Tuesday, February 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Near-empty chairs mark NCR meet 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11
That elected representatives care little for the planning of Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) was evident in today’s meeting of the 50-member Planning Board of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. Barring the usual faces of the Chief Minister and her Cabinet colleagues, the legislators drawn from the Congress and the members of Parliament of the Bharatiya Janata Party were conspicuous by their absence. Also unrepresented were the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) – two agencies that fall under the jurisdiction of the Lieutenant-Governor and, by extension, the Union Government.

The indifference of the Congress legislators was particularly noticeable as the party had vehemently opposed the Lieutenant-Governor’s move giving finishing touches to the Master Plan without consulting the Chief Minister. Acknowledging as much, the Finance Minister, Mr Mahender Singh Saathi, said that the draft Master Plan being prepared and the Planning Board of NCT of Delhi had a bearing on each other.

“The mandate of the Planning Board should be in consonance with the draft Master Plan being prepared and therefore ought to share a common perspective,” he said while conceding that only a few of the departments had come out with any suggestion for inclusion in the draft document of the Planning Board.

Matching the legislators’ indifference was the Chief Minister’s passivity. Citing the “handicap” of multiplicity of authorities, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit reiterated that her government was not in a position to plan properly for the Capital. “In this scenario, Delhi’s elected government needs more power for becoming responsible and responsive,” she said.

Ms Dikshit, who is chairperson of the board, said that the government would not be in a position to solve any of the problems without integrating Delhi’s economy with that of the NCR and creating opportunities in the region. “There is a need for developing a common economic zone, equipped with the basic infrastructure like housing, education and healthcare so that it attracts people to come and stay here.”

Admitting that the concept of integrating adjoining areas of the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan into the NCR had remained a dream thus far, the Chief Minister said that the Bhagidari (government-citizen partnership) Programme needed to be articulated in order to achieve the desired goals.



Drug smugglers moving bases to Haryana? 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11
The Narcotics Control Bureau has alerted the Haryana Police over the possibility of several well-known narcotics smugglers working for major international syndicates setting up bases in the state, particularly in cities along the G. T. Road.

The alert was issued recently following the arrest of Dharampal, a known bad character of Jharodan Kalan involved in at least a dozen cases since 1984. Dharampal is also alleged to have been on bail from Rohtak jail in a narcotics case. Dharampal was caught from near Ashok Hotel in New Delhi in a joint operation by the Narcotics Control Bureau and the personnel of the Military Intelligence (MI) and 1.2 kg of high quality heroin valued at Rs 1.2 crore seized from him.

The suspect, whose entire family is alleged to be involved in the illicit narcotics trade, was under watch by the MI sleuths for over a fortnight following a tip off. The intelligence agencies have been involved in the surveillance of persons suspected to be involved in the illicit trade since most of the money made through this invariably gets channeled into arming terrorists and other groups engaged in subversive activities.

Sources said that the intelligence agencies had been able to establish a clear link between narcotics smuggling and illicit arms trade over the last two years and most of the contraband originated in Afghanistan and was smuggled into the country via the land route from Pakistan.

Initially, most of the narcotics used to land in the godowns maintained by international syndicates in the Capital. However, with the security having been tightened in the Capital in the post Parliament attack period, these international smugglers and their couriers had decided to play it safe and move bases to nearby smaller cities where they could go about their business unhindered.

Sources in the NCB said that they had concrete information that the suspects were now maintaining bases in the nearby cities in Haryana where, for obvious reasons, foolproof security could not be provided. The narcotics dumped there were subsequently moved to the Capital for shipment abroad in small quantities. The very fact that the Military Intelligence has been actively involved in the nabbing of some of the narcotics smugglers clearly indicates the seriousness of the authorities in curbing this menace.

India has been for long known as a transit point in the clandestine international narcotics trade contributing as much as 30 per cent of the total global trade. The narcotics routed through India are mainly meant for European markets.



Tohra group demands polls to DSGMC executive 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11
The pro-Tohra faction, Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, today demanded early elections to the executive committee of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

“Though the term of the executive is for one year, almost two years have passed since the last polls for the executive committee was held. We demand the DSGMC controlled by pro-Badal faction to immediately convene the executive and declare elections,” said the president of Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna.

