Saturday, April 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Phase-II of CNG crisis
SC slaps hefty fine on DTC, pvt operators
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
The Supreme Court today passed strictures on the Central and the Delhi Government for seeking repeated extension of time, to implement its orders for the conversion of the 10,000 strong city bus fleet into the CNG mode and at the same time, imposed heavy fine on the defaulting bus owners, including the Delhi Transport Corporation. The apex court slapped a heavy fine of Rs 500 per diesel vehicle per day from February 1 till yesterday and Rs 1,000 per bus per day from today as the last deadline for the conversion expired on January 31.

The fine amount, the court said, has to be deposited with the registry of the court. The order is likely to throw out of gear the city transport system as most of the operators of diesel buses would prefer to go off the roads.

The strictures were passed by a three-judge bench comprising Mr Justice B N Kirpal, Mr Justice V N Khare and Mr Justice Ashok Bhan while rejecting the pleas of the Centre and the Delhi Government to extend the deadline for the conversion in view of inadequate CNG supply to the Capital.

As owners of diesel buses had continued to ply diesel buses beyond January 31, 2002, contrary to the court’s orders, the Director of Transport, Delhi will collect from them costs at the rate of Rs 500 per bus per day, increasing to Rs 1,000 per day after 30 days of operation of diesel buses with effect from tomorrow. In terms of the order, the owners of 4,000 diesel buses — both DTC and private— would be required to pay about Rs 15 crore by way of fine till today.

Lack of adequate supply of CNG, the court said, has been a cause of concern and has been referred to in the various orders passed by this court from time to time. In absence of proper response from the government authorities, there is no alternative than to issue the following directions.

The Centre will give priority to the transport sector, including private vehicles all over India, in regard to the allocation of CNG. This means that CNG will be allocated and made available first to the transport sector in Delhi and other polluted cities in India. Thereafter, it may be allocated to industries, preference being shown to public sector units and power projects.

Interlocutory application of the Centre for extension of time to run diesel buses is dismissed with a cost of Rs 20,000, the court said. It is made clear and it is obvious in our constitutional set-up that orders and directions of this court shall not be nullified or modified or in any way altered by any administrative decision of the Centre or state governments.

The administrative decision to continue to ply diesel buses is, therefore, clearly in violation of this court’s order, it added.

Those persons who had placed orders with bus manufacturers and had not taken delivery of the same, shall do so within two weeks from today, failing which their permit shall stand automatically cancelled.

Beginning May 1, the NCT of Delhi shall phase out 800 diesel buses per month. The bus owners who continue to ply diesel buses shall pay the fine as directed till all the diesel buses are replaced.

The apex court directed the government to allocate and make available 16.1 lakh kg/day of CNG in the NCT by June 30 for use by the transport sector. It also ordered increasing the above supply of CNG whenever the need arose. The court ordered that a scheme be prepared containing a time schedule for the supply of CNG to other polluted cities of India and furnished by May 9 for its consideration. It will be open to the Centre to supply LPG, in addition to CNG, as an alternative fuel or to supply any other clean, non-adulterable fuel the Bhure Lal Committee may recommend, the court said.



Delhi Govt geared up to tackle the problem
Tribune News Service

Ajay Maken
Ajay Maken

New Delhi, April 5
The Government of NCT of Delhi on Friday asserted that it had drawn up a contingency plan to deal with the crisis at hand even as various private transporters’ associations threatened to keep an estimated 5,000-odd diesel buses off the roads.

Adding to the anxiety of the Transport Ministry is the compliance report, sought by the Supreme Court on May 9.

Confronted by anxious transporters soon after the news of the apex court’s order became known, Transport Minister Ajay Maken said that 5,950 CNG-driven buses including 2,200 of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) would ply. “The full fleet of DTC will ply. The DTC will go in for 500 to 1,000 new CNG buses, depending on the infrastructure and manpower available,” Mr Maken said. “School buses operated by the DTC will continue to ply as usual,” he added.

Excluded outright from the contingency plan is the eventuality of the government deciding to bear the penalty imposed by the courts for plying diesel buses.

The government, Mr Maken said, would rather expedite the acquisition of new CNG buses and retrofit the diesel-driven buses instead of resorting to an “unprudent” move and coughing up the penalty of several crores of rupees. Private transporters have, meanwhile, threatened to stop the plying of diesel buses, saying that the penalty imposed by the court was prohibitive and “too steep”.

The STA Delhi Bus Operators Forum general secretary H.S. Kalra told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the Kilometre Scheme (KM) buses were plying after the expiry of the January 31 deadline set by the court because of the Government of NCT of Delhi’s decision to phase out 200 buses a month as part of a 32-month timetable.

“Now that the court has imposed a penalty, the government should come forward and bear the burden or else risk the commuters’ ire,” Mr Kalra said.

Acknowledging that the apex court order would be implemented without delay, the minister said that 800 diesel buses had been phased out since December last year. He said that phasing out the remaining fleet of 5,600 diesel buses at the rate of 800 a month as per the apex court’s order would take seven more months.

Mr Maken said that the Chief Minister had summoned the chief secretary and the transport commissioner to review the situation and directed them to write to the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry not to cut the allocation of gas to power projects at the expense of the transport sector. The Chief Minister had constituted a three-member committee comprising Mr Maken, the transport commissioner and the chief secretary to oversee the developments.

