Sunday, December 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Yamuna banks to be cleared of slums
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
The Slum and Jhuggi Jhonpri Department of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is chalking out a plan to remove the hutments along the banks of the Yamuna. According to the time-table and draft blueprint drawn up by the department, the resettlement process is expected to take not less than five years from the time land is allotted and money is sanctioned.

The move has been triggered by the alarming level of pollution in the Yamuna, which is largely contaminated by effluents discharged by industrial units. Officials say slums are next on the target now that the process of relocating the polluting industries has begun. According to rough estimates, about six lakh people dwell in the 80,000-odd hutments that have sprung up along the river. Owing to inadequate to nil sewage disposal, the Yamuna continues to remain polluted with pollution levels caught in a spiral.

The Central Pollution Control Board report, tabled before the Delhi High Court in November this year, also paints a similar picture. It says that though the levels of contaminants – such as micro organisms – have dipped a shade, no appreciable change in the pollution level of the Yamuna has been recorded. The rising level of pollution is attributed not only to the 250 million gallons per day of industrial effluents discharged in the Yamuna, but also to the 610 million gallons per day of waste water and sewage. .

Aggravating matters is the poor utilisation of the water treatment plants (WTPs) set up at multiple locations over the last five years. They are operating far below their total capacity of 158.4 million gallons per day. This, in spite of the government pumping in more than Rs 200 crore on their construction and maintenance. According to official figures, about Rs 29 crore were spent this year alone on the WTPs. The Ghitorni plant, with an installed capacity of five million gallons per day, for instance, is dysfunctional and is likely to become operational only by December 2002. Department officials however blame the steadily decreasing budget allocation. From Rs 88 crore spent in 1997, the figure had plummeted to Rs 35 crore in 2000.

The government, with an eye on its vote bank, given that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections are round the corner, has been quick to point out that the interests of the oustees would be protected. After the kind of protests the city witnessed when the government decided to relocate the polluting industries, there are bound to be apprehensions about the relocation of the slum oustees. Precipitating matters for the government is the court’s directions not to develop sewage disposal system in the hutments that are declared illegal on account of their being constructed on land encroached upon. That, coupled with the court directive to stop the discharge of sewage and industrial waste in the Yamuna, say officials, leaves the government with the limited option of removing the slums that have mushroomed along the river.

To prevent any negative fall-out, Congress party leaders said the matter had been taken up during the winter session of the Assembly. A resolution was passed unanimously that as and when the government allotted alternative plots to slum dwellers, it would be ensured that basic facilities and civic amenities, such as potable water, roads, hospitals, sewage and drainage system, were made available to them in advance.


Even govt does not pay power dues
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 22
Various government departments in the district owe more than Rs 17 crore as power dues. The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) authorities have launched a vigorous campaign to recover them.

The power department officials also disconnected power to some of the government offices recently to exert pressure on the authorities to get the dues cleared. A couple of the departments have deposited a part of the amount to ensure the supply.

Haryana Tourism’s tourist-cum-motel complex at Bhaikha is one such department. The DHBVN officials disconnected power supply for a few hours on December 4 as the complex owes about Rs 54 lakh as bills. The supply to five connections was restored as soon as an amount of Rs 3.86 lakh was deposited. The department promised to clear the pending amount soon.

The DHBVN also disconnected the supply to several tubewells and streetlights, maintained by the Municipal Corporation. The corporation reportedly owes about Rs 7 crore in form of the bills. The corporation officials, on the other hand, claim that the power department had not cleared a large amount charged by it from the consumers for some civic services. The officials say that the Municipal Corporation had to dole out about Rs 10 lakh to the DHBVN in this connection in order to ensure the smooth functioning of tubewells.

The DHBVN authorities have also sent reminders to other departments for depositing the old bills. These include public health, irrigation, police, tourism and health. Although the power department had launched some schemes including surcharge waiver scheme on old bills, yet only a few thousand consumers came forward to avail themselves of the benefit under the schemes. Only about five and a half crore rupees could be realised, according to department sources.


