Monday, March 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Consumer set to be the king
Company with landline service enters the fray to end MTNL monopoly
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
After the mobile price war in the Capital, it is now the turn of the landline telecom services to enter the fray and end the monopoly of the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). With the knives out, the customers are expected to have the last laugh.

The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, which has been providing the landline telephone services in the National Capital Territory, will have to fend off a stiff challenge with the launch of Touchtel by Bharti from tomorrow. With the launch of this service, the customers would be able to pick and choose; in fact, the competition between the two would throw up an array of services for the benefit of the consumer.

Getting a telephone connection would be as easy as picking an item from the shelf in a shop. Touchtel has already tested its facilities in Madhya Pradesh and had recently rolled out the welcome carpet in Gurgaon and Faridabad.

The company plans to extend its landline services to Panipat, Hissar and Karnal by the end of this year.

As Bharti enters the highly competitive Delhi market, where the MTNL has so far enjoyed the status of a monopoly service provider, it also faces the mammoth task of enticing the existing customers and generating new connections, as there is no waiting list for telephone connections in the Capital. For the customers, Bharti, therefore, plans to unveil a number of value added services.

Though the tariff would be Rs 1.20 per minute for a three-minute call and the security deposit Rs 2000, almost similar to the deal offered by MTNL, the private telecom player hopes to win over customers with its value additions.

The company sources said that the subscribers would get free voice mail and an internet connection with the new telephone.

“One need not buy additional internet time, but would get it free with Touchtel. Further, there would not be any additional charge for the hours consumed surfing on the web as the company would bill the consumer only for the calls,” the sources said.

The company plans to target the corporate customers in the first phase, for whom it has worked out an attractive scheme.

“The company would introduce the Centrex facility, targeted at the corporate customers. With this, the offices of a corporate subscriber in two different parts of the Capital can be connected and making a call between them would be like dialing an extension number within the office,” the sources said.

Apart from setting up a Touchtel shop, offering all solutions under one roof, the company also plans to roll out several paid services like call forwarding, call directing, caller ID, one touch dialing, and smart fax.

Though the company has fibre network almost in all parts of the Capital, the last mile connectivity would be through copper. With Okhla being the hub of Touchtel’s exchange, the service in the first phase would focus on the customers in South and South West Delhi.

However, the mother of all battles would, however, begin with the entry of BATATA in the landline sector towards the end of the year. Then the consumer would be king.



Last-minute lobbying for civic poll tickets 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
Hard bargaining and hectic lobbying was the order of the day among the leaders of the two main political parties – the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party on the eve of the last day of the filing of nominations for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections scheduled to be held on March 24.

While the Congress leaders were huddled at the residence of AICC general secretary and in-charge of Delhi, Mr Kamal Nath, the election committee members of the state unit of the BJP, who had been summoned by the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh leadership, attended the meet chaired by Mr Laxman Dev, in charge of Sangh’s activity in the Capital. The former Delhi Chief Minister and MP, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, who has distanced himself from the party’s election activity in the Capital, did not attend the meet, ostensibly because he is leading a parliamentary delegation to Jammu and Kashmir. The party recently had suffered a major blow with another senior leader and MP, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, resigning from the manifesto committee.

As the news of the untimely death of Lok Sabha Speaker Ganta Mohan Chandra Balayogi in a helicopter crash reached the Capital, Mr Kamal Nath left the city and the Congress leaders reassembled in different places to chart out the final list of candidates for the 134-member municipal ward. However, he returned in the evening to finalise the tickets. Party spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said that the party had cleared the names of candidates for first list of candidates, which would be released late tonight, and the final list would be released early tomorrow. The candidates would have only a few hours to file their papers as Monday is the last day of the nominations. Mr Sharma said the party has decided not to give tickets to 10 of the sitting corporators.

As there is general expectation that the Congress would repeat its electoral performance in the four state assemblies in the MCD polls, the ticket aspirants are pulling all strings in the political circles to get the party nod. Party sources said a large number of Congressmen, who had filled application forms after depositing Rs 3,000, would file their nominations as rebels if their names don’t figure in the party list.

BJP sources said that the party was unlikely to face the problem of rebels contesting against the official candidates as the mood in the party was gloomy. However, the disgruntled party workers would try to sabotage the party’s prospects by not coming out openly in favour of the official candidates during electioneering. For the officials in the Election Commission and the 35 returning officers, tomorrow would be a hectic day as candidates would make a beeline for their offices from the morning itself. Since February 25, when the filing of nominations began, only a handful of independents in some of the wards and some candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Lok Janshakti and the Samajwadi Party had filed their nominations.