The issue figured in the Assembly proceedings when the Leader of Opposition, Prof Jagdish Mukhi, sought from the government the facts of the matter and measures proposed to be taken in the light of the order. When the House reconvened, there was a din as the Opposition Benches raised the matter again, though this time, on the issue of private transport operators deciding to keep “8,000” diesel buses off the roads. To which Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit responded critically, accusing the Opposition of spreading disinformation and creating unnecessary panic.



Societies can run captive power plants: DERC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
In a significant order, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) today liberalised the power generation sector by allowing even the housing societies and welfare societies in the National Capital Territory to generate energy for their own consumption and sell the surplus to the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB).

The DERC has framed draft regulations for grant of consent for setting up Captive Power Plants (CPPs) in Delhi which have been circulated to consumers and stakeholders for seeking their comments, DERC Chairman V. K. Sood told reporters here today.

“In fact, anyone can apply for setting up CPPs for a total installed capacity not exceeding 1.25 times the connected load. The capacity limit would not be applicable on CPPs based on renewable energy sources,” he said. The grant of consent would be valid for 10 years.

Under the proposed regulations, the CPP’s total installed capacity up to 10 KVA would be exempted from grant of consent. “In case, the generating capacity of a CPP, which is a consumer of the board, is in excess of its own requirements, the surplus power may be sold to the board with the approval of the commission, Mr Sood said.

The CPPs based on renewable energy sources would be permitted to sell surplus power to the board even if these were not consumers of the board, the DERC chief said.

The CPP and the board would enter into an agreement for sale of surplus power. The terms of such agreement and the rate at which the surplus power would be sold would be subject to the approval of the commission, he said.



Mixed response to Budget
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
The Delhi Budget evoked mixed response with political parties criticising it as “anti-poor” and a section of the industry hailing it as laying the road map for the second generation reforms by unbundling loss-making government-owned bodies.

The Confederation of Indian Industry Delhi state council president, Mr Ravi K. Sinha, said the budget sends a signal of “strong reform agenda.” Describing the budget as forward looking, Mr Sinha said the Delhi Finance Minister had attempted to address many of the fundamental issues critical to the growth of the state. Stating that the move to privatise and restructure the DJB and DTC were in the right direction, he said the government should also keep in mind case studies of other mega-cities that have gone through similar initiatives.

He said the enhanced disbursement by the Delhi Government to the MCD would further improve civic amenities, especially when implemented in line with the Right to Information Act.

On the Rs 250-crore proposed contribution to the NCR Development Board, he said this amount needed to be reviewed in light of the significant impact that development of the NCR would have on Delhi itself. Mr Sinha expressed the hope that this contribution would be followed up with a commitment for developing the region in a time-bound manner.

On the Value Added Tax (VAT), he said an announcement indicating the advanced introduction of VAT in Delhi would have been especially welcome as it would benefit the economy and the state’s trade competitiveness and also promote the distributive character of Delhi. Moreover, with the proposed Right to Use Tax and the existing Works Contract Tax merging into VAT, the consumer would be the beneficiary.

However, the Leader of the Opposition and former Delhi Finance Minister, Mr Jagdish Mukhi, said the imposition of taxes on food items had exposed the state government’s intention to make Delhi a city for the rich and wealthy. “This is the first time in the history of the NCT that taxes were being levied on the food items,” he said.



Taps go dry in Mahendragarh 
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Mahendragarh, April 5
The residents of Mahendergarh township, falling in the nucleus one of the Ahirwal belt of south Haryana, have started reeling under scarcity of potable water even though summer has just set in. The queues of residents carrying containers from one locality before the taps in another area points to the things to come as mercury shoots up day by day. As Mahendragarh district adjoins the parched desert land of Rajasthan, a major chunk of its areas is heavily influenced by the heat waves there.

Even as the lack of potable water is a perennial problem for the denizens of this town, the district administration appears to have turned a Nelson’s eye on the issue. As usual, the authorities do not seem to have devised any contingency plan to meet the problem, which appears to be heading for a crisis. The areas where the problem is acute include Chowk Mohalla, Sainipura, Baas Mohalla, Shera Gowadi and Koka Bangri Mohalla. The township, whose population is around 30,000, has two sources of water supply provided by the Public Health Department. While one is the canal water-based supply, the other is based on tubewells installed by the department. Water from the Jawaharlal Nehru canal is collected and treated in the nearby Devas village from where it is supplied to houses. There are four tubewells: at Arya Samaj Mandir, Karaialyn bazaar, Adhina, Darjiyaan Galli and Anaaz Mandi. They feed various pockets of the town. Only about a dozen odd mohallas are comparatively better off which are contiguous to the tubewells and enjoying the benefit of direct supply from them.

The problem stems from the fact that the flow in the JLN canal is not regular, adversely affecting the overall canal-based supply in the process. With the onset of summer, the flow in the canal dwindles. With regard to the supply from the tubewells, the underground water table in Mahendragarh town, nay the entire area of Ahirwal belt, is constantly depleting.

