Tuesday, May 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Battlelines Drawn
Gurdwara polls at last, on June 30
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

Paramjeet Singh Sarna
Paramjeet Singh Sarna
Avtar Singh Hit
Avtar Singh Hit

New Delhi, May 13
The much-awaited general elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee would be held on June 30 and the notification would be issued on May 28. The Lt-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, today issued directions to the Delhi Government to issue the notification by May 28 for holding polls for the 46-ward DSGMC, the number of constituencies into which the National Capital Territory has been divided into for the elections to the Sikh religious body, sources told the NCR Tribune.

The state government had earlier informed the Delhi High Court that it would hold the polls by June 15. But, this is the first time that the Lt-Governor has issued directions to the Delhi Government to issue the notification by the end of this month for the polls. Sources said that the polls had been delayed by a fortnight to enable the Sikh electorates who have attained 18 years of age to register themselves.

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara (amendment) Bill providing voting rights to 18 years and above recently got the presidential assent. The Directorate of Gurdwara Elections had completed the process of registering the new voters.

However, a delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) led by its Delhi unit president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, had last week met the Lt-Governor to point out the discrepancies in the electoral roll.

Mr Avatar Singh said around 46,000 new voters should have been registered, but only 10,000 names have been added to the list. Moreover, the voters’ list is not available in Hindi and Punjabi, which would cause a lot of inconvenience to the electorates. The Directorate had set up 16 centres across the city to enable the voters to register themselves. The last general election to the DSGMC, which holds office for a four-year term, was held in 1995 after 17 years. While Mr Avtar Singh Hit welcomed the decision of the Lt-Governor, the rival pro-Tohra faction leader, Mr Paramjeet Singh Sarna of the Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi criticised the move.

Mr Hit said, “This would allow the electorate an opportunity to register themselves and exercise their franchise.”

Stating that the party was ready to face the polls, he said, “It is a positive signal that a decision has been taken on the poll date.”

Condemning the move to delay the polls by another 15 days, Mr Sarna said, “There is no justification for the postponement of the polls. The government had committed itself before the court and now it is going back.”

He asked, “What is the guarantee that the Delhi Government would not back out again.”

More than three years have passed since the elections to the committee became due, which has control over a number of schools, hospitals and other institutions and an annual budget worth crores of rupees.

There are about 3.07 lakh registered electorate after the final round of enlisting of names. As per 1999 electoral rolls for the Gurdwara polls, there were 2.67 lakh registered voters in these wards.

The DSGMC comprises 56 members and the general elections are held for 46 wards in the National Capital Territory. Four members from the Singh Sabhas, one from the SGPC and five Jathedars of the five Takhts in the country are members of the committee. Except five Jathedars, all others have voting right.



CM doles out sops, indication of things to come?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
A sneak preview of the shape of things to come or an innovative aberration ?

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday flagged off the “mobile office” of Delhi SC/ST Finance and Development Corporation. The mobile office of the Corporation will be ‘housed’ in a RTV van. The idea behind it, apparently, is to provide information to the people at their doorstep and distribute forms to the beneficiaries of the Corporation’s various schemes. The mobile office, Ms Dikshit was to later elaborate, was conceptualised so that people could derive maximum benefit from the welfare schemes implemented by the Corporation.

If that were not enough, she distributed financial aid worth Rs 2 crore 30 lakh to widows for the marriages of their daughters and beneficiaries of Composite Loan Scheme, handed over the keys of brand new CNG three wheelers to 55 men and sanctioned 46 letters for Maruti Van CNG (Dual Fuel) Schemes … all in a day’s work ! For good measure, she announced that such programmes would henceforth be hosted in the localities than in places like the Old Secretariat (which was the venue for this function.)

The occasion was distribution of financial aid to the beneficiaries of Delhi SC/ST Finance and Development Corporation. Present were legislators Ramakant Goswami, Jile Singh Chauhan, Radheyshyam Khanna, Motilal Bakolia, Vir Singh Dhingan and Kiran Walia.



First the tax, now men in uniform
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 13
The National Highway Authority of India is again courting controversy: The members of a private security agency employed by it for collecting the toll tax go about their job in army uniform, which carries the official insignia. This, in turn, has fueled protests; the industrialists of Gurgaon city are already livid over the imposition of the high rate of toll tax. Though it is normal for private security agencies to employ retired army personnel, it is felt that the agencies must not allow their employees to wear army uniform. It is pointed out, in this context, that the Indian Penal Code prohibits the use of uniforms of the police and the armed forces for private purpose.

The argument that the tax is being collected by the agency for the NHAI, which is a government of India undertaking, is not tenable. The body is a private one and it merely employs retired personnel on a retainer. In fact, the NHAI, being a government agency, should be well aware of the laws of the country.

Some industrialists of Gurgaon were initially taken in by this ruse and thought that the Army’s services had been enlisted by the NHAI for collecting the toll tax. This impression was reinforced when members of public found them wearing army medals and supporting the official insignia. The industrialists here are waging a relentless campaign against the NHAI for imposing the “exorbitant” toll tax. A delegation of Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA) even met the Union Minister of State for Surface Transport, General(retd) B.C.Khanduri, and briefed him on the issue. (The NHAI had recently set up a junction at Bilaspur Chowk on the Delhi-Jaipur highway for collecting the toll tax.)

The delegation informed the minister that the levy was operative in a stretch of 125 km — from BIlaspur Chowk to Kotuputli in Rajasthan. A large number of units have branches in the industrial hub of Dharuhera in the stretch between Gurgaon and Jaipur. The vendors keep shuttling on this stretch and they feel the pinch of the levy most. It is contended that the distance from Gurgaon to Dharuhera is only 30 km. Yet, the vendors have to bear the burden of tax for the entire stretch of 125 km.. The delegation pointed out that the tax at Bilaspur Chowk was the highest compared to what is being charged by the NHAI on other highways in the country.



