Wednesday, March 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Natasha: Death due to fall from height
2nd autopsy concurs with first one; cops refuse to dub it 
suicide yet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
The Delhi Police today said that the second autopsy report of Natasha Singh, estranged daughter-in-law of senior Congress leader Natwar Singh, concurred with the first one and establishes that she died due to injuries “sustained in a fall from a height”. The reports also did not find any trace of bullets or stab injuries on the body. The panel, comprising Dr S K Khanna and Dr P C Dixit of Maulana Azad Medical College and Dr D N Bharadwaj of AIIMS, which conducted the second autopsy on the request of Natasha’s family members on March 18, totally agreed with the first autopsy report of Dr Alaxander Khaka of the Safdarjang hospital. The second autopsy report said that the “cause of death was due to ‘Cranio-Cerebal,’ damage and shock consequent upon multiple injuries.” The panel pointed out that ante-mortem injuries could have been caused by blunt force/surface impact, which are possible in a fall from a height. There were no firearm or stab injuries on the body, the panel concluded.

The police on Tuesday questioned and recorded the statements of the friends of Natasha Singh, who received the SMS messages on the fateful night. The friends were also questioned about Natasha, her state of mind and her day-to-day activities. The police, however, did not categorically state whether it was a case of suicide or murder; instead, it maintained that investigations were continuing to clear certain discrepancies. The police maintained that the investigations were focussed on the fact that a case of murder had been registered and “ we are going about it according to the rule book”.

They also said that now they had a clear idea what Natasha did after arriving at the hotel around 11.30 p.m., till the time of her tentative death. A number of persons in the hotel, including some employees who had spotted her there, have been questioned and their statements have been recorded.

Meanwhile, the mortal remains of Natasha Singh, socialite and daughter-in-law of senior Congress leader Natwar Singh, were consigned to flames according to vedic rites here this afternoon in the presence of a large number of VVIPs.

Amidst chanting of vedic hymns in a surcharged atmosphere, the funeral pyre was lit by husband Jagat Singh, son of Mr Natwar Singh, at the Lodhi Road crematorium at 1330 hrs. Mr Natwar Singh, his family members and Natasha’s parents, Sameer Marshi and Urmila, brothers Sharif and Arshad and a large number of relatives and friends were present during the funeral. Earlier, Congress President Sonia Gandhi visited the house of Natwar Singh in Vasant Vihar around noon to express her condolences to the bereaved family. Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mr Jaipal Reddy and fashion designer J J Vallaya also went to the house.



Can SMS message be considered a suicide note?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
Even though the Delhi Police are yet to formally conclude that Natasha Singh, the 31-year-old estranged daughter-in-law of Congress leader K. Natwar Singh, had committed suicide, they are seeking legal opinion to ascertain if the SMS messages sent by her to some of her friends on Saturday night could be construed as a suicide note.

Police sources said that the investigating officers had procured the transcript of her mobile conversation and messages on the fateful night and had referred these to legal officers. According to the law, a suicide note has to be in the deceased person’s own handwriting and under his or her signature. The handwriting and signatures have to be subsequently authenticated by experts.

Sources said that in the case of Natasha Singh, whose body was found on the first floor terrace garden of Hyatt Regency in South Delhi in the wee hours of Sunday morning, there was no suicide note. However, the SMS messages received by some of her friends indicated that she was considering ending her life. (The messages seemed to suggest that she was `planning to go to another world’ and appealed for the well-being of her two children.)

According to these sources, the estranged husband, Mr Jagat Singh, with whom the police has talked thrice since her death, also indicated that she suffered from bouts of depression and had contemplated suicide on an earlier occasion. Her counsel, Ms Malavika Rajkotia, however, had categorically stated that Natasha had no suicidal tendencies.

Armed with the transcripts, the police is now talking with all the persons whom she had contacted on her mobile on Saturday night, to determine her state of mind.



Big jump in Delhi plan outlay
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
The size of the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007) of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi has been pegged at Rs 26,681 crore, more than double the size of the Ninth Plan. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who met with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission KC Pant on Tuesday to finalise the Plan allocation, said the 2002-2003 Annual Plan as approved by the Planning Commission has been fixed at Rs 4,700 crore, up 24 per cent from Rs 3,800 crore last year.

Ms Dikshit told media persons the Annual Plan accorded the highest priority to the energy sector (30.09 per cent) in terms of Plan outlay to strengthen the power sector reforms already under way. Other priority sectors, she said, were transport (19.13 per cent), water (12.61 per cent), urban development (11.42 per cent), medical and public health (8.29 per cent) and education (7.96 per cent). On the salient features of the Tenth Five Year Plan, the chief minister said administrative reforms and social sector had been made the thrust areas. “We told the Commission of our desire to spend more money on the human aspects of development rather than on infrastructure. In other words,” she said, “more money for the social sector.”

Making out a case for holistic development of the National Capital Region (NCR), Ms Dikshit said she had sought the Planning Commission’s support for timely assistance from the ministries concerned and the co-operation of states adjoining the NCT of Delhi for the development of NCR. “It is time the concept of NCR be taken up in earnest and implemented with a sense of urgency,” she said while sharing her concerns on the progress on that front. “The Government of NCT of Delhi,” she said, “is the only one to have paid its share of contribution towards the NCR Planning Board. It is time the other states also followed suit.” To put things on a fast track, the chief minister said Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra had been detailed to co-ordinate with her counterparts in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and chalk out a development plan for integrating the fringe areas in the NCR. Listing the handicaps of the Government of NCT of Delhi in taking the other states along on this count, Ms Dikshit said the NCT of Delhi bore the burden of NCR; yet, the states were not willing to contribute their bit to meet the development needs of the region.



Much-hyped Metro is not what the Capital needs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
The much-hyped Mass Rapid Transport System or Metro will not solve the transportation crisis faced by the National Capital Territory of Delhi, said a leading expert on transport management. “Metro will not solve Delhi’s transport problem or any problem faced by the city. It would rather strengthen migration of people into the city,” said Prof Dinesh Mohan of Indian Institute of Technology here. Given the present landscape of the city, it would be as unsuccessful as the Metro in Calcutta or Bangkok. The metros there were running at less than 30 per cent of its capacity. Metro systems were successful only in cities with high-rise buildings like New York, he said. “Metro in the Capital would push the need for building high-rise structures near the stations,” he said, adding, “more people would migrate to the city than they do so now resulting in further pressure on the basic amenities in the NCT.” An 8.3-km stretch from Shahdara to Tis Hazari, Metro is expected to be operational from December 1. Eighty-two per cent of the work in this section has already been completed and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is confident of completing the remaining work within the stipulated time.

The first phase of the metro project once completed would comprise of Metro Corridor (underground) of 11 km and Surface Corridor (partly elevated and partly on the ground) of 41 km.

The Metro Corridor would connect Delhi University with Central Secretariat and the elevated portion would connect Shahdara with Barwala and also Trinagar with Nangloi.

Prof Mohan said the Capital required low-capacity, high-density transport system. “With better management, the existing road capacity can be tripled. High-capacity bus system should be the main thrust of the public transport system in the Capital,” he said. Criticising the metro system for its high costs, the transportation expert said, “The high-capacity bus system would incur a cost of Rs 3 crore per kilometre compared to Rs 300 crore for the metro.” The MRTS project, which started in 1998, would be completed by March 31, 2005. The total project would cost around Rs 8,000 crore – 56 per cent of which is provided by Japan as a soft loan and the rest jointly shared by the Centre and Delhi Government on an equal sharing basis. There is a 10 year moratorium on the Japanese loan, with a repayment period of 30 years..

Stating that the installation of tamper-proof electronic meters would reduce fleecing of commuters by TSR/Taxi operators as “rubbish”, Prof Mohan said: “The government should lay down the environment standards, they should be fitted with global positioning system (GPS) which would track each vehicle and centralised booking of TSR/Taxi. Tariffs should be realistic. Such measures would induce spirit of competition,” he said. Participating in a discussion on “Delhi: The agenda for a stronger, faster, better economy” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, he said slum clusters occupied only three per cent of the land in the Capital and their existence amidst the social haves was a necessity to avoid social upheaval and an upswing in crime.



KU-college stand-off over principal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 19
The S. D. College Management Committee and Kurukshetra University (KU) are on the warpath over the continuation of Dr H. K. Sehajwani as the acting principal of the college. With KU asking the management again to appoint the senior-most lecturer as the principal and the management adamant on retaining Dr Sehajwani, the stage is set for a confrontation. In fact, the letter of the KU Dean of Colleges has come as a bolt from the blue for the management. It says: “It is again requested that the senior-most lecturer of the college be asked to officiate as the principal with immediate effect till the regular appointment is made. Otherwise, no communication will be accepted under the signature of Dr H. K. Sehajwani.” The agitated members of the faculty, which had been terming the appointment as “illegal” and violating the Provision 16-A of the KU Calendar since Dr Sehajwani was placed seventh in the list of seniority, today called off its 50-day-long dharna.

The committee, on its part, seems to be in no mood to replace Dr Sehajwani. Talking to ‘NCR Tribune’, president of the committee, Mr Sumer Chand Goyal, made it clear that there was no question of replacing Dr Sehajwani. The advertisement for the post of the regular principal had been given and there was no move to replace Dr Sehajwani at least till the regular appointment was made, Mr Goyal asserted.

It may be recalled that the tug-of-war between the management/principal and the faculty began after the then principal, Prof O. P. Gupta, retired on May 31 last year. Mr Sehajwani assumed charge on June 1. While members of the faculty had termed the appointment as “illegal”, Dr Sehajwani had contended that his appointment was in order as he was the only one of the five candidates, who fulfilled the UGC conditions for the appointment of the principal.



