Tuesday, January 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


MCD polls put off as BJP has its way
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
That Corporation elections would not be held in February as sought by the Government of NCT of Delhi was conveyed by Union Home Minister LK Advani to a Congress delegation that called on him on Monday evening. Congress sources said the delegation comprising Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her Cabinet colleagues, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Chopra and Leader of House in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Ram Babu Sharma nevertheless returned with the “assurance” that the polls would be held sometime in March, so that a new House is elected by April 1.

By getting the polls deferred till March, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have had its way. The Congress, on the other hand, had favoured the holding of elections in February and had also written to the Lieutenant Governor in this regard. How far the deferment of polls would have an impact on the BJP’s fortunes at the hustings would still depend to an extent on the court verdict on the seat-rotation issue. The Centre had frozen the rotation of reserved seats for women and SC/ST candidates on the ground that it made corporators less accountable to their constituents.

Congress sources quoted the Union Home Minister as having told the Congress delegation that the elections could be conducted on any suitable date between March 20 and 25. The meeting was not without its moments of high drama though. After the Union minister cited non-availability of security personnel as the reason for the deferment of civic polls, the delegation sought his approval for requisitioning paramilitary forces from the neighbouring states. The states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, he was told, had offered to despatch companies of security personnel. That request also was flatly turned down.

Criticising the deferment of polls, Congress sources said the move reflected on the ‘political weakness’ of the Union Home Minister. DPCC President Subhash Chopra said the main reason behind the deferment was to induct Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party’s “trouble-makers” from Uttar Pradesh. Ridiculing the BJP for citing the non-availability of adequate security force as the reason for the deferment of polls, he said the elections were concluded last time with the help of only 12 companies. The party, DPCC Spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said, would hold a rally on Tuesday to expose the misdeeds of the BJP. The rally would originate in the trans-Yamuna area here, he said.

Refuting the allegations, a senior BJP leader said the party wanted to hold elections in time and that Union Home Minister LK Advani had also said so on previous occasions.

Meanwhile, the decision to hold the polls in March has come in for criticism from the teachers. Teachers of government-run and MCD schools are detailed for the smooth conduct of the polls. Directing his ire at the Government of NCT of Delhi, President of MCD Teachers Association Front KK Gandhi told the NCR Tribune the teaching fraternity was planning to launch a non-cooperation movement till such time as their longstanding demands of disbursal of arrears and fixing of salaries commensurate with the Fifth Pay Commission were accepted. Another of teachers’ associations, the MCD Shikshak Sangh, has sought exemption of women from election duty. Its general secretary Jai Bhagwan Yadav told this newspaper that it would take up their demand with the government.



School bus veers out of control, child dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
A 13-year-old student of the Central Reserve Police Force School was killed and 15 others were injured when their school bus rammed into a DTC bus this morning near Hauz Rani area of Malviya Nagar in South Delhi.

The victims were rushed to AIIMS, where nine of them were discharged after first aid. Six of them are undergoing treatment. Five of them were identified as Swati, Gargi, John, Ashok and Deepali.

The incident occurred at 7.15 a.m. when the CRPF school bus reached the Press Enclave Road near Hauz Rani village. The bus was going from Kalkaji to Rohini.

According to the residents and irate parents, the accident was the result of the apathetic attitude of the Delhi Jal Board employees who had reportedly closed a part of the road to complete some sewer work there. However, after having completed the work, the employees left the rubble on the road.

Some eye witnesses claimed that when the CRPF school bus tried to negotiate the rubble, it veered out of control and hit the kerb, bringing it face to face with a DTC bus coming from the opposite direction. Both the buses collided head on. Thirteen-year-old Amit, who was sitting on the front seat, fell down and sustained serious injuries. Fifteen others also received injuries. They were rushed to the hospital, where Amit was declared brought dead. The driver of the CRPF bus, Constable Ravinder, tried to avoid a head-on collision but he could not control the vehicle after he hit the curb.

The police said that a case of causing death by negligence had been registered and further investigations were on. The Delhi Police also claimed that it had sent a notice to the Delhi Jal Board a few days back pointing out that rubble was often left on the road by its employees. However, the board did not respond to the notice.

The Delhi Police fears that more accidents could occur as most of the roads in the city have been dug up to carry out development works in the run up to the municipal elections.