The reason why the Public Health Department cannot take on the problem head on is the alleged paucity of funds at its disposal. After a lot of pressure from the public, four tubewells were installed about six months back.



Spurious liquor consumes five lives 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
Five young residents of Rajasthani Colony, a jhuggi cluster in East Patel Nagar, died after consuming spurious liquor in the last two days while another is battling for his life in a hospital in the area. Incidentally, the jhuggi cluster is located right behind the area police station.

The victims of the liquor tragedy have been identified as Ram Babu, Dharam Vir alias Gandhi, Bal Sahaye, Ashok and Banwari, all in the age group of 20 and 25 years. Another youth, Vinod, is being treated in the hospital.

The police said that bodies of the victims had been sent for post-mortem examination and some empty pouches of country liquor seized and sent for chemical analysis to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

A pall of gloom has engulfed the jhuggi colony, mostly inhabited by daily-wage earners and rickshaw-pullers as families of the victims squat outside wailing for their loved ones.

According to the police, the residents had purchased the country liquor going under the brand names of Angoori and Saunfi from the area seller. The first symptoms of liquor poisoning were noticed on the night of April 2 itself when several persons who had consumed the liquor complained of acute stomach pain and nausea. Two of them died the next morning while three others succumbed today.

Residents of the area alleged that liquor was sold openly in the jhuggi cluster and the illicit trade was apparently going on with the tacit approval of the police. The vendors of the liquor reportedly buy the stuff from somewhere else and bring it to the colony for sale. The police, however, denied this but maintained that country-made liquor was being sold in the colony for a long time and they had conducted raids from time to time. They believe that this particular batch of liquor was either tampered with or was spurious and packed in plastic pouches of the two popular brand names.

The police said that cases had been registered and further investigations were continuing. The statement of some of the families of the victims had been recorded and efforts were being made to ascertain from where the victims had purchased the liquor.



Farmers resent minor increase in MSP 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 5
Arrival of wheat has started in the mandis of the district, notwithstanding the resentment prevailing among the farmers over the marginal increase in the rate of minimum support price (MSP). The district administration has announced that it has taken all necessary measures for the smooth procurement of wheat from the farmers.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, various agencies are likely to purchase about 5.5 lakh tonnes of wheat in this season.

The purchase of wheat will be done mainly by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Hafed, and Haryana Warehousing Corporation.

Arrangement have been made to purchase the crop at 16 mandis which include Faridabad (NIT), Faridabad city, Ballabgarh, Hodal, Palwal, Mohna Baroli, Bamni Khera, Chandhut, Fatehpur Billauch, Hathin, and Mindkola.

But the farmers have expressed unhappiness over the minor hike in MSP of wheat. The increase of Rs 10 per quintal was like a ‘cruel joke’ played on the farmers, who toil hard to produce food grains for the country.

Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi has condemned the Union Government for not announcing a respectable hike in the MSP. He said while the government seemed more concerned about providing cheaper computers and mobile phones, it had forgotten that farmers had made the country self-dependent in food grains over the past few decades. However, he felt that the farming community was ignored when it came to providing concessions.

He asked the government to take all necessary measures not only to procure all the wheat from the mandis but take steps to encourage the export of wheat when there was surplus and no place for storage.

The Palwal MLA, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, has demanded that the state government should provide ‘bonus’ to farmers of the state in view of marginal hike in the MSP.

He also criticised the reported statement of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, that the state government may not procure crops from the next season. He said this statement had exposed the ‘anti-farmer’ attitude of Mr Chautala.



Residents thirst for water as it goes down the drain
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 5
Thousands of residents have been facing an acute shortage of drinking water since the onset of summer though it is another thing that a large quantity of drinking water has been going waste owing to the leakage in sluice-valves and damaged pipelines in most parts of the city. On top of this is the over-chlorination of water making it unfit for human consumption.

Repeated complaints made to the authorities to repair the sluice-valves and damaged pipelines in various parts of the city have brought no action. The result is that small ditches have come up on the roads and streets. These have been causing accidents almost every day.

In the Ram Bazar area, a sluice-valve has been leaking for the past three weeks and now a ditch has been formed there. Some scooterists sustained injuries when they fell down in the ditch which was not visible as a result of stagnant water. Shopkeepers of this area alleged that the officials concerned had failed to repair the leaking valve in spite of repeated complaints.

Another such valve in the Kumahran Gate area has also been leaking profusely and the officials have not bothered to repair it. This has resulted in the supply of contaminated water through the taps causing resentment among residents there.

Meanwhile, authorities of the Public Health Department have adopted a novel way to hoodwink the district administration and save themselves from the wrath of the Chief Minister by taking samples of the water from the suites of the PWD (B and R) rest house in the city.

It is alleged that they took the samples of water after cleaning the water tank with bleaching powder and pipelines so that they could be passed at the laboratory where these had been sent. These samples had been taken after the appearance of insects in the water used by the personal staff of the Chief Minister staying in the rest house on the night of March 30.



The statuesque saga of a Gandhian
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, April 5
When was the last time you stood motionless? Or rather when was the last time you stood motionless for more than five minutes? Some of us will have to go back to our school days when the feat was more a punishment being carried out or when one was stranded on a bus stop or maybe when playing with friends and they ordered you to freeze.

But for A. Sheshu Babu, standing still, almost like a statue is a no big deal. Forget five minutes, the man has managed to make his way into the Limca Book of Records for standing still for a whooping 25 hours.

“I started in Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh in 1993 where I stood motionless during the opening ceremony of a film institute. Then I stood motionless for six hours and 15 minutes in a government function in the capital,” says the man who is all set to make his way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

The 31-year-old man has dreams of creating a space for himself in the Guinness. He is all set to stand for a mind-boggling 40 hours in the capital’s Andhra Bhavan.

“I have started preparing for the main event. For some time now, I am off rich and fatty food. I take only small amounts of rice and milk,” said the man who feels indebted to his colleagues at the Honda Siel and the people at the Andhra Bhavan. Visitors to the 1999 Suraj Kund mela remember Sheshu Babu as the silver Gandhi who stood still for eight hours and 10 minutes.

Gandhiji is a role model for Sheshu Babu, “I chose Gandhiji because I have always been fascinated and inspired by his principles and ideologies. I firmly believe in his doctrines.”

Sheshu Babu doesn’t even talk during his feat. “I just concentrate with my eyes closed. I don’t listen to anything, my eyes are close and my soul is not there. The only thing you see is my body,” said the father of three who is hoping to make it to the Guinness Book. Sheshu Babu will perform on the Andhra Bhavan Campus tomorrow in the afternoon. He will be seen coated in his usual silver paint that he finds expensive, but uses on a doctor’s recommendation.

“I have the best wishes of my office colleagues, my family and well-wishers, I really hope to make the record and do everyone including my country proud,” says Babu.

Here’s wishing Sheshu Babu a ‘motionless’ victory!



Common man bears the brunt of the politics 
of religion

Do You Have A Grouse?

Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

Since time unrecorded, institutionalised religion has been seen as oppressive and a tool in the hands of a few power-wielding people. It is no different in the contemporary scenario too.

Religion is a system of belief, a way of life and a framework instilling a sense of duty and morality within whose parameters individuals operate. On the other hand, politics is a science of governance. These are two indispensable strands of a society and should be practised separately. Had that been the case, the society wouldn’t have been far from what Plato termed as ‘Utopia’.

A religious text is the backbone of any religion. It serves as a set of guidelines to abide by and determines the moral conduct of the individuals of a community. More often than not, such texts have been used to arouse the religious sentiments of masses as they can be misinterpreted, creating a polarisation or a community divide and often for political gains.

Seventy per cent of our population lives below the poverty line and those who are socially backward, their superiors determine their system of religious believes. Is it then a surprise that the Quran is considered the most misinterpreted text today? And the Kashmir issue is the standing example of how inextricably religion and politics are linked so much so that the distinction seems to have blurred now. The Kashmiris are caught among the cacophony of religious, political, national and international voices. Somewhere in between, the voice of the common man is lost. This issue has been blown up to such huge dimensions that it has become more a question of the national pride for both India and Pakistan.

Another striking and a very contemporary example of how religious sentiments can be raised to serve the political ends is the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid issue. On September 1 last year, the Prime Minister made a sudden announcement in Lucknow (which apart from being the Prime Minister’s own constituency is also the symbol of Indo-Islamic culture) that “Talks are on at various levels” regarding the dispute-prone area. This was almost an effort to fan the glowing embers beneath the ashes. Incidentally, this was made as the crucial Uttar Pradesh elections were drawing close. Could it be considered as track II politics employing religion as a means again or perhaps was it a mere coincidence?

Soon after the September 11 event, Mr Rajnath Singh told the print media that “Is yudh mein Hindu samaj ek ho kar khada ho jayega (the Hindu society will stand united through this war)”. It was clearly a case of weaving together two separate strands of Hindutva and terrorism. A reflection upon the ideology that believes that the Ram Mandir and Hindutva can be shaped together against the battle of terrorism. There is a distinct inclination towards the communal dimension, which the BJP wanted to exploit.

Leading historian Irfan Habib puts it this way: “The BJP wants to make use of the perception that most terrorists happen to be Muslims and the recent rhetoric of the BJP leaders makes it clear that they see electoral gains in creating a communal polarisation in UP”. The examples are numerous.

Channelling religious fanaticism into political gains has now become an accepted method. The madarsas or training schools are spread not only all over Pakistan but also in India. They are now considered to be the breeding grounds of religiously charged men. They not only use religion but also clubs education and uses the latter to serve a political purpose. This and the much-talked about `Talibanisation’ of education (by the BJP) both stress upon the vulnerability of religion in the larger play of power. But ultimately, it is the common man who has to bear the brunt in social, economic or even psychological terms. There is no escape for him. Shiv Khera, an eminent educationist, in his book ‘You can Win’ said that “India is not the only country with problems but it is the only country without solutions”. There are solutions but there are no perfect solutions that don’t raise further problems.

Aparajita Biala, Miranda College, Delhi.

A 1,000-letter relation with ‘The Tribune’

I am happy that over 1,000 letters written by me have been published in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column of ‘The Tribune’. Yes, my name has been published 1,000 times in your paper. My first letter was published on April 22, 1978 under the heading ‘Jingle of Coins’ when I was working as a clerk in Kurukshetra University. My 100th letter was published on August 8, 1980 under the title ‘Think of Asiad’.

I was shifted to MD University, Rohtak and I have been working as a Superintendent in the university for the last one decade. My 500th letter was carried on the subject ‘Rail Freight’ on November

19, 1986. I crossed a milestone in my life when my 1,000th letter was carried on January 8, 2000 under the heading ‘Mathew Sinclair’ whom I congratulated on making a double century on his debut against West Indies Cricket team.

Incidentally, I have cracked centuries in sports fields too. I am a keen lover of games. In fact, I was a good cricket player during my school-college days. I represented my school as well as Government College, Hisar in the cricket team for six years continuously. I was the captain of Government Senior Secondary School, Hisar.

I may further point out that my 1000 letters were published in 21 years and 345 days i.e. in 7,920 days. Of course, my performance has declined as there is tough competition in the field now. As a matter of fact, well-qualified teachers have joined this hobby. Through my patience, I touched the target of 1,000 letters. I still contribute to this particular column and will be touching 1,100 letters very shortly.

I may also add that I believe in hard work and try my best to solve the problems which come to me. For writing letters, one has go through the whole paper very minutely to see which matter can be chosen as the subject each time. It is not a habit but an intoxication for me. Frankly speaking, I would like to give the credit to your paper for helping me pass MA Political Science examination from Kurukshetra University. I had written the papers at length as my knowledge had increased by reading ‘The Tribune’ in which there was no dearth of material on political science.

I have maintained a register with paper cuttings from April 22 to January 8, 2000 containing my 1,000 letters. You are requested kindly to publish this too in the ‘NCR Tribune’.

Subhash C. Taneja Superintendent MDU, Rohtak

Two files on one house!

I am the owner of an MIG/DDA flat, No 12-D, Phase-2, Pocket C, Jhilmil. I have been paying the house tax to the civic body. Yet, I am being served with a notice to pay the arrears or face action.

The fact is that when my case was decided by the MCD on March 27, 1996, it specifically stated that there were two files opened by them erroneously, which ought to have been rectified after the issue of the letter for revised assessment to me. But the second file is still doing the rounds giving unnecessary mental agony to me at the age of 62. I must make it clear that I am assessed for Rs 4,444 and I have paid the house tax Rs 3,552 less 20 per cent rebate up to 2001-2002, vide ledger entries 80/944.

Will the MCD set its own house in order and stop harassing a senior woman citizen like me and prove its tall claims that they are consumer-friendly and are always ready to solve their problems rather than add to them? They must wrap up and close the second file and ledger immediately. Will the MCD turn a new leaf in customer-MCD relations and shake hands with him rather than shape their heads?

Prem Pathak Shivam Enclave, Delhi.

Don’t close child home

Apropos ‘Children’s home downs shutters’ (March 27), it would be a very sad thing if 45 destitute inmates of the home are thrown out on the road for want of finances in this welfare socialist state. But strange are the ways of the governments. However, there is no dearth of philanthropists in Faridabad and around, who if approached may come forward to the succour of these hapless children.

I hope some social organisations will take up this matter to see that the home is made to run at least till the present inmates are enabled to settle in life.

Ram Saran Bhatia Dist. & Sessions Judge (retd), Faridabad.

Give respite to old

The ‘rollback’ Finance Ministry succumbed to the populist card yet again by providing relief and respite to the powerful fraternity of the housewives.

On the other hand, the honourable Finance Minister left the senior citizens totally high and dry showing little care for what the Directives Principles of the State Policy had laid down in our Constitution for the protection and uplift of the weaker sections.

This shows the government is merely interested in reaping the populist harvest of the political crop. While the LPG prices have been cut by Rs 20, there are other areas of concern in the harsh Budget that remain to be thrashed out. Pressure still looms large over the Finance Minister to give relief to many other sections and some of them are about to meet him in this regard. Cannot our FM exempt the senior citizens from any further interest rate cuts? Can he not free them of all kinds of taxation to allow them to live the rest of their life in peace? Will the government take a pragmatic and positive constitutional step to declare their fraternity ‘free birds’ for all intents and purposes? Why not declare ‘elders’ free birds at the fag end of their journey, Mr Sinha?

R. L. Pathak, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi.

Water for Haryana

It was extremely shocking to see the activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab in only underwear while demonstrating outside the Supreme Court asking the court to listen to their views on the Sutlej-Yamuna canal (SYL) issue.

Of course, they wish to point out that no water may be given to Haryana or any other state. Perhaps, they are not aware that Haryana is their younger brother/sister. Why are they so rude? They should have a broad mind and help the Punjab Government to complete the SYL at the earliest so that water may reach the needy states.

Subhash Taneja, MDU, Rohtak.

No right turns, please

To ensure smooth traffic flow, the Delhi Traffic Police have adopted the strategy of closing right turns on busy roads. The step is indeed appreciable.

It has brought effective results in areas where it has been implemented. Stoppage of right turn on the ring roads at several places has worked wonders. Such a step will be very effective in congested areas like Shakarpur and Vikas Marg. Traffic flow will be smoother by closing the right turns in these crowded areas. Too much right turns on a single road disturb the smooth and fast flow of traffic. Further, the sudden turning towards right is an open invitation to accidents. It has been observed that swift right turning is a common and frequent cause of accidents. So the traffic police should enforce the step at several other places where frequent right turns are causing difficulty in the smooth flow of traffic.

Shweta Kohli, Shahdara, Delhi.

Whose land is this?

The Delhi Government is trying to demolish unauthorised buildings on government land. It has already razed many buildings in different places in the Capital. But it is a joke to see many buildings coming up at the same time in the same areas. The corrupt police and other government officers are benefited out of this decision. And it is ironical to see signboards of a church, a cross or a small temple on many buildings, which are actually houses and they have nothing to do with the church or temple.

In Andheria Modh, the Delhi Government demolished hundreds of houses and shops. Now, we see a big plot near the Victory Church encircled by a brick wall, an idol placed inside, a saffron flag flying high and construction work going on. An ashram is coming up here. Whose land is this? Who gave the written or silent permission to construct this ashram? Did someone pay for this government land that will fetch crores of rupees? Will it not become another Ayodhya tomorrow?

A little after, we see more people encroaching the land — a kabadiwala near the Hanuman temple, a cycle repairer who has carved out some space to put up a shop and another encroachment on the Mehrauli-Andheria Modh road.

We all remember Mr Alphonsa who cleared this Mehrauli-Andheria Modh roadside encroachment from the clutches of marble sellers. But soon they returned and have encroached properties worth trillions of rupees on both the sides of the road with agricultural nurseries. They started as Gamala sellers. And the new encroachment is the beginning of the next series of encroachment in this area.

The government must take strict action to protect its land that belongs to the people. If a religious society wants to buy a land, let them pay for it. Every religious society must have the same rights and privileges. If someone has the money to construct huge mansions as churches, temples or ashrams, why can’t they pay for the land at government rates? A group of citizens, who believes in equal rights to every one and every religious society

Small industries

The Chamber of Industries of Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon (Haryana) is a registered body (registered under the Society’s Act vide Registrar of Societies, Haryana registration no. 2585/2001-2002 dated December 19, 2001). Our chamber represents over 1,500 small and medium entrepreneurs of Udyog Vihar, electronic city, Gurgaon and phases I to V, Sector 18. There are other industrial associations in Gurgaon. However, all these associations extend their role mostly to industrial units or groups, which are spread around Gurgaon, and have only marginal presence in Udyog Vihar, which over the last few years has emerged as a leading SME cluster in Haryana. The main objectives of our chamber include (a) Development of close relationship among SMEs of our area through organisation of interaction meets of entrepreneurs on a frequent basis to enable discussion of common problems and work for their solutions in the spirit of unity and collective strength.

(b) Effective communication with other associations in the state and larger industrial chambers with the specific purpose of highlighting problems pertaining to SME entrepreneurs in particular.

(c) Organise activities and disseminate information that assist promotion of business.

There are burning issues that afflict industry in Haryana. The chambers of industry are able to address themselves to the macro problems, but issues and problems relating to small industries take a back seat.

Small and medium industries struggle without much support coming from the apex chambers. We are trying hard and committed to highlight the problems of smaller industries. Beginning at Udyog Vihar, we aim to form an All Haryana Federation of Industries. Being a major industrial cluster not only in Haryana but also in the country, we take the onus of initiative in this essential direction. We look forward to your support and cooperation.

Col. R P Dhawan President, Chamber of Industries of Udyog Vihar.



Rs 1.20-cr park to be set up in HUDA sector 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 5
The Haryana Government has decided to set up a Rs 1.20-crore park in Sector 7 of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) near the G. T. Road, about 10 km from the city.

This was stated by the Haryana Financial Commissioner and Secretary, Urban Development, Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, while addressing a meeting of district officials here on Wednesday.

He also disclosed that this park would be developed in an area of about 50 acres on the pattern of parks already developed at Faridabad and Gurgaon.

Mr Chatterjee was strongly critical of the officials of the Education Department for their failure to check the copying menace in the annual examinations held by the Board of School Education, Haryana. He also snubbed the officials of the department present in this meeting and warned them of serious consequences if they were found wanting in their duty. He also made a scathing criticism of the functioning of the Health Department. He pointed out that most of the doctors were always found absent from duty at the primary health centres.



Protest by roadways employees
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 5
Employees of the Haryana Roadways held a rally and demonstration in front of the Sonepat depot here on Wednesday in protest against the proposed privatisation move of the various depots in the state. According to a report, the agitating employees also shouted slogans against the government and the Haryana Roadways authorities.

According to another report, employees of various other government departments, including the PWD (B and R), irrigation, public health and roadways wore black badges for the second day today to register their protest against the closure of the Haryana State Minor Irrigation Tubewells Corporation (HSMITC) and retrenchments in other departments.

A rally was also held and was addressed among others by Mr Balbir Singh Rohilla, district president of the Haryana Karamchari Maha Sangh, Mr Suresh Kumar, Mr Mukesh Dahiya, Mr Ved Vyas Arya and Ms Krishna Malik. The leaders warned that the agitation would be intensified if the state government did not stop the privatisation process in the various government departments, boards and nigams.



