Wednesday, March 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Manifestos: Six of one and half a dozen of the other
Cong plumps for populism 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
Sharing the blueprint for effecting a “systemic change” in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) by throwing itself open to public scrutiny and making it responsive to the needs of Delhiites, the Congress on Tuesday promised a slew of measures in its manifesto. Foremost being the “populist” measures of regularising commercial activities in residential areas and rationalising property tax by introducing the policy of self-assessment.

Putting up a ‘united front’ ahead of the civic polls, veteran Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler joined All India Congress Committee General Secretary in charge of Delhi affairs Kamal Nath, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Chopra and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for the release of manifesto.

Dwelling on the party’s experience in governance and the challenges posed by burgeoning population and urbanisation, Mr Kamal Nath said the manifesto centred around the Congress’ seven-point agenda of addressing the concerns of Delhiites on the fronts of property tax, sewage and garbage disposal, environment, pollution, infrastructure like roads and flyovers, making Delhi a hi-tech city and providing a transparent and accountable administration.

The manifesto, he said, had drawn upon the “inefficiencies” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and suggested viable alternatives to undo the “BJP’s five-year misrule of the corporation.” Having a civic corporation that is administered by the Congress, he asserted, would enable the civic body to work “in tandem” with the Congress-ruled Government of NCT of Delhi.

That view found expression in Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s brief address too when, referring to how her government was sandwiched between the BJP-ruled Centre and the MCD, she said many of the hurdles in the way of good governance would be removed if the Congress was voted to power in the corporation. The Right to Information Act passed by the Assembly would be extended to the MCD, she said, thereby enabling people to make the corporation accountable to them.

Congress President Subhash Chopra, in turn, said the party would give concessions to families having an annual income of less than Rs 50,000 and widows by doing away with fee for hosting weddings in parks. The party, he asserted, was going to polls on the strengths of its performance in governing the NCT of Delhi and dismissed allegations of “negative campaigning” by harping on the BJP’s follies. 



BJP bigwigs stay away
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
The Delhi unit of the BJP today released its manifesto for the MCD polls with senior leaders and party MPs, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Sahib Singh Verma and Mr Jagmohan, conspicuous by their absence.

Releasing the manifesto, the state unit president, Mr Mange Ram Garg, said the party has provided clean and corruption-free administration and highlighted the different corruption cases involving the Congress-led Delhi government. “There is no single allegation of corruption against any of the party corporators while there have been a plethora of charges of against the Congress government, including the Chief Minister,” Mr Garg said.

Stating that the outgoing BJP-led corporation was handicapped due to the “undue” interference of the state government, Mr Garg said the party would take several measures to remove the problems faced by the people.

The party, faced with the anti-incumbency factor, has come out with several sops to woo the voters. In a move to circumvent the recent court directives on unauthorised construction and relocation of industrial units in the non-conforming areas, the BJP laid stress on regularisation of illegal colonies built till March 2000, providing them with basic civic amenities and making necessary provisions in the new master plan. It will also implement the Malhotra committee report in toto. It will give permission for renovation and repair of old houses constructed upto 1975. Besides, it has promised ownership rights to the house owners of Katras, resettlement colonies and JJ clusters. The lowering of standard of education in the corporation-run schools has been a cause of concern for many and there seems to have been little improvement in the educational standards in these institutions despite several incentives. To improve the standard and provide quality education in MCD-run schools, the BJP said it would make compulsory primary education for all and bring the teaching standard of government schools at par with the public schools. Introduction of moral education and teaching of English from the Ist standard, opening of five model primary schools in each municipal wards are also cited in the manifesto. It would also encourage voluntary organisations to participate in education.

With increasing air, water and noise pollution levels in the city, the two parties have drawn out a road map to green the city. The BJP said it would invite voluntary organisations to help it in maintaining public parks. It has further promised development and mass plantation on both banks of river Yamuna, on the southern and northern Ridges, construction of herbal gardens, ensuring participation of RWA in the cleanliness drives, construction of exclusive parks for ladies, etc.



When parties agree to disagree

New Delhi
Little seems to have changed in the last five years as the two main political parties – the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party – have come out with identical promises and solutions to problems faced by the citizens in their respective manifestos released today. The two parties have offered similar solutions to make the corporation more effective and efficient. The Congress said it is in favour of splitting the gigantic corporation into smaller entities to make it more efficient, responsive and improve the civic governance. Steps shall be taken to strengthen the administration by giving more powers to zonal committees. On the other hand, the BJP said it is committed to the formation of Mayor-in-Council, setting up of a separate municipal corporation for the Trans-Yamuna area and separate entities for the remaining areas. Zones will be re-activated to make the process of decentralisation meaningful. The contentious issue has been that of house tax and the need for a rationalised structure. The Congress said it would take steps to ensure that the tax slabs are further rationalised and a system of self-assessment of property tax is introduced. The BJP said it favours implementation of unit area method. TNS



Watchdog to go into ‘bungling’ of DSGMC funds 
Tribune News service

New Delhi, March 12
A corruption watchdog, on the lines of a Lokayukta, most probably a retired high court judge, will shortly go into cases of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee-run institutions, the president of the DSGMC, Mr. Avtar Singh Hit, said here today.