Fake medical colleges: directors arrested
Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, March 19
The ‘directors’ of two ‘self-styled’ medical institutes, which were offering `degrees’ in an unauthorised and illegal manner, have been arrested. They were produced in two separate courts, which remanded them to police custody till tomorrow. The local police had arrested the accused last night, after registering cases under sections 420, 467 and 471 of the IPC at the NIT and Ballabgarh (city) police stations. The Indian Medical College (IMC) at NH-5 in the NIT area was being run by one Dr S.C. Sudan while the Indian Institute of Naturopathy Medicine in Ballabgarh was headed by one Dr Munish Kumar Sethi. The NCR Tribune had run a story on the Indian Medical College on March 6 and on the other institute on March 14.

The Chief Medical officer (CMO) and the Deputy Commissioner initiated action against the two institutes as the investigations carried out by the District Drug Control Authorities had shown that neither body was recognised and that they were churning out degrees in disciplines unknown to the medical world. The Indian Medical College had been running since 1998 and its first batch of BAMS course was ready. The institute offers degrees like MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine in Biochemic System), BAMS (Bachelor of Allopathy Patent Medical Specialities), BAMS (Bachelor of Allopathy Patent Medicine and Surgery), BIAMS (Bachelor in Indo Allopathy System of Medicine), DAMS (Diploma in Allopathy Patent Medical Specialities) and M.D. (Doctor of Medicine, Patent Biochanic).

Principal S C Sudan claims that students who pass out of the institute can practice any where in India. He further claims that the stream of medicine taught in the college is an approved one and that the institute is affiliated to Patna-based Council of Patent Medicine and the Medical Board of Biochemic System. The institute was charging a fee of Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per year for each course and the duration of degrees like MBBS and BAMS was three and four years, respectively.



Spate of poll complaints

New Delhi, March 19
With barely four days left for campaigning for the MCD polls, the Election Commission of Delhi has received 42 complaints of different nature, including violation of the model code of conduct, from different wards. The Joint Election Commissioner, Mr D. N. Khaneta, said that in the beginning, the commission used to receive only one or two complaints in a day. But now, the average number of complaints received in a day had gone up to 12. The complaints are forwarded to different authorities like Returning officers, Zone Officer, District Commissioner of MCD, Chief Commissioner of MCD, Deputy Commissioner of Police in different districts and Commissioner of Police for thorough inquiry and action as Election Commission itself cannot take action. TNS



Industrialist ends life

Noida, March 19
Fed up with the reported “harassment and insulting interrogation” by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, an entrepreneur of Sector 9 here has committed suicide by hanging himself at his factory. Chaudhary Raj Kumar, 48, who was constructing his house in New Ashok Nagar, New Delhi, has his factory in H-85 in Sector 9, Noida. The Crime Branch had recently interrogated Mr Raj Kumar in connection with some case. During interrogation, the industrialist felt greatly humiliated. OC



Pahelwan’s assets attached
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 19
The Ghaziabad police have attached the property of Sukhdev alias Pahelwan, the third accused in Nitish Katara murder case. The police have attached all his belongings in his house and his farm in his native place. His liquor vend in Bulandshahar has also been searched, it is learnt.



Rozgar Yojana weighed down by bad debts 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, March 19
The Prime Minister Rozgar Yojna (PMRY) for providing self-employment for educated youth of the country has failed to serve the purpose for which it was set up. As the banks refuse to consider collateral security or surety from the applicants for sanctioning loans, few bother to return the loans.

Bank officials are equally responsible for increasing the non-productive assets(NPA)under the scheme as they did not scrutinise the applications carefully before the disbursement of the loans. Moreover, after the disbursement of loans, no follow up was done by the bank to supervise their business activities.

Sadly then, around 50 to 60 per cent loans under the scheme turn into bad debts, while in twenty to thirty per cent cases, the loans are recovered only after extensive legal actions and rigorous follow-up by the bank officials. Hardly ten per cent loans are recovered in time.

The result of the “good scheme” is that banks are not willing to sanction loans under the Prime Minister Rojgar Yojna.

In between, the unemployed youth, for whom the scheme was initiated and launched with much fanfare, are the casualty.

During the current financial year, the Indian Overseas Bank sanctioned 5 loans against the target of 12; Corporation Bank sanctioned 8 loans against the target of 15; Punjab National Bank sanctioned 49 loans against the target of 80, Union Bank sanctioned 29 loans against the target of 44.

Vijaya Bank did not sanction even a single case against the target of 5 whereas 9 applications were pending with the bank on 31 January,2002. The manager of Vijaya Bank reportedly told a standing committee, held under the chairmanship of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mr Shyamal Mishra recently, that there was lot of non-productive assets with the branch. The manager said that if the district administration provided the necessary help in their recovery, the bank would achieve its targets.

The chief manager, Syndicate Bank, also attributed the poor recovery as the main reason for the hesitancy on the part of the bank to sanction loans liberally.

There was no representative from State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Union Bank in the meeting. It clearly showed the priority of the leading banks in the district for providing loans to educated youth under the Prime Minister Rojgar Yojna.

A senior official representing the Reserve Bank of India took a serious note of the absence of these banks in the meeting.

