Sunday, December 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

N C R   S T O R I E S

 

 

Four new faces likely in Cabinet
R.Suryamurthy & Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
At least four new faces would find a place in the reconstituted council of ministers to be sworn in early next week, a senior Congressman closely associated with the Cabinet list formulation, told NCR Tribune late tonight.

Six Delhi Government ministers had resigned on Wednesday. The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, has not so far forwarded their resignations to the Lt-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor. The AICC observer for Delhi, Mr Kamal Nath, who has been meeting the prospective claimants to the ministry, said, “I would be sitting late on Saturday with Ms Dikshit to give a final touch to the list before forwarding it to the party High Command, Ms Sonia Gandhi.”

Sources said that the party was considering at least 15 names for possible induction into the Cabinet, a move aimed at projecting that the tirade of the Opposition parties against the alleged corrupt ministers had nothing to do with the proposed changes. Those who do not find ministerial berths would be given responsible party positions.

With the swearing-in ceremony of the reconstituted Council of Ministers scheduled for early next week, the focus has shifted to the 1 Tughlak Road residence of All India Congress Committee General Secretary Kamal Nath, which saw a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. Discussions stretched into the night as the party leaders huddled together to work out a formula that would present a new face of the government and give a thrust to its election campaign.

Although the Congress high command is keen on a thorough shake-up of the Council of Ministers, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is learnt to have forwarded about half a dozen names, including that of her parliamentary secretary Ajay Maken, for replacing at least two of the ministers whose resignations are likely to be sent to the Lieutenant-Governor by Sunday evening. Besides Maken, the chief minister’s “wish list” includes the likes of Motilal Bakolia, Rama Kant Goswami, Dr SC Vats and Deep Chand Bandhu.

With differences of perception on the “nature” of proposed reshuffle, persisting three days after the ministers resigned en masse, the party sources say that the discussions centred around the choice for the fourth ministerial berth.

While the Chief Minister has shown her inclination for retaining a majority of her Cabinet colleagues and limiting the reshuffle to the bare minimum, sources have it that the party high command favours a shake-up for projecting a new face of the government. The Chief Minister has asserted several times that the ministers whose performance has been satisfactory, would not be disturbed. According to party sources, the list would be finalised by Sunday morning when Ms Dikshit is likely to meet with Congress President Sonia Gandhi before the swearing-in ceremony scheduled for Monday.

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Another bus crisis stares Delhi in face
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
Within a span of two months, Delhi’ites are once again in the midst of a transport crisis, following the phasing-out of 2,565 diesel buses in deference to the Supreme Court directive.

With this phase-out, one-third of the diesel buses operating in the Capital have been denied permission to ply in the National Capital Territory, in a move to reduce pollution in the city.

Even though the full impact of the reduced fleet would be felt on Monday, when the schools and offices reopen after a three-day holiday, a large number of people could be seen stranded at bus stands and railway stations today.

The buses that have been pulled off the roads include 400 Blue Line buses, 700 buses which were seven-year-old, 594 privately owned buses plying under the DTC’s km scheme and 800 contract carriage buses, which are engaged by the schools to transport children. Blaming the Delhi Government for the transport crisis, the operators have threatened to go on an indefinite strike and pull out the CNG-operated buses from the road, if the Government does not resolve the issue. The transporters have sought the intervention of the Lt-Governor Vijai Kapoor.

“Since all the ministers in the Sheila Dikshit Government have submitted their resignations, we have urged the Lt-Governor to intervene. The resignations have marred the prospects of the meeting between the Delhi Transport Minister Parvez Hashmi and the Union Petroleum Minister Ram Naik to discuss the phase-out plan, the conversion agencies and CNG supply in the Capital,” Harish Sabharwal, general secretary of Bus Operators Joint Action Committee said.

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Undertrials languish in jails, no one to bail them out
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, December 1
The four-month-old strike of advocates is holding the district to ransom. The lawyers have been agitating for the setting up of an Allahabad High Court Bench in western UP.

Now, the strike is playing havoc with the life of the inmates at the district jails in western UP. A number of undertrials are languishing in Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail without bail, resulting in overcrowding of the premises, leading to stress and outbreak of diseases.

