Thursday, December 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


We are sitting ducks, admits CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The feeling of insecurity, which has gripped the people of National Capital Territory, was voiced by the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, in the Delhi Assembly today, when she claimed that the members in the Delhi Secretariat were ‘sitting ducks’ if the terrorists chose to strike.

“Even after the gruesome attack on Parliament, nothing has been done to improve the security of the Delhi Secretariat. Even today, we are like sitting ducks for anybody who chooses to attack anytime, any moment,” Ms Dikshit said in response to the calling attention motion. Expressing her dissatisfaction over the security provided to guard the old and new secretariats, the Chief Minister said, “Anybody could enter the secretariat anytime. There is no system to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons.”

Ms Dikshit said that the state government has repeatedly requested the Union Home Ministry to provide adequate security to the secretariat. “Even after the attack on Parliament, little measures have been taken to strengthen the security of the Delhi Secretariat,” she said.

Echoing the concerns of the people, she said, “The citizens of the state are shaken by the attacks by militants on one of the pillars of the country’s democracy, sovereignty and the state. Their confidence could be restored only if the Home Ministry takes measures to strengthen the security system in the state.” “The attack on Parliament took place despite the Prime Minister and the Home Minister having stated that there is a possibility that the militants might strike there,” she said, adding, “We have repeatedly requested the Centre to strengthen the security at the Delhi Secretariat.”

Commending the Delhi Police for solving the case, she said it would be better to take sufficient measures to prevent such incidents than undertaking post-operative measures. Ms Dikshit took the opportunity to demand the Centre to transfer law and order to the state government. “We would urge our BJP colleagues to pressurise the Centre to transfer law and order to the state as the Delhi Government is responsible to its citizens.” Though the crime graph this year had come down compared to previous two years, yet the attack on persons in highly secure places has shaken the confidence of the people.

Last year, the militants struck at the Red Fort. Besides, the killing of Phoolan Devi, Samajwadi Party MP, in her official residence shook the confidence of Delhiites. If Delhi was not safe, what could happen to the people living in other parts of the city, they wonder. Earlier in the day, BJP MLA Nand Kishore Garg’s remarks about the Samajwadi Party MP drew angry protest from the Treasury benches. The Speaker, Choudhry Prem Singh, adjourned the House for 10 minutes. The Chief Minister’s reply to the calling attention motion remained inconclusive as she commented on the coffin scam and the involvement of Central Ministers in it.

The BJP members were on their feet, stating that they would not allow the Kargil martyrs to be denigrated. As the slogans and counter-slogans continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

The Speaker had earlier disallowed the censure motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Jagdish Mukhi, on the Delhi Jal Board scam. Disallowing the motion, Mr Prem Singh said, “As per the procedures of the Delhi Assembly, there is no provision for moving censure motion in the House. Further, I had allowed the adjournment motion on Tuesday on the DJB scam issue. However, the Opposition chose to walk out during the debate. I cannot allow the Opposition to take up one issue all the time.” Moving the motion, Mr Mukhi said that the Chief Minister, as the Chairperson of DJB could not curb the corruption and mal-administration. Five officials were sent to London for one-week training and a sum of Rs 9 lakh was spent on each one of them, even though the training could be given in New Delhi.


MLAs give themselves a jump in salary, perks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
Three Bills providing for an upward revision in the pay and allowances of ministers, legislators and the Leader of Opposition were introduced in the Assembly on Wednesday. After the passage of the Bill, the Chief Minister would take home Rs 26,000 a month and ministers Rs 24,000 a month. The Government would thus incur an additional expenditure of Rs 1.21 crore a year.

The three Bills are: The Members of Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension, etc) (Amendment) Bill 2001; The Ministers of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill 2001; and The Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Salary and Allowances) Bill 2001.

The MLAs had long been demanding an increase in their salaries and perks. According to the Government of NCT of Delhi, their demand merited consideration on the ground that Delhi is a metropolitan ‘A’ class city and its cost of living is high compared to other cities.

On October 30, 2000, the Council of Ministers considered the proposal and a Group of Ministers under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister was constituted, which recommended the revision of pay and allowances after studying the salary structure in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The recommendations of the Group of Ministers were approved by the Council of Ministers on June 18 this year.

