Thursday, June 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Gurdwara Polls
Akali manifestos harp on same string 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19
The promises have virtually remained the same even seven years after they were made. And, the promises have made a comeback in a new form, with three Akali parties in the fray today pledging to fulfill them if voted to power in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee polls.

What has changed since 1995, when the last polls were held, is the number of Akali factions fighting for the control of the cash-strapped DSGMC. While there was one Shiromani Akali Dal, united under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra then, today the two are contesting each other. And, the Simranjit Singh Mann group, which had supported the SAD then, has put up its own candidates this time.

While the theme of corruption continues to hog the limelight of the manifestos, the deteriorating standard of educational institutions run by the DSGMC has also come into focus. Though these two issues were part of the manifesto which got them elected yet the difference this year is the fact that there is growing public pressure on these parties to address these two issues effectively and urgently.

The two main Akali factions, SAD (Badal) and SAD Delhi, point fingers at each other for the increased corruption, they are unanimous in their promise that they would root out the evil if voted to power this time.

In an apparent admission that corrupt practices exist in managing the affairs of gurdwaras and other institutions run by the DSGMC, whose funds mainly come from the contributions made by the devout members of Sikh and Punjabi community, the two parties have now promised transparency in fiscal management.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), which has controlled the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) in the past three years, today promised to set up a new autonomous Finance Committee of experts for ‘’transparent money management’’.

The pledge comes in the wake of a spate of allegations of financial irregularities against the Badal administration.

The manifesto, released by Union Minister and party secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa for the June 30 election, also promises to set up more vocational institutes.

The party said it would take constitutional steps to ensure that DSGMC elections were held on schedule — every four years. The party also committed to holding of executive polls each year before a specific date, similar to the one in existence in SGPC. The June 30 polls were being held three years behind schedule this time. The last general elections were held in 1995 — after a gap of 16 years.

On the other side, the Delhi Akali Dal headed by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, main opponent to the Badal faction, has promised to set up an Academic Committee to raise educational standards.

The proposed committee would be empowered to take important decisions on its own, minimising DSGMC’s day-to-day interference in the academic side, claimed Mr Sarna in his party manifesto, released by senior Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The party also promised to clean up the financial mess the DSGMC is in by introducing transparency in the system of managing the funds of the Gurdwaras.

The third contender in the DSGMC general election, the Simranjit Singh Mann-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today blamed both the Badal and Tohra factions for the ‘’sorry state of affairs’’ in the gurdwara management.

His party, contesting 14 seats to the 46-member DSGMC, promised an Autonomous Education Board for the ‘’independent’’ management of the Sikh institutions. The party, which claimed it would be able to muster the required majority by roping in Independents, said it would ensure an external audit of gurdwara accounts, a ‘’gurbani’’ channel, and old-age homes and orphanages in Delhi.

Lashing out at both the Badal and Tohra groupings, SAD (Amritsar) Delhi unit chief Jasvinder Singh Virk alleged that both the factions were distributing liquor and using money and muscle power to woo the voters.



To elect or select: Sikh intellects debate 
gurdwara affairs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19
Even as the DSGMC poll is 10 days away, the Sikh intelligentsia debated whether elected or selected representatives were the best persons to manage the affairs of the community.

While a section of scholars stated that the rot in the DSGMC was because of the first-past-the-post system, others feared that it was because of the quality of people elected and if selection became the norm, then community’s religious affairs would be fiefdoms of individuals.

Scholars were taking part in a function convened by World Punjabi Organisation secretary-general Vikramjit Singh Sawhney here last evening.

“The Sikh community has surrendered its right to the State by allowing the government to enact an Act, which would control the policies and programmes of the community,” said the noted intellect of the community, Dr Jaswant Singh Neki.

He said the community should move away from the electoral politics as the principle of first past the post need not necessarily result in good administration of religious affairs of the community.

Criticising the way the DSGMC has been run by elected representatives over the years, he said, “if one analyses the performance of the committee over the years, it would come to light that they have done little for the welfare of the community.”

Though Dr Neki did not provide an alternative form of governing the affairs of the community, the Sikh intellectual said “a committee should be formed to go into this aspect”.

Admitting that his suggestion was quite radical, he said that “changes in the system could not be brought about unless there is a strong moral pressure exerted to look at the existing system with an alternative view point”.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University and head of the education council set up by the DSGMC Prof Amrik Singh also voiced his concern about the electoral politics adopted for managing the affairs of the Sikh community.

He said: “Only our community has this kind of electoral system and elected representatives control the religious affairs of the Sikhs.”

The noted academician expressed concern about the falling standard of education in the Gurdwara-run schools and expressed the need to grant autonomy to the education council for it to function effectively.

The former CBI Director, Mr Joginder Singh, however, disagreed with the view that there should not be any elections to manage the affairs of the Gurdwaras.

He said that doing away with the election system in the Sikh religious affairs would lead to the fiefdom of Gurdwaras.

‘’In such a case, the control of Sikh religious management will become a family affair — passing from one generation to another,,” Mr Joginder Singh said.

Democracy, he observed, was inherent to the Sikh faith because it provided high respect to the “Sangat” — or congregation. “Isn’t it that the decision of the Sangat is binding on the community?” he asked.

Prof Jaswant Singh Phull said that it was difficult for students to respect Sikh religious codes as they often “bring home the tales of debauchery committed by the Jathedars (Akali leaders)”.

In his speech, Union Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said democracy warranted proper use of the right to vote.

“I admit that there has been deterioration in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the DSGMC, but the cause is a complex lot of many factors,” Mr Dhindsa observed.

“It is up to you now to address each and every factor and come out with suggestions that could bring about practical reforms. And I promise that I will do whatever is possible,” he added.

The BJP leader and former Delhi minister, Mr H. S. Balli, regretted that the DSGMC had never met in a general house to pass its annual budget. “The budget, which stands approximately at Rs 40 crore, is never passed by the general house of the DSGMC — which is a strange phenomenon for such a big organisation,,” he charged.



Congress MLA indicted for power theft
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19
Congress legislator Jaspal Singh has been held guilty of large-scale power theft, meter tampering and manipulation of electricity bills by Lokayukta Justice R.N. Aggarwal. Besides, he has also held him accountable for failing to maintain the norms, integrity and conduct that ought to have been adhered to by a public functionary.

In his June 14 order, the Lokayukta has asked the Lieutenant-Governor to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to further investigate the matter. The legislator had misused electricity connection at his Rajouri Garden residence for commercial purposes by using it to run a school, a wine shop and a hotel.

Referring to a “deep nexus” between Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) officials and defaulters, the Lokyaukta has said in his report that DVB Chairman Jagdish Sagar had acted in gross violation of the board’s transfer policy by shunting off the engineer concerned.

The Government of NCT of Delhi, the order says, can look into the matter of “engineers behaving like puppets [who] develop such a relationship with a high dignitary or a political personality that they are willing to go to any length to oblige him.”

The Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Mr Jagdish Mukhi, sought from the Speaker, Mr Prem Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh’s removal. Saying that Mr Jaspal Singh abused his position by putting political pressure for the transfer of an assistant engineer, Mr Mukhi demanded from the Lieutenant- Governor handing over of the case to the CBI. The Lokayukta, Mr Mukhi said, had also “indicted” the Chairman of the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB), Mr Jagdish Sagar. “When I raised the issue on March 1,” he said, “the DVB Chairman had given a statement in favour of Mr Jaspal Singh and also defended him.” 



You can’t get away with unpaid power bills now!
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, June 19
Electricity consumers in Haryana will have to submit a self-assessment certificate regarding the payment of electricity bills while procuring a ration card, a driving licence or an arms licence, getting vehicle registration done or managing loans for fertilisers and seeds.

Although the decision in this regard was taken by the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) on April 26, its implementation was kept in abeyance till May 31 because of the farmers’ agitation. The UHBVN reviewed the scheme on June 6 again but kept it a secret since the farmers’ agitation had not been withdrawn then.

Therefore, the decision taken on June 6 was made public today after the withdrawal of the agitation and lifting of the road blockades by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU). The timing of making the UHBVN directive public has given rise to surprise in political circles.

According to the UHBVN instructions conveyed to its operation staff in the state, it was mandatory to obtain a ‘ no-objection certificate’ about payment of defaulting energy bills from the SDO (OP) concerned for co-operative loans, arms licences, registration of vehicles, registration of property with the sub- registrar and mutation of land and sale of fertilisers and seeds through government or government owned agencies. While seeking the above facilities, the electricity consumer would also be required to attach his and his family’s latest copies of the electricity bills and the receipt certifying that no arrears were outstanding against him and his family. The UHBVN authority will then check the arrear column of the bill to satisfy itself about the non- pendency of the electricity bills.



NCR role crucial in national security
Cecil Victor

A two-part special report on how the National Capital Region has emerged as the very hub of national security and how it plays a strategic role in the nation’s defence.

New Delhi, June 19
Straddling as it does the supply lines between ordnance factories as far away as West Bengal; the home-base of its tank regiments in the heart of the subcontinent; and the western front, the National Capital Region of Delhi plays a strategic role in the defence of territorial integrity.

This is true both in terms of physical protection of the vital points within its own confines as well as in the psychological underpinning of the Union as a unified entity. That Indian troops were rushed to the international border with Pakistan and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir immediately after the terrorist attack on Parliament—the symbol of a secular, democratic Union despite its diversities — on December 13 underscores this fact..

The NCR location gives it the characteristic of a hub in a wheel be it in the defence of the western sector against Pakistan or the northern Himalayan frontier with China. Road and rail communications that serve the particularly sensitive segment of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir traverse the NCR and the description that Delhi is a “dry port” for commercial interaction for the whole of northern India is as true in the national security context as well.

Events have shown that terrorists trained by Pakistan have used the very means of communications by which Delhi contributes to the territorial integrity of the nation – its roads and its railways. Explosives have been brought into the NCR from Jammu and Kashmir as well as from Rajasthan and till recently, open border with Nepal. This was demonstrated graphically when the Delhi Crime Branch arrested a terrorist who had planted a one-kilogram bomb in a garbage bin in Connaught Place and left for Srinagar to collect more explosives. He was caught when he returned to his sanctuary in Delhi.

It is obvious that inter-State bus services, private cars and the railways are being used to transport explosives from the international borders and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir to reach politically high-value targets like Parliament House in Delhi. There is also no doubt that though there are security arrangements in place to try and detect the passage of explosives and weapons and to deal with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, disaster management in the context of terrorism remains, to an unacceptably large extent, in “reactive mode”. It is extremely difficult and very time-consuming to look for hidden explosives in crowded places as are bus terminals, railway stations and airports. Every security force be it the Indian Army, the Delhi Police, and all the paramilitary organisations under the Home Ministry are extremely chary of discussing the role of dogs in their counter-terror operations. The reason is that there are not enough dog squads to deal with the kind of threat the nation faces. (To be continued).



Admn teaches premier school a lesson 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, June 19
The fate of hundreds of students of a premier school—MJR Public School—hangs in the balance after the demolition of the school building by the authorities here today. In a major demolition drive, the District Town Planning Department, in close cooperation with the district administration, razed the school for violating the Control Area Act and misusing agricultural land for commercial purposes.

While the authorities may have done their job against the illegal construction, the students of the school, one of the better ones in the city and affiliated to the CBSE, are on the tenterhooks. They do not have an inkling as to where they would get admission once the summer vacations are over. And nobody knows what would happen to the hundreds of rupees deposited by the students by way of admission fee.

A demolition squad led by the SDM, Mr Satbir Saini and District Town Planner(DTP), Mr Anirudh Sharma, reached the school site and started demolishing the sprawling buildings spread over an area of about seven acres. However, high drama was witnessed in the morning. As the team started the demolition, the owner of the school and a senior advocate at the District Courts here, Mr Fateh Chand Saini, accompanied by several of his relatives, tried to disrupt the work and allegedly tried to stop the JCB machines by laying before them.

A strong police posse, led by the DSP (Headquarters), Mr HS Doon, reached the spot and removed Mr Saini and his kin. All the roads to the school, located in the prestigious Huda area were sealed and traffic was diverted to the alternative routes. General public faced difficulty as the bypass leading to the Sanoli road, which passed in front of the school, was cordoned off.

Mr Sharma told reporters that the said land had been purchased for agricultural purposes by Mr Saini years ago. But instead of using the land for agricultural purposes, Mr Saini built the premier school which boasted of state-of-the-art facilities, including a swimming pool.

Even as the DTP continued to shot off show-cause notices to the school and apply for the change of land use (CLU) and pay penalty, Mr Saini turned a blind eye to the notices, Mr Sharma alleged.

In fact, a new wing of the school was inaugurated by the Haryana Assembly Speaker, Mr Satbir Kadian, on April 1, 2000.

It may be recalled that Mr Saini, considered to be an influential leader of the Saini community, was involved in an assault case in which he and his sons attacked certain police personnel a couple of months back. He had also accused the police of harassment while he was in custody. Later, he was granted bail by a local court.



Water crisis to be solved by next year: Sheila
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 19
Delhiites can look forward to better water availability in the forthcoming year, promised the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, here today. She said the water crisis in the Capital would be over by next year when the availability of water would increase from the Tehri dam in Uttaranchal.

Ms Dikshit, who was addressing the new recruits of the Delhi Police at the passing-out parade, said Delhi would have an additional 1.40 crore gallons of water by 2003 from the Tehri dam. This additional water was expected to solve the problem to a great extent, especially in the eastern and northern parts of the city.

The Chief Minister added that work on laying the pipeline for the project was being initiated with immediate effect and the lines would be ready by the time the water supply is made available.

The Delhi Police chief, Ajai Raj Sharma, who took the opportunity to apprise the Chief Minister about the lack of water and power supply in Police Training College in Jharoda Kalan (south-west Delhi) was assured by Ms Dikshit that Jharoda Kalan and Najafgarh area would be covered under the project while laying the pipeline for bringing in the water. She added that a new 66 kv transformer was being installed in the area and this would help in improving the power position.

The Chief Minister said the entire Capital had been facing water and power crises during the summer and the government had been constantly trying to find an amicable solution to the issue. Referring to the privatisation of the Delhi Vidyut Board, she said though the distribution wing of the board had been privatised, the government would ensure that the ongoing projects for expansion of power infrastructure in the far-flung areas of the Capital remained undisturbed.

Praising the police force in the Capital, Ms Dikshit said it was undoubtedly one of the most modern forces in the country, but the government’s endeavour was to see the force become one of the best in the world.

Ms Dikshit felt that there was a need for giving a more people-friendly touch to the force so as to increase the faith of Delhiites in it. She said while the responsibility of the police was to provide security to the people, it was equally important to see how the aim was achieved. She added that people needed to be more and more confident about the police and this was very important in lifting the image of the force.



Park opening: Cong MLAs protest CM’s omission

New Delhi, June 19
Competitive politics of an avoidable kind, between the executive and the Centre’s nominee, took an unseemly turn today when some Congress legislators, taking an exception to the omission of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit from the list of invitees to the inauguration of Millennium Park near Sarai Kale Khan two days back, submitted a memorandum to the Lieutenant-Governor protesting against the “indecorous incident”.

The signatories to the memorandum included Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister Ramakant Goswami and 13 other legislators. Mr Goswami said what troubled them also was the omission of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name from the Smriti Van in the advertisement that was published in newspapers. The Smriti Van, he said, was popularly known as Rajiv Gandhi Smriti Van.

The Millennium Park has been constructed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). On Monday, Union Home Minister L. K. Advani inaugurated it. Although Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor was alongside Mr Advani, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her Cabinet colleagues or legislators were conspicuous by their absence. “None of the elected representatives of the Government of NCT of Delhi were invited for the function,” Mr Goswami said. Mr Goswami said soon after submitting the memorandum, the Lieutenant-Governor conveyed to him his anguish and regret over the incident. The Lieutenant-Governor, he said, was appreciative of our point of view. Mr Goswami also said the Lieutenant-Governor had assured them that no change in the name of the Rajiv Gandhi Smriti Van was under consideration. TNS



Army to remain on border till Pak withdraws 
forces: Jana
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, June 19
Mr Jana Krishnamurthy, national president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reiterated that the Army would remain stationed on the border till Pakistan withdrew its armed forces back to the peace zone.

Addressing newsmen here on Tuesday, Mr Krishnamurthy said that though Pakistan had assured the international community to stop supporting the terrorists, the cross-border terrorism still existed in India. He said that as per the intelligence reports, over 3,000 terrorists had infiltrated into the Jammu region but it would not be difficult for the Centre to smash these terrorists.

The BJP chief denied that the NDA government, led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was under pressure from the USA and other foreign governments to exercise restraint in dealing with Pakistan. The Vajpayee government had not relented in its fight against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

The action did not mean war only. The government was fighting at the diplomatic level and economically against Pakistan. Diplomatically, India had scored over Pakistan and this was evident from the widespread support India was getting from the international community in its fight against terrorism.

He said that Pakistan, on the other hand, was under pressure as it had to promise action against the terrorists operating in India from across the border to the international community. Many countries, including the USA, the UK, Germany, Japan and China, he said, wanted friendship with India and had supported our stand on terrorism.

The BJP president said that the first priority of the NDA government was to root out terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. It had to adopt a three-pronged strategy while dealing with the situation in the valley and the Jammu region. The first was to check cross-border terrorism and the second to eliminate the terrorists who had crossed into the Jammu region. This was relatively an easy task. And the third was the economic development of the hill state, which had been facing terrorism for the past many years, he said.

Mr Krishnamurthy criticised the Left parties for putting up a candidate for the election of the president against the NDA candidate, Prof A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. The Left parties, he said, had been marginalised in the national politics as their base had been restricted only to West Bengal.



Jails bursting at the seams with crime on the rise
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, June 19
Looking at the speed with which crime has been on the ascendant and keeping in mind the increasing number of criminals, the state government will have to set up new jails in western UP because the existing jails are already overcrowded with criminals and undertrials.

Besides, some jail authorities are reluctant to accept certain notorious criminals. Opponents of dreaded criminal Jatan Sirohi and western UP’s notorious criminals Sanserpal Singh and Vijay Bahadur had to be repeatedly taken to Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr jails. But the jail authorities were not willing to accept them in their jails.

The jails in western UP in any case have more than 100 per cent occupancy, thus badly stretching the infrastructure and basic amenities there.

Ramesh Dubey, warden of Bulandshahr jail, was shot dead on March 26 this year within days of Sanserpal’s release from jail on bail. Sanserpal is the proclaimed “killer king” of western UP and a native of Saidpur village under the BB Nagar police station in Bulandshahr.

Sanserpal and his companions are suspected to be behind this crime. A member of Sanserpal’s gang, Vijay Bahadur Singh, of Govindpuri Mohalla in Modinagar is also a suspect.

To avoid being eliminated in an encounter, Sanserpal and Vijay Bahadur Singh had surrendered themselves in the court of an Additional District Judge of Ghaziabad on May 13 in a case of attempted murder against them in the Babugarh police station although they were still on bail. When the Bulandshahr police came to know of it, they moved court for bailable warrants and sent them to the Ghaziabad jail.

On the basis of bailable warrants, four armed policemen under Inspector Raj Singh Walyan from the Ghaziabad Police Lines had taken hold of the two criminals and presented them before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Bulandshahr. After getting their warrants issued, the police party took the accused to Bulandshahr jail on June 15. The jail authorities there refused to admit them. The police party was told to take then back to the Ghaziabad district jail. Inspector Raj Singh then took them to the City Kotwali and Dehat police stations in Bulandshahr and requested the authorities to keep them in police lock-up for the night.

Both the police stations refused to keep them for the night, it is learnt. The dreaded criminals were then taken to the Ghaziabad district jail.

Here too the jail authorities refused to take the duo in and told them to go back to the Bulandshahr jail again.

The policemen again went to Bulandshahr jail but

The same old story was repeated. They were turned back and reached Ghaziabad late in the night where the policemen met Mr Shashi Dixit, RI, who got in touch with senior police officials. After deliberations, the guard was instructed to take the accused to Bulandshahr jail once more. Two additional PAC constables and one constable equipped with a stengun escorted them.

Sanserpal and Vijay have both accused the police and the jail authorities of deliberately creating such a situation. They said Jatan Sirohi could have easily eliminated them any time under such circumstances.



Hooch deaths: Pall of gloom in Kabri
Tribune News Service

Panipat, June 19
Even as the toll in the hooch tragedy in Kabri village rose to three today, a pall of gloom has descended on the village and the demand for the closure of the liquor shop has picked up momentum. Today, two more victims, Suresh and Hans Raj, were rushed to the civil hospital here. However, they are stated to be out of danger.

The civil hospital, where the post-mortem examination of the bodies was conducted, witnessed several touching scenes with scores of residents of Gopal Colony thronging the area. Many an eye welled up as the bodies of their beloved ones were taken to Gopal Colony, Kabri and Bathinda. The situation was no different at Madaan Hospital in Model Town where two others — Ved Parkash and Madan Lal — are recuperating. Ved Parkash had married only a couple of days back and the victims were having a drinking session in celebration of the marriage. Fortunately, he is stated to be out of danger.

In fact, the sorrow at the loss of three close relations in the hooch tragedy has given rise to anger at the new excise policy of the Haryana Government, which, the villagers alleged, aimed at opening liquor vends in every nook and corner. Irate residents today marched in procession to the Deputy Commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum to him to punish the guilty and close the liquor shop in the village. The DC assured them that strict action would be taken against those found guilty.

Later, they also blocked traffic near Ram Lal Chowk on the Assandh road for sometime. Hundreds of motorists had a harrowing time as long traffic jams resulted. They also demanded the closure of the liquor shop, which was opened only a few days back. The said shop had been sealed by the excise authorities.

Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, the police and the excise authorities have started “sampling” the entire stock of liquor in the liquor shops falling in the Model Town area so that spurious liquor does not find its way to the villages. The investigation into the tragedy has been hampered since authorities have not been able to get any proof of the liquor bottles purchased from the vend so far. In the absence of any evidence, it would be impossible to fix the responsibility on the said shop.

Even Suresh and Hans Raj, while talking to ‘NCR Tribune’ at the civil hospital, could not confirm whether the liquor was bought from the said liquor shop. All they said was that they had consumed some liquor and that the source of the same was not known to them.

This, the sources said, could give rise to another possibility. The liquor could have been brought from Samana Mandi in Punjab where the ‘baraat’ had gone and the marriage was solemnised. However, this conclusion is premature and a clear picture will emerge only after the inquiry was completed.

‘No troops’ pullout now’

The Minister of State for Home, Mr I. D. Swami, today ruled out troops’ pullout from the border saying that there had been no reduction of tension between India and Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Swami said the troops would remain on high alert till Pakistan stopped the infiltration of militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan had been isolated diplomatically and its ruler General Pervez Musharraf had been forced to publicly pledge that his country would put an end to cross-border terrorism, he asserted.

Answering a question on the nomination of Mr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who did not have any political experience, as the NDA presidential candidate, the minister said it was necessary that a politician should always be the President. Anyway, the President could consult political and legal experts as and when the situation arose, he added.



10 lakh saplings may run to seed
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 19
The target of planting about 10 lakh saplings in the district in the coming monsoon season may not be difficult to achieve but what is doubtful is their survival. Owing to the lack of proper care, the survival rate of the saplings, planted on earlier occasions, has been very poor so far.

The district administration recently announced that a total of 10 lakh saplings would be planted in the monsoon season this year with each of the major departments planting at least 50,000 saplings in two to three months. The Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) and other bodies like the industrial association and clubs have been asked to plant 50,000 trees each in their areas.

The plants and saplings will be supplied by the Forest Department under the social forestry and territorial forestry programmes. The social forestry scheme envisages plantation on panchayat land, parks and private land. Under the territorial scheme, saplings are mainly planted on the open space lining the roads, railway tracks and canals.

Such programmes had been taken up earlier also. However, it is noticed that the survival rate has been only 10 to 20 per cent among the saplings planted during those years. A majority of plants is either damaged or eaten by stray animals as only a small number of such plants gets tree guards and has been look after properly. Sometimes, the lack of watering on time and removal of weeds lead to the premature death of these plants.

The organisations sponsoring the trees either provide tree guards or donate funds to the authorities to provide guards on their own and allow the sponsors to put up their advertisement or their identification on them. This is mainly done on the National Highway or busy commercial places. The saplings planted on other open spaces like parks and panchayat land do not get due attention. As a result, these plants fail to survive after two or three months.

According to experts, the afforestation programme could not succeed until there was involvement of the masses and voluntary organisations who could assure that there would be proper care.



Delhi Police get 1,612 new recruits
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 19
A batch of 1,612 personnel, including 84 women, who have been specially trained to combat terrorism and deal with disaster management, today graduated to join ranks in the Delhi Police.

The 70th batch, which is also the largest till date, was inducted into the Delhi Police force by the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, and the police chief, Mr Ajai Raj Sharma, at a passing-out parade at Delhi Police Training College here today.

The new recruits have been trained in all aspects of policing, including law and order management, disaster management, intelligence, surveillance, fighting terrorists and studying human behaviour.

Speaking at the function, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Training), Dr Kiran Bedi, the focus of this year’s training was also on gender sensitisation, human rights, human value and ethics. She said the constables had been given qualitative training in various indoor subjects like the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Act, local and special laws, collection of intelligence, scientific methods of investigation, handling of explosives, maintenance of law and order, traffic control, riots control, civil aviation security, disaster management and first aid training.

These graduates had also been provided vigorous physical training and had been exposed to outdoor subjects like parade, field craft, search and seizure, firing, weapon tactics, assault course, yoga, judo-karate and commando courses, it was pointed out.

This year, the recruits are more academically qualified as compared to the previous years. While most of the recruits this year are either graduates or postgraduates, earlier they were just class XII pass-outs with no college education. Of the 1,612 constables, 1,005 are graduates, 293 postgraduates, 185 are class XII pass-outs and 129 are class X pass-outs. Some of the recruits have additional qualifications like BEd, computer diplomas, law and stenography.

Inducting the constables, Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma said that most of the recruits were from Rajasthan (629), followed by Uttar Pradesh (319), Delhi (307), Haryana (306), Uttaranchal (17), Bihar (10), Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand (eight each), Punjab (six) and Kerala and West Bengal (one each). 



Excise staff seek a fair deal in promotions
Our Correspondent

Rewari, June 19
Mr Amar Singh Yadav, president of the Excise and Taxation Ministerial Staff Association of Haryana, criticised the top brass of the department for their alleged apathy towards the ministerial staff in various districts in departmental promotions.

Addressing a protest meeting of the association here recently, he said that it was a matter of sheer injustice that while members of the clerical cadre in the departmental headquarters at Chandigarh had cornered several promotions in succession, members of the same cadre working in district-level offices had failed to secure any promotion even after a long tenure of 20 years in service.

Similarly it was discriminatory that Class II employees in the districts had been regularly getting promotions consecutively whereas Class III and Class IV employees of those very districts had not been promoted in the past two decades.

Condemning such “anti-employee” policies of the higher-ups, Mr Yadav demanded an end to such injustice in departmental promotions, creation of 100 new posts of

Taxation Sub-Inspectors and Excise Sub Inspectors, total cessation of posting of promoted Inspectors of Chandigarh-based departmental headquarters in various District-level offices and filling up of all vacant posts of Inspectors, Superintendents and Assistants.



Sena plans Pandits’ return to Kashmir
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 19
Shiv Sena activists will meet members of the Kashmiri Samiti here in the Capital tomorrow to chalk out plans for the return of the Kashmiri Pandits to the valley. In a press release, the Shiv Sena officials said that they were contemplating sending an equal number of Shiv Sena activists along with the migrants to the valley. They would also discuss the proposition of the Shiv Sena activists contesting the forthcoming assembly elections in the state.

The discussion would also include the necessity of having a Shiv Sena office in each and every constituency of the state and would plan the itinerary of the party that was expected to visit the state for a survey of the ground realities next week.

Shiv Sena officials are going to meet the president of the Kashmiri Samiti, Mr Sunil Shakdher, later tomorrow.



10 hurt in clashes in two villages 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, June 19
At least 10 persons, including six women, were injured in clashes that took place at Shahpur Turk and Jatheri villages of this district on Tuesday. According to a report, five persons, including three women, sustained injuries in a clash between two groups on fetching of water from a public tap at Shahpur Turk village. The injured were identified as Randhir, Kamla Devi, Jai Karan, Lajwanti, Karamvir and Rakesh and all were admitted to the local civil hospital where the condition of Karamvir and Kamla Devi was stated to be serious.

Lathis and other sharp-edged weapons were used freely in the clash. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress. No arrest has been made in this connection. According to another report, a quarrel between the children of two families led to the clash among the members resulting in injuries to six persons, including two women. All the injured were immediately hospitalised. They are stated to be out of danger.

Statements recorded: Dr R. N. Sachdeva, Director of Health Services, Haryana recorded the statements of seven medical officers in the office of the Civil Surgeon here on Tuesday in connection with a complaint made by a medical officer of the civil hospital, Sonepat against the then Medical Superintendent of the hospital about two years ago. According to a report, the complainant had charged the Medical Superintendent with minting money from the doctors who were in the habit of taking a furlough.

Body found: The body of an old man was found hanging in his house at Qumashpur village, 13 km from here, last night. The Kundli police also found the body of a man lying on the road near Saboli village, about 15 km from here, last evening. The body has not been identified yet.

Trees burnt: A large number of trees were reportedly burnt in a devastating fire that broke out along the Sonepat-Gohana road near Mohana village, 19 km from here, late last evening. According to a report, the cause of the fire was not known and the loss is still being ascertained by the officials concerned.



Autopsy report: Police, docs pass the buck
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 19
Almost 20 days after the body of Pankaj Mishra was found hanging in his West Vinod Nagar residence, the family members of the deceased are still clueless whether the death was a result of murder or suicide.

Pankaj’s parents, who suspect foul play, are still awaiting the post-mortem report to substantiate their claim. According to the investigative officer, Mr Krishan Kumar, the post-mortem report is still lying with the doctors who have not passed it on to the police. However, the doctors at Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, who carried out the autopsy, blame the police for not collecting the report, which they claim, is ready. The Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Bir Singh, however, dismissed it as a case of negligence on the part of the doctor and assured investigation.

The family and friends of the deceased, meanwhile, are vexed at the pace of the investigation. They claim that Pankaj who shared intimate relations with his tenant, who is also alleged to be involved in some drug trafficking racket, was murdered. Pankaj was working with a finance company in Lajpat Nagar and was found dead under mysterious circumstances last month.



Teenager raped by two villagers
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, June 19
Two village youths allegedly smothered the mouth of a teenaged girl when she was returning home after answering the call of nature in a field in Pranpura village, about 20 km from here, early in the morning on Monday. She was forcibly taken to the house of one of the youths and shut up in a room where she was repeatedly raped by the youths till evening. When it grew dark, the youths took the girl to Mundi village and abandoned her in the forest from where the girl somehow reached Mundi village.

Later, the village sarpanch restored the girl to her parents in Pranpura village. The girl’s father, along with other villagers, lodged a complaint with the police. A case of rape, adduction and wrongful confinement was registered on Tuesday (June 18) under Section 376,365, 342, 34 IPC against Narendra, son of Sultan and Ravinder, son of Ram Mehar, both residents of Pranpura village.

A young married woman was also allegedly raped by a village youth on Friday night in Jamalpur village under Khol Police Station.



Hunt on for bank robbers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19
The police today sought the help of the Haryana police in tracing the seven armed desperadoes who had looted the Vaish Cooperative Bank branch in the Azadpur Subzi Mandi area in broad daylight on Tuesday.

Police sources said preliminary inquiries had revealed the daylight dacoity could be the handiwork of certain criminal gangs from neighbouring Haryana who are often known to strike in the Capital and then flee to their villages. The police said efforts were being made to ascertain if any known criminals had been recently released in Haryana.


Kundli: The industrial landmark that was not to be
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, June 19
The Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) complex at Kundli village, along the Haryana-Delhi border—the much touted growth centre, has neither witnessed any improvement in the quality of life nor growth of industrial culture, due to the failure of the authorities to provide basic amenities to the industrialists.

The industrialists and the residents remain two distinct entities. Industrialists and their workers mostly commute between Delhi and Kundli as there are no residential facilities at Kundli.

Kundli has in all about 100 industrial units, some of which are outside the industrial complex employing about 8,000 workers.

Being right on the Haryana border with Delhi, it has a great potential for industrial growth but it has so far not been in a position to develop any industrial culture and is facing several problems in its growth as an industrial centre.

Many industrialists alleged that the HSIDC authorities had adopted indifferent attitude towards their problems and they had failed to solve them in spite of repeated representations made to them from time to time.

It was in 1979, that the HSIDC advertised in newspapers that “three years from now, this name (Kundli) will be a landmark on the industrial map of the country.

Just one km short of the Haryana-Delhi Border, the HSIDC takes a giant leap in offering fully developed industrial plots, electricity, drinking water, sewerage stormwater drains etc”, it had claimed.

Now after years, one finds that Kundli despite its prime location and potential for industrial development, has been growing at a snail’s pace. The promise of providing the basic facilities has not been kept. The internal roads are in a bad shape. The power supply is inadequate and erratic. Sewerage system is incomplete and stormwater drains are either not there or

are choked whenever laid.

The HSIDC complex lacks a fire-brigade and medical facilities to the workers. The housing accommodation was not available to the workers.

Transport is a big handicap. The transport operators are charging higher rates for carrying goods of the industrialists. The pool among the truck operators is a constant headache for the entrepreneurs. The union allegedly allows its members to charge freight for both the sides—up and down while thee industrialists have shifted their vehicles to Delhi for other business.

Many industrialists lamented the lack of various facilities at this place. They said that the ESI dispensary had not been useful for the workers as it was always short of life-saving drugs and the patients had to be shifted either to Sonepat or Delhi. Moreover, the village too does not have any hospital.

There is no residential colony and as such, no senior secondary school. It has no market for meeting the requirements of the industrial units. There is no shop for hardware or a workshop for carrying out even minor industrial repairs.

Industrial workers are quite unhappy with bus services as no bus passes through the industrial complex. Most of the workers come from Delhi but the DTC bus services terminate at the Singhu border two km short of the village. The workers have to walk from there. The industrialists demanded an uninterrupted power supply right through the week and sought an end to the voltage fluctuations which, they said, had damaged this machines.

The HSIDC had so far failed to construct a common effluent treatment plant with a World Bank loan. Some units have their own effluent treatment plants. The HSIDC should also construct residential colonies for accommodating the industrial workers and other officers.


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