Monday, January 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Gurdwara Bill sent to President
DSGMC poll likely to be postponed
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
Finally after seven years, the Union Home Minister has forwarded the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971 (Amendment) Bill, seeking to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years for the presidential assent. The Home Ministry’s decision has generally been welcomed by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee members. However, the timing of the Centre’s action is being seen as politically motivated as it would delay the general election to the committee by a couple of months.

If the Bill gets the presidential assent, the directorate would have to conduct house-to-house survey and register new voters, which would take a couple of months. Since schoolteachers generally do the enlisting work, the forthcoming board examination for class X and XII would force the directorate to postpone the work till April-end.

There are 2.67 lakh registered voters in 46 wards for the gurdwara polls as per the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections.

Though this is one of the oldest bills passed by the Assembly pending for presidential assent and the lowering of the age has been a longstanding demand of the community, the DSGMC members said that by this move the Centre had delayed the polls for at least another six months.

Sources in the Union Home Ministry said that the files pertaining to the lowering of age was sent to the President, Mr K R Narayanan on Friday evening for his assent. The ordinance could be issued in a couple of days.

The members of the DSGMC were, however, hopeful that if the presidential nod was given to the Bill, it would infuse young blood into the gurdwara politics.

While both the factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal have been voicing their inclination to fight the polls, they have been working overtime in private to see that the polls are delayed by a couple of months. The last general election to the committee was held in 1995, almost after 16 years. The present committee completed its four-year tenure and the Delhi High Court had recently directed the Delhi Government to hold the polls before March 15.

Since Delhi is a quasi-state, all the bills passed by the Assembly are required to be submitted to the Union Home Ministry, which then forwards them to the President for his assent. The Centre had not forwarded the Bill to the President earlier on the grounds that “matured persons are needed to handle the affairs of the Gurdwaras” and as such there was no need to reduce the voting age.

The members of the community had sought this reduction in the age to maintain parity with the Parliamentary and Assembly elections where the age was reduced from 21 years to 18 years.

“We want the voting age to be reduced and have met the Union Home Minster three times during the last one year, but no action has been taken on the issue so far,” Mr Kulmohan Singh, General Secretary of the DSGMC, said.

The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, expressing support for the reduction in voting age, asked, “If a person is mature enough to elect his representative for Parliament and Assembly, shouldn’t the same privilege be extended to the Sikhs to elect their representative for the Gurdwara management.”

The DSGMC member, Mr Manjit Singh Greater Kailash, said, “The reduction in voting age would encourage the youth to take an interest in the affairs of gurdwara management and its functioning. The lack of interest shown by the youth in the activities of gurdwara has resulted in the new generation deviating from the basic tenets of the religion.”

The Assembly passed the Bill on August 24, 1994, almost a year after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Government had come to power in the National Capital Territory.



Remove mosque’s illegal portion: HC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
The Delhi High Court has directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to remove the unauthorised construction in Kaziwala mosque within six months.

“The MCD is directed to take appropriate action in accordance with the law in respect of the unauthorised construction in Kaziwala mosque at the main market of Paharganj bazaar within six months,” a division bench comprising Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice S Mukherjee said in an order on Friday.

“Mere absence of the plan cannot be a ground for not taking action,” the bench observed while rejecting the contention of the MCD counsel Shiv Kumar that in the absence of the plan of the mosque, it would be difficult to determine which was the portion, built illegally.

The court said that pendency of suits between the Waqf Board and the occupants “will not prevent MCD from taking action” for removal of the illegal structure.

The bench observed that the MCD had not denied that some structure had been added to the mosque’s “musafirkhana” (guest house) and it was converted into a lodge by some people who claim a tenancy right to it.

The direction was issued on a PIL filed by the Society for Protection of Heritage and Culture (SPHC), seeking a direction to the Government to remove the illegal construction and declare the mosque a national monument.

SPHC counsel Usha Kumar told the court that the mosque fell within the category of protected monument and should be preserved under the Archaeological Survey of India Act.

The court during the arguments took a serious note of the MCD’s failure to take an appropriate action, saying it had not followed the direction issued earlier.

“The MCD has to take the action. Unfortunately, it has not as per the last order,” the court said, reminding its counsel that the Corporation had not denied that there was addition to the mosque’s old structure.

The MCD counsel told the court that the Corporation could take action only in case of new unauthorised construction, but where it was disputed whether the built-up portion was new or an old property, it was difficult to remove it.

The occupants had claimed that they were the tenants and allotted the portion in their possession by the Waqf Board on a tenancy agreement.

However, the Waqf Board in its reply denied it and said that the suits related to the disputed property were pending in the court.



Drive towards safer roads, full of bumps 
Tribune News Service

Vital statistics

* 56 per cent of individuals who applied for a competency test failed

* 85 per cent of professional drivers barely passed the re-evaluation test

* 46 per cent of applicants for recruitment as professional drivers failed

* 15 per cent of school bus drivers and conductors failed.

New Delhi, January 27
How safe are Delhi’s roads? This clichéd question is asked every time an accident stirs the collective conscience of the metropolis.

The question was asked after a BMW had mowed down unsuspecting road users a few years back. It was again asked when a school bus had plunged into the Yamuna river killing scores of children. Again, when the occupants of a speeding car died at the Ashram flyover last year-end.

The usual theories bandied about range from drunken driving to over speeding but if the findings of the Institute of Driving and Training Research (ITDR) are any pointer, one in every two automobile users in the Capital would fail miserably when it comes to driving skills. That would perhaps explain why an average of six persons dies in road accidents every day and 20 are seriously injured in Delhi.

What is one driving at? Well, a random sampling of individual driving skills conducted by the institute reveals that nearly 60 per cent of vehicle users failed in the driving test. Passing the test is an essential prerequisite for obtaining a commercial or professional driving licence. Of the 2,857 persons who had applied for the test, 1,556 candidates or 56 per cent failed.

The study was conducted as part of the institute’s effort to make driving and road safety an integral part of road use.

Highlighting the lack of professional training and evaluation processes for driving are a few more chilling statistics. Nearly 12,300 professional drivers of the public service vehicle category, with experience in driving ranging from five to 25 years, were asked to undergo a re-evaluation test at the institute. As many as 2,303 of them (14 per cent) failed. Another 85 per cent could barely pass the test. Only one per cent of the drivers found in the “very good and above” category.

Under the programme for school-bus drivers and conductors, 1,061 drivers and conductors were evaluated. Nearly 15 per cent (166 candidates) failed. Furthermore, of the 1,174 applicants sent by various organisations to the institute for recruitment as professional drivers, only 54 per cent passed. Of them, only five per cent were graded as “good or above”.

As part of the evaluation process, eye test was also conducted for the drivers. Of the 30,385 persons assessed for eyesight, 1,103 had one defect or the other, ranging from defective near or distant vision (579) to partial or total colour blindness.

Incidentally, the Transport Department has made it mandatory for those seeking a commercial or professional licence to first qualify a competence test conducted at IDTR. That includes school-bus drivers and conductors. To drive the message home, the institute has chalked out a campaign that would include schoolchildren, teachers and also school-bus drivers and conductors. 



MCD teachers awaiting their salaries
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
The teachers of various schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are suffering economic hardship as they have not been given their salaries. This, despite the fact that they had called off their prolonged strike last month after reaching an agreement with the authorities.

What has added to their problem is the fact that there appears to be no one in the authorities to sort out their financial problems as the Commissioner, Mr S. P. Aggarwal, is abroad and scheduled to return sometime next week only.

The President of the MCD Teachers Association Front, Mr K.K. Gandhi, said, “We went on strike to get rid of the anomalies. We were assured by the commissioner and the standing committee chairperson that our problems would be solved, once the strike was called off. We believed the authorities. But we have been cheated. Instead of removing the anomalies, our salaries have been stopped.”

He told the NCR Tribune that even “the arrears have not been given to the teachers. We will talk to the commissioner when he returns. Thereafter, we will plan the next course of action”.

The Education Committee Chairperson, Ms Vishakha Shailani, said, “There was no financial crisis in the MCD. No work, no pay was the policy of the corporation. Since the teachers had been on strike last month, their salaries had been stopped. But it would be sorted out once the commissioner returns.”

However, the Opposition leader in the MCD, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, said that it was injustice to the teachers. “They should be given the salaries on time. The presence of commissioner should not be the condition and is not even required as there are several senior officers in the education department who can sort out the matter,” he added.

The BJP-dominated corporation has given priority to education by increasing 22 per cent of the total plan money in the estimated budget this year. But this incident has exposed them and this is one of the reasons they want to defer the election, he alleged.

He said that the BJP’s claim that there was qualitative improvement in the MCD schools was baseless. He disclosed that the Planning Department of the Delhi Government had carried out a survey of 636 primary schools and the report was alarming.

The survey report said that 25.36 per cent children between 6 and 11 years were not going to schools and the MCD had never bothered to inculcate in them the habit.

The report also said that there was no drinking water in at least six per cent of the primary schools.



Trader waylaid, Gohana shopkeepers down shutters
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 27
Shopkeepers kept their shutters down and observed a complete strike at Gohana, a sub-divisional town 35 km away from here, yesterday in protest against the delay in arresting three youths who allegedly waylaid Mr Prem Dureja, a kiryana merchant, on the eve of the Republic Day.