In Dasna jail, which houses inmates from both Noida and Ghaziabad, there is not enough room for undertrials and convicts, who are forced to take turns to sleep in their chock-full cells.

They have to bring their own blankets, bedding and warm clothes. In the hospital cells, patients have to sleep on the floor, according to a senior jail official.

Two undertrials have died within three days of each other due to diseases linked to overcrowding, said the jail’s doctor R.K. Srivastava. Surendra (35), accused of theft, died of fulminant hepatitis on November 22 while undertrial Irshad (40) died of a burst blood vessel on Monday last. He was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis.

The jail doctor, who is tending to tuberculosis, AIDS, fever and trauma cases in the overcrowded 20-bed hospital, described TB as a “disease of overcrowding”.

He said that the TB’s causative organism lay latent in all of us. “It can manifest its presence in closed and unhealthy conditions.

Irshad, who was diagnosed as having TB two months ago, had been in jail for about six months.

The jail, with a capacity of 600 prisoners, is housing almost 3,000 convicts and undertrials.

The judiciary has often intervened and granted bail to many persons, in the absence of lawyers to take up the plea.

Ghaziabad Additional District Magistrate (Executive) Usha Raman Tripathi, who has been overseeing the conditions in the jail, agreed that Dasna was extremely overcrowded. Regarding the death of undertrials, Mr Tripathi said that a magisterial probe would soon be instituted.

Asked if temporary arrangements could be made by housing some of the inmates in police lines, Mr Tripathi said: “We possibly cannot take this risk as criminals could easily escape from makeshift jails.”

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The better half invariably takes a battering
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, December 1
It is shocking, but it is true, one out of every four married men has at one time or the other been a wife-beater.

According to a survey conducted by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the International Clinical Epidemiologists Network (INCLEN), 43.5 per cent of married women have experienced at least one form of psychological abuse, 40.3 per cent have experienced physical abuse, 50 per cent have reported physical abuse during pregnancy.

And for those of us who think that domestic violence is restricted to a specific strata of society, the data reveals that violence cuts across age, class, region and religion. “There is no such thing as violence in a particular section or amongst certain religious communities only. It is all-pervasive,” said Shabnam Virmani who has made documentaries on the subject. Domestic violence in India has many facets, from the physical torture to mental stress, it is manifested variously. “Husbands often beat wives on silly pretexts, it can be as insignificant as food not being ready or an argument. Basically the tendency to be violent stems from the prevalent social norm and traditions. The feeling that men are superior to women and that they need to subjugate or dominate women is deep-rooted in a man’s psyche,” said Virmani.

Women in middle and upper classes often tend to dust these incidents under the carpet for fear of humiliation in society. The economically weak, particularly the slum-dwellers, are more vocal about domestic violence. “The slum-dwellers are quite vocal about the fact that they beat their wives to assert themselves, while men from the middle class and the elite circles deny it. The sense of shame keeps women and men from divulging the truth,” pointed out a women’s activist.

Virmani’s Drishti Media and the ICRW has made eight spots of one-minute each featuring women who are shown sharing their experience of domestic violence with the viewers. These spots are being aimed at mainstream channels like Doordarshan and other popular satellite channels to drive home the message that violence should not be allowed to continue.

“We are still negotiating with the Department of Women and Child Welfare. We are also looking at corporate houses for sponsorship,” revealed Ms Lata of ICRW.

Four of the eight spots feature women survivors who have taken the initiative in spite of the implications to speak out their experiences and views. Through these spots thoughtfully named ‘BOL’ (speak), women are encouraged to fight for their self-respect, and parents are advised not to encourage their daughters to bear torture for the sake of social norms.

The spots show battered women speaking from the heart, “I used to believe that husband is an incarnation of God, but ever since he started hitting me, I stopped worshipping him,” revealed one. Another young and educated woman who walked out of her marriage said, “It is a question of self-respect”.

The interesting part is that the spots also feature men who speak against violence. Fathers of some of the victims spoke about how parents should not only stop discouraging their daughters from walking out of a bad marriage, but should also help them begin a new life.