As the Centre has stayed the rotation of wards, the Commission has reserved 46 wards for women including nine for the SC. And, 16 wards are reserved for the SC in the 134-member corporation. The Commission will scrutinise the nominations on March 6 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 9. The polling will be held on March 24 and the counting on March 27.

In the Capital, there are 550 registered but unrecognised parties and 42 state-level recognised parties. The number of electors has dipped from 82.3 lakh in 1997 to 78.9 lakh this year. The largest number of electors happens to be in Rohini (Ward No 33) that has 1,55,084 registered voters. 



Notices to govt depts for not paying house tax
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 3
Various government departments in Palwal have been put on the defaulters’ list for not paying their house tax arrears. They owe as much as Rs 16 lakh to the Municipal Council, which is facing an acute funds crunch.

The Municipal Council has now issued notices to these departments. They have been asked to pay the dues within a week, it is learnt. The issue of pending dues, especially house tax, had been discussed with the officials of the council by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, who visited the town recently. Mr Kumar has reportedly asked all the civic bodies to improve their functioning and recover their dues on time, so that various expenses could be met and the works launched by the bodies do not suffer.

According to the Municipal Council sources, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) at Palwal alone owes about Rs 11.81 lakhs in house tax arrears. The Warehousing Corporation and the Wakf Board are the other departments which are yet to clear their dues. The council has decided to take legal action against the defaulters, if they fail to deposit the tax within the stated period.

Four couples held in flesh trade racket

Faridabad: With the arrest of nine persons, including two married couples, the police here claims to have busted a flesh trade racket, operating in the posh Sector 14.

The accused were arrested by a police team from a house after a raid. The officials had sent a policeman in plainclothes to strike a deal with the racketeers operating on a cell phone. After the deal was finalised, the police swooped down on the house and arrested about nine persons, including three women. Four of the arrested are married couples and are stated to be the main accused in the racket. They were later produced in the court which remanded the couples to judicial custody; the others were released on bail.



His persistence keeps drug peddlers off the streets
J.T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
Professionalism, persistence, presence of mind and swift action are essential during raids to catch those dealing in narcotics. Even if you possess these qualities, the raids are never that simple, especially if you are dealing with the organised criminals who are extremely cautious.

Thus opines Inspector Satya Prakash Kaushik, SHO (Narcotics), who has led and supervised many such raids, seizing drugs worth crores of rupees and managing to catch at least half a dozen notorious drug peddlers from the city’s streets. He modestly credits it all to the teamwork and says, “The smaller the team, the better the raid as the drug traffickers easily understand the way policemen talk, walk and the way they operate. Even a minor lapse from our side would spoil the whole operation and the efforts go waste, ” added Mr Kaushik.

He says raids are sometimes interesting, sometimes taxing as the days are spent in waiting and developing information. During a raid once, he had to wait with his team for seven hours near Surya Hotel, Karkardooma Courts and a cinema hall to nab a supplier.

Recalling the incident, the 52-year-old inspector said that according to the initial information, the supplier was to meet the customer near Surya Hotel. Since the customer somehow knew about our presence there, he asked the supplier to come to Karkardooma courts, then we went there. Later, the supplier was asked to meet him near a cinema hall – likewise the cycle, Surya Hotel-Karkardooma court-cinema hall, continued thrice. Finally, the customer did not turn up. However, we chased the supplier and nabbed him near Vishwas Nagar, but found nothing on him.

“Unlike other criminals, the drug traffickers take immense precautions while distributing the drugs. They check the place, often change spots and are always move in company,” adds Mr Kaushik.

In fact, once in Chandni Chowk, he had a tough time tracing a supplier as the walled city has a maze of lanes and by-lanes. One gets easily lost in them. “It was a hot summer day and when we reached the area, the supplier had done a vanishing trick.”

One of our constables posed as a rickshaw-puller and followed the supplier. On reaching the spot, we seized 20 grams of smack from him. When we searched the house of the customer, we found nothing. As we were about to leave, our head constable noticed the cooler and became suspicious. After turning off the cooler, we discovered 2.5 kilograms of smack hidden inside,” recalls Mr Kaushik.