Patrolling must for able-bodied
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
The District Magistrate, Mr S. N. Roy, has promulgated an order under Section 3 of the Punjab Village and Small Towns Patrol Act 1918, making it obligatory for all the able-bodied men of the villages to do patrolling duty. The round-the-clock duty in the district is meant to ensure the safety of all vital installations, particularly the electricity transformers, cables and transmission lines.

According to official sources, the district magistrate has pointed out that there were apprehensions that Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) material – such as transformers and cables – may be stolen. The district magistrate has directed all the gram Panchayats, constituted under the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act 1994, to ensure patrolling by all able-bodied adult male inhabitants of the villages. Similarly, all the block development and panchayat officers and social education and panchayat officers will be liable to supervise the patrol duty through village panchayats under the control of sub-divisional officers (Civil), Sonepat, Gohana and Ganaur in the district.

This order, coming into effect immediately, will remain in force till further orders. The contravention of the directive is punishable under Sections 9 and 11 of the Punjab Village and Small Towns Patrol Act 1918.


Dreaded criminal dies in encounter
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, December 22
The Ghaziabad police shot dead a dreaded criminal, Babloo Hasanpurya, in an encounter early this morning. Babloo, a right hand man of Rakesh Hasanpurya, was wanted in connection with a number of heinous crimes in U.P. and Delhi, said SSP Prashant Kumar.

Anil Somanya, SO Kavi Nagar police station, was on patrol duty with his team when a suspicious looking man was asked to stop, but he responded by firing at the police party. The police fired in retaliation, killing him on the spot. A revolver and cartridges were recovered from him.

Babloo had masterminded the triple murder in Ghaziabad court premises recently; the victims were all known to be enemies of Rakesh Hasanpurya. Babloo had also shot at and injured seven persons in Kithore town in Meerut district over a trivial issue. He had also murdered three persons in village Raghunathpur in Meerut district under police station Jani in 1997. He had also shot dead one Onkar on Holi in 1999.

SSP Ghaziabad had announced a reward of Rs. 2,500 for his arrest, which was increased to Rs.10,000 by the DIG and IGP, Meerut.

According to circle officer Dr S Dharam Veer Singh, the police had received information that Hasanpurya was visiting Kavi Nagar area for his illegal collections. Accordingly, Kavi Nagar police station was alerted.

The cops later received another call informing them that four criminals were moving in an Indica. The caller even identified one of them as Babloo.

According to cops, the white Indica was spotted without number plates in the city. On being challenged, the occupants and the two criminals standing near the car started running and firing at the police party. Babloo was killed in the police action while the other fled.


New Year revellers ready to chill it out despite prophets of doom
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
The overall gloom and doom scenario seems to have failed to affect the carnival atmosphere that envelops the Capital during this time of the year even as nervous retailers are keeping their fingers crossed to solicit buyers. The crowds at the annual footpath bazaar on Janpath clearly indicate that the carnival spirit shall not be allowed to be dampened, terrorists threat or not.

The unprecedented security blanket, thrown in by the law enforcement agencies in the wake of the shoot-out in Parliament last week, has not dampened the spirit of the party-goers. The party lovers are firm on putting on those dancing shoes and seem determined to dress up to the nines. Come what may, they will not kill their instincts of partying out.

However, for midnight revellers and Bacchus worshippers, it is time to count those gulps, for the cops might just be sniffing around. The merry-makers may not be able to breathe easy if the policemen decide to get tough and start booking the drunken drivers.

Every five-star hotel worth its name has something to offer during the coming week.

Most party-goers, however, dismissed the idea of spending the last week of the year at home in the wake of the recent bloody incidents. They would prefer to chill it out at the happening places. “The situation is akin to the year 2000 when a similar incident at the Red Fort rocked the nation in December. But that did not dampen the spirit,” said Ashish, second year student in a Delhi College.

For the traders and retailers, it’s time to lure more customers through innovative packages by dangling freebies and discounts. A New Delhi- based trader said that Christmas and the New Year provides the last opportunity to make up for the lost business during the festival season vis-à-vis last year.

