Friday, July 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Judicial watchdog for DSGMC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
In a bid to bring about transparency and professionalism in the functioning of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, the victorious pro-Tohra Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi, today pledged to appoint former Delhi High Court Judge, Justice Jaspal Singh, as the head of the Gurdwara Judicial Board, revamp the educational council and retrench excess staff.

“Justice Jaspal Singh will head the three-member board. We will give him a free hand in appointing the other members of the board, which will probe the deals of the previous committee during the past two years and will also act as a watchdog with regard to the functioning of the DSGMC,” Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the SAD, Delhi, said here today.

Addressing newspersons for the first time after the victory of his party, which routed the SAD (Badal), Mr Sarna said, “The tenure of the Judicial Board members will be for a period of three years. Their role will be similar to that of the judicial institution in existence in the SGPC.”

Expressing concern over the pathetic condition of the educational institutions run by the DSGMC, he said, “The Educational Council will be revamped and the present defunct council will be dissolved. We will grant autonomy to the new council and will improve the standard of the schools and colleges.”

The SAD, Delhi, leader said the party would exert pressure to ensure that the institution of autonomous Gurdwara Judicial Board and Educational Council become a part of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1971.

Mr Sarna said a realistic assessment of the persons employed in the DSGMC-run institutions would be made and excess staff retrenched.

“Having a large staff is not economically viable and is a drain on the resources of the committee. As per our conservative estimate, there are about 25 per cent excess staff employed in schools, colleges, hospitals and gurdwaras,” he said.

He pointed out that in the past two years alone more than 900 persons were employed by the DSGMC, even though the actual requirement was much less.

Even as Mr Sarna, whose party has won 27 seats in the elections, is confident of heading the new committee, fissures have appeared within the SAD, Delhi, with supporters of former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, sounding a dissenting note.

Party sources indicated that the former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, has reportedly declined to extend unconditional support to Mr Sarna’s nomination to head the next DSGMC.

Six supporters of Bhai Ranjit Singh have managed to get elected.

Mr Sarna and the former Akal Takht Jathedar have been on a collision course as only a few supporters of Bhai Ranjit Singh could secure party tickets.

Indications are that the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, is likely to attempt to bring about a rapprochement between the two leaders.

Mr Sarna declined to comment on the tussle between him and the former Akal Takht Jathedar. However, he indicated that he would head the next committee as he had the support of all members of his party.


Don’t expect miracles in three days: Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
Pushed into a corner by the public outrage over the erratic supply of electricity, a beleaguered Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday appealed to Delhiites to give time to the private distributors to settle down. “You cannot expect miracles to happen in three days,” she told media persons soon after emerging from the meeting with representatives of Tata Power and Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) and the chairman and managing director of Transco.

Several parts of the Capital have been without electricity for hours on end. The erratic supply has persisted for the last three days. The “technical fault” is being attributed to low voltage from the Dadri Power Station, leading to blackout by rotation. Faced with the unprecedented power cut, a restless Delhi has begun to question the wisdom of privatising the distribution of electricity. The responsibility of distribution was handed over to the private players on July 1.

Appreciating the anxiety of the consumers, the chief minister said the public outrage was also due to the high expectations of the people. Appealing to Delhiites to remain patient, Ms Dikshit said the Government of NCT of Delhi’s priority was customer satisfaction. Ruling out sabotage, she said the officers and staff were co-operating with the management of the private distribution companies. “The problem, if any,” she said, “was with the Northern Grid …. Also, co-ordination among the different companies.”

Adi J Engineer of Tata Power, in turn, said that privatisation was on course and all the outstanding problems would be overcome by next month. Chief Executive (Infrastructure Finance) of BSES JP Chalasani was more forthcoming. “Besides the technical faults in the Northern Grid, the spurt in demand for electricity could also be one of the reasons for the breakdowns.” The peak power demand on Wednesday was 3050 MW. Responding to the criticism from certain quarters that the helplines and customer centres were not entertaining complaints, Mr Chalasani said the helplines had not been changed. “We deliberately chose to retain the old numbers for the sake of continuity and easy recall.”