In another raid, the inspector caught a customer who was waiting to buy the stuff. When questioned, he revealed the phone number of the supplier in Meerut. Posing as prospective customers, the policemen phoned the supplier who later agreed to meet them near a sweet shop in Ghaziabad. He was nabbed on the spot. Later, he revealed his source in Delhi’s Parmanand Colony and another in Dilshad Colony. The raid was successful and they were able to nab all of them and recover seven kilograms of opium. They also sealed a factory which was converting the opium into smack.

“In another house, we found drugs concealed in a wall. Even the court appreciated our efforts in the case. In the latest operation, we nabbed a drug addict. He disclosed that he used to buy the stuff from a woman. We asked him to buy the stuff from her, and he did. Third time, he was asked to introduce the woman to our lady constable who posed as a customer. The woman supplier called the constable to buy fresh ‘maal,’ and the process of nabbing the woman is still continuing,” added Mr Kaushik.

Mr Kaushik, who belongs to Faridabad in Haryana, joined the Delhi Police almost two decades ago. He lives in Timarpur and is married with two children. He takes immense pride in his job and claims that he would continue to do his best no matter what the constraints are. “I believe in doing my duty without bothering about the rewards,” he told the ‘NCR Tribune’.



Report sought on Delhi’s killer roads
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
The number of accidental deaths in the Capital is more than the combined accidental deaths in the four other metros in the country. Expressing concern over highest number of accidental deaths in the Capital, the Delhi High Court has sought details from the Delhi Government and the police about the safety measures and steps taken to regulate the traffic. Taking cognizance of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Free Legal Aid Cell (FLAC), a Bench comprising Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice S Mukerjee has directed the Delhi Government, the State Transport Authority (STA) and the Police Commissioner to submit detailed reports on safety measures and steps taken for improvement of traffic management. In the PIL, the FLAC alleged that authorities’ failure to take steps matching the ever-increasing traffic has resulted in the highest number of accidental deaths as well as injuries to road users in the national Capital.

The petitioner has highlighted various flaws in rules related to traffic management and treatment of patients, including inadequate first-aid vans, delay in medical aid after reaching hospitals due to completion of medico-legal formalities by the police, ill-equipped emergency services and refusal of private hospitals to admit accident cases. FLAC activist Sugan Chand Aggarwal, while presenting comparative figures of fatal accidents in five metros since 1995, said that the death toll in Delhi during 2000 was far more than the combined toll in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. While 2,882 people fell victims to road accidents in the Capital during 2000, the combined figure for the other four metros was 2,390, the PIL said. The PIL said the STA and the Traffic Police had failed to take steps for safety of road users at killer spots and road crossings as all major mishaps had taken place in these areas.



Day of lootings in Sonepat 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 3
It was a day of lootings and people getting waylaid. In the first incident, two unidentified armed youth reportedly snatched a Tata Indica from one Mohinder, a resident of Hassanpur Kurar village near Shahzadpur, about 5 km from here.

The car owner was going to Juan village to look up a relative when he was hailed by a youth near Shahzadpur village for a lift. He consented and the youth boarded the car. At some distance, another youth stopped the car and sought a lift. It is stated that both the youths pulled out arms and asked the car owner to get out of the vehicle. When he did not oblige, they pushed him out and drove away.

The police has registered a case against the miscreants and launched a hunt to apprehend them. According to another report, two armed youths assaulted two scooterists with gandasas in a bid to snatch the scooter on G.T. road near Larsauli village, about 13 km from here. Both the scooterists were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger. The Ganaur police have registered the case and further investigations are on. However, no arrest has been made. Another case of alleged looting was reported from the railway station in Sonepat. A passenger, who wanted to board a Delhi-bound train in the morning, was waylaid in the toilet by two unidentified youths, who snatched Rs 300 from him. Both the miscreants, however, managed to escape.



Quake rocks Delhi region
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
Hundreds of residents across the Capital rushed out of their homes in panic when an earthquake, with its epicentre 1000 km away in the folds of the Hindukush mountains, rocked the city. There were no reports of any damage or casualties, though there was considerable panic following the tremors, which lasted for several seconds. A number of residents of high rise buildings, particularly in the East and North West Districts of the Capital, claimed that some of the structures had developed minor cracks.