Traders admitted that the off-take of goods this time round has been perceptibly low compared to corresponding spell in preceding years. “The shops are half empty this year and already there are signs of a heavy inventory build-up which will inflict a serious dent on the liquidity condition of shopkeepers,” said a retailer in Connaught Place. Many shopping malls including those in Connaught Place, South Extension, Karol Bagh etc have already livened up with the neighbourhood Santa Claus, roaming the streets and gleefully greeting, “Merry Christmas” to the passers-by.

The busy season, or ‘dhanda ka samay’, for the country’s retailers begins with Durga Puja and continues right up to New Year celebrations.

“This is the time when most of the sales takes place, especially in non-durable and semi-perishable commodities such as clothes and other garment accessories,” a cloth retailer said.

During the festival season of Durga Puja and Divali, patrons had responded rather blandly to the sale bonanza, unleashed this festival season amidst virtual screams of “Shop! Shop! Till you drop”, by flustered retailers.

Almost anything and everything, from the branded to the unorganised, have been put on sale under discount schemes to lure the customer, who, as of now, appears rather unexcited.

Experts opined that the low off-take of goods despite the sale blitzkrieg is clear manifestation of the depressed demand, which is currently characterising the country’s economy.

“This (low sale of goods) is a clear sign of the fact that there has been a cut in the household budget. Households cutting corners is a clear indication that the economy is not in the pink of health. Drop in retail sales is a parameter of downslide in the economy,” a Delhi-based economist said.

Restaurants and eateries are dishing out special cuisines under specially packaged price schemes. Like a multi-cuisine food court in the city, has New Year gift packs for every customer. What’s more customers can have it delivered at their doorsteps!

Customers, however, seem less interested and a sense of tight-fistedness appears to have crept in so far as the festival shoppers are concerned. Moreover, many feel that the sale and discount schemes are just an eyewash.

“It is nothing. The price tags carry an artificial hike and are in some cases a total give-away. Discount or no discount, the prices are the same,” a customer said.

As anxious vendors unleash a publicity and price-cut war, the king consumer is having the last laugh. Partygoers and revellers are warming up to the chill of December to usher in the New Year with elan and panache.


Only 22 Assembly sittings this year!
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
The Delhi Legislative Assembly has earned the dubious distinction of holding only 22 sittings this year. Advising the Government to hold a minimum of 50 sittings, Speaker Prem Singh on Saturday said that he would be writing to the Chief Minister in this regard.

The far fewer number of sittings was also a reason for the growing resentment among the members of the House, the Speaker told media persons in a news conference, prompting some to enter the Well of the house and create a ruckus. He was referring to Friday’s vociferous protests by a section of the Congress legislators who disrupted the proceedings and tried to snatch the copy of statement being read out by the minister in his reply to the short duration discussion on the state of affairs in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and DDA.


Multiple authorities multiply worries of Saket’s posh colony
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, December 22
“We rarely see the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) people work. What are the working hours of the MCD? Do its officials even have working hours? Leave anything in the hands of the MCD, and you are bound to get the worst results.” These are the common reaction of residents of the Golf View Apartments in South
Delhi’s posh locality, Saket, when asked about the corporation’s performance. And why not?

Just a look at a few garbage dumps in and around Golf View Apartments will justify this reaction. It also tells the story about how the agency, the MCD, works. NCR Tribune was also witness to these open dumps. The first question that came to mind: “Don’t the MCD people come here to clean the mess everyday?” Pat came the reply from residents, “My dear sir, the dump you see was cleaned this morning.”

“They (MCD) rarely come here to clean the dumps and when they do, they just pick up the upper pile of the garbage and leave the rest,” said Col O. P. Maheshwari, president of the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA). “The stench and dirt force us to believe that we are not living in a posh colony but in a slum,” said an agitated Colonel Maheshwari.

The concrete wall of the biggest garbage dump in the colony was accidentally broken by an MCD truck about two years ago while the dump was being cleaned. The bin still remains broken and absolutely open.

