Sunday, August 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Scrap EDC: Chamber
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, August 17
The Haryana Government may have agreed to scale down the rate of External Development Charge (EDC), but the Chamber of Industries, which has associates in Udyog Vihar, wants the charge per se to be scrapped. The issue appears to have opened up deep fissures in the industrial community.

The Chamber of Industries president, Col. R.P.Dhawan, in a statement said that the state agencies (read Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation) had raised an ill-conceived demand and now were giving legitimacy to it.

Following a notice from the HSIDC for payment of EDC at the rate of Rs 402 per sq metre, various organisations, led by the Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA), took up the issue with the government.

Gurgaon Inc wanted the government to scrap the EDC as the plot buyers had already paid the EDC at the time of purchasing the plots two decades back in Udyog Vihar Phase 1-V and in Sector 18.

The HSIDC, which had sold the plots to the industrialists after purchasing them from Huda, remains firm on imposing the charge on the ground that new infrastructure was provided to the city. Hence, the infrastructure end-users would have to pay for it.

The HSIDC made it obvious that it could only scale down the charge, if Huda relented.

Since Huda is the main body which has laid down the infrastructure, it has demanded the EDC from the HSIDC as it was the original buyer of the plots.

Meanwhile, about 150 of 1,600 affected industrialists moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the MRTPC against the HSIDC move.

Col Dhawan stated that the demand is without any basis. It is like making the entrepreneurs buy their own property all over again at an arbitrarily enforced rate in the name of EDC.

Expressing reservations on the role of the GIA and the GCCI, saying that they were based outside Udyog Vihar, he alleged that the GIA and the GCCI had been just singing the praises of the government policies.

Entrepreneurs of Udyog Vihar have always felt let down by these ‘self-appointed’ representatives with a negligible stake in Udyog Vihar.


Pak flag hoisted in Meerut village
Our Correspondent

Meerut, August 17
Tension prevailed in Bisela village under Incholi police station when some members of a particular community hoisted a Pakistani flag at a madrasa on August 15. The ‘flag-hoisting ceremony’ was held at Madarsa Islamia Noor ul Islam at 9 am on Wednesday. The villagers, students, teachers and principal of the madrasa later took out a procession in the village with the Pakistani flag. When their rally passed through the Jatav-dominated area, some youths objected to it and there was a heated exchange.

Shouts of `Pakistan murdabad’ and Musharraf murdabad’ rent the air, escalating the tension in the village. Meanwhile, some villagers informed the Lawar police post about the incident. Police post incharge and SSI of the Incholi Police Station reached the spot immediately. Senior district and police officials, including SSP Mukul Goel, SP (RA), ADM (E) K S Chauhan, circle officer Mukul Diwedi and sub-divisional magistrate Saradhana also rushed to the spot SP (RA) and ADM (E) questioned the principal and a teacher of the madrasa.

They told the police that the flag belonged to the Zamiat Ulema-e-Hind but when the police found that they were telling a lie, the SP detained them.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, the SP (RA) informed the senior officials at Lucknow.

Soon a team of IB sleuths joined the investigation. Another team of the state intelligence also landed in the evening. The administration decided to deploy the PAC to keep a tab on the situation.

Circle officer Mukul Diwedi constituted a peace committee in the village and he himself met the city ‘Kazi’ and Mayor Hazi Akhlaq and requested them to maintain peace and harmony. Later, delegations of the various political parties submitted a memorandum to the SSP and asked him to arrest the guilty. Police officials are linking this tension to a rape case in which a youth of the minority community was involved. All the same, the authorities are not taking any chance.

Later in the evening, a Maha Panchayat was held at the village to amicably resolve the issue. It was attended by the SPRA, CO Sadar Area, Mukul Diwedi, among others.


Yamuna level rising, but don’t be alarmed
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 17
With the water level in the Yamuna rising sharply, following the discharge of about 2.68 lakh cusecs from the Tajewala barrage, the district authorities claimed here today that the situation was under control.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anil Malik, after touring the sensitive points, including the various `bundhs’, told press persons that a main flood control room had been set up in Sector-21-C under the control of the District Revenue Officer. Such control units have also been set up in the offices of the SDM in Ballabgarh, Palwal and Hodal towns.

He said the administration was prepared to meet any situation as the staff and the required material was in readiness. The irrigation department has made available about 56 diesel and 26 electric pumping sets in the district for draining out the flood water. He said there was no cause for panic as the administration was well-prepared and alert.

Over 40,000 cusecs of water has been discharged in the Yamuna.


Advani pep talk puts the fizz back in party ranks
Ravi Bhatia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
The one-day political conference, organised by the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here to galvanise its cadre in the run up to the Assembly elections in the National Capital Territory, could not have come at a more appropriate time with some of its ministers at the Centre coming under a cloud and opposition onslaught.

The conference, a brain child of the recently appointed Delhi BJP chief, Mr. Madan Lal Khurana, was well attended with a galaxy of national leaders like the Deputy prime minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, and the Finance minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, addressing the workers. The leaders struck an aggressive note and countered the allegations against at least three ministers — Mr. Ram Naik (petrol pump allotment), Mr. Ananth Kumar (land allotment) and Mr. Pramod Mahajan (Shivani Bhatnagar murder case).

Mr. Advani’s opening address apparently set the aggressive tone of the conference as other leaders followed suit and blamed the opposition for raising non issues and seeing scandals where there were none. The message was that the opposition was frustrated as the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in various states were well entrenched and were doing a fine job. The mention of recent drubbings in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, of course, was scrupulously avoided .

The BJP’s Parliamentary Party spokesman and Member of Parliament from South Delhi, Mr. V. K. Malhotra, was nearer home when he reminded the workers that the credit being taken by the Congress government in Delhi for some of the projects like the Metro rail was misplaced as all these projects were initiated by the then BJP government. Other local leaders said that it was only a matter of time before their party wrested the reins of the government in the Capital. They were adequately prepared for it. Dissentions and internal squabbles had been virtually eliminated and a united Delhi BJP would be facing the electorate.

The aggressive tone of the speeches trickled down to the ordinary worker. Chatting among themselves during pauses in the seemingly unending speeches, they promised to expose the Congress misrule in Delhi and take the battle to the streets for the benefit of the common man – an obvious leaf out of Mtr Khurana’s book

The pep talk and the aggressive speeches apparently had their effect on the cadre. They promised to work together to bring glory to the party as they tumbled out of the Talkatora stadium, loudly discussing the finer points of the speeches of the leaders.


Cong steps up ‘sack Mahajan’ campaign
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
The Congress today stepped up its campaign for the dismissal of Union Minister Pramod Mahajan who allegedly had a hand in the murder of Indian Express Principal Correspondent Shivani Bhatnagar with top party leaders holding a demonstration in front of his residence here.

A large number of workers, mainly activists of the Mahila Congress, assembled at Indira Gandhi Memorial on Safdarjung Road near the residence of Mr Mahajan. After taking an oath to fight for social justice and equality, they stormed the police barricade, dividing the memorial and Mr Mahajan’s residence, and demanded his dismissal.

Ms Ambika Soni and Mr Ahmed Patel, political secretaries of Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretaries Oscar Fernandes and Mukul Wasnik, AIMC chief Chandresh Kumari and DPCC president Subhash Chopra were among those who participated in the protest.

Displaying banners and placards, the activists also demanded that Mr Ram Naik, Mr Anant Kumar, Mr George Fernandes, Mr Yashwant Sinha and Mr Pramod Mahajan, allegedly involved in various scams, should resign or be dismissed. Earlier, before marching to the Indira Gandhi Memorial, Ms Soni, Mr Patel, Mr Moti Lal Vora and Mr Wasnik described the BJP-led NDA government as a ‘ghotala’ government with several of its ministers allegedly involved in one scam or the other.

They also reminded women of ‘stri power’ which played a significant role during the freedom struggle and asked them to show their might once again to free India of the corrupt government. The demonstrators also slammed Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.


Kumar vows to regularise settlements
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
The Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar, today promised to regularise unauthorised residential colonies in Delhi as demanded by the BJP state unit. Addressing the day-long conference of the Delhi BJP at Talkatora Stadium, Mr Kumar said the local unit had raised several issues like existence of illegal settlements and functioning of shops and small scale industries from the residences.

The Government was studying senior BJP leader K. Malhotra’s report, he said. Once the study is complete, a decision would be taken on the recommendations, he added. He said he was willing to visit Delhi thrice every week.