The Government of NCT of Delhi said 105 MW of power generated by the Pragati Power Plant would supplement the electricity available to help improve the situation. The government spokesperson said the chief minister had asked the chairman and managing director of Transco to put out bulletins, whenever necessary, regarding load-shedding due to grid conditions.

At the moment, all parts of the city are facing power cuts.


NDMC refuses to renew Chanakya’s licence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The New Delhi Municipal Council, at its monthly meeting held here today, decided not to renew the licence of Chanakya Cinema. Besides, it agreed to opening up of tax collection counters and organisation of camps, reduction in fee for using public conveniences, settlement of shops’ licences at one time, construction of footpaths, and improvement in housing complexes.

Disclosing the decisions of the council, Mr Ram Bhaj, MLA and Vice-Chairperson, NDMC, said the municipal council had decided not to renew the licence or grant any extension to M/s Aggarwal and Modi, present licensees of the Chanakya Cinema Complex, in view of two major factors. One, the redevelopment of this complex would ensure huge returns to the NDMC. These could exceed Rs 25 lakh per month and also generate extensive revenue to the state in the form of tax. Secondly, the NDMC felt that without its possession neither proper redevelopment could be carried out nor any bidder/collaborator/outside party would show interest, keeping in view its past history of litigation. To ensure normal and fair competition plus higher bids, resumption of possession was imperative, he added. The council had also decided to appoint a senior advocate on behalf of the NDMC to present the case in court.

Mr Ram Bhaj said the NDMC had proposed holding property tax collection camps in different colonies. He further said the NDMC was also introducing a system whereby departmental representatives would be deputed to collect taxes from the doorsteps of senior citizens, housewives and handicapped taxpayers.

The council had decided to construct 20 more public conveniences on build, operate and transfer basis in its area in addition to the 40 toilet blocks, which had already got the nod. Out of these, 34 had already been completed. From the new toilet blocks, the council would get a fixed revenue of Rs 8,500 per month, charging 50 paisa for urination and Re 1 for use of the toilet. At present, it is Re 1 and Rs 2, respectively, in other public conveniences.

A footpath would be constructed at Niti Marg from Kautilya Marg to Satya Marg for which Rs 15,48,052 had been set aside. A power sub-station at DG-Block Pump House, Sarojini Nagar, will be constructed to ensure stable and continuous power supply in the pump house so that there is no obstruction in the water supply to the feeding areas. A sum of Rs 33,42,000 was sanctioned for this work.

The civic body has also decided to upgrade Type III and IV quarters at Sarojini Nagar by adding one room and one toilet without any change in the category of the quarter, keeping in view the covered area within the approved norms of the Government of India. A sum of Rs 32,39,800 will be spent on this work.

One of the major decisions taken at today’s meeting was to introduce a one-time settlement scheme operative up to March 31, 2003, so that the bulk of disputes on account of interest demand outstanding from shops as the rate of interest could be settled.


Cable operators, RWAs in fight to finish over rates
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 4
The Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) and the cable TV operators here seem to be locked in a fight to the finish over the subscription rates.

While the cable TV operators are on an indefinite strike since Wednesday noon, blacking out the channels in the process, the federation of various Residents Welfare Associations of the town has declared that it will not pay more than Rs 150 (per connection) per month.

What seems to have `offended’ the cable operators is the Police Department’s decision to side with the RWAs. It is learnt that the decision to go on strike was taken by the operators’ association after some of them were called to the Central police station and told that action would be taken, if they charged whimsical rates and snapped any connection.

The representatives of their association also met the Deputy Commissioner and submitted a memorandum. In the memorandum, the operators claimed that the rates had been increased by the channels and they had no choice in the matter. They further asserted that the local administration could not fix the rates. They also alleged that they were being harassed.

The federation of RWAs does not agree with the operators. It says that the operational cost of cable per connection was very less and the operators, who had formed an association, had been hiking the charges arbitrarily and in an indiscriminate manner, showing only 10 to 15 per cent of the connections in records.

A representative of the federation said the operators had a `monopoly’ in their respective areas and anyone who dared to question the hike was threatened with disconnection.