Particularly angry are the residents of several societies in the Indraprastha Extension area of East Delhi, where a section of the main road has been dug up for almost two years now and the traffic is forced to ply only on one side of the road, creating snarls and posing a constant threat to the residents.

Angry residents of several societies claimed that they had repeatedly urged the civic authorities, including the councillors, about the problem but no one had done any thing about it.



Industry chambers throw a spanner in effluent works
Tribune News Service

Nod to new posts

The Cabinet on Monday approved the filling up of 34 new posts in the Directorate of Prosecution. These posts include three of the officer rank. According to government sources, these posts were necessitated by the discontinuation of services of personnel drawn from the police establishment who had been employed in the Directorate. 

New Delhi, January 28
Formulated in 1999, the ambitious project of setting up Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), originally estimated to cost Rs 165 crore, has run into roadblocks with associations of industry voicing their reservations on having to bear the maintenance and operational costs of the plant. The resultant delay was causing a loss of several crores to the government owing to cost overrun.

Realising the same, the Cabinet of the Government of NCT of Delhi on Monday constituted a three-member committee comprising Industry Minister Deep Chand Bandhu, Finance Minister Mahender Singh Saathi and Health Minister AK Walia to sort out the matter with the associations of industry.

Fifteen CETPs were to be set up for around 24 industrial complexes in the Capital out of which the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) had to execute 14. One plant had been assigned to the Delhi Development Authority. According to DSIDC officials, 11 plants are likely to be completed by the year-end.

According to the memorandum of understanding, the Delhi Government and the Union Government were to equally share 50 per cent of the cost while the associations of industry were to bear the balance 50 per cent. Finance Minister MS Saathi told the NCR Tribune that the associations had thus far contributed only Rs 23 crore and were reluctant to bear the maintenance and operational costs. He said the government might impose a cess and / or recommend penal action against the defaulting associations, if they reneged on the paid-up capital.

Meanwhile, the delay has caused considerable cost overrun. What was originally estimated to cost Rs 160 crore ten years back has in the interim shot up to Rs 228 crore. The project was formulated under the direction of Supreme Court in 1999 to reduce the amount of pollutants being discharged into the river constantly by the industrial complexes. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) assigned the task of formulating the designs and layout of the plants to the National Environment and Engineers Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur. Industry Minister Deep Chand Bandhu attributes the cost overrun to the erroneous method adopted by NEERI to arrive at the projected costs. The institute, he said, had not factored in the land cost etc.

When the project was launched, the government had gone to town with it, trumpeting the decision as a major achievement. Information regarding effluent treatment had also found prominent mention in an advertisement brought out by the Office of the Commissioner of Industries. Released to coincide with the inauguration of the India International Trade Fair, it listed the initiatives with regard to promoting non-polluting environment-friendly industries, “which give high value addition”. The lukewarm response of the associations of industry has, however, put the project in jeopardy.



NDMC introduces flat property tax slab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
The NDMC in its monthly meeting on Monday, took many important decisions, including rainwater harvesting, relief to tax payers by introducing a flat slab, improvement in road lighting by installing high mast light fittings. Besides, drainage and sewerage system would be strengthened. Disclosing the decisions, Mr Ram Bhaj, MLA and Vice-Chairperson, NDMC, said that the civic body had decided that the owners of the buildings up to the rateable value of Rs 5 lakh would have to pay 20 per cent tax. whether it was residential or non-residential and where buildings were up to the rateable value of above Rs 5 lakh, the owners would have to pay 30 per cent. The civic body has also decided to improve road lighting by installing high mast lights of 20 meters. In the meeting, a sum of Rs 24.64 lakh has been sanctioned for the installation of high mast lights at Ring Road Market-Nauroji Nagar, Jhanda Park-Netaji Nagar, roundabout near Laxmibai Nagar Market, Central Market-East Kidwai Nagar and Begum Zaidi Market-Moti Bagh.

Three doctors booked

Faridabad: Three doctors of a private nursing home have been booked in connection with the death of a patient yesterday. According to the complaint lodged with the police by Mrs Beena, a resident of Jhar Shentle village, her husband, Bir Singh, had been admitted at the nursing home, located at Ballabgarh, for treatment of stones in the urinary tract about two months ago.

