Friday, January 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


They could take the bullets, but not the neglect
J T Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The five Delhi policemen, who sustained serious injuries while trying to foil the terrorists’ attempt to sneak into Parliament a month ago, are now recuperating in isolation. They are virtually forgotten. There has been little financial assistance and support either from the force or government agencies. The four Delhi Police personnel, who were injured and admitted to the RML Hospital, are footing the bill for their treatment from their own limited resources. Some of them opted to leave the hospital as they could not afford the daily expenses. SI Purushottam Singh Chauhan, ASI Jeet Ram, Head Constable Kamal Singh and Head Constable Samar Singh have returned home after a month-long stay in the hospital. They are now under treatment at their respective homes. Another injured person, Rajat Bhist, is still in the RML nursing home. Mr Bhist was seriously injured. He was operated thrice and still needs treatment in the hospital, said a family source.

Relatives claimed that these policemen, who showed exemplary courage during the attack and saved the lives of a large number of VIPs, have been forgotten in a just over a month. In fact, when the terrorists entered Parliament, their first encounter was with the Vice-President’s security guards who proved a formidable shield.

P. S. Chauhan, the Delhi Police ASI who was the Vice President’s wireless operator, was the first to inform the security headquarters at Vinay Marg and the Parliament security about the attack. It was only after his wireless message that all agencies were alerted, the doors of Parliament closed and the security personnel mobilized.

“In the beginning, the senior officers and the Government promised awards and rewards to our families. But everything has been forgotten now and no one cares to inquire about us or is willing to offer financial aid,” said a family source of an injured Delhi policeman. Worse, when one of the injured policemen wanted to be discharged, the hospital authorities brusquely told him that the decision was entirely his own. He was told that he would have to first pay Rs 300 a day for the number of days stayed, alleged a family member.

When the wife of the injured policeman contacted a senior police officer, she was told that there was no contingency fund for these mishappenings.

The policeman was in the Vice-President’s security. The family’s bid to contact Vice-President’s brass failed. Finally, they had to foot the bill before leaving, said a family source. But, there seems to be a saving grace. When contacted, Delhi Police Commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma told the NCR Tribune that the Delhi Police had recommended gallantry awards to be conferred on the Republic Day for those killed and injured in the brazen attack.

He said that the proposal had been pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs and so far there was no intimation. Police sources said that Ashok Chakra had been recommended for those who had made the supreme sacrifice: ASI Nanak Chand, ASI Ram Pal, Head Constable Om Parkash, Constable Ghan Shyam and Head Constable Bijender (PSO of Najma Heptullah), who died in the hospital. For the injured SI P S Chauhan, ASI Jeet Ram, Head Constable Kamal Singh and Head Constable Samar Singh, Keerti Chakra was recommended by the police. And for a serving officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), Mukesh Kumar Meena, Shourya Chakra was recommended for his brave action during the attack.


New DVB mantra: Be consumer-friendly
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
With a month to go for the privatisation of the power distribution sector in the National Capital Territory, the Delhi Vidyut Board is embarking on a major consumer-friendly exercise and the state government is finalising plans for mega power projects in the neighbouring states.

While the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, announced the DVB’s plans to set up 16 consumer care centres in the Capital and to go computer-savvy, Delhi Power Minister, Mr Ajay Maken, is touring Chhattisgarh for finalising a suitable site for setting up 1000 MW power project in the state.

The Delhi Vidyut Board would soon establish 16 consumer care centres to service 26 lakh consumers in the National Capital Territory, the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, said here today.

Inaugurating the consumer care centre at Karkardooma in East Delhi, she said the DVB plans to improve its services to the consumers by implementing a state-of-the-art online computerised electricity billing system.

The centre would have 'single window service’ to attend to all kinds of consumer applications, objections and complaints, she said. The Board’s consumer-friendly scheme comes about a week before the six short-listed companies - AES (India) Pvt. Ltd, BSES Ltd. CESCON Ltd. China Light and Power International Ltd., Reliance Power Ltd. and Tata Power Co. Ltd – submit their bids for the DVB distribution sector.