“While the women were ready to bare their heart, the men were reluctant. In fact, we had to remind the women of the implications of going on air. After pondering over it, some women chose to keep quiet while others went ahead,” pointed out Virmani.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A survey done by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the International Clinical Epidemiologists Network (INCLEN) shows:
* 43.5% of women have experienced at least one form of psychological abuse
* 50% have reported physical abuse during pregnancy
* 40.3% have experienced physical abuse
* The violence cuts across age, class, region and religion



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An eerie silence over a mortuary
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 1
The new post-mortem house (mortuary) of the local Bhadshah Khan Civil Hospital is awaiting formal inauguration, despite the fact that it was constructed about three years ago.

It has been kept locked since then and the post-mortem examination is done in the old building. This building is about 25 years old and is in quite a dilapidated condition. It leaks during rains. The bodies kept here for the post-mortem examination are hardly safe.

Birds and rats have easy access to the bodies and they often prey on the corpses during night or when they lie unattended.

The doctors and other staff do not like to enter the building as there is no air-conditioning; nor is there any provision for freezers.

The gadgets used here are old and outdated. There is no way to keep out the animals and birds, which have carved out their entry passages in the walls of the building.

On the other hand, the new building, which is yet to be inaugurated, is equipped with all gadgets, including air-conditioners. While the authorities claim that it is likely to be operational soon, the dithering is not understandable.

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GETTING AWAY
A pilgrimage to an epic battleground
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

HISTORICALLY and mythologically, Kurukshetra is one of the most ancient and sacred places of pilgrimage in the world. It is here that the great battle of Mahabharata was fought and this is also the birthplace of the holy Bhagwadgita.

The battlegrounds of Kurukshetra witnessed the clash of titans of its era–epic battle between Pandavas and Kauravas, which epitomised the victory of good over the evil.

It was in this battleground that Lord Krishna narrated the Bhagwadgita to master archer Arjun.

“Your right is to work only, but never to the fruit of that. Let not the fruit of action of your object, not let your attachment be to inaction,” the Lord said.

“Therefore, without attachment, perform always the work that has to be done, for man attains to the highest by doing work without attachment,” Lord Krishna added. And, the Banayan tree at Dharamkshetra, which is believed to be the witness to Lord Krishna’s sermon, stands tall today. The tourist visiting the area where Bhagwadgita verses were recited, a serene atmosphere prevails.

The historic city of Kurukshetra, situated 160 km from Delhi, has been attracting tourists over the years. However, it was not promoted as a tourist destination by the Haryana government for a long time.

But, now, that is changing. The new weekend tourist package is aimed at giving the visitor a new glimpse to the richness of the city’s historic past, which has been a witness to changing course of the country’s history for centuries.

Brahm Sarovar, which has the capacity to accommodate 10 lakh pilgrims at a time, attracts many pilgrims during solar and lunar eclipse. It is believed that a pilgrim who takes bath in the sarovar is blessed with the benefits of thousand ashwamedha yajnas.

The inclusion of Shri Krishna Museum and Panorama & Science Centre in the city in the tourist itinerary adds learning aspect to the mythological trip to one of the holy cities of the country.

The museum in its collection has the archaeological artefacts related to the times of Mahabharata which gives historical credence to the epic tales.

The collection includes the latest discovered artefacts from the submerged town of Dwarka, near Gujarat coast. Painted grey ware of the 11 to 7 B.C., antiquities from Taneshwar and painted grey ware of Harappan civilisation.

The paintings of different schools depicting Lord Krishna brings out the rich cultural vibrancy and interpretation of the Lord’s exploits in different parts of the country. The Panorama Centre shows scenic painting with three dimensional figures which represents 10 episodes of the Dharam Yudh from the first day of the war when Lord Krishna preached Gita to Arjuna to the elimination of Duryodhan at the hands of Bheem epitomising the carnage of the battleground in a lively way.

The Centre has computer-aided exhibits in the gallery which provides insight on the intricacies of ancient weapons, war formations, tactics of warriors and interpretation of events like total solar eclipse by the ancient scientists.

Apart from the different sites, temples and Sheikh Chehil’s tomb, tourists are taken to historic battlegrounds of Panipat. The Mughal’s established their empire in the country fighting three battles at Panipat.

And as one leaves the battlegrounds of ancient times, a mesmerising feeling engulfs oneself. The roaring rhetoric war calls in the present day add new colour to the battle cry of the bygone era.