His flick to fine leg has Faridabad up on its toes
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 13
The family of Ajay Ratra, the Indian wicket-keeper, is having a ball ever since he hammered an unbeaten century to help India reach a solid total of 513 runs in the fourth test being played at Antigua (St. Johns) in West Indies. It is time for beer and skittles in the House No-1-G/13, B.P. NH-I of the NIT area. Here lives the family of the rising star on the Indian cricket firmament. Ajay’s parents, family members and neighbours who were glued to the TV screen since the start of the third day’s play against West Indies, jumped with joy last evening as soon as Ajay pushed the ball of Merivin Dillon to fine leg at about 7.50 pm to achieve his maiden test century. He became the first Indian wicket-keeper in 49 years to hit a test ton on foreign turf. The 20-year-old’s achievement helped India post a healthy total (513-9, declared) on the third day, bringing in its wake sheer joy and happiness, said his father Surjna Lal Ratra, a businessman.

He said that Ajay had proved his talent just when it was required. Ajay’s mother Vidyawati had tears in her eyes at the moment.

Sanjay, Ajay’s younger brother, a B.Com. student, said that neighbours gathered at their house and there was much merry-making. People painted the town red as music was played by a DJ, crackers were burst and sweets distributed among the residents.

Ajay’s elder sisters Sujata and Suman also turned up on the occasion with their husbands, said Sanjay. He added that Ajay’s century was dedicated to their cousin Sachin, who had died of cancer and polio a few months ago.

Ajay later talked to his family on phone and said that he had played the knock under great pressure, but said that the support of VVS Laxman and other team members, including the coach, was a great morale-booster.

The family members were on tenterhooks as Ajay had failed to click in the previous two test matches, said a family friend.

Mr Sarkar Talwar, a former Ranji Trophy player who had also coached Ajay on several occasions, said that Ratra had proved that he could perform brilliantly under adverse conditions.

Ratra took to cricket quite early and showed enough promise. He graduated from the ranks and replaced Vijay Yadav, the former India stumper.

He made his first-class debut in the 1998-99 Ranji Trophy domestic season. His talent was immediately recognised and he was soon selected for a camp for the Indian under-19 squad and subsequently for the team. Ratra was a member of the Under-19 team that won the junior World Cup in Sri Lanka in 1999-2000 under the captaincy of Mohammed Kaif. He claimed 19 victims behind the wickets in that tournament, a performance that earned him a place in one of three teams that contested the domestic selection tournament, the Challenger Trophy, last year.

The slightly built lad again performed well in the Challenger Trophy and was appointed captain of the Under-19 team against the visiting English colts early last year. He gave a good account of himself, both as a batsman and wicket-keeper, to come into the reckoning for the senior team.

He was picked up for the one-day series against England earlier this year and was more or less an automatic choice for the West Indies tour, after the poor performances by Deep Dasgupta, who was rather shabby in keeping wickets in the Tests against England. Our Correspondent A Gulati adds from Rohtak: “Hum sabhi bahut khush hain, hamein isi din ka intazaar tha (All of us are happy. We had been waiting for this day)” was the immediate reaction of Ajay Ratra’s brother, Sanjay, who spoke to the `NCR Tribune’ on phone from his Fardiabad residence within minutes of Ratra’s completion of century.

As soon as he picked the receiver, the background noise indicated that their house was full of Ratra’s admirers . When the ‘NCR Tribune’ tried to get the reaction of the ‘Hero of Antigua Test’, Ajay’s brother said that they were surrounded by mediamen from the electronic channels and that hundreds of people gathered to congratulate them.

On being contacted again today, Ajay’s mother Mrs Vidhya Devi told this correspondent that she kept on praying as Ajay took a long time to reach the landmark. “Hame thora sa tension to hua tha, lekin jab chaukka laga, sab log khushi sai jhoom uthe (We were a bit tense but the boundary hit by Ratra brought joy to all of us),” said Ratra’s mother. His father, Mr Surjan Lal, said that he would like his son to play such knocks in future also.

The Junior National Cricket Selection Committee former chairman, Mr Rajinder Goel, under whose tenure Ratra was selected as wicket- keeper in the Under–19 squad which visited Sri Lanka.

Mr Goel said that he never doubted his ability as a batsman. He is always capable of scoring runs. It was nothing but a spell of bad luck which deprived him to score good runs in the previous matches.



UP Bhawan staffer killed, thrown from 3rd floor 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
Ram Shankar Shukla, 38, a resident of Sultanpuri and an employee of the Uttar Pradesh Bhawan, was reportedly done to death by some unidentified persons on the premises and the body thrown from the third floor late last night.

The body, bearing multiple injuries, has been sent for the post-mortem examination. The police said that a case of murder had been registered and efforts were being made to trace the suspects. The police have questioned all the employees of the Bhawan to zero in on the murderer.

Preliminary enquiries by the police have revealed that some employees apparently had a drinking session in one of the cabins on the third floor of the Bhawan as the remnants of a party, including an empty bottle of whiskey, were found.

The police presumed that the class four employee might have participated in the drinking session and then done to death after a quarrel. There were also blood stains in the cabin, indicating that he might have been attacked there and then thrown out from the window.

The police said that there were at least half a dozen employees on duty in the Bhawan to look after the guests staying there. Surprisingly, no one heard any commotion during the night. The incident came to light only when an unidentified person found the body sprawled on the ground around mid-night on Sunday night. The police were subsequently informed by the Bhawan authorities.



Armed dacoits barge into house, shoot down youth
Parmindar Singh

Noida, May 13
A youth was shot dead and about a dozen persons were injured when 12 armed miscreants barged into two houses and committed dacoity in Garhi Chowkhavdi village under Sector-58 police station, Noida, in the wee hours of Sunday.

The dacoits fled after looting cash, jewellery and other valuables from the two houses. The injured were rushed to hospitals in Noida and Delhi. According to police, over a dozen dacoits had scaled the wall of Rameshwar’s house and broken open the doors of the rooms with the handle of a water pump.

They injured the family members with the same handle of the water pump. Rameshwar’s wife Rajesh Devi and daughter-in-law Saroj were badly injured and their jewellery snatched. They took Rs 8,000, jewellery and other valuables kept in the house. Then they scaled the boundary wall of Tej Singh’s house and made him and his sister-in-law smell some poisonous substance. The miscreants snatched the ornaments from her hands, ears, nose and neck. When Tej Singh’s 17-year-old nephew offered resistance, he was shot dead. On hearing the commotion and gun shot, the neighbours sleeping in the open, came to Tej Singh’s rescue. Gaurav, Sonu and Vinode were attacked with rods and pipes.

Soon the villagers plucked up their courage and started pelting stones on the dacoits who hurriedly collected their booty and beat a hasty retreat. They ran towards Hindon river. The miscreants were stated to be between 20 and 25 years. The injured were rushed to Sumitra Nursing Home, Metro Hospital in Noida and Delhi’s GTB Hospital. The villagers had a grouse that although the police were informed immediately, they reached after the dacoits had left. 



Power cuts in Noida despite CM’s diktat
Our Correspondent

Noida, May 13
In spite of Chief Minister Mayawati’s instructions that power be made available to Gautam Budh Nagar round the clock, the UP Power Corporation continues to enforce power cuts in the district. Incidentally, the Chief Minister’s village, Badalpur, falls in the district.

Earlier, in the Dadri area, power cuts were being enforced from 6 am to 10 am and from 6 pm to 8 pm; however, Badalpur was getting power round the clock. But now power cuts are being clamped in Badalpur too.

This is despite the fact that the Revenue Minister, Mr Ravi Gautam, specifically asked the UP Power Corporation officials to pay special attention to the matter. Dadri town is now getting power only from 10 pm to 6 pm, which is adversely affecting trade and industry. The extreme heat conditions have made matters worse.

Besides the minister himself, the Divisional Commissioner, Mr Deepak Singhal, is also understood to have apprised the power officials of the instructions of the UP Power Corporation Chairman in this connection. In spite of this, the engineer of the Power Corporation, Mr B. K. Agarwal, continues to enforce power cuts, pleading that he has not received any written instructions.



15 family courts to be set up in Delhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
The Centre has sanctioned 15 posts of judges along with 202 ancillary posts of various categories for the setting up of 15 family courts in Delhi. These would be located in different areas in the Capital including the Parliament Street, Kirpa Narain Marg, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, Saket, Janakpuri Institutional Area, Shahdara, and Dheerpur.

The Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Mr Arun Jaitley, informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the possession in respect of the premises located on 1, Kirpa Narain Marg had been given to the judiciary whereas construction in respect of the location on 1, Parliament Street was at an advanced stage.

The remaining five locations, the minister said, had been approved by the Delhi High Court but construction had not started.

Necessary steps were being taken by the Government of NCT of Delhi to take possession of the needed plots/land expeditiously.

The minister said cases relating to marriage and family and related matters would be entrusted to the family courts. The benefits of this set-up included speedy and inexpensive settlement of disputes relating to matrimonial and family affairs in an informal atmosphere.

The Government of India and Government of NCT of Delhi had spent Rs 816.80 crore and Rs 897.81 crore respectively, on the Delhi Metro Rail project till March 31, 2002. Compared to the sanctioned cost of Rs 4,860 crore (at April 1996 price-level), the completion cost of project was estimated to be in excess of Rs 8,155 crore.

In a written reply, the Union Minister of State of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya, on Monday informed the Rajya Sabha that operations in the first section (Shahdara to Tis Hazari) of Delhi Metro Phase I is likely to commence by December this year. (It was initially planned for March this year.)

The delay in the completion of Phase I of the project, the minister told the House, was on account of the delay in finalising some of the international contracts.

Sixty-five per cent progress had been recorded, till March 31, on the Shahdara-Tis Hazari section while the corresponding figure for Phase I was 27 per cent.

The MRTS Phase I Project, that is likely to be completed by September 2005, is expected to carry 19.5 lakh passenger trips per day.

The Government of NCT of Delhi has got a techno-economic feasibility report prepared by the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) for setting up an electronic trolley bus system (ETBS) in Delhi. BHEL has suggested in its report the introduction of ETBS on four corridors, covering a distance of 83.5 km.

The Committee of Secretaries of the Government of NCT of Delhi has considered the feasibility report and the report’s evaluation by SBI Caps and has made certain recommendations that are under the government’s consideration. ETBs are electrically propelled vehicles drawing power from overhead conductors and are a pollution-free mode of transport.

In response to another question, minister Dattatreya said the Government of NCT of Delhi has entrusted the National Remote Sensing Agency to conduct an aerial survey to know the extent of unauthorised colonies.

Faced with a shortfall of 150 million gallons per day in its supply of drinking water, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) was engaged in boring of tube wells, replacement of old pipelines, laying of new pipe lines, construction of underground reservoirs and booster pumps and deployment of tankers. Minister Dattatreya informed the Upper House that the water utility was supplying on an average about 650 millions gallons per day against the demand of 800 million gallons per day.



