Tuesday, February 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Power rates fixed for distribution cos
No change in consumer tariff till June
Tribune News Service


  • Bulk tariff fixed, to be revised annually.
  •  Consumer tariff to be reviewed in June.
  •  Privatisation of distribution by March-end.
  •  AT&C loss reduction to be fixed in a couple of days.
  •  AT&C loss to be reduced to 30 per cent in five years.

New Delhi, February 25
With the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission today fixing the rates at which power would be supplied to the distribution companies, the privatisation of the loss making Delhi Vidyut Board has entered the crucial and perhaps the final phase.

However, for the consumers, the power tariff set by the DERC last year would continue till June. The tariff structure would come up for review then. The DERC would fix the bulk supply tariff annually. The four companies left in the fray - BSES Ltd. CESCON Ltd., Reliance Power Ltd. and Tata Power Co. Ltd. – would now have a clear idea of the rate at which the energy would be supplied to them and the price at which they can sell it to the consumer.

The privatisation of energy distribution, Delhi Power Minister Ajay Maken disclosed, “would be completed by March end,” a month behind schedule.

“Only those companies which bid to lower the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, which is higher than the base level set by the government for each year, would be declared successful. In case, the private companies, to play safe, do not quote more than the base level, then the 16 per cent profit will not be passed on to the private parties,” Mr Maken said.

The DERC chairman, Mr V K Sood, said the base level, the minimum AT&C losses that have to be reduced each year, would be fixed in a couple of days. Under the DVB privatisation plan, the board would be split into a generation company, a transmission company and three distribution companies. The state government had stated that it would not transfer more than two distribution companies to any one bidder. The private companies would have 51 per cent equity in the distribution companies. The DERC has fixed the bulk supply tariff for the three distribution companies, which varies marginally. South West Delhi Electricity Company (SWDEDCL) and North North-West Electricity Distribution Company (NNWDDCL) would pay Rs 1.52 per unit each for power procured for distribution from the transmission company while the Central East Delhi Electricity Distribution Company (CEDEDCL) would pay Rs 1.32 for a unit of electricity.

As per the tariff set by the Commission for consumer, the distribution firm would charge the tariff in different slab rates, ranging from Rs 1.50 for 0 to 100 units to Rs 3.60 for above 400 units. However, the slab rates vary for non-domestic and industrial consumers.

Explaining the order issued by the DERC on a petition filed by the distribution companies in this regard, Mr Sood said that the Delhi Government would pay a total of Rs 2,600 crore to the three distribution companies to tide over initial losses incurred on account of the AT&C losses.

Explaining the financial assistance, Sood said the Commission took the view “that no burden on this account be passed on to the consumers for retail tariff determination purposes”.

AT&C losses for Central East Delhi are the highest at 57.2 per cent, while the other two distribution circles have 48.1 per cent electricity loss in the transmission of power. In view of that the commission has fixed the lowest bulk tariff rate for Central East Delhi. Asked about the precautionary measures being incorporated to ensure that the distribution companies bring down the AT&C losses to 30 per cent by the end of five years, Mr Maken said: “The private companies would bring down the AT&C losses. The prestige of these companies is at stake.”

The value of the assets of the three distribution companies is Rs 2,360 crore. For the Central-East company, asset value is Rs 290 crore, for North and North-West company, it is Rs 920 crore and for South-West company, the value is set at Rs 1,150. With regard to the issue of withholding of dues payable by the government bodies to the distribution companies, the Commission said: “It is incumbent upon the Government to ensure payment discipline on the state power sector utilities”.

“In the overall interest of the power sector, a suitable mechanism is desired to be evolved, amongst others, earmarking the budget for ensuring the payment of electricity dues regularly. This shall avoid the unhealthy precedent which otherwise affects adversely the collection efficiency,” the Commission said in its order. 



Post-rout, Akalis rethink strategy for MCD poll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
The political affairs committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), which is meeting in Chandigarh tomorrow to analyse the debacle in the Assembly elections, would also discuss the party’s strategy for the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

While the PAC member from Delhi, Mr Inderpal Singh Khalsa, would attend the meet, the DSGMC president and party’s Delhi unit chief, Mr Avatar Singh Hit, has also rushed to Chandigarh to discuss the party’s strategy for the civic polls.

Party sources said the PAC would discuss the party’s alliance with the BJP for the MCD polls, the seat sharing arrangement, the prospective candidates and the kind of cooperation it should extend to the BJP in other wards.

The election to the 134-member MCD is scheduled to take place on March 24. The BJP had earlier stated that it would give six seats to the SAD.

While the SAD is not averse to contesting six seats, sources said the party is concerned about the wards where the BJP would allow it to put up its candidates.

In the last elections, the Akalis had contested five seats and won two of them.

“The Akalis lost the polls as the BJP workers did not campaign for our candidates, even though the SAD extended whole-hearted support to the BJP candidates,” party sources said.

The sources said, “We would insist on securing winnable seats. It makes no difference how many seats we contest.”

The party sources said the PAC would also discuss whether the SAD candidates should contest on its own symbol or on the BJP symbol.

The six wards Badal faction is actively considering contesting are Bhogal, Tilak Nagar, Vishnu Garden, Moti Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and Shiv Nagar, the sources said.

On the other hand, the pro-Tohra faction, Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi, is also planning to field its candidates for the MCD polls. The rout of the Tohra faction in the Assembly polls has not deterred the Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi from taking the plunge in the civic polls.

The party is, however, open to the idea of entering into an alliance with the Congress, the BJP or the third front.

“Any political party, which is ready to accept our terms and willing to accede the seats we demand, we would be willing to join hands with them and contest the polls,” the party sources said.

Some of the wards, which are being considered by the party, include Tilak Nagar, Vishnu Garden, Rajouri Garden, Bhogal, Karol Bagh, Fateh Nagar, Shiv Nagar and Gandhi Nagar.

The sources said the party is holding a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the strategy for the MCD elections; the process of holding the talks with other political parties would begin from the next day.



Gurgaon govt hospital gets a face-lift
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 25
Owing to the pro-active role of the district administration, the Government’s only general hospital in Gurgaon now wears a snazzy look.

Stumped by the pathetic condition of the government hospital, once touted as the cynosure of all eyes, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr A.K.Singh, pressed the emergency button. He used his good offices to persuade the Red Cross Society and the Hospital Welfare Committee to release funds for the hospital. But before the funds could begin flowing, the Health Department had to organise a visit of the Deputy Commissioner to the hospital. That drove home the point and convinced the DC that the hospital badly needed his immediate attention.

While the public has welcomed the intervention, their happiness is laced with bewilderment over the neglect of the institute for more than two decades. Although the onus is on both the Centre and the State governments, no repair work of any kind was allegedly undertaken in the hospital premises for the last 25 years. With funds now available, the hospital authorities have been quick to renovate the dilapidated interiors. The roof and the walls, in fact, were in the danger of collapsing any time. The authorities have installed glow/strobe lights at the main entrance of the hospital and signboards at various corners, giving directions to the wards and the offices. Also, a multi-utility auto analyser machine has been installed at the hospital’s Blood Bank.

For the benefit of the patients and the attendants, as well as the staff members, three water cooler have been installed, one each in the O.P.D, Surgical and Medicine wings. Also, the old and rickety fans have been dispensed away with and provision has been made where none existed. In all, 125 new fans and 150 tubes have been installed.

According to a child specialist in the hospital, Dr Vishesh Kumar, the good work was on the cards, given the reformist zeal of the authorities. The Medical Superintendent of the institute, Dr S.P.Singh, was recently given a monetary award by the Health Department.



In the line of fire, beyond the call of duty, yours lawfully
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

Policemen have often been the target of public ire, and not without reason, perhaps. However, there are cases galore, when a policeman has risked his life to uphold the law and protect the citizenry. The ‘NCR Tribune’ plans to highlight over the next few months some of the individual acts of bravery that go beyond the call of duty.

The events of that day in July two years ago are still etched permanently in his mind. It was a hot and muggy afternoon when Head Constable Jasbir Singh of the Anti-Kidnapping Cell of the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police rushed to Gurgaon along with four of his colleagues. He had received information that the dreaded inter-state criminal, Satbir Gujjar alias Acharya, wanted by the police of at least four states, would come there to extort money from a businessman.

The police team spotted the vehicle in which the criminal was travelling. The police informer had identified the vehicle. When the team of sleuths signalled the criminal to stop, he veered off the main road towards Naurang village with the policemen in hot pursuit.