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Dalit converts get robes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
A large number of Dalits, who were converted to Buddhism recently, were offered ‘cheverdan’ (dress for monks) at Ambedkar Bhavan on Rani Jhansi Road by Mr Udit Raj here today.

It is a tradition in Buddhism to offer cheverdan to monks after the rainy season. But this particular cheverdan is being performed on the successful completion of ‘diksha’ on November 4.

According to Buddhism, a monk should not own or inherit any assets or private properties except the bare needs used by himself. The monks depend on devotees even for food. Lord Buddha said, ‘O monks, whatever you receive during propagation of teachings, accept the same and that is the source of living.’

Mr Udit Raj said that with the decline of the religion, this tradition had also declined and as a result we did not find many propagators in the society to make it an equitable and just one. “Today our society needs such preachers who can roam around and tell the people to follow the teachings of Buddhism in order to establish peace and harmony in the society,” he said.

When Buddhism was at its pinnacle, our motherland had seen the best of times. Its boundaries were spread up to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Burma and other parts of the world.

Only on dilution of Buddhism did the sectoral divisions of the society hastened and hardened which ultimately paved the way to the subjugation of the country by foreigners.

Had Buddhist traditions been continued, we would have not seen regression in economic, political and social field, said Mr Udit Raj.

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COUNTDOWN MCD POLL
BJP ups the ante, wants assembly dissolved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
The BJP today demanded the dissolution of the Delhi Assembly as the Congress-led State Government “is mired in a corruption scandal and has failed to deliver despite having been in power for three years”.

“We would observe December 3 as ‘dhikkar diwas’ and burn the effigies of the Sheila Government all over the National Capital Territory. We would submit a memorandum to the Lt-Governor urging for the dissolution of the Delhi Assembly,” said Mr Mange Ram Garg, Delhi BJP president, here today. He said that several corruption scandals had marred the Sheila Dikshit Government. As it had lost the mandate of the people, it should go to the electorate to continue in power.

“The Delhi Government indulged in corruption. The resignations of the ministers were just a farce and an exercise to cover up their crimes,” he said. Mr Garg said that the Lokaykta was inquiring into the scam taken place in Delhi Jal Board in which Sheila Dikshit herself and her close relatives were allegedly involved.

As a chairman of the DJD, she had “committed gross irregularities in providing tenders to lay down pipelines for Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant at higher rates”.

“Besides, on the pretext of increasing the capacity of Wazirabad Water Treatment Plants, contracts were made on unreasonable and impractical terms,” he said, adding these resulted in a huge loss of public money.

He said that large-scale irregularities were committed by the transport department of the Delhi Government in issuing CNG permits at higher rates. Mr Garg said that the move to sell mud illegally near Rawta Dam flood was being inquired into.

Stating that corruption was rampant in all the departments of the Government, he said that the poor were not getting their due ration at cheap rates, the question of relocation of industries was still hanging fire, the power and water situation was worsening day by day.

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World AIDS Day observed in city
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
The World Aids Day was observed in the Capital today amidst calls for spreading greater awareness among people to combat the menace.


Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit with Sunil Dutt and Nafisa Ali at a function on the World Aids Day in the Capital on Saturday. — Tribune Photo Mukesh Aggarwal 

Students of various schools presented HIV/AIDS related programmes under the aegis of the Delhi State Aids Control Society which observed the World Aids Day at Talkatora Stadium here today.

Various activities such as nukkad nataks, screening of films, blood donation camps, counselling and testing for HIV were organised on the day.

The Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, was the chief guest on the occasion and the Health Minister, Dr A. K. Walia, presided over the function.

Among those who were present in the function were cinestar and MP Sunil Dutt, chairman and managing director of Punjab National Bank, Mr S. S. Kohli, and the Special Secretary (Health) and Project Director, National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), Mr J. V. R. Prasada Rao.

More than 2,000 youths from Delhi and adjoining areas participated in the rally organised jointly by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan and NSS volunteers in collaboration with UNFPA. The Secretary in the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Mr S. S. Sharma, and the Country Representative of UNFPA, Mr Francois M. Farah, were among those who participated in the rally.

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, in association with the NACO, organised a conference today to outline the challenges thrown up by AIDS.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Prasada Rao said that one of the most dangerous aspects of AIDS prevalence was the prejudiced attitude of even the medical fraternity.

