Friday, August 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Soldier flees with SLRs and heart on his sleeve
Prem Pal Singh

Meerut, August 8
A soldier has fled from his unit, which was deployed on the Jaisalmer border, with two lethal state-of-the-art self-loading rifles in his possession. The guns are reportedly loaded; he had also stashed away two additional magazines in the Army jeep in which he had fled. The jeep was later found abandoned somewhere in Rajasthan.

Sub Area Commander Brig Nambiar received an emergency message on Tuesday evening from the Western Command headquarters at Chandimandir that a soldier, Arun Kumar, had deserted his unit. Since Arun Kumar belongs to Dhanpur village that falls under Incholi police station, Meerut, the district police officials were immediately informed of the development. It was suspected that Arun might head for his village and a high-level meeting was convened in Meerut to deal with the situation.

The police immediately sounded a high alert in the area and raided the residence of the soldier in his native village. SSP Mukul Goel supervised the operation while the Circle Officer, Sadar, Mukul Diwedi, accompanied the station house in-charge during the raid. It is believed that an army intelligence team also accompanied the sleuths during the raid. However, they drew a blank.

The police interrogated Arun Kumar’s family members and is now scouring the area for his possible hideouts. Arun’s sister-in-law and unmarried sisters could only tell the police that the former had visited his house three months back on official leave. They had not received even a telephone call from him since then. Arun’s married sisters-in-laws’ houses were also raided.

The PRO to the SSP, Anil Kumar Sachan, told the NCR Tribune that Arun Kumar, S/o Raghubir Singh, had escaped from his unit with the intention to eliminate his estranged beloved and her husband. The PRO revealed that the soldier also had some personal grouse against some people in his village and he might try to settle scores.

Senior police officials are worried that he could join a gang of criminals; they feel that he would not have stolen two SLR rifles otherwise. But the police officials confirmed that Arun might target his beloved and her husband.

The circle officer disclosed that they are treading warily in the matter as any revelations about the soldier’s love life might hurt a married woman and jeopardise her family life. However, the Army authorities were exerting pressure on the police that they should question his former girl friend as she could give some clue to his whereabouts. The circle officer has categorically refused to question the girl until there was some conclusive proof of the liaison and her ability to help them.

Senior police officials are in a fix and fear that the soldier could commit a heinous crime in the meantime.



DSGMC order on sackings quashed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee today asserted that it would now adopt the “laid down” procedure to retrench excess staff. Its assertion followed a legal reversal in the Delhi High Court. The DSGMC today withdrew its July 27, 2002 order, issued soon after Mr. Paramjit Singh Sarna took over as the president, terminating the services of nearly 900 employees, including school and college teachers, after the court observed that the procedure adopted by the committee was not proper.

Talking to NCR Tribune, the DSGMC president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, said due procedure would be adopted to retrench the excess staff and the process would begin from Friday itself.

Mr Sarna said a committee would be constituted to go into the issue of excess staff, which would issue notices to employees individually and their cases would be discussed on merit and action would be taken against those who had been wrongfully employed.

As per the procedure, the temporary staff would be given a one-month notice and permanent employees would be given three months’ time. Claiming victory in the case, he said: “The DSGMC counsel pointed out that the gross irregularity adopted by the previous committee in appointing persons had put severe strain on the exchequer.”

The DSGMC president said the Educational Council would be constituted in a day or two, which would work for improving the standard of education in the gurdwara-run schools and colleges. The autonomous council would deal with all appointments and promotions. The Sikh Institutions Staff Action Committee, convenor, Mr Kuldip Singh Bhogal, claimed that the court had reaffirmed their stand that the newly formed DSGMC had acted in a “vindictive” manner by terminating the services of only those who had been appointed during the tenure of rival SAD (Badal).

By this act, the court has checked the “witch hunt” against those who had little to do with the political rivalry, Mr Bhogal said.

He said the judiciary by its order had ensured that thousands of persons, who are dependent on the salary of these employees, would not go hungry and would not join the ranks of the unemployed.

Earlier in the court, Mr H S Phoolka, appearing for the DSGMC, pointed out that the previous SAD (Badal) committee had appointed persons without advertising the posts and conducting interviews.

The counsel pointed out that in one of the DSGMC-run school in Kalkaji, where there was vacancy for two posts, 17 persons were appointed.

He said no interview was conducted, no application was submitted and several of those selected furnished their educational and other records much after they were issued the appointment letters. As the court observed during the course of the hearing that “withdrawing of all appointments with one stroke is not proper,” Mr Phoolka said the DSGMC decided to withdraw its July order terminating the services of the employees.

However, the counsel for the petitioner, Mr Sarabjit Sharma, contended that the services of the DSGMC employees had been terminated without giving any notice or providing them an opportunity to explain their point of view.

The counsel submitted that the “irrational” act of the DSGMC has affected the studies in schools and colleges and this fact has been recognised by the committee. While on the one hand, the DSGMC claimed that excess staff had been retrenched, on the other hand, it issued a direction to school and college heads that they could employ teachers on a temporary basis on daily wages, in case the students were students or for want of teachers, he added.