She has alleged that during the operation the doctors cut his intestine. As a result, the patient could not recover and had to be shifted to hospitals in Delhi and Noida. A case of negligence has been registered. TNS



Power utility makes light of soldier’s complaint
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, January 28
Mr Rohtas Kumar, who is serving as a Commandant with the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir, finds to his chagrin how hard it is to deal with the officials of the Dakshini Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) here. Mr Kumar’s brother-in-law, who is waging a proxy war with the DHBVN, has complained to the Director-General of Police, Haryana, Mr Mahender Sigh Malik, alleging that the officials in the utility were pestering them for bribe. The relatives of Mr Kumar allege that the police have not even bothered to register an FIR. This, despite the fact that a complaint was filed on January 1, the day the officials took away the belongings of Mr Kumar from his land in Kaderpur village near here. The DHBVN officials forcibly took away a cable and other accessories of a generator set when a tubewell was being dug up in the agricultural land in Kaderpur village. The DHBVN later made out a case of power pilferage. The complaint says that the one-acre plot had been bought by Mr Kumar. Mutation of the land was made in his favour vide a sale deed on December 1, 2000. Mr Kumar had duly applied for a tubewell connection (electricity) on December 19 last year. The complainant alleged that when he met the Sub-Divisional Engineer concerned at his office in Badshapur, he demanded Rs 30,000, saying that his things would be returned and the tubewell connection would also be provided forthwith. While the complaint against the officials was pending with the police, the DHVBN wrote to the Sadar Police Station, alleging that Mr Kumar was involved in power theft. The department also imposed a penalty of Rs 20,000 on Mr Kumar.

The relatives contend that the officials dragged the name of Mr Kumar into the case even though he is away in Jammu and Kashmir. They point out that the plot was bought a year back by Mr Kumar. There is neither any standing crop on the land nor any trace of farming. In any case, the gestation period for a crop from sowing to harvesting is about five to six months. Even if the theft argument is accepted, how could they tot up a penalty sum of Rs 20,000.

In any case, the relatives argue, why did the department take eight days to lodge a complaint with the police and that too after they had filed a complaint against the department’s high-handedness.



But there are some who fight graft
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 28
Corruption has assumed alarming proportions in various government offices, especially in ones involving public dealing. Still, there are a few individuals who soldier on and try to fight the evil, though their number is handful. Mr Arun Kumar, the Deputy Commissioner of Faridabad, admits this stubborn fact and attempts to check the menace of corruption.

In a recent order issued from his office, Mr Kumar has directed all Sub-Divisional Magistrates-cum-Licensing Authority in the district to ensure maximum care while issuing driving licences. They have been asked to verify the proof of residence, age and other documents. The officials have been asked to personally supervise the test and also identify the brokers working in their offices. The DC has asked the SDM’s to take strict action against them. This is perhaps the first time, such an order has been issued in the district. Faridabad has the highest population in any of the districts in Haryana. Besides, it has many sub-divisional offices, having the authority to issue licences. The circular reminds the officials that a racket in the issuance and renewal of licences had been operative and a lot of money changes hands. More than 40,000 licences (permanent and learner) are made.



Crackdown on Gurgaon video theatres

Gurgaon, January 28
The district administration has finally taken action against mini video theatres and parlours, which were being run in contravention of the Cinematograph Act 1952 and the Copyright Act 1957.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh Siag, informed the NCR Tribune that all illegal and unauthorised video parlours have been closed down. All Station House Officers in the district have been asked to ensure that no such parlours run in their territorial jurisdiction. “I had told the SHOs that no dereliction of duty would be tolerated in this regard,” said the SSP. He added that the police would not hesitate to come down heavily on the owners.

The police have also lodged a number of FIRs against the offenders and booked them under various sections of different Acts, claimed Mr Siag. A letter written by Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Gurgaon (West), to Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner (memo no. 230, dated 28-1-02), states that there are 40 unlicensed/illegal video parlours in the district. A list of the parlours with their names and addresses had been attached to the letter.

A report in the NCR Tribune on January 23 highlighted that these mini theatres were functioning without licences. OC



Two die in freak blast
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
A junk dealer, Mahavir (30), and his friend Bhagwan Dass were killed and a passer-by and a vegetable vendor injured when Mahavir reportedly tried to break open a metallic object in his godown in the Nagloi area of West district. The passer-by, Jeevan, sustained serious injuries.

