Saturday, February 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


BJP digs up Cong record
Regularisation of illegal structures
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
Lest the Delhi Pradesh Congress wrests the political initiative in the run up to the corporation elections in the post-Lajpat Nagar demolition scenario, the Delhi Mayor Shanti Desai and the leader of the opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Mr. Jagdish Mukhi, today accused the Congress of only giving lip sympathy to the residents of unauthorised colonies.

The Congress has been accusing the BJP dominated Corporation of, first, allowing large-scale encroachments and, then, demolishing them, causing severe hardship to thousands of residents, particularly those living in former refugee colonies.

Addressing a joint press conference, Mr. Desai and Mr. Mukhi said that

except for making long and catchy statements, the Congress had never done anything for unauthorised colonies. They pointed out that 54 unauthorised colonies were regularised for the first time in 1971 when Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra was Chief Executive Councillor and Mr Hans Raj Gupta was the Mayor.

Likewise, 567 colonies were regularised in 1977 when Mr Kedar Nath Sahni was the Chief Executive Councillor and Sikandar Bakht the Union Urban Development Minister. Again, in 1994, the Assembly passed a resolution listing 1071 colonies for regularisation, following a ground and aerial survey.

This happened during Mr Madan Lal Khurana’s tenure as the Chief Minister, but the successive Central governments, headed by Narasimha Rao, Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral, respectively, did not find time to regularise the colonies. Ultimately, under the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government the Cabinet decided to regularise these colonies.

The two Delhi BJP leaders claimed that the Centre had intimated to the Delhi Government the term and conditions for regularisation. The Delhi Government had some difference of opinion on two issues. It had asked for regularisation on the basis of the terms and conditions that were invoked in 1977. The terms and conditions mooted by the Centre were similar to those in 1997, except for colonies on government land.

“There are hardly 250 colonies on government land. We would like to know what stopped the Delhi Government from regularising the colonies on private land. There is no bar today on development works on private land. Why has the Delhi Government imposed restrictions for developing only one road each in an unauthorised colony, irrespective of its size’’ they demanded.

Both the leaders suggested that funds, which can be used on the recommendation of the MLA, be used for taking up developmental works in unauthorised colonies since these too were part of the state’s plan funds.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress, meanwhile, has drawn up a comprehensive plan to highlight the inadequacies of the BJP dominated corporation by organising demonstrations and dharnas in Lajpat Nagar IV and Amar Colony in South Delhi, the scene of the recent demolitions. The Congress leaders alleged that the officials of the MCD’s Central Zone had collected huge amounts from the residents by assuring them that all the unauthorised constructions would be subsequently

regularised. In fact, some of the local leaders had helped the residents prepare a detailed list of monies paid to various officials for turning a blind eye to the encroachments over the years.



NCERT yields, gives Medieval history its due
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, February 15
Giving in to the pressure and criticism that followed the release of the new syllabus last month, the NCERT has revamped the present pattern of division of units.

According to the modified structure of the syllabus for class XI and XII, instead of 15 units Ancient India now has 17 units, Medieval India has 22 units and Modern India and Contemporary World have 19 and 13 units, respectively.

The NCERT has admitted that it was an oversight on its part to have condensed the entire Medieval history into three units, which led to the impression that Medieval India had been ignored.

The revised history syllabus drafted by the NCERT created a furore as a section of the intelligentsia accused the former of neglecting certain parts while giving greater importance to some other aspects.

It was pointed out that inclusion of topics like Upanishads and terrorism and the treatment of Modern and Medieval parts of history were incorrect. Some historians alleged that the kingdoms of the Medieval times had been ignored by the NCERT because the whole segment has been allocated three units, whereas parts of Ancient India has been allotted 15 units and Modern Indian history has been divided into 11 units.

In a statement issued today, the NCERT said that the reallocation of units followed discussions and suggestions from well known historians and the Central Board of Secondary Education. The names of historians who were a part of the review committee are being kept under wraps and will possibly be released once the new books hit the stands. The course content is the same as before and, according to the NCERT, it is receptive to constructive suggestions for improving the overall educational scenario of the country.

In the year gone by the NCERT has received flak for its alleged communal bias from academicians as well as politicians. In the wake of much controversy, the NCERT had to weed out those portions that apparently hurt religious sentiments.



