Saturday, December 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Traders pick holes in value added tax
Decks cleared for new tax regime in Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
The stage appears to be set for the introduction of a full-fledged Value Added Tax (VAT) regime in the National Capital Territory of Delhi even as traders and analysts express apprehensions about certain loopholes in the proposed system.

The Delhi VAT Act, the draft of which is ready, is expected to be passed by the end of January next year, thus leaving two months to enable a smooth transition before a nationwide VAT regime is introduced in all states in April 2002 as decided by the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers.

“A VAT regime will relieve Delhi businesses from the burden of sales taxes, particularly Delhi exporters, and may actually reduce prices of goods to the extent that it eliminates double taxation of many goods,” the Commissioner of Sales Tax, Government of NCT of Delhi, Dr Rahul Khullar, told newspersons here today.

Under the proposed system, which will replace the existing single-point sales tax regime, a tax will be levied on goods that traders import into the Capital. Manufacturers, on the other hand, will have to pay tax on the value that is being added to goods (e.g. value added to yarn to produce cloth). In case of exports, however, all taxes levied on the imported inputs will be refunded.

As recommended by the Empowered Committee, the number of sales tax slabs in Delhi will be reduced from six to three with the existing rates of 8 per cent and 12 per cent to be merged as a single rate of 10 per cent. Services, however, continue to remain outside the proposed ambit of VAT.

An entry tax, which will be equivalent to the VAT rate of a particular commodity, is proposed to be introduced. Traders and analysts, however, say that the proposed entry tax could assume the role of the existing octroi, which has been a major source of difficulty for the city-based business community.

However, sales tax officials say that the proposed entry tax is different in structure and nature from the existing octroi. “Entry tax will be borne by the importer and not by the transporter, which has been the case in octroi. Moreover, the introduction of entry tax will make local traders and retailers competitive vis-à-vis traders outside Delhi,” Dr Khullar said.

Moreover, special provisions will be incorporated to exempt re-exporters from entry tax with refunds to be given on quarterly and monthly basis with a special cell to be created exclusively to expedite refunds in time.

Traders, however, are not willing to buy the proposed promptness in refunding as promised by tax officials. “The entry tax, in all likelihood, may turn out to be another form of octroi. This time round, the onus will be on the traders (importers of goods from other states) and an up-front payment of entry tax could entail serious cash flow problems,” a Delhi-based trader said.

The Department of Sales Tax, it seems, is aware of the problem. “It is more a question of credibility of the department than of simpler methodology. The Sales Tax Department has not earned a good name for itself in terms of refunding and it may require more than a simple methodological approach to implement the regime and achieve the proclaimed objectives of minimal evasion and lesser corruption,” a sales tax official told NCR Tribune on condition of anonymity.

In another major departure, the onus of assessment has been placed squarely on the dealer/trader/manufacturer who would have to file tax returns on a self-assessment basis a la personal income tax. However, tax officials may conduct random audits to ensure compliance.

On the part of the tax authorities, a major part of the spadework appears to be complete, including the creation of a computer database of all registered dealers and allotment of funds for implementation of VAT. The department has engaged the services of international management consulting firm Aurthur Andersen and the drafting of rules, procedures and forms is under progress. Training of officers on the legal aspects of VAT will begin from February next year. 


New House tax adds to Council booty
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, December 21
The Municipal Council here would get an additional amount of nearly Rs 1.5 crore in the from of House tax in the current financial year by the imposition of the revised House tax policy.

Talking to the NCR Tribune, Mr Om Prakash Bagri, officiating Chairman of the Council said the Council was getting a sum of nearly Rs 1.2 crore per annum, on an average, as house tax in the last few years. He said the Council would receive around Rs 2.6 crore during the current financial year.

Describing the revised house tax policy as transparent and uniform, he said a resolution in this regard was likely to be passed at the proposed meeting of the Council, to be held on December 28.

