Sunday, January 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Alwar heritage suffers neglect in stoic silence
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

Alwar, January 12
Over three dozen forts in the picturesque Alwar district, which are in a dilapidated state, cry for attention even as the state government plans to organise the ‘Alwar Utsav’ next month to project the tourism potential of the region.

The second largest district in the desert state of Rajasthan has over 50 forts. But, in the mist of time, many have crumbled like the fiefdoms of the Rajput chieftains. The lack of basic infrastructure in the form of negotiable roads and potable water has also contributed to the neglect, which the state government is now trying to undo.

Only two monuments in the district - Bhangarh Fort and Neelkanth Temple - are being protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

While some of the structures are under the state archaeology and the revenue departments, several others are still in the hands of the scions of the royal families.

“We have written to the ASI to take over some of these structures of historical importance, but we have not had any positive response from them so far,” the officials in the district administration told the NCR Tribune. Even though the ASI has taken over these two structures, the excavation at the site is still being carried out.

“The 200-year-old structure in Bhangarh Fort with symmetrically lined-up shops and Shiva temple with a South Indian architectural influence, are some of the structures which have been unearthed. Many still lie buried, waiting to tell the tale of their heroic adventure during their times,” the official said.

The Kankwari Fort at the top of a hill attracts the attention of the tourist. However, the tourists have to take a bumpy ride on a ‘kachha’ road to reach the fort, which is under the control of the state government.

“There is hardly any literature or sign-board, informing the tourists about the marvels. How would a visitor, after taking the pains to travel through the inhospitable terrain, appreciate them when he does not know their significance, ” a tourist said.

The officials said that there were several forts like the Vijay Mandir Palace, still controlled by the royal scions. But, they are in a bad shape, as there are no resources to maintain them.

District Collector Tanmay Kumar blamed the three consecutive droughts, faced by the state for the poor roads in the district. “The state government has plans to spend Rs 600 crore for the next two years to develop roads. And, in Alwar, the second largest district in the desert state, three crore rupees would be spent,” he said.

Asked whether the amount was sufficient to carry out the work of road repair, Mr Kumar said, “It is the public works department that has estimated the cost of repair.” Even during the three-day festival to be held from February 8, the state government will highlight the folk tradition, artifacts and cultural heritage of the region.

The ruins of Bhangarh Fort have the potential to be projected as a major tourist spot by organising cultural programmes in the vicinity of these wonders. “We do understand their tourism potential. We cannot organise the festival this year simply because of lack of infrastructure facilities,” he said. The state tourism department had organised a similar utsav in 1995. However, the department could not transform it into an annual event, as there was hardly an involvement of the people.

“This year, we have tried to integrate the people in a way that the utsav acts as an employment generating opportunity for the artisans apart from displaying their craft,” the district collector said. While the state tries to experiment with the convergence of interests of the artisans and the needs of the tourists, the battle-fatigued forts continue to fight a losing battle with nature, red in tooth and claw.



Alwar, a many-splendoured city of forts
Tribune News Service

Moosi Rani Chhatri and a tiger on the prowl at Sariska.

As the sun sets, it is time to pack up and drive down to Alwar, a picturesque city of forts, surrounded by the hills. It is a natural habitat for tigers. Like a cup, Aravalli ranges protect the city. The rugged dry terrain of the mountain ranges gives a glimpse of the tough Rajput warriors, who could only be conquered by love, not by arms.

Situated about 160 km from Delhi and connected by metal road, the drive to the city is a contrast between modernity and tradition. The skyscrapers and ultra-modern architectural structures dot the skylines of Gurgaon. The lush green field with yellow flowers of the mustard plant provides quite a synchrony and the rhythm to the transition in the eras.

One of the oldest cities in the desert state, with a civilisation dating back to around 2500 BC, Alwar, north-eastern gateway of Rajasthan, is carved out of and nestled among the harsh jagged Aravalli Hills – the oldest mountain range in the world.

The city is uniquely situated amidst the golden triangle from where Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are around 150 kms.

