Friday, March 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Sahib quits as blame game starts 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
Even though the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to recover from the shock of the massive defeat in the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections, the fissures in the BJP unit widened further with the Outer Delhi MP and former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, resigning from the post of national vice president today.

“I am resigning from the post of national vice president, owning moral responsibility for the defeat of the BJP in the MCD polls,” Mr Verma said in his resignation letter to the party president, Mr Jana Krishnamurthy. Mr Verma blamed the debacle on the increasing factionalism within the party. “Factionalism, increasing indiscipline and the intrusion of the `Congress’ culture are signs of concern and the trend needs to be checked immediately. Or it would severely damage the party,” he cautioned.

The former Delhi Chief Minister contested Delhi unit chief Mange Ram Garg’s claim that the state unit cannot be held responsible for the party’s defeat.

Mr Garg had claimed that the BJP’s poor performance was due to the policy decisions of the Centre, an anti-middle class Budget and the bickering between Mr Sahib Singh and the former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana.

Asked whether he would urge other senior leaders of the party to follow suit, Mr Sahib Singh said: “I am nobody to ask others to resign. They have to take their own decision.”

“I have resigned as my constituency Outer Delhi, which has 42 wards, could send only six BJP candidates,” he lamented. Mr Sahib Singh said several persons who had violated party discipline had been given party posts, which had sent a wrong signal. “Unless effective measures are taken in the coming days and the party does some introspection, the prospect of the BJP putting up a good performance in the Assembly polls next year would be bleak,” he said.

Mr Khurana, simply laughed away the resignation of Mr Sahib Singh from the party post. He said: “I had predicted the party’s poor performance more than a year ago, when industrial units were being shifted, CNG transport crisis was not being addressed and unauthorised colonies were not being regularised.”

Implying that his prophecy had come true, Mr Khurana said he would raise the MCD poll issue during the party’s national executive meet in Goa next month.

He said: “The recent budget proposals on tax distanced the salaried class and the large middle class population in the capital from the party.”

Asked whether he would also own moral responsibility and resign, Mr Khurana said, “All the BJP leaders should own moral responsibility for the party’s performance. But, if everybody resigns from the post, who would be left in the party.”

About the need to restructure the Delhi unit of the party, he said, “This would be discussed in the party forum. There is a need to introspect and analyse the party’s performance and rectify the errors.”

On the other hand, the party South Delhi MP and incharge of the campaign committee, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, distanced himself from the party’s poor show in the civic polls. “In my parliamentary constituency, the showing has not been that bad. The party has won four out of the 16 wards,” he said, when asked about the party’s performance.

Asked whether he owns moral responsibility for the poor performance of the party, he said: “The results are not what we expected. There is a need to analyse the reasons. I do not hold any office, so I cannot resign.” Meanwhile, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Subhash Chopra, today demanded the resignation of all the seven BJP MPs from Delhi, to honour the people’s verdict. “If the MPs believe in political propriety, they should gracefully resign,” he said.



Victory Lap

Newly elected 108 jubilant corporators today thronged 10 Janpath, residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, to congratulate her on the party’s resounding victory in the civic polls here. Led by AICC general secretary Kamal Nath and the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, the newly elected corporators, beating drums, dancing and displaying party flags, arrived at Mrs Gandhi’s residence and pledged to work hard to restore the city to its pristine glory.

The Congress president thanked the corporators for the victory and wished the people of Delhi a happy Holi. “I wish you all the best. I must thank the people of Delhi and party workers for the resounding victory,” she said.

Kamla Nath, in charge of Delhi affairs, said the victory in the MCD polls had placed on them the onus of providing good governance, not only in Delhi but also in the 14 other party-ruled states. TNS



Shilly-shally BJP sealed our fate: Akalis
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
In less than 24 hours after the MCD poll results were declared, the rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has come out in the open with the latter blaming the saffron party for its defeat. The SAD (Badal), which had contested five seats on the ‘Lotus’ symbol, could win only the Pratap Nagar ward in an election which saw the BJP biting the dust by winning only 16 seats in the 134-member corporation.

‘’Our party received no ground-level support from the BJP whose workers seemed reluctant to accompany ‘Akalis’ during the campaign,’’ Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi State) Secretary-General Kuldip Singh Bhogal said. He said his party had apprised senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Delhi chief Mange Ram Garg about the reluctance of the BJP workers and its ‘mandal’ presidents to support the Akalis. ‘’But all our efforts to mobilise the BJP workers and their mandal chiefs ended in failure,’’ Mr Bhogal added. Only senior Akali leader Onkar Singh Thapar could manage a win from the Pratap Nagar municipal seat with a margin of over 2,000 votes. The Akali leader also blamed the debacle on BJP’s economic policies, which had angered the middle- and business-class. ‘’This one-way swing in favour of Congress call for introspection as the BJP is due to face Delhi Assembly elections next year.’’

On the other hand, Mr Thapar, the lone Akali winner, attributed his success to his personal reputation. However, he said, his main objective was to further the cause of the NDA.

‘’Interestingly, my workers told me that the local BJP MLA was making every effort to ensure my defeat. But I won because of my personal rapport with the voter and now my aim will be to further the cause of the NDA. I will also strive to promote the cause of Punjabi in the Capital,’’ he added. Mr Thapar said the former Delhi Minister and BJP leader of the area, Mr Harsharan Singh Balli, had put up his own candidate in the ward. Besides, he had to contend with the rebel BJP candidate and the Congress nominee.