Asked why the party was demanding the executive polls when the Delhi Government has informed the Delhi High Court that it would hold the general elections to the DSGMC on June 16, he said: “The court had set the deadline on earlier occasions too. However, the Centre and the state government have come up with one or the other excuse to postpone the polls.”

“After seven years, the Centre had forwarded the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara (Amendment) Bill, 1971, reducing the voting age from 21 to 18 years. Though we welcome the reduction in the voting age, the timing of the government’s action indicates sinister motives,” he alleged.

“Whether it is the Congress or the BJP, both the parties have not taken any steps to restore the functioning of democratic institutions in the Sikh religious institutions. Last general elections were held after 17 years, when the Congress was at the helm of affairs. More than two years have passed. The general elections are being postponed on one pretext or the other when the BJP is in power,” he said

Mr Sarna said the court had not barred the DSGMC from holding the executive polls. He pointed out that two months before the last general elections in 1995, the executive polls were held.

The Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi president alleged that the present committee was misusing the funds of the DSGMC. Several lakhs of rupees had been diverted to boost the political prospects of the SAD (Badal) candidates in the assembly polls, he said.

“It is an irony that the DSGMC, which always had surplus cash, today is forced to take loan in lieu of three crore fixed deposits,” he said. The standard of Sikh institutions in the Capital had fallen during the past few years as people holding positions had not taken due care to maintain their traditional standings, Mr Sarna stated.



The boys of this school need to take a leaf from the girls’ book
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, February 11
It is a classic case of a study in contrast. The subject: functioning of two schools, located side by side, run by the same government and with the same limited facilities. While one school is said to be setting an example of making an optimum use of what they have been provided with, the other is an example of mismanagement, apathy and indiscipline.

Located in Ghitorni village in South Delhi, the schools have apparently managed to evade the eyes of the Delhi Government and to top it all, no one, neither the parents nor the few teachers, have bothered to do any thing about the sorry state of affairs.

The common boundary wall, dividing the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya and the Govt. Boys Senior Secondary, has now become a symbol of academic divide as well. While the boys’ school is a school only in name, the Kanya Vidyalaya runs efficiently with the teachers present and the students disciplined and willing to learn.

When this correspondent visited the boys’ school today, the Principal and the Vice-Principal were away. There were hardly any classes being held and the boys were whiling away their time by passing comments and making rude gestures at the passers-by.

Even though the school closes at 1 pm, the students could be seen loitering around the school premises. Some were even engaged in eve-teasing. There were hardly any classes being held. Perhaps it was something in the weather.

In contrast, the Kanya Vidyalaya was what a school should be. Students could be seen attending classes. The premises and the walls were clean. “Our class 12 results stood at 97 per cent. Though our class 10 results have to be improved, we are proud to say that our girls are doing well. What is commendable is that these girls come from the families where education for the girl child is not a priority. In spite of that, these girls show interest in studying,” points out the Principal, Mrs Zarin Taj.

The girls have to sit on ‘durries’ or mats because the desks have been taken for the boys who have no use for them, it seems. “Initially, the schools were run jointly. Later, it was decided to separate the schools and while shifting, the desks were commandeered for the boys. They have also retained two rooms of our building with the result that our girls have to sit in an unfurnished hall,” added Mrs Taj.

Even though the school has approached the Government for the desks, there has been no response. The school does not have even a watchman, a sweeper and a gardener. “We have engaged our own watchman who stays here 24 hours. We have brought a sweeper from the village on a part-time basis. The villagers of Ghitorni have been very cooperative. They have helped us in providing security to the girls. The boys next door are an unruly lot. We have to be on the guard always”.

While the girls’ school is showing improvement despite the constraints, the boys’ school has attained notoriety for its deteriorating standard. An area resident pointed out that the boys were a nuisance in the area. “Their parents are as much responsible as their schoolmasters. They smoke, gamble and use abusive language. Proper schooling should stop them from going astray in such a manner.”

This man added, “Even the Principal and the teacher seem to have given up. They have virtually no control over these rowdies.”

Another resident commented, “For this school, you require the Army, not teachers.”



