Monday, January 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Rajput heritage is up for grabs
Strapped for funds, Rajasthan to dispose of Tijara Fort, three other sites; structures could go to foreigners 
R. Suryamurthy

Tribune News Service

Alwar, January 13
Faced with a resource crunch, the Rajasthan Government is planning to sell four historical structures built by the Rajput chieftains in Alwar district to the private sector.

These structures could also be sold to foreigners, if they obtain clearance from the Centre, after their intention and credibility in the sector is assessed, a senior official of the Rajasthan Tourism told the NCR Tribune.

Official sources in the district administration said the State Government has not yet decided whether to go in for an outright sale or hand over these structures on a long-term lease of about 99 years.

A District administration official said, “It is ironical that the massive structures built by Rajput warriors, who fought valiantly against all those who intruded into their fiefdom, could be sold to foreigners.”

These structures have carved a niche in the world of architectural design: it is both unique and representative of the era, a rich mix of the Mughal and the ancient Hindu style.

The four structures identified by the State Government for possible sale in Alwar district are Tijara Fort, Bangla Kesarpur, Burrod Fort and Sareta. It is alleged that utter neglect by the state government has resulted in these historical structures decaying and falling into ruins. Of these four structures, only Tijara Fort, the officials said, was in a relatively better condition and would perhaps fetch the maximum price.

The Tijara fort, situated on the crest of a hill, was recently in news following the excavation of hidden treasure. It was the capital of Mewat and has a long and glorious history of bravery and sacrifice. Nearby, there is a popular Jain temple, visited by lakhs of pilgrims every year.

District Collector Tanmay Kumar explained the rationale behind the move: “By handing over the structures to the private parties, we are trying to conserve the historical heritage of the region.”

A committee of experts is assessing the value of the structures and would submit their report by month end.

A two-stage bidding would be the basis of the sale.

In the first stage, the interested parties would give information of their track record in the sector, details of how they intend to conserve the heritage sites and their plans for the future use of these structures.

A core group set up by the state government would assess the bids of the interested parties and scrutinise the credentials of the bidders. Officials said this process of calling the bids in the first phase is likely to be completed by February end.

In the second phase, the bidders would quote their price for these sites, which would be assessed by the state government. “The historical lineage of these structures would pass on into the hands of successful bidders by the end of 2002,” the official said.

The state government is optimistic that the bid would elicit a positive response from the private sector as heritage structures in the desert state have always mesmerised the tourists.

As the district has about 50 forts, the officials in the tourism department are hopeful that the `sale’ of these four structures could give a new lease of life to some of the other forts.

“If the sale elicits a positive response, the state government could go in for the sale of other structures, as several privately owned forts have been sold by erstwhile chieftains to hotel chains and individuals and they are doing rather well as heritage hotels,” the official added.



Priest murdered in Mehrauli temple 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
The residents of Dera village near Mehrauli in South Delhi, woke up to a rude shock when one of the devotees found the priest of a temple killed inside the premises. She had gone there to pray as usual early in the morning.

The body of the priest, Ajai Ram Dass, 65, was found on the floor of the temple. He had a deep head injury, indicating that he had been attacked with some blunt object. Nothing was reported missing from the temple or the room of the priest. He had been serving the temple for 15 years.

The police said that a case of murder had been registered and efforts were being made to trace the culprits. The priest belonged to Khetwal village in Faridabad district. A team of police officers has been sent to his village for enquiry. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

The murder of the priest has sent shock waves and a large number of villagers gathered outside the temple. Some considered it a bad omen as the priest was murdered on the eve of Makar Sankranti.

Preliminary enquiries revealed that the suspects had come to the house of God, posing as devotees and then attacked the priest from close quarters. Since, the temple was not ransacked, the police have ruled out robbery as a motive and were working on other theories, including that of revenge. Further investigations were on. The statement of the woman devotee who had discovered the body, has been recorded.

The bus ‘Sobhraj’

Satish Gupta, a resident of Shahdara in North-East district, deployed a novel method to rob passengers of buses and trains. He would occupy the seat beside his victim and make him sniff a poisonous substance at a convenient time. Once the victim lost consciousness, he would divest him of his belongings quietly and disembark.

However, the new ‘Charles Sobhraj’ fell in the Delhi Police net finally. During interrogation, he divulged the ‘secret of success’. He also recounted one of his recent successes.

This time his target was Mr Madan Lal, a consultant of a factory in Mayapuri. He was coming from Punjab after attending a wedding. Both were sitting in the same seat of a Punjab Roadways bus. First, Satish Gupta offered Mr Madan Lal a biscuit which he refused. Not the one to give up, Satish made Mr Madan Lal smell a poisonous substance. When the victim lost consciousness, he relieved him of his three rings, one gold chain, wristwatch and Rs 6, 500 in cash, the police said.



