Thursday, April 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Rohtak medical faculty on the run
Jatinder Sharma


*The total emoluments of a PGIMS professor work out to Rs 10,000; a lecturer/reader gets
Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000.

* Haryana is the only state where non-practising allowance is not 25% of the basic pay.

*There are no norms for granting study leave. 

*At PGIMS, it takes a minimum 11 years for a lecturer to become a professor. Political interference is rampant in selections.

*A dean is yet to be appointed and a number of faculty posts are lying vacant.

Rohtak, April 17
The faculty of the Pt B D Sharma Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), the only government-owned medical college in the state, is a demoralised lot and searching for avenues elsewhere. A number of faculty members have recently left and many are planning to leave. Dr Sandhya Maheshwari, Dr N. D. Gupta, Dr R. K. Tiwari,, Dr Sunandan Sood, Dr K. K Gomber, Dr Mrs Gomber, Dr Ahok Janmeja, Dr Ravi Mahajan, Dr Mrs Ruchi Mahajan, Dr Amba Dua, Dr S. P. Yadav and Dr Kalra are some of those who have recently taken assignments in the neighbouring states, leaving the institute in a huff.

The reasons are not far to seek. The first and foremost is low pay-scales and fewer promotional avenues. The total emoluments paid to a professor at PGIMS here at the start of the scale are Rs 10,000, less than what their counterparts get in Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. Similarly, lecturers/readers get Rs 7,000 to Rs. 8,000, less compared to what their opposite numbers get in other states. Haryana is perhaps the only state where non-practising allowance (NPA) is not 25 per cent of the basic pay and is not being counted towards pension. The Fifth Pay Commission had recommended NPA at the rate of 25 per cent of the basic pay and forms part of the basic pay for all purposes, including pension.

All the states have adopted either this formula or allowed private practice. In Haryana, the government has neither allowed private practice nor given NPA at the above rates. The maximum NPA payable to a professor in Haryana is Rs 2,500 a month.

It takes minimum 11 years for a lecturer to become professor in PGIMS compared to the Central Government Health Services where the corresponding period is only 7 or 8 years. As a result, as many as seven faculty members have left and joined Chandigarh medical college lately. The Medical Teachers Association in the PGIMS and the HCMS Association have been fighting for these issues from time to time. Another point of contention is political interference in selections. There are numerous examples where junior-most persons having very low merit as per prescribed norms, in certain departments, were selected as professors and heads of departments. Such incidents led to frustration in those who had been superseded. Consequently, they did not cooperate with their bosses.

There are no norms for granting study leave or extraordinary leave in the PGIMD. Many faculty members, who remained absent from duty and were doing private practice or job in outside institutions for years together and had inquiry reports against them, have been recently allowed to join back on their original seniority whereas many others similarly placed were dismissed in the past. Those who have ‘godfathers’ were allowed to do post-doctoral degree with full pay whereas others were summarily denied study leave. Although no faculty member is ready to say anything on record, resentment is palpable on the campus. There appears an attitude of ‘no concern and avoidance’. The government has not given a fair deal to the faculty either, it is alleged.

It has not so far appointed the dean who was selected in December 2000 and it has changed seven directors of the institute during the last less than three years. Last week only, a retired major-general was appointed the 7th director of the institute.

The result is that a large number of faculty posts are lying vacant and those working are a frustrated lot. No one has ever applied for the post of professor in super speciality department which has been lying vacant despite repeated advertisements.

Although the institute has been named as a ‘post-graduate institute’, there have been no efforts to raise it to that level. The allotted budget of this PGIMS is less than half in comparison to the neighbouring post-graduate institutes.



At the mercy of callous officials & surging waters
Pradeep Sharma

Kalkha (Panipat), April 17
Even as Haryana farmers reap a bumper crop, their counterparts in Kalkha, Sutana and Karad villages are on the verge of starvation. The Drain No 3, which passes through these villages, has become a drain of woes, rendering 1,000 acres of fertile land waste.

And with their repeated representations to the authorities falling on deaf ears, the marginal farmer, who has no other sources of income, has begun leaving his hearth and home in search of employment. Already, a dozen families have reportedly shifted to the nearby Jatal town in search of greener pastures. The worst part is that there are no takers for agricultural land, forcing the farmers to sell their holdings for a song. Perhaps, Kalkha is the worst hit as over 500 acres have been rendered useless. The drain, the bed of which has not been dug up for several years, is a classical example of the authorities’ neglect. Result: the drain is always in a spate and floods the nearby fields, rendering them non-tillable.

Till about seven years back, the drain would only carry the ground water and empty it in the Gohana area of Sonepat district. However, the farmers’ fortunes took a turn for the worse, when the water from the Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Station began flowing into the drain. Initially, only a small area was flooded. But, with the passage of time, the situation deteriorated and now hundreds of acres of land lies submerged. Alarmed at the development, the villagers started petitioning the authorities, including the thermal power authorities and the district administration. Three chief ministers – Bhajan Lal, Bansi Lal and Om Parkash Chautala – have been apprised of the situation, but nothing has been done so far.

According to Sunhera Singh, a former sarpanch whose land has faced the fury of the surging waters, says that the farmers have no option but to move court. Sunhera Singh points out that he has spent about Rs 3 lakh on filling earth in his 11 acres. However, this has not helped and he was toying with the idea of selling his property and moving to a safer place. However, what has come as a shock to the farmers is the dilly-dalling attitude of the INLD Government. It may be mentioned that Mr Satbir Kadian, Haryana Speaker and Naultha MLA, under whose constituency the villages fall, had reportedly asked the concerned department to do the needful last year. However, the authorities action is still awaited.



Can a criminal commit a crime in custody?
Tribune News Service

Panipat, April 17
Can a criminal in custody commit a crime? The answer may be no but the Panipat police has “allowed” Jasbir alias Nanha, a resident of Siwah village, to perform this feat. His name was included in a challan in a car snatching case in Model Town last year, even though he was in judicial custody at that time.

According to information, Jasbir, along with another criminal, Pradeep, tried to loot a car on the GT Road on October 25 last year. However, they were taken by surprise as the car driver opened fire on them. An injured Jasbir was shifted to the local civil hospital. As the information reached the police, they cordoned off the hospital hoping to pick up Jasbir and Pradeep. But Jasbir’s friends duped the police and shifted the former to a Model Town hospital. And, before the police could lay their hands on him, he was reportedly shifted to Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute at Rohtak. It was only on October 26 that the police raided the institute and arrested Jasbir. An Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate visited the institute and remanded Jasbir to 14 days’ judicial remand.

And from here the story takes a new turn, which indicates a casual approach and carelessness on the part of the police. On October 27, the car of a trader was snatched in the Model Town area and the hand of the Pradeep gang was suspected.

As usual, and without verifying the facts, the police included Jasbir’s name in the FIR, not realizing that he was in judicial custody till November 8. If that was not enough, a challan was produced in the local court that named Jasbir as one of the accused. The police was at the receiving end today in the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ms Neelima Shangla. The defence counsel, Mr Rajbir Kadian and Mr Surinder Ahlawat, put the police on the mat and wondered how Jasbir’s name was included in the challan. The judge later granted bail to Jasbir.



The why and wherefore of the CNG crisis – I
Tribune News Service

Beginning today, the NCR Tribune, in a three-part series, will attempt to trace the origin of the transport crisis with which the Capital is grappling.

New Delhi, April 17
The transport crisis had its beginning three years ago (July 8, 1998), when the Supreme Court ruled that the passenger bus fleet of Delhi be increased from 6,000 to 10,000 by April 1, 2001 and, moreover, the entire fleet be converted to CNG.

The objective was to expand the city’s public transport system and also to control pollution. Incremental steps, such as putting only new buses on CNG, would have taken over a decade to arrest the pollution in the Capital, the world’s most polluted city.

Not only were diesel buses contributing heavily to particulate pollution, the city also had possibly the highest bus density in the world. And the fleet continues to grow rapidly with more and more vehicles hitting the road. To deal with pollution from petrol-driven vehicles, the SC had ordered the exclusive use of unleaded and low benzene petrol and adoption of advanced Euro II vehicular standards within five years.

By August 2001, Delhi had the largest fleet of CNG buses in the world. There were 2,394 buses, over 27,000 autos and 14,000 other vehicles running on CNG. But without adequate supply of gas, the future of these vehicles looked bleak.

When the deadline for converting the entire public fleet to CNG expired, all parties concerned thronged the SC to air their grievances - schools, private bus operators and auto drivers’ unions. They either pleaded for more time, raised doubts about the CNG technology or questioned the wisdom of depending on an untried technology.

