Monday, March 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Low turnout in posh areas
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24
But for the detention of a Congress MLA and a former legislator, the arrest of six persons for rioting, several complaints of bogus voting, impersonation and intimidation, the polling for the 134-ward Municipal Corporation of Delhi passed off peacefully, without any major incident with around 45 per cent of the 79 lakh electorate exercising its franchise. “The polling was smooth and peaceful and there was no untoward incident of any reckoning in any part of the Capital,” Mr M P Tyagi, the State Election Commissioner said, adding that a case of rioting has been registered in Mangolpuri area and six persons have been arrested.

The overall polling percentage is marginally higher than in the 1997 polls when 43.2 per cent of the electorate exercised its franchise. While the political parties have demanded re-polling in several wards alleging large-scale bogus voting, Mr Tyagi said the commission is awaiting the report from its observers and other sources on some of these wards.

“Delhi Congress MLA, Mr Mahender Yadav, and former MLA Dharmadev Solanki were detained by the police as they were attempting to disturb peaceful polling,” Mr Tyagi said.

Six musclemen armed with lathis and other weapons were detained in Sultanpur Bagh, where they were moving in two vehicles trying to intimidate the voters, he added. The Commission received 218 complaints of bogus voting and most of them were found to be “unreliable,” he added. Most of the complaints were received from Azadpur, Jama Masjid and Outer Delhi areas. Asked about reports of large-scale bogus voting, especially in Nangloi and other wards in Outer Delhi, he said the commission has not received any specific report.

“Agents of the political parties must challenge, otherwise how would the Presiding Officer know whether the voter is genuine or not,” Mr Tyagi asked. The police detained four persons on charges of impersonation, he added. While an atmosphere of festivity and enthusiasm could be seen in rural and resettlement colonies with a large number of people turning up at the polling stations to cast their ballot, an indifferent attitude was discernible in urban and middle class colonies. While areas like Narela, Rakesh Nagar and Badarpur witnessed polling of about 60 per cent, posh colonies like Defence Colony, Sewa Nagar, Nizammuddin registered only 36 per cent polling.

In several polling booths, the voters found their names missing and there were heated arguments with the polling officials. Mr Preetam Singh, a retired government official of Pratap Nagar ward, said: “My name was missing in the voters list, even though it was there in the last Assembly polls.” Several voters had to run from one polling station to another and the polling officials had to bear the ire of the agitated electorate. “The confusion occurred due to the wrong polling station list provided by the political parties. The polling booth number of an MCD ward is different from that of an Assembly booth,” Mr Tyagi said.

As the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were not being used, the counting process would take longer. However, in Defence Colony, where only two candidates are in the fray, results would come earlier than in Dabri, where the maximum number of 24 candidates are trying their luck The counting would be held on March 27 and results would be declared by the evening.

Heavy security arrangements were made at all the polling stations, especially at the 46 hyper-sensitive and 212 sensitive ones. More than 70,000 security personnel, including 40 companies of central para-military forces, had been deployed for ensuring smooth polling.

The police were deployed in total strength across the city to maintain discipline and peace. More than 70,000 security personnel, including 40 companies of central para-military forces, were out on election duty to ensure peaceful and free polls held at 9,447 booths, to elect the new 134-member body to the corporation. In addition, all PCR vans were pressed into service to attend to cases of poll violence and clashes. 



Spectre of low margin
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24
The modest turnout of voters might not have come as a surprise to many but political parties and pundits alike are speculating about the likely margin of seats by which the single largest party will stake its claim to wrest Town Hall. While the Congress camp exuded confidence, the BJP leadership has blamed voter apathy for the low turn out of voters.

When the counting of ballots begins on Wednesday, the focus will also be on the role the smaller parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Independents might play. While the former had contested in 102 wards, as many as 606 Independents were in the fray.

According to preliminary reports, some of the smaller parties had fared particularly well in East Delhi areas where the Congress and BJP had put up a spirited contest. According to observers, the results from Outer Delhi would prove crucial for the Congress where about 40 seats are up for grabs.

“In real terms, the turnout was lower than expected,” said a BJP leader in response to queries on the party’s assessment at the end of the day. As the turn out was predictably low in South Delhi areas, particularly the posh colonies, the party is hedging its bets at least for now.

The Congress, on the other hand, was particularly concerned about the fate of its candidates in wards where rebels had stood against the party’s official candidates. Over 80 rebel candidates were left in the fray in spite of the party expelling over a dozen towards the fag end of the campaigning.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit exuded optimism at the trend as the day wore on. According to party sources, there would not be surprises as had been reported in the media, although the spectre of a reduced margin of victory could open a can of worms. Both the parties are now keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that they are not caught in a no-win situation.



Recycling of water is must
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, March 24
The ground water resource potential in Gurgaon is alarming. If remedial measures are not taken immediately, the situation would get out of control.

The warning was sounded by senior experts of the Central Ground Water Board at a seminar on rain water harvesting here.

It is believed that there is no further scope for development of ground water resources in Gurgaon, Farrukhnagar, Pataudi and Taoru blocks. Conserving and recharging the existing resources is the need of the hour, said Dr S B Singh, Officer Incharge, Northern Zone, CGWB.

The unbridled exploitation of ground water for irrigation, drinking and industrial purposes has caused the water table to recede by two meters each year. This has been happening for the last 4 to 5 years. Around 70 per cent of the water consumed in Gurgaon is drawn from tube-wells. Besides, a large number of industrial units meet their requirement from ground water. The over-exploitation of the limited resources has caused not only a perceptible decline in the water table, but has also resulted in concentration of pollutants on the ground, which otherwise would have flowed away.

According to experts, a 55 sq km area, which constitutes 77.5 per cent of the total irrigated area, is fed water through more than 33,000 shallow tube-wells.

Private colonisers have also dug tube-wells in large numbers for drinking purposes.

Mr Singh informed the NCR Tribune that the authority had already clamped a ban on new tube-wells in the notified areas in the district. The government departments, private institutions, colony developers and even individual and farmers, as per the law, are not illegible for boring tube-wells in the specified areas.

Dr Singh suggested that there is an urgent need to conserve ground water and augment the resources by implementing artificial recharge scheme on a large scale. In Gurgaon town, about 1.15 MCM of roof top rain water and 10.95 MCM of treated sewage water is available for recycling.



She keeps open house for harassed women
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, March 24
She shot into the limelight in 1994 when she staged a series of street plays (nukkad natak) against the dowry system in every nook and corner of East Delhi. The street play titled ‘Dulhan Hi Dahej Hai’ (The real dowry is the bride) became so popular at that time that it was telecast on Doordarshan. Seeing its tremendous appeal, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry also gave an award to the play.

The vibrant woman behind the play is Preeti Kaur, who is the sister of a well-known social activist of the area, Jitender Singh Shanty, founder chairman of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal.

Since 1994, Preeti has travelled a long way in the field of social services. In the course of time, she felt the need to start an organisation that would be a platform-cum-shelter for destitute or harassed women. Later in 1995, her dream organisation called ‘Lady Help’ started functioning from her residential complex at Vivek Vihar with the help of a handful of like-minded women.

Now, hundreds of women are its active members and it has started making its presence felt in the Capital. Apart from organising several awareness camps on women-related issues, the organisation also provides proper guidance and assistance to harassed women in dowry-related cases and bears the cost of their legal battle.

It has extended its helping hand in the marriage of poor girls. So far, 56 such girls were married under the programme. The organisation also runs two schools specially for slum children in Seemapuri and Mandawali areas and two libraries in Jhilmil and Madawali areas.

Preeti is now toying with the idea of starting a dream home for destitute girls and women, where they can become self-reliant and lead a normal life.

Preeti is the recipient of many awards, including Red and White Bravery Award for her relentless fight against repression of women. Married with children, her time is divided between the family and her social work.



Dhaba owner ‘dies’ in custody
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 24
A local dhaba owner allegedly died in police custody here, after a thrashing. His body was found lying unclaimed in the premises of a private hospital, just opposite the police station at Murthal, about 8 km from here.

According to the report, the news about the death spread like wild fire and the relatives of the deceased as well as the residents of Nahra village converged at the Civil Hospital here, where the body had been kept for the post-mortem examination.

However, the crowd did not allow the police and the doctors to conduct the post-mortem examination and insisted that it should be conducted at the PGI Hospital at Rohtak. The irate residents also raised slogans against the Police.

Mr Hardeep Singh Doon, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), and the DSP, Ganaur, tried to pacify the mob but the protestors insisted that a criminal case should be registered against the police personnel and the post-mortem examination be conducted at Rohtak.

After a few hours, the authorities yielded and a case under sections

302, 148 and 149 of the IPC was registered at Murthal against the police personnel. However, no arrest has been made in this connection. Later, the body was sent to Rohtak for the post-mortem examination.

It is stated that some police officials whisked away the Dhaba owner on Friday night for interrogation; he had allegedly kept stolen wheat in his premises.

In the police station, Naresh was allegedly asked to cough up Rs 20,000 in bribe, if he wanted to be released.

Naresh refused to oblige and was beaten up. His body was later thrown into the premises of a private hospital.



Chautala suspends SDO
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 24
The monthly meeting of the District Grievances and Public Relations Committee, held here on Saturday under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, resulted in the suspension of a senior officer of the power department. This was the first direct action by the chief minister against `inefficient officials’ since he started presiding over the meeting in January.

The Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) posted at Hathin was ordered to be placed under suspension by Mr Chautala, in response to a complaint lodged by one Abdul Rajjak of Buraka village. The issue had been taken up in the last meeting and an inquiry by the SDM, Hathin, found substance in the complaint.

The chief minister also ordered the registration of a case against a petitioner, who lodged a `false’ complaint in the meeting. In response to another complaint by a resident of Alawalpur village, the chief minister directed the police to conduct an inquiry into an alleged murder.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Mr Mehtab Singh, was asked to look into the complaints of irregularities in the co-operative department.

The residents of Sector 21C were able to plead for `basic amenities’ in their

sector, for the first time. They were told that the work had been taken up on a `war footing’. The CM also asked the MLAs to look into the complaints at their own level before forwarding them to him.

A total of 19 complaints were discussed in the meeting, of which four had been broached in the previous session. Four complaints were related to the police department.



Faridabad girl still untraced
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 24
A 17-year-old girl of Sector 14 here, who went missing 17 days ago, is still untraceable.

The girl, who had appeared in plus one exams recently and was a student of the Delhi Public School (DPS) here, was reported to be missing after she went to her friends’ house to collect a book. The police had recently visited Shimla to locate her, but failed to do so. Two youths, who were booked and arrested in connection with the alleged abduction, have been sent to judicial custody by the court.

Cong MLA attacked: New Delhi: A Congress legislator, Roop Chand, was attacked by some unidentified persons, who pelted stones at him in Gokul Puri. He sustained minor injuries; his workers, Shiv Kumar and Begam Bal, were also hurt.

The police later identified and arrested two persons, Madan and Ram Avat, suspected to be involved in the attack. A case of rioting was registered against them.



Rain brings respite
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24
Sharp showers in the evening brought down the temperature in the Capital, which has been witnessing a warm spell with temperatures hovering four to five degrees above normal.

According to the Met office, the rainfall was the result of cyclonic developments in North-West Gujarat, Punjab and the adjoining areas.

The showers brought some cheer to the political activists who were manning the polling booths for the corporation elections.

Some more rain is likely during the night.



Panelists split on efficacy of exit polls
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, March 24
Different political parties in Haryana expressed a divided opinion on the efficacy of election surveys and exit polls in a panel discussion on the issue organised by the Press Club here today.

However, the key speaker on the occasion, leading political and election analyst Yashwant Deshmukh advocated for election surveys describing them as a ‘Performance Report Card’ of political parties and leaders. He opined that such surveys should be conducted at regular intervals instead of once in five years so that the political parties could get feedback regarding their policies and take corrective measures.

Mr Yashwant Deshmukh stated that surveys were based on statistical foundation and pointed towards the prevalent trend prior to elections. He said that political parties must keep ‘performance factor’ in mind.

He opined that Indian voter was mature enough and the factors of honesty, availability and credibility of the elected representatives was important for him. He said that the system of election surveys reflected maturity of democratic norms of the country.

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Member of Parliament from Rohtak, Capt Inder Singh (retd) opposed the election surveys and said that such surveys must be banned as the same influenced the voters. Congress MLA from Rohtak, Mr Shadi Lal Batra, advocated continuation of election surveys claiming that the same strengthened the roots of democracy. He declared that surveys were a necessity for freedom of expression. Senior Bhartiya Janta Party leader and a former Education Minister, Prof Ram Bilas Sharma also criticised the surveys and suggested that fractured electoral mandate was on account of these surveys.

He said that mediapersons must keep national interest in mind while reporting. Capt Shamsher Singh Malik (retd), state president of Lok Janshakti party said that impartiality of poll surveys was a relative matter.

However, he said that the necessity of poll surveys was a debatable issue and the credibility of the same was an important factor. Capt Malik opined that conducting pre-poll surveys was akin to conducting post-mortem before death. Haryana Vikas Party leader Ram Chander Jangra said that the idea of poll surveys was not bad if the motive behind it was fair.

Mr Virender Singh Chauhan, president of the Press Club Rohtak, conducted the proceedings of the panel discussion.



Cong must remove Sonia to survive: Uma Bharti
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 24
The Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ms Uma Bharti, has asserted that if the Congress wanted its existence to continue in the country, it was of paramount importance that it should change its leader, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, immediately.

She made this assertion at a press conference here on Saturday. She said that it would be wrong to attribute the Congress’ victory in the recent assembly elections in Punjab as well as Uttaranchal to Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s stewardship of the party. She said that there were other specific reasons, which led to the formation of Congress governments in these two states.

Strongly criticising the Congress for opposing the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), she charged the party with adopting double standards. She said that it was shocking as well as surprising that the Congress, which had earlier brought in TADA, was now opposing POTO. It was all the more agonising that much more stringent laws than POTO had been prevailing in several Congress-ruled states and still it was opposing this ordinance.

She said the Congress’ opposition towards POTO was a reflection of its policy of appeasement of the Muslims. The Congress knew that in the prevailing circumstances, the Muslims would be fettered by POTO, which it did not want for obvious reasons, she added. This approach of the Congress had necessitated summoning of a joint sitting of Parliament on March 26. She expressed confidence that it would not be difficult to ratify POTO in the joint sitting.

Refuting the reports that there was rift among certain alliance partners of the NDA, she said that this was the work of the media, which was under the influence of the Left parties and spreading these things just to tarnish the image of the NDA government. She also clarified that there were no differences among the NDA partners, which were all strongly rallying behind the Prime Minister.



When roads take their toll on the users

There are many roads to Delhi. Yet, as an Urdu poet said long ago, Delhi is far off. It holds true till today. It is not that easy to approach the National Capital, and it is more difficult to come out of it. It takes time, energy and nerves to enter or leave the place. The reason is obvious. The roads, including the national highways, are narrow and carry traffic much beyond their capacity. There has been a patchwork effort to improve the situation from time to time, by various authorities, but it has not helped much. The efforts continue, so does the traffic.

Among the highways, which pose a problem in particular, are Jaipur highway, Sher Shah Suri Marg leading to Karnal, Rohtak Road, and roads leading to Meerut and Mathura. They tried to widen and improve Karnal, Mathura and Jaipur roads in the recent years but did not take into account the ever increasing traffic on these roads. So, plans are afoot to start the process all over again. Incidentally, they had given a bypass in the form of the Ring Road in the city, then they had to come up for the Outer Ring Road and now, they are planning to offer a third bypass to skirt the city.

There was a plan once to build an expressway from Ambala to Delhi, one of the most used road stretches. For whatever reasons, it was shelved. Now there is a plan to provide such an expressway from Noida to Agra. It has to be seen when it is implemented. Meanwhile, there is an ambitious plan to have a fast track, eight-lane and with a series of fly-overs for 42 kilometres from Delhi on Jaipur Highway. It will be a toll road, the first one in the region and is expected to be completed in the next three years or so.

Surely, it may be possible because private contractors with foreign collaboration are going to construct it. But one hopes that the authorities have taken into account the toll factor and the way they will calculate it. They will recover the toll at the Delhi barrier, just as they take the municipal tax from commercial vehicles at the same spot, causing traffic jams all the time. Also, just one kilometre from this barrier, the outskirts of Gurgaon begins. Somebody may be going just one or two kilometres from the barrier. Would he have to pay the toll tax?

It would be unnecessary burden as well as loss of time. Such people may be crossing this point several times during the day. One is told that there will be sidelanes for such people but they will be narrow and will get congested. Perhaps, the authorities will do well to think about these problems well in time. There are hardly any viable routes other than this and Mehrauli Road, again a narrow one and calling for a long detour if one is coming from the Dhaula Kuan side. An ideal solution would be more alternate roads in this area, just as they have for Noida. The latter has at least three good routes leading to it, one of them with a modern, toll bridge for fast traffic but two other equally good roads connecting Noida with Delhi.

The authorities have to take such considerations in their plans because the idea is not only to provide better approach to Delhi as far as highways are concerned but also to encourage more people to live in towns in the National Capital Region. For this, travel between Delhi and these towns has to be made easy as well as inexpensive. There is a newfound love in the government for toll — they talk about making all highways in the country toll roads for their better maintenance — but the people’s capacity to pay and the government’s priorities should be kept in mind. If better maintenance too calls for toll tax, what are the other government revenues meant for? To claim that they are going to provide world class services and infrastructure is also far-fetched because such claims have been proved wrong more than once in the past.


Shrinking classroom

Sure, the world class services are being introduced by Delhi and elsewhere in the country but they are in the private sector. Recently, a multinational software company has created a system here to cater to the needs of workshops and lectures for distant audiences via satellite communication. The studio has been set up in Gurgaon and the receiving centres have been created in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. They are all equipped with the latest, state-of-the-art gadgets and are furnished well for a serious clientele. One can deliver the lecture or address the audience in a two-way communication from Gurgaon and reach all the four centres simultaneously.

The software allows required interaction with the audience, one-to-one and one-to-class basis. One can address one kind of audience at the four centres or different groups with specific needs. And there is a lot of flexibility to cater to the needs of different clients. The system is for hire and we are told that it is not that expensive, particularly because there are bound to be introductory discounts. Such facilities are bound to come up at more places and distant education may become easier and more pleasant.

Grandparents’ Day

The get-together organised by a Delhi school for grandparents was a refreshing departure for the old guards.
The get-together organised by a Delhi school for grandparents was a refreshing departure for the old guards.

Old people, like elsewhere in the world, are getting more isolated in Delhi. It may mean neglect in some cases. The trend is increasing with joint families disappearing, children going to distant places for work and the parents wanting to stick to the original place of residence. In such circumstances, those old people are fortunate who live with, or at least close to, their children and grandchildren. One such lot of grandparents was seen, obviously in the best of spirits, one fine morning at a playschool in South Delhi which organised a grandparents’ party.

The school management felt that the grandparents have an important role to play in children’s life and wanted to have them along with the grandchildren at this party. And what a treat it was! There were games for grandparents like the crosswords and the quiz. As a cartoon network had collaborated, the games had cartoon characters about which the children perhaps knew more than their grandparents. And how excited they were guiding their grandparents on how to solve those puzzles and crosswords!

The children also took the old people around, showing the kind of outdoor games they played in school and invited them to join at the swing or the slide. Of course, there were snacks and tea about which the children had been telling them for days apparently to create interest in the event. To be sure, they would tell them that their school was hosting a “tea party” for them. Incidentally, there were just grandparents and not parents at the party and one marveled to find that there was much less of a generation gap between children and grandparents than one finds these days between two generations.

Iranian Students

Talking about education, I cannot resist the temptation of writing about another category of students about whom I came to know of recently. Interestingly, the discovery was made at Chandigarh during a visit and not nearer home in Delhi. There in Chandigarh is a small school with a difference. It is for students who belong to Iran but happen to be here with their parents who happen to be here on assignment and will go back to Iran after completing their assignment of a job or higher education. They are getting the education which they would have got in the normal course back home. In fact, it is just a continuation of the education in Iran. They are being taught by those Iranian students who are pursuing their higher studies and have some time to spare. The examination is conducted by the Iranian authorities through their embassy in Delhi and the whole system works smoothly. And we are told that there is a similar school in New Delhi to cater to such students, of course it is much bigger than the one at Chandigarh and with better resources and facilities. Naturally so, because it is nearer the Iranian Embassy.

There is another category of Iranian students who are attending the normal Indian schools and taking Indian board examinations. They are the ones who have their parents permanently living in India. They had migrated here at the time of the revolution with the intention of settling here permanently and took up vocation in different towns including Delhi and Chandigarh.

Bhajan Mandali

There were about 15 of them, both men and women from distant Chennai. They were on a unique and exciting mission. Common householders, they are devotees of Haridas, a revered saint of Tamil Nadu. Back home, they keep gathering for recitation of bhajans at regular intervals. They had been invited by a family in Delhi which had a wedding in the house and thought this invitation must be a unique part of the celebrations. The bhajan singers are not professionals but they took time off from their normal chores to be here for the celebrations. And once they were here, they decided to have the bhajan sessions at more than one place. They circulated among local families of Haridas devotees who invited them with warmth and devotion. They spent about 10 days in the National Capital visiting such families and having sessions of devotional music – a rare feast of music and togetherness for them all.

Prophetic scribe

That the people do remember fondly a person who has contributed his share towards making the society better to live in was amply proved by the gathering at the Rajendra Mathur Memorial Lecture to honour an editor who is known for his forceful and meaningful writings even after a decade of his death. He deserves mention here not only because he was a respected name in Hindi journalism of his times but because some of his writings – some of which have been reproduced in a two-volume book just released — were almost prophetic. He was a student of English literature and taught the subject in Christian College, Indore, when he decided to opt for Hindi journalism to reach wider audience. He edited ‘Nai Duniya’ of Indore before he moved to Delhi to become the chief editor of ‘Navbharat Times’.

Apart from the fact that he gave a new, modern outlook to Hindi journalism of his times, he left an impact through his writings which reflected incisive analysis of national and international politics. How prophetic he could be may be seen in one of his sentences recalled by Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj who was the chief guest at the Memorial Lecture arranged by the Editors Guild of India. He was quoted as having said more than a decade ago, “To which peg will you hang Hindutva if the nation does not survive?” It sounds as if you are saying it today. In this context, it may be worthwhile to quote him on what he felt a nation was. He wrote, “What makes a nation? What unmakes it? Is it a product of cool rationality, a clever accommodation of conflicting interests, or is it a clear scientific understanding of nationalism? Or is the nation a passion, an irrational dream, a wine distilled in the stills of history, seasoned in the casks of racial memory? Or is it the joint progeny of reason and passion, the genetic code of which we shall never be able to break?” The quote may compel people even today to think hard to find an answer to the question.




‘Ignorance behind religious intolerance’ 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24
Ignorance is the root cause of the rising trend in violence in the name of religion both in India and elsewhere in the world. The absence of religious tolerance and understanding is causing serious threat to the very social texture and weakening the forces of peace and prosperity.

This was observed by Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, head of the Sant Nirankari Mission, while addressing the weekly congregation at Samagam Ground near Sant Nirankari colony.

He said that there was a need for spiritual enlightenment for every mind and soul. He referred to the current trend of religious intolerance leading to bloodshed of innocents in the country and elsewhere in the world.

He appreciated the efforts being made to suppress violence and restore peace. Lasting peace and happiness could only be achieved by encouraging the feeling of love and compassion through the oneness of God, he said.



Govt gears up to procure wheat 
Tribune News Service

Panipat, March 24
The Haryana Government has made all arrangements to procure every grain of wheat arriving in the markets during the coming procurement season. The farmers would also be paid for their produce within 48 to 72 hours after purchase of their wheat.

This was stated by the Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Satber Singh Kadian, while addressing a public meeting at Shimla Molan village on Saturday after inaugurating a community chaupal in the village. About 33 per cent of the procurement would be done by the Hafed, 20 per cent each by the Food Corporation of India and Haryana Food and Supplies Department whereas Haryana Ware-housing Corporation, Haryana Agro Industries and Confed would procure nine per cent each of the wheat arrival in different mandis, he said. Exhorting the panchayats and villagers to play an active role in village development activities, the Speaker claimed that the state government had already enhanced the administrative and financial powers of the village panchayats. On the basis of performance, the government has decided to reward the panchayats with excellent performance with cash award of Rs 8 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh for the first, second and third positions, respectively. On the occasion, he announced financial grant of Rs 15,000 for the pavement of a street and Rs 5,100 for a library.

TB centres set up

The Health Department has set up as many as 10 TB centres in the civil hospital at Sonepat, Gohana, Ganaur, Purkhas, Bad Khalsa, Kharkhauda, Farmana, Butana and Bhainswal in the district. This was stated by Mrs Sangeeta Roy, chairperson of the Hospital Welfare Society, while addressing a meeting held in connection with the World TB Day on the premises of the civil hospital here on Saturday. Dr Veena Chugh, Civil Surgeon, Dr Subhash Mathur, in charge of TB wing, and other medical officers were present on the occasion The Civil Surgeon disclosed that 1,507 TB patients were given free medical aid during the last year and more than 400 such patients had so far been treated at these centres during the current year.

Liquor seized

The Police have intensified its campaign against the liquor smugglers in the city and other parts of the district. The Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramjit Singh Ahlawat, told mediapersons here today that during the campaign, the police had foiled an attempt of liquor smuggling and arrested four persons on the spot. The police, he said, also seized a Tata Sumo used for smuggling liquor. The arrested persons had been identified as Anil Kumar and Rajinder of Sector 15, a residential colony of the HUDA in the city, Rajpal of Patti Kalyana village in Panipat district and Vinod of Sikka colony, Sonepat.

Burnt to death

A youth Montu was burnt to death in his house at Raj Mohalla here on Saturday. The police believe it to be a case of a suicide. Meanwhile, an attempt to commit suicide by a married woman, Mrs Raj Bala, in her house was foiled at Hiranand colony here on Saturday. According to a report, she was immediately hospitalised and saved by the doctors. According to another report, a married woman, Mrs Rani, sustained burns when she came in contact with a live wire in a house in HUDA Housing Board Colony here on Saturday. She was immediately hospitalised and stated to be progressing well.



HUDA to set up modern park, Gymkhana
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 24
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has decided to set up a modern park in Sector 7 and a Rs 1-crore Gymkhana Club in Sector 3 along the Soenpat-Bahalgarh road in the district.

With the completion of these projects, Sonepat would become a beautiful city in Haryana. This was stated by the Haryana Financial Commissioner, Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, while reviewing the on-going development works in the district at a specially convened meeting of the district officials on the premises of a tourist complex near Rai village about 13 km from here on Saturday.

He also disclosed that the state government would also establish community health centres, educational institutions and would provide basic facilities to the people living in Sectors 12, 15 and 23 in and around the city. Reviewing the progress about the medical facilities, Mr Chatterjee directed the Civil Surgeon to take immediate steps for providing medicines and other modern equipments to all the health institutions in the villages, so that the rural people could take advantage of these facilities. 



Saving agents blacklisted

Sonepat, March 24
The Postal Department has blacklisted five small-savings agents of the city for serious financial irregularities in the various small savings schemes and has debarred them from transacting any business on behalf of the department.

According to a report, the small-savings agents blacklisted are Mr Manohar Lal, Ms Lalita, Ms Pushap Lata, Ms Kanta Rani and Mr Shamlal. The action follows a series of public complaints against these agents for alleged bungling of money deposits in connivance with some officials of the Head Post Office. OC



From dancing dolls to tea set, collectibles in silver arrive in the market

Silver Smith India has introduced a new range of silver collectibles and utility items in the market. The collectibles include silver ware of classic English style and traditional range created around Indian culture and ancient sciences. The new range of products includes the dancing dolls, champagne holder, tea set, candle stand, fruit bowl and silver traditional glasses.

Fan, for the looks

Ortem has introduced Princess, the premium range of decorative fans with its advanced and high technology models. The four-blade fan has aesthetic features like impeccable looks with various pleasing colours like white, brown, brass and chrome to suit the décor of every room.

The company is hopeful that the Princess range would help it establish in the upper end of the market as this range had been widely appreciated by institutional clients, hotels and resorts.

Leather bags on wheels

La Salle, the noted name in leather portfolio and soft luggage, has unveiled its uniquely designed leather trolley portfolio roll-a-port. This is produced from carefully selected top grain leather which has been tanned using a unique drum dyeing process giving it a radiant finish and texture.

Roll-a-port introduces the concept of leather portfolio on wheels. The double gusset, laptop compatible, American-style leather zip-top makes the product user friendly for the man on the move. It has a four stage telescopic handle and rides smoothly on the in-line skate wheels. The die-cast hardware in matt satin nickel finish is durable, scratch resistant and rust proof.

In men’s world

Oxemberg has made its foray into men’s accessories by launching a range of trendy ties, handkerchiefs and socks. Ties in fine silk and polyester blends in three varieties, namely solids, jacquards and prints. Designs range from classic motifs, polka dots and fine jacquards to solids, geometric compositions and plains in tow tone colours.

Handkerchiefs are from 100 per cent cotton to give a good feel. Designs vary from white with satin jacquard stripes and pastel shades. Socks sourced from 100 per cent combed cotton with designs in mercerised and lycra material. Reinforced at the heel and toe to help maintain shape and last longer, its Microstitching offers additional comfort.

Women’s watch

Tissot’s Bellflower range, a charming accessory designed to steal the heart of every woman, has been unveiled in the Indian market. Designed specially for women, these watches, are an irresistible blend of technological finesse and exquisite craftsmanship.

The creations come with expandable Milanese steel bracelets without claps that can be slipped on with ease and worn as a decorative accessory. This technique of appealing curve of the expandable bracelet harks back to the sixties.

However, the square case design is contemporary and gleams with dials in four shades, in shimmering reflections, lively silver, mysterious black, fresh apricot and deep fuchsia. The end result is of a dial that contrasts harmoniously with the bracelet.

Poetry in steel

Steel is to the new millennium what formica was to the seventies. Strong and stylish, designers have fallen in love with this material all over again. Designer steel with its finesse and sturdiness, which allows it to bear the brunt of all kinds of usage, is the buzzword among makers of kitchenware and table-ware.

Magppie steel is a designer quality, user friendly and sleek range of such products which do not have any maintenance paraphernalia attached to it. It opens up a whole new era that ends the reign of ever-chipped procelain crockery, fragile crystal and scratch-prone steel ware.

The company has launched table-ware like salad bowls, salt and pepper shaker, bread baskets, trays, seafood platters, coasters, napkin holders and cutlery. In the kitchenware section, the company has launched designer steel canisters, whip bowls, whisks, potato masher, measuring bowls, cups and spoons, colanders and mixing bowls. In the bar tools section, the company has bar buckets, shakers, wine cooler, bottle opener-cum-stopper, wine glasses, ice picks and stirers.

Four-burner stove

Sunflame, one of the oldest kitchen appliances brand, has launched Spectra – a sleek and elegantly designed four-burner stove that’s perfect for the modern kitchen.

The Spectra has high efficiency burner, specially designed for easy cleaning and maintenance and has vitreous enamelled pan support. The burners are well spaced out to ensure a safe distance between flame and operational parts such as taps, control panel and knobs. It has a stainless steel body and is available with drip trays

Classic sherwani

Diwan Saheb has introduced a new line of sherwanis for the season. The Peshorie sherwani is a knee-length sherwani with round-shaped side slits at the bottom. The sherwani has a slopping band collar kurta with a jewel neckline.

The sherwani has been hand embroidered with aasi and zardozi work on the kurta’s band and front and also on the sherwani’s sleeve and front. The material used for the sherwani is Italian cupro, which gives it a classic look. It is to be worn with gharchota and matching footwear like pishorie sandals.


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