Friday, January 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Scramble for MCD tickets as parties raise bogeys
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday were engaged in shadow boxing with each accusing the other of trying to get the Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls postponed even as both raised issues which could delay the elections to the civic body.

These public postures notwithstanding, both parties have set their election machinery rolling with the Delhi unit of the Congress even distributing the forms to ticket aspirants.

A virtual stampede was witnessed at the distribution venue – the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee office – where the state president Subhash Chopra began the process, which would continue till January 22.

Almost all the aspirants were filling in four forms to ensure that the court ruling on the rotation of seats in MCD does not scuttle their candidature. As a precautionary measure, some of the aspirants were seen filling the forms in the name of their spouse also. The court is expected to give its verdict on January 23.

More than 1,000 forms were distributed on the first day itself, leaving many others dejected as they could not lay hands on the much sought after document..

At the same time, former Delhi Chief Minister and BJP MP Madan Lal Khurana asserted that there was no move to put pressure on the Centre to postpone the elections to the MCD.

Commenting on the meeting between him and the Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani on Wednesday, which was also attended by Union Minister Arun Jaitley, former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma and Lt Governor Vijai Kapoor, Mr Khurana said they discussed the problems faced by the people of the Capital.

“The issue of MCD polls did not figure in that meeting,” Mr Khurana said, adding, “We would like the polls to be held at per schedule.”

However, he joined hands with the BJP MP and former Delhi Minister, Mr Lal Behari Tewari, in demanding a separate Municipal Corporation for East Delhi.

Ridiculing the Bharatiya Janata Party for wanting to defer the Corporation polls, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday said: “They are merely looking for an excuse to stall the civic polls because the BJP does not want the elections to be held on time.”

The BJP ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal [Badal], is holding a meeting here tomorrow to finalise the wards they would seek to contest in the MCD polls. The BJP has promised to give six seats to the Akalis. In the last elections, the Akalis contested in five seats and won two.

The six wards the Akalis are likely to demand were Bhogal, Tilak Nagar, Vishnu Garden, Moti Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and Shiv Nagar, sources said.

Ms Dikshit said she had had talks with the Lieutenant Governor in this regard and that “constitutionally, the polls could not be deferred.” The Lieutenant Governor, she said, had already declared at his annual news conference held recently that the civic polls would be held by February end.

Referring to reports of the BJP wanting to “take recourse” to the Virendra Prakash Committee’s report, which has recommended breaking down Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) into smaller entities, Ms Dikshit said that report did not have any political inputs but merely “reflected the bureaucratic point of view.”

The select committee constituted under the chairmanship of Environment Minister Deep Chand Bandhu – which includes a couple of BJP legislators — the chief minister informed, had not yet submitted its report.

Mr Tewari stated that if the polls were held before the submission of the Bandhu Committee report, then it would virtually make the recommendations null and void. The committee is slated to submit its report in March and indications are that the MCD polls are likely to be held in February.

He met the Lt Governor today and submitted a memorandum to this effect.

“We would like the Centre to intervene and issue an ordinance for the formation of a separate corporation for East Delhi,” Mr Khurana said, adding the Congress should extend its support as the Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution in June 2001 for the creation of multiple municipal corporations.

The BJP is holding a dharna in front of Delhi Chief Minister’s office on Friday to highlight this issue. 


SOS to Dhindsa on gurdwara demolition
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The Nishan Sahib Gurdwara demolition issue picked up momentum today with Sikh leaders seeking the intervention of the Union Minister and senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and urging him to prevent the religious structure from being turned into rubble.

A delegation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee members and the Satsangh Committee, Nizamuddin, members met the Union Minister and appealed to him to intervene in the issue and prevent the demolition the gurdwara which has been in existence since 1953.

Mr Dhindsa assured the delegation that he would soon meet the Union Minister for Urban Development, Mr Ananth Kumar, and discuss the issue to find a way out to prevent the demolition of the religious structure, Mr Kuldip Singh Bhogal, DSGMC member, who led the delegation, told the NCR Tribune. The DDA is under the purview of the Urban Development Ministry.

