Wednesday, February 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


MCD axe hovering over jittery traders
Tribune News Service

Lajpat Nagar has grown from a sleepy resettlement colony into a thriving business hub.

New Delhi, February 5
Thousands of jittery residents of Lajpat Nagar are running from pillar to post to prevent the scheduled demolition of illegal encroachments by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

The MCD has so far issued 3,500 notices to house-owners in the `double-storey’ area of Lajpat Nagar IV in compliance with a Supreme Court order on October 10. Lajpat Nagar developed from a sleepy resettlement colony for partition migrants into a booming commercial centre with residents allegedly flouting building bylaws to encroach on public land.

The businesses in the area range from clothes to electronic equipment and automobile dealerships to cyber cafés. The notice, once implemented, will leave many of these businesses high and dry and could also lead to eviction of a large number of tenants as their residences could have been built in contravention of building bylaws.

The court has directed MCD Commissioner S P Aggarwal to inform the court in person on February 7 about the action taken by the civic body. This leaves the affected parties very little time to look for an alternative solution. The MCD, on its part, has said that the notices have been delayed due to “practical difficulties”.

Area MLA and local BJP leader, Mr Sushil Chaudhry, likened the situation to the post-partition trauma that the migrants faced as they scrambled to cross the border. “ The predominant feeling among the people is that of partition days, when they were uprooted from their ancestral land and had to trudge long distances to reach this place. Barely has this trauma been banished, this new development has occurred”, he said.

Interestingly, the local office of MCD is located close to the site where the alleged encroachments have taken place for so many years, ironically right under the civic body’s nose. This, despite the fact that with passage of time, the area has become increasingly congested;. the civic infrastructure for public utilities is woefully inadequate, not to mention paucity of parking space etc.

The process of demolition of illegal structures in the Capital started during the time when Jagmohan was the Union Minister for Urban Development. In fact, he initiated a major campaign against illegal constructions. The affected parties had then responded by launching an aggressive campaign against Jagmohan. It is believed that under pressure, both from within and outside the BJP, the Prime Minister shunted Jagmohan from the Urban Development ministry. It was seen as an attempt to shield the BJP from public fury at a time when the elections to the civic body were round the corner.

Aggrieved residents of Lajpat Nagar are expected to call on Union Home Minister, L K Advani, BJP spokesperson Vijay Kumar Malhotra and even Jagmohan, hoping to stop the demolitions on humanitarian grounds.



CM’s Education Inc runs into roadblock
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
The Delhi education minister’s “concept” of bringing certain government-run educational institutions under the managerial control of public schools has pitted the chief minister against the legislators and split the party into liberals and conservatives. The proposal has also drawn the ire of academics and political parties alike but Ms Sheila Dikshit is not willing to jettison the proposal just yet.

“Let us wait for the constitution of a committee that would examine the proposal in detail and submit its report,” Ms Dikshit said in response to queries. While acknowledging the far-reaching consequences of undertaking such a radical measure, the chief minister nevertheless felt it would be premature to discard the concept without an informed debate. Referring to the state of education in government-run institutions, she said the committee would also be mandated to suggest measures to improve the quality of teaching.

The chief minister’s optimism however is matched by the legislators’ skepticism, who felt the party has given the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a handle to beat them with ahead of the civic polls tentatively scheduled for March-end. What is of particular concern though to the Congress legislators is their respective vote bank and their constituents’ reaction to the move.

Flaying any attempt to “privatise” government-run educational institutions, Congress legislator Mahabal Mishra said education was a fundamental right and could not be tinkered with. Another legislator, Zile Singh Chauhan, said : “Privatisation of utilities like power is OK but not education.” Others wondered about the rationale of going ahead with such an “anti-poor” proposal and its fall-out on the party.

The lone Congress legislator who has come out in favour of the proposal is Naseeb Singh, who felt it was time the government took bold, corrective measures to stem the rot in the education system. “If the students enrolled in government-run institutions can avail themselves of better quality of education at a reasonable fee, why not ?” he remarked.

Amidst all this, Education Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan has reiterated his resolve to hardsell the proposal. Alluding to the policy of zero tolerance, the minister said not only would students benefit from better quality of education but they would also be taught English from primary classes onwards, unlike now when the language is taught to students of grade six and above. “How long can one tolerate absenteeism by teachers and schools registering a zero pass percentage ?” he asked while adding that the apprehensions about fee hike were misplaced. 



This monster is not going to get extinct so soon 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
Responding to the ‘Say No to Plastic Bag’ campaign, students drawn from 190 schools in the Capital have collected 5,000 kgs of plastic bags in a fortnight. The manufacture, sale and use of recycled plastic bags for storing, carrying and packing of food are banned in Delhi under the Delhi Plastic (Manufacture, Sale and Usage) and Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2000. The Act came into effect on October 2 last year. The plastic bag collection drive-cum-competition was organised by the Department of Environment in association with the Eco Club schools and ITC Hotels and McDonald’s in the corporate sector as part of the Bhagidari (partnership) programme, initiated by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Felicitating the students, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday distributed prizes to the participant schools. The students of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Nithari in west Delhi, bagged the first prize by collecting 230 kilogram's of bags.

The Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bindapur in south-west Delhi and St Francis de Sales, Janakpuri, came second and third respectively. A special prize was given to Maharaja Agrasen Public School, Pitampura, for fabricating a dinosaur from the collected plastic garbage.

The other schools that participated in the campaign are: Holy Child Senior Secondary School, Tagore Garden; New State Academy Senior Secondary School, Pitampura; Government Boys Senior Secondary School, DDA Flats, East of Loni Road; Goodlay Public School, Shalimar Bagh; NK Bagoria Public School, Rohini; Guru Harkishan Public School, Shahdara; Dayanand Public School, Arya Samaj, Model Town; Rajkiya Sah Shiksha Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Bammoli; and Raisin Bengali School, Chittaranjan Park. Congratulating the students on their act, the Chief Minister said that it was for first time in the history of the country that such an extraordinary step had been initiated by the schoolchildren for maintaining and upgrading the ecological balance in Delhi. On the occasion, the Chief Minister said that stern action would be taken against the offenders of the Act. The Act bans manufacture of plastic bags of less than 20-micron thickness. Environment Minister Deep Chand Bandhu said that the plastic bag collection programme would be a regular feature and the NGOs, students, corporates and the public would be involved so as to make it broad-based and popular.

For years, the environmentalists had been urging the authorities to ban the plastic bags which they said were not only dangerous but also wreaking irretrievable damage on the environment. Stray animals foraging for food, consumed plastic bags and died because of clogged intestines. Several animals of the endangered species, kept in various zoos, had also fallen victim to the plastic menace. Closer to home, the discarded bags are known to have choked drains, spilling sewage on the roads and colonies, leading to epidemics.



Will someone put Jhajjar on the rail map?

Jhajjar, February 5
The long-standing demand of the residents of Jhajjar for laying down a railway line touching this town has evoked a lukewarm response from the powers that be. Despite hectic lobbying, they have failed to get an assurance from the Union government in this regard. According to the sources, the railway ministry has slotted the project for the next Railway Budget (2003).

The state transport service has not been unable to cope with the rush of commuters ever since the town became a district headquarters in 1997. The demand for the railway line is gaining momentum now as the locals have secured the support of several parties.

Apart from the Rail Lao Sangarsh Samiti, many other social organisations like the Jan Kalyan Samiti, the Rastriya Saini Samaj and the Jan Jagriti Morcha have been raising the issue.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the first party to extend support to the demand when it passed a resolution in this regard at its two-day training session held here recently.

A delegation of the district party unit led by Mrs Usha Ahlawat met Mr Nitish Kumar, Union Railway Minister, and other senior party leaders in this regard.

The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has also urged the Railway Minister to approve the Bahadurgarh-Jhajjar-Kosli line, keeping in view the industrial development in the district. He has also promised to secure the railway link for Jhajjar during his visits here.

The demand for the rail line is more than 20 years old. Informed sources said that in 1987-88, the railway ministry had ordered a survey for a 208-km-long rail project via Jhajjar-Bahadurgarh and Khurja-Palwal-Rewari-Jhajjar. In 1997, Mr Satpal Maharaj, the then Minister of State for Railways, had told Parliament that the survey was complete and work would start after the completion of the evaluation process by the Planning Commission.

However, things took an about-turn in 1998 when the ministry, in its budget, decided to conduct a fresh survey for the Rohtak-Rewari rail line via Jhajjar.

The representatives of different organisations have also conveyed their demands to the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mrs Susma Swaraj, when she arrived in Beri village to participate in a function.

She also promised to place their demand before the Railway Minister. Many senior citizens had also written letters to the Railway Minister and the Prime Minister, urging them to provide the facility.

Mr Naveen Vahi, Bahadurgarh Mandal, President of the BJP, who was a member of the delegation which called upon the Railway Minister, disclosed that the project for connecting Jhajjar was on the anvil. After the clearance from the Planning Commission, it would come up before the Union Cabinet and was likely to be announced in the next budget. He said that his party was building pressure on the ministry to complete the clearance process and start the work at the earliest. Mr Vahi has asked the social organisations to come together and make a sustained effort in this direction.



HC notices to CBSE, NCERT on deletions
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, February 5
The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the NCERT and the CBSE on the deletion of controversial references to certain religions. These deletions were made from the history text meant for the secondary classes after widespread protests in the past year by numerous religious bodies demanding that scissors be wielded across those portions that hurt religious sentiments. The Court took cognisance of a petition filed by a retired schoolteacher, Mrs. Krishna Devi, and ordered her to submit affidavits on behalf of Historians whose works have been affected.