The legislators will be entitled to a monthly pay of Rs 3,000 as against Rs 2,000 at present. The constituency allowance has been raised from Rs 2,000 a month to Rs 6,000 a month; daily allowance from Rs 225 a day to Rs 400 a day; and secretarial assistance has been increased from Rs 5,500 a month to Rs 7,000 a month.

Insofar as perks are concerned, the legislators would get to make 2,000 free local calls a month compared to 650 calls now. A member would also be entitled to the reimbursement of actual expenditure annually up to a maximum of Rs 35,000 on travel within the country for self and the members of the family. The existing provision, relating to the grant of rail travel coupon books, would be discontinued. An annual expenditure of Rs 1.02 crore from the Consolidated Fund of the NCT of Delhi would be incurred in the process. The Head of Government would get to take home Rs 26,000 a month as against the existing Rs 11,750 a month. The chief minister’s monthly salary has been raised from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 a month.

They would also become entitled to a sumptuary allowance of Rs 4,000, up from the existing Rs 1,000 a month; a constituency allowance of Rs 6,000 a month as against the existing Rs 2,000 a month; and a daily allowance of Rs 400 a day. Likewise, the ministers would draw Rs 24,000 a month. Their salary has also been raised from Rs 2,000 a month to Rs 4,000 a month, but they would get only Rs 2,000 as sumptuary allowance. They would, however, be entitled to the same slab of constituency allowance and daily allowance as the chief minister.

For the chief minister and ministers, the reimbursement of water and electricity charges at their official residence would be restricted to a ceiling of Rs 5,000 a month. They could also claim actual reimbursement of expenditure on travel annually, up to a maximum of Rs 35,000.


Another scare near Parliament
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
There was a scare in a parking lot near Parliament House when fire engulfed an army matador this morning. No casualty was reported in the fire. The matador was parked in the parking lot and its ignition was on. With the December 13 attack still fresh in mind, onlookers began running hither and thither.

Normalcy was restored when Army personnel identified the matador as their vehicle. They informed the Delhi Fire Service, which rushed four fire fighters to douse the fire. The matador was completely burnt. According to preliminary enquiry, sparking in the engine caused the fire. The matador (85P39769) belonged to Army Ordinance Depot, Murad Nagar, UP.


CM vows to make Martyrdom Day a gazetted holiday
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today assured the State Assembly that the Government would take measures to declare Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day a gazetted holiday in the Capital.

As the House assembled for the day on Wednesday, the MLAs of the Sikh community, cutting across party lines, voiced the need to declare the Guru’s Martyrdom Day a holiday.

The state government, which had reportedly mooted a proposal withdrawing the holiday, decided to continue with the restricted holiday after the protest by the Sikh community.

Congress legislators Arvinder Singh Lovely, Tarvinder Singh Marwah and BJP member Harcharan Singh Balli raised the issue as the House assembled for the day. Recalling the sacrifice made by the ninth Guru, they said that the Government should declare the Martyrdom Day gazetted holiday. Ms Dikshit assured the members that Guru Tegh Bahadur was not the leader of Sikhs alone, but also of other communities.

“We would make it a gazetted holiday and urge the Centre to notify it. If it is not possible, we would find out why it is not possible,” she assured the members. Meanwhile, the members of the community observed the Martyrdom Day in the Capital today. The Sikh community had taken umbrage at the National Capital Territory Government’s move to cancel the holiday. The NCT Government had reportedly written a letter to the Lt-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, recently seeking cancellation of the holiday.

The Martyrdom Day has been observed a holiday since 1995 when the then Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, in deference to the popular demand of the community, declared it a restricted holiday in the Capital.

The state government’s move had evoked sharp reaction as ‘there are few holidays’ based on religious occasions of the Sikh community. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and other organisations of the community have written to the state government asking it to reconsider the decision.

The ninth Sikh Guru sacrificed his life to protect the Hindus. Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in Chandi Chowk on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.


Govt ready to hold gurdwara polls in June
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The state government is ready to hold general election to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee in June 2002, the Delhi Finance Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh Saathi, in-charge of gurdwara polls, informed the Delhi Assembly on Wednesday.

