Wednesday, May 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


More corporate titans wanna shift to Gurgaon 
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, May 7
The top companies of the world are making a beeline for Gurgaon with developers like DLF and Unitech falling heads over heels to accommodate them.

Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Seagram’s, Nestle, Xerox, Max New York Insurance, American Express Bank and Motorola are some of the companies which have set up their head offices here. Many more are preparing to move in.

Within a radius of seven kilometres near Delhi-Gurgaon border, more than 30 multi-storey buildings, with fabulous looks and facilities are either occupied or in the final stages of construction. DLF Corporate Park, Gateway Tower, DLF Square, Global Business Park, Signature Towers, Palm Court, N K Tower have become the new status symbols.

These buildings have the ambience of a five star hotel, not of a corporate office. Artistically designed, they are equipped with round-the-clock security, underground parking, best quality elevators and hundred per cent power back.

Almost all are centrally air-conditioned and lush green. They are provided with comprehensive fire detection and suppression systems, including sprinklers, fire hydrants and fire doors. What makes the citizens envious is that most of these corporate buildings have recreation facilities, banks, restaurants, shopping malls, fast food outlets etc under one roof.

“It all started with DLF Corporate Park built by the DLF Universal Ltd at DLF City, Phase 3, in the mid-nineties,” said Maj-General S. P. Jain, director and chief executive of the DLF.

Pepsi, GE Capital and Indo Mobil Limited India have also set up their corporate offices here. “In Delhi, there is a shortage of space. Here, we have ample room to accommodate staff. The cheaper rent was another major attraction to move to Gurgaon in 1997,” explains Mr Deepak Jolly, the executive vice-president, Corporate Communication, Pepsi, while speaking to the ‘NCR Tribune’.

He said that Pepsi was fully satisfied with its decision to shift to Gurgaon. However, the roads were still in disrepair. Their quality might improve after the construction of bridges on National Highway No 8 and the widening of roads at Sikanderpur and Mehrauli Road, Mr Jolly said.

DLF Gateway Tower, artistically designed by well-known architect Hafeez Contractor, is also located on the NH No 8. Acknowledged as the ultra-modern corporate landmark on the city skyline, the 14-floor building is clad with polished granite. Besides other multinationals, GE Plastic and Cargill India have their offices here.

To meet the growing demand, another famous developer, Unitech Ltd, has built five world-class buildings: Signature Tower, Global Business Park, Trade Centre, Unitech Business Park and Millennium Plaza. They house big corporate giants, said Mr G S Rana, sales manager, Unitech Ltd.

Global Business Park with four towers on Mehrauli Road has all the latest facilities. Gillette India Limited, Seagram Manufacturing Limited, Perfetti India Ltd and Electrolux are some of the companies which have shifted in different towers, said Mr Rana.

“We have sufficient space here, designed with the aim of letting workers create individuality in a corporate environment,” said the Regional HR Director, India and South West Asia, Gillette, Mr Arun Sehgal. Besides other things, the company here has recreational facilities and a cafeteria for 85 people here, said Mr Seghal.

The Haryana Government did not remain a mere spectator in the fast developing phenomenon. Way back in the early nineties, the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) auctioned a number of sites for corporate offices in the prime location in Udyog Vihar Phase V on the National Highway.

Now besides others, there stands Enkay Tower housing the head offices of American Express Bank and Coca-Cola India besides other corporate Goliaths. As per HSIDC plan, there would be around seven such big towers in Udyog Vihar by the leading construction companies of the country.

Following the trend, some offices of the central government like the National Horticulture Board and the Indian Institute of Petroleum Management have already shifted to the city. The construction work of the corporate buildings of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, RITES and some others is also in full swing.



Harassment drives 3 women to suicide
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar & Rohtak May 7
Three women, including a Maharshi Dayanand University student and two sisters, committed suicide in two incidents in Rohtak and Bahadurgarh on Monday. While the sisters, who were married to two brothers, took the extreme step due to persistent taunts for dowry by their in-laws, the MA (Geography) student of MDU could not withstand the harassment by two youths of Jhajjar. All of them died after consuming poisonous substances. Unable to bear the perpetual taunting for not bringing enough dowry, Usha and Poonam, daughters of Balraj Singh of Jatwara Mohalla, reportedly committed suicide by consuming sulphas tablets in Bahadurgarh town of the district. The police have registered a case of dowry death against their husbands and in-laws today.

According to information, Usha and Poonam were married to Jagbir and Rajbir, sons of Satpal, residing at Dev colony here, about five years ago. The in-laws of the sisters started harassing them after the marriage and serious differences crept up between both the families over dowry. After the mediation of a relative, the matter was resolved and both the women started living with their husbands again. After that, Usha gave birth to a daughter and a son while her sister, Poonam, bore a son. However, the uncle of the women filed a complaint with the police on February 26 against the husbands and other family members for harassing the sisters. Again, a panchayat settled the dispute and sent both the women to their husbands’ family.

However, both the sisters, fed up with the continuous bickering and harassment, decided to end their lives and consumed poisonous tablets on Monday. They were rushed to the PGIIMS at Rohtak where the doctors declared them brought dead.

The police have started investigation after registering a case. Meanwhile, t MDU MA (Final) student, Usha, consumed poison on Monday due to the continuing harassment by two youths of Gwalison village in Jhajjar district. In her suicide note, the girl alleged that the harassment by the youths, Ravi and Dhir, was what forced her into this extreme step. Mr Inder Singh, a resident of Gwalison village, stated in the FIR that his daughter, Usha, was an inmate of the Yamuna Girls’ Hostel of the university. He alleged that two youths of the same village would often harass her and forced her to commit suicide.

A case has been registered against the youths under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC at the Civil Lines police station. Both the accused have reportedly absconded.



Domicile case withdrawn to shield Mayor? 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 7
The district police has reportedly withdrawn the case it had registered against a resident of Delhi, who had allegedly procured a domicile certificate illegally from Ballabgarh here for setting up a petrol pump in the district.

The move is seen in political circles as an attempt to protect the Mayor of Faridabad, who had allegedly verified the application of domicile of the accused. “This has been done on directions of top authorities in Chandigarh,’’ alleges the BJP MLA from Mewte Maharajpur, Krishan Pal Gurjar.

Mr Gurjar said here yesterday that the withdrawal of case was illegal and has threatened to take the matter to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He described it as a ‘scandal’ and demanded an independent enquiry.

The police had arrested the accused, identified as Narender Kumar, after a complaint was lodged by an advocate, a resident of Sector-17. He had alleged that the domicile certificate procured by the accused was bad in law as he was not a resident of Chawla colony, Ballabgarh.

The Mayor of Faridabad landed in a ‘spot’ after it was revealed that the domicile application was allegedly verified by her; she represents the ward concerned in the Municipal Corporation. The authorities concerned sensed trouble in pursuing the case as the mayor and her family are reported to be very close to the Chief Minister.

The SSP, Mr Ranbir Sharma, admitted that the case had been withdrawn. He said this was done as the domicile status of the accused had been cancelled at the investigation stage and there was no further evidence left to be probed. He also added that some persons may have been trying to gain political mileage from it.

It may be recalled that a former municipal councillor from ward no. 18 here had been booked and arrested and put behind bars as he had verified a domicile certificate application wrongly, about two years ago.



One man can play havoc with system
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, May 7
The Pt. B. D. Sharma Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), the only government-owned medical college in the state, is once again in the eye of the storm.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has informed the PGIMS that the post- graduate DM degree of Dr Kuldeep Singh Lallar, Lecturer in Cardiology Department, is not recognised. And the letter informing the government that the DM degree of Dr Lallar was not recognised by the MCI has been signed by Dr M. S. Gupta, an ad hoc Professor in the Medicine Department who also functioned as the Administrative Officer for some time till he was removed from that post. Interestingly, the letter is dated April 10, even though he had been removed from this post on March 15.

Dr Lallar was appointed as lecturer in the Cardiology Department of this institute on June 18,1999 and he assumed charge on July 12. The qualifications and experience for the post of lecturer in the super-specialty category, as stipulated in the advertisement, for which interviews were held in May 1999, were: (1) A basic university qualification included in the schedule to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956; (2) D.M. /M. Ch or an equivalent qualification in the subject concerned; (3) and experience as a registrar or in an equivalent post in the super-specialty category for three years in a medical college of which one should be after post-graduate qualification.

Dr Lallar had acquired the D. M. degree (Cardiology) from the Poona University. The MCI has informed the PGIMS that the D.M. (Cardiology) qualification granted by the University of Poona was not recognised by the council for the purpose of MCI Act, 1956.

Dr M. S. Gupta was working as an Administrative Officer, in addition to his duties as an ad hoc professor in the Department of Medicine, till March 15. The Haryana Government had on February 26 posted Mr P. K. Sharma, an HCS Officer, as the Administrative Officer in the PGIMS. He joined duty on March 15, thus relieving Dr Gupta of his additional charge. But 25 days after relinquishing his charge and a week after the new Director joined at the PGIMS, Dr Gupta sent such an important letter to the government allegedly without the knowledge of the Director. This has created a ruckus in the institution; Dr Gupta’s role is in question, especially his audacity in signing such an important letter without authorisation.

It may be recalled that Dr Gupta had transferred a computer data entry operator on December 5, 2001 and signed himself as Director. This had led to serious protests and several faculty members had petitioned the Chief Minister against him. The government had on March 4 ordered the removal of Dr Gupta from the post of Academic officer/ Administrative officer and from various committees. Interestingly, Dr M. S. Gupta had secured a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in which Mr Vijay Goel, Minister of state in the PMO, wrote to Haryana Chief Minister on February 6 recommending Dr Gupta’s name for consideration for the post of PGIMS Director. (It is, of course, a different matter that the State government has appointed Maj Gen (Dr) Virender Singh Puna (retd) as the Director of the PGIMS and he joined duties on April 5). Several members of the faculty have, in a representation to the Director, demanded that the same yardstick should be applied to Dr Gupta which was applied in the case of Air Marshal M. S. Sekhon, who was asked to resign following the leakage of a recommendation letter written by then Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.



