Saturday, March 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Sulking troika dampens BJP poll mood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
After the recent drubbing in the four states, the BJP Delhi unit has suffered another set back with the party’s senior leader and head of the manifesto committee for the civic polls in the Capital, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, resigning from the post, protesting against the high-handedness of the local leadership.

“I have stepped down from the post as I am busy and not able to give much time to the preparation of the manifesto,” the senior BJP leader told the NCR Tribune.

The party State unit president, Mr Mange Ram Garg, said: “The BJP MP has a busy schedule and has expressed his inability to perform his responsibility.”

The resignation of Mr Malhotra comes a day after the former Chief Minister and senior BJP leader, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, distanced himself from the party’s candidate selection process, indicating his displeasure over the manner in which the whole exercise was being conducted. Sources indicated that another former Chief Minister, Sahib Singh Verma, was also unhappy over the exercise. Mr Verma, too, could walk out of the whole selection process soon, in protest against the arbitrary manner in which the local leadership was conducting the process, the sources said.

The sources said the immediate provocation for Mr Malhotra’s resignation from the 11-member manifesto committee was the important role being assigned to BJP MLA, Mr Nand Kishore Garg, a close associate of the State unit president.

Mr Nand Kishore Garg has been made the head of the party’s campaign committee despite the opposition voiced by senior leaders.

The Congress, on the other hand, today decided to postpone its campaign launch rally, which was scheduled for tomorrow. Party spokesperson, Mr Mukesh Sharma, said a protest march, instead of the rally, would be held tomorrow to protest against the incidents in Gujarat.

He said the first list of candidates would also be released late in the evening tomorrow.

The Bhartiya Valmiki Sarpanch Mahasabha today urged the Congress leadership to ensure proper representation for the community in the distribution of tickets. The Mahasabha threatened that if proper representation is not given, the community members would stand as independents, which would affect the prospects of the party’s candidates. Meanwhile, the Lt Governor today reviewed the preparations and arrangements for the MCD polls. As many as 10 District Election Officers and 35 Returning Officers (ROs) along with 134 Assistant ROs have been appointed to ensure smooth and fair polling on March 24 in the capital. A Raj Niwas release said here today that thirty-five senior officers would be poll observers and another 35 financial observers. Counting of votes would be done at eight centres.

An adequate police force, along with home guards, would be made available to ensure a smooth and peaceful poll, the release said, adding that a special police force would be stationed in sensitive and hyper-sensitive areas. The SEC further informed that political parties have been asked not to deface walls and buildings.



Bandh evokes a mixed response
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
The call for Delhi bandh given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its allied organisations to protest against Wednesday’s massacre of kar sevaks at Godhra in Gujarat evoked a mixed response today. While there were complete shutdown in some market areas, others witnessed only a partial response.

The police, who were out in full strength as a precautionary measure, said that except for isolated incidents of stopping of buses and pelting of stones in Jhandewalan, there were no untoward incidents reported from anywhere in the city. Small bands of volunteers of the VHP went around their respective areas urging shopkeepers to down their shutters. Some of the market associations, particularly in the walled city, had supported the bandh and had called for voluntary closure. Senior police officers regularly monitored the situation.

In some of the local markets, particularly in East Delhi, the shopkeepers and the supporters of the bandh played a cat and mouse game. Whenever the slogan-shouting volunteers arrived on their areas, the shopkeepers hurriedly downed the shutters only to reopen them after they left.

Deployment of police and paramilitary forces was particularly heavy in the walled city and other Muslim-dominated areas in Central, South, North-East and East Delhi districts. Police pickets were also stationed outside the centres where the CBSE board examinations were conducted.

There was no disruption of traffic as the VHP had exempted the essential services, including the public transport, from the purview of the bandh. However, attendance in schools and offices remained thin as many opted to stay at home rather than take the risk of venturing out. As a result, traffic on the otherwise congested Delhi roads was much smoother.

Meanwhile, volunteers of the National Akali Dal, including a large number of Muslims, held a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar here to protest against the massacre of kar sevaks. They demanded swift and strict action against the persons responsible for the carnage. Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma, the national president of the National Akali Dal, appealed to the leaders of the communities to maintain peace and not to get provoked. Senior police officers also convened meetings with citizens of various communities in their respective areas and impressed upon them the necessity of maintaining peace at all cost and to prevent any rumour mongering.



HC wants DNA report in 10 days
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
The Delhi High Court today ordered the completion of the DNA test of the charred body recovered from Khurja in 10 days in the Nitish Katara murder case, even if experts had to be mobilised for the purpose. It also passed strictures against the Uttar Pradesh police for failing to take prompt action to probe the kidnapping and suspected murder.