Faridabad industrial workers seek a fair deal
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 11
The workers of various industrial units here are peeved about the ‘treatment’ meted out to them by the employers. They have accused the management of resorting to retrenchment, illegal lock-out and non-payment of their salaries and bonus. The delegations of workers raised the problems at an open darbar of the Deputy Commissioner here recently. The labour union of a textile mill alleged that the officials of the labour department had not only failed to help the workers but the department had also starting witch-hunting and was in league with the police department.

The workers said that despite a stay order by the local court, the machinery of a textile mill, lying closed since 1996, was being sold out. They said that the lock-out declared then had been illegal and the Haryana Government on January 9, 1997, had ordered the opening of the mill.

It is stated that the labour court had also directed to end the lock-out on June 7, 2000, besides ordering the payment of 13 per cent bonus and salary, but the order had not been implemented so far. About 30 employees of an auto lamp-manufacturing unit, who had been removed from the work, have sought payment of wages and bonus. They have claimed that their removal was illegal and the company should compensate or reinstate, as per the labour laws. A section of workers of another factory also met the Deputy Commissioner in the open darbar and complained that the management had not released their salaries for two months. They have alleged that the police were being used to terrorise the workers demanding their due. There is labour unrest in at least two other industrial organisations here.



Move to confiscate drug dealer’s property
J. T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11
The Delhi Police Narcotics Cell is planning to confiscate the property of the 27-member family of Mangat Ram in Delhi, allegedly purchased through the illegal drug money.

The family is the first to face action under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic (PIT) of NDPS Act 1988. The entire family was found involved in the illicit trafficking of drugs in Delhi and owning a number of property worth crores of rupees like houses, vehicles, bank accounts and fixed deposits.

The Narcotics Cell is still working on ascertaining the exact details of the property. In eight out of the 12 cases recommended by the Narcotics Cell to the Advisory Board of the Delhi High Court, the board has given the nod to the cell to confiscate their property.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Narcotics), Mr D. L. Kashyap, said that under this Act, the accused could not escape as “the onus lies on the respondent to prove that this property is not purchased through the drug money.” 



Up In Arms

Delhiites woke up to a chilly morning as persistent rain combined with strong surface winds swept through the city and its surroundings, disrupting road and air traffic as visibility dipped considerably. The air-traffic schedule went haywire since the early hours today. Even the airport remained closed for some time.

In the domestic air terminals of IGI, all morning flights were delayed by several hours this morning. Sources in the airport said that operations in the airport could begin only around noon. So much so that the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee’s scheduled election meetings in Bareilly and Agra had to be cancelled as flights could not take off. Weathermen said that the rainfall in Delhi was mainly due to the fresh snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Delhi recorded a rainfall of 8.3 mm during 8:30 am and 5.30 pm today.

The persistent rainfall threw traffic out of gear with long serpentine queues adding to the woes. No major accident was, however, reported. “It took me two and a half hours to reach Old Delhi Railway Station from Jamia Nagar. Under normal circumstances, it takes one hour to travel the same distance,” said Zakir of Jamia Millia Islamia. The office-goers had a tough time as they reached their work places late and that too in wet clothes. Schoolchildren also faced a harrowing time. However, the inclement weather could not dampen the spirit of the DPCC activists who protested against the MCD demolitions outside the Nirman Bhawan in the Capital on Monday.



Governor cautions against divisive forces
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 11
Haryana Governor Babu Paramanand has cautioned the people against the divisive forces and said that attempts are being made by some anti-nationalist forces to disintegrate the country on the basis of caste, religion and regionalism. These forces, he said, were backed by some foreign powers and the day was not far away when the country would face the chaotic conditions with full might.

Speaking at a function, organised on the premises of Dr Ambedkar Shikhsha Sadan hostel here yesterday, he called upon the people to resist all the sinister designs of these forces and keep the unity and integrity of the country intact.

He deprecated the activities of the terrorists and other fanatics, who were killing innocent people in the name of `Jehad’. He said that the main aim of the `Jehad’ was to protect the people and help the needy persons. He observed that it was ridiculous to blame others for the failures as everyone is engaged in selfishness.

The people, during the British regime, always blame the rulers for their ill wills. Now, the Indians were ruling the country and they should make concerted efforts to make the democracy a success.