A saviour for those in the twilight years
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 7
The old, the infirm, the lonely and the helpless in Faridabad district may soon have a ‘saviour,’ who will not only take care of their day-to-day problems but also be ‘friend in need. This saviour is neither an individual, nor a cub, but a ‘help centre’ being set up by the district Red Cross Society, exclusively for senior citizens.

A brainchild of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, the centre would especially cater to those old people who are living alone or are childless and do not have a family support system to fall back on.

While the centre would charge the beneficiaries for the help extended and the services rendered, the big idea behind the project is to protect the old persons from undue harassment in government offices and shield them from unscrupulous relatives and anti-social elements.

An 11-member committee will supervise the work of the centre, which would help the aged in depositing their power, water and phone bills, guide them in matters of public importance and provide various other services at their doorstep. The centre will also organise medical aid, if required.

However, all this will not be free. The authorities have decided to charge Rs. 150 per month from each applicant, besides a registration fee of Rs.500 at the outset. The society will, however, give concessions to members of the economically weaker sections. The centre will collect all information regarding the kind of aid required by the applicants and provide need-based service. The registration for the scheme will begin from May 15 and, if the response is good, it would be formally launched.

Since Faridabad has the highest population in the state, it has a large number of aged persons who are residing alone as their sons and daughters are either living separately or are overseas. In this context, it needs to be noted that the district administration has received numerous complaints of illegal occupation of property belonging to the old.

Society must take care of its senior citizens, especially those in the twilight years of their life, but the responsibility for this often devolves on NGOS and the like. The Red Cross experiment in Faridabad is a step in this direction.



Walia takes on cholera menace
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
What if the Health Minister goes on an overdrive instructing the officials concerned a fortnight after the detection of 144 cases (and counting) of cholera, the very rise in such cases brings the civic services, especially water supply, and medical response in sharp focus.

In a belated response, the Health Minister, Mr A. K. Walia, today instructed the agencies concerned to pull out all stops to prevent the spread of cholera and told the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to lift more samples of water, clean the pipes, chlorinate all tube wells, spray more anti-larvae chemicals, and report back to him. The minister was unsparing in his appraisal of the agencies concerned and issued a series of “instructions” to virtually all of them. Sample them:

* At least 600 samples of water to be lifted every week apart from the usual samples. Task assigned to MCD and DJB.

* Chlorination of all tube wells to be undertaken.

* All pipes to be checked and a certificate furnished. Agency is the DJB.

* All hand pumps to be painted red to warn people against consuming that water.

* All water tankers to be cleaned thoroughly and made to undertake a “minimum” of four trips per day.

* The Act banning the sale of cut fruits to be strictly implemented.

* Spraying of anti-larval chemical to be stepped up.

* Removal of Hyacinth (a weed that grows in stagnant water) growing in the Yamuna, drains and ponds to be stepped up.

The meeting convened to review the diseases spread by water and vector was attended by officials from the MCD, DJB, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), and the Irrigation and Flood Control Department.

For the record, the minister voiced his concern over the increasing number of cases of cholera and impressed upon the officials the need for educating the people to the ills of consuming contaminated water. 



Armed youth rob trader of Rs 10 lakh

Sonepat, May 7
Mr Vijay Kumar, an arhtia of Narela mandi (Delhi), was reportedly robbed of Rs 10 lakh by four unidentified armed youths on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna-Narela road near Shafiabad village, about 7 km from here, on Monday.

According to a report, Mr Vijay Kumar had withdrawn Rs 27 lakh from a bank in this city and kept the amount in two bags. One bag contained Rs 10 lakh and another Rs 17 lakh, which were kept in his car. He started his journey back alone in his car. When he reached near Shafiabad village, the driver of a Maruti Zen carrying four youths overtook his car and forced him to stop the car. One of the armed miscreants came out of the car and snatched the cash bag containing Rs 10 lakh and fled towards Delhi. The culprits did not notice the other bag containing Rs 17 lakh which was lying in the back seat of the car. The numberplate of the culprits’ car was missing. Mr Vijay Kumar immediately informed the Kundli police who swung into action and sealed the borders with the Delhi and UP but failed to nab the miscreants. A case of looting has been registered and a hunt is on to apprehend the culprits. OC



DDA to acquire 2000 acres for development 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is expected to acquire about 2000 acres of land during this year, Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Bandaru Dattatreya informed the Lok Sabha. The DDA had sent proposals to the Land and Building Department of Delhi Government for acquisition of land, Dattatreya said. DDA had reported that they were trying to increase the pace of acquisition of land through the Land Acquisition Collector, he said.

The Minister, in response to another question, said the government was aware of the trend of Delhi’ites moving towards Vaishali, Indirapuram and Vasundhra for housing purpose. He said the NCR Planning Board provides interest-bearing loans to the participating states for their development projects. In order to provide better infrastructure facilities in Vaishali, Indirapuram and Vasundhra area, forming part of Ghaziabad DAM town, the board had financed four projects with an estimated cost of Rs 448.64 crore and loan component of Rs 310.04 crore.

The projects – augmentation of water supply of T.H.A. 50 cusec water from upper Ganga canal (to be completed in March 2005); Vasundhara Nagar residential infrastructure scheme, Ghaziabad (March 2003); Strengthening of transmission and distribution network of Meerut Division (March 2006) and Construction of modern bus station at Sahibabad (Kaushambi), Ghaziabad, (March 2004).

The board had released loans of Rs 111.90 crores upto March 31, 2002, he said.

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, informed the Lok Sabha that out of the seven districts in Meerut Range in UP, cases of murder reported during the year 2000 showed an increase of 11.6 and 7.5 per cent in Meerut and Gautam Budh Nagar districts respectively over the figures of 1999.

In the remaining five districts there was a decline. The number of murder cases went up by 8.5 per cent, 11.2 per cent and 15.2 per cent in Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar districts respectively during the year 2000 over 1999, he said, adding that in the remaining four districts there was a decline.

Civil Defence and Home Guard personnel were being trained to tackle emergency situations or war-time casualties in the Capital, Lok Sabha was told on Tuesday. Such training had also been initiated in others states, especially those adjoining the Pakistan border, Mr Rao said in a written reply.

The Delhi police had received 4511 complaints from public representatives, including Members of Parliament, which were promptly scrutinised and forwarded to the respective districts and units or the vigilance branch for enquiry, Rao said.

As many as eight people had allegedly been killed in Delhi after consuming spurious liquor, Rao said, adding there were cases in which proceedings against policemen were initiated for negligence and failure to control the sale of illicit liquor in their areas.

The Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, informed the Rajya Sabha that to meet the current CNG requirements of public transport in Delhi, 50 per cent of the fall back allocation to Maruti Udyog Limited, which was meant for captive power generation, was reduced. Since duel fuel facilities were available with MUL for captive power generation, there was no question of loss of production.

He said to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of natural gas, steps such as import of liquefied natural gas and speeding up of indigenous exploration/exploitation of domestic hydrocarbon resources had been initiated. IGL plans to meet the requirement of Delhi during the year 2003-04.

In response to another question, he said, Mashelkar committee had recommended auto fuel policy for the country. Its interim report relating to the introduction of cleaner fuels and better emission standards were approved by the government and communicated to the concerned ministries and the oil companies for implementations, he said. Mr Naik said in the light of the recent Supreme Court directives and based on the final report of the expert committee, necessary decisions would be taken.



Public must participate in decision making: CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today stressed the importance of public participation in decision making and highlighted various schemes started by the state government such as Bhagidari to involve people at large for more transparency in the official functioning.

“The passage of Right to Information Bill by my government in the assembly is also a part of bringing the government to the people,” Ms Dikshit said while addressing the 18th Annual Conference of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) on ‘Harmonisation of Social Responsibility and Governance Reforms’.

Emphasising that social organisations should play a more proactive role in the betterment of the society, she said: “Education and health for all has to be ensured. But it is beyond the government’s reach to cater to the needs of all and hence social organisations need to play an important part.”

The Chief Minister also gave away the FLO awards for Outstanding Women Professional for 2000-01 and Outstanding Organisation working for Women Welfare to Akhila Shrinivasan from Chennai and a Delhi-based NGO “Pathithi” respectively.



Govt bid to reform academies, parishad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
The Government of NCT of Delhi is examining the scope of reforming the Sahitya Kala Parishad and the five Academies of Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and Sanskrit in order to administer them professionally and make them financially viable.

As a first step in this direction, the parishad and the academies have been instructed to seek the approval of the Administrative Department prior to drafting their respective cultural calendars. Through an office memorandum late last month, Secretary (Art, Culture and Language) Nita Bali has made it mandatory to secure the approval of the Administrative Department for most of the activities of the academies.

For instance, before engaging an artist whose remuneration is more than Rs 10,000, the prior approval of the Administrative Department has been made compulsory. Similarly, for tenders beyond Rs 1 lakh and expenditure beyond Rs 3 lakh on projects and schemes, prior approval of the department has to be secured.

The order says no activity other than those in the approved calendar shall be undertaken by the Sahitya Kala Parishad and the various language academies without prior approval.

Critics, however, trash the initiative by questioning the motivation of “pruning the autonomy” of the Sahitya Kala Parishad and the various language academies of Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Sanskrit and Sindhi.

The Sahitya Kala Parishad and the various language academies are engaged in promoting cultural activities and the growth of the respective languages. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is the chairperson of these academies that have Congress politicians serving as vice-chairmen. 