Apparently responding to recent criticism, the Delhi DSGMC announced a list of measures aimed at raising educational standards and tightening financial control in institutions under its control. ‘’From now on, school and college chairpersons or treasurers suspected of committing irregularities of any kind will be replaced immediately. No leniency will be shown towards them on any ground,’’ Mr Hit said.

He added that the Education Council of the DSGMC has been empowered to order appointments, promotions, transfers, and also fix wages for DSGMC-run schools and college staff. ‘’The Council acts independently – without any internal and outside interference – and its decisions are binding’’, he said.

The DSGMC, which runs a number of educational and technical institutions, and some hospitals and health centres in the Capital, recently drew flak from detractors within the panel for ‘’illegal’’ appointments and ‘’corruption’’ in its schools and colleges.

The DSGMC Opposition, led by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, a loyalist of Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra, had also charged Mr Hit with financial irregularities in purchases and construction work carried out by the panel. ‘’A five-member Purchase Committee has been set up which will be responsible for all kinds of buying and selling for the DSGMC,’’ Mr Hit, who belongs to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), said. Stressing that the entire working of the Sikh body was transparent, he said that anyone could now log on to the DSGMC website – <> – for information regarding the finances and transactions.

With the gurdwara elections scheduled tentatively for June, the charges and counter-charges are flying thick and fast.



City Scan
Security at apex court tightened
Tribune News service

New Delhi, March 12
The Delhi Police has strengthened security around the Supreme Court and stepped up vigilance in some of the sensitive areas of the Capital in view of tomorrow’s scheduled hearing of the contentious issue of “bhoomi Poojan” in Ayodhya. The police said that adequate security measures were also being taken in the other parts of the Capital to prevent any untoward incident as a fall-out of the Ayodhya imbroglio. The security around the Apex Court complex was tightened after the December 13 attack on Parliament.

The police said that while pickets were being set up around the approach roads to the Supreme Court complex, mobile patrolling was also being intensified. Particular attention was being paid to entry and exit points like railway stations, the Inter State Bus Terminuses and the border check posts. Senior police officers will monitor the situation regularly. Extra policemen have also been deputed to the walled city areas and the areas around the Jamia Millia Islamia, keeping in view the “ sensitivity of the situation. Raids were also being conducted to nab known bad characters and trouble makers as an added precaution.

Auto, taxi strike tomorrow: New Delhi: Protesting against the implementation of electronic meters and CNG kits and demanding a hike in charges, the auto and taxi drivers’ union has decided to go on a one-day strike on March 13.

The union has alleged that the Delhi Government’s policies are insensitive to their needs. It is claimed that the costs incurred on account of electronic meters and the CNG kits has caused immense financial hardship. An increase in auto and taxi fares is, therefore, being demanded. The union also wants that the Police and the Environment officials should be restrained from seizing their vehicles. The one-day strike is going to affect commuters, especially students who are scheduled to appear for their board exams. 



This DCP beats the kidnappers at their own game
J.T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
Over the years, he has earned the sobriquet of a “Kidnapping Cracker”. He is, indeed, a crackerjack at handling cases of kidnapping. He has won the golden opinions of his superiors and lifelong gratitude and friendship of the parents and relatives of the victims into the bargain.

The 39-year-old Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), Mr Sunil Garg, wears his age well. A dark horse, he looks deceptively innocent which proves to be the undoing of extortionists. Mr Garg has so far solved seven cases of kidnapping by personally involving himself in the operations – starting from direct negotiations to rescuing the victims from the extortionists in daring encounters.

“I relish every moment when involved in such operations. Kidnapping is a different kind of crime because you know that the other person’s life is at stake and only your wits and daring acts could save the life of the victim,” claims Mr Garg. “Security, dedication, intelligence and victim’s safety are very important while dealing with such cases. I take all these factors into consideration during the operations,” he adds. Once he had to pose as an uncle of a victim, Sameer Jain, a 32-year-old businessman from Rohini, who was kidnapped for ransom.

When Mr Garg received the information, he rushed to the victim’s house and studied the background of the family and within minutes informed the members of the family that he would handle the case. When the extortion call came, he told them that the victim’s father was admitted to a hospital as he had had a heart attack. Only his mother was there, but since he was an uncle of the victim, they could negotiate with him. “Interestingly, they had confirmed with the victim whether I was his real uncle and then started negotiating with me,” he recalled. From Rs 20 lakh, the extortionists came down to Rs 2 lakh. Mr Garg, however, told them that the maximum they could raise was Rs 50,000 and the remainder of Rs 50,000 in jewellery and they stuck to it.

The kidnappers finally relented. Then there were nerve-wracking negotiations over the venue where the ransom was to be delivered. “ Finally they asked me to come alone near Sonepat and asked my car number, but I told them I did not know how to drive and would hire a taxi and come with the driver and a friend,” Mr Garg recalls.

“Don’t tell the police, and if we come to know about any foul play, we will kill Sameer,” they warned. It was a chilly night in January and to make things worse there was thick fog at 1 in the morning. The bag containing the ransom was left at the pre-determined place and they waited for the suspects to turn up.