Plan panel blames DDA for encouraging land mafia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The committee constituted by Planning Commission to deal with the problems of slums in Delhi has in its report pulled up the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for encouraging the “land mafia” to build jhuggi jhopri (JJ) clusters by encroaching on government land. “If ownership of lands is established, illegal transfer or renting of the jhuggies located on such lands will be discouraged and the land mafia / muscle power will not be able to play their unsavoury role,” a former Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly and chairman of the committee Charti Lal Goel says in his report.

He recommends establishing a Slum Improvement Board and preparing an inventory of public lands complete with a record of ownership besides adopting an integrated approach for dovetailing the programmes of the DDA and the National Capital Region (NCR) Planning Board.

“Multiplicity of authorities and agencies in dealing with issues relating to slums and their improvement, without clear responsibility centres, is creating problems of coordination, accountability, and result-orientation. It is an entirely fragmented scenario that is not conducive to good administration,” says Goel.

The report recommends that a common plan document would be the first step in making a programme where the agencies do not have scope to blame one another for lack of progress. Also, reactivation of law enforcement agencies to put an end to proliferation of JJ clusters and commercial activities, theft of power and water, etc, in slums.

The report also recommends :

* The ownership of all lands under slums and especially the JJ clusters should be determined through a proper verification of land records, including those of land acquisition.

* The agencies should together prepare a Master Plan for the slum improvement works for the 10th Plan with clear roles, tasks and implementation arrangements for each of the agencies involved.

* An implementation and monitoring group consisting of all the agencies concerned should be set up.

* DDA should maintain a duly verified and authentic register in which details of each and every plot owned by public bodies is listed, whether it is an encroached one or otherwise.

The report is particularly critical of the DDA’s role. It reads : “The DDA, which is the agency entrusted with planning for the city, has unwittingly or otherwise become the largest ‘host’ organisation of slums. DDA is stated to own 25,377.2 hectares of land, amounting to 17.1 per cent of the land in the state. [Several] unauthorised colonies have sprung up, and jhuggi jhopris (JJs) on DDA lands continue to proliferate.”

“There is need therefore,” Goel says, “for the DDA to remove the characteristics and stigma of slums attached to the innumerable clusters located on a variety of lands including, foremost, its own.” He goes on to suggest a policy to limit the growth of Delhi. For its survival as a livable city, he says, Delhi needs to adopt a conscious policy of redirecting any further growth to peripheral towns by developing the NCR.

The report insists on a better coordination and interaction at appropriate levels.



Marketing gurus latch on to rakhis
Megha Manchanda

Apart from the zodiac signs, rakhis depicting Sikh religious emblems have been designed by a London workshop.

New Delhi, August 8
Marketing whiz kids have latched onto Raksha Bandhan, the festival of love and bonding. In Rakhi 2002, the bond will be reinforced with the help of silver memorabilia. Of course, without diluting the sanctity of the festival, we have improvised the rakhi, as we know it, from time to time, but the variations have been mostly in the size and shape. But this time the designers have jumped into the fray and are flooding the bazaars with what are being dubbed as Rakhi themes.

The themes range from zodiac signs to religious symbols. Frazer & Haws — a reputed workshop of Henell of London — has come up with its s collection of silver rakhis, available in their store at Green Park in the Capital. The collection includes all the 12 zodiac signs and Sikh religious symbols. These rakhis, ranging from Rs.275 to Rs.300 and above, are 92.5 per cent silver. The collection is being sought for its skilled craftsmanship and supreme finish.

The zodiac collection has been designed keeping many things in mind. One, they are designed to perfection and sit snugly on the wrist; second, they are attached with colourful satin cords which intertwine very well with the silver chains. These are multipurpose rakhis, which can become memorabilia for all times and can be used as bookmarks, a tie-pin or even a pendant. Simply slip the silver chain into the hook of the rakhi and, viola, you have what you want it to be.

Be it the slow and sure bull, the sensitive crab, the sharp-edged scorpion or the secretive fish, every member of the zodiac animal farm is at your service.

Apart from the zodiac signs, Frazer & Haws also offers rakhis depicting the Sikh religious symbols in a contemporary style. These rakhis have been specially designed to pay tribute to the powerful over 300-year-old Khalsa movement initiated by Guru Gobind Singh.

Two consequential motifs — the ‘Ek Omkar’ and the ‘Khanda’ — have been researched and stylised into six different rakhis. Of late, innovative rakhis have become a rage with the upmarket Indian, who is more than ready to experiment and spend, provided he gets value for money. The business has, therefore, grown by leaps and bounds, but the message of love and bonding endures.



Phew! The Lakme Fashion Week is over 
Smriti Kak

New Delhi, August 8
The flurry of activity, almost like a whirlwind, sweeping with it everything and everyone who cared to take notice, is finally going to cease, with the Lakme India Fashion Week drawing to a close today, much to the relief of all those involved in it.