When Gujjar realised that he would be unable to shake off the law, he pulled out his AK 47 rifle and sprayed bullets at the pursuing policemen. The cops returned the fire with their service revolvers. The exchange continued for a few minutes causing panic among the villagers who thought that a gang war had started .

Head Constable Jasbir Singh (then a constable) and his team proved better shots than Gujjar. He was killed in the exchange of fire while all the policemen escaped unscathed. So impressed were the Delhi Police brass that they immediately promoted him to the rank of a head constable and assured him of a long tenure in the anti-kidnapping cell where he is still considered to be an asset because of his tenacity in tracking down the criminals and extortionists.

Not only that, the senior police officers of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi personally commended him and his team on the singular achievement. Satbir Gujjar was a real terror. He had even threatened the then SSP of Bhiwani with dire consequences. Obviously, the police officers have begun to breathe easily.

Jasbir, who hails from Bhopania village in Jhajjar district, did his schooling from Shambhu Dayal Modern School, Sonepat in 1982. This duty-bound

policeman has many daring deeds to his credit. He also arrested a dreaded gangster, Azad on whose head the Delhi Police had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 in 1999. He traced him to a spot in Rohtak with the help of an information network developed exclusively by him.

Before catching hold of the gangster, Jasbir visited Rohtak several times on his two-wheeler. The fact that on one of the trips, he met with an accident and sustained injuries, did not deter him.

He returned to Rohtak after recuperation and managed to nab Azad and brought him to Delhi. He also rounded up five dreaded gangsters in January 2001 and worked out 14 sensational cases.

Unassuming but confident, the 37-year-old policeman confessed to the ‘NCR Tribune’ that he was quite timid while in school. However, he resolved to become the guardian of the law. “I will not spare even a single criminal,” that was his train of thought for months, nay, many years. His peers and senior officers admit, though silently, that the Head Constable has done his bit.

Married with two children, this crime-buster has no regrets other than that he cannot spend much time with his family. “It is duty for 24 hours in the anti- kidnapping cell,” he said.



Vikas, Vishal in judicial custody till March 11
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 25
Vikas and Vishal Yadav, prime suspects in the Nitish Katara kidnap and murder case, were today remanded to judicial custody till March 11 even as investigations were on to confirm whether the half-burnt body found in Khurja belonged to the missing business executive. Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajinder Kumar remanded Vikas, son of Rajya Sabha Member D P Yadav, and his cousin Vishal to judicial custody till March 11 after they were brought to the city from Dabra in Madhya Pradesh by a special UP Police team on a transit remand. The duo were arrested on Saturday by the Madhya Pradesh police at the Dabra railway station.

“We will be seeking a police remand from the court tomorrow, so that we can question the duo in connection with the case,” Ghaziabad Superintendent of Police A K Raghav, who headed the special police team, said. The Magistrate at Dabra had remanded the duo to judicial custody till March seven in connection with possession of illegal cartridges.

Vikas, who was defeated in the Assembly elections from Bisouli, and Vishal have been charged with the abduction of 24-year old Nitish, after he was reportedly spotted dancing with several girls, including the sister of Vikas.

“I did not know who he (Katara) is. There was an altercation outside the gate (of marriage venue). After that, there was no talk, neither did he sit with us. I do not know from where all these reports (of his own involvement) are coming,” Vikas said at the time of being produced.

Vikas said only later he came to know that Nitish was the person with whom he had some altercation. “Nothing happened beyond this,” he said .



Panchayat makes ‘baraat’ face the music
Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, February 25
A wedding party from a village in Hodel sub-division in the district had to return empty handed when the groom’s father demanded dowry just before the marriage was to be solemnised. The baraat was also made to pay Rs. 9000 as ‘penalty’. According to reports, the ‘Baraat’ arrived in Umra Umri village of Gurgaon district from Banchari in Hodal sub-division.

Initially, everything was hunky-dory and the marriage party was given a traditional welcome; there was even the ritual exchange of pleasantries and gifts. But the groom’s relatives threw a spanner in the works by demanding dowry. This led to a turnabout in the situation and the bride’s relatives got agitated. Soon a large number of villagers converged at the site and gheraoed the ‘baraat’ for several hours. At last, the Panchayat resolved the matter by asking the baraat to pay Rs. 9000 towards various expenditures incurred by the bride’s side on the occasion.