Farmers worried over procurement pace
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, May 7
Farmers of Sonepat district, particularly at Sonepat, Ganaur and Kharkhauda mandis as well as the Beeswan Meel and Rai purchasing centres, are a worried lot mainly due to the non-procurement of wheat by the official agencies and the overall indifferent attitude of the authorities.

According to a report, the non-cooperative attitude of the authorities had forced the farmers to divert their produce to the nearby Narela market of Delhi where the price of wheat was much higher than the price prevalent in the mandis of the district.

Many farmers alleged that they were being exploited on some pretext or the other by the traders and arhtias and forced to sell their produce at the rate of Rs 580 per quintal to them. These traders and arhtias, they alleged, were in league with the officials of the procurement agencies, who were purchasing the same wheat at the minimum support price of Rs 620 per quintal fixed by the government. In this way, they were duping the government and making illegal money from the sale of wheat to the official procurement agencies.

Many farmers also alleged that the officials of the procurement agencies were acting as an “instrument” for the creation of a monopoly for the traders and arhtias.

They pointed out that even after endless wait, the auction of their stocks was regularly put off on flimsy ground. They alleged that only symbolic auctions of few `dheris’ were done by the officials.

Resultantly, the farmers had no option but to sell their produce at a throwaway price to the unscrupulous traders and the arhtias.

However, some officials of the HSAMB told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the non-cooperative attitude of the traders and arhtias, along with the undue haste on the part of the farmers to sell their produce, were mainly responsible for the present mess. If the farmers exercise patience and wait for the auction of their dheris, the situation could be considerably improved, they observed.

These officials also pointed out that the traders and the arhtias were patronised by powerful politicians of the ruling party and bureaucrats and hence, no action was possible against them.

The farmers also alleged that the state government and the authorities were responsible for providing an upper hand to the traders and the arhtias. Representatives of various farmer organisations warned the state government of serious consequences if the interest of the farmers were not safeguarded and strict measures not taken to end the monopoly of the traders and arhtias of the district and elsewhere in the state.

In a joint press release, they alleged that the official procurement agencies had stopped the procurement of wheat in various mandis and purchasing centres without any valid reason, which had forced the farmers to sell their produce at a throwaway price.

They also alleged that the nexus between the traders and the officials of the procurement agencies was mainly responsible for the delay in the procurement process. 



Hooda’s appointment hailed
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 7
The Haryana Kisan Union has welcomed the appointment of Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, a former state minister and veteran Congress leader, as the national secretary of the labour cell of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). It said that Mr Hooda was a basically a fighter and he had fought many political battles against the opponents of the Congress in the state.

In a signed press statement issued here today, Mr Dharampal Deswal, president of the state unit of the union, said that the task, which the AICC labour cell chairman, Mr V. Sanjiva Reddy, has entrusted Mr Hooda with, of organising the unorganised sector and agriculture will be achieved successfully. He, however, regretted that a few disgruntled elements in the party were trying to malign the image of Mr Hooda by levelling misleading allegations against him.

He claimed that Mr Hooda had stood with the Congress Party and Nehru-Gandhi family even during the worst time in 1977 and courted arrest with Sanjay Gandhi and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1978 and 1979. Mr Hooda had never deserted the Congress Party.



Mani Ram doesn’t sell, only offers water
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 7
The mobile service of ‘free drinking water’ of Mani Ram, a resident of Krishna Nagar, Railway jhuggi colony here, is never a ‘fail’. For any social gathering, mela, rally or any function, this mobile water service, better known as `Chalta Firta Pyao’, will be there.

Mani Ram (45), originally hailing from Sultanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, has been doing the yeoman service of supplying drinking water at social gatherings totally free of cost for about 15 years. He claims that the water offered by him to people is pure and hygienic and he has not received any single complaint so far. He uses Tulsi and other herbal plants to keep the water pure and tasty. While he is unable to recount at how many functions or gatherings he had supplied water, he says Diwali Mela and other such functions where thousands of people visit every year have been regular in his list. Although many people offer him money or coins for the water they drink, he politely says no and tells them that it is his hobby and not profession.

Working as a watchman at a factory, Mani Ram says that he feels happy when people recognise him and thank him for quenching their thirst. He also welcomes requests from the people who want the facility at any social gathering where his service could be of any use. Mani Ram says that he wants to expand the scope of such a service, as he feels that supply of drinking water is still a major issue for thousands of poor families residing in an industrial town like Faridabad.

Although Mani Ram is recognised well by several people, including district officials, due to his social obsession, his service to the society is still be recognised properly.



He makes the ramps come alive with designer steps
Smriti Kak

No booze and cigarettes for this guy who’d rather dance till he drops. Ketan Bhatia doesn’t dance alone though. He makes some of the world’s most beautiful people match steps to his dictates and all without sweat.

“I have been choreographing shows for the last five years now. I have worked with designers both here and abroad,” says Ketan, who along with Gautam Kurup will manage the forthcoming New Delhi International Fashion Week (NDIFW).

“We are experimenting with a whole lot of exciting looks and music for the NDIFW. Gautam and I are also on the standby just in case any of the western designer want us to choreograph their shows as well,” said Ketan, who feels comfortable doing both the Indian style of choreography as well as the western ramp shows.

“My ability to adopt the choreographic moves to the needs and the requirements of the designer is my USP,” claims Ketan. Incidentally, he is self-taught. “There are no institutes for the training of fashion choreographers in India as well as abroad. I started with choreographing shows in schools and colleges. Gradually, I began to explore the possibility of taking it up as a profession.”

Ketan got his first break when a local institute in the Capital gave him the chance to prove his mettle. “The institute was working with professional models and were brave enough to take on a new guy. After this show, people began recognising my work.”

And once the good word spread, there was no looking back. “I was invited to do a show in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. They wanted me to choreograph the show in the Indian fashion. Apart from this, I have also done shows for Study By Janak, Titan and JD Institute.”

Of late, Ketan has started dabbling with styling as well. “Photographer Suvo Das pushed me into designing. I have designed many shoots, including Kanwal Toor’s and the Titan shoot.”

Ketan aspires to open a model-grooming institute in the Capital. “I hold workshops for model grooming every now and then. But I want to open a place for over-all grooming.”

The choreographer insists that there have been no instances of tantrums and mood swings while making the models groove to his beat. “None of the models has ever troubled me, there are no bitter instances,” says the man who seems to have a way with people.

Ketan, however, has a word of advice for the Delhi janata. “The audience here needs to relax. Unlike the Mumbai crowd which is chilled out, the Delhi guys are hard to please.”

Referring to the preparations for the NDIFW, “We are working to make it a success. Though things were a little slow about a month back, things have started looking up. Everybody is geared up.”

Fashion week

Miss Greece
Miss Greece to climb down the ramp during the New Delhi International Fashion Week.

NEW DELHI: It’s a trifle belated. But the promise to live up to the expectations it had spelt out remains. The New Delhi International Fashion Week that was scheduled to take place in March, but got delayed, assures of creativity and a whole lot of frolicking as some of the best known legs in the fashion frat climb down the ramp.

As a part of the NDIFW, designers from across the globe will congregate in the Capital to showcase their collections on a unique platform before the key industry delegates, the media and the consumers.

Representing India will be Mona Pali, Ashish Soni, and Rohit Bal. The West will be represented by designers from Switzerland, the UK, Greece, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, China, Sweden and the USA.

Among the faces to be watched out for will be Miss Greece and Miss Universe 2001 first runner up, Evelina Papantoniou.

Making the models dance to their tunes will be choreographers, Ketan Bhatia and Gautam Kurup. While Karen Kay, a celebrity fashion writer, and commentator Brian Godbold will do the compering, former vice-chairman of the British Fashion Council will lend his expertise. Mathias Van Hooff, who has earlier worked with YSL, Prada and Tommy Hilfiger will handle the make over of the models.

‘Fuse’, a tribute to the international designers by the students of the JD Institute of Fashion, is touted to be the special feature of the event. Says Sanjay Kapur, organiser, “It gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase India as an exciting and emerging fashion destination, particularly as the influence of Indian fashion has begun to be felt in the fashion capitals of the world.”

Scheduled to take place in Grand Continental, the NDIFW is being watched as a landmark in the history of Indian fashion, one hopes as much. Remember the debacles of the past, need we name it.

New skincare line

Vandana Luthra has launched a skincare line to offer protection to the Indian skin.

The product range includes a basic line, skin-tightening line, insta-glow line, facial kit for oily and acne-prone skin and pedi line. Each of these lines has three to four products, which act in synergy with each other to treat skin conditions.

An extensive educational programme for beauticians will also be undertaken to train them to identify skin types and follow treatment.

Monapali’s collection

Sister duo Mona Lamba and Pali Sachdev.
Sister duo Mona Lamba and Pali Sachdev.

The name seems to be an extension of their creativity. For sisters Mona Lamba and Pali Sachdev, designs have a meaning, not just on their products, but also in their name.

Their work is said to have a subtle grandeur, artful elegance and fascinating uniqueness.

This winsome partnership, initiated in 1984, has offered a lot to the fashion world over the years, being a much sought-after name in the fashion circuit for its originality, innovations in technique and its craft.

The sisters are also known for designing garments that vouch for their affordability, adaptability and comeliness coupled with ethnic simplicity and grace.

Mona and Pali have indeed never failed to amaze the fashion cognoscenti with their awe-inspiring work. The duo will showcase their splendid work in the forthcoming New Delhi International Fashion Week (NDIFW).

The designer duo has played primary roles in the renaissance of folk motifs and has left their mark in the field of fusion clothing. Simple silhouettes and practicality in lively colours are what makes the Monapali creation stand out.

The duo, who has left their mark in the western wear range, offers a look that is festive, charming, rich, glossy and as usual a unique statement in style.

Awarded the Kingfisher Hall Of Fame Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2001, Monapali have played a major role in reviving the Kantha work of Bengal. They also represented the country in the "Festival of India" in China.



Dalits lock up cops who went to rescue youth 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, May 7
A police team, which had gone to free a youth who was allegedly beaten up and made captive by a group of Dalits in Farid Nagar town in Ghaziabad district, was also detained by the captors. Later, the Deputy District Magistrate and Police Circle Officer (DSP) who reached the area to ease tension were gheraoed by a group of women. It has resulted in a lot of tension in the town.

A tussle had been brewing among Dalits and women in the town for the past few days which turned into a struggle after a fire broke out in one Richhpal’s house following a dust-storm. The fire had spread to the houses of Maheshchand, Chandarpal and Jaypal also.

Dalits accused a youth, Jai Singh, a gardener, to have caused the fire. They caught hold of him, thrashed him and made him captive. When the police force under the SO of the Bhojpur police station reached there, they were also locked up in a room. Soon a group of women assembled and tried to free the youth. Later, Deputy District Magistrate Umesh Pratap Singh and Circle Officer Prabhal Pratap Singh reached the spot and persuaded the people to give up their protest.

Police searched over 30 houses for rescuing Jai Singh. Soon, the SO left the town saying he will come back with Jai Singh. When DyDM and Circle Officer were also about to leave the town, they were gheraoed by women under Jagmohan Sharma and Lalit Garg who said that they would not allow them to leave till Jai Singh was brought back. They alleged that Jai Singh had been burnt to death by the Dalits while Dalits maintained that some influential people had taken away Jai Singh.



150 jhuggis gutted, woman killed

Sonepat, May 7
At least 150 jhuggis were burnt in a devastating fire, which broke out in the jhuggi cluster at Manoli Taonki village along the Yamuna river, about 25 km from here on Monday evening. According to a report, a woman and at least 50 milch animals were burnt alive in the fire. The fire brigades from Sonepat, Ganaur, Gohana and Narela rushed to the site and was able to bring the fire under control around 10 pm. The fire broke out when some people were engaged in burning wastes from the combine machines. In the meantime, a strong gale lashed the area and the fire spread to the jhuggi cluster. The fire in the jhuggi cluster caused a panic among the people living in the jhuggis and there was pandemonium all around. Reportedly, at least 150 jhuggis were burnt down, killing a woman and more than 50 milch animals on the spot. The residents of the village rushed to the site and helped to control the fire. Mr Azad Singh Nehra, district president of the Human Rights Cell of the Congress Party and Mrs Sumitra Chauhan, a member of the HPCC urged the state government to grant compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of the victim and suitable compensation to others, who lost their belongings in the fire.

These leaders regretted that the district administration and the state political leadership had ignored the plight of the affected people.

Meanwhile, fire incidents were also reported from the villages of Sewli, Saidpur and Pabsara villages. The loss suffered by the people was still unclear. The municipal fire brigade rushed to the site and brought the fire under control in these villages. Meanwhile, a severe dust-storm lashed the Sonepat city and its surrounding areas on Monday evening, disrupting the normal life and business activity. OC



Youth who snatched Rs 20,000 arrested in Rohtak 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 7
With the arrest of a youth on Tuesday, the police claimed to have solved a case in which an amount of Rs 20,000 was snatched on Sunarian road here on March 30. According to police sources, a CID team arrested Jagpal alias Jaggu, a resident of Surya Nagar locality here. During interrogation, he reportedly confessed to have snatched an amount of Rs 20,000 on Sunarian road here on March 30. The police are looking for his accomplices- Sandeep alias Mota, a resident of Sainik Colony here and Shekhar alias Babloo, a resident of Julana village in Jind.

Girl elopes

A teenaged girl of Kharak Jatan village allegedly eloped with a youth of the same village on Saturday night. In a complaint lodged with the police on Tuesday, Mr Balraj Singh, the father of the girl alleged that Chand, a youth of the same village, allured his 17-year-old girl on some pretext. The Meham police registered a case under Section 363 and 366 of the IPC. In a separate incident, the Kalanaur police arrested Pawan Kumar, a resident of Kahnaur on Tuesday who had allegedly enticed a teenaged girl into running away with him recently.


The Deputy Commissioner suspended the sarpanch of Piyala village for alleged irregularities. The sarpanch, Kishore Singh, was charged with selling food materials worth Rs 1,35600, meant for work programme. He was also charged for selling clay worth Rs 32,350 in an illegal manner.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner presented a cheque of Rs 10,000 to one Satish Kataria of Ballabgarh for helping to nab a clerk of the Power Department for taking a bribe, here recently. The district authorities had announced two awards of Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 to those who help in the exposure of corrupt employees and officers under the Anti-corruption Act.

BLib exam

The annual examination of the Bachelor of Library Science (B. Lib) course being run by the Maharshi Dayanand University would be held from May 8 to June 2. A spokesman for the university said on Tuesday that the practical examinations would be held from June 5 to 7 and the center of examination would be the Law Department (block II) of the university.

Youth killed

A youth, Satish Sharma, was killed in a road accident on the Sonepat-Murthal road, near Murthal, about 8 km from here on Monday night. According to a report, the victim was on his way to attend the marriage ceremony of his sister at Hassanpur village.