The Union Minister also assured the delegation that he would soon take up the issue with the Lt Governor Mr Vijai Kapoor to find a way out, Mr Bhogal, who also the general secretary of the SAD (Badal) Delhi unit, added.

Giving political overtones to the issue, the DSGMC president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, lashed out at the Congress for pressurising the authorities to demolish the gurdwara.

“In case efforts are made to demolish the Nishan Sahib Gurdwara, the Congress party would be fully responsible for the consequences,” he warned.

The DSGMC said it was watching the situation closely and would report to the Lt Governor as to how the sentiments of the Sikh community were being hurt. “This is not the way to protect the freedom of religious worship,” the committee said.

With the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and DSGMC likely to held in the coming months, Sikh political leaders are lending an ear to the issue now, though the Satsangh Committee, Nizamuddin, has been fighting the resident association in the court for the past seven years.

The Gurdwara has been in existence since 1953, when a small one-room structure was constructed in 1965. Electricity and water connections in the name of the gurdwara exist since 1977-78 and property tax was levied by the DDA on the gurdwara in 1993-94.

The trouble started in 1994 when the colony association complained that the Sikh community was attempting to grab the land meant for a park.

Following the meeting with the then Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, the move to demolish the structure was suspended. However, the resident association moved the court seeking its demolition.

The Delhi High Court, in its order last month, termed the construction of the gurdwara in the area as illegal and directed the DDA to demolish the structure within six weeks.

The Satsang Committee has now moved the Supreme Court, challenging the order of the high court on the ground that religious structures of other community continue to exist in the area.


Women dupe salesman, walk away with saris worth Rs 3 lakh
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 17
There is no end to the ingenuity of cheats and thugs this part of the state.

Three well-dressed women, accompanied by a man, adopted a novel method to loot clothes worth about Rs 3 lakh from a textile showroom, ‘Image,’ in Jai Palace, not far away from the police post in Sector 27, last evening.

They asked the salesman to show some superior quality saris, material for ladies’ suits and dupattas. Salesman Ramnath, who was alone at the showroom at the time, gleefully spread before them the choicest material he had in stock. The elite buyers chose the material worth over Rs 3 lakh and Ramnath happily packed them.

He was again engaged by the women and asked to show some other latest designs. While he was busy selecting the wares, the man accompanying the women put a handkerchief on his face from behind. Even as Ramnath lost consciousness and fell on the ground the elite customers walked out of the showroom with their `purchases’.

Ramnath was found lying on the floor by a salesman of the neighbouring showroom, who informed the police control room. Ramnath was rushed to a private hospital and later taken to the police station in Sector 20 where he narrated the whole story.

This was not the first incident of its type in Noida town, the police said.


Parents too can breed violence in children
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Lack of communication, extra burden, unfriendly environment, strained relations between mother and father and unrealistic expectations could be the main factors responsible for the violent actions of children – be it suicide or physical assault on parents and close relatives, psychiatrists of the Capital have said.

Dr Achal Bhagat, a psychiatrist in Apollo Hospital, says that the society is so conservative that it does not allow children to communicate with their parents frankly. And parents scold children even on trivial matters. Sometimes, parents do not understand the psychology of the child and do everything against their wishes, which makes the children desperate. They resort to extreme steps like suicide and murder.

Dr Sanjay Chugh, who runs a “Child and Adolescent Guidance Centre” in Greater Kailash – II, says that majority of the children take the extreme step of suicide or murder of family members from the fear of being scolded for not doing well in examinations. Besides, strained relations between parents and an unfriendly environment in the family can also be factors that make a child violent. Dr Chugh says that unnecessary burden on children, lack of extra-curricular activities and unrealistic expectations of parents also contribute to the violence among children.

Recently, two such cases came to light in Delhi. In the first case, an eight-year-old student in Vivek Vihar in North-East district, Arihant, committed suicide because his parents insisted on his studying at a Dehra Dun boarding school. He had come for holidays and he did not want to return. In this case, his parents could not understand his psychology. The murder of a 45-year-old woman, Ranjana Choudhary, on January 14 in Mehrauli by her son was also due to some of these factors. The son, Piyas, was arrested today. During interrogation, he disclosed that his mother had beaten him up for not getting through the IIT entrance examination. She also insisted that he should not meet his girlfriend living in the neighbourhood.