“ These deletions should not be there. Religious leaders cannot decide what the children should study, deletions such as these deprive the children of their right to information. It affects the fundamental right to freedom and also violates the convention of child rights. Even the President has shown his concern over the doctoring of History. He wrote a letter to the World History Congress held recently expressing his concern”, pointed out Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, the counsel for the petitioner.

The court has directed both the NCERT and the CBSE to file their responses by April 3, the next date of hearing. “ The NCERT only prepares the draft, but CBSE prescribes it. If the CBSE prescribes the NCERT’s syllabus, it becomes a party to the aberrations” added Mr Aggarwal. Historians Arjun Dev, Romilla Thapar and Satish Chandra have objected to the deletion of the portions. They flayed the whole exercise for being communal and urged the government to refrain from saffronising education. Ms. Thapar has also made a representation to the NCERT.



SP activist shot dead in Ghaziabad 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 5
Ghaziabad seems to have opened its account of poll-related violence with the killing of a Samajwadi Party (SP) leader, who was shot dead when a rival group attacked his party on Monday morning.

Samajwadi Party workers demonstrated in front of the Indirapuram police station, protesting against the murder of party worker Subash Yadav.

Subash Yadav of Khoda Colony was bound for Shipra Sun City along with one Sanjay, when a jeep hit his motorcycle (No.DL-75T-2063) from the rear near the CISF ground. Subash lost his balance and fell in a ditch near the road.

As Subash fell, the jeep-borne assailants fired shots, killing him on the spot. The desperadoes shot at Sanjay too, who has sustained bullet injuries.

Satyapal Yadav, an SP leader said, “Subash was a local party leader and he had some differences with local politicians. To harm the party interests in the elections, Subash was murdered.”

He alleged that the police had not entertained their written complaint, naming three persons.

A police official of Indirapuram police station, however, said: “It was simply a case of accident. They want to implicate innocent persons.”



2 dead, 7 hurt in auto-truck collision 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 5
Two persons travelling in an auto rickshaw were killed and seven others injured when a Tata 407 truck collided with the three-wheeler near Dayalpur village in the Ballabgarh sub-division yesterday. While one of the victims, identified as Man Singh (30) of Narhawali village, died on the spot, another person succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital. 



MCD faces flak for lack of development
Syed Ali Ahmed

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
Residents of several unauthorised colonies are up in arms against the BJP-led Municipal Corporation when it came to their notice that the corporation had sanctioned Rs 19 crore for development of colonies located in South and South-West districts but colonies located in South and North-East districts had been excluded. Krishan Kumar, a resident of North-East district, said Brajpuri, Mustafabad, Khajoori Khas and a few other colonies were constructed much earlier than the colonies in West Delhi. However, little development work had been done in these area.

A few years back, though the Standing Committee of the MCD had recommended that link roads and drains be constructed in unauthorised colonies, nothing had been done in the North-East district. The repeated demand put forth to the Councillors and MLAs by the residents of the area for the construction of roads, drains and other civic amenities were brushed away on the excuse that development in unauthorised areas were banned. The residents alleged that money sanctioned by the MCD and the Delhi Government for the development work was being siphoned away by politicians in connivance with officers concerned. A similar condition exists in the Jaitpur Extension, Pul Prahladpur, Meethapur, Abul Fazal Enclave and other colonies. Parvez Hashmi, the Congress MLA from Okhla refused to meet the residents of the area saying that the Delhi High Court had banned development works in the unauthorised colonies.

Similarly, residents of Jaitpur Extension, Badarpur and Meethapur colonies are upset that the area MP, Ram Vir Singh Bidhuri, was busy making a place for himself at the national level rather than paying attention towards the development of his constituency.

A senior corporator of the MCD said that the Municipal Commissioner, Mr S .P. Aggarwal, in his letter to the Engineering Department, said that the corporation had accorded administrative approval for development works, costing Rs 19 crore, in 295 unauthorised colonies on private land or land vested in the Gram Sabha. The money has been approved for the construction of roads and drains in West Zone area.

As per the orders of the Delhi Government, two roads are to be constructed in each unauthorised colonies which are included in the list of 295 such colonies. The Opposition leader in the corporation, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, said that this was one of the reasons BJP was delaying the MCD elections in the Capital. Most of the development work are being carried out in segments represented by the BJP corporators in order to improve their deteriorating image. Besides, the Opposition leader alleged, that parks, roads and community centres were being inaugurated daily by BJP leaders, including the Mayor.



Faridabad municipal bodies fail people
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 5
Most of the municipal bodies have not lived up to the expectations of the public and failed to pass muster mainly because of lack of infrastructure, shortage of staff and proper equipment.

The Municipal Council of the Palwal town in the district is one of them which has been unable to deliver the goods as far as cleanliness is concerned.

The civic body is staffed by only a hundred safai karamcharis to cater to a population of nearly one lakh people.

Sources in the department indicated that the strength of safai karamcharis of this historical town has not been increased during the past 26 years.

