Thursday, May 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Fiery May: Five die in Shakurpur blaze
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
Five persons, including three children, were killed when a fire swept through a jhuggi cluster in Shakurpur area of East Delhi this afternoon, gutting more than 800 makeshift shelters.

Thirty tenders of the Delhi Fire Service battled with the flames under the scorching mid day sun for over two hours before the fire was extinguished. Anguished residents of the sprawling jhuggi cluster rummaged through the rubble to retrieve their valuables even as the police and Delhi Fire Service personnel, aided by volunteers, went systematically through the smouldering embers to retrieve the bodies of the victims.

The victims were identified as Vinod (25), Reena (23), her children Sonu (18 months), Vidyarthi (8) and Pinkoo (12), a physically challenged child. The bodies have been sent for post-mortem examination. The mother and children were asleep in their hut when the fire broke out.

There was total chaos as women and children wailed over the dead. Senior police and fire service officials were personally looking after the relief operations. The victims, mostly daily wage earners, claimed that they had lost their belongings in the fire.

The police said that a case had been registered and efforts were being made to ascertain the cause of the fire. The possibility of sparks from an open hearth in one of the jhuggis having caused the fire could not be ruled out.

According to the Delhi Fire Service officials, the fire broke around 2 p. m. in one of the hutments and within minutes spread to the adjoining ones. Since most of the men folk were away, the few present along with women and children initially tried to quell the flames by throwing mud and buckets of water. The Fire Brigade was informed and the first few tenders arrived at the spot within minutes. Additional fire tenders were rushed to the spot when the fire engulfed almost the entire cluster near the school block.

Vehicular traffic around the jhuggi cluster was diverted to facilitate fire fighting operations. As a result, there was a major traffic jam on the main Vikas Marg, the stretch of Shakurpur Road heading towards the Mother Dairy Plant and the School Lane. It took several hours for the traffic policemen to restore normalcy.



Akali poll panel not to insist on filing of criminal record
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
In a significant development, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today virtually gave the go-by to the filing of criminal records, if any, by the candidates seeking to contest the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee polls.

The nine-member election committee, which met this evening, decided that it would not seek an affidavit from the candidates on the criminal records, as several members of the Sikh leaders have some case or the other pending against them.

A member committee, Mr Manjit Singh Greater Kailash, said, “Several politically motivated cases have been slapped against many persons of the community by the state.”

Giving examples, Mr Manjit Singh said, “Some of the members of the election committee like DSGMC president, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, committee member Inderpal Singh Khalsa and myself face charges under TADA, National Security Act.”

However, the committee would probe the person’s background to find out if the candidates had been involved in any criminal activity, which is not political in nature, he added.

On the disclosure of assets, the committee decided that the candidates should file their latest income tax returns certified by a chartered accountant.

Mr Manjit Singh clarified that only persons with clean image would be given the tickets and the views of the local Singh Sabhas would be ascertained before finalising the names of the candidates.

The Supreme Court had recently made it mandatory for the candidates contesting elections for Parliament and Assembly to file an affidavit disclosing their assets and criminal records, if any.

The move was seen as an attempt to bring in transparency in the system and pave the way for the entry of people with good social standing to enter the political arena.

Though the apex court order is not directly binding on the DSGMC general elections, leaders cutting party lines had expressed optimism in implementing the order.

The decision of the election committee on the criminal record affidavit front, is a setback to the process, yet, it is a step forward in cleansing the system, observers said.

The committee meeting, sources said, finalised the names of about 15 candidates, who would be given the ticket to contest the June 30 polls. The members, however, decided not to disclose their names until the state government issues notification for the general elections, which is likely to be issued on May 28.

Sources said the first list of candidates contains only three new faces and the rest are sitting members.

Further, the committee decided to call for an application from the members of the community, who are interested in contesting the polls. The applicants would have to deposit a non-refundable amount of Rs 1,100 in draft along with the form, to consider their candidature.

The meeting also decided to grant 25 per cent of the 46-ward tickets to the youth as persons above 18 years have been given the voting right for the first time and they could turn out in large numbers, sources said.

Meanwhile, the pro-Tohra group Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi asked the members of the Sikh community, interested in contesting the polls, to submit their candidature by Monday so that they may be considered for the party ticket.


Class XII results: Countdown begins, 72 hrs to D-day
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, May 22
The panic buttons have been pressed. With less than 72 hours left for the CBSE to declare the class XII board exam result, the countdown for thousands of students has begun.