Being a Sunday most of the commercial areas of the city were closed and as such the panic was confined to the residential colonies and in parks which were thronged by those in the holiday mood. The tremors, which were felt around 5.40 p.m., caught the residents by surprise while they were engaged in their daily chores or just lazing around watching television. A housewife in one of the society apartments in east Delhi said that the television set started rocking eerily even as the ceiling fan swayed dangerously over her head. She immediately realised it was an earthquake and rushed out of her apartment along with her two children.

A computer technician, working in one of the offices in Connaught Place area, found his monitor swaying in front of him. When he reached out to stabilise it, he felt his chair rocking as well. It was then that he realised it was an earthquake.

Children playing outside in the parks also felt the tremors. Later, groups of people gathered outside to discuss the quake. The memories of the devastating quake in Gujarat came back even as people watched the state being rocked by another kind of quake – that of communal violence. The seismological office here said that the quake registered 6.7 on the Richter scale and was felt all over north India.



DVB switches on lights in daytime, which go phut at night
Rohit Wadhwaney

New Delhi, March 3
Strange are the ways of our governmental agencies. While several residential colonies of south Delhi plunge into pitch darkness thanks to damaged streetlights at nights, the same lights suddenly glow bright during daytime. Believe it or not, in south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, the streetlights have been switched on during daytime for the past one week.

“It may be surprising to see them on during daytime. And more surprising is that they switch them off at night,” said Mr Lal Chand Chaudhry, a shopkeeper in the main market of Malviya Nagar.

Mr Chaudhry, in a sarcastic tone, said it seemed the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) was in a different time zone altogether. “They are strange. Why would anyone want to switch on the lights during the day and switch them off when it turns dark?” Surely, no one could answer that question better than the DVB. A DVB official, who did not wish to be named, denied the possibility of such a situation saying, “I can understand that one or two streetlights remaining on. But it is impossible for all of them to be on, and then being switched off at night. I would not believe it.”

The official said if a few lights were on, the only reason could be that the main switch, from where the streetlights of an area were switched on and off, must have been damaged. “The DVB officials who are responsible for switching the lights on and off wouldn’t probably be realising that when they switch the ‘on’ button, the lights are going off and vice versa. It has happened before and it is just a mechanical fault. No one can be blamed for it.”

The residents and shopkeepers of Malviya Nagar had made complaints to the DVB a couple of times during the past week. “To be honest, we are not bothered about whether the lights are on during the daytime or not. If the DVB enjoys doing that we have no problem at all. But yes, we are bothered when they switch off the lights in the night,” said Mr Kishore Sharma, who owns a cloth shop in the market. The residents said even if it was a mechanical fault, which no one could be blamed for, the DVB should have no excuses for not reacting on their complaints.

Even the passers-by, walking through the main road along the main market and happen to notice the glowing streetlights while the sun was shining bright at midday, pointed their fingers and nodded their heads in disgust. Some even laughed as they walked past.

Though the DVB official said if there was a mechanical fault it would have been rectified within a day or two, residents of Malviya Nagar reminded that the lights had not been switched on in the nights earlier too. It is a fact that more than half the number of streetlights in the flourishing colony had “remained off” for years.

“I would not even want to say that they have remained damaged. If they were damaged, how could they be functioning during the daytime?” asked Mr Naresh Malik, secretary of the Malviya Nagar Residents Welfare Association.

About a few months ago, residents of Pragati Park in Malviya Nagar complained to the DVB about the “switched-off streetlights” in their area. Hell bent on making the DVB get to work, they repeated the complaint several times later. Though the complaints didn’t bore any fruit, the DVB surely did get to work. The governmental agency, allegedly, switched off all the streetlights in the area for a week, even the few ones that were functioning.

“We had to go and apologies to the officials of the agency for coming to their office again and again. Only then did they switch on a few streetlights,” alleged Mr S. S. Madan, a resident. So beware of the DVB, your area could very well be the next in its list, if you are complaining too much.



He soared where the eagles dare
Parmindar Singh

Capt Shashi Kant Sharma
Capt Shashi Kant Sharma

Noida, March 3
Nothing can give more satisfaction and solace to the family of a young officer who died for his country than meditation, worship and charity.

That is how the parents and the brother of late Capt. Shashi Kant Sharma observed the birthday, on February 28, of a devoted son, a loving brother and a soldier. Mrs Sudesh Sharma and Flt Lt J.P. Sharma — the parents — and younger brother Naresh spent the day with the inmates of old-age homes and schoolchildren of slum-dwellers, feeding the poor and donating blood. It’s something that they have been doing this day every year since 1999 – remembering a devoted son, a disciplined soldier and a patriot.

