Tuesday, December 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Lokayukta nails only 2 for scam
Adverse entries about others 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
The Lokayukta has, in his report on the allegations of corruption in the award of contracts by the Delhi Jal Board, recommended departmental action against two engineers for fabricating evidence and giving false evidence during inquiry. The report, submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor late last week, was made public on Monday.

Besides recommending action against Junior Engineer Anil Kumar Sharma and Assistant Engineer Narinder Kumar, adverse entries have been recorded against Ajay Kumar Talwar, Director of M/s Werm India Limited and Cemcon Builders Private Limited; Pradeep Mehra, the then Chief Executive Officer of Delhi Jal Board; R.K. Jain, Chief Engineer; and B.K. Jha, Director (finance and accounts) of the Board.

On the allegations levelled against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the report states : “The Lokayukta does not know of any allegation made that the family members of the Chief Minister were on the board of directors. The Lokayukta had raised a query requiring the Chief Minister to provide some information with regard to her family, which she refused to answer. The Lokayukta even now has no knowledge about the family of the Chief Minister.”

The case pertains to four contracts awarded to Cemcon Builders Private Limited, Werm India Limited and Advanced Ocean System Private Limited for undertaking works on the sewer lines of the Delhi Jal Board, using “trenchless technology”.

The Delhi Jal Board had awarded sewer rehabilitation contracts at Bhairon Road, Urdu Academy, Pragati Maidan and the Delhi Zoological Garden to these companies for using “trenchless technology” to repair and desilt the pipes.

The report states that the companies used neither GRP liner nor trenchless technology. The super sucker, a machine for cleaning and desilting pipes, was not used either.

“The undisputed fact,” according to the report, “is that a false bill for Rs 1.64 crore in regard to the super sucker machine and its utilisation was raised on March 31, 2000, processed the same day, sanctioned and a cheque drawn for Rs 50 lakh on March 31, 2000 and given to the party.”

Describing the extent of irregularities in the Delhi Jal Board as “shocking state of affairs”, the Lokayukta has said that the AOSPL has no previous experience of sewer rehabilitation by trenchless technology and their capacity to execute the works on international standard was extremely doubtful.

“This shocking state of affairs is the creation of the Delhi Jal Board itself which had selected AOSPL in spite of the fact that it possessed no past experience of sewer rehabilitation by trenchless technology.”

Holding Chief Engineer R.K. Jain and Director, Finance, B.K. Jha responsible for the award of the contract to AOSPL, the Lokayukta records that “the result is AOSPL has stopped the work, leaving the Delhi Jal Board in the lurch and causing a loss in crores.”

Referring to the Chief Minister’s insinuations against the Lokayukta’s inquiry in the matter, as reported in a section of the press, the report states that “the institution of Lokayukta should not be dragged into political arena and the proceedings before the Lokayukta should not be given a political tinge or complexion.”

The report adds, “Such a statement would prima facie amount to contempt of court.”



CM’s Iftar: Nath and co make themselves scarce
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
In spite of Sonia Gandhi and the lavish spread of Epicurean delights, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s Iftar on Monday evening did not seem to inspire many Congressmen into making an appearance.

Barring a handful of legislators and a few lieutenants of the Chief Minister, the function was marked by a thin presence. As many as 30-odd legislators chose to stay away. With the exception of the Cabinet ministers and senior party leaders, the Iftar drew a disappointing response from the dissident group who are at daggers drawn after the Chief Minister effected the Cabinet reshuffle.

This despite the claims of some of the insiders that the high command had asked the dissidents to lie low with the promise of accommodating most of them in the proposed reconstitution of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC).

That the thaw had not set in was amply conveyed by the absence of the four former ministers who were recently dropped from the Cabinet. Besides the quartet of Yoganand Shastri, Krishna Tirath, Pervez Hashmi and Narendra Nath, the other notable absentees included leaders drawn from rival factions in the party.

The responsibility of lending a degree of respectability to the occasion, therefore, fell upon the newly inducted ministers and the likes of MLAs, Meera Bharadwaj and Arvinder Singh Lovely. Also exchanging greetings were Prem Singh, Charan Singh Kandera, Subhash Chopra and Rama Kant Goswami, who was administered the oath of office by the Chief Minister earlier in the day.

Among the guests who graced the Iftar were former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, Mohsina Kidwai, Najma Heptullah, Bhajan Lal and Devendra Dwivedi. Among the special invitees were also Diwan Zainul Abedin, the Sajjadnashin of the Dargah of Ajmer Sharief.

