Wednesday, May 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Gurgaon industry ‘held to ransom’
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 21
Vote-bank politics in the state appears to be the guiding principle of the politico-bureaucratic establishment when it comes to taking action against the private truck operators and their unions active in various industrial hubs in Gurgaon district. Industrialisation seems to have been cold-shouldered.

The jarring note in the phenomenon is the strong presence of the truck unions even though successive governments have proclaimed that they do not recognise them. Still, the government machinery fails to take action against them or regulate their unethical practices vis-a-vis the industrial units.

Almost all the industry-related associations including the Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA) and the Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) have appealed to the government on the problems created for them by the unions.

The GIA made a series of complaints to Mr M. K. Miglani, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chatuala, a few days ago. He was here to interact with the industrialists on the invitation from the GIA. Instead of giving a clear-cut direction against the union operators, he referred the matter to the Deputy Commissioner, knowing well that the malaise has deeper roots and could be better tackled only if reported to the highest authorities.

The industrialists in some of the hubs like Khandsa, Jharsa, Manesar and Dundahera allege that the truck unions use force to stall them from hiring trucks or other vehicles of their own choice for the transportation of goods from the factory premises. They impose their own rates for the service which is generally 50 per cent higher than the market rates.

In places like Dundahera, the unions do not have trucks, but tempos. The industrialists are allowed to hire trucks of their choice only after they cough up mandatory Rs 500 per truck. The industry complains that the hostile members of the unions often resort to violence.

In such a scenario, the overall cost inputs increase. Besides, the operators associated with the unions choose their own timing to clear the consignment goods. With Gurgaon having a strong presence of exporters, such whimsical attitude takes a toll on the export promotion. This affects the efficiency of the firms. The industrialists allege that they have to swallow the bitter pill as the authorities turn a blind eye to their problems. A study of the profiles of some of the unions and the alleged kid-glove attitude of the ruling parties towards them reveal a pattern. The well-to-do residents of the villages surrounding the industrial hubs opt to provide truck services to the industries. As they are locals, they have the clout of men and muscle at the mofussil level.

The members of the unions contribute to the electioneering, both in terms of funding and galvanising votes at the time of assembly and parliamentary elections. They help the candidates of political parties which are tipped to win the elections. The problem with the industrialists is that they can only voice grievances through their associations, which only interact at the higher level in the government. The chief ministers, often having compulsions to keep his MLAs and ministers happy in a fragmented political system, gives them a long rope, if not collude with them.

The office-bearers of some of the industry-related associations told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the thrust of the administration and the law enforcement agencies had always been to accept pointed cases of hostility by the unions and on an individual basis. The government side is prone to settling the issue by effecting a compromise between the deviant operator and the complainant industrialist.

The captains of the industry argue that such an ad hoc approach militated against the government’s pronouncements that they did not recognise the unions. Also, the industrialists shy away from making individual complaints, fearing organised reprisals from the unions and their patrons. When this is the case, the government and the authorities should issue a blanket ban and enforce it with a heavy hand on the activities of the unions. They say that they have the right to choose any operator of their choice and, at competitive rates too. According to them, the practice of compromise formula has always ended in their breach from the unions.



SAD (B) poll meeting to be stormy 
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
The election committee meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) to be held tomorrow is likely to be a stormy affair. Several key issues on the selection of candidates for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee general elections is likely to be discussed.

The crucial issue that would come up for discussion would be whether the election committee members must be allowed to contest the polls, said the committee member, Mr Inderpal Singh Khalsa.

“I would raise this issue as the credibility of the election committee itself is at stake, if the committee members grant tickets to themselves,” he said.

The members of the election committee were SAD (Badal) Delhi unit chief Avtar Singh Hit, deputy leader of Opposition in the MCD Onkar Singh Thapar, Inderpal Singh Khalsa, Mahinder Singh Matharu, Manjit Singh Greater Kailash, Bhupinder Singh Anand, Manmohan Singh Sachdeva, Kuldip Singh Bhogal and Harmanjit Singh.

Except for Manmohan Singh Sachdeva, Bhupinder Singh Anand, Onkar Singh Thapa and Inderpal Singh Khalsa, others are themselves key contenders for the party ticket for the forthcoming Gurdwara polls.

Mr Khalsa said he would also raise the issue of giving higher representation to youth in the ticket distribution, in view of the fact that the persons above 18 years would be voting for the first time.

Mr Manjit Singh Greater Kailash said he would raise the issue of giving more tickets to women candidates, as this would bring in qualitative change in the functioning of the Gurdwara management and empowerment of women in a religious institution.

The meet could also determine the guidelines for the disclosing of assets and criminal records, if any, of the contestants.

The election committee members were critical of the BJP leader’s claim to honour the alliance in the Gurdwara polls. They said the committee could grant ticket to some persons who have affiliations with the BJP, but the grant of such should not be seen as their right because of the political alliance between the SAD (Badal) and the BJP.



NCR grant to relay 50 roads in Panipat
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, May 21
The residents of this affluent industrial city, long used to poor civic amenities, particularly the pot-holed roads, can now breath easy. With the Municipal Council (MC) awarding tenders for the construction of about 50 roads under a special central government scheme, bumpy rides may be a thing of the past, at least for the residents of some localities in the city.

To be constructed under the special National Capital Region (NCR) grant, the roads would meet the long-standing demands of the residents, who have been complaining to the authorities concerned to construct and repair the roads. The Rs 1.2-crore project is likely to be completed in one-and-a-half months, according to sources.