Jeevan and Kalaideen, the vegetable vendor, have been admitted to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital. The mishap occurred at 1 pm when the junk dealer was trying to break open the oval-shaped object, which he had picked up during his rounds. According to some eyewitnesses, there was initially some sparking and then the object exploded with a loud bang, killing Mahavir and Bhagwan Dass on the spot.

There was considerable panic in the area as the blast rattled windows of nearby shops and shelters, particularly in view of the terrorist alert in the city. Senior police officers of the West district reached the spot soon after, followed by forensic experts and sniffer dogs. The police said that some splinters had been collected from the spot and would now be examined at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, to ascertain whether the explosive was an abandoned Army shell. The help of the Army was also being sought.

The vegetable vendor, in his statement to the police, said that the object was of yellow and white colour. The scrap dealer hammered it repeatedly in a bid to open it. 



Watergate: Rai farmers for action against erring officials
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 28
The representatives of various farmer organisations, sarpanches and panches of many villages and the members of the block samitis today protested against the alleged hushing up of the findings of the probe panels which had looked into the scandal in the desilting work at Pai distributary under the Rai Water Service Division of the district.

They urged the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, to order the suspension of the officials responsible for the misuse of public funds.

In a memorandum sent to the Chief Minister, they pointed out that the panels had found the details of funds’ misappropriation and the sub-standard work.

It alleged that the failure of the irrigation department authorities to take penal action against the officials of the Rai Water Service Division who were involved in the misuse of funds, was really a matter of serious concern.

The memorandum also alleged that instead of taking action against the officials, the irrigation department authorities had reportedly hushed up the case. With the department’s decision to ignore the scandal and circumvent the findings of the inquiry panels, the claims of the Chief Minister that corruption would be eliminated, have come to nought, it said.

The memorandum urged the Chief Minister to order the appointment of a high-ranking official of the vigilance department to conduct a thorough probe into the working of the Rai Water Service Division.

Such an action will expose the officials and the irregularities in the utilisation of public funds.

Meanwhile, the farmers in the villages falling under the jurisdiction of Rai Water Service Division have not been receiving their share of irrigation water for the past six months due to erratic water supply and theft of canal water.

Many farmers alleged that canal water did not reach the tail-end of the distribution system. The standing Rabi crops have been hit hard by the shortage. Some of the farmers who do not have alternative means of irrigation, have been compelled to get the water from the tubewells, owned by the big farmers for irrigation. Consequently, they spend more money and are under huge debt.

The farmers whose fields are situated on the tail-end have demanded stern action against the officials in league with certain influential farmers who are involved in large-scale theft of water. Thus, the farmers whose fields are situated at the tail-ends, suffer the most.

Expressing anguish over the insufficient supply of water, some farmers said that they were ready to pay the revenue for their share of water, but the Government should ensure the regular supply.

Meanwhile, Mr Hari Singh Khokhar, President of the Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has rejected the claim of the irrigation department authorities that the canal water had reached the tail-end villages during the current rotation period and described the claim as incorrect.

Talking to this correspondent here today, he said that the farmers were facing the erratic supply of canal water for irrigation and their crops were withering away on account of this.

The BKU President urged the state government as well as the district administration to take serious note of it and take stern action against the erring officials.

He, however, warned that if steps were not taken to ensure The regular supply, the BKU would have no alternative than to launch an agitation.



‘DSGMC has become a platform for petty politics’
R. Suryamurthy

Harinderpal Singh
Harinderpal Singh, DSGMC member.

He is a close confidant of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, a veteran Sikh politician and former president of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC). However, Harinderpal Singh’s move towards politics has an interesting facet.

An appreciation letter given by the renowned Sikh politician, Master Tara Singh to Sardar Pradhan Singh, father of Harinderpal Singh, for taking part in Punjabi Subha movement, inspired the young mind to choose politics and fight for a cause. Harinderpal Singh was also arrested twice during the movement.

When the Operation Blue Star occurred, several youths of the Capital assembled in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj to protest against the government’s move. He also raised the voice of protest and had been imprisoned for a few days.