After about an hour, a car came with two persons. The police party pounced upon them but the suspects were prepared. One of them whipped out a gun and fired at them. They responded and one of the suspects was injured in the hand, and the other was nabbed. On interrogation, the injured suspect revealed the hideout and the victim was rescued. An IPS officer of 1992 batch, 39-year-old Garg did his postgraduation from the Rajasthan University. He passed the Rajasthan Administrative Services (RAS), and served as SDM Udaipur and BDO, Udaipur in 1989 before qualifying for the Indian Police Service (IPS). Mr Garg lives with his wife and two sons in Paschim Vihar. “It gives me immense satisfaction every time I help nab a criminal and put him away. I try to make the city safer for the law-abiding citizens,” he said.



Man chops off wife’s head, breast
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
Mohammad Hira alias Salim (22), resident of Samaipur Badli, was arrested by the North-West district police for allegedly chopping off the head and right breast, which had a birthmark, of his wife for having an illicit relation with her neighbour.

The accused hails from Jharkhand and had been in Delhi for the last 10 years. He runs an illicit liquor trade in the jhuggis of Wazirpur industrial area. On March 6, the police found a headless body of a young woman in an isolated area behind local gurdwara near Bhalaswa lake. It was later identified as that of Gulshan Khatoon. The police suspected that she was ruthlessly murdered by someone close to her.

The body was sent for a post-mortem examination and kept in the Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital mortuary for 72 hours for identification. On March 7, the victim’s cousin, Mohammad Mazloom, came to the police after reading in the newspapers about a headless body being found and wanted to check whether it was his cousin sister.

He and her neighbours identified her. Mohammad Mazloom said that Hira had come to his house in search of his wife and had said that she had run away with someone.

The police found the house locked and launched a massive hunt for Hira. He was finally apprehended from near his house at Tandoorwali Gali on Sunday. On sustained interrogation, he confessed to have murdered his wife for having illicit relations with one Praveen.

On the fateful night, they had a fight over a minor issue and Hira asked her to pack her clothes to leave for her cousin’s place. On the way, he took her to an isolated spot and chopped off her head. Since her right breast had a birthmark, he chopped off that too.

The police have seized the bloodstained clothes and the mutton-chopper which was used for committing the crime. The accused has been sent to the judicial custody.



Doctor held for double murder
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 12
A doctor has been arrested on charges of murdering two persons and robbing Rs 2 lakh. According to police, the accused Dr Bharat Bhushan had hatched a plan along with a youth Shravan Kumar to rob a businessman known to them, a few days ago. Shravan, working at an auto spare part shop in Sarai Khwaja locality here, egged a businessman Ajay Kumar on to earn fast money. He reportedly told the businessman that trading in drugs like ‘afeem’ and ‘charas’ could get him quick money. The businessman fell for his trap and brought Rs 2 lakh. The trio decided to go to Meerut in a hired taxi to do the business. It is reported that Bharat Bhushan with the help of the taxi driver offered them cold drinks, laced with sleeping pills on the way. As Ajay and Shravan fell unconscious, the doctor allegedly gave them poison-filled injections and threw their bodies in Gurgaon canal near Hodal and came back.

As there was no information about Ajay and Shravan for some days, a missing report was filed and the police took up the matter. They picked up Bharat Bhushan. During the interrogation, the accused broke down and told the police about the incident in detail.



Gang busted

The Javer police claimed to have arrested six members of the Bawarya gang after an encounter and seized two country-made revolvers, knives, ammunition and stolen goods from them. According to the SP, Mr R. P. S. Yadav, the police got a tip off that a group of criminals were assembling in the Javer forest for committing a major crime. The in charge of the police station, Santosh Kumar Yadav, and other policemen surprised the criminals by surrounding them. The criminals tried to escape by firing at the police party.

However, the police were able to nab six of them while two others succeeded in fleeing towards the forests under the cover of darkness. The arrested gangsters have been identified as Rajinder, Kailash, Mukesh, Parbhat, Babloo and Shiv Ram. OC



The auction that was not to be

The Huda plan to auction 44 commercial plots at Hathin Mandi township in the district turned out to be a non-starter as the aspirants boycotted the function due to ‘high reserve’ price. TNS



‘Onus on state Cong to solve SYL issue with Punjab’
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 12
Mr Surender Singh, former MP and secretary-general of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP), has said that following the installation of a Congress government in Punjab, the people of Haryana now expected state Congress chief Bhupinder Singh Hooda as well as Congress Legislature Party leader Bhajan Lal to pursue the matter of the completion of the SYL canal with Capt Amarinder Singh.

He expressed these views at a crowded press conference here today.

He said that the people of Haryana were now looking forward to the occasion when Mr Bhajan

Lal, Mr Hooda, Capt Amarinder Singh and other prominent Punjab Congress leaders would hold a joint press conference possibly in Chandigarh in which it would be collectively announced that the SYL canal would be expeditiously completed in Punjab as per the Supreme Court verdict to ensure the flow of the Ravi-Beas water into Haryana.

He also claimed that the former Chief Minister and his father, Mr Bansi Lal, had got about 90 per cent of the construction work of the SYL canal in Punjab done.

He further said that Mr Bansi Lal, when he was the union Railway Minister in the Indira Gandhi government, had also got built over-bridges at the various spots over the SYL canal in Punjab and Haryana.

