Friday, May 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Gurgaon ritzy flats put Beverly Hills to shame
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, May 2
A house is not just four walls, these days it is all the modern conveniences in one place. Sounds Eden-like! Well, that is what is happening in Gurgaon. It is called the condominium culture, which essentially means that the residents get all facilities within the complex. And it has come here to stay. Get set to lead the life of Riley! More than 30 state-of-the-art modern condominiums are being built in Gurgaon. In fact, within a radius of 10 kilometres, more than 8,000 apartments with the latest facilities have either been completed or are in various stages of construction.

Garden Estate, developed by Gulmohar Estate Pvt Ltd, was perhaps the trend-setter. “Ours is the finest condominium complex in India,” claims the president of Garden Estate Resident Welfare Association, Mr Jolly Bhargava. The mini-city for the super-rich is almost run on the lines of a five-star hotel. House-keeping, a club with a swimming pool, squash, table tennis, a beauty parlour, gymnasium, etc are the frills being offered. Power breakdowns are unheard of, given the huge generators, which run air-conditioners and water treatment plants.

Mr Bhargava told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the residents’ association was managing the complex since 1996. “We have framed a code of conduct which every resident abides by, to keep up its greenery, cleanness and ambience,” said the president.

The colony, developed on the UK model, has retired senior bureaucrats, army officials, ambassadors and prominent personalities as its proud residents. There are 273 apartments and 100 houses in the Garden Estate.

Unitech Ltd took a cue from Gulmohar Estate and constructed the Heritage City. Again, to lure prospective flat owners in these days of real estate slump, a club, a plaza, a jogging track, crescent-shaped buildings, a green park, remote- controlled security and generators were thrown in.

The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, is one of the well-known personalities who purchased an apartment there.

DLF Universal Ltd is building more than 5,000 apartments in numerous condos in the city. Besides other safety measures, all DLF high-rise buildings are built in accordance with the seismic zone standards.

The cost of one apartment in Beverly Park is around Rs 60 lakh, in Windsor Court Rs 45 lakh, in Hamilton Court Rs 50 lakh, and in Richmond Park Rs 35 lakh. DLF Qutab Enclave, in keeping with this trend, has been dubbed the DLF City.

HLF Enterprises Pvt Ltd is building an ambience Island – an integrated township on the Gurgaon-Delhi border on National Highway no 8. According to its marketing director, Italian marble has been used in the apartments. The flats also boast of the latest electronic gadgets. The cost of a five bed room apartment is around Rs. 1.25 crore whereas a four bedroom apartment will cost Rs. 85 crore. The cost of a three and two bed room apartment is around Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 30 lakh, respectively. “Our apartments are ready to move where one can move with bag and baggage and settle there permanently”, said the director.

Ansal Properties is not far behind. Its most luxurious apartment, the Pent Home, only twelve in number, has a terrace garden, a separate small swimming pool, a spacious lobby besides other round-the-clock facilities. The cost of a Pent Home is Rs. 90 lakh. If one wants to live separately and not in condominium, there are the French and Continental villas in Palam Vihar, costing Rs. 60 lakh and Rs. 50 lakh, respectively, built by the Ansals.

Malibu Township, spread over 180 acres, is another prominent city, located on the Sohna-Alwar road, where state-of-the-art apartments have been constructed. This township has around 370 condominiums, 450 flats and more than 900 residential plots.


End of the tunnel for Tubewell Corporation
Rs 80 cr could go down the drain, but who cares?
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 2
The reported decision of the Haryana Government to wind up the Minor Irrigation Tubewell Corporation (MITC) may prove a major setback to the irrigation schemes in the thirsty Mewat region here.

Also at stake is Rs 80 crore, which is being provided by the National Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (NABARD) to the MITC. This aid would cease once MITC downs shutters. The government seems to have scant regard for the crores that may be frittered away in this manner.

According to departmental sources, the money had been sanctioned to construct cemented canals and channels to provide irrigation facilities in about 125 villages, covering 1,300 hectares in the region, comprising Faridabad and Gurgaon districts. Although the department concerned had already received the aid, it is learnt that the higher authorities managing the tubewell corporation favoured its winding up, mainly due to its financial dependence on the State government. This development has put a question mark on the construction work of cemented channels and the use of the funds received from NABARD.

While the farmers have been demanding more water for years, the decision to close down MITC has led to panic among the staff as the fate of about 3,600 employees hangs in the balance. The Sarva Karamchari Sangh, Haryana, has condemned the decision of the government to wind up the MITC.

Mewat is one of the most backward regions of the state, mainly due to lack of irrigational facilities. The area has minimal rainfall, and the residents mainly depend on tubewell water, which is becoming a scarce commodity due to the receding water table. As a result, thousands of acres have been lying waste. The agriculture activity has also suffered a massive setback. Although there are several small canals and channels in the area, most of them are uncemented (kutcha). As a result, water dries up as it flows. The tail-ends of water channels hardly get sufficient water. As the region is already facing acute shortage of water, the authorities have not chalked out long-term plans to improve the irrigational facilities in the region, feel the farmers. They say any delay in constructing the cemented channels could only lead compound their woes.


No takers for power dues waiver scheme 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, May 2
The Haryana Government has waived the electricity bills of agricultural tubewell consumers for 1995, the year the state witnessed unprecedented floods.

This was disclosed by Deputy Commissioner Anil Malik while addressing a sammelan of the erstwhile and sitting sarpanches and panches here today. He impressed upon the village leaders to prevail upon the defaulters to pay the outstanding electricity bills by May 15.

The government, he told the gathering, had introduced a new power dues waiver scheme, which envisages waiver of 75 per cent of the bill amount, if 25 per cent of the amount was paid in lumpsum by May 15.

No government, he told the village elders, could provide free power to its consumers, including agricultural consumers. “The consumer will have to pay for power consumed by him,” he said, making the government policy on the subject very clear.

The Haryana Vidut Parsaran Nigam (HVPN} has nearly 108837 rural consumers in the district of whom 49,336 are defaulters. They jointly owe over Rs 73.60 crore to the HVPN. The power consumers of village Kiloi lead the defaulters’ list in the district as they owe over Rs 6.06 crore. The rural consumers do not appear to be very enthusiastic about the new waiver scheme. This became evident when the Deputy Commissioner failed to get any assurance about payment of outstanding bills from the defaulting consumers of village Kiloi, which he visited after the sammelan. He used all the weapons in his armoury to elicit a positive response, but the villagers refused to budge.

“We will take a final decision about the payment of the outstanding bills at a meeting of the Hooda Khaap, scheduled to be held at Kiloi on May 15,” the villagers told the Deputy Commissioner.

Although Mr Malik had to return empty handed, he was not disappointed. He believes that soon the defaulters will realize the folly of failing prey to the machinations of leaders who were misleading them for political gains.

The Deputy Commissioner, while responding to a suggestion from one of the sarpanch, said that stern action would be taken against the ‘Kundi connection’ consumers.

Over one lakh persons in the rural areas, he said, were meeting their electricity requirement through ‘kundi connection’, and thus burdening the transmission system.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Alok Rai, also advised the defaulting consumers to avail of the new waiver scheme and pay the outstanding bills. “Live with honour and pay the debt,’’ he told them.


Tata to offer basic telephony from Sept

New Delhi, May 2
The telecom battle in the Capital is hotting up with Tata Teleservices (TTL) today announcing its plans to launch its basic telephone services from September. The monopoly of the PSU, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, was recently breached with the entry of Touchtel of Bharti. However, the MTNL continues to have the largest share of city’s phone subscribers.

Announcing the company’s plan here, TTL managing director S. Ramakrishnan said the product offerings would include wire-line, fixed wireless, limited mobility, data services and a host of integrated telecom solutions. The company would invest Rs 800 crore over the next six years in Delhi to set up its future-proof network, he said.

Of all the offerings, limited mobility solution would be of special appeal to a wider section of the society as it would provide the mobility advantage of a cellular phone with a regular line’s call costs. These limited mobility services would be accessible through CDMA handsets, which are freely available, he said.

He said the company was optimistic of luring 100,000 subscribers in the first year and a turnover of Rs 30 crore by the end of this fiscal. TTL’s initial plans for Delhi are to launch the services in four commercial hubs — Nehru Place, Connaught Place, Bhikaiji Cama Place and Rajendra Place. Simultaneously, CDMA-based wireless services will be launched across the city. TNS


Kutch handicrafts set to outclass lifestyle stores
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
The resilient artisans of the Kutch region of Gujarat are now experimenting with the new and contemporary designs to improve the saleability of their handicrafts on the domestic and international market. ‘Kolors of Kutch’, showcasing handicrafts, metal work and terracotta, was inaugurated at Federation House, FICCI by Development Commissioner, Handicrafts, Tinoo Joshi here on Thursday. The exposition also puts the spotlight on one of the livelihood intervention projects made by FICCI and CARE India, an international relief and development agency, for the artisan community in the Kutch region after the earthquake.