According to a report, the striking shopkeepers and traders made an attempt to hold up traffic near the old bus stand by sitting on a dharna forcing the police to resort to mild cane charge. They also raised slogans against the government and police. They finally lifted the blockade and ended their dharna on the assurances given by Mr Suraj Bhan Jangra, SDM, and Mr Sham Singh Rana, DSP, that the culprits would be brought to book soon. Mr Prem Dureja, it may be recalled, was shot at and robbed of a bag containing Rs 50,000 by three miscreants while he was on his way to his house along with his servant after closing the shop.

The alleged miscreants came on a motorcycle, waylaid him and fired shots at him when he resisted them. The injured shopkeeper was immediately hospitalised. He is stated to be out of danger. The Gohana police have registered a case of looting against the miscreants and launched a hunt to apprehend them.

According to another report, Dharminder, a 19-year-old youth of Bhanwar village, was reportedly kidnapped by four persons from near the bus stand at Gohana town yesterday. The youth left his house at Bhanwar village for Gohana town on his way to his wife’s house at Jagsi village. When he did not reach the village, the parents suspected foul play. However, around 9 pm they received a telephone call from the youth that he had been kidnapped by four persons.



IT officials raid HCL offices
Our Correspondent

Noida, January 27
The Income Tax Department carried out searches on the official premises of HCL group at Sector 3 here as well as at the residence of company officials on Thursday and seized some documents. The search began at around 9.00 am at the Noida office.

The department was reportedly “carrying out searches in more than 20 premises and several of our officials have informed us on the phone that several sensitive documents have been seized”, a source said. Income tax officials claimed that these searches were carried out after information was received that “certain brokers were using the route of Malaysia to sell shares and take tax advantage”.

The HCL group, however, said in a statement that “the company is providing the necessary information to assist the I-T Department authorities with their inspection”. The company also said that “we are committed to ensure full and complete compliance with the provision of law as the company has always conformed with all statutory requirements under the IT Act, 1961”.

The HCL Technologies based in New Delhi specialises in engineering related software that goes into hi-tech equipment and microchips and counts Cisco Systems and KLA Tencor among its clients. Its shares ended down 2.9 per cent at Rs 243.25 on the BSE while the benchmark index ended 0.45 per cent down.



Terrorism main theme of Republic Day speeches 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, January 27
Terrorism has become an intricate problem not only for our country but also for the world today and is posing a constant threat to our democracy and world peace. So we must strive unitedly to solve this problem by supporting the Central Government’s stand in avoiding a war.

This was stated by the Haryana Governor, Mr Babu Parmanand, after unfurling the National Flag and taking the salute and inspecting the guard of honour at the state-level function of the Republic Day held at the Police Line Grounds here yesterday.

He told that the steps taken to avoid the war should not be misunderstood as our weakness. We had always been the followers of peace and the principles of panchsheel and we were making our best efforts to maintain peace all around for safeguarding our national unity and integrity, he said.

Paying homage to the known and unknown martyrs and expressing his gratitude towards our freedom fighters and nation-builders, the Governor said that it was difficult to attain freedom and it was even more difficult to protect and preserve it.

He also stressed the need for solving the most burning problems of the nation like casteism, unemployment, unequal distribution of resources and costly education for transforming India into the most progressive, peaceful and successful democratic nation of the world.

The Governor lauded the fast development of Haryana in every field of human endeavour and commended the contribution of the soldiers of Haryana shown in different wars while defending our frontiers. He also called upon the youth not to imitate the western culture blindly but to follow the high ideals of the rich Indian cultural heritage like truth, non-violence and dharma.

The Governor honoured the widows of Shaheed Nayak Ramraj, Mrs Susheela Devi, Shaheed Nayak Shishram, Mrs Bimla Devi, and Shaheed Nayak Jagat Singh, Mrs Kiranvati, by presenting them a cheque of Rs 20,000 each. The Governor also presented a cheque of Rs 1.20 lakh to L/Nayak Janbir on loosing his complete right hand in Operation Vijay of Kargil. He also honoured Vinit Yadav and Surender Kumar and Miss Gurman Geet Kaur, all students, with a cheque of Rs 5,000 each and bravery medal.

Similarly, the Governor honoured Dr N. K. Jain, Civil Surgeon Gurgaon, Mr Dilbagh Dhanda, Mr Babulal, Mr Jai Parkash, Mr Khajan Singh, Mr Dalip Singh Yadav, Mr Sumer Singh, Mr Fulluram, Mr Satish Kumar, Mr Rajesh Kumar, Mr Balwan Singh, Mr Raj Singh, Mrs Kavita Gupta and Mrs Santosh Kumari for their excellent performance in different fields.

The contingents of the Haryana Police, Haryana Armed Police, Home Guards, NCC, Scouts and Girl Guides presented an impressive march past and saluted the chief guest. The children of different schools presented an interesting cultural and PT show projecting the national unity and the development spirit. A number of tableaux of various departments showing the fast development of the state were also presented in the function. A grant of Rs 51,000 for sweets to the children who participated in the cultural and PT show programmes was also announced on behalf of the Governor on the occasion.