Sonia Gandhi made a brief appearance, enough to send the gentry into a mad rush. After the customary photo-ops, Ms Gandhi chose to stride out into the sprawling lawns of the venue and greet people.

The presence of Sonia Gandhi was reassuring as it seemed to convey that Sheila Dikshit continued to enjoy the party high command’s confidence and that her relations with 10 Janpath had not come under any strain. How this would impact the growing dissidence within the party remains to be seen, although some of the Congressmen who had the privilege of attending the Iftars, hosted by the Chief Minister in the past, were quick to draw a parallel with the Iftar year before last, held in the similar backdrop of dissension, and how Sonia Gandhi’s presence had had a salutory effect then.



Ex-sweeper behind MTNL burglary
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
The Delhi Police today claimed to have solved the sensational Rs 60-lakh burglary at the Laxmi Nagar exchange of the MTNL with the arrest of two persons, including a former employee of the telecom organisation. A sum of Rs 11.10 lakh was also seized from them.

The arrested persons were identified as Tara Chand, a former sweeper at the MTNL office, and Zakir, a welder working with a private firm in Noida. Their three associates are still at large. The Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range), Mr Amod Kanth, disclosed that Tara Chand was the mastermind behind the burglary. However, despite the breakthrough, the police have not been to ascertain how the burglars managed to procure the keys to the MTNL office, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), Mr Manoj Lal, said.

While Tara Chand was arrested yesterday from Sarita Vihar by a team of the anti-auto theft squad of the South Delhi police, Zakir was nabbed from Bharola village in Noida, where he lived along with his brother-in-law, following sustained interrogation of the former MTNL employee, Mr Kanth said. The Joint Commissioner said that the police found Tara Chand’s movements in Sarita Vihar extremely suspicious; he was also carrying a bag. When the police team questioned him and searched the bag, they found Rs 3 lakh.

During questioning, he confessed that it was the burgled money. A raid was conducted at his residence at Lakhanwali village in Noida and Rs 2 lakh more was seized. The police also seized Rs 6.10 lakh from Zakir’s house in Noida, Mr Kanth said. The duo revealed that it was a meticulously planned burglary. Tara Chand was employed as a sweeper on daily wages in the MTNL office in Preet Vihar from 1992 to 1999, and knew where the money was kept.

He hatched the plot along with his brother-in-law Rameshwar, after he was sacked at the MTNL. It was Rameshwar who introduced Tara Chand to his friends, Govind, Nagar and Zakir.

They had planned the burglary in September but could not execute their plan as Rameshwar was arrested in Bulandshahar in connection with a robbery. He is still in the jail there. The visited the MTNL office several times to monitor the movements of the officials and found that the watchman drank everyday and would go to bed around midnight. In the meantime, they purchased two gas cylinders, a cutter and a blanket from Paharganj and hid them in the MTNL premises. They also managed to procure a key to the floor, on which the locker room was located. They reached the locker room around midnight with the equipment and cut the locker after heating it. The locker was stacked with the staff’s salary. They could carry only Rs 60 lakh and drove away in a Maruti car which was parked outside, the police added.



Install speed governors in DTC buses in 30 days: HC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
The Delhi High Court today asked the Delhi Government to ensure that speed control devices are fitted in DTC buses in a month’s time. The orders for at least 100 such devices should be placed by Wednesday, the court ordered.

The speed control devices would prevent the vehicles from breaching the 40-km per hour limit.

A division bench, comprising Justice Dalvir Bhandari and Justice R C Jain, gave this directive after the counsel for Seimens VDO informed the court that it would take at least a month to install the speed governors in the DTC vehicles.

Seimens VDO is the only speed governor manufacturer approved by the Automative Research Association of India. The electronic devices, unlike the manual ones, are tamper-proof.

The bench had last week directed bus manufacturers — Ashok Leyland and Telco — and the manufacturers of speed governors to resolve their problems, so that there is no delay in the installation of the devices. The Supreme Court, in 1997, had ordered that all heavy and medium transport vehicles plying on the roads of Delhi be fitted with speed control devices, to ensure that they observe a 40-km-per-hour speed limit.

Last year, the High Court had suo motu taken up the matter and directed the Delhi Government in February this year to fit all buses in Delhi with speed control devices.

