Saturday, March 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


A grandmother’s day of emancipation
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur Jhirka (Mewat), March 8
The women of 84 villages of Ferozepur Jhirka block of Mewat in Gurgaon district today converged in public to exhibit their sense of empowerment and emancipation. A fitting response on the occasion of International Woman’s Day.

The occasion was a grand moment for 50-year-old Fazri of Nasirbas village, who has 12 grand children. For once, she had an air of nonchalance around her, having weaned herself away from her domestic chores and making it a point to assemble at the site, as if to display her new-found sense of freedom.

Thirty-year-old Wajida of Agon village, who has five children, was equally elated. So were some 3,000 other women present on the occasion. The upshot was that all of them made it on their own to the venue from their far-off villages. Quite remarkable in patriarchal and feudal Mewat.

The function was organised by the Mewat Development Agency (MDA), a state government body, in co-ordination with the Mewat Social and Educational Development Society, a voluntary organisation. The society is registered with the MDA for the purpose of implementing the Self-Help Group Scheme in the villages of Mewat.

According to a functionary of the MDA, although the programme was intended only for members of the Self-Help Group Scheme, women not connected to it in any way also turned up in a big way. The fact that they turned up for the occasion with their kids in tow sums up their sense of emancipation.

The large presence of men folk at the site was almost a tacit endorsement of the women venturing out in public. Mauz Khan (55) of Dhana village, who had come all the way from his village to see the turnout, was candid enough to admit that the Self-Help Group Scheme had started yielding results in the villages.

The MDA intensified the scheme two summers back. Under the scheme, women form groups in villages. The groups are trained by the animators of the MDA and the designated voluntary organisations in specific areas on the art of saving money. After the members of the groups are taught the basics of book keeping, they are initiated into commercial banking. Also, the groups are trained in some vocations. The banks, then, collectively lend money to the groups to enable the members to start businesses in the field they have been trained. The banks collect the interest on the principal amount from the group as a whole, generating money in the market and in Mewat. This scheme has opened new economic vistas for the women here.

The invitees at the function – Miss Nafisa Hussain, member of the National Commission for Women, and Miss Sona Khan, a retired judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court – urged the women at the gathering to send their girls to schools and for higher education.



SC reserves order on CNG deadline
A bureaucrat is not an expert on fuel: Centre
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on the time sought by the Government of NCT of Delhi to convert the fleet of buses to CNG mode after the deadline set by the court expired on January 31. The three-judge Bench, comprising justices BN Kirpal, VN Khare and Ashok Bhan, also reserved its judgment on the permission sought by the Centre to use alternate clean fuels alongside Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The orders were reserved by the Bench on the conclusion of arguments from both sides that had spread over four days and three sittings of the court.

On the extension of the January 31 deadline for conversion of the bus fleet into CNG mode, the court repeatedly asked the Government of NCT of Delhi as to how it extended the deadline without consulting the court. During the hearing, the court had made it clear that it was not going to recall any of its earlier orders making it mandatory for the 10,000-strong city bus fleet to convert into single fuel CNG mode. (The Government of NCT of Delhi had sought extension of the deadline for phasing out diesel buses on the ground that CNG supply was not adequate. It was contended that in the prevailing situation, at the most 200 buses could be phased out every month. It had also submitted before the court that the Union Ministry of Surface Transport had not declared the guidelines of safety.)

Solicitor General Harish Salve, appearing as amicus curiae in the case, criticised the Centre for raising the issue of alternate fuel at a belated stage. He said : “‘This request should be turned down as it is illegal and is also in the teeth of earlier judgements and orders of the court on the protection of environment.” He wanted heavy costs to be imposed on the Centre for moving such an application and that the Government of NCT of Delhi be directed to phase out at least 800 diesel buses every month. He urged the court to follow the principle that the “polluter pays” and impose costs on the authorities concerned for not implementing the court order so far, and, thereby allowing vehicular pollution to harm the health of citizens.

