Saturday, April 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Mewat women to audit govt works
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gohana (Mewat), April 12
The Mewat Development Agency (MDA) has decided to set up an apex ombudsman-type of body, comprising of elected women, to undertake social auditing of government measures and to voice their feelings on specific development needs.

Integral to the whole exercise would be an effort to tutor them in the nuances of participatory democracy. The idea is to further educate them in the essence of representative politics in the right earnest in the light of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution, which reserve 33 per cent of the seats for the fairer sex in the local self-governing bodies. The MDA will implement the scheme with the help of designated non-government organisations and Self Help Groups (SHGs) active in Mewat. According to official sources, there are hundreds of SHGs in the 491 villages of Mewat spread in six revenue blocks and spanning over Gurgaon and Faridabad districts.

The total number of women in the SHGs adds up to more than 15,000. These groups, each on an average having about a dozen women members, have been formed in the villages to give some vocational training. The MDA helps them in availing micro-financing from commercial banks for starting up their business. The SHG women members have also been trained over the years by the MDA through various projects on issues like health, child education, their rights etc. This process has been going on as part of a scheme financed by the Rome-based International Fund of Agriculture Development, a UN body.

Now, the MDA proposes to form an apex group consisting of 150 members representing the SHG members. As they are the most active members in the villages, their involvement would tantamount to taking up cudgels for their areas. After the formation of the proposed body, several committees would be formed relating to various aspects so that the members could take up the issues with the government and its departments in a focused manner. The scheme aims at uniting them and giving them a voice on the functioning of government departments, including the MDA.

The MDA today convened a joint meeting of SHG members from a cluster of villages like Sahjadpur, Uleta, Madhi, Patakpur, Multhan and Karhara surrounding Gohana in the Nuh block. It also organised a similar meeting in Pinangwa in the Punhana block a couple of days ago. Hundreds of women attended the function and in unison supported the move for an elected apex body.

Some even made fiery speeches against the neglect of Mewat by the government and the MDA for a long time. They also asserted that such a mechanism should be institutionalised and cautioned all concerned not to dilute the move in the future.

The entire development is seen as a milestone in the move towards women empowerment. It is also important on another count. The women of Mewat have allegedly been considered to be at the receiving end of male dominance in the societal matrix. What to talk of women, the entire Mewat area is documented in various studies as one of the most backward areas of Haryana. The idea of women from the hinterland daring to socially audit the governmental measures and assert themselves for their rights speaks volumes of their march in the fast lane.



CNG crisis: Some respite at weekend
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
There is no immediate respite on view in the transport crisis of the Capital even seven days after the Supreme Court imposed a penalty on plying of diesel buses. Authorities, transporters and commuters, meanwhile, are preparing for a review of the experiences of the past week and mull future strategies over the weekend. The woes of commuters remained more or less the same today also with long queues seen at bus stops. Some commuters were forced to wait for interminably long periods of time on a day the Government of NCT of Delhi said that more diesel-bus operators had resumed services. An estimated 7,000 buses plied on Friday.

With the pressure easing on the government over the weekend, transporters and harried officials have time for a breather and review the progress over the past week. Meanwhile, reports of commuters getting fleeced by bus operators were received from many places. To make up for the penalty bus operators have to shell out to the court, instances of conductors realising Re 1 to Rs 2 over and above the stipulated fare were reported. This despite the claims of the authorities that special vigil was being maintained and complaint centres set up to prevent fleecing of passengers. Harried passengers alleged that the fleecing had the tacit approval of the authorities for running their buses.

Transporters in the meantime are still negotiating with the government for moving the court for a penalty-waiver. According to Harish Sabharwal of the Joint Action Committee of Transporters, a consensus eludes various transporters’ associations on when and how to move the court. “Since a writ will not be entertained, we can only move a review petition. Here again, the petition would be heard by the same Bench that gave the order,” he said while resenting the short shrift given to them by the BJP and the Congress alike. Both parents and school authorities are reviewing the situation and hope that things would normalise over the weekend. School and college students have been the worst hit by the present crisis and the consensus all around is that the fault was clearly with the authorities and powers that be who allowed things to linger on for so long. “Had such a decision been taken and implemented earlier when all this fuel controversy started, things would have not reached such a state,” was a comment from another harried passenger who has been commuting to his office in the Central Secretariat from the outskirts in West Delhi for almost a decade now.

Meanwhile, the Indraprastha Gas Limited today commissioned two additional bus filling stations. These Mother Stations have become operational on the Mehrauli-Mahipalpur Road and at Madanpur Khadar. The company would also commission three more filling stations on April 21. These would be located at Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar Phase I, Sarita Vihar and R K Puram.



Shakarpur blaze claims four lives
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
Four people were killed and several others injured in a major fire that broke out in the Shakarpur area in the Capital in the wee hours today. According to the police, another fire broke out in the jhuggi cluster of New Kanchanpura near Raj Ghat.

