Saturday, February 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Delhi Govt giving its schools a ‘public’ face

A unique partnership
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
If the “concept” being mulled over by Delhi’s Education Minister comes to fruition, students enrolled in government-run educational institutions could soon receive quality education at par with any of the public schools that have hitherto been the exclusive preserve of the upper crust. What that would mean for parents whose wards are enrolled in government-run schools is better quality of education at an affordable price.

What the concept, based loosely on the Bhagidari (partnership) programme of the government, entails is bringing a certain number of government-run educational institutions under the managerial control of public schools like the Delhi Public School, etc. In doing so, the government feels, the shortage of teachers would be overcome, the stigma attached to government-run educational institutions be erased and the quality of education would improve. Also, unlike government-run schools that teach English to students of grade six and above, children would be taught the language from primary class onwards.

When implemented, public schools would lend their “name” (brand equity) to a certain number of government-run educational institutions as well as their teaching staff. The government’s contribution would be by way of the school building, land, furniture, etc. By co-opting public schools, the government also hopes to recover the subsidy on education. It spends close to Rs 800 per student. Education Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan says a high power committee would soon be constituted to implement the concept. It would be headed by the chief minister and have as its members the education and finance ministers besides the secretaries of finance, education and planning departments. The proposal, he says, has been placed before the chief minister and awaits Cabinet nod. The minister says even if 100 government-run educational institutions are handed over to public schools the government would have a pool of about 5,000 teachers who could then be transferred elsewhere against the vacancies arising out of a shortage of teaching staff. Outlining the criteria for identifying such government-run schools, he says schools that record a poor pass percentage among the students would be given priority over others. Grey areas like the curriculum and admission procedure, the minister says, would have to be sorted out by the committee that will seek the opinion of academics to arrive at a decision.

Helplines operational
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, February 1
With examinations round the corner, anxiety and stress have started taking a toll of the student community. To effectively counter these negative emotions that sometimes assume fatal dimensions in the form of suicides, helplines offering expert advice and assistance of Tele-counsellors have become operational.

This year the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has floated its own scheme of dealing with the problem of growing anxiety and stress amongst school children. Helplines run by trained psychologists associated with the CBSE schools have become functional from today and will provide assistance to students. “We have identified counsellors from various schools in Delhi and even from the other states to help counsel children. It is for the first time that we are doing this on such a scale. Until now the counsellors used to operate from their own schools, but now it is centralised. Students can call any number and avail of the services”, revealed Mrs. Rama Sharma, the Public Relations Officer of the CBSE.

The helpline will function in two phases, the first phase will begin before the commencement of the exams while the second phase will begin once the results are declared. “ We are trying to help students during this time, when they are preparing for their exams and are under stress. The advantage that we have here is that the counsellors are aware of the CBSE setup and the rules.

They can provide authentic information about the procedures to be followed or comment on how the marking structure is adhered to”, pointed out Mrs. Sharma. Unlike the helplines run by NGOs or other private institutions the CBSE helpline will function for a stipulated time frame and will not be operated from a centralised point. The calls can be received either at the schools identified or at the residence of the counsellors. “ The counsellors can opt for the place they want to operate from. The helpline will function for a specific duration and will not be open round the clock. Our aim is to cater to children, we are not competing with any body. So even if we are able to answer just one call a day, our mission is successful”.

The Chairman of CBSE, Dr. Ashok Ganguly, hinted at roping in the University as well, “ We are trying to create a link with the University people as well, so that after the results they can help counsel students who are seeking admission to various courses”. The helplines will answer queries related to cut-off lists, admission deadlines, etc.


Taking a leaf out of the book
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 1
While the literacy and the adult education programmes have failed to achieve the desired results in the region, the books provided free of cost to the ‘neo-literates’ are being put to a productive use. They are being used to make envelops.

A social organisation here has recovered about 103 copies of the book, euphemistically titled ‘Jatan,’ from a woman who prepares paper packets. The books, weighing about 11.5 kg, had been reportedly sold as `raddi’ (waste) which finally landed in the hands of one Rani, who makes paper envelops. Rather taken aback at the interest in her modest venture, She told the social activists that she was not aware that the `books’ were so valuable. Although the books were meant for the literacy campaign launched in 2001, the officials contend that it was illegal to dispose of the books in the open market. The incident has been brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner.