Union ministers, BJP MPs to discuss 
Delhi’s problems
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
Caught between the devil and the deep sea on the transportation issue, the former Delhi Chief Minister and the BJP in-charge for Delhi, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, has now taken up the cause of the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the Capital, in a move to avoid the wrath of the transport operators.

Addressing the Sadar unit of the party, Mr Khurana, who is also the area MP, today said a joint meeting of the Urban Development Minister, all the members of Parliament from Delhi and the state BJP president would be convened to discuss the problems facing the people of the National Capital Territory.

The BJP leader said that he had met the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, on Friday to discuss the problems faced by the people of Delhi and the Home Minister agreed to the convening of a meeting to discuss the problems faced by the city.

Mr Khurana, who was in the forefront on the transportation issue and had even assured that the Centre would issue a notification to allow ultra-low sulphur diesel, however, changed tack when the Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, ruled out such a possibility.

Even as the Indraprastha Gas Limited, monopoly supplier of CNG, hiked the prices of the gas and the Delhi Government, as a consequent step, increased the fares of public transport, Mr Khurana blamed the state government for the hike in the fares.

The BJP MP said the Delhi Government, on the pretext of the increase in CNG prices, was actually covering the DTC losses. But, this argument seems to have cut little ice amongst the transporters, who had themselves demanded substantial hike in fares to meet the increased cost of gas and recover the huge amount invested for the CNG buses, autorickshaws and taxis.

The Centre and the Delhi Government have been blaming each other on the issue of regularisation of unauthorised colonies for not coming out with a list of colonies.

There seems to be little unanimity between the two governments on the cut-off date to be adopted for the regularisation of colonies.

Another issue, Mr Khurana has taken up is the grant of full statehood to Delhi. “We would soon start a campaign for conferring Delhi with full statehood. Thereafter, we will put pressure on the Delhi Government that they should have a resolution passed unanimously by the state assembly for grant of full statehood to Delhi,” Mr Khurana said.

Indicating that the party would be on an agitational spree in the coming months, Mr Khurana said “till such time the problems of Delhi were resolved, the BJP will not rest in peace nor shall allow the Delhi Government to rest in peace.”

With the house of the state unit of the BJP itself in disorder and the rout in the MCD polls shook the party, which had won the polls ten times since 1966, the central leadership made Mr Khurana in charge of the party.

Mr Khurana said he would “run the organisation not only as a team but in a family spirit. To run the family in an ideal way, it is utmost important that members of the family should have mutual love, respect, trust, faith and deference.”

It is not yet clear, whether the former Chief Minister would run the party as a family affair or observe democratic institutional norms.

However, one thing is certain, Mr Khurana, known for his theatrics, would certainly hot up the political climate within and outside the party.



CBI probe into selections by HPSC demanded 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 13
The Janata Dal (U) chief of Haryana unit, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has sought a CBI probe into the selections made by the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC).

In a statement here today, Mr Vidrohi said that the selection of the kin of influential persons and VIPs in the state, especially relatives of the HPSC chairman and some of its members, in the recent recruitment to the Haryana Civil Services and allied services pointed to the irregularities in the selection process. He said the irregularities pointed out by the RPI MLA, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, had confirmed that all was not well in the HPSC.

He said the credibility of the HPSC had taken a nosedive following the appointments of political persons to the commission as its members or chairman made by various governments.

Reacting sharply to the reported statement of the HPSC chairman that selections to various posts, including to the HCS (Judicial) had been made in a fair manner, he said the commission’s move to select general category candidates against the reserved posts had been thwarted in the last moment. The commission, which had declared a couple of months ago that 36 candidates had passed in the written examination for the posts in the HCS (Judicial), had to select only one candidate, as he had raised the irregularities in a letter to the President of India.

Mr Vidrohi said the commission wanted to select general category candidates against the reserved posts also, which was a constitutional violation. He claimed that while this issue caught the attention of all concerned, the commission’s desire could not be fulfilled and it could select only one candidate out of 36 who were declared passed. He said none of those ‘passed’ belonged to the reserved categories.

He charged that the commission authorities were now trying to prove that its functioning was proper. He said all these developments suggested that the commission’s sanctity had been lost due to alleged corruption and political interference and it must be probed by an agency like the CBI.



Capital ideas to put train services back on the rails
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, MAY 13
Many a commuter gives valuable suggestions from time to time to put the train services back on the rails. There are also some organisations of commuters which are quite active in the field of spreading awareness about the train facilities.

The Dainik Yatri Sangh is one such organisation. A registered body of commuters, it has made a few timely suggestions today which may take effect from July 1, 2002 if they please the powers that be. The facilities are for the commuters who daily travel between New Delhi/Delhi/Shahdara/Vivek Vihar/Sahibabad and Ghaziabad.

Additional EMU: For a long time, the Sangh has been requesting the authorities of the Railway Board to start an additional EMU from Ghaziabad/Delhi/New Delhi via Shahdara at about 08.55 hrs. or 09.00 hrs. in the morning. Although there are two trains, 4047 UP Raxoul Express and 1. HHD Hathras Passenger Train, but they never come on time.

Similarly there is no EMU train from Ghaziabad to Delhi/New Delhi via Delhi Shahdara between 11.30 hrs. and 15.15 hrs, ie (GDP-4 to GDK-2). The Sangh suggests that an EMUtrain should be started from Ghaziabad at 12.30 hrs. - 4029 UP Lucknow Mail: It is strange that a second class pass holder is allowed to travel from Hapur to New Delhi, but a pass holder is not allowed to travel from Ghaziabad to New Delhi in this train. The authorities should waive the restrictions in the morning, the Sangh feels. Moreover, there is no train in the morning from Ghaziabad to New Delhi between 06.20 hrs. and 07.37 hrs.