Salve said the court had categorically rejected all pleas seeking modification in the earlier order making CNG mandatory for the city bus fleet but the government has again come with a request seeking permission to allow Euro-II diesel buses. He said there is a total lack of will on the part of both the Centre and Government of NCT of Delhi to implement the court’s orders, which have substantially reduced the pollution in the city caused by vehicular emissions.

Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, contended that CNG was an evolving technology and no where in the world was there any conclusive proof to suggest that CNG was better than 0.05 per cent sulphur content diesel. While CNG, he said, had certain advantages in regard to emission of particulate matter, low sulphur diesel was preferable for its low carbon monoxide emissions.

Questioning the ability of the high-powered committee headed by retired bureaucrat Bhure Lal, Rohatgi said : “Is it right for a bureaucrat to decide that CNG was the clean fuel when scientists across the world were debating over the issue ? How can a bureaucrat decide what was the clean fuel?” Referring to the adulteration reports submitted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Rohatgi questioned the ability of the CSE to conduct the tests, saying it was manned by a professional Anil Agrawal who “unfortunately has passed away. And there are no professionals there to conduct such tests.”

Countering this, Salve submitted Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reports which suggested that CNG was a much cleaner fuel as compared to diesel. He defended the tests, saying that all the results of the tests were recorded properly and added: “Just because the government was found on the wrong foot, all the test results have become a suspect.”



Briton found dead in hotel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
A British national reportedly committed suicide in Payal Hotel in the Paharganj area late last night under mysterious circumstances. The body of Omar Jason Ansari (30), resident of Fleethunt, UK was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the hotel room.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central), Mr R. S. Krishnia, said that the hotel staff informed the police after becoming suspicious since the Ansari had not come out for several hours. When the police reached the hotel, the door was found locked from inside. The police broke open the doors and found the body hanging.

According to the police, the deceased was on a tourist visa to India and his visa got expired on March 4. Since then, he had been staying in the hotel and he had even applied for an extension in the British Embassy. A hotel attendant last saw him in the hotel on Thursday afternoon, after which he locked himself inside the room. However, there was no suicide note found in his room.

On searching his personal baggage, it was revealed that he possessed a multiple visa to India and only his tourist visa had expired. Efforts are on to ascertain the exact cause of his suicide, and the police have informed the British Embassy about his alleged suicide. A case of suicide has been booked.

In another incident, an employee of the Engineering Department of the Food Corporation of India reportedly committed suicide today by jumping from the 13th floor of the corporation building.

The deceased, Prabhu Nath (45), reported at the office around 9 am today and started to work as usual. Around 1 pm, he went to the 11th floor of the building and kept his lunch box in the store. Then he went to the 13th floor and jumped down. He hit an air-conditioner vent before finally landing on the lawn.

On hearing the sound, the security guards and other people rushed to the spot and found him breathing. Though he was rushed to RML Hospital in the office car, he had succumbed to the injuries by the time the vehicle reached the hospital, said the police. A case of suicide has been registered and police are ascertaining the exact cause of the suicide.



Parties wink at local issues in MCD poll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The civic polls are usually fought on local issues, but in the Capital with a multiplicity of authorities, the political parties are raking up issues within the purview of the Centre or States to woo the voters.

In a move to swing a section of the voters, the Centre is considering amending the Delhi Master Plan to allow the commercial establishments to operate from the ground and the first floor in the historical Chandni Chowk area, the hub of the trading community in the Capital.

Disclosing the BJP-led Union government’s intention, the area MP and the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Vijay Goel, said that the Government had to understand the reality and act accordingly. The move comes within days of the demolition of the unauthorised construction in Lajpat Nagar area and the Union Cabinet’s decision to provide rent relief to the shopkeepers in 10 markets in the Capital. Asked whether the move was not a violation of the model code of conduct, Mr Goel said that he had only stated the Government’s intentions. The code would come into play only when the Government made any policy decision to benefit certain sections of the community.

The Union government’s relief to shopkeepers evoked strong reaction from the Congress-led Delhi Government, which had asked the Election Commission to probe the matter as the Cabinet’s decision was a clear violation of the model code of conduct. Mr Goel said that the MCD polls would be a referendum for the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress Government as power and water are under the purview of the state government. The only role for the civic body is cleanliness and roads and the outgoing BJP has scored well on these two counts.