Its undulated lands, dotted with pre-historic and historical architectural splendour and pilgrimage centres, consists of succession of plateaus wrapped with peacock echoing vibrant hills and valleys with cascading springs, placid lakes, sprawling dense deciduous forest inhabited by valuable flora, fauna and rich wildlife sanctuary.

Blissfully remote and uniquely beautiful with perfect picture postcard setting, its tranquil environs offer an idle escape from restrictions of civilisation. There are, still, some areas of bygone days tampered with moments of serenity that make it impossible for a discerning tourist not to be seduced by its beauty.

Alwar, amongst the Rajput principalities, was closest to imperial Delhi, influencing the people and history of the region, formerly known as Mewat. The people of Alwar developed a hardy, but carefree attitude to life. They did not submit to alien rule, and often rebelled. They were daring adventurers and marauders in the 12th and 13th centuries when they banded together and raided Delhi at night.

The western gates of the Capital had to be barred every evening against their coming. Sultan Balban finally crushed their disorganised resistance and as a result they came under the Muslim rule. In 1776, Maharaja Pratap Singh, a Kuchhwaha Rajput, won back Alwar and founded a principality of his own. The city nestles between several small hills, on the most prominent of which stands a dramatically forbidding fort, lakes and valleys of thickly wooded in parts, have made this area the haunt of animals and birds.

The city provides the tourists with a spirit of adventure to explore whether it is the wildlife sanctuary at Sariska, a tiger reserve or the imposing Bala Quila, located on a 300 mt. steep hill.

The architectural marvel of cenotaph of Moosi Rani, a symbol of sacrifice and eternal love, the Kankwari Fort, which overlooks a lake surrounded by forest, covered hills or the soothing Lake Palace, the summer retreat overlooking a tranquil lake surrounded by hills, provides a welcome relief to the tourist.

For those with a religious bent of mind, the exquisite Jain temple at Dehra Tijara, dedicated to the eighth Tirthankar Shri Chandraprabhu Bhawan, Bhartrihari temple dedicated to saint king Maharaj Bhartrihari, who wandered in exile here in penance, provide an opportunity to search for inner peace. The Alwar Museum, which has a rich collection of rare artifacts and arms, gives a glimpse of the transition from the sword to camel guns to pistols.

Three-day Alwar Utsav is being organised from February 8 to promote the picturesque tourist spots of the district where the handicraft of the region, marble works by artisans and folk culture of the Mewat tradition would be displayed.



Criminal shot dead in East Delhi encounter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
In a dramatic encounter last night, the Special Staff of the East district police shot dead a dreaded criminal, Rupinder, after a prolonged exchange of fire in the trans-Yamuna area of Pandav Nagar.

He was wanted by the Ghaziabad police for his alleged involvement in more than 20 cases of heinous crimes.

The police seized a .38 bore revolver and a number of live cartridges with one mobile phone from the house where the encounter took place.

The special staff, acting on a tip off that a dreaded criminal was staying at a house in Pandav Nagar surrounded the premises. When the police team knocked on the door, Rupinder started firing at them indiscriminately. The police returned the fire and the encounter lasted for about 30 minutes until one of the bullets from the police found the target.

The police then broke open the door and rushed the suspect to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

A large number of residents of the congested locality emerged from their houses on hearing the gunshots a little before midnight. There was considerable panic till the police reassured them that things were under control. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), Mr Manoj Lal, said that the criminal was involved in heinous crimes like murder, attempt to murder and robbery. Rupinder was the prime suspect in the murder of an Inspector of the Ghaziabad police last year.

Apart from these, the police said that he was also involved in a number of extortion cases and a few days back he had extorted about Rs 20 lakh from a Uttar Pradesh-based businessman.

Twelve nabbed

The special operations group (SOG) of the Noida police claimed to have arrested 12 criminals after two encounters last night. Eight criminals were arrested after an encounter with the group while they were planning a dacoity in Sector 55. Four country-made revolvers, cartridges and knives were recovered from them. The police said they were Bangladeshi nationals who were planning to commit crimes in Noida.

In another encounter, the SOG arrested four criminals and seized 10 quintals of saryas (iron rods) and a .32-bore revolver from them in Sector 63. The gang had come prepared with a bullock cart to carry away the stolen saryas. The SOG was acting on a tip off that some suspicious looking persons were seen with a cart laden with iron rods in Sector 63.