Four file papers

New Delhi
On the first day of filing of nominations for the civic polls, four candidates filed their papers. According to the Election Commission sources, the nominations were received from Sunil Kumar Khatri (Ward No 21 – Tagore Garden), Roshan Lal (Ward No 25 – Madipur), Phool Chand (Ward No 34 – Badli) and Parveen Khan (Ward No 83 – Dilshad Garden.). TNS



Lording over the city roads
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, February 25
Stray animals, sitting on roads or roaming inside the residential colonies, have been the scourge of the Capital. Go out on the streets and you are bound to see cows sitting in the middle of a road or you just might have a dog chasing you.

“Considering the fact that this is the capital city of a nuclear country, the sight of animals all over makes it disgusting,” said Akhil Kumar Jain, a resident of south Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur area, where stray cattle and dogs reign supreme.

Enter the residential area and one would see hundreds of cattle all over the road. And the dogs aren’t far behind. “There are more animals here than the human beings,” said Mr Jain, adding that several complaints had been made to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), but of no avail.

“A few days ago, a cow had died inside the colony because of some disease. The huge quadruped lay inside the colony for two days until the stink became unbearable and we had to remove the animal ourselves,” Mr Jain recalled. He said the residents had phoned the MCD numerous times to remove the animal but all that the corporation said was that there were ‘no staff’.

“The MCD had the guts to tell us to wait for a day and they told us that they would have the staff the next day and then only they would remove the animal. We were left with no choice than to lift it ourselves and bury it,” Mr Jain fumed. And the residents did the right thing as the MCD did not show up the next day.

The problem of stray animals has plagued the residents of Kotla Mubarakpur for donkey’s years.

A foreigner was shocked to see cows sitting in the middle of a road in the city. “What! A cow on the road!” he remarked. “That’s a sight I have never seen,” he laughed as he took out his camera and began clicking. It is a matter of shame that even though the governmental agencies take note of the animals, they wait for complaints to come by before taking an action. Even in posh residential colonies of Saket, stray animals have become a major cause of discussions in the weekly welfare meetings.

Take the case of Ekta Apartments in the area. About 10 dogs roam the colony round the clock. They run after and bark at every car and two-wheeler riders, at times even causing the riders to fall. Fortunately, no mishap has taken place yet. The dogs roam the colony as a few ‘animal lovers’ give them food, though refuse to keep them inside their houses. Ms Sarah Singh, a resident of Ekta Apartments, made a complaint to the Residents Welfare Association of the colony, after a stray dog had pounced on her while she was going on her evening walk. Though the RWA was convinced that the dogs should be shooed away, the animal lovers stood up in protest against the decision. “The issue is still under discussion,” said a representative of the RWA.

The case in Press Enclave is no different. The colony never had any animals entering it, until a few people fond of animals began giving food to them inside the colony. This resulted in the dogs’ remaining inside the colony throughout the day who then produced pups after a while, making the colony their home for good. Rajendra Bajpai, a resident of Press Enclave, said, “If one gives food to stray animals, they would naturally come to the place again. The animals have no affection for anyone. They just come for food. A case of cupboard love.”

He said that if these animal lovers were so bothered about the dogs why couldn’t they keep them in their houses. There is also a sense of fear among the children of the colony.

Said 13-year-old Sidhharth: “We can’t even play and run around the colony. Every time we see a dog, we have to stop because they would chase us otherwise.” Even an MCD official defended the corporation giving the same reason for the animals roaming inside the residential colonies. “Either people should keep the animals in their houses or they should not give food to them at least.”

The official further added that there was shortage of homes for the stray animals. “As of now, there is no place for us to keep these animals. There are just a handful of homes for the animals and their number is way too high. The corporation is in the process of making bigger homes for such animals. But, we can’t just pick up these animals and kill them,” he said.

However, he said that the MCD had made quite a difference in reducing the animal number on the streets of Delhi. “There was time when you could see animals everywhere. But that’s not the case now,” the official said, adding that the problem would be “totally eliminated soon”.



‘Every Sikh must be taught Sikhism compulsorily’
J. T. Vishnu

Manmohan Singh Sachdeva
Shiromani Akali Dal Vice-President Manmohan Singh Sachdeva

Manmohan Singh Sachdeva, the senior Vice-President of Shiromani Akali Dal and the Chairman of Guru Nanak Institute of Management, shows keen interest in the development of Sikhs. Be it their education, monetary support or marriage, the humble man is invariably present at all the occasions.

