Thursday, August 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Power players need Rs 150 cr for revamp
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The Union Power Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu, has assured the two private power distribution companies, Tata Power and BSES, of adequate funds to improve the distribution network in the Capital.

The two companies have sought Rs 150 crore from the centrally-sponsored Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP) and the Power Finance Corporation for augmenting the distribution network. Stating that their schemes would be approved, Mr Prabhu said that the funds would be released on a priority basis.

Both companies have said that the implementation of their schemes would start from September 1 and completed in seven months. A detailed project report (DPR) for augmenting and strengthening the distribution network of three circles in Delhi, costing Rs 150 crore, has been prepared by the two private companies.

This was discussed at a meeting between Union Power Minister Suresh Prabhu, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the chief executives of the two distribution companies here. The meeting reviewed the performance of the two companies and the Minister assured financial help to improve the power supply in the city.

The companies claimed that the situation now had improved compared to last month but admitted that much was needed to be done in the case of assured power supply as well as redressal of consumer grievances, senior Ministry officials said after the meeting. Mr Prabhu asked the companies to achieve a reliability index target of 95 per cent in the next six months.

For achieving this, the companies should put in place schemes for augmenting the distribution network to give immediate results, Mr Prabhu said, adding that “funds will not be a problem and will be provided through APDRP of Ministry of Power and the PFC.”

Chief executives of Tata and BSES pointed out that the distribution system handed over to them by the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board was in a bad shape and required maintenance or repair.

“Disruption in power supply for longer periods was mainly due to a number of reasons, one of the most common being cable fault due to very old cables and also because large areas were getting power from a single source,” they added.

The companies are now trying to provide supply from two or more sources for reliability.

The Capital has been witnessing long hours of power cuts since the private companies took over from the state-owned DVB in July, which resulted in people coming out in the streets to protest.

While the BJP tried to give a political colour to the power crisis by stating that the Delhi government had given the DVB to the private companies for a paltry sum, ignoring the regular annual maintenance, the Congress-led Delhi government claimed that the unusually high temperature resulted in additional demand for power, resulting in frequent breakdowns.

As the success of the privatisation of the Capital’s power distribution is being keenly watched by the industry and the government, after the series of unsuccessful experiment in the energy sector, the stakes are high for both the private players as well as the state government and the Centre, as it has been closely monitoring each step by the Sheila Dikshit government in this direction. 



BSES renames COS

BSES today announced the new names of its two distribution companies – the South-West Delhi Electricity Distribution Company has been renamed as BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and the Central-East Delhi Electricity Distribution Company Ltd as BSES Yamuna Power Limited. The CEO of the distribution companies, Mr J P Chalasani, said 50 additional boxes have been placed for easy collection of electricity bill payment through cheque. This billing system is being steadily streamlined to reduce errors and this process will be completed by December 2002. For additional customer convenience, BSES is also tying up with banks having a large number of branches to facilitate easy payment of electricity bills. For enhanced customer satisfaction, BSES has centralised a 24-hour customer care call centre with 24 executives for each distribution company. TNS



Ram Lila order withdrawn
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today withdrew its controversial order which said that the ground in front of the Red Fort should not be allotted to anyone for staging the Ram Lila. The withdrawal of the order followed a spate of protests from Ram Lila committees and politicians.

The Municipal Commissioner has agreed to allow the Ram Lila Committee to stage Ram Lila in a part of the Parade Ground, which has not been developed into a park yet. The developed area will, however, not be used for Ram Lila or for any other purpose. (It will be recalled that the MCD had earlier taken the stand that it was committed to developing the grassy lawns in front of the fort and, therefore, the ground should not be allotted to anyone).

The decision to revoke the order was taken in the Standing Committee meeting today when a resolution was moved by a Congress member, Brij Mohan Sharma. In the resolution, he said that the Parade Ground Ram Lila is a grand annual spectacle and one of the finest cultural shows of the Capital. Therefore, it should not be moved from its traditional venue. The proposal was seconded by other members.