Fourteen artisans from the region, including six women and eight men, are presenting the work of 200 artisans. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Amit Mitra, secretary-general, FICCI said the event was “small but very powerful symbolically”.

He said that the objective of the endeavour is to establish a direct link between the artisan and the market. The artisans have received sample orders worth Rs 2 lakh at the Amabiante International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan recently, he added. Acknowledging the artisans’ participation in the trade fair to Care India’s network, Dr Mitra said, “That was a window which did not exist and has been put in place.”

FICCI and CARE are supporting 3,000 artisans to be owners of a financially sustainable institution - the Business Resource Centre (BRC) at Bhuj to enhance artisans’ livelihood in the Kutch region. The initiative enables artisans with disrupted livelihood to bargain effectively for their share of value margin on their products. According to BRC Coordinator, Small Economic Activity Development, CARE India, Varun Sahni, “The participation of artisans and facilitators of BRC at the Atlanta Gift Fair this July has been approved by George Little Management Company, organisers of the Atlanta Gift Fair.”

He said that FICCI and CARE India are also exploring the participation of artisans in a series of international gift fairs in Hiemtextil gift fair besides fairs in New York and San Francisco.

He said that the sample order obtained at the international trade fair has profitably engaged 200 members of BRC in production. This is encouraging as sample order is usually 10 per cent of the anticipated order.

Dr Mitra said the presence of multi-community craftspersons in one place is important. “Business has no colour, no creed, no religion. There is no scent of any dissent,” he observed.

Asked why the Ministry of Textiles was not doing anything for the riot-affected artisans, Tinoo Joshi said that the immediate needs of the riot-affected are food, shelter and clothing. “Livelihood comes in later. Handicraft is a state subject. It is primarily the state government’s responsibility. We have no demand from the state government. When such a demand comes, we will look into it.”

Ms Joshi said that the presentation of products in contemporary style offers a solution of making the crafts “sustainable in today’s highly competitive market economy”. Umar Bhai, Raju Ben Vasan and Vankar Dayal from Bhuj said that the riots have slowed down business. Having faced a natural calamity and confronted with the repercussions of the recent riots in Gujarat, they are pinning their hopes on promises of better market linkages.


DVB gets extra power
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
The Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) has secured 100 MW of additional power from Uttaranchal to tide over the anticipated peak demand in the summer months ahead. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who held talks with Union Power Minister Suresh Prabhu in this regard on Thursday, said the power utility was also expected to secure extra power from the donor states of Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Chattisgarh.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister chaired a review meeting of the power utility. According to official sources, the matter of privatisation of DVB also figured in the deliberations. Negotiations, they said, were still on with the bidders to effect a smooth hand-over of the utility into private hands. Also reviewed was the progress of the Pragati Power Project.

According to DVB sources, the power utility was to secure additional megawatts of electricity ahead of the peak summer demand that is anticipated to range between 3,100 MW and 3,200 MW. The peak load in 1998 was 2,422 MW and 2,879 MW in August 2001.

The situation as it exists today suggests 2,630 MW of power is available with the DVB. The shortfall of 600-odd MW, officials say, would be overcome by arranging for power from other states. According to information made available by the utility, it has thus far made arrangements for 480 MW. While 60 MW from Malana Hydro Power Project has been secured, the remaining 420 MW have been “lined up” although there is no word yet from the donor states or agencies as to when the transfer will be effected.


BMC, traders at loggerheads on illegal structures

Jhajjar, May 2
The Bahadurgarh Municipal Council’s move to issue notices to the traders in the grain market to raze the structures on the land in front of the shops, which was supposed to be left open, has snowballed into a major confrontation with the traders’ association dragging the matter to the courts and the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

The MC issued notices to more than 65 traders in the market last week to remove their constructions within seven days, which ended on April 30. The council warned that it would launch a demolition drive if the traders themselves did not remove these. In the meantime, the traders approached the local court and got a stay order asking both the parties to maintain status quo. They also filed an application with the district administration challenging the notices.