There has been much hue and cry after the Wazirabad school bus tragedy and other similar incidents of rash and negligent driving.



Confusion reigns over new house tax policy
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 10
While the Haryana Government is busy espousing its new house tax policy and the changes in its assessment formula, residents of the Faridabad, which has the largest population in the state, do not know whether it will cover them or not.

The confusion over the implementation of the new policy arose following the civic bodies’ minister’s recent statement admitting that the new tax formulation might not cover Faridabad district. The doubt gained currency also because it was reported that the Mayor of Faridabad was not “invited” to Chandigarh for the meeting convened to discuss the changes in house tax last month.

Now, residents are turning to the authorities and members of the municipal corporation to get a clarification on the issue. However, it is learnt that the local authorities themselves are in the dark. As a result, several residents, who have been opposing the new house tax assessment formula here, have decided to hold back their dues.

A resident of the NH-I locality in the NIT area here, who recently received a house tax dues bill of Rs 4,000, said he had not deposited the amount, as he was not sure whether he would get a refund in case the new formula was implemented. The Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) officials were also not clear about the policy and he was told that they were waiting for necessary instructions in this regard, he said.

The secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Ms Sharda Rathaur, said that any new formula on house tax would not be acceptable till there was a major relief to the householders. She demanded that there should be a similar policy applicable all over the state and if the house tax rate was not brought down, her party would continue its opposition.

The Janata Dal (United) chief, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has also rejected the changes in the house tax policy. He has dismissed them as a “mere eyewash as no relief has been given to the common man”.



DDA breeds generic problems: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
The Prime Minister has called for drastic action to check rampant corruption in the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Parliament was informed today.

In a written reply, the Minister of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya, said that based on an analysis of representations received at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Prime Minister had recently pointed out that the problems faced by DDA applicants as well as the shortcomings in its grievance redressal mechanism were of a generic nature.

The problems mainly relate to delays encountered in the allotment of plots/flats, transfer of registration in favour of legal heirs, refund of registration money, change of address, issue of demand-cum-allotment letters, possession of letters etc., the minister told the Rajya Sabha.

In reply to a separate question, the minister said that the Land Management Department of the DDA had been carrying out regular demolition programmes with the assistance of the police. Six zones had been created for the purpose, each of them headed by a senior officer of the rank of Joint/Deputy Director who is assisted by revenue and engineering staff. Security guards had been deployed for watch and ward duties on the government land and Assistant Engineers/Junior Engineers had been asked to check unauthorised construction in the development areas, Mr Dattatreya said.

As far as areas falling in North-West (Rohini Zone of the DDA) and North Delhi are concerned, 143 demolition programmes were undertaken during the last six months and 2,123 illegal structures were demolished and 8.19 acres of land were reclaimed.

The Building Department of the DDA issued 69 show cause notices, passed sealing-cum-demolition orders in 22 cases and these are implemented partly/fully in 18 cases during the last six months in these two areas, the Minister said in his reply.

On the dengue threat in the Capital, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr C P Thakur, told the Rajya Sabha today that there had been no increase in the incidence of the disease during the current year as compared to last year.

As a measure to control the outbreak of the disease, the government had made dengue/dengue haemorrhagic fever as notifiable disease in Delhi. Among the other steps taken by the government are: disease and sector surveillance; vector control mainly through source reduction; early diagnosis and case management in hospitals; enactment of legislative measures by the MCD providing imposition of a fine for abetting mosquitogenic conditions; and development and issue of guidelines to states for prevention and control of dengue and containment of outbreaks, the minister said.

In reply to a separate question, Dr Thakur said that the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi had informed that in order to further improve patient care in respect of trauma/accident victims, wireless sets had been installed in five hospitals which included Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Lok Nayak Hospital, Sushruta Trauma Centre, and Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Since the system had been introduced in the recent past, it was having teething problems, the Minister added.



Retrenchment fears dog MCF
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December10
The sword of retrenchment hangs over at least 550 daily wage employees of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF), following the decision of the civic authorities to place the operation of 120 tubewells in private hands from December 16 next. The Local Bodies Minister, Mr Subhash Goyal, had himself made the announcement during a visit here last week. The work of cleanliness in the eastern sector of the city was privatised a few months ago.

This announcement has shocked the employees. A majority of them are daily wage earners.



DVB metering

New Delhi
In a move to bring about greater ‘accountability’ and ‘efficiency’ in the power sector in the National Capital Territory, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) today announced draft metering and billing regulations for the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB). “Through regulations, we want to ensure that there is better accountability and efficiency in the functioning of DVB



‘A feeling of inequality persists among the minorities’
R. Suryamurthy

TAKING up a stand on the issues concerning the Sikh community in particular and the nation at large, has been the hallmark of Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Minorities.

Known for raising voice against the tide, he has urged the members of the civil society to introspect on the problems, faced by society and the measures that need to be taken to resolve them.

One of the interesting facets about him is that he has been successful to be present in places, which matter and has been protecting the interests of the community to the best of his efforts.

He was the Press Secretary to President Giani Zail Singh, Chairman of the then Delhi Tourism Development Corporation, member of the Indian Olympic Association, Indian Archery Association and other prominent organisations.

In an interview to the NCR Tribune, he has spoken out the concerns of the minority community on the move to saffronise the school curriculum, the need for more teeth to the Commission and the measures to democratise the functioning of the gurdwara management.

What are the major issues, which concern the minority community in the country in general and particularly in Delhi, especially the Sikhs?

India being a pluralist country where there are a large number of religious and ethnic minorities, the task of ensuring that they enjoy the benefits of equal rights and privileges, the Government of India constituted a National Commission for Minorities in 1978. This was done keeping in view that despite the safeguards provided in the Constitution and the laws enforced, there persisted a feeling of inequality among the minorities.

After reviewing the working of the Commission, the Parliament of India passed an Act in 1992 to make it a statutory Commission and recognised five religious minorities namely, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsis as ‘minorities’ in India.

After joining this Commission in January, 2000, I travelled around most parts of the country and interacted with the leaders of various minorities. I have observed that despite the fact that there are effective laws and provisions in the Constitution to help minority rights, the will to implement these provisions is somewhat lacking. The basic doubt and fear about safety still persist among large number of minority communities. There is no doubt that India has accepted the principle of secularism and there has been no organised attempt anywhere in India by any community to dislodge or harm the interests of any other religious community, it has been found that on some small excuse, there have been communal riots in different parts of the country.

This is due to the mistrust and misunderstanding amongst many communities. There are instances when people tried to denigrate the smaller religious groups. The meagre, or practically no representation of the minorities in police and para-military forces, has been a major concern of the minorities.

In spite of the Minorities Commission’s recommendations to have mixed police in sensitive areas, the action is still pending. The minorities also have been demanding a fair representation in the government services, though there cannot be any reservation on religious basis.

The Minorities Commission has successfully brought together leaders of the majority community and minority communities to the table for discussion in order to remove the misgivings. The Sikh and Hindu leaders who often cross swords in media, have cleared their doubts and it is now a story of goodwill and brotherhood. The Christian issue has been making headlines and there have been acts of violence at many places in different states, creating fear amongst the minority community. The Commission has visited all the sites, made enquiries and advised various state governments to take proper action. Efforts to bring them together are on and 3-4 meetings at senior levels have been organised. The dialogue between the majority and minority communities is the only way to resolve the issues.

Other major problems of the minorities have been to give their educational institutions the ‘minority’ status. It is disheartening that even in Delhi which is Capital, the minority status has not been granted to any college or school. The Minorities Commission had a meeting with the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government and proper instructions have been given in this regard. Specific Sikh Issues: Action against culprits of 1984, mass murders and proper representation of the community in various national and state levels.

There is growing debate about the saffronisation of history books. What are the concerns of the minority community? Do they fear that their role in history would not be projected in the right perspective?

The Commission had a meeting with the Director, NCERT. It has given proper guidelines in order to give the right information about each religion in the text books. The Commission has further desired that NCERT should send the proposed material to it on each religion before the book is printed.

The Commission desired that all over India, students should know the basic values and teachings of each religion. However, it is against the religious teachings in the schools. It has further recommended that NCERT should withhold those books, which carry derogatory remarks against any religion. On recommendations of the Commission, remarks against Guru Teg Bahadur Ji have been deleted.

The leaders managing the affairs of the gurdwaras in Delhi have indulged in scoring political points over one another. The preaching of Guru Nanak has almost taken a back seat, resulting in the Sikh youths’ deviation from the basic tenets of the religion. What measures need to be taken to reform DSGMC?