Hit threatens to sue Sarna over charges of funds misuse
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
Jathedar Avatar Singh Hit, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and the Shromani Akali Dal (Badal), Delhi State, today threatened his counterpart in the Shromani Akali Dal (Tohra), Sardar Paramjeet Singh Sarna, with legal action if he did not withdraw his recent allegations of gurdwara funds being misused. Jathedar Hit has given Mr Sarna three days to withdraw the allegations and threatened that he might approach the Akal Takth for justice.

The Tohra faction had alleged last week that the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee funds were being diverted for Punjab polls and its press had been used for printing party posters.

Addressing a press conference here, Jathedar Hit said that the allegations were totally baseless. He said that the accounts were there for any one to see and there was no question of diverting money for purposes other than intended and agreed upon. To buttress his claim, he distributed copies of a certificate from the account manager of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, stating that no money was withdrawn or transferred from the accounts.

Demanding an unconditional apology within three days, Jathedar Hit said that if this was not done, he would file a case seeking damages worth Rs. five crores.

Sardar Kuldeep Singh Bhogal, secretary of the Shromani Akali Dal (Badal) Delhi State, accused Mr Sarna of sabotaging the recent unity efforts between the two factions.



Mewat womenfolk spread their wings
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Punhana (Gurgaon), February 15
Hundreds of women from Punhana bloc in Mewat, considered to be one of the most backward areas of Haryana, assembled in this town to demonstrate their growing sense of empowerment.

The occasion was a get-together of Self-Help Groups(SHGs), organised by the Mewat Educational Development Society, an NGO working under the Mewat Development Agency(MDA)in Punhana.

The notable feature of the assembly was the presence of women, who were not members of any self-help group. There were also a good number of men, often regarded as a stumbling block in a move to empower women. The women, a large number of them excited about venturing out of the four walls of their houses, had defied traditional mores to make it to the venue.

The presence of a large number of women with kids, in some cases suckling infants, spoke volumes of their enthusiasm. Many present on the occasion gushed that the zest shown by the women was a sign of their growing sense of awareness.

Mewat is dominated by Meo Muslims and the society is, by and large, patriarchal. Here, a woman is supposed to kowtow to the wishes of the menfolk. Even when she has a physical ailment, she is treated as per the superstitious beliefs. More often, her ‘lord and master’ sends for a quack.

The MDA, under its Community Development Project, organises such get-togethers for collecting data.

It has been running several programmes for the empowerment of women and children. One of its projects is to create SHGs with the help of the NGOs working under it for the purpose of micro-credit schemes, for dairy farming, milk cooperatives, for literacy training programmes, etc. So, the assembly of women was under the overall scheme of the MDA. According to the organisers of the event, the high point of the assembly was the large turnout in spite of the fact that there was no provision for their transportation. The women turned up from the remote villages and far-off areas of Punhana block.

Speaking on the occasion, Mrs Nafissa Hussain, member of the National Commission for Women, said that the winds of change had started blowing in Mewat in view of the impressive participation of the women in the programme.

She emphasised that it was now time for the menfolk to bring about a change in their mindset and march along with the modern world.

The Chairman of the MDA, Mr S.A.Khan, urged the people of Mewat to participate wholeheartedly in the programmes and schemes initiated by the Haryana Government for their benefit.



Another Lajpat Nagar in the making
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, February 15
The residents of Malviya Nagar in south Delhi are up in arms against motor mechanic shops which dot the Shivalik Road for about 200 meters. If nothing is done to ease the congestion, another Lajpat Nagar is in the making.

The shops, numbering around 100, have been around for almost a decade. And their number is increasing with every passing day. As invariably happens, the unauthorised constructions have encroached further on public land, almost usurping a part of the main road.

“To compound matters, cars are parked all over the place 24 hours a day. Not only does it offend one’s aesthetic sensibilities, there is great deal of din,” points out Naresh Malik, secretary of the Malviya Nagar Resident Welfare Association (RWA)

Till now the menace was restricted to one side of Shivalik Road, but now the mechanics have begun usurping the other side of the road as well. Complaints to the authorities have not helped in any way; even the MCD dashing of warning letters to the shop owners has not made a difference.