The General Manager, District Industries Centre (DIC), Mr K. S. Josan, said that against the target of 450, the DIC had sponsored 1026 applications of which 423 were sanctioned and 300 were pending with various banks.

The scheme is useful as it provide self-employment for the educated youth but the rising bad debts has raised doubts about the working of the banks.

“Only needy and deserving candidates should be sanctioned loans and regular supervision by the bank officials should be conducted,” said Ms Preeti Singh, the branch manager of Punjab National Bank.

The loan applicants should be asked to provide the collateral security or surety under the Prime Minister Rojgar Yojna as it would ensure the recovery for the banks, observed the District Lead Manager, Mr S.V. Govindaiah.



BJP changes tack: It is back to basics
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
Even as Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit gets down to campaigning for the Congress in the few days remaining, ahead of Sunday’s civic elections, in a bid to rub off her government’s “achievements” on the party’s fortunes at the hustings, the “performance” of her government has come under fire from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Barely a day after the Congress leaders went into a huddle and later announced a series of meetings to be addressed by Ms Dikshit to project her government’s track record over the last three-odd years, the BJP targeted her for the poor water and power situation in the Capital. Changing tack, the BJP – which had thus far concentrated on the ‘peripheral’ issues of statehood, utilisation (or otherwise) of Plan funds and Election Minister Deep Chand Bandhu’s fudging of the voter’s list – has pre-empted the chief minister’s making use of the “achievements on the civic, local front” in her campaign by taking her on those very issues.

In a frontal attack on the chief minister (“She is chairperson of Delhi Jal Board” or so the rhetoric went), Vijay Kumar Malhotra said Ms Dikshit’s three-year-old Ministry had failed to live up to the promises made by her party. “She (the chief minister),” Malhotra told media persons, “has not been able to provide even a single drop of water to Delhi” and went on to highlight the power woes in the summer ahead.

Taking on from where Malhotra left, BJP President Mange Ram Garg said the Congress-ruled Government of NCT of Delhi was contemplating imposition of additional taxes in the Budget 2002-2003 in order to shore up its resources. Quoting reports in the media, he said the government had failed to realise the targets set for revenue from sales and excise taxes. The BJP, he added, would oppose any such move. The passage of Prevention of Terrorism Bill was also made use of to highlight the Congress’ take on matters of “unity” and “integrity.”

Responding to each of the charges, Chief Minister Dikshit said the Government of NCT of Delhi was handicapped in that it had to strike a delicate balance in addressing the concerns of Delhiites while simultaneously charting out development works of the National Capital Region (NCR). “For (fulfilling the needs of NCT of Delhi) the co-operation of the adjoining states is an essential pre-requisite,” she said and lamented that NCT of Delhi was carrying the burden of NCR.

Her government, she said, had undertaken power sector reforms to augment the services. The Pragati Power Project, she asserted, had mitigated the power woes to some extent although she acknowledged that with the co-operation of other states a lot more could have been achieved. Responding to the issue of water scarcity cited by the BJP, she said Haryana was supplying barely 30 million gallons per day in spite of having agreed to supply 40 million gallons per day. With the completion of the Sonia Vihar project in 2003 the water woes of East Delhi would have been addressed, she said. Denying any move to impose additional taxes, the chief minister said no such proposal was in her knowledge. Ridiculing the BJP for raking up issues without application of mind, she said there were a host of issues besides water and power that needed attention and which could be solved only if a development was addressed holistically and in “consonance” with neighbouring states. “Who is to blame for the poor state of health services, if 33 per cent of patients being treated in Delhi hospitals are ordinarily residing outside of Delhi?” she retorted.



Delhi housing shortage projected at 2.9 lakh 
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, March 19
The Department of Drinking Water Supply, Government of India, has provided central assistance of Rs two crore during the year 2001-2002 to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi under the Prime Minister’s Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY). Out of this amount, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi has so far spent Rs 1.20 crore, informed the Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

He added that the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi has reported that there were no non-covered and partially covered rural habitations in Delhi and all the rural habitations have been provided with drinking water facility.

The urban housing shortage projections in Delhi, during the Ninth Five-Year Plan, stands at 0.29 million units. The Government of India through the National Agenda for Governance have declared, ‘Housing for All’ as a priority area. The Minister of State for Water Resources, Ms Bijoya Chakravarty, informed the Rajya Sabha that the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has issued directions to adopt roof top rainwater harvesting system to various establishments. These include industrial units located in the notified areas of South and South-West districts of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Municipal Corporation of Ghaziabad (MCG), Uttar Pradesh and Gurgaon and Haryana. The last date for compliance of the directive has been extended up to March 31, 2002.

Department of Tourism, Government of India, has provided financial assistance of Rs 16.28 lakh to the Delhi Administration for the development of tourist infrastructures including tourist places, said the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan.



Water theft by ‘big’ farmers leaves tail-end 
fields dry
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 19
Farmers in the villages falling under the jurisdiction of the Rai Water Service Division and the Samalkha subdivision have been facing an acute shortage of canal water for irrigating their fields for the past a few months.

They allege that theft of irrigation water by influential farmers backed by certain political bosses of the ruling party is rampant and is one of the reasons for the present shortage. Many farmers also allege that some officials are hand in glove with these influential farmers and are instrumental in hushing up the cases of water theft. As a result, the irrigation of the wheat crop has been badly hit, particularly at the tail-end villages.

Expressing concern over the inadequate and irregular supply of canal water, the farmers of many villages now blame the authorities for not cleaning the canals, distributaries and minors despite clear instructions by the state government. They say that the desilting and de-weeding operations carried out by the officials were merely an eyewash. The funds allocated for this purpose by the government have been misappropriated by some officials, they allege.

The farmers whose fields are situated at the tail-end have demanded a probe into their complaints about the canal water not reaching their fields and stern action against the officials found responsible for it.

Most of the village ponds have also been dried up owing to the failure of the authorities of the Irrigation Department to fill them with canal water.

The villagers are facing great inconvenience and they are unable to provide water even to the cattle for drinking. Repeated complaints made by the village people in this regard to the authorities concerned have fallen on deaf ears.

Representatives of various farmers’ organisations refuted the claim of the authorities that the canal water had reached the tail-end villages during the rotation period last week and described the claim as incorrect and misleading.

They maintained that the farmers were still facing the erratic supply of canal water for irrigation purposes and their crops were withering away on account of this. They have urged the district authorities to take serious note of it and take action against the erring officials immediately.



Yogindra Yadav  for rollback of reforms
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 19
Coming down heavily on the economic and liberalisation policies of the Union Government, Dr Yogindra Yadav, Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, today demanded a “rollback of the second generation reforms”.

Talking to reporters on the occasion of the arrival of the “sampuran kranti yatra” organised as part of the birth anniversary celebrations of Jaiprakash Narayan here, Dr Yadav regretted that the people of the country were not taken into confidence when the successive governments during the last 10 years took the decisions to open up the Indian economy and enter the WTO regime.

Answering a question on the ‘failure’ of the JP movement, Dr Yadav conceded that lack of strong organisational set-up contributed to its failure. Moreover, some of the comrades of JP, who entered politics and occupied high offices proved to be among the “most-corrupt” politicians in the country, he added. Mr Dalip Singh, a trade union leader, said the yatra, which started from the backward place of Narnaul on March 6 to awaken the women, youth and Dalits about their rights, would conclude at Gurgaon on March 28.

Meanwhile, a six-point charter has been drawn up by the organisations conducting the yatra. It included participation of the common man in policy making, exposing corruption in public offices and giving Dalits their due. Bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, a check on the female foeticide and development of the country rising above caste and communal lines are the other issues highlighted in a pamphlet issued here on the occasion.



Shahi Imam calls for ban on RSS, VHP

New Delhi, March 19
The Shahi Imam of historic Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, has sought an immediate ban on the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal for their incendiary statements which, he said, threatened to tear apart the country’s secular fabric.

“Any dialogue between Hindu and Muslim groups in the vitiated environment at present will bear no fruit. The only solution to Ayodhya issue lies in a court verdict and Muslims of the country will abide by it,” he said. Reacting to the RSS resolution passed by its general council at Bangalore on March 17 that the safety of Muslims lay in the goodwill of the majority community, he said that “such provocative statements would lead to bloodbath and balkanisation of the country”. TNS



Leave your footprints on the sands of time 
Smriti Kak

Gone are the days when you could hide your cracked heels under a saree or pull your socks up. Feet are no longer the can-be-neglected part of your body. For tiptoeing on the sands of time and leaving your footprints behind, make sure you pay them the same attention that your face deserves.

Get rid of dirt, the very first step to beautiful feet. If you can’t go for a pedicure, try giving your feet a good wash at home. Add a capful of shampoo to some lukewarm water, soak your feet in this for a while. Using a good foot scrub remove the dirt and the dead skin. After wiping the feet dry, use some aromatic oil like lavender or Rosemary. You could also try using lemon juice mixed with water to clean your feet. Dip your feet in this mixture, it will help remove the odour and leave them smooth.

Cure foot blisters, they can be very painful, if left untreated. Dandelion leaves have long been used to cure blisters. Squeeze the white liquid of dandelion onto the blister and then cover it with a bandage. However, the dandelion has to be washed and should not be sprayed with pesticides. The safest bet is to consult a doctor.

Don’t let fads or price tags mislead you. Find yourself a good shoe. Wrong shoe sizes or ill-fitting patterns can send you hopping and skipping to a doctor than to the dance floor. Try going shoe shopping in the evening when the feet are swollen to their largest size. The toe box should allow you to wriggle your toes.

The soles should be strong and flexible, they should cushion your feet, not hurt them. Toss the heels that only look good, they are bad for the posture as for your back. Stilettos are meant for the dos, not everyday wear.

Trim nails straight across, and not too short. Don’t cut out or dig at corners. Do not trim, shave, or use over-the-counter medicines to dissolve corns or calluses. Nail paint should not be worn for more than three days. Remember to remove paint, don’t wait for it to disappear.

Socks are worn to protect feet, not to be used as smell bombs. Change your socks everyday. Try and switch shoes from day to day and allow the shoes to breathe. Airing the shoes and powdering them can help rid them of odour and sweat. Armed with these tips, you are ready to put the best foot forward.


Miss Annie Thomas
Miss Annie Thomas, former Miss India-World, during the inauguration of “Zak Jewels 2002”.

The word jewels needs no elaboration. Think jewels and the mind’s inward eye is flooded with the pictures of glittering, dazzling and breathtaking treasures, mostly seen in a book of fables or in the Aladdin movies.

The Capital was recently witness to a jewellery exhibition showcasing the best of creations in diamond, platinum, gold, silver and gems. The exhibition that was inaugurated by Annie Thomas, former Miss India, had been organised by Zak Jewels. The four-day exhibition saw the flash of various collections like the bridal collection, the traditional wear, the antique collection, the gift collection and the casual wear.

While for the consumers it was a time to shop and drop, for the jewellery makers it was a time to reveal their best. It was also a time to create awareness about the new qualities like 916 KDM and Hall marking.

Herbal Holi

With Holi just round the corner, it is time to hunt the right colours that do not harm the skin. The Institute of Natural and Modern Cosmetech (INMC), Faridabad, has developed natural and eco friendly colours for those who want Holi to be a riot of colours.

After undertaking intensive research programme on Indian natural resources, the INMC has developed ready-to-use colours in a variety of shades and fragrances.

These colours are non-toxic and soft on the skin. Made from herbs they do not cause allergic reactions. Natural gulal, pastes and tilaks do not stain the skin and come off in a single wash. The department of environment, Government of NCT of Delhi, has also certified that these colours are safe.

So, bid goodbye to the synthetic colours that come armed with damaging products like lead oxide, chromium iodine and engine oil. Make it a happy Holi with harmless colours that leave just the colour and not the spots.



Grooms have a reason to smile this season
Rana A Siddiqui

Sherwani for a groom.
Sherwani for a groom.

Renu Nigam hit headlines when Bill Clinton, in the royal Mughal tradition, wore a sherwani stitched by her during his visit to India last year. Renu’s expertise lies in ‘special sherwanis’ that include Kangani, Pita Dahka and flat Kasab. She is now eyeing the Indian would-be grooms as she unveils an array of modern, yet elegant, sherwanis in western silhouettes embellished with silver buttons, semi-precious stones and swarovski etc.

Recently, Renu came out with an exclusive range of designer buttons and brooches to compliment the garment. What makes these sterling silver buttons mores special is that they are studded with astrological gemstones that bring health, happiness, luck, peace and prosperity to the wearer.

These accessories, as Renu tells you, “are made with their alternative use in mind.” That is, these can be worn like jewellery, too, for example, a Jodhpuri button can be worn as a trinket by adding a piece of string.

Is this the reason why Movers and Shakers’ Shekhar Suman, the singing and prancing Anu Kapoor, music maestros like Pandit Shiv Kumar, Debu Choudhury and Chunkey Pandey wear Renu’s sherwanis on ‘special occasions’ only?

Compositions lack freshness

It seems that composing music and penning lyrics has become an arm-chair job. You write anything, music directors like Anu Malick and Bappi Lahiri will fix them in their musical (strictly sans melody) compositions. Therefore, do not be surprised if David Dhawan’s ‘Hum kisi se kum nahin’ (starring Amitabh, Ash, Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt) and K C Bokadia’s Hum Tumhare hain sanam do not soothe but only prick your receptive sensors.

Amongst the seven, a few songs in Hum kisi…, penned by Anand Bakshi, have only lured street singers and mediocre listeners. ‘Ye kya ho raha hai,’ sung by Anu himself with Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam, and ‘Munna mobile’ (Sonu and Anu) have already hit the popular chart busters. ‘O Sapno ke saudagar,’ sung by Anuradha Paudwal and Sonu, may make you feel that Anuradha must sing in low pitch in order not to sound shrill. The only saving grace in the T series cassette is the last song in side B, ‘Dulhe Raja’ (Alka and Udit). Anu should better modify his rudimentary training in classical music, curb his penchant for stage shows, stop singing and concentrate only on music compositions. We still remember your euphonic music in ‘Refugee’ and ‘Akele hum akele tum,’ Anu!

In Shahrukh, Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit starrer ‘Hum Tumhare…..,’a Bappi Lahiri song, ‘Gale main lal tie,’ written by Maya Govind and sung by Bela Kumar Sanu, will be a pan shopper’s delight.

So will be ‘Na na na’ (music Debeoo Malik). Amongst 10 songs in this T series cassette, Bali Brahm Bhatt towers over others, especially in his musical composition `Sab kuch bhoola diya’ and `Taro ka chamakta,’ that you might soon hear at wedding parties. No great euphonic treat though, Hum kisi… will make an average listener happy. 



SSIs cry for short-term steps to revive business
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, March 19
The union and the state Budgets have disappointed the small-scale industry in Haryana which was facing tough competition from the large and multinational companies. Addressing newsmen at a ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by the Press Club here today, Mr Rajiv Chawla, general secretary of the Faridabad Small Industries Association, said that the small scale industry needed immediate short-term measures to survive and fight recession. The Centre had missed the opportunity though it had proposed some long-term measures to revive the industry.

“Will the small industry survive till then?” he wondered. With the de-reservation of 50 reserved items, the small-scale sector would have to compete with the large and the multinational companies. The Centre, Mr Chawla said, should provide finance at cheap rates and special packages to help the small-scale industry compete with the multinationals and big houses. Mr Chawla and Mr D. K. Jain, president of the District Industries Association, felt that the imposition of Local Area Development Tax (LADT) at the rate of four per cent by the Haryana Government was the major deterrent in attracting new industries in Haryana.

Four die in mishaps

Four persons, including a four-year-old girl, died in different accidents in the district during the past 24 hours. According to reports, Balbir of Bansi village was working on the rooftop of his house when he came in contact with an electricity cable passing over the house. He died on the spot.

In a separate incident, Raju, resident of Meham, died on the spot when the newly constructed lintel of a shop collapsed over him. The deceased was plastering the walls of the shop at the time of the incident. According to eyewitnesses, the head of the victim got detached from the body when the wreckage fell over him. Three labourers, who were also working in the same shop, had a narrow escape as they jumped swiftly out of the shop just before the lintel collapsed. The SDM and the DSP, Meham, reached the site and took samples from the rubble. In another incident, an unidentified youth ended his life by jumping before a train at the Lahli railway station on Monday. In yet another incident, Priyanka (4) died at the PGIMS here after she was bitten by a dog afflicted with Rabis at Sampla town, 25 km from here. It is learnt, several animals, including nearly 30 buffaloes, two pigs and an ox had been bitten so far by the dogs with Rabis in the town. Meanwhile, four passengers of a bus sustained injuries when it collided with a tractor near Lakhan Majra village. The injured have been admitted to the PGIMS. The police have registered a case against the bus driver, Rajender Singh.

Teachers’ dharna

The Maharshi Dayanand University Teachers’ Association (MDUTA) would stage a dharna on the campus tomorrow in protest against the “undemocratic style of functioning, anti-education decisions and atrocities on teachers” by the university administration. 



Lok Adalat disposes of 499 cases 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March. 19
A Lok Adalat held here disposed of as many as 499 pending cases. It was presided over by Ms Nirmal Yadav, District and Sessions Judge. According to Ms Yadav, the majority of the cases were settled with mutual understanding and cooperation. The Adalat also settled 50 cases of motor vehicle accidents and ordered payment of compensation (Rs 28.44 lakh) to the victims.

Besides these, 104 general cases, 48 criminal and two related to Hindu Marriage Act were also settled. A penalty of Rs 2.70 lakh was imposed on about 295 summary cases that were disposed of.

Ban on eatables

The district administration has banned the sale of eatables kept in open, in order to check the outbreak of cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases. In a release issued here on Tuesday, it was stated that anyone found selling food items including sugarcane juice, sweets, juice, meat, cake, biscuit, bread and vegetable, cut and kept in open will be prosecuted. Sale of raw and ripe fruits, ice, and ice-candies has been prohibited.

House burgled

A gang of thieves burgled a house in Sector 8 here in broad daylight on Monday and walked away with jewellery and cash worth Rs 2.40 lakh. The house was locked when the incident took place.

According to a complaint lodged with the police, all the members of the house (No. 1899) had gone out in connection with some work. When they came back, they found the doors open and the cash and jewellery missing. A case has been registered under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC.

Students quizzed

The students of class 8, appearing in the annual examination at Government Senior Secondary School at Salawas were at their wits end when they were distributed the question papers for Tuesday exam. They found the Hindi question paper for class 10 instead of their English paper that they were supposed to take.

When the students complained, it turned out that the staff on duty opened the packet containing the class 10 question paper erroneously. However, the Education Department sources said that even though the packet was opened, they were not distributed among students. The HBSE officials recorded the statements of the superintendent and other staff at the centre.

Truck recovered

The district police has recovered a stolen truck from Khunghai village of the district. A district police spokesman said here that the truck with the fake registration number DLI-GB8168 was parked near the house of Jitender in the village for last 3-4 months. On a tip off, when a team of crime branch officials inquired about the truck, it was found that the truck was stolen by three youths, identified as Jitender, Kapoor and Pawan. The police team seized the truck and arrested the accused trio after registering a case under Section 379, 411, 420, 467 and 471 of IPC.

Power theft

On a complaint lodged by Mr Tasvir Singh, SDO, HBVN at Bahadurgarh, the police has registered a case of power theft against Ramkumar, son of Hari Singh, resident of Chhotu Ram Park of the town. The Nigam also imposed a penalty of Rs 82408 against Ramkumar who was apprehended by the Nigam employees stealing power.

Chhachhia on bail

Mr Balbir Singh Chhachhia, convenor of Dr Ambedkar Park Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, was released on bail by the court here. According to a report, Mr Chhachhia was arrested by the police on March 14 while agitating for the installation of the statue of Dr Ambedkar at the bus stand crossing.

The district administration later obliged by installing the statue of the former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Devi Lal, at the railway crossing. After his release, Mr Chhachhia described his arrest as unjust, undemocratic and unwarranted and condemned the action of the district administration.

Eve-teaser held

The police have arrested one Dilbagh Singh, a resident of Barwasni village, in connection with the alleged murder of a woman, Ms Krishna, of the same village on March 1. According to the police, the main cause of the murder was that Ms Krishna had objected to the unruly behaviour of Dilbagh Singh towards a girl.

Man killed

A motorcyclist was killed when he was hit by an unknown vehicle on the Kharkhauda-Delhi road between Pipli and Saidpur villages, about 25 km from here on Monday. According to a report, the victim was identified as Ravinder(26). The police has registered the case and further investigations were in progress.

According to another report, three persons sustained serious injuries when their tractor trolley collided with a speeding truck on the Sonepat-Kami road near the Cooperative Sugar Mill here on Monday. The injured persons were identified as Rajoo, Amit and Mani Ram and they belonged to Baroli village. All the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and they are stated to be out of danger.

Job melas

The Haryana Government has decided to organise self-employment ‘melas’ in each district headquarter in the state to encourage the entrepreneurs to set up their industries in the rural areas. The Deputy Commissioner said that the government had already declared the Haryana Khadi and Gram Udyog Board as the approved source for the purchase of goods by various government departments in the state. 



Minor fire at Shram Shakti Bhawan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
Minor fires broke out in two important central government buildings, Shram Shakti Bhawan and Shastri Bhawan, causing considerable panic but very little damage.

While the fire in Shram Shakti Bhawan was confined to the air-condition duct, the fire in Shastri Bhawan was only on an electricity metre board. The fires were promptly brought under control by the Delhi Fire Service which rushed several tenders to the spot. The causes of the fires are under investigation. 



Chemist shot at in Kotwali
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 19
A chemist sustained bullet injuries when he was shot by some unidentified persons in Bagirathi Place in the Kotwali area when he was returning home.

Harish Gupta (26), resident of Gulabi Bagh, runs a medical store in Mangal Puri. He was returning home with his cousin Praveen and servant Sri Kishan on Monday night when he heard a gunshot upon which he spotted some persons running away from the place. Immediately, he had a burning sensation on his back and he found blood oozing out.

The police said that he informed his family and was later taken to a nursing home where they refused to admit him stating that it was a police case. He was shifted to another hospital, where he was operated upon and a bullet was removed. A case of attempt to murder has been registered and the police have launched efforts to trace the suspects.

Labourer stabbed: One labourer was seriously injured when he tried to stop two others who were in a serious argument after consuming alcohol in Old Lajpat Nagar on Monday night. The victim has been identified as Rajender (24). Two labourers, Veerpal (30) of Ghaziabad and Kushal Pal of Old Lajpat Rai Market, were arguing over some minor issue. It was reported that Veerpal had come to see Kushal Pal at Old Lajpat Rai Market where they both consumed liquor. Later, an argument took place between them, and Rajender, who was sleeping, on hearing the nuisance got up and asked them to stop it. Suddenly, Veerpal took a cobbler knife and stabbed him. Rajender was rushed to Trauma Centre and reported to be out of danger. The police have arrested Veerpal and a case of attempt to murder has been registered.

Thief nabbed: The Seelampur police have apprehended a thief who tried to escape after robbing an autorickshaw driver at pistol-point in the Jafrabad area on Monday night. The police with the help of a PCR van arrested Umar Mohd (20), resident of Jafrabad, when he tried to escape after robbing an auto driver Umesh Mehto, resident of Kamla Market, of Rs 150.



Rise in auto thefts in Faridabad
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 19
Incidents of auto thefts and snatching of vehicles at gunpoint seem to be on the rise in the town. At least nine vehicles, including two trucks and a light commercial vehicle, have been stolen or snatched at gunpoint by criminals in the last three days in the district.

A record number of four motorcycles were ‘stolen’ last weekend. A truck, a jeep and a scooter were reportedly stolen in the last 24 hours. According to a complaint lodged with the police, four armed persons waylaid a driver on the Dabua Pali road here on Monday night and later decamped with the truck that had come to unload some material at a factory. The driver and the cleaner were also thrashed by the culprits. An amount of Rs 10,000 was snatched from the victims by the assailants armed with a revolver. A case has been registered. Another truck was stolen at Baba Farid Park in the old Faridabad area on Sunday night. A jeep belonging to one A. K. Verma was stolen from outside a hotel in the Surajkund area the previous night. Some armed gangsters had also snatched a Tata 407 vehicle at gunpoint in a nearby village on Sunday. 


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