Friday, May 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


SC orders relook at CNG hike
Tribune News Service


* Centre and its agencies rapped for unwarranted CNG hike; Bhure Lal Committee told to examine justification of hike.

* The committee will also examine prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene and that of CNG abroad.

* Centre told to submit plan for compulsory switchover to CNG or LPG for two- and three-wheelers in cities that were as polluted as Delhi.

* The Chief Justice observed that by increasing the price of CNG, the government was encouraging adulteration in petrol.

* The Bench pointed out that the hike in CNG was despite the fact that IGL had made a profit of Rs 18 crore this year.

* POSTSCRIPT: When senior counsel Dr AM Singhvi, appearing for IGL, tried to explain the hike, the Chief Justice said: “Don’t befool us. You have taken us for a ride.”

New Delhi, May 9
While refusing to amend its orders pertaining to the phasing out of 800 diesel buses per month and the fine to be realised from the operators for running the diesel buses beyond the deadline of January 31, the Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Centre and its agencies – the Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) included – for “unwarranted, unreasonable and unjustified” hike in the price of CNG.

Acknowledging that the court was not supposed to go into a policy decision of the government, the three-judge Bench, comprising Chief Justice BN Kirpal, Mr Justice VN Khare and Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, said that if the policy was mala fide, the court could certainly intervene to set it right. Accordingly, it directed the Bhure Lal Committee to examine the justification of the “steep” hike in the price of CNG in the Capital and report back to it by August.

The Bhure Lal Committee was appointed earlier by the court to look into the matter of vehicular pollution in the Capital and suggest ways and means to minimise the same. The court said that while going into the pricing of CNG, the Bhure Lal Committee would take into consideration the prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene. It would also go into the concessions given for petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene and compare the pricing of CNG in other countries.

The court also asked the Centre to :

* Submit a comprehensive plan for the compulsory switchover to CNG or LPG for two- and three-wheelers in cities other than Delhi that were equally or more polluted.

* Provide to the Bhure Lal Committee all necessary documents and assistance to enable it accomplish the task assigned to it by the court.

Arguing the matter, Amicus Curiae Harish Salve said IGL was supplying CNG at the rate of Rs 5.75 to the industries while its price for vehicles had been increased from Rs 13.11 to Rs 16.83, which was four times higher than that paid by industries. It had put a direct burden on consumers, he argued. The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) was supplying natural gas at the rate of approximately Rs three to IGL and it only has to bear the cost of compressing as there was no excise duty on CNG, he said. The hike in price was aimed at permitting a backdoor entry for the diesel buses directed to be phased out at the rate of 800 buses per month, Mr Salve asserted.

Diesel bus operators’ counsel CS Vaidyanathan pleaded that they be exempted from paying the fine and allowed to convert their vehicles into CNG mode by using the CNG kit. It was due to the government’s failure to maintain adequate supply of compressed gas, the diesel bus operators could not convert their buses into CNG mode, he said and added a CNG bus had to wait for 12 to 18 hours for filling the gas.

After hearing the arguments, the court wondered that while the industry paid Rs 5.75 per kg for CNG, the public transport was forced to pay Rs 16.83 per kg. This steep rise had been brought out when the cost of natural gas to the government was zero and it involved only transportation charges, the court said. The chief justice pointed out that even going by the cost structure of the manufacturers of CNG as provided by IGL, it was making a clean profit of Rs one crore per day. “Are you giving the same subsidy to the CNG that you were giving to diesel ?” the chief justice asked Additional Solicitor General Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the Centre.

Disturbed by the price hike of CNG, Justice Khare said it seemed the court would have to direct a parity between the price of the CNG, on the one hand, and that of diesel, petrol and kerosene, on the other. Chief Justice Kirpal, in turn, observed that by increasing the price of CNG, the government was encouraging only adulteration in petrol. He said the sudden hike in the CNG price from Rs 13.11 per kg to Rs 16.87 per kg was despite the fact that the IGL had made a profit of Rs 18 crore this year. When senior counsel Dr AM Singhvi , appearing for IGL, tried to explain it away, the chief justice said : “Don’t befool us. You have taken us for a ride.”