Delhi Govt misses date on DVB privatisation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The much-hyped privatisation of the Delhi Vidyut Board’s distribution sector has received a setback with the state government failing to keep up its promise of closing the bids from the private entrepreneurs by January 31.

With this, the privatisation of energy distribution in the Capital could well be delayed for at least a month.

“The Delhi Government has extended the deadline for accepting the bids from the private sector till February 28,” the state power minister, Mr Ajay Maken, told the NCR Tribune today.

Defending the decision to extend the time period, he said: “The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has failed to release the bulk supply tariffs so far, which has forced the government to extend the bidding time.”

“The DERC is expected to release the bulk supply tariffs by February 7, and the companies would have ample time to study the tariffs and bid for the distribution companies,” he said.

Once the private companies submit their bids, a high-level committee of the Delhi Government headed by the Chief Secretary would evaluate the bids and send its recommendations within 15 days. The agreement on handing over the distribution companies would be signed a fortnight after committee submits its recommendations.

Under the DVB privatisation plan, the board would be split into one Generation Company, one Transmission Company and three Distribution companies. The state government had stated that it would not transfer more than two distribution companies to any one bidder. The private companies would have 51 per cent equity in the distribution companies.

The value of the assets of the three distribution companies is Rs 2,360 crore. For the Central-East company, asset value is Rs 290 crore, for North and North-West company, it is Rs 920 crore and for South-West company, the value is set at Rs 1,150 crore.

The generation and transmission companies are together valued at Rs 800 crore.

The asset value of DVB is Rs 3,160 crore. This has been arrived at by the business valuation method and is very close to the book value of Rs 3,024 crore.

The DERC would state the price at which these distribution companies would purchase the energy from the generation company.

Out of the six companies shortlisted by the state government, two multi-national firms - AES (India) Pvt. Ltd. and China Light and Power International Ltd. - have withdrawn from the race.

The four companies left in the fray were BSES Ltd. CESCON Ltd., Reliance Power Ltd. and Tata Power Co. Ltd.

The withdrawal of these multinationals, Mr Maken said, was not a setback to the privatisation process. “The China Light and Power International Ltd has withdrawn as it wants to concentrate more in Hong Kong, the AES (India) Pvt. Ltd. has opted out of the race after its poor experience with Orissa privatisation process,” he said.

He said the response from the four companies was quite good as they have submitted voluminous list of queries and the state government was preparing a suitable response to them.


Now, Huda giving Gurgaon a sporty look
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 1
The Haryana Urban development Authority (Huda) has come a long way: A builder of townships has transformed into an agency with a social perspective, for the authority is today adopting villages in the hinterland.

Now, the Huda has decided to expand its scope further, as a facilitator of sporting activities in the city.

A beginning has been made by the Huda Gymkhana Club, which will be organising golf and bridge tournaments with attractive prizes. Although the tournaments will be open to golf and bridge buffs from all over the country, the idea is to project Gurgaon as a sporting city. Of course, on a more mundane plane the purpose is to provide the members of the Huda Gymkhana Club and the city’s aficionados an opportunity to socialise.

The Commissioner of Gurgaon Division and the President of Gurgaon Gymkhana Club, Mr L.S.M.Salins, disclosed today that the Golf tournament will be held on February 10 at the Gymkhana’s golf course in Sector 15. There will be seven prizes, with Club Mahindra Holiday Resort hosting the winners at its exotic locales of Goa, Munnar, Binsar and Mussorie. It will be a 9-hole, three-club tournament.

Besides the main event, there will be a Chip and Putt competition for couples. Registration will be on the spot, and no fee will be charged.

The two-day bridge tournament will commence on February 16 in the Huda Gymkhana Club.

It will comprise a pairs competition (open to all) and an individual players competition.

There is a bounty at stake, with the winning pair entitled to a cash prize of Rs 20,000. The pairs placed second and third will win Rs 10,000 and Rs 6,000, respectively. The prize is being sponsored by the Bank of Punjab.

The Delhi Bridge Association has will lend technical expertise for the tournament.

According to the local Administrator, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, the Open Bridge competition will be held for the first time in Gurgaon. He further disclosed that the Huda will be soon setting up its second Gymkhana Club in Sector 4.

Huda is also planning to set up an 18-hole golf course in Sector 23A on 250 acres of land. As the site is close to the firing range of the Ammunition Depot, Huda is in the process of procuring a no-objection certificate from the Defence ministry.