Fire service sources said that they received a distress call at around 3.30 am in the New Kanchanpura area and about 20 fire tenders were immediately pressed into service. More than 1,000 jhuggis were gutted and it took about two hours to extinguish the fire. The four persons who died in Shakarpura area included three children. The children were: Chinku (5), Pooja (4) and Babu (2). Another person, Asgar (40), died on the spot.

Those injured in the Shakarpur fire were identified as Ramesh (27), his wife Seema (25), and their daughter Reema (3). All of them received 50 per cent burns and are admitted at the Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.

It is suspected that the residents of the jhuggi cluster were tapping power illegally from overhead lines, which could have caused a short-circuit leading to the fire.



Science teachers evaluate physical 
education papers

Jhajjar, April 12
Teachers of drawing, science and social studies evaluating the papers of physical education? Such a case has come to light at an evaluation centre in Government Girls Senior Secondary School at Bahadurgarh when the evaluation process began on Thursday. According to information, the papers of physical education, along with the papers of all subjects of the matriculation examinations of the Haryana Board of School Education, are being evaluated at this centre. Interestingly, teachers from other subjects have been pressed into service for the evaluation of the papers of physical education. Sources said that five of the eight teachers evaluating physical education papers were from other subjects: Mr Suresh, teacher of science, Mr Surender, teacher of social studies, and Ms Sarogini, Ms Saroj Bala and Ms Om Vati, all drawing teachers.

Well-placed sources said that teachers of physical education had approached the office of the Controller of the centre expressing their readiness for evaluation duty but were sent back as teachers from other subjects had already been engaged. Moreover, all such teachers were residents of Bahadurgarh town and posted at far-off places, sources said adding that they were engaged reportedly so that they could get relief for some days from their school duty. However, the Controller of the centre, Ms Suman Nain, defended her decision saying that the teachers of physical education had come too late, around 12 noon, while the time of reporting was 9 am. She said that most of the physical education teachers who came to her had also been debarred as they were found indulging in foul practices during examinations and the evaluation done by them was not accurate in the past. The Controller said that the HBSE had not given the names of the evaluators and directed her to take services of the local teachers. She asserted that the teachers picked by her for the job had experience in physical education. She had to abide by the deadline of the board as any delay in the evaluation process could also delay the next academic session, she said.

However, the Secretary of the HBSE, Mr Mahender Singh More, when contacted, said that the teachers of the same subjects should evaluate the papers of that subject and if it was not being followed, it was against the rules and regulations of the board. 



An officer with a knack for solving blind cases 
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, April 12
Admitting that he is not cut out for a nine-to-five job, former DCP East Delhi and now commandant of the First Battalion of the Delhi Armed Police, Manoj Kumar Lal, a 1990 batch IPS officer, has proved his mettle at solving criminal cases that leave a poignant imprint on the victim’s mind.

In 1993 when Manoj Kumar took charge as SP Dholpur in Rajasthan, he was confronted with an abstruse case of kidnapping. A small girl, who had been abducted almost two years ago, was still untraceable. Her traumatised parents had virtually placed themselves under house arrest and there was just one photograph of the girl made available to the police.

Armed with that just one photograph and almost no clues Manoj Kumar began the hunt. However when months of toil failed to fetch results, Manoj decided to adopt a fresh approach.

Dholpur being infamous for flesh trade, the hunt began on new lines. Members and the leader of a former criminal tribe for whom flesh trade is a means of earning livelihood were rounded up and interrogated. Even that proved futile.

But as luck would have it an anonymous call provided Manoj Kumar and his team the much-needed breakthrough. The unidentified caller had tipped them that the girl would be on one of the platforms of the New Delhi railway station.

The girl was found, though in a very pitiable state. She had lost weight and had been forced into begging. What was heart rending was that the girl could not even recognise her parents.

In his decade-long checkered career DCP Manoj Kumar has acquired a special knack for solving what are known in the official lingo as ‘blind cases’.

DCP Manoj Kumar is also credited to have solved a peculiar case of truck hijacking in Ajmer. As ACP Ajmer, he busted a notorious gang of truck hijackers who had terrorised drivers and vehicle owners for over six months. They would seize the trucks after killing the drivers.

The irrepressible cop was recently in news for solving the much talked about MTNL robbery where the thieves had made away with the salaries of the MTNL employees kept in the office premises.

For a man who is happy sweating it out round the clock, policing is a passion and having an IPS officer, Alka Bhatnagar, for a wife is an advantage that helps the couple cope with the arduous demands of their chosen profession.



Haryana ban on fresh driving licences
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, April 12
Perturbed over the increasing incidence of fatal road accidents, Haryana Government has decided to ban issuance of new driving licenses, both for light and heavy vehicles. The decision to ban new driving licences was taken at a meeting of deputy commissioners and district police chiefs at Chandigarh on Thursday. Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala presided over the meeting,.