Saying that there is growing disenchantment among people against the present Chautala government, Mr Surender Singh said that it was the Congress which was disappointing the people by virtually keeping the otherwise “shaky” Chautala government in the saddle.

To substantiate his statement, he reminded that Mr Bhajan Lal had been repeatedly saying that the Chautala government would fall after six months.

He further asserted that it was a well-known fact that Mr Bhajan Lal was capable of pulling down this government any moment. But it was enigmatic why he was delaying it. Mr Surender Singh along with Mr Chhattar Singh Chauhan, former Speaker of the Haryana Assembly, other prominent HVP leaders addressed public meetings in about a dozen villages to mobilise people for Mr Bansi Lal’s Bawal rally of March 16.



White paper on mining policy demanded 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, March 12
The Haryana unit of the CPM has urged the government to publish a white paper on its mining policy spelling out all vital aspects, including the interests of the local people and impact on construction activity in the state.

Referring to Khanak workers’ agitation against the highhandedness of the contractors, the party refuted the statement of the Finance Minister, Mr Sampat Singh, that the state exchequer would earn more as a result of the changed mining policy. It described the minister’s statement as misleading and unfounded. The CPM state secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh, alleged that the state exchequer would, in fact, incur huge losses as more than 70 per cent of the stone material being consumed in the government construction work would have to be purchased at a much higher cost due to the arbitrary royalty rates fixed by the contractors with political patronisation.

Apart from this, he said, the common man too would be forced to purchase the material on higher rates for their construction work. The common man consumed nearly 30 per cent of the stone material, he said.

The party has also demanded the settlement of the Khanak dispute through tripartite dialogue and registration of entire workforce, accidental compensation, fixation of wages and royalty rates.

Mr Inderjit Singh said that the party had also decided to organise the various sections of the society, particularly the poor people and the salaried classes against the anti-people Union Budget. The party has demanded the withdrawal of hikes in prices of cooking gas, kerosene, PDS sugar, postal stationery and fertilisers. 



Where civic amenities are a ‘joke’
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 12
The residents of Sector-21 C here are a disillusioned lot.
They are crying hoarse over the insufficient development of the civic infrastructure for past many years, but nobody seems to have taken them seriously. Once touted as a VIP sector, the place had been developed during the chief ministership of Bansi Lal, who had okayed the proposal to develop a golf course and a race track to promote tourism.

The dream project seems to have been shelved today. Let alone having better facilities, the colony does not have a proper sewerage system. Mr S S Oberoi, an ex-president of the Residents Welfare Association of Sector-21 C, Part-I, describes the basic amenities here as only a joke, leaving much to be desired.

He claimed that the network of the sector’s sewerage system had not been connected to the main sewer line till date. As a result, the dirty water had been collecting in the open creating an artificial drain in the area. The system had not been cleared of the debris and a proper connection to the sewer line was still awaited.

Mr Oberoi said while the sewer line of the sector was not in a proper shape, the raw sewage of nearby residential areas including Kapil Vihar, Nalanda Apartments, Kartik Vihar and Sail apartments had also been causing a mess, making every household to bear the stinking smell round the clock. According to the residents here, the above issue had been taken up with Huda and the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) several times, but of no avail.

They claimed that the Huda officials tell them that the upkeep of the sectors was the job of the Corporation only. The MCF has also turned a deaf ear to their problems, claimed an office-bearer of the Welfare Association. He said that the problem had not been included in the list of the grievances taken up in the monthly meeting of the District Public Relations and Grievances Committee by the authorities despite their appeals.

The sector had came up in 1984 when the allotments were made by Huda. While possessions were given in 1989, the majority of the civic amenities had not come up, said Mr Oberoi.

He said that the residents had been promised to be provided facilities like proper roads, sewage system, water supply, streetlights, parks, community centre and a shopping complex, but he claimed that, none of the promise had been fulfilled even after 17 years.

He said that only one road having the office of the deputy commissioner was in proper shape. For the distribution of water, the most primitive system of pumping was being used. Though an overhead storage tank had been constructed in 1992, it remained unused.

Moreover, the absence of sluice valves in the pumping system results in low pressure at the consumer end. It is stated that while no park has been fully developed, the movement of heavy traffic on the sector roads has not been checked making it an accident-prone area.

A school building here has been turned into an office of the district administration.

The residents are also opposed to the move of the authorities to shift the marble market here, fearing that it would lead to pollution.



Tree plantation scheme runs to seed 

Jhajjar, March 12
This could be the story about how the officialdom prides itself in launching ambitious schemes, but nip them in the bud by not backing them up with adequate planning and support. The much-hyped tree plantation scheme launched under the Tarun Trivani Van Yojna with an aim to increase the area under green cover has become the latest casualty of this trend.

The scheme has come to a disastrous end in the district, thanks to the lack of budgetary as well as logistic support from the administration here.

Apart from the untimely ‘death’ of over 90 per cent of the total saplings, the scheme also has eaten a major chunk of the funds of the gram panchayats, which were virtually forced to embrace the scheme just to please the officials.