The council passed a resolution to remove the structures terming it as illegal last month and said that the 100-feet long land in front of the shops must be left open as a pucca chabutara (platform). However, the shopkeepers had encroached upon the land and raised structures beyond their limits. They extended the constructions up to 70 feet. The land was allotted to the traders of the grain market in 1917, with the condition that they must not construct anything beyond 70 feet.

However later, some traders raised structures on the prohibited land after getting site plan maps sanctioned from the municipal council. Most of the other shopkeepers also followed suit and constructed on the land at different stages.

The traders now protest the move to demolish the structures on the plea that the MC itself had given permission to construct. They said that according to the Municipality Act, the local authority could demolish the constructions within six months of the time of construction. If it had failed to do so, the construction would get legality.

Meanwhile, the local court has fixed May 4 for hearing while the DC has also called the traders tomorrow to present their case.


Cop’s role in Arora’s murder comes under scanner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
The Delhi Police have raised their finger of doubt at a police official, who was with Parvinder Arora alias Titoo who was killed in front of his Gola and North Restaurant at Gujranwala in Model Town in North district. The official was being questioned from the day one, police sources said.

Besides, the North district police have detained two suspects and are questioning them in the Special Staff office of the district. The police have also got the clue of the person who dialed at the mobile phone of the victim. The victim was killed while he was talking to the caller. When the suspects shot at the victim, Inspector Prithvi Singh of the Crime Branch was inside the Mercedes car of the victim.

The sources said that official was posted at IGI Airport but he had been directed by higher police authorities not to join duty at the airport. He had also been directed to report in the Model Town police station and help the investigating team. The police suspected that he was involved in the conspiracy behind the murder.

The Joint Commissioner of Police (northern range), Mr Ajay Chadha, said that detention or doubt on a police official was all part of the investigation. However, the police were still not in a position to arrest the culprit. The case was very complicated, he said, and added that it was being investigated from different angles like business rivalry, old enmity.

Since he was one of the leading bookies of the Capital, it could have enmity with any of the gamblers as they generally have. Since the police were not very sure, it was very difficult to name the culprit, he said.

The district police are investigating the case on the line of the murder of younger brother of an MLA, Karan Singh, who was shot dead in a party held in Invitation Banquet Hall in Model Town in 1999. A number of similarities are found in both the murders.

The MLA’s brother was murdered by two suspects who fired a volley of shots at him in a party. That murder was also committed in the presence of two DCPs – Mukund Upadhye and Satyender Garg. Later, Upadhye refuted his presence in the party, but Satyender Garg was transferred. 


CNG price hike: Panel’s report today

New Delhi, May 2
The three-member committee constituted to look into the “economic implications” of the hike in the price of CNG will submit its report tomorrow.

The committee, comprising the Transport Commissioner, Principal Secretary (Finance) and Chairman of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), has held talks with the bus and autorickshaw operators. It was the turn of the DTC to make a presentation before the committee today.

In its presentation, the corporation gave an overall picture on the impact of the hike in CNG price on its operational efficiency. The DTC has a fleet of 2,200 buses that run on the clean fuel.

Based on the report of the committee, the Cabinet meeting on Saturday will decide on the quantum of hike in fares of buses and autorickshaws. According to sources, while the bus operators are insisting on a fare structure of Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 15, the autorickshaw unions are seeking an upward revision of fares such that Rs 10 would be charged for the first kilometre and Rs 6 for every kilometre thereafter.


Left on the roads after milking them dry
Parmindar Singh

Noida, May 2
Four things strike any visitor to Noida town – broad and well-carpeted roads, elegant boulevards, imposing buildings and a large number of stray cattle, mostly cows, roaming freely and posing a hazard to traffic as well as to the pedestrians. Quite often one would come across such animals lying on pavements and roads incapacitated by either accidents or sheer age or disease. The problem of stray cattle is a reflection of the greed and inhuman attitude of the people who once owned them. Most of these stray cattle, especially cows, were once domesticated animals only to be left out on the street by their owners once they became ‘useless’.

A society for prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) has been formed in Noida. Some well-meaning, responsible residents have also volunteered their services for the noble cause. The SPCA, Noida is a semi-government Animal Welfare Society headed by the District Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar and manned by an elected body. It was recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India in December 2000.