Faridabad: Meanwhile, the district-level function of the Republic Day was inaugurated by the Deputy Speaker of the Haryana Assembly, Mr Gopi Chand Gehlot, by unfurling the national tricolour at Sector 12 Stadium. The chief guest was given salute by the parade taken out by the contingents of the police, NCC, Scouts and students.

Tableaux of various departments were also displayed on the occasion. A cultural programme was also presented by the students.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Gehlot appealed them to stand united against terrorism and anti-national forces. He said that although Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of peace and non-violence were still very much relevant, we must be ready to thwart any attempt of the enemy to disturb our unity and democracy. Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar, Additional Deputy Commissioner Mehtab Singh, SSP Ranbir Sharma, Mayor Anita Goswami, and Rajender Beesla, MLA from Ballabgarh, were among those who were present on the occasion.

Sonepat: The Haryana Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute at a march-past in the Police Lines here yesterday.

The contingents of the Armed Police, Home Guards, NCC and Guides presented a guard of honour to the minister and later took part in the march-past.

The boys and girls of local schools gave a smart display of P T drill and yoga asanas.

Several tableaux depicting the cultural heritage and development activities were displayed in the parade. The tableaux of Sonepat Cooperative Sugar Mill was declared the best. The second and third position went to S M Hindu Senior School, Sonepat and the Agriculture Department, respectively.

The Minister gave away sewing machines to five widows and tricycles to 20 handicapped persons free of cost on behalf of the District Red Cross Society on the occasion. He also awarded certificates of appreciation to several individuals and policemen for their contributions in various fields.

The Republic Day was also celebrated at Gohana, Ganaur, Kharkhauda towns and other places in the district amidst tight security arrangements.

Mrs Sangeeta Roy, wife of the Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson of the District Red Cross Society, distributed sweets and fruits among the inmates of the Bal Gram Rai, patients of the local civil hospital, prisoners of district jail and the Government After Care Home for child convicts. Students of Kanya Mahavidyalaya at Kharkhauda town organised unique type of art and crafts exhibition on the campus in connection with the Republic Day celebrations, according to Mrs Usha Kapuria, Principal of the College.

Rohtak: The Haryana Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Rampal Majra, unfurled the tricolour and took salute of the contingents of the police, Rapid Action Force, Home Guards, NCC and Scouts on the Republic Day here yesterday.

Commenting on the cross border terrorism being faced by the country, Mr Majra said the neighbouring country had challenged the sovereignty of the nation by sponsoring infiltrators. He urged the people, especially the youth, to fight against terrorism setting aside differences based on caste, creed, area, religion etc. He said that the recent decision delivered by the apex court regarding completion of the SYL canal within a year had paved the way for prosperity and uplift of the region.

He said the state government had introduced a new education policy for eliminating the problem of the unemployment. He claimed that Rs 1,100 crore had been invested on establishing 73 large and medium scale and 2,933 small-scale industrial units in the state.



The making and the unmaking of plans

They say that Delhi’s skyline will be changed in 20 years if and when the new, 20-year Master Plan is implemented. Of course, the plan, prepared by the Lt-Governor with the help of some aides, will have to be approved by more than one authorities before it is implemented. Already, there is a controversy over how it could be prepared and presented without taking into confidence and without even consulting the elected government of Delhi.

Even the MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party which rules at the Centre are annoyed that they too were not in the picture while the Master Plan was being prepared. In any case, bureaucrats are fond of preparing 20-year plans not knowing that ruling parties in the states or at the centre change more frequently than a two-decade period. And when they change, their successors revise, reverse or upset old plans irrespective of who prepared them. All this controversy because the new plan has a major recommendation, that of converting the entire area of Delhi into an urban area, that is, doing away with villages or the rural parts altogether. No villages in the midst of concrete monsters of urban kind, no panchayats to be dubbed as grass-root democracy, no panches and sarpanches and not even farmhouses which are being used by the important persons to mint money.

Sorry, we have strayed from what we had started to talk about – the skyline of Delhi. Who needs 20-year plans or even five-year plans to change the skyline? It is changing every year, in fact every day. As a person who has seen it changing during the last four decades or so, I can say it safely that the bureaucrats need not spend their energies and the government or public funds in preparing such plans. The people will change the character of the Delhi city or the state, its skyline included, themselves and get it regularised from whatever authority happens to be there at that time. If somebody tries to preserve the better parts of the place, he will be removed from the position of authority like Mr Jagmohan, former Union Minister of Urban Development, was ousted.