He said an official list regarding the assessment of the house tax would be released by December 25 and notices would be issued to house owners between December 28 and January 5.

He informed that the house owners were required to register their complaints in this connection within a month, which would be settled by February 10 and the final list, related to assessment of the House tax would be released by February 15.

Mr Bagri said the house tax bills would be delivered from on an average February 20 to February 28.

He also informed that 10 per cent relaxation would be given to those depositing the House tax with in a month after the despatch of bills.

Commenting on the assessment of the house tax, he said the assessment formula would remain unchanged. He said a relaxation in House tax would be given to widows and physically challenged house owners. The ex-servicemen community has been exempted from the House tax, he added.


Oppn wakes up to Jaish threat
Tribune News service

New Delhi, December 21
The concluding day of the winter session found the Delhi Assembly engaged in a heated discussion on the law and order situation in the Capital with members voicing their concerns over the disclosure that the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists who stormed Parliament House had planned to target the Delhi Assembly and the New Secretariat.

The state of affairs in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was also taken up for discussion with the Treasury Benches accusing the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of turning them into a “den of corruption”.

On the calling attention motion moved by Mr Rama Kant Goswami and Mr Bhisham Sharma of the Congress, members said the security set-up was not commensurate with the high degree of threat perception to government property including the assembly and New Secretariat. Mr Goswami sought the constitution of a committee to review the security paraphernalia and suggest measures to augment it.

Making a statement in reply to the calling attention motion, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the responsibility of maintaining law and order rested with the Centre and hoped that the BJP-led NDA government would take requisite measures to plug the holes in the security arrangements. At the same time, she said, legislators also ought to discipline themselves and curb the tendency to gain unconditional access to the assembly or the Secretariat or to shout down security personnel posted inside the premises.

As the proceedings drew to a close, Congress legislators who did not get their turn to speak on the discussion on the MCD and DDA were up on their feet raising slogans with Radhey Shyam Khanna entering the Well of the House and trying to snatch the copy of a statement being read by the Urban Development Minister, Mr A. K. Walia. The minister’s statement could not be heard in the din.

The House also resolved to construct ramps in all offices and buildings of Delhi Government so that physically challenged persons did not face any difficulty while visiting these places for redressal of their grievances.

In another resolution, the House decided that it would be ensured that basic facilities and civic amenities were made available in advance as and when the government allotted alternative plots to slum dwellers.


I cannot guarantee security: Sheila
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
The tussle between the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Union Government over the responsibility in ensuring security and law and order in the Capital in the wake of the terrorist attack on Parliament showed signs of exacerbating further today when Ms Sheila Dikshit confessed in the assembly that most chief ministers would rather not be in her position. Apparently, the quasi-statehood accorded to Delhi contributed in no small measure to her response.

“I have given no guarantee (for the safety and security) … Law and order is not with me,” the Chief Minister told the assembly while responding to a calling attention motion moved on the situation arising out of the disclosure made in the media about alleged targeting of the assembly and Secretariat by the terrorists.

Mohd Afsal, who was apprehended for colluding with the fidayeen who stormed Parliament, had disclosed how the focus of terrorist attacks was to shift from Jammu and Kashmir to the national Capital and that the Delhi Assembly was also among the targets. “I met the Lieutenant Governor yesterday and conveyed my apprehensions as well as concern over the problems we are facing,” she informed the House. These problems, the Chief Minister reiterated, stemmed from the fact that the Delhi Police or the subject of law and order did not come under the purview of the Government of NCT of Delhi. “We are dependent on the Centre in such matters,” a beleaguered Chief Minister told the members.

Taking off from where she left two days back while replying to the calling attention motion on the feeling of insecurity that has gripped the people of NCT after the carnage at Parliament House, Mrs Dikshit has now acknowledged that she could not vouch for the safety and security of legislators and people, as she had no say whatsoever insofar as law and order was concerned. (She had on Wednesday said: “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.”)