While the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anil Malik, has deputed the SDM, Mr Jitender Dahiya, to talk with the operators and residents to sort out the issue, the residents of the town are without cable TV for the last 24 hours. The SDM told the `NCR Tribune’ that a meeting had been convened to discuss the stand-off and possibly to find a solution.

It may be recalled that a similar meeting was held in 2001 and it was decided unanimously that the operators would charge up to Rs 150 per month from a consumer. But this agreement came to an end on December 31 last year and the operators have since then hiked the rates to Rs 200/Rs 250 per connection.

Interestingly, perhaps for the first time in the region, cable operators have been taken to court on the issue by a social activist, who has alleged that the operators had been blatantly violating the rules and regulations of the Act governing cable networks.

In a writ petition pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the applicant has made the local administration a party to the case, alleging that the authorities had failed to take any action against the culprits. He has also served a `notice’ on the Power Department and the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) for allowing the `misuse’ of their poles by the cable operators.


Two labourers die in factory fire
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, July 4
Two labourers were charred to death and two others received serious burn injuries in a devastating fire which broke out in a factory in the Modern Industrial Estate in Bahadurgarh town of the district today morning.

According to Ram Bahadur, an electrician in the factory, who was sleeping on the first floor, a loud bang awoke him. He went downstairs and saw that the fire had engulfed the entire production room in which work was on.

Five labourers were working in the production room and two of them, identified as Vijay and Umesh, were burnt alive while two others, Rakesh and Lallan, were rescued by the policemen. The fifth one managed to sneak out of the room and informed the police and the fire brigade authorities. The fire was so intense that the remains of the deceased could not be retrieved.

The incident occurred at about 3 am. The fire brigade and the police reached the spot in half-an-hour. The lone fire tender struggled to control the blaze for more than two hours. The fire also gutted two tonnes of raw material and the machines installed in the production room.

The factory was owned by Mr Vinay Kumar, a Delhi resident.

The Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh has demanded a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs. 2 lakh for the seriously injured.

It has also sought action against the factory owners for not putting labourers on its employment roll. The tragic incident has yet again exposed the inadequate fire-fighting measures in the factories.


Residents quench thirst after week-long ordeal
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, July 4
Thanks to the drying up of the canal-based storage tanks of the town, about one lakh residents of Rewari have had to grapple with a severe drinking water crisis in the past one week.

However, the situation has now eased with the release of canal water into the tanks since last morning. The ordeal, which the citizens had to brave in this sweltering heat and which is still not over, has been of great magnitude. Hapless men, women and children in thousands virtually ran from pillar to post to obtain a bucketful or two of water from jet pumps, hand pumps, submersible pumps and wells of brackish water from dawn to dusk for days together in the past one week. The affluent residents purchased water at soaring rates from private tankers, which remained out of reach for the poor citizens for obvious reasons.

Delegations of distressed citizens have been continually knocking at the doors of the district administration for relief and respite. Mr R. C. Arora, Executive Engineer of J. L. N. Canal, Division-3, Rewari, told NCR Tribune today that water in the canal here was released (as per the schedule of the headworks) from May 30 to June 14. The supply remained cut off from June 15 to June 30. This ultimately led to the drying up of the storage tanks towards the month-end, resulting in total cessation of supply to Rewari city. Mr Arora further said the supply from the headworks to the canal here had resumed on July 1 as per the schedule. It would now continue up to July 16.

Mr K. K. Yadav, Executive Engineer, Public Health Department here, told NCR Tribune this morning that they had been daily supplying about 25 lakh gallons of water to the residents of Rewari. About 12 lakh gallons was being supplied through 12 tubewells of the Masani Waterworks and another 13 lakh gallons from the canal-based water supply scheme against the normal requirement of about 31 lakh gallons daily. When the storage tanks of the canal-based water supply scheme dried up, the total daily supply of about 25 lakh gallons was automatically reduced to half. This caused unbearable hardship to the citizens for days together. The scorching heat aggravated their distress.


BKU leaders may hold parleys with CM today
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, July 4
Leaders of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) are likely to meet Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala tomorrow in Chandigarh to discuss issues concerning farmers, including the waiver of the outstanding electricity bills.

The Finance Minister, Prof Sampat Singh, told newspersons here today that the BKU leaders had expressed the desire to meet the Chief Minister after his return from abroad to discuss their pending demands.