The mudslinging against one another in the DSGMC is most unfortunate. This does not help the community at all. The personal disputes could be sorted out or debated in the meetings of the DSGMC instead of highlighting them in the media. I fully realise that the Sikh youths are feeling frustrated. The gurdwaras should be free from party politics and only religious teachings should be carried on.

The DSGMC should take advice of some renowned Sikhs who have shown their excellence in their professions. There should be an advisory body of experts in educational institutions and also with the gurdwara management. Delhi being the Capital, lakhs of foreigners come here as tourists. The Sikhs should have a proper museum in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj to educate people about the Sikh religion and its history. The land available with the gurdwara should be utilised for such educational purposes and not be misused for residences and offices. This is the most precious piece of land located in centre of the Capital.

Democracy seems to surpass the DSGMC as elections to the committee are held only to suit the fancies of people in power. What measures do you suggest for the institution to function in a democratic and efficient manner?

The Sikhs are the only people who elect representatives to manage the gurdwara affairs through elections. These were started with a good purpose about 70 years back. But now this has become a political scene where both money and muscle power is used. Good-intentioned people who are interested in serving the community, do not come forward to take part in these elections. People are now discussing everywhere how to reform the election process. There are examples where there have been no elections, those gurdwaras are becoming models. To expect the members elected after severe fight to do proper sewa has become out of question. There could be an electoral college. Later, an indirect elections can bring in some good people to the DSGMC and SGPC. The present system is becoming unpopular.

What types of complaints do the National Minorities Commission get from the minority community. To what extent the Commission has been successful in resolving the concerns of the community and enforcing its findings?

The Minorities Commission gets maximum complaints from the government servants against discrimination in service matters. The other types are against the educational institutions, the interference of State Government Educational Departments in their management, lack of encouragement to teach minority languages, land disputes of religious shrines and graveyards and recruitment to the services.

The Commission has always intervened in each case and succeeded in resolving the issues. Various state governments have paid heed to our advice. In most of the states, the State Minorities Commission is effectively working to help the minority communities. The Commission is an advisory body and we have already requested the Government of India to make it more effective so that our decisions in the interests of the minorities could fully be implemented without delay.

You have been associated with sporting events and were a key player during the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. Since then, the country has not hosted any mega-sporting event. Does this reflect the poor infrastructure facilities in the country or the lack of will among the decision-makers?

The scenario in the sports has been not encouraging except in a few games. The availability of infrastructure has increased since 1982 Asian Games and recently because of the decision to hold the 1st Afro-Asian Games, all the sports avenues in the city have been fully upgraded.

The Government of India and various state governments have also announced handsome awards for the medal winners and various national sports federations have been encouraged to send their teams to foreign countries for training. But it has been noticed that there is a lack of interest in sports among college and university students.

The grounds are almost empty in the evening and our youth is going astray. Unless we motivate the youth to take up sports as a real hobby, we cannot make any progress in medal-winning category. Cricket gets maximum media support and that is why it is most popular game, but the media has ignored other sports. Sports should be made compulsory as a subject at school level in India. Maximum attention should be paid in the North-East and tribal areas. The success of Manipur in the National Games should be taken an example.



Keep hands off police: IG
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, December 10
“Policemen who provide protection to criminals under pressure from politicians are also criminals and, as such, they would be awarded harsh punishment,” said the Inspector General, Meerut, Mr D. N. Samal, in an exclusive interview with NCR Tribune.

Political interference amounted to playing with the law and order situation which was not a good scenario, he said, and suggested that police action should not be influenced by political pressures. If police officials succumbed to these pressures, then they were also equally guilty as criminals. He warned police officials that strict action would be taken against those found guilty of such activities.

The police in Uttar Pradesh were handicapped by financial constraints, particularly in the Meerut Range, in its efforts to control crime, he said and admitted that the crime graph had shown an upward trend even though it could not be said that criminals were roaming freely.

Reeling off crime figures, Mr Samal said as against 32 kidnapping for ransom cases last year, only 29 such cases were reported this year. As against 1,172 murders last year, there were 1,132 this year, and dacoity cases had come down from 88 last year to 15. However, against the 550 looting incidents in 2000, there were 594 cases up to November 2001.

He agreed that while the police took action against 21,017 criminals last year, only 19,471 criminals had so far been brought to book this year. Within three months of his taking over as IG here, 52 criminals, including 17 dreaded ones carrying awards on their heads, had been killed in encounters, while 33 such criminals had been arrested.

In the same period, the Meerut Range police had captured 1,239 weapons, including 12 foreign made weapons, along with over 2,100 cartridges, Mr Samal informed. The police had also taken action against 28 criminals under the National Security Ordinance, against 179 under the Gangster Act and against 1,523 under the Goonda Act. As many as 33,563 criminals were sent behind the bars during the period.

The biggest problem the police faced here was of criminals crossing over to neighbouring states after committing crimes in one state. To curb the rampant vehicle thefts, Mr Samal had recently suggested at a meeting that all vehicles in NCR should have number plates of the same design.

He agreed that the increasing number of road accidents in the range posed another serious problem. One reason for this, the IG said, was shortage of traffic police staff in the range.

To remedy the situation, 200 additional cops in Saharanpur and 150 in Muzzafarnagar had been posted, while Ghaziabad would also have more traffic staff shortly, he said.



Jain elected PHDCCI vice-president
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 10
Mr P. K. Jain, founder president of the Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), has been elected vice-president of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

The election was held at the 96th annual general meeting of the chamber in New Delhi two days ago. He has been associated with the PHDCCI for more than 20 years holding various positions. During his tenure as the chairman of the industrial committee, it had prepared a comprehensive paper on labour, which was submitted before the National Labour Commission. Addressing mediapersons, Mr S. K. Sabharwal, president of the GCCI, said that as chairman of the Haryana Affairs Committee (PHDCCI), Mr Jain was instrumental in influencing the state government to introduce VIP gold, silver and green cards. The committee’s suggestions regarding composite application form, reforms in electricity, reduction in electricity tariff, reactivation of single window agency, formulation of export policy of Haryana has been very well accepted.

Training on two-wheeler

A 30-day training programme on scooter and motorcycle repairs is being organised by the Rural Development and Self-employment Training Insititute on the institute premises from today. Mr M. L. Chawla, director of the institute, informed that 35 unemployed youths from different parts of Haryana were participating in the programme. During training, free lodging and boarding facilities would be provided to the participants, added the director. Inaugurating the programme, Mr Chawla, District Employment Officer, advised the trainees to benefit themselves by the training and establish their own ventures for their livelihood. He emphasised that self-employment was the only solution for eradicating unemployment.


Purses snatched in crowded areas
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 10
Two incidents of purse-snatchings were reported on Saturday.

In the first incident, three youths snatched the purse of a woman at Quilla Road here Saturday evening. The woman had come for shopping at the Quilla Road market, one of the most crowded markets in the town.

The robbers, who on foot, targeted the woman when she was entering a shop and escaped after snatching her purse. It reportedly contained gold ornaments worth Rs 6,000 and Rs 3,000 in cash.

In another incident, two motorcycle-borne youths snatched the purse of a teacher at Chaar Khamba Chowk here Saturday evening. In her complaint, Ms Debjani Saraswati of Model School said that her purse was spotted by certain passers-by on the Maharshi Dayanand University campus after sometime, but it was found empty.

Cash stolen

The district police has claimed to have recovered an amount of nearly Rs. 10 lakh by solving 17 cases of theft and 7 cases of robbery during the last month. The district police Chief, Mr A S Ahlawat said, 23 cases under Excise Act, 12 cases under NDPS Act and 48 cases under Gambling Act were registered during the period.

Pipe water

The district administration has claimed that the facility of pipe water had been provided in 143 villages in the district.

A spokesman of the Public Health Department said here today that 70 liters of water per capita was being supplied to the residents of 12 villages while 55 liters of water per capita was being supplied to the residents of 7 villages.

He said different schemes for improving the supply of potable water in 27 villages were being carried out in the current financial year at an estimated cost of Rs. 7.37 crore.

Students stranded

Nearly 1,000 students, who had come from different districts here to appear in the Joint Entrance Examination for the Indian Institute of Technology, were stranded at the local bus stand and Shiela Bypass Chowk yesterday for several hours.

The students from the neighbouring towns, including Bhiwani, Hisar, Fatehabad etc, gathered here yesterday morning to appear in the prestigious examination held from 10 am to 1 pm.

When they thronged the bus stand and Shiela Bypass Chowk after the examination to return to their respective destinations, they were forced to wait for several hours, as the buses available could not cope with the rush. The examinees, especially the girl students, had to face a lot of hardship due to the rush.

Appeal on leprosy

Ms Neeraja Malik, Chairperson, District Red Cross Society has appealed to the people for early diagnosis and prompt treatment of leprosy patients thus preventing disability due to this dreaded disease.

She was addressing a one-day technical and orientation training on leprosy at District Tuberculosis Hospital here today. Nearly 110 health workers participated in the programme which was presided over by the Civil Surgeon, Dr K K Ranjan.

He claimed about one crore leprosy cases had been cured with MDT treatment so far.



Barat returns home without bride
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December10
A bridegroom, who was said to be suffering from some mental disease, had to return without the bride yesterday.

According to a report, when the barat reached the bride’s home in Rolad village of this district the parents of the bride refused to go ahead with the marriage and asked the bridegroom to leave the village immediately. According to the parents of the girl, the bridegroom was mentally disturbed and they got to know about this only after the engagement.

Factory gutted

The Jai Plywood factory was gutted in a devastating fire at Jatola village, about 30 km from here, on Sunday.

According to a report, the loss is estimated to be around Rs 5 lakh. A short circuit was the main cause of the fire. Fire engines from Sonepat and Delhi brought the fire under control within three hours.

Tributes paid

Rich tributes were paid to late Hukam Singh Dahiya, a former minister and a Congress leader, at a prayer meeting held here on Sunday.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, former MP Chiranji Lal Sharma, former ministers Shyam Dass Mukhija, Mr Bachan Singh Arya, Dr Maha Singh and Mr Ramesh Kaushik were among those who attended this meeting.

Workers’ meeting

The Haryana Karamchari Mahasangh will hold its working committee meeting on December 23 at Karnal to chalk out the future course of action for launching an agitation against the failure of the state government to fulfil the just and legitimate demands of the employees.

According to a report, the employees would launch dharnas at the district and tehsil level in areas falling under the jurisdiction of Gurgaon and Rohtak divisions on January 20 and 27,respectively, to press their demands.

NCR development

The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) has drawn up a plan for the development of NCR with the sole objective of decongesting Delhi and reducing pressure on the Capital and developing the six Delhi Metropolitan Areas (DMA) as satellite townships.

According to official sources, of the 100 townships in the National Capital Region, the NCRPB has identified Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kundli, Noida and Bahadurgarh as DMA towns for development purposes. Another category of 11 priority towns identified includes Panipat, Rohtak, Palwal, Rewari, Dharuhera, Meerut, Hapur, Khurja, Bulandshahr, Palwal and Bhiwani.

As per the regional plan-2001, the strategy was for slow development of the Capital, faster development of DMA towns.



Mishaps hold up traffic on G. T. Road
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 10
Traffic on the G.T. Road remained disrupted for more than an hour after a loaded truck overturned near Qumashpur village about 12 km from here last night.

According to a report, the large number of vehicles lined up on the road caused great inconvenience to the travelling public. On receipt of information, the officials of the Highway Patrolling Cell arrived on the spot and safely rescued the driver who had been trapped in his seat. The officials cleared the road and the traffic was normalised after nearly an hour.

According to another report, another stone carrying truck also overturned on the G.T. Road near Kundli village along the Haryana-Delhi border about 25 km from here last night.

The truck was on its way from Yamunanagar to Delhi when the driver lost control of the bus.



2 boys killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 10
Three persons, including two minor boys, have been killed in separate road mishaps in the district since yesterday.

Six-year-old Tikaram, son of Dhuli Chand of Bamni Khera village near Palwal, was crushed to death by a speeding truck while crossing the national highway yesterday. In the other incident, 11-year-old Lal Singh of Sarai Khawaja became the victim of a dumper truck on the national highway near Mathura Road on Sunday. In yet another incident, Janakraj of Punjab, who had come to Parvatiya Colony to attend a marriage, died after their auto-rickshaw overturned.



Trial run at effluent plant
Tribune News service

New Delhi, December 10
The trial run of the combined effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Wazirpur has begun. Industry Minister Deep Chand Bandhu on Sunday inspected the plant that is treating effluents from over 1,500 industrial units.

CNG filling system

The Indraprastha Gas Limited, supplier of CNG in Delhi, has launched an efficient dispensing system to cut down the waiting time at gas filling stations. The system had been launched in the gas filling stations at Pragati Maidan, Shanti Path, Sarojini Nagar and CGO Complex.



3 members of inter-state gang held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
The South district police today claimed to have solved several cases of dacoity, murders, attempt to murder and robberies in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, following the arrest of three persons belonging to an inter-state gang in a dramatic encounter last night near Batra Hospital. They were allegedly planning to loot a petrol station at M B Road.

The police have also seized three country-made kattas and five live cartridges from them. The suspects, Ashok Rathi, alias Rajesh (23), resident of Alipur, Ravindra Sharma (22) of Faridabad and Mahesh, alias Meshu (24), resident of Narela, were arrested by the police yesterday night.

The police got information that the suspects would come from Gurgaon towards Batra Hospital through M B Road in a Honda City car (DL-3C-G-1224) for allegedly looting a petrol station at Lal Kuan. When the police team deployed near Batra Hospital signalled to stop the car, they started firing from inside the car and tried to take a U-turn. However, the car lost balance and came to a halt.

The Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range), Mr Amod Kanth, said the breakthrough came when two persons, Sunder of Lado Sarai and Bijender, were arrested recently. They confessed that they were associated with an inter-state gang operating in Delhi, Haryana and UP.

They also told the police that the gang was involved in a robbery-cum-attempt to murder, where an employee, Manoj Kumar, was attacked at DDA market in Lado Sarai last month. The gang members had fled with Rs 15,000.

The interrogation of the duo also revealed that the accused persons were involved in at least 22 cases of murder, dacoity, robbery and carjacking. They also confessed to have committed the sensational murder of Sanjay Yadav on December 1 this year at Harasarula village.

Further investigations are on to nab the other members of the gang, and the arrested were remanded in judicial custody.



Three attack old man, decamp with jewellery,
Rs 14,000
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
Three unidentified men reportedly attacked an old man at his house in Janakpuri today and ran away with Rs 14,000 in cash and gold jewellery, including six rings, one pair of earrings, two bangles and a chain.

Gurcharan Singh (71), resident of D-block in Janakpuri, was alone at his home in on the ground floor. The other two floors are occupied by his daughters-in-law. His two sons are working abroad.

The police said three youths came to his house this morning and demanded money from him that had been sent by his sons. When he refused, the robbers hit him and took Rs 7,000 from him.

They went to the first and second floors and looted another Rs 7,000 and threatened the women to part with the gold jewellery they were wearing. They fled the spot immediately.

The Janakpuri police have registered a case of robbery and launched a manhunt.

Commits suicide

A 40-year-old unemployed man reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan at his residence yesterady night. Shubi Das (40), resident of Mahaveer Enclave, used to work in Centaur Hotel as a class IV employee and was out of a job for the past two months.

According to the police, Das had reportedly had a fight with his wife. His wife had left for her parents’ house along with their two daughters and one son.

The police suspect that he could have committed suicide due to frustration.

Shells found

The police found three iron bombshells near a farmhouse belonging to Kapoor’s in the Kaspashera area today morning. The policemen were on their routine duty when they chanced upon the shells. The police are investigating the case.

Dacoits arrested

Four persons were arrested on the charge of planning to commit a dacoity last night at Gokul Puri and seized one loaded English revolver, one country-made pistol and two knives. However, the fifth accomplice managed to escape.

The police, acting on a tip off, raided a vacant plot at Loni Road, Johari Pur, and arrested Abdul Hakim (40), Jarif (40), Abid, alias Rizwan (23) and Dori Lal (24). The English revolver was robbed from one Mr Chopra of the same area on November 4. All the four have been remanded in judicial custody.



Three held while fleeing after robbery
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 10
Constables of the Delhi Police caught three criminals when they made an attempt to escape after ransacking the house of a businessman in Greater Kailash in broad daylight yesterday. However, the fourth one managed to escape.

The police have arrested Prakash, Natarajan and Mohammad Ishtiaq. The fourth criminal, Pappu, is absconding. All four had met in Tihar Jail and planned to commit a robbery upon their release.

The criminals, armed with knives and revolvers, identified the house of a businessman, Mr Prem Sagar Jain, and forced their entry at gunpoint. They asked him to hand over cash and valuables.

When he refused they trussed him up and ransacked his flat by taking away cash, jewellery and watches from his flat.

Meanwhile, the servant, who had gone to the market, returned, but the criminals locked him up in the servant quarters.

When a friend of Mr Jain dropped in he was also tied and gagged. The servant, who managed to free himself, came to the streets and shouted for help.

Luckily, the servant spotted a PCR van and the officials immediately swung into action and nabbed the criminals.


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