Sunday, June 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Supporters descend in hordes on Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
Amidst rising tension and strident rhetoric, the 3.17 lakh Sikh electorate in the Capital will exercise their franchise to elect the 46-member Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee on Sunday. The election to the religious body is taking place after a gap of seven years, almost three years behind schedule.

As the prestige of senior Akali leaders – Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra – is at stake, political activists, including Nihangs (the Sikh martial sect), of both parities have descended on the Capital from their bases in Punjab. Party sources said hundreds of activists from Punjab, who have reached the Capital since late last night, have been dispersed to wards where it is felt the candidates might not fare well. The sources said the activists have been instructed to “ensure maximum polling in favour of their candidates.”

Each ward has an average of 6500 voters and the polling percentage in the past has never crossed the 50 per cent mark. The two main Akali factions – SAD (Badal) and SAD Delhi — have lodged a formal complaint against each other with the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections, alleging activists were “intimidating” the electorate. The police have identified several wards as sensitive where violence and bogus voting could take place and have decided to deploy additional force. Some of the wards where electoral malpractice could occur include Punjabi Bagh, Hari Nagar, Dilshad Garden, Sahib Pura and Tilak Nagar.

And, to boost their respective prospects, both Mr Badal and Mr Tohra along with their senior party colleagues have been camping in the Capital for the past several days and overseeing the electioneering.

Most of the 41 Akali MLAs — owing allegiance to Mr Badal — along with their Punjab Police gunmen have also reached Delhi to extend support to the candidates. On the other side, Tohra aides Prem Singh Chandumajra, Manjit Singh Calcutta, Harmel Singh Tohra and other former state ministers are also present in the Capital along with their security guards.

Despite the claims by the Police of providing adequate security in the Capital to prevent any untoward incident, ordinary Sikhs are apprehensive that free and fair elections to the Committee might not be conducted because of such huge presence of ‘’outsiders’’ and their movement in open jeeps and public display of arms.

And, in their last minute effort to win over the undecided voters, the two main factions lashed out at each other. While the pro-Tohra, SAD Delhi alleged that the rival faction which controls the DSGMC had misappropriated the Gurdwara funds to the tune of several crores, the Badal faction, releasing the religious body’s balance sheet for the past two fiscal, stated that the Tohra camp was levelling “false and baseless” allegations.

The Directorate of Gurdwara Elections has asked the voters to bring residence proof and told the Presiding Officers to take the challenge by contesting parties seriously. The directorate, on the eve of the notification for the polls, had enlisted the names of several thousand persons, who had attained 18 years and above. For the 46 wards, 390 candidates, including 243 Independents, are in the fray. The electorate would exercise their franchise in 345 polling stations set up in different parts of the Capital. The polling would commence at seven in the morning and would end at five in the evening. The counting would take place on July two in five counting centres and the results are likely to be declared the same day.

Elaborate security

The Delhi Police has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure fair and peaceful polls to the Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections tomorrow, specially in view of the reports that a large number of workers owing allegiance to the two Akali groups had arrived in the Capital.

Delhi Police officers said that while every booth will be manned by policemen, mobile patrolling will supplement the arrangements, so that the forces can be quickly deployed in case of any problem. The police, in cooperation with the leaders of the community, have identified at least half a dozen sensitive areas in various districts of the Capital where deployment will be heavy.


Curtains for Delhi Vidyut Board
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
At the stroke of midnight on June 30, the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) will cease to exist. July 1 will instead see private companies setting up shop in the Capital and distributing electricity to several millions of consumers.

According to Power Minister Ajay Maken, adequate safeguards have been incorporated to ensure a smooth transition. The government, he says, is currently engaged in drafting amendments to the Electricity Act so that the “honest consumer is protected and the guilty prosecuted.” Here he discusses certain key issues :

Post-July 1 scenario

Come July 1 and the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) will unbundle into six companies : a holding company, a generation company (Genco), a transmission company (Transco) and three distribution companies (Discom I, II and III.)

Discom I (Central and East) and Discom II (West and South) will be managed by Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES.) Tata Power will manage Discom III (North and North-West.)

Gains of privatisation

First and foremost will be reliable supply of electricity. Then, the DVB with an estimated Rs 1,200 crore annual loss due to theft and the Rs one thousand crore annually that it loses otherwise will be turned around over the next five years. The power utility is likely to break even in the fourth year itself.

No anti-theft law

No new Bill will be introduced. What we propose instead is amending the Electricity Act to give it more teeth to prosecute person/s guilty of stealing electricity and more importantly, to protect the honest consumer by expediting the redressal of grievances.

Why the amendment

One, the Electricity Act does not provide for a mechanism to resolve litigation. What we are proposing is the setting up of Special Court and Special Tribunal. It is proposed that retired or serving High Court judges will be asked to head the Special Court and district judges the Tribunal. While the Special Court will adjudicate over cases of over Rs five lakh, the Tribunal will decide cases that are of less than Rs five lakh. Furthermore, there will be a right to appeal in the High Court.

