Tuesday, July 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S

Delhi gets taste of another bandh
Tribune News Service

BJP activists trying to enforce the bandh in Connaught Place in the Capital on Monday
BJP activists trying to enforce the bandh in Connaught Place in the Capital on Monday. Tribune Photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, July 22
The day-long bandh called by the Bharatiya Janata Party to highlight the shortage of power and water evoked a mixed response with the markets and industrial unit downing their shutters in some parts of the Capital. Life in the city was not affected as public transport and essential services were exempt from the bandh.

The bandh was by and large peaceful with no major untoward incident being reported from anywhere in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, much to the relief of the common man.

While the newly appointed BJP president, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, claimed that the bandh was a “massive” success, the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, dubbed it a “flop” show.

However, the bandh has galvanised the two main political parties in the Capital and the agitational strategy is likely to gather momentum in the coming months.

The BJP workers, demoralised after the rout in the civic polls, were spurred by Mr Khurana’s agitational strategy and came out in the streets to enforce the bandh. The Congress, too, was galvanised into action and ensured that he bandh was not a runaway success.

Mr Khurana explained that the bandh was called to highlight the problems of Delhiites who are reeling under a severe power and water crisis for the last few months, especially after the privatisation of the Delhi Vidyut Board on July 1.

“Life in city was normal and even if some markets were closed, it was because they observe a weekly holiday on Mondays”, Ms Dikshit explained.

Claiming that Delhiites had rejected the bandh call, she declared that the people were ready to give more time to the newly privatised power distribution companies to settle down. “People know that the two companies are making all efforts to normalise the power distribution”, she added.

DPCC spokesman and MLA Mukesh Sharma claimed that the power situation was ‘’satisfactory’’ in the capital, but conceded that some areas were experiencing power cuts due to local faults and sabotage by some elements opposed to the privatisation of the Delhi Vidyut Board.

If the private companies were given sufficient time, the power situation in the Capital would improve and be on par with Mumbai. Blaming the previous BJP government for the power crisis, Mr Sharma said the transmission and distribution loss during the BJP rule had increased from 26 per cent to 56 per cent, which was brought down by the Congress Government to 46 per cent.



Tohra men bundled into farm house
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
With less than 24 hours to go for the formation of the next Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, the Akali factions were today desperately trying to keep their flock together with former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, holding the key to the election of the DSGMC executive committee president.

Despite the Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi winning 27 of the 46 wards and one co-opted member and another of the Singh Sabha reinforcing its ranks, the pro-Tohra party finds itself in a piquant situation.

Six supporters of Bhai Ranjit Singh, who won on an SAD Delhi ticket, have clearly indicated that they would not support the DSGMC headed by Mr Sarna.

The SAD (Badal), which won 14 wards and also enjoys the support of three other members (one co-opted, one Singh Sabha and one SGPC nominee), has extended unconditional support to Bhai Ranjit Singh.

With no anti-defection law in force, horse-trading appears to be the order of the day.

Apart from wooing the five Independents, both the Akali factions are trying their best to protect their flock.

After losing the support of six Bhai Ranjit Singh members, the SAD Delhi is not taking any chance and has bundled “all” its members into a farmhouse in the outskirts of the Capital, where they have been provided with all comforts, except contact with the outside world, lest they be lured away by lucre.

The former Akal Takht Jathedar had asked his supporters to invalidate their votes for the election for co-option in a move to defeat Mr Harinderpal Singh, a confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The re-instatement of Bhai Ranjit Singh was the main issues responsible for the split of the Akali Dal on the eve of the ter-centenary celebrations.

Observers said the political developments over the next two days would have a deep impact on the Akali politics not only in the Capital but also in Punjab.

They said if Bhai Ranjit Singh joins hands with the Badal faction, it would be seen as an act of desertion. The electorate would perceive it as an infringement of the mandate and an attempt to cling on to power by all means.

Defection is not new in gurdwara politics. In May 2000, some DSGMC heavyweights, who a day before the executive elections were seen at Mr Tohra’s Delhi residence, switched their loyalties to Mr Badal on the polling day, facilitating his control of the religious panel.

This has provoked many observers to underscore the need for introducing an anti-defection law in the cash-strapped DSGMC.



A change
of heart on power pilferage
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
For a chief minister who didn’t hesitate taking potshots at the Lieutenant Governor for directing the chief secretary to register a criminal case against Congress legislator Jaspal Singh after the Lokayukta held him guilty of stealing electricity, Sheila Dikshit seems to have had a change of heart.

Addressing industry people at a function hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday, the chief minister assured private distributors Tata Power and Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) that the Government of NCT of Delhi will not interfere politically or administratively in their clampdown on anybody pilfering electricity.

“Nobody conniving with electricity thieves will be spared,” Ms Dikshit told the gathering. “Privatisation of distribution of electricity should and will come down severely on anybody involved in pilferage of power.” The thrust of her submission : “For a brighter future we will have to suffer for some time.”