His scooter was hit by a vehicle and he died on the spot. The driver of the vehicle escaped. The Murthal police have registered the case and launched a manhunt to nab the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident.

Man assaulted 

Ishwar, a resident sustained serious injuries when he was assaulted with lathis by a youth at Pritapura village, about 20 km from here last night. According to a report, the injured person, who was returning to his home, was immediately hospitalised and was stated to be out of danger.

The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress. According to another report, a youth Rajesh was injured when he was attacked by some persons at Piplikhera village, about 15 km from here on Monday evening.



Clothes bank for poor comes to Delhi
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, May 7
It is an effort to help the needy to robe their aspirations of looking good in reality. A clothes bank has been started to fulfil the requirements of those who cannot afford to pay for their clothes. Initiated by Dr Reddy’s Foundation for Human and Social Development and TNT India, an international express distribution company, the clothes bank will collect and distribute clothes for the needy.

The aim of the project, which will run from today till the June 6 is to collect used clothes from the people and refurbish them before handing them over to the needy.

The collection campaign in Delhi is part of the clothes bank’s itinerary covering key metros. Clothes will be collected and sent to a collection centre in Hyderabad where the clothes will be repaired and washed before distribution. The Executive Director of Dr Reddy’s Foundation, Ms Nalini Gangadharan, said, “Every individual, no matter from what strata of society, wants to look good and presentable. Through our unique project, we make this dream come true for disadvantaged groups.” 



Illegal phenyl unit unearthed
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 7
Beware if you are buying a deodorant or a disinfectant. The shopkeeper may hand over you a bottle of phenyl with the label of a deodorant or a disinfectant of poor quality manufactured illegally. The drug authorities here have unearthed a unit running illegally and preparing phenyl and disinfectant with the label of a deodorant printed on its packing.

The team of drug control officials led by the Assistant State Drug Controller (ASDC), Mr G. L. Singhal, conducted a raid in the NH-II locality and unearthed the unit manufacturing illegally all sort of phenyls, detergent powders and acids without any licence.

The unit, Chemical Industry, had been preparing phenyl products manually. Even the sealing of the bottles had been done by hand.

It is learnt that the ‘phenyl’ was marketed in bottles having the label of deodorant, as the latter does not come under the purview of Drug Control Act. The officials collected two samples from the unit and despatched these for test at the State Laboratory, Chandigarh.

The officials claimed that the product seized by them was phenyl of black and white variety. The unit had been operating for the past about five years and it had been supplying its products under the brand names, `Prime’, ‘Anchor’

and `Sparsh’, to local dealers and institutions, including hotels.

The packing was being done in 450 ml, one litre and five quantities with rates of Rs 22.42 and Rs 190 respectively. A case has been booked under the Drugs Act.

The drug officials had unearthed an illegal unit manufacturing phenyl earlier on the Ballabgarh-Sohna road about 15 days ago. A case had been booked against its owner, S K Bhatia. The report of the samples lifted from there is awaited.



Man beaten to death at his pig farm 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Three unidentified persons beat to death one Rajesh (17) at his pig farm at Alipur Village on Monday night. When the three intruders tried to sneak into the pig farm on Monday night, the victim and his younger brother, Vikas, who were working there, resisted their entry.

Subsequently, the intruders become violent and started beating Rajesh. While Rajesh was engaged in an argument with the intruders, Vikas went to call his father and other family members. However, by the time Vikas and the rest of his family members arrived at the farm, the intruders had run away and Rajesh was found unconscious. They took him to Babu Jagjivan Ram hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Man stabbed: Imran (17), who worked in a toy factory in Sadar Bazar, was stabbed by his friend, Sakbul, who worked in another factory in the same area last night. They had an altercation over Rs 300. Infuriated, Sakbul allegedly assaulted and stabbed him on his neck with a butcher’s knife. The victim was admitted to the Hindu Rao Hospital. The doctors declared his condition stable and out of danger.

Auto gang busted: With the arrest of five persons, the Delhi Police on Tuesday claimed to have busted an inter-state auto-lifter gang and solved 20 cases of auto-lifting. The arrested persons were identified as Rohit, Pradeep Bhardwaj, Raj Kumar, Kajal Singh and Anzar.

During interrogation, they disclosed that they operated in Delhi in connivance with parking attendants.

They transferred the stolen vehicles to North-East states and Nepal and sold them there.

Describing their modus operandi, they said that Rohit and Raj Kumar developed friendship with the parking attendants by offering them good food, liquor and prostitutes. The attendants helped them to make duplicate keys of the vehicles. In return, parking attendants were paid Rs 2000 for this help. Raj Kumar and Kajal Singh, who helped in the transfer of the stolen vehicles for disposal, were paid Rs 15,000. The police recovered five cars (Opel Astra, Hyundai Accent, Indica, Matiz and Marshall Jeep), six keys and a set of forged documents from their possession, the police said.


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