The Governor also expressed his concern over the prevailing lawlessness in the country and advocated some radical change in the existing laws to combat these evils.

He said that there were many rich persons in the country and if they adopt some villages in their jurisdiction the fate of the people could be improved.

He regretted the materialistic approach of the people and said that people of our country spend recklessly on women and wine but they do not care to help the poor people and weaker sections of the society. He urged the people to render all-out assistance to the downtrodden.

Applauding the role of Dr B R Ambedkar, he said that Dr Ambedkar had done a commendable work for improving the lot of poor people and weaker sections of the society. He stressed the need of educating the children particularly girls. The Governor said that the Indian Constitution gave the guarantee of the education, but the number of illiterate persons is increasing day by day on account of commercialisation of education system prevailing in the country.

Expressing his grave concern over the failure of the countrymen to educate the girls, he appealed to the scheduled castes and backward classes to come forward and provide education to their wards, they wanted to become at par with other categories of the people.

The Governor highlighted various welfare schemes launched by the state government for improving the living standard of the poor people and weaker sections of the society but regretted that these people had so far failed to get any benefit from these schemes.

He also asked the Gram Panchayats and the members of the Gram Sudhar Samitis, to take steps to identify the persons indulging in committing irregularities and malpractice in the welfare schemes of the government. Earlier, the Governor gave away woollen goods and cash awards to 100 poor and destitute children on this occasion. He also honoured nine brilliant students by giving them rewards in this function. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S N Roy, the SP, Mr Paramjit Singh Ahlawat and other prominent citizens were present in the function.



This ‘statue’ of Mahatma is a living man
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 11
A statue of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, may no longer catch the attention of the masses, but a living image painted in silver colour has become the centre of attraction at the ongoing crafts mela at Surajkund.

This image is very much living in the form of 29-year-old A. Sesh Babu of Andhra Pradesh. This youth has come all the way from Vijayawada to provide a close glimpse of the greatest Indian.

Painted in silver colour from head to toe, Sesh Babu presents the closest lookalike of the Bapu. When this Bapu stands still at one place, every visitor who passed by him would think ‘it’ was a statue of the Mahatma, sculpted by an artisan.

Standing still for hours at one spot is an achievement of Sesh Babu, who perhaps has been unmatched in this feat so far. The record of standing continuously at one spot in the image of the Mahatma for 25 hours and one minute has been registered in his name by the Limca Book of Indian Records.

Visitors here are amazed when they are told that the image is not a statue, but very much of a living man. Sesh Babu has been able to display his prowess at several places across the country and has now earned a name for himself.

While Sesh Babu has been formally invited by the organisers, he gets upset when some of the visitors throw coins as an offering.

Meanwhile, unseasonal showers last night and this morning took a toll on the attendance at the mela today. The number of visitors, maximum yesterday, was reduced to the minimum possibly due to inclement weather today. It is reported that the number of people who approached the ticket counter at the village was quite low up to 2 pm and only the staff on duty, officials and the participants were seen moving inside the village in the first two hours.

Most of the artisans were seen busy checking their items this morning after the drizzle last night. Although the items were packed and stored under the thatched roof of the huts allotted to the participants, there were several craft pieces which are prone to damage in such a weather, said a participant. He said the cloudy sky and showers before noon had dampened the spirits of the artisans.



Huda’s land acquisition policy assailed 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 11
The Haryana unit of the Janata Dal(United) has charged the state government-owned Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) with exploiting the public by maintaining huge difference between the acquisition and allotment rates of the land for housing purpose.

In a statement here today, the party chief, Mr Ved Prakash Vidsohi, alleged that Huda had become a kind of “middleman”, who purchased land on low rate and sold plots at a very high rate in the name of urban development.

He said the Huda had been created to provide developed plots on reasonable rates and not to earn huge profits under the garb of development. Claiming that Huda had turned into a “profit-oriented” corporation, he said that corruption in the authority had reached a high pitch making the common man pay through his nose.

Alleging that the policy of acquisition of land was not standardised, he said it was being done in a haphazard manner.