The threat perception to government property including the assembly and the Secretariat, she continued, had been reviewed but security measures remained what they were. Echoing similar sentiments, some Congress legislators sought the constitution of a committee comprising the Lieutenant Governor also to review the security scenario and suggest suitable measures to instill a sense of security in the people.

The Chief Minister said her government had 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, but stopped short this time round of reiterating her demand of transferring the law and order from the Centre to the state government. Sources said even after repeated requests, no communication was forthcoming from the police establishment on the measures that would be put in place inside the assembly or the Secretariat. The sources added that there was no adequate security arrangement in the night during the duration of the winter session of the assembly and the scenario was expected at the new Secretariat also, where a posse of security guards drawn from a private company and a handful of Delhi Police constables are on duty. Incidentally, the proposal to deploy Central Industrial Security Force still hangs fire despite the request by the Delhi Government in this regard to the Centre.


Duo with fake papers held before take-off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
Officials of the Immigration Department today arrested two youths who were about to board an Air France flight, after procuring visas on a passport giving fake names and address. The travel agents who arranged the documents for the duo was also arrested.

The youths, Gurjeet Singh of Kapurthala and Sukhchain Singh of Patiala, had changed their names to Nahid Husan and Shahid Husan, respectively, in the passport that showed they were sons of an MP, Chaudhary M. Hasan. The residential address on their passport was 40, South Avenue.

However, during routine interrogation before boarding the flight, they forgot the name of Chaudhary M. Hasan. The youth told the immigration authorities that they were sons of MP Munawwar Hussain, which aroused the suspicion of the officials. The officials, then, asked some leading questions on Islam, to which they could not respond.

During interrogation, they disclosed that the address and other details were incorporated by the travel agents, who were paid Rs 2.5 lakh for each set of documents. Their agents, Arun Kumar and Daleep Sohal, have also been arrested.

According to an official of the Regional Passport Office, inquiry about the residential proof, for getting a new passport, is made by the special cell of the Delhi Police. When a person applies for a passport, he has to submit some documents to prove that he has lived at the address given for at least two years. How the fake address given by the suspects was cleared needs to be probed into, he said.


No bidders for 21 mines for 3rd time
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 21
Despite the best effort of the Mines and Geology Department and the district administration, 21 mines falling in Gurgaon could not be auctioned as no bidder came forward to take them on lease against the reserved prices for the third time yesterday.

Of the 22 mines scheduled to be auctioned yesterday, there were no bidders for 21 for the third time. The Mines and Geology Department managed to auction only the mine at Chahalka Sond for an annual price of Rs 4.11 crore.

Mr Ram Niwas, Director of Mines and Geology, Government of Haryana, informed that there were a total of 39 mines in Gurgaon which were selected for auctions. In the first auction held on October 31, 12 mines were auctioned for Rs 7.51 crore. And again on November 18, it succeeded in auctioning five mines for Rs 8.92 crore. For the second time, there were no bidders for the 22 mines. This was the third auction which did not found any takers for the 21 mines.

The mines that had no bidders were one at Gehbar (Plot no. 1), Baded, Gudhola, Bajidpur, Nawli, Kukrola Gwalior, Kansali, Ghagas Khorie, Kherli Kalan, Pingwan (Plot no. 1), Pingwan (Plot no. 2), Akbarpur, Chandraka, Gujjar Nangla, Dungeja, Bhagola, Jharpuri, Shekhpur, Rwa, Dhana and Papra.

The 18 mines that have been auctioned would fetch the government Rs 20.54 crore annually. These mines used to give hardly Rs 4 crore per year to the government in the old scheme, the Director claimed. The remaining 21 mines would soon be auctioned after revising the reserved prices and their business potential, the he said.


Staff protest against assault
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 21
Employees of the Municipal Corporation here took out a demonstration to protest against the alleged physical assault by some persons on tax collection clerk at the local Jawahar colony yesterday. The agitating staff has decided to go on a pen down strike till the culprits were arrested.