Piyas further disclosed that he hit his mother with a heavy object when she was making tea in the kitchen. She fell down and died of excessive bleeding. There were bloodstains on his shirt, which he washed clean, and then went to the reading room feigning innocence. When the incident occurred, his father, Gautam, and younger sister, Anvesha, were sleeping, the police said.


Centre opens purse for power supply
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 17
The Union Power Ministry has reportedly sanctioned Rs 80 crore for the development of power infrastructure in the district. The provision has been made under the Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) and it will focus on strengthening the distribution network and reducing transmission losses, it is learnt.

According to sources, a meeting on the issue was held recently and the project is likely to be finalised tomorrow. It is learnt that the Union Power Ministry has agreed to grant assistance under the APDP to over 30 districts across the country. Faridabad is one of the five districts in the state which has been selected for the aid.

While the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is providing consultancy services in this regard, the main motive is to improve the power distribution network and to cut transmission losses. While the assistance amount for the old Faridabad circle has been fixed at Rs 10 crore, the quantum of aid to the Ballabgarh and Palwal circles is being chalked out. Under the proposed scheme, the worn-out cables, conductors, transformers, and switch boxes will be replaced. Equipment and material worth Rs 2.74 crore are likely to be replaced in the eastern subdivision of Faridabad.

The performance of feeders of several areas in the town will be improved by spending Rs 1.93 crore. All those feeders, which are in a bad shape, will be repaired so as to stop the transmission losses which had reached up to 40 per cent or more. It may be recalled that the town is one of those areas where the `commercial loss’ in the supply network is quite high.


Demolished structures keep rising from the debris in Capital
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, January 17
Several demolition drives have taken place in the national Capital in the past couple of years. However, it seems that most of the demolished illegal constructions have come up again on the same spot.

If then, what do the authorities do after razing down a structure? Is there any monitoring mechanism to ensure that some or the other buildings don’t come up again there?

It is a common feeling that law has been laid impotent. Encroachers don’t fear the law because they know they can twist it to suit their purposes. It is the law-abiding citizens who don’t have the law with them, feel residents of several areas of the Capital.

About a year ago, a demolition drive was undertaken on illegal constructions on Aruna Asaf Ali Marg in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. Most of the illegal constructions were razed to the ground. Today, most of the structures are back, mocking at the law and the law-abiding.

“Pay the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials Rs 25,000 and they’ll turn a blind eye to encroachments,” said a shopkeeper, whose shop was demolished but was “allowed” to come up again on the same spot after a month.

Dhabas, car mechanic shops, chemist shops etc. dot Aruna Asaf Ali Marg. Most of these shops were demolished during the tenure of Mr Jagnmohan as the Urban Development Minister. However, it did not take them more than a month to come back again on the same spot.

And these illegally constructed shops had been demolished not just once, but at least five times before, to rise again like the proverbial Phoenix after every ‘death’, said residents of Vasant Kunj.

One of the shopowners, Mr Gyanendra Sharma, said: “This land is mine. Yes, the DDA had demolished my shop several times, but as the land is mine, I will continue to build on it again and again till I die.”

Sources said the whole stretch of land on this road belonged to the Gram Sabha. However, several shopkeepers operating illegally from the area gave the same reason Mr Sharma gave. According to Mr Harish Kumar, “We have been here for years and years. There has to be something fishy going on inside (in the authorities) otherwise why would they wake up to these so-called illegal constructions 10 years after the building had come up. Where were these people when these structures were coming up? Why break them down when we are absolutely settled here?”

Mr Suresh Thakur, chairman of the Federation of Residents Welfare Associations of Vasant Kunj, is more or less sure that nothing could make these illegal constructions go away. “Mr Jagmohan was one minister who, it seemed, was doing his job properly. And we were quite sure that he would be taken off his post. Now he is the Tourism Minister!”

Thakur remarked. Ours is probably the only country where ministers were shifted from their ministries for doing a good and sincere job, he added.