The companies would have to send in their bids by January 31. A high-level committee of the Delhi Government headed by the Chief Secretary would evaluate the bids and send its recommendations by February 15. The agreement of handing over the distribution companies would be signed on February 28.

The private companies would have 51 per cent equity in the distribution companies. The government would, however, not transfer more than two distribution companies to any one bidder.

Highlighting the new consumer-friendly measures of the DVB, Ms Dikshit said the board has also opened new channels for convenient payment of bills through credit cards and cheques drop boxes along with confirmation of payments through interactive voice response system on telephone.

A new remote online computer terminal kiosk having touch screen features has also been developed and installed at the Karkardooma Centre where the consumers can directly obtain status of their bills and payments. Such kiosks would soon be installed across the city, she said.

The chief minister said the DVB plans to install remote cheque deposit machines at various places where consumers can directly deposit their cheques even at odd hours, as they can do in ATMs.

As the distribution companies would not be liable to purchase power from the state government owned companies after five years, the Delhi government has a long-term strategy for strengthening its generation capacity and sell power at a competitive price.

In this measure, the state government is exploring the possibility of setting up power projects in Chhattisgarh. The Delhi government also plans to set up dedicated hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal as these two are energy surplus states, but do not have enough resources to harness them. The Delhi Government has also indicated that it would support private sector participation in the setting up of power projects, which are dedicated to the needs of the Capital.


No strand of history has been diluted, says NCERT
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, January 24
Taking exception to media reports that Medieval History has been diluted in the recently released syllabi, the NCERT Director, Prof. J.S. Rajput, termed the allegations as incorrect.

In a statement, he said: “This is a baseless allegation divorced from fact”. He stated that not a single stream of study covered in the old syllabus has been axed. Instead, more portions, dealing with those parts of Indian History which until now had been ignored, have been included.

“We have noted in our interaction with the experts over the last two years that there was widespread resentment among people of the north-east and southern India over the way their story has been ignored while teaching Indian History. The historical experts, who guided NCERT in the past, probably committed this oversight, which has been corrected now”.

Dr. Rajput has also defended the inclusion of a chapter “Germination of high philosophy” in the Ancient India portion. Claiming that no reading of history is complete without having an understanding of India’s literature in spiritual times, the NCERT has saved itself from being branded communal.

To pacify religious organisations and political parties who had taken offence at the inclusion of portions derogatory to religious leaders or the religion itself, the NCERT has wielded the scissors on these controversial parts.

“The NCERT’s decision to delete those paragraphs was taken when specific complaints were received from organisations and political parties representing the interests of groups whose feelings were hurt. The step was met with general appreciation. Henceforth, controversies, if any, will be treated with appropriate professional care”, pointed out Dr. Rajput.

The NCERT has been facing rough weather with some historians claiming that the organisation has a communal slant and demanding that bias should be replaced with professionalism.


Lottery stockists cry foul against Gurgaon cops 
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 24
The stockists of lotteries, operating in Gurgaon city, are extremely agitated over the alleged police crackdown during business hours on January 16, causing the members of their fraternity and the customers considerable harassment.

To add insult to injury, no action has been taken on their memorandum, submitted to the Director General of Police, Haryana, Mr Mahender Singh Malik.

Narrating the sequence of events in the joint memorandum, the stockists pointed out that in the afternoon of January 16, the police personnel arrived at the venue of their business in Udyog Vihar police station area and started beating the customers indiscriminately. In the melee that ensued, a large number of lottery tickets were damaged. The police also took away the money from the stalls.

Later, the stockists were taken to the CIA office in Sector 15 and beaten up. They alleged that they were forced to sign documents which implicated them in the satta business. The total amount, allegedly taken away by the police, was about Rs 3.5 lakh.

In a memorandum to the DGP, the stockists said that their booths were ransacked and the customers beaten up.

The stockists demanded action against the errant officials and sought protection for carrying out their vocation. They have also sent a copy of the memorandum to the local SHO.