The managing director of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Dr Yogi Mehrotra, said that AIDS had taken the shape of the biggest medical threat mankind was facing today.

The seminar included a technical session wherein the latest ways and means in fighting AIDS were discussed. The discussion also stressed on the need to include newer diagnostic tests such as polymeric chain reaction (PCR) or nucleic acid testing (NAT) as part of the standard testing procedure. India is supposed to have the largest number of AIDS patients in the world soon.

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Sorcars weave a magical web
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
The hall is packed with an expectant audience and the arclights focus on a lady standing in the centre of the stage. The audience pause for a moment wondering whether they are in the right place – they recheck the ticket. It is for P. C. Sorcar Jr’s magic show.

Who is this lady? They whisper to one another. Having succeeded in creating a stir, the first step in any magic show, the lady breaks the silence and announces, “I am Joysri Sorcar, wife of P. C. Sorcar (Jr).”

Within minutes she goes ahead with her magical trick which mesmerises the audience. It was her first solo magical performance in the Capital. As the audience pleaded for more tricks from her, P. C. Sorcar took centrestage with his trademark “gili-gili-gay”.

He invited people from the audience to quiz him on any subject under the sun. Be it a 10-digit multiplication or some alien word in German or Russian, Sorcar left the audience awed.

Some of his tricks continue to make people wonder, like the double take on Houdini. The Kolkata magician had himself tied and sealed in a bag, then placed inside a crate with 40 bricks.

The crate, sealed with three dozen nails and a few planks put across, was dropped into the sea from a helicopter 100 feet above sea level. The magician resurfaced 40 seconds later, leaving the crate intact.

Other tricks like the vanishing of Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial Hall, the passenger loaded Amritsar Express, cycling blindfolded in New York continue to make the lover of magic shows ponder over his tricks.

“There is nothing supernatural about it. It’s all science,” Sorcar said. He said, “my imagination has reached new heights. If you are standing in front of a vast meadow you do not know what is on the other side. That is where my imagination reaches.”

It is through this imaginative and innovative thinking that he created magic like elephorse, a baby elephant turned into a horse, Sheikh’s dream, a horse turned into a camel and the vanishing astronaut.

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SONEPAT
Woman beaten to death by Punjab cop
Our Correspondent

A woman, Mrs Moorthi Devi, was allegedly beaten to death by a constable of Punjab police at Murthal village, about 8 km from here, last evening.

According to preliminary reports, two youths, Naresh and Sube Singh, were injured seriously in the attack by the lathi-wielding cop, Mr Nahal Singh. They were immediately hospitalised and are stated to be out of danger.

It all started with an altercation between Mrs Moorthi Devi and the wife of Mr Nahar Singh, Mrs Ompati, in the afternoon. The dispute was settled after neighbours intervened. However, in the evening, an angry Mr Nahar Singh allegedly attacked Mrs Moorti Devi and other members of her family. The police have registered a case against the alleged assailant and launched a hunt to apprehend him. Further investigations are on. Woman dies of burns

A newly married woman, Mrs Ravina, who was allegedly burnt by her husband’s family members in their house at Larsauli village two days ago, succumbed to injuries at PGI, Rohtak on Friday.

According to the police, the Murthal police have registered a dowry death case against her husband, Rajesh, and other four members of the family. Further investigations are on. No arrest has been made in this connection.

Machinery damaged in fire

A fire broke out on the premises of a rice mill on the G. T. Road near Murthal here on Friday causing damage to machinery worth several thousands of rupees.

The cause of the fire is still to be ascertained. According to another report, cotton and machinery were burnt in a fire which broke out in a factory in the industrial area here on Friday. There is no clear estimate of the loss caused by the fire.

Water released without notice

In a bid to save themselves from the wrath of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, officials of the Rai Water Service Division released water into the Rajpur distributary on Friday informing farmers of the villages fed by the distributary and ignoring the rotation period.