A senior DDA official, on condition of anonymity, admitted to ‘NCR Tribune’: “There are definitely some drawbacks. It may seem very easy and simple to just demolish an illegal construction. It is not that easy. We have to get orders from the court to even break a stone. And the unfortunate part is that the encroacher has a stay order in his pocket even before we reach there.” The official said the whole system had to be set right and that the DDA was on the job. “We assure residents that the minute we get orders to demolish an illegal construction, we will act immediately. And as long as the encroachers don’t get a stay order again, the constructions cannot come up again,” he said.

Mr Yogesh Khanna, president of the Forum of RWAs, said the junior officials were the ones who were in direct contact with the encroachers and until there was a check on them, nothing could be done the illegal activities.

Many residents across the Capital also complained that when the authorities demolished any construction, they never got the debris picked up. Even on Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, the debris still remains and the constructions, half broken, have not yet been removed.

At the Andheria Mor near Mehrauli a demolition had taken place about two years ago and the debris was removed from there after a year.


Credit card scheme benefits farmers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 17
The Central Cooperative Bank Limited, Sonepat has advanced a total loan of Rs 54.05 crore to farmers, artisans, petty shopkeepers and other poor people in the district for launching self-employment ventures during the current financial year.

The Deputy Commissioner (DC), Mr S. N. Roy, told mediapersons here today that the bank had already introduced a credit card scheme for the benefit of the farmers. Under the scheme, a farmer could get Rs 35,000 in cash and another Rs 25,000 for purchasing fertilisers. Besides, Rs 10,000 would be given to a farmer for meeting his other needs.

The bank had advanced a loan of Rs 109.83 crore to the farmers under the credit card scheme in the district, of which Rs 26.66 lakh had been given to farmers for agricultural purposes, he said. A sum of Rs 85.06 lakh had also been advanced to small artisans for launching self-employment ventures. Similarly, Rs 2.76 crore had been given to small shopkeepers for running their businesses.

The DC further disclosed that the bank had advanced a loan of Rs 60.24 lakh to the people for starting their own business and industrial units in the district. The bank, he said, also gave Rs 6.49 crore as loans for installing bio-gas plants and the purchase of buffaloes. Similarly, another Rs 19.46 lakh had been lent to the industrial, non-farming and other sectors. According to the DC, Rs 61.94 lakh had been given as loan to the employees’ cooperative societies. Another sum of Rs 59.34 lakh had been given in the non-agriculture sector for launching self-employment ventures.

The bank had also advanced Rs 23.20 lakh as loan to the local Cooperative Sugar Mill and another Rs 7.03 crore to the mini-banks for the purchase of fertilisers under the cash credit scheme. The mini-banks, in turn, would distribute fertilisers to the farmers in the district.

The DC added that the bank had advanced a loan of Rs 91.35 lakh to the CONFED under the cash credit scheme during the period under review. Similarly, traders had been advanced a loan of Rs 10.15 lakh under the scheme. A sum of Rs 27.39 lakh had been advanced to the contractor societies in the district as well.


The lines and life of K. C. Aryan
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, January 17
The sad demise of K. C. Aryan, a veteran modern Indian artist, will be mourned by all lovers of art, particularly by those in North India.

K. C. Aryan, born into a traditionalist artists’ family on August 1919, began his professional career as a graphic designer. He later wrote a book, `Rekha’, for the guidance of graphic designers. In the book, he traced the origins and evolution of Devnagri script up to the then present time. Aryan’s fondness for ancient Indian history inspired him to paint numerous historical illustrations during the pre-Independence period. In 1948, he founded an artists group, known as the Delhi Shilpi Chakra. He carved a niche for himself by producing good paintings which were admired by both the masses and prominent citizens, including Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

He authored 23 books on diverse subjects that gave a new direction to the writing on art history. `Indian Folk Bronzes’, published in 1973, placed the folk bronzes of India on the cultural map of the world. He began collecting artefacts of the rural-tribal flavour and displayed them having converted his vast house at Sector 4, Gurgaon into a museum. He was honoured with various awards by the Indian Government and art organisations for his rich contribution to the world of art.