According to official records, the scheme was launched in 60 villages of the district and around 5,000 saplings were planted in July and August last year to give a fillip to the shrinking tree cover throughout the state under a statewide programme. According to an estimate, every panchayat had to bear expenses to the tune of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 in this exercise which showed a net spending of an estimated Rs 6 lakh to Rs 9 lakh by the 60 gram panchayats in the district. The major reason for the scheme to fail was that it was pursued in a completely “unplanned manner with unnecessary haste”, sources engaged in the scheme pointed out.

The sources said that the central government had floated the scheme without any budget allocation. People were encouraged to plant a sapling on the land earmarked in their village or town on special occasions like birth of a child, death of any family member, marriage etc. The person was also to submit a fee of Rs 100 to the local body and he was entitled to taking care of the sapling. However, the Haryana Government launched the programme at the village and town level and asked the Forest Department to provide saplings to the agencies concerned which have distributed two crore saplings free of cost so far.

The Block Development Officers (BDOs) apprised the gram panchayats of the scheme and asked to allot two to four acres of panchayat land for the purpose. In this district, 60 villages — 15 in Bahadurgarh block, 15 in Jhajjar block and 10 in Beri, Salawas and Matanhale blocks each — were selected for the plantation. Big hoardings were put up about the e ‘Tarun Triveni Van Yojna’ at allotted land in each village. The sarpanches were directed to ensure the safety of the planted saplings by barbed wire fencing or digging trenches around the land and to make arrangements for regular watering.

In all this, except the saplings which were distributed by the Forest Department free, the sarpanches had to bear the expenses from the valid expenditure quota of the gram panchayat. And they did so with an open hand, whatever might have been the fate of the saplings later. JBC machines were pressed into service for levelling land and digging trenches and saplings were duly planted. However, nobody cared about what happened later.

Official sources and information collected by this correspondent disclose that the survival percentage of the saplings was below 10. As a result, the whole scheme went awry. To name a few villages where saplings had been completely wilted or uprooted are Palada, Bakara, Dighal, Asauda, Jasour, Kheri, Nilothi, and most of the villages in Matanhale and Salawas areas.

Officials in the Block Development Offices allege that village panchayats never took interest in preserving the saplings which are bound to wilt if left without any care, safety and watering.

They said that the sarpanches were asked to fence the area or to dig deep trenches around it so that stray animals could not harm the plants. They were also asked to ensure regular watering but in most of the cases, the saplings were left unattended and neglected.

The sarpanches have another story to tell. All the sarpanches this correspondent talked to, when they had come to the block office for official work, lamented that it was very difficult to sustain the project as huge funds were needed for the regular upkeep of plants. Requesting anonymity, they complained that the JCB machines that were ‘sent’ for land levelling and digging gave them huge bills.

One of them disclosed that despite his objections, the authorities selected the land, which was barren, uneven and hard. Between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 was spent on each scheme by their respective gram panchayats. Asauda Sivan village has spent over Rs 17,000, it is reliably learnt.

Despite these disclosures, the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Mr Ajay Mishra, contended that the scheme was a success. When asked to react to the complaints, he asked, “Kyon bina mosam barsat ke baatein karte ho?” (why are you talking about rains when it is off-season now). As of now, only 20-30 saplings on an average had been planted and individuals were being encouraged to plant on special occasions as it was an ongoing scheme, he added.

However, official records defy his claims. Following are the figures of the block office at Bahadurgarh about the number of saplings planted in villages: Badsa - 80, Kulasi - 100, Ladrawan - 100, Lowa Khurd - 90, Kanondha - 100, Jasaur - 120, Kheri - 80, Nilothi - 80, Asauda Siwan - 100, Khairpur - 100, Asandha - 80, Baproudha - 80, Bamrouli - 100, Majri - 100 and Nuna Majra – 330. Apart from this, around 1,600 saplings were planted in 10 villages of the Beri block.

While admitting that the survival percentage of planted saplings is not good, Mr J. P. Kaushik, ADC, said that he would inquire about the expenses borne by the gram panchayats in the process as an amount of Rs 10,000 per scheme was certainly well above the estimated budget that should have been spent.



Lottery vendors stay put despite curbs
R.D. Sapra

Sonepat, March 12
Another street, another corner, another style. The die-hard lottery vendors are adopting novel methods to continue their trade.

From the tricycles of the handicapped to the dhabas right in the heart of the city, from pan shops to juice corners, the lottery vendors are taking over every available space, in contravention of all laws, right under the noise of the police and the district authorities.

The much-publicised anti-lottery drive launched by the police from time to time has proved to be nothing more than a cosmetic exercise. In fact, it has only served the vested interests. It has helped the lottery vendors to move to newer pastures and find out methods to continue their business. It has also proved a boon to the unscrupulous police officials who collect monthly, weekly and daily `nazrana’ from the lottery mafia.

Uprooted from the main streets, the vendors have moved to the interiors of the colonies. Lottery vends have opened in houses, grocery shops and at other enclosed spaces in the city. A peaceful corner in a colony which till sometime ago did not see any activity is now filled with pushing crowds trying to latch into the right ticket and the right number.

And the residents can do nothing but watch in despair as neither the police nor the district authorities are willing to take an action.