When the Municipal Council took charge in 1976, the town had a meagre population of only 30,000 people. In the last 26 years, while the population has increased more than three times, the number of safai karamcharis has remained stagnant.

The area covered by the civic body has also increased several times as a large number of residential colonies have come up in the past two decades.

Resultantly, the shortage of staff and other infrastructure has been evident in the poor maintenance of civic amenities in the city.

There are several wards in the town where the civic staff are hardly visible for several weeks, claimed a resident of ward number seven.

He said that not a single employee had been deputed for ward number seven, nine and twenty-five.

Sources in the department said that though the civic body had adopted a resolution, recommending new recruitment of staff, the authorities have not shown any interest in that direction so far.

Looking at the pathetic state of affairs in the city, particularly the deteriorating garbage disposal system, the elected members of the council have appealed to the authorities to recruit employees on daily wage basis.



From boardroom to the podium
Smriti Kak

When the invitation said that the Bharat Ram brothers would perform to raise funds for the cancer patients, it took a while to sink in. Boardroom giants, whose lingua franca is a mish-mash of the financial and the commercial, singing the notes of music is a beat less heard of.

Arun and Vinay Bharat Ram, the scions of the Shri Ram family are better known for their business acumen than for the artistic ventures. Not many are aware of the fact that the duo have been trained for decades under legends such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Annapoorna Devi.

While Arun returned to the stage after a gap of 20 years, Vinay has enthralled audiences at select venues.

“I have been so engaged in work that I was left with no time for practice. Now that I have more time on hands, I will continue to work on my sitar. When one is playing, one has to meet one’s own standards. I still feel that I haven’t been able to match the yardstick. However, it was a great opportunity to play for a good cause as this and share the stage with Vinay,” pointed out Arun, who is currently the President of the CII and CII International.

For vocalist Vinay, performances as these are a delight. “It is wonderful to perform for Can support. People seem to have a misconception that industrialists do not perform like professionals, we are just as dedicated as professional musicians,” says Vinay who lets the music take over him completely. “I just close my eyes and perform, I never look at the audience.”

As if to buttress Vinay’s claim that the industrialists can be thorough professionals, Arun points out that preparing for the concert took him three months and that he had to forgo many social activities to be able to concentrate on his riyaaz. “I used to take my sitar along even when I was travelling. I will continue to play even now,” he chips in.

Payal’s wear

Model Shonali Rossario in Payal Singhal’s collection.

Straight from the land of film, Payal Singhal landed in the Capital to shine and make her clients glitter with her dazzling wear.

Payal’s creations were available in the Capital in select outlets. However, with the opening of ‘Payal Singhal’ in Hauz Khas, the designer has more to offer.

The store was recently opened in the Capital with models, Indrayani Bannerjee, Ayesha Prem and Bhavana displaying her wear. The main elements of her design have been kept same and Payal has worked on a mix of formal, semi-formal and bridal wear for the discerning consumers in the Capital.

Formal Indo-international style is the forte of the designer who believes, “My silhouettes are my USP.” Specialising in unconventional cuts and styled kurtas, narrow lehngas and sarees with stylish cut blouses, Payal’s work has a lavish amount of sequins, resham, beads and crystals.

To woo the Capitals’ taste, Payal has a fusion of glamorous western look to go with the Indian spirit of the garments. So, strapless tube kurtas, collared kurtis, single strap Kurtas, Capri pants and fitted lehngas have been specially tailored. The colours are a riot of fuchsia pinks, vermilion’s, aubergines, burgundy and browns.

The 25-year-old designer has two flagship salons in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai as well as Hyderabad. Here’s hoping that the Capital’s wardrobes have something new to look forward to.

Back to future

Meera and Muzzafar Ali unveiling ‘Nagmagee’– a fusion of Sufiana Qualam and Western music album by singer composer Shibani.

Shibani Kashyap is one of those few whose vocal chords simply ‘send’ the audience. She is still remembered for the track that was made popular by the video shot of ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan.

From her ‘Ho Gayee Hai Mohabbat Tumse’ track, which has become her middle name, she has now moved on to tracks with a Sufiana touch. With the release of her new album, ‘Nagmagee’, Shibani is back on the music scene.

The album was released in the Capital recently by Meera and Muzzafar Ali. The title track of the album is fusion of Urdu shayaris by Murad Ali. The lyrics by Sadaquat Hussain have been released in an, ‘unplugged’ format, aided by the guitar and a darbuka.

A video of the title track, featuring model-turned-actor Mukul Dev, is currently scaling music charts. Shot in the picturesque Alibaug beach, the video has been shot by Salim Akhtar.

Nagmagee is Shibani’s venture with Saibal Basu that took 18 months to complete and is in the singer’s own words, “a personification of her music”. For the singer who can be heard on radio almost every single hour thanks to the AIR FM jingle that she has lent her voice to, Nagmagee is a baby that took too long to deliver.

A Swedish katha

Translating a book is no piece of cake. The translation as well as the translator are both pushed on under the microscope and studied with a zeal that comes naturally to a critical eye. This is perhaps the reason why Katha and the Swedish Writers Union chose to involve not just well known translators, but underwent extensive exercise to be able to undertake the Herculean task.

Katha, an NGO and publishing house along with the Swedish Embassy, recently released Barf ki Khushbu, an anthology of Swedish poetry by Teji Grover and Lyssna Min Dotter, the Swedish translation of Ai Ladki, a book by noted Hindi writer Krishna Sobti. The lines were also read from Blackwater, a book by Swedish writer, Kerstin Ekman. The translated version of the book is expected to be released shortly. The translations are a part of a plan to bring the Indian and the Swedish readers’ closer through translations of acclaimed books written and published in the two countries.

In 1996 a group of Swedish writers visited India and hit upon the idea to initiate an Indo-Swedish project, wherein books from both the countries would be translated for the benefit of readers. The project which is being managed by an independent group affiliated to the Swedish Writers Union, is aimed at spreading knowledge and understanding of the Indian culture in Sweden through the translated works.

Katha in association with the Swedish Writers Union, shortlisted Blackwater and Ai Ladki to flag off the project. Swedish translator Annika Persson began the translation work with Chandra Ramakrishnan using two translated versions in English as intermediary texts for the final translation of Ai Ladki into Swedish.

The translators for Blackwater, Smita Bharti and Neer Kanwal Mani underwent extensive interactive sessions on the Swedish literature both in India as well as Sweden to be able to prepare the draft.

However, what remains to be seen is the response from the readers to these translated versions.



Rs 9.46 crore budget for Rohtak council
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 5
The annual budget of the Rohtak Municipal Council for the coming financial year has been estimated at Rs 9.46 crore, an increase of Rs 1.07 lakh over the current year’s budget allocations.

The civic body proposes to earn Rs 3 crore from house tax, Rs 1.50 crore from stamp duty and another Rs 1 crore from the sale of land. The budget estimates show an income of Rs 50 lakh from fire tax, which has been opposed by the council. The council proposes to earn Rs 30 lakh from professional tax, an increase of nearly Rs 20 lakh over the current year’s income from this source, and Rs 90 lakh from development charges, higher by Rs 20 lakh.

It also plans to collect Rs 25 lakh as the motor vehicle fee and Rs 60 lakh as the share from the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam on the power supplied by it to consumers within the municipal limits. This year, the income under this head was only Rs 45 lakh.

Although the municipal committee has received a grant of Rs 3.11 crore from the government till November during this financial year, it has no hope of getting it in the next financial year. The municipal council proposes to earn Rs 60 lakh from rent and another Rs 11 lakh from proceeds of dead animals. It also proposes to earn Rs 45 lakh from miscellaneous sources.

On the expenditure side, the council has earmarked over Rs 6 crore for establishment and Rs 1.25 crore for development works, Rs 32.60 lakh for office expenditure and Rs 1.46 crore for miscellaneous development projects besides Rs 10 lakh for repayment of loan.

The council plans to spend Rs 48 lakh on providing streetlights in the town and Rs 50 lakh on the purchase of land. The civic body has set aside Rs 6 lakh as audit fee and Rs 3.50 lakh towards medical allowance to its employees.

The development works that the council proposes to undertake during the next financial year include pavement of streets (Rs 20 lakh), construction of drains (Rs 30 lakh), construction of roads (Rs 30 lakh) and construction of new shops (Rs 20 lakh). It has earmarked Rs 5 lakh for the development of parks and another Rs 5 lakh for public utility schemes.



Two ‘salesmen’ decamp with jewellery
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 5
Two youths, posing as salesmen of a ‘cleaning’ powder, decamped with jewellery worth Rs 25,000 of two women residents of Chawla Colony of Ballabgarh town yesterday.

The victims had given their rings, chain and some other items of gold for cleaning demonstration to the youths who visited their

According to information, the residents, identified as Ms Gurdep Kaur and her tenant, Ms Pratibha, were approached by two youths at their house, who claimed that the powder they sell could clean ornaments.

Conducting a demonstration, the accused took the jewellery and put it in a bowl containing a liquid and asked the women to keep the bowl in a refrigerator after heating it.

However, the women were stunned to see their ornaments missing when they took it out of the refrigerator as told by the youths.

Youth robbed

Three motorcycle-borne youths robbed the son of a banana merchant of Rs 45,000 and a gold chain at knifepoint near Vaish College today.

According to information, Harsh, son of Hansraj Maggu, was going to the branch of Punjab National Bank located near Vaish College to take a draft of Rs 45,000.

Three miscreants on a motorcycle intercepted his scooter near Vaish College and snatched the cash and gold chain at knifepoint.