The state unit of the BJP blamed the Delhi Government for the non-regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the Capital, even though the matter pertains to Centre. The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee too played the blame game. It asked the Centre to roll back the hike in prices of LPG and kerosene and chided it for not keeping its promise of increasing the IT exemption limit. The committee also slammed the Centre for a cut in PF interest rates and the internal security surcharge, obliquely alluding to the coffingate as well.

Hafiz Salimuddin, the BJP candidate from Darya Ganj, said he would lay emphasis on development work as the ward has low literacy rate.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party has made its debut in the civic polls in the Capital by fielding 89 candidates. The party released its election manifesto, which promises to provide clean and better Delhi.

The party is, however, silent on the division of corporation, which has been emphasised by both the Congress and the BJP for better administration of the civic body.



Medical Council seeks views on PGIMS director
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, March 8
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has sought urgent comments from the Maharshi Dayanand University, the Director of the Post-graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Pandit B D Sharma, and the State government on Dr D. R. Yadav, officiating Director, PGIMS, and Head of Forensic Department not fulfilling eligibility conditions.

The MCI has conveyed to the university and the government, through Secretary, Health Department, that a Rohtak-based advocate has brought to its notice that Dr D. R. Yadav does not fulfill eligibility conditions for appointment as Professor and Head of the Department and also as Director, PGIMS. The complainant has requested the MCI to take immediate action in the matter, failing which he has threatened to take legal action.

The Medical Council’s missive to the university has become a subject of heated debate on the PGIMS campus, especially in the light of the fact that the MCI has given a notice for inspection of the institution before the publication of the prospectus for this year in May. The regularization of the transfer of the third batch of 35 students from Medical College, Agroha, to the PGIMS is to be decided on this report. The government has not been able to appoint a regular director after the removal of Dr S. B. Siwach eight months ago. Since then, the post is ad hoc.



Godowns gutted in Panipat
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 8
Property worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that broke out in three godowns on the Gohana Road here this evening.

According to information available, the godowns owned by R.T. International were gutted in the fire, destroying the building and the stored cotton yarn. Two of the godowns were leased to Mahajan Overseas Limited. At least seven fire tenders were struggling to put out the blaze when last reports came in. Until late this evening the exact loss of property and cause of fire could not be determined.



Capital less polluted now, says minister 
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, March 8
The ambient air trends in Delhi indicate a decrease in Nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide and suspended particulate matters from 1995 to 2001, informed the Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr T. R. Baalu. In a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, he said the decrease has been recorded in spite of the increase in vehicular pollution and fuel consumption.

The minister pointed out that the government has taken various steps to check the vehicular pollution. These include phasing out of leaded petrol, sale of only pre-mixed 2-T oil at petrol stations, supply of petrol with reduced Benzene and Sulphur content, adoption of CNG and LPG as auto fuels and adoption of more stringent emission norms known as Bharat Stage II norms, akin to Euro II norms, for registration of new vehicles.

Mr Baalu also informed the House that the Ministry has sponsored two research studies on survey and action plan for conservation and use of wetland in floodplains of river Yammuna in the Delhi stretch and 30 km upstream.

The first project is on ‘Assessment of Ecological and Hydrological Functions of Floodplains of river Yammuna in Delhi and Development Strategies for Integrated River Basin Management’. This project will take two years and will involve a budget of Rs 11.25 lakh.

In Pochanpur Village in Delhi, seven peafowls were found dead, informed Mr Baalu. He said the postmortem report indicated that the peafowls died due to the consumption of insecticide treated seeds and severe heat strokes.

In Delhi, 10245 road accidents occurred in the year 2001 and 2,040 people were killed. This was pointed out by the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Maj-Gen. (Retd) B. C. Khanduri.

The minister said that publicity campaign on road safety awareness through print and electronic media was being undertaken by the government along with the strengthening of weak pavements, junction improvements, replacement of level crossings by road over-bridges and thermoplastic road markings to reduce road accidents in the Capital.