The stockists said that the incident could dent the image of the Haryana police, which is trying to spruce up its image for the last one year. The Haryana Government earns a handsome revenue through the sale of lottery tickets. Recurrence of such incidents will scare those engaged in the business, claim the lottery traders.

Inquiries reveal that the police team was led by the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Gurgaon. It is also learnt that the local SHO was not included in the raids.



Capital is under siege, biggest deployment ever
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
In the backdrop of the terrorist attack on Parliament last year and in Kolkata recently, the Delhi Police have deployed 10,000 additional paramilitary forces to ensure safe conduct of the Republic Day parade and other related celebrations.

Briefing the media on the security arrangements for the Republic Day, the police commissioner, Ajai Raj Sharma, said that thousands of commandos from the National Security Guards (NSG), the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and other paramilitary forces will be deployed at strategic points all along the route to counter any attempt by the terrorists or anti-social elements to disturb peace.

This is first time that the City Police have deployed such a large number of paramilitary forces, the Commissioner of Police said.

Admitting that making fool-proof security arrangements for the sprawling metropolis was a Herculean task, he sad that all possible efforts were being made by the police force “ with whatever resources available”.

Because of the continuing intelligence inputs about the possible strike by terrorists, specialised personnel from various security agencies have been requisitioned. These include those specialising in defusing bombs and explosives and precision shooters, who would man most of the high rise buildings en route. Squads of Sniffer dogs will assist in sanitising the parade route.

Border check posts have been activated and instructed to maintain a strict vigil, to prevent anti-social elements from sneaking into the Capital. In some of the sensitive areas of the city, spotters have been placed along with mobile units to help identify some dozen terrorists who are still believed to be at large and perhaps hiding in the Capital. Vigil has also been stepped up at the airport, the railway stations and the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT).

The police chief said that all the offices on and near the parade route would be sealed 24 hours before the celebrations. People moving in the periphery of parade route are requested to keep identity cards or any other documents to prove their identities, as random checking will be done from tomorrow. Frisking of common people would be undertaken in the route area.

All buildings, parks and bushes on the parade route will be checked thoroughly, so that no unwanted elements can hide there. Commandos will be deployed on rooftops of high-rise buildings on the route. The airforce will keep vigil in air to prevent any rocket launcher attacks.

Apart from this, the police have made preventive arrests, swooped down on suspected hideouts of terrorists and other anti-national elements. During this drive, a number of persons have been arrested.

Hospitals in the Capital have been alerted to take care of any emergency situation.



Humanity at its callous best
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, January 24
The death of an ill-fated couple in an accident on Tuesday night on the Jhajjar-Delhi Road near Noona-Majra village of the district, diminished humanity at large. Darshna Devi and her husband Jai Singh lost their lives, leaving their two kids behind. The accident exposed the waning human values and the lack of respect for life in society.

According to information, the couple, residents of Swarna Park in Delhi, were returning home from Jhajjar on a motorcycle when a speeding maxi-cab carrying passengers, coming from the opposite direction, ran over them.

But, instead of helping the victims lying on the road, the driver of the cab sped away. Ironically, not a single passenger had the guts to stop the driver. Worse, not one of them provided first-aid to the victims or tried to rush them to a nearby hospital. The victims continued to writhe in pain. Nor did any passing vehicle bother to pick them up and ferry them to a nearby hospital. After valuable time was frittered away, Rajendra Singh, an angel of mercy, appeared. Seeing the injured, he tried to rush them to the Community Health Centre at Bahadurgarh in his car. But, their condition had worsened. The victims succumbed to the head injuries en route to the hospital. The doctors who attended on them merely went through the motions of declaring them brought dead.

An ex-serviceman, Jai Singh was working with the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak as a lab technician while his wife, Darshnam, was a head constable in Delhi police.

Jai Singh had been to Sri Lanka with the peace-keeping force. Later, he was given retirement on medical grounds. The couple leave behind two children, Mohit, 8, and Ankit, 6. They are students of fourth and second standard, respectively.


MCF panels dissolved
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 24
The Mayor, Mrs Anita Goswami, has dissolved all the 11 committees of the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad (MCF), constituted by the previous mayor about 17 months ago.

