Wednesday, August 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Two children die in house collapse
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
In a tragic incident, two children were killed and another injured in a building collapse in East Delhi this morning even as chaos prevailed on major roads as heavy rains since last night threw life out of gear in the Capital for the second day today.

According to the police, Sachin (8) and his brother Anand (5) died on the spot, while the third child Govind (10), was seriously injured. The house belonged to Sant Ram, a DTC worker.

However, commuters’ woes could be further compounded with the metereological department predicting more showers during the day.

According to the Delhi Fire Service officials, a house near Bholanath Nagar school in Mahavir block of Shahdara collapsed around 5.50 a.m. because of heavy overnight rainfall, trapping the children beneath it. A few others who were present in the building managed to escape.

In fact, Delhi recorded 70.9 mm rainfall between 8.30 a.m. on Monday and 11.30 a. m. today, described by MET as ‘reasonably heavy’ showers. The weather department predicted overcast conditions during the next 24 hours with light to heavy rainfall in the Capital.

The rains, the first major monsoon showers this year, started early on Monday with a light drizzle, and poured all through the night. The worst affected were schoolchildren and office-goers who reached two to three hours late for their work. Traffic at the Ring Road, especially from East Delhi and West Delhi, moved at a snail’s pace.

The heavy showers exposed the poor drainage system in the Capital with water-logging being reported from several under-bridges like those at the Income Tax Office intersection, Pragati Maidan-Ring Road intersection and Minto Bridge.

This resulted in major traffic blockades on roads leading to New Delhi, especially from the Eastern and Northern part of the Capital.

The roads are used by the people coming from these directions for reaching Parliament, various Union ministries, media organisations, the All India Radio, Doordarshan, office of the public sector undertakings and major business destinations like Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh and Pachkuian Road.

Besides, the roads are also used for reaching various hospitals like Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain Hospital, G B Pant Hospital and Sucheta Kriplani Hospital.

People had to take long and circuitous routes to reach their destinations as the police diverted traffic to ease blockage on the affected roads. The problem was compounded due to breakdowns of a large number of vehicles due to rains.


Sharpshooters, anti-aircraft guns in place for I-Day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The 55,000-strong Delhi Police, assisted by paramilitary forces, has been deployed on the streets of the Capital to keep off anti-national elements during the Independence Day celebrations.

Special Commissioner of Police (Security and Operations), S K Kain, while briefing the press persons, disclosed that due to the heightened threat perception the security arrangements this year were be the toughest ever with anti-aircraft guns ready to ward off even an aerial attack at the Red Fort.


Panic gripped the Capital today when security agencies went into a tizzy after Delhi Police received a call that a bomb had exploded at the Army Headquarters. But it turned out to be a hoax call. The police are still inquiring into the matter. However, Army sources maintained that the panicky guards called the police after hearing a motorcycle backfiring, thinking that it was a blast.


Three Delhi policemen have been suspended after a terrorist they were escorting to Gujarat escaped from a train. The group left New Delhi by train on Thursday. Two of the six policemen were stranded at Ajmer while buying food. When the train was about to reach Mehsana, Jalaluddin went to the toilet. Two of the cops waited outside. When he came out, he pushed them aside and jumped out of the moving train.

Security agencies have intercepted key messages, which suggest that militants belonging to the Lashker-e-Taiba, Harkat -ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and other Islamic outfits were planning to carry out fidayeen attacks on vital installations and against the VVIPs, he said.

Unprecedented aerial surveillance will, therefore, be in place to thwart any attempt by militants to use an unmanned aerial vehicle. Sharp shooters and elite commandos of the NSG will be stationed on high rise buildings and at other vantage positions all along the parade route, as also around the historic Red Fort from the ramparts of which Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will hoist the tricolour and address the nation. Besides this, Air Defence guns have been installed in and around the Capital. These guns will respond to danger signals from radars installed at strategic places.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has also intercepted a message of Lashker-e-Taiba suggesting that its cadres would be targeting the Reserve Bank of India, the commissioner disclosed.

Following this, security around the building has been further beefed up. “Spotters” from Jammu and Kashmir with militant background have also been brought to the Capital to spy on trouble-makers and air traffic restrictions have been imposed over Capital’s VVIP areas.

Even defence aircraft cannot penetrate the “no-fly zone” in such areas without informing the control room, the sources said. The Capital’s borders with neighbouring states have been sealed.