Ulterior motives alleged in transport fare hikes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that wilful motives guided the Congress-led Delhi government’s decision to hike fares of buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis. The BJP demanded an immediate roll back of the revised fares as it amounted to ‘punishing’ the general commuters. The government took the decision only to benefit itself and the transporters but did not take into account the resulting pressure on the general masses, who were already facing difficulties due to the lack of sufficient buses on the roads, Delhi BJP President Mange Ram Garg said in a news conference. Charging the Sheila Dikshit Government of indulging in large-scale corruption while increasing the transport fares on the pretext of 38 per cent hike in CNG prices, Mr Garg said the decision to increase the fares should have been taken after consulting the public representatives. Apart from this, the quantum of increase, he felt, was not in ratio with the impact of the increase in the prices of CNG on the transporters. “If at all necessary, there should have only been a marginal five per cent hike in the fares and 25 to 35 per cent increase because there have been no hike in the rate of diesel and petrol rates,” he said.The BJP was of the view that the Government of NCT of Delhi had tried to shift on the general masses the penalty imposed on owners of buses by the Supreme Court as a precondition for running the diesel-run vehicles. “Instead of the transporters bearing the cost, the 43 per cent working class population of the Capital was being penalised,” he alleged. He also claimed that due to the poor vision and anti-people policy of the government, the public transport system had collapsed.

The Delhi BJP chief announced that the party would launch a week-long agitational programme.



Gurgaon exports grounded by erratic A-I
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 9
The export industry here has come out strongly against the alleged apathy of the Civil Aviation Ministry, which has blunted their competitive edge in the global market. The exporters have even lodged a strong protest with the office of the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Mr L.N.Lakhan Pal.

The exporters’ grouse is that Air-India is not operating at its optimum best and unable to meet its commitment to industrialised countries on flying a definite number of carriers for cargo and passenger traffic. In turn, the `erratic’ Air-India flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport have impinged on their growth prospects. According to the national Vice President of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.K.Jain, the matter was discussed at length with Mr Lakhan Pal. The lattet urged them to prepare a report on the issue, so that his office could take it up with the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Mr Rajiv Upaal of Global Exchange – a local firm which exports garments – led the charge, submitting before the DGFT that in February-March the problem exacerbates. One reason for AIAI’s shoddy performance is the pathetic condition of its aircraft and the shortage of airbuses.

Foreign operators like Lufthansa, Aro-France, etc show no mercy for the domestic cargo and passengers who wish to make shipments abroad to meet their business commitments. Either the foreign operators do not play ball or they charge exorbitant rates. Even if they accept domestic cargo on board, they do it on their terms.

The industrialists have demanded that either the services of Air-India be spruced up or the Aviation Ministry rope in Indian Airlines and other private operators for lessening AI’s burden. The problem holds equally good for passenger traffic.

The problem became worse after the foreign operators cut down their flights following the suicidal attack on the World Trade Centre last year.

There are a large number of exporters of garments, mushrooms, fresh flowers and horticulture products in Gurgaon. But the overseas demand for garments varies swiftly with the changing climatic conditions. The manufacturers have to adapt fast to meet the variables in demand. In such a situation, if the export consignments are delayed, they become obsolete as the end-user overseas is very fastidious. With regard to flowers and horticulture goods, it is contended that their shelf life is short and any delay in delivery would mean instant end of the road for the domestic exporter.



No escaping this arm of law
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, May 9
Beat Constable Bhopal Singh stands out in a crowd. Tall and well built, his presence on the streets of Shakarpur in East Delhi instils confidence in the residents and shopkeepers.

Recently, one of the suspects who had committed a daylight robbery in the shop of a well-known jeweler in the area was stupefied when a hefty policeman grabbed him in a vice-like grip after a short chase. The suspect immediately knew that there was no escaping this arm of the law, as it were. The case was solved within minutes.

In 1996 when the city was rocked by a series of bomb blasts, this policeman is credited with saving seven lives single-handedly despite himself being seriously wounded in the New Friends Colony area. What gave him the strength to carry out an uphill task of saving seven lives? “The call of duty and the responsibility of the uniform,” replies the doughty constable .

But what really brought him to the notice of his superiors was his solving a case of murder in the Okhla residential area in October 1995. While on duty at the police station, he received an anonymous call that foul smell was emanating from one of the locked houses. Since the area fell in his beat, he immediately rushed to the spot and single-handedly broke down the locked door. Inside, he saw the putrefying body of a young girl sprawled on the floor.