A case has been lodged by Saran police and the Clerk, Harish Chander Swami, has been admitted in the civil hospital here. The victim was on duty during a special camp organised by the corporation authorities to recover pending dues on various accounts. About six persons, who had reportedly come for regularisation of water connection, had a heated exchange with the clerk and allegedly beat him up. The incident led to stopping of work by employees who demanded the arrest of the accused.


Deadly dumper trucks

Hundreds of dumper trucks engaged in transporting rocks and minerals from quarries and mines of the district have become the harbingers of death, literally. Several persons have fallen victims of these trucks running at their ‘deadly’ speed every month. And there is hardly any check on them.

The latest instance came yesterday when two persons were crushed to death by dumper trucks in two separate mishaps. TNS


Roadways strike leaves passengers stranded 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 21
Hundreds of passengers remained stranded for two hours at the general bus stand here today following the two-hour strike by the drivers and conductors of the Haryana Roadways. The strike was called in protest against the alleged beating of some drivers of the Haryana Roadways by some anti-social elements and the failure of the police to apprehend the alleged assailants involved in these cases.

According to a report, not a single bus of the Haryana Roadways was dispatched to Delhi, Panipat, Rohtak, Gohana and other urban and rural routes during the period of the strike.

It led to great inconvenience to the passengers, including women and children who were held up at the bus stand.

One of bus driver was beaten up and taken away in a car by some miscreants after a passenger got injured when he fell down from an overcrowded bus on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near Sisana village, about 25 km from here on Thursday evening.

The driver was handed over to the police at Sisana barrier. In this confusion, the bus passengers raised an alarm about the kidnapping of the driver. When they were informed about the fact, they realised their mistake.

In the second incident, a driver of the Haryana Roadways bus was assaulted by a youth on the Sonepat-Gohana road near Barwasni village last week. The police failed to apprehend the culprit even after lodging the FIR against him. The bus strike by the Haryana Roadways was to put pressure on the administration to take action against culprits for the on going assaults on drivers of the Roadways.

On receiving information, Mr H.C. Jain, General Manager of the Haryana Roadways rushed to the bus stand and succeeded in ending the strike by the bus drivers and conductors. He said the culprits involved in Barwasni’s incident has been arrested and appropriate action would be taken against them.


Changes in outer identity unlikely to affect essence of Sikh religion’
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
The adoption of a new or different physical identity by some of the followers of Sikhism, world’s youngest religion, is unlikely to affect or transform its spirit, said a leading scholar of Sikh religion today. However, many Sikh leaders disagree with this line of thought and this particular aspect has been discussed many times in various forums within and outside the country.

“Under modern-day influences, Sikh youth in Europe, US and other countries have discarded some of the five Ks – Kesh, Kadha, Kirpan, Kacha and Kangha. However, Sikhism is not threatened by these trends,” Dr Sukhbir Singh Kapoor, the vice-chancellor of London-based World Sikh University, told the NCR Tribune.

On a short visit here, he said every religion undergoes a metamorphoses, with followers adopting a few things and discarding others. Such transformation does not, however, affect the essence of the faith. Nor do they act as an impediment.

Referring to Judaism and Islam, Dr Sukhbir Singh Kapoor said: “Muslims and Jews still continue to follow their respective creeds, even though they have deviated from the orthodox method of worship.”

“Symbols, which are an outcome of exigency of time, generally undergo a transformation with the passage of time. Other religions have witnessed such changes,” he said. Stating that intellectuals have not plumbed the depth of Sikhism, the author of 34 books on Sikh religion said: “There is hardly any serious academic work on Guru Granth Sahib.”

Dr Kapoor said that research scholars are asking incisive questions about Sikh religion, history and language. The irony is that Sikhs have created history, but they have not recorded the same. Therefore, a serious research on different aspects of the region is needed.