Prof Sampat Singh, who had headed the high-powered committee constituted by the Chief Minister to negotiate with the agitating farmers last month, told media persons that total waiver of the outstanding bills was not possible. He, however, hinted that the government was not averse to extending the latest scheme of the government that envisages waiver of 75 per cent of the bill amount if the balance is paid in one go.

The Finance Minister said the INLD had not made any electoral promise to provide free power and water during the last assembly elections. The party, he said, had promised quality power supply.

He agreed that when the INLD had promised to provide free power and water the electorate had not voted it to power. He gave the assurance that the INLD government would not lag behind in solving farmers’ problems but reiterated that it was not possible for it to waive the outstanding electricity bills.

Prof Sampat Singh said the report about the negotiations held by the committee with the BKU leaders would be discussed at the INLD meeting proposed to be held at Sirsa on July 7. The Chief Minister will preside over the meeting, which would be attended by members of the Pradesh Executive, office-bearers, MLAs and MPs. The meeting would also discuss pending issues of the BKU in the light of tomorrow’s negotiations at Chandigarh.

The Finance Minister denied that Gurgaon was being meted out preferential treatment in the matter of setting up of new industrial units. He was evasive when asked as to why the government was not developing areas in Jhajjar and Sonepat districts bordering Delhi. He, however, claimed that the INLD government was not biased against any area in the state. He said the entrepreneurs themselves had opted to set up units in Gurgaon.

Mr Sampat Singh claimed the government had not retrenched any of its employees. Employees of only those public sector undertakings, boards or corporation were being retrenched which were running into huge losses and were a burden on the state exchequer. Such retrenched employees, he said, would be given priority if they sought employment elsewhere and were eligible for it. The government, he said, had no plans to accommodate these retrenched employees in other departments.

He said the visit of the Chief Minister to the USA and other western and Asian countries was aimed at projecting an attractive image of Haryana in a bid to invite foreign investment in the state. The tour had proved to be a great success, he claimed.



Katha: A beacon of hope for slum children
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, July 4
For two-and-a-half years old Sharada, daughter of a domestic help, playing with toys, playing music and generally having a good time is not a distant dream. Unlike many other children like her whose parents come in the lower income group bracket, Sharada is exposed to a childhood, which her parents could otherwise have not afforded. She is a part of the crèche run by the Katha, a non-profit voluntary organisation, which helps the underprivileged children attain quality education.

Like Sharada, there are scores of other children who have found a means to quality education and life in the Katha. The learning centre, Kathashala, started by the organisation in the Capital’s Govindpuri, a slum cluster that houses about 15,000 families, is aimed at imparting education to the children of these slums. Kathashala, the innovative non-formal education centre, lays emphasis on life skills.

Since its inception in 1990, the centre has been catering to students, offering facilities like crèche for the younger ones and vocational training for those who have finished school. At present, about 1,300 children are enrolled at the school, which is run on funds provide either by the government or donated by individuals and also on foreign aid.

Keeping pace with the modern educational facilities offered by the public schools, the school introduced computer lessons to the students in 1995. Today with more than 50 computers, the school affords its children the opportunity to stay abreast with their peers.

The Katha also runs mobile schools for those children who cannot go to school. The Tamasha Road Show, as the mobile school is called, imparts education in four parts of the city as of now. They teach children who have no access to a formal school in areas like Mool Chand red light, Haus Rani, Sarojini Nagar and Indira Camp. These children are taught through these mobile schools till the time they become eligible to enter a formal school.

The organisation also offers relevant education to working children and others from the slum clusters through its Katha School of Entrepreneurship. These children and adults are made to enjoy the learning process through a means of a unique pedagogy. Setting up clubs like the Katha Information Technology and E-commerce school and the Iccha Ghar (computer clubhouse), children are taught learning through doing.

The organisation remains committed to providing life-long education opportunities to children who have either never been to school or have dropped out and hence lapsed into illiteracy. A commitment that spells hope for many other Sharadas. 



Kashmiri Samiti registers its woes with CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
Registering their protest at being denied the “right to life,” the Kashmiri Samiti on Thursday met the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, and sought her government’s help to solve the problems facing the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley.