Ordering the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ghaziabad, to “associate” himself in investigating the case, the court directed him to file a status report on the progress of the investigation, supported by his affidavit within a week. It fixed the next hearing on a petition by Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara on March 14.

The Bench wanted that the statement of Bharati, D P Yadav’s daughter, be recorded by the police soon. Counsel of the Rajya Sabha MP said, “She was ready to record her statement today, but the investigating officer had to come to Delhi to appear before the court.”

The prosecution was also directed to provide adequate security to all material witnesses. Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Neelam Katara, alleged that “D P Yadav has been threatening material witnesses, including her client.”

“The doctor concerned of Forensic Medical Technology Laboratory, Hyderabad, has proceeded on leave as, according to my information, he was also threatened,” Ms Jaiswal alleged.

Earlier, UP Government counsel Ashok Srivastav gave details about the investigation so far and sought time for filing the status report. He said that the finger prints of the unidentifiable body recovered from Khurja in U P on February 19 had matched with those of Nitish Katara as recorded in his driving licence. So far, statements of 13 people, including Vikas, Vishal and their friends, had been recorded.

Ghaziabad: While the Ghaziabad police have been able to recover the wrist watch worn by Nitish on the fateful day as well as the hammer allegedly used in the crime, the court rejected the city police’s plea for further remand of the accused for 10 days. The rejection of the police request came as a surprise. The court had earlier kept the decision reserved, but gave its verdict towards the fag-end of the day. The Tata Sumo and the mobile phone have not been recovered yet. Interestingly, the watch which Nitish was wearing on the fateful day, had been bought by Ms Bharati Yadav on her credit card and presented to Nitish.



There’s light for them at the end of the tunnel 
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, March 1

Who listens to my cry

It has a feeling but no poetry

There is agony

But no tears

Give hearing aids

To those who have ears

But cannot hear...

For others, the lines are just snatches of a poem, but for Dr Uma Tuli, helping the children of a lesser god is a mission. Fired with a messianic zeal, she set up Amar Jyoti Trust, a non-profit, voluntary organisation in July, 1981 with the aim of helping the differently abled lead a fuller, integrated life.

The organisation was established to medically examine the disabled and give them the necessary help in and around Delhi. It was started in a make-shift office in Karkardooma. A workshop for manufacturing artificial limbs was also located in a tent at the same place. The work began with small donations from the friends and well-wishers. Some funds were mobilised by publishing a souvenir and donations were accepted from Rotary and Lions clubs. Help also came in the form of volunteers of all age groups from various walks of life. They were enthusiastic and dedicated. Among them were the students of the National Service Scheme, home guards and Pragati volunteers who helped conduct rehabilitation camps.

Door-to-door surveys were conducted in the underprivileged colonies. Artificial limbs, wheelchairs and tricycles were provided free at the camps. Outlining the saga behind the trust, she recalls, “I was at the college mela, sharing the excitement of the students on the merry-go-round and the children enjoying the elephant ride, when I received the message that my brother Arun Kapoor had met with an accident.”

I rushed to the hospital and saw a car, with the backdoor open, bringing my brother with his leg hanging out. He looked at me and sighed with relief. Understanding his pain, I did not speak to him. With great difficulty, we took him out. I was dripping with his blood and in no time, there was a pool of fresh blood around. Amputation was inevitable. It was the time of the Indo-Pak War and the hospital had many young men with their upper or lower limbs amputated. There was much gloom everywhere. The orthopaedic wards which I visited during the period were full of people, young and old. They knew that they faced a bleak future with the meagre treatment facilities available and almost non-existent rehabilitative services. I, as a young lecturer, could visualise that the only way to combat disability was to introduce integrated education, vocational training for self-employment and necessary medical assistance for a meaningful existence. My marriage and the responsibility of bringing up two children did not stop me from setting up a rehabilitation centre. In fact, my husband, parents, relatives and friends constantly contributed their mite. I was depositing my entire salary in the post office. My husband Jitender Tuli and I toured to see the rehabilitative services being provided in India and abroad so that the best could be assimilated into our proposed centre. Holding camps to identify the people with disabilities and providing them with artificial limbs was only the first step.