According to a report, farmers of Khewra, Asawarpur, Qumashpur, Murthal and Deepalpur had thronged the office of Mr Suraj Mal Antil, an INLD MLA, and protested against the non-release of water into the Rajpur distributary during the rotation period commencing from November 3 last by the officials of the division. The protestors also had warned the Executive Engineer of the division that if he failed to release water immediately, they would complain to the Chief Minister who was on a tour of the district on Friday. The Executive Engineer, in turn, managed to get the water released into the distributary ignoring any rotation period in a bid to save himself from the wrath of the Chief Minister, it is alleged.

4 hurt as car, tractor collide

Four persons were injured when a tractor hit a Maruti car on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near Kharkhauda town, about 20 km from here, on Friday. All the injured were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger.

Excise office at Kundli

The Central Government has decided to set up an office of the Commissioner of Central Excise and Customs at Kundli village in the state bordering Delhi.

According to a report, this step has been taken in view of the persistent demand of entrepreneurs of Haryana. Hitherto, the office of the Assistant Commissioner was functioning there.

Two fall into nullah

Two old persons were hurt after they fell into a nullah when they were wading through the water stagnated on a road in the Lal Darwaza area here on Friday. They were fortunately saved from drowning by passers-by who heard their cry for help. They were given first aid at a nearby hospital. According to another report, a woman was injured seriously after she fell down from a tree in the Jatwara Mohalla here on Friday. She was rushed to a hospital. She is stated to be out of danger.

Impure water supplied

Resentment has been prevailing among residents of Adarsh Nagar against the supply of impure water by the Public Health Department for the past few days. Many residents alleged that all their complaints made to the authorities concerned in this regard had fallen on deaf ears.

Kashyap sangh rally today

The All-India Kashyap Maha Sangh is organising a national-level rally on Sunday in Delhi. The rally would be addressed, among others, by Mr Jai Narain Nishad, a former union minister and president of the maha sangh.

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SEARCH WITHIN
Can we balance ecology & development?

FORMER Supreme Court judge, Justice Kuldeep Singh, must know what he is talking about. In his inaugural address at a management seminar on the role of scriptures in environment protection in Delhi recently, he said inward corruption of man was linked to outward pollution of the environment. He warned of an explosive situation developing in the country with the pollution of air and water making our cities unliveable. Are we too paying a high price for material progress?

His remarks were greeted by loud applause from the audience comprising students and experts of management disciplines and others. They know too what the judge was trying to convey.

“No one, not even the most brilliant scientist alive today, really knows where our science is taking us,” says Ralph Lapp, himself a scientist- turned-writer. “We are aboard a train which is gathering speed, racing down a track on which there are an unknown number of switches

leading to unknown destinations. No single scientist is in the engine cab and there may be demons at the switch. Most of society is in the caboose looking backwards.”

If any of you live in the city of Delhi or Bombay and your child is afflicted by bronchitis because he can not help breathing or you get caught up in the daily traffic jams you will discover along with Bertrand Russell that progress of science is not necessarily a boon to mankind.

You will soon discard this nineteenth century delusion and opt for simple living and high thinking.

It will be, of course, unfair to blame science or call a stop to material progress when the majority of people in the Third World countries do not even enjoy the basic necessities of life. Added to the polluting effect of a galloping population, they have to contend with poverty, which is equally polluting. Look at those slums; they speak volumes about what poverty can do to the quality of life.

What does the honourable former judge mean by linking the inward corruption with outward pollution? He was making that emotional interlude, taking note of the presence of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Mr N. Vittal. We are all familiar with the dictum, a sound mind in a sound body. A merry heart doeth good like medicine and on the other a sorrowful heart melteth the bones. The soundness or ill health of one has an impact on the other.

But the judge, who has been a witness to men and matters in this nation, meant more than scriptural injunctions linking the body and the mind. You may recall the much talked about politician-police-criminal nexus that stood in the way of eliminating corruption-a form of pollution – from the electoral process and society. If you read between the lines you may recall how well-meaning persons like Mr K.J. Alphonse and Mr Jagmohan were checked in their efforts to put brakes on unbridled, cancerous urbanisation through encroachments and unlawful constructions. There are in our nation powerful vested interests that can block even belated efforts to create safe environs for living.

Even sections in the media, which trumpet about the catastrophic impact of industrial units and automobiles on the environment, think nothing of releasing the daily poisonous dose of pornography into young minds, driven by the sole motive of profit. They never cease titillating and exciting young minds to promote circulation. Bollywood, too, imitating Hollywood, packs the films with enough violence, making sure tomorrow’s society will have enough criminally inclined citizens. Therein lies box office success.