“Within these broad parameters, the students are examining the transformation in Sikh identity in the 21st century, the socio-political and economic trends in united Punjab since the birth of Sikhism, the role of intelligentsia, the literary movements, the influence of popular culture on the region, and the influence of modernity on the society,” he said.

On the recent controversy over the portrayal of Guru Tegh Bahadur in NCERT books, the vice chancellor said: “Only authentic facts based on primary records should be written by professional historians.

Interpretation of historical figures, especially the Sikh Gurus, by persons influenced by ideological leaning and interpretation of facts in a biased manner could result in a partial representation of events during the era, which is injustice not only to history but also sets a bad precedent.”

The university, which started functioning in 1997, is expected to honour its first batch of research scholars with doctorate degrees in 2002.

The employment prospects for these research scholars are not very lucrative, as there are not many Chairs or institutions intending to avail the services of these intellectuals, Dr Kapoor said.

Comparing the opportunities open to scholars doing research in Christianity, he said: “The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee should appoint scholars in their think tank and encourage research on religion. Since 1909, there has not been any good scholarly work on Sikh religion, which is a matter of concern,” he said.


Will growth continue to be a mirage in this city?
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, December 21
Sonepat is a fast growing industrial city and a district Headquarter with a large number of big, medium and small-scale industries, employing more than two lakh people. It appeared on the country’s map in 1951 after the setting up of the Atlas Cycle Industries, which is the largest bicycle manufacturing concern in India.

Even as Sonepat has grown in size and population over the years, it is yet to make a mark as a city of the future. It is considered as one of the fastest growing industrial district in Haryana. However, much of the industrial growth in the district over the last 20 years is a mirage. Sadly, most of the growth exists only on paper.

It is not only the industrial scene that is a matter of grave concern. Civic amenities are inadequate, illegal encroachments thrive, power and drinking water supply is erratic, sewerage is faulty and traffic hold-ups and dilapidated roads the norm.

The drinking water supply has always been unsatisfactory owing to lack of control over the key men entrusted with the job of distribution of water.

Encroachments are a regular feature on account of apathy of the district authorities, particularly the PWD (B and R), the Sonepat Municipal Council, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and other official agencies. Go to any part of the city and you will find people encroaching on government land with impunity. This puts the local residents to a lot of hardship. The authorities have shown no inclination to tackle this nagging problem.

Shopkeepers have encroached upon the footpaths on both sides of the main road in the absence of administrative action against them.

Most shopkeepers on the bus stand road, railway road, Manoon Bhanja Chowk, Sonepat-Bahalgarh road, Sonepat-Rohtak road, Sonepat-Gohana road, telephone exchange road, Sarang road, Atlas road and Ashok Nagar have extended their shops onto the main road. Without any remorse, the shopkeepers display their wares on the pavement and hawk their goods. That naturally leaves little space for vehicles. Traffic jams and congestion is, therefore, a recurring sight.

With little to fear, some shopkeepers have even installed permanent or makeshift sheds in front of their shops. On the Atlas Road, eateries have put up tables and chairs on public land outside their shops; pedestrians have to meander through these chairs and tables.

The valuable land earmarked for a park near the ESI dispensary has been grabbed by shopkeepers, owing to the inaction of the civic authorities. It is normal for the shopkeepers to display their goods on platforms built on the encroached public land.

The failure of the civic authority to rein in stray animals in the city has not only played havoc with the city traffic, but it has also taken a toll of cleanliness. Stray animals, including pigs, cows and dogs, can be seen lingering in the markets and streets of the city. Heaps of cowdung and other garbage remain uncleared from the roads and city interiors for days.

The Sonepat railway station is in a bad shape. The Railway authorities appear to be least concerned about improving the conditions. Garbage is thrown in the open, and the passengers ease themselves in the open as toilets are stinking most of the time. There is no regular water supply in the toilets and water taps are missing.