- 4042 UP Mussoorie and 3039 UP Howrah Janta Express Trains: Since 1989, the Sangh has been demanding the stoppage of these trains at Sahibabad Railway Station for teachers, students and factory workers, who come to Shahdara and Delhi/New Delhi for their jobs and study every day.

- 306 UP Ambala-Delhi passenger train: Since 1997, the Sangh has been requesting the authorities for its stoppage at Vivek Vihar Railway Station but nothing has been done till date.

Similarly not a single train stops at Vivek Vihar Railway Station from Delhi to Moradabad side. All trains which halt at Shahdara Jn., should be stopped at Vivek Vihar Railway Station, specially 4048 DN. Raxoul Express which leaves Delhi Jn. at 17.20 hrs.

- 4024 DN Kalindi Express: W.e.f. July 1, 1993, the Railway Board had shifted the departure of this train from New Delhi to Delhi Jn. At present, the train leaves Delhi Jn. at 23.40 hrs. for Farukhabad via Delhi Shahdara and Ghaziabad, but does not stop at Shahdara Jn. This demand was raised by the Sangh in 1996, but of no avail.

- 5013 DN Kathgodam Express: This train was introduced by the Railway Board w.e.f. July 1, 1994 from Delhi Jn. to Kathgodam. At present, it leaves Delhi Jn. at 22.45 hrs. without stoppage at Shahdara Jn., which causes a lot of inconvenience to the passengers. The Sangh requests for its stoppage at Shahdara Jn.

- 2-TAD Passenger Train: At present, this train leaves Delhi Jn. at 13.50 hrs. for Tundla, but the timings suit neither the commuters nor the railway staff. The Sangh suggests that the departure of the train should be 14.30 hrs. as there is no passenger train from Delhi Jn. to Shahdara/Vivek Vihar/Sahibabad and Ghaziabad between 13.30 hrs. and 16.27 hrs. except 3040 DN Howrah Janta Express Train, which leaves Delhi Jn. at 15.30 hrs. but runs late almost daily.

- AD-3 EMU Train: The services of this EMU should be extended up to New Delhi instead of Delhi Jn. to facilitate the commuters of New Delhi as well as the railway staff. Moreover, there is no train from Delhi Jn. to New Delhi in the morning after 1-NDH Hapur Shuttle Train.



BJP’s institute brings village into limelight
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 13
Since the BJP-led coalition government assumed power at the Centre, the remote Jhinjhauli village in Sonepat district has become a centre for providing training to the youths in national character building to fulfil the dreams of Swami Vivekananda.

This village is situated along the Haryana-Delhi border and only 8 km away from Bawana (Delhi). An institute named Surya Foundation has been set up in the village by Mr Jai Parkash, a leading industrialist of the country. The main aim of the institute was to inculcate among the youth the spirit of nationalism and the ideals of Swami Vivekananda who had a desire to see the Indian youth as the ideal citizens of the world. The institute is being used as a workshop and it has four different complexes, which have come to be known as the headquarters of ‘Think Tank’. One of the blocks has been named ‘Chanakya’ and another ‘Keshva Bhawan’. These blocks are used for boarding and auditoriums.

The institute has a library and computer centre and facilities for steam bath, jet bath, horse riding and other sports. It had a long stretch of playgrounds where hard physical and military training arrangements had been made compulsory.

The youths from different parts of the country are invited to attend the workshop every year where the prominent politicians as well as intellectuals express their views on various topics. The organisers of these workshops maintained that the number of youths who come for training there was increasing every year. Adequate arrangements are being made for the lodging and boarding of the youths who attend such camps in the institute. These youths are being acquainted with different kinds of meditations and importance of Indian culture. They are divided into different groups - engineering, college and senior secondary.

Medical facilities on the pattern of Arvind Ashram and natural treatment are also provided in the institute. The academic structure is based on the pattern of the Army Training Centre Kharakwasla and the daily activities of the trainee are based on the spiritual values propounded by Swami Vivekananda.

How the youth can contribute for strengthening the unity and integrity of the country is one of the programmes of training in this institute. At present, a training camp of the BJP activists is going on in this institute. Some of the national leaders of the party had addressed the camp participants and called for strengthening the party base. The youths belonged to tribal areas of the country are also being invited for getting training in this institute.

The training camps are arranged by the ruling BJP for its Members of Parliament and leaders besides activists every year in this institute. The importance of the village was highlighted when the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, and other high dignitaries of the BJP arrived there.



From gutted houses to the blazing sun
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 13
Members of over 110 families, who were rendered homeless after a devastating fire destroyed over 160 houses in the tiny village of Manoli Tonki situated on the Yamuna in the Khadar tract on May 6, are still living in the open under the scorching sun. Though several political leaders had rushed to the village on hearing the news and announced even relief measures, nothing has reached the hapless village folks yet.

The fire, caused by a little spark and accompanied by a severe dust storm, had left a trail of destruction in Manoli Tonki. With a nine-year-old girl succumbing to the burns here on Sunday, the death toll in the fire has risen to two. A woman had died on the same day and several others sustained burns. Twenty-eight milch animals also perished and over 60 others received burns in the fire.

The members of all the families rendered homeless, including women and children, are now living in the open weathering the harsh summer conditions. Several of them have fallen ill and are being treated by private doctors.

Many persons who lost their houses alleged that some leaders of various political parties, including the Congress and the BSP, had visited them but failed to provide any help. These leaders had only offered assurances that assistance would be provided in the near future, villagers said. They also pointed out that Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, a BJP MP, was the first to announce a grant of Rs 1.70 lakh out of his discretionary quota for providing immediate relief.

