Friday, September 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Delhi readies to take on Kolkata
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
It is the pride of India. An engineering marvel. A great leap forward for Indian science. And Delhi’s answer to Kolkata.

It is better than the dream we dared to dream, gushed Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit after inspecting the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC’s) brand new coaches and interacting with the consortium’s team of engineers.

The trial run of Delhi Metro will be flagged off on September 17 by Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani. President APJ Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the service anytime after December 15.

“It is a historic moment and a great day for India. A great day for Indian science and technology. Delhi is the first city to get a metro of this modernity and magnitude,” Ms Dikshit said.

“I have never felt such immense pride in the last 20 years as I do today,” she said of the state-of-art transport that will ease traffic congestion on roads and minimise damage to the ecology.

She had a good word for the engineers too. “The project has not encountered delays of more than a week. It is progressing according to schedule and is a feather in the cap of Indian engineers.

“How work can be executed without uprooting people or obstructing traffic has been shown by the DMRC. It is indeed a dream coming true,” she noted.

The tariff, the chief minister told media persons, will be stipulated so as to eliminate scope of competition with buses and other modes of transport.

A Regulatory Commission, Ms Dikshit said, would be set up after the Metro commences its operations. Underlining the necessity of co-ordinating with the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), she said passes bought could be used for journeying on the Metro as well as buses.

On the row between the Centre and the Government of NCT of Delhi over power-sharing and administering the Metro rail, the chief minister clarified there were no differences.

“The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is the agency entrusted with the task of running the service. Its managing director is appointed by the Government of NCT of Delhi and will look after day-to-day operations.”

The Centre, she asserted, or the Group of Ministers, would be mandated to take macro-level decisions only. The rest will be the domain of the Government of NCT of Delhi.

The contract for design, manufacture, supply, testing and commissioning of the coaches is with a consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and Rotem Company of South Korea.

Out of the 240 coaches to be inducted, 60 are under manufacture in Korea. The remaining 180 coaches will be manufactured in India with progressive indigenisation.

The first train (each train will have four coaches) was delivered on August 30. The second train, according to DMRC officials, will be delivered on October 1 and the third and fourth trains on October 15.



Metro set to hit the track
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has completed civil works on the Shahdara-Tis Hazari (8.3 kilometre) section. The first train (four coaches) that was received last month is being commissioned and will be subjected to safety tests and integrated trials through November.

Initially, trains would be operated at eight minutes’ interval. This interval would gradually be reduced to five minutes and subsequently to three minutes when adequate traffic builds up. To ferry more passengers, feeder buses for Metro stations are on the anvil.

Each train can carry up to 1,500 passengers. These trains have an average speed of 32 to 35 km per hour. The journey between Shahdara and Tis Hazari will be covered in 13 minutes. Passenger information and advance information of approaching station will be available.

A training school for drivers and other operating staff has been set up at Shastri Park. Under an agreement with Hong Kong Metro Railway, 60 employees of DMRC have been trained on their system. Those employees have since returned and are now training the staff locally recruited for Delhi Metro.

The DMRC spokesperson says the air-conditioned coaches will be equipped with the most modern communication and train control system. For instance, the train will not leave platform if doors are not fully shut. Passengers can get assistance by pressing the emergency button located at the exit and communicating with the driver.

Ticketing and passenger control would be through automatic fare collection system that is being introduced for the first time anywhere in the country. Instead of tickets, “cards” and “coins” will be issued to passengers. The tariff, according to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, will be fixed soon.

Another unique feature is the accessibility for the physically challenged. The DMRC spokesperson says Braille script and audio-visual communication would be in place on platforms. Also wheel-chairs and ramps for easy entry and exit from trains and stations alike.

For security reasons, closed circuit television would be installed inside the stations and on the platforms. Although still only a “proposal,” a stringent deterrent is proposed for sabotage with death penalty as one of them. This, officials say, is one of the many options being considered.



