Thursday, April 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


CM to clamour for more powers
Tribune News Service


Sheila's agenda

* CM to seek more powers as multiplicity of authority is hampering development.

* Wants control over land, so that she can build houses for the middle/lower class.

* Averse to development of unauthorised colonies.

* Favours small corporations for effective administration.

* Wants to change the perception that MCD is a corrupt body.

New Delhi, April 3
The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today outlined the government move to launch a campaign to seek more powers for the state government, as multiplicity of authority was hampering development of the National Capital Territory.

“In the coming days, I would go and meet the Union Home Minister, the Urban Development Minister and even the Prime Minister to demand more powers for Delhi,” the state chief minister said in the Delhi Assembly.

Speaking on the motion of thanks on the Lt Governor’s address, she said the state government does not have control over land. Multiplicity of authority and several administrative hurdles hamper the progress of the state.

“The government has several dreams for the development of the state and, if more power are not granted by the Centre, these would remain dreams only,” she said.

Ms Dikshit said there is a shortage of over eight lakh houses in the Capital and the state government plans to build houses for middle and lower middle class sections of the society.

Stating that the government was not in favour of encouraging the development of unauthorised colonies and slum clusters, she said the land continues to be under the control of the Centre and the state government cannot fulfil its promise to the people.

“If more power is granted to the state government, then the pace of development in the city would jump multifold. The extent of work undertaken by the state government in the past three years, has been despite the numerous hurdles posed by the Centre and the MCD,” she said.

Emphasising that the victory of the Congress in the civic polls was a referendum on the work done, she said the government was in favour of creation of small corporations for effective administration.

“The work of the corporation affects the lives of 97 per cent of the people living in the city and smaller corporation would be more effective,” she said, adding that “Delhi government is in favour of self-assessment of house tax, which would bring relief to a number of house owners in the Capital.”

Highlighting the achievements of the government during the past three years, she said the government would make an effort to even change the perception that MCD is a corrupt body.

“The Delhi government is an open government and I challenge you to differ,” she said, referring to the Right to Information Act, which is a significant piece of legislation passed by only a handful of other states.

About the privatisation of the power sector in the Capital, she said even the Central Vigilance Commission has given a clean chit to the process and has appreciated to the procedure adopted.

Taking a dig at the BJP for the communal violence in Gujarat, she said the House should condemn the violence. On the repeated attempts by the BJP MLAs to dissuade the speakers from raising the issue, she said: “This only shows that the BJP wants to hide its acts. Otherwise, why should it shy away from discussing such an important issue.”

Appearing confident after the civic polls victory and the overall Congress party’s performance in the Assembly polls, she said the party is all set to come to power at the Centre. “The people have decided to vote against the BJP and the verdict is quite clear. In 14 states Congress is in power, and the BJP rules only in three states,” she added.



Gurgaon MC relents on house tax

Gurgaon, April 3
Setting aside all speculation, the local Municipal Council has agreed to keep its decision to charge enhanced house tax in abeyance. The immediate provocation for the decision is the order passed last fortnight by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, staying the recovery of the enhanced tax. Even though the court had passed the stay order on March 18, the local municipal council kept sending house tax notices and recording the objections of the public. The Executive Officer, Gurgaon Municipal Council, Mr S.N.S. Sidhu, informed the NCR Tribune that the department had already slowed down it formalities of issuing notices to the public. The recovery would remain in abeyance till the matter was decided by the high court, said the officer. A group of persons, led by the local Congress leader and former Haryana Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Dharambir Gauba, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a stay on the recovery of enhanced house tax by the Municipal Council.

In the high court, it was contended that under the rules the house tax in Gurgaon can be reviewed only after a period of five years and not after one year as was done by the Municipal Council. (The house tax in Gurgaon was first reviewed and enhanced last year (2000-2001; the MC again moved a proposal in 2001-2002, seeking to enhance the house tax.) The petitioners also contended that the house tax is always calculated on the basis of the rental value of the building.

This time, the MC had fixed the house tax on the basis of the cost of the property. They have also challenged the authority of the tehsildar in assessing the property value. It was further pointed out that the method of computing the house tax was irrational and illogical as in almost all cases the tax had been enhanced ten to twenty times. They also took the plea that the notices for the enhancement of the house tax should be sent at least one year in advance, so that the parties, if they so desire, can file their objections in time. OC



Doctor couple held for sex tests
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 3
A doctor couple and their hospital located in Ballabgarh town have been booked for violating the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act, 1994 by the district health authorities. The case was filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Y S Rathore, by the Chief Medical officer (CMO) here today.

This is the fourth such case in the district since the implementation of the Act. Four doctors, including a doctor couple of Palwal, had been booked in three cases registered last year. In the case registered today, the accused have been identified as Dr Upender, his wife Dr Archana Kumar and the Shri Ram Hospital and Research Centre.

The case was registered on the basis of raids conducted earlier and the reports submitted after the registration of some complaints. The complaints pertained to ultrasound tests conducted on pregnant women, without any medical reason being assigned.

The district PNDT team had conducted its first raid on October 23 last year and detected several `violations’ by the doctors of the centre, which had been charging Rs. 100 per ultrasound test. The records and information collected by the team revealed that the centre had conducted over 100 ultrasound tests in a three-month period.

Several tests which were not on record, it is further alleged. While a notice was served on the accused, he failed to turn up on the fixed dates. When the SMO of Ballabgarh, Dr Chatra Pal, visited

the hospital, `no’ cooperation was extended and the doctor even allegedly misbehaved with the former.

The CMO then suspended the registration certificate of the hospital for six months, but it is alleged that it could not stop the hospital from conducting ultrasound tests. A team of PNDT Department of the Union Health Ministry had also visited the hospital recently. The case has been registered under sections 4,5,6 and 29 of the PNDT Act. The court has fixed April 18 as the next date in this connection.



Mewat children are spreading their wings, 
thanks to UN
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Ghasera (Mewat), April 3
Sarmina (7), Sarjina (7), Tarnoom (6) and hundreds of other children, given an informal education by the Mewat Development Agency (MDA), had an occasion today to rejoice and display their new-found education in front of a team of observers from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

The IFAD, a UN body, has provided monetary assistance to the MDA for the development of Mewat. Its members today visited various parts of Mewat to assess the development works being undertaken by the MDA.

The MDA has launched the Child Development Scheme to give an informal education to the children between 4 and 7 years in various centres. The informal teaching of the three R’s is meant to help them get admission in the regular schools in Mewat.

According to an MDA report, the scheme, launched last year-end, has so far provided informal education to 7,430 students through 102 of its centres.

The MDA has also roped in voluntary organisations to implement the scheme. The plan, which incorporates a capsule of six-month bridge course, provides for furniture, blackboard, stationery, books, mid-day meal, health and hygiene facilities.

The scheme was started after a survey conducted by the MDA in which it was found that 66,000 girls and 72,000 boys in Mewat did not go to school. The reason for this sorry state of affairs was poverty and lack of motivation among the Mewatis. The Meo Mulims form the major chunk of the demographic profile of the area.

The kids of Child Development Centres of Hirmathla, Khedi Kankar, Kailiah, Badkarmuddin and Basai Meo showed their education and dance skills to the delight of the IFAD dignitaries.

The IFAD team also visited the milk-chilling centre in Nuh to study the project of dairy cooperatives of women groups who have been facilitated loans by the MDA. The groups, known as the “Self-Help Groups” (SAGs), are trained by the voluntary organisations. Thereafter, the groups are helped to get loans from the banks with the help of guarantee provided by the MDA. There is a special provision for a loan to buy buffaloes. The IFAD team also visited Rehpura village and interacted with the women from SAGs. The women had apparently let their hair down and gathered in hundreds.

They told the IFAD team that earlier they had been opposed by the menfolk, but, they could venture out independently now. They said that their economic empowerment was helping them thanks to the schemes of the Haryana government.



‘Fund-strapped’ PGIMS fails to use Rs 4.5 crore
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, April 3
The ‘fund-starved’ Pt. B. D. Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science (PGIMS) failed to utilise Rs 4.50 crore earmarked in its budget for the fiscal ending March 31. Even though no medicines, not even life-saving drugs, are available in the hospital and patients are asked to procure them from outside, the administration failed to utilize approximately Rs 1 crore set aside for this purpose and allowed the grant to lapse on March 31.

The PGIMS was allocated Rs 1.50 crore for the purchase of medicines, but during the current fiscal medicines worth only Rs 40 lakh were purchased; this is against medicines worth Rs 1. 50 crore procured in the year ending March 31, 2001.

To aggravate matters, the Haematology and Microbiology laboratory in the PGIMS will remain closed between 8 am and 2 pm with effect from April 1 for reasons best known to the administration. The laboratory was established by the then Director, Dr J.P. Singh, a decade ago for conducting tests on patients visiting the emergency ward. The situation is worse with regard to the utilization of the budget for purchase of machinery and equipment. Approximately Rs 3. 50 crore (nearly 50 per cent of the budget) under this head remained unutilised and was allowed to lapse on March 31.

According to insiders, this was the result of the prevailing ad hocism and internal bickering in the PGIMS faculty. The officiating director is reportedly surrounded by a cabal of junior faculty members, which has led to many head of departments distancing themselves from the former. These junior members had even persuaded the officiating director to nominate them on various committees, giving the seniors a go-by.

The officiating director even issued orders (No. ME-I/2ke/A-III/591-640 dated January 14) to the effect that those in charge of various units would get their leave sanctioned directly from him and not from the heads of departments, without realizing that there were specific government orders (letter No.1/77/97-IHBIV dated May 1, 1997) in this regard and that the director cannot overrule government orders.

The government orders stipulate that “all types of administrative correspondence, including sanction of leave, deputation, training, extension, completion of tenure etc, should be routed through the head of the department’’.

In yet another incident, the officiating director has rejected the medical leave of a senior professor ( who had submitted medical certificates issued by two senior-most professors in the Medicine Department) and asked him to get himself medically examined by a board of three doctors who are very junior and work under the head of department whose certificate has not been accepted by the director.

The director has declared the ailing professor as absent from duty from the day he applied for medical leave (February 25 to March 15). He has also stopped payment of the current month’s salary to the professor, who now intends to file a case against the officiating director for “stopping his salary illegally, rejecting his leave without any reason and hurting him mentally, emotionally and physically.”

With the interviews for the post of director slated for Wednesday, it is hoped that the PGIMS would get a regular director soon, unless what happened in the case of Dr S.P Kaushik in July 2001 is repeated.



Neighbours murder boy on tantrik’s advice
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 3
A six-year-old boy, who is missing from a village near Faridabad since March 26, has been found murdered. The boy, it is suspected, was allegedly killed by his neighbours as part of a ‘sacrifice’ on the directions of a tantrik. A case has been registered against four persons in this regard. The body of the boy, identified as Kaushal alias Kesar, son of Ranjit Singh of Badrole village, was found in a field. Rotting and reduced to a skeleton, the remains have been sent to the PGIMS, Rohtak, for a post-mortem examination.

It is stated that a 15-year-old girl, daughter of one Jagdish who resides in the neighbourhood of the victim, revealed that the boy was abducted and allegedly murdered by her father and brother. This was done at the behest of a tantrik, who visited their house recently; he had asked them to sacrifice a young boy in order to please the gods. It is learnt that the main accused, Jagdish, had sought the tantrik’s help to deal with the `illness’ of his mother. It is reported that the boy was killed on the day of his abduction. While the body was buried for a day in a field, it was later dug up and dumped in the fodder room in the house of the accused; it remained there for many days. But after a public announcement that every house in the village will be searched thoroughly, Jagdish’s family members took the body and threw it in the field on Monday night. The body was found the next day by a woman. While it could not be identified initially, the clothes gave some indication about the identity. Jagdish, his son Kuka, and his mother are among those who have been booked.



Govt ready to regularise illegal colonies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
The Delhi Government today stated that it is in favour of regularising all unauthorised colonies built till 2002, based on the 1977 regularisation policy. The Delhi Urban Development Minister, Dr A. K. Walia, informed the Delhi Assembly that the state government favoured the regularisation of all unauthorised colonies which have come up till 2002. However, the process of regularisation should be based on the 1977 scheme. Replying to a question, he said if the government’s proposal was accepted, it would benefit almost over 1,600 colonies in the Capital.

Stating that the Centre’s policy for the regularisation of colonies had flaws, the minister stated that he had met the Union Urban Development Minister in this regard and a committee had been formed to look into the issue. Based on the recommendations of the committee’s report, the colonies in the Capital would be regularised, he added. Replying to a query from the members about the stay imposed by the high court on the development work in these colonies, the minister said, “There is no stay in carrying out development work in unauthorised colonies built on private land. The court has only stayed such activities in government land.” About the use of MLA funds for the development in unauthorised colonies, the minister said the court had stayed the use of such funds in those colonies which have come up on government land. The minister said he would be meeting the Centre next week for seeking a change in the guidelines.

Proceeds Bill passed

The Delhi Assembly today passed the Delhi (Distribution of the proceeds of taxes) Bill, 2002, which proposes to introduce the new system of global tax sharing with municipalities and disband the earlier schedular system.

Dr Walia said the state government had been paying to the municipalities’ share out of the net proceeds of the entertainment and betting tax and the motor vehicle tax collected by it, apart from compensation in lieu of the terminal tax abolished in 1993.

He said on the recommendations of the first Finance Commission, the state government had decided to replace this schedular system by a global system of sharing under which a specific percentage of the total tax proceeds of the government would stand assigned to the municipalities and distributed among them on the basis of a specified formula.

The minister said 5.5 per cent of the government’s total tax proceeds would get devolved to the municipalities in each of the five financial years, commencing from April 1, 1996. On this basis, the total financial cost of the government would be Rs 950 crore approximately over the five-year period from 1996 to 2001.

Border dispute with Haryana, UP

The National Capital Territory has border dispute with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and efforts are being made to resolve them, said Dr Walia, in a written reply to a question. He said the border dispute with Haryana related to the Asola Forest demarcation.

With regards to Uttar Pradesh, it was the areas along the National Highway 56 that was disputed. The minister said a meeting of senior officials of the both the state governments was held recently and efforts were being made to resolve the dispute.



Delhi Budget today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
The Delhi Finance Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh Saathi, will present the tax proposals for 2002-03 in the state assembly here tomorrow. The assembly had passed the vote on account for the first two months of the new financial year on March 28. The House had on that day also approved the supplementary grants of Rs 2210.92 crore from 2001-02 and the demands for grants.

In his speech on the vote on account, Mr Saathi had put the budgetary provisions for expenditure at Rs 8,850 crore, including the non-Plan expenditure of Rs 4,095.63 crore. The estimated revenue receipts were put at Rs 6,369.72 crore, the share in central taxes at Rs 325 crore, small savings loan at Rs 1,637.41 crore, normal central plan assistance at Rs 362 crore and other receipts at Rs 155.87 crore.

The revised estimate of 2001-02 included a revenue surplus of Rs 1,380.75 core and the estimate for 2002-03 was Rs 2,139.15 crore. The fiscal deficit was estimated at Rs 1,823.37 crore for 2002-03 and it is likely to be Rs 2,009.35 crore in the revised estimate for 2001-02.

The public debt was estimated to be Rs 7,785.87 crore on March 31, 2002. The annual plan for 2002-03, the first year of the 10th Five Year Plan, had been fixed at Rs 4,700 crore, an increase of 24 per cent over the originally budgeted plan outlay for 2001-02.

The Economic Survey for 2001-02 had pegged the gross state domestic product at Rs 57,547 crore at current prices for 2000-01, showing a growth of 9.9 per cent as compared to eight per cent at the national level.



Reforms-based agenda must: CII

New Delhi, April 3
The forthcoming Budget announcement for Delhi should resolve to give an impetus to growth through a reforms-based agenda. This was stated by Mr Ravi K. Sinha, Chairman of the CII Delhi State Council, in a press statement issued on the eve of the presentation of the Budget in the Delhi Assembly.

Mr Sinha pointed out that, in the Union Budget announced last month, reforms-linked assistance had been provided to the states for policy reforms in sectors which are constraining growth and development. This would be an important backdrop for the Delhi Budget, he noted. At the same time, he added that any economic agenda for Delhi would be incomplete without a mention of a common economic zone for the National Capital Region (NCR). The time was opportune for the creation of a common economic zone for the NCR, similar to the common market created in the European Union, he said. The critical elements would include transportation and roads, water and sanitation, housing and environment. These would serve not only to enable the sustainable development of the nation’s Capital but would actually serve as a catalyst and accelerate economic growth in the region as a whole. The economic growth impact of such a zone on adjoining states would probably be far greater than on Delhi and these states should take a lead in implementing this idea. The economic prosperity of Delhi’s satellite townships such as Gurgaon and Noida was adequate testimony and reflective of the growth possibilities that a common economic zone could help realise. TNS



They wolf down ration of even BPL families
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 3
The representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations as well as trade unions today urged the state government to order a high-level probe into the working of the Food and Supplies Department as there are a number of complaints against its functioning. It is alleged that certain depot holders in connivance with the officials of the department divert the rationed articles into the black market. The result: those living below the poverty line find it difficult to make both ends meet.

In a joint press release issued here, they also demanded an immediate transfer of the officials who had stayed at a place for too long to ensure an impartial probe.

They said that some of the officials had been sticking to the profitable seats in the office of the District Food and Supplies

Controller and minting money while issuing the release order of the rationed articles such as sugar and kerosene.

Similarly, some other officials have occupied the seats for issuing the licences of grain and brick kilns and they had amassed wealth by getting bribe money from the traders and the officials of brick kilns. A high-level probe will expose the misdeeds of the officials, the parties representatives said. According to knowledgeable sources, nearly half the total amount of subsidised rationed commodities including wheat, wheat flour, levy sugar and kerosene supplied to about 400 fair price shops in Sonepat district finds its way into the black market instead of reaching those families living below the poverty line (BPL).

The poor are not in a position to demand their monthly ration from the powerful shop owners who browbeat them into accepting wherever they give under the excuse of inadequate supply from the department. The dealer-official nexus ensures that no action is taken on the complaints from the aggrieved ration card holders. It is alleged that the whole system of fair price shops is based on the black-marketing motive.



Sweeping changes proposed in building bye-laws to help disabled
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
With a view to providing barrier-free environment in the public buildings for disabled persons, the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation has issued a public notice proposing amendments in the Unified Building Bye-Laws, 1983, pertaining to the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

“These bye-laws are applicable to all building and recreation areas and facilities used by the public. It does not apply to private domestic residences,” the notice specifies.

The notice seeks to identify the disabilities, which include impairments that confine individuals to wheelchairs and “impairments that cause individuals to walk with difficulty or insecurity” and “individuals using braces or crutches, amputees, arthritics, spastics and those with pulmonary and cardiac ills”.

The notice also takes into account hearing disabilities — that might make an individual insecure in public areas because he is unable to communicate or hear warning signals - and sight disabilities - total blindness or impairments affecting sight to the extent that the individual, functioning in public areas, is insecure or exposed to danger..

The notice specifies that “every building should have at least one access to the main entrance/exit for the disabled which shall be indicated by proper signage. This entrance shall be approached through a ramp together with stepped entry.”

The notice further lays down that the access path from plot entry and surface parking to the building entrance will have even surface without any steps. Slope, if any, shall not have gradient greater than 5 per cent. Selection of floor material shall be made suitable to attract or to guide visually impaired persons.

For parking of vehicles of disabled persons, surface parking for two Equivalent Car Spaces (ECS) shall be provided near entrance for the physically handicapped persons with maximum travel distance of three meters from the building entrance. The information stating that the space is reserved for wheelchair users shall be conspicuously displayed. Guiding floor materials shall be provided or a device which guides visually impaired persons with audible signals or other devices which serves the same purpose shall be provided, the notice adds.

The notice stipulates that the buildings will have to provide specified facilities such as approach to plinth level, corridor connecting the entrance/exit for the handicapped, stair-ways, lift, toilet and drinking water.

Braille signage shall be provided at the above-specified facilities. It further states that a ramp shall be provided with non-slip material to enter the building. Guiding floor materials or devices that emit sound shall be provided to guide visually impaired persons in the corridor connecting the entrance and exit for the handicapped. Stairways with open riser and provision of nosing are not permitted in such buildings.

Whenever lift is required as per bye-laws, provisions of at least one lift shall be made for the wheelchair user with the specified cage dimensions of lift recommended for passenger lift. The Braille signage will be posted outside the lifts. The notice lays down that “one special W.C. in a set of toilet shall be provided for the use of handicapped with essential provision of washbasin near the entrance for the handicapped”.

An alternative to immediate evacuation of a building via staircases and/or lifts is the movement of disabled persons to areas of safety within a building. If possible, they could remain there until the fire is controlled and extinguished or until rescued by fire fighters. It is useful to have the provision of a refuge area, usually at the fire-protected stair landing on each floor that can safely hold one or two wheelchairs, the notice indicates.



Wheat MSP still peanuts, says BKU
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 3
The president of the Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Mr Hari Singh Khokhar, has expressed disappointment over the “minor” increase in the minimum support price for wheat and urged the central government to reconsider the decision as it was a grave injustice towards the hard-working farming community.

Addressing a huge rally of farmers held at Gohana town, 35 km from here, on Tuesday, he pointed out that the cost of production was increasing day by day and the farming community was under an unprecedented debt burden. Agriculture, he said, had already reached the saturation point and the farmers were disappointed when they failed to get remunerative prices for their produce during the procurement season.

He announced that the BKU would launch a statewide agitation against the government if the farmers were not given remunerative prices for wheat by the official procurement agencies during the coming season.

Mr Khokhar appealed to the farmers to continue their struggle against the anti-farmer policies of both the central and the state governments. He also called for the restoration of subsidies and withdrawal of the enhanced prices of LPG. He opposed the installation of the electronic meters. He also demanded immediate payment for the sugarcane supplied by the growers to the sugar mills.

The meeting was also addressed, among others, by Mr Sewa Singh Arya, Mr Kabool Singh, Maj Ishwar Dayal Tyagi, Mr Prem Singh Dahiya, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Jai Kanwar, Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Raj Kumar and Mr Bijender Sandhu.

Later, a procession was taken out by the BKU which passed through the main bazaars of the town. Carrying placards and raising anti-government slogans, the activists reached the office of the SDM where a memorandum listing the demands was presented to the SDM for forwarding it to the state government.



Children exercise their rights at workshop 
through creativity
Smriti Kak

‘We hate war’ by Sachin Preet, class X student of Kundan Vidya Mandir, Ludhiana
‘We hate war’ by Sachin Preet, class X student of Kundan Vidya Mandir, Ludhiana

New Delhi, April 3
“I have rights and also duties to follow and it is my duty that I spread the message of child rights to those who do not know,” said Anubhuti, a participant at the ongoing programme of ‘Safeguarding Childhood’ at the British Council in the Capital.

The theme, ‘Safeguarding Childhood’, is being used as a medium to disseminate the message of child rights and protection through the means of creative art and drama. Children from the states of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi have got together to give vent to their creative instincts and to do their bit for the society by helping draw attention to the needs and plight of children.

“We are all very excited. The very thought that each one of us as an individual is doing something for the society gives us a lot of happiness and satisfaction,” said the students of Delhi Public School, Rohini.

These students have written a play titled, ‘Socho’, in which they have depicted the lives of children in rural as well as urban areas prompting the audience to think and search for the answers to the plight of children.

“We have tried to educate the public through the medium of art and drama. Backed by NGOs and theatre groups like Pandies’ Theatre, we have tried to involve children to create an enabling environment. We had worked with the Social Welfare Department in Delhi and they told us that because of the workshops we conducted with these kids living in child shelter homes, even those who were withdrawn have become more involved and forthcoming,” pointed out Ms Kamal Singh, Head, Governance and Social Justice, British Council, India.

The initiative was started in 1999-2001 when the British Council collaborated with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) to create awareness on issues related to child rights and protection. Since then, the programme has received support in Jammu City and Delhi.

“Our project partners are the PSHRC, HAQ Centre for Child Rights, Pandies’ Theatre, Cardboard Citizens, UK and the British Council, India. With their support, we are using creative art to communicate as it has been proved to leave a memorable learning experience,” adds Ms Singh. Asked whether such initiatives will be extended to the rural India as well, she replied, “We welcome the thought, but we do not thrust our ideas on people. If there are volunteers who wish to help us, we will expand further.”

“Even an outing as this for the students who have come from outside Delhi is a learning exercise. This is a part of their rights. Moreover, doing their share of community service by collaborating with the police or social organisations is their duty,” said Mrs Minhas, a teacher from Jammu’s Government Girls School, Gandhi Nagar.

The students of this school presented a play titled ‘Bheda’, which was based on the story of a young girl pleading her mother, a widow with a meagre income, to send her to school. The play’s protagonist, a class six student, Monica, was so overcome by the pathos of the character that she broke down on the stage. On the lighter side, there were kindergarten students who had been dressed as Bheda (sheep) who ran on the stage bleating away to glory.

“I want to tell everyone that all children should be sent to school,” said a tearful Monica and went on to add that she is ready to go on TV and radio to spread the message.

Delhi’s Joint Commissioner of Police, Dr Kiran Bedi, who was also present, said, “Children have photographic memory. They can translate what they feel into tangible work.” Referring to the paintings that have been done by the children based on the theme of Right of Children she added, “A child never lies. For me, children are the seeds and we must start at the seeds to prevent them from going on the wrong path.”

She also stressed the need for familiarising children with the working of the police so as to help them understand the co-relation between rights and duties and suggested that such festivals be made an annual affair given their learning value for children.

The outcome of these endeavours has been a whole-hearted participation of children for the cause of children, chipped in Mrs Minhas.



Suspended Dy Mayor suspects plot
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 3
The Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Shiv Charan Lal Sharma, and his corporator wife, who were suspended recently after the registration of a case, described the action as illegal and unjustified. They have decided to seek the intervention of the Chief Minister and take legal help to disprove the charges against them.

Talking to newspersons here today, Mr Sharma and his wife, Mrs Maya Sharma, who represent ward five and six respectively, said that some political persons, including an MLA and a former Mayor, had hatched a conspiracy to defame them. While they claimed that the charges of bogus signatures on a file regarding the construction of a road had been baseless, they said they were booked and suspended on the behest of an MLA, who see them as political rivals in the area.

Mr Sharma claimed that since he had done a “lot of development works”, the MLA could not tolerate his political and social rise and had launched the campaign with the involvement of a former Mayor and some of his supporters.

He said he and his wife had declined to support the former Mayor during a no confidence motion brought against him in July last year and the latter was “ousted”. Mr Sharma, who is a Congressman, asked the state government to conduct an independent probe by anyone. No one could prove the charges, he said and added that while the police had been investigating into the matter, the order for their `suspension’ was amazing and in violation of all rules.

He said pressure tactics had been used to “harass” him and his wife. Claiming that an enquiry done by a panchayati raj official into the matter earlier had found no irregularities, he produced a photograph showing the foundation stone laying ceremony of the road in question.

The stone was laid by the then Commissioner of Municipal Corporation on September 18, 2000. He said the work had been taken up as per norms and there was no complaint. He announced that he would soon file a defamation suit against a corporator and his wife.



Rs 1.03 crore released for development schemes
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 3
An amount of Rs 1.03 crore has been released for various development schemes in the district for the new financial year. This grant will be used through panchayati raj institutions for launching the schemes.

According to district authorities, the grant has been sanctioned on the basis of the report of the 11th Finance Commission.

The gram panchayats, block committees and zila parishads will be able to use the amount in the ratio of 75:15:10 respectively in their areas.

Blocks of Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Palwal, Hathin, Hassanpur and Hodal have been granted Rs 10.68 lakh, Rs 13.95 lakh, Rs 18.17 lakh, Rs 14.99 lakh, Rs 8.31 lakh

and Rs 11.60 lakh respectively. At least 20 per cent of the money will be used for the schemes to uplift Dalits and poor sections in the rural areas. The panchayati raj institutions could use 25 per cent of the funds as matching grant contribution for development in their areas.



‘Cong has double standards on river water issue’
Our Correspondent

Panipat, April 3
The Haryana unit of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has criticised senior central Congress leaders for “adopting double standards” on the issue of sharing of river waters of Ravi-Beas between Punjab and Haryana. In a press statement issued here today, the general secretary and spokesman of the LJP, Mr Surinder Singh Hooda, pointed out that though these leaders supported the interests of Haryana while addressing rallies in the state, they supported the stand of Punjab Congress on this issue when they go to that state.

Mr Hooda specifically hinted at the statement of senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra which appeared in a section of the Press today from Malot in Punjab, in which he had said that the water would not be given to other states and the party would support Punjab on this issue.

Open darbar on April 10

A khula darbar to redress the grievances of general public will be held at Seinkh village in the district on April 10. It will be presided over by the DC, Mr Mulk Raj Anand.

Horse cart driver hurt

A horse cart driver, Yunus, a resident of Jalpad village, was injured seriously when his cart was hit from behind by a Haryana Roadways bus on the G. T. Road here today. While the horse died on the spot, Yunus was shifted to Civil Hospital. He was shifted to a local private hospital later.

MDU Lecturers cut up

Lecturers of government colleges affiliated to Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak today assailed the decision of the university authorities to take disciplinary action against those invigilators under whose supervision examinees were found using unfair means by the flying squads. In a press note issued here, they also disputed the claim of the university that only flying squads had detected more than 6,000 cases of use of unfair means during the annual examinations last year. They maintained that the invigilators had assisted the members of the flying squads in the detection of such cases.

Had the lecturers put on invigilation duty not cooperated the squads, it would have been impossible to detect such a large number of copying cases, the press note said. The lecturers regretted that the university authorities, instead of appreciating their cooperation, had chosen the uncharitable course of actions. 

Robbed in V. Vihar

New Delhi
Rajni Hoon, a resident of Vasant Vihar, was hit with a heavy object and robbed of her Baleno car, a diamond ring, a wrist watch, a mobile phone and Rs. 12, 000 cash on Monday. She was attacked in the Priya Cinema parking lot, hustled into the car and driven to the Punjabi Bagh Club, where she was robbed and left on the road.

Nitish Chargesheet

The Ghaziabad Police today filed the chargesheet in connection with the abduction and murder of Nitish Katara, the son of a Joint Secretary, in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rajinder Kumar Gupta. The chargesheet says that the main reason for the abduction and murder was Katara’s love affair.

Alleged rape by cop

On the complaint of an inmate of Nari Niketan, Karnal, a rape case was registered against a police havildar and a woman police constable at Israna police station a few days back. The victim was threatened with dire consequences if she disclosed the incident to anyone. The woman was being taken to Rohtak from Karnal in a vehicle by Havildar Balbir Singh and Sepoy Sunita of GRP Rohtak for her attendance in the court in a case. She was raped by the policeman and Sepoy Sunita helped him in this crime. OC



Homeopath held in drug racket
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
With the arrest of a homeopath, the Delhi Police today claimed to have busted a racket in spurious homeopathic medicines marketed under the brand name of a reputed private firm, SBL Ltd.

The SBL units are located in Sikkim, Sahibabad and Jaipur while the factory of the suspect, Dr. Sachdeva, was located at Tihar village in the Capital.

The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police had received information about the sale of “Dilution and Mother Tinchure” spurious homeopathic drugs by some chemists in the Capital. A decoy customer was asked to purchase some drugs from the chemist shop-cum-clinic, Sachson Homeo Pharmacy, in Ramesh Nagar, run by the suspect, a Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicines and Science. The medicine was purchased on a cash memo, the police said.

The medicines were taken to the SBL factory to determine whether they were spurious. On being declared fake, a police team raided the shop and seized 983 bottles of Dilution, 208 bottles of Mother Tinchure and 53 bottles of Natrumphos tablets. Besides, empty cartons of different medicines were seized.

The police team also raided Dr Sachdeva’s factory at Tihar village, from where 15 canes of Dilution, 10 litre each, and five canes of 15 litres each of Mother Tinchure were confiscated.

The police disclosed that from these canes, 20,000 bottles of Mother Tinchure could be manufactured.

Besides, two mixing plants and one filling machine and manual-punching machine were also seized. The factory was stocked with a number of chemicals, salts and other packing materials.

During interrogation, the suspect disclosed that these medicines were used to cure of diabetes, asthma, arthritis, skin diseases and sex problems. He has been involved in the racket for three years.



Visa scam busted, two nabbed

New Delhi, April 3
The police have arrested Bhupinder Singh alias Bobby and Bhupinder Singh alias Siddhu and unearthed a racket in issuing fake visas of the USA, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan and Iran. They were arrested from the Embassy area in Chanakyapuri. The police raided their premises in Tilak Nagar and seized computer software, 85 sheets of forged visas and visa stickers of various countries.

Gangster held: The North district police apprehended a desperate gangster of Uttar Pradesh who was involved in more than six criminal cases in Muzaffarnagar from Sultan Puri and seized one country-made pistol from him. The gangster, Hari Chand (30), carried a reward of Rs 10,000 on his head for his alleged involvement in a murder. TNS


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |