Wednesday, February 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Is Cong only good at sermons?
Delhi Govt flouts SC order on payment of salaries to imams 
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
Political expediency may have dictated the Congress’ attempts to wean away a sizable section of the minorities by taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s onslaught on madarsas but its own track record with regard to the welfare of minorities is anything but spectacular.

Congress-ruled Delhi is among several states which have flouted the Supreme Court judgment and deprived the imams of their salaries, to be paid by the Waqf Board. It is alleged that the Delhi Waqf Board, which has an annual budget of several lakhs of rupees, is depriving the imams of their salaries despite the apex court’s order dated May 13, 1993. The order states that the imams be paid salary with retrospective effect from December 1, 1993 as per the following pay scales : Imam Alim (Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,600 ), Imam Hafeez (Rs 950 – Rs 1,550 ), Imam Nazirah (Rs 850 – Rs 1,400 ) plus Rs 30 as medical allowance.

According to sources, even eight years after the SC ruling the imams were facing financial hardship owing to non-payment of salaries. They alleged that the balance sheet clearly showed Waqf Board had sufficient means and resources to pay the imams. Sources in the All India Imam Organisation said the imams had filed a complaint but the Waqf Board had neither dismissed the plaint nor paid the imams their salaries. Maulana Jalaluddin of Masjid Zabta Ganj told the NCR Tribune: “The imams are not being paid their salaries. We are trying to bring pressure upon the Delhi Waqf Board to disburse the salary.”

It is alleged that the Waqf Board was not implementing the scheme that has been framed pursuant to the judgment of the Supreme Court that confers benefits on the imams. Also that the Waqf Board was not disposing of the grievances. While hearing a petition filed by the All India Imam Organisation, the apex court had, on August 16 last year, directed that these grievances or complaints be disposed of within eight weeks. The matter would come up for hearing on February 27.

Furthermore, the court has stated that constitution of Tribunal is a statutory obligation on the part of the state government under Section 83 of the Waqf Act 1995 and is essential for redressing the grievances of the imams. When contacted, Quazi Azhar Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Delhi Waqf Board, told this newspaper that the Tribunal has been formed. He, however, could not explain the delay in filing of response by the Government of NCT of Delhi to the notice issued by the court to indicate whether the tribunal has been constituted or not.

Delhi Waqf Board Chairman and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf says the government is seized of the matter and that matters would be sorted out. By his own admission though, the Delhi Waqf Board is paying salary to only about 250 imams and the rest were getting their wages from donations, etc collected by the respective managing committees. 



Madarsas: BJP proposes, Cong disposes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
After Education Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan’s radical designs of giving government-run educational institutions a public face was summarily shelved fearing a political backlash, Delhi Waqf Board Chairman and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf claims to have come up with a more politically expedient alternative – that of modernising the madarsas. The concept, he feels, would also help obliterate the erroneous picture painted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of institutions of religious learning run by minorities.

Sharing his blueprint for reforming the education offered by madarsas, Mr Yusuf on Tuesday said the Government of NCT of Delhi was considering a proposal for the constitution of a Madarsa Board, ostensibly to “integrate the students enrolled in madarsas in the national mainstream.” The Board, when formed, would not only regulate the registration of madarsas and make filing of audit report mandatory but also alter the curriculum, so that the students are taught subjects other than theology as well as vocational courses.

“It is time the students enrolled in madarsas are also taught subjects like English and science,” he said, “from primary classes onwards and they are made to appear for the examinations conducted for grades X and XII, as is in vogue in public schools.” The move, he felt, would go a long way toward removing the stigma that has come to be associated with madarsas. “What the BJP is doing to madarsas,” he hastened to add, “is similar to what happened to Sikhs and their gurdwaras.”

Delhi, he said, has an estimated 3,000 mosques registered under the Delhi Waqf Board and about 1,500 madarsas where some 50,000-odd students are enrolled. Incidentally, the Madarsa Aliya at Shahi Masjid, Fatehpuri, is the only madarsa to be funded by the Waqf Board. Explaining the objective of the proposal, the minister felt that if the students, who otherwise spend their schooling reciting the Hifz (learning the Quran by rote) and learning about the Sharia, also get to avail themselves of contemporary education it would keep them in good stead later.

Reiterating that the proposal was still at a conceptual stage, he however was optimistic of securing the support of the minorities and enlisting the services of volunteers who would be more than willing to contribute to the uplift of such students.



Enlisting of new gurdwara voters within fortnight
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
Within a fortnight the enlisting of new voters, who have reached the age of 18 years, would begin for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee general election, which are scheduled to be held on June 16.