Can Delhi University afford this road show?
Sanjog Gupta

New Delhi, September 5
Rallies and dharnas marked the end of campaigning for the Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections today. Last week, all other activity in the university had ceased as candidates ‘reached out’ to students.

The elections have become a showcase for political parties wanting to flaunt their strength. According to Prof Khanna, Chief Election Officer, “The DUSU elections are a learning process for the voters and the candidates.”

Even though the elections in the past have thrown up many political upstarts, a comprehensive look at the current election reveals the futility of the so-called learning process.

The campaigning merely reflects the monetary superiority, often becoming a pretext for vandalisation of property. Issues take a backseat as candidates rely more on jingoism and rhetoric to convince students of their superiority. ‘Buying’ of votes by promising favours and disbursal of ‘gifts’ has become customary. Further, candidates with ‘additional attributes’ are always preferred. These attributes include monetary comfort, amiable disposition, political support and backing of pressure groups.

The strain that the DUSU elections put on university resources needs to be considered as well. The direct costs of the election add up to about Rs 5 lakh. If one were to include such imponderables as the teaching time lost, the cost doubles.

Moreover, the average voter turnout veers around 40 per cent and a large chunk of these votes comes from party cadres. This trivialises the concept of student participation and representation.

Vaibhav Mukim, a student of Hindu College, said, “I am not interested in university politics, and I don’t even know who is in the running. It is better for me not to cast my vote than cast it blindly.”

The elections do occasionally throw up exceptional candidates, such as Akhila Singh, the SFI vice-presidential candidate, who is the first girl from Haryana to contest the DUSU elections and the first blind candidate. But, the passive attitude of the voters, coupled with the strain on resources, makes one wonder about the utility of the DUSU elections. The Vice-Chancellor has suggested that the efficiency of the elections would improve if the students were to manage the polls themselves. Indirect elections would greatly reduce the resources invested by political parties in the campaigning and, at the same time, prevent the political process from encroaching upon university affairs. Says Prof Khanna: “The system of elections must emanate from the university authorities in consultation with the student body.”

The NSUI contingent is not too pleased with the suggestion of indirect elections; its media spokesperson, Kuntal Krishna, says: “This way the university authorities will take away the democratic status of DUSU politics. They do not want student representation.”

There is also a radical opinion, like that of Prof D. S.Bedi, additional secretary for the DUSU elections, who has been involved with DUSU election process for almost a decade. He agrees with the point of view that elections should be “shut down”, as it is a worthless exercise.



MCF dissolved, unhappy councillors may move court
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 5
The dissolution of the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad, by the Haryana Government has rattled the majority of the councillors who had launched a campaign to oust the Mayor, Mrs Anita Goswami. The dissidents have dubbed the decision as ‘murder of democracy’ and intend to challenge the order in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The corporation, which came into being in 1996, was in its second term. The last elections were held in March 2000. “Although the five-year term was due to end in February 2005, dissidence reared its head a few months after Mrs Anita Goswami, an INLD activist, was installed as Mayor in July last year on the instructions of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

The dissolution was on the cards ever since the Chief Minister indicated that he was not happy with the developments in the MCF. He also hinted that the MCF might be dissolved, but the threat did not cut much ice with the councillors.

The MCF has had two mayors in its 28-month term and the removal of the first mayor, Mr Devender Bhadana, was also unique. He was the first person to be voted out even though he happened to be an active supporter of the INLD. Today, the Mayor was busy holding an open darbar when the news about the dissolution came. The authorities had not received the dissolution order till morning.

The dissolution has elicited severe criticism from the dissidents and the opposition leaders. Senior Deputy Mayor Shiv Charan Lal Sharma, his Corporator wife, Mrs Maya Sharma, Mr Dharampal, Mr Som Malhotra, Mrs Kante Bhatle and Ms Pratibha Yadav (all Councillors) have condemned the decision. They said the dissolution was illegal as the no-trust motion case was still pending in the high court. BJP leader Krishan Pal Gurjar, RPI MLA Karan Singh Dalal and Congress leader Ms Sharda Rathaur were among the other leaders who have condemned the MCF dissolution. Mr Shiv Charan Lal Sharma said that they were considering moving the high court for a stay on the decision. It may be recalled that a petition against Mrs Goswami’s appointment is pending before the high court. The petitioner has alleged that her appointment is illegal as the post was reserved for a backward class candidate.