When enforcement agencies flout the law
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 13
As one enters Noida, hoardings and billboards put up by the Noida Authority’s horticulture and landscaping department greet the visitor. But what a casual visitor may overlook is that these hoardings have been put up in blatant violation of the Supreme Court’s orders on the issue.

In fact, the main approach road is pockmarked with poles erected by contractors engaged by the advertising agencies. But what is intriguing is that the Noida Authority is blissfully unaware of these violations.

The blatant violations were brought to the notice of the authorities recently when the Noida toll bridge company, through a letter, complained to the Chief Executive Officer, that the horticulture department had put up the poles and the hoardings on the land leased to it by the Noida Authority.

While officials were reluctant to comment on this, sources said that the letter has caused considerable embarrassment to the top brass of the administration as it has brought the entire issue into the open.

Sources said that the Noida Authority had published public notices regarding construction of public toilets, traffic police kiosks, bus stands, guide maps and road signs in September 2001 under the BOT (Built, Operate & Transfer) scheme. Among these were 22 public toilets, 25 traffic police posts, 71 bus stands, 65 guide maps and 60 signposts.

A licence fee of Rs 20,000 per annum had been fixed for each of these facilities. The authority had contended that if these facilities were put up departmentally, it would have cost at least Rs 5 crore. But going about in this way would generate an annual revenue of Rs 2.50 crore to the Noida authority.

Just when the Noida authority had almost finalised the scheme for the public utilities, the authority OSD, Vasu Miter Arora, came up with a plan to fix 83 poles and 1600 kiosks on the main roads and intersections.

Sources said that this was the first time in Noida’s history that horticulture department had been given a contract for putting up hoardings and advertisement kiosks on such a large scale.

It was alleged that five ad agencies had been randomly chosen for the contract without any public notice having been issued, which provoked one ad agency, apparently left out, to question the selection process through a letter to the Noida authority.

All this when, signboards, advertisement hoardings and kiosks, have been banned in view of the controversy regarding jurisdiction of the Noida Authority and the Panchayats over these items. Besides the Apex Court had banned a large number of hoardings in the light of its verdict on M.C. Mehta’s PIL on the subject.

This had reportedly landed a Noida Authority official in the soup; he had given the green signal to these campaigns as also to the removal of hoardings. As a

result, the Noida Authority had to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court contending that no hoardings or advertisements will be fixed on the roadside after the Apex Court decision. The affidavit was filed on behalf of CEO, OSD (D), and the Head of the Horticulture Department.

Now, after conducting a survey, it has been decided to ban boarding's or advertisement kiosks on six main roads of the city. In view of Noida Authority having faced an embarrassment in courts, Vasu Mitter Arora has backtracked, saying that he was not aware the of Apex Court’s ban on hoardings on main roads. He only wanted to cut down the expenses of the horticulture department and hand over their maintenance to private companies. Noida Authority would earn a licence fee of Rs 12,000 per annum from each unipole and Rs 1,200 from each electric pole per annum, says Mr Arora.



Afghan team visits Atlas unit, tie-up in mind
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 13
Mr Mohammad Arif Nurzai, Industries Minister of the new Afghanistan Government and other members of a high-level delegation were given a warm welcome as they arrived here yesterday in the Atlas Cycles, the largest bicycle manufacturing concern of the country.

The delegation was on a tour to Delhi and its adjoining areas, to explore the possibilities of setting up small-scale units in order to rehabilitate the people of war-ravaged country.

Besides, the Chairman of the small-scale Industries, Mr Hayyat, the minister was accompanied by Messrs Agha Mohammad Rahmani, Abdul Sattar, Matin, Jetha Nand Kukreja, Ganga Ram Mutneja, Nanak Singh Wadhwa, Vajinder Singh Khurana, Syad Mohammad Shah and Amin.

The delegation went round the company and witnessed the manufacturing of the bicycles. Mr S N Roy, Deputy Commissioner and Mr Gautam Kapur, one of the owners of the concern, told the delegation that 90 per cent of the production in this concern was utilised in the country while the remaining 10 per cent produce is exported. The delegation members expressed happiness at the quality of the bicycles, and said that the setting up of industries in Afghanistan in collaboration with India, would go a long way in the rehabilitation and providing employment opportunities to the people.



Brothel raided, four women, cop arrested
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 13
In a raid on a prostitution den in Garima Garden, Sahibabad police arrested three women along with their leader and a head constable of the Delhi Police on Friday night.