Sikh census begins in Tilak Nagar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The much-awaited Sikh census began in Tilak Nagar municipal ward today despite an appeal by the Census Commissioner and Registrar General of India not to go ahead with the headcount process. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee is undertaking the enumeration to prove its contention that the Sikhs in the National Capital Territory have been under-represented in Census 2001. A company, Min Mec Consultancy, is carrying out the identification of Sikh families in the locality.

“A two-member reconnaissance team began the process of identifying the Sikh families living in the ward through an on-site survey and with the aid of secondary sources. A group of about 20 surveyors will then target these households and fill in an 11-point questionnaire for these households,” the director of the company, Ms Marisha Sharma, said.

The DSGMC has printed 10,000 forms to be filled in for the enumeration. The committee has also pasted posters in the ward – “Sikhs beware, your identity is at stake” – in a move to bring about awareness about the census operation and its importance. The Singh Sabhas in the area have been instructed to educate the members of the community about the importance of the census process and extend cooperation to the enumeration exercise.


When damsel in distress is a cop!

Noida, February 1
An FIR has been lodged against two employees of Noida in Sector-20 police station for teasing a lady constable. According to police, a report has been lodged by the constable, Ms Nirmal Massey, posted in Noida, at 11 a m yesterday that two Noida employees, Kesri Singh and his companion, had teased her. Police said that they had started the investigations. Ms Massey, it is learnt, is often teased by the roving romeos. The Noida Employees Federation has, however, defended the colleagues and said that the policewoman was making unnecessary hoo-ha and that all this is being done just to defame the Noida employees. OC


A vice den in Nizammuddin West 
By Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, February 1
For the residents of Nizammuddin West, it is quite a task to continue with their normal lifestyle in the face of growing lawlessness in the area. A basti in the vicinity has become a crime den virtually. In fact, the whole area around Nizammuddin West has become a haven for all sorts of anti-social activities, particularly after sunset.

The residents of Nizamuddin West said that it was almost impossible for them to move out of their homes after sunset. People having criminal tendencies loiter around the colony who just spoil for a fight, said a resident. There is a park in the neighbourhood of Nizammuddin West, which acts as a boundary, dividing the basti from the residential colony. The colony people said that living there was like “living in hell”.

Apart from becoming a den for anti-social elements, the park has turned into a favourite meeting point for drug addicts. A resident living next to the park, said : “Just imagine what a sight it must be for me. I look out of the window of my well-decorated house and see junkies smoking charas (hashish), ganja (marijuana) and what have you.”

“I can’t even call guests over to my place as every day, these junkies scream till the wee hours, ” the resident said. He added that a couple of times he tried to shoo away the addicts, “but to my fear, they got violent”.

Nevertheless, when he complained to the police, he found his car window smashed next morning. “Isn’t this complete ‘dadagiri’?” he asked.

The police admitted that Nizammuddin basti, having a large Muslim population, had become a hideout for criminals. The SHO of the Nizammuddin West police station, Mr Girraj Singh told the NCR Tribune: “We are absolutely aware of the activities going on inside the basti. We have arrested many people several times, but we have to let them go because we cannot find witnesses to nail them down.”

However, Mr Singh said that the police were conducting regular raids to keep watch on the basti. “We had received a few complaints about drug addicts visiting the park adjoining the basti. Every now and then, we go on surprise rounds and have arrested a number of people. But they get away,” said the police officer, expressing his helplessness.

The basti, situated right behind the police station, is dotted with hundreds of shops on either side of the narrow “shadowy lane” leading deeper into the basti. Dhabas, mutton shops, hawkers selling shoes, clothes, belts, sunglasses and ‘thelewallahs’ are a common sight while entering the ‘gali’.

Inside the lanes of the basti, men can be seen slyly angling for customers for their ‘stuff’, rolled in a white-colored packet. Reliable sources inside the basti revealed that some of the biggest drug peddlers of the Capital have found a place inside the basti, from where they carry out their businesses openly.

Confirming the information, Mr Singh said he was “quite aware of the fact” that drug peddlers are operating from inside the basti, but “I can assure you that we are giving them a tough time. All we need is a witness and we will clean up the basti”.

However, the residents of Nizammuddin West are fed up. “We are tired of complaining to the police and are sick of living here. We will move out of here, given the first opportunity. It is like living in a gangster’s paradise,” said a resident.