It was apparent that the girl had been raped before being strangulated. The neighbours identified her as one, Kamal Jahan, a schoolteacher who had been living alone there as her family was in some remote village in Uttar Pradesh. The neighbours said that the single woman was very well behaved and lived quietly.

Single-handedly, he started making inquiries and the hard work paid off when a shopkeeper of the area told him that she had been seen several times with a resident of the area, identified as Rehman. Rehman was traced. During interrogation, he confessed to have committed the crime as the girl had repeatedly spurned his advances. He was arrested for rape and murder.



A museum that trashes rare objets d’art 
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
Priceless historical and cultural antiquities housed in the National Museum here in the Capital have neither been scientifically assessed nor properly documented resulting in tremendous loss both in terms of money as well as nation’s cultural legacy. These lapses came to light recently when one of the experts employed by the museum detected several discrepancies in the script on some of the rare manuscripts and brought these to the notice of the authorities. However, for some inexplicable reason, this officer was summarily suspended instead of being rewarded.

Sources here pointed out that during the last 50 years, the Central Asian Antiquities have not found entry in the Classified Accession Register (CAR), and said that at most there are vague entries in these registers. This apart, according to sources, no official has been given charge of the Central Asian Antiquities division in the museum. There are also instances where precious and semi-precious stones have gone missing after sending them for the exhibitions abroad. In one instance, a small turquoise bead was reported as missing from the lid area of an ornamented gilt box after displaying it in an exhibition at Naples in Italy a few years ago.

Subsequently, a high-powered inquiry committee, which undertook an elaborate examination of the object, observed that gilt box under question was insured for Rs 15 lakh and the exact reason for the loss of the object in Italy was not known. Till date no responsibility has been fixed for the loss. Sources said that recently in a particular lot of 1,600 Sharda manuscripts, several discrepancies in the elements of Devanigri scripts were detected by an official considered to be an expert on the subject. Consequently, as is the practice, this expert demanded the examination of specific entries in the General Accession Register and the Classified Accession Register. Insiders say that the museum authorities refused to provide access to the entries in the GAR and CAR and even went on to suspend the official who pointed out the discrepancies. When contacted, the Director General of National Museum, Dr R D Choudhury, refused to offer any comment. “I confirm that he has been suspended. I cannot say anything more, ” was all that he would say.



Power dues waiver scheme extended to 
urban defaulters 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, May 9
The power bill defaulters in Kalanaur and Beri towns will also be eligible for the concessions extended recently to the rural consumer under the new power dues waiver scheme.

The scheme envisages waiver of 75 per cent of the bill amount, if the defaulter pays 25 per cent of the amount in one go by May 15. In a fresh sop today, the government has announced waiver of 75 per cent of the penalty, if the defaulter pays 25 percent of the amount by May 15.

Interestingly, this is for the first time that the government has extended concessions to `urban’ consumers which hitherto were meant exclusively for ruralities. Besides Kalanaur (Rohtak) and Beri (Jhajjar) towns, the citizens of 12 other civic bodies in the state, which were dissolved and later reinstated, have also been extended these concessions.

As the last date for paying the outstanding dues is drawing nearer, the district administration has mounted pressure on the defaulters to avail of the new scheme. Every officer in the district, right from the Deputy Commissioner down to the Naib Tehsildar, is trying to motivate the villagers to pay their dues.

The authorities have provided a list of defaulters to the gram panchayats, which can also exert pressure on the erring consumers. During his visits, the Deputy Commissioner also reads out the names of the major defaulters of the village, after his formal appeal to them to pay the bills.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anil Malik, has appealed to the panchayats to launch a campaign against persons who are getting electricity via ‘Kundi connections’ (un-metered supply). He has dubbed the ‘Kundi connection’ a social evil.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Alok Kumar Rai, who accompanied the Deputy Commissioner during his visits to the villages, warned the beneficiaries of un-metered supply to either regularise their connections or face action under the IPC after May. No leniency would be shown towards such persons, he warned the villagers at Bohar and Assan today.

The number of kundi connections in the villages exceeds that of metered consumers. Out of nearly 6,000 houses in village Bohar, only 2,068 have metered supply and the remaining were getting power directly from the transmission lines.

Of the 2,068 metered consumers, nearly 46 per cent were defaulters and have not paid their bills for many years. They owe Rs 70.48 lakh to the Uttar Haryana Vidyut Bijlee Nigam. “Thus, nearly 15 per cent of the population of village Bohar is carrying the burden of the remaining 85 percent,’’ Mr Malik said.

Similarly, out of roughly 1,500 households in village Assan, only 300 were paying bills. While 875 houses have metered supply, the remaining were surviving on ‘Kundi connections.’



BJP sets up core group to revitalise Delhi unit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
The Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party has set up a 14-member core group consisting of some senior party leaders to revitalise the unit and prepare for the Assembly elections in the national Capital, due next year.

The core group has been set up at the behest of the recently appointed vice-president in charge of Delhi, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, in view of the virtual rout of the Delhi BJP in the recent Corporation elections in the Capital.

The core group includes all the seven BJP MPs from Delhi, state unit chief Mange Ram Garg and Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Jagdish Mukhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Subhash Arya and Vice-Chairman NDMC Ram Bhaj.

The core group, formed to fix collective responsibility on the senior leaders, held its first meeting yesterday at Mr Khurana’s residence and discussed measures to strengthen the party. Besides, it also decided to oppose the fare hike in public transport service in view of the CNG controversy and highlight the problems being faced by the masses in the national Capital.

Besides, Mr Khurana, Mr Garg, Mr Mukhi and Mr Ram Bhaj, the other members of the core group are Union Tourism Minister Jagmohan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Vijay Goel, party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha Vijay Kumar Malhotra, former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, East Delhi MP Lal Bihari Tiwari, Karol Bagh MP Anita Arya and Delhi BJP General Secretaries Pawan Sharma, Mool Chand Chawla and Shyam Lal Garg.

Mr Khurana stressed on the need of working together in the interest of the organisation and work as a team to expose the misrule of the Sheila Dikshit led Congress government in the National Capital territory.

The BJP vice-president said being a limited state, Delhi was faced with problems concerning the Urban Development Ministry and the Delhi Government. The BJP will try to work out a formula to solve them, he added.

The former Delhi Chief Minister, who has taken the assignment as a challenge following the party’s debacle in the Assembly as well as the Corporation elections, said he held a meeting with Home Minister L. K. Advani on Monday and discussed issues concerning the Capital. Mr Advani assured him that he would soon call a joint meeting of Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar, Delhi BJP MPs and the Delhi BJP President where the issues raised by him will be addressed.

The party will also take up the cause of lakhs of people who were rendered jobless following closure of about 25,000 small scale units and cottage industries in November 2000 due to lack of vision and proper presentation by the Delhi Government before the court.



Residents deluge Chautala with their complaints
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 9
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was stunned to see a party worker, Mr Luxmi Ram, waiving a complaint paper in his hand when he arrived at the Gymkhana Club near Bahalgarh village about 10 km from here on the G. T. Road on Tuesday evening to lay the foundation stone of the club.

“Luxmi Ram too phir kagaz le ke aage pa gaya?” Mr Chautala asked. Mr Luxmi Ram immediately replied that he would not allow him to get rid of him as he would again appear before him with a new paper of complaint. The Chief Minister, INLD leaders and bureaucrats laughed at the reply. Thereafter, Mr Chautala called the Deputy commissioner and asked him to redress his grievances.

Later, the Chief Minister was in a fix when the residents of Raipur village demanded to provide residential plots on the village land to increase the income of the gram panchayat. Mr N. C. Wadhwa, a senior Huda officer, came to the rescue of the Chief Minister by a giving a suggestion to solve the issue of the village folk.

Mr Chautala had to face people’s ire over the police excesses when he arrived to inaugurate the Rs 4.50-crore canal-based drinking water supply scheme in Sector 23, a residential colony of Huda, here on Tuesday evening. The Chief Minister handed over all the complaints to the Superintendent of Police directing him to take immediate steps to solve the problems of the aggrieved persons.

The foundation stone of this scheme, it may be recalled, was laid by the then Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, about five years ago but the scheme was commissioned by Mr Chautala only on Tuesday evening.



No dearth of hell-holes in Noida
Parmindar Singh

Noida, May 9
A fire breaks out in the slums of Noida every year. This has been happening for the last many years, making the life of poor slum-dwellers a hell.

This year’s fire in Sector-44 snuffed out 10 lives while another 10 were injured. Those who lost their houses numbered 6,000 while over 200 jhuggis were destroyed.

But the politicians and the officials would hardly draw a lesson from the tragedy. A mafia seems to be ruling in this part of the country. It is not at all interested to help people get a shelter above their head or dole out compensation to the victims of the tragedy.

Even the Noida officials are apathetic to the misery of the people as jhuggis have allegedly become a source of their income.

Greed of slum mafia, politicking, rivalry among the so-called leaders of slum-dwellers, apathy of police and officials are some of the factors contributing to the slum fires year after year.

When Noida came up with an initiative for constructing pucca tenements for the slum-dwellers last year, the mafia had opposed it vehemently. There are a number of jhuggi gangs known to own 100 to 200 jhuggis which get them a monthly rent.

When Noida offered to build one-room tenement for the slum-dwellers, the mafia diverted their attention by promising them allotment of free plots.

Some junior Noida officials are known to be taking their share of the booty while the police also take money from the criminals who get shelter in the slums. When a fire breaks out in the jhuggis, none of the leaders is seen around.

The number slum clusters is increasing in and around Noida town. There are slum clusters in Sector-8,9 and 10, the hub of industrial sectors which are in a bad shape as they have been built in a haphazard way.

Most of these even come under high-tension overhead cables. Weekly marts are held nearby which sell inflammable items like plastics and furniture items.

The city’s largest power station of 220 KVA is also situated just across the road.

Some of the shops in these clusters have stocked goods ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh worth and about 200 jhuggis have been converted into pucca houses. But about 80 per cent jhuggis are still made of thatch, wood, polythene, bamboos straw etc — highly inflammable material.

Two years ago similar fire in Sector-4 had destroyed over 200 slums. When fire brigade personnel were trying to douse the flames, it came to light that a basement had been made in the slumps which was being used for storing stolen goods and hiding the criminals mostly from Bangladesh.

Though the district magistrate had written to Noida to take it into their possession, the authority did not do it. Hundreds of people live in jhuggi clusters along a drain from Sector 15 and 15A to Sector-18 which again are scenes of fires every year.



Farmers pooh-pooh claims of procurement agencies
Our Correspondent

Sonepat. May 9
The representatives of various farmers organisations on Wednesday described the claim of the official procurement agencies engaged in buying wheat at the minimum support price of Rs 620 per quintal that only 10 tonnes of wheat out of 2.67 lakh tonnes in the mandis and purchasing centres had been purchased by the private traders as absurd and misleading.

They said that it was totally unbelievable that such a small quantity of wheat had been purchased by the traders.

In a joint press release, they said that the traders were purchasing wheat direct from the farmers at lower rates and then selling it to the government procurement agencies under fictitious names.

They also pointed out that almost all the mandis and the purchasing centres were facing the glut due to the non-lifting of procured wheat from them. On the other hand, thousands of bags procured by the official agencies were still lying in the open not only in the grain markets but in their godowns.

A large number of trucks loaded with procured wheat are seen outside the godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) on the Sonepat-Rohtak Road near Kalupur village.

This has caused traffic jams almost every day, hampering the procurement of wheat in the mandis and purchasing centres in the district.

The farmers are disappointed at the slow pace of lifting the procured wheat from the markets and purchasing centres. They are being forced to sell their produce to the private traders at a throwaway price so that they could carry on their work in other fields.

The representatives of the farmers organisations have expressed surprise at the claim of the government agencies that the entire stock of wheat arrived in the markets are being purchased by them at the minimum support price of Rs 620 per quintal fixed by the government.

They pointed out that if the version of the procurement agencies was believed, it would mean that neither the consumers and nor any trader had purchased wheat from the mandis and purchasing centres.

They alleged that the official procurement agencies had already stopped the purchase of wheat from the farmers, causing a great inconvenience to the farmers.


Sonepat fire victims to get govt aid
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 9
The Central Government has decided to construct as many as 150 pucca houses under the Indira Aawas Yojna at Manoli Tonki village in the district for the rehabilitation of the fire-hit people.

Stating this, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, a BJP MP told mediapersons here today that the Central Government would also provide the financial assistance to such people who had lost everything in the devastating fire on Monday evening. The fire burnt as many as 150 jhuggis, killing a woman and 28 animals.

Moreover, 49 animals sustained serious burn injuries. They are being treated by the doctors of the veterinary department.

Mr Sangwan also announced a grant of Rs 1.20 lakh out of his discretionary fund from the Lok Sabha quota as a relief measure on the spot. He also expressed sympathy with the family of the woman and assured an all-out assistance to them.

Mr Sangwan distributed utensils and ‘sirkis’ among the fire-affected families on behalf of a social organisation on this occasion.

Meanwhile, the District Red Cross Society has opened a relief camp in the village and started distributing household articles among the fire-hit people.



Harassed childless mother commits 
‘suicide’ in Rewari 
Our Correspondent

Rewari, May 9
The tragic death of a young married woman, Suman, who was allegedly subjected to inhuman treatment by her in-laws on account of her failure to bear child for the past seven years, has cast a gloom over her parental home in Lohana village, about 24 km from Rewari.

It is stated that when Suman, who was married to Virender Singh, son of Jai Lal, resident of Bawana village under Kanina police station of Mahendragarh district, failed to bear a child, she gradually became are unwanted person in the house.

The alleged callous treatment meted out to her at her in-laws house at Bawana, ultimately filled her with so much frustration that she allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday.

However, her brother Ashok Kumar, made a complaint to the police alleging that Suman did not commit suicide but was virtually murdered. On the basis of the above complaint, the Kanina police have registered a case of murder, under Section 302 IPC against her husband Virender, father-in-lawJai Lal and mother-in-law Santra Devi. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Murder mystery

The mystery surrounding the murder of Bir Singh by some unidentified youths in Dhokia village, under Jatusana police station on Tuesday night continues.

It is stated that when Bir Singh and his son Ramesh were fast asleep, some youths made an abrupt knock at his house. Bir Singh went out of the house with the youths. It is said the youths injured him seriously and pushed him into a well.

Next day, his body was recovered by the police from the well.

The police have, on the basis of a statement made by his son Ramesh, registered a case of murder under Section 302, 34 I.P.C. However, no arrest was made by the police.

Road accidents

At least nine persons including two women were injured, two of them seriously in three different road accident that occurred on the G.T. Road near Murthal, 8 km from here on Wednesday evening.

According to a report, all the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and two of them were sent to a Delhi hospital for further treatment.

According to another report, a youth, Rambir of Naina Tatarpur village, was rushed to the local Civil Hospital on Wednesday evening, after he took sulphas tablets in his house in a bid to commit suicide. The youth was stated to be out of danger. The cause of the attempted suicide was unclear.

Phones disrupted

Sonepat city and its surrounding areas remained cut off from other parts of the country for several hours, following a technical defect in the main telephone exchange here on Thursday. According to a report, thousands of telephone was out of order, which caused great inconvenience to the subscribers. The defects were subsequently removed in the evening. This is the second time in two weeks when such a defect developed in the main telephone exchange. Services, particularly the STD, were severely affected. Repeated defects have also caused huge financial losses to the Nigam.

Effort lauded

The effort of the Sonepat administration to beautify the district was applauded by Mrs Anita Chaudhary, the Commissioner of the Rohtak division at a function organised in the Malik Chand Auditorium of the Malviya Shikhsha Sadan here today.



Rs 4.50 lakh looted from two peons 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, May 9
Two scooter-borne criminals looted two peons of the Stamp and Registration Department of Rs 4.50 lakh. The peons were carrying the days cash collection, to be deposited in the State Bank of India, Collectorate Branch.

They were carrying the cash on their private moped (UP-20-0895). The incident took place near the Hanuman Mandir, along the railway track opposite Hydel colony, under Kavi Nagar police station.

According to Rishi Pal, at about 11.00 am, two criminals, aged about 20 years, came from the rear side of the vehicle and banged into the Hero Punch with their blue coloured Bajaj Chetak scooter.

Rishi Pal lost control over the vehicle and fell down on the roadside along with Sushil, who was holding the cash bag.

The criminals hit Sushil on his forehead with a pistol butt and snatched the yellow coloured cash bag from him. The criminals fled from the spot on their scooter.

The victims, rushed to the ADM (Finance), Mr Amardeep Singh, in the collectorate and narrated the whole incident to him. The ADM (F) informed the CO-II about the incident.

Soon the police swung into action and cordoned off the area. The police have taken several persons into custody for questioning.

The Superintendent of Police (City), Dr Ashok Kumar Raghav, said, “There are norms to carry the government cash. The peons were violating the norms while carrying cash on their private two-wheeler, without any weapon. We are interrogating them and cannot rule out their role or some other officials of the department.”

