Jerusalem for 200 years, then why can’t we? We are also planning to install a national monument at Hariwali village near Nazafgarh. A sum of Rs 100 crores will be spent on this monument, which will be spread over 14 acres of land. It will be the first of its kind in India, and the 5th in the world. Four others are in Israel, Moscow, Washington and Poland.

What is the story behind your conversion to Sikhism?

It was 29th of March, 1999. A procession of Khalsa Panth was marching from Patna to Anandpur Sahib. I was deployed as a route in-charge of about 5000 `Panthees.’ During the procession, I deeply pondered about the Sikh religion and ultimately to Sikhism. It is my personal opinion that the Khalsa is a sound base for the Hindu society and the way shown by Guru Gobind Singh is totally relevant in today’s scenario. To protect the religion, the blending of Shastra and Shashtra is a must.



Citizens’ charter top priority for govt: Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Calling for an effective implementation of citizen’s charter, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday said that in a democratic set-up, citizen’s satisfaction was the most important indicator of the administration’s rapport with the citizens.

Speaking on “How effective citizen’s charters are?” at a function hosted by the Centre for Media Studies, Ms Dikshit said that an attitude of satisfaction rather than indifference of the citizen would a positive indicator of successful administration.

And, as an aside, she told the bureaucracy that the indifference towards the feelings or inconvenience of individuals, discourteous behaviour, cumbersome processes and procedures, and uncalled for delays add to the hostility.

People these days, she said, were more concerned with various programmes of the government including those of socio-economic activities. This increasing role of the government in the citizen’s affair led to a greater dependence of the public on the decision-making agencies and service providers.

“If the relationship between the citizen and administration is based on hostility or suspicion or any negative feeling, the result is lack of popular support for the government,” she noted.

The government’s policies, Ms Dikshit said, had undergone a radical change in its philosophy and practice since Independence. Its role was no longer confined to providing essential services to the citizens but extended to almost all walks of life. “The Constitution setting in motion a long process of changing the Laissez-faire State into a Welfare State presupposes that the administration is alert, sympathetic, sensitive and responsive to the people,” the Chief Minister added. She said that the citizen needed to be enlightened about his rights and duties, about the policies and programmes being launched for their welfare.



A tractor tyre for a table, a tube for a chair
Nalini Ranjan

An outstanding showpiece made from six tyres cultivating a wire tree for placing pots of natural herbs and flowers.

New Delhi, November 26
Imagine yourself seated on a comfortable sofa with a coffee cup placed on a stylish centre table. Not difficult, is it? But now if somebody tells you that not only the sofa and the table but the entire furniture in the room is made of used tyres, won’t your eyes pop out?

This is just one example of the products developed by a dynamic Indian entrepreneur through extensive research and development. They are on display at Hall no 18 at the India International Trade Fair in Pragati Maidan.

The technology of creating contemporary and environment-friendly furniture by using discarded auto tyres and tubes has been developed by Delhi- based RA Innovations and will soon be marketed by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) in countries, including the USA, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

The NRDC is the 50 per cent programme partner of this company. The company, which is a venture of the Ramanand Charitable Trust, has got a global patent for its technology from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The process includes chemical treatment of tyres and transforming them into sophisticated furniture. While being cost-effective and durable, the furniture promotes recycling of used tyres which otherwise holds health hazards.

This furniture is 40 per cent cheaper than that made of wood and more durable with little cost needed on maintenance.

“We are the first company to come up with such an innovation and to be on the safe side we have patented our products”, says Mrs Rama Anand, Chairperson of this company.

Tyres have been used in almost everything from photo frames, sofa sets, centre tables to plant holders.

The price of a framed photograph on a tyre could cost anywhere between Rs 400 and Rs 700. The price of a sofa chair could be around Rs 2000.The list is endless. The old tyres are chemically treated to remove any toxins and washed several times over to remove any hint of rubber smell from the tyres. The furniture could be upholstered, if desired. Half of the money raised from the sale of these products will go towards charity, says Mrs Anand.

If the tyre project succeeds soon, the financial benefits may accrue to the Old People’s Home as well as towards an ashram for the handicapped in Greater Noida.



Youth robbed after being beaten up
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 26
A youth of a nearby village was beaten up and deprived of cash of about Rs 42,000, a mobile phone and a gold chain by some miscreants near old Faridabad last night. According to a complaint lodged by the victim Anil, who has been hospitalised, a group of six persons armed with iron rods and wooden sticks intercepted him near Sidhela Village while he was on his way to his native village of Bhataula.

He said he was carrying a cash amount of Rs 42,000 and a mobile phone and the miscreants looted the money along with the gold chain after beating him.

Anil was on his motor cycle at the time of incident. Meanwhile, five persons have been booked in connection with alleged abduction of two minor girls in two separate incidents in the district.

Attempt to murder

Two persons were seriously injured in a property dispute between two families in Quresh Nagar area of Sadar Bazar. Altercation took place over the ancestral property. Members of one family were identified as Mohammad Akhlaq, his two sons, Rizwan and Irfan while the second family members were Sajid and his brother, Figor. During altercation Mohammad Akhlaq and Rizwan sustained blunt injuries and were admitted to RML hospital. In the second group Sajid and Figor sustained sharp injuries and were admitted to Hindu Rao Hospital. The police has registered a case of attempt to murder against Mohammad Akhlaq and his two sons while a case of attempt to commit culpable homicide against Sajid and his brother Figor was also registered.

Women killed in accident

Mrs Dhan Kaur (40), a resident of Kharkhoda in Haryana was killed when a three wheeler in which she was travelling turned over near the toll tax office in Narela this morning. TSR driver, Rajesh (32), has been arrested on charges of rash and negligent driving causing death.

TSR driver dead

In another case, a TSR driver, Altaf (25), a resident of Moonga Nagar was killed when his vehicle was hit by a reportedly speeding Maruti Zen near Maharani Bagh.



Trade fair: Another chaotic day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi November 26
Traffic was disrupted for long hours and commuters had a harried time in the heart of the National Capital Territory as thousands of people converged at Pragati Maidan to have a look at the products on display at the India International Trade Fair, which concludes tomorrow.

Buses, cars and scooters were seen moving inch by inch, and pedestrians were flocked in-groups going mad over how to cross the fully occupied roads. Some desperate pedestrians were spotted running in between the stationed vehicles. Delhi Traffic Police personnel were seen helpless even as their sincere efforts failed to regulate the traffic – putting everyone in a jittery..

One car driver even got into an argument with another, when a three-wheeler trying to over-speed in a literally congested road, causing a huge dent in the car. The drama added more chaos to the already congested road, and many started shouting at them to move the vehicle forward. Finally the argument came to end after a policeman intervened and pacified them to go for a compromise.

In fact, according to an official in the IITF, this year, the fair has attracted a record number of persons. More than three lakh people visited the fair on Sunday and almost similar number of persons visited the fair today. The official said “on Tuesday, the last day of the 14-day fair, we are expecting same number even though it is a working day.”

Stating that the number of person visiting the fair on Monday was not unusually large, he said “over the years we have seen large number of persons on last Sunday of the fair and similar number turns out in the last few days. Since the population of Delhi has gone up multi-fold in the past one year, and more have become affluent, many came to the fair with their vehicles which disrupted the traffic management system despite the precautionary plans taken by us.”

The fair may have got bouquets from many, but the brickbats came from the commuters who pass through ITO, and Pragati Maidan. Interestingly, one commuter.


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