“We never even try to look out of our windows. The open dump is overflowing with garbage all the time. This is not the sight I want to see first thing in the morning,” said a resident living right opposite the dump.

It may seem unbelievable but residents allege that several MCD workers have permanent jobs in private companies too. But how do they manage? Well, reliable

sources in the MCD confirmed that an MCD karamchari could peacefully sit at home without working if he gives a part of his salary to his senior officer. “The officer marks him on duty,” sources said.

A senior MCD official, on condition of anonymity, told NCR Tribune: “The problem of garbage dumps will be sorted out soon. And this time, it will be sorted out completely. We are planning to privatise garbage dumps all over the Capital. And we are very hopeful.”

As far as the allegation of the MCD workers being marked on duty when they are not, the official said he was unaware of any such activity. “But if there is any truth in it, I will see to it that proper action is taken. I will investigate on a personal level myself,” he said.

However, residents of Golf View Apartments are tired of promises. They have been getting them ever since they began complaining to the authorities about the pathetic conditions they are living in for years.

Besides the garbage dumps, sewers in the colony are another eyesore in an otherwise posh locality. “Earlier, the cleaning of sewers was the responsibility of the MCD, but now the government has created two windows for the job. The MCD and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB),” said Colonel Maheshwari.

“As expected, the sewers are never cleaned. Both the DJB and the MCD pass the buck to each other, and we the residents are the sufferers. Once we did force the MCD workers to clean the sewers since it became intolerable. They cleaned half the sewers saying the other half is the DJB’s job,” he said.

The colony’s ills don’t stop here. About a year ago, the DJB installed a tube-well in the colony. The connections have still not been made and the tube-well remains sealed, just the way it was installed other than it has rusted.

The lights in the parks of the colony don’t help anyone either. “This area becomes so dark at night that anyone can come in without being seen. We have complained time and again to the authorities but no action has been taken. When we go to the MCD, they say it is the Delhi Vidyut Board’s (DVB) job and when we go to the DVB they say the park is the MCD’s baby. Now we are so confused because we don’t know who’s baby is the park,” said Harbans Singh, general secretary of the RWA.

Built in 1972, this colony was the first to come up in Saket. “When I came here, it was beautiful and absolutely lush green and I was proud to live here then. Now I feel ashamed to enter it,” said Mr B. K. Sehgal, a senior resident.



‘Power crisis in western UP to be over soon’
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 22
Power crisis in western Uttar Pradesh will be mitigated soon, the Power Minister, Ch. Hukam Singh, has said. He was speaking after laying the foundation stone of the 400-KVA powerhouse in Pali village in Greater Noida today. The power project, which will be spread over 60 acres, will be completed in two years by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) at a cost of Rs 110 crore.

“This power plant will not only end the power crisis in Gautam Budh Nagar district, but will also help the adjoining districts of Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Baghpet,” he said. This power project would speed up the pace of development in western Utter Pradesh, he claimed.

He also called upon Noida and Greater Noida authorities and private companies who have set up units in the area to give employment to at least one young man from each of the families who have given land for development of the area to the two authorities.

Mr Hukam Singh also suggested that a demography study should be conducted about the persons up to the age of 30 in the area analysing their thinking, employment, attitude and general behaviour. The Minister underlined the need for conducting training programmes for the youths in different disciplines and asked authorities to ensure that the successful trainees are absorbed in jobs in the units that had been set up here.

He said that he would seriously consider all the demands listed by the gram pradhan, Mr Ajit Singh, in his address, as he was himself a farmer first and minister later.

Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Power, Mr Satish Sharma, said that a campaign to improve the power position in the state was underway. “We have got the government approve a Rs 1200-crore package for the development of western UP which is a big achievement for the area. He suggested that the public sector undertakings in the area should adopt villages to develop them quickly at their cost.

The local MLA, Mr Nawab Singh Nagar, suggested that the Dadri city feeder should provide 24 hours power to the city. Meanwhile, the MoS, Mr Ashok Pradhan, advocated that the rate of compensation for the farmers of Noida and Greater Noida should be the same. The CEO of Greater Noida, Mr Brijesh Kumar and DM Deepak Kumar were among those present on the occasion.



Invoking the Xmas spirit in our jaded lives

THIS year’s Christmas comes at a time when the devastating destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11 proves the vulnerability of the security once again. It exposes the fallacy of the belief that good life consists in having all the good things .

Though Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ as a babe in a manger in Bethlehem, the significance of the event is lost to a great extent by much merry-making and commercialisation these days.

But Christ has come into our ‘bleeding and broken’ world with a message of hope that goes beyond the promises of wealth, health and happiness. Even highly successful people had come to seek a meaning of existence that goes beyond enjoying weekends, or working hard throughout life to defray bills for the niceties of life, or to remain youthful or to get insured against accidents and calamities.

Tolstoy, born in an aristocratic and wealthy family, found it all so empty at the height of his fame. He asked himself a question: “Has life a meaning which death does not destroy?” In his book, “Confessions and what I believe”, he makes the point that for life to be meaningful, one should live adhering to the principles, laid down in the Gospel, the Bible.

Jesus’ teachings run counter to the ways of the world. The Christian recognises his spiritual poverty and sinfulness and goes on his knees before God. Yet, far from acquiescing in his sinfulness, he hungers and thirsts after righteousness and longs to grow in grace and goodness. This longing is then met by God’s promise to effect a transformation by providing the aspirant, a new heart, a new nature and a new spirit.

Following Jesus means refusing to be in tune with the world or to accommodate oneself to its standards. Why not conform to the world? According to John McArthur, a well-known interpreter of the Bible, “Its society is hostile to godliness, it is dominated by carnal ambition, pride, greed, pleasure and evil desires. Its opinions are wrong; its aims are selfish; its pleasures are sinful; its influence is demoralising; its policies are corrupt; its honours are empty; its smiles are fake; its love is fickle.’’

Modern life testifies to this nature of things. Think of the proliferating symptoms of our jaded and banal lives: the forests of TV antennas, the fair sex, crime and violence dished out in our world of entertainment; the lust for status symbols, the frantic rush to keep up with the Joneses. They all speak of an emptiness, a cry of the human soul for permanence.

A young business executive, who inquired of a senior citizen what he should live for, was told: “Seek ye first vice- presidency and all things shall be added unto you.” But he looked at the many who were already vice-presidents and they were not all happy! Today’s youth is disenchanted with the superficial irreligious materialism and religious conformism.

The Bible presents Christ not as a crutch for the maimed and the lame, but as Lord over life and death. “I am the resurrection and the life,” He declared and explained the purpose of His coming: “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Christ showing “the Way”, also means that we should give up our worldly lusts and live soberly and righteously. We should put our trust in the Saviour. He will redeem us from our vanities and prepare us for a life of purity and usefulness.

The Christian knows that he has passed from death unto life when he comes to believe in Christ. “We know that we dwell in Him and He in us because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)

The true meaning of Christmas is the birth of the spirit of Christ in man. “If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he is none of His,” declares St Paul. (Romans 8:9)

It is this spirit which gives the believer victory over sin and creates in him such qualities as love, joy, peace, humility, goodness, faith and self-control.

Christ spoke of a faith that can move mountains, of a hope that extends beyond the grave and of love, the greatest resource available to man. It is the Christian view that the person who has made a spectacular success in life, but if he reaches life’s end without learning love, he has totally failed. When one has learnt love, he has succeeded, no matter how he has failed otherwise.

It is one of the wonders of the world how his 12 disciples, mostly unlettered fishermen, without power, prestige or influence, defied death and persecution in spreading the message of love and peace and turned the world upside down.

M. P. K. Kutty


Mathura: The festival season has just begun
Tribune News Service

Important fairs and festivals of the town

  • Holi Braj Mandal February/March.
  • Latthmar Holi Nandgaon February/March. (Phalguna Shukla 9 & 10)
  • Rath-ka-Mela Vrindavan, March
  • Guru Purnima
  • (Muria Puno) Govardhan, July
  • Hariyali Teej Braj Mandal, July
  • Janmashtami Braj Mandal, August/September
  • Radha Ashtami Barsana, Gokul, August
  • Kansa Vadh, September.
  • Annakut Goverdhan, Mathura, September/October.
  • Yam Dwitiya Vishram Ghat September/October.

NESTLED between Agra and Delhi, lies Mathura – the city which bears a mute testimony to Lord Krishna’s teachings.

Situated in the radius of around 150 km from Delhi and well connected by road and rail, the little town comes alive with colourful festivals throughout the year. The Rang Gulal Mahotsav, held annually, celebrates Holi in an exuberant fashion. The festival of colour heralds the onset of spring. Several classical and folk artistes render enthralling performances.

Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great pomp and splendour throughout Braj. The Raaslila is enacted, recreating the many legends of Krishna’s life - his exploits and his amorous dalliances with the gopies. Ceremonies in the temples at midnight include the bathing of the image of infant Krishna which is then placed in a silver cradle. Songs of devotion are sung and toys offered for the amusement of the divine child. Thousands gather to offer their prayers and Mathura is astir with devotion and celebrations.

The rainy month of Bhadon, the month when Krishna was born, is a time of colourful celebrations. The famous Braj Parikrama - a pilgrimage of all the places in Braj associated with Krishna, is undertaken. Traditionally, the Chaurasi kos (84 kos) pilgrimage of Braj Mandal, with its 12 vanas (forests). 24 upvanas (groves), sacred hill Govardhan, divine River Yamuna and numerous holy places along its banks, is undertaken annually by lakhs of devotees from all over the country. The Yatra extends to Kotban to the north of Mathura, to Nandgaon, Barsana and the Govardhan Hill to the west and south-west of the city and to the a banks of the Yamuna to the east, where Baldeo Temple is located. Colourful melas and performances of the Raaslila are distinctive to this festive period.

Gokul melas

The most celebrated of Krishna’s abode, Gokul lies to the west of Sadabad, 1.6 km from Mahavan and 15 km south-east of Mathura, on the Mathura - Etah metalled road. It was here that Lord Krishna was brought up secretly by Yashoda, in the pastoral beauty of this village on the banks of the Yamuna.

Gokul attained importance during the time of Vallabhacharya (1479-1531) when it became a major centre of the Bhakti cult. The three oldest temples in the place are those dedicated to Gokulnath, Madan Mohan and Vitthalnath, said to have been built around 1511.

The other temples include those of Dwarika Nath and Balkrishna in the shrines which were built in the honour of Lord Mahadeo in 1602 by Raja Vijai Singh of Jodhpur.

The celebration of Janmashtami in August is unparalleled for its gaiety and melas are a constant attraction here. Other festivities celebrated with traditional fervour include the Janmotsav in Bhadon, the Annakut festival and Trinavat Mela held on the fourth day of the dark half of Kartik month. Important sites worth visiting in Gokul include the Gokulnath Temple, Raja Thakur Temple, Gopal Lalji Temple and the Morwala Temple.



Rs 60-lakh complex dedicated to Guru Tegh Bahadur
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, laid the foundation stone of a Rs 60-lakh complex in the memory of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur at Bad Khalsa village, 14 km from here, today.

The setting up of the complex, spread over three hectares, is part of the tercentenary celebrations of Khalsa Panth being organised by the state government.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Chautala recalled the unparalleled martyrdom of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur who laid down his life for the freedom of religious worship. He also paid glowing tributes to the great Guru and asked the people to follow his ideals and teachings.

Bad Khalsa village in the district, it may be recalled, had witnessed many important historical events. It was originally known as Garhi Khushhal Singh. Residents of the village had faced atrocities at the hands of Mughal rulers and even the British. But these rulers did not take any step to bring about any meaningful change in the lives of the residents.

