Tuesday, January 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



Police chief warns of R-Day strike
Tribune News Service

Constant vigil.

New Delhi, January 7
The Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr Ajay Raj Sharma, today cautioned the public that specific intelligence inputs indicate a possible terrorist strike during the Republic Day parade in the Capital.

Addressing the Annual Delhi Police Press conference today, the Police Commissioner, however, said that all adequate security measures had been taken to face any eventuality. He asked the public to co-operate and make the Republic Day parade a success.

He said that the coming year would be tough for criminals operating in Delhi as the Ministry of Home Affairs had okayed the Maharashtra Control of Crime Act, which is to be enforced in the Capital. The Act has within its ambit organized crime and crime syndicates; it stipulates a jail term starting from five years to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs one lakh and above for those found engaged in organized crime.

Besides, the Act would provide protection to witnesses who are willing to help the State in prosecution of criminals. Under the Act, the police are also empowered to confiscate movable and immovable assets of the accused. Provision to intercept phones, apart from suggesting that an officer ranking below the Deputy Commissioner of Police should not record the statement of criminals, are contained in this act, Mr Sharma said.

He commended the daring work of the police personnel who sacrificed their lives during the attack on Parliament, saying that “Terrorism can be witnessed in every part of the world and the Delhi Police is utilizing all its existing resources to fight and root out the menace.”

While lauding the Delhi Police Special Cell for its excellent work in nabbing the suspects involved in the Parliament house attack, Mr Sharma said it was all possible because of the well-devised methods of the cell. During the raid, 48 militants, belonging to various terrorist modules, were arrested and all were Pakistani nationals.

It was revealed that these militants were in the Capital to cause explosions, target the VVIPs besides triggering communal disturbances.

The Delhi Police were able to notch this success due to well-planned detection and prevention schemes. “Our concerted efforts in dealing with the criminals and their dubious activities helped us largely in bringing down the crime rate in the Capital.” Mr Sharma said.

Nine mobile crack teams have been also sanctioned for the Delhi Police, which can be immediately rushed to the site of crime. The teams would be operational from March this year, he added.

Special care was being given to the redressal of public grievances. According to Mr. Sharma, the Delhi Police Vigilance Department was asked to take action against erring police officials. Result: About 2,445 police personnel were punished during the year and among them 99 were dismissed, 248 forfeited their services, pay for 76 personnel was reduced and for 146 persons the pay was held. The vigilance officials also conducted surprise checks in local Police stations and punished 78 persons for misusing their post and, at the same time, 63 personnel were rewarded for their sincere and good work.

In fact, Delhi was christened the crime capital but the latest reports of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) indicate that the record of the Capital is far better than that of other states as far as heinous crimes are concerned, he claimed.

Statistics this year suggest that the national average of heinous crimes is 13.8 percent while it is only 6.9 per cent in Delhi.

The conviction rate in Delhi has also gone up to 40 per cent this year from 37 per cent last year.



Delhi objects to VAT anomalies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
The road to implementation of a full-fledged taxation regime in the country from the designated date of April 1, 2002 seems to have hit a major block with Delhi apparently complaining about severe discrimination due to “repeated and constant default” in floor rates of some commodities by other states.

It is reliably learnt that Delhi Finance Minister Dr Mahinder Singh Saathi made a forceful presentation in the meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers here today and cited specific instances of serious anomalies. Dr Saathi is a member of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers headed by West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta. The Delhi Finance Minister was accompanied by the Delhi Sales Tax Commissioner, Dr Rahul Khullar. Highly placed sources in the Delhi Government said that the Delhi Finance Minister informed the Committee about the “deviation being committed by many states in quite a large number of commodities, wherever they have a compelling interest”.

Sources said that the Delhi Government cited the instance of Rajasthan and Gujarat, which have deviated in fixing the floor rates for bullion trade, “ignoring the protest from Delhi and other states”.

“Many a time they (the other states) have made a statement or given an assurance that they were likely to implement the floor rate and that the next time they come to this meeting, the default matter will be completely resolved”, sources pointed out. The issue of floor rates has been dogging the introduction of a comprehensive VAT regime with state governments unable to resolve the differences in the implementation of uniform floor rates on sales tax over the last two and a half years.

The Delhi Government has contended that despite assurances, certain state governments continue to deviate from the consensus floor rates. At one point of time, during the presentation, it is learnt, Dr Saathi raised doubts over the “sanctity” of the decision taken by the Empowered Committee and whether the proposed objective of replacing the current antiquated sales tax system will be achieved.