The second step, says Dr Uma Tuli, was to bring about a revolution in the concept of rehabilitation of the people with disabilities in the country. It meant opening the school. The chance came when former Air Force Chief P.C. Lal, a trustee of the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Trust, offered space under the shade of trees on the trust premises at Rouse Avenue in New Delhi. As an added attraction, he let Amar Jyoti use a small varandah in the complex. “Why not start your school here?” he said even though he and the Amar Jyoti trustees knew that it was not sufficient to run a school. But then, a beginning had to be made. They decided to take the plunge.

And this is how the Amar Jyoti School for Integrated Education started under the shade of trees with 15 disabled and 15 able-bodied children. The aim is for a 50-50 split between the orthopaedically disabled and the able-bodied children. In practice, one of the main objectives of the school is to ensure that the students gain admission to the mainstream schools when they bid adieu to Amar Jyoti. Amar Jyoti also provides vocational training, including computing, screen printing, watch repair, knitting and stitching.



Giants locked in ‘phoney war’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 1
The mobile phone scene is Haryana will never be the same again. With the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) announcing its decision to start the cellular mobile telecom service (CMTS) by August, the mobile war is all set to hot up.

In fact, the government-controlled telecom giant–BSNL– seems to have woken up from the slumber rather late in the day. With two telecom giantss—Escotel and Essar– ruling the roost in the state, the going seems to be tough for the BSNL. And to top it all, another major telecom giant, Airtel, which took the telecom sector by storm in Chandigarh and Punjab recently, is waiting in the wings to enter the already-crowded telecom scene of the state shortly..

However, given its huge infrastructure, the BSNL cannot be written off. Observers felt that with four telecom players providing services, the ultimate beneficiary would be the common mobile phone user who has been at the mercy of the single or double telecom players till date. “The activities related to the CMTS have been started on a war-footing and the project is likely to be commissioned by August 15,” informed the newly-appointed General Manager Telecom, Panipat, Mr M.S. Dhillon. The main emphasis would be on better coverage and “one country one service”, he quipped.

Meanwhile, with the work of cable-laying being expedited by the BSNL, the waiting list up to February 28 in Model Town and the Huda areas in Panipat had been cleared and in future the connection would be provided on demand. The areas of Aher, Dadlana, Israna and Naultha would also get the phone on demand–fulfilling a long-standing demand.

And with a view to providing better telecom facilities to the rural area, a state-of-the-art telephone exchange had been set up at the Dikadla village. The C-DOT technology 0.5-K RSU has all the facilities of the urban exchange, including dynamic STD, morning alarm, internet facilities, call forwarding, call waiting and intelligent network (IN). Officials highlighted that with the commissioning of this exchange, complete waiting list of the Dikadla and Hathwala exchanges would be cleared in the first week of March. Besides, this exchange will also serve five more villages–Atta,Khojkipur,Basara,Mohavti and Dehra.

The officials informed that during March, Urlana, Babali, Bapoli, Assan Kalan and Matlauda exchanges would be expanded. And to provide phone on demand in the city, three more exchanges on the Sanoli Road, the Yamuna Enclave area and the Huda /Model Town are envisaged. The BSNL has provided six IN-PCOs in the city.



Sikh census survey over

New Delhi, March 1
The house-to-house survey of Sikh census has been completed and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management will set up camps in four gurdwaras in Tilak Nagar to enable those whose names could not be included in the headcount process to register themselves.

The DSGMC president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, said those who could not get themselves registered in the headcount process could visit these gurdwaras on weekends and register themselves. The process would be on throughout this month. The four gurdwaras were Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Tilak Nagar, Ganesh Nagar, Krishna Park and Gurdwara Peshorian. The convenor of the Census Fact Finding Committee, Mr Manjit Singh Greater Kailash, said that the data collected by the private firm Min Mec is now in the possession of the DSGMC.

“All the forms filled up by the survey firm have been submitted to us. The company officials would also be present during the weekends at the gurdwara, when we expect a number of persons to register themselves,” he said. TNS



Lokayukta notice to MLA

New Delhi, March 1
The Lokayukta has issued a notice to Congress MLA, Jaspal Singh, on a complaint filed by an assistant engineer of Delhi Vidyut Board, accusing the legislator of “demanding a bribe” and further of “harassment’’. The Lokayukta, Mr R N Aggarwal, has issued notices to Mr Jaspal Singh and the Delhi Vidyut Board chairman to file their reply to the complaint. The case would come up for hearing on March 8.

The assistant engineer, Mr Ravinder Balwani, in his complaint to the Lokayukta has alleged that “Mr Jaspal Singh, MLA from Tilak Nagar, got me transferred as I did not pay any bribe to him and to other senior engineers with whom he has strong nexus.” TNS



CBSE Day 1 without hiccups
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, March 1
The first day of the CBSE exams passed off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported.

Mr. Ashok Ganguly, Chairman, CBSE, told this correspondent: “The exam was conducted peacefully throughout the country. We have received no negative feedback. The paper has also been appreciated, it was not a difficult paper”. He added that no cases of cheating or improper conduct had been received so far.

About 2 lakh students took the board exam today. The initial anxiety that gripped the parents as well as the students after the call for the bandh given by the VHP was replaced with relief as things remained peaceful. “Though we were a little apprehensive about the safety of the children, owing to the bandh call, we are thankful that the exams were not affected. The children should not be troubled with such threats at such a crucial time of their lives”, pointed out Ms. Bakshi, a parent.



Bandh passes off peacefully in region 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, March 1
The bandh called by the VHP and its allied organisations in protest against the carnage at Godhra in Gujarat passed off peacefully in the district as well as in the region.

In Gurgaon district, most of the markets remained closed here today. No untoward incident was reported throughout the day.

A group of activists belonging to the VHP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, RSS, and BJP took out a procession in Sadar Bazar in the city raising anti-Pakistan and pro-Hindu slogans.

The activists were seen appealing to shopkeepers to keep the shutters down to show their solidarity for the kith and kin of the deceased in Gujarat violence.

A flare-up was averted by the tactful intervention of the police force led by the DySP, Mr Banwari Lal, when the procession reached Shona Chowk where more than 200 members of the Muslim community had gathered to offer namaz at the masjid. The police officials tactfully diverted the mob away from the masjid area.

Meanwhile, the markets of Sohna, Forejpur Jhirka and Punhana remained closed throughout the day while those at Taoru, Farrukhnagar, Pataudi and Nuh witnessed only a partial response to the bandh call.

The BJP district president, Mrs Anuradha Sharma, said that the minority community living in the country should understand that they were part of the nation. If they continued to behave in an irresponsible way, the Hindus would loose their patience and give them a befitting reply, added the BJP leader.

Rewari: Prominent markets of the town observed a near total bandh today. Led by their leaders, hundreds of activists of the VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, the BJP and Beopar Mandal took out a procession from the main markets and held a protest demonstration condemning the attack on the Sabarmati Express in Gujarat. They also shouted slogans expressing their resolve to construct the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Later, they organised a rally at the Moti Chowk here. It was addressed by Mr Ratnesh Bansal and the district vice-president of the BJP, Mr Arvind Yadav. They said that the Hindus were sober and tolerant but their patience and tolerance should not be put to test. The gathering also observed a one minute silence in memory of those killed in the attack on the Sabarmati Express.

A heavy police contingent under Mr Lachhman Das, DSP, and Mr Sujan Singh, Executive Magistrate, was present to prevent any untoward incident. Shopkeepers at various points were seen raising their shutters after the dispersal of the rallyists.

Jhajjar: The bandh was only a complete success in Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh towns today. All the shops and markets remained closed throughout the day. However, traffic moved as usual as bandh supporters never come out on the roads to disrupt it.

Later, activists of the VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena took out a procession and passed a resolution condemning the attack on kar sevaks in Gujarat. The procession led by Swami Parmanand of the VHP submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

In Bahadurgarh town also, bandh was observed amid heavy security bandobust at all vital installations, including mosques in the town. All the bazaars wore a deserted look throughout the day as the shopkeepers downed the shutters. Even raheriwalas and panwalas did not put up their stalls today.

Mr Yashwant Gandhi, treasurer of the Haryana unit of the VHP said that hundreds of kar sevaks were set to leave for Ayodhya on March 13 from the district unit. They would remain there till March 15, the day set for starting the temple construction.

Sonepat: Shopkeepers in the main commercial centre of the city, Gina Bahaman, and some other areas kept their shutters down in response to the VHP’s bandh call. However, shops in other areas remained open as usual and these included those in the subzi mandi and grain markets. Some private schools had declared today as a holiday.

Bus and rail traffic remained unaffected. Life was normal in the city. Security has been tightened by the district and police administration 



Chautala calls for peace,  communal harmony
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 1
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala has appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace and communal harmony in view of incidents of violence in some parts of the country during the past two days.

He was addressing a meeting of the state executive committee of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) at the state party head quarters here.

Mr Chautala, who is also the president of the ruling INLD party, called upon his party leaders to be vigilant and strive for the maintenance of peace and amity in the state.



Transporters in Gurgaon cry foul
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 1
The Haryana Government, through its transport authorities, has allegedly given a raw deal to the private bus operators having CNG specification certificate. The affected operators do business on the Gurgaon-Badarpur route. The transporters allege that even false cases are fabricated against them. Their vehicles are impounded sometimes, robbing them of their bread and butter.

A study of various operators suggested that they had been booked mainly on account of not having documentation, picking passengers from no-parking zones and disobeying the police guidelines under the Motor Vehicles Act.

In some of the cases, it was revealed that even the operators who had clean records, were pestered by the authorities.

The authorities impounded five out of nine buses of a firm, Ludhiana Travels Pvt Ltd in seven days on various charges recently.

The operators allege that they are not allowed to pick up passengers from the premises of the general bus stand. Of course, they are allowed to unload passengers on the premises. A personnel of the Ludhiana Travel Pvt Ltd, Mr Gaganeshwar Singh, said that his firm and other operators had approached a few days ago the general manager of the Haryana Roadways.

Mr Singh said that the general manager bluntly told them that he could do nothing in the case and if they wanted their grievances to be redressed, they would have to approach the higher authorities. He also reportedly told them that the Haryana Roadways, the public transport wing of the government, was suffering losses on account of the business of the private operators.

The operators complained against the harsh treatment, especially when they were paying all the dues and imposts to the Government.

This paper had recently reported that the private operators were doing illegal business in Gurgaon. Some of the points raised, included running of vehicles without permits, or running several buses with the help of one permit, resulting in loss to the Haryana Roadways buses.

The authorities appear to be redressing the anomalies in a skewed manner. Besides, the authorities appear to be oblivious of the happenings on the roads in Mewat areas, which are far from the district headquarters here. Illegal business by the transporters, especially the overloaded jeeps could result in major accidents any day.

Moreover, the authorities continue to ignore the shortage in services of the Haryana Roadways, especially to and from Delhi, resulting in inconvenience to the commuters.



DGP unfazed by soaring crime graph in Panipat
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 1
Even as the indications point to an upward swing in the crime graph in Panipat district, the Haryana DGP, Mr M.S. Malik, claimed here that the crime was “well within control”.

In a brief chat with reporters here after a routine inspection of the Police Lines and offices, Mr Malik seemed uncomfortable answering specific queries about the deteriorating law and order situation in the industrial city. The city police had made elaborate arrangement and spruced up the Police Lines for the scheduled inspection by the DGP.

It may be recalled that in the last month, at least four daring robberies had been reported in the city, spreading panic in the affluent industrial community here.

After chairing a meeting of senior police officials of the Rohtak range, Mr Malik informed mediapersons that an inquiry had been ordered into the incident related to the “harassment” of certain journalists by the Sonepat Police.

Mr Malik made an in-depth assessment of the working of the Police Lines and chided the police officials, including DSP (City), Mr Baljit Singh, in charge of the Lines, for being unable to win the confidence of the citizens of the city.

In fact, during the chat with reporters, Mr Malik conceded that he was not fully satisfied with the working of the Police Lines.

However, the local police officials said that most of the grievances of the people of the district would be addressed when the new Police Lines became functional. The Police Lines was currently functioning from the premises of a godown.

The DGP said enhanced funds were being provided to the Haryana Police Housing Corporation in the current financial year.

Besides the ongoing modernisation of the Haryana Police, he said more radar guns, speed detectors, night cross belts, night safety jackets, red gloves, dragon lights, poly-carbonate lathis and sophisticated investigating kits would be provided to the local police.

Later, at a meeting with the prominent citizens, concerns were expressed at the deteriorating law and order situation in the city. Mr Malik appealed to the public to cooperate with the police so that the crime rate could be checked and a more peaceful environment provided to the people.



Pensioner penalised for the fault of authorities

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.

I am an old and infirm defence widow of the 1962 war and drawing family pension from DPDO, Rewari, payable at PNB Main Rewari. A sum of Rs 1,45,000 in arrears is lying for the last 4 to 5 months in the DPDO office as my PPO is not to be found in the pension file. Already, I have received arrears of Rs 25,000 – in July, 2001 – under the same PPO. The present arrears are also to be disbursed under the same PPO. To keep the pensioner’s file up-to-date is the sole responsibility of the DPDO Office and not that of the pensioner. Then, why should I suffer a financial loss for the same?

In some similar cases, arrears have been paid by the DPDO, which is obviously being partial to some pensioners. Despite personal visits to DPDO, Rewari, I have written letters to DC Rewari and Defence Minister, CDA (P) Allahabad, but I have not received the arrears till now.

Shanti Devi, Vill & PO Nangligodha, Rewari (Haryana)

Godhra killings flayed

We unite to unequivocally condemn the ghastly episode in Godhra, in which 58 VHP kar sevaks were ruthlessly killed.

We condemn the harassment meted out to the Muslim men and the molestation of Muslim women prior to this event by those who appeared to be VHP kar sevaks heading for Ayodhya (as reported in Jan Morcha, Feb 24). We resolutely condemn the mob fury and revenge killings” unleashed in Gujarat which resulted in the gruesome murder of 150 Muslims.

In the context of the communal tension created on account of the Ram Mandir issue, these events demonstrate a grave crisis for the rule of law in this country. We hold that the threat to build the mandir in total defiance of the court orders, and the stoking of communal tensions belong to the realm of terrorism, and need to be handled as such.

We call upon the NDA government to rein in the elements within the alliance who are holding the nation to ransom for petty political gains, to not remain mute witnesses to the repetition of the national perfidy perpetrated on December 6, 1992, and to deal with the situation with firmness, as befitting a civilised nation. We call upon the

Opposition parties to fight the emerging communal holocaust with greater determination and unity than they did the menace of terrorism.

And above all, we call upon the people of India to resist all divisive propaganda, maintain communal harmony, and unite in protecting the unity and integrity of our secular democracy.

Nirmala Deshpande, Syeda Hamid, Swami Agnivesh, Rev. Valson Thampu (Gandhi Ashram, Kingsway Camp, Delhi)

Phones in coma

More than 200 telephone subscribers of village Ujina, district Gurgaon, are seeking rectification of faults in their instruments linked to Exchange NUH-01267.

Of these, 50 are out of order, of which 30 are completely ‘dead’ while the bell does not ring at all in the case of the rest. Besides, the billing machines of 5 PCOs have a slower pulse rate. Complaints have been lodged verbally as well as in writing with the SDO/JTO Nuh, but no effort has been made to rectify the discrepancies.

I wish to bring to the notice of the General Manager, Telecom Distt Gurgaon, as well as the Chief General Manager, Haryana Telecom Circle, Ambala, the non-compliance of the subscriber complaints.

Mahipal Singh, VPO Ujina (Gurgaon).

Hostel ambience

It was extremely shocking to learn that the Jamia Millia Islamia working women hostel, which is a safe place for working women from the low income group, has been turned into a place for chirping girls’ music dance party. The concerned authorities of Jamia Millia University are requested to look in to the matter and restore the erstwhile ambience.

Subhash C. Taneja, MDU, Rohtak.

EC’s appointment

After reading the news item titled, “Plea against EC appointment dismissed” (NCR Tribune dated Feb 20, 2002), I felt that municipal corporations, public corporations and universities should be made autonomous administrative organisations.

The appointment and dismissal procedures of statutory officers of these administrative organisations is mentioned in the Act under which they have been created. Several times, IAS, IPS and IRS officers are deputed by the Centre and the state governments to these autonomous organisations.

Kurukshetra and MDU have often had IAS officers as their vice-chancellors and registrars. MDU once had on its roll an IRS officer — Mr K L Guglani – and the then Income Tax Officer at Rohtak as its registrar. These officers are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of the Union Public Service Commission.

Normally, the appointing and the removing authority is the same, except in the case of High Court and Supreme Court judges, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, etc. But the procedure of dismissal in an autonomous organisation is quite different. Accordingly, “the counsel for Mr Tyagi had submitted that the conferment of additional charge upon Mr S Malaichamy till further orders was not an appointment of a regular nature or in the substantive capacity to the post of election commissioner and, therefore, taking away the said additional charge did not amount to ‘removal’.

Therefore, (without prejudice) I feel that the society expects our public administrators to have a preliminary knowledge of administrative laws. The petitioner had no locus standi and it was an avoidable petition. Such petitions increase the burden of our judiciary.

Om Parkash Wadhwa, Lecturer, Govt. College, Gohana (Sonepat)

Join Ravi Shankar

Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka Shankar, at the shooting of a film endorsing the strengthening of Indian laws against animal cruelty in the Capital.
Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka Shankar, at the shooting of a film endorsing the strengthening of Indian laws against animal cruelty in the Capital. 

Ravi Shankar, who was honoured this week with a Grammy for his album `Full Circle/Carnegie Hall 2000,’ and his daughter Anushka Shankar have filmed a new television ad to help People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ efforts to strengthen anti-cruelty laws (`Let’s bring harmony to animals’ lives’, February 27). The talented musicians are concerned that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was enacted more than 40 years and has never been updated. Fines and penalties for animal abuse are minimal and need to be brought up to date.

Please join Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar and PETA in urging the Prime Minister to put politics aside and pass amendments that will put teeth in the Act. If we fail to take action, animals will continue to suffer needlessly. Please contact Peta at Petaindia@ for more information.

Jason Baker, PETA Asia Representative, PO Box 28260, Juhu, Mumbai.



Heated exchanges mar council meet
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 1
Acrimonious exchanges among councillors marked the proceedings of the meeting of the Sonepat Municipal Council held here on Thursday. Mr Ashok Arora, vice-chairman of the council, presided over the meeting.

The trouble arose when some of the councillors protested against the irregularities in the issuing of house tax notices to the residents under the new policy adopted by the state government. Some members also criticised the civic administration for not removing the encroachments on municipal land. This had resulted in the assault on the son of a councillor.

The meeting adopted a resolution deciding to shift the dairies from the municipal limits at four places already identified by the council. One of them is situated on the Sonepat-Dewru road. It was decided to send the resolution to the government for approval.

Board exams

The Board of School Education, Haryana has made elaborate arrangements for the conduct of annual examinations beginning from tomorrow in the district and elsewhere.

According to official sources, as many as 73 examination centres have been set up for Class XII examination in the district. To check the menace of copying, as many as nine flying squads have been set up and these will be headed by the senior officers of the district, including SDMs of Gohana, Ganaur and Sonepat besides the DEO, DPEO and the SDEOs.

The District Magistrate of Sonepat has also enforced the probibitory orders under Section, 144 CrPC banning the assembly of five or more persons around the examination centres and within the radius of 200 metres. This step has been taken to check the interference by the anti-social elements from outside.

MLA  bereaved

Mr Fateh Singh, lambardar father of Mr Suraj Mal Antil, MLA and Chairman of the HAFED, died of heart attack on Thursday. He was 96. The body was cremated on the embankment of the Yamuna near Murthal village in the evening.

Shop looted

Thieves broke open the locks of a kiryana shop at the market in Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, last night and escaped with a variety of goods worth several thousands of rupees. The owner of the shop has informed the police about the theft.



Bhatnagar takes over as grievances panel chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
Mr P. S. Bhatnagar took over as Chairman, Public Grievances Commission, today in place of Mr S. C. Vaish whose term expired in December last year. Prior to this assignment, Mr Bhatnagar had served in a number of important and senior positions, which included the administrator of NDMC, Secretary of Food Processing Industries in Government of India and Chief Secretary of Government of Delhi.

Any person can approach the commission in connection with the redressal of his/her grievance against any officer belonging to the Government of Delhi, MCD, NDMC, Delhi Police, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Vidyut Board and autonomous bodies that come under the Government of NCT of Delhi by sending the complaint through post or courier services, an official press release said. 



Infant crushed to death by tractor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
Three persons, including an infant, were crushed to death in separate incidents in North-East and North-West districts of the Capital today. In the first incident, two-and-a-half-year-old Sahil was crushed to death by a tractor in the Bawana area of North-West district this afternoon.

The incident occurred when the victim was playing outside his house. The tractor driver has absconded. The police have registered a case of rash and negligent driving causing death in Bawana police station, the police said.

In another incident, two factory workers, identified as Lala Ram (26) and Pyare Lal (13), were crushed to death by a private CNG bus (DL-1PB-1127) in the Bhajanpura area in North-East district this morning.

The victims were going to their work place on a cycle. When they reached Bhajanpura, the bus hit them from behind and crushed them. They died on the spot. The bus driver, Balwinder, resident of Jahangirpuri in North Delhi, has been arrested on charges of rash and negligent driving causing death, the police said.

Two auto thieves held: The West Delhi police arrested two auto-lifters, Praveen (18) and Sunil (19), both residents of Tilak Nagar, on Thursday while they were moving around in a stolen Maruti van near Ganga Ram Hospital at Rajinder Nagar.

The police said that when they asked to produce the original papers of the van, the suspects confessed to have stolen it from Patel Nagar. They also confessed to have stolen two other Maruti vans from Hari Nagar and Tilak Nagar and a motorcycle from the Rajinder Nagar area.

The motor cycle had been seized from Tilak Nagar. Three car stereos and 22 bundles of copper wire were also recovered from their houses. They used to abandon the stolen vehicles after taking out the accessories from it. 



Sarpanch charged with embezzlement
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, March 1
The sarpanch of Akehari Madampur has been charged with the embezzlement of Rs 29,341, allocated for various purposes to the Gram Panchayat, during his tenure since 2000.