He said even fertile land in the National Capital Region (NCR)had not been spared and as a result, several farmers had become landless and jobless. The Janata Dal leader demanded the framing of a proper policy for acquisition of land and that the balance sheet of Huda be made public so that corruption could be checked.

He also demanded that the government should provide job to one family member of any farmer whose 30 per cent or more land was acquired by Huda.



Gobar gas drive in the mire
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 11
The campaign to set up gobar gas plants, for which both the farmers and the Haryana Government are so keen, has got bogged down due to an unhelpful attitude of the nationalised banks.

After covering various villages in the district, this correspondent found the gobar gas plant owners unhappy over the banks’ stance in providing advance loans.

The officials connected with the programme also felt let down because they had worked hard to persuade farmers to take to the scheme.

The banks’ attitude comes as a shock because the managers adopted an indifferent attitude towards the farmers seeking loan. One can see a number of pits dug for the purpose in the rural areas of the district.

Sonepat district has a target of 125 gobar gas plants till March next. As many as 101 plants have already been set up and the officers are hopeful that the target would be achieved.

The officials say that the bank authorities at the higher level had assured cooperation in the matter of granting loan. But now the officials are reluctant to do so. They presume that branch managers do not want to take the risk even when the amounts involved are small and the district officials are personally involved in the project.

There are a number of reasons as stated by the farmers, which are causing a delay in getting loans. Some of them are complicated procedures, insistence on production of photographs of applicants and sureties, demand for estimates and receipts and inability of the staff to process applications in view of the rush of work in the banks. The banks do not have enough field staff to verify the applications after visiting the place.

However, people who are using the gobar gas plants expressed satisfaction over their working and said that they did not use other fuel since they set up the plants.

The most important feature of the plants, which had made them popular, is that they emit no foul smell as was feared. In fact, they are said to be a protection against flies and mosquitoes. There is also a feeling among the people that the scheme had been introduced at the right moment since fuel both coal and wood, were becoming scarce every day.



Postal services go awry in Sonepat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 11
The postal services in the city have been hit hard due to the curtailment of the timings of delivery.

Sonepat city which is district headquarters in Haryana has a population of nearly 2.50 lakh. It is a hub of political, social and development activities. Instead of making arrangements for the prompt delivery of the mail, the authorities had curtailed the timings of delivery for a long time, causing inconvenience to the traders, businessmen and industrialists.

People who used to get their letters around 11 am before the introduction of new system, are now getting the mail not before 5 pm. Sometimes the letters are delivered around 8 pm only.

The mail bags received by the Amritsar-bound Dadar-Amritsar Express are opened during the evening shift at the RMS office, causing unnecessary delay. Hence, the letters are delivered the next day.

The prevailing situation has affected the government offices most as they cannot get the official mail the same day.

The Residents Welfare Association, the Sonepat Citizens Forum, social and voluntary organisations, trade unions and the industrial organisations have urged the higher postal authorities to restore the old system of mail delivery twice a day without delay.

They also pointed out that the letters mailed from out-stations reach the addressees in the city after three or more days.

The organisations also urged the Union Minister of Communications to order a high-level probe into the affairs of the Head Post Office which had become a butt of public criticism. Repeated complaints made to the authorities in this regard have fallen on deaf ears, they alleged.

They pointed out that such an inquiry would expose the corrupt practices of the officials and the staff of the saving bank accounts.



Wintry rain brings cheer to the farmers
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, February 11
The spell of winter rain, early this morning that dipped the temperature further in the region, has bring about a much-needed respite to the farmers, who are eagerly waiting for the rain gods to come tapping down.

The standing Rabi crops including wheat, sarsaon, gram etc. needed to be watered in the last phase, now expected to ripe without further irrigation. The rain showers started around 2.30 at dawn and continued throughout the day at regular intervals. It is estimated that 4 to 5 centimetres rainfall was registered in the district on an average.

The inclement weather brought the severe cold conditions back and forced the people not to come out of beds and stay at home for the day. While in town areas the water gathered on the roads and pathway exposed the local civic body’s claims on out water arrangements, much to the inconvenience of the residents.