The sources claimed that the bad condition of roads had been the only criterion for the award of tenders. In the first phase, the roads, which were virtually non-existent and where repairs had not been undertaken for several years, would be taken up. The rest of the roads would be taken up after the monsoon when more grants would come in from the central government as part of its scheme to develop the infrastructure in the NCR.

With the award of tenders, the controversy over the alleged discrimination in developing areas represented by Opposition councillors seems to have been put to rest. In fact, MC president Sanjay Bhatia has gone on record saying that of the 50 roads, the majority fell in the wards of the Opposition councillors, thus scoring a political point over his rivals. Earlier, it was alleged the MC was discriminating against the areas represented by the Congress councillors while undertaking developmental works. Even a ruling BJP councillor, Mr Harish Sharma, had resigned from the party alleging discrimination against his ward in the development works. However, he withdrew his resignation later following pressure from the state high command.



Mine mafia killed the golden goose
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 21
While the mining work within five kilometres’ range of the Delhi border in the Aravali Hills has already come to a halt following the Supreme Court order, the people connected with this age-old activity feel that the “excesses” by the mine mafia and gross violation of norms including that of pollution control have made things so serious that the court had to take a “tough” stand ultimately. The ban may cause a direct loss of revenue of about Rs 140 crore annually to the state government and unemployment affecting thousands of persons directly and indirectly.

The illegal mining and theft of royalty and sales tax by some of the influential persons and their men had also become common. According to unofficial sources, the `mafia’ used to walk away with a big share of profit, which could run into Rs 200 to 300 crore per year.

The Haryana Minerals Limited, a corporation of the state government which was declared a loss-making unit body recently and was wound up gradually, had been a good source of revenue for the state government. However, when the ruling party politicians over the past three decades discovered that mining was a quite lucrative business, the state authorities started leasing out mines to their favourites.

Faridabad and Gurgaon districts, due to the mining and rising land prices, became places for “plum” postings for administrative officials. Only those who were the near and dear ones of the top authorities in Chandigarh were being posted in the region and this nearly became a trend.

Mining activity became so lucrative that people from other districts started to take lease of the mines and related work here, due to their links. Even MLAs, ministers and MPs, from time to time, could not resist the chance of owning mines either in their own names or their kin.

However, the ‘mafia’ that came into being over the years started flouting the rules and regulations also. The norms of mining and pollution were thrown to winds and there was hardly anybody who could put the brakes to the menace.

While the Aravali Hills, which could have become an area of tourists’ delight due to its topography, became an “ugly’ region as the lease-holders left deep pits and took out the sand stone and other minerals. This activity also resulted in depleting the underground water table very fast, affecting Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad very badly.

While pollution has been rising unabatedly in the area due to the industries and other factors, the draining out of underground water because of mining has proved to be a major casualty. As a result, potable water become a rare commodity in some of the areas, especially during summers.

Reports of illegal mining and the failure to check such activity also became a routine. A CBI enquiry is underway at present in some of the areas on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to experts, the water table in the area has gone so deep that getting a tubewell bored in the hilly region cost between Rs 1.50 lakh and Rs 2 lakh. While lakhs of gallons of precious water were being wasted by the mining activity in Faridabad area every year, hundreds of suppliers had come up to supply drinking water from other places to the labourers and people working in the region.

The management of a bird and wildlife sanctuary near Jasola had complained that water table in the Aravali Hills had gone down due to the mining in Faridabad and Gurgaon districts. This fact is stated to have become the basis of the petition filed by a noted environmentalist in the Supreme Court, which in its interim order on May 7, ordered the ban on mining in about 80 per cent (5 km) of the region. 



Task force to monitor power supply
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has decided to set up a task force to monitor the power supply position in the Capital during the summer months from May to September. To be headed by Member (Grid & Operation), the task force has been given the responsibility of keeping a tab on the demand and supply situation of power in the national Capital and suggest remedial measures to meet the shortfall, CEA Secretary Gurdial Singh said today. Mr Singh said the present peak demand of around 3,000 mw in Delhi was likely to spiral by another 200 mw to 3,200 mw in view of the weather conditions in the coming months. Taking this into account, the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) had been asked to fully commission its Pragati power plant and the Ballabgarh-Bamnoli portion of the 400-KV ring to avoid the problem of low voltage during summer months.

Despite the claims of the DVB that there is no shortfall of power, there have been reports of prolonged power cuts from different parts of the Capital over the past few days virtually forcing Delhi Power Minister Ajay Maken to take to the streets and conduct periodical surprise checks. Even while this year’s normal demand has been much higher than last year’s peak, it is yet to touch the estimated peak of 3,400 mw. The DVB had also been advised to install additional 400 MVAR shunt capacitors and reactivate the defective ones, Mr Singh said, adding that a team from the Northern Region Electricity Board (NREB) had been visiting various sub-stations of the DVB to monitor the healthiness of the capacitors installed there. The CEA, Mr Singh said, had hammered out an action plan well before the onset of summers to identify generation sources from where power could be made available. “We have also identified various other areas requiring immediate attention such as strengthening of transmission and distribution networks and DVB’s own generation.”



Campus Craze
Gen-Xers swoon over the ‘ne plus ultra’ of 
Latin pop scene 
Tarun Gill

New Delhi, May 21
Blame it on anybody. Bollywood box office failures, MTV intrusion, or anything else. Generation X has its own ways of choosing heroes.

With the examination blues overcome and the ides of March conquered, the college-goers are putting their dancing shoes on and screaming ‘Bailamos’. Latin pop sensation Enrique Iglesias appears to be the flavour of the season, with his pulsating numbers ‘Bailamos’ (Let’s dance), ‘Rhythm Divine’, ‘Be with you’ setting the campus on fire.

The scene on the college campus is sizzling, with girls swooning over Enrique. The mole near his nose has taken the girls for a spin of a lifetime. His latest single, ‘Escape’, is already creating ripples among the teenagers.

“Enrique has a million dollar smile, I am just eagerly waiting for him to perform in Delhi,” says Ritika, student of Jesus and Mary. “He is not one of those good-looking duds with no brains, he is smart and sensitive which really captivates me,” she adds.

“Enrique, another Latino pop sensation. These guys have so much to offer compared to the Indians. At least, what I have read is that he is not too big for his shoes,” says Sucheta, student of Venkateswara College on South Campus.

His latest album, ‘Hero’, is turning out to be quite symbolic as he has become a folk hero among the girls. It’s not only the girls who are going gaga over this hunk, guys are also following his fashion statement. The tight cap, Enrique’s trademark, seems to have become the flavour of the season.

“He is definitely a trendsetter, his stubble has created a stir among all the guys. Forget about us, even Bollywood film stars have started following his statement,” says Raghav, student of Hindu College.

From KNX (Kamla Nagar Market) to South Campus, every music shop and hostels of all the possible colleges are playing his songs over and over again. No one could have ever imagined this ‘Bailamos’ lad will do wonders not only in the US but also in a comparatively backward country like India. That certainly is a great achievement.

Born on May 8, 1975, in Madrid, Spain, Enrique Iglesias Preysler was only 16 when he secretly started planning his first album. He started his musical journey and entered the scene in 1995, when he was barely 20. His first album, ‘Enrique Iglesias’, came in 1997 and has sold more than 5.8 million copies throughout the world.

And for all those girls who want to know Enrique a bit more, here is some trivia about the son of the legendary Julio Iglesias.

Enrique never uses a watch and he never even carries more than $20 on him. He is fastidious about his teeth and he brushes them at least five times a day. He loves it when you caress his neck and hair. He is living in Miami, Florida, USA. And owns a Red Porsche. On camera, he looks a little short but actually he is 6 feet 2 inches. Before making it to the music scene, he was studying business administration. And when it comes to work schedules, he never sticks to them. He sleeps with a pillow between his legs. And he never wears a cologne. He is a big-time prankster and loves to play practical jokes. Enrique Iglesias’ music in Spanish has also earned him fame and conquered Asia, where his album has received gold and platinum records. He listens to all types of music, from U2 to Bruce Springsteen. And he also won the Billboard Award for Best Latin Pop Artiste in 1998. He is back with a bang with his latest album, ‘Hero’, with the video featuring Jeniffer Love Hewitt. There is definitely no ‘escape’ from this young Iglesias. 



Five girls booked for immoral trafficking
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 21
The police have launched a special campaign against the immoral trafficking in the city and elsewhere in the district.

According to a report, the police conducted surprise raids on two prestigious hotels on the G.T. Road between Murthal and Ganaur last evening and rounded up five girls and their paramours. They were found in a compromising position in the rooms of the hotels. One of the girls belongs to Sonepat while other four are the residents of Delhi. All of them were brought here for alleged trafficking in the sins of the flesh. The police registered the case against the girls and their partners and further investigations were in progress. It is alleged that the hotels provide the accommodation on nominal rates and also offer liquor to the customers.

The raids followed the series of public complaints that these hotels were becoming dens of immoral trafficking for the past few years. Many people alleged that a tourist complex of the Haryana Tourism Corporation near Rai had also become a haven of such elements thanks to the failure of district and police authorities. The rooms of the motel in this complex are booked once for a day but they are often used round the clock.

The corporation was thus being duped by the unscrupulous employees. Only a high-level inquiry can take the lid off the ‘blue’ deeds of the workers of this tourist complex.



Three shops gutted in Paharganj

New Delhi, May 21
Three shops, including a jewellery shop, in the Pahraganj area in Central Delhi were completely destroyed in a fire that broke out this afternoon. This is the sixth incident which has destroyed property of crores of rupees in different areas of the Capital this summer so far.

The fire broke out in Ratna Jewellery shop in the area this afternoon. It spread to two other adjacent shops. The Delhi Fire Service rushed 10 fire tenders which took two hours to control the fire.

An official of the DFS said that traffic jam had hampered the work. Otherwise, it could have saved at least the other two shops from the devastating fire, he said. TNS



Power crisis in Delhi man-made: Mukhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
Launching a scathing attack on the Congress led Delhi Government, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Jagdish Mukhi today said the continuing power crisis in the Capital was man made, mainly due to the inefficient handling by the Delhi Vidyut Board officials and lack of political will on the part of the government.

“The problem of fluctuating voltage would have been much less had the DVB been able to meet its target of installing shunt capacitors,” he said.

He said the board officials themselves admitted in their own minutes that DVB was unable to install even 40 per cent of the targeted transformers. And of the 150 km of electricity cable that was to be replaced, the DVB could manage only 40 km.

The senior BJP leader said, “it is an admitted fact that in the absence of adequate number of transformers, the load on the present ones increases manifold. The result is burning of the transformers. Since April, around 120 transformers have been burnt. The DVB was also unable to install the 66 kv, 33 kv and 11 kv step-down transformers, necessary to supplement the excess inflow of energy.”