The mood at the Taj Palace was sombre today and most of the fashion frat, who were kept on their toes last week, were busy winding up and bidding goodbye: The models who had to do as many as three shows everyday; the designers, apprehensive and always on the job; and the beauty experts, who had by now lost count of the models they had worked on.

“It’s been a great experience, worth the hard work I have had to put in. For the last seven days it’s been work and work and work, but the spirits have been high. I guess the LIFW gives you a high and that has been true for all of us, whether it is the participants or the people”, gushed a Lakme beauty expert and make-up artist.

The LIFW was meant to offer a platform where the designers could meet their patrons (read buyers). A strictly-by-invitation event, it left many die-hard fashion freaks out in the cold. “The event was not just a fashion statement, it was a business opportunity. We have been able to meet clients and work out business deals. As for the common people, well, where is the space to have a huge audience,” pointed out Sanjay Kapoor of Satya Paul design house.

While most designers preferred to be tactful, there was hardly a euphoric response. Designer duo Mona Pali told NCR Tribune: “It was a good experience. We are looking forward to doing some good business. And this event is just three years old and there are teething problems. We have to give it some more time before it acquires a wider perspective”.

The Business of Fashion has promised the 53 participating designers more business opportunity and recognition. The Executive Director of FDCI, Vinod Kaul, on his part had laid out the blue print for the success of the Indian fashion segment. The event, he reasoned, would go on to create awareness and visibility that is a pre-requisite for every designer’s growth.

It was pointed out that the designer wear market in India is about Rs 180 crore and is growing at a rate of 20 per cent per year, with focus on ready-to-wear stuff. More important, Indian designs are being accepted more readily in markets abroad and Indian designers only have to move from the traditional couture to the in-thing – Pret.

The LIFW laid emphasis on the development of fusion and Pret. If Indian designers want to head towards the Western shores, they have to develop their collections on Pret and fusion. The fact that fashion houses like Selfridges, the haven of the fashion-conscious in London, have Indian designers in their stable has been both an eye opener and a moral booster. Selfridges went on to showcase India’s rich cultural heritage in May this year when it put on display the clothes by Indian designers.

So, for the desi designers, who have slowly started making a foray into the Western wardrobes, there is more business to look forward to because the affair has just begun.



Woman gets life term for son’s murder

Jhajjar: The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Diwan Chand, sentenced a woman to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 for killing her eight-year-old son in February.

According to information, Rajbala, wife of Satbir Singh of Mandothi village, was booked for murdering her son Anil, a class 3 student, on February 11, 1997, on a complaint made by Mr Zile Singh, father of Satbir Singh. The complainant had reported that his son Satbir had been married to Rajbala since the past about 15 years. The couple had three children. However, two of the children had died of some disease. The complainant further said that perpetual strife between husband and wife led to a split. Both parted way in 1996 and started living separately.

Meanwhile, the village panchayat tried to effect a patch-up but Rajbala refused to go to her husband’s house. Things came to such a pass that Rajbala decided to kill her only surviving son, Anil, who was staying with his father in Mandothi village. Reportedly, she did this to ensure the end of her husband’s family line. On February 10, when Anil was going to school, his mother kidnapped him. When the child did not return home till evening a manhunt was launched.

The Sarpanch of the village, Mr Hansraj, told Zile Singh, grandfather of the deceased, that a body lying on a road outside the village had been identified as that of Anil. The police booked Rajbala on murder charges and her brother Jaibir of conspiring with the accused. OC



DPCC demands Naik’s resignation 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
Reiterating his demand for the resignation of the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Mr Ram Naik, on moral grounds and institution of a judicial inquiry into the petrol pump scam, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president, Mr Subhash Chopra, on Thursday said his party would otherwise launch protest meetings from August 16 in all the 70 Assembly constituencies of Delhi.

“Now that the extent of rot that has come to set in the corridors of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is known, Mr Naik should immediately tender his resignation and maintain the highest standards of probity in public life,” Mr Chopra told mediapersons.

Seeking a high-level inquiry headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, he said the probe should be mandated to find out the truth and punish those involved in the scam. “It (allotment of petrol pumps) is a calculated design to provide largesse on a platter to members of the Sangh Parivar and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” he said.

Mr Chopra also said when the allotment process was under way in December last year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Chemicals had in its 22nd Report pointed out glaring loopholes in Mr Naik’s guidelines.

Senior Congressmen, Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr J P Aggarwal, Mr Sajjan Kumar and DPCC spokesperson and Member of Legislative Assembly, Mr Mukesh Sharma were among those present on the occasion.

Mr Tytler said the cancellation by Prime Minister Vajpayee of more than 3,000 petrol pumps allotted since January 2000 was nothing more than a “cover-up”.

Mr Tytler said the Supreme Court, while ordering the cancellation of the petrol pump dealerships by the then Petroleum Minister, Capt Satish Sharma, had laid down certain guidelines. “All those guidelines have been flouted with impunity by the BJP government,” he added.