The Delhi Government is likely to make necessary amendments in the uniform rate of sales tax on “commodities where the Delhi state has a genuine compulsion”.

The classification of commodities is another area the Delhi government has voiced serious reservations vis-à-vis other states. Dr Saathi is learnt to have pointed out that the interest of Delhi has been completely ignored by the Committee of Finance Secretaries and Sales Tax Commissioners while drawing out the classification of commodities for VAT. “While other states have been given a concession in this exercise on a number of commodities, either placing them in the exempted list or in the slab of four per cent, Delhi unfortunately has been completely ignored”, the sources said.

The Delhi Finance Minister, the sources said, maintained in today’s meeting that the city government was not ready to implement a system where trade and commercial interests of the Capital is subjected to discrimination. Besides, Delhi has also demanded that parity must be restored with other states in the matter of Central Sales Tax (CST). The state government was also unwilling to transfer 51 services for taxation, as recommended the Committee of Finance Secretaries.



Sheila seeks Sonia’s blessings… 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday called on 10 Janpath to seek Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s blessings ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections slated for February-end. Party sources described the meeting as a courtesy call, though Sheila loyalists insisted the chief minister had returned “armed with assurances.” The MCD polls are crucial for the party as also for the chief minister, whose fate hinges on how the Congress fares at the hustings.

Accompanied by her Cabinet colleagues, with the exception of MS Saathi who was indisposed, and her parliamentary secretary, the chief minister spent close to 30 minutes confabulating with Ms Gandhi. According to sources, during this first collective appearance, the chief minister and her Cabinet colleagues conveyed to the Congress president their resolve to put up a united front in the MCD polls. The contentious issue of selecting candidates, they added, was also taken up for discussion with Ms Gandhi laying stress on giving equitable representation.

Party sources said the meeting had resolved to strike the “right balance” in the selection of candidates for the Corporation polls. The induction of Sheila-baiters in the election committee was widely seen as a snub to the chief minister who would find it increasingly difficult to accommodate her interests. While some party leaders were quick to dismiss the Monday morning’s call on as a photo-op, there were others who said a significant gain would be the expansion of the crucial election committee which, they felt, was on the cards.

The 13-member election committee that would select candidates for the MCD polls had come as a setback for the chief minister, with many of her trusted lieutenants finding themselves out in the cold. While the Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar camps made significant gains, the chief minister had had to settle for less.

With the reconstitution of Council of Ministers and the constitution of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) reducing the chief minister to a pale shadow of her former self, Ms Dikshit has had to fend off hostile tendencies within her party with her back against the wall. Not only had the axing of more ministers than she had bargained for eroded her stature, the preponderance of her detractors in the DPCC had also diminished her authority considerably. Factionalism also had come to the fore in the interim with rival factions staking their claim to a lion’s share of the organisational posts.



Old age is all about human bonding. Ask this octogenarian
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, January 7
There is a question mark over the future of geriatrics care, a nascent field of interest in the country. But it can surely benefit from the experiences of Mr Naunihal Singh, an octogenarian social activist who strongly feels that good health and cheerfulness in old age is more about human bonding and less about physiological infirmities.

The decks have been cleared for the unveiling of a unique Centre for Aged People at Karkardooma Institutional Area. It is perhaps the only one of its kind in the city, catering to the needs of senior citizens, taking care of each minute detail.

“The Centre will be equipped with all conceivable facilities to make the residents feel at home. Special care is being taken to ensure a homely and cordial atmosphere in the complex. There will be extra emphasis on a nutritious diet. Besides, all necessary medical facilities and infrastructure will be built into the complex”, disclosed Mr Naunihal Singh who has conceived the project. ‘Aashirwad,’ an Anand Vihar-based Senior Citizens’ Council is providing the institutional support to the project.

For the techno-savvy, the complex will also house a state-of-the-art communication centre, powered with hi-tech gadgetry, to enable the inmates to keep in touch with their kin and friends.

It has, however, not been cakewalk for the complex, which is due to be operational in May this year. The proposal had a humble beginning in 1989 when Aashirwad started a day-care centre for senior citizens. The modest beginning in a makeshift tent with only 16 members is today blossoming into a wonderful instance for others to emulate.

“We used to share our feelings over a cup of tea or coffee. Subsequently, as the bond became stronger, we started venturing out for picnics and outings, which reinforced our ties”, recalled Mr Singh, who lost his wife about a decade ago. With all his three daughters settled down after marriage, M Naunihal Singh is putting all his might behind the project. His man Friday of many years, Jaswant Lal Shukla, takes care of his domestic chores. A practicing advocate in his hey day, Mr Singh is a workaholic and starts his day at five in the morning, ending it well past midnight. An avid reader of The Tribune, he hails from Amritsar and is the son of a former Secretary of Lok Sabha.

Mr Singh’s dream project was registered in 1992 and received a shot in the arm when former President Giani Zail Singh became the patron of the centre.

The initial corpus was a meager Rs three lakh, but the Delhi Government chipped in with a grant of Rs 10 lakhs. As costs began mounting, a Good Samaritan, Mrs Daljeet Kaur Ahluwalia, came calling with a grant of Rs four lakhs. Similar contributions came from others like Mr B K Sanyal and Mr M L Bagga, who donated Rs three lakhs each.

Construction work is in full swing at the five-storied complex, as the senior citizens, some of them more than 100 years old, are bracing up for a dimension to their lives.



Bihar dolphin for Gurgaon aquarium
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 7
The Haryana Government has decided to set up an aquarium-cum-awareness centre in the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) park, known as the Leisure Valley, the haunt of morning joggers and fitness freaks in Sector 29. Also, there is a proposal to install a musical fountain in the park, spread over 30 acres. A senior member of the administration said that the proposed aquarium-cum-awareness centre will be set up at a cost of Rs 60 lakhs.

While Rs 20 lakhs for the project will be provided by the Centre as grant, the balance will be given by the state. The administration has asked the Delhi-based School of Planning and Architecture to design the landscape for the centre. A team from the institute, led by its principal, has already visited the site for a preliminary survey. The administration favours having a small shark and a porpoise, which looks like a dolphin, in the proposed aquarium. A porpoise is cognitively blind, but considered to be imbued with an acute sense of intelligence. This species, categorised as an “endangered species”, is found in Bihar.

The district administration is of the view that the centre will be an added attraction in Gurgaon and serve as a kind of laboratory for children. The glitterati of the city go to the park for morning and evening walks. Incidentally, many of them spend a better part of their time in Delhi. The residents in the sectors near the park are high-heeled, many of them being not locals. The plan to set up the centre is said to be part of a larger beautification project. Already builders have been engaged to beautify the main junctions and crossings, especially on that part of Delhi-Jaipur highway which runs through the city. In an effort to give an aesthetic feel to the city, the administration has also drawn up fresh road routes.



Faridabad emerging as hub of fake goods
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 7
Caught in a web of recession for the last several years, Faridabad seems to be emerging as a hub of duplicate or spurious products. The duplicate products include a variety of items. While two units in Ballabgarh were caught, bottling fake cold drinks last year, the district authorities have unearthed a soya oil unit, which was palming off its oil and ghee as well-known brands. Situated in the heart of town, the unit’s production capacity was several tonnes. About 40,000 litres of oil and other equipment were seized from the factory recently.

The drug control authorities had recently unearthed a factory in a nearby village, which was making substandard henna and marketing it as a popular brand. Last year, the drug officials had unearthed a unit near Palwal, which was manufacturing drugs illegally.

It is reported that trade and manufacturing of spices, ghee, cold drinks and even supply of spurious mineral water have been going on in the area for quite some time. According to an estimate, the production of ‘duplicate’ edible items could be around 500 tonnes daily. Several people, residing in the areas like old Faridabad, Palwal, Ballabgarh, NIT, Hathin and Hodal towns, have been engaged in the trade.

The main customers of such products, available at cheaper rates, include the factory labour and lower middle class people.



Financier murdered
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 7
A young financier was shot dead, allegedly by two motorcycle borne youths in the B-Block of the NIT area here last night. While the motive behind the murder is yet to ascertained, the incident has triggered panic in the locality. The incident took place at about 9.30 p.m. when the Victim, Mahesh alias Raju Sharma, was going on foot towards his in-laws house. The deceased, aged 30 years, had been running a finance company in the NH-five locality. It may be mentioned that the victim’s father and his brother had been murdered in a similar fashion about 5 years ago.