The names of the new voters would be added to the electoral rolls after the President gives his assent to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras, Act 1971, (Amendment) Bill, reducing the voting age for the DSGMC elections from 21 to 18 years.

Sources in the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections of the Delhi Government said they were planning to start the process of enlisting new names around February 25. Those who have turned 18 as on January 1, 2002 would be eligible to be registered. The process would continue for about three weeks and the data would be complied in the next ten days. The directorate would give 21 days time for checking the voters’ list and filing objections.

The state government had informed the Delhi High Court that it would be in a position to hold the general election to the DSGMC on June 16 as the voting age has been reduced. The amendment Bill passed by Delhi Assembly was pending with the Centre for the past seven years.

Asked about the delay in commencing the electoral revision process, sources said the directorate was compiling the list of new voters. They were looking into the objections to the revised voters’ list.

In 999 electoral rolls, there were 2.67 lakh registered voters in 46 wards - the number of constituencies into which the National Capital Territory has been divided for the purpose of elections.

Asked whether there was any move to revise the electoral wards, as the territorial boundaries of each ward has not been changed since the last polls in 1995, the official said revision of wards is a long drawn process and there is paucity of time.

The last general election to the committee was held in 1995 after a gap of 17 years. The committee is elected for four years and the existing committee had completed its term more than two year ago.

The DSGMC comprises of 56 members; four members from the Singh Sabha, one from the SGPC and five Jathedars of the five Takhts in the country are members of the committee. Except for the five Jathedars, all others have voting right.



Faridabad dairies may move court on relocation bid
Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, February 12
A showdown between the administration and the dairy owners appears imminent with both sides refusing to budge from their respective stand on the move to shift dairies out of the municipal limits.

The municipal authorities have issued notices to about 165 dairies in Ballabgarh town and several have been asked to leave the residential area within a week. Some of these dairies have reportedly decided to go to court and a petition is likely to be filed within the next few days.

Some of the dairy owners held a panchayat yesterday, in which the move to shift the dairies was condemned and authorities were urged to develop an alternative site. It was pointed out that the 90 plots offered by the administration lacked basic facilities like water and power. Further, they demanded sufficient time for shifting and said it was the responsibility of the administration to provide a fully developed infrastructure and not just a plot.

The proposed site is on the Mirzapur Road near Ballabgarh; the local officials have reportedly announced that they were selling these plots at the rate of Rs. 1200 per square ft.

According to authorities, the decision to shift the dairies was a policy decision of the State Government and it was being done to provide a clean and non-polluted atmosphere to the urban residents. It is also claimed that choking of sewerage lines was mainly due to cow dung waste being discharged in drains; besides, there was the problem of stray cattle.

At a meeting of the Municipal Corporation yesterday, attended by the mayor, the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Ballabgarh and the Joint Commissioner, it was decided that dairy owners, who deposit 25 per cent of the total cost of the plot within seven days, will be given extended the required facilities at the proposed site.

It is stated that the time-frame for depositing the balance (75 per cent) may be extended from three to five years. Hundreds of dairies are operational in Ballabgarh, NIT and old Faridabad. The Administration is yet to come up with an alternative site for Old Faridabad and NIT areas. Besides, several villages were located in the municipal limits. The residents of these villages were dependent on income earned from dairy work. A section of the residents here believes that shifting of dairies should be done in a phased manner and not in a haphazard way.



Gurgaon is banking on rainwater now
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 12
As a fire-fighting measure to arrest the depleting ground water resources, the Gurgaon administration is in the putting in place a mechanism for harvesting of rain water. The administration has roped in INTACH, a semi-government body which has considerable expertise in rain water harvesting. The body will the administration work out an integrated approach to make its exercise more effective. A transparent plan for rain water harvesting has become necessary following the amendment in the building bylaws of Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda). The amendment has made it obligatory on certain categories and sizes of residential buildings to incorporate a mechanism for rain water harvesting in order to procure a “completion certificate.”

Although the amendment in the bylaws would be effective post facto, the authorities are considering working out a methodology to enlist the owners of old houses, to put in place a system for harvesting of rain in their respected premises.

The administration has also approached the Centre for Science and Environment for vital inputs, so that its remedial measures for recharging the sub-soil water become more holistic. Incidentally, the Central Ground Water Board has notified Gurgaon city and its surrounding areas as possessing a fast depleting underground water table. The notification enjoins regulatory measures, such as installing new tubewells etc.

One of the elements in the proposed integrated approach is to refill the pond in village Sukhrali near the main bypass. This is one of the largest ponds in the district, about three acres in size and running about 30 ft deep. While the refill has the potential of recharging village Sukhrali and its surrounding areas, it can also be used as a place to absorb the run off water from houses in the areas.