The court, in its order of March 26, gave a conditional extension to commercial transporters to run diesel vehicles till September 30, 2001. The extension was given on the ground that the operators would obtain special permits issued by the Delhi Administration only if they had placed orders to replace their diesel vehicle with CNG. After waiting for over 32 months, the officials of the ministry of petroleum suddenly realised that the judges were serious, they roused themselves from the slumber and asked the court what in its opinion was a clean fuel. The court directed the EPCA - also known as the Bhure Lal Committee – to file a report on whether 10 ppm sulphur diesel can be considered a clean fuel and what other fuels were not harmful to the environment and to public health..

In what is now being described as an attempt to confound the issue, the new buzzwords were: ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) and low sulphur diesel (LSD). According to the experts of the Centre For Science and Environment, which had spearheaded the campaign, the trick lies in the use of zero without explaining the difference adequately. Thus, while LSD has 0.05 per cent (500 ppm) sulphur, ULSD has less, around 0.001 per cent (10 ppm) sulphur - a difference of 50 times. The proponents of diesel glossed over this difference and touted ULSD as an easier and cleaner alternative. They did not explain that this fuel was already available in Delhi and that it would be 30 times more carcinogenic than CNG, according to most international studies.

Meanwhile, political parties started blaming each other for the mess. Parvez Hashmi, the then Delhi’s transport minister, demanded ad nauseam an alternative fuel. Ram Naik, the Union minister of petroleum and natural gas, launched a campaign to get the 0.05 per cent or 500 ppm sulphur diesel, introduced only a few months ago in Delhi under immense pressure from the court, to be declared a ‘clean fuel’. Privately and in government committees, nobody talked of 10 ppm sulphur diesel.

(Second part tomorrow)



CSE files FIR against cyber ‘canard’

New Delhi April 17
The Centre for Science and Environment, which has been in the forefront on the CNG issue in the Capital, today filed an FIR in Ambedkar Nagar police station alleging that a cyber campaign has been launched against the green group to tarnish its reputation. The green group, in a release said, it has come to its notice that an e-mail message is in wide circulation from a portal called [email protected] maligning CSE and misrepresenting the facts of its campaign on CNG.

The views expressed in this e-mail are supposedly from an Independent News Agency. It is a complete fabrication and a deliberate attempt to create confusion at this crucial juncture when the Supreme Court has demanded urgent implementation of its order. The CSE said the content of the mail is an intentional act of defamation against the institution, its director Sunita Narain and other members, including its coordinator of ‘Right to Clean Air Campaign’, Anumita Roychowdhury. The message says that CSE has issued public statements retracting its stand on CNG and tendering an apology to the citizens of Delhi.

“This is completely untrue,” the release added. TNS



Private hands will now keep Haryana clean
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 17
The state government is considering a proposal to hand over the work of cleanliness and maintenance of street lights to private hands in about 14 more towns. Faridabad is the first town in the state where a part of cleanliness work and operation of water tube-wells had been entrusted to private bodies on contract.

According to the officials of the department of Urban Development, the process of privatisation of some of the civic amenities has already started. The towns, which are proposed to be brought within the ambit of the scheme, include Bahadurgarh and Panchkula and 12 municipal councils and committees reconstituted recently.

According to the authorities, the shifting of dairies out of about 36 towns in the state had started and the deputy commissioners concerned had submitted their reports in this regard. Six of these towns fall in the NCR. The proposal to shift dairies out of Faridabad has also been finalised. The joint commissioners of various zones have been told to provide alternate plots where the dairies will be relocated.



Proposal to beef up Delhi Police
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, today informed the Rajya Sabha that the Delhi Police had a sizeable number of sophisticated weapons in its armoury which included self-loading and bolt-action 7.62 mm rifles, carbines, AK-47s and MP-5s. Besides these weapons, procurement of additional quantities of such sophisticated weapons was at hand, he said.

In reply to another question, he said the Delhi Police had forwarded a proposal to the Centre for augmenting the strength of the security force. In written replies in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said the government had asked the Bureau of Police Research and Development to undertake an in-depth study in order to make a rational and comprehensive assessment of the manpower and modernisation requirements of the Delhi Police.