Investigations have revealed that each vendor operating in the city area is allegedly paying about Rs 2,000 a month to the policemen. A higher amount is

similarly being paid to a police officer up to the rank of the station house officer or an inspector. The lottery sellers never bothered to seek a licence from the civic authorities whereas every shopkeeper is liable to get a licence to sell a particular thing.

The police say they have no jurisdiction to take any action against the sale of tickets by the vendors who are not getting the licence from the civic authorities for ‘tehbazari’ rights. The police further say that they can only

help the civic authorities in removing the lottery vendors but the initiative has to come from them.



Food samples found adulterated in Rohtak 
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, March 12
Adulteration in food products, especially in mineral water and spices, are rampant in the town. According to an official report, the Health Department took samples of 15 food products from the town during the last month and sent them for testing. The District Food and Supplies Department here recently received the results of 11 samples, five of which were found adulterated. Divulging details of the adulterated food products, an official spokesman said samples of mineral water and refined iodised salt were collected by the Health Department from two shops located in the medical college shopping complex. Samples of chilly and ‘haldi’ powder were collected from separate shops in the local grain market.

All the five samples collected were found to be adulterated and injurious to health.

Residents of the town have expressed concern over the rising incidence of adulteration in food products and alleged that the health authorities have adopted a negligent attitude in this regard.

On the other hand, the district health authorities reiterated their claim that the erring traders, found responsible for adulteration, would be dealt strictly and punished according to the existing law.



Anupama’s love affair with camera 
Smriti Kak

Starry-eyed actress
Starry-eyed actress

Not everyone has it served on a platter like she had. “I was sitting in a restaurant when a man walked up to me and offered a role,” says Anupama, and the role was of an anchor for a programme on Doordarshan.

J. Anupama started her career with the social magazine called ‘Parichay’ on Doordarshan. “I anchored the show and after that moved on to anchor a couple of more shows. However, I soon got interested in production. The behind-the-camera work fascinated me and I began to explore the possibility of opting for this new role,” says Anupama.

Thanks to the friends, she had made in the production circuit and her instincts of creation, Anupama donned the garb of a producer. “I learnt new things. Though I must admit that I did not do any directing, I imbibed editing and managerial skills. My friends helped me to learn the new skills and I started my own production company.”

The birth of Tina Films saw Anupama coming up with interesting programmes like ‘Pop Junction’ and ‘Shaksiyat’. While the former was a countdown show, the latter focused on the lives of celebrities. But what really helped Anupama carve a niche for herself were the 45 documentaries that she made for DD.

“After two years, work suddenly stopped. There was nothing and I closed down Tina Films,” recalls Anupama whose pet name is Tina. “I moved to Mumbai, but it was again not a great experience. I moved from one place to another looking for work. But nothing substantial came up. It was very disillusioning to look for work. In fact, after having played the boss in my production company I didn’t even feel like taking orders from anyone.”

Anupama is now waiting for major television channels to give a green signal to her work. “I am waiting for Sony or Star to accept my pilots. Once that happens, I can begin my work.”

For the lady who loves to call the shots, Anupama is back in the spotlight. Once again, it is like where she began her affair with the camera. “About two months back, I was offered to star in music albums. One is with Hans Raj Hans and the other with Sonu Nigam. I am happy that it has materialised and we are shortly flying to Canada for the shooting,” claims the girl, who has once again managed to have lady luck smiling by her side.

Hairy tips

Not everyone can be blessed the way Rapunzel was. In the modern times, not everyone can have the silky tresses that Hair Care experts swear by. Yet, it becomes imperative that we take adequate care of our crowning glory. If the messages spelt by Hair Care manufacturers and experts are anything to go by, healthy hair is certainly an indication of your health, not to mention the effects it can have on your social acceptability. (Try to recall the advertisements of dandruff control shampoos.)

Experts suggest that eating healthy food can reflect on your crowning glory.

Shiny and strong hair needs balanced diet along with a certain amount of care.

So to save yourselves from scanning advertisements for hair transplants, read on.

Hair loss can be triggered off by various reasons: internal diseases, reaction to drugs, dietary deficiencies, scalp diseases, menopause or childbirth and in most cases, due to lack of proper care.

Avoid subjecting your hair to stretching and tugging with hard combs and using styling agents too frequently. Excessive use of styling agents like perming the hair or using heat rollers, blow drying and chemical dying also lead to hair loss.

It is essential to remember that hair must be treated gently. Gentle scalp massage and using a wide toothed comb is a good idea.

Home-made remedies like use of plant extracts that promote hair growth and improve the health of the scalp should be considered. Henna, reetha, shikakai and amla can be used.

For providing hair nourishment, apply castor oil, olive oil or coconut oil at least once a week. A good remedy for dandruff and hair loss is steaming the hair. Take a wet towel dipped in hot water, wring out the water and wrap it around the head and leave it there for sometime.

Using a conditioner sparingly can help buffer against external damage. It also leaves the hair more manageable. Whipped egg white or juice of a lemon can be used to condition the hair. Everyday washing should be avoided, but a mild shampoo is a safe bet. Do not comb wet hair, as wet hair can break more easily. Instead, comb with a wide-toothed comb or use a soft-bristled brush.