“The state government would be busy with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls during February/March. Hence, the government would be able to hold the polls for DSGMC by June end,” Mr Saathi informed the House.

Replying to a written question by Arvinder Singh Lovely, the minister said: “It is not possible to hold the gurdwara polls along with MCD polls as large number of officials are needed to man the polling stations.’’

The minister said the voters’ list was prepared in 1999, but in some gurdwara wards discrepancies were noticed. To ensure that each ward had a similar numerical strength, an elaborate exercise was undertaken and the new list is now ready. Mr Saathi informed the House that petitions seeking early holding of elections are pending before the Delhi High Court.

The court today allowed the government time till March 15 to hold the polls. In another development, the Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, the pro-Tohra group, today asked the DSGMC to hold the executive polls, even if it will be able to function for a few months only. The DSGMC members are elected for a period of four years. The poll for the existing committee was held in July 1995 and its term ended in 1999. The polls are now overdue.


At 126, Mauji Ram has not seen enough
Parmindar Singh

Noida, December 19
Mauji Ram is a battle-scarred veteran, who claims to be 126-years-old, though the furrows on his brow don’t show. Nor does the cataract in his left eye, for which he was operated upon at Noida’s ‘I-Care’ hospital by Dr Sushil Chaudhry and his team on December 11, 2001.

“I am feeling all right and can see clearly from my left eye now,’’ announces Mauji. He has, however, not been as fortunate with his right eye, which was also operated for cataract some time back by an NGO. “There is no light in it,” says Mauji.

A cursory glance won’t suggest that Mauji Ram has seen 126 winters, partly because he has a light built and his movements are rather brisk for his years.

Nor does he carry any tell-tale signs of having scored 126 not out. He, of course, does not have any documentary proof of having been born in 1875 or so. But that does not prevent him from recalling that he was about 25-years-old when Queen Victoria died in 1900; he also recalls vividly that he was around when King Edward held his durbar near Kingsway Camp, Delhi, and later when King Edward’s son George visited India as Prince of Wales.

A native of Peshawar, Mauji Ram has hazy recollections of the Kangra and the Quetta earthquakes of 1930 and 1935, respectively. “It was very devastating “when mountains turned upside down,” he recalls with a shudder.

He had been serving an Englishmen as a house-keeper in Peshawar and, after independence, moved with the former to Golf Links, Delhi. He is with a French gentleman now.

Strangely, none of his five wives and about a dozen offsprings are alive to keep him company. All his children died rather young - the oldest was 15-years-old when he died. His last wife, who had worked with the US and the French embassies, he claims, died two years ago.

Mauji Ram is the oldest patient whose eyesight has been restored in Dr Chaudhary’s I-Care hospital. The youngest patient at the hospital, to be operated for cataract, was a few months old, says Dr Choudhary.


Illicit liquor consuming Faridabad
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 19
There seems to be no let-up in the sale and smuggling of illicit liquor in the district. Although routine seizures are made, the smuggling network is deeply entrenched and is able to dupe the authorities.

Several thousand pouches of liquor were recovered by the police and excise officials in raids conducted last fortnight. Around 5,000 pouches were seized from a truck on Monday last.

The liquor mafia, which surfaced during the prohibition regime in the state, is unrelenting. The well-equipped mafia can supply any brand at any place. The liquor supplied is cheaper than that available in authorised vends. Manufacturers of wine in UP and Rajasthan, it is learnt, are flooding markets of Faridabad district and other towns of the NCR.

The liquor tragedy, which struck a village near Noida about three months back, was reported to have a connection with the smuggling syndicate in Faridabad. One of the killer brews was packed in Faridabad district.

According to information, the illegal network supplies about 25 to 40 per cent of the total stock consumed by the residents. Dabua Colony, Jawahar Colony, Sanjay Memorial Nagar, Rajiv Colony, A C Nagar, Nangla Enclave, Parvatiya Colony, Sant Nagar and Chawla Colony of Ballabgarh have been the main markets of illicit liquor.

The suppliers also target several jhuggi clusters and slum areas; they carry out their operation with impunity in connivance with the cops, claimed a local resident.


Ex-employers stab youth to death
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, December 19
A youth was allegedly murdered with sharp-edged weapons by three persons at Lowa Khurd village in the Bahadurgarh sub-division here today.