He said the report submitted by the bureau had been examined and several recommendations, including that about strengthening of the security force, had been accepted by the government.

However, as the implementation of these recommendations entailed a substantial expenditure and creation of a large number of posts, the Delhi Police had been advised to prioritise their requirements so as to implement these recommendations in a phased manner over a reasonable period of time, he said.

In reply to another question, he said there has been a marginal increase in crimes against women this year, especially the cruelty by husbands and in-laws and kidnapping and abduction of women.



BJP report on MCD debacle in a week 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
The three-member committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party, specially set up to analyse the cause of the party’s dismal performance in the recent Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls, would submit its report within a week.

Party sources said the committee headed by Choudhary Nihal Singh had interacted with a cross section of party workers, district and mandal leaders to assess the reasons for the BJP’s debacle in the polls. Indications are that the much-expected revamping of the party would be undertaken only after the report is discussed by the party leadership.

The party could only secure 17 seats in the 134-member ward and in most of the cases the party candidates won by razor thin margin. Incidentally, in the last corporation, the party had 79 elected representatives.

Sources said the party workers attributed the poor performance to injudicious ticket distribution, lack of constructive work by the sitting corporators in the respective areas, lack of interaction between the elected representative and the party worker, Budget proposals of the Union government and growing indiscipline within the organisation and the perennial differences between the two former BJP chief ministers of Delhi, Sahib Singh Verma ad Madan Lal Khurana.

They said the report would also suggest the strategy to be adopted by the party to ensure its presence in the Capital during the Assembly polls, which are scheduled to be held in the national Capital next year.

While the report is unlikely to point fingers at the state unit leadership and subdued participation of the BJP MPs in the election campaign, sources said the report would stress on the lack of complete organisational support to the candidates resulting in the virtual rout of the party.

Party sources said the Delhi unit of party has been given enough indication that it would be revamped in the coming weeks to strengthen the organisational network.

The party’s poor performance figured in the BJP national executive meet in Goa and the Delhi unit president, Mr Mange Ram Garg, sources said, had to face the ire of the Central leadership.

The report submitted by Mr Garg at the party’s Goa meet blamed the Union Budget as the primary reason for the party’s poor performance and erosion of the party’s reliable middle class vote bank.

Mr Garg also pointed out that the freeze on the rotation of the seats did not produce the desired result, rather it boomeranged and affected the poll prospects of the candidates.

The timing of the polls, the Delhi unit president said, proved costly for the party. “Had the MCD polls been held along with the assembly polls, the BJP would not have performed so badly. The Congress victory in Punjab and other states and the anti-middle class Budget drastically affected the performance of the party,” he said.

Despite the drubbing, the party believes that it was not a pro-Congress vote, which resulted in the party securing 108 wards in the corporation.

“The BJP had expected the minority vote bank to shift towards the third force, but this did not happen. The party supporters did not come out to cast their ballot and those who did, cast their vote against the BJP and not in favour of the Congress,” he said.



Border areas: Haryana to encourage 
pvt bus operators
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 17
The Haryana Transport Department has decided to grant permits to private operators of the districts bordering Rajasthan for plying buses to meet the losses being suffered by the Haryana Roadways on account of the introduction of private bus services by the Rajasthan Government.

In an interview with this correspondent, Mr Ashok Arora, Transport Minister, said today that the scheme was underway and it would be announced shortly. He said that the Haryana Roadways had been suffering a huge loss of revenue on account of the plying of private buses of Rajasthan. The roadways depots of Sirsa, Bhiwani, Hisar, Fatehabad and Narnaul were the worst hit.

He said that private operators of the above-mentioned districts would be issued permits for plying their buses in a big way and this would not hit the roadways’ services. He declared that only the unauthorised operators would be stopped from plying buses to check tax evasion by them.

The Minister termed the reports appearing in a section of the Press regarding the privatisation of five depots as totally incorrect and misleading. He made it clear that there was no proposal to close any depot or retrench staff. He alleged that such rumours were being spread by some mischievous elements to malign the image of the INLD government headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

The minister disclosed that the Haryana Roadways had already taken a series of measures to encourage the tourists and provide bus services to them for visiting the holy and historical places in the state. He announced that the roadways authorities would introduce two deluxe buses from Kurukshetra for this purpose.

He also disclosed that the department would introduce the computerised booking from all the district headquarters shortly for the benefits of the tourists and travelling public.