The Red Fort Ram Lila was banned following the intervention of the Minister of State in PMO, Mr Vijay Goel, who wanted to develop the area into a grassy turf. For this purpose, the land has been allotted to the Archaeological Survey of India. The decision was taken after several meetings, which were attended by Mr Goel.

Taking strong exception to the MCD’s order, former Congress MP from Chandni Chowk, Jai Prakash Aggarwal, yesterday accused the Muncipal Commissioner Rakesh Mehta of issuing the directive at the behest of Mr Goel. It was further alleged that Mr Goel was “misusing the PMO to scuttle one of the most secular events of the country.’’

In its ban order, the Municipal Commission had said that there will be only one exception to its order, that is, the ‘Perfect Health Mela’ for which the old site of Gandhi Mela may be allotted. All other performances should be held in Subhash Maidan, but not on the lawns opposite the Red Fort.



Load-shedding may be a thing of the 
past in Haryana 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 14
Power cuts will soon be a thing of the past in Haryana. The Union Minister of Power, Mr Suresh Prabhu, is laying the foundation stone of the 7th and 8th units of 250 MW each at the Tau Devil Lal Thermal Power Station on August 17, a step towards total revamp of the power sector.

The other projects of the Haryana Power Generation Corporation (HPGC), which are in different stages of completion, are a 500 MW thermal plant at Yamuna Nagar, a 500 MW plant at Hisar, a 360 MW oil-based power plant in Panipat and a 432 MW gas-based plant at Faridabad. These projects will go a long way in making the state a pioneer in power generation. This was revealed by HGPC officials at the power station here today.

Conducting a tour of the sites, Mr NN Vaid, Director of the HPGC, told journalists that the two 250 MW units had been included in the firm capacity addition programme of the Ministry of Power for the 10th Plan. Keeping in view the infrastructure available at the local station, the work of setting up the units had been awarded to BHEL on a turnkey basis with a schedule of 31 months and 35 months for units 1 and 2, respectively.

While the 7th unit would be commissioned in October 2004, the 8th is slated to be commissioned in February 2005. Of the total cost of Rs 1,785 crore, the state government would contribute Rs 357 crore by way of equity. The balance (Rs 1,428 crore) would be financed by the Power Finance Corporation.

Mr IK Kohli, Chief Engineer, Thermal Design, who played a major role in designing the project, told journalists that the station had a sprawling area of 1,989 acres of which the generating station was spread over an area of 656 acres. 



Young girl stabbed to death at home
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, August 14
Two youths, in a daring incident, entered the house of a lady teacher in Richhpal Puri Mohalla under Kotwali police station and stabbed her young daughter to death. The assailants also took away the gold chain and rings worn by her.

Mrs Angoori Devi, a teacher in a primary school in Delhi, had just left the house along with her elder daughter, Sangeeta, and her two sons Raju and Deepak. The other daughter, Rekha, 18, was alone at home.

Rekha was a class XII student in Nanad Nagri Higher Secondary School. The assailants reportedly entered the house near Hapur Road trijunction at about 11.30 am, according to the neighbours, and left just in a few minutes.

When Rekha’s younger brother Raju returned from the maternal uncle’s house nearby at 12.30 pm, he was shocked to see the victim lying in a pool of blood and the TV set had been put at full blast apparently by the assailants so that Rekha’s shrieks could be drowned in the sound.

Informed by the neighbours, SP city Umesh Srivastava along with a police force from Kotwali station reached the spot but by that time the victim had succumbed to her injuries.

Mr Umesh Srivastava said that the police have lifted some fingerprints and some other clues will enable them to work out the crime soon.

Though the elder brother Deepak said that they did not have any enmity with anybody, some residents in the neighbourhood said that youngsters known to Deepak had been seen visiting Angoori Devi’s house every now and then.

Meanwhile, the police in Noida and Ghaziabad have mounted maximum security on the borders in view of the maximum alert and security arrangements in the national capital for tomorrow’s Independence Day celebrations in Delhi.

According to the SP city, Ghaziabad, Mr Umesh Srivastava, and SSP Noida Rajeev Krishen, all individuals and vehicles will be thoroughly checked at all points with Delhi border.