Some residents said that they strongly felt that the police were hand in glove with these anti-social elements, otherwise it was impossible to sell drugs in the basti, which is right behind a police station.


Project to set up 10 bio-gas plants
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 1
The Haryana Agriculture Department has launched a project for setting up bio-gas plants at Akbarpur Barota village in the district.

Giving the information, Mr S N Roy, Deputy Commissioner, told mediapersons here today that under the project, the first of its kind in Haryana, as many as 10 bio-gas plants would be set up at one place by the residents of the village.

He disclosed that as many as 101 plants had been set up in different villages in the district during the current financial year as against a target of 120 plants fixed for the district.

The residents of the villages, he said, had been using the cowdung instead of the chemical fertilisers in these plants.

He claimed that the scheme to set up the plants had yielded good results as the residents were keen to set up such plants for using the cowdung which was cheaper than the chemical fertilisers. This, he said, had improved the sanitary conditions in the villages.

Referring to the installation of tubewells at low price in the villages, the Deputy Commissioner disclosed that the agriculture department had set a target of 90 tubewells which would be installed at low price in the district during the current financial year.

The farmers, he said, had already installed 40 tubewells at low price during the first seven months of the current financial year.

He also disclosed that the agriculture department was extending all assistance to the farmers for the repair works of such tubewells at their doorstep.

As many as 40 tubewells would be repaired in the villages of the district during the current financial year.

So far, as many as 24 tubewells had been repaired with the help of the agriculture department in the villages of the district.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, the agriculture department officials are rendering their help to the farmers for digging the tubewells in the district.

As many as four tubewells had been dug in the rural areas of the district so far. He called upon the farmers to take advantage of the scheme launched by the state government for their benefit in the district.


Two minor fires in the Capital 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
Two cases of minor fire were reported today in the city but no casualty was reported. Authorities of the fire department swung into action immediately and brought the situation under control within minutes.

The first fire broke out around 11.30 am in the store house of Shram Shakthi Bhawan which houses various ministries including the Power ministry, Labour ministry and Water Resources ministry.

According to the personnel in the fire department, the fire emanated from the Ministry of Water Resources, where scrap materials were stored. The fire was brought under control and extinguished by two fire tenders that arrived within minutes after the fire broke out. Though the exact cause of the fire is still being ascertained, short circuit cannot be ruled out, according to the fire service spokesman.

In another incident, fire broke out around 3 pm in Ansal Bhawan, housing some of the well-known commercial offices in the Capital.

Again, the fire is believed to have been caused due to short circuit. The fire was brought under control soon. 


Haryana sets speed limits on highways 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 1
The Haryana Government today launched a statewide campaign against vehicle operators violating the speed limits on the national highways passing through the municipal limits.

According to official sources, this followed the fixing of the maximum speed limit for various classes of motor vehicles by the government.

Those found violating the prescribed speed limits would have to pay Rs 400 for the first offence and Rs 1,000 as penalty for each of the subsequent offences.

Official sources also revealed that the maximum speed limit on the national highways would be 90 km per hour for the light motor vehicles other than a transport vehicle.

But the speed limit on these highways within the municipal limits would be 50 km per hour. In case it is a light motor vehicle and a transport vehicle, the speed limit would be 65 km per hour on the national highways and 45 km per hour on national highways within the municipal limits.

If the vehicle is a motorcycle or a scooter, the speed limit would be 50 km per hour on the national highways and 30 km per hour on the national highways within the municipal limits.

In case, the vehicle is a medium or heavy passenger vehicle, the speed limit would be 65 km per hour on the national highways and 40 per km per hour within the municipal limits.

Similarly, if it is a medium or heavy goods vehicle, the speed limit on the national highways would be 65 km per hour and 40 km per hour within the municipal limits.

Official sources further revealed that if the vehicle is an articulated vehicle, all wheels of which are fitted with pneumatic tyres which is a heavy goods vehicle or heavy passenger motor vehicle, the maximum speed limit on the national highways would be 65 km per hour and 40 km per hour within the municipal limits.


PNB honours its founder, Lala Lajpat Rai
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
Mr Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, Union Minister of State for Finance, today lauded the efforts of Punjab National Bank for extending loans to the poor and downtrodden under the Priority Sector Schemes. He said that the bank had grown in size and structure since its beginning in 1895 to become a leading financial institution of the country and was today reckoned as the best bank amongst the public sector banks.