The Noida Authority had earlier established a cattle pound in Noida to control stray cattle. Captured and rounded-up stray cattle were kept for a week in the cattle pound. Owned and claimed animals were handed over to their respective owners after realisation of a fine and the remainder auctioned off at the end of that period.

Being uneconomic, the cattle sheltered at the pound were later slaughtered for sale of beef and for their bones and skins. They were neglected and uncared for in the cattle pound amounting to cruelty. To get over the problem of the ill-treatment and illegal slaughter, the authority closed the cattle pound and leased out nine acres of land to Shri `G’ Gosadan for establishment of a cow shelter (gosadan) to house and care for the stray cattle.

Though the gosadan has been functioning since October 2, 2001 at plot No 7, Sector 94 here, not a single stray cattle is reported to have been handed over to it by the authority to date.

The problem of stray cattle, especially cows, arises because of a peculiar phenomenon. Once the domesticated animals become uneconomical, their owners abandon them to fend for themselves. They join the other stray animals and rummage the garbage dumps for food.

The greed of local dairymen is the main reason for the stray cattle in the town, according to authorities. In their bid to extract maximum milk from their cows with the minimum of expenditure, they make blatant and illegal use of oxytocin, which is normally hormone-secreted and stored by the posterior pituitary gland of cows that cause the womb to contract. To duplicate this hormone, an artificial drug, oxytocin, was developed and first synthesised in 1953.

Nobody seems to have checked the use of the very same oxytocin injection by the local dairyman, which is illegal. He uses locally made cheap product known as veterinary oxytocin priced at Rs 50 per ampoule which is easily available.

He injects its cows with this product in the mistaken belief that it produces more milk when all it does is to make milk come faster. However, it destroys the cow’s reproductive system and it goes dry in just three years. It is then abandoned on the streets along with the calves.

Under normal conditions, a cow can conceive for a period of 12 years, which get reduced to three years by the use of oxytocin. This has resulted in the four-fold increase of stray cattle all over the area.

It is learnt that the Noida Authority has so far failed to hand over a single stray cattle to the gosadan perhaps under the mistaken belief that their capture and transportation to the shelter is the responsibility of the gosadan itself, which is not the case.


Delhi has highest accident deaths
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
The national Capital accounts for the highest number of accident deaths among the metropolitan cities in the country, Rajya Sabha was told today. However, there was a decline in the number of road accidents in Delhi, since the year 2000, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Mr B.C.Khandri said in a written reply.

During 2001, as many as 9,344 road accidents took place and 32 persons were arrested for drunken driving, the minister said. In the year 2000, 10,245 road accidents took place and 26 persons were arrested for drunken driving, as compared to 9,909 accidents and 19 arrests for drunken driving in 1999, Khanduri said.

According to information obtained from the Delhi Police Commissioner, drunken driving was one of the main causes of road accidents, the minister added.

The Union Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Santosh Kumar Gangwar, in response to a question whether the Panipat terminal of four oil corporations have started giving parallel transportation contracts for industrial consumers and ATF to such persons who are neither dealers nor tender applicants, informed the Lok Sabha that no parallel contract was given to any new transporter.

At the Panipat installation, there was no surplus fleet and particularly during the peak season, operations are extended for want of adequate fleet, to meet the requirement of seasonal rush, the minister added.

In response to another question, the minister said 14 SKO/LDO dealership of HPCL in the Panipat region, were operating below the economic viability levels.

The minister, however, stated in negative to the query whether the PSUs, particularly the Indian Oil Corporation, had agreed in principal to allow LPG extension counter or to allow them to convert their uneconomical dealerships into RO dealerships or LPG distributorships throughout the country.

The Minister of State for Railways, Mr O. Rajagopal, informed the Lok Sabha that due to severe resource constraints and large number of ongoing projects, rail link between Bahadurgarh and Kanina via Jhajjar and Kosli was not feasible. It was not feasible to consider the construction of the suggested line. Mr Rajgopal said a representation had been received from the Haryana Government regarding the rail link.

In response to another question, the minister said some incidents of coolies and musclemen, in connivance with the law enforcement agencies, grabbing seats in the unreserved compartments, even before the trains arrive at the platform, and charge money from passengers in lieu thereof, have come to the notice of the ministry.

The minister said in order to mitigate this problem, regular checks were conduced by the commercial and Vigilance Department in association with the police, to prevent the illegal capture of berths by anti-social elements. Persons apprehended for capturing seats were dealt under the relevant rules and provisions of the law.