Jeetender Kumar Kochar, a member of the Standing Committee of the MCD, disclosed that they had sent numerous letters to the shop owners ever since they started encroaching on the government land, but as the shops “have been there for a long time, it is difficult to hustle them out.’’

Mr Kochar, who lives near by, admitted that the shops were causing congestion, apart from other problems. “I hate to venture out on this road. Generally, there is a traffic jam as cars that come for repairs are parked all over the place,” he said.

On more than one occasion, he had got out of his car to scream at the mechanics. He says in despair: “It’s high time the corporation did something about it. Hopefully, they’ll be given marching orders. But can’t see that happening soon.’’

However, the mechanics are adamant that the Government cannot evict them as they have been operating from the area for a decade now and are regularly paying the MCD and the police officials.

Said Raju, one of the mechanics: “How can they throw us out? We have been here for long. If these shops are unauthorised, why did they let them come up here? Where were they when these shops were being constructed? It is unfair that on one hand the officials take bribes and, on the other, they want to throw us out.”

Raju’s colleague, Sanjay, defended the use of public land as car park. “These are motor mechanic shops. Cars will come here for repairs. We can’t park them on top of our shops. They have to be parked on the road. Ask the MCD to give us place to park our cars,” Sanjay reasons.

At the moment the residents are bearing the brunt. “Why should we suffer? What is our fault?” asked Mr Hitesh Sharma, a resident of Shivalik Apartments. “Apart from the congestion, the mechanics are uncouth in their behaviour. They tease girls and quarrel at the drop of a hat. It is difficult for us to move out of our homes,” Mr Sharma said.

The mechanics have even taken over the parks in the colony. “They keep their machinery in the parks and sit and gamble. It is not a habitable environment,” Mr Sharma lamented.



Rewari cops arrested for custody death 
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, February 15
Following the conversion of a case of culpable homicide (under Section 304, 34 IPC) into a case of murder (under Section 302, 34 IPC), owing to the furore in the village, three of the four accused police personnel – constable Shataunt Raj, constable Rati Ram and constable Sunil Kumar – posted at thee Rohrai police station of the district have been arrested and remanded in judicial custody by a local court.

The fourth and the main accused, Balwant Singh Yadav, Station House Officer of the Rohrai police station, is out of the police dragnet following his application seeking a temporary stay on his arrest owing to the marriage of his son, which is pending in the court of the Additional Sessions Judge here.

The case pertains to the custodial death of Naresh Kumar (25), son of Umed Singh, resident of Rojhuwas village under Rohrai P.S. Naresh Kumar was mercilessly beaten up at the police station on February 7. He succumbed to his injuries in the local civil hospital the same evening. The death had earlier led to the registration of a case of culpable homicide against the erring police personnel.



Slums giving hell to South Delhiites
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, February 15
The slum clusters have all but ruined the lives of many residents in South Delhi colonies. Though the authorities have made numerous promises to relocate the slums, the change seems like a distant dream.

Most of them came up as a result of construction work inside the residential complex. The workers built temporary shelters during the period of construction. Even when the construction was completed, the workers refused to vacate the area.

Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Jangpura, Lodhi Road Complex and Nizamuddin - all have the same story about the slums.

The residents can do little about it. “We are so helpless. We have made several complaints to the authorities. All the politicians do is to make promises only. No action has ever been taken to remove the slums, which make the place look so ugly,” says Yogesh Khanna, President of the Forum of Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) of Vasant Kunj.

Mr Khanna adds, “What’s the point having beautiful interiors, when you see pathetic exterior, the minute you peep out of your window?”

Most residents agree with Mr Khanna, saying that their life has been adversely affected by the slums inside their colonies. The slum clusters have also taken a toll of the parks inside the residential colonies, which are in a terrible condition. And why not?

“These people are illiterate. They don’t know what cleanliness is all about. They uproot the trees and break the swings in the park. They even have naked bathe inside the parks. In short, we are not using the parks of our colony, they (slum dwellers) are abusing them,” says V. P. Kaushik, President of the Lodhi Road Complex RWA, which has a slum nearby ever since the colony came up.

Mr Kaushik said the residents of the colony find it very hard to even move out of the colony - day or night - because anti-social elements from the slums loiter around the colony and are ever ready to pick up a fight or create a problem.