The president of the Samiti, Mr Sunil Shakdher, said the memorandum handed over to the Chief Minister, contained a charter of demands, which touched upon the need to provide basic amenities that have been hitherto denied to the community.

“Almost 50,000 Kashmiri migrants living in the Capital have still not been registered. Denial of registration,” he says, “deprives the community of retaining the umbilical cord with their state”.

Their other demands include: Renewal of registration of migrants which is required for admission of children in educational institutions and employment of their wards in the public sector; regularisation of service and enhancement of the pay of migrant teachers to the level of regular teachers; substantial increase in monthly relief; providing basic amenities like water and electricity to the Tehbazari allottees; streamlining the housing scheme of the Delhi Development Authority for rehabilitation of migrants and making it affordable to them; social security measures for senior citizens and financial assistance and soft loans for setting up small businesses.

Shakdher said many of the 237 families who were allotted flats by the DDA have still been unable to move into their homes as the down payment of Rs 1.8 lakh was not only exorbitant but also prohibitive. He said about 254 Kashmiri migrants were working as teachers in schools run by the Government of NCT of Delhi and another 88 in the schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD.)

“Not only have their services not been regularised”, “they have also been deprived of equity insofar as pay scale is concerned”, he said.

He also said the order issued in 1991 by the Department of Public Bureau of Enterprises for reservation of Kashmiri migrants in the public sector had not been implemented thus far.

He said “the Kashmiri migrants may not be a part of a vote bank but they can be a deciding factor, given that our population in Delhi is 2.75 lakh and another 4.25 lakh elsewhere in the country”, referring to the marginalisation of the community from the national mainstream.



Kudos to district admn for desilting drive
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, July 4
Residents of Rohtak have heaved a sigh of relief as the long-pending problems of traffic congestion and accumulation of flood water in several busy markets are likely to be reduced considerably following the demolition and desilting drive launched by the district administration recently.

The task of desilting the nullah along the roadside was taken up by the district administration after over a decade. The nullah was dug to carry the flood water out of the town by the then district authorities but it failed to serve the purpose after a few years as the authorities paid no attention towards its desilting.

The desilting of the nullah was a tough task as it was almost completely covered by the owners of business establishments who encroached on the nullah.

However, Mr Ashok Yadav, who joined as Deputy Commissioner here recently, launched a massive drive to demolish the large-scale encroachments over the nullah to relieve the people of the havoc wrought by floods and widen the roads. The demolition squad cleared the encroachments on Civil Road, the Jhajjar road, Railway Road, Subhash Road, Gohana stand, Bhiwani stand etc during the past few days.

During the demolition drive the Deputy Commissioner received complaints from traders on Railway Road on Wednesday that the nagar parishad authorities had been discriminating during the demolition drive.

Mr Yadav himself visited the site this morning and ordered immediate demolition of nearly six unauthorised structures constructed over the nullah which were ‘spared’ by the demolition squad on Wednesday. The employees of the municipal committee have almost completed the desilting of the nullah in view of the ensuing monsoon. 



This crusader envisions a drug-free world
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, July 4
The battle against drugs begins as soon as an initiative is launched. Yet, to keep that battle going is no easy task. Gurmeet Singh began the battle more than a decade ago and continues to wage a full-scale war against drugs, saving many a live from abuse and death.

Gurmeet Singh along with three other friends from Khalsa College began a crusade against drug addiction. The four youngsters, who were distressed at the increase in the number of drug addicts, began their battle against drugs by starting the first chapter of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle in Ludhiana.

Another centre was soon set up in the Capital’s Dev Nagar to create awareness among students and help them stay away from the lethal world of drugs. Gurmeet’s brother Sarvjeet Singh and his friend Harcharan Singh have contributed their bit in extending a helping hand to him.

Determined in his fight against drug abuse, Gurmeet has set up a sub-office of his organisation in every state. The organisation has been working with the Directorate of Visual Publicity to reach out to the masses and spread the word against drug abuse.

Gurmeet and his like-minded associates also relay their message to the masses through nukkad natak (street plays). They especially hold these performances in rural areas to help create awareness among the people. They also use slide shows, depicting the horrible reality of drug abuse. Thanks to the endeavours made by the conscientious youths, word about their good deeds has spread across the seven seas to countries like the USA and Australia. Gurmeet points out that various NGOs from across the world, which are involved in the same endeavour, have approached them. Their work has fetched them awards from an NGO operating in England.

The man of convictions that he is, Gurmeet Singh, who was once arrested under TADA, went on a three-day hunger strike in Tihar Jail because he wanted smoke-free cells for himself and those who did not smoke.

For now, Gurmeet has set himself a goal that he is working towards fulfilling, that of making the young stay off drugs. He is determined in his pursuit and is working with a zest, which is extremely inspiring.


SDM denies role of brokers
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 4
The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Faridabad, Mr Jitender Dahiya, has claimed that there were no agents or brokers operating in his office to issue driving licences.

Reacting to an item published in a section of the press recently, Mr Dahiya said, since the computerisation of the licencing process in Faridabad and Ballabgarh sub-divisions, there was no scope for any role of brokers. He said if a person wants to get a licence, he has to be present at the office. As such, there was no role for an agent in the process.

Three killed

Three persons including a married woman lost their lives in various incidents in the town in the past 24 hours.

A 23-year-old woman who could not be identified but was a resident of Azad Colony near Ajronda village, died due to electrocution in her house this afternoon. It is reported that she was electrocuted while she was trying to operate her refrigerator.

According to information, her husband identified as Mukesh, runs a shop.

In another incident, one Yashpal (22), who had been injured in an accident a few days ago, succumbed to his injuries at the Escorts Hospital here.

Mehtab, a resident of Mohabattabad village, died under mysterious circumstances in the third case reported here.

Steps to Increase Revenue

The Zila Parishad, Faridabad, is `worried’ about its revenue and has started to explore various means and ways to increase the receipts. At a meeting held at the Panchayat Bhawan, Ballabgarh, the body adopted a resolution seeking information about its movable and non-movable assets (property) in the district.

The meeting chaired by the president of the Parishad, Mr Rajesh Rawat, asked the Block Development Officer (BDO) to provide the details within 15 days. The BDO’s of Palwal, Hodal, Hathin, Faridabad and Hassanpur were also present.

Pension scheme

About 13,205 people have been identified for the `old age pension scheme’ in the district. According to the Deputy Commissioner, about 53,756 persons had been receiving the pension and an amount of Rs 1.07 crore was spent on the scheme last month in the district. Besides these, he said about 23,748 beneficiaries received aid under widow and `helpless’ people category during the period.

About 215 new names had been added in this category from this month. The administration also provided aid worth Rs 6.98 lakh as pension to about 3,493 physically challenged persons during the month of June.


Monsoon fails to keep its date

New Delhi
The rendezvous, which the Capital had with the monsoon, will have to wait as the rain-bearing clouds, which were likely to hit the Capital today, have failed to keep the promise. According to the Met department forecast, the monsoon was expected to hit the Capital today but because of the changed conditions it will be delayed by two days. The low pressure area, which was spotted over Bihar, is expected to travel towards north west areas like Delhi, Punjab and western U P. The Met department maintains that the low pressure area is nearly stationary over Bihar, and conditions were favourable for the advance of the monsoon to Delhi and adjoining areas. OC


Budgetary allocation for SC/ST welfare schemes increased

New Delhi, July 4
The Delhi Government has announced an increase in the budget allocation for the welfare schemes related to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Minister for Social Welfare, Mr Raj Kumar Chauhan, said here today that the budget has been increased by six times the amount sanctioned earlier and it will be further raised in the next financial year.

Mr Chauhan, who was addressing a gathering at the inauguration of Chaupal Bhavan in East Delhi, pointed out that with this increase, the budget for the SC/ST schemes now stands at Rs 12 crore and it would be further raised to Rs 20 crore in the next financial year. OC


Youth killed in hail of bullets to avenge murder
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, July 4
A youth, Azhar Ansari, alias Sonu (24), was felled in a hail of bullets in Kela Bhatta area in broad daylight on Wednesday in a clear case of revenge killing. Azhar himself is an accused in the murder of a youth, Shamim, and had been out on a bail. The police have not been able to arrest the alleged killers so far though they have been identified as the brothers of Shamim. The sensational attack has sent panic wave in the area.

Azhar Ansari is the younger son of Mr N. U. Ansari, an advocate and a past general secretary of the UP state Congress. According to reports, Azhar reached Kela Bhatta main market at about noon on his motor bike on Wednesday. Four youth surrounded him and one of them put a revolver on his temple and fired a number of shots as a result of which Azhar slumped down. One of them again loaded the revolver and fired another shot that pierced his skull and exited from the eye on the other side. Having ensured that he was dead, the assailants went away waving their pistols.

In the meanwhile, somebody informed the Kotwali police station. A large police force under SP City and Circle Officer Pramod Kumar reached the spot. Emptied cartridges of .12 and .315 bore were recovered from the place of murder.

Advocate Ansari’s elder son, Mustaffa, who was with Azhar and had reportedly fled from the spot, filed a complaint with the police naming the two real brothers for the murder while the two others could not be identified.

The police said the deceased himself was an accused in the murder of Shamim in this very area on July 17 last year. He was out on bail and ran a garment export unit. The two persons named in Azhar’s murder are real brothers Mamur and Harun, the brothers of Shamim.

According to the police, Azhar had a love affair with a girl of the area and had allegedly eliminated Shamim who had become an obstacle in his way. His lover was reported to have asked him to get rid of Shamim.



DTC bus passengers robbed at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, July 4
Four armed criminals looted thousands of rupees and jewellery from passengers and Rs 7,000 from the conductor of a DTC bus, going from Rampur to Delhi, between Hapur and Pilkhua, on Wednesday night. Some passengers were beaten up for resisting the criminals.

As the bus reached Nizampur village between Hapur and Pilkhua at 10.30 pm, the criminals, who had boarded the bus at Hapur, took out country-made revolvers and knives and overpowered the driver and conductor and made the driver turn the bus on to a kachcha road. Once the bus had gone about half a kilometre on the village road, they deprived the passengers and conductor Mahesh Chander of cash and valuables amounting to thousands of rupees. The criminals disembarked about 15 minutes later.

The driver took the bus to the Pilkhua police station and filed a report about the loot. A general alert was sounded by the police to all the police stations and check posts in the area and senior officers rushed to the spot. But the desperados had made good their escape by then.


Inter-state gang of mobike lifters busted
Our Correspondent

Meerut, July 4
The city police today busted an inter-state gang of motorcycle robbers operating in Western UP and Delhi and arrested two members. During routine checking, Sub Inspector Promod Kumar of Nauchandi police station stopped two persons, Narendra of Gandhi Nagar, Ghaziabad and Dhopal Sharma of T. P. Nagar here, coming on a Hero Honda motorcycle (UP-15M-3282) at Sector 6/7 crossing. They were found to be riding with neither the registration certificate nor driving licence.

On further questioning, they confessed that they had stolen the motorcycle from the parking area of Wheter Club in the night of June 8. They also disclosed the name of the third member of the gang, Irshad of Lisari Road here. In two other incidents, two mobikes were stolen today. In the first incident, robbers stole a Hero Honda motorcycle (UP-15-M-5505) of Mrs Rajbala in the Medical police station area. Another Hero Honda mobike (UP15-J -7334) of Mr Anuj Trined, resident of Khatta road, was also stolen by two young unidentified robbers from P. L. Sharma Road.



Call girl racket unearthed in Vasant Kunj
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
Eleven call girls and three touts were arrested today by the Anti-Extortion Cell of the Crime Branch for their alleged involvement in prostitution racket in Vasant Kunj area in South-West district.

Kiran (45), the women who used to run the flesh trade, was also nabbed.

Acting on a tip of, the police sent a decoy customer who managed to strike a deal with the touts. The cops, who were waiting nearby, immediately nabbed the accused.

Interestingly, the girls worked for Kiran on the basis of fixed monthly salary of Rs 45,000 along with the provision of food and accommodation arrangements.

In an alternative system, the girls worked on a 50 per cent partnership with her. 


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