Captain Shashi Kant Sharma did the family, his regiment and the country proud by attaining martyrdom at the snowy heights of 21662 ft at Bana post in the Saichen Glaciers while leading his men.

“There is a chasm within that pains at times, but the pride that fills your chest and lifts your head more than makes up for the grief at the departure of a dear one so soon. After all not many get an opportunity to accomplish for nation what our Shashi did,” say the parents.

‘Where eagles dare, Captain Shashi Kant Sharma is there.’ So went the refrain in 12 J&K LI atop the world’s highest battlefield -– the Siachen Glaciers. Commissioned in the 15 Armoured Regiment on June 10, 1995, Shashi Kant had won many awards at the NDA, Khadakvasla, and IMA, Dehradun, during his training as an army officer.

The son of an Air Force Officer, Shashi Kant had patriotism in his blood. His friends remember Shashi Kant as someone always ready to take up tough jobs. “For a hero, death is a trifle. This used to be his refrain,” they reminisce.

After getting commissioned, Shashi volunteered for a stint in Siachen. “If my time is up, then I will die in the safest of places but if God has not yet destined me to die, I will not be killed even by the enemy bullets.”

While leaving for Siachen, he told his mother, “If I come back I will be your son if I do not, I will be called the nation’s son.” He was keen to get a high-altitude medal, awarded to those who serve at the Glaciers. He led a patrol near the actual ground position line. His mission was to destroy Pakistani bunkers and their logistic supply routes.

Next he was assigned, as commander, the Bana post, situated at 21,882 foot – two-thirds of Mt Everest’s height, and at minus 40 degrees temperature. After the completion of his 23-days tenure, Shashi Kant volunteered to stay on for a couple of days more till he was to be relieved by his successor.

On October 3, 1998, heavy shelling from Pakistani side continued on Bana post all night. Shashi Kant and his men repulsed the attack, but the next day he was wounded grievously in his right thigh and abdomen.

The brave commander held out regardless, guarding the post. At 5pm on October 5, he was shot in the forehead and died a hero.

Capt. Shahsi Kant was posthumously awarded a Sena Medal on August 15, 1999 by Chief of Army Staff General V.P. Malik, which was received by his father, Flt Lt. J.P. Sharma.

A badge of sacrifice for his valour was also presented to Capt Shashi Kant’s father on January 15, 2000 by Army Chief General V. P. Malik. Noida Administration has commemorated Capt. Shashi Kant’s service by naming a road in front of the Golf Course as Shahid Capt Shashi Kant Marg as also by naming a park in his memory in Sector-37, where the Sharma family lives.



Overloaded buses imperil lives of commuters 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 3
The overloading in private buses is posing a serious threat to the lives of thousands of commuters and the irony is that the District Transport officials and the police have been turning a blind eye to the overloading.

“They are just waiting for an accident to happen, said many commuters. A number of mishaps have already been reported recently due to overloading of private vehicles, injuring several persons which include women and children. In order to make more money, the operators of the vehicles first pack their vehicles to capacity and then accommodate a number of passengers even on the rooftops.

Most of the passengers, going to their place of work, are often seen travelling on the rooftops.

The frequency of the Haryana buses is not good enough. The roadways buses are hardly seen on certain routes. So, the commuters are being forced to travel in private buses and other vehicles.

In many cases, the officials are hands in glove with the private operators. Consequently, the lucrative routs are allotted to the private bus operators whereas the State Roadways buses are given loss-making routes. The commuters often complain that the private bus operators are the worst offenders as there is no check if the driver is trained or if the buses are roadworthy.

Moreover, in the absence of fixed duty hours, the drivers are compelled to work for long causing fatigue, resulting in accidents. The poor maintenance of the rural roads makes the situation worse. The private buses are normally parked on the main roads as there is no terminal for them, hampering the movement of the traffic.

To cap it all, the accidents are increasing in the district during the past few months. Reports of fatal accidents come in every day.

The reason behind the rising number of accidents is the plying of unauthorised buses and other auto vehicles without permits, drunken driving, poor maintenance of roads, lack of traffic lights at busy intersections and poor maintenance of buses and trucks. Some of these vehicles do not have even proper working brakes and headlights.