At present, only one Kendriya Vidyalaya in the Capital’s Lodhi Road is running partly in tents, informed the Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Rita Verma. The minister informed the Rajya Sabha that construction of one 100 seated hostel each in North and South Campus of the Delhi University would involve an estimated cost of Rs 313.00 lakh and Rs 281.00 lakh respectively.

The Delhi University has undertaken the work with the funds made available by the North Eastern Council (NEC).

Ms Verma informed the House that minor, as well as major revision of syllabi is carried out from time to time. She said the UGC has recently constituted a Curriculum Development Committees, to frame model curriculum for more than 30 subjects in various disciplines like Science, Humanities and Social Sciences for the Undergraduate as well as the Postgraduate levels.

Thirty-six NGOs in the Capital have been provided an assistance of Rs 484.42 lakh for the year 2001-02 to promote voluntary action for persons with disabilities.

Speaking about the launch of schemes for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society, the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr Satyanarayan Jatiya, stated this while addressing the Lok Sabha. He said that the Ministry has implemented schemes for the welfare of the aged, orphaned and the disabled.



Greater Noida units fret and fume
Parmindar Singh

Noida, March 8
The Greater Noida Industries Association (GNIA) has blamed the UP Government and the authority for neglecting the industries. In a letter sent to the State Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, the GNIA has urged the Chief Minister to help improve the law and order in the area and increase the police services up to Delhi by having more police stations and patrolling vehicles. The association has also called for equipping the force with modern equipment.

This will build confidence among the industries. They will then come to the area and augment the state revenue manifold, said Mr S R Chatterjee, its president. The power generation does not match the needs of industries. There was an understanding that the power distribution company, NPCL, would go for 100 mw power generation. But the power purchase guarantee has not been given to NPCL so that the programme of generation could not be implemented.

“We urge you to expedite the proposal for 400 kva sub station in Gautam Budh Nagar which will definitely supply uninterrupted power to the industries in the area.

Tax barrier between Noida and Greater Noida is an irritant to the industries which wish to come to Greater Noida. In 1984, the trade tax barrier was shifted to Kulesara. But now we would urge you to shift the same barrier to Dadri to its original position,” GNIA said in its letter.

Mr Brijesh Kumar, the Chief Executive Officer of Greater Noida, when contacted for his response to the allegations of the GNIA, said that most of the issues raised by them were the concern of the state government and the authority could do little to resolve those issues.

Law and order, he said, was the responsibility of the Government but GNA has, on its own, made a number of vehicles available to the district police to ensure proper police patrolling in the area. The industries should hire the services of private security agencies. It will cost them Rs 100 or 200 pm.

They should appreciate that no industrial authority or even government could post a security guard at the gate of each industry.

Power again is the subject where only the government can help them. But the power situation in Greater Noida area is the best in the state. We have, however, given land for a 400 kv substation to the UPSEB. The power purchase agreement has, however, not been signed between the government and the power corporation. This should be signed. We also want the trade tax barrier to be removed, but again it falls within the government purview, the CEO said. Mr Brijesh Kumar said, “The allotment meetings are being held every week and we help the industries get clearance from other departments under single window system. Quite a large number of industries here are sick units.

We have given revival package for these units. Let them take action. We have got a study made and shall be happy to give them the services of professional consultants,” Mr Kumar added.

To meet their other demands for residential plots, “We had brought a separate housing scheme for them. But the response was poor.”

The DM and the SSP meet them every month. Meetings of Udhyog Bandhu are also held regularly. It is presided over by a commissioner-level officer. No issues are pending there, the CEO added.



‘Women better equipped to ensure peace’
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, March 8
Women, says Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, are better equipped to ensure the success of a peace process. “As women go through the trauma of war, terrorism and conflicts, they are in a better position to solve the crises… We, the women in politics, however, have to work twice more than men to prove ourselves competent.”

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Women’s Empowerment in India’ hosted to mark the International Women’s Day, Ms Dikshit today advocated participation of more women in the decision-making process. She nevertheless lamented that even after the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution, women here remained socially backward. However unlike women in Europe, Indian women had been receiving equal wages since 1947, she hastened to add.