The action was taken by Mrs Goswami today by using the powers vested in Section 40 of the Haryana Municipal Act, 1984. The Mayor who is facing opposition from a large number of elected members regarding functioning of the corporation, said that the committees will be re-constituted soon.


Farmers told to switch over to cash crops
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
The Haryana Financial Commissioner-cum-Agriculture Secretary, Mr Naseem Ahmad, inaugurated an agricultural training camp at the farm of Mr Ramesh Dagar, former chairman of the Sonepat Zila Parishad. More than 1,500 farmers and members of the Kisan clubs are participating in the camp near Shafiabad village, 8 km from here, yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ahmad stressed the need to diversify farming and urged the farmers to boost their income by sowing cash crops instead of just wheat and paddy. Sonepat district, he said, was near the national Capital and the farming community should take to flowers, fruits and other cash crops if they wanted to enhance their income.

He expressed satisfaction at the functioning of the newly constituted Kisan Clubs, which, he said, were spreading awareness among farmers about the cultivation of cash crops. He also said that there was increasing participation of womenfolk in the field of agriculture, which is a welcome development.

Mr Ahmad declared that the state government would provide financial assistance to farmers wishing to adopt modern means and technology in sowings crops, particularly cash crops.

Mr Rajiv Arora, Director of Agriculture, asked the officials of the Agriculture Department to extend cooperation to the farmers in boosting the farm output in the state. Kisan Clubs had been set up in each district of the state for this purpose, he said. Sonepat, he said, was way ahead of other districts in taking to new cash crops farming in the state.

Mr S. N. Roy, Deputy Commissioner, informed the participants that the Agriculture Department had organised at least 90 training camps for farmers in this district during the current financial year. He disclosed that more than 60 per cent of the farmers would be included as progressive farmers and would be provided full assistance including certified seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.

A farm exhibition was also held on the occasion. The cultivation of paddy, sowing of sugarcane and wheat were the main attraction for the farmers. Earlier, Mr Ahmad gave away prizes to the winners.


Press Enclave suffers as MCD refuses to mess with underground drain
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, January 24
It is ironical that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which has constructed a ‘state-of-the-art’ garbage dump at the crossing on the Press Enclave road in Saket, has ignored the deteriorating condition of the same road.

For the last two years, one side of the Press Enclave road, along Hauz Rani village, has remained “flooded” with sewage water overflowing from the underground drain. And the most affected are the shopkeepers along the road who have the sewage water flowing right in front of their shops.

“We are losing out on at least 50 per cent business,” said Mr Naresh, who runs a cigarette shop. “Leave out the business part of it, it is disgusting to spend the entire day in front of this mess.”

Mr Naresh commented sarcastically that when he left home for his shop, he made sure that he wore dirty clothes because the vehicles going past the road would invariably splash all the dirty water on him. Several other shopkeepers on the road voiced the same complaint.

Said Ms Manjiri Devi, a potter: “Earlier, people used to flock to this place to buy pots. Just look at it now. The place is empty. Who would want to walk through this mess to buy anything at all?”

A couple of months ago, it seemed that the MCD at last had fixed the “choked” underground sewer as the water stopped overflowing on to the road. But unfortunately, the dirty mess began coming out of the sewer again after a few days. It seemed that the MCD had given only a temporary touch to the problem.

Mr Suresh Kumar, a driver by profession, who lives about 10 yards from the section of the road from where the sewer water is coming out, said the pressure this time was so much that the water was flowing into his house. “I had to keep huge stones at the entrance of my house to block the flow.”

Meanwhile, the MCD maintained that the reason for the mess was the illegal occupation in Hauz Rani Village. “Even the sewerage is not being able to take the extra load. When 10 people are using what was meant for two, what can you expect?” an official remarked.

He further added that the MCD had cleaned the underground sewer pipes several times but they got blocked again because the residents of Hauz Rani threw all the muck straight into the nullah.