Files sought in probe missing
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, March 3
The functioning of the Estate Office of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) at Bahadurgarh has come under the scanner after four important official files have reportedly gone missing from there. The missing files have been sought by the State Vigilance Bureau (SVB) office at Gurgaon in connection with an inquiry against a senior clerk of the HUDA. It is learnt that the files have been taken away by the accused clerk.

The clerk, identified as Mahendra Ahlawat, fell in the SVB net after a raid on his residence by the flying squad had unearthed evidences of malpractice against him. He is facing serious charges of corruption and misuse of his post allegedly committed when he was posted at the Gurgaon office.

According to confidential sources in the HUDA office here, these files, under the following heads — Booth no 61/6, Plot no 1196/6, MIE-73, MIE-71 and 445P/9A –- were sought by the SVB police station at Gurgaon for scrutiny in the corruption case against the clerk against whom a case under Section 7/13 of DD&E Act was registered on June 16 last year.

However, the police station has been communicated that the required file were `untraceable’ here as the accused, Mahendra Ahlawat, had apparently took these files along with him after his transfer, local official sources said. The sources said that the clerk was a close confidant of the Estate Officer here. This is evident from the fact that he was relieved from office on January 18 this year while the orders of his transfer had been issued on December 17 last year, sources added.



An ashram for Delhiites to let off steam, purge ills
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
For fatigued souls seeking salvation from the pressures of modern-day life and its deleterious influences on body and mind, the “cleansing” and “revitalisation of life” on offer by the Kerala-based Santhigiri Ashram and Ayurveda and Sidha Hospital might be the panacea for all ills.

The ashram, the foundation stone for which was laid in the Capital by Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor today in Saket, brings with it the wisdom of ancient India. The special ‘gurupooja’ prayer undertaken at the ashram could remove chronic illnesses by cleansing ancestral impurities and spiritual problems in the family.

According to Swami Jyothirmaya Jnanatapaswi, general secretary of the ashram, Karunakara Guru envisaged a total revitalisation of life in all its interrelated aspects: spiritual, social, economic and cultural. He had also stressed on cleansing at all levels and eradication of the negativities that have crept into all spheres of life.

On the occasion, Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the Capital’s secular outlook gave ample space for diverse thoughts to flourish here. (The Lieutenant Governor stood in for President K. R. Narayanan, who was originally scheduled to lay the foundation stone but could not attend the function because of indisposition.)

Welcoming the extension of the Thiruvananthapuram-based Santhigiri Ashram to the Capital, Mr Kapoor hoped the values of a composite society and secular culture, which the ashram stood for, would enrich the city’s socio-cultural life. Ruing the unfortunate incidents in Gujarat, Mr Kapoor said organisations like Santhigiri Ashram, founded by Navajyothishri Karunakara Guru, could play an important role in restoring sanity in turbulent times. “The holistic philosophy of life espoused by the organisation in all its aspects – be it personal, spiritual or societal – showed the way to all to lead a better life,” he added.

Echoing the Lieutenant Governor’s offer of all help to the ashram to further its activities in the Capital, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said it was indeed a fortunate development for the residents that the goodness prevailing in the ashrams of Kerala was being brought here.

Lok Sabha member and former Speaker of Kerala Assembly Varkala Radhakrishnan, who has had a 50-year association with Karunakara Guru, said the Guru was an epitome of humility and service and was a model to humanity.

Besides running an Ayurveda and Sidha Hospital near Thiruvananthapuram and ayurveda centres in Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with the state government, the ashram’s manufacturing units produce nearly 400 ayurvedic and sidha medicines.

Various religious heads, including Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, president of the Islamic Centre, Yuva Acharya Shri Amrendra Muniji Maharaj and the head of the Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram here, besides a number of eminent citizens attended the function.



Cops in hot pursuit mobbed
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 3
A constable was injured when a police party, which had gone to arrest an accused in Khaika village of Hathin subdivision of the district on Saturday, was attacked by a mob. Two persons have been arrested in this connection.

According to reports, the policemen had gone to the village to arrest one Ameen who was booked on various charges. One cop, identified as Vijender, was injured when some persons started pelting stones on the team. A case has been booked.

Youths die in mishaps

Two youths were killed in separate road accidents in the district during the past 24 hours. According to information, Surender, resident of Ismaila village, was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle near the Ismaila flyover.