Go to a hairdresser once in two months to have the split ends removed. They make the hair weak, so just snip them.

And once you have taken ample care, go for that haircut you so admire. But first take advise on whether it will suit you or make you look like one of those heads that seriously need a piece of mind.

Apparel for The masses

Rohit Bal with his collection at the Be: store
Rohit Bal with his collection at the Be: store

Raymond’s has managed to create another ‘complete’ wear that is sure to go down well with the masses. Be: — a new pret range from the house of Raymond’s has designer wear made available for the masses at costs that are not unaffordable. The vision was to make couture available to those who could only dream of buying the stuff, but lacked the buying power.

With Be:, Raymond’s brings a larger collection to a larger group of consumers. The pret lines from the designers like Arjun Khanna, Ashish Soni, Raghavendra Rathore, Puja Nayyar and Rohit Bal are all set to woo the customer.

The Be: has clothes for women as well. In fact, it is more for the complete woman than for the complete man. Ethnic, fusion and western range for both men and women plus elegant eveningwear form the Be: collection.

While Rathore is courting the women with western cuts in retro colours, Anshu Sen has promoted her label as a brand that could produce semi-formal, formal and fun clothing at unbelievable prices.

The almost-always-in-news designer, Rohit Bal, too has found a place for himself in the Be: store. His collection, ‘Balance’, is the first pret-a-porter label from his studio. His line finds balance between his creative energy and down-to-earth pragmatism.

The Be: will also offer accessories for the women like bags and scarves. It will also house imported designer jewellery, which will be made exclusively in India through Be: store.

The USP of Be: is, well, it claims to be the first corporate house that deemed it fit to corporatise designer wear.

Western touch

Celina Jaitly, showcasing the western brand, ‘Wearit’
Celina Jaitly, showcasing the western brand, ‘Wearit’

Good news for ladies who prefer the western garbs to the traditional wears. Wearit, a line of western dresses, has been launched in India by Ritspin Synthetics.

The brand will target the top end of the party as well as casual wear segment. Catering to the age group between 15 and 35 the price is slotted to be between Rs 475 and Rs 750. Currently being launched through Shopper’s Stop, the company will enter into marketing tie-ups with other stores as well.

What’s more Celina Jaitly has donned the role of the brand ambassador for Wearit.

And here is what she has to say, “I strongly believe that Wearit would get the first mover advantage in this sector, and the brand would establish itself as the most popular woman’s brand in India.” 



Unemployed youth shoots at father 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 12
An unemployed son opened fire on his father at Bharat Colony here when the latter refused to fulfill his monetary demand. The victim sustained bullet injuries in his stomach, hands and feet and was admitted to the PGIMS.

According to police sources, Mr Deep Chand Suhag, a retired official from the Agriculture Department, was staying at Bharat Colony. His married son, Anil Kumar, often argued with his father over the issue of his monthly expenditure.

Anil allegedly fired several shots at his father with his licensed revolver and escaped.

The police have registered cases under Section 307 of the IPC and Section 27\54\59 of the Arms Act against Anil. Later in the day, the police arrested Anil and recovered the revolver used in the crime.

IMA elections

Dr Roshan Lal Garg of Rohtak was elected the president of Haryana state branch of Indian Medical Association (IMA) for the year 2002-03 in the recently held elections. According to information, Dr Garg polled 912 votes and defeated his nearest rival, Dr P. K. Kohli of Sonepat district with a margin of 532 votes. Dr J. B. Bansal of Sonepat and Dr V. N. Sudan of Ambala city were elected as vice- presidents. The newly elected president said the executive committee of the association would soon be constituted.

Patwari arrested

A patwari of a village of the Hodal subdivision in the district has been arrested for taking a bribe of Rs 2,500 from a resident.

According to district officials, the accused, Pravin Kumar, working as a patwari of Bidake village, had demanded from a villager the above amount for doing a work connected with the revenue records of a land. The matter was reported to the Deputy Commissioner, who laid a trap and got the patwari caught red-handed while accepting the money.

Wardens arrested

The police have arrested three wardens, Chand Ram, Ram Dhan and Shiv Bhagwan, of the district jail in connection with the last week’s escape of a prisoner, Dimple alias Dimmi who had been undergoing life imprisonment in a murder case.

According to the police, all the arrested wardens had been charged with dereliction (neglect of duty) and providing an opportunity to the prisoner to escape from the jail.

Farmer killed

Mr Kanahya, a farmer, was killed after he some persons assaulted him with a sharp-edged weapon while working in his field at Lalehri Khurd village, about 15 km from here.

According to a report, the seriously injured farmer raised an alarm but the armed assailants managed to escape under the cover of darkness.

The farmer was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead by the doctors.

According to another report, two brothers were injured seriously when they were attacked with lathis and other weapons by some persons at Hassanpur village.

Both the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and are stated to be out of danger. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress. No arrest has been made in this connection so far.

Farmers clash

One person was injured in a clash that took place between two rival groups at Zainpur Tikola village, about 15 km from here. The injured person, Subhash, was immediately hospitalised. He is stated to be out of danger. It was stated that Subhash had gone to his field when he was attacked by farmers from a UP village, who were found destroying his fields.