The former Indian High Commissioner to the UK and MP, Dr L. M. Singhvi, said the Human Development Index (HDI) of a particular country was dependent on its Gender Development Index (GDI). “If you educate a girl, you educate a family and in turn educate a community,” he said. Commenting on the role of women in society, Mr Singhvi said women had an important role to play for the future generations and the two genders had to work together for the uplift of the society. Expressing regret that even after 50 years of Independence, women in India were not free, he said, “We have to create a culture of equity and justice in the country as enshrined in our Constitution.”

President of the Mahila Dakshata Samiti (MDS) Suman Krishan Kant said it was axiomatic that the countries having a low position in the GDI also had a low position in the HDI. India’s performance in several key gender-related indices had been quite dismal and it ranked as low as 105 in the GDI, she regretted. She opined that there were no two views on the point that gender empowerment was a critical component of human development paradigm and coupled with this, greater participation of women in decision-making bodies would accelerate the change for greater gender equality.

International Women’s Day was observed in the city and elsewhere in the district with great enthusiasm.

A number of functions were organised in the educational institutions of the city on the occasion and the speakers highlighted the importance of the day and demanded a check on the exploitation of the women. They also stressed the need for safeguarding the rights of women in society.

The speakers called for a vigorous campaign against female foeticide.

They also demanded 33 per cent reservation in Parliament and the Vidhan Sabha while giving tickets by the political parties in the elections.



When garbage dumps smack of discrimination

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.

Do the needs for basic facilities of the affluent class differ from those of the middle class or the poor? The badly shaped garbage bin at Karkardooma and the newly constructed one near Khan Market indicate that they are different. The recent inauguration ceremony of the garbage bin near Khan Market was like a joy party. The totally covered, clean and green-tiled garbage bin near Khan Market cannot be taken as a garbage station unless you read the signboard on the front wall. Is it so because this is a VIP area? Do only high-ranking officers need clean places to live in?

The bad condition of the garbage bin at Karkardooma is totally different from the slick garbage bin at Khan Market. The doorless garbage bin at Karkardooma emanates an unbearable stench all the time. Not only a huge pile of garbage is always spilling out of the station, it has also become a safe haven for pigs, cows and dogs to dwell and scour for food. Added to this is the breeding of mosquitoes. No steps are taken to clean the bin. If the same unsanitary situation prevails, it may not be long before some major epidemic break out here. There is also a big drain flowing behind the garbage station. This adds to the level of intolerable smell permeating the area.

Shweta Kohli, Shahdara, New Delhi.

One man’s sweet is other’s poison

Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper, we the residents of Sant Nagar, Rani Bagh, Delhi, would like to draw the attention of the authorities towards the unhygienic as well as dangerous conditions prevailing in our neighbourhood due to the sweets business of Mr Suresh Kumar, who is running a sweet shop in our area. About 100 workers are making sweets day and night in his premises, ie House No. 2876, here. About 80 filled gas cylinders are stored within the premises posing a danger to the neighbours. Moreover, there is no fire fighting equipment installed or any other safety measure in case of fire.

Neither have the owners made arrangements to store the sweets properly, nor have they paid any attention towards keeping the surroundings healthy.

This careless attitude has started affecting the atmosphere as well as the health of people. We request the authorities concerned to take appropriate action against the owners for playing with the health of the people and also for posing a risk to our lives by storing these many gas cylinders at one place without proper safety measures.

S. Kesar Singh and other Sant Nagar residents, New Delhi.

Polluted city

Health is wealth is an adage we have known from time immemorial. The Heart Care Foundation and doctors have been preaching “dos and don’ts” to maintain perfect health. They lay emphasis on vegetarianism, low cholesterol and exercise to keep fit and away from heart ailments.

However, people are generally unaware about the factors affecting their health, and it would not be improper to say that the government, which has a constitutional responsibility to ensure their health under Article 47, has been less than fair. The pollution cuts short human life and precautions to check pollution is highly essential to save people from various diseases.

Delhi is the fourth most polluted city in the world because of the heavy density of population, large number of vehicles and industries in residential areas.

In broad terms, the factors that affect normal human life may include air pollution, noise pollution, inadequate measures for environmental upgradation, unhygienic conditions, dirty sewers and unauthorised slaughtering of animals.

Many industries were shifted from the city about 25 years back to Mayapuri and Najafgarh to ensure that they functioned in a better atmosphere. The city planners did not visualise that one day these industries would occupy the heart of the city, due to the population explosion. It appears that the Directorate of Industries did not take a serious note of the mushrooming of unauthorised industries in the heart of the city.

The government must make it compulsory for the industrialists to improve the surroundings by growing plants and tress and developing greenery to ensure the health of the workers. The officials of the anti-pollution department are responsible for checking pollution in industries. Some industrialists have even gone to the extent of sanctioning pollution allowance so that the workers can have nutritious diet to combat the evil effects of pollution. Periodic medical check-up of the workers must be made compulsory and they may be subjected to medical examination, including X-rays, at government hospitals or by expert doctors.

Steps should be taken to develop parks and other such places of public amusement. Mass plantation drives should be undertaken to make colonies free from pollution.

Not only the air pollution, but the noise pollution also adds to the people’s health problems.

The authorities concerned should take necessary steps to make various colonies free from such pollution. Bacteriologists say noise pollution is a big health hazard. According to a survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board, it was discovered that the noise level in the Capital was much higher than the prescribed limits. Even though the hospitals and nursing homes have to be kept free from noise, AIIMS, Safdarjung, LNJP and DDU hospitals are all located in very congested areas. Moreover, loudspeakers at almost all functions and other festive occasions go unchecked. The bursting of crackers adds to the woes, and the obnoxious gas emanating from them also pose a serious threat to the health.

Certain measures for controlling the noise pollution are absolutely essential. The vehicles may be properly maintained and well-tuned so as to minimise vibrations. Further, continuous honking, especially near hospitals, should be banned.

Some trees, particularly jamun, shisham and amla, are good absorbents of sound and should be planted on both sides of the roads in areas prone to heavy traffic. Proper care should be taken while planning transport facilities and industrial sites.

The various residents welfare associations and autonomous bodies should come forward to oversee the greening of their respective areas by planting trees and developing parks.

The Ministry of Health and Family Planning may work out the details for environmental upgradation to bring about a legislation ensuring that the people do not fall prey to pollution. Under Section 11 of the Factories Act 1948, it is required that every factory owner must keep the factory premises neat and clean. However, there is no law to curb the noise.

With the growth of factories and technology, this Act needs to be suitably amended.

H. L. Kapoor, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Class-I (Retd.), Maya Enclave, New Delhi.

Communal politics

The present mob frenzy and blood bath in Gujarat is owing to the politics of communalism which politicians belonging to all brands and shades practising in our country. They exploit the volatile communal situation in our country to their great advantage. They alone are the sole beneficiaries of the communal bloodshed. They alone gain from the politics of caste, creed, corruption and criminalisation.

Communalism for them is the ladder to the throne of power. So how can those reaping the rich harvest of political benefits miss this “golden” opportunity to keep the countrymen divided on communal lines? Of course, there are a few politicians who do not subscribe to communalism. But their number seems to be too small.

True religion means realisation of one’s God who is known by different names and forms. We can root out communalism if our polity is based on the teachings and guidance of Farid, Kabir, Nanak, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda, Shirdi Sai Baba and other true saints and seers of all communities who realised the oneness of God and all human beings.

They preached and practised the theory that all human beings are equal in the eyes of God. The apparent differences on physical, social and economic levels are there owing to the different parts assigned to each man in the grand divine play and not for exploitation of individuals in the names of caste, creed, class, colour and community.

Human beings are more important than places of worship belonging to any particular community. Who will like and enjoy to worship in places which are founded on the dead bodies of innocent human beings? Of course, construction and non-construction of such places of worship may bring political gains for all political elements, but it is the humanity alone which will suffer and have to pay a heavy price for it. Consequently, society will remain afflicted with the festering wounds all over its body.

The heart-rending cries of the innocent victims of communal hatred and violence will not allow us to live in peace. The present and coming generations will not forgive those politicians who are playing this nefarious and barbaric game in the name of religion.