“The dirt we had to clean was unbelievable. We found leftovers of mutton and chicken flowing in the drain water. Naturally, it will get blocked. We are now planning to increase the width of the pipes. We will have to, otherwise the problem will never be solved,” the official told ‘NCR Tribune’.

However, residents of Press Enclave and adjoining residential colonies said the unauthorised occupancy in Hauz Rani village was no excuse for the MCD to not do its job properly. “One cannot walk on that side of the road,” said a resident of Ekta Apartments in the area. “Considering the fact that we have to go across the road to buy things for our daily needs, it is no less than a torture. The place stinks,” she remarked, adding that the place had virtually become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Mr Rajendra Bajpai, a resident of Press Enclave, said his friends living in Gurgaon used to frequently take this road to reach their destinations but now had found alternate routes. “No one wants to cross this road. It is so disgusting. And the fact that we are living right opposite this mess makes the thought even more disgusting.”



Milkman from Anand given lifetime achievement award
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, January 24
There are no parameters to gauge courage: acts of bravery stand out and stand tall. Yet, when it comes to appreciating and applauding those who risk their lives to save others, it requires no awards, but genuine gratitude.

The 10th Red and White Bravery Awards ceremony that took place in the Capital today had the Father of White Revolution, Dr Verghese Kurien, being felicitated for his social service. He was presented with a lifetime achievement award for social service. The award consists of a specially designed trophy, Rs. 1,00,000 and a citation. Dr Kurien is also the recipient of the Padmashree and Padmabhushan.

Awards for physical bravery were presented to Mr Kuber Singh Bisht who saved the lives of two people and single-handedly tried to extinguish a forest fire for almost two hours. He was presented with a gold medal, cash prize of Rs 15,000 and a certificate.

Mr Virendra Prakash Sharma who saved his neighbour from armed robbers received a cash prize of Rs 10,000, a silver medal and a certificate. The District Commissioner of Police has also awarded him for his courageous act.

For acts of social courage, a gold medal, cash prize of Rs 15, 000 and a merit certificate was presented to Dr Rajiv Tandon, who has been actively involved in spreading the message of AIDS awareness. He provides medical facilities to children afflicted with the disease.

Charkha, a team of three people, playing the role of a link between grassroot activities and mainline print medium, has also been presented the award for social acts of courage. Charkha tries to highlight all events and movements that play a role in moulding the minds and lives of common people. A cash prize of Rs 10,000, a silver medal and a merit certificate was awarded to the organisation.

The bronze medal in this category went to Mr Vijay K. Saluja who continues to fight a lone battle against corruption. A civil engineer with the NDMC, he has taken cudgels against those in power to expose the mis-management of funds going on in his department. He has won Rs 5,000 and a merit certificate as a part of the award.



Home Guards in Republic Day parade after 16 years
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, January 24
Dressed in khaki, Berry cap and white sleeves with red cuffs and white gloves - ready to fight for you in an emergency. Do not mistake the jawans in the dress for the Delhi Police. They are jawans of the Home Guards, a voluntary organisation for local defence. This time, the Republic Day will have a unique feature, as Home Guards are participating in the parade after 16 years.

Thanks to the attitude of the government as well as local citizens, their identity remains unknown. The Home Ministry intimated to the organisation on January 4, 2002 that it would be participating in the Republic Day parade this year. In the short span of time available, the trainers and officials have been able to train their jawans to maintain the decorum of the national parade.

Mr Wadhawa Singh, JSO, Home Guards, said, “We had participated last in the parade in 1986. We have got the opportunity to participate in the parade again. We have had to put in a lot of efforts to prepare ourselves for the parade. Starting from A to Z, from training the jawans to providing them with temporary residence and basic amenities, we had to arrange everything.”

It was difficult to train the newly enrolled jawans in such a short span of time. Mr D. S. Noravat, Commandant, said, “It is really an achievement for us that after such a long time, we are again considered for the parade. We had been kept out for long. A voluntary organisation like ours, which has been serving the people for so long, should have got recognition earlier. It was really difficult to manage. The procurement of uniform is still in the process. And we hope we will be getting those uniforms soon. Then we will start setting up their accommodation and basic amenities. To train 144 newly enrolled jawans was a challenging job for us. But we have achieved it as was proved at the dress rehearsal of the parade on January 23.”