The railway station has two small rain shelters and most of the passengers have to wait for the trains in the open. Long queues of passengers and commuters are a regular sight outside the booking office. Apart from the heavy traffic flow, mismanagement and shortage of staff have played havoc.

Commuters allege that their complaints to the Station Superintendent and the Chief Booking Clerk have fallen on deaf ears.


Santokh Singh remembered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
The death anniversary of Jathedar Santokh Singh, the founder of Guru Harkrishan Public Schools and other institutions in the Capital, was observed with religious solemnity here today.

A member of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee shot him dead near Vishnu Garden two decades ago. Santokh Singh’s bodyguard Dhana Singh had killed the assailant on the spot. The mystery behind the killing still continues to baffle the family members even though the police have closed the case, as they could not make much progress in the case.

Santokh Singh’s contributions to the upliftment of the community in the Capital include the opening of Mata Sundri College for girls, construction of a new building for Guru Tegh Bahadur College and setting up of the Sikh Museum in Delhi.

By his persistent efforts, the Kotwali premises in the vicinity of Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Chandni Chowk could be vacated and merged with the main building of the shrine where Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred.


The message is loud and clear – We can’t be intimidated

Securitymen keeping a vigil in Parliament complex. (File photo)
Securitymen keeping a vigil in Parliament complex. (File photo)

The ghastly terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, which happened soon after the American attack, shook the entire nation. But the admirable thing is that our security personnel acted swiftly to save the situation from taking a turn for the worse. It must be remembered that the threat is latent, and enjoins upon all the countries in the world to fight against the menace of terrorism. Whether the terrorists belong to this or that outfit is irrelevant. The important thing is that terrorism has to be wiped out by all means.

As far as India is concerned, it appears we are not going to let them have their say. We were able to foil their sinister design in every way. Alertness paid us dividends and saved the lives of the targeted VIPs, including our Prime Minister, Vice President and the Home Minister.

We must place on record our deepest gratitude to those who averted a holocaust, as all our MPs were in the Parliament complex at the time of the shootout.

All suicide bombers must get the message that India cannot be intimidated so easily. And, any one who casts an evil eye on our security obligations, will be taught a good lesson.

Of late, we are witnessing that the terrorists have emboldened. Therefore, we must gear up our might and resources to face any eventuality. We should not slacken our national security under any circumstances.

The void, after we lost 15 lives, cannot be filled. Now, no mercy should be shown to the enemies of humanity. And they must be given a fitting punishment. Even if, perchance, they escape, death is the penalty for their reckless act, whether it is the Lakshar-e-Toiba or the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

R.L. PATHAK, New Delhi-3

Have mercy

It is really unfair on the part of the Blue Line bus operators to dishonour the bus passes issued by the DTC. It is simply unethical and defies all canons of justice. As they ply their buses in the territory under the NCR jurisdiction, they are expected to abide by the DTC rules and honour the passes. After all, pass holders, who make an advance payment, are certainly far better than `free’ commuters who cheat the bus wallahs of hundreds every day. It will be appreciated, if the Blue Line operators permit all the pass holders to travel, but in case that is not possible, at least they should allow the senior citizens, who are few in number and cannot wait endlessly for the DTC buses.

Is it too much to expect the wealthy private bus owners to make a gesture towards senior citizens? Will the federation of private buses, plying under STA, dole it out as a festival gift for a handful of senior citizens.


Unfair to all

Recently, I visited the Kashmiri Gate Bus Ada (ISBT) for some personal work. I went in one of the lavatories to answer the call of nature.

I was shocked to learn that I had to cough up Rs 5 for using the toilet. There is no justification that one should pay Rs 5. In the first place, it should be a free service. If at all one has to be charged for the service, it must not be more than Re 1.


Will someone rouse the Palwal civic body?

The current conflict between the elected chief and the officialdom in Palwal Municipal Council is costing the citizens of Palwal dear. Take for instance, the pathetic sanitary conditions in the area. Mostly, the drains are filled with filth and slush, resulting in roads getting water-logged. The garbage, comprising polythene bags, waste, rags, rubbish and filth collected from streets, lies in heaps at various points in the city, which in turn emits an obnoxious smell.