In a related development, the administration also plans to beautify the banks of the pond by creating promenades around it. .Planting of select species would also help absorb fuel emissions which are high at intersections on the Delhi-Jaipur national highway.



Business failures drive family to suicide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
Driven by successive failures in business, four members of a family, including two children, committed suicide in Sector 5, Rohini. The bizarre incident came to light today, four days after they had poisoned themselves. Around 1.30 pm today, the bodies of the four persons, Ram Gopal Kansal (45), wife Kantha (40), daughter Parul (12), and son Anshul (8), were recovered by the police after breaking open the locked door of their rented house.

A suicide note addressed to the Delhi Police Commissioner and SHO, Rohini, recovered from the house mentioned that no one was responsible for their suicide. The note, however, urged the police officials that “no relative should be allowed to touch their bodies and it should be burnt in a pile”.

The deceased, Ram Gopal, hailing from Hisar, came to Delhi four years ago and the family was living in a rented house. Ram Gopal had earlier lived in Jamnagar, Gujarat, and supplied wedding material. As he failed in that business, he came to Delhi. He set up a shop in Ajmeri Gate, only to sell it. The situation turned from bad to worse when he had three accidents during this period.

It became very difficult for him to bear his family expenses and fund his children’s education, who were students of Ryan International School, said his brother-in-law D. R. Bansal, a businessmen, residing in Sector 8, Rohini. His father had been paying the house rent and his brother had been funding the children’s education, said Mr Bansal. On February 8, he told his servant, Bhopal (21), that he was going to visit his relatives in Rajasthan and asked him to return after four days. When his servant came on February 11, the door was locked from inside. As nobody responded to his knocks, he went back home.

Today, the servant came again and when nobody responded to his knocks, he became suspicious and informed Ram Gopal’s brother-in-law who then made inquiries with his relatives and finally informed the police. The police said all four of them had consumed sulpha tablets. The deceased had four brothers, two living in Barwalla district and two in Delhi.

People in the neighbourhood said that the family was quite modest and only the children used to play on the streets, while both the husband and wife were hardly seen outside.



Liquor sale banned till polling day
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 12
The sale of liquor has been banned in the district for 48 hours in view of the elections on Thursday. The ban came into force at 5 pm today and it had been imposed under Section 135-G of the People’s Representative Act, District Magistrate Debasish Panda said today.

None of the licensed shops could sell liquor from 5 pm today to 5 pm on February 14. Violation of this would invite punishment with six-month jail or Rs 2,000 fine or both.

The SSP, Mr Prashant Kumar, said that of the 831 polling centres, 235 had been declared sensitive and of the 2,187 booths, 831 had been declared sensitive. The SSP said the police had made all foolproof arrangements especially for sensitive centres and booths and expressed hope that the polls would pass of peacefully. Prior to the polling day, the police have unearthed six illegal arms factories in the district.



Govt official arrested with 10 kg heroin
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
The Narcotics Cell of the Delhi Police today claimed to have busted a major network of drug peddlers in the Capital and Haryana with the arrest of a government official.

Lust for fast buck forced the official to enter the drug trafficking racket.

The suspect, Sushil Kumar Gauba (50), was arrested last night from Batra Hospital while he was in possession of 10 kg of fine quality heroin. He was a gazetted officer and posted as Divisional Account Officer in Public and Works Department in Rewari. Guaba belonged to the staff of Account General, Chandigarh . He also had timber business in Rewari. 



Ahirwal: A region of neglect
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, February 12
It is unfortunate that the southern parts of Haryana continue to suffer from grave regional disparities and imbalances even 35 years after the state’s formation.

Southern Haryana, popularly known as Ahirwal, comprises of the 10 assembly segments of Rewari, Bawo, Jatusana (all three in Rewari district), Kosli region of Salhawas (Rohtak district); Narnaul, Mahendragarh, Ateli (Mahendragarh district); Patandi, Gurgaon and Sohna (Gurgaon district).

In the first place, this entire region gets very little canal water. Further, owing to the construction of embankments and small dams at various places in Rajasthan during the past two decades, the three main seasonal rivers of Ahirwal – the Sahili, Krishnavati and Dohan – which originated from Rajasthan and surcharged the sub-soil water resources in Ahirwal annually have now become almost defunct. The drop in rainfall in the region has further aggravated the situation.

To tide over this burning problem of parched fields and ever-depleting sub-soil water resources, the people of

Ahirwal have been persistently demanding equitable distribution of available canal water in Haryana. Though several governments have come and gone, the demand of the people of the region have fallen on deaf ears.

The recent verdict of the apex court for the completion of the SYL canal in a year’s time has rekindled hopes among the people that the thirsty fields of Ahirwal would, at last, be irrigated, while the depleted underground water resources would be fully replenished.

However, politics, as in the past, threatens to mar the hopes and aspirations of the people. The “unsavoury” posture of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and other leaders of the State, particularly in the midst of the ongoing assembly elections, threatens to delay the final implementation of the Supreme Court verdict. Resultantly, the farmers of Ahirwal may again have to wait endlessly.

Secondly, even as it requires more power to operate its tube-wells than the other canal-irrigated regions of the state, Ahirwal has no thermal plant for an independent and continuous power supply. The power supply to the agriculture sector in the region has been inadequate despite the claims of the leaders.

Another major complaint of residents of the Ahirwal, a nursery for soldiers, is that it doesn’t have a recruiting office or a sainik school. The recruiting office of the region, which was previously at Gurgaon, had been shifted to Charkti Dadri (Bhiwani district) in the 1970s, much against the wishes of the people of Ahirwal. Similarly, the persistent denial of a sainik school, which was sanctioned for Ahirwal in September 1983, is a sad reminder of the interest the leaders take in the development of the region. People here also would like to have a medical college and an agriculture college in the region.

The centres of higher education are a far cry from the needs of the region. A former legislator, Mr Raghu Yadav, who has persistently raised these issues, says that it is agonising that Rewari, where the first degree college of the state along with Jat College of Rohtak was established in 1945, is now totally lagging behind other parts of the state in higher education.

The postgraduate regional centre, which was started at Rewari in 1988, still remains in rented accommodation, thus stunting its expansion. Contrary to this, another postgraduate centre at Hisar, set up only later, has already made stupendous progress with its elevation as G J University, Hisar.

These obvious disparities when compared to other regions of the state create doubts in the minds of people here about the leadership of the region and the state.



Governor gives mantra for peace
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 12
Desire for peace and prosperity without service to humanity is practically impossible. The need of the hour is that people must rise above caste, creed, region and religion and work unitedly for the sake of the suffering humanity. Only then, the efforts could bring the desired results.

These views were expressed by Haryana Governor Babu Parmanand while presiding over the Manav Ekta Sammelan held on the premises of Bhagwan Balmiki Ashram at Ganaur, 16 km from here, yesterday.

He said that the whole world had forgotten the language of love, passion, brotherhood, amity and unity and it was heading towards anarchy fast. This was the main reason that the nations fight over pieces of land, states fight over river waters and the neighbours fight over selfish ends. All the saints, gurus, prophets and noble persons had shown the society the path of truth, selfless service, brotherhood, unity and integrity of the country. But it was regrettable that the world was heading towards destruction, he said.

The Governor made a fervent appeal to the people to work hard and earn their livelihood themselves. In this way, half of the self-created problems would vanish. He also asked the people of all religions to unite and work for the welfare of the downtrodden. In symbolic gesture, the Governor presented a turban to a 13-year-old student of a madrasa on the occasion.

The principal of Jain Senior Secondary School, Ganaur, Mrs Bhushan Bhatia, the principal of Madrasa Islamic School, Sonepat, Hafiz Shahabudin, the sanchalak of Shri Ram Krishan Ashram, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Brahamchari Ram Swaroop (Rishikesh), Dharam Guru Prakash Shah, founder of the Bhagwan Balmiki Ashram and Bharatiya Balmiki Dharam Sidhanta Samaj, also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier, the Governor was given a tremendous welcome when he arrived at the venue of the function. 



Mini effluent plants to keep drains clean
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
After directing their energies towards the setting up of common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) for checking industrial pollution, the Department of Environment headed by Cabinet Minister Deep Chand Bandhu has drawn up a scheme to curb the pollution of the Yamuna. The scheme envisages the setting up of Mini Effluent Treatment Plants (METPs) at the points where small drains join large drains.

Giving details about the decisions taken at the meeting called to review the Clean Yamuna Campaign, the minister said the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had been directed to work out the details of the scheme keeping in view the feasibility and financial aspects. It was supposed to submit a report on this within a week.

He said of the 1,300 drains in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, 43 join the Najafgarh drain and 17 open out into the Yamuna. He said 29 new effluent treatment plants to be set up across the Capital would be made operational by the DJB. They would reduce the pollution levels of the Yamuna by 60 per cent.