The voluntary citizen’s organisation was set up during World War II in the United Kingdom for local defence. India adopted it in December 1946, in Mumbai, to assist the police in controlling civil disturbance and communal riots.

Later, other states adopted this concept of the voluntary citizens’ force, as auxiliary to the police for maintenance of law and order and for natural calamities. During the Chinese aggression in 1962, the Centre advised the states to merge the Home Guards into one all-India force. It has now been given several powers related to assisting police, assist community during emergencies, organise functions, promote communal harmony and participate in socio-economic and welfare activities.

Of the sanctioned strength of 10,285, including women, the enrolled strength of the Home Guards is 8,334. Apart from the paid staff, the rest work for Rs 100 per day. The police are the major users of the force. Other departments and agencies like central jail, Delhi High Court, PWD, DTC, Sales Tax, MCD, NDMC, DVB, DJB, MTNL, FCI, Doordarshan and many other government departments deploy the guards.

Whenever there is any important requirement like during strikes, rallies and floods, their service is called upon on short notice. At present, almost 6,000 volunteers have been deployed in the Delhi Police and traffic police and 1,200 in other departments. Most of the officers of the force are distressed with the “step-motherly attitude” of the government as well as citizens.

Despite the sincere efforts of its personnel, very few people recognise the existence of Home Guards. So next time, do not ignore these volunteers. They are the ones giving their time and strength for our protection.

No ‘apna dhan’ for ‘apni beti’
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 24
The ‘Apni Beti Apna Dhan’ Yojna, a prominent scheme launched for the welfare of the girl child and women in Haryana, is facing `failure’ in the district due to shortage of funds. As a result, a large number of beneficiaries are awaiting the certificate of the fixed deposit of Rs 2,500 the state government was supposed to have made in the name of the girl child as part of the scheme.

It is reported that almost 7,000 women who have availed of the benefit under the scheme in the past three years have not got the papers on the investment of Rs 2,500 made by the government in the name of the girl child, for a period of 18 years. Of course, the women who gave birth to girl children have got the cash help of Rs 500.

It may be recalled that women from poor and middle class families are eligible for the benefit of the scheme since it was launched in 1994. Besides providing Rs 500 within 15 days of the birth of the girl child, the authorities are also supposed to deposit Rs 2,500 in the name of the child for a period of 18 years. However, it is learnt that the department concerned in the district is having no `budget’ since 1999. As a result, the scheme has been implemented only in as `half-hearted’ manner.

According to sources, about 2,700 cases were reported under the scheme in 1999. Another 2,500 applicants were booked in 2000 while about 1,800 were registered in 2001. There are several applicants who have completed all the formalities but the certificate of the fixed deposit of Rs 2,500 has not been released so far.

However, the department officials are hopeful that funds would be released soon for the scheme.



Poison mixed in pond, fish worth Rs 2 lakh killed 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 24
Fishes worth about Rs 2 lakh were killed in a pond at Urithal village of Hathin subdivision in the district yesterday, when someone reportedly mixed poison in the pond maintained by a contractor.

According to a report lodged with the police at Hathin town, the accused, identified as Biloo, son of Manbir, allegedly threw a poisonous substance into the fishpond owned by Satish of the same village due to personal enmity. Thousands of fishes perished soon after.

Jeep overturns

A person travelling in a jeep was killed and four others were injured, when it got overturned near Palwal last night.

The victim identified as Ramprasad was the resident of Dadhus village. He succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The injured were identified as Mahavir, Harikishan, Chetram and Hukamchand.

Meanwhile, in another incident, a person, Jangbahadur, working in YMCA Institute here, died after he fell from the rooftop of a building.

Seminar on cement

An international exhibition and seminar on ‘energy and environment in cement production and sustainable construction’ will be organised at Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi from January 28 to 31.

