Tuesday, August 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Excise chief shifted for ‘bulldozing’ Cabinet decision
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
To put an end to the unseemly controversy that had erupted between Excise Minister Mahender Singh Saathi and Excise Commissioner Narender Kumar over who will have the last say in matters of awarding liquor licences, the Government of NCT of Delhi has removed Mr Kumar and appointed Divisional Commissioner (North) Debashree Mukherjee in his stead.

The transfer orders were issued on Saturday. According to sources in the Department of Finance, Mr Kumar was transferred for “bulldozing the Cabinet decision” of routing all files of the Department of Excise to Finance Minister Mahender Singh Saathi, who also holds the portfolio of the Department of Excise.

The official version, however, is that the officer was “under transfer.” That the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had declined the Government of NCT of Delhi’s request for allowing Mr Kumar to continue in the post of Excise Commissioner and therefore the order of transfer. The chief minister, goes the version, had asked the ministry to hold back Mr Kumar’s transfer but the same was rejected a week ago.

Mr Kumar is still to hand over the charge to his successor. He was in his office as usual on Monday. “We are awaiting a reply as to how early Ms Mukherjee can take over,” was the response of certain officials in Department of Excise. Mr Kumar, they said, has been transferred to Pondicherry but will most likely proceed on leave.

The genesis of the protracted row between the officer and the minister traces itself to the June 28 order issued by Mr Kumar which states files relating to the Department of Excise in general and awarding of licences in particular need not be sent up to the minister’s office. The order also quotes the Punjab Excise Act to suggest the excise commissioner is competent authority in the matter of awarding of licences.

Taking umbrage at the order issued by the officer, Excise Minister Saathi met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and conveyed his displeasure. Ms Dikshit chose to let things lie and did not intervene until reports of a row between her and the minister began to appear in the media. What precipitated Mr Kumar’s ouster apparently were reports of the minister getting sidelined and that the minister had met the All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in charge of Delhi to register his protest.

Mr Saathi denies the allegations. “The Cabinet,” he says in his defence, “had decided that all relevant files of the Department of Excise will be routed to the minister for his perusal and therefore the order issued by the excise commissioner was extraordinary.” Mr Kumar’s transfer, he adds, should not be linked with his displeasure over the order he (Mr Kumar) had issued and that the officer had completed more than three years already.



Missing councillor: Police draw a blank
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
The police today intensified their efforts to trace Mr Atma Ram Gupta, municipal councillor from Tri Nagar who went missing while returning home from the Congress rally on Saturday. Several police parties have been sent to the adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to look for him.

Meanwhile, the police have questioned another councillor, Mrs. Sharda Jain, and her driver with whom Mr. Gupta was last seen. Mrs. Jain had claimed to have dropped Mr. Gupta on the way after the rally as he wanted to meet someone.

The councillor had left his Tri Nagar residence in the morning to attend the rally. He had planned to visit a relative later in the evening along with his wife, Ms Savita Gupta. However, when he did not turn up, his family, after making initial inquiries, lodged a report with the Keshavpuram police. The police subsequently registered a case of abduction.

When efforts were made to contact him on his mobile, it was found to be switched off. The police had initially concluded that he could be in Hapur and had sent a team there but it had drawn a blank.

Meanwhile, agitated councillors led by mayor Jaishree Pawar met the police commissioner, Mr. R. S. Gupta, and told him that the alleged abduction of their colleague had caused considerable panic among the corporators. The police commissioner assured the councillors all possible help.

Police sources claimed that a team had been rushed to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh after several calls from a mobile phone were received at his residence. While there was no mention of ransom, the police and his close associates believe that he may have been abducted by some persons who wanted their tenders to be approved. Mr. Gupta is a senior member of the all powerful Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi as well as the chairman of the Appointments Committee.

A large number of well-wishers and supporters of the missing councillor thronged his house all day. Mr. Gupta was quite articulate in the corporation meetings and enjoyed considerable support in his Tri Nagar ward.



Franchisees down shutters, blame NIIT
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
Information technology training major, NIIT, is getting flak from its franchisees as they allege that the IT giant’s indifference to rising costs is forcing them to shut shop in times of severe downtrend in the technology sector.

“The financial burden of franchisees (of NIIT) is forcing many of them to opt out. It means that most students who enrol at the NIIT do not have the guarantee of completion of their course. Nor do they have much support at the time of placement,” S K Gupta, President of the NIIT Franchisees’ Association, said in a statement today.

In Delhi alone 13 centres of NIIT have closed shop over the last one year and others are said to be on the verge of doing so. NIIT has 34 franchisee centres in the Capital and most of them are faced with bleak prospects, Mr Gupta said, adding that some of the new ones are also said to be hard pressed and are contemplating opting out of the NIIT panel of franchisees.