Slums are the centre for the uneducated and criminal activities are rampant in those areas, he said Residents said that in Vasant Kunj, Jangpura and Lodhi Road Complex, illegal spurious liquor trade is rampant and instead of stopping the trade, the police are hand in glove with them.

The slums behind the Defence Colony flyover and the Nizammuddin Basti are also the two major places in the Capital where the sale of drugs like hashish (charas) and marijuana (ganja) is freely available.

It seems that everyone, except those responsible to keep a check on such illegal activities, know about these criminal activities.

“We all know liquor is sold here illegally. One joint is right behind the 
Vasant Kunj police station. How can the cops be ignorant about it. The fact that these illegal joints still exist, only goes to show that they have the full protection of the police,” said Mr Suresh Thakur, Chairman of the Federation of RWAs of Vasant Kunj.

However, the police officials in these areas either denied the existence of such activities or made the lame excuse that they had to let go of these criminal elements as no witness was available, whenever such elements were apprehended from these slums.

The SHO of the Vasant Kunj police station, Mr Mahesh Sharma, said: “We have raided the joints several times but have never been able to recover anything from them. We have found a couple of bottles there but it isn’t enough proof to keep them behind bars for long. The residents should come forward as witnesses.”

SHO Girraj Singh, of the Nizamuddin Police Station, voiced the same feelings, when he said that he was absolutely aware of the drug trade going on inside the basti. “Everytime we arrest someone, they get away. All we want is a witness and I will see to it that these people go through hell.” However, Mr Singh went on to say that these slums must be relocated from near the residential colonies and probably then, the criminal activities would come down automatically. “Let these slums be relocated in a place away from the main city. These illegal activities would come down on their own.”

An official of the Union Urban and Development Ministry said the Ministry was doing its level best to relocate the slums from the residential colonies.

“It is unfortunate that our government keeps changing, and I agree, the sufferers are the people in the final analysis. But we have plans to relocate several slums away from the main city. Hopefully, they will work out soon.”

A couple of years ago, the then Urban Development Minister, Mr Jagmohan, had relocated several slums to Narela, which the slum- dwellers referred to as hell as there was acute shortage of water and there were no school facilities either.

The official said that this time, when the relocation of slums takes place, they would try to provide the dwellers with better facilities and make sure that they have no problems.

The slums in Vasant Kunj have been there for 13 years, while in Lodhi Road Complex for 30 years and for 10 years in Defence Colony. The promises of the politicians make little difference to the residents, who hear the same hundreds of times. They want to see results now.

And till they see the results, they would continue to suffer the criminal activities. They would continue to see the youngsters flocking the area buying the killer drugs. They would continue to see their living conditions deteriorating.



Rain wreaks havoc on Sonepat roads
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 15
The long-awaited winter rain that lashed this city early this week, have left almost all the roads in a pitiable conditions. Road surfaces at many places had simply been washed away, despite the fact that the official agencies claim that they are doing everything to maintain roads in the city.

In several parts of the city, including the colonies of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), the roads have visible cracks, potholes and uneven surfaces. Even the roads, which had acquired a fresh carpeting a few months ago, have now become the bane of the motorists, particularly the cyclists, who have to put up with the bumps on the road. Ironically, Sonepat city and elsewhere in the district had relatively low rainfall during this winter. Had the city got its usual share of the rain, the condition of the roads might have been worse. Experts felt that there were two main reasons for the cave-ins.

One, when the road alignment is not correct and water creates puddles on the road surfaces instead of flowing into the side drains,

Second, when the material used for the road construction or surfacing, was not of the desire quality that could withstand the damage caused by water. Another common reason is the blocked drains that led to the accumulation of water alongside the road instead of flowing into the drains. The stagnated water corrodes the road surface.

The official agencies have played a blame game so far and passed the buck on each other, be it the Municipal Council of Sonepat, the PWD (B&R), the Huda or others. The civic authorities also accuse the other agencies like the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and the Public Health Department (PHD), of digging roads for laying cables and then, not carrying out the repairs.

The crux of the issue is that various government agencies are content with doing patchwork herPe and there, while the helpless people continue to suffer in silence.