That was the beginning of the long journey to politics. He is one among the two persons, representing Delhi in SGPC, the highest decision-making body into the affairs of the community globally. Being present in the apex body, has widened his vision to look beyond the shores. It has taught him the value of responsibility and the need to be cautious while taking decision.

What are the significant issues concerning Delhi that have been raised by you at the SGPC during your tenure. What was the reaction of the apex body to the issues and what is the future course of action being formulated on them?

The main function of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee is managing the gurdwaras and spreading the tenets of Sikh religion. The significant issues concerning Delhi are mostly taken up by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. But, if some important issues arise needing the attention of the apex body, the matter is raised there from time to time.

On many occasions, I brought to the notice of the SGPC, matters like wearing helmets by the Sikh women and a resolution, passed against it by the SGPC.

The elections to the DSGMC are long due. Are you in favour of their holding? What steps are your party taking to put pressure on the Delhi Government to hold early elections?

The DSGMC elections should be conducted after every four years. They have already been delayed. The blame for this goes to both the Central and the State governments, which have the power to conduct them.

We have been putting pressure on both the governments to hold the elections as soon as possible.

To my mind, the system of election and voting for religious institution is ruining our system. We had fought to get the voting system for the gurdwaras management but this has backfired.

There is no screening process involved for the candidates for the gurdwara election. I want to appeal to the Sikhs of Delhi, to vote for the deserving and capable candidates only.

What type of legal process exists in SGPC and where elections are seldom postponed? What measures need to taken in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971, that elections (both general and executive) become mandatory?

In the SGPC, the executive election for the office-bearers is held every year by November 30. Whereas in Delhi, the elections that are supposed to be held every year, do not have a deadline and most of the time, the people in power also try to delay it.

The gurdwara election commission of Delhi is weak and does not have any power to hold elections on time. To overcome the problem, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971, should be amended so that both the general and the executive elections become mandatory and the time limit of two years for all the posts which exist in Act, should be abolished.

What has been the significant achievement of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee during the past one year? Since you are a member of the SGPC representing Delhi, you would be having a holistic look at the functioning of DSGMC. What measures need to be taken so that the body functions to its full potential?

The previous year of DSGMC has been full of controversies. I do not want to comment further. The DSGMC, which was made to manage the Sikh institution, has now become a platform for petty politics.

The members will have to rise above petty differences and work as a team for the betterment of our institutions.

A sense of participation needs to be created in every member, which is possible only if people elect the right candidates, who serve their community selflessly. The institutions require educated and intelligent people.

What are the areas of main concern for the Sikh community in Delhi?

The Sikhs of Delhi have the same problems, difficulties, and concerns like those of others, but being a minority community there are some special needs of the Sikhs as after the 1984 carnage, the Sikhs feel insecure. They need more representation in the government and allied services and also better facilities for their institutions.

The Sikhs should be made aware of the need for education and welfare of their community. To cap it all, the need to keep their identity as a Sikh.

The concentration of the Sikh community in the Capital is largest outside Punjab.

However, the politics here continues to be controlled by the people in power in Punjab. Is it the right practice?

The main reason for the control of politics in Delhi by the people in power in Punjab is that in times of need, the Akali Dal of Punjab has always stood by us. Even to get the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971, the Akali Dal had participated in the struggle.

We derive our inspiration from the Akal Takht – the temporal authority of the Sikhs. It represents the aspects of Sikh life. But Delhi does need to create a different identity and leadership, which would be different though not separate.

Jathedar Santokh Singh was one such leader who established this successfully but he could not survive long because of the pressures of national politics. After his death, Delhi is still unable to provide an independent leadership. It should establish its own leadership.

Several institutions are run by the DSGMC in the Capital. However, the functioning of schools, colleges and other bodies has come in for criticism recently. What measure needs to be done to improve the functioning of these organisations?

There are about 12 public schools, 40-aided schools, four colleges, five different technical institutions and two hospitals run by DSGMC. It is a great achievement for the Sikh community.

But, it is said that the management of these institutions has come in for a lot of criticism because of unwanted interference by the members of DSGMC.

There are examples of uneducated people being made chairmen of public schools and colleges. These schools, which were started with a specific purpose, are facing rough weather today. They are having financial losses and the standard of education is decreasing because of the interference of the members. There should be an educational council with well-qualified people and with autonomous power to look after these educational institutions. The members should be kept at a distance.

With modernity and increasing consumerism, the Sikhs in the Capital and in other parts of the world are searching for a new identity. By doing so, they are deviating from the basic tenets of Sikhism. Has this been an issue of concern of the SGPC. What is the rational explanation to the questions raised about Sikhism?

This is a matter of great concern. In the 21st century, it is important for us to adapt to the modern era. We welcome modernity but at the same time, it is equally important to maintain our identity.

The issue needs the consideration of not just institutions like SGPC and DSGMC, but every Sikh will have to take the responsibility for this problem.

There is need to build a think-tank which could suggest measures to get together both our past heritage and our future.

However, there can be no compromise to the five Ks – Kesh, Kadha, Kirpan, Kaccha and Kangha. They are the main identity of Sikhs.

If a religion is to exist and flourish, it is necessary to stick to the tradition and follow the tenets, established by the Gurus.



Flats for kin of Kargil martyrs getting ready
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
The Lt Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, today visited Vijayee Veer Awas Yojna being constructed at Sector 18 A, Dwarka by the DDA for the families of those who sacrificed their lives in Kargil during Operation Vijay.

These flats are being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 16.50 crore with the latest technology of cement concrete hollow blocks. The flats have been designed in such a manner that they have minimum vertical movement. This has been done to meet the specific needs of the Kargil widows.

The three-storeyed flats are connected with corridors at all floors to facilitate horizontal movement and ramps have been provided for the handicapped occupants.

These flats are proposed to be completed in two phases. In the first phase, 245 flats would be completed by April 2002 for the allotment to the registrants. The remaining 171 flats shall be completed by June 2002.

A multipurpose facility block has also been constructed in the housing complex, which will provide facilities like dispensary, library and club. Mr Kapoor, who went around the Dwarka sub-city, discussed the status of various infrastructure facilities there with the officials concerned and asked them to expedite the ongoing development activities.

The Lt Governor was informed that DDA was constructing 70-km long major roads in various sectors. Streetlights are being provided on 50 km of road, out of which 20 km has been completed and 20 km would be completed by March end and the remaining would be completed by June this year.



Women construct 3,000 smoke-free chullas
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 28
As many as 3,000 smokeless hearths (chullas) have been constructed in various villages of the district by trained self-employed women workers under the National Improved Hearth Programme. The beneficiaries include 612 Dalit families, 1,484 backward class families and 904 other families of the general category, according to Mr Vineet Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Rewari.

Wheat arrivals in mandis

The arrivals of wheat in various mandis of the district from April to December 2001 totalled 66,626 tonnes. Of this, 14,096 tonnes was purchased by the Food and Supplies Department, 34,585 tonnes by Hafed and 17,721 tonnes by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), according to Mr Vineet Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Rewari.

Canals in full flow

Irrigation officials have claimed that water is being provided till the tail end in several villages after the full authorised discharge in two sub-minors (canals) of the district resumed after a gap of five years.

According to a press release, the Faridpur sub-minor from Kheri Kalan has an authorised discharge of about 4.75 cusecs and it has started providing irrigation water to Kheri Kalan, Faridpur Bhatola, Pehladpur and Fazupur Neemka. Similarly, the Mujheri sub-minor has an authorised discharge of 5.75 cusecs and its all the seven outlets have been functioning serving the area of Neemka, Chandavali, Mujheri and Nawada villages.

Gymnasium at MDU

The Haryana Olympic Association (HOA) president, Mr Abhay Singh Chautala, laid the foundation stone of a multi-purpose indoor gymnasium in Maharshi Dayanand University last evening. Addressing the gathering, he said the gymnasium to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 2.16 crore would have the capacity to accommodate about 1,000 persons. He said the facilities for games and sports like wrestling, korf ball, handball, volleyball, basketball, judo, table tennis, gymnastics, weightlifting, power lifting, body building, boxing, yoga, chess, badminton, archery and ball badminton would be made available in the gymnasium.

Mr Chautala said sports activities would receive a boost after the construction of this gymnasium which would have an overall size of 80 metre by 50 metre with a playing area of 55 m by 35 m.

Prizes distributed

“The youth of the nation must come forward to maintain the unity and integrity of the nation, maintain communal harmony and combat terrorism.’’ This was stated by Haryana Olympic Association (HOA) president Abhay Singh Chautala in the prize distribution ceremony of 67th annual Athletic Meet of University College here last evening. He gave away prizes to the winning athletes. Ashok Kumar and Chand Rani were adjudged the best man and woman athletes, respectively. Earlier, Dr D. S. Dahiya, principal of the college, lauded the efforts of the HOA president in promoting a vibrant sports culture in the state. Maj Gen B. S. Suhag (retd), Vice-Chancellor, university officials, teachers and students of the college were present on the occasion.

Holy dip in Yamuna

Thousands of people took a holy dip in the Yamuna, about 15 km from here, today on the occasion of Posh Purnima and beginning of the Magh month.

According to a report, braving the cold winds and foggy weather, an endless stream of devotees started pouring from 3 am which continued for several hours. Later on, the devotees thronged the temples and other religious places where they offered pujas and joined the religious congregations.

Meanwhile, the dense fog which enveloped the entire area around 7.45 am caused disruption in rail and road traffic for a few hours. Almost all the incoming and outgoing long-distance and suburban trains passed through Sonepat behind schedule. Similarly, the movement of traffic on the National Highway No. 1 and other state highways was also badly hit due to poor visibility. 



Yatra against child labour flagged off
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, January 28
A caravan that will cover every village in Bihar to spread awareness against child labour was flagged off in the Capital today by noted film actress Nandita Das.

The Mukti Caravan of Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA) is touted to drive home the message of eradicating child trade, child labour and child migration. The van, which is on the journey, has on board those children who have been rescued from bondage.

They will stage street plays depicting the life of child labourers in the country. These children had earlier performed at the Rajghat in the Capital and presented a play titled “Bache Kahan Kho Gaye”.

The Mukti Caravan is a decisive attempt to bring together more than 700 voluntary organisations, teachers’ unions and millions of people against child labour. The constitution of a task force at the local level is also a part of the campaign.

The Bachpan Bachao Aandolan is credited to have rescued more than 55,000 bonded child labourers and is fighting to save those who have been engaged to work in carpet factories, glass manufacturing units and other places of hazard.

The Mukti Caravan is also aimed at stopping child labour and child trade through curbing migration. Mr R. S. Chaurasia, general Secretary of the BBA, pointed out that “children of Bihar must invest their energy and time in studies, playing and to become responsible citizens of the country”.

Earlier, while flagging off the caravan, Nandita Das spoke on the need of stopping exploitation of children and said, “ in a country where millions of youths are unemployed child labour is certainly a doom for the country and an attack on child rights”.



Traffic curbs for Beating Retreat today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
In view of the Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk tomorrow, the Delhi Traffic Police have made elaborate traffic arrangements for the people coming to witness it and other commuters on the routes leading to the chowk.

The Vijay Chowk road will be closed tomorrow for the general public and all motorists are advised to avoid Rafi Marg, following the tight security arrangements. According to the traffic police, no vehicular traffic will be allowed on Rajpath between Rafi Marg and C-Hexagon which will be totally restricted for pedestrians.

The Janpath road (South to North - from Maulana Azad Road to Windsor Place) and Man Singh road (North to South – from Rajendra Prasad Road to Maulana Azad Road) will be one-ways.

Besides, there will be free parking for the public between Rafi Marg and C-Hexagon on both sides of Rajpath behind the Water Channels. All traffic restrictions will be in force from 4 pm to 9 30 pm. 



Rewari farmers resent power meters at tubewells
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 28
Farmers of Jarthal, Asia Ki Panchore, Sampli, Raliawas and various other villages of the Rewari constituency are agitated at the installation of electricity meters at their tubewells. It is alleged that the meters are being installed arbitrarily by the DHBVN authorities.

The deputy leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party (HCLP), Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, flayed the authorities asserting that this “forcible” installation of power meters was contrary to the slab system under which the farmers had been paying their power bills at a flat rate.

He warned that if metered supply were thrust upon the farmers in southern Haryana, the Congress, along with the farmers, would launch an agitation soon.



Delhi Police best marching contingent
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
The Delhi Police has bagged the best marching contingent award. The police force was adjudged the best among all the participating contingents from paramilitary and other auxiliary forces, while Jammu and Kashmir walked away with the best tableau award at the 53rd Republic Day functions. The enthralling Chhau dance, presented by East Zone Cultural Centre, Kolkata, was adjudged the best item in the category of schoolchildren. "Andhere Se Ujale Ki Aur", presented by Rani Dutta Arya School, Delhi and "Langa and Manganiar Singers" by West Zone Cultural Centre, Udaipur secured the second and third positions respectively.



Two beat brother to death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
The South district police yesterday arrested two persons, Sube Singh and Deepak, brothers and residents of Munirka village, who allegedly beat to death their third brother, Chatar Singh.

Chatar Singh had his farmhouse in Hodal in Faridabad where he used to work but his family lived at his native place in Munirka. He also had shops and other property in the village. He came from Hodal last evening and raised an objection on the parking of a scooter in front of his shop. The scooter was owned by a tenant of Sube Singh.

The objection of Chatar Singh led to a quarrel and Deepak, who also lived in the village, joined Sube Singh and they beat Chatar Singh to death, the police said.

Mob beats up cop

A Delhi Police constable, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, was beaten up by a mob in Madanpur Khadar Extension where he and his colleagues went to nab a Bangladeshi national who reportedly committed robbery in the Ambedkar Nagar area. The constable was admitted to a hospital with multiple fractures. Almost all inhabitants in the locality belong to Bangladesh.

The mob fired at the police team to get the accused the robber, Jalil, free from the police. The mob also attacked the police team with sticks and stones. The team also retaliated by firing. However, nobody was injured in the firing. A case of rioting has been registered at the Sarita Vihar police station.

Shopkeeper robbed

Three unidentified persons on a motorcycle robbed Rs 30,000 from a shopkeeper, Mr Radha Raman Dalmiya, in the Rohini area of North-West district last evening. The miscreants waylaid the victim when he was heading towards Naharpur bus stand after closing his shop in Vinoba Kunj. They robbed the shopkeeper at gunpoint. A case of robbery had been registered, the police said.



Post office burgled
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 28
Burglars are reported to have entered the branch post office at Lehrara village, 3 km from here, last night and escaped with cash, stamps and other articles. According to a report, the burglars broke the rear wall of the post office to enter it. On the receipt of information, the police found the stamps, envelopes and other articles from the nearby fields. However, the burglars have taken away over Rs 200.



VAT no solution to ST ills: Saathi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 28
Although the introduction of Value Added Tax has been deferred till April next year following lack of unanimity amongst the states, the Delhi Finance Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh Saathi, today stated that the Value Added Tax (VAT) was not a solution to the evils prevailing in the sales tax system.

Admitting that the present system was complicated and had loopholes, Mr Saathi, however, stated that “the VAT systems is not a solution to all the evils”.

The VAT, Delhi Finance Minister said “at least tries to address some of the issues not addressed by the present sales tax system, which provides enough scope for leakage of revenue.”

“The present structure of sales tax administration is complicated, leading to harassment to the dealers as well as increased load on the staff,” Delhi Finance Minister Mahinder Singh Saathi said here, addressing a workshop on VAT, organised by the World Bank.

“There are too many rates and too many concessions and the extensive use of statutory forms had resulted in the leakage of revenue and assessing all causes was not only extra burden to taxpayers, but also led to lack of quality assessment,” he said.

However, he said that the basic objective of VAT was to ensure a simple and transparent tax system where the role of sales tax department would be only to provide services to the taxpayers.

The introduction of VAT has been deferred by a year to April 1, 2003, due to delay in putting in place the required legislation by the Central Government and the lack of unanimity amongst the states on the list of items to be placed in the list.

The deferment was a “blessing in disguise”, Additional Secretary in Ministry of Finance, G C Srivastava, said. The government would now have enough time to educate the people on the need for such a tax system, he said.

“The deferment of VAT is a blessing in disguise and VAT is not to be taken as a simple switchover,” Mr Srivastava said, citing the need for a change in the mindset.

He said that the new system was based on beliefs since the assessees would have to undertake self-assessment.

Unlike in the previous system and as per the formula worked out by the Empowered Committee on VAT, he said that only once in five years, a small-scale industry would be audited.

The present workshop is the first in the series organised by the World Bank and comprised representatives from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.


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