“We had been receiving frantic calls from students and parents wanting to know when the results will be announced. Now that the date is officially out, they are calling to check out the details. Students are on tenterhooks, though they cannot be blamed for it. The hype around these exams further rattles the students,” explains Ms. Aloka Bose, the agony aunt on the CBSE helpline.

Hype or not, the students are suffering bouts of insomnia. “I was hoping that the results would be delayed a bit. I just hope that I have done well. It will be a major humiliation if I fail to live up to expectations”, reveals S Nath, a class XII student who has been biting his nails ever since “a friend broke the news to him”.

The jitters are not confined to students, the parents are often more nervous than the kids. “My son is not even half as scared as me. While TV has taken his mind off the inevitable, I keep breaking into a cold sweat. I am sure most parents can identify with me”, explains Kavita, a nervous mother.

“I have been taking calls from parents who wish to know what will happen to their wards if they fail to get good marks. Most of the parents are worried that their children may not get into good colleges”, said Ms. Mala Sharma of Government Girls Sr. Sec. School, Adarsh Nagar.

To banish the blues, the students are “walking miles” to “sleeping it of”. “ I am just not nervous. All I am worried about is my forthcoming entrance exams,” quips Vivek Sharma, a student of St. John’s, Faridabad.

Unlike Vivek, Rashmi has a different story to tell. “I am so scared. Instead of butterflies, I have dinosaurs in my stomach. My friends are also very nervous. Some are trying to overcome the tension by watching television while others have suddenly turned religious. They go to the temple twice a day”.

But counsellors warn against too much tension. “It is essential for students as well as their parents to remain calm and composed. There is no use moping over imaginary things. If the results are not satisfactory, there are means of improving the score. What has to be done will be done only after the results are out, so why invite worry”, said Seema Taneja, Counsellor, Amity International, Saket.

The students in the meantime are crossing and uncrossing those fingers. 


Bonanza for textile cities, spin-off for Panipat
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News service

Panipat, May 22
Infrastructural facilities in the 24 textile cities, including three in the National Capital Region (NCR), are set to improve with the Central Government sanctioning Rs 150-crore modernisation plan—the Textile Centre Infrastructure Development Scheme (TCIDS).

Aimed at addressing the need to rejuvenate and plug critical infrastructural gaps in the major textiles centres, the ambitious plan will be executed over a period of four years in collaboration with the state governments.

Panipat, Delhi-Noida-Gurgaon and Meerut-Pilakhua are the centres chosen for the scheme. This is part of the strategy to help the textile industry not only to reach the export target of US $50 billion by 2010 but also to withstand the impending threat of import, sources told the ‘NCR Tribune’ here today.

The sources highlighted that with the lowering of the custom duties, removal of quantitative restrictions and phasing out of the multi-fibre arrangement (MFA), the textile industry was going to face a fierce competition not only in exports but in the domestic market also on account of imports from the neighbouring countries like China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

It may be highlighted that the Indian textile industry was already having a tough time while competing with the cheap and high quality products from China.

However, like a majority of the centrally-sponsored schemes, the scheme has a rider. The central assistance will be limited to 50%, subject to a maximum of Rs 20 crore for each centre. And with the state governments’ performance on the development of the infrastructure lackluster, the success of the scheme is anybody’s guess.

With the coffers of a majority of state governments being empty, from where the matching grants would come is a million dollar question.

It may be recalled that most of the industrial cities hardly have any infrastructural facilities worth the name. The poor civic amenities had an adverse impact on the exports and gave a bad name to the country. The Panipat exporters had gone on record, saying that due to poor infrastructure, they preferred to meet the overseas customers in Delhi.

And with the new scheme in, the things should move in a better direction. For instance, the funds under the scheme would be used for common effluent treatment plant facilities and provision of testing facilities. Strengthening of the power supply and the establishment of design centres would be an integral part of the utilisation of the funds.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that for 2002, the annual requirement of funds would be Rs 20 crore and for 2003, it would be Rs 40 crore. For the next year, it would be Rs 40 crore and for 2005, the requirement is fixed at Rs 50 crore.


Construction activity grinds to a halt
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, May 22
The construction activity in Rohtak has virtually come to a standstill with the district administration unilaterally enhancing the minimum sale and purchase price of residential and commercial plots.

In certain colonies, the minimum price has been more than doubled. A residential plot, which was till March 31 available for Rs 300 per sq yard in J.P. Colony, will now cost Rs 1100 per sq yard. This colony has been a long-time favourite of industrial workers and the weaker sections of society wanting to own a dream house. In one stroke, the district administration has shattered their dreams.

This is not the only colony which has been adversely affected by the unimaginative decision. There are at least 32 such colonies in the town, mostly unauthorized.

The district authorities, in a clever move, have declared the plots situated within 50 feet of a main road as commercial and accordingly scaled the minimum sale and purchase rates, which are now skyrocketing. Till March last, a plot along the Delhi road in Adrash Nagar colony was selling at Rs 2500 per sq yard, but now the buyer will have to cough up Rs 8000 per sq yard as it has been dubbed commercial.

Interestingly, Krishi Colony on the Delhi road was hitherto considered a residential colony, but now the plots within 50 feet of the road have been declared commercial and priced at Rs 6000 per sq yard. Elsewhere in the colony, the plots are available for Rs 1200 per sq yard, as against Rs 1000 in March.

There is a perceptible difference in the prices of plots situated along the Delhi road and the main Sonipat road in Subhash Nagar — the former have been priced at Rs 11000 per sq yard and the latter at Rs 5000 per sq yard. Apparently, the status of the town at the end of the road has been the determining factor..

The revised rates have put the plots out of reach of the middle class and the poor families. These families could not afford to buy the plots carved out by the HUDA in its sectors either. This decision of the district administration is likely to spur the growth of unauthorized colonies outside the municipal limits.

The decision has also forced the property dealers to down their shutters, as no one is willing to sell or purchase a plot at the revised rates. Now, they are considering moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court for getting the revised rates annulled.



Vikas, Vishal Yadav booked under NSA
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, May 22
The main accused in the Nitish Katara abduction and murder case, Vikas and Vishal Yadav, have been booked under the National Security Act by the Ghaziabad police. Under this Act, one could be put behind bars for a year without trial, a police officer said.

The new District Magistrate, Mr Sanjeev Mittal, signed the order on Tuesday following which the district police booked the accused, the son and the nephew respectively of Member of Parliament D. P. Yadav, under the Act.

The chargesheet pertaining to the sensational case will come up for arguments in the District and Sessions Court, Ghaziabad tomorrow.

The SP City, Mr Umesh Srivastava, said that Nitish Katara, son of a senior IAS officer in the Union Transport Ministry, was abducted on February 16 from a marriage function from Diamond Palace under the Kavi Nagar police station area and later murdered on February 17 near Dadri.


‘Let’s get out of pigeon-holes’
Rana A Siddiqui

JAMIA Millia Islamia recently concluded a debate on ‘Responsible Journalism: Issues and constraints’ an event it boasts as the phenomenally successful and most important event of the institution of this session. The debate that roped in who’s who of the print, electronic and web media had one unanimous opinion, the role of media should be more responsible with freedom to reveal the truth without fear.

Noted columnist Mr B.G. Verghese in his keynote address said that freedom of speech and information is the first freedom. However, he reiterated that it is not unrestrained and unqualified freedom as responsibility is equally important.

He also lamented that the `Editors’ Guild of India’ did not provide adequate space to the report on Gujarat in both print and electronic media. “In this information age the belief that you can shut out information is fallacy. If you don’t speak others will speak and most of the time it will be overwhelmed by rumours and misinformation,” he opined.

He emphasised that there is a need to have dialogue amongst the print and electronic media, with the government, police, political parties and local communities to understand the boundaries within which we need to function.

Mr Saeed Naqvi who chaired the session on ‘Role of Media in Contemporary Indian Society’ remarked that in earlier times job of media was considered to provide the government critical support and not to oppose it. However, during the last nearly two decades the situation has undergone a lot of change. In a developing country like India handing over everything including our current affairs to the market is a dangerous trends.

Mr Chandan Mitra, Chief Editor of `The Pioneer’ congratulated Jamia on taking the initiative of focussing on such an important and relevant issue facing the Indian Society. He felt that in crisis situation the role of media is going to be threefold:

To douse the flame of passion that is burning

To systematically exert itself to build bridges and reduce misunderstanding; and

To provide forum for debate in order to channelise anger.

Mr Rajdeep Sardesai representing electronic media in the symposium said there is very little debate going on among journalist. He felt that in an extremely polarised society that we are living in today, people have very definite view points. “We have allowed ourselves to be pigeonholed into various compartments. The most essential role for the media is to try and break out of these compartments and discover some kind of a middle ground which is shrinking very rapidly,” he said. Journalist is usually typecast on the basis of reader’s/viewer’s own prejudices and their own perception of reality. The mediapersons unfortunately are not only identified with ideologies but with individuals as well in terms of pro or anti any view.

Ms Pamela Phillipos from Indian Express remarked that Gujarat has been a defining movement in Indian journalism as it is in Indian Politics. She felt that it has also been relevant to the issues pertaining to women and media also.

According to her, media in such a context should be expected to reproduce, interpret and disseminate information.

Mr Syed Shahid Mahdi, Vice-Chancellor, JMI who chaired the inaugural session remarked that media in India is informed and healthy. He felt that the variety of opinions and fairness that we see in India is unique yet he maintained that Indian media gives more space to issues of development and issues facing common man. According to him, there is a need for monitoring and a lot of introspection on the part of vernacular press.


Kashmiri Pandits to apprise Sheila of woes
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, May 22
Aggrieved at the apathy being meted out to them, representatives of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits will meet the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, here tomorrow.

“We have been demanding that there should be some solutions spelt out for our problems. We had met the Leader of the Opposition, Ms Sonia Gandhi, who has accepted that our demands are legitimate and has asked the Chief Minister to give us a hearing,” pointed out the president of the Kashmiri Samiti, Mr Sunil Shakdher.

Among the demands that are being put forward is the equal pay for the teachers who have been appointed by the government in its schools. “These teachers should be given permanent jobs. Right now, as ad hoc staff, they are being paid a measly Rs 700- 800, whereas they should be getting more than Rs 10, 000. Ms Gandhi showed sympathy with these teachers and has requested the Chief Minister to do the needful,” said Mr Shakdher.

Another demand is a hike in the dole amount. “We want the relief money to be raised from Rs 400 per person to Rs 1,600. We are also going to tell the Chief Minister to make provisions for an old-age home and old-age pension to help those who do not have anything to fall back on,” added Mr Shakdher.

Fresh identification and registration of those families who have not been listed as migrants till now is also on the agenda. “There are at least 50,000 families that have not been registered as yet. The Delhi administration is looking at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to give the nod. The National Commission of Minorities has already asked the MHA to persuade the Delhi administration to start the process again. Apart from this, we are also demanding that educated youth who do not have jobs should be provided means of earning in the Delhi state financial corporations and public sector units.”

The Kashmiri leader also expressed anguish that the Prime Minister did not meet the Pandits before heading for the Valley. “It is a welcome step considering that none of the earlier Prime Ministers visited the Valley during the turmoil, but he should have met us or allowed the Home Minister to meet us so that we could brief them about the ground realities. After all, someone has to be answerable to us also,” said Mr Shakdher.



MLA blames Chautala for ongoing farmers’ agitation
Our Correspondent

Panipat, May 22
The convenor of Haryana Nirman Morcha and a legislator of the Republican Party of India (RPI), Mr Karan Singh Dalal, blamed the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, for the ongoing farmers agitation in the state.

He alleged that the agitation was the result of backtracking by the Chief Minister from his earlier promise of waiving of the pending electricity bills and providing free electricity to the farmers when he came to power.

Talking to mediapersons on Wednesday at PWD Rest House, Mr Dalal appealed to the state legislators to support the demands of farmers.

He pointed out that the farmers were playing the role, which otherwise, should have been of the legislators.

He exhorted the farmers not to pay their pending electricity bills until the government announced an uniform policy on electricity bills.

He alleged that there was discrimination against other categories of consumers, due to the double standard adopted in the payment of the pending electricity bills.

He blamed the government for the death of the two farmers who were killed in police firing when they were on their way to participate in the Kissan Rally at Kandela.

He demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each to their family members. Moreover, he demanded the implementation of the “Kandela agreement” reached between the kissan leaders and the administration, about a month back. “When Om Prakash Chautala can spend crores of rupees in the U.P. elections, why can’t he waive off the pending electricity bills,” he asked.

Mr Dalal justified the detention of the two DSP by the farmers in village Kandela and explained that it would remove the fear of the Chautala regime from the minds of the people. The farmers from other parts of the state should also support the ongoing agitation at Kandela, he added.

He lashed out at the Chautala government for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. He alleged that the Opposition leaders were being targeted and implicated in false cases.

Citing the example of criminal assault on Master Hari Singh at Hissar recently, Mr Dalal alleged that the police had not registered the case according to the statement of Master Hari Singh, who had stated that he was attacked by the police personnel in plain clothes on the behest of Mr Ajay Singh Chautala.

Alleging that large scale irregularities and favouritism in the selection process for the HCS and allied services, Mr Dalal demanded an impartial inquiry by a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. 


Rai farmers’ crop running to seed
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, May 22
The farmers in the villages falling under the jurisdiction of Rai Water Service Division in this district have been facing an acute shortage of canal water, meant for irrigation purposes, for the past few months.

They alleged that there was widespread pilferage of irrigation water by some influential farmers in collusion with certain officials as well as political bosses of the ruling party.

Some farmers alleged that the officials of the irrigation department were hand in glove with the unscrupulous farmers and were instrumental in hushing up the cases of theft. As a result, the irrigation of the paddy crop which was already slow, had been badly hit and started withering away. Expressing concern over the erratic supply of canal water, the farmers of many villages blamed the authorities of the Rai Water Service Division for not cleaning the canals and distributories properly despite clear instructions by the state government.

They alleged that the desilting and deweeding operations carried out in the past by the officials were merely eyewash.

The farmers whose fields are situated on the tail-end have demanded a probe into their complaints about the canal water not reaching their fields and demanded stern action against those officials found responsible for it.

They alleged that the officials were misleading the district authorities by insisting that the canal water was reaching all the fields and the farmers had no problem.

The representatives of various farmers organisations today refuted the claim of the irrigation department authorities that the canal water had reached the tail-end villages during the rotation period fixed by the government.

They said that the farmers were still having an erratic supply of canal water and their crops had started withering away. They urged the state government and the district authorities to look into it and take action against the erring officials immediately. Meanwhile, the maintenance of canals, distributaries and minors continues to remain a major problem despite heavy expenditure incurred on them in the district. Though the state government has spent crores of rupees on the clearance of the canals and other distributaries, the problem has not been solved as water does not reach the tail-end fields of the farmers.

The farmers, however, alleged that the embankments of various canals and distributaries were facing the problem of siltage resulting in water-logging in large areas. Many farmers alleged that some officials were minting money by preparing bogus muster rolls and thereby cheating the government exchequer.

The farmers have demanded an inquiry into the scandalous working of the officials of the irrigation department, particularly the Rai Water Service Division and the Samalkha sub-division.

They criticised the authorities of the irrigation department for their failure to redress their grievances about the paucity of canal water even during the rotation period. They said that the sowings of kharif crops had been hit badly due to the erratic supply of canal water.

Meanwhile, the fate of the inquiry proceedings ordered by the state government into the public complaints about the bungling of public funds, preparation of bogus muster rolls and misuse of government jeeps by certain officials of the Rai Water Service Division is still not known and no action has been taken on this account.

However, an executive engineer has been transferred to Panipat in a bid to hush up the matter at the behest of some politicians and bureaucrats.

The leaders of the All Haryana PWD Mechanical Workers Union and the representatives of various farmers organisations have demanded a high-level probe into the complaints of misuse of public funds and government jeeps and stern action against the officials responsible for the wrongdoings.


Consumers make a beeline for UHBVN offices to clear dues
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 22
As the last date for clearing the outstanding electricity dues and earning concession is May 31, more and more defaulting consumers in the rural areas are coming forward to pay their bills and avail themselves of the scheme launched by the state government. Long queues of consumers are seen in front of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) offices these days.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. N. Roy, told mediapersons here today that as many as 17,388 defaulting consumers had deposited their outstanding electricity dues amounting to Rs 417.90 lakh so far. He also hoped that more defaulting consumers were likely to avail of this opportunity.

He disclosed that as many as 13,444 defaulting consumers had deposited Rs 306.46 lakh of electricity dues and got a concession of Rs 919.38 lakh. Similarly, as many as 3,944 defaulting consumers had deposited Rs 111.14 lakh and their surcharge had been waived of.

According to the DC, the officers of the Revenue Department and the UHBVN had been visiting the villages to motivate the people and to give them the details of the concessions being given under this new scheme. He claimed that a large number of people in the villages had appreciated the scheme and expressed their willingness to clear the dues to the visiting officers.

The DC also said that the people in the villages had also realised that this benefit would not only give them relief in the shape of concessions ranging from 50 to 75 per cent but also bring development works in the village.

He made a fervent appeal to the defaulting consumers to deposit their amount of arrears outstanding against them by May 31, the last date fixed by the government. Otherwise stern action would be taken against them. The action envisaged arrests and attachment of property as well as disconnection of power supply. The DC claimed that Sonepat district topped in the recovery of electricity arrears.


Steps taken to ensure potable water supply
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 22
The Public Health Department has taken a series of measures to ensure the regular supply of drinking water in all parts of the city.

The Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here today that the officials of the department would visit the interiors and check the consumers who had installed booster pumps directly on the water mains. The pumps had created the crisis in many areas of the city.

He said that such consumers would be penalised in accordance with the law. He said that water connections of these consumers would be cut off if they failed to remove the pumps. He also indicated that the power supply would also be switched off in those areas where the water supply would be provided. This step, he hoped, would improve the water supply system in the city. The DC appealed to the consumers to refrain from using the booster pumps otherwise strict action would be taken against them. Meanwhile, the residents of Sonepat continue to experience water scarcity after the onset of summer mainly because of inadequate power supply, low voltage and receding water table. The PHD officials informed that the water supply depended on the power supply. Since the power supply was erratic, the smooth functioning of the tubewells, the only source of water supply in the city, was hampered.

They alleged that the power supply at the main waterworks at Murthal remained irregular always which was the main cause of the crisis. Many residents alleged that water comes at a very low pressure. Even the people living on the ground floor don’t get water. They have to fill up their underground tanks and then pump the water to their overhead tank. The local water reservoir was built at a time when the population of the town was around 35,000. Now the population has been increased to more than 2 lakh.


Women groups condemn BKU for holding cop, wife hostage
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 22
Ms Nirmala Rathi, member of the State Women Commission, and several social and women organisations have condemned the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) for holding captive a police official and his wife at Kandela village in Jind district on Tuesday.

The leaders of different social and apolitical organisations alleged that the activists of the BKU had outraged the sentiments of the people, especially women, by keeping the wife of a police official hostage, who was innocent and not concerned with the ongoing dispute between the farmers and the government.

They said that the barbarous and degraded act of the BKU men could not be justified in any way.

The members of the BKU had forgotten the decorum and social conventions and deserved stringent social as well as legal punishment, they said.

They alleged that certain political parties had also been misleading the farmers and the villagers on the issue for their petty political interests.

They appealed to the leaders of the BKU and the Left parties to adopt the dignified and non-violent path of agitation for their rights.

They cautioned the farmers’ leaders that they would loose the support of the masses if they continued such types of unlawful activities.

Meanwhile, hundreds of farmers of Kiloi region left for Kandela this morning to extend their support to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

According to information, Mr Dharambir Hooda, district president of the BKU, and Mr Ram Mehar Hooda, president of the Hooda Khap, led the convoy of tractor-trailers and Tata 407 loaded with farmers. Addressing the farmers, Mr Dharambir Hooda said the agitation would continue till the Kandela agreement reached with the government was implemented and the arrested leaders of the BKU were released.

He announced that farmers would not bow before the pressure of the government.

Date extended

The last date for submission of application forms for the five-year integrated MBA programme being conducted by the Institute of Management Studies and Research (IMSAR) of Maharshi Dayanand University has been extended from May 20 to May 27.

A spokesman for the university said on Wednesday that the last date had been extended in view of request of the students.

Vehicles stolen

A Santro car and a motorcycle were stolen from different parts of the town during past 24 hours. Mr Neeraj Dahiya, a resident of Kharkhauda village, stated in the FIR that his car was stolen from Sector 1 here.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Nuran Khera village, said in his complaint that he found his motorcycle missing from the Gaur College premises, where it was parked. Separate cases under Section 379 of the IPC were registered in this connection.

Purse snatched

A scooter borne miscreant snatched a purse, reportedly containing Rs 1,000from a woman near Double Faatak here on Tuesday evening.

Ms Neeru Sood, a resident of Model Town, here alleged in her complaint that an unidentified youth on a scooter, snatched her purse and escaped. A case under Section 379 and 356 of the IPC was registered in this connection.



Factory owner occupies Sher Shah Suri’s ‘piao’
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabd, May 22
A cooler factory in Sahibabad has perhaps created a record of sorts in encroachment. The owner of the cooler factory has illegally occupied a Piao (kiosk for free drinking water for travellers) along the Grand Trunk Road, built by the great emperor, Sher Shah Suri.

Emperor Sher Shah Suri is known and remembered for his many great contributions and philanthropic acts like building the Grand Trunk Road from Calcutta to Peshawar, building Piaos and Serais (night shelters) and for his impeccable revenue system.

The owner of the cooler factory is using the dilapidated structure for manufacturing coolers and for denting and painting them.

This also shows how far the state administration is alive to the maintenance of historic structures.

According to general secretary of Ghaziabad History Committee, Chander Dutt Indu, when Sher Shah Suri got the Grand Trunk Road built, he also built a structure with facility for drinking water for soldiers and their horses of the royal army, at every sixth mile.

He was a very systematic administrator, who understood the needs of the state, and accordingly prepared for them.

This historical structure is in bad shape today. One of the columns between two doors of this Piao has been demolished which is being used by artisans and mechanics for their work. Mechanics of a neighbourhood cooler manufacturer are busy with their seasonal work.

Clearly, if the district administration and the Archaeology Department continue to ignore this problem, very soon, this structure may be completely demolished and a row of shops may be built in its place.

The fear is that what has happened to the Piaos, built by the great emperor, may become a trendsetter for other historical monuments in the city.

Already, this is the general fate of historical buildings and structures in Ghaziabad, where people are known for their ingenious ways for encroachment and illegal occupation of even government land.

Memorandum to Chautala

Mr Dharambir Singh Chotiwala, president of the Rai Vikas Manch, on Wednesday sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, demanding a fresh survey to identify families living below the poverty line (BPL) in this district. In a press release, he also demanded free ration and other household articles and medical facilities to these persons.


Delhi students like to be paying guests
Our correspondent

A la popular American comedy series, ‘Friends’, paying guest accommodation seems to be in vogue among all the college-goers here in the Capital. With a mammoth generation gap developing, students are seeking this so-called asylum to get rid of their parents’ intervention in their lives.

“My parents are in Delhi, but still I prefer to stay away from them though I do visit them once a week. I want to be all by myself because the kind of atmosphere that exist at home, its quite distracting and takes my mind of my responsibilities’’ says Raghu, 1st year student of Motilal Nehru College.

“We Indians always like to be pampered by our parents. And research has proved students who stay outside there respective homes, are mentally quite matured compare to any others”, said another student.

Realising the need of an hour and of course the money factor, people have converted their homes into a paying guest accommodation (P.G). Whether it’s Mukerjee Nagar of North Campus or Satya Niketan of South, PG has definitely taken its toll on students.

The cost of renting out a room varies from Rs 1500 to 2400 per month. “You have to keep in mind that students don’t have any source of income that’s where parents come into play. No matter how rich the student is, he will never pay more than two grands a month,’’ says Achraj, owner of one of the PG house. And we have people coming over from all parts of the country from Sikkim, Assam and now Delhiites. “We charge Rs 2300 and that includes breakfast and a free cup of tea in the evening. That’s the reason our rooms are full through out the year,” says Makhan, a PG owner at Satyaniketan. “The students are mostly from the North-East’’, he further added.



Two die, 157 sick due to food poisoning

Alwar, May 22
Two persons have died and 150 have been taken ill after consuming contaminated food in the district. Medical teams have been rushed to the area, official sources said today.

Sources said that two persons, Kali and Kalloo, died on Tuesday and 150 others fell sick after eating contaminated pulses at a function hosted by one Bhomaram Meena at Unkeri village. Four medical teams reached the spot to treat the victims. District authorities, including Chief Medical and Health Officer J. R. Dewada, had rushed to the village, sources added.

In another incident of food poisoning, seven members of a family, including four women and a boy, took ill after they consumed contaminated sweets at a marriage function. OC


One dead, 20 hurt as tempo overturns
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
Ram Avtar (45) was killed and 20 others injured when a tempo (407) in which they were travelling overturned near Guru Nanak Chowk , opposite Zakir Hussain College, on Tuesday night.

The injured were admitted to LNJP Hospital from where they were discharged after administering first aid. Ram Avtar succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The tempo overturned when the driver tried to take a left turn.

The vehicle was reportedly in full speed. The driver, Khusheed, had apparently lost control over the vehicle. The driver has been arrested. The body of the deceased has been sent for post-mortem examination. The victims were returning from a wedding party in Yamuna Vihar in North-East Delhi. In another incident, Bahadur Singh was killed when his scooter was hit by a Maruti Esteem near Chittaranjan Park in South district. He was taken to the AIIMS where he was declared brought dead, the police said.


Pak should stop proxy war: Sikh Council
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
Calling for a “befitting reply” to the “proxy war” by Pakistan, Indian National Sikh Council (INSC) today burnt the Pakistani flag in protest against the recent militant attack on Kaluchak military camp near Jammu.

Hundreds of Sikh youth took to streets here carrying anti-Pakistan placards and demanding an outright attack on Pakistan.

Later, in a memorandum forwarded to the Pakistan High Commission, INSC president Kuldeep Singh Bhogal said Pakistan should immediately stop its proxy war against India or be ready to face the consequences.

Although India had remained patient against the continuing aggressive postures of Pakistan, the limit had now been crossed, the memorandum said.

The Indian people now wanted Pakistan to desist from its strategy of cross border terrorism, it added.



Polytechnic student stabs youth to death
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, May 22
A 23-year-old youth was allegedly stabbed to death by a second year student of the local polytechnic near the old bus stand in broad daylight here today. A personal animosity is stated to be the reason behind the murder.

According to information, the deceased, Pankaj Yadav, son of an SDO in HVPN, along with his friend Praveen was going towards Silani Gate on a motorcycle when they were intercepted by Pawan and Rajat. Pawan took hold of Pankaj and allegedly stabbed in his chest with a knife. He died on the spot while the assailant along with his accomplice escaped on their vehicle.

The sources said that the accused, Pawan, used to make obscene calls on the telephone to the house of the deceased. Fed up with such calls, Pankaj had installed an ID caller in his telephone and caught the culprit. Since then, Pawan had been nursing a grudge against him. The police have registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC and have launched a hunt to nab the accused.

Molestation bid

Quite a stir was caused when a man forced his way into the house of an employee of the Delhi Vidyut Nigam at Aterna village, about 25 km from here on Tuesday night and attacked her. At the time of the incident, her husband was away on duty in Delhi.

According to a report, the culprit even made an attempt to molest her. However, the woman raised an alarm and the man had to flee from the house.

Later, the woman along with her husband and some of the residents of village, went to the Kundli police station and filed a report against the culprit.

Even the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police were apprised of the incident, who have directed the police to arrest the culprit involved in the case.

Meanwhile, the incident has caused resentment among the residents of the village.

Youth arrested

The Civil Lines police arrested a youth, Hansa, of Rajlu Garhi village, for allegedly possessing a countrymade pistol, near the Vikram Palace here on Tuesday night. According to another report, the police also arrested a youth, Narinder alias Dhilla, of Guhna village and recovered contraband charas from his possession. A case under the NPDS Act was registered against him.

Boy killed

A boy was killed on the spot when he was hit by a speeding vehicle on the G T Road near Pio Munyari, 16 km from here on Tuesday evening. The boy was identified as Jitender.

According to another report, at least eight persons, including a student of an engineering college, were injured in different road accidents in and around this city on Tuesday. All the injured persons were hospitalised but were stated to be out of danger. The police were still investigating the cases. No arrest was made in this connection.

Assault cases

Three persons were injured in two cases of assaults reported from Ashok Nagar (kutche quarters) area of this city and Garh Mirakhpur village on Wednesday. According to a report, the injured persons were hospitalised. The police have registered the cases and further investigations were in progress.

Youth held

A youth, Raj, was arrested by the police for using the telephone for harassing a girl, on Tuesday evening. According to a report, the arrest followed the registration of an FIR by the parents of the girl. It is also alleged that another youth, an employee of a courier service, was beaten up by the parents of the girl.


Racket in sale of soft drinks unearthed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
The North-West district police have unearthed a racket in supplying duplicate soft drinks of famous brands with the arrest of Ashok (25) from Azadpur. As many as 86 cartons of soft drinks were also seized, including 51 cartons of Pepsi, 10 cartons of Coca Cola, 20 cartons of Limca, three cartons of Fanta and two cartons of Miranda.

The police received an information that duplicate soft drinks were being supplied in the Azadpur area. A raid was conducted at B-11 in Azadpur village and arrested Ashok, the store in charge, and recovered the duplicate soft drinks of different brands. The main culprit of the supply, Dinesh, has absconded.

DVB official arrested

The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government today arrested a DVB official, Virender Kumar, for allegedly taking a bribe for giving a new electricity connection to the complainant, Mahinder Pal Malhotra, in Shakti Nagar.

The suspect allegedly worked in nexus with a tout. The complainant, a resident of Vijay Nagar, wanted to get a new electricity connection for residential purposes. It was refused by the official concerned directly and was asked to contact the touts outside.

He contacted a tout, Prince alias Virender Pal Singh, who demanded Rs 10,000 for the new connection while the actual charge was only Rs 5,000.

Besides, he initially charged Rs 700 for processing his papers for the new connection and gave his visiting card to the complainant and told him to meet Virender Kumar in the DVB office.

Meanwhile, he reported the matter to the Anti-Corruption Branch. The sleuths of the branch conducted a raid and arrested Virender Kumar red handed while accepting the bribe. The tout was absconding, the police said.Back

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