Wanted now, but once the rules were bent for him 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, September 5
Roshan Singh, an informer of the Ghaziabad police, today carries a reward of Rs 30,000 on his head for his alleged role in disposing of Delhi Corporator Atma Ram Gupta's body.

Roshan is known to have had a good equation with politicians as well as the police. His arms licence was reportedly issued within two days after the application was submitted, it is learnt. The former in charge of the Dholana police station had immediately endorsed his application on the recommendation of a BJP MP.

According to information, two criminal cases were pending against Roshan Singh, husband of Chhajipur's lady pradhan. In spite of this, he applied for an arms licence the next day after he allegedly co-operated in facilitating the encounter of a Dholana criminal on July 9, 1998.

The then SO, Puran Singh, while clearing his application, had recommended immediate issuance of an arm licence which was approved on July 11, 1998 by the then DM, Mr Alok Kumar. A powerful BJP MP had strongly recommended to the DM that the licence be issued, which was later extended to Meerut zone too. Incidentally, Roshan Singh, his younger brother, Som Vir Singh, and another person, Rustam, were allegedly involved in the gang rape of a 31-year-old-woman on August 1, 2002. The woman was later killed and her body hacked; the mangled parts were hidden in a sugarcane field.

The Dholana police had refused to register an FIR for 20 days after her body was found. Only on the intervention of an MLA, the husband of the deceased, Mr Narender Singh, could register an FIR.



Class X student abducted
Our Correspondent

Meerut, September 5
A class 10 student was kidnapped from the busy Mawana Road on the outskirts of the city by four armed persons when he was going to school on his moped today morning.

Panic prevailed in the police department and also in Ganga Nagar where the boy resides as this was the second incident of its kind in the area. The earlier abduction of a doctor is yet to be solved. All shops in Ganga Nagar downed their shutters and traders accompanied the police in search of the abductors.

The incident occurred at 7.30 am. Sudhansu, a student of Maharshi Vidhya Mandir, was on his way to school when he was intercepted. A white Maruti car was waiting near the Behchala turning on the Mawana Road with its bonnet open. Two persons were examining the engine and two others were seated in the car when Sudhansu passed that way. He was intercepted and hustled into the vehicle before being driven away.

Incidentally, two students, who were alighting from a city bus, witnessed the abduction. They noted the car number (UP-15-9020) and immediately reported the matter in the school. The students had even noticed that a bald-headed youth was driving the car.

A combing operation was on when reports last came in. According to eyewitnesses, the Maruti was heading towards Parikshit Garh. Several residents alleged that the police began combing the area seven hours after the incident. 



When inspectors say ‘no’ to plum posts
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, September 5
In crime-infested Ghaziabad district, it is said, police inspectors vie with each other to corner plum postings. It is, therefore, a trifle surprising that one inspector has refused to take charge of the Dholana police station.

Possibly, this has something to do with the action taken against some cops posted at this station. Only the other day the station in charge, along with four other cops, were suspended for their alleged role in the disposal of the body of Delhi Corporator Atma Ram Gupta, who was murdered allegedly at the behest of a fellow corporator.

The SSP appointed Inspector Vinode Udeyniya, one of his staff officers, as the in charge of Dholana police station on Sunday evening. On receiving the posting orders, Mr Udeyniya presented himself before the SSP on Monday morning and requested that he be allowed to continue in the SSP's office. However, the SSP advised him to first assume the charge, and that he could discuss the matter later.

Despite this, the cop would not go to Dholana. Finally, the SSP had to cancel his own order. Nobody has been posted at this police station yet.