When Mughal ruler Aurangazeb let loose atrocities on Hindu Brahmins, the villagers approached Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur and sought his help against the cruelties. Thereafter, Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son, Guru Gobind Roy, who was only 9 at that time, pledged to save the Hindus from the cruelty of the Mughals. Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur also sacrificed his life for the protection of the Hindus.

When the devotees of the great Guru were transporting his head to Amritsar, they were prevented from doing so. Thereupon, the residents of the village hid the head of the great Guru in a house. When the Mughal rulers came to know of it, they adopted punitive methods against the residents.



Life for him is a punching bag

Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, December 22
He is only 20. But for him, life cannot just be going to college, freaking out and coming back home to sleep like a log like youths of his age do. Life means much more to him. For him, life means thrill, excitement, adventure and, more importantly, struggle.

Suleman Khan of South Delhi’s Saket has been struggling ever since his childhood. From escaping war and coming to India with his family, to working hard to earn the bread and butter for his family, he has seen it all at this tender age. And he doesn’t crib or brag about it. He is quite happy with the surprising twists and turns his life is taking. And you bet, he isn’t going to give in.

Khan’s day starts with jogging to the Royal Health Care Gymnasium in Saket where he works as an instructor. “It gives me a great thrill to help other enthusiastic people build a good body and making them work out. I get a great sense of satisfaction,” says Khan, who has been an instructor for the past two years in several gyms across the Capital.

With several youngsters keen to pumping iron these days, Khan’s morning is quite hectic. And his day has just begun. After finishing the morning session, he heads for Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, where he is pursuing BCom.

After college, Khan desperately needs something to ‘hit’, a punching bag or a man. It is another passion he discovered at the age of 10. “I loved to hit anything, be it a wall or a tape-recorder. My father bought me a punching bag but I got bored of hitting it soon because it never hit back.” Hence, he began a career in martial arts.

A Black Belt now, Khan has twice been a National Gold medallist and once a Bronze medallist. “It is hard to say whether I will go far in this sport because there is hardly any scope in it. But I think my love for the sport would be enough to keep the fire in me alive. I still love to hit,” he laughs. However, he says he never used the art on anyone who did not know it.

Being an instructor at a gym, studying and being a Black Belt is not enough for Khan. He wants more. He is as hungry for fame and success as a street child is for food. Khan has also done some modelling assignments for famous brands like Lee Cooper Shoes and Free Look clothing.

“Well, modelling is just a way to pass my time and earn some bucks. But surely, it helps me build my confidence. Obviously, when I look at myself in a magazine I really feel proud,” says Khan. Just about five feet and five inches tall, Khan wished he were a little taller so that he could walk on the ramp. “But no regrets at all. I am happy with what the Almighty has decided for me.”

So, after all the modelling shoots, Khan is back to the Royal Health Care gym to see youngsters pump iron the right way. “Most of the youngsters today work out and spend the rest of the day in front of the mirror trying to find some muscles in their body. They don’t realise that for a good body, not only you have to work out, but do it in the right way. Practice does not make a man perfect, perfect practice makes a man perfect,” he says.

If he gets free time, that is rare, Khan loves to watch adventure sports on television. And he gets so glued to it that his facial expressions change every time he sees a racing car overturn or when a skydiver touches the ground after a dive.

“Life is meaningless without some thrill and risk. Risk always does not necessarily have to be foolish. It can be calculated and it can be a lot of fun. Maybe, someday you would see me falling from the sky or maybe touching the sea bed.”

HAFED setting up outlets to sell its consumer products
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
The Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED) has drawn up a scheme for the setting up of shopping complexes at Taraori, Pipli, Nilokheri, Gharaund and Hisar on the national highways to increase the sale of its consumer products, particularly sarson oil and basmati rice.

According to official sources, in view of the increasing demand FOR the mustard oil, the capacity of the modern oil mill at Rewari has been doubled from 15 tonnes per day to 30 tonnes.

HAFED has already sold about 2,000 quintals of mustard oil in Kolkata market during the past two months. The federation has also set up its regional sales offices at Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata for marketing the consumer goods produced by it.