They must remember that a foreign hand can play the dangerous game only when our own house is not in order. It is we who create “opportunities” for its “success”.

Tish Malhotra, Sector 18, Rohini.

We stand corrected

This is regarding an interview of Prof J. S. Rajput, Director, NCERT by Smriti Kak published in your columns on February 5. I would like to clarify that during the interview, Prof Rajput had stated that R. K. Narayan (novelist), and not President K. R. Narayanan, was mentioned in the interview regarding the setting up of the Yashpal Committee.

I request you to kindly publish a suitable correction in your daily urgently so that facts are presented correctly for the benefit of your esteemed readers.

Sanjay Pratap Singh, Assistant Public Relations Officer, New Delhi.

Publish addresses

We are grateful to your esteemed paper for publishing the interviews with Sikh personalities in the Face-to-Face columns on every Tuesday. This helps the community to have first-hand information on various issues concerning them and the way they are handled/proposed to be handled by the Sikh leadership.

We shall feel highly obliged if you can publish also the residential address and local phone number of the person interviewed. This might be helpful to the vast number of readers who go through these columns.

Daljit Singh, Hari Nagar, New Delhi.



Sealing of hot mix plants spells trouble for roads
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 8
The Haryana Pollution Control Board’s decision to seal all the hot mix plants in the districts would hamper the work of road construction and repairs.

The action by the pollution control authorities followed the end of the deadline concerning the implementation of pollution norms by hot mix plants. The plants had promised in their affidavits to fulfill the conditions including developing a green belt around the plant premises. However, the promises have not been fulfilled so far.

The instructions had been issued last year by the board to relocate those plants which were not located at a distance of at least two kms from a residential area or at a distance of one and a half km from the main road. A green belt around the hot mix plants had also been made mandatory. Since all the 13 hot mix plants have been closed for the time being, this action is likely to have a direct affect on road building activity. As the road repair work is carried, some of the projects may get delayed.



Showdown in Jhajjar over nullah

Jhajjar, March 8
Residents of Lowa Khurd village here have objected to the construction of a nullah by the neighbouring Sidipur village with its tail-end in their ‘lal dora’ area. The proposed nullah is being digged with the purpose of saving Sidipur village from flood threats during the monsoon season. Residents of Lowa Khurd village allege that the proposed nullah would end in their territory resulting in the inundation of their fields as it would release the rainwater there. They contended that the area where the nullah would release water was low-lying. The villagers had been using it as the common pathway, which was now likely to turn into a pond after the construction of the nullah. The sarpanch, Mr Suraj Mal, along with a dozen villagers, had called on the SDM and BDO at Bahadurgarh and had demanded that they must conduct an inspection of the site and cancel the construction work in the interest of their village. They, however, complained that the officials had not heeded to their demand so far. They said that a nullah had already existed to flush out the water of Sidipur village and the capacity of that nullah should have been increased by expanding its width. They warned that the issue could take serious turn if the administration failed to intervene. OC 



Six criminals arrested near Palwal
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 8
The police have claimed to have arrested six members of a criminal gang near Palwal town. A stengun, a pistol, few cartridges and a car have been recovered from their possession. According to Crime Branch sources, the accused identified as Mohan, Dharmender, Pawan, Vikram, Rakesh and Rajender had been planning a dacoity near Banchari village, when the raid took place.

The recovered car was snatched by them at gunpoint from Beeg in Rajasthan in September 2001. The stengun was purchased recently. A case has been registered against them. Meanwhile, two persons were run over by train in separate cases in the district, in the past 24 hours. Anil, of Mirzapur village was killed near Ballabgarh railway station crossing on Thursday. In another accident, an unidentified youth was killed after he fell down from a running train near Ballabgarh station.

Rs 60,000 looted

Three motorcycle-borne armed youths waylaid a trader of Kathura, Mr Suresh, and snatched a bag containing Rs 60,000 on pistol point at Gohana town, 35 km from here, Thursday.