Anyway, the people have started forgetting what the original skyline or the character of Delhi was. Green patches are disappearing, multi-storey structures have lined the roads which used to have rows of trees along them. Bungalows have made way for blocks of flats. Maybe, the colonial landmarks had no place in a democracy. And who has time today for a stroll in the green, grassy lawns of Connaught Place? Anyway, much of the green has been replaced by redstone blackened by the polluting emissions from vehicles. Still, if you want to walk there, it is entirely at your own risk.

And why does one think of converting rural areas into urban areas? Where are the rural areas and what is rural left of them? Only last fortnight we wrote about Bawana village which is going to be turned into an industrial estate of over 15,000 industrial units. Nobody had thought of a plan to envisage such a skyline. Incidentally, I am not against plans. They keep bureaucrats and other planners busy and are a nice way of spending public money.

Lost at India Gate

Now that we talk about landmarks and skyline, I have remembered what happened with a friend, an old resident of Delhi who has known every inch of the place worked here as a city reporter for years. On one foggy day in the last fortnight, he left the high court building for Patel Nagar. He lost his way at India Gate itself and drove in the circular round three times before he decided to turn into just any road out of the place. He could not read or see any road signs or names of roads painted in small letters in black. With the heavy traffic, he could not pause anywhere and read them. Maybe, he felt, the road signs could have been more prominent or painted in luminous paint to help road users.

He came out of the India Gate complex but faced the same problem at the Janpath-Ashok Road roundabout. Somehow, he managed to reach Patel Nagar in an hour and a half though he normally takes half an hour to 40 minutes to cover this distance.

The civic authorities are kind enough to put up over-head, large-sized road indicators at some places but most roads and roundabouts still have those old fancy plates which were useful when there were not so many vehicles in Delhi and the motorists could slow down and read them. Now, there is no way you can slow down. Somebody or the other will bang you from behind or from sides and will abuse you in addition.

Ah, To Be A Voter!

Many people here are talking about how lakhs of voters could disappear from the electoral rolls of Delhi. Perhaps nobody will ever know. But I have this to tell from Gurgaon and what I have to tell will enlighten the readers how electoral rolls are prepared in the largest democracy of the world. Luckily, they do not call it the greatest or the best democracy in the world. The other day, I was told that I must present myself at a nearby school for being photographed for election identity card for which the election staff had already collected particulars from my home. I am proud of being a voter and reached the place early, that is one-and-a-half-hour after the photo staff were to commence work. There was no sign of them nor did the school authorities know anything about it.

The family returned home and so did a few others who had collected there. But we kept a vigil through a helping hand and were told later in the day that the chaps had arrived there. I went again there and the staff looked into the copy of electoral rolls to give me the “slip” to entitle me for the photograph. The list had my father’s name wrong, my wife’s name wrong, my son’s father’s (that is mine) name wrong and some unknown person’s name against my house number. It was more than a hat-trick — four factual mistakes in three lines. I pointed it out to the man handling the case. “How does it matter?” he said and smiled. It was nothing much to smile about as far as I was concerned. I could only protest and got the correct names on the slips knowing fully well that it would not help. The photographs of all three of us were taken and the slips kept in a bunch near the small camera. They will be referred to for particulars when cards are prepared. The slips could get mixed up, who knows?

I did not give up in my efforts to get the record corrected. I consulted the telephone directory. There were three telephones listed as “election office” but in case of all, the taped voice said the telephone did not exist. I tried the fourth one, supposed to be the main election office. There was a response but the lady on the other end was polite and said it was the SDM’s telephone. She could help if I had a problem with the photo part but for a correction in the voters’ list, I would have to go to the Election Office and meet the Election Kanoongo.

I did go there and well enough, the Election Office does not have a telephone! The Kanoongo was business-like and said I could apply for correction in the list only in November this year on a prescribed form which will be available only then. I went to the higher officer — Naib Tehsildar (Elections) for he was the senior most there. He was helpful, heard my complaint with patience and showed his helplessness to do anything. On second thoughts, he agreed to write my correct particulars on a piece of paper which he said he would pass on to the next person. The printing of further lists had been suspended possibly because of mistakes and there was a chance that my corrections might be incorporated. But there are many ifs to it and I keep my fingers crossed. My inquiries from various sources show that there are mistakes galore in the lists. The voters could have given wrong information, the staff could have taken down wrong information or the computerwalas who fed the information could have got it all wrong. I do not know about the exact position but what happened to me is enough to make me believe anything.

Revolving restaurant

Heard of Sirsa? It is a town in predominantly agricultural belt of Haryana, at some distance from the National Capital Region. Something struck me as unusual during a recent visit to the place and I am tempted to share it with you. It can boast of a revolving restaurant today. I have known the place for a long time and had never imagined it would have one ever. That is not all. It is part of a huge amusement park. And this amusement park along with the revolving restaurant has been developed by a socio-spiritual organisation which has its units and followers all over Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. Called Saccha Sauda (True Deal), the organisation has quite a few unique features. It does not accept any donations. It cultivates land, reclaims and improves land and uses the developed land to grow foodgrain and fruits of fine quality and high yield. Founded by Shah Mastana who was born in Baluchistan (now in Pakistan) and headed by Sant Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh now, the organisation claims a following of a crore of people. It successfully implemented many social welfare projects including medical camps, hospitals, de-addiction campaigns and relief works. The amusement park, near its headquarters at Sirsa, is meant to provide healthy entertainment to the people.

Animal lovers

In Gopalpur village on way to Pataudi, a group of dedicated persons from Delhi are doing for the animals what many others would not do for human beings. They are looking after the old, the injured, the ailing and the abandoned among pet animals who had served their masters well but could no longer be useful to them.

There is an animal shelter housing more than 200 cats, dogs, cows, horses and donkeys which are being fed, treated by qualified vets and made comfortable in the last leg of their life. They were collected from roadside or even from the possession of their owners who requested the organisers to take charge of them as they could no longer afford to care for them. Among these animals are 26 horses who once were police mounts which are supposed to do duty for 17 years and are retired after that period. It is a massive task, they are brought to the shelter in ambulance from Delhi and put in the care of 10 members of shelter staff.

There are many more of the organisation – Friendico — SECA (Society for Eradication of Cruelty to Animals) which are engaged in other professions but are volunteers for it. Among them is its president Nina Anand, vice-president Gita Seshamani or an active worker, Kartik. The shelter was constructed with patronage and financial help from the Union Ministry for Social Welfare which at that time was headed by Maneka Gandhi. But the running cost, about Rs 1 lakh, is met from donations from well meaning persons. It is difficult, says Kartik, but they manage somehow. The organisation has about 300 members. It would welcome all animal lovers to help in any manner they can.

Prem Kumar



Liquor consuming Jangpura slums
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, January 27
For almost three years now, illegal slum clusters have been posing serious security threats to the residents of south Delhi’s Jangpura and adjoining areas. The slums near the historical Bara Pulla Bridge were demolished partially nearly two years ago but have come up again gradually and residents of nearby areas allege that they have become a virtual hub of anti-social elements.

The huts were erected to provide temporary accommodation to the workers constructing a flyover next to the Bara Pulla Bridge. Though the flyover had been completed three years ago, the workers stayed on in the slums. The slum residents often indulge allegedly in anti-social activities. Eyewitnesses say illegal liquor trade goes on in the slums in full swing and “junior police officials frequently join in the drunken revelry”.

For the residents of Jangpura, the sight of liquor being sold illegally in the area has become common. “I guess we are too used to it now. When the police are the ones encouraging these people by getting drunk with them, when they should be the ones stopping them, our complaints cannot be of any worth,” says a resident, who did not wish to be named. And almost all the residents admit that thefts are on the rise. Mr Manjeet Singh, a resident of Jangpura, fixed a new tap in his courtyard and the next day it disappeared.

There have been several incidents, residents say, when some people have walked right inside their houses and walked away with gas cylinders. The residents admit that FIRs are lodged only occasionally, simply because they “do not have any faith” in the authorities. Most of the residents living near the slums are very disturbed over the “deteriorating security scenario” in the locality. Mr R. L. Singhal is most disturbed with the rampant liquor trade — both in branded and spurious liquor.

It is understandable since children from the slums carrying bottles wrapped in newspapers and sipping it as they walk around are a common spectacle in this part of the national Capital. Mr Singhal says parents have to regularly keep a watch on their children when they play outside as there have been instances when the “anti-social elements” have tried to offer liquor to the children of nearby residential colonies. However, the slum dwellers maintain that they had not occupied the illegally but had purchased their huts. Some dwellers have also sold off their huts and many have given theirs on rent. “Basically, they are earning money from the land which is not even theirs. This can happen only in our country,” remarked a resident.

Speaking to the ‘NCR Tribune’, a police official denied that illegal liquor trade was rampant in the area. “We take necessary action whenever we get complaints. We have conducted several raids in the past and we are continuing to do so from time to time,” the official said. As far as removing the clusters is concerned, the official said it was the responsibility of the authorities who own the land. The official informed that there was a case pending in the high court over the authentic land owning authority, between the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).

The local MLA, Mr Tarwinder Singh Marwah, said if the clusters were illegal, they should be demolished immediately. He further added that he would “personally look into the matter”. But residents countered that these plain promises would not fool them anymore and they wanted to see the results. “It is high time now. We demand transparency. We want to know what the authorities are doing and how they are doing their job. It is our just demand. The fact is that the situation needs immediate attention, and the authorities must act before it gets out of hand,” said an agitated Mr Singhal.



Doc held for sex determination test
Our Correspondent

A government doctor was arrested yesterday on the charge of conducting a test to determine the sex of a foetus. According to police sources, a joint team of the police and health authorities raided the premises of Dr Gajanand Aggarwal at Adarsh Colony here following a complaint and seized Rs 1,500, allegedly received by the doctor for determining the sex of a foetus, and the ultrasound machine. A case under Section 23 of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act has been registered against the doctor.


The police resorted to mild cane charge to disperse two groups of people indulged in a scuffle and brick batting at Indira Colony here today. According to information, two groups of people got into an altercation over the drainage in the locality which turned violent later. The persons of the groups started brick batting and the police had to cane charge to control the situation. The police registered a case against seven persons in this connection.

Minor gang raped

A 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by three youths at Larsauli village, 13 km from here, last night. According to a report, two of the three culprits have been identified as Rajinder and Rajesh. The police have registered a case and launched a hunt to apprehend them.

7 gamblers held

The Bahadurgarh police, during its special drive against gamblers, raided several spots and arrested nine persons from different parts of the town today. A total amount of Rs 11,610 was also recovered from them. According to the district police spokesman, Satish, Tilakraj, Deshraj and Mukesh were held from the Line Par police station area while Vinod Goel and Krishna were arrested from the Kat Mandi area. 



Six-digit phone numbers at Sonepat, Gohana
 from Feb 1

Sonepat, January 27
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to introduce a new scheme for converting the telephone numbers of the subscribers from five digits to six digits, covered by the SDCA exchanges at Sonepat and Gohana towns with effect from the midnight of February 1. Stating this, Mr R. C. Hooda, GM (Telecommunications) of the BSNL, Sonepat district, said here today that the subscribers would have to add the figures, 2 and 6 from Sonepat and Gohana towns, respectively, at the beginning of the old numbers. Besides Gohana exchange, those at Anwali, Baroda, Bhainswal, Bhanwar, Bichpari, Busana, Chidana, Butana, Gangana, Jagsi, Khanpur, Kathura, Lath, Mahra, Madina, Nuran Khera, Rewara, Rindhana, Sikandarpur Majra and Ahulana had been covered under the new scheme. 



Gang of computer thieves busted, 11 held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
The arrest of a resident of Geeta Colony, Arvind Kumar, alias Lamba, on Friday has led the East district police to bust a gang involved in stealing computers and its accessories from the area. The police arrested 10 more members of the gang following the disclosures made by Arvind. The police also seized one country-made pistol and six live cartridges from Arvind.

During interrogation, Arvind revealed the involvement of several others in these thefts. Later, a special team was constituted under SI Vinay Yadav and constable Pradeep who then apprehended 10 persons — Dharmender, Sarabjeet Singh, Manoj, Vijay, Bharat, Pappu Choudhury, Hazarilal, Deepak alias Subhash, Arvind alias Lambu and Amit Sharma. The police siezed six computer monitors, eight keyboards, five mouse, six CPUs, one speaker, one hub and one printer from their possession.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), Mr M. K. Lall, said that one of the suspects, Amit Sharma, was the receiver of the stolen property and he had assured others that he would purchase all the booty. The police have registered a case of theft and under sections of the Arms Act against the accused and further investigation is in progress.

Two killed

Two persons died and one person was injured when a tempo collided with a truck on the Rohtak road near Sawran Park late last night. The tempo (HR-21G-A-0206) which was coming from Rohtak side collided with the truck injuring all its passengers. The injured was rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where two were declared brought dead. The other one is still lying unconscious in the hospital. The police said the truck driver fled from the spot immediately after the incident leaving the truck behind. The Nangloi police have registered a case of causing death and injuries due to rash and negligent driving against the driver. The police have launched a manhunt.



Servant behind housewife murder

Ghaziabad, January 27
The Indirapuram police claimed to have solved the Shikha Jain murder which took place in East Panchmani Apartment a fortnight ago. According to the police, a former domestic help of the Jains and his friends had committed the crime on January 12. The police have arrested the servant, Raju.

The Circle Officer, Dr Dharam Veer Singh, stated that Mrs Shikha Jain, wife of Mr Ajay Kumar Jain, residents of East Panchmani Apartments was hit on her head and killed. Investigations had revealed that Raju, originally a Bangladeshi, was employed as a part-time servant in the house two years ago. Raju was arrested from near Khoda colony yesterday after about two days' of a manhunt. On interrogation, Raju confessed that he, along with two accomplices, had gone to the residence of Mr Jain with an intent to loot. The other two were also domestic helps in the Mrs Shikha Jain's house. They had to flee hastily when Mrs Shikha's parents and another person suddenly appeared on the scene. TNS



Herbal-based Asmakure, a breath of fresh air for asthmatics

Herbicure has launched ‘Asmakure’, a bio solution to cure asthma. The product assures very effective cure for asthma without any adverse effects of the medication. This medicine has to be taken preferably with honey for the best results.