According a spokesman of the National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB) here, the programme would be organised jointly by the NCB, Ballabgarh and the cement manufacturers association.

Lay-off flayed

Mr Radhey Sham Sharma, press secretary of the All Haryana PWD Mechanical Karamchari Union, has condemned the anti-employees’ attitude of the state government and its retrenchment policy. The union warned that if the retrenchment of government employees was not stopped, the union would have no alternative but to launch an agitation on the issue.


Old age pension enhanced to Rs 300
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The Government of NCT of Delhi has enhanced the old age pension to Rs 300 per month. The amendments to the Delhi Administration Old Age Assistance Rules 1973 enhancing the pension was notified in the Gazette today.

The Social Welfare Minister, Mr Raj Kumar Chauhan, said the government would have to bear an extra burden of Rs 12 crore a year on this account. Senior citizens with an individual income of Rs 22,000 per annum, who were getting Rs 200 per month by way of old age pension, would now benefit from this step. The pension for the fourth quarter would be remitted in the savings accounts of the pensioners at the rate of Rs 300 per month at the end of March 2002. The minister said the present eligibility criteria for old age pension of individual income of Rs 22,000 per annum had also been changed to family income of Rs 48,000 per annum. About one lakh senior citizens in Delhi would be benefited from this decision.



Crutches, blankets distributed
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, January 24
The Haryana Governor, Mr Babu Parmanand, distributed crutches, tricycles, sewing machines, blankets, school bags etc among over 350 person at a programme organised by the District Red Cross Society at John Hall here today. The Governor lauded the role of the branches of the Red Cross Society, Child Welfare Council, Bharatiya Gramin Sangh and voluntary bodies spread all over the state.

He exhorted the industrialists and other rich people of the society to extend maximum help to the voluntary organisations so that the less fortunate section of the society could be uplifted. He said that such camps should be held regularly where useful items could be distributed amongst the poor. These functions encouraged the general public to come forward in providing their contribution to empower the poor and the deprived sections of the society, added Mr Babu Parmanand. The Governor also inaugurated a blood donation camp organised by Industrial Training Institute (ITI). The Gurgaon branch of ITI is used to organising blood donation camps regularly. It is one of the famous institutes of the district where a good number of blood units are donated by its academic faculty and students each time.



PNB adopts Bainsi village
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 24
The Punjab National Bank yesterday announced that it had adopted Bainsi in the Meham subdivision and it would develop it as a ‘model village’. The village has a population of nearly 10,000 and has two high schools, one of them for girls.

The SDM, Mr Wazir Singh Goyat, inaugurated a public library and a reading room in the village yesterday in the presence of Mr R. K. Gupta, assistant general manager of the Punjab National Bank, Rohtak area.

Mr Gupta said that the bank would provide finances to every villager for starting self-employment projects. This would improve the standard of living of the villagers. The bank had already provided credit cards to 173 farmers of the village and more such cards were being provided to the remaining farmers. The bank had advanced a loan of over Rs 2.1 crore to residents of the village for undertaking various developmental schemes.

Mr Gupta assured that besides daily newspapers, periodicals would also be provided to the library and the reading room. The bank had made arrangements for providing books to the library, he said. Mr Gupta said that the bank had been able to enhance its business to Rs 1 lakh crore from Rs 90,000 crore. It has 4,000 branches and over 55,000 employees on its rolls. Its 1,751 branches had been computerised and the rest were being computerised.


‘Today’s patriotism bad for peace’
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 24
Dr Lal Singh, senior vice-president of the Buddhist Society of India and a medical practitioner, flayed the concept of patriotism preached by various political parties and leaders.

Talking to `NCR Tribune’ on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose here yesterday, Dr Lal Singh, who is associated with a political party, stated that the present form of patriotism was unable to bring peace in the world as nationalism was inextricably linked to patriotism. The concept of patriotism today was narrow minded, he said.

He said that India had witnessed `patriotism’ much before Independence.

“People are taught to hate their enemy from childhood which usually end in a bloodbath. He said modern patriotism was a great threat to the world of peace and to counter it, spiritual heart transformation was the need of the hour. Patriotism should be based on universal brotherhood and it must reject the emotion of hatred aimed at people of other countries. The survival of humanity was possible only then, he said.