The deputy commissioners have reportedly been advised to have the existing licence-holders medically re-examined, especially those driving heavy vehicles, as it was feared that many of them had turned colour blind over the years. This would also help the district authorities in verifying the bonafides of the licence-holders. The issue would be reviewed on June 9, the day fixed for the next meeting of the deputy commissioners and district police chiefs with the chief minister. The chief minister reportedly also expressed serious concern over the growing absenteeism among government employees posted at district and sub- divisional headquarters and in villages and small towns. He advised the deputy commissioners to initiate steps to check the trend. He told the commissioners and administrative secretaries to travel by road to Delhi for official meetings, instead of Shatabdi Express. En route, they can check attendance in government offices.



Mother kills six children, herself
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, April 12
Fed up with poverty and ill health, a woman fed her six children food laced with a pesticide and later consumed the same herself in new Pannapur area of Hapur on Wednesday night.

Saroj Bala, 35, was married to a truck driver who was knee-deep in debt. The three children identified by the police are Dolly, 14, Jyoti, 10, and Sanjeev, 9; the names of the three other children could not be ascertained. In a suicide note recovered by the police, Saroj Bala has blamed herself for the tragedy. Among the six children, the eldest was a 14-year-old girl and the youngest a three-year-old boy.



UP-Haryana border farmers all set to slug it 
out again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, April 12
With the onset of harvesting season, the annual bloody conflicts are set to repeat themselves on the “disputed land” along the Haryana-Uttar Pradesh border.

This season, farmers from Sapat village in Muzaffarnagar district of UP had allegedly harvested crop in over eight acres of the “disputed land”, which farmers from Mirzapur village in Panipat district claimed to be belonging to them. And this is despite the fact that the matter had been brought to the notices of the revenue and police departments. Faced with another loss of crop, thereby lakhs of rupees, farmers of Mirzapur village are all geared to fight it out with their counterparts on the other side of the border.

The armed conflicts are a routine annual affair on the UP-Haryana border, particularly during the harvesting season. The Yamuna, which changes its course every year, is to be blamed for this. With this phenomenon, scores of acres of land are virtually transferred to the jurisdiction of either Panipat district or Muzaffarnagar district every year.

Now in the eye of the storm is the wheat crop on about 74 acres of land about which several villages on both sides are claiming ownership rights. Following claims and counter-claims of farmers from both the sides before sowing the wheat crop, the officials of Haryana and UP had restrained both sides from harvesting the crop. It was decided that the authorities concerned would get the crop harvested and then auction it.

However, caring two hoots about the order, the farmers of Sapat village had already started harvesting the crop, much to the chagrin of farmers of adjoining Mirzapur village in Panipat district, which had a longstanding territorial dispute with Sapat. Both the villages have been “fighting it out” for the ownership rights of about 23 acres of land for a long time now.

Villagers alleged that the authorities had been turning a blind eye to their grievances. “The farmers of Sapat had already harvested crop on eight acres of land and the authorities, including the police and the revenue departments, continue to turn a blind eye to the issue,” complained Mr Om Prakash of Mirzapur village to NCR Tribune.

Fed with authorities’ apathetic attitude, the villagers now seem determined to take the law in their own hand, indicating serious law and order problem for the polices of both the states.

It may be recalled that the “territorial dispute” has defied solution for a number of years. Villagers cited official apathy as the prime cause for the dispute. It was only when the things go out of hand and farmers indulge in gun battles that the officials care to hold meetings. And for the rest of the year, the official machinery goes into a slumber. In the process, farmers from one side lose crop worth lakhs of rupees every year.

With sharp-edged weapons and country-made pistols readily available, the die is cast. Already, Kairana tehsil, under which Sapat falls, has the dubious distinction of being one of the most crime-infested areas of India. And the adjoining Panipat district does not lag far behind as far as heinous crimes are concerned. 



17 procurement centres opened in rural areas 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 12
Elaborate arrangements have been made in the district for purchasing wheat from the farmers at the support price of Rs 620 per quintal fixed by the government. The Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here today that apart from the grain markets of Sonepat, Ganaur and Gohana, 17 other procurement centres had been set up in the rural areas of the district for the purpose.

While the Sonepat grain market had been allotted to three procurement agencies, the Ganaur market had been allotted to the Food and Supplies Department and the HAFED and the Gohana market to the Food and Supplies Department, HAFED and CONFED. These agencies would purchase wheat from the farmers at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 620 per quintal.

The DC further disclosed that the arrivals of wheat in the markets of the district were picking up day by day. Procurement agencies had bought 718 metric tones of wheat from various markets of the district so far.

Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has directed the arhtias to purchase tarpaulin, fans and wooden crates for safeguarding the wheat purchased by various procurement agencies from the markets and purchasing centres. The directive has caused resentment among arhtias as each of them has to spend about Rs 40,000 to purchase these items.

The government has taken this step to save the purchased wheat from the possible inclement weather conditions which prevail during this season. Moreover, the official agencies are unable to lift the procured wheat for days together.

According to another report, the central government has released 7,740 metric tonnes of old wheat for distribution at the rate of Rs 560 per quintal among the consumers through the fair price shops in the district. Each consumer will be given 35 kg of wheat at the fixed price.