Referring to Delhi Metro, he said once the first phase was ready, he would invite Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and other functionaries for an inspection.

Reader hangs self

Faridabad: A resident of Sector-3, who was employed in the District Courts, hanged himself to death in his house last night. It is stated that the deceased, who was identified as Pradeep Sharma, had been working as a Reader under a judicial officer. He allegedly committed suicide due to domestic discord. He was married about 18 months ago and was the father of an eight month old child. In another incident, the police arrested six persons on the charge of creating public nuisance after consuming liquor at Sorda village in the district.


Wanted: An insect-buster for Derawal Nagar
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, August 17
The residents of A Block, Derawal Nagar, have been going through hell for the past few days. The reason? Strange insects, black in colour, with a deadly bite, which don’t even succumb to lethal sprays. It seems they have emerged after the recent rain.

The hapless denizens have approached the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Sanitation Department but of no avail.

Hans Talwar, a resident of the area, said: “We have tried to kill these insects but in vain. Earlier, there were just a few but now there are thousands. For the past few days, we have been trying to contact the MCD but no one responds. At last, we got the number of our councillor. We are hoping he will do something. My whole body is burning. I am tired of applying ointments. It’s difficult to control them.”

Hans has got rashes on her body and has been consulting doctors regularly.

The insects infest the air. They stick to the human body like a leech. Wherever they rest, that part of the body starts itching.

Another resident, Mrs Kanta Wahi, suffered most. She has spent a fortune on the treatment of her daughter-in-law.

“My daughter-in-law was removing them from the room but suddenly her body seemed to swell and we rushed her to the hospital. Had we been late by 10 minutes, the case would have been out of doctors’ control. She lay in the I.C.U for more than 10 hours. It’s really hard for us to control these insects, ” Mrs Wahi said. These insects are nocturnal creatures and vanish in sunlight.

The residents have tried various poisonous sprays apart from kerosene and dettol but in vain. The doctors of Pentament Hospital said that the virus transmitted by the insects is very poisonous.

The open area in the backyard of Block A Derawal Nagar has not been maintained for 15 years. It’s more like a jungle. The backlane of house No. 308- 329 is infested with these insects. It’s difficult to differentiate the colour of the wall of houses.

Sonia Manchanda, another resident of the area said, “The MCD replied that we couldn’t do anything. The malaria control team came, but they went back scratching their hands and bodies. My little son Ranchit is in a bad state. His body is swollen and he has not attended school for the last few days. We are not letting him step out of bed. Today also, I have removed half a bucket of insects from my place. I begged a shopkeeper to give me the strongest medicine to kill the insects but nothing happened. They are multiplying every day.” 

When contacted, Madhu Arya, the area councilor, expressed concern over the menace. The Health Minister, Dr A K Walia, promised to send his team to deal with the problem.


Govt giving martyrs’ kin a raw deal: Hooda
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 17
A former Haryana Minister and Congress party leader, Mr Krishanmurti Hooda, has condemned the alleged change in the attitude of the Chautala government towards the defence personnel, martyrs and their kin in the state.

He demanded to restart the ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakhs and a government job to the kin of the jawans, who lay their life in anti-terrorism activities.

Talking to the NCR Tribune here today, Mr Kirhsan Murti charged the state government and its officials of ignoring the families of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation in Jammu and Kashmir or in other parts of the country. He said that with an eye on the vote bank, the state government announced Rs 10 lakh and a job to the families of deceased defence personnel just before elections in 1999-2000, but as soon as the government was well-established in power, the facility was withdrawn from July last year. Alleging that a discriminatory approach had been adopted in several cases, he said while HCS and other appointments were given to widows of some officers of defence, the widow of a senior officer, of the rank of Commandant, who laid his life in June last year in anti-insurgency operations in Kashmir had been still awaiting a response form the state government.

He said that the widow had been working in a private school and had not been given a suitable job, though she was a postgraduate in economics and had good qualification. Quoting a recent incident, he said no minister or district official was present at the cremation of a jawan of Rohtak district last week.

While Haryana had been losing a large number of officers and jawans, the ‘indifferent attitude’ of the government towards their welfare would only lower down their morale, he added.

He charged that recruitment was not being done on merit basis in state civil services and other boards, but on the basis of approach and money power. “The recent HCS selections as an example,” he added.

Lamenting the law and order situation Mr Hooda, said nobody was safe in the state as crime graph had gone up drastically. He also claimed that installation of Mr Bhajan Lal as HPCC president would strengthen the Congress party in Haryana.


Haryana to be self-sufficient in power sector? 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 17
Haryana moved a step closer to power self-reliance today with the Minister of State for Power, Ms Jayawanti Mehta, laying the foundation stone of the 7th and the 8th units of 250 MW each of the Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Station here.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Ms Mehta asked the BHEL, which was executing the project on a turnkey basis for the Haryana Power Generation Corporation (HPGC), to complete the 7th unit by August 17, 2004, about five months ahead of the schedule. The 8th unit was slated to be completed by December 2004.

Ms Mehta hoped that the addition of the two units of 250 MW each at the local station would go a long way in realising the dream of the NDA Government of providing each home in the country with electricity.

She lauded the state government for its programmes like “sarkar aap ke dwar” and its power sector reforms. However, she failed to announce any relief or scheme as was expected.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, while coming down heavily on the previous government for its alleged failure on the power sector, claimed that 621 MW power had been added to the state in the last three years. On the other hand, the Bansi Lal Government added only 199 MW power.

He said that the Haryana Government had urged the Central Government to provide Rs 1,100 crore as drought relief besides 7 lakh metric tonnes of wheat. He also demanded an additional sum of Rs 200 crore from the Central Government.

Seeking 80% loan on the pattern of the local units for the Yamuna Nagar power station, Mr Chautala claimed that Haryana would be a surplus power state by 2004.

Earlier, the chairperson of the Haryana Power Utilities, Ms Meenaxi Anand Chaudhary, informed that Haryana would be the only state among the select few to meet the target of adding 1,000 MW power in the 10th Five Year Plan.

The CMD of the BHEL, Mr K D Ramachandran, stated that the BHEL expected to complete the work on the 7th and the 8th unit in 29 months and 31 months as against the earlier deadline of 31 months and 35 months. With the addition of these units, the local station would be added to the list of super thermal power stations.

Mr A A Khan, CMD of the Power Finance Corporation, which has provided Rs 1,430 crore loan for the project, said the amount would be sanctioned this month only.

Prominent among those who spoke were Mr Satbir Kadian, Haryana Assembly Speaker, Prof Sampat Singh, Haryana Finance Minister, Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana, Haryana Cooperation Minister, and Mr Krishan Lal Pawar, Chairman of the Haryana Housing Board.


Nitish opens N Rly electric sub-station
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
The Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, inaugurated the Northern Railway electric sub-station at Dadri near Delhi on Saturday. The commissioning of the power station is expected to increase the annual saving of the Northern Railway on traction tariff by Rs 16 crore.

Speaking on the occasion, the Railway Minister congratulated the General Manager, Northern Railway, Mr R.K.Singh, for the pioneering effort, which would set a trend on saving traction bills.

The Railway Ministry had sanctioned a pilot project to Northern Railway in 1994-’95 to avail power directly from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for the Delhi-Kanpur section by setting up their own traction system. Following the successful completion of the first phase of the project in November 2002, Northern Railway is commissioning the new power sub- station at Dadri, which involves the extension of 220 KV switch yard at NTPC, Dadri, construction of Railway Grid sub-station at Dadri and the laying of 220 KV double circuit transmission line from NTPC Dadri to Railway Grid sub-station at Dadri.

Sources in Northern Railway said that in the first phase, Northern Railway acquired power directly from the NTPC station at Auraiya, near Phaphund. With the completion of this phase, there has been a net saving of Rs 93 crore on the traction tariff till June 2002.

In the third phase of the project, Northern Railway will commission 25 km of 132 KV transmission lines from Panki to Sarsaul which is expected to be completed by June 2003 leading to an additional saving of Rs 16 crore per annum.


Civic body staff refuse to attend CM’s rally
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 17
The allegation of the Opposition parties’ against the ruling INLD of forcing government employees to participate in its rallies were vindicated today when the employees of the local Municipal Corporation (MC) declined to participate in a rally to be addressed by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, at Kurukshetra.

The ruling party had to face a lot of embarrassment when scores of employees, a majority of them safai karamcharis, refused to tow the INLD and council authorities line and board the buses to Kurukshetra for the rally.

It may be recalled that Mr Chautala was scheduled to address a state-level rally as part of the ‘Martyrdom Day’ celebrations of the legendary freedom fighter, Madan Lal Dhingra at Kurukshetra.

The employees were allegedly called to the Halli Park here by the MC Executive Officer, Mr S.K. Vats and INLD councillor, Ms Raj Bala, on the pretext of taking them to the local Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Station, where the Union Minister of State for Power, Ms Jayawanti, was to lay the foundation stone of the 7th and the 8th units of 250 MW each.

However, Mr Ashok Badal, president of the district Municipal Council Employees Union, alleged that once at the Halli Park, they were told to board three private buses to Kurukshetra, apparently to add numbers to the audience at the state-level rally to be addressed by the CM.

High drama was witnessed at the Halli Park, with the agitated employees refusing to go to Kurukshetra and even protesting the authorities move.

Mr Vats and Mr Raj Bala had a tough time pacifying the agitated staff. Some of the employees alleged favouritism and said that some of the employees had been left out while pressure was put on others to attend the rally at Kurukshetra.

Even as the employees raised slogans against the authorities, an attempt was made to snatch the camera of Mr Anil Verma, a photographer of the Amar Ujala, who was performing his professional duty, allegedly by an official of the civic body, Sudhir. Local journalists have condemned the act, terming it as an “attack on the freedom of the Press”.


Giving thrust to hunger for world peace

If you go and kill a fellow Indian, you become a murderer liable for trial in a court of law, But if an Indian soldier kills a Pakistani soldier in war he is hailed as a hero and vice versa. Most heinous acts and destruction in a civil society will be hailed as heroic and patriotic under conditions of war.

The absurdity of such human drama has been portrayed earlier by great minds like Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein and Arnold Toynbee. A 92-year-old crusader for world peace, Vethathiri Maharishi, has, from his Annamalai range of Western Ghats in Pollachi, caught world attention by holding a four-day brainstorming session on a global strategy for peace. At the end of it, the nearly 1,000 delegates, including many from countries such as France, Italy, Canada and Sri Lanka, came out with a document —the Aliyar Declaration, 2002.

The declaration is about a global plan of action that aims at establishing one world federation government besides striving for universal agreement on one truth and one religion. It emphasises on economic justice for all, reformation of existing political ethos and governance, priority for protection of human rights, holistic education and universal respect for womanhood.

The world congress in which religious heads, prominent public men, social activists, academicians and Gandhians took part has given a thrust to the universal hunger for world peace. Can anything good come out of Pollachi (a small town in Tamil Nadu), one may ask. By all accounts, the presentation of the document to the UN representative, Mr Feodor Starcovic, at a glittering function on August 13 in the midst of solemn prayers in that world-class auditorium represented another landmark in striving for world peace.

A few industrialists like Dr Mahalingam and loyal disciples had helped the saint from Pollachi to make an impact for world peace. Mr D. R. Kaarthikeyan, former Director-General of the National Human Rights Commission, played a significant role in ensuring wider and meaningful participation of numerous sections of society in the endeavour for peace.

Vethathiri Maharishi combines in him the philosophy of an Adi Sankara, the devotion of a Marx for social justice and scientific vision of an Einstein. The fundamental cause of the miseries of the mankind, according to the saint, is man’s ignorance about self, society and nature. The sun, earth, water, air, fire, plants and seeds are all provided by nature and not created by man. They are meant for every living being. Nobody can claim ownership of these. We use thousands of articles everyday. Not one is totally produced by us. The labour of the entire humanity is involved in the production of goods and services that sustain existence. The knowledge of this interdependence should lead to harmony.

On the other hand, the 20th century has witnessed hundreds of wars. Tens of millions of people have been killed. While the common man does not want war, he is forced into it directly or indirectly. He joins the army to eke out a living and becomes cannon fodder, killing or getting killed for no valid reason. Politicians, businessmen and industrialists and arms manufacturers stand to benefit from armed conflicts. They start the war. Tolstoy has averred that if those very people who declare wars were to be sent to the borders to face the enemy there would be fewer wars.

This world citizen, in his tireless pursuit for peace and advocacy of the cause, reminds one of Rabindranath Tagore. Mahatma Gandhi, it is said, was once asked whether he wanted peace or freedom. He unhesitatingly replied: `` l want peace; freedom can wait.’’

The Maharishi, even during the Independence struggle, cared more for world peace than India’s freedom. The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre have only proved the wisdom of such a choice. He challenges religious leaders who burden the people with their own superstitions along with the `superstitions of materialism.’

Mr D. R. Kaarthikeyan, in his paper, quotes J. Krishnamurthy, who said, ``The men who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima said that God was with them; those who flew from England to destroy Germany said God was their co-pilot. Dictators, prime ministers, generals and presidents profess immense faith in God. Are they doing service making a better life for man? The people who say they believe in God have destroyed half the world.’’

The UN was set up to prevent wars. For rooting out wars, the causes of conflict, such as poverty, greed, inequality, racism and mistrust, must be eliminated. No politician, religious leader or economist can reform the world. Are they not themselves sinners? He asks and adds the world requires a new order, a new culture.

``Let us not build walls around us in the name of religion, language, and geographical boundaries. Let us aim for one world, one order and one governance.’’ The whole world is split into different nations. The fetish of nationalism had caused havoc in the world. Science has rendered our current lifestyle outdated. It has made the world a global village; we need to have new attitudes conducive to brotherhood.

The central spiritual issue facing all peoples, according to the founder of the Bahai religion, Baha’u’llah, is that of laying the foundations of a global society that can reflect the oneness of human nature. The unification of the earth’s inhabitants is the next inescapable stage in man’s social evolution.

Will the Aliyar Declaration be another utopian step, another dream? Nobody would have dared to dream about German reunification, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the formation of the European Union, man walking on moon or cloning. Today they are realities, points out Dr B. K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, educationist and industrialist, speaking on why the Aliyar Declaration should be considered a harbinger of a better world.

The prophet has spoken from Pollachi. Will there be found among the communities of the world enough spirit of forgiveness and love to heal the old wounds, which is a prerequisite for healing of wounds? And a spirit of repentance on the part of all those who violated basic ethics and morality in the name of religion? Let us not lose hope.

MPK Kutty


Shekhawati: A reservoir of India’s ethereal art
Our Correspondent

The Shekhawati, which means the garden of the Sheikh, is Rajasthan’s open-air art gallery. The region is famous for its painted mansions with beautiful frescos. A tour of the city is a veritable education of India’s fascinating art. The wall art remains unmatched in the world, as it reveals the glory of the bygone era.

Shekhawati, museum of fresco art, is close to Delhi, on the way to Jaipur. The unique form of wall decoration practised at Shekhawati provides an excellent reference about social influences on artists commissioned by merchants to paint their mansions.

The Shekhawati region lies in the triangular area between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner. In the early 14th century, a number of Muslim clans moved into the area thereby giving rise to a township, which developed into important trading post on the caravan routes emanating from the ports of Gujarat.

The places of excursion around Shekhawati are:

Housing some of the finest Shekhawati frescoes the place abounds in havelis that stand witnesses to the rich and prosperous Marwari era of the 19th century. Nawalgarh has a college with a British clock tower and hundreds of painted havelis, old and new. Worth a dekko are the Aath (eight) Haveli complex, Anandilal Poddar haveli, Jodhraj Patodia haveli, Chokhani haveli and hotel Roop Niwas Palace.

Has one of the best forts in the region of Shekhawati. The imposing Ganeri-wala or Char Chok Haweli speaks volumes about the prosperity and lifestyle of a Marwari household. Places to visit are Sanwat Ram Chokhani haveli, Mirijamal Kyala haveli, Banshidhar Rathi haveli, Keshardev Sarraf haveli, Kedia haveli and Sanganeria haveli. The Harshnath temple (10th century), with its splendid architecture, is located on Harsh Nath hills, about 11kms from Sikar.

Jeen Mata temple is located 29 kms from Sikar. This temple is believed to have been constructed 1000 years ago. The fair during April-May draws devotees.

Sikar is now one of the two districts of Shekhawati, the other being Jhunjhunu. Sikar’s extraordinary and well-equipped market, the clock tower and the painted Biyani havelis apart from Sagarmal Sodhani haveli, Madho Niwas Kothi, Jubilee Hall and Fort are the main attractions here.

The Jain temple and the temples of Gopinath, Raghunath and Madan Mohan are also popular with visitors.

Legend goes that the small town of Dundlod had an enlightened Thakur, who modernised his rugged fort. It houses a well-stocked library and portraits done in European style. Converted into a hotel, it offers the tourists the hospitality befitting small time royals. This quaint is in the heart of the Shekhawati region.

The fort here dates back to 1750. Steps lead up to the Diwan Khana, furnished with portraits, hangings and period furniture. It also houses a library and portraits done in European style can be seen here. The fort has now been converted into a hotel. The Goenka havelis and other with beautiful frescoes

A place where you have to stop and indulge. One can shop for local handicrafts, besides textiles, it is renowned for brass and iron scissors. Worth visiting are the Kanoria and Ganeriwala havelis.

Khetri is famous for its exquisite frescos found in the Raghunath temple. The Bohpalgarh fort offers a treat for those who wish to go exploring. Places to see are Panna Lal Shah Ka Talab, Ram Krishna Mission, Sukh Mahal and Hari Singh temple. Excursions include - Ajeet Sagar, Rameshwar Das Baba Ka Ashram at Bassi and Baghor Fort.

The medieval fort of Mandawa is exquisitely built. A painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows, leads to the market. A breathtaking view of the town can be seen from the terrace of Castle Mandwa. The Mandwa family has a collection of traditional ceremonial costumes.

Attractions include the mid-19th century Raghunath temple, the Sona ki Dukan haveli and the Sahaj Ram Poddar Chhatri.

Chirawa was popular as a trading town between Churu and Loharu. It is known for its huge havelies. Worth visiting are Rai Bahadur Surya Mal Tulshan haveli, Nemani haveli, Mangalchand Dalmia haveli, Tara Chand Kesher Dev Dalmia haveli, Dulichand Kakrania haveli, ManoharLal Vaidh haveli, Bhola Ram Kakrania haveli, Kakrania well and Sekhsaria well.

Known as the home of the Rungtas and Seth-Pirmal, Baggar was founded in the mid of 15th century by the Nagar Pathans.

Fatehpur was founded in the mid 15th century by Fateh Khan, a Kayamkhani Nawab. The havelis of Devra, Singhania, Goenka, Saraogi are famous for the frescoes. This place is famous for the tie and dye-fabrics.

Ramgarh was founded in the late 18th century by the Poddars. Exquisite paintings are found on the ceilings of the chhatris. Other spots of interest are the Sani temple and temple to Ganges, the havelis of the Poddars and Ruias.

Travelling to Shekhawati by Rail: The Shekhawati Express runs daily between Delhi and Jaipur, with stopovers at Jhunjhunu, Mukundgarh and Sikar.

By Road: Sikar and Jhunjhunu are connected by RSRTC, HRTC, and DTC buses, which run regular services from Jaipur, Delhi and other places.


AIIMS flyover to be opened on Aug 19
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
The Delhi Traffic Police said that the first phase of the flyover at AIIMS crossing on
the Ring Road would be thrown open to the public from August 19.

The police have made some diversions to execute this new plan.

According to the Traffic Police, the traffic moving towards Dhaula Kuan can use the newly constructed flyover. The police said that no right turn will be permitted and the traffic intending to turn right shall take the flyover and take ‘U’ turn from Raj Nagar.

For traffic coming from Dhaula Kuan on the Ring Road, the police have suggested that the left turning traffic shall turn left on the new slip road, the traffic intending to go towards South Extension or Ashram shall turn left on the new slip road and flyover to rejoin the Ring Road.

While the traffic coming from INA side on Aurobindo Marg–the left turning traffic shall take the new slip road, the straight going traffic can go straight on the locally diverted Aurobindo Marg.

The traffic coming from the Hauz Khas side on the Aurbindo Marg can take the straight traffic and go on the locally diverted Aurobindo Marg, and the right turning traffic shall go straight and take a ‘U’ turn under the Safdarjung flyover to come back on the Aurbindo Marg.


New Vice-President for Sindhi Sabha
Our Correspondent

Noida, August 17
Mr N.K.Jotwani has been elected the vice-president of the UP State Sindhi Sabha for Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad. Mr Jotwani had earlier served as the president of the Sindhi Society of Noida. As per the announcement of the president of the society, Mr M.D.Ahuja, Mr Ajit Kumar Vadhya has been elected as the secretary (Vaishali), Mr K.K.Gulbani and Mr Gobind T. Bharani (Noida) have been nominated as working committee members. 



Power self-reliance

Panipat: Haryana moved a step closer to power self-reliance today with the Minister of State for Power, Ms Jayawanti Mehta, laying the foundation stone of the 7th and the 8th units of 250 MW each of the Tau Devi Lal Thermal Power Station here.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Ms Mehta asked the BHEL, which was executing the project on a turnkey basis for the Haryana Power Generation Corporation (HPGC), to complete the 7th unit by August 17, 2004, about five months ahead of the schedule. The 8th unit was slated to be completed by December 2004.

Battered to death

Rohtak: Two youths battered to death a resident of Sanghi village on Thursday night as the latter had prevented them from standing in front of his house in an inebriated state.

According to information, Ganga Ram, a resident of Sanghi village, had scolded Balwan and Shamsher of the same village when he found them misbehaving under the influence of liquor in front of his house nearly 10 days ago. The youth had then threatened Ganga Ram of dire consequences. Mr Om Singh, brother of the deceased, said he found Balwan and Shamsher sitting besides Ganga Ram in the evening on Independence Day. He saw them apologising to Ganga Ram. Next morning, he found Ganga Ram lying dead on a cot with injury marks on the head and the neck. He suspected that the duo murdered his brother to avenge the ‘insult.’

5 kg opium seized

Ghaziabad: The Vijay Nagar Police have arrested nine persons, including two history-sheeters, and seized from their possession over five kg opium. The criminals were arrested from the Old Railway Station and some other places in the city. 


Farmhouse ransacked, cash, jewellery looted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
Unidentified youths armed with revolvers and knives, robbed cash and jewellery from a farmhouse in Najafgarh area last night. The owner of the farmhouse has been identified as Dr Roshan Lal.

The watchman of the farmhouse, Satya Narayan, his brother Jai Narayan, their relatives, Chandrashekhar and his five children along with the watchman of the neighbouring farmhouse were watching a TV programme when the robbery occurred.

The robbers broke open a window of the farmhouse and forced the chowkidar to open the main gate. Once the robbers managed to enter the farmhouse, they not only beat up all those who were present, but ransacked the entire farmhouse and escaped with cash and jewellery.

7 robbers arrested

With the arrest of seven persons, the Central district police today claimed to have worked out five cases of burglary and house theft and recovered seven sarees, suit cloth and Rs 13,000 from their possession.

The accused Mohammad Gulzar (19), resident of Darbhanga, Rakesh (20), resident of Uttaranchal, Anil (18), resident of New Rajender Nagar, Dunardatt Pant (21), resident of Kanchanpur, Nepal, Kishan Bahadur (25), resident of Nepal, Karan (24), resident of Faizabad and Hassan Akhtar (23), resident of Siddhat Nagar were found roaming around suspiciously near a locked house by the police patrol team.

The police nabbed the five burglars and on their information, two others were also arrested.

The accused worked in different tent houses in Old and New Rajender Nagar on a daily wages. During the day, they identified the locked houses, which had to be targeted at night. And whenever they were questioned, the accused used to show the visiting cards of the tent houses to evade arrest.

Man shot

A man identified as Kishan Gopal (45), was murdered in the Harkesh Nagar area today. According to information, Kishan Gopal was shot by a tout, who runs a clinic by the name of Sat Guru Clinic in the same area.

The police said that around 1.30 pm, Kishan Gopal had an argument with a tout, Raj Kumar, following which he shot Kishan on the chest from a country made weapon. Kishan Gopal, who was working in a private firm, died on the spot. The police are yet to ascertain the cause of the murder.

Snatchers held

Two persons were held near the Liberty Cinema yesterday night, after they snatched a woman’s handbag, which contained Rs 33,750. The women, identified as Vina, is a resident of Karol Bagh and was coming out from a shop when the two youths in a Maruti car snatched her bag and sped away.

Two persons from Karol Bagh chased them on a scooter. They were finally overpowered and nabbed near the Liberty Cinema red light.

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