Two CETPs, one at Wazirpur and another at Mangolpuri, had been commissioned, Mr Bandhu told mediapersons. Ten more would be commissioned by the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) by September this year.

The minister said effluent treatment plants would also be installed in rural areas and utilised for irrigation. Four-odd villages would be pooled for storage of the effluents at one point which would be re-channelled by the lift-irrigation system for irrigation purposes. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), he said, had undertaken this scheme and that a pilot project was being constructed in Alipur Development Block in North Delhi.

The Clean Yamuna Campaign would be re-launched by June and non-governmental organisations, resident welfare associations etc would be involved in the drive. The campaign would be monitored every fortnight. The minister further said saplings would be planted on 200 acres of land by the Department of Forest and Wildlife near Garhi Mandu. Preference would be given to saplings of herbal, indigenous and traditional plants.



New park invites kids to grow up with fun 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
The Children’s Park at India Gate was reopened today to the public with fresh landscaping, more swings and play areas, a new library, an amphitheatre, a large Jungle Book fountain, a musical fountain and a nature centre. The new-look park was inaugurated by Mrs Shiela Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, at a brief function this evening.

Besides the new facilities, children and adults can look forward to movie shows, painting contests, exhibitions, games and lots more at the park. The park is being managed by Maruti Udyog Limited, the country’s car market leader.

Maruti had agreed to an offer by the New Delhi Municipal Council to manage the park in August 2000. It has since worked on creating quality infrastructure for the children. It has systematically made additions and improvements to the park so that children have a quality place to play and learn.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jagdish Khattar, managing director, Maruti Udyog Limited, said, “We have often felt the absence of quality open spaces for children in New Delhi. Many of us have wished for clean, green and safe playgrounds where children can have fun together even as they learn and grow. The development of the Children’s Park is our modest initiative in this direction.”

The park, spread over 10 acres, is at the polygon between Dr Zakir Hussain Marg and Shahjahan Road. It has been renovated with the involvement of architect Ravindra Bhan. Maruti has built a new boundary wall, railing, gates, toilet blocks, library extension and pathways. This is in addition to the amphitheatre and nature centre.

Maruti has also undertaken other upgradation such as grassing and filling of good earth, planting of ornamental trees, creepers and so on. Besides, pathways, sprinklers and ornamental lighting poles have been set up. The construction of the play area and 60 play equipment was also undertaken by Maruti to give children a fulfilling experience.

The Children’s Park is one of the corporate initiatives by Maruti. It also manages the Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) which is committed to promote safe driving. The IDTR is also working with schools to enhance the safety of children.



BJP leader flays Chautala
Our Correspondent

Rewari, February 12
Senior leader of the Haryana unit of the BJP Ram Bilas Sharma has categorically stated that the rupture between his party and the ruling INLD in the state is now complete and the BJP would now sit in Opposition benches in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha. Simultaneously, the BJP would firmly oppose all anti-people decisions and policies of the INLD government inside as well as outside the assembly.

He released the above statement at press conference here last evening. Mr Sharma asserted that it was the Chief Minister and the INLD supremo, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who had virtually thrown the rightful or genuine tenets of the

INLD-BJP alliance to the winds first when he overtly and covertly downgraded the BJP by engineering defeat of the party nominees in various constituencies during the previous assembly elections.

With the same sinister designs of denigrating the RLD chief and Union Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, as well as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, the INLD had now entered the poll fray in that state, Mr Sharma added.

Referring to the by-election in Yamuna Nagar in Haryana, the BJP leader alleged that the ruling party was misusing the governmental machinery and intimidating voters to ensure the victory of the INLD candidate, Dr Malik Chand Gambhir. He said that complaints in this regard had been made to the Chief Election Commissioner seeking relief for the electorate from the reign of terror unleashed by the top brass of the INLD.

He asserted that Yamuna Nagar was traditionally a BJP seat from where Dr Gambhir, when he was a nominee of the erstwhile Jan Sangh, was elected MLA in 1968 and later the BJP nominee, Dr Kamla, was elected thrice in 1977, 1987 and 1996.



Saying it with the designer’s signature 
Smriti Kak

Jewellery to go with a dress.
Jewellery to go with a dress.

Almost a decade ago, it was almost a taboo to have the name of the designer displayed on the outside of the dress we wore. But that was in the past. Today, not only is the designer's name flaunted, albeit discreetly, but there are some brand conscious, rather crazy individuals, who wouldn't mind wearing a clothes inside out to display the name they have paid a fortune for.

"When we began offering Satya Paul saris, people would turn the other way if they spotted Satya Paul written on the fabric. Now, they turn the other way if they don't find the name," recalls Mr Aroop, the owner of L`affaire.