BJP for cancellation of all dealerships since 1983
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, August 8
The Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has urged the Centre to cancel the allotment of all petrol pumps and LPG agencies made since 1983 and make public the names of all those Congressmen who have benefited by the largesse.

The Haryana general secretary and party spokesman, Mr Pardeep Jain today claimed that the BJP led Central government has

allotted petrol pumps and LPG agencies as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.

The Dealership Selection Boards, he said, were headed by retired Judges of the High Courts and as such no irregularity was committed in the allotment of petrol pumps and LPG agencies.

The state BJP has also released a list of Congressmen who have been allotted petrol pumps and LPG agencies since 1983.

For example, the list says that petrol pumps were allotted at Hisar and Jakhoda to persons close to PCC chief Bhajan Lal and former PCC chief Bhupinder Singh Hodda. However, the relationship between the politicians and the allottees have not been mentioned clearly.

The state BJP has released a list of 26 allottees of petrol pumps of whom four are located at Chandigarh and two in Punjab. However, the party has not provided the names of the allottees of these petrol pumps.

In one case, the party has named one Mr Ram Lubhaya as the beneficiary of a LPG agency at Chandigarh and has mentioned Ms Santosh Chaudhary, Member of Parliament (Phillaur), against his name. But it did not explain their relationship.

According to the list, Mr Hari Kishan, a brother of Ms Shielja, secretary, AICC, has been allotted a petrol pump at Banawali (Fatehabad), whereas Mr Karan Singh, a relative of the Indian Youth Congress president, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, was allotted a LPG agency at Panchkula.

Mr Dhan Singh, MLA from Mahendragarh, has been allotted a petrol pump in his own name at Kanina and in the name of his relatives at Kosli and Wazirpur (Gurgaon).

Rao Narinder Singh, Congress MLA from Ateli, has been allotted a petrol pump at Hudina (Mahendergarh), in his name and Mr Karamveer Singh, a former minister, was also allotted a petrol pump in his name at Gurgaon.

A former minister, Mr Roshan Lal Tiwari, has been allotted petrol pumps at Titram Mor (Kaithal). Mrs Veena Kumari, a close relative of Mr Chiranji Lal Sharma, a former Member of Parliament was allotted LPG agency at Karnal, as per the list.



115 slum dwellers evicted from MoD land
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, August 8
As many as 115 slum dwellers were evicted from Defence Ministry owned land in the Delhi cantonment area during 1993-95 and a sum of Rs 33.35 lakh was paid to the MCD as an assistance towards the rehabilitation of these evicted people, said the Minister of Defence, Mr George Fernandes, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha today.

He added that while the MoD had no policy regarding the rehabilitation of slum dwellers, the question of their resettlement is to be resolved in the first instance in consultation with the MCD, prior to any action for eviction.

He also said that for slum dwellers who existed prior to 31.10.1990, the cost of rehabilitation is required to be shared as per the funding pattern provided in the policy evolved by the Government of NCT, Delhi in 1990.

The Minister of Power, Mr Suresh Prabhu, informed the Lok Sabha that the Ministry of Power has constituted a group under the chairmanship of Special Power Secretary to prepare a concept paper on tariff policy.

The report submitted by the group has been circulated to various stakeholders and experts for their views and a high-level committee has also been constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary, Power, to finalise the tariff policy. This was done after taking into account the views of the experts and stakeholders.

He pointed out that in the Electricity Bill 2001, which is under consideration of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy, there is a provision for the Union Government to prepare a National Electricity Policy in consultation with the state governments and Central Electricity Authority.

To answer the queries of the passengers, there are six enquiry counters at the New Delhi Railway Station, besides the Central Enquiry System, which functions round the clock, the Minister of State for Railways, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya, informed the Lok Sabha today.

He added that there is an ongoing effort to improve the dissemination of information to passengers by augmenting the facilities and training the staff for handling users.

He also informed the House that the Government of Rajasthan have requested for a rail link from Rewari to Palwal via Bhiwadi and a survey for rail link from Rewari to Palwal has been taken up.

Listing the areas under illegal encroachment from Najafgarh to Rampur and Subzi Mandi and New Azadpur and Daya Bast and Patel Nagar, the Minister said that the Ministry has from time to time taken steps to remove these encroachments and an eviction process has been initiated six-months back, which is still ongoing.

The Minister of Law and Justice, Mr Jana Krishnamurthi, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha said that according to the information available with the government, there would be no rise in crime rate with the revision of age limit of juveniles to 18-years. 



Modern parking methods, self-discipline needed to solve traffic problems: Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Shiela Dikshit, called for the development of modern parking methods like automated multi-level car parking systems to solve the growing problem of parking in the national Capital. However, she also emphasised the need to take hard steps to bring in self-discipline among vehicle owners in order to solve Delhi’s parking problems. She was inaugurating a seminar organised by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on “Solution to Delhi’s Parking Problems” with the theme “Park with a Smile”.