Two, the Act stipulates a notice period of 24 hours prior to conducting a raid. We propose to bring it down to three hours.

To give more teeth to prosecution, we also propose a penalty of Rs 50,000, imprisonment of up to three years and discontinuation of electricity supply for 30 days. This will be applicable for the first offence. For a second offence, the penalty will include a minimum of three months’ simple imprisonment.

The role of DERC

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) will come to play a crucial role post-privatisation. It will prescribe the tariff, fix performance standards for the power utilities and also discharge its role as the licensing authority: The private distribution companies will operate till such time as the DERC licenses them to. The Commission will also fix the norms of metering and billing. The licence is valid for 30 years.

About private players

Already about 15 officials of Tata Power and 25 to 30 from BSES have arrived in Delhi. They are interacting with the engineers and other staff of the DVB and preparing an action plan.

Under the terms of agreement, the private players will be allowed 16 per cent return on the issued and paid up capital and free reserves subject to the companies reducing the Aggregate and Technical (AT&C) loss by 17 per cent in five years (in the case of south-west and north-northwest zones) and 17.25 per cent (in the case of central-east zone.)


Bhondsi land returned, now the pay-off
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, June 29
Fifty-two acres of land, buildings, parks, lakes, temples, conference rooms, etc, which were developed over a period of 15 years by the former Prime Minister Chander Shekhar-led Bharat Yatra Kendra Trust, were handed over to the Haryana government today as per the Supreme Court’s orders.

The transition was peaceful. On the behalf of the Haryana Government, Chief Secretary, Mr L M Goyal, assumed charge of the property while Mr H. N. Sharma, a nominee of the trust, signed the documents and completed the formalities. The Trust has vacated the entire complex, though transportation of furniture, almirahs, electric components, etc, was carried out at the eleventh hour. Satisfied that the exercise was through, the State Government representative locked the room and assumed possession of the complex. Mr Chandra Shekhar refused to say anything, except that law must take its own course.

Mr Goyal directed the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to appoint a person of the rank of SDO to ensure the safety of the complex. The officer would be permanently stationed there.

According to Mr Sharma, four guest houses, two temples, two lakes, more than 10 security rooms, one big conference room, one open air theatre, ten statues of goddesses (installed in the complex) had been handed over to the state government. The Supreme Court had ordered the trust to return the land to the State government in a Public Interest Litigation case. It directed that the State government would pay the trust compensation and expenditure incurred in constructing the buildings and developing the complex.

Mr Goyal disclosed that they might develop the place for health or eco tourism. He denied the rumour that the place might be developed as an amusement park.

After completing the formalities, Mr Goyal went to meet Mr Chandra Shekhar. The trust had purchased around 29 acres of land adjacent to the complex and a huge Kala Kendra-cum-residential complex is being developed there. A final project would take shape in consultation with the Bhondsi panchayat. The Chief Secretary admitted before the former Prime Minister that it would be very difficult for the state government to maintain the green cover developed by the trust.

On the question of valuation of the property taken over by the government, Mr Goyal said that a separate committee headed by a Joint Secretary, Finance Department, Haryana, is on the job. The Committee would soon submit its report and after that the state government would give the amount to the trust, as has been directed by the Supreme Court.

Mr H N Sharma told the NCR Tribune that the total value of the complex would be around Rs 100 crore. Around Rs 25 crore has been spent on constructing the various buildings and more another Rs 25 crore on the green cover. The land value has increased by over Rs 50 crore since the complex came up in the area, explained Mr Sharma.


Free-for-all at midnight in MDU
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, June 29
Time/place: A midnight show on the campus of Maharshi Dayanand University which, in the tradition of a Bollywood film, lasted for three hours from 1 AM to 4 AM on Saturday.

The main actors: The Registrar of the University, the Chief Warden and the Deputy Chief Security officer. (The co-stars were the Chief Security Officer and the Assistant Security Officer and a host security men and drivers, possibly the extras.)

The viewers: A large number of university employees.

The theme: Checking of security men.

(And all this against the backdrop of the university security paraphernalia, which had been privatized a couple of months back. In turn, to check the securitymen on duty, there are large number of officers, starting from the Chief Security Officer, the Deputy Chief Security Officer, the Security Officer and the Assistant Security Officer.)

The scene: In the middle of the night, the Registrar and the Chief Warden, allegedly in an inebriated condition, decided to bask in the moonlight on the Campus. The Deputy Chief Security Officer, too, was on the round, checking the security posts. As the trio have been long-time friends, they started with pleasantries which led to heated discussions and climaxed in an exchange of blows. Who beat whom is not the question. What seemed to be of academic interest was who showered more blows on whom.

Aftermath: At dawn, the matter was brought to the notice of the Vice Chancellor, both by employees of the university and persons close to the Registrar. The Vice Chancellor, as per a pre-planned programme, was to leave for Mathura. But, before leaving, he discussed the issue with the Chief Security officer and entrusted the job to the Pro-Vice Chancellor.

Interestingly, neither the Registrar nor the Deputy Chief Security officer have submitted a written complaint either to the Vice Chancellor or the Pro-Vice Chancellor. The Deputy Chief Security Officer (DCSO) says that he will submit his complaint only to the Vice Chancellor, when he returns.

The Registrar says that the Deputy Chief Security Officer was ‘absent’ when he visited the check-post. The DCSO, in turn, charged that the Registrar was inebriated.

The curtain will descend on the show when the Vice Chancellor returns on Sunday evening from Mathura.


Noida Dy CEO detained at Palam with cartridges
Parmindar Singh

Noida, June 29
A senior officer of the State Government, who has recently joined the Noida Authority as the Dy Chief Executive Officer, was detained at the Indira Gandhi Airport by the security staff when he was about to board a flight for Lucknow on June 27. Mr Hiralal, the DCEO, Noida Authority, was detained for over six hours at the airport by the security staff and released only after a full inquiry had been made and the airport authorities were fully satisfied about the bona fides of the officer.

As soon as Mr Hiralal presented his luggage for a security check for boarding a flight to Lucknow, the X-ray equipment indicated the presence of embargoed items in his baggage. When the baggage was opened, it was discovered that the suitcase contained ten live cartridges. The rattled security staff immediately placed a security ring around Mr Hiralal, who was to attend an important meeting in Lucknow. The other security and intelligence agencies were immediately sounded by the Airport Security. DCP Varinder Singh of Delhi Police also rushed to the airport. Mr Hiralal offered some explanation about the presence of cartridges in his baggage, but since he was not carrying his arms licence he was detained. After a senior officer of the Noida Authority and the state Government in Lucknow intervened and a copy of Mr Hiralal’s arms licence was obtained through fax, the Noida DCEO was released. The cartridges were, however, confiscated.

It is learnt that Mr Hiralal had removed a revolver from his suitcase in the morning, but forgot to remove the cartridges which in a separate pouch in the suitcase.



RS Gupta is top cop

Radhey Shyam GuptaNew Delhi
Mr Radhey Shyam Gupta, special commissioner, Administration, will take over as the 14th police commissioner of the Delhi Police on Monday in place of Mr Ajai Raj Sharma who has been appointed director general of the Border Security Force (BSF), it was officially announced today.

Mr Gupta, who belongs to the 1968 Union territory batch of the Indian Police Service, has served the Delhi Police in various capacities in the last three decades.


Houses to all in the Capital by 2006
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
The Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, today said that unemployment was the biggest challenge the government was facing and claimed that the Centre had launched several projects to generate additional job opportunities in the country.

“It may be comparatively easy to provide irrigation facilities to farmers, but it is difficult to provide job to each hand,” he said, inaugurating a ‘Housing Mela’ organised by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) at Dwarka on the outskirts of the Capital.

Mr Advani said the NDA government had selected projects, which could ensure maximum employment opportunities, and construction of roads across the country was one of them.

While it was important to link villages to towns with good roads and to provide housing for all, the best feature of these projects was that it provided employment to millions of jobless, he said.

The Home Minister said that for the sake of country’s all-round progress, people should stop looking at flaws in each and everything. They should rather appreciate the positive aspect of things.

Stating that self-confidence among the people was the main strength of a country, he said a nation could not grow by indulging in criticism alone.

Referring to the importance of internal and external security, he said, “Our enemies are afraid of us.” He, however, did not elaborate.

Underlining the need for eradicating corruption, he said if people at the top were honest, its good effects would reach the bottom.

He emphasised the need to solve the housing problems on a war footing and said houses would be provided to all by 2110. “Still, over 3.3 crore people are homeless in the country...the government will ensure that houses are provided to all at the earliest at a minimum cost,” Mr Advani said.

Mr Advani said housing was a basic need of the people and it was very unfortunate that large numbers of people remained homeless. He said houses would be provided to the economically weaker sections at a very affordable cost.

Earlier, Mr Advani distributed possession letters to some of the allottees during the mela. Minister of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Ananth Kumar said the housing backlogs would be cleared by 2004. “In Delhi, houses would be provided to all by 2006...this year, we have provided 13,000 houses and we would provide another 25,000 houses next year,” he added.

Delhi Lt-Governor Vijai Kapoor said over 23,000 houses were being constructed in Dwarka currently. “The possession letter for 6,500 houses of SFS MIG, LIG and Janata categories would be distributed at the mela...the houses provided were of better quality than allotted before,” he added.

Former Delhi Chief Minister and MP Sahib Singh Verma said Dwarka was developing very fast as a new sub-city and could take care of the housing problems in the city.

“Connectivity to Dwarka has also been enhanced after National Highway 8 and Palam Airport have been linked with it,” he added.



Solid waste: Onus of managing it must be on units
Tribune News Service

How to control waste

The major recommendations put forward regarding waste management are:

  • Encourage the industry to take responsibility for packaging wastes with labelling requirements.
  • Improve the design and materials used in products and packaging to enable their easy and safe recycling.
  • Create a system of fiscal incentives and dis-incentives for enhancing recyclable material collection and reprocessing.
  • Ban materials and products that are toxic or cannot be recycled.
  • Encourage technology upgradation for waste recycling.
  • Help create markets for good quality recyclable products.
  • Increase employment opportunities, wage levels, social status and security of waste pickers.

New Delhi, June 29
Uncrushed bottles of mineral water and soft drinks are bought many times for Re 1 per bottle for refilling them illegally, reveals a study by Srishti, an NGO.

The study, which reveals an alarming rise in the number of bottles, cans and carry bags dumped in and around the Capital, recommends that the industry should be held accountable for the waste it generates.

“The Indian mineral bottle water industry dumped over 1 billion water bottles during year 2001. Over 90 per cent of them were uncollected and blocking the drains and littering the surroundings. Over 20 per cent of the soft drinks are sold in cans and recycled in backyard smelters along with imported waste,” said Mr Sanjay K. Gupta, project co-ordinator, Srishti, during a seminar on “Recycling Responsibility - Traditional System and New Challenges of

Urban Solid Waste in India”, organised by Srishti here on Friday.

Emphasising on improving the conditions under which recycling takes place, he said, “In the absence of any mandatory rule envisaging their responsibility for collection to minimise packaging waste and technology upgradation by recycling sector, the disastrous amount of non-biodegradable wastes are endangering our ecological space. There is a need for minimisation of waste and inculcation of technologically upgraded recycling.”

While the unorganised sector has been primarily involved in the process of recycling (of paper, plastics and metal), the activity is characterised by a collection system led by underpaid people and using with poor technologies for processing, thereby involving high degree of environmental hazards. The resultant recycled products, the study observed, are low cost and poor quality, incapable of finding markets that are occupied by virgin material-based products.

This, said Mr Gupta, make the people involved in the trade as well as the products produced from recycled wastes largely neglected and out of sight of the main markets. The study emphasised on improving the technologies and also socio-economic condition of those involved in the recycling trade.

The seminar was inaugurated by the Central Pollution Control Board Chairman, Mr Dilip Biswas. Mr Gordon Duguid from the US Public Affairs Department was also present on the occasion.


Leaders flay govt for retrenching PSU staff
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 29
The state government’s move to close down the Minor Irrigation Tubewell Corporation (MITC) and Small Industries and Export Corporation Limited has evoked criticism from certain political and trade union leaders. They have demanded absorption of the retrenched staff in other state government departments.

The president of the Haryana unit of the Janata Dal (U), Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has described the decision as shocking and unjustified. He said the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, used to claim prior to the elections that if his party came to power, thousands of unemployed youth would be given jobs. However, in the past over two years of Mr Chautala’s tenure, about 10,000 employees of various state government departments and corporations had lost jobs and the government had failed to provide employment to the retrenched workers, he said.

He said hundreds of affected employees had been in the age group of 45-60 years and there was no scope of reemployment of such persons in the private or public sector. He charged the government of betraying the people on its promises made before the elections. He said it was a shame that instead of creating adequate employment opportunities, the government had been shunting out more employees every year without caring for them and their families.

Mr Subhash Lamba, district president of the Sarva Karamchari Sangh, Haryana (SKS), condemned the closure of two corporations. He said the move had exposed the anti-employee stance of the government. He claimed that such decisions had been responsible for flaring up agitation and strikes.

Dr Lal Singh, chairman of the Parliamentary Board of the state unit of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, has also condemned the decision of the government. He has asked the Chief Minister to ensure that the retrenched employees be absorbed in other state government departments, so that the families of the employees were not affected by the move. He alleged that a section of the youth was taking to illegal and unlawful activities to earn their livelihood due to unemployment.


Patnitop – A quiet hilltop where the breeze does the talking
Our Correspondent

NESTED between the picturesque city of Kashmir and the historic city of Jammu, Patnitop with its salubrious climate and tranquil environs is a mesmerising creation of a poetic and an imaginative author that nature is.

A drive of about 110 kms from Jammu at an altitude of 2,024m, Patnitop is an ideal holiday spot for those who wish to seek a union with the mysticism of nature as well as those whose adrenaline is kept ticking by the mere reflection of adventure.

A quite little hilltop, which has been overshadowed by the splendour of Kashmir, Patnitop is a revelation to those who drop in. With all its beauty, charm, harmony and aesthetics Patnitop is an ideal getaway. There are meadows surrounded by dense woods and you can listen to the music of the wind as it sweeps through the Pines. The stillness of the place has a tranquil and soothing impact on the mind.

There is no one best time to visit the place, as it is as welcoming in summers as it is in the winters. The pristine and tender snow that envelops the tree-tops and the roof-tops and that shrouds the ground beneath seems to light up the whole place. A perfect time to not just warm oneself by the fireplace but also the right time to ski and build a snowman. In winters the mountains are covered by fog and visibility can drop to a mere 10 feet. And if you want to escape the summer heat, pack your bags and head for the hilltop, where you can unwind under the star spangled sky and let the breeze do the talking.

Situated at a high altitude, there are many pleasant walks around this popular hill station. Patnitop is a good starting place for many short and longer treks into the nearby mountains. An attractive one-day walk is to Shiva Garh, about 11-km from Patnitop at an altitude of almost 3,500 metres.

Good bridle paths passing through woodlands take you to picturesque and fascinating places like Kud and Batote. There are three, gushing, ice-cold freshwater springs in the area, which are said to have medicinal properties. There are many other places in the proximity where one can enjoy the grandeur of nature, one can tour Vaishno Devi, Kud-Sanasar, Gourikund, Sudmahadev, Mantali, and further ahead Latti-Dhuna.

Patnitop is an ideal picnic spot, then there is Sanasar, 19-km away where a 6-hole golf course is being expanded to 9-holes. The lush green forests offer ample opportunity for trekking and a rich selection of scenic spots for picnics. A walk on the winding paths between rows and rows of tall trees is straight from a romantic interlude. For those who wish to go riding there are adequate arrangements made for horse riding as well. And those who wish to try their hand at adventure sports there is para gliding and skiing.

Staying in Patnitop is perhaps the best part, you are given the luxury of staying in well equipped and comfortable huts that have a refined look about them. There are a large number of huts and Tourists Bungalows, all managed by J&KTDC, having all the facilities that a traveller looks forward to.

One can reach Patnitop either by taking the state transport buses starting from Jammu, Katra or Udhampur or hire a taxi. While the bus takes about five hours, travelling by a taxi takes just about three and half-hours. The nearest airhead and railhead is Jammu.


Trust welcomes proposed maintenance law changes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
The Human Rights Trust has welcomed the decision of the Law Ministry to amend Section 125 of the Cr. P.C. to include those women as being entitled to maintenance whose marriages may not be considered strictly legal as their spouse had a wife living at the time of marriage.

The Human Rights Trust had raised a demand for the said amendment on the ground that with a large number of marriages taking place through newspaper columns and internet it had become easy for husbands to conceal their first marriage. In such cases, when the second wife filed for divorce they would take the plea that she was not entitled to any maintenance as the husband was previously married to someone else.

The law as it stands today, with regard to Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, does not provide for maintenance to the second wife as the second marriage is ipso facto illegal.

The Human Rights Trust has expressed its gratitude to Bhai Manjit Singh Govindpuri who first raised this issue by helping Ms. Narindar Pal Kaur Chawla who had similarly been cheated into a marriage by her husband. When she was turned out from her matrimonial home and filed for maintenance, the husband took the plea that she was not entitled to any as he was already married to someone else.

The court dismissed the application of Ms. Narinder Pal Kaur Chawla under Section 125 of the Cr. P.C. for maintenance on the ground that since the second marriage was illegal, she did not fall within the definition of wife and hence was not entitled to maintenance.

Under the guidance of Bhai Manjit Singh Govindpuri, who arranged assistance from the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee and also helped her in fighting the case, requests for changes in the law were made to the Union Law Ministry and Union Home Ministry by the Human Rights Trust and Bhai Manjit Singh Govindpuri.

Finally, the efforts have started yielding results and the law ministry has proposed amendment to Section 125 of the Cr. P.C. to make provision for maintenance to the de facto married wives. It is now hoped that not only will Ms Narindar Pal Kaur get justice but thousands of other victims will also get some succour.


Bainda in race for Cabinet berth
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 29
The move by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to reshuffle and expand his Cabinet on July 1 seems to have kindled hope among a section of the state BJP leaders and activists, who believes that representation of Haryana could go up this time.

It is reported that some of the senior party leaders and their supporters have been camping in Delhi to build pressure and impress upon the central leadership that it was time that the state, which has five Lok Sabha MPs, got more share in the Union Cabinet. While the Prime Minister has indicated that it could be a major reshuffle and parties supporting his government from outside could be offered berths in the Cabinet, the chances of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which has five Lok Sabha MPs and which supports the Vajpayee government from outside, getting a Cabinet berth seems not very bright.

The INLD supremo, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who is likely to come back from foreign tour this night, has not given any indication, nor has any of his party leaders spoken on the matter. According to INLD sources, the issue could be discussed by Mr Chautala tomorrow.

While the final decision of the INLD could be known after Mr Chautala’s arrival, the BJP leadership in Haryana had been busy in parlance with the central leadership over the chances of including one more MP from Haryana in the Cabinet.

Mr I. D. Swami of the BJD, who represents the Karnal seat in the Lok Sabha, is already a Union Minister of State of Home Affairs. Mr Ramchander Bainda, one of the senior-most party leaders and current MP from Faridabad, is reported to be leading the race for membership in the Cabinet. Mr Bainda is one of the few leaders who has won consecutively thrice the Lok Sabha seat.