However, compulsions of electoral politics were to soon overtake her. “The affected consumers,” she added as an afterthought, “should be given a specific time frame to get a regular connection and action should be taken against them only after the lapse of the deadline.”

The private players too used the occasion to articulate their thoughts. Chief Executive Officer of North North-West Delhi Electricity Company Anil Sardana shared Tata Power’s business plan that hinged on the premise that with lower losses and higher revenue, the growth rate of tariffs could also reflect a downswing. “It may even lower the actual tariffs,” he said.

BSES Chief Executive JP Chalasani, in turn, said they had prepared short-term and long-term blueprints for handling the power crisis in the capital. He said they had inherited an inadequate system with transmission and distribution losses of up to 50 per cent. “Once these losses are brought down to 30 per cent, the system will become self-sustaining,” he said. (The distribution companies have to bring down T&D losses from the present 50 per cent to 30 per cent in five years.)



Parliament shootout victims yet to get their financial dues
J. T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
Six months after five Delhi Police personnel sustained serious injuries in the storming of Parliament, they are yet to receive the promised financial assistance. Some of them had to even fend for themselves in the hospital, where they were recuperating after the shootout.

In a knee-jerk response after the attack, a large number of organisations and politicians had announced financial aid to those killed and injured. But apparently, over the months, the sentiment has dissipated.

The injured claim that Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on December 18 had reportedly announced in the Vidhan Sabha that Rs 25,000 to Rs one lakh would be given to those injured, depending on the nature of injury. But nothing has been done in this regard.

While Ms Dikshit claims that the relevant file had been referred to Raj Niwas soon after she announced a compensation to the injured security personnel in the Assembly on December 18, the LG office told the NCR Tribune that it was mutually agreed then that since the injured had already received a sum of over Rs 11 lakh from various sources, there was no point in pursuing the matter.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Raj Niwas sources said : “The injured had received over Rs 11 lakh from various sources like the Speaker of Lok Sabha, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and others … an additional Rs 4 lakh compensation by the Government of NCT of Delhi would have been excessive.”

But the five injured — SI P S Chauhan, ASI Jeet Ram, HC Kamal Singh, HC Samar Singh and Constable Rajat Bhist — claim that they have only received Rs 20,000 ex gratia from the Delhi Police. Besides, each one of them received Rs 25,000 from the Vice President of India, Rs one lakh from the Lok Sabha and Rs 10,000 from the Rajiv Gandhi National Relief and Welfare Trust. .

The injured also allege that the then Delhi Police Commissioner, Ajay Raj Sharma, had recommended to the Union Home Ministry that they may be rehabilitated, but the proposal is still pending with the ministry.

“We were not even selected for out-of-turn promotions and given other benefits by the Delhi Police. We had to spend from our pockets to foot our medical bills, which are yet to be reimbursed. We are still going to hospital for follow-up treatment,” said one of the injured.

“When other agencies have been generous, why is the Delhi Police not willing to help?” wonders a relative of the injured.

However, Delhi Police Commissioner R S Gupta, when contacted, told the NCR Tribune: “It is false to say nothing has been given to them. The Delhi Police has already given a few things to them and a few more have been proposed to be given to them.”

Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration), Sewa Dass, said that, “We have already paid them an ex gratia amount Rs 20,000 and asked the DCP concerned not to delay their reimbursements.”

Dass also said that he had summoned them to his office to discuss their problems. “If their problems are genuine, then we will try to help them,” he said.



MDU to get rid of its ad hoc tag
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, July 22
The Maharshi Dayanand University, where the key posts were being filled on ad hoc basis, will soon have a regular core staff. The Vice-Chancellor, Maj-Gen. (retd) Bhim Singh Suhag, told the ‘NCR Tribune’ here today that a high-level meeting with the PS to the Chief Minister in the chair would be held at Chandigarh on July 30 to decide filling the posts of Director, Distance Education (DDE) and Dean, Colleges Development Council (DCDC) on regular basis. A decision would also be taken to fill the posts of teachers.

The officials of the finance and education departments and the university would participate in the proposed meeting, he said.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the priority would be on filling the posts in the departments of computer sciences and pharmaceutical sciences, the departments which are really short of staff. He, however, added that as per the UGC norms, there were not many vacant posts in the faculty. Though as per the sanctioned strength, nearly 40 per cent posts were lying vacant. Maj-Gen Suhag disclosed that the executive council of the university at its last meeting had approved the appointment of teachers in ‘self-financing’ courses on contract basis for three to five years. He hoped that for a duration of three to five years, the university might get highly qualified staff.

Defending the introduction of new off-campus job integrated Bachelor’s degree courses through distance education mode, the Vice-Chancellor said that they were specialised courses which would attract the industry all over the country. No university in India has so far introduced these courses which would be industry-integrated like BBA (Entrepreneurship), BBA (Financial Services and Banking), BBA (Insurance), BBA (Sales and Marketing, BBA (Information Technology) and BBA (Computer Aided Management), Maj-Gen Suhag said.