According to a report, Mr Suresh had withdrawn the amount from the branch of the Punjab National Bank at Kathura village and left for Gohana in a jeep. When he got down from the jeep at Gohana, he was waylaid by the culprits and snatched the cash bag. Mr Suresh lodged an FIR with the police and the police swung into action immediately but failed to arrest the culprits.

Lawyers’ strike

Members of the District Bar Association have decided to call off their week-long strike on March 11. According to a report, the decision followed the intervention of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr S. K. Sardana, who convened a meeting of the lawyers here on Thursday and pleaded for the lifting of the boycott of the courts.

Mr Sardana also listened to the complaints of the lawyers and assured them that he would remove all their grievances against the judicial officials.

Inquiry ordered

The Deputy Commissioner has ordered an inquiry into the complaint of a government contractor, Mr Satish Kumar, against the Executive Engineer of the Rai Water Service Division, Mr Gulab Singh Narwal, alleging the withholding of his payment. 



Servant, aides rob cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Tagore Park police are hunting for a domestic servant, Raju, and his three accomplices who reportedly robbed a 30-year-old housewife, Geeta Narula, of Rs 12,000 and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees this morning.

The servant was appointed a few days back on the reference of one of her acquaintances. His antecedents were not verified from the police. Three youths came to meet the servant this afternoon. They were brought inside the house by the servant on the pretext of serving them water. They were armed with knives. They robbed Rs 12,000 and gold jewellery worth lakhs of rupees.

A case of robbery has been registered in Mukherjee Nagar police station in North district and investigations are on.

6 kg charas seized: The Delhi Police Special Cell today apprehended three persons from the Jama Masjid area and seized 6 kilograms of fine quality charas from them. The estimated value of the seized drugs was Rs 6 lakh in the international market. The three were later identified as Abdul Kabir Bhatt (50), Mohd. Saleem Ahanger (24) and Manjoor Ahmed Shah (20), all residents of Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. The special team, acting on a tip off on March 4 that some youths from Kashmir were staying at a hotel in Bazar Chitli Qahar, Jama Masjid, and planning to deliver charas to their contact near Subhash Park, laid a trap. They were nabbed when they were about to deliver the consignment to a customer. On interrogation, they disclosed that they had got the charas from Anantnag, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Ashok Chand.



Asst Public Prosecutor convicted of graft
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Special CBI Judge has convicted Assistant Public Prosecutor Ram Rattan and sentenced him to undergo two years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 500. He was booked on the charge of taking bribe.

The CBI investigation revealed that the accused had abused his official position while serving as the Assistant Public Prosecutor, Children Court, Kingsway Camp in North Delhi and demanded an illegal gratification of Rs 5,000 from the complainant for helping him in trial proceedings. The complainant had reported the matter to the CBI.

The CBI laid a trap and the accused was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 4,000 from the complainant, a CBI release said.

In another case, the CBI Judge has convicted a cashier in the Janpath branch of Punjab and Sind Bank, D. P. S. Malhotra, and sentenced him to undergo three years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 3,000. The accused had dishonestly and fraudulently withdrawn Rs 9,000 from a savings bank account by forging three withdrawal slips. The accused was empowered by the bank to pass the payment and to compare the signature of the account holder with the specimen signature card maintained in the bank, the release said.



Woman sets self, kids on fire
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 8
A 23-year-old married woman, Mrs Sunita, doused herself and her two children with kerosene and set all of them afire at Khewra village, 13 km from here, on Thursday. While the woman, Mrs Sunita, died on the spot, her three-year-old son Munish and one-year-old daughter Anjali succumbed to the burns on the way to a Delhi hospital. The father of the woman has alleged that it was a dowry death.

According to a report, Mrs Sunita took this extreme step following a domestic quarrel. She died on the spot whereas her children were rushed to the local civil hospital from where they were referred to Delhi for further treatment. However, they also succumbed on the way. Mrs Sunita belonged to Sisana village in Uttar Pradesh and was married to one Rajinder Singh about four years ago.

On the report of Mr Siri Paul, father of the victim, the Rai police have registered a case of dowry death and started investigation.

Mr Siri Paul alleged that her daughter had been harassed by her husband and members of his family for getting more dowry.


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