Normally, there would have been a rat race among the inspectors for cornering a coveted posting like that at Dholana station. Generally, there is a scramble for lucrative posts. Cops try to extract the best recommendations from senior police officers, bureaucrats and even ministers. Some are even known to have used money power to wrangle such postings. But what has struck Mr Udeyniya is not known. Is it fear?



HVP prepares to play ‘youth card’ in coming poll

Panipat, September 5
The Haryana Assembly elections may still be two years away, but the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) has already decided to the play the “youth card” to the hilt and channel the energies of the “dissatisfied youth” in the run-up to the elections. And with this in mind, the youth wing of the party is being reconstituted and youth rallies have already been held at Ambala, Yamuna Nagar, Kurukshetra and Karnal.

The announcement of the HVP supremo, Mr Bansi Lal, regarding the payment of unemployment allowance to the educated youth if the HVP formed the government after the 2,004 polls, has been giving sleepless night to his political rivals, according to the HVP state youth wing chief, Mr Nripinder Singh. With preparations for the Siwah rally on October 6 in full swing, there is an expectation that the HVP supremo will announce a comprehensive package for the youths. Mr Nripinder Singh alleged that the false promises made to the youth of the state by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has created an atmosphere of uncertainty among the youth of the state.

While suicides by disappointed youths were on the rise, crimes such as dacoity, snatching and even murders were the order of the day. The city has witnessed two fatal stabbing incidents in the last four days.

Under a carefully worked-out strategy, the HVP has planned to give maximum representation to the youth in the Assembly elections. Since the age limit for voting had been reduced to 18 years, it is but natural that the youths found proportionate share in the state Assembly, Mr Singh added.

Alleging “unfair” treatment to the youth by the INLD government, he said that 10,000 sanctioned posts had been abolished by the government and over 20,000 employees retrenched. Besides, the INLD government was contemplating the closure of several other government undertakings. The flight of industries has continued on account of lop-sided policies of the government, he said, adding that the HVP will endeavour to revive the industrial growth in the state. For this purpose, the youth would be provided with self-employment and vocational training as the government jobs were limited.

Commenting on the appointment of Mr Bhajan Lal as the HPCC chief, Mr Nripinder Singh said the appointment showed the dearth of leaders in the Congress Party. TNS



Making a quick buck with bogus muster rolls
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 5
Most of the irrigation schemes undertaken by the Irrigation Department in this district are ridden with corrupt practices and have come in handy to for certain officials of the department in making a quick buck.

According to knowledgeable sources, the bulk of the money spent on these schemes has allegedly been misappropriated by the officials entrusted with the work of execution of these schemes. Some of the works executed remain on paper only and the officials have made payment for works which have actually not been executed at all. The muster rolls also included the names of persons who were never put on the job, it is also alleged.

Though the Government of Haryana, with an aim to root out corruption from the Irrigation Department, had appointed an SDO, Vigilance, to supervise the works relating to the maintenance of canals, distributaries and minors and also to check the ongoing works as well as the malpractices in the utilisation of public funds by the officials, no substantial action has been taken by the officer concerned.

Rather, he has become part of the official machinery, flagrantly violating government rules and indulging in financial and corrupt practices.

These sources also revealed that whenever the “letters of credit” are received by various water services divisions, the officer concerned reportedly receives commission.

The maintenance of canals, distributaries and minors continues to remain a major problem despite heavy expenditure incurred on them in this district, particularly in the Rai Water Service Division of the Irrigation Department. Though the state government had made available lakhs of rupees to the water services divisions for the cleaning operation of the canal network, the position had hardly improved as the tail-end fields of the farmers continue to remain dry and the canal water had not been reaching there.

According to many farmers, embankments of various canals and distributaries were facing the problem of siltage, resulting in water-logging of large areas. They alleged that many officials of the canal division were minting money by preparing bogus muster rolls as the appointment of labourers exist only on paper.

On the orders of the state government, the officials of the Vigilance Department had made site inspection of the works relating to the deweeding and desilting operations carried out by the Rai Water Service Division in this district and found at least 53 per cent of the works as bogus. Thus, the public funds were allegedly misappropriated by certain officials involved in this scandal.

Similar irregularities were also detected in other water services divisions of this district.

The state government, has, however, failed to take any follow-up action against the erring officials of the department. This has caused a huge financial loss to the state exchequer.

Another racket has also come to the surface involving the preparation of bogus muster rolls by the officials of the Irrigation Department in this district.

Informed sources have revealed that whenever canal cuts are made by some unscrupulous farmers, backed by some ruling party politicians, these are hushed up by showing mishaps.

In this way, the officials find an opportunity to dupe the government and misappropriate public funds by preparing bogus muster rolls in connection with the repair works.

Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has been suffering a huge financial loss owing to the use of substandard material in the construction of water courses by the officials of the Command Area Development Authority (CADA) in this district during the past few years.

According to informed sources, some of the works executed in the past were found substandard and the higher authorities of the department have already taken a serious note of it. This followed numerous public complaints received by the state government in this regard.

However, a high-level inquiry is likely to expose the irregularities and malpractices prevalent in the department.



Delhi govt to offer free legal aid to workers

New Delhi, September 5
The Government of NCT of Delhi will offer free legal aid for the 20-odd lakh workers and their families and host Lok Adalat for settling longstanding disputes pending with labour tribunals, courts and conciliation authorities. The Free legal Aid Cell will be run by the Delhi Labour Welfare Board in collaboration with the Delhi Legal Services Authority. The Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice S.B.Sinha and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will inaugurate the Free Legal Aid Cell on Saturday. The Chairman of the Delhi Labour Welfare Board, Mr Sukhbir Sharma, said these welfare schemes have been taken up after the Board was reconstituted on the pattern of the Bombay Labour Welfare Fund Act 1953 and extended to the NCT of Delhi.

The Board is in the process of starting Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Blood Bank in collaboration with various government hospitals, the Indian Red Cross Society and non-government organisations (NGOs.) The blood bank will provide blood to industrial workers free of cost. No donor will be required. Also on the drawing board is the construction of 50,000 houses for the working class. Three thousand of them will be built by the Delhi State Industries Development Corporation (DSIDC) in Narela and Bawana. The construction is likely to begin in 16 months’ time after acquiring possession of land. The Board has also drawn up a scheme of training the families of the workers. It has set a target of training two thousand women and children of industrial workers in the next three-odd months. This will be beside the 49 self-help employment short-term courses will also be launched. TNS



Inmates assault guards in Meerut jail 
Our Correspondent

Meerut, September 5
Several inmates of the district jail here attacked jail guards during search operations, confined three guards in a barrack and beat them up brutally on Tuesday night. Soon after the clash broke out, the Senior Jail Superintendent rushed to the premises but failed to quell the uprising even with the help of the PAC for three hours. The inmates were protesting against conducting two searches in a week.

The incident started at 9 pm after the dinner session. The jail administration ordered search of inmates and barracks as there were reports that some “poisonous eatables” had been shipped into the premises. The jail was divided into circles and the Deputy Jailer was assigned the task to “clean” the barracks. When the search started, the inmates of barrack 8 took the Deputy Jailer and two guards into “custody” and beat them up brutally.

When the personnel in the administrative office heard about the clash, they sounded a red alert. Some reserve guards, who had been in the administrative block, rushed to barrack 8. These guards were also attacked with staves, bricks and flowerpots.

On hearing the news, the Senior Jail Superintendent, Mr V. P. Tripathi, arrived on the scene with additional jail guards, but the number of inmates had swelled by that time as the inmates of barrack 13 also joined those in barrack 8. Seeing the situation getting out of control, Mr Tripathi called in the PAC personnel camping near the main gate of the jail. The PAC and the jail administration tried hard for more than three hours to overpower the inmates. The agitated inmates pelted stones at the PAC men who lathicharged the former and took 10 of them into custody.

Once the inmates were brought under control, all the cells were sealed. After sometime, the inmates again started making noise and shouted slogans against the jail administration. They were adamant that they would not allow two searches in a single week.