The Union Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, said the Railways had not approved the three corridor rail projects – Shahdra-Sahibabad-Ghaziabad; Sahibabad-Tilak Bridge; and Minto Bridge and Bjiwasan and Gurgaon to link NCR with satellite towns.

The Union Communication Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, said the limited mobility telephone service – Garuda – launched in Delhi in May 1997, now has a capacity to handle 30,000 subscribers and so far 23,002 connections have been issued.

The Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, informed the Lok Sabha that there was 07 Cat-1 aircraft accidents due to bird hit in the last 20 years at the Air Force Station, Hindon, and 59 aircraft had minor damages due to bird hit in the same period.

Adequate steps were taken to enhance the security of the Air Force Station, Hindon, the minister said, adding that the details cannot be divulged in national interest.


Cong MLA’s SOS to Sonia on SYL canal
Our Correspondent

Rewari, May 2
In an effort to secure the much needed irrigation water for the Ahirwal region, Congress legislators of Ahirwal, made common cause with the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who has been vociferously calling for the completion of the canal, as stipulated by the Supreme Court verdict.

Three Congress legislators of Ahirwal- Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav (Rewari), Rao Narendra Singh (Ateli) and Mrs. Anita Yadav (Salhawas) recently met the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, at Delhi and told her that since the SYL canal water was the life-line of Ahirwal, she should use her influence with the Punjab Chief Minister to pave the way for the completion of the S.Y.L. canal. She was also informed by the legislators that the sub-soil water resources had almost depleted in many of the villages of Ahirwal.

As many as 25 villages of Mahendergarh district, known as the ‘dohan pachissi’, had boycotted the assembly polls because their long standing demand for the supply of potable water was persistently ignored by the government. To make matter worse, the wells in those villages had virtually dried up.

They also told Mrs Gandhi that even though the farmers of Ahirwal were extremely hardworking, they have been repeatedly deprived of a good harvest due to the lack of irrigation facilities. Their fields were lying parched and only the water from the SYL canal could bring hope and prosperity to them.


Fields turning barren without canal water
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 2
More than 1,500 acres of agricultural land in the villages of Ridhao, Mauzam Nagar, Farmana, Jasrana and Gorar have become unfit for cultivation on account of the non-supply of canal water, even during the rotation period, by the Irrigation Department.

Many farmers alleged that these villages were situated at the tail-end of the Katwal minor and only seven acres of the land could be irrigated during the 16-day period of rotation last month. Some farmers also alleged that some influential farmers were engaged in the stealing water from the pipes on the way and the authorities concerned had failed to check this in spite of their repeated complaints.

Meanwhile, complaints of the farmers of the villages falling under the jurisdiction of the Rai Water Service Division about the erratic and inadequate supply of canal water are still pouring in, thanks to the failure of the authorities concerned. The farmers alleged that the water could not reach the tail-end fields and many of their fields had become barren. Representatives of various farmers’ organisations today urged the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, to order a high-level probe into the complaints of the farmers and punish those officials who were found guilty of causing the water crisis in this division.

They also demanded stern action against the SDO, Vigilance who had failed to take any action against the erring officials responsible for the irregularities and malpractice. These representatives also demanded a vigilance probe into the complaints.


Gujarat relief: SAD draws parallel with ’84 riots

New Delhi, May 2
While political parties are giving a healing touch to the riot victims in Gujarat, the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have been left to fend for themselves, charged Delhi unit president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Avtar Singh Hit, here today.

“Big guns in the political arena are trying to give healing touches in Gujarat whereas in 1984 no political leader from the government as well as from Opposition parties raised his voice sincerely to settle the uprooted Sikh families,” he said in a statement. On the Rs 150 crore package for Gujarat, he said, “We wish the government or some political leader had taken lead in 1984 to take similar step.” TNS


Merge DRDAs with zila parishads: Cong leader

Rewari, May 2
Mr Rao Vijay Singh, the newly appointed co-chairman of the panchayati raj cell of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, has pleaded for the merger of the district rural development agencies (DRDA) into the zila parishads in Haryana.