According to the police, the deceased, Sandeep Kumar (20), had worked as an intern to learn tailoring with Ashoka Tailors in the village. But later, he left the job following a dispute with the owner of the shop, Ashok, reportedly over money.

In an FIR filed with the police, Mr Ramkumar, elder brother of the deceased, said that he rushed to the shop when he got information that something had happened to his brother. On reaching the shop, he found his brother lying on the floor with several stab marks on his body. The shop owner, Ashok, his brother Ajay and his father Ajad Singh were also present there.

The district police have registered a case of murder against the father and sons. However, they have not been arrested so far.


Mr Vir Singh, resident of Dodva village in Sonepat district, was crushed to death by an unknown vehicle in Dadri Toe village here last night. The deceased had come to his wife’s parental home situated along the roadside. He was hit by the vehicle when he came out to answer the nature’s call last night.


Sonepat, December 19
The police have arrested two youths in connection with the alleged murder of a student, Sandeep Kumar, at Rathdhanna village on December 6.

According to a report, both the alleged culprits were produced before a judicial magistrate here yesterday who sent them to judicial custody and fixed January 1 as the next date of hearing. Meanwhile, the police have launched a massive bunt to apprehend two more persons named in the FIR.


The All India Sant Samiti has launched a yatra from Vaishnu Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir for awakening the people against terrorism, separatism, regionalism and casteism in the country. Mr Daulat Ram Verma, a representative of the Samiti, told mediapersons here today that more than 200 sadhus, sants and other religious leaders are taking part in the yatra which started on December 5.


Ravinder, a youth of Rathdhanna village, was allegedly stabbed to death by some unidentified persons at his house near the police barrier on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna road, 2 km from here, last night. The victim was alone at his house when some persons forced their way in and assaulted him with knives. Though he raised an alarm, the assailants fled before neighbours reached the house.


A young rickshaw-puller, Joginder, allegedly tried to kill his wife, Chandan Devi, by giving her curd mixed with poison at his house in the Srinagar colony on the outskirts of the city yesterday. According to a report, when the condition of the young woman worsened, she was rushed to the local civil hospital. When gained consciousness, she told her father that her husband had forced him to please his friends but she declined. She also alleged that Joginder severely beat her up and tried to kill her.


Thieves are reported to have stolen a computer and other electricity gadgets worth several thousand rupees from a school on the Sonepat-Murthal road near here last night. According to a report, the thieves broke open the locks to enter the school. Police are investigating the case.


The police have arrested four persons for allegedly murdering a resident of the Hodal subdivision in the town. The victim, identified as Deen Mohammed, had died after the accused had allegedly assaulted on his genitals yesterday at Lakhnaka village. The arrested persons have been identified as Hanif Sharif, Munna and Rahim Baksh.



Rules go for a toss as Delhi’s junk autos plod in Gurgaon
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 19
Three-wheelers plying in the city seem to care two hoots for the rule of the land. Autorickshaws have not only been causing pollution but their drivers are also posing a traffic hazard by their reckless driving as well as overloading of passengers.

Pollution from autorickshaws has increased manifold in the city in the last two-three years. Now, most of the old three-wheelers, which were banned by the Delhi Government from its roads, have migrated to the city.

Mr O. N. Khanna, a resident of the city, alleged that a large number of these vehicles did not have valid legal registration numbers as they didn’t conform to the prescribed pollution norms and could not be registered following the Supreme Court orders applicable in the National Capital Region (NCR). According to one estimate, there were about 2,000 such ‘junked’ three-wheelers in Gurgaon city alone, said Mr Khanna.

Mr Dushyant Sharma, a sales executive who travels in three-wheelers frequently, said that a lot many vehicles did not have any registration numbers at all. And if at all they carried any number, it must be bogus, he said. Owners of such dubious vehicles painted the numbers in such a way that they were only partially visible, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Khanna said these vehicles were a threat to the lives of passengers and other road users as the drivers of these vehicles drove in a reckless manner. It seemed no rules and regulations applied to them, he said and added most of them did not have driving licenses, said Mr Khanna.