Speaking at a function organised by the bank to unveil the bust of Lala Lajpat Rai, founding father of PNB at its head office in New Delhi, Mr Patil said that the bank was honouring the great leader of India who was closely associated with the `swadeshi movement’. Admired as ‘Sher-e-Punjab’ and ‘Punjab Kesari’, he would always be in the heart of every Indian for his untiring contribution to the uplift of masses and India’s freedom struggle, he said.

Mr Patil appreciated that PNB continued with the sound and prudent traditions established by its founding father and had emerged as a frontline banking institution of the country.

Welcoming Mr Patil, Mr S. S. Kohli, CMD of the bank, said that with its large network of over 4,250 offices, the bank had total business of over Rs 91,000 crore at present with deposits standing at Rs 58,965 crore and advances of Rs 32,245 crore. The bank earned a record net profit of Rs 464 crore during the last financial year which was the highest amongst the nationalised banks. Further, in the first nine months of the current financial year, PNB had registered a net profit of Rs 410 crore.

Mr Kohli reassured that PNB would always tread on the path laid by its founding father, Lala Lajpat Rai. Close relatives of Lala Lajpat Rai were also honoured on the occasion.


Mother refuses money to visit gurdwara, girl commits suicide

New Delhi, February 1
A 16-year-old girl was found hanging from the wooden girder of the roof of her house in Kalyan Puri yesterday night. According to the police, Meenu, daughter of Mr Gurmukh Singh, resident of Kalyan Puri, was a class IX student and reportedly committed suicide as her mother refused to give her money to go to Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. The incident occurred late last night. At the time of incident, only her aunt was present at home. She later noticed Meenu hanging and immediately took her, with the help of a neighbour, to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, where she was declared brought dead.

The police also said that her parents are sewadars in a gurdwara at East Vinod Nagar. It is reported that the deceased, who was sentimental and emotional, wanted to go to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. It is said that she took the drastic step because her mother refused to give money to visit the gurdwara. Further investigation is on. TNS


‘Our education system is in grave peril’

It has been brought to my notice from several quarters that a letter written by me to Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister of Human Resource Development on 3.4.2001, is being widely used in defence of a pro-MNC and communally biased Educational Policy and curricular approach, put forth by the Central Government.

The letter was even cited in the discussions in Parliament by Dr Joshi, defending the governmental stand as reported in the press. The policy is on its way to being implemented and I happen to be in the forefront of the movement along with several well-meaning people across the country to resist the rush of globalisation, commercialisation and communalisation brought forth in its wake.

It is true that in my letter I had stated that “taken at its face value, the NCERT explanations satisfy me” and on that “I drop my criticism” and hoped that the commitment to secularism and humanism, as claimed in the NCERT explanations, will be kept up in actual practice.

However, a thorough analysis has disappointed me and further steps taken by the government have belied my expectations. So, in a subsequent letter written on 26.5.2001 to Mr J S Rajput, NCERT Director, a copy of which was sent to Dr Joshi also, my position was more elaborately explained.

Unfortunately, a particular section circulating my first letter is conspicuously not projecting the letter which, in fact, explains my real position. In the letter to Mr Rajput, I had said, “The Save Education Committee is a pan-Indian organisation which has taken its own stand and has on its rolls leading citizens like former vice-chancellors, eminent academicians, professors, educationists and social activists. It happens that I am its President not because I am an expert in education. On the other hand, some of my committee members are far ahead of me in the field. And also, please note that the Save Education Committee had been consistently and positively engaged in a countrywide educational movement, bringing forth a much-acclaimed document in May 1989, titled ‘Towards a Peoples Policy on Education: An Alternative to NPE 1986’, which it seems has not been considered by the NCERT while formulating the curriculum frame work.

It was also mentioned in that letter, “When education is run on money, borrowed from a dubious global organisation, which has its pro-American pro-MNC slant and perceptions, its educational policies are likely to serve not only the interests of the borrower country but also the social philosophy and practical problems of the lender institution. Few impartial thinkers will deny that the World Bank, the IMF, GATT and the WTO are neutral towards third world countries.”

On the curricular papers put forth by the NCERT, it was told in the letter, “Certain points of view which had escaped my notice, have been brought to my attention by some critics within the Save Education Committee. These criticisms are fundamental. I do not wish to use expressions like globalisation and saffronisation.”