3 vehicles stolen

A truck, tractor and a Maruti car were stolen in different incidents in the town during the past 24 hours. Ms Vibha, resident of Model Town, registered a complaint that her car was stolen from outside her house last night.

In another incident, Karambir, resident of Hari Nagar colony at Sunarian Chowk, alleged that his tractor was stolen from his house last night. Thieves also drove away a truck parked at the local Ramlila Ground near bus stand last night.

Child scheme

An amount of Rs 2.04 lakh has been distributed among 408 pregnant women living below poverty line in the district under the Integrated Child Development Scheme so far. The officiating Deputy Commissioner, Mr T. K. Sharma, said Rs 500 had been given to each eligible woman under the scheme, which was started by the Union Government on August 15, 1997.

Pensions distributed

The District Social Welfare Department has disbursed Rs 1.32 crore in the form of pensions to 66,094 old persons, widows and physically handicapped persons till January during the current financial year, according to a spokesman for the district administration.

No house tax

The Sonepat Municipal Council has decided to exempt the ex-servicemen residing in the municipal limits from the payment of house tax. A resolution to this effect was adopted at a meeting of the council held here yesterday.

The meeting chaired by Mr Satpal Goel also adopted another resolution to exempt the owners of the houses and shops whose house tax has been assessed at Rs 131.25. It passed the estimates of the annual budget for the year 2002-2003 to the tune of Rs 5.90 crore.

Power bills

Resentment prevails among village chowkidars against the decision of the district administration to give them the duty of distributing electricity bills among the consumers from the next month. They have threatened to launch an agitation if the decision was not revoked immediately by the administration.

Youths hurt

Three youths sustained injuries when two motorcycles collided with each other on the Sonepat-Gohana road here yesterday. According to a report, all the injured youths were hospitalised. They are stated to be out of danger.

According to another report, an old woman was injured seriously when she was hit by a motorcycle in Ashok Nagar (kutche quarters) here last evening. She was immediately hospitalised and stated to be out of danger.

Janta darbar

As many as nine complaints were received by Mr Jeet Singh Mehra, SDM, at a weekly janata darbar held by him at Ganaur, a sub-divisional town, about 16 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, the SDM directed the authorities concerned to dispose of all the complaints on a priority basis.

Traffic held up

Traffic on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna road was held up by drivers of Haryana Roadways buses near Subhash Chowk here yesterday after an altercation with a motorcyclist, who tried to overtake between two buses.

According to a report, a large number of vehicles on both sides of the road were lined up causing inconvenience to the travelling public. However, on receipt of information, some police officials from the nearby Civil Lines police station arrived on the spot and succeeded in lifting the blockade after a compromise between the motorcyclist and a bus driver.

CITU rally

The Haryana unit of the CITU is holding its one-day sankalp rally on February 27 at Hisar. According to a report, CITU workers from all over the state will take part in it.

Balmiki Sabha

The Haryana Balmiki Maha Sabha has convened a special meeting on February 9 in Balmiki temple of Sham Nagar of the city to discuss various issues like the capturing of pigs by the administration and non-payment of salary to the safai workers on time by the Sonepat Municipal Council.



Wife, paramour held for truck driver’s murder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
The North-West district police arrested three persons who were allegedly involved in the murder of a truck driver, Raghubir Singh. The arrested include the wife of the deceased and her paramour.

The Jahangir Puri police today claimed to have solved the mystery behind the murder of Raghubir Singh (24) with the arrest of Kamal Kumar alias Happy alias Sagar (22), Aman Sharma alias Sonu alias Pital (25) and Narendra Kaur alias Meenu, wife of the deceased. All of them are residents of Jahangir Puri. The three accused are booked under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC.

Narendra Kaur had an illicit relationship with Kamal Kumar. Since Raghubir raised some problems to their wedding plans, the duo with the help of Amit Sharma, a close friend of Kamal Kumar, murdered him, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-West), Mr R. P. Upadhyaya, said.

The victim’s elder brother, Mr Gurmeet Singh, lodged a complaint with the police that his younger brother was missing and said that he was suspicious about Narendra Kaur and two other persons.

A special team was formed and during investigation, it was found that Narendra Kaur and Kamal Kumar had been having an intimate relationship for the last 2-3 years. It started before her marriage with Raghubir. He had even proposed to Narendra Kaur but it did not materialise as both their families were opposed to their relationship.

Meanwhile, Narendra Kaur got married to Raghubir Singh in 1999. Raghubir Singh was a drunkard and used to beat Narendra Kaur quite often under the influence of liquor. This attitude of Raghbir led his wife to revive the old relationship with Kamal.

Kamal then got friendly with Raghubir Singh and used to provide him alcohol to have an uninterrupted entry into his house. One day, Raghubir Singh caught them red handed in a compromising position and beat his wife very badly and also told the whole incident to his elder brother, Gurmit Singh (complainant in this case).