Circle Officer Ajay Sehdev said that a prostitution den was flourishing in Garima Garden. He deputed Sahibabad inspector M.S. Nagi to raid the place and catch the culprits.

The den was being run from the house of one Devinder Kumar. The ladies of an easy virtue had taken the house on rent, Mr Ajay Sehdev said.

The madam, Haleema and three women, Maqsooda, Rani and Hafiza were arrested. They said that they belonged to Kolkata and had been in the oldest profession for long.

Circle Officer Ajay Sehdev disclosed that a head constable of Delhi Police was also nabbed red-handed.

He used to frequent the place as a customer. He was identified as Promode Kumar.



Govt policies blamed for low academic standards
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 13
The Haryana Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (HFUCTO) expressed serious concern at the “deteriorating” standard of higher education in the state at its meeting held here today. The meeting was chaired by the HFUCTO convenor, Mr Vazir Nehra, and attended by leaders of various university and college teachers’ organisations.

Mr Vazir Nehra said the meeting felt an urgent need to check the deterioration in academic standard by opposing the “disastrous” government policies and through advancement of higher education. The HFUCTO expressed serious concern at the continuation of retrograde amendments relating to the University Act passed by the Haryana Assembly nearly five years back which was leading to an “autocratic” reorganisation of higher education in the state.

Avoiding any direct comment on the lack of academic credentials of the vice-chancellors of universities in the state, the teacher leaders appealed them to be careful in the governance of universities and colleges as well as avoid and curb undemocratic anti-academic tendencies to ensure peaceful academic atmosphere on the campuses.

They criticised the “fatwas” on academic matters like size of classes, tutorial groups, minimum students for optional papers, combination of subjects, duration of a period, teaching methods and workload norms. They also condemned the policy of liberalisation that was, under imperialist pressure, suppressing the national economy and reducing social welfare subsidies.

They alleged that these policies were destroying education through financial curtailment on publicly funded higher education and through rampant privatisation and commercialisation.



Lajpat Nagar residents get a Lohri surprise
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, January 13
The festival of Lohri brought along with it something for the residents of south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar to smile about. Along with most of the residents – young and old – congregating at one of the colony’s parks to celebrate came along area MLA Talwinder Singh Marwah. Not that he had come that made the residents cheer up but what he had said.

Dressed in a black suit and a red-colour turban, Mr Marwah announced, “The roads of the colony shall be in perfect condition before the month is over.” The MLA also inaugurated the construction of a boundary wall of a park in Lajpat Nagar II. Later, he announced the repair of a drain in the area, which was the cause of a major problem in the colony. The drain in Lajpat Nagar II has remained broken for almost five years resulting in heavy floods during monsoon.

“The water used to come right into our houses. On several occasions, we had to leave our stuff behind and run out of our houses to seek shelter somewhere else,” said Mr Satish Setia, a resident. Residents said they were now happy that at least the upcoming Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections are getting the authorities to act on their complaints.

Explaining the situation, the MCD Assistant Engineer, Mr S. C. Yadav, who came along with Mr Marwah, said the entire footpath along the main road of the central market would be dug up and the drain pipe would be repaired and increased in width.

“The existing water pipe is about a foot wide and is completely choked. So during rains, the water does not go in. But we will now repair it and increase the width to a foot and a half till the nullah,” Mr Yadav told ‘NCR Tribune’, adding that the entire budget for the park boundary wall, the roads and the drain would be nearly Rs 3 lakh. The president of the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) of Lajpat Nagar II, Mr Gulab Rai, said he was very happy that the work would begin shortly and they would “no more have to swim to get across the road during rains.”

Mr Marwah assured the residents that the work on the drain would begin in “two to three days” and it wouldn’t take any longer than 15 days for it to be completed. However, there were several other residents who felt that these were just plain and simple promises that would be forgotten once the elections were over.

“If at all the authorities take up the work, I hope they won’t give just temporary adjustments so that the situation get back to square one later,” said one of the residents, who did not wish to be identified. Nevertheless, the promises made by the MLA gave the residents some hope, which was enough for them to celebrate, and Lohri was just the perfect occasion.

About 150 young and old people were seen sitting in a park and busy scratching out numbers in the hope of being lucky enough to win the rounds of tambola. The celebrations went on till late at night around a bonfire. Singing, dancing and cracking jokes rend the air.



YC activists burn effigy of Musharraf
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 13
A large number of Youth Congress workers, headed by Mrs Sumitra Chauhan, a member of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Krishan Puri Ranjha, president of the District Youth Congress (Urban), took out a procession here yesterday against the anti-India tirade by Pakistan.