Though, well-meaning criticism on these counts cannot simply be wished off. What is basic is that the Constitution itself insists upon social justice, secularism, national unity and integrity, anti-caste, anti-communal approach and religious pluralism in a generous and general sense. I wonder whether these high ideals inscribed in the Constitution, have been considered in the new educational pattern or curricular paper put through by the NCERT.

In concluding the letter, I had made the following appeal: “I suggest that the Save Education Committee, through a few leading members, including educationists will be willing to meet the representatives of the NCERT and discuss thoroughly their objections on the NCERT papers. May I appeal to you to agree to this request? Once you consent to what I consider proper, I will send the names of the discussants from the Save Education Committee.”

Unfortunately, neither the Ministry of HRD nor the NCERT has taken any interest or initiative in having a dialogue with the AISEC representatives. On the contrary, subsequent steps taken by the government, substantiates the validity of the criticisms raised by the AISEC on each count whether it be on the question of commercialisation, communalisation or globalisation of education.

So, I am compelled to believe that the campaign taken out by the governmental circles citing my letter dated. 3.4.2001, written to Dr Joshi without referring to my subsequent explanatory letter dated 26.5.2001, written to Sri Rajput clearing up my stand, even in Parliament, is misrepresentation of my views in this regard.

Actually, the All India Save Education Committee which met at Trivandrum on 29.11.2001, attended by Dr Sushil Kumar Mukherjee, Dr N A Kareem and Prof Sukomal Dasgupta among others, which happened to be presided over by me, examined the situation and concluded that our educational system is in great peril due to the three-pronged attacks of globalisation, commercialisation and communalisation. Hence, the committee has decided to launch mass movement against the three evils, promoted by the policies of the present government. The AISEC is preparing for this movement in all earnest. At this juncture, it will be only appropriate to quote from what I wrote to Mr Dipanker Roy, the dedicated fighter for the cause of education and the General Secretary of AISEC: “I understand the embarrassment, caused by my letter to the HRD Minister, Dr Murali Manohar Joshi, regarding the Education Policy passed by the Central Government borrowing money from the World Bank and about the National Curriculum framework for School Education, published by the NCERT. I have to some extent realised the error on my part and the reasons for disillusionment on the part of my friends, having regard to the firm stand taken by the AISEC. I have explained in a letter, which will be sent to the NCERT the need for a reconsideration, fresh discussion and desaffronisation of education. You need have no misgivings that I have shifted my stand. We are at one and remain to be one in our opposition to educational “reforms” with a view to pleasing the World Bank and the saffron sector of the BJP. We will carry on the struggle for a secular, scientific, socialist democratic educational policy, so that the youth of this country shall stand strongly for these very ideals, enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution.

V.R. Krishn a Iyer
Former Supreme Court Judge Kochi.

Water crisis

It was somewhat shocking to learn that a section people of Sonepat district remained without water on the evening of January 19. Not to talk of summer season, people are facing water problem even in winter. Women have to carry pitches on their heads to bring it from far-off places.

The officials concerned must be told to do their duty sincerely and solve the problems of the water-starved masses.

S.C. Taneja Rohtak

Is anybody there to hear commuters’ woes?

There was a news item the other day that the Transport Department of Gurgaon was planning to ply 14 new buses for commuters going to Delhi. The plan is quite encouraging. At least, the authorities have thought of the problems faced by the commuters.

But what about the poor bus service between Gurgaon and Faridabad, where commuters are experiencing a lot of inconvenience. It is well known that there is no direct rail service between the two towns. The only means of travel is D.T.C. or Haryana Roadways buses. The fact is that the service of these buses is very irregular.

These buses are invariably overloaded. The passengers are seen on the roof-tops of these buses, particularly during the peak hours. Besides, it takes 2-3 hours in reaching the destination on these buses, going via Badarpur-Khanpur route. It is pitiable to see the commuters running after the packed buses at Iffco Chowk and Gurgaon bus stand. The similar situation at Faridabad also. Whether it is Ajronda Chowk, B K Chowk, Old Faridabad bus stand and Badkhal Lake Chowk, the buses are seen overloaded.

The commuters, particularly the woman employees and the elderly persons, are full of resentment as they are expected to reach their offices on time. But due to lack of proper means of transport, it is well-nigh impossible for them to report for duty in good time. This results not only in wastage of precious working hours but also causes frustration among them and make them irritant.

The need of the hour is to take urgent steps to solve the problem. The transport authorities of Haryana are requested to help the public by taking the following steps:

  • The number of buses playing on the route between Gurgaon and Faridabad should be increased and doubled, particularly during the peak hours, i.e. from 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 8 pm.

  • A separate bus should be provided on this route exclusively for those who are employed, adopting the Chandigarh pattern.

  • At least, this bus should be routed through ‘Pahari Road’, constructed recently between Gurgaon and Faridabad. This route is short and it takes only an hour to travel between these two towns. Surely, it will be economical and save precious time of the public servants.

  • The jeeps and other small vehicles-maxi cabs could be introduced on the route to reduce rush on the buses.

When the Haryana Government is committed to do everything possible in the interest of the public, the authorities concerned should come to the aid of the commuters by plying sufficient number of buses or other vehicles on this route.

Kuldip Raj Kochhar
Former Under Secretary




43 booked for ‘stealing’ water from canal
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 1
As many as 43 persons have been booked by the police on charges of stealing irrigation water from a canal in the Hathin sub-division in the district. It is reported that the accused used pipes to draw water from Utawar canal illegally to irrigate their fields. The matter was reported to the police and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate informing them that this had been hampering the delivery of water to the tail end. The police on a complaint received from irrigation officials booked 43 residents of Rupadaka village under Sections 379 and 430 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Four hurt in clash

Four persons were critically injured in a clash between two groups at Sagarpur village of Ballabgarh sub-division yesterday. The clash took place over a dispute about sending a greeting card to a young girl of one family. Although an attempt was made to solve the issue through the panchayat, the presence of crude weapons with some persons led to the clash. The injured were identified as Pravin, Pannalal, Ranjeet and Dayakishan. A case has been booked.

Grains for mid-day meal

The district Confed office has received 751 quintals of wheat as well as 751 quintals of rice from the FCI godown here under the mid-day meal scheme for primary school children. Giving this information, Mrs Neerja Shekhar, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said that the wheat and rice would be distributed among children of 449 primary schools of the district. She further said that each student would be given 1.5 kg rice and 1.5 kg wheat.

Cattle-care camps

As many as 360 cattle-care camps were organised in various villages of the district during the past nine months. Over 83 thousand heads of cattle were provided treatment for various diseases while about 30 thousand heads of cattle were de-wormed, according to Mr Vineet Garg, Deputy Commissioner. He further informed that about 3,900 cows and 8,500 buffaloes were provided artificial insemination in the district during this period.

Grants to SC persons

Grants totaling Rs 1.40 crore were distributed among 2,800 persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Vimukta castes in the district under the “House Grant Scheme” in the past two years, Mr Vineet Garg, Deputy Commissioner, told mediapersons here today. He also informed that Rs 35.24 lakh was given to the village panchayats under the ‘colony improvement scheme’ for brick lining of streets and construction of concrete drains (pucca drains) in their respective villages.

HUDA auction

The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will auction freehold booth sites and kiosk sites in Sector 15 and 23 in the city on February 14 at the estate office of the authority in Sector 14 at 11 am.

According to official sources, as many as six booth sites would be auctioned in Sector 15, two double-storey shop sites in Sector 23, two double-storey shop sites in Sector 21-P and 26-P, 14 booth sites in Sector 23, one booth site in Sector 20-P and six kiosk sites in Sector 23.

Award for census work

The Haryana Government, on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs, has awarded a certificate of appreciation to Mr Y. S. Gupta, Executive Officer of the Sonepat Municipal Council, for his meritorious service rendered in connection with the Census 2001.

According to official sources, the certificate has been presented to him by Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, Agriculture Minister, at the Republic Day function held in the city.

Mr Sunil Gulati, Director, Census Operations, Haryana, while releasing the certificate of honour to Mr Gupta on behalf of the Governor of Haryana, appreciated the census work done by Mr Gupta.

He said that his meritorious service in connection with Census 2001 was beyond the call of duty and stood as an example for others. The state government hoped that Mr Gupta would continue to lead from the front and take up on himself to spread awareness amongst public and officials to use the census data and take informed decisions.

No BPL cards yet

Resentment prevails among members of the families living below the poverty line at Palra village against the non-distribution of yellow ration cards by the Food and Supplies Department. Many people alleged that all their complaints to the authorities concerned in this regard have fallen on deaf ears.

Three-day yajna begins

A yajna and Shri Ram Katha, being organised by the Shri Sundar Kaand Yajna Samiti on the premises of the Nehru Park in Geeta Colony here, began today. According to a report, the three-day yajna will conclude on Sunday. Dr Swami Divyanand `Bhikhshu’ Ji Maharaj is performing the yajna.

Boy hit by scooter

A Class III student sustained injuries when he was hit by a scooter at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, today. According to a report, the injured boy was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger.

Demolition drive

Officials of the demolishing squad swung into action in the area of Ashok Nagar (kutcha quarters) here yesterday and demolished the unauthorised structures around a public well. According to a report, the action followed a series of public complaints received by the district and civic authorities.


Inter-state gang busted, three held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
A team of Special Cell officers busted a notorious inter-state gang involved in more than 12 cases of murder, kidnapping, extortion, criminal intimidation, rape and offences under the Arms Act with the arrest of three persons yesterday. However, the gang leader, Dharmender, managed to escape after firing at the police party. The team also seized one 0.30 bore King Cobra pistol and two 0.455 bore Webley Scott revolvers along with 18 live cartridges from them.

The other three suspects, Ashok alias Babloo (25), resident of Sonepat, Satya Prakash alias Ninu (26) and Rajesh (27), both residents of Jhajjar, Haryana, were nabbed by the Patel Nagar police and a case of attempt to murder and sections under the Arms Act was registered. Acting on a secret information that members of the Dharmender gang, active in Haryana, was in Delhi to commit some sensational crime, the special team led by Inspector Ved Prakash raided their hideout in DTC Colony, Patel Nagar and arrested three members of the gang while its leader escaped. The gang was involved in more than 12 cases of heinous crimes, said the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), Mr Ashok Chand.

On interrogation, the suspects confessed to have committed the crimes and disclosed that they had come to Delhi to kill a businessman residing in Rohini as he was a sympathiser of their rival group led by Baljeet Singh, president of the truck union of Jind.

Stabbed to death

Ayodhya Prasad (45), who worked as a foreman in a private firm in Civil Lines, was allegedly brutally stabbed to death by his colleague last night. There was an argument with the suspect and Ayodhya over the payment of salary.

The accused accosted him when he was on his way to his house and stabbed him repeatedly with a sharp-edged weapon and fled from the crime scene. The victim was admitted to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. A murder case has been registered in this connection.

Old couple robbed

Four armed youths robbed Rs 25,000 from Mr Krishna Murari (65) and his wife last night when they were alone at their house in Sant Nagar. Robbers first demanded Rs 1 lakh from the couple. When they denied of having such a huge amount of money, the robbers threatened to kill them. Thereafter, they gave robbers Rs 25,000 which the victims had kept for some important work. During the scuffle, Mr Krishna sustained injuries and was admitted to a hospital where his condition is stated to be out of danger.

Murder solved

With the arrest of Jai Prakash, the South district police today claimed to have worked out the case relating to the murder of Satpal Singh that was committed in MMTC colony in Maidan Garhi. The suspect was arrested from Dakshin Puri. During interrogation, he confessed to have committed the murder, the police said.

Criminal dead

A criminal was found dead near Ganda Nullah in a park in Mukerjee Nagar today morning. The police said that Sanjay alias Telli (28), resident of Ram Pura, Gurh Mandi, Delhi was found strangulated to death in the park today morning. The deceased had two cases of theft and four cases of preventive action against him. The Mukerjee Nagar police have registered a case of murder and are investigating the mystery behind the murder.

Girl crushed

A nine-year-old girl was crushed to death under a DTC bus in Mehrauli in South district today morning. The police said that the accident had occurred around 1 pm when the girl, Sabak, was hit from behind while she was trying to cross the road.


Girl, brother kidnapped

Sonepat, February 1
The Murthal police have registered a case of alleged kidnapping of a girl, Hem Lata (16), and her brother, Mohit (11), against a youth, Neeraj Kumar of Tajpur village, on the complaint lodged by the victims’ father.

According to a report, both the siblings had gone to school at nearby Malikpur village on Monday but failed to return. The father of the children alleged that they were lured by the youth and kidnapped by him. The whereabouts of the youth, girl and her brother were still not known. OC

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