“The wrong policies of the NIIT and unfair practices of the company have added to the hardships caused by the slowdown of the economy”, Mr Gupta pointed out.

When contacted, NIIT’s Head of Education Business, Pradeep Narayanan, said : “As early as April 2001, based on the economic downswing as well as the IT recession in the West, NIIT had predicted a slowdown in IT education business. As it turns out, the negative impact on IT education business has been quite in line with the projections and expectations”.

“NIIT is committed to providing better programmes and delivery standards to its students to meet the future demand for IT skills which is inevitable, though last year’s situation has created a challenging perception. We will not let the interests of the students suffer”, Mr Narayanan said.



Fair deal for the fair sex or their hubbies?
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 26
The fair sex has been denied a fair deal from time immemorial. The Union and the state governments have provided reservation to the women in local and civic bodies with a view to uplift their status, but the move has not borne fruit as the spouses of the elected women representatives continue to direct their activities in the public domain.

Result: The majority of the women representatives in gram panchayats, panchayat samitis, zila parishads and municipal bodies continue to depend on their husbands to represent them in various meetings and platforms.

Often the elected women representatives can be seen walking behind their ‘lord and master’, pointed out a former zila parishad member. Although there are several woman sarpanches, panches, panchayat samiti members and even members of the municipal bodies, including the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF), it has been noticed that the husbands of women members represent them at various meetings.

The husbands of several woman sarpanches represent them at many official meetings. The villagers have to remember two names, one of the woman representative and the other of the husband, who normally does the written and the field work.

It is learnt that the women representatives are either not qualified or cannot speak in front of an audience. Due to cultural constraints and the obnoxious practice of keeping the face covered, the young women who get elected to reserved posts are not able to address a gathering or a meeting.

In a recent case, a person had gone to a village to contact the sarpanch for some work. He was told that the sarpanch was a woman and her husband had been away for some days.

The woman sarpanch expressed her helplessness. She told the person that her duties were discharged by her husband and until he was back, the work could not be done.

A few months ago, the then District and Development Panchayat Officer (DDPO), Mr Devender Singh Surjewala, had asked each woman representative to be present personally in every meeting. He warned them against sending their husbands or other male members.

The parity in status is a new concept for the villagers, who continue to nurture the hoary myth that the male of the species rules the world. Even in the MCF, the largest civic body, some of the women councillors are represented or accompanied by their husbands at several meetings. Sometimes the residents, who want to meet the members, do not know whether to contact the member or the spouse.

Ms Sharda Rathaur, a promising young leader in the state politics, who is also secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), feels that the problem is that of mindset. Most menfolk in rural areas think that women cannot be good leaders or representatives.

“The special women quota provides the male members with a platform to carry on their political activities,” regrets Ms Rathaur.



NSUI fields ‘political novice’ in DUSU poll
Sanjog Gupta

New Delhi, August 26
Battlelines are drawn to elect a new set of office-bearers of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) as the deadline for withdrawal of nominations expired today amid a show of strength by the contesting parties. The elections are scheduled to be held on September 6. The Chief Election Officer’s office was abuzz with activity as the final list of 32 candidates was released by the authorities for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary.

While 10 candidates each will slug it out for the posts of president and secretary, six candidates will vie for the posts of vice-president and secretary.

The National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students wing of the Congress, has decided to field a ‘political novice’ Ragini Nayak, traditional rival and BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Janata Party (ABVP), has fielded Nakul Bharadwaj. Nakul is the vice-president in the present union. The choice of Ragini, a second year student of Kirorimal College, raised quite a few eyebrows and there were murmurs of resorting to ‘gender politics’. Ragini’s choice was at the cost of current DUSU joint secretary Rohit Chaudhary. Another ex-joint secretary of DUSU, Harsh Chaudhary’s name was also among the probable contenders for the post of president.

There was an undercurrent of disappointment, primarily among the supporters of Rohit as the NSUI came out with the final list, deciding to field Ragini for the post of president. For the post of vice-president, A.A. Sunderdagar of Sri Aurobindo College of ABVP, will fight it out with Niranjan Rana of Swami Shraddhanand College of NSUI.

The choice of NSUI candidate for the post of secretary also drew flak, as the ticket went to Vinay Solanki of Swami Shraddhanand College who has reportedly been a staunch anti-NSUI activist in the past. He will fight it out against Deepti Rawat of ABVP. For the post of joint secretary, Ashok Basoya of NSUI is pitted against Akash Deep Tiwari of ABVP. The Students’ Federation of India (SFI), the party having leftist political leanings, have fielded Satyendra Mishra of Zakir Hussain College. The announcement of the final list of candidates was preceded by high drama with supporters storming the Chief Election Officer’s office.



North Block goes without power
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
North Block that houses the ministries of Home Affairs and Finance was among several government offices and residential areas to go without power for several hours on end on Monday even as contractors engaged by Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) and Tata Power showed no sings of relenting. The contractors are on strike to protest the delay in payment by the distributors. The strike by the 600-odd contractors continued for the third day on Monday with several parts of the city witnessing long power cuts due to non-rectification of local faults.

BSES says contingency plans are being put in place so that consumers do not have to depend on the whims and fancies of contractors. It maintains some rates have been fixed; the rest will be fixed soon. “As regards payments,” the BSES spokesperson told media persons: “We have already paid off those contractors who had submitted the bills.”

BSES has refused to comment on allegations of a nexus between the contractors and some power officials that result in low quality repair and maintenance work. BSES manages power distribution in east, west, south and some central parts of the city. Tata Power distributes electricity in north and north-west Delhi.



ASI tries to outsmart law
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, August 26
An ASI, arrested by the State Vigilance Bureau (SVB) under the Prevention of Corruption Act, tried to outsmart the law when he manipulated his hospitalisation and avoided landing in jail. ASI Ishwar Singh and Constable Subhash were arrested on August 9 while allegedly accepting a bribe. SVB Inspector Om Parkash produced them before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.B. Sheoran, who remanded them in judicial custody till August 24. The CJM also ordered a medical examination of the accused, on his request.

In the meantime, accused Ishwar Singh and Subhash moved an application for bail in the court of Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Shiva Sharma, which was granted to both. Personal bonds and sureties furnished by the accused were forwarded along with release warrants to the jail authorities, so that the accused could be freed from judicial custody.

While Subhash was released, the Superintendent, District Jail, Rohtak, informed the Additional Sessions Judge that the accused Ishwar Singh was not in the jail and had never been lodged there. There was no entry pertaining to him in the jail records. In the meantime, a certificate issued by the Medical Officer to the Chief Judicial Magistrate was placed on the file, which stated that Ishwar Singh was admitted in Civil Hospital, Rohtak.

Thereupon, the Additional Sessions Judge issued a notice to the Naib court attached to the CJM, asking him to appear in his court on August 22 and to explain as to whom he had handed over the accused and their jail warrants.

Another notice was issued to the doctor on duty in the Civil Hospital, asking him to appear in the court and explain under what circumstances the accused was admitted by him in the hospital without the permission of the court or the jail authorities.

Subsequently, the Naib court told the court that he had handed over the accused and their jail warrants to Inspector Om Parkash and Head Constable Ram Dhan of the SVB. DR R S Nandal of the Civil Hospital, in turn, told the court that he had only issued a certificate about admission of Ishwar Singh in the hospital and that he had neither admitted nor treated the accused. Dr Kul Pratibha, also from the Civil Hospital, told the Additional Sessions Judge orally that ASI Ishwar Singh was admitted by Dr P P Lamoria. She also sought time for filing a reply. Dr Lamoria, however, in his written reply told the court that Ishwar Singh was admitted by Dr Pratibha and that he had only examined him. Initially, the medical examination showed that he was colic; on further examination, it turned out to be a case of gall bladder stones.

The CJM had, in his order on August 10, directed Inspector Om Parkash, the investigating officer, to get the accused medically examined immediately from the Medical Officer of Civil Hospital.

The doctors examined Ishwar Singh and admitted him, keeping in view his condition and also their professional duty. But there was nothing on record to show that accused Subhash was also medically examined. Subhash has informed the court that he remained admitted in the PGIMS, Rohtak, for some days and was then shifted to the District Jail.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Shiva Sharma, in his order said that it was clear that Inspector Om Parkash and Head Constable Ram Dhan did not take accused Ishwar Singh and Subhash to the District Jail after their medical examination, thereby flouting the court order that they be remanded to judicial custody.

Not only this, Inspector Om Parkash and Head Constable Ram Dhan did not bother to intimate the news of hospitalisation of the accused either to the jail authorities or to the court of the remanding magistrate. Despite being remanded in judicial custody, both the accused continued to remain in police custody and this constitutes flagrant abuse and misuse of power by Inspector Om Parkash and Head Constable Ram Dhan.

“In these circumstances, there should be a thorough probe for fixing liability of the persons involved in the mess-up,” Mr Shiva Sharma ordered.

Accordingly, he directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate to hold a fact-finding inquiry and fix responsibility within two months.



‘Security is not only about larger military budgets’
Tribune News Service

DR Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), is a leading ecologist and scientist who started her career as a physicist with a doctorate from the University of Western Ontario Canada. She shifted to inter-disciplinary research and in science, technology and environmental policy from the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehradun, dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant social and ecological issues of the present era. Later, in 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds. In this freewheeling interview with the NCR Tribune, she talks about the recently concluded three-day convention at the Constitution Club on the ‘Community Rights to Natural Resources’, the real meaning of freedom or Asli Azadi and much more.

What was the convention on Asli Azadi all about? Is it any different from what we understand by freedom?

Freedom and security are not about larger military budgets, bigger bombs and stronger police states. It lies in ecological security, in cultural and political security and above all, in economic security. The rules of exclusion and privilege embodied in the rules of globalisation are promoting the patenting of life, the modification of vital natural resources, the undermining of customary constitutional rights and the natural rights of indigenous communities and local cultures.

These were the issues that were addressed during the convention where more than 300 people from across the country gathered representing over a hundred grassroots groups, intellectuals, writers and lawyers to provide evidence of the state’s violent appropriation of people’s land, water, biodiversity, and evolve common action plans and strategies to defend collective community rights to resources. Participants included Magasaysay Award winning writer Mahasweta Devi, Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy, Dr B.D.Sharma, former Commission Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, Mr K.B. Saxena, former secretary of Government of India and others and representatives of all major tribal movements fighting in defence of land, forests and water.

What according to you is the reason for these violations?

Land laws in various states have been changed to undo land reforms that were a cornerstone of the Indian constitution. Policies like contract farming and corporatisation of agriculture are ushering in a new zamindari system where the landlords are not even Indians, but giant multinational corporations. Agricultural land is also being taken over for construction of highways, roads and for urban housing purposes. Instances of forcible take-over of tribal land for mining is increasing.

Can you name a few such instances?

Certainly, the National Mineral Development Corporation in Nagarnar (Chattisgarh) has forcibly taken over land from the tribals for mining. A two-decade-old people’s movement in Koel Karo, was brutally attacked by the police during last February and claimed a few lives. In Kashipur, Orissa tribals opposing Bauxite mining carried out by the Global Aluminium Company were brutally killed in police firing. All these incidents have one point of similarity and that is all of them have taken place in the fifth Scheduled Areas, which lay down extra-constitutional provisions for the protection of tribal people.

This national convention brought together all the people’s movements, who are defending community rights over natural resources in spite of these violations and also celebrated their success in upholding Asli Azadi.

What were the main concerns raised during the convention?

In Nagarnar, Sarguja, Jharkhand, Kashipur, Gopalpur, Koel Karo, Tehri and other areas, the state is using the Land Acquisition Act to uproot millions of people and hand over their land to corporations for private gain, even though Land Acquisition Act is justified only for public purpose.

In tribal areas, where both Schedule V and the 73rd Amendment do not allow the state to appropriate land forcefully, a war has been unleashed by the state against the tribals and the Constitution.

Reckless privatisation and appropriation of water is robbing people of water, the very basis of life.

The New Water Policy is centred on water privatisation. Ganga’s waters, the lifeline of northern India and India’s food security, are being handed over to Suez, the world’s biggest water multinational to feed Delhi’s elite even as hundreds and thousands people are being forcefully and violently removed from their homes in Tehri for the Tehri Dam. Movements have launched a Jal Satyagraha to stop the privatisation of water.

In Kerala, 300 adivasis of the Coca-Cola Virudha Samara Samithy (Anti-Coca-Cola Struggle Committee), were arrested at a mass rally at Plachimada, on August 4, 2002, against Coca-Cola.

These adivasis are on indefinite struggle at Plachimada since 22nd April, mainly against the Coca-Cola factory, which has dried the acquirers within two years, drawing 15 lakh litres of water per day and polluted the water.

The adivasis are asserting their primary rights to water and demanding that the Coca-Cola restore the environment, pay compensation, close down the factory and quit the country.

Biopiracy has reached new levels with the piracy of human genetic material as was highlighted in the case of collection of blood from Naga tribes for the Human Genome Diversity Project.



Wef expert to share strategic insight
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
Claude Smadja, former Managing Director, and current Principal Advisor, the World Economic Forum, is visiting India on August 27, 2002, for a high-level interactive session on ‘Trends of globalisation’ and the `Impact of the WTO regime on India’ at the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi.

In this exclusive, strictly-by-invitation lecture, brought to India by Oracle India and Amity Business School, he is expected to address key corporate chiefs and senior government officials and offer strategic guidelines to succeed in the global marketplace, just as he has done with the World Economic Forum.

Claude Smadja has been the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum in 1996-2001 and is curently the Principal Advisor of the forum. He has been directly responsible for the forum’s annual meeting in Davos, the forum’s activities in Asia and the yearly financial services governors’ meeting, comprising most of the top executives of the major players in this sector.

Prior to his position as Managing Director of the forum, Claude had been director for the News and Current Affairs Department of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Geneva.

His association with the World Economic Forum started in mid 1987 and continued till January 1993 as a Director and Member of the Executive Board. He first created and headed the World Link, the magazine of the world Economic Forum, and then created the forum’s first Regional Economic Summit.

With a background as a political and economic analyst, combined with a strong experience in the media, followed by that in the Forum, Claude Smadja has developed an in-depth knowledge of the world’s economic, business and political scene and its key players. He has the ability to identify and analyse emerging trends and their implications and to integrate complex issues in a global context.

Claude Smadja has a thorough understanding of how the world economy and the “global scene” function today – an understanding generated by extensive travels around the world and on-going interaction with top business, political and intellectual leaders. He has become one of the world’s most recognised experts on the issue of globalisation, its implications for corporate and national policies and its economic, social and political impact.



Historical Sonepat becomes a hell-hole
R.D. Sapra

Sonepat, August 26
The historical city of Sonepat is stinking nowadays. The callous neglect and insensitivity of the civic authorities towards the basic needs of the people has made the city one of the ugliest in the state.

Rampant corruption and petty politicising by the authorities concerned seem to have virtually led to their insulation against the public needs. Nobody is bothered about the misery of the people who sweated it out in summers without water and electricity and with the onset of the rains, they have been left to cope with the diseases spreading due to the unhygienic conditions. The conditions are always bad in the walled city. People do not remember when the last time the roads and lanes of the inner-city were repaired. The safai workers of the Municipal Council are hardly seen. The formation of an elected body of councillors in the Municipal Council had generated hope that the things might take a turn for the better. But sadly, most of the councillors have been busy politicising from the day they had been elected.

Most of the sewerage pipelines have stayed choked for years in the city. The drains are not cleaned for months and a pile of garbage was left on the roads covering many manholes in the process. The streets at most places remained under water in the absence of proper drainage facilities. Those living in the slums are in a bad shape. Heaps of garbage, potholed roads and the absence of drainage facilities have resulted in the outbreak of malaria and other water-borne diseases.

There is hardly any traffic regulation. In the absence of the road dividers, some of the main roads have turned out to be free-for-all path. Buses, three-wheelers, tempos, rehris and rickshaws can be seen plying on these roads.

Encroachments on the government and municipal land with the connivance of unscrupulous elements in the administration have become the order of the day. Unauthorised constructions are also going on under the very nose of the civil authorities. Another big menace is the stray cattle roaming in every parts of the city and even in the mini secretariat and tehsil building. The condition of the roads has been overlooked by the PWD (B & R), the Municipal Council, the market committee and Huda.

Almost all the main roads and the inner ones are in a state of disrepair. Even when they are repaired, the repair work is of such a poor quality that the roads last only a few days. Moreover, because of poor planning, the roads get damaged frequently. Laid lower than the surrounding

area, which is contrary to the basic rules, these are clogged with dirt and water. Frequent digging for laying of underground cables by different departments and keeping construction materials along the roads also damage them.

At times, the earth is not sufficiently strengthened before the concrete pre-mix is put and it soon gives way. The biggest industrial township of the state has a population of over 1.50 lakh but it has only 12 or 13 tubewells for supplying drinking water which cover only 50 per cent of the population. Moreover, the water supplied is not fit for drinking. The abnormal unplanned growth of the city has created a serious storm drainage problem.

In most of the areas, storm water is disposed of through underground sanitary sewers which not only take a long time to do so but get choked with silt and dirt. The sewers of manholes at most places are missing and in the absence of proper streetlighting, they serve as death traps. The silt which piled on roads due to rains has stayed put. The roads have, therefore, got narrowed. Streetlights on either sides of the roads as well as those in streets of even main roads remain enveloped in darkness at night.

Stagnant water and slush piled in the vegetable market have become a big health hazard breeding mosquitoes. Heaps of garbage lying in it stink for days together without anyone bothering to clear it. The areas earmarked for the development of parks have gradually become dumping grounds for garbage due to the absence of maintenance.

The increase in the number of dairies and transport companies in congested localities have added to the problem. The fast growth of unauthorised colonies on the periphery of the city is seriously affecting the development of the city. There are about 100 such unauthorised colonies within the civil limits which are fast growing into slumps.