According to party sources, Mr Bainda is the first leader to win a third consecutive term from Faridabad. The constituency has about 14 lakh voters and it is one of the largest in Haryana in terms of population. National leader and freedom fighter Abul Kalam Azad who had won from Faridabad for the first time after Independence had been made the first Education Minister of India in the Cabinet of Jawaharlal Nehru. Supporters of Mr Bainda have appealed to the central leadership to provide a chance to the residents of Faridabad, which is the biggest town in Haryana, to be represented in the union ministry. They feel that a Cabinet berth to the party MP from here would not only ensure a faster development of the state and the district, but it could help in bolstering the image of the BJP in Haryana.


Circle of Animal Lovers: Taking care of the uncared
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, June 29
Ten years ago when Putul Mukherjee died in Kolkata, Baga, a dog of desi pedigree, did not allow her body to be lifted for cremation. Furious and depressed, Baga had to pay with its life to allow people touch its owner’s body. The Municipal Corporation had to shoot it down and its death gave birth to the Circle of Animal Lovers. Since that day, the CAL has been serving and taking care of stray animals.

Apart from medical treatment, it also provides shelter to old stray animals. More than 1,500 such animals are taken care of in the hospital in Neb Sarai near Sainik Farms and in Haryana per month.

The unfortunate stray animals that include dogs, cats, goats, pigs, donkeys, cows and others are picked up from different colonies and are brought to Neb Sarai for treatment. Once they regain health, they are dropped at the place from where they were picked up.

Running the charitable organisation is not an easy task for Irani Mukherjee, the founder-member of the CAL. She has been abused and cursed several times for her work.

She said, “Though I have faced a lot of resentment from the general public, I still have not lost hope and am carrying on with my work with the same enthusiasm. Every morning I feed the stray dogs in my area. Our rehabilitation centre is in Haryana, where we keep the stray animals. I have decided not to expand my family, as I wanted to do something for the loathed and uncared animals. They cannot speak. I feel bad when I see people beating them. I want to expand my circle so that more people can join me.”

Ms Irani spends most of her time in the centres taking care of animals and ensuring their safety. She further added, “I also got the support from Maneka Gandhi as she also a diehard animal lover. Our hospital is the best-equipped in Delhi. I just want to tell the people that animals are trustworthy and loving if you love them. They do not demand anything but love and care. So please do not harm them if you cannot take care of them. They have full right to live like us.”

Affiliated to the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, London, the UK, the organisation has given shelter to stray dogs, cats, goats, pigs, cows, donkeys and many other animals. For stray animals, the CAL is a blessing in disguise that provides free medical treatment, medicines and home. Apart from the hospital and other facilities, the organisation has three mobile vans to pick sick and unhealthy animals from roads. A team of 27 members with two specialist doctors is available round the clock. Animals are operated upon if the need arises.

The organisation sterilises and gives anti-rabies vaccine to dogs before releasing them from the hospital. Dr Bhupinder Singh said, “Let me clear one misconception. Stray dogs never bites. We take care of their diet and take them for walks. No animal is chained here.”

The CAL also provides shelter to animals that have been left by their owners due to old age or some disease. Ms Irani’s neighbours attacked her residence thrice for her dedication towards stray animals but she did not budge. In fact the attacks made her more strong to make people soft towards animals.

With the staff of 27 people, everything here is dedicated to the CAL. The organisation will like to accept even small contributions to manage its affairs. Contact Irani Mukherjee, E-67, DDA Flat, Saket. Ph: 6511569, 6531419.


Fatal victims of the success race

SIX students committed suicide in Delhi alone, depressed over their poor performance in the examinations. If you add the numbers for the whole country it may even touch an alarming figure. In Kerala, the impact of such suicides even led the government to consider the grading system for examinations in future so that painful comparisons could be avoided.

In a success-driven society, where parents and peers lay much stress on performance, the weaklings need inner strength to accept defeat. The belief that life is not worth living if one fails in the examinations need to be countered by proper teaching on self-esteem and human worth. The weak need a better understanding of reality.

Persons who feel inferior, insecure, inadequate and unacceptable are continuously faced with a set of emotions, which are at variance with the facts. Under adversity, they become obsessed with their particular failure and lose touch with reality. In a sense we become obsessed with the temporal things of the world and lose sight of those eternal values, which ought to be the basis of true peace and happiness. We go on chasing shadows and often end up frustrated and miserable.

You can not blame a boy or girl if they come to think that with their poor academic record their future looks dim. That has been dinned into their ears by a society that worships success. The media too has always idolised the smart and those getting ahead. Only success matters. The whole society can be said to be caught in a ‘success sickness.’ Education, if anything, has only helped to sharpen the difference between being a ‘success and failure.’ It emphasises on the temporal to the detriment of the spiritual.

One of the wisest men ever lived, King Solomon, has assessed various concepts of success entertained from the beginning of time and concluded that all was “vanity of vanities”. The wealthy king, who set out to enjoy life to the full, built homes, vineyards, gardens, parks, and orchards. He collected silver and gold, engaged slaves in large numbers; tried music and dance. Anything he wanted, he took and did not restrain himself. But as he looked at all that he accomplished, he found it was like chasing the wind. Read out of context, this may look a negative philosophy, almost bordering on despair. 
His account in Ecclesiastics (part of the Bible) needs an explanation. Solomon is only taking into account purely materialistic philosophies without reference to the spiritual nature of man and to God who has made him. He covers only those activities performed “under the sun’’— in the material world.

In the limited context of this world, every material achievement has limited significance and one should not get elated or unduly depressed over the same. Because, as he wisely observes, the same fate awaits the wise and the fool, the righteous and the wicked, the poor and the rich, the ignorant and the learned. They all end up in the grave.

The man who aspires to be wise finds that in much wisdom, there is much grief: and “he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow”. If a man follows pleasure to find therein his satisfaction, “What does pleasure accomplish?’’ Seeking joy in philosophy and science likewise is also vanity.

The wise king also found that success in life did not follow any formula or pattern. “The race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all,’’ he wrote. That being so, victory or defeat, success or failure does not reflect a person’s merit or ability.

Looking at all the uncertainties, he came to see the utter fallacy of the common thinking that earthly sins, pleasures, and pursuits are the chief ends of life. On the other hand a Dutch theologian observed that “All that is most mediocre and contemptible in human beings derives from the pursuit of earthly happiness.’’ Man has a false concept of happiness when he ignores that he has a soul besides a body. And that is why scriptures assail this preoccupation which is detrimental to true peace and joy. The human family has a destiny beyond the world of space and time. We can never find satisfaction and happiness in the things of the world. As Dr A. T Pierson, a renowned preacher, said, “Man is too big for this world”.

Advocates of materialistic utopias reduce life to a series of competitions and tests. Rewards are promised to those who come out successful. Life is larger than all that and materialism has little impact on the soul of man. “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury — to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind,,’’ observed Albert Einstein, a scientist and Nobel Prize winner, who knew the worth of earthly success.

Subject to the fact even the wisest are not able to comprehend what life is about, man should go about his work assigned by God. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going there is neither working, nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.’’ He must fear God and keep His commandments for he “must give an account to God’’ for everything he has done.

M P K Kutty


Commissioner unearths coupon racket by trucks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
Municipal Commissioner Rakesh Mehta conducted surprise midnight raids at the Singhu Border toll tax post and at Hindu Rao Hospital. He was accompanied by a team of officials from the Vigilance Department of the MCD and the Anti-corruption Branch. During the raids, trucks and other commercial vehicles coming from Haryana and Punjab via Singhu Border were checked.

It was found that 40 per cent of the trucks were either carrying fake coupons or were not having proper toll tax receipts. The drivers of many trucks, who did not have any receipt or coupon, alleged that they had duly paid the tax at the post, but the officials had not issued them receipts.

The Commissioner ordered an immediate investigation into the fake coupons. He warned that stern action would be taken against transporters found guilty of carrying fake coupons. A case will be registered against such transporters.

In case, a municipal official had connived with the transporters, action would also be initiated against him. The Anti-Corruption Branch was further directed by the Commissioner to identify officials who had collected the tax, but had not issued a proper receipt. The Commissioner also directed that the investigation be completed within a week’s time and a report be submitted to him. The Commissioner has warned municipal officials and employees that similar raids will also be conducted in other departments.

The Commissioner later visited the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and the Orthopaedic and Casualty Departments of Hindu Rao Hospital to take stock of the services being provided to the patients. He found that the majority of doctors and paramedical staff were present. He also inquired from patients and their attendants about the medical services being provided by the hospital. Most of the patients expressed their satisfaction.

Govt offering free HIV testing at 13 centres

The Government of NCT of Delhi is offering counselling and testing free of cost to the HIV positive persons. Thirteen Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres (VCTCs) are operating out of medical colleges and hospitals. Four such centres are expected to come up by the year-end.

Warning of an explosion in the incidence of HIV/AIDS, Health Minister A. K. Walia today said in eight years, the number of sero-positive cases had shot up from 2.25 to 26.20 per thousand cases. Delivering the key-note address at the workshop hosted by the Delhi State AIDS Control Society in collaboration with UNAIDS, the minister said there were “huge potential benefits for society” besides individual benefits that stem from knowing one’s HIV status. Each of the 13 VCTCs, he said, had the requisite diagnostic facilities and came with a man and a woman counsellor each. Pre-test and post-test counselling is offered by the VCTCs. 



Date for submission of forms for LLM course extended
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, June 29
Maharshi Dayanand University has extended the last date for submission of application forms for LLM course to July 5. Earlier, the last date for submission of application forms was June 22.

The university will now conduct the entrance test for LLM course on July 8 from 2 pm to 3.15 pm, instead of July 1. The interested candidates can submit the application forms to the Head, Department of Law, till 4 pm on July 5.

Minister on Left Front

Mr Subhash Chakravarti, a Cabinet Minister of West Bengal, has claimed that the Left Front government in that state could complete 25 years in power as the people had faith in party policies.

Addressing newsmen here this afternoon, Mr Chakravarti said the Left Front had been securing two-third majority during the last six assembly elections. He claimed that the Front had not made any false promise to allure voters and fulfilled all the pre-poll promises.

Medical Conference

The 29th Annual Haryana State Medical Conference - Medicon- 2002 - would be held in Rohtak on June 30. The organising secretary, Dr Sushil Nawal, said on Friday evening that the conference would be organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Rohtak Medical College branch. He said it would be attended by about 200 doctors from different parts of Haryana and central and state IMA office-bearers.

Dr Nawal said eminent speakers from Haryana and other places would deliver lectures on different topics like the role of MRI in clinical practice, psycho-sexual disorders, epilepsy in children and management and treatment of bio-medical waste. Dr R. L. Garg, newly elected president of the state IMA, would take charge at the inaugural session of the Medicon- 2002 on Sunday, he added.

12 sex workers held

As many as 12 persons, including nine women, have been arrested on the charge of prostitution in the Mujesar police station area. According to the police, the group was headed by a couple, who had been running the racket for the past several months in the area. The accused were nabbed from a house in Sanjay Colony after a raid. Meanwhile, one person died and two others were injured after a truck and tractor collided near Hodal town on Friday.


Gang of dacoits busted, six nabbed
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, June 29
The district police have busted a gang involved in several cases of looting, dacoity and murder with the arrest of six of its members in Dabodha village last night.

A district police spokesman said here today that a team of the Crime Branch, Bahadurgarh, on routine patrolling near Dabodha Chowk naka on the Bahadurgarh-Jhajjar road received a tip off that six armed miscreants had gathered in a deserted place outside the village and were planning a robbery. Three different raiding parties swooped on the place from different directions and arrested all the criminals. Two .315 bore pistols, two cartridges, two iron rods and a knife and a razor were seized from them.

The criminals were identified as Ashok of Nilothi village, Dharambir of Kherka Gujjar, Jasbir of Dabodha Khurd, Rajesh of Kharhar village, Ajay of Mahavir Colony in Sonepat and Ravinder of Kaboolpur village. All were hardcore criminals and several cases would be solved with their arrest, the spokesman said.


Dealer shot dead in Naraina Mandi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
A dealer in Loha Mandi of Naraina in South-West district died after unidentified assailants shot at him last evening. The assailants managed to run away after the attack under the cover of darkness.

The critically injured victim, Manmohan Dahani (40), was admitted to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The motive behind the murder is yet not clear. However, the case is being investigated from two angles — old enmity and robbery..

The incident occurred when the victim was going to his house in Inderpuri. As he reached a few metres away from a shop, the assailants shot at him from point-blank range.

In another case, the Nand Nagri police arrested one Mahboob on the charge of raping and murdering a minor girl. He allegedly sexually abused the girl in his house and then strangulated her to death. Later, he threw her body after wrapping it in a bag. The body was recovered from the outskirts of Nand Nagri, the police said.

Tiff over CNG

A quarrel over filling CNG between bus operators led to a clash in which two persons received injuries and admitted to a hospital near Chandagi Ram Akhara on Friday. There was a serpentine queue at the CNG filling station at Chandagi Ram Akhara. When bus driver Shiva, conductor Pintoo and their helper Girish of a private bus (DL-1PB-3154) tried to jump the queue to get CNG, workers of another bus, Anand Prakash and Jai Chand, raised objection which led to the quarrel. Shiva and his associates attacked them with iron rods and injured them. The Civil Lines police arrested Girish while the other two absconded, the police said.

Medicine pilferage

With the arrest of two employees of GTB Hospital and a receiver of stolen medicines and surgical instruments, the Special Cell of the city police claimed to have busted a racket of pilferage of medicines from the government hospital.

The police received a secret information that Kanhya Lal, a class IV employee in the operation theatre in GTB Hospital used to steal medicines and surgical instruments and hand over them to one Yasin. The police laid a trap on Friday and arrested them. The interrogation of Kanhya Lal led to the arrest of Rajinder Thakur, another employee of the hospital.

The police recovered catheters, antiseptic gels, infusion sets, disinfectants, disposable syringes, gloves, tracheotomy tubes, bandages and dressings, arsine tablets, midazolam injections and other such items.

Pak national held

In another case, the Special Cell arrested a Pakistan national who had been living in Delhi since 1994. He had a dairy in the Ghazipur Dairy Farm in East district. He has been identified as Mohammad Gulam Nabi.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he originally belonged to Lahore in Pakistan. He came to India in 1967 and kept on extending his long-term visa. After 1994, he did not get renewed his visa and had been living illegally. He fraudulently acquired a ration card and a voter’s identity card to prove that he was an Indian citizen, the police said.


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