Drug racket busted, British woman held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
With the arrest of a British national from Goa, the Delhi zone unit of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) today claimed to have busted a racket of drug smuggling from India to London.

The suspected British woman, Ms Clare Georgina Mathews, was arrested on January 18 from Goa, where she was staying at a rented house. She tried to send the contraband in a parcel, a spokesman of the NCB said.

The bureau received information in Delhi that a foreigner had booked a parcel for London which was suspected to contain some narcotics. The parcel was being sent through a private courier. A team of the bureau reached the courier office, opened the parcel and seized 1.12 kg of hashish. The parcel was booked by one Mrs Brooks staying in Janpath Hotel. During investigation, it was found that the senders’ name and address written on the parcel were fake.

The bureau got to know through its sources that the actual name of the sender was Clare Georgina Mathews, living at a rented house in Goa. She was arrested by the sleuths of the bureau there, the spokesman said.

Two rape minor

Two persons, Thakur Dass Khand of Nepal and Jagdish of Uttranchal, were arrested today on the charge of raping a minor girl in Shahbad Daulatpur village. They were the watchmen in a factory near the village and were familiar with the family members of the victim. They allegedly raped the girl today morning when they found her alone, the police said.

Man robbed of car

A 40-year-old property dealer in Sultanpuri was robbed of his Ford Ikon car by four armed youths today morning.

The victim is the owner of the Sanchit Associates and a successful property dealer in the area. The youths entered the office of the victim and asked for the key of the car. When he resisted, they beat him up, snatched the key and drove away with the vehicle, the police said.

Car lifter nabbed

A 22-year-old man, ‘Junior Charles Shobhraj’, was arrested today from Jalvayu Vihar on the charge of stealing luxury cars and motorcycles from several areas of South Delhi. He was reportedly involved in 30 car theft and burglary cases. Two Maruti Esteems, one Maruti 800 and eight motorcycles were recovered from his possession. Most of the vehicles were stolen from Lajpat Nagar Market, Tughlakabad and Sainik Farms, the police said.

Cylinder blast

Five members of a family were injured and their house at Patel Nagar under the Sihani Gate police station was damaged after a gas cylinder exploded today morning. Half a dozen adjoining houses also developed crack under the impact of the blast.

Mr Ashok Kumar, his wife, mother and two children who were injured, have been hospitalised. The explosion was so powerful that it shook the walls of six houses on either side.

The explosion occurred at House No 1-2 of Mr Ashok Kumar, who runs a gas cylinder filling business. The house of Mr Sat Prakash Saxena, his neighbour, was also badly damaged. Its floor was blown away.

The police have not registered any case. Earlier, some person had lodged complaints about illegal gas cylinder filling with the police. But no action has been taken so far.



Bid to loot businessman thwarted
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
With the arrest of five armed youth, the Rai police today claimed to have foiled their attempt to loot Mr Anil Sabharwal, owner of Sabharwal Food Industries, on the G.T. Road, about 20 km from here, last night. Superintendent of Police Paramjit Singh Ahlawat told mediapersons here on Thursday that the youngsters have been identified as Parveen alias Ballu, Mukesh, Babloo, Bhagwan Dass and Parveen. The aforesaid were residents of Kundli village. The police, he said, recovered knives, iron rods and fake guns from their possession.


Man slits wife’s throat

Gurgaon, January 24
In a fit of anger, a husband today killed his wife by cutting her throat and both hands with a sharp weapon. According to police sources, Mahender Singh, a gardener by profession, was at home at Gurgaon village in the morning today. A close relative came to the house. While Mahender Singh, his wife Laxmi and the relative were talking on some personal issue, all of a sudden the discussion heated up and both the wife and the husband started arguing loudly. Mahender Singh took his grass cutter and hit his wife. When Laxmi protested the attack and raised her hand, Mahender cut her both hands. Afterwards, he cut her throat with the weapon. OC

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