Carrying placards and raising anti-Pakistan slogans, they marched through the main bazars of the city. Later, they reached the Chhotu Ram Chowk on the Gohana road where they burnt the effigy of the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Earlier addressing a rally, Mrs Chauhan cautioned against the evil designs of Pakistan against India and appealed to the people to remain united and accept the challenges posed by the Pakistan-backed terrorists.

Mr Ranjha strongly condemned the anti-India attitude of Pakistan and urged the Union Government to take stern measures in the fight against international terrorism.

In an unrelated development, the Haryana unit of the youth wing of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has decided to recruit 10 lakh members to its cadres. It has also decided to set up its units at the village and block levels in the state.

Mr Raj Kumar Ridhao, a spokesman of the party, told mediapersons here today that the party would set up its units in the field of education to air the grievances of the students. Besides, party units would be set up in other states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat for strengthening the base. He also said that the party would launch a campaign against the social evils including drinking and dowry in the state.

He also highlighted the progress achieved by the present government, headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and said that the development works were in progress both in the urban and rural areas of the state. Mr Ridhao said that the party was committed to improving the lot of the poor and weaker sections. The leaders and party activists were engaged in bringing the problems and complaints of the people and farmers to the notice of the state government and the district administration for redressing them on a priority basis.



Victims of ‘train from Pakistan’ remembered
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 13
A three-day Akhand path was held at the gurdwara of National Highway 5 (NIT) here in the memory of persons killed by Muslim tribals at the Gujarat railway station of Pakistan on January 10, 1948. Homage was paid to the souls of the victims who were coming to India from Bannu town in Pakistan at the time of Partition.

A shabad kirtan was also held on the occasion. Representatives of the Bhatia Sevak Samaj and a large number of residents took part in the programme. Former minister A. C. Chaudhary, Ramesh Arora, Tara Singh, Surender Singh, Sardar Gurbhachan, Tahal Singh and Amarjeet Singh were among others who paid tributes.

Lohri celebrated

The All-India Punjabi Ekta Manch organised a function at Lakhani Dharamshala Auditorium in NH-II (NIT) here last night to celebrate Lohri. The participants wished each other a `happy Lohri’ and shared sweets and other preparations beside a bonfire.

Quack in custody

A person who was caught by health authorities in Ballabgarh on the charge of practising medicine illegally has been arrested and sent to jail.

The accused, Bijender Singh, had been running a clinic and it was detected after a raid about a week ago that he was not a qualified professional. The accused was arrested and produced in a local court which sent him to judicial custody. However, a woman `physician’ arrested with him was released on bail.

Killed by friends

The Kundli police recovered the body of one Shri Bhagwan, a resident of Ferozpur Bangar village, lying in the bushes at Auchandi near Haryana-Delhi border, about 30 km from here, yesterday. The police have registered a case of murder as they believe that the victim was killed by his friends. The police said the deceased and his friends had consumed liquor and had a quarrel. Thereafter, he was assaulted and done to death by the friends. The police have launched a hunt to apprehend the culprits.

Fire in factory

Spare parts and other goods worth several thousand of rupees were destroyed in a devastating fire that broke out in a rubber factory in the HSIDC complex at Kundli village, about 25 km from here, last night. The fire was brought under control by the fire brigades after seven hours. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Repeated incidents of fire in this complex has caused widespread resentment among entrepreneurs.



4 Nepali burglars arrested
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
The East district police arrested Surender Bahadur, Bheem Bahadur, Gaurakh Bahadur and Dhan Bahadur, all in their 20s and natives of Nepal, while they were allegedly planning to commit robbery at a jewellery shop in Chota Bazar.

A country-made pistol and knife were seized from them. The police also recovered 10 tola of gold from their hideout. During interrogation, the suspects confessed their involvement in two burglary cases, the police said.

Robbery solved

With the arrest of four robbers, the North-West district police claimed to have worked out the robbery case of Hanuman Temple at Bhamashah Road near Model Town.

The suspects were identified as Ravi, Raju, Shiva Bahadur and Vijay, from the jhuggi clusters in Model Town and Ashok Vihar.

They were arrested from Gurdwara Nank Piau. During interrogation, they disclosed to have robbed Rs 20,000 kept in “daan patraas” of the temple on the intervening night of January 1 and January 2.

They had first beat up the chowkidar of the temple, Chautry, with an iron rod and robbed the daan patraas, the police said.



Winter apparel for those living below zero degree

Leading fashion house Live-In has unleashed a whole new range of winter wear with its “Below 0” (degree) collection. This range comprises of work wear, casual wear and evening wear comprising of a wide array of top and bottom wear, T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets. The collection offers contemporary international styles and designs aimed at young men and women between 18 and 35 years.