Sonepat leads in giving loans to jobless youth
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 12
Sonepat leads other districts in Haryana in providing employment to the educated jobless youths under the Prime Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme launched by the government during the year 2001-2002. Giving this information, the Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here today that the District Industries Centre (DIC) had rendered help for providing loans to as many as 544 educated unemployed youths against the target of 510 youths fixed by the government in this district.

He disclosed that the nationalised banks had given loans totalling Rs 3.72 crore to 544 educated jobless youths during the year 2001-2002, thereby surpassing the target. Various nationalised banks had granted loans to 490 persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes in the district under the programme during the year under review, thereby achieving cent per cent target.

He disclosed that the Haryana State Scheduled Castes Financial and Development Corporation had granted loans totalling Rs 86.62 lakh to 392 persons belonging to the SCs in this district during 2001-2002 for launching self-employment ventures. The jobless youths belonging to the families living below the poverty line were being given loans up to Rs 50,000, including the 50 per cent subsidy not exceeding Rs 10,000 and 25 per cent margin money at the rate of 4 per cent interest. Such youths were being given loans for the purchase of Tata 407, Maruti Vans, tractor-trolleys and autorickshaws so that they could earn their livelihood.

The DC also appealed to such persons to come forward and seek loans for launching small-scale and artisan industries in the district. He directed the officials to render all-out assistance to such persons and families living below the poverty line.



Healer of spiritual and physical maladies
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, April 12
Swami Somananda of the Seva Ashram of Noorgarh village, about 25 km from here, is a man who practically lives with God. This godliness has persisted ever since he has had an actual glimpse of the Lord Himself or better described, by the Swami himself, as a glimpse of the `Shiv Tatva’ in the 1960s on the banks of the Gambhiri in Chittor in Rajasthan.

Unlike most other noted living saints and seers of the country, Swami Somananda has kept himself away from the fanfare and glare of mankind by keeping himself completely confined within the four walls of his ashram since November 17, 1972. Even this self-sought solitary confinement has not been able to put a check on his devotees whose constant flow to the ashram continues unabated throughout the year.

The free dispensary being run at the ashram for the last 50 years has also been drawing a large number of men, women and children who get specialised treatment for injuries, pimples, boils and other skin as well as gastric ailments. The patients are now being attended by Sister Sharda Devi, daughter of the nonagenarian Swami.

Born in a farmer’s family in Noorgarh village in 1907, he was called Som Dev in his early years. He received his early education at Noorgarh and Pataudi after which he took to teaching. However, his inner urge for vaster horizons of knowledge soon took him to Lahore (now in Pakistan) where he delved deep into the treasures of Sanskrit and ayurvedic lore at the feet of Swami Swatantrananda, the then rising star of the Arya Samaj.

With these qualifications, he returned home around 1934 and launched his ayurveda practice at Rewari. Earlier, he had married Savitri Devi of Majra Sheoraj village near Rewari. Even as he gained prominence in his indigenous medical practice, simultaneously he also plunged into the Arya Samaj movement under the influence of Swami Swatantrananda.

During these days, his inner urge for a life of absolute godliness gained upper hand. This led to the total abandonment of other mundane interests and the Seva Ashram was started in 1952. At that time, Mr Ram Chander Delhvi, a superb logician of the Arya Samaj and an excellent judge of men and matters, had counselled him to keep himself aloof as his saintly services would be of utmost value to the humanity in the years to come.

Needless to say, his search for truth led him to complete Samayors (renunciation) into which he was initiated by his guru Swami Swatantrananda in 1955. Thus the old Som Dev Vaidya turned into Swami Somananda whose quest for spiritual enlightenment eventually took him to Chittor (Rajasthan) where, on the banks of the Gambhiri, he had a glimpse of the effulgent divine manifestation.

He lays special emphasis on service towards the distressed, afflicted and the sick which, he asserts, serves as a portal for union with God. He himself has been doing it devoutly during the past 50 years and has cured several patients of such diseases as were declared incurable by even doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The fully recovered patients, who are now leading a happy life, bear testimony to the miraculous efficacy of the healing touch of this noble ‘saint’.

The Swami now remains inside the ashram which now comprises his personal apartment, several epitomised structures, a magnificent tank, a subsoil water tank, a dispensary, a nursery for the sick and injured birds, female apartments where Savitri Devi (popularly known as Mata Ji) and others stay from morning till evening. The entire ashram complex is also replete with green ornamental plants as well as tall trees, all of which were planted and are being nurtured by the Swami himself.



Speaking out


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.

This is in reference to the reports on several days in ‘NCR Tribune’ regarding the unfair means adopted by examinees during the Boards/universities examinations in different districts. I shall concentrate a little bit on the unfair means cases (UMCs) in the university examinations.

To examine the knowledge of the students before awarding degrees, universities hold examinations. The attempts of the universities always remain to conduct the examinations in a fair manner. What is fair or unfair? If the examinee takes examinations in accordance with the rules and regulations of the university, then the examination would be called fair and otherwise unfair.