Autorickshaws packed with eight to twelve persons like sardines are a common scene. Drivers of these vehicles refuse to move if there are less than eight passengers, commuters say.

The local police, who are fully aware of the violations by the three-wheeler drivers, exploit them instead of bringing them to book. Office-bearers of three-wheeler vehicle unions said that at least two vehicles had to be left at the disposal of the police department daily. Commuters suggest that the municipal council should register all three-wheelers with the department and regulate them.

That way, it would increase their revenue and keep a check on vehicles violating laws and also check accidents and pollution caused by them.


Panel raps Centre on CNG mess
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
A Parliamentary Standing Committee has blamed the Centre’s “non-serious” attitude for the problems of CNG availability for public transport vehicles in the Capital while saying that “the problem has become more complex in the recent past”.

“There are long queues of autorickshaws, taxis and buses in front of the CNG outlets and almost everyday, some new problem appears in this connection,” the committee, headed Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, said in its report which was tabled in Parliament today.

The committee further noted that the CNG outlets were not evenly spread all over Delhi. In East, Central and West Zones together, there were only 28 outlets while South Zone had 31.

The Parliamentary Committee also wanted the government to take immediate steps to improve the dispensing pressure of filling stations so that the present CNG dispensing units were able to work properly.

“Availability of CNG in Delhi is not spread all over the city. Even at the places where CNG dispensing units were set up, dispensing pressure was very low with the result that there are long waiting intervals for gas filling,” the report said.


Dense traffic a risk to Parliament
Our correspondent

New Delhi, December 19
Heavy traffic outside Parliament poses a security hazard to the vital installation in the Capital. However, the Delhi Police have deployed additional PCR vans and intensified foot and mobile patrolling in the area to safeguard it, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, has informed the Lok Sabha.

The Delhi Police had also deployed traffic police personnel at 227 vulnerable bus stops in various parts of the city during the opening and closing hours of schools to ensure safety to the children, Mr Rao said, and added that during the last one year, 708 school buses had been impounded for violation of traffic rules.

As many as 56 policemen had been involved in as many cases of kidnapping and 20 had been involved in rape cases and 13 in cases of cheating and theft this year so far, the Lok Sabha was told. Up to November 30, 2001, 31 Delhi Police personnel had been found involved in cases of corruption, the minister said.

Referring to the action taken against the erring policemen, the minister said the CBI conducted raids at the residences of these policemen and seized various amounts of cash and other incriminating documents. In one case, the CBI had recommended initiation of departmental proceedings against an officer.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Railways, Mr O. Rajagopal, informed the House that the government had strategies to improve tourism and transport facilities at railway stations through the introduction of luxury tourist trains, heritage trains, revitalising hill trains and promoting chartered specials and setting up of budget hotels. The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation had been set up to expand into new areas of tourism, he said.

Two districts in the Capital would be brought under the scheme of continuing education during the 10th Plan period, informed the Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Prof Rita Verma. Dismissing the observation that the standard of the Indian universities was low, she said that according to the information furnished by the University Grants Commission, the Indian universities were as good as the universities in western and eastern countries.

The Minister also informed that the UGC had made three per cent reservation for people with disabilities in the universities. And the commission’s instructions had been circulated to all central universities with an emphasis that all of them should show steady progress in this regard.

The total expenditure incurred by the NCERT in the last three years was Rs 88.81 crore, the Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, informed the House. He added that the NCERT had developed a curriculum guide and syllabus for information technology in schools. The council would bring out three workbooks for children based on the curriculum guide and syllabus shortly. It also proposed to develop educational software based upon the new school curriculum.

On the mid-day meal schemes, Prof Verma said 2,02,106.60 quintals of wheat had been allocated for the scheme in the Capital. The allocation was done on the basis of the enrollment data supplied by states and union territories about the children studying in classes one to five in government-aided schools or local body schools. Additional allocation had been made in the case of Delhi.

The Minister for Disinvestment and Development of North-Eastern Region, Mr Arun Shourie, in a written reply informed the House that the stakes of Centaur Hotel at the Palam airport would be disinvested on a slump sale basis. The bids for the hotel were rejected because they were below the respective reserve prices that had been determined.