An ex-chairman of Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce and the Chairman, Guru Nanak Public School (Punjabi Bagh), Mr Sachdeva reiterates that education and religion should be taught simultaneously to the Sikh students.

He is also the Member, Telephone Advisory Committee (MTNL) and the Member of the Sales Tax Advisory Committee, Delhi Government.

In an interview with the ‘NCR Tribune’ he said, “The present Sikh generation lacks depth about Sikhism and under the influence of the Western culture, they are not willing to know about their gurus and tenets of their religion.”

What is your contribution to the growth of Sikhs in Delhi?

We have been supporting the poor students who have excellent academic records by way of giving their school fees. Scholarships are also provided to the college students. Besides, special group marriages were arranged for the poor Sikh girls, from time to time. Last year, 10 marriages were conducted in April and this year also, we expect them in more numbers. We have already announced this year’s group marriage programme in gurdwaras and the Sikh colonies in Delhi. We also provide them with clothes, shoes and some token jewellery for the wedding.

Are you contesting for the post of a member of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee?

The Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal, nominated me to contest from the Punjabi Bagh area. In fact, the membership status will enable me to deliver better community service, as I am already engaged in social service in various capacities. The authority will enable me to deliver my services to the poor and the needy. We are also planning to set up a medical college in Delhi and efforts were on to expand the existing engineering college. Besides, we are working hard to get the minority status to our institutions so that the minorities can be taken care of.

But, the majority of the members are against the issue of granting minority status to these institutions?

In my opinion, minority status should be given to them. I will support this cause and at the same time, won’t tolerate the misuse of authority at any rate.

Why are you so particular about promoting Sikhism in the schools?

In my view, every Sikh must be taught Sikhism compulsorily. The new-generation Sikhs are studying in convents and there is dearth of knowledge about Sikhism among them. They lack depth and under the influence of the Western culture, they are not willing to know about their gurus and tenets of their religion. We want to actively promote this to safeguard our religion. We call it “Dharam Parachar” to give our religion a boost. For this work, we need the co-operation of parents of such Sikh students. And we have also organised special summer courses to learn Punjabi language in schools.

What are your achievements as a senior member of the party?

This is my seventh year in the party. During the period, I took care of every problem faced by Sikhs and under “Gurunanak Naam Leva”, a common platform. Presently, we have four members in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. This time, we want to field our own candidates with the BJP’s support. We have asked for about 10-15 seats and the negotiations are going on. Like in Punjab, we will have an alliance with BJP in Delhi.

What in your view is the contribution of Congress for the growth of Sikhs?

The Congress has done nothing. The Punjabi people will not forget the 1984 riots in Delhi and demolition of Golden temple in Punjab. No Sikh will forget these gory incidents that destroyed a number of families, who are still groping in darkness.

But Badal seems to have lost ground in Punjab this time?

Badal has done a lot in Punjab. This time, there is a false propaganda against the Badal government. One more factor that the Tohra faction has caused a considerable damage to the party. In fact, the developmental work he (Badal) has done in the last five years is immense. But if the people are looking for a change then they have full authority and power to decide their next government.

As a member in MTNL, what are your activities there?

Basically, we look after the general complaints, mostly regarding the billing and installation of new phones. After the initial queries, the Advisory Committee forwards the complaints to the general manager of the area and it is immediately taken care of.

What changes have you made in the Guru Nanak Institute of Management, after you took over as the Chairman?

I was elected the Chairman last month. Since I am fresh, there are a number of meetings and discussions conducted within our staff and exploring further probabilities for the expansion. I want to make it an institute of international level, so that an Indian student wanting to do business studies will not leave for other countries. The institute has good business courses.

What are the functions of the Sales Tax Advisory Committee?

The advisory committee is constituted by a set of business groups. And we give our representation to the government. There are about 50 members present in the committee. We have given a number of proposals to the Union Finance Minister regarding a hike in sales tax and got it reduced in the past. We also make suggestions regarding other business issues at times.



Need to make examples of brand infringers: Jaitely
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
Concerned over the growing fake brand products, a workshop on ‘Trademark Protection – Protecting brands – A War Against Counterfeiting’ was organized by FICCI’s Brand Protection Committee (BPC) in association with the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and Consumer Education and Research Center (CERC), Ahmedabad.