Criticising the Delhi Power Minister, Mr Ajay Maken’s statement that there was no shortage of power and the problems were due to local faults, Mr Mukhi said, “even if we agree that there are problems because of local faults, the local faults are because of the failure on the part of the DVB to augment the system for 3000 mega watts.”

Mr Mukhi said the government should have held consultations with the MLAs in October and implemented the plans for summer by March 31.

“But the DVB officials and the state government was under the impression that they will be handing over the DVB to the private organisation by February or March. It is because of this thinking of the government, which made them complacent for summer management,” he said.

On the water front, Mr Mukhi said the Congress government in the state had failed to increase even a drop of water during the past three years. The last major water treatment plant was inaugurated in 1994-95, during the tenure of the BJP Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana.

Even though the population NCT Delhi has increased by 18 lakhs during the last three years, the state government has not added even a drop of water.

“Instead of issuing directions for disconnection of booster pumps in the multi-story flats and disconnection of water to various categories of industries, the Chief Minister should pay attention towards checking the leakage of water at various levels,” he said, adding that “as per one assessment, leakage of water in Delhi is much more than the actual water shortage.” The combined capacity of the five existing water treatment plants is 620 million gallons per day and the demand in the Capital has touched the 800 million gallons per day mark.



CM misleading farmers: Vidrohi 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 21
The president of the Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (U), Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, today accused the Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, of befooling the farmers by advocating the change of cultivation pattern of various crops and said that the diversification of crops would not improve the lot of the farmers unless they were paid sufficient remunerative price for their produce.

In a signed press statement issued here, he alleged that the farmers were not getting the remunerative price for their crops, particularly the sugarcane and paddy, with the result that they have to sell their produce at throw-away prices and the government never came to the rescue of the farmers.

He also alleged that the farmers were denied the remunerative price for the onion and other vegetables. In fact, the state government had not formulated any positive agriculture policy so far and it never bothered to safeguard the interests of the small farmers in the state.

Mr Vidrohi also criticised the Chief Minister for misleading the people by claiming that many heavy industries would be set up in the state by the NRIs and other entrepreneurs on account of liberal industrial policy of his government.

He said that it was only a propaganda stunt and no major industry had been set up in Haryana even after the Supreme Court had ordered the closure of polluted industries in Delhi two years ago.

Mr Vidrohi alleged that the government had not created any infrastructure and other facilities conducive to the setting up of industries in the state.

On the other hand, many industries are being shifted to other states on account of deteriorating law and order situation and day to day interference by the official functionaries.

The supply of power to the industrial sector was still erratic. Retrenchments and lockouts have become the order of the day, Mr Vidrohi said. The indifferent attitude by the labour department towards the workers has also resulted in widespread resentment among them.

He demanded immediate steps against the employers who are violating the labour laws.



Govt claim on sufficient water supply questioned
Our Correspondent

Rewari, May 21
The Haryana Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, expressed concern over the drinking water crisis prevailing in most parts of Rewari and Mahendragarh districts as well as the Mewat region. The government’s claims on adequate water supply in the villages are found to be wrong, he said.

Mr Vidrohi said that the gruelling summer had added to the woes of the thousands of residents of these areas who were now facing acute shortage of drinking water. Further, the extremely erratic power supply, particularly in rural areas, had also aggravated the situation. With ponds and tanks turning dry in over 60 per cent of the villages, the cattle-keepers too were a worried lot to arrange water for their animals.

Flaying the state government functionaries for their repeated announcements that water supply in most of the villages had been augmented to supply 70 litres per head per day, Mr Vidrohi asserted that this was true in only a few villages that could be counted on fingers. Most of the villages in this entire region were reeling under a severe crisis of drinking water, he said.

Making a special mention of the Dohan Pachchisi, a cluster of 25 villages lying in remote areas of Mahendragarh district, he said that the residents of these villages had been facing an unprecedented water crisis in the absence of measures to recharge the underground water resources. The level of the subsoil water in almost all these villages had gone beyond 700 feet.

Similarly, the situation in most villages of the Nangal Chaudhary block of Mahendragarh district was even worse. Taking a dig at the “lip sympathy” shown to these hapless residents by the state government, Mr Vidrohi deplored that the rig machine, which was to sink borewells in these villages and was recently inaugurated at a village near Nangal Chaudhary by the Chief Minister with much fanfare, was now lying out of order. He further said that not only the villages but the urban areas of Narnaul and Rewari too were in the grip of paucity of drinking water.

He emphasised the urgency of taking effective measures, short term as well as long term, to deal with the deepening water crisis and provide the much-needed relief to these hapless citizens.



Farmers’ agitation to end Chautala’s misrule: Bansi
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 21
The Haryana Vikas Party (HVP)supremo and former Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, said that the farmers agitation, being spearheaded by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), would prove to be proverbial last nail in the coffin of the Chautala government in Haryana. Addressing newsmen here on Tuesday, Mr Bansi Lal said that like the Meham incident, which had led to the collapse of the Chautala government, the ongoing farmer agitation would also dislodge his government.

The HVP supremo said that Mr Chautala had come to power by misleading the people. During the last Vidhan Sabha election, Mr Chautala had promised to remit the outstanding electricity bills. However, after coming to power, he had gone back on his promises, Mr Bansi Lal said. Mr Bansi Lal, however, advised the agitating farmers not to take the law into their hands and should wage a political fight for achieving their demands.