In another incident, Sanjay, resident of Rurki village who was going on his motorcycle, was hit by a tractor-trailer. He was rushed to the PGIMS where he succumbed to his injuries.

Annual day

People were spellbound during the fancy dress show presented by the tiny tots of Baba Banda Bahadur Public School at its annual day function held here today.

The other attractions of the function were ‘bhangra’ by the boys and the Haryanavi dance by the girls of classes 7 and 8.

Mr Praveen Khurana, director (Academics) of the school, informed that Dr K. K. Pahwa of Delhi was the chief guest and Mr Krishan Lal Ahuja, president, Manav Sewa Sangh, was the guest of honour on the occasion. He said more than 400 students participated in the function.

Tractor rams shop

A tractor-trolley of the local municipal council rammed into a halwai shop damaging its windowpanes and showcase in the Ram Bazar area here on Saturday. It also damaged the motorcycle of a milk vendor parked near the shop. Soon after the accident, a number of shopkeepers arrived on the scene and protested against plying of tractor-trolleys through the narrow lanes of the bazar.

It is alleged that the driver of the tractor and other labourers quarrelled with the shop owner and the owner of the motorcycle and threatened them with dire consequences if they raised any protest. This has caused resentment among shopkeepers of the area. They alleged that there was no number plate on the tractor-trolley and the driver was under the influence of liquor.

Cheques disbursed

Mr Dev Raj Dewan, an independent MLA, distributed cheques totaling Rs 67.71 lakh among sarpanches of 31 villages for the execution of development works in their villages at a function organised in the Panchayat Bhawan here on Saturday.

According to a report, this amount has been sanctioned by the state government in connection with the announcements made by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, under the “Sarkar Aap Ke Dwar” programme. Mr Dewan also inaugurated the work on the construction of the road between Shaheed Chowk and Ram Bazar Chowk here. Speaking on the occasion, he disclosed that the state government had sanctioned Rs 2.29 crore for the construction and repair of the roads in the state. Of it, Rs 67 lakh had been received by the Sonepat Municipal Council for the purpose.

Security beefed up

The district and police administration has tightened security measures to maintain communal harmony and peace in the city and other parts of the district following the violence in Gujarat. According to official sources, armed policemen have been deployed outside religious places like Idgah, Mamoon Bhanja Dargah, and Muslim populated villages of Rasoi and Tharia. Strict vigil is being kept on the activities of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, RSS and other Hindu organisations as a precautionary measure.



Three dacoits nabbed, five cases solved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
The North-West district police today claimed to have solved five cases of robbery-cum-dacoity that were reported in the district with the arrest of three persons. The police seized one country-made weapon with three live cartridges, one spring-actuated knife and an iron rod from them. Besides, one colour TV, three black and white TVs, one wristwatch, one pair of earrings, one pair of ear tops, one bangle and two gold rings were also seized.

The accused, Mohammad Asfaq alias Babloo (24), Rais and Ismail (20), all residents of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, were arrested while they were planning to commit a dacoity in Sector 22, Rohini by the special staff of Sultanpuri police. However, their three associates escaped and a massive hunt was on to nab them, said Additional Commissioner of Police (North-West), Mr R. S. Yadav.

Illicit liquor seized: The PCR staff apprehended seven persons for smuggling illicit liquor on Saturday. The accused, Vinod Kapoor of Gurgaon, Deepak of Surat Nagar in Gurgaon, Bhupinder and Rajender Kumar, residents of JJ Colony, Nangloi, Sanjay Singh of Raghbir Nagar, Yashwant Vir of Sonepat and Raj Mohan of Lal Bagh in Azad Pur, were arrested when their vehicle was intercepted by the PCR staff.

The PCR personnel seized 3,700 pouches, 145 bottles of IMFL, 24 half bottles, 324 quarter bottles of illicit liquor, besides two cars and two scooters used for transporting the liquor, from them.

4 held for video piracy: With the arrest of four persons in the Model Town area, the Economic Offences Wing today claimed to have unearthed three rackets of audio and video CD piracy. The police also recovered 877 pirated VCDs, 18 CD writers and other plant and machinery used in preparing duplicate and infringed copies of Hindi and English films. The seizure included 43 blue film VCDs and negative plates.

Student commits suicide: Vipin (14), a resident of Mehrauli village in South district, reportedly committed suicide in his house by hanging from a ceiling fan. He was a student of class 9 in a government school in Mehrauli.