Speaking at the workshop, Chief Guest, the Union Minister of Law and Company Affairs, Mr Arun Jaitely said that “brand piracy is a commercial theft. When an infringer hijacks the brand name, appearance, packaging- he is pocketing the benefits of the genuine brand and the company. Through this counterfeit and pass off activity, copiers and infringers disrupt a large part of the economic activity. The first person affected by this, is the consumer. There is a great need now, to devise new and innovative legal instruments by which we can start making examples of these infringers.”

The two day workshop covered topics such as the harm from counterfeits and pass-offs, experiences in brand protection in different industries, whether existing laws can protect brands, states role in controlling the menace, international experiences and practices, issues in increasing consumer awareness and competency building of consumer protection groups.

The minister added, that “free trade must be fair trade. No person is entitled to profits from crime. We should now seek ways of pinching the infringer so that he is not able to benefit from this illegal trade. We need to look ahead and see how criminal law, through a simplified procedure, can make this happen.”

Bharat Patel, Chairman of BPC, said that “the consumer runs a health and safety risk. He is cheated as he pays for sub-standard products believing it to be an original. Companies lose their brand reputation and business and the government suffers a loss of approximately Rs 900 crore by way of lost taxes every year.”



Liquor smugglers making hay
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 25
The smuggling of liquor continued in the city and other parts of the district from across the border. 
The excise department authorities seem to have failed to check the menace.

The affluent people are getting increasingly involved in the activity, according to a report. It is alleged that the liquor mafia has started using expensive cars to smuggle spurious as well as branded liquor from the states like Madhya Pradesh, UP, Rajasthan and Delhi through the Delhi’s borders, mainly for consumption at wedding and farmhouse parties. From smuggling the stuff in tempos, trucks and even three-wheelers, the smugglers have started using the cars.

Interestingly, more and more women are being used as couriers as they arouse little suspicion travelling in cars.

The smuggling is patronised by the well-heeled influential persons. They smuggle liquor through the borders and sell it cheap in the region.

Their buyers range from the elite to the vulnerable sections, depending on the brand. The offence of liquor smuggling is bailable and that may be the reason for most of the jobless educated youths to engage in the trade, many of whom have reportedly amassed wealth in this unlawful business.

The Haryana Government has been suffering a huge loss of revenue in the process. To make things worse, liquor is freely available in most of the villages and most of the shopkeepers bring home the bacon just by selling liquor pouches.

The representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations as well as trade unions today urged the state government to order a high-level probe into the smuggling of liquor and transfer the officials responsible for the racket.



Haryana BKU threat to gherao grain markets
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 25
The Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has threatened to gherao the grain markets if the official agencies fail to buy the wheat from the farmers during the procurement season this year.

Mr Hari Singh Khokhar, president of the state unit of the BKU announced it at the one-day convention of the union at Ganaur 16 km from here.

Mr Khokhar apprehended that the official agencies would not purchase the wheat marketed by the farmers this year as had been done during the last year. The union, he warned, would not allow the procurement agencies to exploit the farmers by rejecting their produce on ‘flimsy’ ground.

He, however, regretted that the Central Government has failed to announce the support price of wheat. This has caused resentment among the farmers.

He accused the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre of adopting the anti-farmer policies.

Mr Khokhar pointed that the national income in the agriculture sector was 60 per cent in 1951 and the production of wheat was 5 crore tonnes. Now the production of wheat has gone up to 20 crore tonnes and the national income has reduced to only 27 per cent. This indicated an increase in the cost of agricultural production but the income of the farmers has decreased considerably despite the fact 70 per cent farmers are engaged in the agriculture sector.



Free polio corrective surgery camp held
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 25
More than 300 physically challenged people were examined at a one-day free polio corrective surgery camp, organised jointly by the District Red Cross Society, the Jain Milan and the Bhagwan Mahavira Handicapped Welfare Society, Delhi-Jaipur, on the premises of Shree Digamber Jain Mandir at the Mission Chowk.

Mrs Sangeeta Roy, wife of the Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson of the District Red Cross Society, who inaugurated the camp, lauded the role of these organisations for rendering social services for the welfare of the physically challenged persons. She said these organisations are serving the society and humanity in the real sense.

Mr H.C. Jain, General Manager of the Haryana Roadways and the convenor of the camp, also highlighted the various programmes of the society and said similar camps would also be held in future. Earlier, more than 150 physically challenged persons were Selected for operations on March 9 and 10.


Residents of Udesipur village on Monday submitted a memorandum to the district authorities demanding regular supply of drinking water and replacement of old electric wires in the areas inhabited by Dalits and other weaker sections in the village.

According to a report, the memorandum alleged that the officials of the Public Health Department(PHD) and the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) were indifferent to their repeated complaints and they have utterly failed to redress their grievances so far. The memorandum warned that if the authorities concerned failed to ensure the supply of drinking water and replace the old electric wires, the residents would have no alternative but to launch an agitation on this issue.

It also urged the Deputy Commissioner to intervene and direct the authorities of both the PHD and UHBVN to take immediate and concrete steps to fulfil the demands of the people of the village at the earliest.

Body recovered

The police recovered the body of one Baljit from his house at Shahpur village, about 15 km from here. According to a report, the police believe it to be a case of suicide. The police had gone to the village to arrest Baljit on a charge of murderous assault on his 70-years-old mother, Mrs Sarupi, two days ago. Sources said that the dead seemed mentally upset since the death of his wife a few years ago

Rivals clash

Three persons were injured in a clash that took place between two rival groups in Mohalla Devi Wada. According to a report, a dispute over some money transaction was stated to be the main cause of the clash. The injured persons were immediately hospitalised and are stated to be out of danger. The police has registered a case and further investigations are in progress. However, no arrest has been made in this connection so far.

Alcohol death

Rajbir, a youth was found dead under a tree at Farmana Village, about 25 km from here. According to a report, he died of excessive drinking of alcohol. The police are still investigating the case.


A worker engaged in ‘whitewashing’ of a house in Kisan Majdoor Colony here was electrocuted after he came into contact with a high-tension wire passing over the house. The victim, Vijay Singh, was a resident of Palwali village and had taken the ‘whitewashing’ work on contract with his brother. The accident took place while he working on the rooftop and came into contact with the live wire passing overhead. He died on the spot.

Six injured

Nearly six persons were injured, two of them seriously, in a group clash at nearby Sangahera village on Monday. They have been admitted to the PGIMS. According to information, Ram Bhagat, a former sarpanch of the village, was trying to erect a boundary wall on the panchayat land with the help of his four sons and other youths of the village.

They attacked some of the village panchayat members with guns and wooden sticks when objection were raised regarding the construction. Rajiv and Satpal sustained serious injuries in the incident and were rushed to the PGIMS.

The police have registered a case against Ram Bhagat, his sons-Balbir, Mantu, Bhajan and Vinod and four others-Jagdish, Vijay, Pawan and Kalu, under section 148, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC.


The All India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (AIFUCTO) has mourned the death of a veteran teacher leader, Prof Harbhajan Singh of G.N. Khalsa College at Yamunanagar. Prof. Singh passed away while addressing the teachers at a state level convention organised by the Haryana Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (HFUCTO) under the aegis of Kurukshetra University Teachers Association at Kurukshetra. He had been the president of the Haryana College Teachers Union for two terms and was presently the zonal secretary (north zone) of AIFUCTO. 



Demand for revision of minimum wages 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 25
The Haryana unit of the Janata Dal (United) has asked the state government to revise the minimum wages of industrial workers and labourers to Rs 3500.

According to the state unit Chief of JD (U), Mr Ved Prakash Vidsohi, his party had also backed the demand of Haryana Unit of CITU that various political parties in the state should make public their stand regarding labour issues. He said while JD (U) had been seeking the revision of the minimum wages for the past three years, he lamented that various political parties and their leaders had been ignoring the issue. Alleging various discrepancies and corruption in the Public Distribution System (PDS), he said a large number of eligible persons have not found their names on the Yellow Card list prepared by the authorities.

Alleging that labour laws and norms were being openly flouted by factory owners and their management, he said the Labour Department had failed miserably to take up the rights of the factory workers in a proper manner.

He also charged the state government of making thousands of poor people homeless by demolishing jhuggis and kutcha houses in industrial towns like Faridabad and Gurgaon. He claimed that nothing had been done to provide pucca houses to those families whose shelters had been razed in the past couple of years.

He also condemned the move of the Union government to amend labour laws through a Bill in the ensuing session of the Parliament.