According to the district police, the criminals fired upon the SOG when they were asked to stop near Hosiery Complex in Sector 63. After a brief exchange of fire, the SOG managed to arrest four of them — Hira Lal, Nur-Islam, Kamal and Kabir, all residents of Bulandshahar. They led the police to Sector 55 where other criminals, who were planning to break into a house, were camping.

The police then arrested Babul, Monti, Masoom and Mehraj, all Bangladeshi nationals, and Anil Kumar of Ghaziabad, Satish, alias Rahul, of Dadri, Bupender of Anthipur and Pankaj of Hathras. According to the police, FIRs have been lodged at police stations in Phase-II and Sector 58.



Encroachments in name of religion
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 12
The development of residential and industrial areas and the encroachment on government land have been almost a simultaneous activity in Faridabad. However, the encroachments done under the guise of religious structures, have posed a challenge to the authorities in their drive to recover the occupied land.

All the same, the Haryana Urban Development Authorities (HUDA) here has been able to clear about a dozen such structures and recovered land worth crores in the past one and a half years. The demolition squad of HUDA has been trained in such a manner as to take an extra care while removing the religious structures, made on the government land, said a senior official. It is reported that about two dozen idols of deities, removed by HUDA, have been lying with the officials.

The drive against religious encroachments has not been without hurdles. The incident of pulling down a temple at Sector-28 here last year, caused quite a stir. The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had to intervene. He announced that the plot would be given to the temple management and reportedly also tendered an apology.

The district authorities and the HUDA officials again took an action by pulling down the structures, brought up on HUDA land by the Siddhata Ashram temple complex on Surajkund Road here. The ashram has a huge following in the region. The administrator, HUDA, Mr Vijayendra Kumar, admitted that the department had to face severe flak from the public, but he said that the encroachment in the name of religion could not be permitted.

He said the department had been able to recover land worth several crores in the past one year, by pulling down a dozen such structures. He said that the notice had also been given to many encroachers. Many people construct a temple or mazaar first and start building kutcha-pucca houses near it and if there is no check, the area develops into a colony within no time,” the administrator said. The authorities pulled down two ‘temples’, an outer wall of a temple and about 150 jhuggis from Sector-3, Sector-4, and Sector-16 here recently. The authorities have also identified several spots along the Bhadkhal–Surajkund Road which are to be cleared under a project to widen the road.



MTNL’s Trump may launch mobile rate war 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
The stage appears to be set for another round of rate cut war in mobile telephony with state-owned behemoth, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), deciding to enter the cash card segment in Delhi and Mumbai on Monday.

Appropriately named “Trump”, MTNL’s cash card could eventually unleash another round of rate cut in the industry. The tariffs of Trump have been kept a closely guarded secret, apparently to negate any anticipatory reduction in tariffs by the existing mobile service providers, Essar and AirTel. Industry sources, however, say that the charges on Trump could be Rs 2 per minute for the incoming calls and Rs 2.50 per minute for the outgoing calls. This will be much below the rates of Rs 3 per minute for the incoming and Rs 5 per minute for the outgoing calls charged by Essar and AirTel on its cash cards Speed and Magic, respectively.

The launch of Trump comes at a time when the telecom industry is witnessing a sustained dip in charges thanks to an intense competition between the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and private players.

Earlier also, MTNL was largely instrumental in a rate cut war by launching its mobile service, Dolphin, last year. Barely a day after Dolphin was launched with much lower rates, the existing service providers followed suit by announcing similar cuts to hold on to their subscriber base.

Trump is likely to incorporate some value-added services in the pre-paid cash card segment and is being positioned as “catering to the needs of the common man” enabling “top-of-the-line talking for less”. The pre-paid cards will have values of four denominations – Rs 300, Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000. Industry sources say in all probability, as an introductory incentive, Trump may involve negligible activation charges. The launch of pre-paid mobile card comes simultaneously with other valued-added services by the telecom giant. MTNL is seeking to position itself as a `complete’ telecom service provider and is offering 100 hours of free Internet surfing to those customers who apply for second basic telephone connection.



Parched Mewat fields may soon turn green
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January12
If the intentions of the Mewat Development Agency (MDA) are proved effective, the agriculture fields of the region and parts of Guragon will smell of aromatic and medicinal plants inter-cropped with vegetables. And the agency feels it will sure bring success to the hapless farmers of the region.

Gone are the days of single-crop, mainly cereal, farming since there is no water under the ground and the rains are undependable. Hence, a change in the cropping pattern will sure alter the fates of farmers here, says the agency. With this in view, the MDA has decided to intensify the campaign to popularise vegetable crops and horticulture among the farmers in the area spanning over large tracts of Mewat, Gurgaon district and one tehsil block of Faridabad.

The need for popularising vegetable crops and expanding the areas under horticulture stems from the severe shortage of water for irrigation. The principal source for irrigation here is rainwater. However, with the rains remaining few and far between for the past four years, the traditional mode of farming entailing cereal crops has proved to be a failure.

Added to this is the fast-depleting sub-soil water. The fact that most of the underground water table is brackish has further compounded the problem for the farmers, and consequent loss to the agrarian economy of the state. Also, with the landholdings shrinking on account of the increase in population in Mewat, it is a matter of expediency to change the crop pattern in the area.

According to the Chairman of the MDA, Mr S. A. Khan, aromatic and medicinal plants had been identified to be propagated among the farmers of the area. They are isafgol, lemon grass, sanai, mullaithi, khas etc. The plants identified have existence ranging from two to nine years. They also consume minimum water for survival. While some of the plants consume brackish water, plants like sanai grow on the wasteland.

According to Mr Khan, the plants will fetch astronomical returns per acres to the farmers, who at present cannot even indulge in subsistence farming on their land holdings. Plants like khas have 15-20 kg acreage and the medicinal extracts from the plant sell at Rs 7,000 per kg. Mullaithi has the potential of giving a return of Rs 4 lakh worth yield per acre.

For the horticulture development, the MDA has roped in voluntary organisations to take the initiative of demonstrating plantation of saplings at selected areas for the benefit of the farmers. The MDA will then provide seeds at nominal rates. The Horticulture Department will also be roped in to provide subsidies to the farmers who go in for horticulture farming. To streamline the entire process, there are plans to form cooperatives of the farmers going in for particular species of the medicinal plants. Already, the MDA has got some of these plants grown in Taoru and Punhana blocks. It has also set up a nursery in Mewat.

To channel the energy of the prospective farmers going in for the medicinal plant cropping, the MDA has already conducted exploratory studies to canalise the marketing process of the produce. A number of firms and organisations like Hamdard producing Ayurvedic medicines have been contacted. They have promised to buy the produce from the farmers.

Also, the MDA has decided to help give momentum to vegetable farming in Mewat. As Gurgaon city and Delhi’s markets are near, vegetable farming held good prospects for the growers.



Woman gang-raped, commits suicide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
A 25-year-old married woman poisoned her three-year-old daughter and committed suicide after she was reportedly gang raped in Ladpur village near Kanjhawala in South-West Delhi today. The police said that the incident had caused considerable tension in the village. The body of the woman has been sent for a post-mortem examination. The condition of the three-year old daughter, who was admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, was described as stable.

The police said that a hunt had been launched to trace the four suspects who were identified as Sanjay, Kala, Sheel Kumar and Leelay. They are all residents of the village. According to the police, the incident occurred when the woman was working in her fields.

The suspects, who were apparently lying in wait, pounced on her and gagged her before assaulting her. She narrated the incident later to her brother-in-law, Rajesh, and then locked herself in her room and swallowed sulphas tablets. She also forced the same down her daughter’s throat.

The family members rushed her and the child to the hospital when they found them both unconscious. Further investigations were continuing.

The police said that the statement of the family members had been recorded.


Villagers block traffic

Irate residents of Silani village of the district today blocked traffic on the Jhajjar-Rewari road in protest against the inefficiency of the district administration to ensure proper supply of water and electricity in the village.

According to information, thousands of villagers gathered on the road in the morning and blocked the road. Officials, including the SDM, DSP, and Executive Engineers of Public Health and DHBVN reached the spot and tried to pacify the agitated villagers. The officials assured that regular supply of electricity and water would be ensured at the earliest following which villagers lifted the blockage around 1 pm. OC



Agricultural board to spend Rs 14.54 cr on roads
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 12
The Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board has earmarked Rs 14.54 crore for the construction of 189.52 km-long roads in the district during the current financial year.

The district administration informed mediapersons here today that the Board had completed the work of construction of 114.07 km-long roads at a cost of Rs 7.34 crore.

The board had sanctioned Rs 7.40 crore for the repairs of 147.27 km long roads in the district of which 85 per cent of the work has been completed at a cost of Rs 6.22 crore. He also disclosed that the board had already constructed a kisan rest house at a cost of Rs 1.86 crore in the grain market at Gohana town. It consists of two suits, a big hall, a drawing-cum-dining hall and a community latrine. The rest house would be used by farmers coming to the mandi for selling their produce as well as traders. The construction of concrete platforms in the vegetable and fruit markets in Sonepat city and Gohana was in progress.

The Deputy Commissioner disclosed that a sum of Rs 2.94 crore had been sanctioned for the construction of 2.92 km-long roads in Gohana sub-division under `Sarkar Aap Ke Dwar” programme launched by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

The district administration, he said, had spent Rs 1.05 crore on the metalling of roads in the area. He said that the state government had sanctioned Rs 23 lakh for special repair of 10.29 km-long roads in the area. So far, a sum of Rs 15 lakh had been spent on the special repairs of the roads.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, the state government had spent Rs 2.13 crore on the construction of the sabzi mandi at Gohana town and the work would be completed by the end of June. The district administration had speeded up the work.


Sikh history: Sociologist rues bid to project martyrs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
A well-known sociologist and chairman of the Centre for Studies of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Dipankar Gupta, has decried the attempts to project certain leaders in the recent history of Sikhs as martyrs. He was addressing a distinguished gathering of scholars from different universities in Delhi, Punjab and some scholars from North America today.

Comparing the tradition of martyrdom in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other faiths, Prof Gupta observed that in tune with the Sikh tradition, Guru Tegh Bahadur set a unique example in the world history of martyrdom by offering his life not for his own faith but for upholding the religious freedom of humankind.

Elaborating his point, Prof Gupta said that during his visit to the Hall of Martyrs at Central Sikh Museum in Golden Temple Complex, Amritsar, he had found that the definition of martyrdom in Sikhism was changing in the nineteenth and twentieth century. While Guru Arjun Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur suffered martyrdom without any territorial ambitions, the hall also displayed pictures of those who entertained territorial ambitions in the recent Sikh history as martyrs.

Prof Gupta further observed that those who died in defending the sanctity of the Golden Temple occupied higher place than those who died for territorial gains. He made a comparison between the sacrifice of Baba Deep Singh and that of Banda Singh Bahadur. While there was no dispute among the Sikhs about Baba Deep Singh being an unquestioned martyr, a section of the Sikhs did not give the same place to Banda Singh Bahadur because of the political ambitions and territorial acquisition he entertained and his deviation from the path shown by Guru Gobind Singh.

Participating in the debate, scholars observed that there was a need to make a distinction between heroes and martyrs belonging to the secular history and those to religious traditions.

Presiding over a lecture, Prof J. S. Grewal, an eminent Sikh historian, observed that the martyrs belonged to an ideology which is not only found in physical but also in the metaphysical realm. He further emphasised that one had to understand the difference between the sacrifices made for altruistic purposes and those made for worldly gains.

This was the first memorial lecture instituted in the memory of Bhai Chanan Singh by the Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan. The lecture will be a regular annual feature of the Sadan wherein a non-Sikh scholar would be speaking on some aspect of Sikhism.



Self-development: The Buddhist way

Man’s quest for perfection has started from time immemorial. How are we to achieve perfection in this world of uncertainty and suffering? There are different philosophies making varied prescriptions, and some of these methods are common to many faiths. Thousands gathered on January 5 to listen to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetans, at the Sir Shankaralal Hall of Modern School, to listen to him speak on “Self-development through the six perfections’’.