Criminal Shot

Two motorcycle-borne youth shot dead a person, who was a hardcore criminal in the police records, outside his home in Bahadurgarh town of the district today. According to the police, Joginder alias Jogi was attacked outside his home in Nehru Park. TNS


CM promises to take colleges to outskirts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
In the two years since its inception, the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University has derecognised seven colleges affiliated to it after a high-power committee, constituted by the Government of NCT of Delhi, found them short on the stipulated standards.

The university has 58 affiliated colleges of which 49 are self-financing institutions and eight are government-run institutes (that includes Mahila Institute of Technology.) On the recommendations of the committee, it had also been decided that the No-Objection Certificates (NOCs), issued to the institutions, be withdrawn for not meeting the basic infrastructure requirements.

Outlining her agenda for higher education, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday told media persons that in keeping with her government’s attempt to “take colleges to students residing on the outskirts”, the colleges seeking affiliation would be offered space in the several District Development Centres (DDCs), lying unutilised across Delhi “provided they are willing partners in the upkeep of those Centres.”

Referring to the mushrooming of educational institutions in ‘apartments’ and ‘blocks’, Ms Dikshit said constraints of land were real in the Capital. Peculiarly, no institution can apply for land until it is accorded recognition. “By making use of the 76-odd district development centres, the students living in rural areas on the outskirts of Delhi would be able to avail themselves of quality technical education.”

Doing so, she hastened to add, would benefit such students who would otherwise have to trudge long distances to reach their institutions and also deter fly-by-night operators who set up shop in obscure places and disappear after fleecing the gullible students.

The Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, the Chief Minister said, had benefited an estimated 15,000 students by offering them technical courses “at home” who would have otherwise travelled outside of Delhi for higher education.

The university, she informed, had been provided with two sites in Dwarka and Surajmal Vihar for setting up its West and East campuses, respectively. Set up in 1998, the university offers professional education in the fields of information technology, management studies, biotechnology, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, education, law, architecture, mass communications and environment management.

The university has also under it, Delhi’s first medical college in over two decades, the Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, which was set up recently on the Safdarjung Medical College campus.

The university has reserved 85 per cent of the seats in the self-financing institutions located in Delhi exclusively for students residing in the Capital.


Wheat worth crores goes to seed in Sonepat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 7
Wheat worth crores of rupees, packed in the gunny bags and lying uncovered in the open at the godown of the Food and Supplies Department in the city and elsewhere in the district, has been damaged because of two-week-long foggy conditions in the region.

According to a report, wheat procured by the State and the Central Governments last year, could not be stored in the covered godowns as they were already full with the stocks procured in 2000.

Most of the stocks were soaked during the monsoon last year. The procurement agencies failed to unpack the heavy stock and dry it. They also failed to lift the wheat stock and send it to covered godowns, hired by the agencies.

Even now, thousands of wheat bags, procured by the official agencies, are lying uncovered in various foodgrain markets and the godowns of the procurement agencies in the district and elsewhere.

Wheat lying uncovered on the wooden stacks suffered more damage. At some places, the representatives of the procurement agencies had not even cared to cover the stocks with polythene or tarpaulin sheets.

It is also alleged that polythene sheets, covering old wheat stocks, were badly torn.

The State Government has failed so far to order an enquiry into the shoddy working of the agencies and prepare an estimate of the damage. Not a single high official of any agency had ever visited the city to take stock of the situation. According to sources, the entire stock, procured by the official agencies, was not lifted from the mandis on account of non-availability of covered warehouses and godowns during last year.

Only a high-level enquiry will expose the negligence of the procurement agencies’ officials.



Watergate: Rai unit officials swindle lakhs
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 7
The officials of the Rai Water Service Division of the irrigation department in the district have reportedly duped the state exchequer of lakhs of rupees by misutilising the public funds, allotted for the desilting work of the Pai distributory last year.

According to official sources, the Executive Engineer of the Quality Assurance, Rohtak, had checked the desilting work of the Pai distributory and detected the huge difference in the quality of work as well as the estimated cost.

Thereafter, the Superintending Engineer of the WJC Feeder G.C. Circle, Delhi, also constituted a fact-finding committee comprising the executive engineers of the Sonepat Water Service Division and the Upper Yamuna Link Division, Delhi. The engineers had also checked the site and detected certain irregularities in the desilting of Pai distributory and also found the difference of 58 per cent.

The superintending engineer took a serious note of the shoddy works and transferred the Pai distributory from the Rai Water Service Division to Delhi Water Service Division and the Samalkha sub-division to the Sonepat Water Service Division.