It is Ram Lila at Red Fort or no Ram Lila at all…
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The annual grand spectacle of ‘Ram Lila’, one of the finest cultural shows of the Capital held outside the historic Red Fort, will not only be lost to the viewers from this year but the entire issue is threatening to snowball into a major religio-political controversy.

Delhi Municipal Commissioner Rakesh Mehta had recently issued an order stating that the ground in front of the Red Fort should not be allotted to anyone for staging the Ram Lila as it has to be developed into a grassy area. This is part of an exercise to beautify the Red Fort.

In his August five order, Mr Mehta also referred to an earlier letter of former Commissioner S P Aggarwal, stating that the Municipal Commission of Delhi (MCD) was ‘’committed to develop these grounds into grassy lawns. In future, no allotment of the grounds in front of the Red Fort should be made to anyone. The only exception can be Perfect Health Mela, where the old site of Gandhi Mela may be allotted this year.’’

Mr Aggarwal’s letter, which was circulated on November 11 last year, pointed out that the decision to develop the grounds into grassy lawns was taken following meetings with the Defence Secretary and Mr Vijay Goel, local MP and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Taking a strong exception to the MCD’s order, former Congress MP from Chandni Chowk, Jai Prakash Aggarwal, today accused Mr Mehta of issuing the letter at the behest of Mr Goel and alleged that the latter was ‘’misusing the PMO’s office to scuttle one of the most secular events of the Capital.’’

Addressing a Press conference, Mr Aggarwal said: ‘’It is shocking that the BJP, which came to power by fashioning the slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ into an electoral device, is now inclined towards destroying the ancient culture of Delhi - all in the name of beautifying the Red Fort, which is hardly convincing.’’

He also warned that if the order to cancel the Ram Lila was not withdrawn immediately, the Congress, together with various organisers of the event, would launch an agitation against the BJP.

Mr Aggarwal pointed out that the spectacular Ram Lila was witnessed in the past by former Presidents Dr Rajendra Prasad and Dr S Radhakrishnan and former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. ‘’It is a hallowed tradition of more than a hundred years, which is being celebrated by Delhiites generation after generation. Now, it is a matter of great regret that in the name of beautification of Chandni Chowk, the area MP is trying to stop the three well-known committees — Lav-Kush Ram Lila Committee, Nav Shree Dharmik Lila Committee of Red Fort and Dharmik Lila Committee of Subhash Maidan — from organising the event.’’''

The Congress leader also refuted the MCD’s contention that staging of the Ram Lila this year had been banned on a court order. ‘’This is a blatant lie as no court order has placed a ban on the event, ‘’ he contended. Nav Shree Dharmik Ram Lila Committee Secretary Premchand Gupta, who was also present, announced that no Ram Lila would be staged anywhere in the capital if it was not allowed outside the Red Fort. Mr Gupta said Ram Lila Mahasangh, the apex body of various Ram Lila committees, numbering about 45, in the Capital, would hold a meeting on Sunday to chart out the future course of action. ‘’We will launch a dharna and burn effigies of Mr Goel, who represents Chandni Chowk constituency in the Lok Sabha, and the PMO.’’

He said the MCD Commissioner, before issuing the order, should have held meetings with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Mayor Jayshree Panwar and Chairman of the Standing Committee. ‘’All rules were flouted, but we will not allow the civic body to trifle with religious sentiments of the people. It is either Ram Lila before the Red Fort or no Ram Lila at all’’.


Gandhiji’s samadhi: Rich caretakers, poor upkeep
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, August 13
At a time when the government is spending crores of rupees to propagate the ideals of the father of the nation, Mahatama Gandhi, his samadhi at Raj Ghat has become an example of neglect and apathy.

The slab on which the round-the-clock lamp is mounted has developed a major crack, virtually dividing this symbol of eternal light into two. The marble slabs around the main samadhi have also developed cracks, which are clearly visible and have often become the topic discussion of hundreds of people who visit the place to pay their respect to the departed leader and the apostle of non-violence.

But for some inexplicable reason, the caretakers and officials of the agency specially constituted to look after the site, the Raj Ghat Samadhi Samiti, refuse to face the reality. Mr. N. Vasudevan, the secretary of the samiti, whose office is barely 15 meters away from the samadhi, when contacted, said tersely, ``This is baseless. There are no cracks,” and dismissed the affair. This despite the general belief derived from Hindu mythology that cracked stones or slabs should not be used in samadhis as they are inauspicious.