Feeling humiliated, Narender Kaur and Kamal Kumar decided to eliminate him and also involved Amit. They also decided to get married and felt that Raghubir was the stumbling block. As a part of the conspiracy, Kamal Kumar again developed friendship with Raghubir and won his confidence.

On February 1, the accused and Raghubir had a long drinking session at the residence of the deceased. Later, they took the deceased out on the pretext of having a walk alongside Outer Ring Road and his wife stayed back.

The duo took the deceased to a nallah on the side of road and strangulated him with his own turban to death. The body was thrown in the nallah near Mukarba Chowk. The body was recovered as the accused led the police to the spot where it was dumped.

Youths stab man

In another incident, a 60-year-old man, Jaidev, was stabbed to death yesterday night by three scooter-borne youths in Jahangir Puri. The police said that Jaidev was accompanied by his 20-year-old married daughter, Sanju, and three relatives at the time of the incident. They were on their way to his house in Shalimar Bagh.

Since it was late night, they could not get a bus and they decided to walk home. When they were passing through an isolated stretch, three youths made some dirty comments about his daughter, Sanju. Jaidev got angry and shouted at them. Then, one of the youths came and stabbed him in his chest and fled from the spot.

Though he was rushed to Jagjivan Ram Hospital, he succumbed to his injuries. The police have registered a case of murder and have launched a manhunt to nab the absconding accused.

Boy rapes cousin

The Patel Nagar police arrested Farid (17) for raping his 15-year-old cousin at his house yesterday night in the Baljeet Nagar area. The police said that the girl, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, had been living in her uncle’s house to pursue higher studies in Delhi.

Last night, when the family members were out to attend a marriage function, Farid took advantage of the situation and raped her and even threatened her of dire consequences if she informed his parents about the incident.

But when the family members came, she narrated the whole incident to her aunt. The medical examination confirmed the rape. During interrogation, she also told that he had molested her earlier on many occasions and threatened not to disclose to his parents. The Patel Nagar police have registered a case against Farid on charges of intimidating and raping his cousin sister for two months.

Woman commits suicide

A woman, Kanchan (25), reportedly killed her two-year-old daughter, Preeti, and committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan in her residence in Mandaoli village in East Delhi this morning.

The woman was reportedly depressed. She bolted the door of her room just after her husband, Sapan Jha, had left for his work place in the nearby area. The incident came to light when one of Sapan’s relatives came to meet Kanchan. When he did not get any response after knocking repeatedly at the door, he telephoned the police.

The police broke open the door and found both the mother and daughter dead in the house. The bodies have been sent to GTB Hospital for post-mortem examination. She was married four years ago. An enquiry by the SDM had been ordered, the police said.

Stabbed by friend

The police arrested Sushil (28), resident of Prasad Nagar, for allegedly murdering his friend over an argument. The police said that Jaswant (28), resident of the same area, was stabbed to death yesterday night following an argument over some petty issue. The weapon used in the offence has also been recovered.



Tailor takes to drug-peddling due to penury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
The Delhi Police Narcotics Cell has apprehended Ubesh Ansari (24) alias Raju and seized heroin worth Rs 1 crore. The accused, a tailor by profession, got lured into the trade to make a fast buck and support his family.

The cell, acting on an information that a bulk dealer was highly active in supplying the drugs, launched a drive and nabbed Ansari, residing at Kamna, Vaishali and a permanent resident of Mohalla Ahmad Nagar, Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh when he was found supplying heroin in Delhi.

Since the accused originally belonged to Bareilly, which is supposed to be a hotspot for the indigenous production of heroin, the SHO, Narcotics Branch, Mr Satya Prakash Kaushik, constituted a team headed by SI Attar Singh. The team had been keeping an eye on the movements of the suspect for sometime.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Narcotics), Mr D. L. Kashyap, said that on January 31, a trap was laid near Chakkarwali Masjid, Mathura Road. Around 1.45 pm, the unsuspecting drug-peddler walked into the trap with a bag in his hand. When the police searched his bag, they found about 1 kg of fine quality heroin.

During interrogation, the accused admitted that he had been supplying drugs for the last six months and had supplied heroin at least two-three times earlier also. He told the police that he had five brothers and three sisters and felt difficult to earn enough money from through his profession as a tailor.

On further interrogation, he confessed to his association with another gang of Kallu, Nasim and Bhura. Kallu and Bhura were arrested by the Delhi Police Narcotics Branch in 1999 and a huge quantity of heroin was seized then. However, they are now out of custody. Efforts are being made to locate these traffickers also. A police team was sent to Mohammad Ganj, Bareilly to arrest his supplier, Chhota Khan, who has absconded. 



Two hardcore criminals nabbed after encounter
Our Correspondent

Noida, February 5
The Noida police nabbed two of the five criminals, who were planning a dacoity in a jewellery factory, after an encounter. Their three accomplices, however, succeeded in giving the police a slip. The father of one of the arrested persons is said to be the Director of Agriculture in Jammu Kashmir. The Sector 20 police have recovered two country-made revolvers and a large number of live cartridges from them who are wanted in about two dozens cases of murder, looting and dacoity, the SP, City, Mr Umesh Kumar Singh, said here yesterday.