In the woven and knitwear range, the collection is 70 per cent acrylic and 30 per cent wool and features trendy colours that include sunny and sea grass yellows, clear water blues, lavender, magentas and other bright colours. The collection includes pullovers, sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts and new European style denims.

The T-shirts come in a variety of fabrics like mercerized cotton, brushed pique, flat knit, interlock weave, drop needles, stretch polyesters, polar fleece. The sweatshirts are available in blends of cotton and polyester-basic knit fabrics and matched with woven and techno fabrics, brushed and un-brushed fleece, formal and knitted heavy chords.

Carry phone

Siemens has launched C45 mobile phones in the country, which has CLIP it of various colours that suit your personality. Each effervescent cover in oriental blue, shining pearl, light steel, fresh lemon and hot magma, is supposed to represent a particular facet of the user’s personality.

A lightweight model in the true sense, it weighs only 107 grams and is only 23 mm thick which make the C45 handy enough to be carried anywhere. It has a standby time of 200 hours, talk time of 300 minutes and 100 per cent charging in less than two hours.

It enables one to download different icons and ringer melodies using wireless download technologies via SMS. The model also allows a user to send group SMS for convenient mass messaging in double quick time. It has games, including the action-packed BM Kung Fu, and also has an early birthday reminder function that enables the user to send a special SMS greetings.

Herbal henna

Black diamond has launched Diamond Herbal Henna to give your hair that extra shine and softness. The henna is absolutely free of any chemicals and is made up of high-class henna, rare herbs, amla, shikakai, coffee powder and katha mixed in right proportion to give your hair long-lasting lustre and softness.

Its regular use can control dandruff and falling of hair. The henna nourishes your hair roots making your hair thick and long. For better results, soak henna for about 1-2 hours in an iron vessel. Apply for 2-2 ½ hours and wash off.

Back of a camera

Photo Electronic Imaging has selected the Kodak DCS 760 and Kodak DCS Pro Back Plus as the top pro-digital SLR and digital back for its annual Cool2 Award.

Kodak Professional DCS Pro Back Plus digital camera back is a Kodak designed and manufactured medium format digital camera back that features 16 mega-pixel resolution and creates versatile 48-megabyte image files.

It features un-tethered freedom of operation, a fully featured LCD with histogram, new generation software for exceptional workflow and a host of other capabilities. Removable anti-aliasing and infrared filters give photographers maximum flexibility. The Kodak Professional DCS 760 digital camera has six million pixel indium Tin Oxide charge couple device sensor. This means improved colour accuracy, including better skin tones, and reduced image noise to deliver the high quality resolution, sharpness and image structure needed for professional work.

Coconut-amla oil

Hindustan Lever has launched `Nihar Coconut Amla Hair Oil’ that provides double nourishment, combining the twin benefits of coconut and amla. The coconut oil penetrates the hair roots and the amla oil penetrates the hair shaft making the hair soft and silky.

The oil is available in three pack sizes – 200 ml, 100 ml and 50 ml. The packaging brings across the freshness and naturalness of the brand and is available in a transparent bottle that is fresh green in colour along with a tamper-proof cap. The bottle is specially designed for consumers handling convenience.

Wool & casuals

The club wear designer studio for the upper premium segment, Next 2000, has introduced its winter collection of exclusive woollen wear range.

The sassy casual wear pullovers are good for a leisurely afternoon out or for spicing up a dance floor in the evening. The garments are made from the finest imported wool, styled and cut to keep in step with the latest trends.

The designs are a trendy mix of contemporary fashion and innovations. The new collection comes in an array of earthen shades.

Brand knowledge

The book, “Brand Serve 31: Customer Service Prescription”, has been launched at Wordsworth, the concept bookstore. The book is an outcome of the realisation that good customer service is just evolving in the country and brands need to provide excellent brand experience because Indian consumers have now become world class customers.

Customer service is the area of focus in the book and deals with enhancing the brand experience and building brands. Considering that the service industry accounts for 52 per cent of the GDP, customer service is a high growth area for the immediate future.

Warm wear

Triads Apparels has launched its range of trendy winter wear in warm colours. Aimed at discerning and fashion conscious consumers, who value comfort and value for money, the winter collection comprises of classy jackets, full sleeves party wear shirts, sweatshirts and cargo’s. The men’s wear is available in a wide range of fabrics; mainly blends of cotton and polyester, imported woven and non-woven fabrics, polyester fabrics coated with polyurethane, 100 per cent nylon rip stop. The colours this season are predominantly warm hues such as russet, burgundy, khaki, olive, yellow, brick red, royal blue, black, lime and gray.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |