Tuesday, April 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


DTC: The art of milking a dry cow
Tribune News Service


* Rs 14 crore spent on irregular payment of overtime allowance. 

*Rs 27 crore paid per year as wages to surplus (36 per cent) staff.

* Rs 4 crore spent on extra consumption of diesel.

* KM Scheme causes a loss of Rs 90 crore.

New Delhi, April 1
There are politicians and there are politicians. Some milk a cow dry, others have mastered the art of milking a dry cow. This in short is the gist of the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).

Successive governments have plundered an already-in-the-red DTC by paying private players more than the stipulated tariff for operating the Kilometre (KM) Scheme. Between 1996 and 2000, when the Congress wrested control of the Government of NCT of Delhi from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), private operators pocketed Rs 100 crore more than they would have if the government had paid them at the rate worked out by the corporation.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, in his report for the year ended March 31, 2001, notes : “[The] Government of NCT of Delhi, without giving specific reasons, had been sanctioning these rates on the higher side”. Observing that the hiring of buses had therefore been rendered not self-sustainable, the report says: “The basic objective of the scheme to run buses on self-sustainability basis has thus, been defeated. Besides, the DTC would continue to suffer losses in future also.”

Such is the sorry state of affairs that Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor was prompted to mention during his customary address to the Legislative Assembly on the first day of Budget Session that institutional reform and restructuring of the corporation was long overdue. “Public-private partnerships for efficient delivery of transport services,” he had said, “will be explored…. Reforms are critical to improve governance and increase return on investment.”

The report comes down heavily on the corporation for frequently resorting to curtailment of schedules (of plying of buses), citing “no staff” as a reason. This, when the report states, the ratio of staff per bus in DTC at the end of March 2001 was 13:47:1 as compared to state road transport undertakings’ ratio of 7:4:1. “The deployment of staff in excess of norms per year on an average [is] resulting in payment of idle wages [of] Rs 135.35 crore [for five years up to March 21],” the report says and mentions that the management of DTC has intimated that they are considering a voluntary retirement scheme for the employees.

Further, the report says, an audit scrutiny of pay bills for the last five years revealed that an overtime allowance of Rs 2.19 crore was disbursed. “The payment of overtime allowance to these employees, who are already in excess of sanctioned norms, is not justified as the average number of buses remained almost the same up to 1999-2000. Rather, it reduced in 2000-2001 and the vehicle productivity also reduced over the years!”

According to the report, the DTC is sustaining losses continuously. The cumulative losses increased from Rs 202 crore in 1996-1997 to Rs 850 crore in 2000-2001. In fact, it was not earning revenue even equal to its establishment bill up to 1997-1998. From 1998-1999 and onward, the operating revenue did exceed its establishment bill but mainly on account of revision of fare by 66 per cent. “The reason for such a high establishment cost is deployment of excess work force than required,” the report says. Compounding matters for the corporation is the steady loss per kilometre. From Rs 8.84 n 1997-1998, it has shot up to Rs 14.28 in 2000-2001.



Razed colony residents too stunned to react 
Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, April 1
An uneasy clam prevailed today in the ill-fated Rahul Colony, which had to face the fury of the demolition squad on Sunday.

Residents, whose houses were razed to clear the site for a golf course, were still too stunned to react; they were yet to reconcile to the fact that they were now homeless. Their belongings were still strewn about in the open.

Despite their obvious predicament, a large number of residents attended the cremation of the youth who immolated himself to death yesterday in protest against the demolition.

The Administration had razed about 2,500 constructions, including pucca houses and jhuggis, allegedly built on land belonging to the Tourism Department. The residents of the colony still have over 1,000 structures intact, which could become the target of the next demolition drive.

A delegation of the residents’ welfare association has met the Deputy Commissioner twice in the last 24 hours to seek an assurance that no more structures would be demolished in the colony. Mr Ashok Sen, president of the colony, claimed that the authorities had said that the land recovered from the residents would be fenced and no further demolition would take place.

Another resident said that there were confusing signals and no one was sure what lies in store for them. A 50-year-old woman said that residents were extremely scared. She voiced fears that people were being ‘told’ to ‘occupy’ the government land and that the remaining structures may also be razed sooner or later.

Around 16 acres of land was cleared of unauthorised constructions yesterday and about seven acres of land is still under illegal possession. The Tourism Department plans to build a golf course on some 43 acres of 0land.

It is learnt that this colony had faced the demolition squad in the previous regime also. According to Ramesh, a resident, most political parties had assured the people at the time of Assembly elections that the colony would be regularised. However, none of them bothered to turn up at the time of the demolition.

The district administration was on the alert today. Policemen in uniforms and mufti kept vigil at the site of cremation. Manoj Kumar (32) died of

burns yesterday, after he attempted self-immolation. While no untoward incident was reported, a large number of residents attended the funeral procession and the cremation. The immolation victim was a resident of NH-5 colony here, but had been running a shop in Rahul Colony. His body was brought from Safdarjung hospital today afternoon.

The Administration, meanwhile, has decided to suspend further demolition work in the colony, with a view to cool down the frayed tempers and to prevent any politicisation of the issue.

Gurgaon: The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, told mediapersons in Gurgaon that the man who had committed immolation in protest against the demolition of houses in an unauthorised colony in Faridabad was a criminal who collected illegal money from the jhuggi dwellers for providing them shelter.



Sheila gives her recipe for water conservation

“Consultants are already in place for restructuring of Delhi Jal Board. By the end of this year, the road map for reform will be drawn up, including identification of projects that can be posed for external funding.”

Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor on the first day of Budget session

“There is an urgent need to regulate exploitation of underground water and levy charges to ensure equitable use and distribution as water resources are owned by the community and cannot be allowed to be subjected to individual greed.”

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, speaking on Monday


Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 1
That water is indeed becoming a scarce commodity and the situation warrants tougher measures was driven home on Monday by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Addressing the fifth meeting of National Water Resources Council, Ms Dikshit said the time had come to impose costs on indiscriminate exploitation of water resources by a few, at the expense of many. “Indiscriminate exploitation of ground water,” she said, “has led to depletion of water table. [Conservation] should be given prime attention. Water conservation should form part of the school curricula and media be used for motivating people.”

Prefacing her submission by citing the challenges posed by heading a city-state with little or no resources in the name of water, Ms Dikshit said the water needs of the National Capital Region (NCR) should be reflected in the proposed National Water Policy and urged the Centre to set up a corpus fund to encourage state governments to make investments in this sector. The Government of NCT of Delhi, she said, was planning to bring a legislation to achieve the objectives set out in the model Bill for setting up a State Ground Water Authority.

Quoting statistics to drive home the point, the chief minister said with a decadal growth of over 50 per cent in the population and its water share of Yamuna frozen at 0.724 billion cubic metres in 1994, Delhi had no alternative but to look to other states for meeting its drinking water requirements. “In most parts of the capital, it is no longer feasible to tap the underground water.”

Shortage of water, she continued, would undermine the confidence of foreign investors as Delhi plays host to top foreign dignitaries, delegations, tourists and houses the entire diplomatic community. And in the same vein stressed the need for collaborative agreements between states to facilitate investments by the needy states for strengthening water storage and conveyance systems in other states for the purpose. Listing Delhi’s initiatives in this regard, Ms Dikshit said the Government of NCT of Delhi had agreed to fund the entire cost of constructing a parallel line channel of 102 km at an estimated cost of Rs 380 crore in Haryana. Already, Rs 20 crore has been released on this account. This would lead to a saving of 160 cusecs of water, which at present is lost in the conveyance system.

The Government of NCT of Delhi had also agreed to make the investment required for reducing seepage losses in the distribution system in

the Upper Ganga Canal Command from Asaf Nagar to Murad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh to save 200 cusecs of raw water. It has engaged the Water Resources Development and Training Centre, Roorkee University, for preparing a draft project report.

She emphasised the need for a mechanism at the national level to ensure setting up of such projects without disturbing the environment or by evolving compensatory strategies to overcome detrimental environmental effects. Lack of such a mechanism would lead to unnecessary litigation and delays in the implementation of these projects. “The nation is not in a position to absorb the enormous burden of cost of escalation of these projects,” she added.

Ms Dikshit supported the need for a National Water Policy, formation of common approaches and guidelines for planning and implementation of water resources projects, improvement in existing strategies and introduction of new techniques for monitoring water levels.



MCD meets on April 10 to elect Mayor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
The first meeting of the newly-elected Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will be held on April 10 to elect the mayor, deputy mayor and members of the statutory committee.

A total of 134 newly elected members of the corporation would take oath the same day. Then, the civic body would elect the mayor, the head of the MCD.

The last date for filling nominations for election of mayor, deputy mayor, six members of the standing committee, four members of the education committee, two representatives on the DDA and four representatives on the Advisory Council of the DDA is April 4. The last date for nominations for chairman, deputy chairman of each of the 12 ward committees is April 6 and the meeting for their election will be held on April 11.

The meeting for election to these posts will be called by the Administrator of the National Capital Territory of Delhi under the provisions of Section 73 of the MCD Act 1957.

Mr Ramesh Dutta, a senior municipal councillor, has been nominated as presiding officer by Lt Governor of Delhi

for the elections to these coveted posts. According to section 77 of the MCD Act, the meeting of the corporation for election of mayor shall be presided over by a councillor, who is not a candidate for any of the posts and so is Mr Dutta. He will be administered oath by Deputy Commissioner of North district of the corporation, Mrs Debashree Mukherjee.

The other Councillors will be administered oath by Mr Dutta.

The mayor so elected will then assume the chair and proceed to conduct the election of the deputy mayor and six members of the standing committee.



Private firm to sweep Jhajjar clean
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, April 1
The responsibility of sanitation and cleanliness in the sub-divisional town of Bahadurgarh has been handed over to a private firm, which is set to begin the work tomorrow in 13 wards of the town. A Delhi-based firm, Quick Cleaning, has signed a three-year contract with the municipality in this regard.

It is for the first time that a private agency has been hired for sanitation. The agency is to cover ward No 15 to 23 and parts of ward No 7, 12, 13 and 14. It would also clean the NH 10 from Goryya tourist complex to the Tikari Border.

The task, assigned to the firm as per the conditions of the contract, include daily sweeping of all the roads, parks, open space, bazaars and public latrines which fall in the area. It would also clean drainage and sewage and lift the garbage from the pathways and roads.

The firm is to dump the garbage in the areas spotted by the MC, every day.

According to the contract, it would also be the responsibility of the firm to lift the carcasses of cattle lying on the roads. The agency will open its office in the town. Mr Nafe Singh Rathee, an MLA, today informed that the contract had been given to the agency for Rs 3.50 lakh for three years.

He said that the MC had to spent more than Rs 5.50 lakh for maintaining sanitation in these areas.

Thus, the introduction of the private firm is proving cost-effective for the local civic body. He said that the task of cleaning the town had become difficult for the MC that has only 80 sweepers while the population has reached 1.27 lakh.

Nonetheless, the MLA said that there would be no retrenchment of sweepers.



Cops search Sis Ganj Gurdwara for militant
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
A section of the Sikh community has taken umbrage at the police raid on Sis Ganj Gurdwara, to flush out a suspected militant. The police had raided the gurdwara on a specific tip-off during the weekend, but had to return empty handed. The youth wing head of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Master Tara Singh), Mr Jaswinder Singh Hani, said such acts denigrate the place of worship.

He demanded stern action against the police personnel, who raided the shrine without concrete information, which caused inconvenience to a large number of persons staying in the gurdwara.

The DSGMC general secretary, Mr Kulmohan Singh, disclosed that the police searches gurdwara premises from time to time, to ascertain whether any anti-social elements have taken shelter in the garb of pilgrims. The police, before conducting such operations, informs the gurdwara manager, he added. The raid came within hours of the fidayeen attack on Raghunath temple in Jammu last week.

The security in several religious places has been tightened in the Capital following the incident and police have deployed additional pickets and forces to thwart similar incident here.



Country liquor kills two
Parmindar Singh

Noida, April 1
Two persons lost their lives after consuming country liquor in Kanarsi village while three are struggling between life and death in a local hospital. Chander, 50, and Inder, 35, had a bout of country liquor on Sunday night. Both of them vomited and had loose motions. Their condition became worse and they died while being rushed to the hospital. The incident plunged the village into grief. Surender Nagar, a Congress worker held the police responsible for the deaths caused due to the consumption of inferior quality country liquor. Meanwhile, three persons have been arrested with 112 bottles of country liquor by the Rabupura police on Sunday night.

Sarpanch held:
The district police have arrested the sarpanch of Gudha village of the district on the charges of selling illicit liquor and seized a large number of English wine and beer bottles from him. The sarpanch Naresh Kumar was raided by the police after getting information about his involvement in the business of elicit liquor. His TATA 407 was intercepted and searched and 3420 bottles of beer and 180 bottles of English liquor were recovered from the vehicle. He was arrested under excise act. His TATA 407 was intercepted and searched and 3420 bottles of beer and 180 bottles of English liquor were recovered from the vehicle. OC



Girl drowns trying to save brother
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 1
A 14-year-old girl drowned in the Gurgaon canal while attempting to save her younger brother from drowning. The victim, Manju, a resident of Kisan Majdoor colony, dived into the canal after she saw her seven-year-old brother crying for help in the gushing water. He had jumped into the canal to retrieve a coconut.



Cong to take decision on Mayor today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
The new Mayor of Delhi would be decided tomorrow with senior Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary Kamal Nath, DPCC president Subhash Chopra and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, holding closed door meetings.

The DPCC president, Mr Chopra, held a series of meetings with Mr Kamal Nath today to shortlist the possible woman candidates who could be considered for the post.

Mr Chopra told ‘NCR Tribune’ that the party would shortlist the names of a couple of candidates by late tonight and the final round of discussions would be held tomorrow to arrive at a consensus. As per the 74th amendment of the Constitution, a woman councillor would have to be the Mayor of the corporation on the first year of the term.

Sources said the party was considering the names of second-time woman corporators for the post as it required persons with experience to handle the delicate matters deftly.

Mr Chopra said the party had sought the views of senior party leaders on some of the probable candidates. Asked whether the party would seek the views of the corporators before finalising the candidate for the post, Mr Chopra said: “We have the bio-data of the candidates and we know what they can perform. The party leaders would decide on the candidate for the post.”

With the Congress winning most of the 46 reserved woman seats in the MCD, the task before the party is daunting.

Meanwhile, the newly elected BJP corporators would meet in the party office tomorrow for an orientation programme and the strategy to be adopted by the party in the standing committee meetings. The BJP could manage to win from only 17 wards in the 134-member MCD.



PM urged to nationalise water distribution
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, April 1
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has appealed to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to nationalise the water distribution in the country.

Speaking to mediapersons here today, Mr Chautala said that many states in the country were fighting over the distribution of river water flowing through different states.

He said that the ongoing water disputes in the country would be automatically sorted out after the nationalisation of water distribution in the country.

He said that he had also requested the Prime Minister for the speedy construction of the SYL canal so that Haryana’s share of water from the Sutlej could be made available to the farmers of the state soon. Mr Chautala had come here after attending a meeting of the Central Water Resources Management, chaired by the Prime Minister in Delhi.

The Haryana Chief Minister also urged the Prime Minister to increase the reserved price of wheat as the wheat crop would soon start arriving in the market.

Mr Chautala was here to lay the foundation stone of a 200- bed hospital, having the latest medical facilities.

The hospital, spread over an area of 9 acres, would cost Rs 18 crore.

The Chief Minister also said that illegal encroachment in the state would not be tolerated at any cost.

All land owned by the state government, the village panchayat and even Wakf Board would be cleared of encroachments and handed over to the rightful owners. 



Minimum wages of workers revised 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
The Government of NCT of Delhi has revised the minimum wages of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers after accommodating the dearness allowance (DA) to be released with effect from February 1 this year.

Accordingly, the revised wages of unskilled workers has been raised from Rs 2,592 to Rs 2,667.40, of semi-skilled workers from Rs 2,758 to Rs 2,833.40; and of skilled workers from Rs 3,016 to Rs 3,091.40.

The Labour Minister, Mr Deep Chand Bandhu, today told the Legislative Assembly that since the consumer price index (CPI) had increased, another installment of DA worth Rs 75.40 was being released. The government, he said, had been releasing DA installments every six months on the basis of the increase in CPI.

Minimum rates of wages in respect of all 29 scheduled employment were revised in 1994 under the Minimum Wages Act 1948. The notification dated February 15, 1994, lays down that the minimum rates of wages will be linked with the consumer price index for the NCT of Delhi with December 1993 as the base.



Chautala tells party workers to play proactive role 
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, April 1
Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala urged his party workers to convey the policies of the state government to the people so that they were not influenced by the false campaign of the Opposition against his government. Terming the workers as the backbone of any political party, he said that they should work as the link between the party and the people.

The Chief Minister said that the role of party workers was not only to convey the policies of the government in the right perspective but also to provide feedback from the people to the government.

Addressing a meeting of the party workers here on Sunday, Mr Chautala said that the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government had decided to hold Sarva Dharma Prarthna Sabhas throughout the state on April 6 on the birthday of late Devi Lal.

He said that the blood donation camps would also be organised on the occasion in all the district headquarters.

He said that the INLD government had successfully put the state back on the path of development. The INLD government had formulated and implemented increasing number of welfare schemes since it came to power two-and-a-half years ago.

The Chief Minister claimed that when the INLD came to power in the state, its economy was in doldrums and his government had done a remarkable job despite having very limited resources.

He said that the procurement process of rabi produce would be a smooth affair and every grain would be bought by the government agencies.

He also assured that the power situation in the state would improve soon and the water of SYL canal would flow into the state at the earliest.

Later in the evening, Mr Chautala also inaugurated a Yudh Smarak at the Sainik rest house in Bahadurgarh. Speaking on this occasion, he informed that the state government had recruited three immediate relatives of martyrs in the Haryana Civil Service (HCS) while 22 patrol stations and 42 gas agencies had been allotted in the name of the widows of the martyrs in the state. He said that the state government would continue to do its best for the families of the martyrs.



New Hafed warehouse opened
Our Correspondent

Rewari, April 1
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, inaugurated the Hafed Warehouse having a capacity of 3000 MT here today. It has been constructed at a cost of about Rs 35 lakh.

To meet the requirements of covered storage space, the Hafed has launched a massive campaign for the construction of godowns. The Hafed already has godowns with 1,38,000 MT capacity while more godowns with 2.05 lakh MT capacity are expected to be built by the end of this month. Besides, the Haryana Government has also fixed a target for constructing godowns with a capacity of 3.25 lakh MT under the seven-year guarantee scheme of the Food Corporation of India (FCI). With the completion of these godowns, the Hafed will be in possession of an additional capacity of 6,08,500 MT godowns.

During the year 2001-02, the turnover of Hafed was Rs 1,900 crore while its profit stood at Rs 25 crore. Similarly, it had made a record procurement of 27.22 lakh MT of wheat and 36,030 MT of mustard seed. It had procured 10.20 lakh MT of wheat and 30,443 MT of mustard seed during the previous year. The Hafed had also procured 5.69 lakh MT of paddy during the year 2001-02.

It is a matter of pride that after a gap of about 10 years, the Hafed has entered the export market. It recently exported Basmati rice to Brisbane in Australia. It is likely to export greater quantities of Basmati and non-Basmati rice in the near future for which it has approached the Union Government to accord the status of a canalising agency as has been allowed to Markfed, Punjab.

There is also a proposal to set up retail outlets at Gharaunda, Pipli and Nilokheri on the national highway and to expand its existing retail outlets in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore for promoting its consumer products throughout the country.



‘People can’t be made fool by flowery speeches’
Syed Ali Ahmed

Captain Ram Singh
Captain Ram Singh

Captain Ram Singh, a retired army officer, who was a nominated member of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, has a bitter experience of the functioning of some BJP workers and corporators. He originally belongs to Haryana but for a long time has been living at Kotla Mubarakpur village in South Delhi. An MA from the Panjab University, Chandigarh and LL.B. from the University of Delhi, Captain Singh is said to be the brain behind the proposal to decentralise administration, judiciary, whole sale markets and other departments when Sahib Singh Verma was the Chief Minister of Delhi. He was nominated to the MCD in 1997 for his deep knowledge of administration and sharp ideas of development. In an interview with the NCR Tribune, he pointed out various factors for the BJP defeat in the recently concluded municipal election.

For how long you have been associated with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Would you narrate your experience as a nominated member of the corporation?

I have been associated with the MCD for five years. I have harrowing experience of functioning of BJP-led corporation and its officials. Although, I joined the corporation as nominated member first time. They nominated me considering that I would welcome whatever they do, right or wrong. Since I have been living in Delhi for a long time, I am aware of the basic problems of the Capital and I always raised the issues of encroachments, illegal construction of flats by private builders, construction of private colonies on government lands and other civic problems. But the suggestions had apparently fallen on deaf ears of the Mayor and other senior members of the party.

What could be the cause of BJP’s debacle in the election?

There are many factors for the downfall of the BJP in municipal elections. Frankly speaking, they did nothing for the development of the Capital during last five years of their tenure. The BJP workers are fund-raisers. They thought that on the basis of good oratory they would win the election, which could never be done in Delhi because people want development and they were very much aware about the political development in the country. Time to time zone level meeting is held in which the decision for development is taken. But the minutes prepared at the meetings were never given a practical shape. The Commissioner and Additional Commissioner of the MCD never attended the zonal meetings. The lower rank officer used to come, recited a few Urdu couplets and went back. This was the routine of the zonal meetings of last five years. Illegal construction is another factor for the debacle of the party. In one case, an illegally constructed building collapsed on July 26, 1996, killing 8 persons in Kotla Mubarakpur. The Prime Minister, the L-T Governor, the local MP, the Police Commissioner and other big wigs came to the spot and condemned the lackluster attitude of the MCD. The building again came up in connivance with elected corporator of the area, corporation officials and police.

Besides, higher property tax had annoyed the residents of the Capital. I brought this issue to the notice of the corporation but they did not take it seriously. I told them to reduce the property tax as it was done in Patna. When Property tax was higher in Patna, the revenue was less. Once it was reduced, the revenue increased itself.

Don’t you think the removal of factories from the Capital and union budget were the main factors of BJP’s failure in the election?

They are, but not everywhere in Delhi. Gulmohar Park and Defence Colony are most posh localities in the area and the BJP candidates won the election from there. In such an era, when people have access to television, radio, newspaper and other means of information they cannot be made fools by making flowery speeches. People want practical work. Instead of doing work, the BJP creates hurdle in way of the Congress-led NCR of Delhi government. The Sheila Government has recently come up with a very good idea of handing over nine government schools, whose result was not satisfactory to renowned education societies. Instead of supporting this, the BJP opposed this by making Abhibhavak Sangh, an NGO. The children of the BJP leaders who opposed this idea, study in the prestigious schools of the Capital.

What do you expect from the Congress-led MCD, voted to power in the corporation election this time?

Nothing much. You see most of the Congress candidates were given party tickets to contest the election after giving huge money to senior leaders. They purchased votes by distributing liquor among residents of clusters to get votes. The best example of this is that of a car of a Congress candidate seized near Badarpur Border while bringing liquor from Haryana. It was bailed out next day. First, the councillors bribed for getting ticket and winning the election. Now, they will try to do the same for the recovery of money. The money sanctioned for the development will be pilfered. So, it will become a vicious circle.

Since you have been living in the Capital for a long time, could you tell the basic problems of the Capital?

More or less the problems are the same in all the MCD segments. For instance, cleanliness, illegal construction, electricity supply, water supply. Sincere approach of elected members and honest officers can work out these problems. The corrupt officials of the corporation should be summarily punished if they are found in any case of corruption. A detail of their property should be maintained in headquarters of the corporation. Even junior engineers posted in building department maintain luxury cars and palatial houses, which they cannot have with their genuine income.

You represent Kotla Mubarakpur area in the corporation. What is the basic problem there?

Illegal construction is rampant in Kotla Mubarakpur in South Extension area of South district due to the lackluster attitude of the MCD and other local bodies. The buildings are constructed by land-grabbers, property dealers and others who have connections in administration and police.

According to the MCD’s by-laws, it is mandatory to leave 40 per cent of the total land. The construction can be done only on remaining part of the land after approval of a map by the MCD. However, the people have covered 100 per cent of the land. This has been brought to the knowledge of the authorities concerned but no action has so far been taken. Construction of basement is not permitted in the area. But it can be seen even in the buildings located on the main roads. The government land meant for gram sabha worth crores of rupees has been encroached by junk dealers and others.

There was a primary school of MCD in the village, and part of it is being used by an influential resident of the area. Being member of the corporation, I had always spoken against the illegal constructions, encroachment and school problems.

But authorities concerned did not pay attention to my voice. Several shops were demolished last year in Subhash Market in March last year, but two months after these were again constructed in connivance with the police and MCD. The police demand Rs 50,000 for one floor of the illegal construction of the building.



Track deaths, a headache for cops
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 1
Identification of persons who have been run over by trains passing through the district seems to have become a headache to the railway police officials here.

The police have not been able to identify about a dozen persons killed in such accidents in the past two months in the district. About 38 persons had been run over by the trains during the period but only 25 of them could be identified.

The railway police who had recorded about 185 such deaths last year could hand over the bodies of only 97 victims to their kin. Rest of them were handed to sewa samitis for cremation.

While photographs of many victims are being displayed on the notice boards of the railway stations near which the accident occurred, the police find themselves helpless in further investigation.

The department had no funds to put advertisement of each such victim in newspapers, said an official.

About 15 to 20 persons die on rail tracks every year in the district. Many colonies, especially jhuggi clusters, have come up near the tracks at various places leading to the risk.



Two run over by trains
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, April 1
Two persons, including one police constable, were run over by a train while a worker of a paper mill was found dead under mysterious circumstances here in the past 24 hours. Rajesh Kumar (18), a resident of Shalimar Garden area of Sahibabad, was returning home today morning after a judo class. He was run over by a train while crossing the railway tracks near border check post. He died on the spot.

The victim of another incident, constable Yogesh Tyagi (42) of the Nandgram area, was posted in Musori police station here. He was returning from Kavi Nagar police station on Sunday evening on foot. While crossing the tracks near the railway police station, he was run over by a train. He died on the spot. His body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

A Nepali youth was found dead in Pragati Paper Mill staff quarters under the Link Road police station. The incident was reported by an employee of the paper mill, Arun Yadav. He told the police that he had seen blood oozing from the victim’s mouth. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.



Youth killed, two women hurt as tractor 
rams scooter 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 1
A youth was killed and two women were injured when a scooter carrying them was hit by a tractor near Farmana village today. According to information, Balram, a resident of Badesara village, was going to his village along with his mother and sister on a scooter when a tractor rammed into the two-wheeler. All the injured were rushed to the community health centre at Meham where Balram succumbed to his injuries. The police have registered a case against the driver of the tractor who is said to be absconding.

Chain snatched

Two scooter-borne youths snatched a gold chain from a woman at DLF colony here on Sunday evening. Mr Narender Kumar, a resident of the colony, alleged in the complaint to the police that the miscreants snatched the chain from his wife while she was engaged in buying vegetables.

Power Plant

The work on the seventh and eighth units of 250 MW Devi Lal Thermal Power Plant will begin soon, the Haryana Assembly Speaker, Mr Satbir Kadian, said here on today.

Addressing a rally, Mr Kadian said that an initial outlay of Rs 10 crore had been earmarked for IT in the state. He said that under the new education policy, special stress had been laid on the universalisation of primary education, vocationalisation of education and reformation in the examination and evaluation systems.

Seven booked

On the directions of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A. K. Jain, the police have registered a case against seven persons on the complaint of an SI of the CISF, Ms Neeraj Bala.

The case has been registered under Sections 211, 420, 500, 509, 506 and 120-B of the IPC against the persons, including Chander Shekhar, Lekh Raj Jatana, Jagdish Bathla and Naresh Mehta. The Judge had directed the police to register a case against the accused and investigate the allegations levelled by the woman officer.

Body found

The body of 11-year-old Ravi was found under mysterious circumstances at his house at Madhana village near here today morning. A case has been registered.

Ekta manch

The president of the Punjabi Ekta Manch, Mr Darshan Lal Arora, today demanded quota for Punjabis in jobs and representation in the Haryana Assembly and the Lok Sabha as per community’s population in the state. Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Arora said business opportunities for the Punjabi community, which accounted for 35 per cent of the population in the state, were on the decline on account of general recession in trade. He informed that a state-level cultural programme would be held at Panipat on April 14 where prominent Punjabis would be honoured.


On account of the tight security arrangements made by the police and district administration, all the 24 councillors who revolted against the Chairman of the

Sonepat Municipal Council, Mr Satpal Goel, could not meet the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, here on Sunday.

According to a report, these municipal councillors wanted to submit a memorandum along with their affidavits to the Chief Minister for removing the Chairman as they had lost their confidence in him. The irate municipal councillors, however, submitted their memorandum to Mr Dev Raj Dewan, an independent MLA and a close associate of Mr Chautala.

Later, the councillors announced that they would introduce a no-confidence motion against the Chairman shortly as he had discriminated against the electorate of their wards in the matter of development.

Wheat seized

The Kharkhauda police have arrested a sarpanch of Assan village in Rohtak district and the driver of a tractor-trolley and seized 120 maunds of wheat worth about Rs 30,000 which was meant for the ‘food for work’ programme.

According to a report, the wheat was being taken to Narela mandi in Delhi for sale. The police are looking for a third suspect who managed to escape. A case has been registered under Section 409, IPC against the three.

Road construction

The Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board has started construction of 65 roads with a length of 172.93 km in the district under the `Sarkar Aap Ke Dwar’ programme, following an announcement to this effect made by the Chief Minister.

The Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here today that a sum of Rs 7.57 crore had been spent so far on the construction of various roads and the earthwork on a stretch of 158.57 km had been completed. The work on laying stone metal on 132.21 km of roads had been completed. Similarly, the work for carpeting 50.49 km-long roads had also been completed in the district.

The break-up of the roads to be constructed in various assembly segments of the district is as under: Rohat (nine roads - 23.12 km); Rai (11 - 27 km); Kailana (15 - 30.58 km); Sonepat (five - 13.96 km); Gohana (12 - 33.27 km) and Baroda-R (13 - 45 km).

Couple assaulted

A youth, Ravinder, and his wife, Mrs Sudesh, sustained serious injuries when they were attacked with lathis and other weapons by their neighbours at Bhuwapur village, about 15 km from here, on Sunday.

According to a report, the injured couple was immediately hospitalised. They are stated to be out of danger. The police have registered a case against seven alleged assailants and launched a hunt to apprehend them. A dispute over the encroachments in a street was the main cause of the assault.

According to another report, three persons, including two women, were injured when they were attacked by some neighbours at Jasrana village, about 40 km from here, on Sunday. It is stated that the alleged assailants forced their way into the house and assaulted them with lathis and other weapons. All the injured persons were hospitalised. The police are still investigating the case.



New president for Nirankari Mandal
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, April 1
Mr Amrik Singh, a former bureaucrat and the secretary of the Sant Nirankari Mandal, has been nominated the mandal’s new president. He took over charge today.

Four new members have also been appointed to the executive committee. They are Mr Dev Raj Bajaj, zonal in charge of the southern states of India and working committee, Mr Man Singh Maan, editor of mission’s Punjabi journal, Mr D. R. Sikka, chief controller of accounts, and Mrs Raj Vasdev Singh, retired principal. Mr Harish N. Dass has been nominated the vice-chairman of the mandal.

The mandal also expressed concern over the rising incidents of violence and arson over religious disputes. In a two-day special general body meeting where over 250 delegates from all over the country had gathered, the mandal stressed the need for tolerance.

The meeting resolved to spread the message of universal brotherhood and remove ignorance and superstitions. Head of the Nirankari Mission Hardev ji Maharaj urged his followers to set examples by opting for simple marriages and by abstaining from demanding and giving dowry.



Nine cars seized from notorious auto-lifter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
With the arrest of a notorious auto-lifter, the South district police today claimed to have solved as many as 23 cases of auto theft. As many as nine Maruti cars were seized from him.

The accused, Sudhir Kumar alias Sidhu alias Mannu (30), resident of Ghaziabad, was nabbed after a brief chase by the anti-auto-lifting squad of the district when he came in a stolen Maruti Zen near PVR Anupam.

The accused was active for sometime in South district and an expert in stealing especially Maruti 800 and Zen cars from posh localities.

Acting on an information that the accused would pass through PVR Anupam area, the police team under the supervision of ACP (Operations) H. P. S. Cheema tried to intercept the vehicle but he tried to speed away. Finally, the police team managed to stop him after a brief chase.

The Maruti Zen (DL 2CR 4321) was later found to be a stolen one from Connaught Place. On sustained interrogation, Sudhir revealed that he used to dispose of the stolen vehicles to Jai Prakash alias JP, resident of Bihar, who is living in Dimapur, Nagaland, at present.

While Jai Prakash operates from Dimapur, the receiver of stolen cars and his brother-in-law, Vidya Nand Singh alias Dinesh, used to operate from Bihar. Jai Prakash was arrested in February 2001 by the anti-auto theft squad of the South district.

Sudhir further revealed that after identifying the car, he used to open the doors of the cars with the help of a scale. Once inside the car, he would make a hole in the steering rod with the help of a drilling machine to make the steering free.

The stolen cars were later parked in posh localities like Gurgaon and Sushant Lok and driven to Patna through Sohna, Ballabhgarh, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad and Benaras.



House of Panipat industrialist robbed
Our Correspondent

Panipat, April 1
Cash, jewellery and other articles worth lakhs of rupees have reportedly been looted from the house of an industrialist in the posh Yamuna Enclave here.

The burglary came to the notice when the industrialist, Mr Ashok Goyal, the owner of Aggarsain Wooltex here, returned home with his family members from his native Nabha town in Punjab Nabha on Sunday around 8.00 pm. According to information, he had gone to Nabha on March 25. When he returned, he found the locks of the doors broken and the house ransacked. On receiving information, the police reached the spot and recovered the iron rods used by the robbers for breaking the windowpanes and locks. A case of theft has been registered in the city police station.

Mr Goyal said that besides thousands of rupees, about 25 tolas of gold, a colour television set, stereo and other valuable articles had been stolen. It is pointed out that this colony is surrounded by a boundary wall and the entry is manned round the clock by the guards. 



Youths beat up fruit vendor for demanding his dues

Jhajjar, April 1
Some youths reportedly beat up a fruit vendor for demanding the dues they owed him on account of the fruits they had bought from his shop in Badli village of the district today. A police spokesman said here today that the fruit vendor, Virender, was assaulted by some youths armed with sticks and iron rods outside the village in the morning. They reportedly beat him up and snatched Rs 4,300 from him.

The complainant said that two of the assailants identified as Kala and Anil directed others to teach him a lesson for demanding money and also threatened to kill him. The duo owed money to Virender for buying fruits from his shop. Other assailants were identified as Manoj and Keshi, residents of Badli village. The Bahadurgarh sadar police have registered a case. OC



Youth shot dead

An unidentified youth was shot dead in Sector 31 under the Sector 20 police station here on Sunday night. According to the police, the body of a youth was found in front of House No A-166 in Sector 31. On examination, the police found bullet marks on his chest and hand. His right hand had the words Kishan Chand tattooed on it. The police have sent the body for an autopsy. The youth seemed to have been shot dead around midnight, the police said.


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