Power workers to join national strike
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 5
Members of the All Haryana Power Corporation Employees Union will take part in the proposed nation-wide strike on April 16. Stating this, Mr Subhash Lamba, spokesman of the union, said here today that the strike had been called in protest against the economic policies of the Union Government and its anti-employee attitude.

He claimed that the majority of the leading trade unions and bank employees had declared their support for the proposed strike. He announced that all Haryana Power Corporation Union would take part in the strike. Gate meetings and contact programme campaign had already been launched in the state and district. He said the district unit of the Karamchari Sangh and its affiliated unions had also taken a similar decision.



2 boys killed, 8 hurt in Rohtak mishaps 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 5
Two boys were killed and eight others injured in different incidents in the district during the past 24 hours. A three-year-old child was crushed to death by a jeep near Dubaldhan village. Mohit (3) was reportedly playing in front of his house when a speeding jeep ran over him. The child died on the spot.

The driver of the jeep was handed over to the police by the agitated villagers.

Sunil Kumar (12), a resident of Chhara village died at the PGIMS after he consumed poison. Two persons sustained burn injuries when the LPG leaked from a cylinder and caught fire at Bhagwan Colony here on Friday.

According to information, when Mr Virendra lighted a match stick for smoking, the leaked LPG caught fire in the room. Subsequently, Mr Virendera and his son sustained burn injuries.

In another incident, nearly six persons got injured when two cars collided near Kheri Sadh village on National Highway 10.

House burgled

Thieves broke into a house of Mr Ved Prakash at Dev Colony here and decamped with Rs 52,000 and jewellery on Thursday night. Mr Prakash stated in his complaint that all the members of his family were away at the time of robbery. He said the thieves broke open the almirahs and took away the cash and other valuables.

Costly treatment

Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) has condemned the hike in the price of OPD slip of PGIMS here with effect from April 1.In a joint statement here on Friday, Mr Kultaz Singh, general secretary, youth wing of HVP and MR Lalit Mohan Saini, vice president, district unit of the party, alleged that the increase from Rs 5 to Rs 10 in the prices of OPD slip, would adversely affect the poor patients. The HVP leader said the government should provide medical treatment free of cost to the financially weaker section of society.

Export quality

The ADC, Mr US Sohal on Thursday urged the exporters to maintain a high quality so that they could compete in the international markets. Mr Sohal was addressing a meeting of the Powerloom Programme Cluster Implementation and Coordination Committee organised by the Nitra Powerloom Service Centre and Textile Testing Lab.

The president of the Shoddy Yarn Industries Association, Mr Pawan Garg, wanted the compilation of the list of the shoddy yearn units. The representatives of the Haryana Financial Corporation assured that it would provide loans for setting up of the powerloom. A representative of the Ghaziabad centre of Nitra, Mr R.P.Sharma, said that over 2.5 semi-automatic shuttles loom would be set by the 2004 under a centrally-sponsored scheme.

The general manager of the DIC, listed the facilities offered by the DIC to the industrialists

Annual exams

The annual examinations of Class VI, VII, X and XI will start from April 8 in this city and elsewhere in the district. The Education Department has made elaborate arrangements for the conduct of the examinations.

Scooterist killed

One scooterist was killed when a tractor hit his scooter near Sandal Khurd village about 5 km from here on Thursday. According to a report, the victim was identified as Mr Ram Chander of Sandal Khurd village. The police has registered a case against the tractor driver Ramesh of Sewli village.

According to another report, Mr Vijay Kumar, a police constable of Delhi sustained injuries when his motorcycle was hit by a tractor near Harsana Kalan village about 5 km from here on Thursday.

A youth Mr Dharamvir Rathi sustained injuries when he was hit by a jeep while crossing the road near Busana village about 30 km from here on Thursday.

The fourth accident occurred on the Rohtak road near Prabhu Nagar mandi here on Thursday when a girl student Praveen was injured while she was going on a scooter towards the examination centre. The scooter collided with a cyclist. The injured girl was immediately hospitalised and she was stated to be out of danger.


The Deputy Commissioner is reported to have placed the sarpanch of Liwaspur village under suspension and ordered an inquiry into the allegations levelled against him for demolishing the nullah constructed on the roadside near the village. According to a report, the General manager of the Haryana Roadways Sonepat will hold an inquiry into the allegations.

70-yr-old woman found murdered

New Delhi
A 70-year-old woman, Bhuri, was found murdered under mysterious circumstances at a house in Malviya Nagar today morning. Bhuri and her husband, Jhola Singh, the watchman of the house, had been living together in the same house for the last 30 years. The owner of the house, Mr P. P. Gupta, has been residing with his family in Gurgaon. The police said that she was found dead with a head injury on the posterior side today morning. A stick with bloodstains was found near her body. Preliminary investigations revealed that Jhola Singh was a drunkard and used to fight with Bhuri constantly on domestic matters.

Two nabbed for Preet Vihar murder

New Delhi
With the arrest of two persons, Naresh Kumar (27) and Jamsher Singh (37), the Delhi Police today claimed to have worked out a blind murder case of Preet Vihar where a retired IAS officer, Ujagar Singh, was murdered and his wife, Joginder Kaur, injured in January this year.

The suspects were arrested from their residents in a slum cluster near Anand Vihar in East Delhi on Thursday. The prime suspect in the murder-cum robbery case, Jamsher, had worked as a driver of the victim in 1999. The police have recovered a wristwatch of Joginder Kaur from him.

BSNL employee commits suicide

Madan Lal, an employee of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), committed suicide at the Telephone Exchange building at Sector 15 here today. The victim, a resident of Sector 3 here, reportedly went inside a room of an official at about 10 am and hanged himself to death after locking the doors from inside. It is suspected that harassment in the office led him to take this extreme step. TNS



Identity of girl under wraps

New Delhi, April 5
The body of the girl who was thrown from the rooftop of Rajasthali Apartments in the Saraswati Vihar area on Thursday has been identified but is not disclosed by the police due to legal reasons.

After sustained interrogation of the security guards and members of the housing society of the apartments, the police were able to establish the name and address of the victim. Her parents have also been informed. TNS


Armed criminals arrested in court
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, April 5
Ghaziabad police on Thursday arrested six armed criminals from the district court complex who had planned to murder some other criminals who were to attend a court date.

The police were alerted by the Additional District Judge, J.C.Sharma, when he found some armed men moving around his court room.

SO Kavi Nagar, Anil Samanya, in a quick and sleek operation nabbed six of them, though an equal number managed to flee.

Police recovered from the arrested criminals two rifles, one pistol and some knives.

Those arrested included Narinder Kumar of Muzzafarnagar, Rajbir Pappu and Pradeep Kumar of Modi Nagar, Amit and Omed Ram.

Hari Om, Subhash and Ramesh had come to attend the court in connection with the murder of Mahipal on 28 October 1999 near Nizzampur railway crossing in Hapur.

Mahipal was the paternal uncle of Amit and Pradeep Kumar and according to police, they had planned to avenge the murder of their uncle by killing Hari Om, Subash and Ramesh, the accused in Mahaipal’s murder.

Incidentally, Rakesh Hasanpurya, the dreaded criminal was also present in the court premises today.

It may be recalled that Hasanpuriya was also present last year when the triple murder was committed in the Ghaziabad court complex.



Bawaria gangster arrested 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
The special staff of North-West district on Friday claimed to have nabbed a dacoit of Bawaria gang. The accused Randhir alias Dhiru Bawaria (42), resident of Muzaffarnagar had allegedly committed a dacoity on the New Year eve at Palwal in Haryana. The dacoits had reportedly inflicted injuries to 10 persons and killed a sixteen-year-old girl Sunita and decamped with Rs 30,000 from the house of Har Prasad.

The police on March 7 arrested his associate Ram Kumar alias Raj Kumar who disclosed Randhir’s whereabouts in Jahangirpuri. Subsequently, the police laid a trap and nabbed him.

Two held: Two persons, Qasim alias Wasim, resident of Jafrabad and Qausar Ali, resident of Shahdara, were arrested on charges of dacoity. According to the police, the duo along with their three associates robbed a shopkeeper Devender Kumar (31) of Rs 1130 and some documents including his driving licence near Gandhi Vihar on the Outer Ring Road, while he was returning home to Alipur from Noida. The PCR van stationed near Burari Chowk chased the miscreants and managed to apprehend the two near Gopal Pur, while the others escaped. Police have seized a button-actuated knife and the TSR from them.

Murder solved: The North-West district police have arrested one Shiv Dutt alias Tittoo, resident of Jahangirpuri and claimed to have solved the murder of Dharam Singh (27) committed in the Jahangirpuri area. On sustained interrogation, he confessed that the deceased Dharam Singh had lent him some money which he could not return due to his poor economic conditions. On March 3, Dharam Singh demanded the amount and abused him for not paying it on time. Enraged, Shiv Dutt stabbed him on his chest and killed him on the spot.

Robbed of Rs 72,500: Two unidentified youths armed with a country made revolver and a knife robbed Rs 72, 500 and a wristwatch from a factory owner in Vishwas Nagar in North-East district.



Man robbed of car
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 5
Mr Chander Bajaj, a 44-year-old resident of Chandigarh was allegedly robbed of his Indica car by two armed youths on the G.T. Road near Bari village about 15 km from here on Thursday night. According to a report, Mr Bajaj was on his way from Chandigarh to Delhi. When he reached a poultry farm near Bari village, he saw a line of vehicles on the road.

As he slowed down the speed, two of the four armed youths tried to board his car. They said that they wanted to go to Delhi. Mr Bajaj agreed to give them the lift. When Mr Bajaj reached the Karnal by-pass in Delhi, both the youths snatched his car and pushed him out of the car. Mr Bajaj reached Ganaur and lodged an FIR with the police. The Ganaur police have launched a massive hunt to apprehend the culprits.

Imposter held:
Abhikar Raj, posing himself as an IAS officer, was arrested by the police here today. According to informed sources, the police are still tight-lipped and declined to give details in the case. However, the Superintendent of Police confirmed that the culprit was arrested. It is stated that the police have booked a suit in the PWD (B and R) rest house for four days and he was given a pilot jeep during his stay in the rest house.

However, his real identification was disclosed. As he was sitting in the office of the Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S N Ray, arrived and soon the cat was out of the bag. A case has been registered with the police and further investigations were in progress. The police also recovered some cash from his possession.


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