Though the inmates belonging to the Promod Bhadara gang remained silent during the whole episode, it is presumed that the gang masterminded the attack on guards. Talking to ‘NCR Tribune’, the Senior Jail Superintendent said that the inmates were protesting because their special facilities in the jail premises had been stopped.

Interestingly, Mr Tripathi did not inform the district administration about the whole drama as no official from the civil administration was present there during the three-hour stand-off.



Poisoned inmate returns from hospital

Meerut: An inmate, Amit, who took ill after he was reportedly made to eat some poisonous sweet by guards after the latter found several poisonous eatables in barrack 26 on September 1 during a search operation, returned to the jail last night. However, both the jail administration and the hospital authorities refused to confirm the incident. 



Buddha Club chief defends conversion
Our Correspondent

Rewari, September 5
Mr Satya Prakash Jarawata, president of the Haryana unit of the All India Lord Buddha Club, has reacted sharply to the comments of RSS activists expressed over the recent conversion to Islam of 40 members of a joint family of the Balmiki community in Birsika and Jaurasi villages of the Nuh subdivision of the Mewat area of Gurgaon district.

Addressing a convention of the representatives of the various Dalit organisations of the district here, he said that conversion was an individual’s own affair and he had the constitutional right to do so. He deplored that these champions of Hinduism perhaps had forgotten that these Dalits had to embrace Islam simply to get rid of the injustice, repression, exploitation and untouchability let loose by these champions.

He also cautioned that unless the social and economic inequalities were eradicated and the Dalits given their due place among the Hindu society, the conversions would not come down. Describing the Haryana Government as `anti-Dalit’, Mr Jarawata said that it was regrettable that Haryana was the only state in the country, which had not yet started providing reservation in promotions to Class I and II SC/ST officers. Besides several thousand vacancies had been pending. He demanded the government to do the needful in this regard.

The convention was also addressed among others by Mr Bir Singh, senior vice-president of the Lord Buddha Club, Gurgaon, Mr Sher Karan Mehra, state president of the All India Manav Kasht Nivaran Samiti, Mr R. D. Meena, secretary, All India SC/ST Employees Association, Mr Shiv Lal Dahiya, president of Haryana Power Corporation Dalit Employees Association, and Mr Krishan Kumar Jatav, president of the Gurgaon Gramin Bank SC/ST Employees Organisation.

On this occasion, the Rewari district unit of the All India Lord Buddha club was also constituted with the following as its office-bearers. Mr Subhash Chaudhary – president; Fateh Singh Bodwal – vice-president; Mr Babu Lal Chaudhary - general secretary; Mr Jaswant Singh - organising secretary; and Mr Subhash Solanki - treasurer.



Toll tax issue not behind murder’

New Delhi, September 5
The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Mr Ram Babu Sharma, has categorically denied that the controversy over the privatisation of toll tax was behind the recent murder of Mr Atma Ram Gupta, a senior corporator from Tri Nagar.

Talking to newspersons after the Standing Committee meeting which was adjourned after a two-minute silence observed in memory of the departed leader, Mr Sharma said when Mr Atma Ram was shot dead, the toll tax issue was not finalised. It had only been discussed at a meeting of the corporation. A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Mr Atma Ram Gupta to finalise the privatisation of toll tax. The committee was waiting for a proposal to be submitted by a private agency. The proposal was yet to be received, he said.

However, sources in the corporation said the proposal was submitted by the agency prior to the murder of the Tri Nagar councillor and the Toll Tax Committee had met twice to discuss the proposal. The party will decide who will replace Mr Atma Ram Gupta in the Corporation. He was Chairman of the Toll Tax and Appointment Committees and he was member of a few other committees. He was murdered on August 23 in Ghaziabad allegedly at the behest of a woman corporator, Ms Sharda Jain.

She was arrested from her residence and at present she is in judicial custody. The police is in search of three other suspects who are absconding. Mr Gupta’s decomposed body was recovered from Ganga Canal TNS



Gandhi Nagar shop gutted 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Property worth thousands of rupees was gutted in a fire that broke out in a four-storey building housing a garment shop in the wholesale cloth market in Gandhi Nagar early this morning. No loss of life has been reported.

The fire broke out at 3.15 am when the market was closed and everybody was asleep. The fire was noticed by a night watchman who informed the Delhi Fire Service (DFS). A number of fire fighters were rushed to the spot.

They took hours to control it. A spokesman of the DFS said that its personnel faced difficulty because of the narrow streets in Gandhi Nagar.

The fire broke out in the ground floor of the building because of a short circuit. Since shops were closed and nobody could notice the smoke emanating from the shop, it engulfed the entire building. The night watchman noticed it from a long distance.

The watchman also informed the neighbours who were asleep. The neighbours and other residents started salvaging their belongings from the shops leading to a commotion in the market.

As the fire brigade took time to reach because of the narrow streets, residents poured water with buckets. Had timely action not been taken, the entire market would have been finished, DFS official said.

The watchman informed that the fire might have started in Guddu Fashion Shop as leaping flames were seen in the shop while smoke was emanating from the upper floors of the building, the official said.



Demolition drive in Lajpat Nagar 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
There was tension in Lajpat Nagar market when a joint team of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the local police began an anti-encroachment drive. The anti-encroachment drive was undertaken after a number of complaints were received by the MCD from the residents of the area and the customers.

However, the shopkeepers protested against the anti-encroachment drive saying it was unjust as they had been doing business from the pavements for a long time.

However, when the local police cordoned off the market, the shopkeepers saw the inevitable and allowed the MCD team members to do its work.

Subsequently, the MCD team members removed most of the encroachment on the pavements. The police said shopkeepers on pavements had made the market so congested that it was difficult to move around in the market. Moreover, the customers were unable to park their vehicles because of the encroachment, the police said.

New name for Tata Power

Tata Power has re-christened its distribution company (Discom) operational in North and North West areas in the Capital. The North North West Delhi Distribution Company (NNWDC) would now be known as North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL), a company release said here today.

Explaining the reason for the change of name, company CEO Anil Sardana, said: “In order to associate ourselves as a warm, caring and trustworthy organisation in the customer’s mind, the company felt the need to keep a name which is simple, recognisable and with which the consumer can associate himself.”

The new names of its two distribution companies – the South-West Delhi Electricity Distribution Company has been renamed as BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and Central-East Delhi Electricity Distribution Company Ltd as BSES Yamuna Power Limited.

Lighting meet

Pragati Maidan is all set to host the LII- 2002, an international lighting conference from September 9-11, in the Capital. Lighting companies from all over the world are expected to participate in the international lighting conference. Over 100 exhibitors will showcase their latest products, services and technologies. A conference of lighting experts is also scheduled to take place.



40 teachers honoured
Our correspondent

Jhajjar, September 5
On the occasion of Teachers’ Day today, the district administration honoured 40 teachers for their outstanding performance in the field of education and co-curricular activities. While remembering former President S. Radhakrishanan on this occasion, speakers at a function lauded the role of teachers in shaping good citizens.

Bravery award entries

The Indian Child Welfare Council has invited entries for national bravery award from children aged between 6 and 18 years. Children, who had done any brave act and helped others between July 2001 and June 30, 2002 will be eligible for the award. The form can be deposited with the office of the District Child Welfare Officer at Halli Park up to September 30.

Bid to set woman afire

A woman received severe burns when her husband and in-laws allegedly attempted to set her afire after pouring kerosene on her here on Monday. Ms Babita, a resident of Indira Colony here, told Ms Rajni, Judicial Magistrate (Ist class), on Wednesday that she was married to Somveer nearly six years ago. She alleged that her husband and in-laws used to harass her as she could not bear a child. She said while her husband caught hold of her, her brother-in-law poured kerosene on her and her sister-in-law lighted her with a matchstick on Monday evening. The police have registered a case under Sections 498-A, 307 and 34 of the IPC in this connection.

Held for impersonation

Two students have been held for impersonating in the supplementary examinations of Haryana Education Board at Palwal town. The accused, identified as Rajbir and Dheeraj of Yadupur village, had been appearing in the exams on behalf of proper candidates, stated a complaint lodged by the school authorities. Meanwhile, another candidate, identified as Bharat Pal, decamped with the answer sheet after the exam at another centre.

Three held with arms

The police claimed to have arrested three persons on the charge of possessing unlicenced arms. Sonu of Saine Nagar in Palwal was nabbed with a country-made pistol and two cartridges. Devender and Chandershekhar were arrested on similar charges in Ballabgarh town as part of the operation launched to detect illegal firm arms, stated police sources.

Mass copying alleged

Mass copying has been reported from a majority of the examination centres set up in this city by the Board of School Education, Haryana for the middle, matriculation and 10 plus 2 supplementary examinations that began from Tuesday. According to a report, groups of toughs and anti-social elements are active outside the examination centres and notes are being smuggled inside. 



New train to Sonepat

Sonepat: The Northern Railway has decided to run a special EMU passenger train between Sonepat and New Delhi. Giving this information, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, a BJP MP from Sonepat, told mediapersons that the train would consist of 12 coaches. He disclosed that the train would leave New Delhi at 5.40 am and reach Sonepat at 6.55 am; it would leave Sonepat at 7.25 am and reach Delhi at 8.33 am. OC



Seven loot conductor, passengers of DTC bus
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
Seven armed robbers boarded a DTC bus on Mudrika service, looted the conductor and passengers today morning near Delhi Cantonment and escaped with the booty.

The incident occurred around 8.30 am. Seven persons armed with knives boarded the bus in Moti Bagh.

When the bus reached Delhi Cantonment, the robbers looted the conductor at knifepoint and robbed money from the passengers. There were 12 passengers in the bus when the incident reportedly took place. The South-West district police have registered a case of robbery and have identified the robbers and expecting their arrest soon.

5 auto thieves nabbed: With the arrest of five persons, identified as Anil Bhatnagar, Anil Kapoor, Mukesh Chand, Naveen Kumar and Suresh Kumar, the North-East district police today claimed to have worked out 13 cases of motor vehicle theft. The police seized 10 stolen vehicles. These vehicles were sold after preparing forged documents. During interrogation, the suspects disclosed that they had stolen eight Maruti cars from Trilokpuri, Sarojini Nagar, Ashok Vihar, Malviya Nagar, one Tata Sumo from Kalkaji and one motorcycle from Bareili. Efforts were being made to recover more vehicles, police said.

In another case, the West district police arrested Parvinder Suri, Jiteender and Rakesh Verma and recovered 16 stolen vehicles. Nine vehicles were stolen from Punjabi Bagh, six from Vikaspuri and one from Paschim Vihar, the police said.



Fest for foodies at Hotel Ashoka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 5
For the foodies the next three days in the Capital’s Ashoka Hotel are something to watch out for. Encouraged by the response that ‘Dilli ka Khana’ elicited from the people in the Capital, the Delhi Tourism, Transport and Development Corporation has roped in Ashoka Hotel to play host to ‘Dilli ka Utsav’, an event which is aimed at offering the people the best of Delhi cuisine.

“The event is basically to offer people a wider choice of Delhi’s ethnic cuisine. When we organised ‘Dilli ka Khana’ at Dilli Haat the response was unbelievable. This time we have chosen Ashoka Hotel to host the festival which apart from offering food will also have a fine sprinkling of cultural programmes as well”, said an official at of DTTDC.

Members of Anand and Tanushree Shankar’s dance troupe will present dances at the cultural show. Their performances will be an amalgam of traditional and modern dances depicting different colours of life matched gracefully with lucid movements, marking an experimentation of a plethora of dance forms.

A special feature will be the presentation of qawaalis by eminent artistes. As for those who believe that Ashoka’s five star status may interfere with their economics, the entry to the fest is free and the cost of the fare has been kept to suit the pockets of ‘Dilli ki aam janta’.


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