Centaur Hotel, Delhi had been incurring losses since 1997-98, due to the slump in tourism, increase in salary, global recession and because the Indian economy itself was in recession, added the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Shahnawaz Hussain. He said that though there was no plan to wind up the hotel, the government had decided to disinvest HCI, which is a subsidiary of Air India Limited. The revenues thus realised would be accrued to Air India.


Special cover on Rarewala released
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The Postal Department prepared a special cover to mark the birth centenary of S. Gian Singh Rarewala, the first Chief Minister of PEPSU state. The cover was released at a glittering function here by Mr S. Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Minorities.

S. Gian Singh Rarewala was appointed Chief Minister of PEPSU by Sardar Vallabhai Patel in 1948 when the new state was formed on the merger of erstwhile Patiala, Nabha, Faridkot, Kapurthala, Jind, Malerkotla and Nalagarh princely states. S. Rarewala also had the unique distinction of heading the first coalition government in India in the 1952 general elections.

PEPSU was the only state where a non-Congress government was formed by the Akali Party with the help of a few independent MLAs. S. Rarewala remained a minister in Punjab with S. Pratap Singh Kairon after the merger of PEPSU in Punjab. He was also the leader of the Congress Legislative Party in Punjab in 1967. S. Rarewala was also a member of the Constituent Assembly and also remained the President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. He was responsible in making Punjabi an official language in PEPSU and introduced Punjabi stenography.


Govt to set up eco-task force

New Delhi, December 19
A task force will be set up in Delhi to ensure the proper implementation of rules and norms and other measures meant for maintaining ecological balance as well as to control air, water and noise pollution. Announcing this after inaugurating the day-long training programme for planning and statistical cadre officers of the various government departments, the Environment Minister, Mr Deep Chand Bandhu, said here today that the proposed task force would have special executive powers and be competent to take stern action against offenders. TNS


Bridegroom robbed of Rs 35,000
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
Two robbery cases were reported last night in the Capital. In the first case, Mr Mohammad Zakir (30), resident of Gokulpuri, was robbed of Rs 35,000 and other valuables by three unidentified assailants who came in a car.

He was returning home from Greater Kailash when he was waylaid by three car-borne assailants near the ISBT crossing, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (North district), Mr Sanjay Beniwal, said here today. The assailants threatened of dire consequences if he did not part with the money and valuables.

The victim, a plumber, was carrying the money as his marriage was scheduled for next week. The DCP said that there was a possibility that the victim’s movements had been followed keenly by the robbers for quite sometime as they seemed to have known that Mr Zakir was carrying the money. The police have registered a case of robbery and launched a manhunt for the absconding persons.

In another incident, a student of Delhi University was robbed of Rs 2,500 and other belongings in Chatra Marg on the main campus last night.

According to the police, the post graduate student in Economics in Delhi University and resident of Jawahar Nagar, Jayant Vivek (21), was waylaid around 10.30 pm by two unidentified youths who came in a car. He was coming from a photostat shop in the university area. Brandishing a knife, the robbers snatched the bag in which Jayant was carrying the cash and other belongings, the police said. A case of robbery has been registered by the police and efforts are on to nab the culprits.


A 45-year-old man was found murdered brutally in the Nizamuddin area of South Delhi today morning. The body was found with multiple injuries in Sarai Kale Khan. His head had been mercilessly crushed by a blunt object, probably to hide his identity. However, he was later identified as Mohammad Salim, a scrap dealer and resident of Nizamuddin JJ cluster.


At least two persons have been killed in separate road accidents in the city in the last 24 hours.

The first incident occurred when a 40-year-old pedestrian was crushed to death by an over-speeding bus. The deceased was identified as Sunil Kumar, resident of Shalimar Bagh. He was killed by a Blue Line bus on route number 183 at Adarsh Nagar flyover. The driver of the bus has been arrested under a case of rash and negligent driving.

In another incident, a 45-year-old man’s body was found near Kishan Kunj Pushta of East Delhi last night. The police said that the identity of the man was not known and the vehicle involved in the accident could not be traced.


The anti-corruption branch of the CBI, Delhi Region, has arrested a Craft Instructor, Basic Training Centre (BTC), Pusa, New Delhi for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1500 from a complainant.

The accused has abused his official position as a public servant and demanded an illegal gratification of Rs 8,000 from the complainant for getting him admission in a refrigeration course at BTC, Pusa.

However, the instructor agreed to slash the bribe to Rs 5,000 on the request of the complainant later. But the complainant did not want to pay the bribe and reported the matter to the CBI.

The CBI then laid a trap. The accused demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 1,500 and passed on the same to a student of the refrigeration course, BTC, to give way to the complainant and both were arrested red-handed. They produced before the Special Judge, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi and were remanded to judicial custody till December 26. They were later released on bail.


Auto thief held in Sonepat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 19
The Uttar Pradesh police have arrested Dharamvir, resident of the West Ram Nagar area of the city, in connection with lifting autorickshaws from that state.

It is stated that the UP police had conducted a raid without informing the local police and taken Dharamvir away from his house. The parents of Dharamvir later informed the local police that their son had been kidnapped by some persons who came in police uniform. However, during investigations, it was revealed that he had been arrested by the UP police in connection with auto thefts.


Noida authority blows hot and cold over shopping mall
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 19
The Noida authority has abandoned a prestigious project of a shopping mall, worth Rs 200 crore, even before it was ceremoniously launched.

A shopping mall is spread over 50,000 square metre area between Sector 15-A and 16-A in Noida’s VIP belt. This grand scheme has reportedly been shelved because the residents of the VIP Sector 15-A are opposed to it.

The authority had, through an advertisement campaign in leading newspapers, announced this prestigious project. It was claimed that by the bank of the Yamuna near Noida Toll Bridge, this grand trade centre, spread over 50,000 sq. metre, would come up.

The authority had also announced a reserved rate of Rs 40,000 per square metre and asked the applicants to deposit Rs 1 crore each along with the applications. The last date for the application was fixed as August 8, 2001 and Punjab National Bank had been requested to sell its brochure-cum-application forms from July 9 onwards.

A large number of application forms-cum-brochures had reportedly been sold by Noida, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kanpur and Lucknow branches of Punjab National Bank.

According to sources, the authority had invited application forms from the companies or individuals of the status who had transacted a business of worth Rs 100 crore during the previous three years.

According to some officials, the withdrawal of this scheme within 10 days of its announcement had adversely affected the authority’s image. It seems that the present bureaucracy went ahead with the project even though their predecessors had objected to it.

The authority officials had, however, done their home work before bringing forth this scheme. The authority had agreed to leave a green belt of equal area in Sector 51, 61 and 71 in lieu of 50 thousand sq. mtr. green belt which was to be converted into a shopping mall in Sectors 15-A and 16-A. A resolution to this effect had also been passed in the authority board meeting for giving a practical shape to the project.

According to Mr P. K. Kaul, former cabinet secretary and president, Resident Welfare Association of Sector 15-A, the association had already submitted a proposal to the authority for setting up a rock garden by the famous artiste, Mr Nek Chand, on the same piece of land on the pattern of Chandigarh Rock Garden. Mr Kaul said that this proposal was quite old and as such there was no justification for setting up a shopping mall and doing away with the green belt.

An additional chief executive officer of the authority agreed that the project was withdrawn for these reasons. He, however, maintained that the scheme had not been shelved altogether but had just been withdrawn for technical reasons. It would be launched after the necessary modifications.

However, the question arises as to what was the hurry of bringing it forth and announcing it in the media, costing lakhs of rupees.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that the residents of Sector 15-A have flexed their muscles. Earlier in 1995-96, they had got the site of the fall of Noida Toll bridge changed from the main entrance between Sectors 14-A and 15-A to the present site between Sectors 15-A and 16-A, pushing it down by about a kilometre and thus delayed the project by about at least three years.


SIDBI launches soft loans for small units
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 19
The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched loan schemes to meet the credit requirements of small units in the manufacturing sector. This was announced by Mrs Arun Grover, General Manager of SIDBI’s Faridabad branch, at a function organised by the Faridabad Small Industries Association (FSIA) here recently.

She said some new schemes had been floated to provide loans to entrepreneurs for setting up of new units, expansion and modernisation of existing units, export promotion and to provide loans against ‘hundies’ to ancillary units.

Soft loans would be given under the national equity fund scheme too.

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