The Minister termed the Sonepat depot as a profit-making depot in the state and the present General Manager H. C. Jain was solely responsible for it.

He commended the services of Mr Jain and asked other general managers of the depots to follow the steps taken by Mr Jain in increasing the revenue of the depots.



This school teaches them to face the exam of life
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, April 17
The deaf and dumb suffer under grave disabilities and deserve the full sympathy and help of others. Fortunately despite their disabilities, many of them have succeeded in making their lives productive. There is no doubt that this can be done and that they can play their part in many ways like able citizens of our country and become an asset to the nation.

With this belief as the basis, the All India Deaf and Dumb Society is running a unique school in the name of Premalabai School for Deaf and Dumb Children in the Kardkari More area since 1974. At present, more than 250 deaf mute children get their primary and middle level education here. It is the first school of its kind in the trans-Yamuna area.

The honorary administrator of this school, Mr V. S. Saxena, says that due to the population pressure in our country, even normal children do not get adequate educational opportunities, let alone employment opportunities. “In such a situation, any physically challenged child always faces the threat of being left out to fend for himself in life. Our school in its unique way has ensured that at least a few of such unfortunate children get adequate education which prepares them to take up job opportunities. However when the population of deaf and dumb children in the trans-Yamuna area is between 30,000 and 35,000, our effort is not up to the mark,” he says.

He further informs that most of the students in the school belong to the economically weaker sections. They are unable to pay even the normal tuition fees and therefore, both education and hostel facilities are being given free or at highly subsidised rates to most of the students.

Moreover, adequate transport facilities are also being provided to the day scholars by hiring four mini-buses. Other facilities include provision for watching television, a library, space and equipment for indoor and outdoor games, a recreation room etc. The society conducts tours to different parts of India once a year for its students and members.

The school’s main source of finance is the Delhi Government, he says. It bears about 90 per cent of the expenditure of the school. The rest comes from membership and subscription fees, donations, gifts etc.



Chautala inaugurates four projects
Our correspondent

Jhajjar, April 17
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was on an inauguration spree in the district today. During his one-day tour, the CM inaugurated as many as four projects at different places in the district. The projects included a water supply augmentation station built at a cost of Rs 135 lakh and a Vita chilling plant that cost Rs 75 lakh in Matenhale village, a newly constructed sabzi mandi complex with an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh in Jhajjar town and a community development centre constructed at a cost of Rs 13 lakh in the Block Development Office in Beri village.

Mr Chautala gave out several promises while addressing the gatherings at these places, including rooting out the perennial problem of water shortage in the district, providing uninterrupted and adequate electricity, brick lining of all the khals and desilting of all the canals, getting water from the SYL canal in the state at the earliest and opening of a sainik school in Matenhale.

“The state government is aiming at providing 70 litres of water per person in all the 7,000 villages of Haryana within the next two years. New water works are being constructed and the capacity of an old one is being augmented to achieve this,” declared the CM after inaugurating the augmentation scheme in Matenhale village.

He informed that Rs 61 crore had been earmarked to achieve the target only for the Jhajjar district, of which Rs 21 crore had been spent. Holding that he does not believe in making false and unrealisable promises, he said that the state government would be able to generate so much power that after fulfilling the requirement of our people, “we could sell our electricity to other states”.

The Chief Minister said that the government had completed 26,000 out of the total 32,000 declarations made during the two phases of the Sarkar Apke Dwar, and thus had created history in providing basic amenities to the people in the state. He claimed that Haryana would be a trouble-free and ideal state to live in after the completion of the third phase of the scheme.

Stating that the problem of water for irrigation will be settled once and for all after the arrival of SYL water and the completion of renovation work of the canals and minors, he called upon the farmers to discard the wheat-paddy cycle and apply diversification of crops and grow more oilseeds and cash crops.

MP from Rohtak Capt Inder Singh, Revenue Minister Dirpal, Deputy Speaker of the Haryana Assembly Gopi Chand Gahlot and Agriculture Minister Jasvinder Singh Sandhu were also present on the occasion.



Double murder: Shopkeepers to down shutters
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 17
The action committee of the Traders’ Association has announced its decision to down the shutters of shops on April 22, the day the Chief Minister is visiting Gohana town, in protest against the failure of the police to apprehend the suspects involved in the double murder committed on the night of last Monday.