The seminar today was addressed by the Mayor, Mrs Jaishree Panwar, Chairman, Standing Committee, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, Chief Secretary, Delhi Government, Mrs Shailja Chandra and MCD Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Mehta.

Senior officials of local bodies, Traffic Police, members from the School of Planning and Architecture, IRTE, RWAs, market associations, experts and consultants in the field of public parking shared their experiences and developed strategies to solve Delhi’s acute parking problem.

In her inaugural address, Mrs Dikshit stressed that without duration-based segregation of vehicles and classification of charges, a sense of discipline, and disincentive to take out the vehicles, Delhi’s parking problems cannot be solved.

She suggested segregation of parking for those vehicle owners who park their vehicles for the full day and those who park their vehicles for shorter duration during their visit to the premises. She said that two categories of vehicle owners cannot be treated at par with each other. The charges should be accordingly stratified. The vehicle owners who park their vehicles for longer duration should be charged in proportion to those who park their vehicles for one or two hours.

Disincentive and discouragement to take out individual vehicle within the family can solve the problem to great extent.

She said that parking is a very big challenge before the planners, administrators, policy makers and city managers. We may consider and adopt vertical, horizontal and multi-level car parking systems.

But the real solution lies in decongesting the city roads. What we have to learn is management of parking problems in smaller space. She said that cities like London have one vehicle per citizen i.e. 60 lakh vehicles.

We often fail to visualise the future needs. Our plans go haywire even after two years like what has happened in the case of Delhi Secretariat and strategically located five-star hotels. We need parking management, which can stand the test of time.

The Mayor of Delhi, Mrs Jaishree Panwar, underlined that we need parking for residential areas, office complexes, commercial areas and entertainment places. There is an acute shortage of parking space in residential posh areas. The national Capital is witnessing a phenomena of reconstruction of old buildings.

No new construction should be permitted without adequate parking spaces, she said. Multi-level parking must be made mandatory for high concentration commercial, industrial and institutional areas.

The Chairman of the Standing Committee, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, called upon the need to fight parking mafia in Delhi and simultaneously developing modernised parking lots.

He said that MCD’s financial condition does not allow much investment, but parking system can be improved by giving the projects on BOT basis. The Delhi Government should also come forward and help MCD in solving the parking problems.

He said that MCD has endeavoured to solve the parking problem of the walled city by constructing underground parking at Asaf Ali Road, Gandhi Ground and Church Mission road but the number of vehicles are increasing day by day. Given the parking space available, the MCD has to make optimum utilisation of the space and check unlawful practices flourishing in the parking trade.

Mrs Shailja Chandra, Chief Secretary, Delhi Government, suggested flexible shopping hours for different markets and shops within the markets. The Labour Department can develop suitable policies in this direction. It will be a major step towards solution to the parking problems. She also suggested ‘pedestrianisation’ of market areas.

She suggested the operation of battery buses for mass movement purpose. She said that pre-fabricated parking system can be a useful and viable alternative. The involvement of entrepreneurs in developing modern parking systems will go a long way in building the infrastructure for parking.

The MCD Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Mehta, suggested multi-pronged efforts to solve the parking problems. Though MCD has an important role to play, yet the role of the various concerned partners like other government departments, market associations, technologists, architects, engineers, traffic managers and citizens cannot be overlooked. He said the parking space is limited and the solutions are to be found keeping in view this constraint.

Parking is an international problem but most of the cities like Singapore and London have found their own solutions. We have to find our own solutions by involving financers, technocrats, administrators and policy makers, he said. 



Power men in deep slumber as residents spend sleepless nights
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 8
The claims of the INLD government led by Mr Om Prakash Chautala notwithstanding, residents of the “textile town” of the country are spending sleepless nights these days. This is not because of the mosquito menace but on account of the Electricity Department’s unscheduled and long power cuts.

In fact, the affluent city, which reportedly earned Rs 1,400 crore in foreign exchange for its quality handloom products during the last financial year, compares poorly to even a mofussil town when it comes to power supply. With repeated representations to the department concerned falling on deaf ears, the powerless residents, who pay hefty power bills through their noses, seem to have resigned themselves to their fate.

And even as the Power Department makes residents “powerless” at the drop of a hat, lesser mortals are more at the receiving end because the affluent industrial community has installed power generator sets at their residences and commercial units. A majority of the middle class has also installed inverters, thus leaving those who cannot afford these to sweat it out, dependant as they are on the erratic state-run power supply.

Meanwhile, the generator sets bring their own share of problems. With the city already choked with various kinds of pollution problems, the generators, besides being a public nuisance, add to the pollution problems in one of the most polluted cities in the country. The authorities are yet to spare a thought to this problem.

Interestingly, there is a saying in the industrial community here that if you want to set up an industry here you must install a generator set first, an apt sarcastic comment on the functioning of the Power Department. Despite public outcry, the thick-skinned department officials fail to come out of their deep slumber.

It may be recalled that during an interaction with industrialists here on July 28 the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had been apprised of the unscheduled power cuts and subsequent adverse effect on industrial production. But as is his wont, instead of addressing the real issue, Mr Chautala went on to toot his own horn. True to his reputation, the Chief Minister took pains to explain to the industrial community that the present INLD government had done much more than the previous governments put together in the power sector. Some of his observations seemed to be far from truth.

However, department sources, while taking pains to explain the power cuts, said the cuts were necessary, as adequate power was not available. Since a majority of the urban consumers have less sanctioned load, the problem has become acute during the summer months when a large number of ACs run, thus requiring power cuts. This, coupled with the non-adherence of the department’s direction that no AC should run between 5 pm and 11 pm, have compounded the problem.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that another reason for urban areas facing the brunt was the delayed monsoon, which had led to the “diversion” of power supply to the rural areas. “With a large part of the state in the grip of a drought we have been ordered to meet the requirements of the farm sector on a priority basis by the higher authorities”, informed a middle-rung official.



Fight against pollution lacks tempo
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 8
The fight against pollution in this prime industrial town of Haryana lacks pace. This is perhaps one of the main reason behind Faridabad being branded as the 12th most polluted city of the country. Although the district has two regional offices of the Pollution Control
Board (PCB),the efforts and measures seem to be far from inadequate in containing air and noise pollution, resulting in respiratory suspended particle matter (RSPM) level being too high.

The pollution control authorities here have identified more than 600 polluting industries in Faridabad and Ballabgarh. The officials claim that a majority of the units had installed effluent treatment plants to treat the hazardous gases and chemical waste thrown by these. All the units listed by the PCB offices are checked or monitored regularly and the samples lifted from there are tested in the laboratory here.

While the PCB charges sampling fee ranging from Rs 2700 to Rs 4500, the units whose samples fail are given a show-cause notice. “If the unit fails to adhere to norms despite warnings the PCB takes stringent measures, which could include disconnection of power supply or even sealing of the factory itself”, says a PCB official. The authorities concerned, while admitting that air pollution (RSPM) in Faridabad had been around 500 mcgs at an average, say it could be more in winter and summer months. “The RSPM level was too much here but it could be due to pollution created by vehicular traffic and not the industrial units,” claims an expert. But on other hand it is learnt that the town has over 14,000 units which include large medium and small-scale units. Several of these have been bypassing the pollution norms.

While a large number of small-scale units are located in non-conforming areas, the waste emitted by these can be seen lying in open or choked sewers. Protests and objections have also been raised at spewing of highly polluted smoke by the thermal power plant of the Haryana Government in the heart of the town. The ash of the plant has been noticed in some sectors and it is one of the main reasons why plots in certain sectors have not been sold out.

At least 10 per cent of the samples taken by the PCB of the treated air and water products by units fail every year. A show-cause notice for upgradation or replacement of the effluent treatment plant is served to the units. The work of shifting about 250 electroplating units out of the town to a special designated sector is reported to be going slow. Although several of the units have got plots and have started the construction it is stated that the PCB authorities have now decided to impose a penalty of Rs 2 per sq m to RS 8 per sq m on the units which fail to shift by August-end this year. The authorities had fixed March 31, 2000, earlier as the due date.

A common effluent treatment plant is being installed in Sector 58 where these units are proposed to be shifted. But there are about 50 dying units operating in various parts of the town. While there is still no proposal to shift such units, some of these have been working in non-conforming areas, as per sources.

The pollution control experts claim that while the industrial pollution in Faridabad has been contained and is not at alarming level, they blame vehicular traffic for the higher levels of RSPM in the air of the city. They say that up to 80 per cent of the air pollution is caused by the vehicles on the roads. They say the main culprits are the thousands of three-wheelers and trucks passing through the town. A majority of the three-wheelers do not adhere to pollution norms and use adulterated petrol (diesel) or have illegally converted engines. The town has over 15,000 three-wheelers and the drives launched earlier have failed to keep a check on polluting vehicles. The experts believe that unless a comprehensive plan is launched, which includes CNG-run buses, expansion of the public transport system and a ban on commercial vehicles older than 15 or 20 years, the pollution level could become a serious threat.



Cede data on field trials on cotton: Gene Campaign
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
Gene Campaign today appealed to the President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India’s premier agricultural body, to release to the public the data collected on the field trials conducted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)on Mahyco-Monsanto’s Bt cotton varieties.

These data form the basis for the decision taken by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the regulatory body that decided that these Bt cotton varieties are safe and effective and therefore gave approval for their release in India. The people have a right to know on what basis this decision was taken.

Unable to get a response from the GEAC despite repeated requests, Dr Suman Sahai, President of Gene Campaign, said that they decided to approach the National Academy to intervene to have the data on the field trials released. “It is shameful that the GEAC continues to conceal data from the public. Does it have something to hide?”, she queried.