The arrested suspects, Ummar and Khuram, both from Aligarh, carried a reward of Rs 5,000 each on their heads from state government. The Agra, Etah and Aligarh police had also announced some rewards for their arrest. Ummar’s father, Mr Mohamed, is said to be the Director of Agriculture in Jammu and Kashmir.

The SP said that police team were checking hotels and guesthouses on Sunday night when an informer told the Circle Officer that five miscreants were about to commit a dacoity in a jewellery factory in Sector 8. The police team straight away headed for the spot. Finding themselves surrounded by the police, the criminals started firing. The police fired six rounds in retaliation and succeeded in overpowering two of the criminals while the other three slipped away.

Of the arrested criminals, Ummar is a graduate while Khuram had failed in the intermediate examinations. They had confessed that they started their dacoity career after their release from a jail where they were sent on the charge of murder, the SP said.



Armed men loot Rs 53,000 from traders
Our Correspondent

Noida, February 5
While the entire police force of Noida was deployed in the arrangements for Union Home Minister L K Advani’s visit here yesterday, armed miscreants looted Rs 53,000 from two shopkeepers in a broad daylight.

Anil Aggarwal, a businessman of Banghal, wanted to raise a boundary wall around his plot in Sector 71.

He along with a friend from Sector 18, Noida, and a mason, went to Sector 71where his mason told them to wait while he went to fetch the contractor.

Soon six armed criminals arrived and put guns on Aggarwal’s and his friend’s head and decamped with Rs 53,000, two mobile phones, two wrist watches and 4 gold rings of the two traders.

The parting act of criminals was that they deflated all the four wheels of Aggarwal’s car so that the victims could not contact the police immediately, their mob phone having already been looted from them.

When they reached the police station to file a report, they found the whole staff was on duty in connection with Union Home Minister’s public rally.

Then they contacted some newspaper offices. C O Ram Bhadan singh later said police have launched a manhunt for the criminal but till today no progress was reported in the matter.



Rewari’s brassware industry struggling to take off
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, February 5
The traditional brassware industry of Rewari has been facing heavy odds, thanks to the government apathy as well as problems pertaining to marketing and supply of subsidised raw material.

According to veterans of the industry, their ancestors migrated to Rewari from various centres of industry about 500 years ago during the heyday of princely states. They settled in various villages surrounding Rewari and had operated their tiny utensil making units there for centuries.

During the first half of the 19th century, the predecessors of Rao Tula Ram, a hero of the first war of Independence of 1857, provided them residential land at Rewari where they started manufacturing guns and canons for the martial contingents.

Besides, some others were employed by the then Maharaja of Jaipur for the minting of coins and their descendants here are known as “Taksali Parivars” (Minting Families) even today.

However, when the English came to occupy the throne of Delhi and when the entire territory came under their sway, their canon-making and coin-minting business ceased to operate.

Consequently, they started making brass utensils. The business rose to great heights in the following decades.

At present, about 600 families are solely engaged in making brass utensils which include tokni (a round water container), parat (a large shallow dish), kettle, pan, plate, cup, mug, bucket and hubble-bubble (hookah).

All these families belong to the Thathera community which has been occupying a locality known as Mohalla Thatheran in the heart of the town. The units are in their houses themselves.

These utensils are in great demand in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and several states. Their export from here to Ajmer, Udaipur, Aligarh, Agra, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Indore, Ratlam and Delhi continues at regular intervals throughout the year.

In the absence of availability of direct marketing facilities, the manufacturers have to remain contented with their labour charges while the bulk of the profit is pocketed by the wholesalers and the retailers. The local metal market is flooded with purchasers from neighbouring areas of Haryana and Rajasthan, especially during the wedding season and Divali.

Raw material comes here mostly in the shape of brass scrap and worn-out brass utensils which are then moulded into brass slabs after being melted in furnaces.

The slabs are then converted into sheets and circles by the rolling machines. Finally, these circles pass through several phases before being shaped into utensils.

The traditional brassware industry of the town underwent a significant change about four decades ago when several of these Thathera families started manufacturing handicrafts like hanging lamps, table lamps, vases, candle stands, trays, chandeliers, swords, birds, animals, hubble-bubbles and statues of brass.

These showpieces are in great demand in India as well as abroad. They are regularly supplied to Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi from where they are exported to foreign countries.

It is true that the assiduous work of these makers of brass utensils and handicrafts has brought glory to Rewari, which is now known as the Metal City of

Haryana, but they are now facing heavy odds on account of the shrinking residential as well as business accommodation in their present locality.

Secondly, their long-standing demands of abolition of sales tax on brassware, supply of subsidised raw material and appropriate marketing facilities for their products have persistently met with apathy from the government.


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