Sadly, filling up the road craters with bricks is the only visible activity that the civic authorities have undertaken in the name of launching a drive for repairing roads.

This patchwork, though undertaken with much fanfare, is hardly helpful. IN fact, the uneven road surfaces have increased along with the number of humps due to the brick fillings. At many places, the workers of civic agencies have simply dumped debris on the road.

According to sources in the civic department, even though the repair work has been done regularly, the fillings get washed away in the very next shower.

No attention has been paid by the authorities to the damaged roads, many having been constructed recently. More shockingly, a large number of roads, particularly in the inner city, are still lying unattended. Mr S. P. Sachdeva, a former District Governor of Rotary International, was critical of the authorities for not repairing the road from Gita Bhawan, Model Town, to the Atlas Road via his residence, for the last 27 years. He alleged that those roads housing the VIPs of the city are repaired repeatedly. Most of the roads in the Model Town area, he further alleged, had not been repaired by the civic authorities though repeated complaints had been made. Sadly, the complaints had, so far, fallen on deaf ears, he alleged.

Meanwhile, representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations and trade unions today urged the state government to allocate adequate funds for the repairs of the roads in this city, which had been neglected by successive governments.

In a joint press statement issued here, they strongly protested against the discrimination meted out to the people of this city, as they had always voted against the ruling parties. They warned that if adequate funds were not allotted for the development of the city, the people would be left with no alternative but to launch a direct agitation against the present state government.



Wazirabad Bridge to be closed from February 22
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
The Delhi Traffic Police are enforcing some traffic diversions for motorists passing through Wazirabad Bridge, since the bridge will be closed by the PWD from February 22, for five weeks for repair and renovation.

During the five weeks, the traffic police plan to restrict all vehicles on Outer Ring Road (from Mukarba Chowk up to Chandgi Ram Akhara) and Wazirabad Road to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the stretch.

Goods vehicles will not be allowed to enter the stretch from Mukarba Chowk on Outer Ring Road up to Chandgi Ram Akhara during morning and evening hours (7.30 to 11 am and 5 to 9.30 pm). The vehicles can reach Uttar Pradesh from GT Road via Sonepat.

On the eastern side of the Wazirabad Bridge, all goods vehicles shall be diverted from Uttar Pradesh and they will be allowed to enter Loni Border on Wazirabad Road. And vehicles from Tronica City to Sonia Vihar and those plying on Khajuri Road shall be diverted towards Loni Border to reach Uttar Pradesh, the official release of traffic police said. Similarly, from Ring Road, the goods vehicles will be allowed on G T Road/New ISBT flyover during non-peak hours and light traffic will also be diverted on Pusta Road, 66 Foota Road towards G T Road.



Imposing an alien medium on children

Do You Have A Grouse?

Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The Constitution 93rd Amendment, passed recently, provides that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all the citizens from the age of six to 14 years. The right to free and compulsory education, referred in Clause (1), shall be enforced in such a manner as the state may, by law, determine.

The main objections to this amendment are: It is vague and incomplete; it is not decisive and its interpretation would be a subject of continuous and long-term litigation in courts; it is likely to be manipulated by the vested interests, engaged in the field of education and above all, the proposed amendment overlooks the fundamental tenets of the process of education of the child.

Primarily, the amendment is faulty on two counts. First, it does not specify the mother tongue as language or medium of instruction of the child in the main clause.

Second, it keeps the private educational institutions outside the purview of the fundamental right. These faults must be removed before the constitutional amendment in respect of the fundamental right to education is enforced by the state. Otherwise, it would serve no purpose for the millions of poor in the country. But more than that, the system, if not corrected, would result in more chaos in education. There would be more divisions in the society, which may have catastrophic consequences for the nation.

The framers of the Constitution had never imagined that their progeny, the ruling elite in post-independent India, would so brazenly dismiss the mother tongue as medium of instruction of the children at an elementary education level and impose English, an alien medium, on the hapless children of this independent nation.

Therefore, this amendment will be useless if the law made to implement it, does not specify the mother tongue of the child as medium of instruction. The right to education, whether fundamental or human, must specify the mother tongue or provincial language as medium of education and all institutions including private, aided and unaided, should be brought under its purview, if the democracy is to be sustained in the country.