However, the villagers particularly peasant in their rhetorical expressions, equalled the falling of raindrops with golden-sprinkle for the crops. “The timely spell of winter rains has not only save the expenses on the irrigation that the crops are waiting for, it has also give a new lease of life to the sprouts”, said a cheerful, Dilbag Singh Dadian in Beri village, who dropped the idea to irrigate his four acres of wheat farm. We are praying for a few days to the heavens to descend and drench our dry lands and the rain gods paid attention to our prayers, he added enthusiastically.

It may be mentioned that a major chunk of the agriculture land in the district is depending on the rainwater solely in lack of canal irrigation or tubewells facilities.

In the Matanhale and Salawas blocks, almost eighty per cent ploughing furrows depend only on the rain gods to produce something and uncertain nature of winter rain often left the farmers high and dry. This area is reeling under severe water and power crisis at present.



‘UP results will have no impact on MCD polls’
Syed Ali Ahmed

Congress councillor Varyam Kaur
Congress councillor Varyam Kaur

Influenced by the ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan given by the late Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, the Councillor from Babarpur segment in East Delhi, Mrs Varyam Kaur, enrolled in the Congress as a worker in 1971. Along with the party work, she also undertook social work for the uplift of the downtrodden in the Capital’s trans-Yamuna area. In 1978, when Mrs Indira Gandhi was arrested, she along with other Congress workers held a demonstration outside the then Prime Minister, Mr Morarji Desai’s house, where she was arrested on charges of rioting along with a large number of party workers.

In the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, when many Sikhs turned anti-Congress, she tried to redeem the party’s image and prevent the Sikh masses from abandoning the Congress.

Mrs Kaur was also part of the delegation, appointed by the late Prime Minister, Mr Rajiv Gandhi, to attend the International Women’s Conference for Peace in Moscow in 1986.

It has been tough for Mrs Kaur, who was born and brought up in the Capital, to find a place for herself in the electoral politics of the Capital. As the candidate of the Congress party in 1997 from the Babarpur segment council seat, she became the first Congress member to win from here.

The segment had been the stronghold of the BJP. In an interview with the NCR Tribune, she explained her achievements during the last five years and the problems of the people in the area. Excerpts:

What are your major achievements during the last five years of your councillorship?

My major achievements are construction of sewerage system, a community centre, parks and schools. The area was developed 50 years ago and though one of the biggest cloth markets of Asia is located here, the area did not have any sewer line. With my effort, the Standing Committee of the MCD passed it two years back. However, the work is not yet completed due to lack of funds. There was no community centre in the area. I got it constructed last year. It is difficult for the poor to hire banquet halls for marriage and other functions. Community centres are affordable even for the common man. Besides, two primary schools have also been constructed in Gandhi Nagar, so that the poor of the area could educate their children. Apart from this, a mini-stadium has also been constructed in the area where children play and adults go for walks. I have spent all the funds given by the MCD to develop the area. Besides, I have also managed to get funds from Yamunapar Vikas Board.

What are the issues that you plan to raise in the forthcoming MCD elections?

My issues in the elections will be the development of slum areas in the segment and improvement and construction of new health centres, which are in a miserable condition. I will also raise the issue of street lights, as there is no proper arrangement of street lights in my segment. The BJP-led corporation sanctions money in the name of the councillor. The contractors who work are not paid on time. Consequently, the contractors leave the work half way. When the councillor of the area approach the MCD, he is told that the money is not available. The Union Ministry of Urban Development had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the improvement and strengthening of roads but nothing substantial had been done in East Delhi so far. Unfortunately, in a clear partisan politics, the BJP-led corporation does not want to develop the segments, represented by the members of other political parties.

You belong to the Sikh community who is not in the majority in this segment. Still, how have you managed to win the election?

Yes, this is true that the Sikhs are not in the majority in my segment. Even though the BJP is on the rise in the contemporary politics of the country, my victory in the last election only goes to prove that secularism still exists in the country. I did not contest the election on the basis of religion, caste or region. I approached people for their votes on the basis of my social work in the area. Inside the house, I am a housewife and a Sikh lady. Once I am out in the segment, I transform myself into a social worker. Muslims are in a minority and also economically weak in my segment. I work in their locality for their uplift. During the Moharram festival, I organise the distribution of “sharbat” for the participants of the Tazia procession.

It is said that the MCD elections are being delayed by the BJP. Would you like to comment on it?

Of course, the BJP is delaying the elections. I think the BJP will declare the election date after the results of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The BJP leaders are under the illusion that if they perform well in UP, it could have an impact on the Delhi MCD elections. Frankly speaking, however, the UP election will have no effect in the national Capital, as the outlook of the people in Delhi is different from that of the UP people. The people in the national Capital are politically conscious and will ponder over the performance of the party before exercising their franchise. Except for naming and renaming of roads, the BJP has done nothing in the Capital. People want work, not gimmicks like changing the names of roads. The BJP will hardly get 15 seats in the corporation election.

The Mayor inaugurates almost every day new community centres and parks. What do you have to say to this?

This is all part of a drama. The tactics will not be able to win the heart of the people. This is wastage of time and energy. Instead of doing this, the BJP should concentrate on practical work related to the development in the area. There is no proper arrangement for education for the slum-dwellers. Instead of gimmicks, opening of good schools in the slum can help the BJP in getting more votes.

What have you done to remove encroachments in the area?

Encroachments always take place with the connivance of officials. We, the councillors, can hardly do any thing to remove them. They are a common sight in Delhi and can be seen in any commercial area. There should be strict laws to prevent this menace. There is rampant red-tapism in the administration. Traders who want to open new sweet shops, restaurants or factory are refused licence until they bribe the officials. Leave aside the issue of encroachment. House tax is a major source of income of the MCD, but officials do not bother to collect the tax from the house owners of this locality, which is 40– 50 years old. I believe the system has collapsed which needs to be reconstructed all over again.



Members of Zila Parishad revolt against chairman
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 11
At least 13 out of 21 members of the Sonepat Zila Parishad are reported to have revolted against its INLD-supported Chairman, Mr Raj Singh Dahiya. And they are also planning to move a no-confidence motion against him in the near future.

According to a report, four BJP members of the Zila Parishad have reportedly extended their support to the members revolted against the Chairman. Mr Dahiya, who was engaged in the election campaign in support of the INLD candidates of UP, got the information about the move of no-confidence motion against him, left the campaign and rushed to this city yesterday to foil the attempts of the rebel members of the Zila Parishad.

According to highly placed sources, Mr Dahiya called the meeting of his supporters but only one member was turned up in it. Thereupon, Mr Dahiya decided to start door-to-door visit to the residences of all the members of the Zila Parishad to persuade them.

Mr Dahiya is confident that he would be able to retain the Chairmanship of the Zila Parishad.

The rebel members alleged that the Chairman had misused his powers in allotting the funds for the development purposes, and their wards had been ignored for the past two years or so in this regard.

Medical camp

More than 350 patients suffering from various diseases were examined and treated by a team of doctors at a one-day medical check up camp, organised in the memory of a former Haryana Minister, Mr Om Parkash Rana, at Garhi Kundal Nizampur Majra village about 30 km from here yesterday. According to a report, free medicines were also given to all the patients treated by the doctors.

Maha yajna ends

A week-long Maha Yajna organised by the Shree Yajna Samit, ended here yesterday.

According to a report, large number of devotees including women and children offered the purnahutis in the Yajna and later took part in the Rishi Langar.

Moderate Rainfall

Sonepat city and its surrounding areas have experienced light to moderate showers since last night bringing down the temperature considerably.

According to a report, the rain started around midnight last night. The sky was overcast with dark clouds.

The rain is considered beneficial for the standing rabi crops particularly wheat, gram and mustard seed. In the urban areas, the rain has created slush in the interiors and this caused great inconvenience to the people.

The breakdown in the power supply of essential load has added to the woes of the residents. The breakdown occurred at 5 am and the power supply was restored after five hours.

The drinking water supply system was also disrupted on account of power breakdown. The hospital services were also affected and this caused inconvenience to the patients.

Power theft

The Beri Police have registered a case of power theft against one Subhash, son of Ramswrup in Siwana village of the district on Saturday.

A police press note said that a case, under Section 378 IPC and 39 Electricity

Act, was filed on the complained lodged by Mr Banwari Lal JE, UHBVN. The accused has not been arrested so far.