In another case, five armed miscreants looted the house of a Deputy Superintendent of Police of the BSF in village Badhana, under Bisearakh police station, on Tuesday night. When resisted, the criminals assaulted and seriously injured three persons including the police officers wife.

The family of Rajpal Singh, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the BSF, who is currently posted in Jaisalmer, lives in the village, the police said.

Five masked intruders barged in to their house at mid-night. They overpowered Mrs Tripati, wife of Rajpal Singh, and pointing a gun at her head, asked for the weapons in the house. When she refused to oblige the intruders, they beat her up. Other members of the family and guests were also beaten up and locked up in the bathroom.

Subsequently, the intruders ransacked the house and decamped with all the cash, jewellery and other valuables. The villagers, who arrived at the house of Mr Rajpal after hearing the commotion, rushed the injured to the hospital. 



Racket in educational certificates busted 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police today claimed to have unearthed a racket of fake educational certificates, allegedly issued by a gang of cheats headed by Mange Ram alias Dr Mange Ram Acharya. Mr Mange Ram had allegedly established a fake “All India Board of Secondary Education, Delhi” in Timarpur area in North district.

The suspects and his associates used to issue fake certificates of Class 10 and 12 and other professional courses.

The police raided the premises from where the racket was run at village Gopalpur in Timarpur area in North Delhi and arrested the self-styled chairman, Dr Mange Ram Acharya, of the fake education board. His brother, Charan Pal Singh and Suresh Kumar Sain, were also arrested, the police said.

During search of his office, the police seized 25 fake certificates and 35 mark sheets of secondary and senior secondary, duly filled in the name of the candidates, along with plenty of blank certificates and other documents.

Scrutiny of the seized documents showed that during the academic session 2001-2002, Mange Ram had collected heavy amount from around 700 students, hailing from various states for providing fake certificates.

To convince his victims, Mange Ram Acharya would show them the files of his correspondence with various universities and educational institutions, as if he was licensed and registered to operate as a parallel education board.

The certificates of Class 10 and 12 were signed by Dr Mange Ram Acharya himself, as M.R. Titwal, posing as controller of examination and subsequently, signed by Suresh Kumar Sain, as controller of examination, who was an employee in his office on a monthly salary.

The prime suspect had his network in most of north Indian states and Andhra Pradesh in South India. During interrogation, Mange Ram disclosed that he operated through his agents in different states.

Mange Ram had also contested as a candidate for the Delhi assembly from Timarpur constituency. He lived a lavish life, driving white Ambassador car with two private gunmen.

It was also disclosed that Mange Ram and his associates intimidated his staff members at gunpoint and forcefully made them sign the various documents. Cleverly, he avoided putting his own signature on the documents.

Raids conducted at Gopalpur, Delhi and village Nangla Fatu in Meerut led to the recovery of one .315 bore rifle with 21 live cartridges and one .32 bore revolver, with 16 live cartridges.

An arm licence was also recovered in his name, issued by deputy commissioner, Amritsar in 1999. The licence showed his address as village and post office Mehta, Tehsil Bakla, district Amritsar. However, he later disclosed that he had never visited that area.

Raids at his house also resulted in recovery of fake degrees and certificates of Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animals Husbandry, BAMS, M.Com, B.Sc. B.A., J.B.T. from a fake university named, Shri Mange Ram Samarak Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Delhi. Movable and immovable properties worth crores of rupees were recovered and seized, the police said.



In-laws booked in dowry death case 

Rohtak, May 9
The Meham police registered a case today against the in-laws of a woman for allegedly harassing her for dowry. Mr Ugrasen, resident of Sudken Khurd village, stated in the FIR that his sister, Sunita was married to Rambir, resident of Gharaunthi village nearly 10 years ago. He alleged his sister was often harassed by her in-laws, especially by her husband, for having brought insufficient dowry items and a dark complexion.

The complainant said that he was informed on Tuesday by the in-laws of his sister that she sustained burn injuries while working in the kitchen and later died. He said he visited the Gharaunthi village on Thursday to inquire into the incident. He said that he was informed by the villagers that the in-laws of his sister harassed her to the extent that she committed suicide. The police registered a case under Section 306 of the IPC.

Car stolen: A Maruti car owned by Mr K.C.Dadhwal, Finance Officer of the Maharshi Dayanand University, was stolen from the university campus on Tuesday. The police have registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

Purse snatched: Two scooter-borne youths snatched a purse, containing Rs 6,500 and certain gold ornaments, from a woman near Jhang colony locality here on Tuesday evening. Ms Raj Bala, resident of Adarsh Nagger locality here alleged in the FIR that two miscreants on a scooter snatched her purse and escaped. 



Youth killed over motorcycle papers 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
Heated arguments over the document of a vehicle led to the murder of a youth, Vinod (21) in Ajit Nagar in East district on Wednesday night. Vinod was reportedly shot dead by Manoj following heated argument over documents of a vehicle. The victim had purchased a motorcycle from one Rajinder, who had allegedly not given him all the papers of the vehicle. Recently, on the complaint of Rajender, the motorcycle was seized by the police. When Vinod along with his brother, Ajay and friend Akash, went to Rajinder for documents of the vehicle, there was heated arguments with Rajinder. During the course of the argument, Manoj fired three bullets from his licensed revolver. The bullets pierced the leg of Vinod. He was admitted to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Gallantry award: Inspector Rajbir Singh Malik, has been awarded the gallantry medal by the President for his gallantry, courage and devotion to his duty. The medal has been given for his courageous action in a fierce encounter with two dreaded criminals, Brij Mohan Tyagi and his associate, Anil Malhotra on September 15, 1994, at the Raja Garden crossings. The encounter resulted in serious injuries to several police officials and criminals. Later, both the criminals died. The criminals were involved in a number of crime cases including murder, dacoities, robberies and kidnapping for ransom. Showing courage and presence of mind, he injured both the criminals, who later died .

Heroin seized: Sleuths of Narcotics Branch of the Delhi Police arrested Zakir Ali of Gajrola UP and seized heroin worth Rs 1crore. The suspect had come to Gagan Cinema in Nand Nagri in East Delhi on his two-wheeler to deliver the consignment to his contact in the Capital. As the suspect took out the consignment from his scooter, the sleuths nabbed them



Police on the lookout for arhtias’ robbers 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat May 9
Gohana police have launched a massive hunt for three unidentified armed car-borne miscreants reported to have robbed two ‘arhtias’ of Gohana and snatched Rs 4.30 lakh while they were going on a motorcycle to Kathura village about 45 km from here yesterday. According to a report, both the arhtias namely Mr RajKumar and Mr Tara Chand of Narwal Brothers and Company withdrew the amount from the State Bank of Patiala’s branch at Gohana around noon and proceeded towards Kathura villageto make payment to the farmers there. When they were half a km away from the Kathura mandi, a Maruti car hit the motorcycle and both of them fell on the road.

One of the miscreants got down from the car and he immediately fired shots in the air to scare away then. He immediately snatched the cash bag and fled in the car along with other miscreants.

Both the arhtias immediately informed the police about the incidents and the police sealed the border with other district. But the miscreants could not be located so far.



Steps to expedite relocation of units
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
To expedite the relocation of industries on the outskirts of the Capital, the Union Urban Development Ministry has agreed to process within 30 days from the date of notification of acquisition of land the Government of NCT of Delhi’s request for change of land use from agricultural to industrial purposes.

Delhi’s Industries Minister Deep Chand Bandhu on Thursday said Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar had conveyed as much to him during Wednesday’s meeting. The meeting, he said, was convened to facilitate the expeditious processing of the request for change of land use to de-seal the industries that were ordered to be closed by the Supreme Court in 2000.

Describing the response of the Union Minister as “very positive,” Bandhu said he had been assured that the change of land use would be allowed within a period of one month from the date of notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act wherein the Government of NCT of Delhi is empowered to acquire land from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

Bandhu said the government had requested DDA to provide additional land for accommodating more than 12,000 industries that were required to be shifted out of residential areas. The DDA has already identified three pockets measuring 332 hectares in Rohini, 265 hectares on the Rohtak Road and 175 hectares in Narela. The matter, he said, was pending with the Urban Development Ministry, which will take a final decision on the change of land use from agricultural to industrial purposes. Bandhu said the government had identified 24 areas having 70 per cent or more industrial concentration for their in-situ regularisation. Fifteen of these areas have been cleared by the DDA and referred to the Urban Development Ministry. “The proposal would reduce pressure on land requirement for relocation purposes and also amount to the acceptance of the ground realities,” he said. This, he felt, would require a suitable amendment to the Delhi Master Plan 2001.


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