Delhi economy on the upswing
Tribune News Service

Highlights of economic survey

* Per capita income Rs 38,864, double the national average.

*Rate of inflation 2.9 per cent, lower than most metros.

*Economic growth 4.5%.

New Delhi, March 28
The Delhi Legislative Assembly on Thursday passed the vote on account for a period of two months (April 1 to May 30) to the tune of Rs 1364.6 crore. Besides passing the vote on account unanimously, the House also approved the supplementary grants of Rs 2210.92 crore for the current financial year.

Finance Minister Mahender Singh Saathi also presented the Economic Survey and laid on the table of the House the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the 2000-2001 fiscal. The tax proposals will be presented on April 4.

The vote on account was necessitated as the government, due to paucity of time, was not in a position to pass the Budget in the Assembly by March 31. With the passage of the Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill 2002, the government can carry on its business and meet essential expenditure during the first two months of the next financial year.

The House approved the Demands for Grants that earmarked Rs 63.17 crore for the legislature, general administration department Rs 4.56 crore, administration of justice Rs 9.10 crore, finance Rs 10.2 crore, home Rs 13.31 crore, education Rs 198.63 crore, medical and public health Rs 83.86 crore, social welfare Rs 185.72 crore, industry Rs 13.4 crore, development Rs 43.68 crore, urban development and public works 786.47 crore, loans Rs 1.66 crore and pension Rs 13.33 crore.

Presenting the Budget 2002-2003 in the Assembly, Finance Minister Mahender Singh Saathi pegged the 2002-03 estimates at Rs 8,850 crore that includes non-Plan expenditure of Rs 4,095.63 crore and Plan expenditure, including Centrally sponsored schemes of Rs 4,754.37 crore. The fiscal deficit, or the difference between total expenditure and revenue receipts plus recovery of loan, is estimated at Rs 1,823.37 crore for 2002-2003.

Tabling the Economic Survey, the finance minister said the financial position of Delhi continued to be encouraging. “Delhi,” he said, “has a surplus on revenue account, which is no small achievement when compared to virtually all other non-special category states that have revenue deficit.”

The document reveals that the growth of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) during 2000-2001 was estimated at 9.9 per cent over the previous year as against the growth of eight per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the national level. The real growth in Delhi’s economy for 2000-2001 is estimated at 4.5 per cent compared to four per cent in GDP at the national level.

The per capita income of Delhi at current prices increased from Rs 33,870 in 1998-1999 and Rs 36,515 in 1999-2000 to Rs 38,864 in 2000-2001. A growth of 6.4 per cent. At the national level, the per capita income is Rs 16,487 for 2000-2001. The per capita income of Delhi is more than double the national average.

The minister also said the rate of inflation was the lowest in Delhi amongst all metropolitan cities, except Chennai. The rate of inflation in 2001 was highest in Kolkata at 9.1 per cent followed by Mumbai (4.6 per cent), Delhi (2.9 per cent), 2.5 per cent in Chennai and 3.9 per cent at all-India level.

The Survey also indicates a structural shift in Delhi’s economy from primary and secondary sectors towards the tertiary sector. The share of the primary sector had declined from 3.92 per cent in 1993-1994 to 1.4 per cent in 2000-2001. The share of the secondary sector had also declined significantly from 25.61 per cent to 20.19 per cent during the same period. On the other hand, the share of tertiary sector in Delhi’s economy had increased from 70.47 per cent in 1993-94 to 78.39 per cent in 2000-01.



Visually challenged doctor with a Midas touch
Priyanka Gupta

Visual disparity cannot impede his determination; financial constraints cannot hinder his social services either. He is Dr R. K. Jaiswal, first blind doctor of acupuncture in India. He practises at Room No 28, WUS Health Center, Chhatra Marg, University of Delhi.

The corridors of WUS Health Center seem flooded with patients suffering from disk slip, mental disabilities, back pain, migraine, paralysis, asthma and what have you. He has even treated the patients of breast cancer – the patients whose case had been rejected by the leading hospitals in Delhi. Starting from 3 pm, the crowd keeps swelling till 7 pm.

The atmosphere in the clinic seems cool. The doctor extraordinary with a smile on his face, treats his patients with care. At the young age of 22, he lost his vision due to a medicine reaction. He got his eyes operated twice but as retina was damaged no one could help him. A disheartened Jaiswal was encouraged by his sister Dr Vijay Laxmi Jaiswal. He decided to join the All India Association for Alternative Medical Sciences. And after doing a 3-month course, he completed a Diploma in Acupressure and Reflexology. Finding himself at the crossroads, he did not know how to carry on in life. But the support of his family made him strong. He earned degrees in alternative medical studies and reached to this level. He said, “The vision does not matter to me as my heart is pure and sincere. Life becomes full of challenges and it is interesting to live life like this. I want to work for society. I have suffered due to medicine reaction so I looked for the alternative medium in which medicines were not involved.” Vijay Verma, a serviceman met with an accident and his movement was restricted. He said, “I have been visiting Dr Jaiswal for just a month. My mobility was nil earlier and I was mostly on bed, but he has cured me 50 per cent without any medicine and fee. I was not able to move and now I can walk freely. I have told several people to visit him. I am thankful to him.”

Another patient Rajeshwari said, “For four years, I have spent lakhs of rupees on my treatment but did not get relief from the pain of slip disk. And it’s just a week that I am visiting here and feel much better.” Many other patients told about their sad story and the relief which they get subsequently from Dr Jaiswal.

And what does the doctor wants for himself. Not much. “The only thing I want is that the treatment gets recognised. The best part is it is within the reach of all classes and can easily be learnt by anyone,” said Dr Jaiswal.



Paying the price for moving in an industrial corridor
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 28
The local cell of the National Highway Authority has turned down the demand of the industrialists here for reduction in toll tax on the Delhi-Jaipur highway. The bone of contention is a post set up by the National Highway Authority at Bilaspur, midway between Gurgaon and Manesar, for collection of the tax. The Gurgaon Industrial Association is up in arms and plans to take up the matter with the Union Surface Transport Ministry and the Chairman of the National Highway Authority. The grouse is that the tax rates are astronomically high. For instance, the heavy vehicles are taxed at the rate of Rs 100 and automobiles at the rate of Rs 60. In the case of a return visit, which has to be specified while paying for the onward journey, the charge is Rs 90. The argument against the aforesaid is that many firms have more than one unit on either side of the post. Also, with rapid industrialisation, entrepreneurs will feel the need to shuttle several times a day across the post.

The post impinges upon the vehicular movement within Gurgaon as well as between Gurgaon and Rewari and Gurgaon and Mahendergarh districts. A part of the problem is that while the industrial township in Manesar falls in Gurgaon district, the other important industrial hubs fall in Rewari district. Again, on the Delhi side, there are thousands of units.

An industrialist opined that in case a firm has units on either side of the post, it would end paying a multiple toll tax. There is another sticking point. The charges have been computed for a distance of 135 km, that is from the post to Kotputli in Rajasthan. In this context, it is pointed out that a Gurgaon vehicle bound for Manesar in the same district or heading for Dharuhera, another important industrial hub in Rewari district, all within a radius of 30-odd km, would be at a disadvantage compared to vehicles bound for far off places in Rajasthan. The argument is that the Authority has computed the rate of tax without applying its mind and the charges are anomalous. Also, it is a violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which prohibits the State from discriminating on ground of place of birth.



Spurious drugs in Capital coming from Murthal

New Delhi, March 28
The ‘flourishing’ industry of spurious drugs in Haryana is proving to be Delhi’s bane. Government of NCT of Delhi’s Health Minister AK Walia told the Legislative Assembly that Murthal in Haryana was one of the ‘hubs’ of this thriving business. Incidentally, the response came on the calling attention motion on the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs in the Capital moved by former Haryana chief minister Bansi Lal’s daughter-in-law and Congress legislator Kiran Choudhry. Citing an instance of a series of raids conducted in unlicensed godowns that yielded a seizure of spurious drugs worth Rs 1.5 crore, the minister said police investigation had revealed that these drugs were manufactured at Murthal. In another instance, the total value of drugs seized was Rs 36 lakh. Making the statement on the motion, Walia said “no units manufacturing spurious drugs are located in Delhi … all (such cases) can be retraced to Haryana.”

Reeling out statistics, the minister informed the House that till March 26 this year, 11 of the 709 samples tested were found to be spurious.

Earlier, moving the motion, Ms Choudhry described the persons engaged in this illicit trade as “devils in disguise.” Referring to the seizure of 10,000 vials of an antibiotic worth Rs 1 crore from Bhagirath Palace in Delhi, Ms Choudhry said life saving drugs were also being manufactured indiscriminately and supplied to the Capital with utter disregard for public health. TNS



No new taxes in NDMC budget
Tribune News Service

Budget at a glance

* All jhuggi clusters to be removed

* Computer education in middle schools

* 3 counselling, testing centres for HIV patients

* Rooftop rain harvesting facility must for new buildings

* 14 public toilets on BOT basis

New Delhi, March 28
The New Delhi Municipal council (NDMC) budget estimate for 2002-03 provides for Rs 861 crore against a receipt of Rs 862 crore even as the council failed to realise last fiscals target of Rs 831 crore. Besides proposals to provide modern civic amenities, this year’s budget has not recommended any increase in taxes.

The budget lays strong emphasis on computer education in middle schools, public health and sanitation, roads, footpaths, pavements and railings, developing green Delhi, social and staff welfare, sustainable expenditure in augmentation of electricity supply, roof-top water harvesting and clearing the jhuggi clusters, NDMC Chairman Subhash Sharma today told reporters here after presenting the budget in the council.

He said that the second chest clinic would be set up at Laxmibai Nagar with the object to controlling Tuberculosis. Three more voluntary counselling and testing centres will be opened for moral, social and technical support to HIV positive patients.

Facilities will be improved in the hospitals. Twenty-five more beds will be added in the Palika Maternity Hospital, Lodhi Colony besides setting up other facilities like X-ray and pathological lab by demolishing the existing service centre, added Mr Sharma.

Other proposals included 14 public toilets on BOT basis, several new sub-stations, introduction of SCADA system for 66 KV and 33 KV in the first phase, use of Palika hostel and R K Ashram Marg as night shelters for rag pickers on nominal charges, upgradation of existing five youth centres, augmentation of existing sewerage to meet the growing demand of the development up to 2003 and removing jhuggi cluster from the city.

Even though the NDMC realised only Rs 788 crore last fiscal, falling short by Rs 43 crore, it hopes to have Rs 1 crore surplus in its treasury by the end of 2002-03.

Mr Sharma said the major sources of revenue would be the sale of electricity and water (Rs 517 crore), taxes (Rs 109 crore), licence fee from properties (Rs 75 crore) and interest on investments (Rs 94 crore), external assistance (Rs 30 crore), and other revenues such as from parking lots, kiosks and advertisements (Rs 37 crore).

He also said that priority would be given to clearing the NDMC area of jhuggi clusters by the end of next fiscal. “We are in touch with the Ministry of Urban Development to clear the NDMC area of jhuggi clusters including those on the non-NDMC lands,” Mr Sharma said. “We are ready to pay up for clearing all the jhuggi clusters,” he added.

On the roof-top harvesting scheme, he said, “We insist that all new building plans should have it. Even the buildings of foreign missions here”. Mr Sharma said public health and sanitation facilities would also be improved as also social and staff welfare. 



Work on three rail links in NCR to start soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
In a move to provide better transportation facilities within the National Capital Region, work on three rail projects, which would be linked to the ongoing Metro rail project in the Capital, would begin in the coming months.

“Work on the Shahdara-Ghaziabad corridor, Sahibabad-Minto Bridge corridor and the Dayabasti-Gurgaon corridor would start in a few months after the financial arrangements are finalised,” NCR Planning Board member secretary Ashok Jha said here while addressing a seminar.

The special purpose vehicle constituted to execute three rail projects in the NCR comprised the Union Ministry of Urban Development/NCR Planning Board, the Railway Ministry and state governments concerned, all of whom would share the financial burden equally, Mr Jha said at the seminar on the NCR, organised by the PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

While Shahdara-Ghaziabad link would cost Rs 770 crore, the Sahibabad-Minto Bridge and Dayabasti Gurgaon corridor would cost Rs 844 crore and Rs 738 crore respectively, he said. The funding of the project would be through the debt-equity ratio of 1:1.

The three projects would form part of the 28 projects identified by a feasibility report prepared by RITES. Details on the remaining projects had not been worked out and at present the focus was on the three rail links only, he added.

Mr Jha said work on the Ghaziabad-Kundli expressway and Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad expressway would commence in June next year.

Quoting from the Review of the Regional Plan, 1996-99, the official lamented that lack of synchronisation of political will and fiscal and economic policies of the states concerned had hindered the development of NCR. Besides, the absence of legal powers in the existing NCR Planning Board Act to enforce implementation was also coming in the way of the NCR’s growth, he said.

PHDCCI president Arun Kapoor said the NCR’s development required effective cooperation of the participating states. Accelerating development of economic activities in the NCR region outside Delhi was the biggest economic factor, which will lead to decongestion of Delhi.

The NCR is spread over Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in an area of 30,242 sq km. The Union Minister of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation heads the NCR Planning Board with Chief Ministers of the four states as its members.



Fix wheat support price at Rs 760  a quintal: Hooda
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 28
The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has demanded that the minimum support price (MSP) for wheat must be fixed at Rs 760 per quintal at least.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Hooda said the cost of agricultural inputs had increased during the past few years and the increase in the MSP had not kept up with it.

He said the state unit of the party had estimated that agricultural inputs at the rate of Rs 11,500 were needed per acre while the farmers had been getting Rs 9,500 per acre. In this manner, the farmers in the state had been suffering a loss of Rs 2,000 per acre, he asserted.

Justifying his claim, he said the farmers in Punjab had also demanded Rs 760 per quintal as the MSP for wheat whereas the agricultural inputs there were cheaper than that in Haryana. He asked the government to consider favourably the party’s demand in view of the miserable condition of farmers in the region and their vital share in the quantity of wheat contributed to the central pool.

Though Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala had announced in the assembly that the whole stock of wheat of the farmers would be procured by the government agencies, it did not seem to have materialised in view of the poor arrangements for procurement made by the government, he said.

Commenting on Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal issue, he said it concerned with the interest of a large number of farmers in Haryana and there was no legal hitch in its completion after the verdict of the apex court.

He alleged that the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Satbir Singh Kadian, was clearly biased and had been adopting undemocratic norms to curb the voice that was ‘unpleasant to the government’s ears’ raised by the opposition party MLAs.

The HPCC chief also criticised the closure of the Rural Development Department in Maharshi Dayanand University. He said the state government, which pretended to be a well-wisher of the rural masses, had curtailed the budgetary allocation for rural development this year.



Haryana staff union up in arms against sackings
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, March 28
The Haryana Karamchari Mahasangh has announced that the state government employees will not celebrate Holi this year in protest against the anti- employee policies of the government.

The Mahasangh, in a statement here, alleged that the state government had, on the eve of Holi, decided to retrench 3700 employees of the Haryana State Minor Irrigation and Tubewell Corporation and 300 employees of the Haryana Small Industries and Export Corporation.

The government decision has caused widespread resentment among the employees.

On the one hand, the government was propagating “employment-at-your-door- step” and, on the other, it was closing down one department or corporation after another.

The employees of the Haryana State Minor Irrigation and Tubewell Corporation, the Mahasangh said, were demanding parity in pay scales with their counterparts in state government, but the latter has decided to close the corporation down on the ground that it was deep in the red.

The Mahasangh said that while the government was incurring expenses in crores on the enhanced salaries and allowances of MLAs and ministers, It was snatching the employment of its poorly paid employees. Simultaneously, the government was planning to recruit ten thousand new policemen, presumably to suppress the employees agitation, the Mahasangh said.

The Mahasang said that during discussions on February 7 the Chief Secretary, Mr M. L.

Goyal, had promised that the employees of the Haryana State Minor Irrigation and Tubewell Corporation would not be retrenched and the surplus staff would be adjusted in other departments. But, the government was acting contrary to these assurance, it alleged.

The Mahasangh would hold a high-level meeting at Rohtak on March 31 to chalk-out its agitational programme and future strategies. Mahasangh said. 



Sonepat beautification steps win golden opinions 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February, 28
The senior citizens of Sector 14, a residential colony of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), today lauded the efforts made by the Deputy Commissioner to give a face-lift to the city. They said that the district administration had taken bold steps to remove the encroachments on public and municipal lands as well as stray animals from all the areas.

In a communication sent to the Deputy Commissioner, the senior citizens, including Dr K. S. Balain, former managing director of Hartron, Dr S. S. Hooda, Mr Roop Chand and Master Gian Singh, said that the all-out anti-encroachment drive by the district administration had been greatly appreciated by the general public. The traffic flow in the entire city, particularly in the crowded areas and crossings, had become much smoother now. Moreover, the traffic hold-ups outside the general bus stand, Mamoon Bhanja Chowk, railway crossing near Hindu College and Subhash Chowk had come to an end on account of the widening of the roads, they noted.

The communication further hailed the promulgation of the prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC for capturing stray pigs in the city as well as in the towns of Gohana, Kharkhauda and Ganaur. This order, they claimed, had yielded good results and the number of pigs roaming around at these places had come down considerably. The owners of the pigs had been fattening their animals at the cost of the public health and hygiene for the past few years, they added. The communication also appreciated the move of the district administration to shift all the dairies outside the city limits.

The presence of stray animals like pigs, cows, buffaloes and monkeys had been a nuisance in the city and there was a danger for the outbreak of diseases, they noted. Expressing grave concern over the menace of monkeys, the communication said that the simians were destroying plantation and property and the cases of monkey bites were on the increase and the people had to spent more money on the anti-rabis treatment. The communication also expressed gratitude and hoped that the district administration would continue its campaign for the beautification of the city more vigorously.



Kids urged to imbibe right ideas
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 28
A child today is exposed to the rapid changes, happening all around the world. The old values and beliefs are be redefined at a fast pace. With the media becoming increasingly internationalised and the penetration of the internet into every home, a child has much more to see and thus much more to learn and understand, said Mr K N Dar, Principal of the Apollo International School.

Speaking at a function of the Rotary Midtown here on Wednesday night, he also said that to meet the challenges and maintain stability in this diverse environment, yet keep pace with it, a child needs an education that equips him with discretion and the power to become a self-directed individual. What he learns must straddle across all boundaries, cultures and geographical barriers. He does not simply need to learn how to read English or solve complex mathematics, he needs a comprehensive education that helps him develop physically, spiritually, aesthetically and socially.

The Principal said that the aim of an educational institution must be to provide its young pupil with an environment conducive to learning that makes him a discerning scholar. While he absorbs the changes that happen around him, his education must equip him with the power to create new ideas and change the world.

Mr Dar also underlined the importance of boarding system in such public schools where a child’s talent is developed and his conduct is watched and moulded for full 24 hours. This practice, he said, was prevalent in gurukuls also.

Mr Jagdish Batra, Chairman of the function, referred to the problems of parents and said that in the final analysis, good education rests on the shoulders of teachers. As such, the teachers should be scholarly and committed to the cause of education.

The function turned out to be a good public relations exercise for Apollo International School as the audience was shown video footage of the school as also of the company sponsoring it.



The colour fest brings all communities together 
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 28
The representatives of the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities organised a “Sadbhavana Milan Samaroh” (Amity Meet) on the occasion of Holi here today.

At the outset, they applied ‘gulal’ on each others to herald the message of communal harmony which the colourful Holi seeks to convey to all and sundry. Making a special mention of the gory happenings of Gujarat, Mr Amit Swami, president of the Young Men’s Association, said that through this Sadbhavana Milan Samaroh, they wanted to convey to the entire society that there was an urgency for all-out efforts to forge communal harmony.

Mr Shakur Khan, secretary of Muslim Welfare Society, Rewari, Sardar Prabhjot Singh, a noted businessman of the town, and Mr Satish Chand, priest in charge of the Saint Andrews Church here, also echoed the same sentiments and simultaneously emphasised the need to have optimum interaction among the people of various communities on all such occasions.



Rs 1.5 crore grant to each MCF member
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 28
The Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) has decided to give an annual grant of about Rs 1.5 crore to each of its elected corporators for carrying out development works in their respective wards. This was decided in the budget session of the corporation on Wednesday.

The civic body passed the Rs 115 crore annual budget with a deficit of about Rs 2.5 crore. The budget, which was presented by the Finance Controller of the MCF, contains no new tax proposals. While it is estimated that the total expenditure in 2002-2003 is likely to be about Rs 117.95 crore, the income is expected to be around Rs 115.27 crore. About the sources of income, the budget says the body would be able to collect Rs 44.5 crore from various taxes and another Rs 23.38 crore from licence fees. The Finance Controller told the session that Rs 22.63 crore was likely to come from miscellaneous sources besides a loan of Rs 16.70 crore. But several members of the MCF were not happy with the calculations done by the officials of the body and alleged that there was `mismanagement’ of funds at various levels in the corporation and the funds targeted for the purpose hardly reached there.

The most important proposal of the budget, however, has been the resolution adopted about the annual grant of Rs 1.5 crore to each member. Members also demanded that the money sanctioned for the development works should not be released without the permission of the member of the ward concerned and it should not be diverted for the work undertaken for VIP visits or under any other heads without the approval of the member concerned. The salient features of the budget include the expected expenditure of about Rs 34.92 crore on the salary of the staff which is about 34 per cent of the total budget. 



Wakf panel to look into imams’ problems 
Our Correspondent

Panipat, March 28
The Punjab Wakf Board has constituted a high-level five-member committee in order to supervise the religious works and solve the problems of imams in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Giving this information here today, the president of Anjuma Oakaf, M. Zia-ul-Islam Kashmi, said the members of the committee were the education manager of Darul Ullum Devband, M. Arshad Madni, general secretary of the Muslim
Personal Law Board, M. Nizamuddin, chief professor of Jamia Millia, Delhi, Akhtar Ulwase, Mufti M. Hilal Usmani from Punjab and PIR G. Hussain of Haryana. Mr Kashmir said that the recommendations of this committee pertaining to all the religious works the board was concerned with would be taken up as a priority.

Listing some of the important steps taken by the board, he disclosed that the board had introduced monthly scholarships to the children of all the 400 Imams of board’s masjids to join new educational courses. During the current financial year, the board had sanctioned pensions to more than 1,000 widows and, moreover, their accounts had been opened in the nearest post offices on board’s expenses, he added.

A few imams had been chargesheeted and some others transferred by the board for negligence of duty, he said.



Rs 508 crore credit plan for Faridabad banks

Faridabad, March 28
An amount of Rs 508 crore has been earmarked to be released as loans to the beneficiaries under various schemes in the coming financial year, according to the annual district credit plan of all banks released here.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mehtab Singh, who released the plan, said that the amount was about 18 per cent higher than that of the past year’s allocation. He said the loan would be disbursed through the 172 branches of the banks operating in the district.

Of the total amount, about Rs 418 crore had been kept for the priority areas and Rs 209 crore were likely to be given as financial aid to the farmers during the year. About Rs 108 crore had been targeted to be spent on various schemes and the total number of beneficiaries were likely to be about 7,200, he informed.

As many as 48 per cent of the total amount would be disbursed through commercial banks and 32 per cent through the cooperative banks. The credit plan has been prepared by the officials of the Syndicate Bank, which is the lead bank of the district. TNS



Bogus cement unit unearthed
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 28
The Loni police have unearthed a bogus cement factory which was selling fake cement adulterated with earth and other material. Four persons including its ‘owner’, have been arrested and about 700 bags of fake cement along with some bags of good quality cement, earth and some gadgets for mixing cement and stitching the bags have been seized from the factory Amrit vihar. The criminals were getting the empty bags of Ambuja Cement factory from Rajasthan. Chandan Singh, the leader of the gang, Charan Singh, Naseem Ahmed and Kapil Dev were arrested from Geeta Colony, New Delhi by the police team.

One dies in mishap

A woman was killed when the tractor-trailer in which she was travelling overturned near Dulhera minor on the Badli-Bupenia road here today. According to information, the deceased, Ramsakhi, had come to Bahadurgarh along with some other labourers for shopping in the morning. All the labourers hailed from Uttar Pradesh and were workers at a brick kiln in Badli village.

While returning home after shopping, they asked for a lift from a tractor-trailer. Other labourers boarded the tractor while the deceased sat in the trailer. When they were crossing over the bridge of the minor, the link between the tractor and trailer detached and it overturned. The deceased got trapped under the trailer and died on the spot.

Chemical colours

The Burn Association of Haryana has appealed to the people not to use chemical colours during Holi celebrations in order to save skin from infections. Rather, the people should use herbal colours like Tesu, Gulal etc. In a press statement issued here today, the association representatives, Dr Sanjiv Madan and Dr Arun Narula, urged the people to desist from playing with firecrackers which not only caused burns but also pollute the atmosphere with poisonous gases.

Wrong papers

There was significant commotion among class 8 students taking the annual examination for Science at a centre in Bhainswal Kalan village, about 25 km from here, today when they were given wrong question papers to answer. The faux pas occurred after the superintendent at the centre opened a wrong packet of question papers which were distributed among the class 8 examinees. In fact, the question papers distributed were of science subject for class 10 students.

Dowry death

A young housewife, Mrs Kamlesh Rani, who was reportedly set on fire by her in-laws on Tuesday evening, succumbed to her injuries in a Delhi hospital on Wednesday. She belonged to Dewru village in this district.

Members of her husband’s family had reportedly poured kerosene on her before setting her on fire. She had sustained serious burns and was first admitted in the civil hospital here from where she was shifted to a Delhi hospital. The Mahila police have registered a dowry death case against the husband and other members of her husband’s family of the victim following a complaint lodged by Mr Attar Singh, father of the victim and a resident of Jhajjar. Further investigations are in progress but no arrest has been made so far.



DJB promises smooth water supply in summer

New Delhi, March 28
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) today claimed to have taken several measures, including replacement of pipes and higher budgetary allocation, to ensure smooth supply of water in the Capital during the summer months. DJB Chief Executive Officer P. K. Tripathi, while giving details of the budget estimates, said the board had replaced old, corroded and leaking pipelines to improve the quality and pressure of water supply. He said till February, 554 km of pipelines had been changed and the target was set at 600 km.

The plan allocation for this year has been increased to Rs 590.87 crore from Rs last year’s 506.34 crore, he said, adding that the board would be able to meet the water demands only with the cooperation of the people. TNS



One dies, four hurt as bus turns turtle
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 28
An Uttar Pradesh Roadways bus turned turtle near Chhapraula railway crossing here killing one person on the spot and injuring four others, one of them seriously, today. The accident occurred after the driver of the bus which was on its way from Chhapraula to Bisarkh lost control when it reached near the railway crossing.

The injured have been admitted to MMG Hospital here. There were, in all, 60 passengers in the bus. The deceased has been identified as Devnath (30), an employee of Sametal Co. Another passenger, Rajinder Singh (35) is stated to be in a critical condition. Ram Gopal (50), Mithun (25) and another employee of Sametal Co Narayan (35) are the other persons injured in the accident.



Six swindle Rs 1 crore from banks using credit cards, fall in police net
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
With the arrest of six persons, the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police today claimed to have worked out a cheating case of over Rs 1 crore. The accused made banks, finance companies and big businessmen their targets and used credit cards to swindle money from them. The suspects were identified as Aman Kumar (prime accused), his friend, Ms Vridhi Kumar, Ajay Nayyar, Avinash Chander, Ajay Kumar Gupta and Achal Kumar Gupta.

The prime suspect had his software business in Rajender Nagar in Central district. They were arrested from different places in the Capital on Wednesday. The suspects reportedly cheated American Express bank, HDFC Bank, Syndicate Bank and a few other banks in the Capital by using their credit cards got issued in fake names. They got some of the credit cards and ATM cards in connivance with an employee of the Postal Department who is reportedly absconding.

The suspects cheated banks by false assurances, misrepresentation of facts by using fake documents purported to have been issued by Income Tax Authorities (PAN numbers), certificate of incorporation purportedly issued by Registrar of Companies, income tax returns, balance sheets and fake addresses of non-existent persons in order to procure credit cards or corporate cards in their favour, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Dinesh Bhatt, said.

The suspect first targeted the American Express Bank. To lend credibility, they used to make payments of the goods purchased on the credit cards or corporate cards promptly initially. Once they gained the confidence of the bank concerned, they made huge purchases and cheated the bank to the tune of Rs 13.97 lakh. The bank registered a complaint with Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police. They also purchased jewellery worth Rs 25 lakh against credit cards and sold the same for Rs 23 lakh to another jeweller. The police did not disclose the name of the jeweller.

During a search at their residential and official premises, the police seized jewellery worth Rs 23 lakh and two luxury cars. Besides, a residential flat which they purchased for Rs 31 lakh in East Patel Nagar had also been sealed, the DCP said.

During the course of investigation, the police discovered that the PAN mentioned by the suspects in the application forms for procuring the credit cards and some of the account numbers mentioned by the suspects were non-existent. The bank contacted the Registrar of Companies to know about the various companies they said they owned but no reply was given to it. During investigation, the police came to know whereabouts of Aman Kumar, the brain behind the conspiracy, and arrested him. His interrogation led to the arrest of others.

Addressing the media, the DCP said that suspects had devised various methods to cheat the victims. They prepared false income proof to induce the American Express Bank and convince it about their sound financial position, thereby succeeded in obtaining as many as 11 credit cards. Though they made the payments promptly initially and gained the confidence of the bank, they went on default the payments and shop around making huge purchases unauthorisedly.

In this case at least, they managed to intercept the renewed ATM cards being sent by post to the customers by the bank authorities in connivance with an employee of the Postal Department. They ascertained the customer’s ATM Pin number, and withdrew huge amounts from the bank concerned. Several ATM cardholders made complaints to the bank concerned and the police for withdrawal of money by some body from their accounts.

The suspects used another modus operandi to cheat finance companies. They floated various business concerns as M/S Vision Computers Pvt Ltd, M/S Jovial Impex and Traders Pvt Ltd, M/S International Traders Company and M/S Aspo Electronics. They contacted several money exchangers and represented themselves as from leading corporate houses and their employees were regularly visiting abroad, thus justifying their requirement for foreign exchange. However, the foreign exchange obtained by the suspects was never used for going abroad. It was sold in the open market.

The DCP said that several cases of cheating were registered against them in different police stations but they were never arrested. It is the first time they had fallen in the police net. 



Seven of dacoit gang nabbed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
The North district police arrested seven members of an inter-state gang involved in murders, dacoity, robberies and burglaries from the Azad Market Chowk after a brief encounter. A country-made pistol, live cartridges, knives, Tata-407 and looted brass taps worth lakhs of rupees which were about to be disposed were seized from the gangsters. Though the suspects fired at the police party, no one was injured. The accused — Sehdev alias Sumit alias Michel of Jharkhand, Shyam Lal alias Shyama of Mangolpuri, Rajinder alias Langra of Faizabad, Sumi Ali alias Nanhe of Muradabad and Vishal Mandal of Jharkhand — were staying in Mangolpuri at present and used to rob plastic and brass items.

Acting on a tip-off that the criminals would be coming to dispose of the stolen items in a Tata-407, the police tried to stop the vehicle at Azad Market, but the vehicle sped away. The police in a hired Qualis gave a chase and stopped the vehicle after some distance upon which the gang leader fired at the police party. Before he could fire another round, he was overpowered.

The police seized the vehicle (DL-1L-2030) and ten bags of brass taps worth Rs 2.5 lakh from them. The police said that the gang normally looted the factories and godowns of plastic and brass items. One of the gang members would visit the place posing as a job seeker usually to get familiar with the exit and entry points before they operated.

Boy electrocuted: A four-year-old boy died after he came into contact with a supporting wire of an electric pole of the Delhi Vidyut Board while playing on Wednesday night in Vijay Vihar. The victim, Kallu, resident of Vijay Vihar, was playing near the pole with his friends and accidentally he touched the supporting wire. The Rohini police have registered a case of causing death due to negligence against the DVB.

Auto-lifters held: The PCR staff stationed at ITO nabbed two auto-lifters and seized a stolen Maruti car (DL-8CE-0583) within twenty minutes of the robbery. A message alerted the staff that a car was stolen from near Indian Express buildings, following which the staff nabbed Pramod Kumar (18) and Sonu (17), both residents of Kotla, and recovered the stolen vehicle from them.

Woman murdered: A 35-year-old woman, Kamla alias Gulzab, was found murdered on Wednesday at her house in Raghu Nagar in the Darbri area. The police said that Kamla was living with Ram Vijay who was working as a labourer. She was found murdered in Ram Vijay’s house.

Factory looted: Noida: In an attack on a factory in Bulandshahar, criminals killed two security guards and decamped with a truck full of finished products on Wednesday night. The livid public held up the traffic and raised slogans against the police. OC

Students stabbed: Faridabad: Two students appearing in the Board exams were stabbed in Ballabgarh town as they did not allow other candidates to copy their answersheets in the annual exams here on Wednesday. The victims have been admitted in the hospital. TNS



Undertrial throws chilly in cop’s eyes to escape
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 28
Surinder, an accused in a murder case, made a futile attempt to escape from the police custody by throwing chilly powder in the eyes of a police constable, Sukhbir Singh, here today.

According to a report, the constable raised an alarm and other constables immediately pounced on the accused and foiled his attempt to escape.

The incident occurred around 12.30 pm when the accused was being taken from the District Jail to the court of the District Sessions Judge, Mr S. K. Sardana.

The police have registered another case against the accused. Further investigations are in progress.



HUDA JE held for taking bribe

Faridabad, March 28
A Junior Engineer (JE) of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) office here was arrested after being caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000 from a resident today.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, the accused, identified as Ramkumar, had demanded the money from a resident of Urban Sector for getting a boundary wall constructed by him regularised. While the matter was brought to the notice of higher authorities, a team consisting of the District Revenue Officer and the Additional SP was deputed to conduct a raid. The Junior Engineer had asked the complainant to give the money near a spot at the Town Park and he was caught from there. TNS



27 per cent increase in credit outlay of banks in Gurgaon
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, March 28
The credit plan of all banks for the year 2002-2003 with an outlay of Rs 423.69 crore has projected an increase of 27 per cent over the current financial year.

The lead District Manager for all banks, Mr S. V. Govindaiah, informed that the banks here had achieved 100 per cent targets in their credit plan for the year 2001-02 up to December 2001. The banks disbursed Rs 15,903 lakh against the target of Rs 14,819 lakh in the agricultural sector, Rs 4,944 lakh against Rs 4,469 lakh in the non-farming sector (NFS) and Rs 3,523 lakh against the target of Rs 4,854 lakh in the other priority sector (OPS).

Under the crop loan, the performance had been satisfactory as it recorded an increase of 27 per cent against the target, said the lead manager. He added that Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, and State Bank of India had not done well whereas Oriental Bank of Commerce, Union Bank, Gurgaon Gramin Bank (GGB) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCB) had exceeded their targets.

He further revealed that under the term loan component and allied activities, the performances except of a few banks such as Union Bank, GGB, UCO Bank and Canara Bank had not been encouraging in the current financial year.

Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, Central Bank of India, Punjab and Sind Bank had performed very poorly in the non-farming sector though the overall performance had been quite satisfactory, 110 per cent against the target, revealed the officer. The disbursement under the other priority sector had not been satisfactory, as the banks had achieved only 73 per cent of the target set for up to December 2001.

The credit disbursement to the minorities such as Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, came to Rs 118 crore which is 143 per cent of the target of Rs 83 crore for the year.

In the Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) scheme, Gurgaon Gramin Bank and Cooperative Banks had done well. But the commercial banks had to come forward to issue more KCCs so that all the farmers enjoying crop loan might be covered under the scheme as per the government guidelines, said the officer.

Speaking about the next year’s plan, Mr Govindaiah said that out of the total credit plan of Rs 423.70 crore, the priority sector outlay was Rs 377.16 crore and the non-priority sector outlay Rs 46.54 crore.

The lead manager further said that the projections for disbursement had been made taking into account the performance in the earlier years, potential available in the service area, targeted coverage under government-sponsored schemes, social objectives and unit cost specifications fixed by the NABARD.


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