Unfair means used could be intentional and unintentional. Intentional are pre-planned and unintentional are unplanned. Collective use of unfair means is called mass copying. In this case, several candidates come to the examination hall without an intention to copy. However, due to the environment prevalent at the hall where most of the candidates are found copying, they too indulge in the unfair means.

Unfair means occur at three stages – the pre-conduct, during the conduct and post-conduct of the examinations. Pre-conduct UMCs are those which involve primarily the leakage of question papers, impersonation or attempts at impersonation, manipulating seating arrangements etc. UMCs during the conduct stage occur when examinees are found copying either from material (written/printed) or persons within or outside the examination centre with or without the connivance of the invigilators (mass copying etc). UMCs in post-conduct examinations stage involves approaching the examiners by examinees for increase in the marks, approaching the non-teaching personnel for removing their (examinees) UMCs record from the files of the university.

The important part of unfair means cases during the conduct stage is the connivance of the invigilators.

In this connection, Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak has addressed a letter to all the principals of colleges (vide No. 4237-4312 dated March 19,2002). The relevant contents of the letter are reproduced as follows: “Last year, the invigilation by the teachers deputed for the purpose was not up to the mark. There were more than 6,000 cases of use of unfair means by the students and most of the cases were detected by the flying squad and not by the invigilators, who are directly responsible to ensure strict invigilation of the students under their control. Keeping in view, it has been decided that the names of such teachers found wanting in the invigilation during the examinations would be referred to the state government for necessary action (or disciplinary action).”

It is good. Till six years back, MDU was appointing outsiders as the invigilators for the examination centres. Subsequently and till the last year, the university followed the procedure of appointing from outside as well as insiders (i.e. roughly 50:50) as the invigilators. From the last year, MDU started appointing 100 per cent insiders (i.e. local persons) as the invigilators.

It requires mention here that last year, MDU detected more than 6,000 unfair means cases and came to the conclusion to throw its (MDU) anger upon invigilators and addressed the above-mentioned letter to the principals to tell the invigilators that they have proved “not up to the mark”.

This letter proves that till last year (50:50) and till six years back (100 per cent outsider invigilators), the UMCs were less in numbers whereas with the commencement of the procedure to appoint 100 per cent locals as the invigilators, the number of UMCs has increased tremendously. In other words, the graph of UMCs increased alarmingly by appointing 100 per cent local invigilators.

Therefore, it is suggested that MDU should restore its policy of appointing outsider invigilators during the conduct of examinations to prevent UMCs. To strengthen my views, I would like to quote from a study on unfair means cases in university examinations conducted by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi which says that “the Assistant Registrar talked about unfair means at the conduct stage of examinations...felt that to stop such incidence, only external invigilators should be appointed, people of integrity and police protection within some distance of the college should be given.”

Om Parkash Wadhwa, Lecturer, Govt. College, Gohana (Sonepat)

Kids bring faster results to campaigns

A debate is going on at present as to whether public awareness campaigns like that against plastic bags must be made part of the school curriculum. To this, I would like to add that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. In the present age of IT revolution, children are very well aware and better equipped to develop themselves for tomorrow’s battles.

Children are like raw material. They can easily be moulded in any direction. School is an important institution, which shapes the personality of the child. By creating awareness about social issues like the campaign against the use of plastic bags at the school level, children can be motivated in the right direction so that they can be developed into responsible citizens. The successful campaigning by children for not using crackers on Diwali is a good example of children acting responsibly.

By having the right awareness, children will not only take necessary steps against the use of plastic bags by themselves but they will also carry forward the message to their parents and other near ones about the various harmful effects of their use. Therefore, besides the adults, let the children also participate actively in the public awareness campaign to prevent the destruction of environment.

In fact, in comparison to adults, children are more sincere towards their duties. Their sincerity and commitment would create the desired effects on elders also. In this regard, children’s participation in the campaign at schools and other local forums will go a long way in creating not only right awareness but also bear quick results for containing the use of plastic bags.

Shweta Kohli, Shahdara, Delhi.

Trains skip station

The Vivek Vihar Railway Station in the Capital is becoming a busy station. Thousands of commuters as well as general public throng the station to catch trains to other stations. However, the facilities provided by the Railways at the station are quite insufficient.

For example, not a single train, including the passenger trains, going to Moradabad side stops here even though seven trains pass through the station. This causes great inconvenience to the general public of Vivek Vihar, Jhilmil Colony, Seelampur and other residential colonies. The residents of the colonies here have to go to Shahdara, Sahibabad or Ghaziabad Junction to catch these trains.

Similarly, out of the six trains coming from Moradabad to Delhi side in the morning, only one train stops here, i.e. Raxaul Express. Passengers who want to alight here do so at Ghaziabad or Shahdara Junction and catch other vehicles to come to the colonies situated just near to Vivek Vihar Railway Station.

We therefore request the Northern Railways to provide the stoppages of all passengers and express trains at this station.

M.B. Dubey Bijnori, Secretary, Dainik Yatri Sangh, Navin Shahdara.

Waterless Sonepat

It was shocking to learn that the entire city of Sonepat remained waterless for the whole day on March 30 following the disruption in the water supply. The authorities concerned from Junior Engineer to Superintendent Engineer of the Public Health Department did not take effective steps after receiving complaints to ensure regular water supply.

Good sense should prevail among such officers and they should attend to their duties sincerely because water is most essential for human beings at every moment.

Subhash C. Taneja, Rohtak

Ordeal at Satsang Dera

Thousands of people visit Radha Swami Satsang Kendra situated on the banks of Sutlej. We too wished to make it there. On March 30 night, four of us, all old persons, took Frontier Mail from New Delhi and reached Beas in the wee hours. For a moment, we could not believe we were at Beas. In our overflowing enthusiasm, we failed to keep our schedule. Actually, we had planned to finish the morning chores at the station itself and then proceed to the Satsang Dera. But we hastened to take the waiting bus and after 10 minutes, we landed at the place of our dream, as it were.

We went straight to the Accommodation Bureau to ensure our stay for a day. But all our excitement evaporated and we felt high and dry when we were told that there was no accommodation available right then. We asked them politely to do something for us we are all old persons. How can we go about the place with all these bags? The gentleman seemed to realise our predicament and gave us a slip for Sarai No 1 and Room No 22. We thanked the guy and went about in search of the location. To our dismay, although we saw sewadars stationed here and there, none could guide us properly. Everyone said, `Saje ja ke khabbe mur jana ji, nere hi hai’ meaning it was quite near. But it turned out to be an ordeal.

As we were still searching for the accommodation, it was whispered into our ears that the Holy Baba’s pravachan was about to begin at 9 am. How could we miss the holy darshanas and the discourse?

We gave up our search for the Sarai and inquired with the sewadars as to the place where we could keep our bags safely. But this turned out to be the second round of our ordeal. “Turn right, go left bus nere hi hai ji” what was called the MP shed. Praying to the Baba to end our misery, we offloaded the belongings there and made it hurriedly to the huge pandal. Thank God, we were at the venue 10 minutes earlier.

Baba ji arrived and delivered an inspiring lecture only to tell everyone to shed hatred, give up ostentatious lives by aping others just for the sake of it. After listening to the address, we felt greatly refreshed and delighted. But we did not know there was yet another round to go for us, first now to locate the MP shed and then Sarai No 1. Needless to say, we had to walk round and round for hours to reach the places finally.

At Sarai No 1 (22), we found three persons, including one Sardarji, sitting in chairs with no one around. We gave Sardarji the slip and entreated him for the favour. He behaved rather indifferently telling us to check the position at 5 pm. This was a bolt from the blue. “Sorry, we cannot do anything,” he said and walked away. This pinched us and we kept sitting there telling those manning the affairs to take pity on us as we were too old to bear any more problems. By Baba’s grace, we were provided with the accommodation at about 1 pm.

Now I want to make some suggestions. The management there must have a second look regarding the arrangements. They must be made as easily approachable for the devotees as possible. There is no dearth of manpower and infrastructure. There is a need for imaginative planning both during off and peak times. Charpais are provided in the Sarais but the toilets are common and afar. In the changed lifestyles, who would like to bathe in the open? Special care should be taken to help the older persons who visit the place with veneration.

Without meaning any ill will against anyone, I think it is the moral duty of the management at such religious places to arrange the best comforts at least for those who cannot look after themselves.

The sprawling complex impresses one at first sight but the inherent sores turn everything into a nightmare. Shall we hope that next time we pay our visit, the whole system would be revamped to suit the devotees of all hues?

R .L. Pathak, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi

Unresponsive President’s office!

The President of India, who is also a Visitor of Delhi University, and his Secretariat do exist.

Yet, I have not got a response to the letter, which I sent on November 23, 2001, even after four months till April 4. I had also sent a reminder with the first letter and all enclosures on February 8, 2002. Finally, I personally went to his office at the age of 65 and gave another reminder with the original letter, all enclosures and additional questions by hand on March 21, 2002. The matter is too urgent to be solved immediately for, I am going to retire from Delhi University by the end of April, just three weeks from now.

S. Lahiry, University of Delhi



Okhla effluent pumping station to be 
commissioned soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
The effluent pumping station in Okhla of the Delhi Jal Board would be commissioned soon, which would help the Capital save 40 million gallons of potable water, a senior official of the board said today.

Mr Rakesh Seth, Chief Engineer of the board said, the construction of the effluent pumping station was complete and it would be commissioned in about four-five months.

Addressing the conference on Science and Technology 2002 here, he said the pumping station would pump 40 million gallons of treated effluent from the effluent treatment plant to NDMC and CPWD, to be used for horticultural purposes.

He said NDMC at present, uses filtered water for horticulture. With the commissioning of this pumping station, the Capital would be saving millions of gallons of potable water.

Mr Seth said as water availability was limited in Delhi, it should be managed effectively. One of the source for DJB was Yamuna water, which had been fully exploited, with states on the upper reaches of the river leaving little for the Capital.

DJB presently gets 200 cusecs of water from river Ganga while 300 cusecs was to be arranged from the Tehri Dam, he said. Another source was ground water, which had been over-exploited and there was an urgent need to regulate it.

He said DJB was according high priority to water conservation at all stages - production, transmission and distribution.

As there was a wastage of about eight-nine per cent during conversion of raw water into potable form, he said there were plans to put up three recycle treatment plant to recover raw water to an extent of about six per cent. 



Noida project for management of waste launched 
Parmindar Singh

Noida, April 12
The Noida citizen’s Action Group, a voluntary organisation on Friday launched its pilot project for management of domestic waste in Sector 50, in collaboration with the Noida authority.

“It is our dream to see every residential sector in Noida free from the ugly sight of overflowing garbage and garbage scattered over where garbage bins are not there, said Commodore V.K.Nagpal, Director, Domestic Waste Management, Citizen’s Action Group.

“It is our belief that India would have arrived truly only when it learns to manage its waste”, said Commodore Nagpal. Commodore Nagpal explained that domestic waste from over 1500 houses in Sector 39,40 and 41 will be collected and segregated. Bio-degradable waste is being converted into compost at site while non bio-degradable waste will be sent for recycling and land filling. He appreciated the positive response of the Noida Authority and the enthusiasm of participating sectors, especially Commodore J.K.Dhawan and his team.

The Project was launched by Mr Deo Dutt, Additional Chief Executive Officer of Noida authority in green belt of Sector 50.Mr Brajendra Sahai, the former Chief Secretary of UP and the former Chairman of Noida authority, Mr R.C.Bhargava, former Chairman of Maruti Udhyog, Admiral G.Harish Malhotra, and Mr Sushil Aggarwal, President of Federation of Noida RWAs were also present at the function.



Pig owners warned in Rohtak 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 12
Pig owners, be alert! Stray pigs found wandering within the municipal limits of Rohtak, Meham and Kalanaur towns would be rounded up and by the municipal authorities after April 21. The District Magistrate, Mr Anil Malik, on Friday issued orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code that domestic pigs should be kept in whole time confinement by their owners. He directed that the pigs should be kept in hygienic and human conditions and their owners should ensure that under no circumstances, the animals strayed from their premises.

Child crushed

A four-year-old child, Anil, was crushed to death by an unidentified truck at Mehrana village on the Panipat-Rohtak Road this morning. According to information, the child along with his mother and brother were trying to cross the road when the accident took palace. While his mother and brother crossed the road, the child was left stranded on the road. The boy died on the spot.

Girl killed

A 16-year-old girl who was a resident of Anaj Mandi, Ruksana, succumbed to her burn injuries at the local Civil Hospital on Friday. She was burnt when a stove in her house burst on Thursday.

Pakistanis arrested

The officials of the Intelligence Wing of the Uttar Pradesh Police, headed by Inspector Jabbar Singh, conducted a raid at a house in Bhowapur village, near the embankment of the Yamuna river, about 25km from here on Thursday evening. The police arrested five persons, including a woman, said to be Pakistani nationals and took them away to Baghpat (U.P) for interrogation. Enquiries made have revealed that Ms Hanifa Bibi, along with family members came to Baghpat (U.P) on September 12, 1999 for 12 days but did not return to Pakistan after the expiry of their visa. They left Baghpat (U.P) and started living in Bhovapur village of this district after changing their names from time to time.

Sepoy cremated

The body of Ramesh Kumar, a sepoy in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was cremated with full police honour in his home village Nizampur Majra, about 20km from here on Thursday evening.

Robbed of Rs 50,000

Mr Chandar Singh, a resident of the Seria village, was robbed of Rs 50,000 by some unidentified men in Bari village of the district today. According to information, Chandar Singh had withdrawn money from the State Bank of Patiala. He reportedly left the cash bag in his scooter and went to a nearby water tank for drinking water. When he came back, the bag was missing.



L-G opens amphitheatre to promote local talent 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
In a move to promote local talent and provide an opportunity to budding artists, the Lt Governor of Delhi, Mr Vijai Kapoor, inaugurated an amphitheater at Janak Place.

Mr Kapoor said the amphitheater provides a window of opportunity to the residents to explore their hidden talent.

The Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Mr Jagdish Mukhi, appreciated the concept of clubbing entertainment with trade and also ensuring cultural integration.

The amphitheater developed by Ansal Mall Management on an area of 2050 sq mt has space for art, dance and music concerts that will be managed by the company for nine years and later transferred to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).It will go a long way in helping tap local talent.



Employee behind Shiv Vihar double murder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
With the arrest of Ravi Kapoor alias Sonu (18), a resident of Shahbad Dairy, the Delhi Police today claimed to have worked out a double murder of Raj Kumar Gupta and his wife Neelam Gupta, reported in the first week of this month. The Guptas were residents of Shiv Vihar, Shahbada Dairy in Bawana area of North-West district.