Meanwhile, Mrs Sangeeta Roy, wife of the Deputy Commissioner and chairperson of the Hospital Welfare Society, also visited the village and distributed two truckloads of cots, durries and other household goods among the homeless persons. She also distributed fruits and medicines free of cost among them.

Mr H. C. Jain, General Manager of the Haryana Roadways who accompanied Mrs Roy told mediapersons here today that each of the homeless families had been given two cots and two durries, besides other household articles free of cost by the Jain Samaj and the president of the Shiva Shikhsha Sadan, Mr Virender Bansal. More help would be given to these persons shortly, he added.



‘Gujarat outrage has revived the memories of 1984’
R. Suryamurthy

He is sober, soft-spoken and courteous. The banker by profession at first look would not appear to be a politician who has been engaged in the murkier world for more than a decade. He has been able to keep his cool under all odd circumstances and perhaps, this is the reason for his Machiavellian tactics in getting the DSGMC’s work done without many hassles.

The general secretary of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Kulmohan Singh, in an interview elucidates the steps taken by the committee for the welfare of the community and the concern of the Sikhs especially after the Gujarat riots, which have jolted the confidence of the community and brought back the nightmares of the 1984 riots.


What type of legal process exists in SGPC, where elections are seldom postponed? What measures need to be taken in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971, that elections (both general and executive) become mandatory?

The flaws in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act have resulted in repeated postponement of polls for the DSGMC. In the SGPC Act, the tenure of the committee is fixed and the Deputy Commissioner is responsible for holding the polls after the expiry of the term of the committee. However, in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, it is the Delhi Government has to hold the polls.

The Executive Committee, where the term is fixed by the Act, there are flaws which result in the continuance of one person for more than the stipulated time. The DSGMC president can head the committee not more than two terms and each term cannot be more than a year. However, the elections to the Executive have to be called by the president, seldom a person who holds power, is ever willing to forgo it, when he knows that he can continue without calling for the polls.

The DSGMC leaders have used the flaws in the Acts whether they belonged one faction or the other. On this issue, political parties have a unanimity.

But, all this would change soon as amendments to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act making it mandatory to hold polls each year for the executive and the general elections is pending with the President and is likely to get his assent soon.

What are the areas of main concern for the Sikh community in Delhi, which has the largest concentration here outside Punjab?

The primary area of concern to the community is law and order and education. The Sikh community was coming to terms with the 1984 riots and was regaining the confidence, when the riots in Gujarat have instilled a feeling of insecurity to the minority communities in the country.

The riots in the western Indian state, which have been continuing for more than two months, concern all especially the minority community like the Sikhs as it has once again revived the memories of the 1984 riots.

We are reminded of the gory incident, when many members of the community had to flee from the Capital and other parts of the country and take refuge in Punjab. It was one of the biggest internal migration after partition.

The politics of Delhi Gurdwara continues to be controlled by the people in power in Punjab. It is the right practice or there needs to be some change?

I would completely disagree with the view that the Gurdwara politics in the Capital is being controlled by the people in Punjab. Rather, without their assistance the Sikh community in the Capital would not have got the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, which enabled them to have control over historical Sikh institutions and bodies and set up new ones.

More than 16,000 Sikhs from Punjab came to Delhi to launch an agitation, which resulted in the enactment of the Act in 1971. Had it not been for their effort, the community would not have secured the control over its historical treasures and would not have established so many educational institutions, hospital and other welfare activities.

Today, the DSGMC is one of the richest body, only because the Sikhs from Punjab had fought for the rights of the community here.

Further, the leaders of Punjab have never imposed their leadership here. Since the Shiromani Akali Dal is the parental body and its state unit is in Delhi, it is quite obvious that the state unit consult its parental body before taking any decision.

Nobody raises eyebrow when the state unit of the national party like the BJP or Congress leaves it the Central leadership or the High Command for a final decision.

Another aspect which should be noted that the leaders in Punjab have always discussed the issues with the Delhi unit body and assisted them in taking decisions and not imposed any writ.

I would to state here that after Sardar Santok Singh, there has been no Sikh leader of his stature in the Capital, whom the leaders in Punjab ought to have thought fit to seek his views before taking any decision in the state.

Several institutions are run by the DSGMC in the Capital. However, the functioning of schools, colleges and other bodies have come in for criticism recently. What measures should be taken to improve the functioning of these organisations?

Yes, I do agree that the standard of the DSGMC institutions has fallen over the years. However, I would to inform you that several measures have been taken recently, which I am sure would result in good academic performance of the DSGMC-run schools in board exams from the next academic year.

The educational council, headed by renowned academician Prof Amrik Singh, has been given full power to oversee the functioning of the educational institutions in the Capital.

The council has the power to appoint the principal and teachers. The chairman of the schools, who are elected DSGMC representatives, would only be ceremonial heads.

The council would frame the policies for the appointment, lay down the guidelines for the recruitment of academic staff and would also conduct the recruitment drive.

To ensure only good quality students enter the DSGMC schools from other institutions after IX, the council has set up the process of holding centralised screening test before admitting the students. This would ensure that students with a certain level of IQ only join the institution, which would provide a sound base for the schools to impart good training to them and enable them to perform better in schools. This measure, I am sure would improve the quality of result in the schools and would restore the lost glory of the DSGMC run schools in the Capital.

The DSGMC is also holding counselling centres for the students, who have finished their class XII or graduated from college to enable them to have a clear idea of choosing their career by providing them a glimpse of the avenues available to them if they pursue certain vocation.

Another important initiative is the employment exchange programme, where the students and companies can register. I am happy to state that there has been overwhelming response to these measures by the committee. We are perhaps, the only religious body to have initiated such a measure, which surely indicates that religious body can promote its cause by taking up welfare activities like these.