According to the police, Mr Ram Veer, a resident of the same village, in a statement before the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, alleged that the sarpanch of the village, Mr Ravinder, had been using the gram panchayat’s money for his personal expenses.

He alleged that while the sarpanch purchased ‘reti’ (sand) for Rs 5,600 from Mr Bhagawan, the panchayat records showed an expenditure of Rs 12,000 for the same. He claimed that the receipt attached in the panchayat records was fake, as only 295 squre feet of ‘reti’ was purchased while the receipt showed a purchase of 1500 square feet. Effectively, the sarpanch had swindled an amount of Rs 9,640.

Moreover, Mr Ram Veer also charged that while the sarpanch paid a rate of Rs 85 per labour for filling up the village pond, the official records showed the rate of Rs 150 per head. In this way, the sarpanch swindled Rs 3,500.

Furthermore, the sarpanch had prepared a fake receipt for 58 bags of cement, swindling Rs 8,190. Later, the sarpanch also sold 128 square feet ‘rori’ (gravel), which had remained unused after a public work.

The SDM has conducted an inquiry against the sarpanch. Moreover, the district police have registered a case under Section 467/468/471 and 409 of the IPC on directions from the court.



Industrial units miffed over EDC waiver 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, March 1
The industrial organisations of Udyog Vihar and Sector 18 are peeved about the way the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) is handling the controversial issue of external development charges (EDC).

Affected entrepreneurs are also cut up with other industrial chambers and associations which have nothing to do with the EDC, but are ‘misguiding’ the industrialists to appease the ruling politicians and bureaucrats.

The founder general secretary of Udyog Vihar Industries Association (UVIA), Mr A P Jain said that the waiving offhundred per cent EDC on the industrialists who had been allotted the plots in 1996 onwards in Udyog Vihar and Sector 18 was just an eyewash. Hardly 40 industrialists of 1,600 affected entrepreneurs would be exempted from the EDC. In December last year, the HSIDC imposed the EDC at the rate of Rs 402 per sqm on the industrialists of Udyog Vihar and Sector 18.

In a letter written to the Managing Director of HSIDC, February 28, Mr Raj Singla, the general secretary of Chamber of Industries of Udyog Vihar (CIUV) mentioned that imposing EDC was just an exercise to mop up funds even if it means throttling the industries in the state.

“The very basis for demanding EDC amounting to many times more than the rates of allotment after 12 to 25 years is without reason. It is like making industrialists buy their own property again,” mentions the letter. No development work in the vicinity of Udyog Vihar has been undertaken by the HSIDC. The industries must be explained clearly as to why this huge amount had been imposed on them, said Mr Raj Singla. Mr A P Jain appealed to the state government to withdraw the EDC totally with immediate effect.

The entrepreneurs on which the: EDC has been imposed urged the industrial organisations to ensure that other industrial chambers and associations do not politicise the issue. In another issue of excessive water bills, Col R P Dhawan, president of Chamber of Industries of Udyog Vihar remarked that the water bills for arrears sent out to them amounted to thousands of rupees.

The bills were worked out at rates arbitrarily imposed with retrospective date since 1997. The water bills have caused a lot of discontent. Most of the entrepreneurs are unable to pay the bills as they are struggling to keep their unit going, said Mr Dhawan.



LPG dealers hoard cylinders after hike in prices
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 1
While the Union Budget evoked a mixed reaction among political parties and residents in the city, LPG dealers closed outlets and denied delivery of cylinders to many consumers here soon after the Budget proposed a hike in LPG prices on Thursday.

Resentment prevails among consumers of LPG against the closure of shops by the LPG dealers and non-delivery of the cylinders to them immediately after the announcement of the Budget proposals.

Consumers alleged that the LPG dealers had created the shortage in a bid to make money and the authorities concerned had failed to take any action against those dealers who denied them cylinders. They urged the district authorities to take stern action against the LPG dealers and the officials of the department concerned who, they said, were in league with the dealers.

Meanwhile, reaction to the Budget was on expected lines. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders described the Budget as a good one and people oriented, leaders of various opposition political parties and trade unions dubbed it inflationary and anti-people.

Mrs Sumitra Chauhan, member of the HPCC, Mr Azad Singh Nehra, district president of the Human Rights Cell of the Congress, and Mr S. N. Solanki, president of the state unit of the CITU, said that the Budget proposals were anti-people and would help the rich.

In separate press statements, they said that there had been no justification to increase the prices of LPG cylinders and postal stationery as these items were used by all, particularly general public.


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