He raised this demand at his first press conference here after taking charge of the cell today. He explained that a directive to this effect had been issued to the Chief Secretaries of various states, including Haryana, by the then Secretary of the Union Government in 1994. But it was regrettable that Haryana had kept it in abeyance while certain other states of the country had already implemented it. OC



Shopkeeper robbed of Rs 6,000 at gunpoint in Rohtak 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 2
Three armed youths, robbed a shopkeeper of Rs 6,000 at gun point at Subhash Nagar locality here on Wednesday evening. According to information, the three robbers reached the shop of Mr Gulshan Virmani on a motorcycle and took away the cash.

MDU cat on June 16

Maharshi Dayanand University will hold the common entrance test for admission to Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) course in the state for the session 2002-03 on June 16 here. A university spokesman said on Thursday that the Haryana Government had declared the university a competent authority to conduct the test through a notification issued on March 21. He said the prospectuses for the course would be available from May 6 at the sale counter of Publications Cell of the university. The last date for the submission of application forms is May 29.

Chain snatched

Two motorcycle borne youths snatched a gold chain from a woman near Gaur College here on Wednesday evening. Ms Chanchal, a resident of Indira Colony here, stated in the FIR that two miscreants on a motorcycle snatched her chain and sped away. A case under Section 356 of the IPC was registered in this connection.

Minor sodomised

A ten-year-old boy was sodomised by a youth at Naya Baans village in Sampla town on Wednesday evening. Mr Bijender Singh, a resident of Naya Baans village alleged in the complaint that one Pradeep of the same village, committed unnatural sex with his son. The police have registered a case under Section 377 of the IPC. The suspect is said to have absconded.

UP wheat seized Faridabad

The authorities at Hathin and Ballabgarh mandis have seized about 145 quintals of wheat illegally brought here for resale. Two tractor trolleys carrying about 100 quintals of wheat were stopped by a team of officials led by the SDM, Hathin, Mr Rakesh Yadav, on Wednesday. The persons who were carrying the wheat had come from Bulandshahr district in UP. They told the officials that it was brought on the order from a commission agent at Hathin Mandi.

It may be recalled that the state government has banned procurement of wheat brought by traders and middlemen, especially from other states including UP, after the reports that wheat from mandis of neighbouring states were being sold here.

In another incident, 45 quintals of wheat brought by a trader was also seized near Ballabgarh Mandi. It is reported that the wheat was purchased and resold at the (MSP) of Rs 620 here. Meanwhile, the wheat procurement process has come to a halt at mandis of Hathin and Palwal.

Man shot at Sonepat

An attendant, Mr Baldev (48), was shot at and seriously wounded at Ajay Service Station, on the G. T. Road, near Larsauli village about 15 km from here. According to a report, Mr Baldev was wounded in the head. The incident took place around 4 am and he was immediately rushed to the local civil hospital. Subsequently, he was referred to the PGI, Rohtak, for further treatment. The alleged assailant escaped immediately after the incident. Further details about the incident were still awaited. The police have registered the case and launched a manhunt to apprehend the culprit. It is stated that a dispute over some money transaction was the main cause of the incident. The incident had caused panic among the residents of the village. Police officials immediately arrived on the scene after receiving the information about the incident.

2 persons injured

Two persons were seriously injured when their car hit the road divider on the G.T. Road, near Rasoi village, about 15 km from here on Wednesday night.

According to a report, the car was on its way from Panipat to Delhi. Both the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and are stated to be out of danger.

Jat Maha Sabha

A two-day convention of the All India Jat Maha Sabha would be held on May 30 and 31, at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.

According to a report, the main aim of the convention was to obtain reservation for the Jat community in government jobs in Haryana.

Delegates from Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, U.P and Punjab would take part in the convention. The Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, will inaugurate the convention and the noted film actor and wrestler, Mr Dara Singhm, will preside over it.


PT college proprietors in admission racket
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
With the arrest of B. K. Singh, proprietor of Chug P. T. College in Nehru Nagar, and his associate, Manoj Kumar, who teaches in Saraswati Bal Vidya Mandir, the South district police today claimed to have unearthed an admission racket which had ruined the careers of several innocent students. Another suspect, Ms Rakhi Gupta, is absconding.

The suspects were arrested after a complaint was lodged in the Sriniwaspuri police station by the proprietor of New Horizon International School in Dehra Dun, Surinder Kaur.

The suspects allegedly cheated four boys by collecting Rs 12,000 form each of them for getting them registered to sit for CBSE Examinations in 2002. But instead of getting them registered, the proprietor of Chug P. T. College issued ‘students admission cards’ of the National Open School. The admission cards of the National Open School were also found fake.