Does man’s growth to perfection follow any settled path? Can the rules to achieve perfection be reduced to formulae? Is it within man’s power to achieve the ideal level? These are debatable points. But what is beyond debate is man’s aspiration to reach perfection. That also explains the presence of such a large crowd thronging the auditorium last Sunday. They were certainly hungry souls.

Though, his talks were not a structured one, as one would have expected, the sermon did contain valuable instructions for a willing listener. He began by saying that humans, unlike animals, are endowed with the capacity to think. This intellectual dimension is given much importance in the teaching of Buddhism. The intellect is able to distinguish between the reality and appearances and thereby avoid all those negativities, which cause misery in a human being. It is awareness of the reality as against appearances that brings wisdom to the seeker of truth. He is to constantly eliminate all negative qualities and practise the virtues. The six perfections involved in self- developments are: giving, ethics, patience, efforts, concentration and wisdom. Acquisition of one or two qualities does not constitute enlightenment or perfection.

When one talks of ‘perfection’, or `enlightenment’, the reference is both to the path and the fruit. There is a cause-effect relationship, when one talks of happiness or suffering. Similarly, the perfection has a cause-effect relationship. As the seed, so the fruit. The idea of perfection in Buddhism may seem a philosophical concept; but it has relevance to the modern society, which is looking for well-developed individuals to provide leadership in all spheres of human endeavour.

In the words of a writer, each society is looking for men, “who cannot be bought; whose word is their bond; who put character above wealth... who are larger than their vocations; who will not lose their individuality in a crowd; who will be as honest in small things as in great things; who will make no compromise with wrong... who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning and hardheadedness are the best qualities for success; who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular; who can say ‘no’ with emphasis although the rest of the world says ‘yes’.’’

It is when talking about compassion that the spiritual leader is at his best. The practice of compassion, according to him, is of immense benefit to the practitioner. “When you think of the well-being of others you get the maximum benefit.” This compassion can be of two kinds: providing others with material benefits and helping them grow spiritually with the inner resources.

The fruit of self-development is bound to be reflected in the individual’s relationship with others. In his book, The Transformed Mind, he explains this further: Whenever I associate with someone/ May I think myself the lowest among all / And hold the other supreme / In the depth of my heart. He thus includes unselfishness a cardinal factor in the achievement of perfection. But one wonders how far one can advance towards unselfishness with self-effort, fighting the natural inclination for survival of the self. The major problems, facing the world today could be ascribed to selfishness on the part of individuals, communities and nations themselves. Despite the injunctions by all religions that we should be concerned about others; we should treat them with respect and we should count them as sacred and superior to ourselves.

The Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre, New Delhi, which had organised the lecture, also came out with a well-written souvenir, containing an exhaustive interview with the Dalai Lama. To a question, whether selflessness also means forgetting oneself for the sake of others, he clarified: “That is not the meaning. For example, when we talk about the development of altruism, or the wish to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings, even in that context. Although, the altruism is primarily targeted towards benefiting other sentient beings, at the same time you aspire to achieve enlightenment, or the state of Buddhahood, for yourself. While thinking of yourself, if you are totally ignoring other sentient beings and disregard them, then that is totally wrong. But on the other hand, if you faithfully and sensibly help other sentient beings, then your own purpose is fulfilled.”

M P K Kutty



Motorcyclist robbed of Rs 20,000 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 12
A motorcyclist was robbed of Rs 20,000 by four unidentified car-borne miscreants on the Sonepat-Sampla road near Naya Baans village this afternoon. According to police sources, Surender of Jatwara village was coming from Sonepat on his motorcycle when he was forced to halt near a drain at around 2 pm by four armed youths. The miscreants, armed with knifes snatched the amount and drove away. The Sampla police has registered a case.

BPL schemes

The Haryana Government has constituted self-help groups among families living below the poverty line (BPL) in the district and elsewhere in the state to get them financial assistance for launching self-employment ventures. This was stated by Mr Ashok Yadav, Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Executive Officer of the District Rural Development Authority (DRDA), at a specially convened meeting of the bankers here yesterday. He reviewed the functioning of the scheme and asked the bankers to ensure that loans were given to those groups, which had completed the six-month period, for purchasing buffaloes.

Fire in factory

Goods worth several thousands of rupees were reduced to ashes in a devastating fire that broke out in a factory near the G.T. Road, about 15 km from here, last night. According to a report, the fire brigades from Sonepat and Ganaur brought the fire under control. The cause of the fire was still being ascertained.

Boy crushed

Monu, a student of Saraswati Shikhsha Sadan, was crushed to death by a tractor trolley at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, the victim was trying to take away the sugarcane from the tractor trolley when he was trapped under the wheels of the tractor trolley and got killed.

Increase in income

The income from each bus of Gurgaon Depot in December, 2001 jumped to Rs 1.26 lakh, which is the highest in the state. A press note issued by the department claimed that the expenditure on each bus per kilometre was Rs 0.72 paise, the lowest in the state.

Golden jubilee

Dronacharya Government College, one of the premier institutions of Haryana, is celebrating its golden jubilee on January 17. The Principal of the college, Mrs Usha Dahiya, informed that on completing 50 years, the management of the college had decided to organise a function which would be presided over by Mr Sudha Yadav, Member of Parliament.



Forum slams single-fuel policy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
The Delhi Science Forum today said there was little scientific or public interest in a single-fuel policy and urged the Centre not to pass the buck to the courts and announce vehicular emission standards at the earliest to set at rest the CNG controversy in the Capital.

In a statement here, the forum said the Union Cabinet’s “prompt acceptance” of the Mashelkar Committee report had clearly exposed its duplicity in regard to the issue of vehicular pollution.

Since the Union Government had now accepted the Mashelkar Committee’s recommendations that fuel properties and vehicular emission standards should be laid down by policy leaving the choice of fuel and vehicular technology to the users, it was now incumbent on it to frame such a legislation and bring it before Parliament, the forum added.

“‘It is internationally recognised that many alternative fuels can contribute to lowering vehicular pollution compared even to norms such as Euro II or Euro III, and further, that doors should not be shut on ongoing or future research which may throw up even cleaner fuels or vehicular technologies. The Mashelkar Committee’s recommendations in this regard is a step in the right direction,” it said.



Nominations for Mahaveer Awards invited
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
The Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation has invited nominations for the Eighth Mahaveer Awards for Excellence in Human Endeavour in the propagation of Non-Violence and Vegetarianism; Education and Medicine; Community and Social Service. Each of the three awards carries a cash prize of Rs 5 Lakh, a commendatory scroll and a memento. The award is open only to Indian nationals and institutions based in India. A major criteria would be works undertaken that benefit the economically and socially backward sections of the society.

Moreover, such institutions or individuals should be sponsored by others who are not directly associated with the management of such institutions. The selection jury is headed by Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah. 



Four caught while trying to loot house 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12
The Delhi Police arrested four robbers, including a woman, while attempting to loot the house of a chartered accountant in the Punjabi Bagh area last evening.

The police said that one Ms Kaushal (50), wife of Mr Vijay Singh, a chartered accountant, was waiting in their Pashchim Vihar residence for their daughter Priyanka who was to come from school. Besides Ms Kaushal, her 13-year-old son Jigyasu and father-in-law Sampat were also present in the house.

As Priyanka entered the house, three youths, Kishan, Sanjay and Zulfikar, all in the age group of 20 years, and a woman, Shakuntla (40), also gained entry by saying that they wanted to meet Mr Vijay for some account work. They also said that they had taken appointment from the chartered accountant. When Ms Kaushal telephoned Mr Vijay to inquire about the youths and the woman, he said that he did not know them. While she was talking to him on telephone, one of the robbers took out a country-made pistol and asked the key of the almirah.

Mr Vijay Singh heard the voice of the robbers on the telephone and reported the matter to the local police. The police reached the spot in time and arrested the robbers and their woman associate, the police said.

3 kids hurt in fire

Three children sustained burns yesterday when an electric transformer in the Patel Nagar area caught fire. The children were playing near the transformer. Two of the victims, Sanjay and Rahul, were taken to Safdarjang Hospital while the third one, Jitender, was admitted to RML Hospital, the police said.


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