Anand Swaroop Garg, Anand Parbat, New Delhi

Is Delhi Transport Corporation listening?

On September 18, 2000, we lodged a complaint to the General Manager, Delhi Transport Corporation, against the bus conductor of route No. 832 (KM Scheme) Janak Puri to Shahdara Terminal. The bus number was DL-1PA-2493. Two reminders were also issued to the General Manager, dated 04.10.2000 and 23.10.2000, but of no avail. The case was later referred to Mr Parvej Hasmi, former Transport Minister, vide our letter, dated 02.10.2001. But I am afraid the Minister did not take any action. Again, we referred the case to the present Transport Minister, Mr Ajay Maken, on 24.12.2001, but in vain. Our complaint is still pending. Sixteen months have passed, speaking volumes of their inefficiency.

With this state of affairs, one can well imagine what the commuters get from the DTC administration.

Will the Minister concerned probe the matter as soon as possible.

M B Dubey Bijnori, Secretary, Dainik Yatri Sangh, Delhi-32


A pot-holed road

The road to hell
The road to hell

I wish to bring to the notice of the authorities about the poor condition of the long stretch of the double road between Block-A of the Sector 18 of Rohini and Badli telephone exchange. The entire stretch is broken and full of pot-holes. At present, only one side of the road is being used.

Heavy vehicles are also plying on the road. It is very dangerous to ply vehicles on this stretch, particularly during night. Those who travel by cycle-rickshaws or use cycles or two-wheelers dread the road even in the daytime. Will the authorities concerned wake up and get it repaired and provide the street lights as well.

Tish Kumar Malhotra, Rohini, Delhi-85

Hollow promises

For God’s sake, our political leaders should not make promises, which they cannot meet at all. Just listen to Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, President of the Samajwadi Party. He promises that if his party is voted to power, his government would provide a free medical treatment to the poor and also give unemployment allowance to the unemployed youth. Pray tell us, Mr Yadav: how are you going to fulfil this promise when the country is facing so much financial constraints.

Subhash C. Taneja, Rohtak



Official bickering disrupts telecom services
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 15
The ongoing tussle between a Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE) and a Junior Telecom Engineer (JTC) has paralysed the functioning of the telephone exchange at Kundli village in the district. According to a report, this has resulted in the disruption in the functioning of the exchange for the last three days and most of the telephones have become dead. This has given rise to resentment among telephone subscribers of the area.

It is stated that though some senior officers of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have intervened to solve the dispute between the duo, the crisis remains unsolved. Kundli is an industrial area and it has a complex of the HSIDC having a number of big, medium and small-scale industries as well as cold storage. The continuous disruption in the telephone services has resulted in a huge financial loss to entrepreneurs and other subscribers.

The Telephone Subscribers Welfare Association has expressed concern over the non-functioning of the telephone exchange at Kundli village and urged the Union Telecommunication Minister and other senior authorities of the BSNL to order a high-level probe into the episode and take stern action against the officials found responsible for the mess.



Five hurt in scrap unit blast
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
At least five persons were injured, two of them critically, in a blast in a scrap-dealing factory, Goel & factory, today evening on the Kherari road, Nangloi.

The blast occurred at around 3.30 pm today when an employee of the factory was hitting an object. Soma Gayan (24), Raj Kumar (21), Ram Bahadur (24), Pinto, all residents of Shaba Diary, and Ram Surat (24), resident of Wazirpur jhuggi, were reported injured in the blast.

All the injured were immediately rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where the condition of Ram Bahadur and Ram Surat were reportedly critical. They were admitted in ICU, Soma Gayan and Raj Kumar were shifted to the general ward and Pinto had been discharged after being administered first aid.

The police said that the factory had started operations only two months ago in the area. It was involved in copper and iron works for containers. The factory has four owners, Kapil Mahajan, Suresh, Bittu and Parihar.

The CFSL, bomb disposal squad and a crime team visited the spot to ascertain the exact cause of the blast. 