Dowry harassment

The police have registered a case against one Deepak of Bhigan village and his family members for allegedly demanding more dowry and harassing his wife, Mrs Babita Devi. Further investigations are in progress. No arrest has been made in this connection.

Copying detected

Mr Dilbagh Singh, vice-chairman of the Board of School Education, Haryana, carried out a surprise inspection at various examination centres in the Kharkhauda block of the district and detected 58 cases of unfair means being adopted by the examinees in the ongoing 10 plus 2 board examinations.

According to informed sources, these included 41 cases of copying, 16 cases of impersonation and one case related to taking answer sheets out of the examination hall. All the 16 cases of impersonation were handed over to the police for legal action.

At one centre, seven youths — Naveen, Manoj, Suresh, Vikas, Vijay, Jaivir and Sandeep — were found impersonating as Satish Kumar, Sandeep, Ramvir, Sunil, Balwan, Satish and Baljit respectively.

At another centre, nine youths — Uder Singh, Sunil, Rajesh, Amit, Sunil, Bijender, Surinder and Vikas — were found taking the examination in place of Kuldeep, Sunil, Jagbir, Sunil, Ashok, Survind, Shiv Kumar, Som Dutt and Sandesh Kumar.r.

The police have registered cases under various sections of the IPC against these students and launched criminal proceedings against them.

Yajna Concludes

An eight-day 100-Kundiya Shree Ayut Chandi Maha Yajna concluded here.

Thousands of devotees offered purnahutis in the yajna. According to a report, Swami Prakhar Hari performed the yajna for world peace. As many as 350 sadhus and sants from all over the country took part in it.

Shop looted

Thieves broke open the locks of a shop and took away cash cards, mobile phones and battery chargers worth several lakhs of rupees at Ganaur town, 16 km from here.

According to a report, the police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress.



Three killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 12
Three persons were killed and over a dozen others injured in different road accidents here. Raju of Gulistanpur under the Surajpur police station was knocked down in Greater Noida by a motorcycle. He was rushed to Kailash Hospital where he succumbed to the injuries. The errant motorcyclist has been arrested.

Two persons were killed on the spot in a multiple collision involving a Maruti car, truck and a tractor on the G. T. road under the Jarcha police station. The truck driver succumbed to injuries at a hospital. Two persons, who had been atop the tractor, were also injured in the accident.

In another incident, a school bus and a bus collided in Atta in Noida under Sector 39 police station injuring some schoolchildren.

In another accident, the drivers of two Maruti cars sustained injuries.



Shivratri celebrated 

New Delhi, March 12
Traditional gaiety marked Shivratri celebrations today as devotees thronged Shiv temples in different parts of the Capital to offer prayers and perform pujas. Women offered flowers and milk to the deity in Shivalayas after staying awake the whole night. Vendors selling flowers were much sought after even as shopkeepers selling commodities like milk did brisk business The small Kashmiri migrant community also participated in nightlong festivities . TNS



205 cases of power theft detected 

Sonepat, March 12
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has intensified its anti-power theft campaign in the Sonepat circle. As many as 205 cases of power theft were detected by the UHBVN after checking 1,351 power connections during the first 11 days of the current month.

The Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here that officials of the nigam had imposed a penalty of Rs 8.52 lakh on the erring consumers and recovered Rs 6.01 lakh from them on the spot. The officials of the nigam, he said, had lodged FIRs with the police against 31 consumers who failed to deposit the penalty amount during the stipulated period.

Referring to the Surcharge Waiving Scheme and the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS), the Deputy Commissioner disclosed that not a single case of overloading had been detected during the period under review in this circle. He also disclosed that the authorities of the UHBVN had organised various camps in Sonepat city, Gohana and Ganaur town and other villages for the redressal of grievances of the people in connection with fake electricity bills and other similar problems. OC



Girl dies as fire engulfs jhuggi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
Fifteen-year-old Reena died on the spot and her sister Kavita (9) sustained serious burns in a fire that broke out in a jhuggi in the Narela area in North-West district on Monday.

The injured is reported to be in a serious condition in LNJP Hospital. The police said that Prakash, the father of the victims, was at home when fire engulfed the jhuggi. His wife was not present. While Prakash and three children managed to escape, the other two were caught in the fire.

The adjacent jhuggi also caught fire, but no one was reported hurt. The fire was soon extinguished, said the police.

Criminal nabbed: A notorious criminal, Omvir Singh (35), who has been involved in more than four cases of robbery, was arrested by the North district police from the Roshanara Bagh area on Monday evening.

The police also seized a button-actuated knife from him.

Omvir, resident of Timarpur, was earlier arrested in 1990 on the charges of raping a woman in the Gokulpuri area.

He was later released in 1998 and during this time, he had come into contact with two criminals, Suraj alias Raju and Vijay Kumar.

After his release, he along with the duo started committing robberies. His associates were nabbed earlier.

Labourer killed: One labourer died and two others sustained serious injuries when mud caved in the basement in which they were working, in New Friends Colony today evening.

Mohammad Sarkat (26), died on the spot, while Samad Ali (35) and Nazroo (19), were admitted in the Safdarjung hospital with injuries. The police have registered a case against the contractor Swaran Kumar and his foreman Naresh.


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