Preference would be given to the industry-sponsored students. The students would spend at least three days a week in the industry and remaining three days in their class rooms. The industry would pay these students some stipend also, he said.



Ambience owner attacked on premises
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, July 22
In a violent fracas over filthy lucre, some contractors, accompanied by their associates, today assaulted Mr Raj Singh Gehlot, the proprietor of Ambience Project here. The Ambience Lagoon Apartments is a huge complex having swish flats with all mod cons.

They also attacked several functionaries of his firm on the complex premises. The incident has sent shock waves among the builders and colonisers operating in the city.

The police have registered a case, naming the assaulters, though no arrest has been made so far. According to DLF police personnel, the incident took place due to a dispute on payment of some money. The contractors were engaged for marble polishing and fixing by the Ambience firm.

The site is located near Delhi-Gurgaon border. The police said that Mr Raj Singh Gehlot and three others were injured in the assault. However, the injuries were not serious. The complainant in the case is Subedar Virender Singh, a securityman of the firm. His name also figures in the injured list.



Drought-hit farmers breach canal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, July 22
The farmers of Namunda village, about 25 km from here, breached the Delhi-Rewari canal passing the village late on Sunday night. They apparently resorted to the extreme step to irrigate the paddy crop which had all but run to seed on account of delayed monsoon.

The canal water inundated many acres of land, according to reports received here. The entire subdivisional administration of Samalkha town was on tenterhooks on Sunday night due to the breach of the canal.

It may be recalled that the canal is quite important and supplies water to the National Capital and Rewari. The bigger breach could have caused serious problems for the two cities.

The administration immediately got its act together and alerted several departments, including the police and the irrigation. Several senior officials, including Ms Pankaj, Samalkha SDM, visited the site and supervised the plugging of the breach. And by 6 pm, the breach was repaired much to the relief of the administration.

The police had registered cases against some farmers under Section 430 IPC, though no arrests have been made so far.

Meanwhile, alarmed at the development, the DC, Mr Balwan Singh, has imposed the Punjab Village and Small Towns Patrol Act, 1918 to check the stealing of canal water.

Under Section 3 of the Act, all able-bodied persons have been directed to do patrolling along the banks of the canal. The order will remain in force till September 20. Strict action will be taken against the violators, it said.



Steps being taken to save Yamuna
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, July 22
The Yamuna is highly polluted because of the inflow of untreated domestic and industrial wastes. Studies have indicated that out of the entire river length of 1,376 km, a 526-km stretch between Delhi and Etawah is highly polluted. The Central Pollution Control Board, which has been monitoring the water quality of the river at 17 locations from Yamunotri to Allahabad, has started monitoring it at four locations in the Capital as directed by the Supreme Court, the Lok Sabha was told today by the Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr T. R. Baalu.

He said that the Delhi Government had been taking various steps to save the river. Under the Yamuna Action Plan Phase – I, pollution abatement schemes had been undertaken in eight towns of Uttar Pradesh and 12 towns of Haryana and Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs 711 crore out of which Rs 655 crore had already been spent.

Mr Baalu also informed the House that during the recent storms, around 2,074 trees fell in the Capital, most of which were old, hollow and diseased. More than twice the number of trees of deep-rooted species like Jamun, Peepul and Gular were being planted.

The Delhi Police in association with the Drug Control Department of the Government of NCT of Delhi had unearthed an inter-state drug racket clandestinely manufacturing and selling fake drugs, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr A. Raja, told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply. He said that the police seized large stocks of allegedly spurious drugs from different godowns in and around Delhi on July 4. He added the ministry had specifically taken up the issue of combating the menace of spurious drugs.

He also said that the recognition of private hospitals under CGHS, Delhi had been made in accordance with the Tender Document circulated for the purpose. The Tender Document did not have any condition that private hospitals that had been allotted land in Delhi by the government on concessional rates had to necessarily purchase the Tender Document and apply for recognition under the CGHS, Delhi.

Replying to another question, Mr Raja said that the World Bank study estimated that nearly 40,000 people died each year of air pollution. The government had already implemented certain control measures such as introduction of unleaded petrol, Bharat I and II emission standards, low sulphur diesel, CNG for commercial vehicles and issuing of pollution under control certificates.

The Government of NCT of Delhi was organising Stree Shakti camps, a capacity-building project for women empowerment through Bhagidari, along with various departments and non-government organisations, the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr S. B. Mookkherjee, informed the Rajya Sabha. These camps would focus on health, awareness, literacy and income generation for those women between 15 and 45 years of age living in the slums.

He added that the government had been implementing a scheme titled ‘The Adolescent Girls Scheme’, which was revised last year and renamed Kishori Shakti Yojana, with a training component particularly on vocational aspects aimed at empowerment. The objectives of the scheme were to improve nutritional and health status of girls between 11-18 years. It also helped to provide for literacy and numeracy skills through non-formal education.

The Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr O. Rajagopal, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, said that the CPWD undertook the distribution of water supply to Central Government Housing Complex in Vasant Vihar from the bulk supply that it received from the Delhi Jal Board. The water from underground and tubewells further supplemented it. The bulk water supplied by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) was far below the requirements of about 900 kilolitres per day. To meet the shortage of water, the CPWD was arranging water tankers from the DJB and at times from private sources.

He added that with a view to augmenting water supply in the south, the DJB was also constructing 140-MGD capacity water treatment plant at Sonia Vihar, which is expected to be completed by December next year.



MPs support HYKSS demand on water to South Haryana
Our Correspondent

Rewari, July 22
The support extended by the National Federal Democratic Front (NFDF), comprising five prominent independent Members of Parliament, Mr Pappu Yadav (Bihar), Mohammad Anwar-ul-Haq (Bihar), Mr Sukh Dev Paswan (Bihar), Mr P.C.Thomas (Kerala) and Mr Mohan Delkar (Dadar and Nagar Haweli), has given a big boost to the on-going struggle of the Haryana Yuva Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (HYKSS) for an equitable distribution of canal water.

The Haryana Yuva Kisan Sangharsh Samiti is particularly demanding a greater share of canal water for south Haryana, comprising the districts of Mahendragarh, Rewari, Gurgaon, Faridabad and, Jhajjar.

Mr Naresh Yadav, president of HYKSS, told the ‘NCR Tribune’ here yesterday that undaunted by the brutal repression let loose by the police on the samiti activists at Narnaul recently and registration of criminal cases against them, they have decided to organise a protest rally at Ateli Mandi on August 3, in order to put pressure on the state government for the acceptance of their demands.

He said they also wanted to show that their struggle would continue, undeterred by the repression let loose on the their supporters.

He further said that the samiti had received a tremendous support with the consent of Mr Pappu Yadav, Mohammad Anwar-ul-Haq, Mr P.C.Thomas, Mr Mohan Delkar (MP’s), Mr Samar Singh Samar, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union and Mr Feroz Khan, (who played the role of Arjun in the Mahabharata TV Serial) to participate in their rally at Ateli on August 3, a prominent town of the Narnaul region of South Haryana.

He claimed that they have publicly announced their support to the HYKSS’s demand of equitable distribution of canal water in Haryana. Besides, the MP’s have decided to raise the issue in the current session of Parliament.

Mr Yadav said that presently he was making a tour of South Haryana to mobilise the people for the coming rally on August 3 and the enthusiastic response of the people in almost all the seventy villages toured by him so far, had given him hopes that it would be a historic rally. Flaying the successive governments of Haryana for the step-motherly treatment meted out to south Haryana in the

matter of the distribution of canal water, Mr Yadav bemoaned that the then Devi Lal government in 1977-78, had struck a severe blow in this regard to south Haryana when water of Beas river, meant for south Haryana, was diverted to Sirsa, Hisar, Narwana and Kaithal.

He added that this was a great injustice to the farmers of South Haryana who had since then been demanding a fair deal in the distribution of canal water to the region.

Mr Yadav said that it is all the more painful that successive Chief Ministers of the state had ruthlessly tried to crush the people’s struggle in south Haryana for an equitable distribution of canal water through police brutalities on the one hand, and persistent endeavour to placate the farmers of region with the promise of the SYL canal. He said the promise of the SYL canal, for all intents and purposes, have become a mirage notwithstanding the recent favourable verdict of the apex court. Mr Yadav categorically asserted that it was now going to be a fight to the finish and they would not rest till south Haryana got its rightful share of the available canal water in Haryana.



DVB privatisation
Govt kept MCD in dark: Subhash Arya
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was not taken into confidence when power distribution in the Capital was handed over to private companies, the Leader of Opposition in the corporation, Mr Subhash Arya, claimed today.

The Congress-led Delhi Government should have discussed the issue of power supply in the Capital before handing it over to private hands as the MCD was the biggest power user of the Delhi Vidyut Board. Eighty per cent of the area of the Capital was being controlled by the corporation. Besides, other agencies in the Capital should have been taken into confidence before the privatisation of the DVB.

Mr Subhash Arya said that the Delhi Government had ignored the MCD. This was one of the major factors of erratic power supply in the Capital. When a BJP councillor, Mr Vijender Gupta, tried to raise the power crisis issue in the Standing Committee meeting, it was suppressed saying that the privatisation of the DVB was proposed by the BJP when it was in power in Delhi.

Mr Arya said that the private companies had disconnected the power supply in parks, community centres and schools run by the MCD, in the scorching heat, for non-payment. Disconnection of the power supply to these places reflected the anti people attitude of the Delhi Government, he said.