PSBT tie-up with Unesco
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, August 26
The Public Service Broadcasting Trust has completed the first year of its tie-up with the International Public Service Documentary Film Festival and forum in partnership with Unesco and the Prasar Bharti. A festival and forum was recently inaugurated in the Capital by Prof M Tawfik, Director, Unesco. The films include a travelling showcase of some of the best independent films from across the world, which have been financed by Unesco and films produced by the PSBT in India.

The partnership between the PSBT and Unesco is working to create a set of best and transparent procedures that will empower creativity and the two wish to extend their collaboration to other non-profit organisations that can best represent and articulate the real agenda of the community so that this finds a voice in the no-print media.



Walia accuses Centre of neglecting slum dwellers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
Taking a dig at the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, the Congress said the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was not serious about regularising the unauthorised colonies. It has sought the immediate regularisation of all such colonies in accordance with the 1977 policy guidelines under which no penalty is levied on people living in them.

The Urban Development Minister, Mr A.K.Walia, said the Centre had constituted a committee to solve the problem of unauthorised colonies on February 8.

The committee submitted its report on June 28. “Even after the lapse of two months,” he says, “the Centre has not taken any decision whatsoever.”

The Minister told mediapersons that a list of 1,071 unauthorised colonies was sent to the Union Ministry of Urban Development for regularisation in 1993.

Lists of 238 unauthorised colonies and another 300 colonies with No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) were also dispatched to the Centre.

The Minister complained that let alone roads, parks and schools, even basic amenities like potable water and sanitation are not available in the unauthorised colonies. “A sword is hanging for the last nine years over the 30 lakh people living in the unauthorised colonies.

They are being forced to live in sub-human conditions due to the lethargic attitude of the Centre,” said Walia.



Declining water level a cause of concern among experts
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, August 26
The long-term trend in water level show a declining rate of 2.80 meters per annum, which is ‘really alarming,’ stated Dr S.B.Singh, Director, Central Ground Water Board, at a seminar on rain water harvesting, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), (Northern Region) in Gurgaon today.

In his presentation, Dr Singh said that Gurgaon is mainly dependent on ground water for its water requirements.

This dependence on ground water has resulted in a decline of water level and water quality.

Mr Singh further added that the fresh layer of water at the top had almost depleted, leaving behind water that is highly saline and unfit for drinking as well as for agricultural purposes.

His colleagues, Mr D.Chakraborty and Mr S.K.Mohiddin, also made presentations on the importance and urgency of rain water harvesting (RWH) besides suggesting a step-by-step approach to it.

Mr Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, Haryana State Council, CII (Northern Region), stressed the need and criticality of harvesting water, a resource that we have taken for granted for centuries. He said that it is indeed shocking that in a place like Chirrapunji, once recording the highest rainfall in the world, there is a shortage of drinking water. Most of the surplus rainfall in our country flows through the drains into the rivers.

Rain water harvesting is meant for capturing and storing this water for future use, said Mr Sondhi.

While welcoming the delegates to the seminar, Mr S.K.Arya, Convenor, Small and Medium Enterprises Panel (SMEs), CII (Northern Region), stated that water is a precious resources and needs to be conserved well. It is indeed, a matter of concern that some parts of the country are experiencing acute shortages of water. He remarked that this situation has awakened most of us to the criticality of the situation. This has also made us responsible towards drawing up an appropriate strategy for ensuring rainwater harvesting and wastewater management.

Mr V Raghavender Rao, GM (HR and Quality), Tecumseh India Pvt Ltd and Mr J.V.Jain, chief operating officer, Jay Bharat Maruti Ltd., made presentations on their case studies on the implementation of rain water harvesting at their respective factories.

The CII officials informed that 60 delegates attended the seminar from different parts of Haryana.



16 employees found absent in surprise check
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, August 26
Continuing its ongoing drive against truant government employees, three teams of the district administration led by the SDM, Jhajjar City Magistrate and Tehsildar in Bahadurgarh, visited a number of offices and found 16 employees absent from their duty.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mohinder Kumar, confirmed that the City Magistrate conducted a surprise check at a local polytechnic and found seven lecturers, including the principal and a fourth class employee absent from the college. Two employees of the treasury and tehsil offices were also found absent.

In Bahadurgarh, five staff members were found absent from duty in the offices of Public Health, Municipal Council and SDO, national highway.


Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Inderjeet Mehta, awarded ten years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on Suresh Kumar, a resident of Kasni village. The police had booked him under the NDPS Act in June 13, 2000, and seized 1.25kg charas from him.

Bodies found

Two bodies were recovered from a canal near Gwauson village today. Police sources said that the two bodies, one of a girl and a boy in their early twenties, were found in naked condition. The bodies were yet to be identified.



Couple killed in car-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, August 26
A couple was killed when the car in which they were travelling, was hit by a speeding truck at Kharawar village last night.

The deceased were identified as Mr Arun Kumar Mittal (59), head of the Electrical Engineering Department of Vaish Technical Institute (VTI) here and his wife, Usha Sharma (56), who was a Chemistry teacher at the local Model School.

According to information, the incident occurred at 2 am on Sunday.

Mr Mittal was returning from Delhi after handing over certain gifts and articles to his relative to be forwarded to his son settled in the USA.

After seeing off his relative, Mr Mittal and his wife were on their way back to Rohtak. When his car reached near a temple at Kharawar village, it collided with a truck approaching from the opposite direction.

Although the accident was immediately reported by the owner of a nearby ‘dhaba’ to the police, the police reached the site in the morning.

The bodies were taken out from the crushed vehicle at around 8 a.m., on Sunday when Mr Kailash Chand Gupta, principal of the VTI reached the spot.

Both the educational institutions, the VTI and the Model School, remained closed today as a mark of respect to the departed teachers who served these institutions for over 30 years and carved out a niche for themselves during the period.

Theft committed

Unidentified thieves broke into a chemist shop located in medical canteen complex last night and took away medicines worth nearly Rs 6 lakh and a cash amount of Rs 50 thousand.

Mr Suresh Gupta, owner of the shop, stated in the complaint that he put closed his shop at around midnight on Sunday.

He alleged that thieves entered the shop by breaking the rear wall of the shop and decamped with medicines and cash.

Transmission suspended

The transmission of cable television would be suspended throughout the state from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, to protest against the increase in prices by the pay channels.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the cable operators of Haryana at Karnal last evening. Mr Naresh Jain, director, Siti cable here alleged that the cable operators in the state were forced to protest against the ‘dictatorial’ attitude of the pay channels. He said a cable operator had to pay an amount of Rs 164 per consumer to the pay channels. He said, on the other hand, it was difficult for them to charge this amount from the consumers.

MDU nomination

Maj-Gen Bhim Singh Suhag, vice- chancellor of the Maharshi Dayanand University, has nominated Dr M.S. Malik, Reader in Commerce and Dr Harish Kumar, lecturer in journalism, as members of the University Academic Council. A spokesman for the university said today that these nominations had been made for two years with effect from August 27 in terms of the statute-13 of MDU Act.



BKU unit dissolved, reorganisation on Sept 2
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 26
The Haryana unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has dissolved its Sonepat district unit and decided to reorganise it on September 2. Mr Braham Singh Dahiya, vice-president of the state unit of the BKU told mediapersons here today that the union had already sent communications to 500 delegates. The president and general secretary of the state unit will be present on this occasion.

Referring to the announcement of the state government regarding the drought-hit areas of the state, Mr Dahiya alleged that the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, was fooling the farmers in this regard as the districts of Sonepat, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Yamunanagar, Karnal and Panipat have not been included in the list of drought-hit areas by the government.

Hence, the farmers of these districts will not get any financial assistance from the state government. This, he said, had exposed the state government’s announcement that the farmers would be given financial assistance for the damaged crops.

Children arrested

The police have reportedly re-arrested two child prisoners including Updesh Kumar of Murthal village last evening.

According to a report, the police authorities have not yet confirmed their arrest. However, a massive hunt is on to apprehend the other culprits who managed to escape from the ‘Bal Sudhar Grah’ (Children Home) after injuring a warden recently.

The culprit Updesh Kumar is allegedly involved in a double murder case. He had allegedly kidnapped two school children of the village and later killed them.

There are one chief warden and two wardens in the children home, and has 92 child prisoners. It may be recalled that as many as 27 child prisoners had escaped during the past five years, including six in 1998, 12 in 1999 and five in the year 2000.

Body found

The Government Railway police (GRP) has recovered the body of an unidentified man (35) on the railway track near the Sandal Kalan Railway Station, about 8 km from here last evening. According to the police, the body has not been identified so far.

Case registered

The Ganaur police have registered a case against a cable operator of the town following the seizure of some pirated CDs. A raid was conducted on the shop, following a complaint by the Northern India Copyright Protection Company.

Prizes distributed

Dr Ravinder Goyal, an industrialist, gave away the prizes to the winners of the various competitions organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad at a function organised here last evening.

Two die in mishap

Two persons were injured when a truck collided with a canter on the G.T. Road near Qumashpur village, 13 km from here. According to a report, the injured persons were identified as Surjeet and Rajesh. They were rushed to the local civil hospital from where one of them was sent to the PGIMS, Rohtak for further treatment. The police have registered a case against the canter driver who is still at large.

Sanskrit exam

The All-India Vishwa Gayatri Parivar Shanti Kunj Hardwar will hold a Sanskrit Science examination on September 28 in the city. Mr Rajinder Singh Dahiya, District Education Officer will monitor the examination.

Worker killed

Gudu Kumar, a resident of Siwan (Bihar) died in mysterious circumstances while working in a factory at the HSDIC complex at Kundli village, about 25 km from here last night.

According to a report, the police are inquiring into the case and the body has been sent for the postmortem examination.



Woman, paramour plotted husband’s killing
Our Correspondent

Rewari, August 26
The death of Lila Ram Yadav, son-in-law of Mrs Krishna Devi, wife of Ram Mehar Yadav, resident of Nainsukhpura village under Jatusana police station of the district, has now been converted into a case of murder under Sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

Lila Ram died at Nainsukhpura village on the night of May 15,2002.

The death had earlier been treated as a suicidal case under Section 174 of the CR PC.

The case has been converted after a revelation made by the chemical examination report of the viscera of the deceased which had been sent to the forensic laboratory, Madhuban (Karnal).

The report has divulged that Lila Ram Yadav had been poisoned to death.

Following the revelation, the matter was investigated by the police which then arrested Mukta, alias Mukesh, wife of the deceased and Parma Nand (a neighbour of the two accused) on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy.

Both the accused, the mother-in-law and wife of the deceased, confessed to the crime, according to Mr Hanif Qureshi, SP, Rewari. All three accused have now been remanded in judicial custody by a local court.

According to information given by Mr Hanif Qureshi, SP, when Lila Ram, along with his wife, came from Patan Uno Kotkasim police station of Alwar district in Rajasthan to Nainsukhpura village on May 15, 2002, he was served liquor during night at the residence of Parma Nand, after which he died. His death was then treated as a case of suicide.

However, his viscera was sent for chemical examination, the report of which revealed the hand of the trio.

It is stated that Lila Ram was not happy with his wife as was allegedly carrying an extra-marital affair.



2 auto-lifters arrested, 8 vehicles seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
The South district police today said that it had arrested two auto-lifters after conducting raids in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal and recovered eight stolen vehicles from them.

The arrest of the duo came after the police arrested a notorious auto-lifter, Anil Chauhan along with six of his associates. The accused Fayaz (28), resident of Haldwani, Uttranchal and Mohammad Saeed (21), resident of Rampur, were nabbed from their respective places.

4 arrested

The police have arrested four persons, including a woman, in three different incidents and recovered 282 bottles of illicit liquor in West and North-West districts. Those arrested were identified as Sunil alias Vicky, Sonu (18), resident of Wazirpur, Shyam Lal, resident of Shahbad Diary and Roshni, resident of Sidhipalara, Haryana.

The police also seized their scooters, which were used to transport the illegal liquor. The PCR staff nabbed them after they received a secret information about their activities.



Four hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 26
Four persons were injured, one of them seriously, in a clash between two rival groups at Deepalpur village, 13 km from here on Saturday night.

According to a report, swords and other deadly weapons were used in the clash. The seriously injured person was sent to the PGIMS, Rohtak for further treatment. The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress. No arrest has been made in this connection. A long-standing enmity is stated to be the main cause of the clash.

According to another report, two brothers-Rajinder and Jaibir-allegedly assaulted a married woman, Mrs Sunita, and injured her. They also attacked her husband Ashok Kumar and fled. The injured woman was rushed to the local civil hospital and she is stated to be in a serious condition. The police have registered a case against the assailants who are still at large. A hunt is on to apprehend them. A dispute is stated to be the main cause of the assault.

Another clash occurred at Fazilpur village in which six persons-Ramesh, Jai Singh, Anil, Krishan, Dharminder and Ms Shakuntala-were injured. They were hospitalised. A domestic quarrel is stated to be the reason behind the clash.

In another case, a woman, Promila, was allegedly beaten up by some persons at Juan village, about 15 km from here, on Saturday evening. A case has been registered against the culprits but no arrest has been made so far.



Hood does a Houdini!
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 26
What could be more dramatic than this! The public, who had flocked to the Purana Quilla, were witness to a rare scene of a robber giving the police the slip by jumping off from the high wall of the fort.

One watches such a stunt in a Bollywood cinema only. However, the visitors watched it gratis in real life during the weekend at the Purana Quilla.

It all began when a PCR van stationed nearby received a call that some robbers were trying to rob people of their cash and jewellery. The staff immediately swung into action to nab the accused. Noticing the police, the trio tried to escape with the booty.

The police gave a chase to the robbers and managed to catch two of them.

While Habid Wasim (27) and Asif ali (28) were nabbed, the other accused Kafil (28), did a vanishing trick by jumping off from the high wall of the fort. He was injured but fled.


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