A regional sales office was set up at Kolkata recently, specially for the marketing of `kachi ghani’ mustard oil which is very popular amongst the consumers not only in Haryana but also in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Punjab, Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. Official sources also revealed that after a gap of 10 years, HAFED had exported basmati rice to Australia.

Resentment prevails among students of Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Kharkhauda town against the shifting of their examination centre by the

Board of School Education, Haryana. According to a report, the parents of the girl students have urged the authorities of the board not to shift the examination centre.

The Haryana Government has constituted a State Advisory Committee with the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, as its chairman to give suggestions and take appropriate decisions to hold the seventh National Youth Festival from January 12 to 16 next year at Hisar. According to official sources, more than 3,000 young artists from 35 states and union territories are expected to take part and compete in 18 cultural events and display the folk arts of their areas.

A youth, Sunil, of Pugthala village was allegedly robbed of his motorcycle by two unidentified armed youths near Bhadi village, about 25 km from here, last evening. According to a report, the youth was on his way to his house at Pugthala village when he was waylaid on the way near Bhadi village by the culprits who robbed him of the motorcycle on knifepoint. The Ganaur police have registered a case against the alleged culprits who are still at large.

Mr Khushi Ram, an employee of HUDA, sustained injuries when a tractor loaded with sugarcane hit him on the Sonepat-Meerut road near Bahalgarh, about 10 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, he was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger.

The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress.

An attempt to smuggle cows from Haryana into Uttar Pradesh was foiled by the Murthal police near Memarpur village situated on the Yamuna, about 15 km from here, yesterday.

According to a report, the police also seized two truckloads of cows and arrested five persons on the spot. The arrested persons have been identified as Sawan of Rajpura town of Patiala district in Punjab, Ikram of Murad Nagar (UP), Mohammad Sharif of Muradabad (UP), Gulzar and Shahid of Titavi village under the Muradnagar police station area of UP. The police have registered a case against them and further investigations are in progress.

Hundreds of youths took out a procession here yesterday in protest against the terrorists attack on Parliament House on December 13. Carrying placards and raising anti-Pakistan slogans, they marched through the main bazars of the city. Later, a meeting was also held and the speakers demanded military action against Pakistan responsible for the terrorist attack.

Five persons, including a woman, were injured when a group of persons attacked them with lathis and other weapons at Tihar Kalan village, about 25 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, the police have registered a case against the alleged assailants who are still at large. An old enmity is stated to be the main cause of the attack.

Members of the Army convoy held up traffic for about 10 minutes on the G. T. Road near Bahalgarh, about 10 km from here, today to protest against the stoppage of their vehicles by the police for allowing the motorcade of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who was on his way to Sonepat. However, the police officials on duty succeeded in lifting the blockade after offering apology to the convoy.

A person and his minor daughter were killed and two others injured when their car and a truck collided near the Punhana crossing at Hodal town, about 55 km from here, yesterday. While Ratiram and his daughter Neha (8) were killed on the spot, two others travelling in the same car escaped with injuries. The police have arrested the truck driver. Meanwhile, a youth identified as Shatrughan, committed suicide at his house at Dabua colony here yesterday. He was reportedly upset with unemployment and poverty.

Telephone cables in Sector 19 here have been `damaged’ by the digging and construction work for the market. Telecom officials of the exchange in Sector 15-A have informed the administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority regarding the damage. While the estimated loss was Rs 50,000, the exchange has been getting a large number of complaints about phones in disorder.



Three perish in Udyog Vihar factory fire

Gurgaon, December 22
At least three workers are feared killed and several injured in a major fire which broke out in a lamination factory in Udyog Vihar Phase 5 late tonight. According to the police, at least 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot and they were still fighting the flames. Several badly burnt employees of the factory have been admitted to the local hospital. While the cause of the fire is being investigated, the police believe that a spark may have caused the fire which soon engulfed the entire factory because of the inflammable material stocked inside. A large number of residents and employees of other factories helped the fire brigade to douse the flames. OC


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