That the GEAC persists in keeping the data secret is in violation of the Right to Information Act, which gives every citizen the right to access information in the public domain. The information pertaining to the field trials are public documents and have to be released to the public on request.

Dr Sahai indicated that if the GEAC continued with its obduracy and its defiance of the law, Gene Campaign would explore the possibilities of taking legal action to force the GEAC to make public the data it had based its landmark decision on.



Need to register births and deaths stressed 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, August 8
Stressing the need for registration of births and deaths, the Directorate of Census Operations has called upon the people to help meet the target of cent per cent registration of births and deaths before 2005.

Addressing newsmen here this afternoon, Mr Sunil Gulati, Director-cum-Joint Registrar General, said the people were unaware of the enactment of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, which made it mandatory for head of the family/ institution to register all births and deaths at the earliest and in no case later than 21 days after the of birth or death of a person.

He said there were 193 rural and 62 urban registration centers in the state and the Director General, Health Services, Haryana, had been appointed as the Chief Registrar of Births and Deaths.

Mr Gulati lamented that the present rate of registration of birth and death in the state was 77 per cent and 70 per cent respectively, while states like Kerala had almost attained cent per cent registration of birth and death.

He pointed out that the registration certificate was essential for obtaining immunization card, admission to school, passport, job, voter’s card, ration card, old age pension and, in case of death, to settle the insurance and hereditary claims.

Referring to those who fail to register the birth or death within one year of event, he said the same could be registered on producing an affidavit before the Registrar. For events beyond one year, one had to get orders from the Executive Magistrate, he added.



Sahib against liquor vends in his constituency
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The Union Labour Minister and Member of Parliament representing Outer Delhi, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, is against having liquor vends in his constituency. Mr Verma’s aides say he has written to the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, asking her to close down the liquor vend near Rajendra Park in Nangloi. Mr Verma also wants the Chief Minister to ensure that no vend is opened in his parliamentary constituency in future.

Mr Verma on Thursday met the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists, holding a sit-in in front of the vend near Rajendra Park in Nangloi. The BJP activists and residents of the area have been holding a sit-in for over three days now.

Residents, including women, have complained that the vend is in close vicinity of a girl’s school. Opposing the Congress government’s new, liberalised excise policy, Mr Verma said that there was no justification for allowing the opening of private liquor vends when people did not have potable water to meet their needs.



SSP flags off 6 bikes for Noida cops
Our Correspondent

Noida, August 8
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Rajiv Kishen, flagged off six White Leopard motor cycles to augment security and law and order in Noida. Trained policemen astride these motor cycles would operate with the help of wireless sets, which would give them the advantage of mobility and communication, the SSP said.

The motor cycles were flagged off by the SSP at the police control room. The motor cycle-mounted policemen would assist in law and order as well as traffic control during peak hours. Policemen would patrol the city on these Leopards from 7 am to 12 noon and from 4 pm to late in the evening.

The motor cyclists would especially patrol busy markets and bus stands, cinema houses, banks and other important places. The motor cycles would be more useful in congested places and narrow lanes where four-wheeled vehicles could not go, Mr Rajiv Kishen added.

Lately, Chetak vehicles had played a very useful role in nabbing the criminals and resolving 167 cases of brawls and assaults.

They had also been instrumental in saving many lives by their timely intervention. They had also rushed accidents/violence victims to hospitals without loss of time, the SSP added.



Harassment drives woman to suicide
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, August 8
Reluctant to develop illicit relationship with her brother-in-law, a married woman was forced to commit suicide allegedly by her in-laws at Mokhra village on Monday.

Sri Om, a resident of Ismaila village stated in the FIR that his younger sister, Santosh was married to Ramesh at Mokhra village nearly 12 years ago.

He alleged that Shilak Ram, brother-in-law of his sister, wanted to have physical relationship with her.

He alleged that the husband of Santosh also directed her to do ‘everything’ to please Shilak Ram.

The complainant alleged that his sister committed suicide as her husband, brother-in-law and mother-in-law often harassed her for not fulfilling the ‘wishes’ of Shilak Ram. The police have registered a case under Section 306 and 34 of the IPC in this connection.

Man killed

Jitendar, a resident of Kalu Pir on the Kabri Road here committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan. Originally, a resident of the Gopalganj district of Bihar, the deceased was a daily wage worker in several industrial units here. Domestic tension is stated to be the cause of the suicide.

Teacher awarded

Mr Bhim Singh Malik, a political science lecturer at the Government Senior Secondary School, Kishanpura, has been selected for the National Award for Teachers,2001, by the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

The school principal, Mr Dharamvir Kadian, and Mr Satbir Malik, a former president of the Haryana School Lecturers Association have congratulated him. The award comprises of a cash prize of Rs 25,000, a medal, a citation, two advance increments and two years’ extension in service. The award would be presented at the Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on the occasion of the Teachers’ Day on September 5.

Ayurvedic centre

Dr Neeru Malhotra, convener of the Sri Ram Ayurvedshala and Research Centre has been awarded the “Vikas Rattan Gold Award” by the International Integration and Growth Centre for her services in the field of Ayurveda. The award was presented by the Minister of State for Labour, Mr Ashok Pradhan, in New Delhi recently. Dr Malhotra’s centre is well-known for the treatment of several incurable diseases through Ayurvedic medicines.

Suicide committed

Two persons including a young woman committed suicide today. A 22-year-old married woman, identified as Guria, committed suicide by hanging herself with a rope in her house in village Mohana. It is alleged that her inability to have any child led her to take this extreme step. In another case, the failure in love led a young person, identified as Sunder, to commit suicide. 



Second phase of Metro gets Cabinet nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The Cabinet on Thursday cleared the second phase of the Metro Rail Transport System Project to improve the transport situation in the capital. The financial implications and other modalities of this decision, which entails a clearance of the second phase in principle, would be put before the Cabinet in near future.

The first phase of MRTS project covers about 62 km of Delhi and it would be complete by 2005. The project is being undertaken in three routes. The Delhi University to Central Secretariat Metro Rail would be 11-km-long while Shahdara to Rohini Barwala line would be 28-km-long. The third route, which was recently approved by a Group of Ministers, covers the 23-km-long Connaught Place to Dwarka route.

The Metro project is expected to ease the traffic congestion.



YMAI gives call to stamp out militancy
Our Correspondent

Rewari, August 8
Mr Amit Swami, President of the Young Men’s Association of India, has expressed shock and grief at the death of nine Amarnath pilgrims in the attack conducted by armed fidayeen at the base camp at Nunwan on the outskirts of Pahalgam. At an emergency meeting of the association here on Wednesday, its members observed a two-minute silence and prayed for peace to the departed souls. In a resolution, it also urged the Union Government to initiate strong and tangible action in stamping out militancy from Jammu and Kashmir.



Two militant conduits arrested in Capital 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 8
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police have arrested two persons from Jammu and Kashmir who were acting as conduits for the militant activities in the valley.

The accused identified as Gulam Qadir Bhatt, resident of Dooru Mir Maidan and Gulam Mohammad Darr, resident of Burzulla in Srinagar, were instrumental in transferring hawala money from Pakistan to the valley for distribution among the militants based in the valley. Both the accused were produced in the designated court in Delhi and remanded to seven days of police custody.

The arrest of these two persons came about as a result of a tip-off from another militant, Abdul Mazid, resident of Hyderabad, Pakistan, who was arrested in February this year from the Shahdara Railway Station.

The money were deposited in various accounts of Jammu and Kashmir Bank and Grindlays Banks in Delhi.

Gulam Qadir Bhatt, who used to visit Delhi in connection with dry fruit business, was spotted by Harkat-ul-jehad-e-islami militant, Fayaz, and he directed Gulam to open bank accounts in Chawri Bazar branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank.

The money was transferred from Rawalpindi and Gulam and Fayaz used to operate the accounts here.

Reportedly, more than Rs 40 lakh was transferred for militant activities.

In another case, the Crime Branch today claimed to have arrested a person who had kidnapped a minor girl from her house last year.

The accused Ashok Kumar, resident of Jallandhar, kidnapped the girl and took her initially to his native place and then to Punjab and sexually exploited her.

After interrogating around 45 people, the Crime Branch zeroed in on Ashok, who used to visit the girl’s sister’s house.

During preliminary interrogation, the police also came to know that Ashok had written a letter and emotionally blackmailed her. The police also recovered photographs that he had taken with the girls at the Kalkaji Mandir.

Case solved: The South-West district police today claimed to have solved a robbery-cum-murder case, where an old lady and her daughter were stabbed several times in Vasant Kunj on 30th July. The police had nabbed two persons, Nikil, the domestic servant and Dayashankar. The Police had been on the lookout for Prakash alias Kadam Anasari and Karan, the two other suspects

Prakash had worked as a driver in the house for two months and had befriended the domestic help Nikil.

Subsequently, both had planned to loot the house as they were aware that the owner kept large amount of cash in the house.

Boy rescued: The North district police today claimed to have rescued a four-year-old boy, Sujit Kumar, who was kidnapped by an adversary of his father. The accused, identified as Kanak Lal, Avdesh Mehto and Jai Ram were all labourers and residents of Bihar.

Pickpocket held: With the arrest of a notorious picpocket, the North district police have recovered a loot money of Rs 55,000. The police nabbed one Vijay Pal Singh, resident of Muzzaffarnagar and on interrogation, he disclosed that he and his associate, Balwant Singh, came to the ISBT, Kashmere Gate and stole the amount.

Traffic Training: A Special Training Programme on Traffic Management is being organized by the Delhi Traffic Police for 26 officers from Afghanistan from August 5-12. The programme, includes both theoretical as well as practical aspects of traffic management.

The course has been designed keeping in mind the foreign trainees and their requirements. Topics like enforcement and regulation, traffic engineering and road safety in the context of urban traffic management were taught to the trainees.


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