L`affaire has been a favourite with those with an eye for design and colours.

According to Mr Aroop, L`affaire is an institution of design, embroidery and weaves. "We want to encourage art. The old forms of weaving are dying because even the weavers want to do something that requires less time and effort. So we are trying to involve them in creating something which combines the old with the new – something which retains the classic touch of the old, but is easier to make."

This combination of the old with the new is evident in the saris and lehngas done with precision and dedication. So, while you have the traditional zari embroidery, it is thoughtfully used on modern material. Instead of heavy silk, it is done on crepe.

"Crepe is easy to maintain and wear. Embroidery makes the material heavy and if the material is already heavy, then it becomes a burden. So we retained the works, but changed the fabric," adds Mr Aroop.

L`affaire has recently come up with their in-house brand called Krishna. "We were always hounded by questions as to why we don't use our own brand name.

However, we were very reluctant to give our name to the clothes. Creativity is God's gift. What comes out is in spite of you, not because of you. So it is almost sacrilegious to use your own name," opines the man whose inclination towards the almighty was reason enough to address his creations as Krishna.

To provide their clients a customised set, L`affaire has roped in Rakesh Khanna, a renowned jeweller designer, to create jewellery co-ordinated with the clothes. "We take the designs from the saris and make jewellery based on that design. This way, we can offer our clients a better deal, as the brides' don't have to waste time looking for pieces that match their clothes," adds Mr Aroop. The pieces, set in 18-carat gold, are made from precious stones used to match the colours of the fabric. The pieces can be made according to the preference of the client.

L`affaire has seen some of the richest and the most beautiful faces walk into the tastefully done-up showroom in the M Block market of Capital's posh Greater Kailash-I. "Sharmila Tagore, Sonia Gandhi and Tina Ambani have pieces from L`affaire in their wardrobes," Mr Aroop says. The store offers a wide range of saris, lehngas and salwar suits in different styles and patterns. Some of the lehngas, which have been done up using the best of the old and the new, are a pleasure to look at. But mind you, these beauties don't come cheap.

Japanese Rock for Delhi

Japanese band Kina Shokichi & Champloose is all set to rock the national Capital.
Japanese band Kina Shokichi & Champloose is all set to rock the national Capital.

After the Japanese consumer goods, it is time for music from that country to make its place in India. A Japanese rock band, Kina Shokichi & Champloose, is all set to rock the national Capital. A joint venture of the Indian Cultural Study Association and Modicare Foundation, the band will perform at the Siri Fort Auditorium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Indo-Japanese diplomatic relations.

Having produced his first hit, 'Haisai Ojisan', when he was just 16, Kina has established himself in the world of music. He has shared the microphone with well- known artistes including Bob Dylan and Jon Bon Jovi.

Kina has also lent support to world peace movement and has been awarded the prestigious 'Endo Minoru Academic Award for Peace'. Recently nominated as Okinawa's Ambassador to the United Nations, the singer is expected to win over the music lovers in the Capital.

Valentine Day Tips

A marigold heart for your Valentine.
A marigold heart for your Valentine. 

It is no longer a flower or a small love note that will do the needful. If you want your message of love transmitted across, you have to dutifully follow the rules of the game. One of the rules is to woo the beloved with lavish presents. And mind you, remember to pay some consideration to the price tags. After all, the bigger the better (both the bill as well as the gift).

And now that love is in the air and there is everything official about it, it's time to check your pockets and read on what the gurus of 'how-to-do-it-right-this-Valentine' have to say.

Shop at Lacoste and take your date to Paris. Sounds good? So spend just Rs 5,000 at the store and you could be the lucky winner of a grand prize that will fly you to Paris.

For those who are prone to jetlag, stay here and take in a few extra calories, that you will require when your date's father comes running after you with a gun. Try the imported soda, made especially for the Valentine's Day, exclusive heart-shaped cookies, and a new range of desserts and cakes at Barista.

For the home birds, who rather stay at home together, watch the idiot box. Hallmark movie channel has mushy stuff on for the special day.

The party animals can gatecrash into the 100 per cent fun-guaranteed parties happening in the discotheques and pubs.

Your ever friendly-phoolwalla is prepared to help you win your sweetheart's heart, a la P. K. Dubey (Monsoon Wedding) style, with a marigold heart.

Maybe, you could consult the House of Baccarose's guide to buying the right perfume for the girl you think is right. So if your Valentine is a party animal, a career woman or femme fatale, pick up a copy and read what they think is just the right fragrance for her.

These are, of course, just some of the things that you could consider. Roses, chocolates, perfumes and a diamante are the main course, what you pick for the dessert is your own discretion.