However, no penal action was taken against the guilty officials.

Informed sources, however, revealed that the ‘watergate’ had been hushed up by the powers that be. Owing to political pressure, the Pai distributory as well as the Samalkha sub-division had again been handed over to the Rai Water Service Division. This has caused considerable resentment among the farmers.

Meanwhile, the residents of Pai and other neighbouring villages have urged the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, to order an immediate suspension and transfer of the officials, allegedly involved in the swindle. The residents also threatened to launch an agitation if no action was taken against the erring officials.



Weekly mart: A mess all the way
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, January 7
The milling crowd blocking the road; vendors shouting and screaming; pavements completely taken over; ‘thelewallahs’ with their ‘thelas’ right in the middle of the road! It is chaos – every day of the week in one place or the other in the national Capital.

In R. K. Puram on Sundays, Vasant Kunj on Mondays, Saket on Tuesdays… the weekly bazaars “throw everything in the area in disarray”.

And mind you, the vendors are the same, the bazaar is the same, the only thing that changes every day is the place. The same vendors who had put up their stalls in R. K. Puram on Sunday, would be in Vasant Kunj on Monday and so on, as they have fixed places to put up their stalls in south Delhi. These bazaars stretch nearly a kilometre on the road and the pavements are all taken over, with ‘tehbazaaris’ all the way. The bazaar is dotted with no fewer than 500 stalls, and customers are either from the nearby slums or the lower-middle class of the area in which the bazaar is held.

As if the encroachment in the Capital by various roadside vendors was not enough, the weekly bazaar has only added to the respective area’s woes. The residents of these areas are demanding an end to this “illegal business”.

However, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials said that they had “allowed these bazaars to run” as it helped those people who could not afford to visit showrooms. “But we do challan the vendors,” an official said.

The residents of various areas asked how the authorities could permit something as blatantly illegal as this. “By permitting it, the authorities are encouraging them,” fumed Raj Dhingra, a resident of Som Vihar in R. K. Puram.

“The problem is grave. Just imagine – thousands of people walking all over the roads. These are uneducated people from the slums. We can’t even move out of our homes when the bazaar is on here,” said Yogesh Khanna, a resident of Vasant Kunj.

A more severe problem can be spotted the next day. “The leftover of fruit and vegetables and other rotten things. Guess who cleans the mess. Not the MCD for sure, not the vendors either!

The residents of the areas have hired sweepers to clear away the mess.

“We have no choice,” said Murari Lal, the Area Welfare Officer of Pushpa Vihar right next to Saket, where the bazaar is put up on Tuesdays. “The MCD never come to clear the mess-up. And the vendors conveniently walk away, counting the profit they have made. We can’t live in a mess. It is our home, we have to clean it.” An Assistant Commissioner of Police admitted, while speaking to the NCR Tribune, that these markets run under the protection of the areas’ goons.

“It is a fact that they take ‘hafta’ from the vendors and the shopkeepers happily give it to them. You can say it is like they give some money to protect themselves. But if a market is as big as this, these problems are inevitable.” He further added that the MCD should not have allowed bazaars like this on a minor challan. “It was a wrong decision and it doesn’t take long to improve a bad decision. The situation can go worse as long as the bazaars are running because the vendors and the stalls would only increase. And the police cannot do anything as another government agency (MCD) has allowed it to run.”

However, the vendors beef about the fact that the goons and the MCD were not the only ones they have to pay to. The cops also claim their pound of flesh.

“We pay to the MCD. We pay to the goondas of the area and also to the cops. Everybody takes money from us. The bazaar has been operating for the past 20 years. We cannot be removed,” said Vikram, a garment seller. Although shopkeepers, who have proper shops in the legalized markets said they were quite upset about the bazaars running in their areas, they were more or less sure that things wouldn’t change.

“I bought this land to construct a shop here after paying a pretty penny. These people come here, spread their sheets and sell substandard goods. And they make a lot of profit. I feel bad not because they are making profit. I feel bad because they are making profit in an illegal way and nothing is being done to stop them. I am sitting in my shop, watching these people flourishing. It hurts,” said Shailendra Singh, a shopkeeper in Saket.

Giving a rather valid example, Singh said: “It’s like a child who studied really hard for his exams and another who cheated in the exams. The one who cheated did better than the one who studied and worked hard. How would it feel?”



‘Sikhs now feel comfortable staying in Delhi’
R. Suryamurthy

Pushpinder Singh
Member of the Censor Board, Pushpinder Singh

He has a versatile personality and has the knack to be in the right place at the right moment. Known for his organisational skill, Pushpinder Singh, is much sought after figure in the Sikh community circles.

He has been the main force behind the Sikh Census issue, which is an attempt by the community to think in a long-term perspective about the headcount and its implication in the policy formulations.

Pushpinder Singh worked as a media advisor to the former chief minister of Delhi, Ms Sushma Swaraj. As an award for his loyalty, he has been rewarded with the post of member in the Censor Board.

You have been made a member of the Censor Board. What would be your priority area and what measures needs to be done to promote quality film?

As a member of the board, I would try to ensure that no material which denigrates Sikhism is depicted in films and the movies do not represent the Sikh Gurus in physical form, as this is prohibited by religion.

The other objective is to ensure that women are not projected in a denigrating manner in the films. Those films, which try to invoke communal hatred, would be severely dealt with.

The producers would start making quality film once they realise that by making family-base films, they cannot only make profit but also use the medium to send across the message.

It is not merely sex and violence that the audience love to watch. They have always appreciated good quality family movie and would continue to do so.

As member of the Haryana Tourism board, what measures need to be taken to promote the landlocked state, without any major known tourist spots, as a tourist destination? What kinds of tourism model the state should adopt to be successful in attracting the tourist even in a slack season?

The state has a vast potential in developing highway tourism, as it is the main transit route for the tourists travelling to Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Further, many travel to Punjab for business interest. Several spots have been developed along the highway to catch the attention of the tourist to spend sometime in these resorts.

Oasis, near Karnal, developed by the tourism department has become one of the most sought-after spots by the tourists who travel along this route. This has encouraged the state to develop more such centres in the state.

The state tourism board is trying to project the tourism sector in an unconventional manner, by promoting even golf courses as arenas of centre of attraction.

What are the issues of main concern for Sikhs in the National Capital Territory?

After the 1984-riots, the morale of the Sikhs in the Capital was very low. But over the years, it has come up with the active role played by the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, Sikh Forum and others.

Sikhs now feel comfortable to stay in Delhi, with the result the NCT has the largest number of the members of the community living outside Punjab.

The two main political parties in the Capital – the BJP and the Congress – too have regained the confidence of the members of the community, as certain individual members of the party have been forthright in taking up the cause of the Sikhs and accrued benefits for the community.

Further, the Sikhs are now a global community with people living abroad in large numbers.

Though the International Punjabi Society and the World Punjabi Organisation have been successful in creating awareness about the Punjabi society and culture globally, there is a need to project the unique identity of the Sikhs.

This is especially needed after the attack on Sikhs in different part of the world following the September 11 terror attacks on US.

Many in the western world mistook the Sikhs as followers of Osama Bin Laden and attacked them. Such misunderstanding could be avoided, if the Sikhs organise themselves and educate the world about their identity and how they are different from the followers of Islam, who also keep beard.

The SGPC, which is the apex organisation to manage the affairs of the Sikh, should take a lead in promoting the educational campaign, by publishing literature in a language, which would be comprehended by the western world.

What is the present status on the Delhi government’s move to grant second language status to Punjabi in the Capital? What benefits it would accord to those wishing to learn the language?

Since the Punjabi language is the most widely spoken language in the Capital, it should be accorded the second language status.

It is the language of not just Sikhs but all the Punjabis, who constitute almost 50 per cent of the Delhi’s 1.3 crore population.

By according the second language status, the government would not only be promoting Punjabi; it would also be preserving the culture and heritage of the community.

Further, this would provide an employment opportunity to many youth and create interest in many to understand the richness of the language.

The Delhi government had passed a bill granting second language status to Punjabi. It has been years since that bill was passed. Everybody is eager to know its status and how soon it would become a reality.

In this context, the Census figures assume importance. The Sikhs in the Capital have been understated, which would have long term implication in the policy formulation.

Several opportunities for the community would be lost in the future and it is time that we take up this issue and bring about awareness about the importance of Census.

The DSGMC has formed a committee to carryout an enumeration in Tilak Nagar area, to put forth the point that the contentions that the Census figures under represent the community.

With increasing consumerism and globalisation, it appears that the youth are deviating from the tenets of Sikhism. Do you agree with this view, if so, what measures needs to be taken to arrest this trend?

The basic tenets of Sikhism are ‘seva’ and ‘shabat’. The youth continue to follow them. But, there has been deviation in the form in which youth want to practice the religion. As the scientific temperament in the youth has grown, they would not like to follow the religion blindly rather would question the belief.

The SGPC and the DSGMC should bring out literature explaining the religion in a manner, which would appeal to them and answers their queries.

Do you favour holding of polls after every four years? What is the reason for its delay and what measures need to be taken to inculcate democratic function of institution, which has been assigned the task of maintaining and promoting the cause of the community in the Capital?

The elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee should be held periodically as this would repose the confidence of the community in the elected members and would strengthen the organisation.

There should be an electoral college comprising members, who have contributed something to the society, which should elect the DSGMC.

This would bring in quality leadership and professional management of the religious and educational institutions run by the body.

If the elections are not held periodically, corruption and inefficiency in the system creep in, which is not good for it. Like the SGPC, there should be a system of fixed tenure for the DSGMC.



Rs 59 lakh pending as house tax in Rohtak
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 7
House tax amounting to nearly Rs 59 lakh is pending in the district for the period between January 1990 and December 2001. House tax from various government buildings amounts to Rs 17.12 lakh for this period.

The officiating president of the Municipal Council, Mr Om Prakash Bagri, said the council had informed its head office in this regard. He said that the Deputy Commissioner had also been requested to start proceedings for the recovery of the pending amount. Besides, he said, the council would also launch a special campaign for the purpose. He informed that cases had been filed against 250 defaulters so far. Divulging details of the pending amount against the government buildings, Mr Bagri said that a sum of Rs 1.54 lakh was pending against the Public Health Department, Rs 1.71 lakh against the PWD (B and R), Rs 1.30 lakh against railways, Rs 2.97 lakh against Haryana Tourism and Rs 1.64 lakh against provisional division.


Lt-Col R. L. Vashisht (retd) has been appointed as the National Chairman, Ex-Servicemen Cell of Lok Janshakti party by the party president and Union Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan.

Capt Shamsher Singh Malik (retd), state president of the Party, said Col Vashisht is a lawyer and well aware of the problems and difficulties of the ex-servicemen of this region. He hailed the appointment and hoped that it would strengthen the party base among the ex-servicemen community. Kumari Sujata, advocate, has been appointed as president, Women Cell of the party.

Rs 30,000 looted

At least five car-borne unidentified armed miscreants struck at an electronics shop in the Housing Colony market of Sector 14 here last night. The armed miscreants escaped with a cash of Rs 30,000, 16 mobile phones and other goods in their car. According to preliminary reports, the armed miscreants arrived at the shop around 9.45 pm. The owner of the shop, Mr Manoj Kumar Goel along with his friend Manish Jain and a domestic servant Hari were engaged in closing the shop.

The miscreants, who were armed with country-made pistols and knives, surrounded the owner Mr Goel. Pointing a pistol at the owner, they took away Rs 30,000 cash from the cash box and 16 mobile phones which were meant for sale.

The miscreants also snatched a golden chain, a ring and a wrist watch from Mr Goel and a gold ring and a wrist watch from his friend Mr Jain before they fled in the car. When Mr Goel resisted, he was attacked and injured by the miscreants.

After the miscreants had fled the spot, Mr Goel informed the police about the incident. The police immediately swung into action and organised a ‘nakabandi’ of the area. However, the police failed to apprehend the miscreants. A case has been registered against the miscreants and a hunt is on to apprehend them.

Shot dead

A person was allegedly shot dead by two motorcycle borne youths at Ahulana village about 30 km from here on Sunday evening. According to a report, the victim, Randhir (52) was shot in the village. The duo immediately fled on their motorcycle. A long-standing enmity is stated to be the cause of the murder.

The Ganaur police has registered a case against the alleged accused who are still at large. A massive hunt has been launched by the police to apprehend them.

Studio gutted

Jaimuni Photo Studio in front of the general bus stand, was completely gutted in a devastating fire here on Sunday night. According to a report, a short-circuit was the main cause of the fire. The loss is estimated to be around Rs 2 lakh. The municipal fire-brigade immediately reached the site and brought the fire under control. The studio owner, Mr Nafe Singh Saini is also the president of the District Journalists Association. According to eyewitness, the shop owner was informed of the fire by some policemen who were the first to notice it.

Much of the goods in the shop including valuable photographs were reduced to ashes in the fire

Road accidents

An aged man of Muzzaffarnagar (U.P.), Mr Hukamuddin was seriously injured when he was hit by a speeding car on the G.T. Road near Ganaur, about 20 km from here on Sunday.

According to a report, the injured person was rushed to a hospital but he succumbed to his injuries. The police has registered a case against the car driver and further investigations were in progress.

According to another report, three persons sustained injuries when a jeep carrying passengers dashed against a canter on the Gohana-Jind road near Bhambewa village, about 40 km from here yesterday. All the injured persons were immediately hospitalised. One of the injured person was sent to the PGI, Rohtak, for further treatment.


The Kharkhauda police arrested two persons, Om Parkash of Ridhao village and Virender Singh of Rohna village for allegedly possessing 620 grams of contraband charas on Sunday. According to a report, a case under the NPDS Act has been registered against them.

Wife assaulted

A housewife of Kailashpur village, Reena, sustained injuries when she was allegedly attacked by her husband and other members of his family on Sunday. According to a report, the Mahila police has registered a case of dowry harassment against the alleged assailants. Though no arrest has been made in this connection, further investigations were in progress.


The Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has decided to organise a rally on February 23 at Gohana, a sub-divisional town in this district. According to a report, the union would discuss the problems related to farmers. The BKU would also announce a future course of action for launching an agitation against the state government.



Smokers to be segregated in Delhi eateries
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
The restaurants in the NCT of Delhi have been asked to make separate provisions for smokers and non-smokers and also display them prominently. Urban Development Minister A. K. Walia said after the promulgation of the Anti-Smoking Act in the NCT of Delhi, the restaurants would have to have designated smoking and non-smoking zones.

Dr Walia, who reviewed the implementation of the Anti-Smoking Act, on Monday said under the provisions of the Act, 3,652 persons were fined and 720 arrested last year. Police, he said, had registered cases against 489 persons and 63 shops during the last four months.

In a related development, the minister said First Information Reports (FIRs) had been lodged against 285 persons and firms for violating the West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1976 in various police stations.

The Chief Minister, he said, had launched a poster-removing campaign on December 28 last year as part of which over 1.4 lakh posters, 395 banners, 775 tin plates and 35 kiosks were removed and FIRs lodged against 285 persons.

Mr Walia said the Act was in force in the NCT of Delhi under which the violator could be sentenced to imprisonment of up to six months and fine up to Rs 1,000 or both. Since the offence was cognisable, the violator could be arrested instantly, he said, after reviewing the progress of the campaign with officials drawn from the Public Works Department (PWD), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Police.



MCD inspector arrested for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Police arrested an inspector (House Tax) of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) allegedly for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 from a complainant.

The accused, Ashok Mehta allegedly visited the house of the complainant and threatened to impose House tax of Rs 1,12,000 if a gratification of Rs 24,000 was not given to him. The suspect told the complainant that if the bribe was given, the House tax amount would be reduced to Rs 16,000, a release said. The complainant reported the matter to the CBI, which had laid a trap and the suspect was arrested along with his tout, a suspended employee of the MCD, while accepting the bribe of Rs 15,000.

The CBI sleuths conducted a search at the residence of the suspect and recovered a cash of Rs 2.60 lakh, FDRs, NSCs worth Rs 3.40 lakh, Sale Deeds of three properties located at Karol Bagh and documents pertaining to two houses located at Krishna Nagar and Rohini.

Fake LPG kits

The North-West district police have unearthed a fake LPG kit manufacturing unit at Mangol Pur Kalan and DSIDC complex and arrested two persons for indulging in the manufacturing of fake LPG kits for cars.

The police arrested the accused Ratan Mittal (32), in Mangol Pur Kalan and recovered 12 LPG kits, 150 vapourisers, 150 Gas valves from him. Another accused, Anil Kumar Mehta (39), resident of Shiv Vihar was arrested and three kits, 380 vapourisers and raw material were recovered from DSIDC Industrial complex.

The police are investigating the case and looking out for other hide-outs manufacturing such fake kits.

Youth stabbed

The Mehrauli police have arrested one person on murder charges. Police said Mam Chand alias Pappu (34), resident of Mehrauli stabbed Jwala (25), resident of the same area over a petty issue.

The victim was returning home with his brother after attending a function when the incident occurred last night.


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