The company says that a daily intake of one to two teaspoonfuls of Asmakure, based on the degree of acuteness of the asthmatic conditions, the severity of the disease will be gradually scaled down and will wean away patients from the use of steroids and other anti-asthmatic measures.

Asmakure also covers a wide range of pre-asthmatic bronchial respiratory disorders like common cough and cold, bronchitis, smokers’ cough and dry cough. It is made of unique herb-based medicine developed by the continuous research and development efforts spanning over more than seven years.

Kneads in no time

The Magic Atta Kneader from TTK Prestige literally does magic – soft dough in one minute, that too in hands-free operation. The daily drudgery of kneading atta is now simplified.

One can knead 250 gm of atta, which could be enough to make seven to eight chapatis, at one go. One can repeat the process to knead more atta. One can also add oil, salt, puthina leaves or any other ingredient that should be mixed along with the dough.

This is the ideal product for the housewife who has to knead atta everyday. The product is targeted at the sophisticated woman, who values the ease of doing household operations with the latest gadgets and does not mind paying little more for that convenience.

Shave gel in sachet

Smaller laptops, smaller phones, smaller palms - `the smaller the better’ is the buzzword. The Gillette India has launched Cool Wave Shave Gel series in a sachet for increased convenience. They are now available in 5 gm sachets.

The launch of the sachet is the company’s thrust to adapt to local needs. Designed specifically for the Indian market, the shave gel sachet offers consumer a chance to try Gillette’s superior shave gel formulation at negligible cost.

It also addresses conventional Indian shaving habits of lathering with a brush and shaving cream and offers users enriched shave gel formulation in a form that they are comfortable with.

Check on shirts

The Oxemberg has launched Sunrise Collection, a range of formal and semi-formal check shirts in yellow shades. The collection is a virtual architecture of fashionable checks in different shades of flattering yellow that makes one feel natural and contemporary.

Specially made from 100 per cent cotton and premium cotton blends, it is endowed with a wondrous shine and sensuous softness.

Expert craftsmanship that makes design flow over the seams and stitches is the hallmark of the collection. It comes in two styles of regular collar and button down collars.

The collection is an assurance to the fashion conscious male to deliver the right value and quality that will be hard to match. Ideal for any occasion, the Sunrise Collection will spice up a man’s personality.

Nimbu powder

Sip a C-Sip Nimbu Pani – asli swad kahin bhi, kabhi bhi. Dr Morepen has introduced new generation instant drink C-Sip in a refreshing Nimbu Pani flavour.

A glass of C-Sip contains fruit solids that give it the refreshing and real taste of nimbu pani while Vitamin C packs energy into the drink. Available in 10 gm sachets, C-Sip is easily soluble in plain water. No additional sugar needs to be added to C-Sip and to top it all it is low in calories, just 32 calories in one sachets.

Designed for party

The house of Zodiac has launched the latest collection of ZOD, which is a trendy range of hep and happening party wear. The ZOD shirts are designed and styled at par with the latest in eveningwear across the UK and Europe to let you step out in style.

The new ZOD collection offers much more in style, fabric and pizzazz than any other brand in the country. Nightlife colours, European club wear style and techno fabrics are the significant features of ZOD 2002 collection.

The collection includes changeant shirt, furry denim, stain stretch, shiny shimmer shirts and shimmer. The company says that the ZOD range is introduced to add some vibrant shade of colours to the lives of our contemporary clientele.

AC with a timer

The ETA General has launched the new, compact, cassette-type General Air Conditioners in 1.5 Tr, 2.5 Tr, 2.5 Tr, 3 Tr, 3.5 Tr and 4 Tr capacities.

Featuring slender fit and punched hole grille design, the air conditioner combines sleek aesthetics with ultimate performance in cooling. Its features include multi-flow air system, high-energy efficiency rates, auto-closed flaps, auto restart, moulded fan motor.

The range also incorporates a feature which would be especially useful for institutional segment – the weekly timer, which allows for automatic switching on and switching off of the operation according to each institution’s work timings and holidays for each day of a week, thus saving on precious energy.

Herbal shampoo

The Wonder Hygiene Products has launched Shanelle Herbal Shampoo in the country. It has been launched in two new variants – for dry to normal hair and for oily to normal hair. For dry to normal hair treatment, the shampoo with conditioner contains extracts of brahmi and amla. It revitalises hair weakened due to sun. Perfectly PH balanced, specially formulated for dry brittle to normal hair, it leaves hair looking soft and silky.

The treatment shampoo with lemon juice, mint and brahmi extracts with perfect PH balance is recommended for oily to normal hair. Lemon thoroughly cleanses, softens and helps get rid of the excess oil. Brahmi helps to promote the growth of hair. Regular use of Shanelle Herbal Shampoo keeps the hair tangle free and gives a fine feeling of freshness and softness. The product contains natural extracts and has no harmful chemicals, thus is safe and very nourishing to the hair.


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