According to a report, the traders and shopkeepers will wear black badges and hold a “peaceful” demonstration to apprise the Chief Minister of the deteriorating law and order situation in the town and the failure of the police to curb the activities of the anti-social elements and criminals.

Gohana, a sub-divisional town in the district, observed a complete bandh on Tuesday in protest against the alleged shooting down of Phool Singh, a truck driver, and Pawan, an accountant of a brick-kiln. The latter was to get married on May 15. Both the victims were carrying about Rs 1 lakh in a bag and returning home when the incident occurred. A 12-year-old boy, Sonu, was accompanying them but the suspects had asked him to flee before they attacked the victims.

On hearing a hue and cry, a Head Constable tried to apprehend the armed youths but failed as the culprits fired shots at him also and fled on their motorcycle.

Irate shopkeepers and truck drivers held up traffic for a few hours on Tuesday but the police and officials succeeded in lifting the blockade.

Leaders of various political parties arrived on the scene and joined the protest. They include Mr Dharampal Singh Malik, former MP and former HPCC president, Mr Azad Singh Nehra, district president of the Human Rights Cell of the Congress, Mr Jagbir Singh Malik, a former minister and HVP leader, and Mr Narinder Gehlawat, an INLD leader.

Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, a BJP MP, today strongly condemned the double murder and urged the government to give Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the bereaved families of each of the victims. However, an all-party prayer meeting demanded the grant of Rs 10 lakh each as compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.



Round the world in a Gypsy to save earth
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
Two environment enthusiasts from Pondicherry today embarked on a world tour to promote awareness about environmental protection and to spread the message of world peace and nuclear disarmament.

The two enthusiasts, Mr T. Srinivasa Rao and Mr R. Gnanasekaran, will undertake the world tour on a Maruti Gypsy King. The tour will conclude at the UN Headquarters in New York in December 2002.

The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Gingee N. Ramachandran, flagged them off in their Maruti Gypsy at a function here. Mr Jagdish Khattar, managing director,

Maruti Udyog Limited, was also present on the occasion.

Mr Rao and Mr Gnanasekaran have been using this route to spread the message of world peace and environment protection for the past 16 years. They have worked for these objectives as part of their campaign, ‘Mission Save Earth’.

The duo began their campaign in 1986 by travelling nearly 65,000 km across 38 countries on a bicycle. The second such endeavour was during 1990-93 when they covered 1.6 lakh km across 70 countries in a Maruti Gypsy.

This was followed by a tour covering 55,000 km during 1996-98 in a Maruti Zen. Finally, their fourth tour on a Maruti Gypsy concluded recently, during which they travelled 50,000 km.

Mr Rao and Mr Gnanasekaran are furthering their mission by interacting with a whole range of people, from world leaders and policy makers to students and youth organisations. During their earlier trips, they have met UN Secretaries General Javier Perez De Cueller, Dr Boutros Boutros Ghali and Mr Kofi Annan. They have also addressed thousands of students world-wide and motivated them to set up forums for environment protection.

“Environmental destruction in the past was small in scale with only a limited area of impact. With globalisation and spread of the consumer culture, the threat to the environment has increased manifold, thus increasing the role and importance of people-based initiatives like ours,” the duo said.



Foundation stone for sub-station laid
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 17
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today laid the foundation stone of 132-KV sub-station at Kheri Meham village. The sub-station, proposed to be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 6.37 crore, would benefit nearly 22,000 consumers in 25 villages.

The power consumers of Meham, Kheri Meham, Bhaini Mato, Bhaini Maharajpur, Ballambha, Bharan, Titri, Ganganagar, Nindana, Bainsi, Gugaheri, Kharak Jatan, Farmana, Bedva, Bhaini Chanderpal, Bhaini Surjan, Saman, Madina, Girawar, Ajaib, Kharkara and Mokhra villages would be benefited after the completion of the sub-station. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also inaugurated a water boosting station.

Dowry death

The Meham police today registered a case against the in-laws of a woman who committed suicide by consuming poison at Mokhra village. The complainant, Ms Sheela, mother of the victim, alleged in the FIR that the in-laws of her daughter, Poonam, often harassed her for dowry and forced her into committing suicide. A case under Sections 304-B, 498-A and 120-B of the IPC has been registered in this regard following the direction by a court in Meham.