The power crisis issue was also raised by Razia Sultana, a Congress councillor from Jafrabad area in trans-Yamuna. Captain Hanifuddin Park is without power since the power distribution has been privatised. Besides, MCD schools in Shalimar Bagh and Rohini are also without power.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Mehta, has discussed this issue with the power supply companies a number of times but nothing has been don so far in the schools and parks.

Mr Vijender Gupta said that the authorities concerned should take strict action against the companies as the DVB was indebted to the corporation for Rs 425 crore. Instead of disconnecting the power supply, the DVB should return the money of the corporation, he said.



Khurana denies getting legal notice from CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
The Delhi BJP president, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, today denied having received a defamation notice from Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. He remained unfazed by the threat and reiterated his charge that she had “given shelter” and “provided subsistence” to K. K. Malhotra, convicted in Coomar Narain spy case.

“Diskhit was giving shelter and providing subsistence to such a hardcore criminal who is charged with subversion and espionage. It is unethical and fraught with dangers,” Khurana alleged at a press conference after Ms Dikshit claimed to have sent a legal notice to him charging that he had indulged in defamation by levelling such accusations.

“Diskhit should have severed her relations with the person in the greater public interest after she became the Chief Minister,” he said. Stating he was “prepared to face a defamation charge”, the BJP leader said it was “expected of her to appreciate what I have said in the right perspective rather than silence the public and public-minded people”.



Metro mishap: Contractor charged with negligence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
A contractor employed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has been charged with criminal negligence for the death of a worker on Sunday at the construction site in Sarai Rohilla.

According to the employees on duty at the time of the accident, the worker fell from a height. The safety net was absent. Four workers received injuries. They are recovering at St Stephen’s Hospital.

Labour Minister Deep Chand Bandhu told mediapersons today that the Labour Commissioner of the Government of NCT of Delhi had been directed to initiate prosecution proceedings against the contractor – UK-based Skanska Cementation – for “criminal negligence” and “violation of labour laws” for its failure to ensure safety norms at the site.

Briefing reporters after he and Delhi Labour Welfare Board Chairman Sukhbir Sharma along with officials of the Department of Labour visited the site today afternoon, Mr Bandhu said Workmen Compensation Commissioner S. P. Singh also had been directed to extend adequate compensation to the dependants of the deceased and the injured.

The minister said the Government of NCT of Delhi would extend medical assistance to the injured and compensation to the kith and kin of the deceased and the injured. “The Department of Labour,” he said, “has been asked to conduct inspections at other construction sites so as to avert similar accidents.”



Rotarian honoured as ‘No 1 Governor in the World’ 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
Rotarian Ravi Vadlamani has become the first Indian to fetch the title “No 1 Governor in the world”. Mr Vadlamani was declared ‘World No 1’ by the ‘Global Quest’, launched by the Rotary International.

This honour was bestowed on him after a stiff competition from governors of 538 Rotary International districts from 163 countries. He received the award from the Rotary International president, Richard King of USA at Barcelona, Spain, in the presence of 25,000 Rotarians on June 24.

Before taking up the post of ‘District Governor’, Mr Vadlamani served as a president, Rotary Club, Guntur and held other key posts in the organisation.

He was actively involved in various social welfare projects and has spearheaded – the ‘Right to Learn’ programme, where the Rotary clubs have set up schools in various backward areas with a view to eradicate child labour.

He was also involved with Heal (Health for All) – a programme aimed at spreading awareness on healthcare to people living in slums and schools.



Preparations on for National Abilympics in Delhi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
While the preparations are on for the upcoming event of National Abilympics this November in Delhi, the training for potential participants in the National Abilympics has started in the four regional centres in the country. The Abilympics is an internationally recognized competition skill of the mentally challenged. The participants in the event would be the winners of the regional Abilympics which were held in different regional centres like Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Those who are declared winners at the national level will get a chance to represent India at the Sixth International Abilympics to be hosted in Delhi in 2003. Due to the lack of funds, NGOs and individual donors and specialists in the concerned skills have been asked to render financial help.

There will also be another round of training after the nationals for the potential participants in the International Abilympics. During the nationals, the works of craftsmen will be displayed in an exhibition at the Crafts Museum in Delhi.

While about 50 countries are expected to participate at the International Abilympics, representatives of 10 countries have agreed to attend the National Abilympics as observers.



Martyr cremated with full honours
Our Correspondent

Rewari, July 22
The body of Lance Naik Jaswant Singh of the 22 Grenadiers was cremated with full state honours at his native Basdoodha village, about 20 km from here, on Sunday. He died in an encounter with militants at Bankote, Bandipora, about 55 km from Jammu, in the north Kashmir district of Baramulla on Thursday. His body was brought to Basdoodha late in the evening on Saturday.

His funeral was attended by a large number of people. The pyre was lit by his elder brother, Mr Subhan Singh.

Earlier, floral tributes were paid to the deceased by the Haryana Health Minister, Dr M. L. Ranga, the deputy leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, an MP, Dr Sudha Yadav, the Rewari Zila Parishad chairman, Mr Praveen Chaudhary, senior district officials and several others.



‘Pragyan helps students face the upheavals of life’
Smriti Kak

HAVING completed his post-graduation in English Literature, S. P. Bakshi was asked to take on the assignment as teacher in the Capital’s prestigious Modern School. The fact that he did not do a teachers’ training credit, was not a deterrent instead his ability and aptitude to teach were enough for the authorities to entrust him with the responsibility of not just teaching but within days of joining duty was promoted to take charge of extra-curricular activities like debates and declamations.

Bakshi, who went on to obtain the formal teachers’ training degree from the Central Institute of Education, Delhi University, became the Head of department and the Resident House Master looking after the Boarding House.

Having earned the Fulbright Scholarship, he went on a tour to many countries abroad to educate himself about the latest and the better modes and methods followed in schools world over.

Bakshi also held the position of Principal for five years at the Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan, but returned to Modern as Principal. In a Face to face with the NCR Tribune, he talks about Pragyan School, where he is currently the Consultant. He reveals the modern and scientific approach towards education that the Pragyan School stands for.

Elaborate on the concept of tiffinless, bagless style of education?

The concept of long day school is more relevant today than it was ever. Disintegration of the joint family system, economic liberalisation, globalisation, increasing competition and nuclear families and the fact that schools close after noon and the children are left with nannies and drivers all contribute to the need for long hours schools.

The chances of children watching undesirable programmes on TV or surfing a site on the Internet, which is not intended for them are great. Therefore, the long day school is of paramount importance so that a child is under supervision of understanding, caring and committed teachers.

Since Pragyan is a day boarding school, where students are served two nutritious meals a day, thereby eliminating the requirement of students to carry water bottles or tiffins to school. For those parents who find it difficult to help their children with homework after coming back from having worked long hours normally resort to private tutions, which hampers the creative development of the child.

Pragyan ensures that the teaching is left to the understanding and committed teachers and the parents’ job is to give time, shower love and imbibe the moral values in the child. All these are necessary for the development of the child. We offer a welcome change for the students to come without as much as an eraser or pencil to school where as these days they are being burdened by the weight of heavy school bags.

How is it going to benefit students, teachers and the school?

Though it is inevitably going to increase the responsibility of the school and the teachers, as they can no longer shift the blame on to the parents, it is going to be beneficial for the students as well as their parents. The reasons I have mentioned earlier.

What is your school’s USP? How is it different from others?

Pragyan is a unique school in many ways, aiming to develop the personality of students by providing comprehensive quality education. It has 10 acres of sprawling complex with comprehensive and elaborate games and sports infrastructure coming up, including a full-fledged Olympic size swimming pool, riding ring, multi-purpose hall for whole range of activities like dance, music and arts.

It is also going to have latest technology in terms of multi-media interactive computers, state-of-the-art laboratories and libraries. A dedicated faculty a play way method of teaching and the scientific methods of study are soon going to be put in place.

But unlike some schools, which have started offering five star treatments in school, Pragyan believes in striving, struggling and sweating. Toughening the students for ravages of life and helping them face upheavals and challenges, is far more important than cushioning and comforting them.

Another point where we differ from other schools is the class strength. The curriculum being more complex and demanding and the increasing level of competition has made it imperative that the ration between the teachers and the students is kept within manageable limits.

Is it going to be a senior secondary school? Which board is it affiliated to?

The school has commenced with the pre-primary and primary wings in April this year and during the course of four years it will be developed into a 10+2 co-educational day boarding school committed to all round excellence.

Pragyan plans to apply for an ICSE registration later this year. We are in fact aiming at getting registered with the International Baccalaureate with headquarters in Switzerland. Only a few schools in India are the members of it.

What are the other student friendly policies followed by your school?

Some parents prefer the school to lay greater emphasis on academics. We have no ambiguity whatsoever in our mind that along with the academics, equal emphasis should be placed on games and sports and co-curricular activities. Knowledge no doubt is important, but self- confidence gained in the playing fields or on the stage is far more vital in achieving excellence.

Wouldn’t it be cumbersome for the children to commute from Delhi and Noida to Greater Noida were the school is located?

Neighborhood school concepts considered ideal by educational planners has not been found to be feasible with the result students have to commute long distances at a very tender age to be able to go to school of their choice. Greater Noida with the availability of a six lane express highway is certainly going to be closer to Noida and Delhi rather than some of the far-flung schools of Delhi to Delhi students.

There are definite reasons why Greater Noida was chosen for starting Pragyan School.

  • Proximity to the cosmopolitan city of Delhi, which is bursting at the seams.
  • Pollution free environment
  • Six lane express highway from Delhi to Greater Noida going to be available soon, which would reduce the distance and travelling time.
  • A golf course on international standards
  • Proposed international airport
  • No shortage of electricity and water
  • Meticulous care with which the thoughtfully made plans are being implemented.

After having a long and illustrious career as an educationist, what led you to be associated with a brand new school?

After having served some of the finest schools in India and abroad for almost 40 years, I decided that I would not accept any new assignment.

However, when I met old students Mr Ram Chand and his wife Ms Divya and their mother Dr Kusum Chand, I realised their ambition to do something for the community in terms of providing the students quality education.

I instantly changed my mind and recalled that very year while addressed the senior most students at Modern School and I would remind them of the debt they owe to the society for receiving quality education. I asked them to return the debts as and when they could afford to.

So, how could I hold back when my old students were striving to repay the debts? These factors and the fact that whatever I had learnt over the years must be translated into practise, prompted me to enthusiastically accept the invitation. I am guided and inspired by the Chand family to start this school.

From that day onwards there has been no looking back.



Faridabad houses stink of illegal commercial biz
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 22
There is hardly a city in the country where encroachments on residential sectors have not taken place. And one is not smelt, as they say, when all stink. It is really difficult to solve the problem when the officials themselves are hand in glove with the violators.

Separate markets are developed in every city, but soon the residential areas also start stinking of illegal commercial activity.

Faridabad is no exception. Commercial activities in the residential sectors developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the housing board have been going on for ages.

Though HUDA and the housing board had developed separate market places for each sector, there are no serious efforts to ensure the norms. There are residential places where full-fledged markets have come up. Due to political influence of the persons who own the commercial establishments, no one dares take action against such violations, claimed a HUDA official.

No wonder, the HUDA markets  are going a-begging in many sectors for want of customers. Several shops-cum-flats (SCF) have not been sold for the past several years in various markets. Dozens of shops-cum-flats meant for the markets, have now been occupied by the government employees and their kin, who use them for residential purpose.

While the sale of such SCFs has been delayed unusually, the HUDA authorities perhaps do not know how many SCFs have been there which are still to be sold and who have been occupying them and so on. 

Most of the official market places are in disrepair for want of proper care. It is reported that over 4,000 commercial centres or shops are operating in various sectors. Of them, only about 4 to 5 per cent have taken the licence. The authorities are reported to be losing more than one crore rupees every year due to this bungling.

Allowances have been made for certain offices such as those of lawyers, travels, property dealers, doctors (nursing homes and clinics), and CA, but they are required to deposit a fee of Rs 50,000 and take a formal permission which is not taken generally.

It is also learnt that hundreds of grocery shops, beauty clinics, boutiques, PCOs and general stores have come up illegally.

One of the biggest markets that has come up, illegally of course, is on the chowk of Sectors-7 and 10, where hundreds of shops function. Incidentally, one of them is of an influential Indian National Lok Dal leader.

The association of the shopkeepers of the authorised markets has also demanded the removal of illegal shops on several occasions but of no avail.



Factory worker stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Panipat, July 22
In a shocking incident, a worker of a carpet factory was stabbed to death by a fellow worker here this morning. According to sources, Bhola, a resident of Sikanderpur village in Patna district of Bihar, had an argument with Manoj this morning on the factory premises of Mayur Palliwal.

After the argument, Bhola came to the house of his brother, Ranjit, in Shiv Nagar. Manoj, along with four-five persons followed Bhola to Shiv Nagar and stabbed him first with a pair of scissors and then with a knife. Bhola died on his way to the local civil hospital. The post-mortem examination was conducted at the hospital. Though a case has been registered, the accused has absconded.

BSF man robbed

A BSF official was robbed of his belongings in Jhelum Express on Saturday. ASI G. S. Rana, who was on his way home in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, was found unconscious by the police at the Panipat Railway Station on Sunday. Posted in Jammu and Kashmir, the official had boarded the train from Jammu.

He was admitted to the local civil hospital, where he regained consciousness today. Mr Rana said he did not remember what happened to him after boarding the train. The robbers decamped with Rs 40,000 in cash, a briefcase, gold chain and shoes, he added.

Ban orders

The district administration has imposed Section 144 and banned the assembly of the five or more persons in the radius of 500 metres of the examination centres of the Industrial Training Institutes in Panipat and Samalkha. Carrying arms had also been banned till July 30.



Ballabgarh shops down shutters
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 22
Traders and shopkeepers of the main market at Ballabgarh town kept the shutters down for the second day today in protest against the murder and looting of a businessman on Saturday night. They have threatened to extend their stir if the authorities failed to nab the culprits and improve the law and order situation.

It may be recalled that a bandh was observed in Ballabgarh on Sunday in protest against the incident. According to the traders’ association of Ballabgarh, the agitation could be prolonged if the authorities did not provide safety to the businessmen.

It is alleged that several such incidents have taken place in the town in the past six months in which shopkeepers or traders were attacked and robbed, but the police had `failed’ to arrest the culprits in a majority of cases.

Victim succumbs

Three persons, including a young woman, died in separate incidents in the town since Sunday. Madan Lal, a resident of Bhagat Singh colony here, who had met with a road accident on June 12, died today. It is learnt that he was poor and could not afford the treatment.

In the second case, Madhubala (18), a resident of Sector 18 here, committed suicide by consuming sulphas tablet. In the third incident, an unidentified person was run over by a train this morning near old Faridabad station.

Criminal held

The police arrested a person on suspicion and for possessing a pistol near the gate of new grain market last evening and he turned out to be a hardcore criminal who reportedly admitted his involvement in several criminal incidents, including in the murder of two youths a few months ago. Rajbir alias Tillu, a resident of Vijay Nagar locality here, was arrested on suspicion and a country-made pistol was seized from him. A case under Sections 25\54\59 of the Arms Act was registered in this connection.

During interrogation, Rajbir admitted that he, along with his accomplices, had shot dead the son of Anil ‘master’ at Bamla village nearly three months ago. He also confessed to have shot dead Mohan Lal at Hansi who was a witness in a legal suit filed against his aide. He reportedly admitted that he had snatched Rs 90,000 at gunpoint from some employees of Bijli Board at Bahadurgarh in Jhajjar district. He also admitted that he was involved in the snatching of a Cielo car at gunpoint near Hansi.

Suspects remanded

Ms Rajni Yadav, First Class Judicial Magistrate, today remanded two murder suspects to police custody till July 23. Sunil and Narender, residents of Bohar village, had allegedly stabbed Ravinder Singh to death on July 17 while the latter had gone to the outskirts of the village to answer the call of nature. The deceased was suspected to have a love affair with the sister of one of the assailants.



Dacoity at factory averted, five held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
The North-West police have apprehended five persons in Keshav Puram while they were planning to commit dacoity in an export factory of Kapil Dev Gupta on Lawrence road. Two country-made weapons, live cartridges, a bag of red chilli powder, tapes and one Maruti Car were seized from them. The accused - Samshad, Ranbir, Kailash, Kannaiah Lal and Mangal, all in the age group of 20-25 and residents of JJ colony Bhalasawa - were arrested while they were doing patrolling in the area. During interrogation, they told the police that they planned to commit dacoity in the factory. They have past criminal records.

Gangster nabbed

The East district police have apprehended a member of the Sonu gang who was wanted in several cases of robbery and dacoities in East and North-East districts. With his arrest, the district police have claimed to have solved eight cases. On interrogation, the accused, Manoj alias Ankit, a resident of Meerut and an active member of the Sonu gang, disclosed that he along with Sonu, Parminder, Satish, Rajbir and Sanju had jointly committed several robberies in the district. All the accused have been arrested and Sonu is at present in Tihar Jail.



Guard hit with axe, killed
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, July 22
A security guard posted at a dairy in Duhari village of Muradnagar was murdered in broad daylight on Sunday. He was hit on the head with an axe. One person has been taken into custody by the police in this connection.

Babu Ram (50) of Mohalla Kailash Nagar under Vijay Nagar police station was working as a security guard at the dairy being run by Atul Gupta of Shastri Nagar in Ghaziabad in Duhari. A miscreant assaulted Babu Ram on the head with an axe as a result of which he died. The assailant fled the scene soon after the incident.

According to a report lodged with the police by Babu Ram’s son Sonu and brother Ram Garib of Pratap Garh, Anuj Tyagi of the village had come to the dairy during the day and said he had “no money to buy smack today”. He wanted to take away a piece of iron, which he wanted to sell to a kabadi to buy smack. As Babu Ram did not allow him to do so, he hit his head with an axe as a result of which Babu Ram died on the spot.

When the police went to arrest the accused, his relations put up strong resistance. But the police finally managed to arrest him. The axe used in the murder was recovered.

Killed in mishap

In road accidents, one scooterist was killed while five others were injured. A scooterist was injured seriously near Inder Garhi village on the Delhi-Hapur road when his scooter hit the road divider. He was rushed to the government hospital by the police where he was declared brought dead.

Five other persons were injured, including one Nisar, seriously, when a bus and a tempo collided near Mussori village late on Sunday night.



Thieves lynched by Ghaziabad residents
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, July 22
The police in Ghaziabad seem to have a problem on their hand with the death of two of the criminals who had gone to Uttaranchal colony to loot but were beaten up black and blue by the residents.

Four criminals had forced their way into Gyan Singh’s house in Uttaranchal colony on Sunday. After assaulting the inmates, they resorted to looting. As Gyan Singh’s father Gabbar Singh raised an alarm, neighbours rushed to their help and succeeded in surrounding the thieves. Residents thrashed three of them thoroughly while one of them took to his heels. Police took the injured thieves to district hospital. When the police tried to speak to the criminals on way to hospital, only Akbar of Jamalpura could speak a little. He told the police his accomplices’ names and addresses. The police were, however, shocked when Akbar was declared brought dead at district hospital.


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