SYL canal decision hailed
Our Correspondent

Faridabad , January 17
Leaders and activists of the District unit of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) distributed sweets in the NIT Area here last night, in wake of the Supreme Court’s directive to the Punjab Government to complete Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal within a year. The people expressed the hope that the canal would be constructed soon as all the legal hurdles had been cleared.


`Yuva Sewa Sanghathan’, a voluntary organisation based here organised a function to mark the 21st year of its establishment at nearby Kulena village yesterday. Ms Sharda Rathaur, Secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), who was chief guest on the Occasion, lauded the efforts of the organisation in promoting educational and co-curricular activities in schools. The secretary of the organisation said that the Sanghathan recently held a district level essay competition for school children.

HVP flays govt

The General Secretary of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) Mr Rajiv Jain today expressed grave concern over the spurt of criminals activities in this city and other areas of the district. He said the cases of dacoities, robberies, loot, murders, kidnapping, rape and extortion were on the rise mainly due to the failure of the police to check the criminals activities of the anti-social elements effectively.

Chairman elected

Mr Ram Singh, a resident of Muqimpur village was elected the Chairman of the Sonepat Panchayat Samiti here yesterday. According to a report, he defeated his rival candidate, Mr Bal Kishan, by one vote. Mr Ram Singh secured 15 votes and his rival Mr Bal Kishan got 14 votes. Mr Vijay Kumar, a resident of Bayyanpur village was declared elected as the Vice-Chairman of the Samiti. The election for these seats became necessary after the adoption of a no-confidence motion against the then Chairperson and the Vice-Chairman on October 12 last year.


Cash and goods worth nearly 2.2 cr were stolen in 5 incidents in the town during the past 24 hours. Thieves stole household goods and jewellery worth Rs 1.25 lakh from a house at HUDA sector 1 here last evening. Thieves scaled the wall of a house of a bank manager and decamped with cash, jewellery, VCP and a computer. None of the occupants of the house were present at the time of incident.

Factory gutted

Cotton and machines worth nearly Rs 3 lakh were destroyed when a factory located at Jind road here caught fire last evening. Mr Ajay Goyal, Managing Director of the factory, said the cotton caught fire by a spark from a machine and the large heap of cotton and some machines got destroyed within minutes.


Compost plant inaugurated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
A compost plant for converting huge quantities of wastes generated by the Capital’s major fruit and vegetable markets into rich organic manure was inaugurated at Tikri Khurd, Azadpur by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today. Its inauguration coincided with the silver jubilee celebration of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Azadpur.

The plant, Mrs Dikshit said, would dispose of waste and also convert organic waste into rich manure by enriching them with high-grade rock phosphate. The manure, Organophos, would be distributed to various vegetable and fruit growers at cheap rates. On the occasion, the Chief Minister said the government was considering providing incentives to buyers of Organophos.

The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of a drinking water scheme for the fruit and vegetable market at Azadpur. She informed the scheme would provide 1.25 lakh litres of water readily available for the people.


Police gears up to enforce civic sense
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
Even as the burgeoning traffic in the Capital is becoming a heavy burden, the Delhi Traffic Police is all set to meet the challenges despite the lack of adequate traffic police personnel. “We have been trying to bring the traffic under control and to educate people about the traffic rules to be followed while on roads,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Maxwell Periera.

Efforts are afoot on all fronts to enforce maximum discipline on the roads in the national Capital. To create a hassle free traffic flow is the major concern of the traffic cops in the city. 


Two held for extortion racket on bus route
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
A special team of the Crime Branch today claimed to have busted a gang of extortionists and robbers operating in the buses plying between Karol Bagh-Ambedkar Nagar route and collecting ‘haftas’ from bus operators.

The team arrested Anil Kumar, alias Chintoo (24), resident of Raju Park and a criminal involved in more than six cases, with his associate Lalit Kumar, alias Lucky (21), resident of Sewa Nagar and is involved in more than three cases, from a bus when they were threatening a bus conductor to part with the cash bag having Rs 1,765. With the help of the passengers, the crime branch team overpowered the suspects. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mr M. S. Upadhye, said that the police team started following the criminals’ activities based on the complaint of a Blue Line bus operator, Mr Yad Kumar, that some gangsters were reportedly operating in route no. 521 and 522, and have been extorting Rs 500 per week from the bus operators.

Killers held

The South district police today claimed to have solved a case of brutal murder of a 70-year-old saint Babaji Aji Ram Dass, who was found murdered in the morning of January 13 in a temple.

The police arrested three persons, Ram Kishum and Om Prakash from Uttar Pradesh, and Mahesh Kumar Yadav, presently working in the Plaza Farmhouse in Dera village, in this connection. They were later remanded to judicial custody.

All the three accused confessed to the police that they were habitual drinkers. As they had some dispute with the saint, the trio on January 12 consumed alcohol and went to the temple and smoked bidis with the saint in his room. After a couple of hours, they hit the saint with an iron rod which was kept concealed under the garments of one of the suspects. After murdering him, the three fled from the spot by bolting the door from outside, said the police.

Child rescued

With the arrest of one Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Sehatpur village in Faridabad district, the South district police today claimed to have worked out a kidnapping for ransom case.

The suspect allegedly kidnapped Raju, three-and-a-half-year old son of a businessman, from his residence in Badarpur and demanded a ransom of Rs 2 lakh. The suspect was an acquaintance of the parents of the victim. He had kept the victim in his village and used to make the ransom call from Badarpur to avoid the suspicion about his involvement.

During investigation, the police received an information that the victim had been kept in Sehatpur village. A police team was sent to the village, rescued the victim and arrested the suspect, the police said.

Cheat arrested

The Delhi Police arrested a self-styled politician of Bihar and claimed to have worked a cheating case of crores of rupees. The accused, Digvijay Singh, who belonged to Shivhar district in Bihar, had a jewellery shop, “Sailekh Jewelers”, in Kalkaji. He had allegedly run away with jewellery of his customers worth crores of rupees, the police said.


Delhi industrialists walk out on underdeveloped Bahadurgarh

Jhajjar, January 17
The Modern Industrial Estate (MIE) of Bahadurgarh, which was considered to be one of the fastest growing industrial towns of Haryana, is passing through a very critical stage, as development in terms of basic facilities still eludes it, thanks to the lethargic attitude of the authorities concerned.

The essential infrastructure development, including roads, water supply, sewerage and medical services, continues to be a mirage for the MIE Phase 1 and Phase 2. Moreover, the bad law and order situation and reported extortion by influential politicians and criminals have been forcing industrialists to look for other favourable destinations such as newly developed Kundli, Rai and Bahri towns along the National Highway No 1.

Local entrepreneurs had expected a speedy development of the town when industrialists from the Capital started looking for new areas to set up their units, especially along the Delhi-border, after the Supreme Court ordered to seal them.

Though a large number of Delhi industrialists were interested in settling in and around the town, the district administration failed to provide them with plots. Some of them who tried to settle here on unoccupied plots in the MIE areas dropped their plans after a demoralising encounter with the apathetic official machinery.

The District Industrial Centre (DIC) and other officials concerned have also stated that lack of plots to set up units is the biggest problem here as there is hardly any space in the old or new industrial areas. The Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) has plans to carve up more industrial sectors in Badli and Bahadurgarh. However, official sources admitted that although 500 acres of land for the purpose had been earmarked in both the places, it would take at least two years to allot the plots for setting up the units.

Interestingly, the president of the Bahadurgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI), Mr Ashok Redhu, who is a follower of the local ruling party MLA, Mr Nafe Singh Rathee, differs with the official explanation. He said that there was no shortage of space for the interested parties. Around 750 units were in running condition and more than 1,000 plots were occupied by sick or defunct industries, he said. Mr Arora informed that the total membership of the BCCI had also reached 454, which included 25 new entrants in the last one year alone.

Mr Redhu said that development activities were launched by the previous Chautala government here. But they were neglected by the subsequent state governments. He claimed that now, most of the projects had been completed and roads, water supply and sewerage were being provided to the aspiring factories on demand. The only remaining problem now, he said, was that of truck and tempo unions charging huge freight rates.

However, Mr Subhash Arora, spokesperson for the BCCI and a leading industrialist, said: “The MIE Phase 1 and Phase 2 were developed in 1978 by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). It also promised to provide all the civic amenities, including water, sewerage, electricity, roads etc. But even after more than 20 years, it remains to be fulfilled.”

He also claimed that many growth-related activities had been initiated by the present state government. If pursued and completed, they could provide the much-needed push to the industrial development here, he said. He reiterated the significance to remove the inspector raj, which according to him, was the sole reason behind the industrial underdevelopment of the town.

A visit to the MIE revealed that roads are still in bad shape and full of potholes and difficult to even walk on. Supply of drinking water and electricity is highly inadequate and erratic. Moreover, despite the fact that sewerage lines were laid many years ago, connections have not been provided to the factories. Informed sources said that the local employees of HUDA had provided many illegal sewer connections.

Lack of medical services is another major problem, especially for the poor labour class whose strength is reportedly more than four lakh. There are some private nursing homes and hospitals but they are unaffordable for these people.

The BCCI president said that the chamber had taken up the issue of establishing an ESI hospital in the area. “We are also ready to provide land for the purpose but the ESI does not seem to be interested in the project,” he maintained.

Besides, there is no separate accommodation for the workers. In most of the cases, workers are accommodated within the factory premises.


BSNL fails to connect senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 17
The performance of the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has `failed’ to improve much, as far as releasing new connections and providing a trouble free service to its consumers are concerned. This is despite the recent announcement by the telephone provider that all the phones booked up till March 31, 2001 would be released soon and fault rate in the district would be brought under control soon.

There are a large number of applicants in the district who are still awaiting the release of their connections, despite the fact that their connections have been due for a long time. Some of the applicants include senior citizens who, according to the rules, must have got the connections on a top priority basis. For instance, 85-year-old Sharat Chander Mandal of Jawahar colony here had applied for a connection in the senior citizen quota in November, 2000. Mr Mandal had also submitted a medical certificate that since he was suffering from paralysis, the phone connection should be given top priority. However, 15 months after, he is still awaiting a call from the BSNL office here informing about the sanctioning of his connection.

In another similar case, a retired schoolteacher, Mr Jethanand Kathuria (70), also residing in the same colony, had also applied for a connection in the senior citizens category in November 2000, but has not got any response from the BSNL so far. According to reports, there are hundreds of such cases where phones, which ought to have been released within three-four months, have not been given even after a year.

The period of waiting could stretch for longer that the likes of Mr Mandal might never get one in their lifetime if the functioning of the BSNL does not improve.

Recently, the general manager of the BSNL here admitted that fault rate in phones of Faridabad was quite high and said that efforts were on to bring the problem under control. It was also announced that all the phones booked up till March 31, 2001 would be released soon.


LG amenable to allowing units to reopen: Khurana
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, today said that those polluting small scale and cottage industrial units, which were closed as per the Supreme Court directive, could resume work if they intended to begin production adopting non-polluting technology.

The Lt Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, assured this at a meeting here last evening. Among those present at the meeting, apart from Mr Khurana, were the Union Ministers, Mr L. K. Advani and Mr Arun Jaitley, and the former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma. Mr Khurana told reporters that the Lt Governor informed that he had appointed a new officer to look into the affidavits being filed by the unit owners, who intend to adopt non-polluting technology to produce goods from the same premises. The units which had been sealed as per the court directives could be reopened if the owners of the industrial units gave a detailed plans about their future course of action and file an affidavit in this regard, Mr Kapoor reportedly stated.

Mr Khurana had raised the closure of industrial units recently along with other issues, which had embarrassed the BJP-led Union Government. The former Delhi Chief Minister had stated that most of the industrial units were closed as the Lt Governor had failed to come up with the precise definition of pollution for small scale and cottage industrial units.

Mr Khurana said it was agreed in a meeting in the presence of the Prime Minister in December 2000 that the Lt Governor of Delhi would provide the definition of pollution. More than a year had passed, yet the definition had not been provided.

Failure to act resulted in more than 25,000 small scale and cottage industrial units being either sealed or closed, rendering about 2.5 lakh workers unemployed,” he added.

On the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the National Capital Territory, Mr Khurana said it was decided at the meeting that a committee would be set up to go into the issue.

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