Notorious criminal shot near Modinagar

The police today claimed to have shot dead a dreaded criminal belonging to the notorious Vijay Farhan gang after a brief encounter near Modinagar here. According to Chandra Pal, SSP Ghaziabad, the alleged gangster Pitambar, was spotted riding on the pillion of a motorbike along with his accomplice last night. When challenged by the police at a picket, the suspects fired at the police party and ran away after abandoning the vehicle.

The police party, which included a Delhi Police team, chased the suspects on the main GT Road and shot Pitambar dead. His accomplice, however, managed to escape. 



Nitish snubs Delhi on Metro
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
Railway Minister Nitish Kumar today virtually rejected the Delhi Government’s demand for more administrative control over Metro Railway and said that a Group of Ministers headed by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was already there at the Centre to take expeditious decision on the project.

“Metro Railway project is for the common good of Delhi. This prestigious project will not only make Delhi but the entire country proud. It should be kept above politics. All decisions regarding the project are expeditiously taken by the GoM in which the Delhi Chief Minister is also a member,” Mr Kumar said while reacting to the Delhi Government’s recent decision to set up a committee headed by Delhi Transport Minister Ajay Maken to demand more control over Metro operations in the Capital.

Talking to reporters after inspecting the progress of Metro Railway projects at various points, Mr Kumar said a seven-member empowered group at the Centre, which includes the Finance Minister, the Railway Minister, the Urban Development Minister, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, the Delhi Lt-Governor and the Chief Minister, already exists to take decisions regarding Metro Railway. Expressing satisfaction over the progress of the project, Mr Kumar said that the world-class advanced Metro system after its completion would not only remove a major transport problem being faced by the Capital, but also become a popular tourist attraction.



Power Department: No light at the 
end of the tunnel 
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 14
Despite corporatisation, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel in the power department, rechristened as Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam or better known as Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) here in the region. Complaints of corruption and inefficiency are quite common. To top it, there is a crucial question of sluggish recovery of bills.

According to DHBVN records, the Nigam is still to recover over Rs 64 crore as bills in the district. While there are over 29,000 individual defaulters, there are a large number of government departments which owe bills worth several crores of rupees.

Among the government departments, the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) is the biggest defaulter at present. The MCF still needs to pay over Rs 15 crore despite paying Rs 1.45 crore recently to the DHBVN.

It is reported that the payment was done after the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, intervened in the matter and directed the MCF authorities during a recent meeting that it should clear its dues towards the power department.

But it is learnt that the fund-starved MCF is finding it difficult to clear the dues still pegged around Rs 15.48 crore.

The Public Health Department here is another defaulter which is still to pay Rs 13.31 crore as power bills. Besides it, the Indian Railways owe Rs 2.46 crore, irrigation Rs 58.65 lakh and recently closed Minor Irrigation Tubewell Corporation (MITC) has also failed to clear bills worth Rs 3.29 lakh.

There are many other offices of the state government, including tourism which owe amount ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. When asked about the list of other prominent defaulters, the Superintending Engineer (Operations) of DHBVN here, Ms Chanda Saini, said that her office had not got the details at present.

She said that the details are gathered from field offices when asked by the senior authorities. It is also learnt that about 118 cases were pending in the courts and as a result, a bill of about Rs 33 crore had been held up.

According to the information, this has been mainly due to wrong reading and billing and many consumers were forced to seek legal help after they failed to get their grievances redressed at DHBVN offices.

A resident of Sector-7 here said that one of his relatives had to move the court after the Nigam officials handed over a bill which was more than 40 times, he was required to pay otherwise.

The DHBVN offices are charged with ‘rampant corruption’ and harassment and this has been evident at the ‘open darbar’ of the Deputy Commissioner and the monthly meeting of the District Grievances Committee.

In one of the cases, the Chief Minister had ordered suspension of an SDO of the power department last month on corruption charges.

The DHBVN has also failed to devise a proper method of handling day to day complaints and charges of corruption and inefficiency against its staff, said Mr Krishan Lal, a resident of Sector-15A. Complaints in this regard are taken up with the Deputy Commissioner or even at a higher level by the consumers, he said.