The police conducted a raid at Chug P. T. College and seized fake admission cards and other related documents. During interrogation, the suspects disclosed that the admission cards were procured by Ms Rakhi Gupta who runs New Gupta P. T. College in Malviya Nagar. The fake admission cards were supplied to Chug P. T. College at a cost of Rs 5, 000 each.

Woman killed

An 80-year-old woman was killed and two others were injured when a Rural Transport Vehicle (RTV) in which they were travelling overturned after hitting a footpath in the Seelampur area of North-East district today. The incident occurred at 1 pm when the RTV was on its way from Seelampur to Maujpur.

The injured, Ram Singh (75) and Ishtiaq (28), were admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. The deceased has yet not been identified, the police said.

Fake notes seized

Sleuths of the Crime Branch arrested two persons — Malkiat Singh (35) and Neeraj (27), who were allegedly involved in counterfeit currency notes — from Timarpur.

The police seized 21 fake currency notes of 100 rupee denominations. 


Gunman of SDM arrested

Faridabad: A gunman and driver of a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been arrested on the charge of extorting Rs. 20,000 from a farmer. The action against the accused followed a complaint from Prabu Dayal, a resident of Kosi in Uttar Pradesh. TNS


After the glut, insects plague mandis
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 2
Even as the glut in the grain markets of the district continues, the procurement agencies and farmers are unnerved by another problem. Insects are having a field day at the markets where procured wheat is lying in the open due to the lack of space in the godowns of agencies.

The Haryana Government is reported to have suffered a huge financial loss on account of the damage caused to the procured wheat by insects in various mandis of Sonepat district, particularly on the BST ground at Ganaur.

It is alleged that about 60,000 quintals of procured wheat have been damaged at Ganaur where they have been dumped on the BST ground as no place has been left in the covered godowns of the procurement agencies. Arhtias and the farmers fear that the insect-hit procured wheat would result in more damage to the stocks.

The arrivals of wheat have been unprecedented creating many problems for the procurement agencies. Though official agencies have purchased a huge quantity of wheat arrived in the market, arrivals are still continuing and the farmers are unable to unload the stock from their tractor-trolleys. The slow lifting process has also added to the woes of the farmers who were facing great hardships to unload their wheat in the mandis.

Representatives of various organisations of farmers and traders have urged the state government to order a high-level probe into this “scandal” and punish the officials of the procurement agencies responsible for the damage caused to the procured stock of wheat.

In a joint press statement issued here, they also demanded immediate transfer of the officials of the procurement agencies to ensure an independent and impartial probe into the complaints about the damage of procured wheat by insects. They also demanded the recovery of the amount of loss from the erring officials who are found guilty.

Meanwhile, as many as 2.03 lakh tonnes of wheat had arrived in various mandis of the district by April 29. This is 1,10,763 tonnes more than the arrivals during the corresponding period of last year.

According to official sources, the authorities of the procurement agencies had purchased all the wheat that had arrived in the markets and purchasing centres barring five tonnes of wheat which had been purchased by the private traders. The authorities claimed that the farmers were being paid within 48 hours for their produce after the procurement.

Meanwhile, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, an MP and vice-president of the Haryana BJP, has demanded drastic changes in the fixing of the minimum support price (MSP) for various crops. He has suggested that the MSP should be decided and announced by the central government before the start of the sowing season. This, he said, would help the farmers to opt for various crops taking into consideration the remunerative price which they could get from a particular crop.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said that sometimes, delay in the announcement of MSP led to financial loss to the farmers as the crops sown early were brought to the market even before the announcement of the MSP.

Mr Sangwan said that the cost of the sowing had increased manifold and the MSP was inadequate. In some cases, even the expenses incurred by the farmers were not fully recovered. He said that the subsidies on diesel and fertilisers were inadequate and demanded immediate increase in the subsidies to encourage the farmers who would otherwise take to other vocations.

The BJP leader demanded that the subsidies must be at par with the industrial prices as the farmers were under heavy debt on account of inadequate remunerative prices for their crops.

He said that the credit card policy launched by the Union Government for the farmers had not made any headway due to the cumbersome procedure being followed by the nationalised banks. He also demanded immediate improvement in the banking system and simplification of the credit card procedure. The BJP leader regretted that the Indian Agriculture Research Council (IARC) set up for the redressal of grievances of the farmers had not served any useful purpose.

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