Girl dies as sand dune caves in
Our Correspondent

Rewari, February 15
A girl, Laxmi, daughter of Amar Singh of Garhi Alawalpur village, 18 km from here, died when a sand-dune caved in while she and her friend Shashi, daughter of Zile Singh, were digging out sand inside a deep pit near the village pond on Wednesday. Shashi, who was seriously injured, was admitted to the local civil hospital. Her condition continues to be critical. Laxmi and Shashi, both students of class V, were digging out sand when the overhead sand-dune suddenly caved in. Instantly, their third companion, who was standing outside the pit, raised a hue and cry following which farmers from neighbouring fields rushed to the spot and then extricated Laxmi and Shashi out of the debris. Laxmi had already died by the time.

Tractor presented

Mrs Sangeeta Roy, wife of the Deputy Commissioner and the chairperson of the District Red Cross Society, presented the keys of a tractor-trolley to Mr Y. S.

Gupta, Executive Officer of the Sonepat Municipal Council, at a function held on the premises of the PWD (B&R) rest house here yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, she disclosed that the tractor-trolley cost Rs 2.60 lakh and the entire amount had been spent by the District Red Cross Society. She hoped that this would enable the civic authorities to clear the garbage from the interiors of the city.

Five hurt in clash

At least five persons were injured in a clash that took place between two rival groups at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, yesterday. A dispute over money is stated to be the cause of the clash.

The Kharkhauda police have registered a case against four persons in this connection. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Director jailed for bounced cheque

The director of an estate company has been sentenced to six months in jail and fined Rs 1.5 lakh in connection with the bouncing of a cheque, issued by the company for payment here. According to prosecution, the accused, Krishan Gopal of Madaan Estate, had issued a cheque for Rs 1,00,000 towards payment to one Mr Amarnath. However, the accused did not have the required amount in his account when the cheque was presented for payment. The case had been pending in the court for about six years. In the judgement recently, the court awarded six months’ imprisonment to the accused. It also imposed a fine of Rs 1,50,000, which includes a payment of Rs 1,40,000 to the complainant.

Two suspected polio deaths

The death of two children in mysterious circumstances in Palwal sub-division of the district has put the health authorities in a fix. Suspecting these to be possible cases of polio deaths, the authorities have sent the stool samples of the victims for testing at Kasauli. The victims, identified as Roop Singh (3), son of Karan Singh of Hari Nagar at Palwal town, and Deepak (10), son of Roshan, a resident of Mathura district, died in mysterious circumstances in the last week of January this year.

Both the children had been hospitalised with polio-like symptoms. According to their kin, the limbs of both the children were not functioning. One of them had been given polio drops recently; he died in a hospital in Delhi. A medical officer, representing the World Health Organisation and the physicians of the civil hospital at Palwal, also visited the house of the victims to gather more information.

MCF demolishes structures

At least 66 structures, including 53 shops, 10 houses and three farmhouses, which had been built on the municipal corporation’s land here, were demolished by the authorities yesterday.

The alleged encroachments had come up in the old Faridabad zone consisting of Ismailpur village. Although the situation took a turn for the worse when some residents came out with sticks to oppose the demolition, the presence of a large posse of policemen at the site prevented any law and order problem. Besides policemen, the MCF (Municipal Corporation, Faridabad) officials had reportedly hired some musclemen for their own security.

About 10 shops located in a shopping complex built in Springfields were removed and the boundary walls of three farmhouses located in three villages in the zone were demolished. Thus, about 40,000 square feet of land was recovered in Sehatpur village.



Prizes for 18 craftsmen
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 15
The fortnight long arts and crafts extravaganza at Surajkund came to a close formally when the Haryana Governor, Mr Babu Parmanand, gave away prizes to the winners in various categories at a function today. As many as 18 craftsmen from various states were awarded prizes.

The mela, which had Sikkim as the theme state this year, had attracted a record 1,05,923 visitors on last Sunday. Over 4.5 lakh persons, including 18,000 students, visited the fair this time.

As many as 481 craftsmen took part in the event and they were accommodated in 277 huts in a typical rural ambience. About 30 catering stalls provided a variety of foods in the mela village.

The magnificent Sikkim gate that symbolised the architectural traditions of the state, the strategic location of the brilliantly coloured facemasks and the waving of goodwill banners so typical of Sikkim gave the mela a distinct identity.

Classical and folk dances, folksongs and kavi sammelans enlivened the evenings at natyashala (open air theatre) during the fair.



Four robbers held, 42 cases solved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
The South district police today claimed to have solved more than 42 cases of armed robbery, chain snatching and vehicle theft with the arrest of four persons from three hideouts. Old women, businessmen returning home after closing shops in nights, people withdrawing huge amounts from banks and vehicles were their main targets.

The police also seized five gold chains snatched from some women, two Maruti cars, one Yamaha motorcycle and one scooter used for committing these crimes from them. The suspects, Arif alias Gola alias Methi (29), Zakir Hussain (22), Firoz alias Tannu (25) and Jahid alias Pehalwan (32), were arrested by the police from their hideouts in Jakir Nagar, Batla House and Abul Fazl localities of South district.

There had been several incidents where businessmen and old women were targeted. The police came under pressure when residents started panicking about the activities of these desperate criminals. The police finally managed to track down the group, which had been active since 1995 and involved in a number of cases.

The culprits used to follow their potential victims on a motorcycle. On reaching any deserted area, they would quarrel with them deliberately. In the meantime, their crack team in a Maruti car would arrive on the spot and overpower the victims and loot them.

They used to commit these crimes in a group of six or more and used to change the pillion rider often to conceal identities. Even criminals from Kashmir had joined them and these persons would escape to Kashmir to evade arrest, said the police.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), Mr P. Kamaraj, said that the suspects would read Hindi newspapers regularly to know whether their crimes were reported.

In several cases, they had escaped by misleading the police by talking about other crimes. At other times, they would surrender before the police soon after committing the crimes to avoid recovery of the stolen articles. They had even taken refuge in jails as they considered it a safe place.

The breakthrough came when their accomplices Javed and Sameer surrendered in court in a case and were sent to jail. On verifying the antecedents, the police found out about their involvement in a number of robbery and snatching cases in Delhi. The police learnt about their four associates who were at large and raided the hideouts today and nabbed the four. The two Maruti cars recovered from them were stolen from Greater Kailsah, motorcycle from Sadar Bazar and the scooter from Jakir Nagar. The police are also trying to trace some more vehicles which were sent to Kashmir by one of the suspects, Zakir, after stealing them from Delhi.



Wife, paramour club man to death 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
The North-East district police today arrested a woman and her paramour, an autorickshaw driver, for allegedly killing her husband on February 13 as he was acting as a stumbling block for their extra-marital relations. The body of Shamim Ahmed was found abandoned with multiple injuries near a bus stand in Nand Nagari area.

The accused, Shama Parveen (30), wife of Shamim, resident of Sunder Nagri, and Tohid Raza alias Guddu (26), resident of the same area, had illicit relations. The duo decided to eliminate Shamim after the latter quarrelled with her on this issue.

With the arrest of the accused, the bloodstained clothes of the accused and the bed sheets along with the broken parts of the bat, which were thrown into Kabristan nallah, were also recovered. The police have launched efforts to nab another suspect, Khalil, who had helped in the disposal of the body.

The police said that a scooter (DL-7S D-5486), a driving licence, a pair of shoes and socks and a jacket were found abandoned from near the body. Shamim’s identity was known from the driving license. The detailed inspection of the spot indicated that the murder was committed somewhere and only the body was dumped here.

During the investigation at the house of the deceased, the police found some spots of blood on the wall, which appeared to have been wiped of and covered with wallpaper. Shama Parveen, wife of the deceased and a mother of three children aged 13, 11 and 10, failed to give a proper explanation and was found too shocked by the police.

The police found her statements contradictory when they questioned the children. When she was cross-questioned regarding the bloodstains on the wall and the concealment thereof, she broke down and confessed to have committed the murder with Tohid. Shama said that she had strained relations with her husband and had developed an extra-marital affair with an auto driver for the last two years. There had been continuous quarrelling at home once her husband came to know of the affair. To put an end, she along with Tohid decided to get rid of him.

On the fateful night, Tohid entered the house on Shama’s consent when Shamim was fast asleep. He hit Shamim on the head with a cricket wicket while Shama grabbed the legs of the deceased. They also hit him on the head and chest with a sword until he collapsed. Later, the body was taken to the bus stand in Nand Nagri in an autorickshaw (DL-1R G-7324) by Tohid along with Khalil and dropped the body there. 


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