Govt flayed

A former Haryana Minister, Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, has condemned the arrest of farmers and their leaders at Kaithal and Jind recently. He has demanded their immediate release and talks to solve the pending demands. In a statement here today, Mr Hooda described the arrest of farmers as a “terrorising act” by the state government, which he said wanted to quell by force all types of opposition and resentment against its policies.

Fire in factory

Machinery and goods worth several lakhs of rupees were burnt in a devastating fire that broke out in a plywood factory on the Jatola road near Saidpur village, about 25 km from here, on Tuesday evening. According to a report, fire tenders from Sonepat, Ganaur, Gohana, Bahadurgarh and Delhi rushed to the site and brought the fire under control after seven hours. The employees and residents of the village too joined in dousing the fire. It is stated that sparks from a starter fell on the thermo-oil pipeline leading to the fire. The loss is still being ascertained by the owner 



Road named after Scindia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
Canning Road near Mandi House will be known as Shrimant Madhavrao Scindia Marg. Accompanied by Ms Madhaviraje Scindia and newly elected Member of Parliament and her son Jyotiraditya Scindia, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit unveiled the plaque dedicating the road in memory of the late Congress MP today. As the road fell within the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) limits, Ms Dikshit said the council would be entrusted with the task of upkeep of the road. Present on the occasion were Congress MP Natwar Singh and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Chopra.



Heroin unit unearthed in Sultanpuri
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
The Special staff of West Delhi police today claimed to have unearthed a heroin-manufacturing unit for the first time in Sultanpuri and arrested three persons. Acting on a secret information, sleuths of the special cell carried out a raid and unearthed the heroin manufacturing unit and seized 8.2 kg of narcotics.

The arrested persons were identified as Pradeep Chauhan, Sandeep Chauhan and Ramvir Singh Chauhan. The police also seized sodium bicarbonate and other materials used to refine opium into heroin. Besides, the Narcotics Branch of the Delhi Police arrested three persons in different cases. Madan, a resident of Bhagwanpur village in Baghpat district of UP, was arrested from near Ring Road Monastery in North Delhi while he was going to deliver the consignment to one of his contacts in the Capital.

During a personal search, 500 gm of heroin was recovered. During interrogation, he disclosed hat he used to deal with hashish earlier. Since selling heroin is more lucrative, he shifted from hashish to heroin. His brother was also involved in a drug trafficking racket in Bareilly.

In another case, sleuths of the Narcotics Department arrested Manohar Singh, a resident of Meghalai Khas village in Azamgarh district of UP, from Ajmeri Gate in the walled city. About 500 gm of heroin was recovered from him. In yet another case Poppy Singh, a resident of Sagrur district in Punjab, was arrested from ISBT, Kashmere Gate while he was bringing poppy husk from Shahjahanpur in Rajasthan.



DTC driver loses life in bid to separate 
clashing students
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
A DTC bus driver was killed after an unidentified person hit him with a stone on his nose when he tried to intervene in a clash between a group of school students in Lajpat Nagar today.

The victim, Rajinder Singh (45), was hit on his nose after which he collapsed with blood oozing out from his nose. He was immediately taken to the AIIMS but was declared brought dead. The police said that a case had been registered and efforts were being made to identify the suspect.

According to the police, some school students were making their monthly bus passes at the DTC computer counter near Government Sarvodaya Balvidyalaya opposite Central Market in Lajpat Nagar.

The clash was triggered when a student from DAV school in Jangpura who came there to make his pass lost his wallet and started accusing other students of pick-pocketing. This led to an exchange of heated arguments, which soon escalated into a clash. There was total pandemonium at the pass counter for sometime. Watching the students fighting, Rajinder Singh who was standing near the pass counter started separating them in his efforts to prevent a serious incident.

While he was busy separating the clashing students, an unidentified person suddenly appeared and started questioning Rajinder as to why he was intervening in the matter. He then hit him with a stone on his nose after which Rajinder collapsed on the spot. The person later fled the spot. The bus No 304, which Rajinder was driving, was taken to the Sukdev Vihar bus depot. Agitated staff of the DTC gathered at the depot and demanded action against the suspect.

The police said that the statement of some of the eyewitnesses had been recorded and efforts were being made to trace the suspect whose description had been flashed to all the police stations. He was described as young in his early twenties and ordinarily dressed.



Woman gang raped in park
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 17
A married woman was allegedly gang raped in front of her husband in the Ashok Vihar area of North-West district on Tuesday night. The woman was taking a stroll with her husband in a park in the night when a gang of five unidentified youths surrounded the couple and gang raped the woman. The police was informed in early in the morning. The victim was admitted to RML Hospital where she had not been in a position to give any statement to the police.

Head chopped: The Dabri police arrested a helper of Shivani Public School bus, Ravider, on the charge of murdering his cousin, Sanjay, and destroying evidence. The victim, who worked as a security guard with a factory in Mehrauli, went to meet the accused as both were cousins. The victim stayed in the night along with Ravinder in the school building. Since Ravinder had doubts that the victim had illicit relations with one of his relatives, he chopped his cousin’s head with a sharp-edged weapon. He then hid the head in a dustbin of the school and threw the body out of the boundary wall of the school to avoid its identification. The head of the victim, blood-soaked cloths and weapon of offence were recovered from the accused.

Peon murdered: Mehar Chand (55), who worked as a peon-cum-watchman in a leather factory in the Okhla Industrial Area, was found murdered at the reception of the factory this morning. When the incident occurred, he was alone in the factory. He was found dead with his limbs tied at the reception counter. His body bore injuries caused by some sharp-edged weapons. Some leather goods were found missing which suggested that robbery could be the motive of the murder. The reception was also ransacked, the police said.

Factory looted: One-and-a-half tons of aluminum were robbed by eight unidentified youths from a factory in Narela early this morning. Ten labourers, who belong to Bihar, worked in the factory. The robbers entered the factory and locked them in one room in the factory at gunpoint and loaded the aluminum in a TATA 407 and drove away.



Girl stabbed to death in house

New Delhi, April 17
A 20-year-old BA (correspondence) student, Raj Saini, was found stabbed to death at her house in Bhagawathi Vihar in Uttam Nagar today. The body of the girl was discovered around 11 am. When her mother went to her room, she found her dead with multiple stab wounds in the body.

The police said that the girl slept in the ground floor while her mother and younger sister slept on the rooftop in the night. Since the girl had a habit of studying even late in the night, her mother didn’t disturb her from sleep in the morning. It was only around 11 am she went to the room to wake her daughter up but was shocked to notice her daughter lying in a pool of blood.

According to the police, the house was found intact and there were no signs of ransacking or theft. It was a friendly entry and someone who was known to the girl was probably involved in the crime. The police are not ruling out the sex-angle behind the murder. A case of murder has been registered and the body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. TNS



Disabled youth helps catch hospital peon 
taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 17
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, announced a cash award of Rs 10,000 to a resident of Amarpur village for his help in getting an employee of Bhadshah Khan Civil Hospital here caught red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 today.

The accused, identified as Raghunath, is working as a peon in the hospital.

Khem Chand, a physically challenged youth of Amarpur village, complained to the district authorities that the Peon had demanded a bribe for getting him the `physically handicapped’ certificate from the hospital.

A team consisting of Naib Tehsildar Ram Kumar and ASP Jagroop Rathi laid a trap.

The team caught the employee red-handed taking the money from Khem Chand. The employee was arrested and a case of corruption booked against him.

This is the first case of bribery after the Deputy Commissioner announced recently cash award of Rs 20,000 and Rs 10,000 to the individuals who help in getting gazetted and non-gazetted officials caught indulging in corrupt practices.



Tool unit yet to pay wages for 42 months

Faridabad, April 17
A tool-manufacturing company here has not released the salary and bonus of its workers for a period of 42 months between 1996 and March 2000. The aggrieved employees have now sought the help of the district administration to get their dues released.

The affected workers of the industrial unit today appeared before the Deputy Commissioner in the weekly Open Darbar and demanded his intervention. They said several workers and their families had been on the brink of starvation because of the no-release of their salaries. The Deputy Commissioner has asked the Deputy Labour Commissioner to take up the issue and help in getting the arrears of the factory employees released. The authorities, in response to another complaint lodged by the widow of a martyr of Satwa Garhi village, asked the police chief to provide security to the petitioner, who had alleged that some of her kin had threatened to kill her and her son over the issue of irrigating the fields. The darbar took up as many as 55 complaints today. TNS


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