Keshav Puram double murder case solved 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
With the arrest of Vijay, the North-West district police today claimed to have solved the sensational double murder case, in which a truck driver and cleaner were found murdered and wrapped in a quilt inside the truck, in Keshav Puram on February 16. Police have also recovered some stolen materials from the accused. The accused, Vijay (21), resident of Uttar Pradesh, is the nephew of the deceased and allegedly killed his uncle Prem Chand, driver and Sanjay, the cleaner. After he mercilessly killed them with the help of his three associates, he took away 300 fine quality wheat bags from his uncle’s truck and sold them in the Lawrence Market.

On February 16, at about 6.15 pm, the police found two dead bodies in the cabin of a truck (HR 38 8021), which was parked opposite a factory at Lawrence Road. Both the deceased had been strangulated by woolen mufflers and their bodies were hidden under quilts. The police was able to identify one of the deceased as a driver from his driving licence. Police also summoned the owner of the truck from Hodal, Haryana, for the verification of the deceased persons. A special team formed under the supervision of ACP Satyavir Katara found that the motive could be robbery, as the truck was loaded with about 300 sacks of good quality wheat grain which went missing after the murder.

The owner also told the police that the truck had come from the FCI reservoir Hodal, Faridabad, on February 13 and was supposed to reach FCI godown at Mayapuri on February 14. However, the truck with the dead bodies was found abandoned in Keshav Puram on the evening of February 16. During the course of the investigation, the police found that the driver and cleaner were last seen on February 14, with four persons, one of whom was identified as Vijay, the nephew of the deceased driver, Prem Chand. Vijay also went missing since the murder of his uncle. As the police became suspicious, they launched a massive manhunt and finally traced him on down on February 25. On sustained interrogation, Vijay broke down and confessed his involvement in the murder of his uncle Prem Chand, and Sanjay, the cleaner of the truck.

Subsequently, Vijay disclosed that he along with three other associates, Pappu and his two friends, were involved in the crime. Vijay, an unemployed driver had been moving around with Pappu, a dubious character.

Vijay told the police that he had borrowed some money from Pappu, who had been pestering him to pay back the dues urgently. Since Vijay was unemployed and was not in a position to pay back the borrowed money, Pappu and Vijay planned the robbery. Pappu suggested that they rob a transit truck with loaded goods and Vijay proposed to loot his uncle’s truck. On the fateful day, Vijay along with his three associates, came with Prem Chand from Hodal. On reaching Mayapuri around 2 am in the morning, both Prem and Sanjay went to sleep in the truck. When they were sleeping, the four accused strangled them with woolen mufflers and hid the dead bodies in the backside of the driver’s cabin.

Subsequently, they took the truck to the Lawrence Road food grain market and sold the wheat. While returning, they parked the truck opposite a factory at the Lawrence Road. Meanwhile, the police have launched a massive hunt for Pappu and his two associates, who are absconding. 



Woman arrested for paramour’s murder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
A woman was arrested by the East District police in connection with the murder of her paramour Rajaram. The body was discovered by the police in a gunny bag, in Trilokpuri area on Sunday.

Police said that a strangulated body was found and the victim was identified as Rajaram, resident of Badaun district in Uttar Pradesh. Since the victim was employed here, he had been living in a rented house in Mandawali area. Rajaram developed an illicit relationship with Maya, his neighbour, and even had a fight over this issue with Maya’s brothers, a few months ago.

Suspicious about the involvement of her three brothers, the police have arrested Maya and taken her into police custody. A murder case has been registered in the Krishna Nagar police station.

Youth robbed: Four unidentified persons were robbed of Rs 10,000, a chain, bracelet and a wrist watch from a person named Dubey, in a moving bus on the Badarpur-ISBT route, last night. According to the police sources, the four miscreants picked up a fight over some petty issue near the GPO with the victim in the bus. In the meantime, one of the miscreants whipped out a knife and snatched his bag containing Rs 10,000 and his other valuables.

Before the public in the bus could react, the four disembarked from the running bus. The Kashmere Gate police have registered a complaint and launched a massive hunt to nab the suspects.

In another incident, three people escaped with a TSR after an altercation with the driver in Badarpur on Sunday night. According to the police, the suspects, all in their twenties, hired the auto from Chandni Chowk to Sarita Vihar.

When they reached Badarpur, they asked the auto driver, Gurpreet Singh, to get down from the auto. During the scuffle, two of the suspects fled with the auto. Police have nabbed one of the accused and launched a manhunt to nab the absconding duo.


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