Show on romance

A cultural show by Tourism Malaysia and Celebrating Vivaha at Taj Palace in the Capital. 

Tourism Malaysia and Celebrating Vivaha organised an evening of revelry and rejoicing at Taj Palace last week. The evening began with a cultural show presented by Tourism Malaysia.

A fashion show was also held showcasing the creations that capture the mood of romance and celestial union. Yana Gupta, Rajat Raina, Reshma and Ajay Mallik were some of the models who graced the ramp. Among those who attended the function were the Malaysian Ambassador, Dato S. K. Choo and his wife Datin Lilee Choo.

On an award-winning spree 

Actress Indrani Halder
Actress Indrani Halder has won accolades for her performance.

Actress Indrani Halder has carved her niche in the tinsel world. Having won a national award for her scintillating performance in Rituporno Ghosh's 'Dahan', she has also bagged the prestigious and much sought after award from the Bengal Film Journalists Association.

She won accolades for her performance in the past and is touted to win a second national award for her performance in 'Saanjbathir Roopkathar', a film based on the novel by the celebrated poet and novelist, Joy Goswami.

Indrani became a household name, thanks to her role as 'Maa Shakti' in the tele-serial of the same name. Her work in the parallel cinema was noticed when Buddhadeb Dasgupta signed her for the national award winner 'Charachar'. 'Lal Darja' and yet another national award winner, 'Shweth Pathorer Thala', followed soon.

For the actress, who believes that there are either bad films or good ones, there is no demarcation between parallel and commercial cinema. Known as a thinking actress, she adroitly picks her roles. 'Saanjibathi' appealed to Indrani, who is believed to have given a mind-blowing performance in the film. The role of a once innocent Saanjibathi, her relentless quest for meaning in her life and her stirring encounters with the realities of life, challenged Indrani to give her best shot.

Involved in social activities, Indrani has been working for the cause of Thalessemia Foundation, Aamra. The actress, who had been blessed by Satyajit Ray, is surely going to emerge a winner.



Rain brings hopes of a bumper crop
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 12
Widespread rains during the past two days have enthused the farmers in this district as they hope to get a bumper yield this rabi season.

A hurried visit to the adjoining villages, which are known for the production of wheat, gram and mustard seeds besides vegetables on a large scale, showed that the rain has improved the prospects of the standing rabi crops. Many farmers said that the rain was timely and it would certainly benefit the standing rabi crops. Even the crops in the rain-fed areas had started withering. Now with the rains in the last two days, their prospects have brightened.

Meanwhile, the continuous rains and chilly winds have brought down the temperature considerably and thousands of people shivered with cold and kept themselves indoors.

Dense fog and poor visibility disrupted the road and rail traffic this morning.

Almost all the long-distance and suburban trains passed through Sonepat behind schedule making thousands of passengers, mostly daily commuters, government servants, teachers, students and businessmen stranded at Sonepat and nearby railway stations.

Similarly, the traffic on the G T Road and other state highways remained disrupted for several hours and the drivers of the vehicles had to use headlights even during daytime.

Water mission

The Haryana Government has included the names of Mr P. K. Rajgarhia, chairman of the PHD Rural Development Foundation, New Delhi and Mr S. P. Sachdeva, former district governor of Rotary International, in the Water Conservation Mission.

According to an official press release, both the persons have been designated as the members of the mission.

HUDA auction

The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will auction built-up houses and flats in various housing colonies at Hansi and Bhiwani on February 21 and 22.

Effigy burnt

The effigy of the Pakistan President, Mr Pervez Musharraf, was burnt by a large crowd at Subhash Chowk of the city last evening. According to a report, a lrge number of people assembled at the site and burnt the effigy amidst shouting of slogans against Mr Musharraf.

According to the protestors, the step was taken against the failure of the Pakistan Government to arrest the terrorists, whose names had been sent to it by the Indian Government.

Four hurt in clash

At least four persons were seriously injured in a clash that took place at Joshi Chauhan village, 12 km from here, yesterday. According to a report, all the injured persons were hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger. The police are still investigating into the case. No arrest has been made in this connection so far.

Booked for rape

The Ganaur police have registered a case against a youth, Pardeep of Aghwanpur village, on the charge of alleged confinement and raping of a girl of the same village for about a year. According to a report, the police investigations were in progress. However, no arrest has been made in this connection.

Licences cancelled

The Food and Supplies Department has cancelled the licenses of two ration depots and 26 brick-kilns of the district on the charge of serious irregularities. According to a report, the official also checked the petrol pumps and confiscated the security deposits totalling Rs 13,550.

Gayatri yajna

Thousands of people, including a large number of saints and sadhus, along with Swami Shrananda, the founder of the Bhagwat Sewa Ashram, Daroli (22 km from Rewari), participated in the Gayatri Maha Yajna, which concluded on the ashram premises on Sunday.

Later, Mrs Nirmal Yadav, Sessions Judge, Faridabad, who was the chief guest of the function, held under the auspices of the Akhil Bharatiya Yaduvansh Sanskritik Manch, released Dr Uma Shankar Yadav’s English novel, “Flying Into Unknown”. Dr Yadav was honoured by the manch for his work, which is the first novel written in English by a college lecturer of southern Haryana.

Power arrears

The Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has recovered Rs 3.98 crore in the form of power arrears in the district under the surcharge waiving-off scheme till December last year during the current financial year.

A spokesman for the district administration said a net amount of Rs 2.28 crore was recovered as electricity bills while the surcharge amounting to Rs 1.70 crore was waived off.

Commenting on the campaign to check power thefts, he said 33,471 power connections in the district had been inspected till January during the current financial year.

He said 2, 010 cases of power thefts were detected during the campaign and a fine of nearly Rs 2 crore was imposed on the erring consumers.

Charas seized

The police arrested a youth of Kansala village and recovered 1. 25 kg of charas from him last evening.

According to the police sources, a police team led by DSP (HQ) Gurbachan Singh raided the house of Sri Bhagwan and seized the narcotic, which was kept among the dry fodder by the accused.

In a separate incident, the police arrested Rajesh, resident of Chiri village, from the Jind road here and seized a .315 bore pistol.

A case under Section 25/54/59 of the Arms Act was registered in this connection.

Declamation contest

The first prize in inter-college psychology declamation contest organised by University College here was won by Manisha Singh of University College today.

The second and third prizes were won by Sushant Pahwa of Government College, Hansi and Deepti Arora of Government College for Women, Rohtak, respectively.

Neelam Vashist and Rohini (University College, Rohtak) and Abhijeet Basu (Vaish College, Rohtak) won the first, second and third prizes respectively in the inter-college science debate contest.

Liquor seized

The district police seized nine bottles of country-made liquor from one Satpal Singh of Baprouda village.

A police spokesman said here today that the accused was held on suspicion. On being frisked, the liquor bottles were recovered from him. He was arrested under the Excise Act.

Principal awarded

Dr Jai Bhagawan Sharma, principal of Senior Secondary School, Dadri Toe, got the NCERT ‘national award for innovation in school education at the secondary level’ for his presentation on the topic, “Applicability of curriculum and moral values”.

The NCERT invites projects form educationists on new techniques in the methods of teaching at the secondary level every year and select best 20 projects throughout the country for the award.

Dr Sharma had also achieved this distinction in 1998. He is the sole recipient of this award from Haryana ever.

Dr Sharma told that his project was based on how to develop the interest of the students in the curriculum and how to inject the moral values in them.



Illegal shop sealed, drugs seized 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 12
The Drug Control authorities today sealed an illegal drug shop operating in Hathin sub-division of the district and seized a large quantity of drugs seized following a raid. The owner of the shop was booked.

A team led by the Assistant State Drug Controller (ASDC), Mr G. L. Singhal, swooped down on the drug store, Rohit Medical Hall, located at Malai village.

During the raid, it was found that the owner, Shaun Khan, was running the store without any licence. Drug officials had also carried out a raid on this shop in July last year and had recovered several illegal medicines. Laboratory tests on the recovered drugs showed that they were fake.

On a recent information that the same person had opened the shop again under a new name, the authorities raided the shop again today.

The owner did not have any document or relevant licence for running the drug store. An FIR was lodged against the accused under Sections 18 and 27 of the Drug Act at Hathin police station. 



Youth stabbed to death by friend

New Delhi, February 12
In a bizarre incident, Ashok (25), resident of Uttam Nagar in West Delhi, was stabbed to death by his friend. His body was recovered from a deserted place in the area. The police did not disclose the name of his friend, who has absconded. Ashok was working in a private company as an accountant, the police said.

Man found dead: Chandra Prakash (60), resident of Jangpura in South Delhi, was found dead in his house this morning with injuries on his face.

The police believe that the injuries were inflicted probably by his dog. He lived along with his pet dog in the house. The body was found when his maid came to his house this morning. When Chandra Prakash did not open the main gate of the house after she rang the bell repeatedly, she informed his neighbour who telephoned the police. The police broke open the gate and found the old man dead. TNS



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