The former Chief Minister described the violent incidents at Kandela in Jind district as unfortunate but blamed the Chief Minister for instigating the farmers to violate the law. He alleged that Mr Chautala was instigating the farmers against paying the electricity bills. Mr Bansi Lal demanded that the benefits of the new power dues waiver scheme, which envisage the waiver of 75 per cent of the bill amount, should also be extended to those consumers who have been paying their bills on time. These law-abiding consumers, who constitute nearly 90 percent of total electricity consumers, should not be denied the benefit of the scheme.He alleged that Chief Minister Chautala was victimising his political opponents by registering false FIRs against them. He condemned the attack on Master Hari Singh at Hisar and said that no person, including political activists should be physically assaulted. He alleged that the Chief Minister was involved in the attack on Master Hari Singh, a former political advisor to Mr Bansi Lal. “Had I been the Chief Minister of the state, I would have handed over the inquiry into the attack on Mr Hari Singh to the CBI,” Mr Bansi Lal said. Unfortunately, Mr Chautala was maintaining a studied silence on this issue, the HVP leader said. Referring to allegations of malpractices in the recently announced results of the Haryana Civil Service and allied examination, Mr Bansi Lal said that the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) should subject itself to an impartial inquiry by the CBI, if it claims that selections were made on merit.

Mr Bansi Lal expressed concern over the worsening law and order situation in the state. Incidents of murder and looting have become a broad-day light event. He said until the emergence of the ‘green brigade’ in Haryana, the law and order was totally under control.



Murthal dhabas ride the gravy train
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 21
A large number of roadside dhabas, restaurants and hotels on the National Highway No 1, particularly between Murthal Chowk and Ganaur, are fleecing customers, who are mostly truck operators and other travellers. Interestingly, most of the owners of such eateries are not paying any sales tax or income tax, thus causing a great loss to the state exchequer.

According to informed sources, some dhabas have become so popular that the people from even far-off places visit them for taking their meals. And the rates match those of the five-star hotels.

Often travellers are seen complaining to the owners that the food and milk products sold there are adulterated but the owners do not pay any heed to their complaints. Not only normal food is being served here but also liquor, including beer. Liquor is being offered to the customers on demand even though they do not have any licence to sell it.

Officials of the police and Excise Department have not taken any action against owners of highway hotels selling liquor illegally. These officials are said to be in league with the owners and allegedly get monthly commission from them.

Many a time, samples of foodstuffs taken from these establishments by the officials of the Health Department had been found adulterated. Some of the owners had been prosecuted and sentenced by the court in the past.

Besides, most of these establishments have encroached on the public land in front of their hotels, restaurants and dhabas but the authorities of the PWD (B and R) have also looked the other way. The PWD has failed to get the public land vacated in spite of the directives issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has also been suffering a huge loss of revenue on account of power theft by many of these hotels but the officials concerned have failed to check the menace. It is alleged that some officials of the UHBVN are in league with them and getting a monthly `nazrana’ from them.



Haryana major rice exporter: FCI
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, May 21
Haryana plays a major role in the export of wheat and rice in the country and contributes 20 per cent of country’s rice exports. This was stated by the Senior Manager, Food Corporation of India (FCI), Haryana Region, Mr T. C. Gupta, while addressing mediapersons here on Monday.

Mr Gupta informed that India had fixed the target for export of rice at 50 lakh metric tonnes for the current financial year of 2002-2003. Out of it, more then 20 per cent would be met by Haryana.

The strict rules and regulations and their implementations in the state had gone a long way in making Haryana a major export zone in grains, said Mr Gupta. He added that the quality of the grain had improved here. The percentage of damaged grain at the time of procurement had been reduced from 3 per cent to 2 per cent to enhance the quality.

The Senior Manager revealed that it had been made compulsory for each arhtia (broker) to have at least one electric power cleaner to clean the procured grain and five polythene covers to protect the grain from the incremental weather. Arhtias had been directed to put their company name in each bag procured by them so that action could be taken against them if the grain they supplied turned out to be of inferior quality in the future, informed the officer.

The Government of India had fixed a target of one crore metric tonnes of export of wheat in 2002-2003. India had to face stiff competition from the USA, Canada and Australia in wheat export and from Pakistan in the export of rice, informed Mr Gupta.

Haryana had got the orders for around 11 lakh metric tonnes of rice from different countries of which, more than 6.5 lakh metric tonnes had been lifted from the godowns, Mr Gupta said. The total procurement of whet this year would be around 60 lakh tonnes compared to the last year’s 64 lakh tonnes, he observed.



Renu Nigam’s fashion designs go haute
Smriti Kak

Fashion goes royale.
Fashion goes royale.

Having grown up in the lap of a tailor has its advantages. For one you get to learn the tricks of the trade straight from the horse’s mouth. Designer Renu Nigam who has made a name for herself in the filed of menswear vouches for the same.

Hailing from a conservative zamindar family of Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh, Renu Nigam never thought she’d build a business worth crores in Delhi and would be a well-known menswear designer.

“When I was 10 months old a darzi (tailor) joined the family. Since he was from a different cast, he was made to sit out in the verandah and as I was the youngest in the family my older siblings alienated me. So, two of us had each other for company. I would sit in his lap and he would share with me the nuances, which have been of great help to me. I would subconsciously absorb everything that he did and said and today I have been able to use them effectively for my own good.”

Without the aid of any formal training Renu took the plunge into the world of designing, “My husband suffered a paralytic stroke, which meant that I had suddenly become the breadwinner for the family. I had two small children by then and at times I didn’t know where we would get our next meal from”, recalls the lady who confesses to be a creative person and fond of clothes.