The suspect, who used to work as an employ in the business establishment of the victim, was arrested from a jhuggi cluster in Shahabad Dairy. His four accomplices, identified as Babu, Shaukeen alias Doctor, Sagar and Pathak, are absconding.

When the police questioned all the employees of the victim, Ravi was found to be absconding. Subsequently, the needle of suspicion pointed towards his involvement in the murder case. A raid was conducted at his resident and he was arrested.

During interrogation, the suspect disclosed that the motive for the murder was robbery. He worked as a labour in the paper scrap shop of the victim in Bawana and was tempted to commit the crime when he came to know that Gupta had made lots of money in the business. Subsequently, he conspired with Babu, Shaukeen, Sagar and Pathak. They entered the house of the victim from rear side, where he lived along with his wife and their two children. They killed them when the victims resisted.

They entered the house of Mr Gupta early in the morning on April 2 and accosted the sleeping couple. Mrs Gupta started shouting on top of her voice and threw a burning lamp at one of the assailants, Babu, who was injured.

Later, Shaukeen shot her on the spot. Mr Gupta tried to overpower Shaukeen but was stabbed by Sagar. The assailants then ran away from the front gate.

Both the Guptas were rushed to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where Neelam was declared brought dead, while Raj Kumar was admitted to the intensive care unit. Later, he also succumbed to his injuries, the police said.

Pakistani arrested: The Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Thursday arrested a Pakistani national from Churiwalan in the Walled city, who stayed here illegally and indulged in smuggling activities. He was identified as Mohammad Badru Zaman, a resident of Liquatabad, Karachi.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he had married Rehana of Delhi when she went to Karachi. He came to India in 1991 on a valid passport and since then, he had been staying in Delhi after getting his visa extended.

He had opened an STD and PCO booth at Hauz Qazi in the Walled city in 1994. He used to smuggle goods from across the border on the Samjhauta Express and got commission for the work.

Businessman robbed: A businessman of Seelampur, Surajmal Garg, who resided at AGCR Enclave in East Delhi, was robbed of his licensed revolver by youths who came in two motorcycles and three autorickshaws on Thursday evening. The incident occurred when the victim was going to his house after closing his shop. The robber intercepted the Maruti car of the victim at the gate of AGCR Enclave. They broke open the windowpane of the car when he resisted their attempt to rob him. While they were fighting with the victim, three other accomplices armed with a country-made revolver and knife, who were behind in an autorickshaw, also joined them. They stabbed the victim in back and ran away with his revolver.



PNB enters 107th year
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
The Punjab National Bank marked its 107th anniversary day with its business crossing Rs 1 lakh crore.

The bank, which started its operations on Baisakhi day in 1895, was founded by far-sighted visionaries and patriots, Lala Lajpat Rai, E. C. Jesswala, Baby Kali Prasono Roy, Lala Harsishan Lal and Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia as part of the Swadeshi movement.

The bank’s business recorded a growth of 17.5 per cent over the last fiscal. It could achieve such a growth mainly due to its thrust on retail lending. The business of the bank in the last two years has increased by over 41 per cent, a release said here today.

The bank has computerised 2,055 branches enabling it to capture 77.8 per cent of the business through computers and has provided ATM facilities in 173 locations with card base of over Rs 1.12 lakh, while telebanking services and remote access facilities are provided in 111 offices and 27 offices, respectively.

The release said that PNB was the first bank in the country to provide electronic data interchange through which payment of customs duty and receipts of duty drawback were facilitated through electronic media. The bank had recently come out with its IPO for the first time to the tune of Rs 165 crore which was oversubscribed by more than 4.28 times and the bank could garner about Rs 703 crore.



Luxury tax on tobacco opposed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
The Akhil Delhi Paan Vikreta Association has criticised the Delhi Government’s proposal to levy luxury tax on tobacco. While addressing the press, the general secretary of the association expressed the disappointment of the 30,0000 odd retailers, many of whom voted for the Congress Party in the recent Municipal elections. He criticized the various provisions of the budget and said that the budget was anti-people and regressive and had completely neglected the plight of the poor people.

In particular, the association highlighted the government’s proposal to impose 20 per cent luxury tax on cigarettes. He quoted the past example of Bombay and Calcutta, where the government had imposed such a tax that had only led to a huge spurt in smuggling.

In such a scenario, while the government revenue collection hardly increased, the retailers were exposed to smugglers and other anti-social elements.

The general secretary of the association also highlighted the current decline in the sale of cigarettes while the sale of gutka and other chewing tobacco product was on the increase.

He added that such a step would not help control consumption of tobacco as more and more consumers would merely shift from cigarettes to other forms of relatively cheap tobacco products.

Bringing out the impact of such a measure, he said that over 30,000 members of the Akhil Delhi Pan Vikreta Association and families would be adversely affected with the decline in their income. With no other source of employment available to those involved in this trade, the association appealed to the government to rethink such a measure prior to their implementation. Mr Garg said over 12,000 retailers had submitted a memorandum to the government opposing the imposition of luxury tax on tobacco.


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