Cows and pigs feast on the garbage. Owning to lax control over administration, the sanitary supervisor staff hardly visits the localities to assess the situation. As a result, the sanitary staff works at its whim and fancy without caring for the comfort and convenience of the citizens. The Minar gate, the heart of Palwal City, is virtually a pool of dirty water, slush and filth. The passers-by feel harassed when drains overflow and motorists splash the filth on their clothes.

The illegal encroachments by shopkeepers also make a mockery of the civic amenities. A visit to Gupta Ganj Palwal near Dharam Pal Flourmill will enable you to see the gory sight. The choked drain causes the water to overflow, forcing the people to wade through the slush. Isn’t there any solution to this mess?

A stretch of road, connecting Bhawankund and Sohna, has developed craters and pothole at a number of places. Slushy, muddy and filthy water accumulates on the surface, endangering motorists and pedestrians. The Municipal authorities are urged to rouse from their slumber and initiate steps to prevent an epidemic from breaking out.



Lift to movie world!

Noted film actress and MP Shabana Azmi presented certificates to students of the 33rd batch of trainees who passed out from the Asian Academy of Film and TV (AAFT), Noida, on Friday. Certificates were presented to students who completed their training in direction and editing, photography and lighting, acting and presentation. Script writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar presented awards to the toppers: Madhu Rana and Sen Rekha in direction, Hemant Hayad in editing, Abdulla Zatar in photography and lighting, Debya Sharma in acting and presentation and Sunita Sheraz who topped the course. Noted TV artiste Tanvi Azmi also graced the occasion. Addressing the gathering, Shabana Azmi said it was “just the beginning of your careers and how far you can go depends on the degree of commitment you make”. She said training played only 50 per cent part in the career. The rest was one’s own zest, motivation and willpower. “Basically you are an artiste. Unlike a painter or a musician, an actor is his own instrument and should keep his body, looks and mind fine-tuned like a musician keeps his instrument.”

Mrs Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, inaugurated the Snow Village in the Fun `n’ Food complex in Gurgaon on Friday morning. Among the features of the village is the Snow Park which simulates the experience of an actual snowfall. Being a unique feature of the complex, it offers snowfall, sledging, snow dance and snowballs. Another attraction of the complex is a super slide called River Ride claimed to be the longest water slide in Asia. The Chief Minister also inaugurated the hot water Swimming Pool. This is the only place in the NCT to give hot water facility in a swimming pool. So, one can go swimming even in sub-zero temperatures.



Punjab Youth Congress executive recast 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 21
Mr Krishanvir Maina, in charge, National Youth Congress of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh has announced the state executive of Punjab Youth Congress.

Stating this here today, Mr Maina said all the castes and communities had been given adequate representation in the Executive, which consisted of 18 vice-presidents, 28 general-secretaries, 40 secretaries, one treasurer and one chairman each for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes’ cell, and legal cell. Mr Maina said 27 per cent and 13 per cent representation had been given to Scheduled Caste and Backward Class, respectively, in the state executive of Punjab Youth Congress.

Three killed

Three persons have been killed in various incidents in the district. Two people going on a motorcycle on Thursday night on Sohna road were hit by a truck. While one of them, identified as Niranjan Chauhan of Aliganj, (Lodhi Road) of Delhi died, Ashok, his friend got injured.

In another accident, a truck crushed a labourer going to work on the same road on Friday morning. The victim was going on a bicycle.

A woman, who could not be identified, died in Escorts Hospital here. A resident of Chandpur, the woman had consumed poison.


Anuradha (16), a student of class 10, is reported to have committed suicide by setting herself on fire after pouring kerosene on herself at her house at Bhatgaon village, about 15 km from here, on Thursday.

According to a report, she took this extreme step after her parents did not allow her to take private tuition in a subject in which she was weak. The Sadar police are still investigating into the case.

Farmer assaulted

Satpal, a farmer, was injured seriously when he was allegedly attacked with swords and lathis by some persons at Bhatgaon village, about 15 km from here, on Thursday night.

According to a report, Satpal was immediately hospitalised and is stated to be out of danger. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress. However, no arrest has yet been made in this connection. An old enmity is stated to be the main cause of the assault.

Power cuts

Strong resentment prevails among the people of Ganaur, a sub-divisional town in this district against the frequent power cuts by the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) for the last few days.

Many residents alleged that no prior information are provided about the load shedding and shutdowns.

Dairies shifted

The Haryana Government has released the first instalment of Rs 15 lakh for shifting of dairies from Sonepat city.

Giving this information, Mr S. N. Roy, Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here on Friday that the district administration has already taken a series of steps in this regard. It has acquired 10 acres of land on the Sonepat-Dewru road which is on the outskirts of city for this purpose. The possession of this land has been given to the Sonepat Municipal Council.


Wife’s paramour kills husband
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
With the arrest of two persons, including the wife of the deceased, the North district police today claimed to have worked out a murder case that took place in Samaipur Badli.

The suspects were identified as Rakesh and Meena, wife of Ram Dutt. Meena allegedly instigated Rakesh, with whom she had an illicit affair, into killing Ram Dutt. The police suspected the involvement of Rakesh as he was missing from the day of the murder.


A special team of South-West district police today claimed to have busted a gang involved in stealing vehicles and using them for distributing spurious liquor with the arrest of three persons. The police also seized three motorcycles, two Maruti cars, three scooters and five car stereos from them.

During interrogation they disclosed the whereabouts of another accomplice Sanjay, alias KP of Jhajjar. He was also arrested.

The accused revealed to the special team that they used stolen cars for transporting illicit liquor at the instance of the bootlegging mafia operating in Delhi and neighbouring cities of Haryana.


A TSR driver was stabbed allegedly by his neighbour following an altercation last evening in the New Friends Colony area. The police said a TSR driver, Shibhu Singh (26) of Shiv Mandir Gali in Okhla was stabbed with a sharp-edged weapon by Kali Charan (26) of the same area following a quarrel. Kali Charan fled from the spot soon after the crime. The New Friends Colony police have registered a case of attempt to murder and have launched a manhunt for the absconding person.


Four unidentified armed youths barged into a house of a sweet seller at E-block of Jagjeet Nagar today morning and ran away with Rs 40,000 in cash and jewellery. The police said the victim, Raj Kumar, was at home with his wife and three children at the time of the incident. The robbers brandished a knife and bolted the door from outside before escaping from the spot. The Ushmanpur police have registered a case.


Modi Tyre unit grinds to a halt 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, December 21
Production ground to a halt at Modi Tyre Factory (MTF), Modinagar, on Wednesday jeopardising the livelihood of over 1,000 workers. When workers came to report for the night shift on Wednesday, they were greeted by a notice pasted on the main gate and signed by the CEO, Mr B. R. S. Huda.

The notice said: “Due to the illegal strike by workers of MTF, Modipuram since August, the company had been facing a great financial loss. Despite the strike, the management had kept the factory operational. But it is not possible to run the factory any further. The production and other works in the factory have been suspended till further orders.”

Workers of the afternoon shift had been agitating over the payment of balance of wages of December 7. However, they had reportedly relented when the management assured them that the payment would be released in a few days. Of the 1,000 workers employed at MTF, 500 are regular employees. The stopping of supply of raw material on November 24 was a sign of the impending closure.

Since then, workers had been coming and going away at the end of the shift time after marking their attendance even though there was no work.

Modi Tyre Factory was established in 1987 after the closing down of the branch of Modi Spinning Mill. The workers of Modi Silk Mill had opposed this too but later, the management and the workers had reached an agreement.

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