Some of the damage to the samadhi dates back to 1999 when a mentally challenged person reportedly went berserk inside, damaging the monument. He was subsequently overpowered and taken away, but the damage had been done. Immediately after that the Urban Development Ministry had initiated a major maintenance drive with the assistance of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). Later, when Mr. Jagmohan was the Urban Development Minister and chairman of the samiti, he had sanctioned several crores of rupees for the “Rajghat project”.

Despite these drives, the changes have at best been cosmetic with little attention paid to general maintenance, a large number of people alleged. They suggested that the government should at least take up the cause on the eve of the Independence Day.


Ban on mining should stay: Panel
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 13
The Bhure Lal Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the aspects of the mining ban in the five-km area in Haryana adjoining Delhi, has suggested that the ban should continue. The committee was set up on July 22 on the directions of the apex court. The court allowed the copy of the report to be made available to various parties or sections connected with the issue and asked for any objections, if any, on the next date of hearing on September 2.

The committee in its report has quoted the report of the Central Ground Water Board which had stated that despite the delay of monsoons in Delhi and the NCR, the water table in the region, especially in the area affected by the mining ban order, had increased. This establishes the fact that the mining activity had been causing a loss or damage to the underground water table. About pollution, the committee is stated to have reported that the development of green belts to contain pollution in the mining and crusher zone areas had not been as expected.

A committee had earlier recommended setting up of green belts in the Surajkund and Bhadkhal areas of the district, but it is stated that there had been a violation of the norms despite an affidavit given by the state government earlier and hence the ban should continue.


Khurana wants 529 colonies regularised
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The last time an aerial survey was conducted, Madan Lal Khurana got his Cabinet to endorse the regularisation of 1,071 unauthorised colonies that had come up till March 31, 1993. That was when he was chief minister of the first popular elected government of the NCT of Delhi.

For the Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president seeking to play out a second innings as chief minister, Khurana wants another 529 unauthorised colonies to be brought on the list based on the aerial survey conducted two-odd months ago.

“Some 40 lakh people are living in the unauthorised colonies and Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) clusters constructed on government land. Taking into account their problems and necessities,” Khurana explains, “there is no other way but to regularise these colonies.”

The Delhi Pradesh BJP’s newly constituted working committee on Tuesday met and endorsed the same in a resolution that says the party will endeavour to “regularise” all unauthorised colonies that have come up on or before March 31 this year on “easy terms and conditions”.

According to Khurana, there are an estimated 1,600 unauthorised colonies that fall under the purview of this resolution. The corresponding figure in 1993 was 1,071.

To lend a degree of sanity to the resolution, the working committee did not forget to incorporate the statutory line. That effective measures will be taken to stop all unauthorised constructions in future and stern action initiated against the colonisers on government land.

For the record, Khurana clarified that the BJP will not revise the cut-off date to accommodate the unauthorised colonies that may come up after March 31, 2002.

He hastened to add nevertheless that governments could not afford to ignore the concerns of the four lakh people who come to Delhi every year.


Legislator demands more grants for drought-hit areas
Our Correspondent

Rewari, August 13
Congress legislator Rao Inderjit Singh, who is also a member of the All India Congress Committee, has described the state government’s compensation of Rs 1,000 per acre to the affected formers for their drought-destroyed crops, as totally insufficient. He demanded that all such farmers be given a compensation of at least Rs 5,000 per acre for their damaged crops.

Simultaneously, he went on to say that it was great injustice to deny compensation to all those farmers who could not even go in for the sowing of crops on account of the persistence of the prolonged dry spell. He wanted compensation to be paid to them also on the basis of a special survey to be conducted expeditiously throughout South Haryana, which was the worst drought- stricken region of the state.

As for the hardships being faced by cattle-keepers on account of the acute scarcity as well as the soaring prices of fodder, Mr Rao urged the state government to set-up fodder depots in all big villages to ensure supply of subsidised fodder to the cattle keepers throughout South Haryana. Making a special mention of the dry ponds aggravating the drinking water crisis for the cattle in the rural areas he deplored that in Rewari district alone only about 65 ponds out of over 400 ponds had been filled with canal water by the end of July. He wanted filling of the remaining ponds with canal water to be expedited to alleviate the cattle-keepers’ woes.

Flaying the state government for its persistent apathy in the matter of distribution of canal water as well as supply of power in South Haryana, Mr Rao Singh pleaded for the supply of canal water to the farmers of South Haryana on the pattern of the canal water supply schedule prevailing in Sirsa, Hisar, Kaithal, Jind and several other districts of the state on compassionate grounds.


Gurgaon Co-op Bank meets 78% farm needs
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, August 13
The Central Co-operative Bank Limited, Gurgaon, met 78 per cent of agricultural needs of the district last year whereas other commercial banks served only 22 per cent of agricultural requirements.

According to the spokesperson of the bank, the bank, during 2001-2002, granted loans of Rs 194.25 crore under various schemes of which Rs 151.74 crore had been advanced for agricultural sectors only.

He further informed that new schemes such as rural housing and rural godowns with facility of subsidy from Nabard are also on the pipeline which would greatly benefit the villagers.

The bank has adopted Kisan Credit Scheme announced by the Government of India and covered 36,009 farmers under the schemes and loan worth Rs 174.43 crore has been disbursed under the scheme.

The bank has advanced a sum of Rs 98.96 lakh to 85 beneficiaries under the revolving cash credit advance scheme for agricultural purpose, he added.

The spokesperson said that the Central Cooperative Bank, Gurgaon, has been continuously making profits from its beginning with an increasing trend in its owned capital and resources. Its accumulated profits stood at Rs 536.66 lakh as on March 31, 2002.

The bank with the head office at Gurgaon is providing banking and credit facilities through its 20 branches and 164 primary cooperative credit and service societies all over the district. Financial assistance is provided to all sections of society primarily to farmers, rural artisans, shopkeepers, mini diaries, etc. under various centrally and state-sponsored schemes.

The bank had a deposit of Rs 143.07 crore and the working capital of Rs 248.09 crore on March 31, 2002.


Ajit Singh backs HYKSS fight for water share
Our Correspondent

Rewari, August 13
The Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, who is also the national president of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), has extended his party’s support to the ongoing struggle of the Haryana Yuva Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (HYKSS) for an equitable distribution of canal water to ensure its share to the people of south Haryana.

An assurance to this effect was given by Mr Ajit Singh on Monday at his official residence in Delhi to a large delegation of the HYKSS led by its president, Mr Naresh Yadav, as well as Mr Mohan S. Delkar, MP, working president of the Indian Federal Democratic Party (IFDP) and Mr P C Thomas, MP, leader of the parliamentary group of the IFDP which is now a staunch ally of the HYKSS.

Sharing the sentiments of the leaders of the delegation over the persistent injustice to the farmers of South Haryana in the matter of fair distribution of canal water to the region, the Union Agriculture Minister expressed readiness to accompany them when they approached the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L K Advani, in this regard and also to plead their case before the Deputy PM.

In the above context when Mr Naresh Yadav gave a graphic account of the ‘brutal’ police lathi-charge made on the HYKSS activists at Narnaul recently, Mr Ajit Singh became emotional and said that in his veins ran the blood of Ch. Charan Singh, who always loved farmers dearly, and he strongly felt that it was shameful that the activists, who were demanding water for their parched fields, were ruthlessly lathi-charged.

Regarding certain other demands contained in the memorandum submitted by the delegation leaders, the minister said that the core committees, comprising senior officials and elected representatives of the district, would be constituted to see to it that the entire allocated relief money was distributed among affected farmers of South Haryana without any favour or prejudice. Besides if need arose, special central teams could also be sent to South Haryana to do full justice to the affected farmers.

Mr Naresh also pleaded for a special package for the farmers of South Haryana who, he asserted, were the worst sufferers of the drought.


Globalisation threatening the very basis of survival
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The two-day convention (August 10 and 11) on Community Rights to Natural Resources and the Constitution, organised by Dr Vandana Shiva’s Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology and Navdanya, brought forth the fact that the process of globalisation is threatening the very basis of survival-land, water and biodiversity-and is paving the way for commodifying these natural resources through legal and policy changes.

The right to these resources and the access to them have now become the law of the land through the Panchayati Raj amendments (73 and 74 amendments) and the Provision for Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act, 1996), which have given tribal communities and gram sabhas the right to take decisions on the conservation, use and management of their natural resources of land, water and biodiversity. But recent laws and policies have violated the spirit of the Constitution by denying the people their right to natural resources.

Some examples of this one for the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) in Nagarnar (Chattisgarh), the state has forcibly taken over land from the tribals for mining by imprisoning over 300 tribals, a two-decade-old people’s movement in Koel Karo was brutally attacked by the police during last February and claimed few lives, and in Kashipur, Orissa, tribals opposing Bauxite mining carried by Global Aluminum Company were brutally killed in December 2000 by police firing in lush Kashipur.

All these incidents have one point of similarity and that is all of them have taken place in the fifth scheduled areas that lay down extra-constitutional provision of the tribal people.

Similarly, water is privatised by global corporate giants like Suez, who are everywhere in water privatisation scenario from controlling the rich common water sources to transportation and distribution only with the motive of earning profits earned through catering to a handful of rich who can afford to pay for their luxurious uses whereas the rest of the majority of the poor are left exposed to fight the water scarcity situation.

Added to the water scarcity situation, the farmers are not able to sustain themselves due to unreliable supply of seeds and other inputs. Owing to changes in our seed policy and pressure from the WTO, these farmers have become guinea pigs for testing new seeds that are failing year after year.

It was to address this emergency in human rights’ violation and illegal and immoral privatisation drive for natural resources that Navadanya had organised a two-day convention that culminated in celebrating those communities that have managed to fight for their constitutional rights despite these violations of their economic freedom.

This national convention, therefore, brought together all the people’s movements who are defending community rights over natural resources and declared that this is Asli Azadi - or Community Rights that is The Foundation of Real Freedom.


Draperies worth lakhs gutted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Room furnishing cloths and carpets worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a fire that broke out in Jagdish Store, a showroom in Lajpat Nagar area this morning. No casualty took place in the fire which broke out at 21.45 pm in a storeroom on the second floor of the building located on the Ring Road. According to the preliminary inquiry, short-circuit is the cause behind the fire. The storeroom was packed with expensive cloths and carpets and most of the cloths were destroyed.

The fire was noticed by the employees working on the second floor. After noticing that the smoke emanating from cloths, the employees informed the manager of the store, who telephoned the Delhi Fire Service (DFS). The DFS pressed ten firefighters, which took more than three hours to control the fire. The dousing work was hampered because of shortage of water as there was insufficient water in the DFS vehicles. The DFS vehicles also caught in the traffic jam on the Ring Road.

According to one employee of the Jagdish store, when the fire broke out there were 125 men present in the store. Soon, there was a commotion in the showroom. The buyers rushed out of the shop. Owner of the showroom Jagdish Khandelwal was present when the incident occurred. He along with some employees went upstairs and took out the expensive materials.


Jewellery, cash stolen from PHD official in Jhajjar
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, August 13
Thieves reportedly barged into the house of an official of the Public Health Department and stole jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh and cash Rs 80, 000.

In a complaint, Ishwar Dalal, a PHD official, that he along with his wife and children were sleeping, when thieves entered the house by scaling the boundary wall. They reportedly broken the shelf and decamped with the booty. In another incident, residents of Akupur village held up traffic on Jhajjar-Gurgaon road today in protest against inadequate supply of drinking water, for around an hour. This is the second incident of jam by the villagers who have been facing water crisis for a few months. However, the district officials rushed to the village and cleared the blocked by giving assurances.

Road blocked

Employees of Haryana Roadways here put up a jam on the bus stand and hold up traffic for about an hour today. They were demanding the police action against the owner of a Cooperative society bus, who reportedly beat up the driver and conductor of Haryana Roadways two days ago near Farukhnagar.

However, members of Haryana Roadways workers Union in a meeting, held on Sunday, have demanded to take action against the culprits. Later, the SDM reached the bus stand and pacify the agitated employees. A meeting has been called on August 18 to resolve the matter.

3 die in mishaps

As many as three persons died in road accidents here today.
In the first accident, Jeevan Kumar, a book seller of Israna village, was killed when his motorcycle was hit by an unknown vehicle. His son, Hari Gyan, who was driving the bike was unhurt. Gurmukh, a resident of Rail Kalan village, was killed when his bicycle was hit by a canter near Bohli village here.

In yet another accident, Surinder a cleaner with a truck and a resident of Sila Kheri village in Jind district, died when the truck overturned following a collision with a tractor-trailer.

RI for dowry

Faridabad, August 13
The Additional District and Session Judge sentenced a young man to three years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a five of Rs 10,000 on Monday on charges of driving her wife Geeta to commit suicide.

According to information, the victim Geeta was continuously harassed by her husband Suresh Kumar and other members of her in-law family for not bringing more dowry one-after-the others.

Since she failed to meet the repeated demands of bringing more and more money from her parents, continuous beating and harassment led her to take the drastic step of ending her life by committing suicide.

Bail denied

The Additional District and Session Judge rejected the bail application of a young boy Krishan against whom charges of raping a student girl were reported.

According to the statement of her father, when her daughter, who was a student of Class X, was going to the fields to deliver food to her parents, Krishan, the resident of same village caught hold her, taken her to nearby fields and raped her. The accused was arrested by the villagers on hearing the repeated cries of girl for help. The girl was medically examined by the police, which proved that the girl was raped.

Court order

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the cable TV operator of Sector-15-A here to restore the cable connection of a resident, Mr Krishan Lal Gera, who has filed petitions in the local court and Punjab and Haryana High Court about the violations of rules and regulations by the cable operators. Mr Gera connection was removed after the case was moved in the court.

However, the applicant filed a case in the consumer court challenging the disconnection recently. The Consumer Court asked the cable operator to restore the connection now.

Order from DC

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, has ordered that able-bodied male inhabitants of all the villages in the district are liable to perform patrol duty during day and night with a view to prevent cut on channels of the canals by unauthorised persons and ensure smooth running of the channels.

The DC said that the orders had been passed in apprehension of cut off channels in the canal in view of scarcity of canal water. He said that village panchayats would be responsible for providing able-bodied adult male persons for petrol duty. The orders shall remain in force from August 13 to December 31.

Counselling for MBBS

The counselling for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the session 2002 would start from August 26 at Pt B. D. Sharma PGIMS. Dr D.S. Dhankhar, PRO of the institute, today said that counselling for Non Resident Indian, open and reserved categories would be held on August 26, September 3 and 4 respectively.


Messengers of peace to wear white ribbons
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, August 13
The message is harmony and peace and to spread the message on India’s 55th Independence Day, half a million Indians will sport white ribbons.

‘The White Ribbon Campaign’ is a gesture to mobilise and unite civil society across the nation under the simple symbol of a white ribbon. Organised by a group of young Indians, working in association with voluntary organisations, corporate leaders, media vehicles and celebrities, the campaign was inspired by the Gujarat carnage.

“This event provides an opportunity to a lot of people to come together and find a tangible way of showing what is otherwise a silent majority. We hope that this is something that will continue beyond Independence Day,” said Parvez Iman, White Ribbon Campaign, Bangalore. The campaign has partnered with radio and television channels to air the ‘stop-hatred’ campaign and urge people to support communal harmony by wearing white ribbons.


Plan to improve power situation

New Delhi, August 13
Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) and Tata Power on Tuesday made presentations of their future strategies and plan of action to improve power situation in the Capital to Union Power Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Cabinet colleague and Power Minister Ajay Maken met with Mr Suresh Prabhu and discussed how to enhance coordination between the various agencies having stakes in power section in the Capital. The meeting was also attended by Delhi Power Supply Company Managing Director Jagdish Sagar. BSES was represented by its Chief Executive Officer J. S. Chalasani and Tata Power by its CEO Anil Sardana. TNS


Saplings to be planted

Faridabad, August 13
The authorities have targeted to plant about 10 to 12 lakh saplings in the district in the current season. This was stated in a meeting held by the Commissioner Forests, Mr Sanjay Kothari, here today.

Mr Kothari asked the officials to complete the work in next five days as there had been a good rainfall in past two days. He said a control room would be set up in the district, which should work round the clock and an employee be deputed to provide help or take note of the problems faced during the drive.

Earlier, the authorities had aimed to plants about 13 lakh saplings and trees in the district during the rainy season this year. But due to unusual delay in rains, the plantation programme got hanged up. Now the monsoons have become active in the region in past couple of days and district reported receiving at least 15 mm of rainfall the authorities feel that the drive should be taken up immediately.

Of the total target, the DRDA and Huda departments plan to plant 2.50 lakh and 1.15 lakh saplings respectively.


Hapur bypass opens to public

New Delhi, August 13
The 33-km-long Hapur bypass and four-laned Ghaziabad-Hapur section of National Highway (NH)-24 were today opened to public. The Rs 110-crore project was constructed with the assistance of 4827 million Yen from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), an official release said here.

NH-24 originates from Delhi and links Lucknow. The entire length of the project is controlled with state-of-the-art signages and road furniture. Signboards have been provided using encapsulated lens technology and diamond grade retro-reflective sheeting technology on the project. This is the latest technology, which provides best retro-reflection to the traffic. Specially imported cold paint with glass beads has been used for pavement lane marking and edge marking, which would provide excellent guidance to the traffic during night hours. In addition, retro reflective reflectors on guardrails and Raised Pavement Markers (RPMs) have been provided to guide the traffic during night.


Dhauj allottees upset by Huda

The allottees of the newly set-up Dhauj Crusher Zone in the district are unhappy over the management of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), which has developed the zone.

The allottees who had been called by the authorities to be given the number of their plots here on Monday, felt agitated when they were told that the issue had been postponed and about ten plots of the total 77 plots had been allotted to a company. TNS


Woman killed in Chandni Chowk
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
An elderly woman was found murdered near Hardayal Singh Library today morning in the Chandni Chowk area.

The deceased, Lali (65), wife of late Sadhu Ram, was killed with a head injury from the place where she used to run a cigarette and bidi stall for the last 30 years.

Police recovered Rs 300 from her possession and are looking into the mystery of behind the murder.

The Chandni Chowk police registered a case of murder and are investigating the case.

113 pickpockets held

The South district police in a special drive to curb the increasing menace of pick-pocketing in the moving buses, have nabbed 113 pickpockets, 12 snatchers, two robbers and 14 auto-lifters.

The police also recovered 71 button actuated knives and one country made pistol from their possession. The district police during the special drive also claimed to have arrested members of Manoj Bihari Gang, that used to commit crimes like dacoity, robbery, snatching and other property offences.


Rs 552 cr marketing scheme to boost exports
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 13
In a bid to boost exports and help exporters focus on the specific areas, the Central Government has out with an ambitious Rs 552 crore “Market Assess Initiative (MAI) scheme, the Under Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Mr Mangal Singh, said here today.

Addressing an interactive session with exporters, organised by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) and the Panipat Exporters Association, Mr Singh informed that the scheme, which was much larger in volume than the previous Market Development Assistant (MDA), was aimed at developing overseas markets and explore new areas for the exporters.

Under the scheme the exporters’ associations had been given the prerogative to choose the products and the government’s role would be that of a facilitator, he added.

The Joint Director-General of Foreign Trade, Panipat, Mr M. S. Dhillon, while assuring every possible help to the exporters, claimed that at the end of the current Exim Policy (2,002-2,007), the Indian foreign trade would touch the $40 billion and would account for 1% of the total global export share. Currently, it accounted for only 0.67% and was valued at $ 8 billion.

Earlier, the Nortern Region Chairman of FIEO, Mr Subhash Mittal, demanded that the transaction cost should be reduced to help the exporters to make their products competitive and attain the target of 12% export growth rate as set by the government. The exemption earlier given to the imports under the DEPB from the Special Additional Duty (SAD) be restored, he demanded. Alternatively, credit rates under the DEPB should be increased to cover the component of SAD, he stated.

Lauding the role of the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC), he said that the claim settled in for 90% while the premium was being charged for 100%. He demanded that the claim should be settled for 100% amount.

Speaking on the role of the small-scale industry (SSI), Mr T. R. Manaktala, convener of the FIEO committee on SSI, regretted that of Rs 6,00,000 crore annual turnover of the SSI about 10% (60,000 crore) was being exported though there was huge scope for exports.

Mr Ram Singh, Joint Director of the Textile Committee, informed that to give boost to the textile industry the government has decided to set up 23 cluster development centres.

Listing the services offered by the ECGC such as the factoring service and specific shipment policy, Ms Vasantha Srinivas, Branch Manager, claimed that claims up to Rs 50 lakh were being settled within a week provided all formalities were completed by the exporters. Mr R. N. Gupta, secretary of the Panipat Exporters Association, who proposed a vote of thanks.

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