About recovery, Ms Chanda Saini claimed that the notices had been to the department concerned and the action had been initiated in some of the cases.

She said that the power supply at Bhadkhal tourists complex was cut off about a month ago when it failed to clear off its dues despite reminders.

She said that the supply was started after some payment had been made.

The department had been able to recover about Rs 3.55 crore as pending bills during the special 75 per cent bills waive-off scheme launched in May-June last, but added that a sum of over Rs 32 crore was still pending with about 28,000 consumers, mostly in rural areas.



Security beefed up for Independence Day
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, August 14
Security has been tightened in the Rohtak Range in view of threats by terrorist groups to disturb Independence Day celebrations. The Inspector-General of Police (Rohtak Range), Mr Resham Singh, told NCR Tribune that all vehicles bound for Delhi and coming from the national capital were being checked thoroughly.

Mr Resham Singh convened a meeting of district police chiefs, DSPs, Inspectors and all SHOs of the range here on Monday to review the security arrangements and chalk out a strategy to maintain peace on Independence Day. Almost the entire Rohtak Range, except Karnal district, forms part

of the National Capital Region. Jhajjar and Sonepat districts share their border with the national Capital.

The Inspector-General of Police said the SHOs in the range had been directed to verify the antecedents of the tenants and occupants of newly constructed houses within their respective jurisdiction. The police have also been advised to check serais and hotels and possible hideouts of the terrorists. Special instructions have been given to the police to strictly verify the antecedents of persons visiting the dhabas on the national highway during odd hours.

Mr Resham Singh said the SHOs had been told to keep an eye on the activities of anti-social elements and criminals. Such persons, if found indulging in any unlawful activity, should be dealt with sternly, the SHOs have been told.

He said police patrolling had been intensified not only on the roads leading to Delhi but also on the roads leading towards the venue of Independence Day functions at every district headquarter town and sub-divisional cities. The police have been advised to put up nakas on the roads leading to the venue of the function and thoroughly check every person and vehicle headed there.



Model Town residents feel private players are giving them a raw deal 
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, August 14
The residents of Model Town II, B block, have been getting a raw deal from Tata Power, the private company which is looking after the distribution of power in the area. The residents have complained that the transfer of the distribution rights into private hands has put them in a fix.

Ms Kanta Gupta, a housewife living in the area said, “There is no electricity in our house and I do not know whom to talk to and register our complaint. We are simply stuck.”

Moreover, the continuous rain in the last 24 hours has only aggravated the problem. The flooded roads, without streetlights, have become dangerous for the pedestrians.

Anuj Singhal, a school student residing in the area added, “I am a student of class XII and have been unable to study as there is no electricity in the area. My clothes are unpressed and I had to even miss my school today.”

The residents are particularly upset with the lack of information regarding the problem. A senior resident of the area, Mr Rishi Narang said, “We do not know whether this is a result of the tussle between the DVB and the private agency or due to the havoc caused by the rain. However, the fact of the matter remains that the power shortage in the area has adversely affected us. Since morning, we have been continuously calling the office of the Tata Power but no one has picked up the phone. We do not know whether the phone lines are dead or the workers are deliberately not picking up the phone.”

Effectively then, privatisation of power distribution has hardly improved things for the residents of the area. Rather, it has created more confusion, pain and darkness all-around.



Café extends aid to 55 deprived kids
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, August 14
Café Coffee Day has decided to extend financial support to CRY with an aim to educating 55 children for a year. Marketing head, Café Coffee Day, Sudipta Mukherjee, handed a cheque of the initial sum for the underprivileged. It also aims to raise the balance amount by placing collection boxes on behalf of CRY at all its outlets across the country. Mukherjee said, “We are happy to support CRY by contributing to the education of 55 less privileged children. Education will help these children thrive in a rapidly changing environment. This gesture is a commitment towards building a happy society. This, we felt, was the most appropriate way to celebrate the 55th year of our country’s Independence”.

Protest held

Members of the All-Kashmiri Youth Front on Wednesday staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in the Capital against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

The organisation observed the day as black day and condemned the attitude of the Centre and the state government towards the community, especially those living in squalid conditions in camps.



Afghan woman picked up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
An Afghan woman was picked in the wee hours on Wednesday from a hostel in Sarojini Nagar in South-West district, after an intelligence tip-off that she had links with some terrorist organisations. Police officials who conducted the raid on the eve of Independence Day celebrations picked up the woman, who is in her twenties. She is being interrogated by both police and intelligence officials. Interestingly, the woman had denied even being an Afghan, sources said.

Visit to hospital Faridabad

Members of the Brahman Uthan Samiti here distributed fruit among patients in the Bhadshah Khan Civil Hospital here on Tuesday. He said the team members also visited a colony of leprosy patients.

Blood donated

As many as 52 employees of a private company donated blood at a special camp organised here on Wednesday with the help of the District Red Cross Society. According to the society, employees of Denso Faridabad Private Limited donated 52 units at the camp.

Minor elopes

A minor girl reportedly eloped with a youth of Bhurawas village on August 11.
According to the police, the father of the girl complained that a youth, Pradeep, had lured his daughter, a student of class X, to accompany him. The police are interrogating Pradeep.



Medals for 10 Delhi Police officers 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
Ten officers of Delhi Police have been awarded Police Medals for their distinguished and meritorious services on the eve of the Independence Day.

U.K. Katna, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) and Inspector Ranbir Singh, SHO, Jama Masjid, have been awarded the President’s Police Medal this year. Those who have been awarded the Police Medal this year are: R.S. Ghumman, Deputy Commissioner of Police, P.S. Bhushan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Harmeet Singh Hira, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Inspector Surender Singh Sandhu, Inspector Anup Singh Mann and Inspector Om Prakash Yadav.



Jawan’s body found

New Delhi, August 14
The body of a CRPF jawan was recovered from a well in the forest area of Andheria More yesterday. He was identified as Dhani Ram, 35. He was posted as a mess boy in GO’s Mess in the second battalion of the CRPF, the police said. According to preliminary inquiries, it was an accidental case. He could have been sitting at the edge of the well and may have slipped. There were no external injury marks. The police said the exact cause of death would be confirmed after the post-mortem report. TNS



Auto thieves fall in police net, 200 cases solved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
With the arrest of a notorious auto thief, Anil Chauhan, and his associates, the South district police today claimed to have solved more than 200 cases of motor vehicle theft. The police also recovered Rs 3.93 lakh in cash, 12 cars, implements for making duplicate keys along with fake number plates and forged registration certificates from their possession.

During interrogation, Anil revealed to the police that two of his accomplices, Pawan and Naseer, were moving in a stolen Santro car in the Saket area. The duo were nabbed by the police. The gang members confessed to the police that they had stolen more than 200 vehicles from South and South-West districts. Mostly, the cars which were stolen were sent to Nepal, Rampur, Bareilly, Meerut and Gujarat.

Special teams have been sent to Moradabad, Meerut, Bareilly, Rampur and Gujurat to recover the vehicles and nab the other members of the gang.

Criminals held: The Special Staff of West district has nabbed two dreaded criminals of the Vikas- Vikram gang — Pawan Tokas, resident of Munirka, and Suresh, alias Inder Sain, resident of Krishan Garh. One stolen Hero Honda motor cycle, one loaded country made pistol of .315 bore with one live cartridge and one button actuated knife have been recovered from their possession. With their arrest the police also claimed to have solved a case of murder, robbery and motor vehicle theft.

The team, acting on secret information that the accused would come near Bharti College, Janak Puri, spotted the duo on a green-coloured Hero Honda motor cycle and nabbed them.

On sustained interrogation, Pawan disclosed that he was an active member of the Vikas-Vikram gang, which was involved in more than 15 robberies in Delhi. He also committed a robbery of Rs 5 lakh near R.K. Puram in 2001, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Deepandra Pathak.

Thief nabbed: The PCR van posted at Mahipal Pur Rangpuri near Sethi Petrol Pump, Raddison Hotel, has arrested one Ajit (29), resident of Rangpuri, and recovered a stolen stereo, a cycle and a knife from his possession. 


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