He committed suicide in the afternoon when nobody was at home. He was sleeping in the afternoon when his mother woke him up at 3.45 pm and asked him to do study. Later, she left for the market to fetch vegetable and other goods. When she returned, she found the main gate of the house bolted from inside.

When she with the help of neighbours entered the house after breaking open the gate, they found him hanging from the ceiling fan. A suicide note was recovered from his pocket saying “nobody should be held responsible for my death’, the police said. 



Design plays major role in textile industry
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 3
In the wake of the liberalisation and globalisation of the Indian economy, design will be an important factor in the development of value-added products and services to satisfy the consumer.

This was the consensus that emerged at the first-ever strategic workshop on “Lifestyle textiles for interiors” organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the National Institute of Design (NID) and the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) here on Saturday.

In his inaugural address, Mr Adesh Gupta, chairman of the CII Haryana State Council, said as the process of globalisation picked up momentum, the demand for design inputs from varied sectors had ushered in a new concept of design economy. The new concept of design economy, in turn, had led to better awareness of well-designed products having high-quality with supporting services, he contended.

Talking about NID’s collaboration with the CII in designing, Mr Munish Tyagi, head of the Delhi centre of the NID, informed that Panipat accounted for 30 per cent of the total exports in home textiles.

The workshop was aimed at sensitising the participants towards design development, presenting a contemporary approach for home textiles as a corporate strategy.

Experts from the NID highlighted the major role played by design in the textile industry, use of computers in designing home furnishing, colour for the lifestyle design and technology interface and issues related to the WTO and the textile industry.



A hand to help physically challenged do their chores

Artificial Limb Endolite India Limited with the help of RSL Steepers, UK, has introduced its ‘Artificial Hand’ for the physically challenged. Now the latter can do most of their work like a normal person.

Based on a new technology called Myo Electric System, it enables an individual to perform chores with ease. The system works with the nerves of the hand.

The artificial hand can be covered with different colour cosmetic gloves which match with the colour of the human body. The hands available are of two types: PVC and Silicone. Cost varies from Rs 30,000 for a cosmetic hand to Rs 3 lakh for a Myo Electric Technology. The company has its branches in the four metros. In Delhi, its office is located in A-4, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase I.

Screen in mid-air

Touted as the groundbreaking version of Apple personal computing machine, iMac sports a 15-inch LCD flat screen that floats in mid-air, allowing users to adjust its height or angle with just a touch. The new iMac also features a 700 MHz or 800 MHz PowerPC G4 processor. Having a 10.6 inch base, the iMac comes with one gigabyte of memory and 60 GB hard drive. All iMac models include iMovie2, the video editing software, iTunes2 digital software that lets users put an entire music collection on their Mac and iPhoto software by which users can import images directly from digital cameras.

Super-fast printer

Canon launches S600 that combines high speed, superior print quality and reduced costs. It realises super-fast print speeds of 15 ppm for monochrome and 10 ppm for colour. It is capable of printing A4 colour photo images in 90 seconds and offers an image resolution of 2400X1200 dpi.

Fun ’n phone

The Nokia WAP-enabled 5210 has a sporty design, unique ‘wearability’ options and enhanced durability. It is equipped with 19 in-built training profiles, an in-built stopwatch, a countdown timer with a restart option and an interval timer for exercise cycles. The in-built thermometer is another fun and handy feature in the Nokia 5210 that provides users with the approximate temperature of their surroundings. It is small and light, weighing 92 grams; talk time of up to 3 hours and 50 minutes and a standby time of up to 170 hours with the standard Lithium-ion Li-on battery. Among the personalisation features include profile logos with profile graphics, animation as well as a rhythmic vibra and backlight alert which enhances ringing options.

Digital water purifier

A four-stage wall mountable on-line water purifier that works on UV based technology, the Waterguard-Digital not only filters the suspended impurities in water but also disinfects it from harmful disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Introduced by Usha Shriram Brita, the purifier is controlled by an eight-bit microprocessor and gives a digital display of all its operations, making it user-friendly.

Women’s watches

The Raga collection of watches from Titan, exclusively dedicated to women, combines traditional Indian motifs and style in a contemporary finish and design. It is available in 20 styles with multiple appealing dials expressed in ropes, ornamental kadas and bracelets. 


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