With modernity and increasing consumerism, the Sikhs in the Capital and in other parts of the world are searching for a new identity. By doing so they are deviating from the basic tenets of Sikhism. Has this been an issue of concern among the SGPC, the highest body to protect the religion across the globe? What measures are being suggested to present rational explanation to the questions raised about Sikhism?

This is an area of concern. Modernity has affected every aspect of life and I am sure religion cannot remain aloof to it. In a move to promote the religion, large number of religious material is published each month and distributed, number of persons are baptised.

However, I feel that there the DSGMC can only `prachar’ (propagate) the religion, it is the parents who by their ‘achar’ (practice) have to act as a role model for their own families to follow the religious tenets. If parents themselves do not follow, it would be wrong to expect the children to follow them or blame them for not following it.

In the past few decades of rapid economic development, the social transformation has resulted in a sea change in the equation between each individual in the family. The break-up of the joint family system and economic uncertainty and increasing dependence of the old on the young and the economic freedom of the youth has resulted in a kind of social scenario that religious strictures cannot be imposed them.

The changed social scenario calls for rethinking the whole issue of religious institutions and its ways and means of propagating religion, role of each individuals and parents in the practice of the religious tenets. It is quite a complex issue, which needs deep thinking.



CPM pays homage to Kaifi Azmi
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 13
The Haryana State Committee of the CPM has condoled the passing away of legendry Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi.

The party said that he was almost the last of his generation which not only played a glorious role in the freedom struggle through cultural field but also dedicated his life for bringing about a radical change towards an exploitation-free classless society even after Independence.

The CPM state secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh, said that it was an irony that the man who had contributed his entire literary work for communal amity and for spreading the message of love and equality before Independence and also during the tragic hours of Partition, had to bear the pain of Gujarat carnage at his death bed.

According to the CPM, the true homage to the poet laureate would be that every patriot and secular citizen must stand up against religious bigotry and hatred being perpetuated by the enemies of civil society.

In his demise, the democratic movement, the progressive literary stream and the Urdu literature have suffered an irreparable loss, Mr Inderjit Singh said. Kaifi Azmi created his poetry while fighting among the masses and therefore, the CPM was confident that his creative songs would be extensively propagated as most potential weapons and tools in the protection of human values and people’s unity.



CS asked to take action on cable TV price hike
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
Taking a critical view of the arbitrary hike in the subscription rates by cable television operators, the Cabinet today referred the matter to Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra for suitable action.

The government spokesperson said after the weekly meeting of the Cabinet that the Chief Secretary had been asked to look into the legal aspects of putting a check on the hike. She had also been asked to examine the scope of levying charges on cable operators for using government infrastructure like electricity poles.

The Cabinet also decided to launch a three-day Clean Yamuna Campaign from May 31. The focus this time, according to the spokesperson, would be on extensive plantation to be undertaken by non-government organisations, resident welfare associations and others. Like previous years, this time too the river would be divided into seven sectors with each sector to be monitored by the seven ministers in the Sheila Dikshit ministry.

After the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit reviewed the performance of the Department of Energy and the progress being made in the commissioning of the Pragati Power Plant. The spokesperson said Ms Dikshit instructed the officials to put in order within two days the first turbine that had broken down recently. The Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the spokesperson said, had assured the functioning of the broken turbine and placed an engineer from General Electric, the manufacturer of the turbine, to rectify and monitor the same.

BHEL has been asked to commission the second turbine by June 25 and the third turbine by November 13.



Delhi Traffic Police launch SMS 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
The Commissioner of Delhi Police, Mr Ajai Raj Sharma, today inaugurated Short Message Service (SMS) launched by the traffic police to facilitate the force and residents of the Capital for different kinds of traffic-related messages.

The SMS will provide information about traffic diversions, processions and traffic problems in the city. Apart from this, help-line services like names, addresses and telephone numbers of the local officers in case of towed away vehicles and other traffic-related problems. The service will also give information on details of pending notices concerning traffic violations for a particular vehicle.

The traffic police have explored various applications of the SMS through mobile telephone to reach out to people concerning the day-to-day traffic management. The software, ‘Solagem Messenger’ (a wireless application software) provided by JkiNet, a division of J.K. Technosoft, has been customised at the computer centre of the traffic police with the help of ESSAR Cellphones for various practical applications for the traffic police, Press and road users, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mr Maxwell Pereira, said.

He said that the objective of SMS Centre of the police was to provide aid and assistance to the traffic officers for making online queries.

Some of the specialised services could also be made use of by the general public as the database. Similarly, for the Press, a separate authenticated group has been prepared. The information for the Press will be available on the SMS.



Area committees formed to maintain 
community centres 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
The architect of Bhagidari (government-citizen partnership) Programme, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, today announced the constitution of area committees under the chairmanship of the local MLAs, with councillors and representatives of the resident welfare associations as members, to maintain the community centres in their respective localities.

The announcement came after Ms Dikshit inaugurated a double-storeyed community hall in Kondli, East Delhi. The hall has been built by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) at a cost of Rs 1 crore.

Ms Dikshit urged Delhiites to embrace the virtues of Bhagidari as it were and maintain public buildings like community halls and dispensaries. She said 25 community centres under the Trans-Yamuna Development Board would be constructed by 2003-end.



Spurious soft drinks unit unearthed 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, 13 May
With the arrest of three youths on Monday, the Sampla police claimed to have unearthed a racket involving the manufacture of spurious soft drinks of various brands at Sampla.

Those arrested have been identified as Sushil, a resident of Kheri Sadh village and Govind and Tilak, both of Nepal. The police recovered six crates of various brands of popular soft drinks, 16 crates of empty bottles, a machine for preparing soft drinks and an autorickshaw for the transportation of the material.