In their presentations at the seminar organised by the Sri Sringeri Sharada Institute of Management and Delhi Management Association, Dr Mrityunjay Athreya, Lt-Gen M.M. Walia, DR R. Venkataraman, Dr P.R.Gogna, Mr M.M. Luther, Dr N.B.Patel and a few others referred to our cultural heritage, the Vedas and rishis whose obsession with keeping the environment clean, pure and healthy is well-known.

One young participant, after listening to them, posed a profound question: “How is it that the West, which does not have the benefit of Vedas or the wisdom of rishis, manages to marry a high rate of material progress with better protection of the environment whereas our record is so dismal?

There could be many answers. We have not been true to the great ideals propounded by our ancestors. Protection of the environment presupposes concern for the coming generation, a love of nature, respect for the rights of others and devotion to the rule of law. How do we fare in all of these compared with the West?

-- M P K KUTTY


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NCR BRIEFS
MTNL probe yet to make headway

New Delhi
The police today claimed that the long weekend had impeded their efforts to nab the suspects who broke into the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited’s (MTNL) Laxmi Nagar exchange and escaped with about Rs one crore in cash on Thursday night. The police said that the interrogation of some of the persons present at the exchange at the time of the burglary was still on, to ascertain whether it was an inside job. Police sources revealed that the four chowkidars on duty had given contradictory statements and these were being verified.

Businessman robbed

New Delhi
A businessman of Greater Kailash Part-I was robbed of Rs 1.5 lakh and gold jewellery by his domestic servant this morning.

The robbery occurred when the victim went to meet somebody in Model Town. TNS

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Maid raped by employer’s son
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
In a shocking incident, a 21-year-old maidservant was allegedly raped by the son of her employer in Ashok Vihar area of North-West district in the intervening night of November 29-30. The youth, the son of a doctor, was arrested yesterday from his house.

Poonam, a resident of the Wazirpur Industrial Area and a mother of two children, was working as a maidservant in the house of a lady doctor, Dr Amrita Manchanda, at Ashok Vihar. She was allegedly raped in the night when she was alone at her employer’s home.

The police said the doctor’s son, Jayant (25), had made sexual advances towards Poonam three days back and had tried to molest her. Poonam had complained to Dr Amrita about the incident and left the house informing the latter that she would not come back again.

However, she agreed to come to cook food when Dr Amrita sent her driver to pick her on November 29, as the doctor had to go for some urgent work. Dr Amrita had left home when Poonam reached the house. Taking advantage of the situation, Jayant, who was present there, allegedly raped Poonam.

Acting on a complaint filed by Poonam, the Ashok Vihar police arrested Jayant from his residence and registered a case against him.

Bystander hurt as gun goes off

The negligence of a private security guard has reportedly caused bullet injuries to a 25-year-old passer-by in the Kalkaji area of South Delhi yesterday.

The police said that the private security guard, Kharag Singh, reported for duty at the National Jewellers in the Kalkaji area at about 10.30 am yesterday. As he started loading the 12 bore double-barrel gun, he accidentally pressed the trigger and some of the pellets hit Illyas (25) who was standing near the shop.

Since people were bursting crackers on the occasion of Gurpurab, no one took the sound of the gunshot seriously. Illyas suddenly felt a burning sensation in his leg and found blood oozing out from the wound. The security guard was arrested by the police for mishandling the weapon.

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Gang of car thieves busted, 7 held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
With the arrest of seven youths, the Delhi Police today claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of car thieves and worked out 18 cases of robbery. The gang members, who specialise in car robbery, were active in West district.

They were arrested from the Vikaspuri area of West district. On a tip off that the suspects would reach the area in a Maruti car, a number of policemen were deployed there. The gang fired on the cops when challenged. The police also returned fire. Nobody was injured in the firing. Two country-made pistol and knives were seized from them. The suspects were identified as Jaibir, alias Bholu, Arun Verma, Shri Bhagwan, alias Babloo, Sonu, Sanjit, Jasbir and Sajju. Three of them belonged to Haryana. The police said the suspects used to steal cars from Delhi and dispose them of in Haryana.

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