Liquor pouches seized

The district police seized 28 pouches of country made liquor from one Raj Singh of Chhapar village of the district. The accused was arrested under the Excise Act today.

Couple beaten up

Three persons in Dahkora village of the district reportedly beat up a couple on Saturday.

A police report said that Ramphal, Rishikesh and Kala entered the house of Om Prakash and attacked him and his wife with lathis and sharp edged weapons. A plot of land was the reason behind the incident. The Bahadurgarh Police have registered a case under Sections 452,223,224 and 32 of IPC against the accused, who had not been arrested so far. 



Ex gratia for Yamuna Pushta families

New Delhi, February 11
The Government of NCT of Delhi on Monday announced an ex gratia of Rs 1,000 per shanty that was gutted in a fire that broke out Sunday in Yamuna Pushta near Laxmi Nagar. Urban Development Minister A K Walia said tents, meals and potable water were arranged for the affected people and blankets.



3 Bangladeshi dacoits nabbed after encounter
Arms, jewellery seized
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 11
The Link Road police arrested three Bangladeshi nationals after an encounter yesterday and seized jewellery and other valuables apart from knives and two country-made revolvers.

According to the SP, City, Dr Ashok Raghav, when a patrol party signalled some suspicious looking persons to stop, they started firing on the cops and tried to flee.

However, the cops managed to arrest them after surrounding them from all sides.

Two revolvers and knives were recovered from them. On interrogation, they disclosed their names to be Mohammad Saleem alias Bholu, Dulal alias Aslam and Mehmood Rais, all from Bangladesh.

They told the police that they had been living in a rented house in Karkar village for sometime. They had committed a dacoity at the house of Pradeep Kumar along with three of their other accomplices in Chander Nagar on January 21. They also burgled the house of Mohit Gupta in Chander Nagar on January 25.

Following the disclosures made by the three, the police seized jewellery, silver ware and other valuables looted in both incidents of dacoity. The criminals had also confessed to their involvement in two incidents of theft in the Vaishali area under Indirapuram police station on January 14 and January 31 this year, Dr Raghav said. Saleem was considered a dreaded criminal, the SP added.

Their other accomplices had already left for Bangladesh after collecting their share of the booty, they said. The police have registered a case under the Foreigners Act. 



Women robbed of bangles, chain in Mukherji Nagar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11
A 25-year-old woman was robbed of two gold bangles, one chain and a ring by four unidentified men at her house in Parmanand Colony in Mukherji Nagar today. The victim, Jyothi Gupta (25), was alone at her home when the robbery took place.

The police said that one person came around 11.30 am and inquired about the whereabouts of Amit Gupta, the husband of Jyothi. When Jyothi told the person that her husband had gone to work, he inquired about her father on the pretext that he was sent by Rajesh, one of their relatives.

Subsequently, Jyothi allowed the unknown person to come inside the house so that she could call her husband on his mobile phone and make him speak to the person.

Meanwhile, three other persons entered the house. One of them took out a revolver and demanded Rs 50 lakh that her husband had reportedly kept in the house. The robbers told her that Rajesh had informed them about the money in the house.

When she said that there was no money, the robbers ransacked the house but found nothing. Disappointed, they took away two gold bangles, ring and a chain from her and fled in a Maruti Esteem car.

The Mukherji Nagar police have registered a case of robbery and launched a manhunt for the absconding suspects.



Dacoity case solved, 4 held

New Delhi, February 11
The South District police have arrested four persons and claimed to have solved a sensational dacoity case committed in Darya Ganj, in which a businessmen, Vijay Kumar Gupta of Sita Ram Bazar, was assaulted and robbed of Rs 10 lakh near Delite cinema hall. The police have recovered the motorcycle used in the incident. The accused, Sanjiv Verma (28), resident of Karawal Nagar, Rakesh Verma (45), resident of Ganj Meer Khan, Abdul Gaffar (27), resident of Sahibabad and Somveer (29), resident of Karawal Nagar was nabbed by the Anti-auto theft squad of South District. During interrogation, the dacoits confessed their involvement in the dacoity and revealed that Sonu, an employee in the shop, gave information about the owner carrying huge amount of money after closing his shop. -TNS


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