According to information, the Sampla police raided the house of Balwan Singh at Dev Nagar locality on the Gighi road at Sampla, following a tip-off. Some people were caught ‘red-handed’ manufacturing spurious soft drinks in the rented house. A case under Section 272, 273, and 420 of the IPC were registered by the police.

VC’s assurance

The vice-chancellor of Maharshi Dayanand University, Maj-Gen. Bhim Singh Suhag, reportedly assured the members of the Haryana College Teacher’s Union(HTU) that their genuine demands would be looked into soon. Dr J. N. Sharma, the press secretary of HCTU, said a delegation of the union under the presidentship of Mr K. S. Dhillon held a meeting with the vice-chancellor and discussed at length various issues pertaining to the interest of the teachers. Dr Sharma claimed that the vice-chancellor gave a patient hearing to their demands and assured them to look into their just demands. He said the vice-chancellor assured that the university rules would be observed in letter and spirit and the government had a firm policy to adjust all the surplus teachers.

Bike stolen

A motorcycle was stolen from Narain Complex here on Sunday evening. Mr Suarabh Taneja, a resident of Surajdas colony here, stated in the FIR that he had parked his Vehicle at Narain Complex but found it missing when he returned after some time.

Couple booked

A couple has been booked for cheating the local branch of the Bank of Baroda. According to a complaint lodged with the police, the accused identified as Anil Kataria, a resident of Sector-16 here and his wife Sushma, had received a loan of Rs 8.60 for the purchase of machinery for a printing firm.

However, when the bank officials visited the firm on the address given, they were surprised to find that no such firm existed. The bank lodged a complaint against them and cases were registered under Sections 406, 420, 421, 422, 423, 424, 34 and 120-B. However, no arrest was made so far.

Doctor arrested 

A dentist working at a government hospital at Hodal town in the district was arrested in connection with allegedly harassing his wife for dowry. The court had remanded him to judicial custody. The doctor was arrested after his wife, Rajbala, working as a teacher in government school, lodged a complaint against her husband Jai Kumar, and her in-laws, alleging that she was being harassed for not bringing adequate dowry. The couple were married in December 2001.

Eight injured

At least eight persons, including three women were seriously injured when a three-wheeler carrying brick-kiln workers overturned on the Sonepat-Kharkhauda road, about 15 km from here on Sunday evening. According to a report, the injured persons were hospitalised and were stated to be out of danger. The three-wheeler was on its way from Khanda village to Kharkhauda town. It is stated that the driver of the three-wheeler lost control of the vehicle when he tried to avoid a scooter, on which three persons were riding, suddenly came in front of the three-wheeler.

Man crushed

An unidentified man was crushed to death by a vehicle on the G.T.Road near Rasoi village, about 15 km from here on Sunday night. The victim could not be identified.

Couple injured

A young couple sustained injuries when the motorcycle on which they were travelling was hit by a vehicle on the Sonepat-Murthal road, near here on Sunday evening.

The injured persons, Mr Ram Dhan and his wife, Mrs Birmati, were hospitalised. The police were investigating into the case. However, no arrest had been made so far.

Dowry harassment

The Kharkhauda police have registered a dowry harassment case, filed by Mrs Gita against her husband, Parveen and his family members. Parveen is a residents of Tajpur village (Delhi). Mrs Gita is the daughter of Mr Ram Chander of Halalpur village in this district. The police had started investigation into the case. According to a report, the father of the girl alleged that his daughter was harassed and beaten up for her inability to bring the dowry demanded by her in-laws. She was married to Parveen last year. The names of Parveen, his father and mother, besides his two brothers, Om and Naveen, were included in the FIR lodged with the police by the father of the girl, Mr Ram Chander. However, no arrest had been made so far in this connection. 



Rs 1.05 cr paid in power dues
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 13
The total recovery of the pending power bills in the rural areas of the district, under the ongoing ‘waiver’ scheme, had touched Rs 1.05 crore till yesterday. Only three days are left for the scheme to lapse and the power department hopes to recover another Rs 8 crore.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, as many as 406 defaulters deposited their dues, amounting to Rs 9.47 lakh on Sunday.

He said so far 3931 rural consumers had cleared their outstanding dues in the district. He claimed that the response had been quite positive.

Under the special scheme, the state government has offered to waive off 75 per cent of the bills if 25 per cent of the amount is paid in a single instalment. The scheme has been extended only to rural areas in the district.



Modern Food staff stage protest outside PM’s house

New Delhi, May 13
Employees of Modern Food Industries today demonstrated outside the residence of the Prime Minister to protest against the HLL management’s decision to relieve 150 workers on the pretext of no work in the factory. In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the workers said the management had kept only one plant operational and had shut the other plants in the Capital. Further, they management was carrying out the production on contract basis from companies in Gurgaon, Rohtak, Sonepat, Panipat, Meerut, and Aligarh. 



Mobike-borne assailants shoot down man
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, May 13
One person was shot dead by three motorcycle borne assailants near Chhudani village in the district on Sunday night.

According to information, the deceased Jagbir Singh along with Om Prakash were on their way to Chhudani village on a scooter. As n as they halted to drink water near a handpump along the roadside, three youths who were reportedly following them, fired four shot at Jagbir. He died on the spot. Om Prakash, who escaped unhurt, identified one of the assailants as Manoj.

According to police sources, the deceased was a resident of Najafgarh. He was on his way to the village to return Rs 9,600 that he had borrowed from a person. Sources said that a personal enmity between Manoj and Jagbir could be the cause of the murder. Reportedly, the mother of Manoj had filed a case against the deceased under Sections 452, 354 and 323 IPC in 1999 when they were neighbours in Najafgarh. The police had started an investigation after registering the case.


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