Destiny’s seemingly cruel spin had other designs for Renu. What began, as a means to keep the kitchen fire burning soon became her calling. Designing for men Renu soon began to be noticed and in 2001 she revealed her dexterity under the brand name Renu Nigam’s.

“I have been doing men’s wear only because I am a sucker for quality. I do not do what I cannot give my full attention to. I have done Sherwanis for women the response was ecstatic, yet die to constraints of space and time I haven’t been able to do more in this line. We do men’s wear and even in the present time, which is said to be a lean time, we are juggling and working overtime to finish the work”.

For the woman who got to design for the former U S President, Bill Clinton, Sherwanis are her forte. “The Roopam store who were presenting sherwanis to Clinton called us to make four sherwanis in 48 hours. I said we could deliver just two. Then we got a letter of appreciation from the White House, in fact when he came to India last year he wore the sherwani in a function held at Hyderabad House.”

Renu has recently hit the stores with her unique sherwanis. “I have made these cotton sherwanis with Benarasi cutwork and crepe. The response is over whelming. We have added trousers and waistcoats to these sherwanis so as to give our customers value for money.”

The designer who is also a hardcore art lover with an eye for all things beautiful designing is her second nature. Right from her boutique to her clothes, she does not repeat a design.

“People must understand that there is a fine line between creativity and commercialisation. It is far easier to create an expensive and creative thing than to create a thing, which is cheaper and also inexpensive. Limiting to price factors also limits the scope of creativity”, says the designer who has the knack for picking up things from unusual places at unbelievable prices.

FDCI’s new chief

Vinod Kaul
Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) executive director Vinod Kaul.

The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) has a new boss. Industry veteran Vinod Kaul arrayed with an experience of over 29 years in the industry has taken over the post of executive director from Sumeet Nair.

Having learnt his lessons in areas such as retailing, marketing, merchandising and warehousing, Kaul is being tipped to reinvent the sagging fashion front. He would primarily be responsible for interfacing with various government agencies on matters relevant to the industry and establishing the council as the nodal body dealing with its issues and concerns.

“The issues concerning the Indian apparel industry are unique and make my task even more challenging. Providing fair representation to these issues in all quarters will require the utmost demands of all my skills and expertise, which I have gained from being a pert of the industry for the past 30 years, ” says the IIM Ahmedabad pass out.

Kaul’s mettle will be put to test during the Lakme India Fashion Week, scheduled for later this year. As a part of the Raymond group he conceptualised the recently launched BE: a line of pret wear. He is also credited to have handled assignments for Birla VXL Limited and DCM Benetton India Ltd.

Nature in hand

They refuse to cash in on the names of their erstwhile celebrity clients. Instead, their work and its quality is focused upon. Nature in Hand, an eco-friendly and hand crafted paper production company is here with solutions for those who are looking for a place to print their fancy.

Claiming that their forte lies in exclusively designed cards, making them a perfect blend of colour and style to match the taste of an individual the Nature in Hand depends on innovation. So, there are loads to pick, from host of designs to materials like grass flowers, petals and cotton waste.

Just in case curiosity gets the better of you and you wish to know some of the clients they have catered to. Here is something for your ears only. They tell us that the princess of Jeddah and the Princess of Riyadh are amongst the long list of clients.

Beat the heat

S Kumars have launched a range of ‘ECOFRESH’ daily wear fabrics specially suited for the hot and humid Indian climate. The new range has a high moisture-absorbing quotient, achieved by using ecologically balanced enzymes.

Diamond jewellery

Trinkets with glittering stones.
Trinkets with glittering stones.

Diamonte, a store offering exquisite diamond jewellery to satiate the craving of a woman for the glittering stones has opened its doors in the Capitals’ G K I.

The entire collection features two tempting lines, Moondrops, diamond and pearl sets and Haute Hues, diamond and semi precious stone sets. The collection is inspired by the art nouveau era that draws its images from nature.



MD varsity runs out of LL.B. prospectus
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 21
Several students seeking admission to the LL.B course, being run by the Maharshi Dayanand University, had to wait for several hours in the scorching heat as the prospectuses for the much sought-after course fell short at the sale counter of the university.

Later, the applicants were provided only application forms without brochures at the same price after the limited stock of prospectuses were exhausted.

According to information, a large number of applicants gathered in front of the sale counter this morning as May 22 is the last date for submission of application forms.

The applicants, who had come from far-off places including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were forced to wait in the hot weather for nearly four hours.

A senior official of the university said the university had printed nearly 1,500 prospectuses. However, more than 3,000 candidates had applied for the prospectus. He said the printing of additional prospectuses was not possible at such a short notice.

BJP reorganised

Mr Ratan Lal Kataria, the president of the Haryana unit of Bhartiya Janta Party has reorganised the party structure.

In a statement here on Tuesday, Mr Gulshan Bhatia, press secretary of the state unit of the party, said that Mr Om Prakash Dhankhar, state general secretary of the party had been given the additional charge of Bhiwani and Dadri districts.

He said Mr Kailash Chand Sharma, a former vice-chairman of State Planning Commission had been deputed as the in- charge of Rewari and Mahendragarh districts.

Vehicles fined

The district authorities challaned 28 buses, 125 Tata Sumo, maxi cabs and taxis, 2 tractor trailers and 118 other vehicles on various charges and recovered an amount of nearly Rs 5.64 lakh during the last month.

A spokesman for the district administration said on Tuesday that the district transport authorities issued permits to 53 vehicles after registration and collected a sum of Rs 71.84 lakh in the form of permit, registration and transfer fees during the period.

Panel constituted

The district authorities have constituted 11 teams to identify candidates for old age pension. According to official sources, the teams comprising a patwari, a medical officer and a representative of district social welfare department, would identify the candidates between May 25 and June 25.

house burgled

Burglars struck at the house of an ex-serviceman and decamped with cash, jewellery and other belongings worth about Rs 1.10 lakh in Jhamri village of the district on Monday night. According to information, the son and daughter-in-law of retired Captain Phool Singh, along with his wife were sleeping on the terrace. Captain Phool Singh was not at home. The thieves reportedly entered the house by scaling the boundary wall and broke open a box and almirah in which cash, jewellery and other valuables were placed. The victim reported that Rs 35,000 in cash, jewellery worth of Rs 60,000 and other items worth around Rs 15,000 were stolen from his house.

In yet another incident of robbery, cash and other goods worth about Rs 1 lakh were reportedly stolen from eight shops in Machhroli village of the district last night. The village sources said that the thieves broke open the locks of all the shops and decamped with the valuables they could lay their hands on.

Agitated over increasing incidents of theft, the people of Machhroli have warned the administration of an agitation if it failed to nab the thieves. They threatened to block the roads if the police failed to solve these cases.

Thieves strike

Cash and other household worth over Rs 15,000 were stolen by thieves from the house of one Khub Chandji in the HVPN. The members of his family were not at home when the theft took place.

Power connections

The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has released as many as 135 power connections for domestic purposes in its Sonepat circle, during the past one month. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.N.Roy told mediapersons here today that these included 80 power connections in the rural areas.

The Nigam, he said, also released power connections to two tubewells in the urban areas of the circle, during the period under review. He also disclosed that the Nigam has taken steps to release more power connections to the tubewells, as 242 applications were pending with the Nigam for the last few years. Similarly, the Nigam will release 16 power connections in the industrial sector shortly. The DC also made an appeal to the rural consumers to take advantage of the surcharge waiver scheme and other schemes launched by the state government for their benefit.

sarpanches suspended

The Deputy Commissioner placed two sarpanches, namely Mr Inder Singh of Bayyanpur village and Mr Hazari Lal of Harsana village, under suspension pending departmental inquiry into the allegations levelled against them.

According to a report, the alleged corruption and malpractices in the Food for Work Programme, launched by the state government in the rural areas was the main reason for their suspension.

Probe urged

Members of the Sidharth Housing Construction Cooperative Society, Sonepat, sent a memorandum to the Registrar of cooperative societies, Haryana, demanding a high-level probe into the complaints made against the president of the society, Mr Surinder Miglani.

According to a report, the memorandum also highlighted the details of irregularities and malpractices of the president and alleged that the members were being denied the possession of their residential plots and registration deeds.

Man assaulted

Mr Satish Dahiya, president of Janata Transport Association, sustained serious injuries when he was attacked with lathis and other weapons by some unidentified persons while he was sitting in his office, near the Railway overbridge, here on Monday evening. According to a report, the alleged assailants, however, managed to escape immediately after the incident. The injured person was hospitalised and was stated to be out of danger. However, no arrest was made in this connection. A dispute over the amount of `nazrana’ was said to be the main cause of the assault.

Improving education

The Haryana Government has taken a series of measures to improve the standard of higher education in the state. This was stated by Mr Dhanpat Singh, Commissioner, Higher Education, Haryana, while addressing a meeting of teaching staff at Government College, Gohana, 35 km from here.

He said that there was a lot of physical and social progress in Haryana, but higher education sector was still lagging behind.

However, during the past three months, the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was taking keen interest in the field of higher education so that its condition could be improved. The state government, he said, had constructed a new building at the Government College, Ambala Cantt and opened a modern laboratory at Government College, Naraingarh. Similarly, the state government had decided to open a women’s wing in the Government College at Gohana.



Six die after consuming illicit liquor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
At least half a dozen persons are believed to have died after consuming illicit liquor in the Nabi Karim area of Central Delhi. The deaths occurred over the last three days. The police identified two of the victims as Madan Mohan Jogi of Gali Amarpuri and his nephew, Badshah. The bodies were cremated after post-mortem examination and the visceras have been sent for analysis.

While the police were reluctant to comment, sources said that at least a dozen persons, including several women, involved in the sale of illicit liquor had been rounded up for questioning.

This is the second major liquor tragedy in the Capital during the last two months. In March coinciding with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, at least 14 persons were suspected to have died after consuming tampered liquor in the Anand Parbat area. An inquiry was ordered subsequently and action was recommended against 40 police officials for their inability to control the illicit liquor sale.



Heat wave claims five lives
Our Correspondent

Noida –Ghaziabad, May 21
A combination of heat wave and prolonged power cuts are playing havoc with the life of the people. Five persons were killed in Noida and Ghaziabad by the heat wave sweeping UP.

Three persons, including a woman, had died reportedly due to sunstroke in Noida while two had reportedly died in Ghaziabad, where the position of power is even worse.

One person was killed in Secunderabad town.

A 45-year-old unidentified person, who had gone to Sector-1, collapsed on the road near the Sandeep Paper Mill.

The police in Sector-58 said that a 40-year-old-woman, Shano Dhumli, collapsed near a tea stall in Sector-62.

In village Nizampur of Secunderabad, the police recovered the body of an unidentified person from the Palika Market.

In Ghaziabad, two deaths were reported from the posh locality of Kavinagar and Nusratpura residential colony. According to hospital sources, the police admitted one Jagdamba, a resident of Kavinagar in the emergency ward of MMG district hospital. However, he died the following day.

According to doctors, the regular power cuts, during the ongoing heat wave has only heightened the problem. 



MCD scheme to green Chandni Chowk 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
The Delhi Mayor, Mrs Jayshree Panwar, on Tuesday initiated the MCD’s scheme to restore Chandni Chowk’s historic greenery. The programme was initiated to coincide with the death anniversary of the former Prime Minister, Mr Rajiv Gandhi. Mayor Panwar planted saplings at the historic Azad Park, opposite the Town Hall in the memory of Mr Rajiv Gandhi and launched the MCD’s scheme for restoring the greenery in the area. The Deputy Commissioner of City Zone, Mr Ramesh Tiwari, was also present on the occasion.

Elaborating on the green scheme for the Chandni Chowk, the area Councillor, Mr Brij Mohan Sharma, said that the Action Plan for Chandni Chowk includes plantation on the central verge of Chandni Chowk, horticultural improvement of S.P. Mukherjee Marg, opposite the Delhi Railway Station. 



Gang of train robbers held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
With the arrest of four suspects, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police on Tuesday claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of train robbers. Those arrested were identified as Bir Bahadur Singh alias Nepali (17), Atul Sharma alias Bhanja (20), Mohammad Irfan (19) and Hari Om alias Chhote. Two knives and two ‘ustras’ were recovered from their possession. Nepali was the gang leader. They mainly targeted the passengers in the general compartments of Shaheed Express, mostly between Sonepat and Sabzi Mandi Railway Station for the last two years. After committing the crime, they jumped off the slow moving train, the police said.

Drug Traffickers Arrested: Three persons were arrested and two kg of fine quality heroin seized by the Narcotics Branch. Those arrested were identified as Mukhtari and Suleiman of Muradabad and 530 grams of heroin was recovered from their possession. They were arrested from a local bus stand near the GT Karnal Road, where they had come to deliver the consignment.

In another catch, sleuths of the Narcotics Branch arrested one Ravi Pandey, a big time drug operator. His name came to light after the arrest of his accomplice Manish Pandey last month in Ghaziabad district. The interrogation of Manish led to the arrest of Ravi Pandey and 1.5 kg heroin was recovered from the house of his another associate, Rahul, at Chander Nagar in East Delhi. The police are on the lookout to nab Rahul, who is absconding.

girl ‘sold’: The Maurice Nagar police arrested one Harkesh Singh Chauhan alias Boby, on charge of selling a minor girl. He was arrested from Bounta Park, Kamla Nagar ridge, on Monday. Chauhan had brought the girl from Ranchi to work as a maid in his house. He allegedly promised her that he would later marry her.

The police received a tip off that Chauhan wanted to sell the girl and sent a decoy customer to his house. When the deal was allegedly finalised for Rs 50,000, the police arrested him on the charge of selling the girl.

Man murdered: A man who was admitted to the GTB hospital with stab injuries succumbed to his injuries. The deceased identified as Ved Prakash (50), was a resident of Uttranchal in Loni area of North-East district, was found with stab injuries on his chest at Ganga Vihar Chowk last night. 



HDFC’s arrival goads PNB on to get its act together
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, May 21
The battle royale between the public sector giant, the Punjab National Bank (PNB), and the newly opened leading private bank, HDFC Bank, has begun in the industrial city. With the HDFC Bank promising world-class banking services, the PNB today unveiled a major modernisation package and aggressive marketing of foreign exchange to capture the retail segment in the local market.

Fearing competition from the HDFC, the PNB, which has been ruling the roost in the city with eight branches, including an international banking branch, had started to get its act together. Under a special scheme — Centralised Banking Solutions (CBS), all 1,700 branches of the bank will be interconnected through the Internet at a cost of Rs 500 crore by September. This would give the customers direct access to their accounts from anywhere in the world, informed Mr V. K. Mehta, chief manager of the G. T. Road branch of the PNB..

Not only that, the bank, apparently for the fear of losing business and for competition’s sake, has come out with special incentives for the different groups of customers such as the exporters, senior citizens and students. In a bid to promote the economy of the industrial city, each PNB branch had been allocated specific budgets. Moreover, the loan dispute redressal conference is being planned on May 30 to sort out disputes regarding the repayment of loans from the defaulters.

Answering a specific gap in the facilities provided by the nationalised and the private banks, Mr Mehta claimed that several banks like the PNB were providing facilities such as mobile banking and Internet banking to the customers, which were at par with the private sector banks. While the private sector banks catered to a minuscule section of the upper-end users, the public sector banks catered to a vast majority of the Indian population, which included rural population.

Meanwhile, the bank was planning the visits of its CMD, Mr S. S. Kohli, and the general manager, Chandigarh Zone, Mr U. S. Bhargava, to the city. The occasions will be used to give a major boost to Panipat economy by pumping crores of rupees into the market through loans to exporters and other sections of the society. The G. T. Road branch has extended the transaction timings till 5 pm. There is another proposal to keep the transactions open from 7 am to 7 pm.

It is learnt that the G. T. Road branch has recorded an export turnover of Rs 167 crore and import turnover of Rs 10.43 crore. Similarly, an amount of Rs 3.78 crore had been advanced as loans to ordinary traders.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |