Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


CM studies ‘workable’ model
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service


Sheila complains … of delay in revision of transport fares
The Lieutenant-Governor says … theproposal was received on May 8, 2002 and on May 16, he recorded a self-explanatory note whereby the fares proposed by the Cabinet were approved.
Sheila complains … of delay in laying of CNG pipeline
The Lieutenant-Governor says … I had to make efforts at personal level to persuade the Defence authorities to accommodate a substantial length of the pipeline within their land so that digging along the Ring Road could be obviated.
Sheila complains … of delay in starting work on flyover
The Lieutenant-Governor says … It is difficult to see why certain benefits should be ignored (after review) just because the tendering process for the full flyover has been set into motion. The matter was personally explained to Transport Minister Ajay Maken on August 25 after some his statements had appeared in the newspapers.

New Delhi, September 9
Having sought rationalisation of the powers vested in the Lieutenant-Governor vis-à-vis the Government of NCT of Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit knows the onus is now on her to come up with a ‘workable’ model of statehood for the NCT of Delhi.

Workable, because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintains it has to be all powers or none and the Indian National Congress (INC) insists on picking and choosing. According to her aides, the Chief Minister is personally studying various models to come up with an outline of the dispensation she wants in keeping with the ‘constraints’ peculiar to the NCT of Delhi.

The constraints, as her aides are to explain, flow from the NCT of Delhi’s being a city-state. And also the Capital. The contours of the NCT of Delhi therefore have to be such as will enable it to remain the Capital. “If Delhi becomes a state but does not remain the Capital what will be the gains of statehood ?” is how one of them offered to react.

So, effectively, Delhi Pradesh BJP president Madan Lal Khurana’s demand for ‘complete’ statehood is out. “What does he mean by complete? Does he want Delhi to become a state at the expense of losing the status of the nation’s Capital?” ask the Congress sources. Also out is “Khurana’s model” of the State of Delhi minus the areas administered by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC.)

What would be “in” is a model where agencies like the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and such other institutes will fall under the purview of the elected government. Law and order (read Delhi Police) will continue to remain with the Centre. A suggestion, according to the party sources, is to requisition a posse of policemen to secure the agencies that would be handed over to the elected government.

The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) is accordingly devising a ‘strategy’ the broad contours of which were deliberated upon by the Cabinet informally on Monday. The Chief Minister would not divulge anything just yet, preferring to reveal it all in the Delhi Legislative Assembly when it is summoned on Wednesday for the day-long special session. The CLP will meet on the eve of the session to tie up loose ends, is all she will say for now.

The Congress legislators deflect the BJP’s charge of the Congress not taking the initiative anytime over the last four years by retorting: “What have they done anyway?” The BJP, they say, were in power both at the Centre and in the NCT of Delhi between February and December 1998 yet nothing moved. “Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is the longest serving Chief Minister of the NCT of Delhi to date,” they reason, “has a vision that needs to be translated into action. The special session of the Assembly will serve as the forum for that.”

The BJP, in the meantime, has drawn up elaborate plans for September 11 when the Assembly is summoned. Mr Khurana says it will be a “time of reckoning” for Mrs Dikshit who will have to take a firm stand. “If the Congress supports our proposal, it will convince Delhiites its intentions are honourable. If it opposes, people will call their bluff,” he told media persons and suggested a unified authority that will eliminate multiplicity of authorities and put an end to the blame game being played out among the agencies of the NCT of Delhi.



We’ve a common aim: L-G
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The Lieutenant-Governor breaks his silence. Only to end up tying himself in knots. Lieutenant-Governor Vijai Kapoor is emphatic that no powers have been taken away from the popular, duly elected Sheila Dikshit Ministry. That the amendments to the Business of Transaction Rules ‘facilitate’ the enactment of laws by the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Delhi Legislative Assembly. That the amendments remove the ‘lacunae’ existed in the rules. And that the Chief Minister perhaps read too much into the August 29 circular. He also says the rules are open to interpretation.

“No interpretation (of rules can be done) in exclusivity. How to harmonise … how to carry different agencies along and work in co-ordination should concern us more than the rules of the game,” the Lieutenant-Governor on Monday told a news conference in reference to the NCT of Delhi’s special Union Territory status. “Difference of opinion is healthy but differences should be resolved by discussion and consultation,” he told media persons in an oblique reference to the Chief Minister’s protestations and, sounding a note of caution, added none should delve too much into semantics (of the Rules.) “It is my responsibility to see that the powers of the popular, duly elected government and the Assembly are not curtailed. If it is shown to me where and how powers have been curtailed, I will be with the Chief Minister in seeking a clarification and/or reversal (of the notification),” he said and reiterated that there was no contradiction in ‘our’ positions.

The Lieutenant-Governor was also emphatic that the occupants of Raj Niwas and AB 17 Mathura Road had a “common objective”.



‘Incompetent’ IGL in dock
Tribune News Service

SC rejects IGL ‘mea culpa’

  • Calls it a ‘thoroughly incompetent’ and ‘unreliable company’
  • Issues a show cause notice to its MD, his predecessors
  •  Asks the MD to be present in court on September 23
  •  Directs the Union Government to list steps on proper dispensation of CNG to the transport sector

New Delhi, September 9
The Supreme Court came down heavily on the Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) today when it admitted that it had given wrong figures to the court on its CNG dispensation capacity three years ago, leading to rejection of all pleas to reconsider the order for complete conversion of the 10,000-strong city bus fleet into a single-fuel CNG mode.

Issuing notices to show cause why “appropriate action be not taken against them” to the present Managing Director as well as three of his predecessors who had given wrong facts, an angry Bench comprising Chief Justice B N Kirpal, Justice V N Khare and Justice Ashok Bhan said, “As a court so much of brickbats we have taken is all because of you (IGL).”

The notice was issued to the present MD A K Dey, asking him “to show cause why appropriate action should not be taken against him and the company for having misled this court in passing various orders,” the Bench said.

The court also issued notices to his predecessor, Rajeev Sharma and other top officials of IGL, Vincent Lobo and P S Bhargava.

Calling IGL a “thoroughly incompetent” and “not a reliable company”, the Bench asked the Union Government to tell the court “as to what steps can be taken to ensure full and proper dispensation of CNG to the transport sector without there being any queues at the CNG stations”.

The court said, “Today for the first time on the basis of an affidavit by the IGL, this court is sought to be informed, though not in very clear and explicit terms, that compression capacity and dispensation capacity of a station dispensing gas are two different things.”

Over the last two years, various affidavits had been filed on behalf of IGL assuring the court that it would be able to meet the demands of the transport sector but the problem was that it did not have enough supply, it said.

“It is this reason why the Union Government was directed to supply 16.11 lakh kg of CNG to ensure that the requirement of the transport sector is met. It is on this basis that it was observed that if necessary, gas supply to the industries should be cut to give it to the transport sector,” the Bench said.

When the IGL submitted that the MD’s predecessors had given wrong figures to the court, the Bench said, “This court was completely kept in dark and misled as regard to correct figures.” the Bench asked the MD to be present in court on September 23.

“It was on the basis that compression and dispensation capacities are one and the same and that with the increase in supply of gas by the Union Government, the company will be able to dispense greater quantity of CNG, various orders were passed,” the Bench said.

“There is no expression of regret or remorse in the affidavit regarding incorrect information having been given/supplied to the Court,” the Bench said while summoning the MD.

The Indraprastha Gas Limited is a joint venture with both the Central government and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi as controlling partners.



Teenagers skate on thin ice
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 9
Driving vehicles by underage persons in the town has became a menace but the traffic and police authorities seem to be least bothered. The matter has become so serious that even senior administrative officials have expressed concern over the trend.

The Commissioner, Gurgaon Division, Mr L.S.M. Salins, who was on a visit to the town here recently, saw several schoolchildren under the age of 18 years driving all kinds of vehicles. Mr Salins was passing near a prominent school when he himself saw the violation of traffic rules.

Concerned, Mr Salins asked the district officials to issue directions to the school authorities and parents that they should not allow students less than 18 to drive vehicles.

He said the parents should not give two-wheelers or cars to their wards if they do not fulfil the required driving norms.

He said the authorities would be forced to take action against the school management and the parents if they allowed such violations. Underage drivers have no knowledge of traffic rules. They drive two-wheelers without helmets and driving licences.

The Commissioner directed the police and traffic officials to take proper measures to check the menace. This is perhaps the first time that a senior officer has taken note of the problem, which seems to have aggravated over the years. There are about 70 public schools affiliated to the CBSE. A majority of these schools are located in the sectors developed by Huda.

The issue of children driving vehicles, including cars, has been highlighted at various occasions earlier but due to lack of stringent action, the traffic rules are still to be implemented. Hundreds of boys and girls of these schools could be seen rushing on their two-wheelers and cars in the morning and when the schools close at noon.

A majority of the bikers and car drivers are underage. A few months ago, a social organisation had raised the issue and even circulated a letter to the schools and guardians that driving by children was dangerous and illegal and it should be checked.


Civic body sprints to meet target
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, September 9
The local municipality is bending over backward to achieve its target of house tax and emerge as the first one in Haryana to have done so before others.

According to an official source, the target for the areas in the city falling in the municipal limits under the revised house tax scheme applicable to the entire state is Rs 2.52 crore. The collection so far is to the tune of Rs 1.80 crore.

The municipal authorities assert that the rest of the dues will be collected by the end of November. The added reason why the authorities are keen to complete the exercise expeditiously is to ensure fair amount of money in the kitty to give momentum to the development works in the municipal areas of the city. Although the annual revenue of the elected body is about Rs 9 crore, probably among the highest in the state, more than Rs 4 crore is eaten up by the salaries of the personnel.

In sum, the body is left with only about Rs 2 crores for development works, not sufficient keeping in view the pace at which Gurgaon is growing. The municipality has already prepared a blueprint for the development works it would initiate when its coffers are full after the collections of the entire target money of the house tax.

Beautification of the city is one of the major components of the plans. The entire municipal areas fall in the part of old Gurgaon, not even a patch on the areas of new Gurgaon dotted with glitzy colonies set up by private colonisers, offices of the multinational companies and commercial and residential sectors set up Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda).



New cancer test facility at AIIMS soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
Delhi and Hyderabad will shortly have a facility to detect cervical cancer at an early stage, the most common disease which kills nearly 90,000 women every year.

The recently introduced Hybrid Capture 2 Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test promises to detect the presence of high-risk HPV types much before the abnormal cellular changes are identifiable by Pap Smear Test.

The facility will be introduced in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi and CDFD in Hyderabad. Currently, the facility is available at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata and few other private labs in the country.

According to specialists, in India, most women carry HPV without even being aware of it. Of the 120 types of HPV, 13 are designated as high-risk and they are potentially carcinogenic and change the natural cellular multiplication. Symptoms of a genital HPV infection may include the development of genital warts or changes in the cells of the cervix and these symptoms may take 5-15 years to progress to cervical cancer by undergoing various pre-cancer stages.



Ajay Chautala ‘fails’ to unveil Tau’s statue
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, September 9
The next assembly elections may be about two years away but the chinks in the ruling INLD have already started appearing. The latest in the series is the “failure” of an MP, Mr Ajay Chautala, to unveil the statue of his grandfather and a former Deputy Prime Minister, Tau Devi Lal, at Bawail village near here last night allegedly after the “protest” by the Cooperation Minister, Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana.

According to sources, the senior minister and the MLA from Samalkha assembly constituency under which Bawail falls, was angry that he had not been “invited” at the unveiling ceremony by the villagers although he had kept their interests uppermost in his mind. Mr Bhadana, who also addressed a rally in the village, minced no words and termed the organisers’ act of not inviting him as “dirty politics”.

Displaying histrionics, Mr Bhadana termed himself as the “watchman” of the village and pledged to serve it although the village had not voted for him in the last assembly elections. He claimed that he had never subscribed to the “divide and rule” policy.

In fact, in view of these developments, Mr Chautala’s programmes were rescheduled. Mr Chautala, who was to arrive at Bawail at noon reached there about eight hours after, putting the people assembled there to inconvenience. Even then, he first headed to address the workers of the youth wing of the INLD at the community centre here. He said one lakh workers would pledge their eyes at the Jind rally to be organised on the birth anniversary of Tau on September 25.

Once at the village, he just looked at the statue and refrained from unveiling it apparently to mollify Mr Bhadana. In his speech, Mr Chautala also took care of the “hurt” feelings of the senior minister. He said the statue would be unveiled on some future date and hastened to add that Mr Bhadana should be duly invited at such a function.

It may be recalled that that this is the second time that Mr Bhadana had displayed his anger at the alleged shabby treatment meted out to him during functions organised in memory of “Tau”. On August 18, Mr Bhadana had skipped the rally of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, organised in connection with the laying of the foundation stone of the Tau Devi Lal Memorial College of Education at Manana.


HVPN ‘lenient’ with govt defaulters 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 9
Although the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN), formerly known as State Electricity Board, have been prompt in taking action, including disconnection of power supply, against domestic consumers who fail to deposit their power bills on time, the Nigam seems to be ‘lenient’ with the various government departments and its offices who default on this account.

As a result, the number of such defaulters has gone up in the district. While the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), a wing of the HVPN, is still to recover about Rs 65 crores as over due bills in the district, the number of government offices who have to pay the department on outstanding bills has been on the rise.

There are over 40 such offices in the eastern sub-division of old Faridabad under the offices of Xen and DHBVN, who are required to clear about Rs 35 lakh as outstanding bills.

Although the dues are pending for several months, the power authorities appear to be helpless as defaulters include some police stations and offices of senior officials of various departments in the area.

According to details available, defaulters including 16 offices of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), five offices of the Municipal corporation Faridabad (MCF), three offices of the Police Department including the office of the Superintendent of Police, three offices of the Haryana Tourism, offices of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sports Department, Irrigation, Forest and government colleges in Sector-16-A here.

Some of the offices included in the list have either shifted or closed down. The various offices of HUDA owe about Rs 9.18 lakh. The MCF offices need to clear about 3.94 lakh in the sub-division.

The other defaulters include the Police Department, with an amount of about 1.50 lakh, Tourism Department- 2.24 lakh, principal/Government College- 3.30 lakh, District Welfare office- 1.90 lakh, Forest Department-1.71 lakh, Sports Department-Rs68,000-and Irrigation Department-Rs72,000.

The DHBVN officials claim to have disconnected the power supply of some of the defaulters who have failed to clear their dues. These include offices of SDE (Electrical) of HUDA with dues amounting to Rs 2.01 lakh and SDE (HUDA), Sector-17 with a due of Rs 1.88 lakh.



HVP demands white paper on drought relief claim
Our Correspondent

Rewari, September 9
Mr Anil Rao, state general secretary of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP), has urged the Haryana Government to come out with a white paper regarding its claim that it had submitted a detailed report on drought to the Centre, seeking a financial assistance of Rs 1,100 crore as drought relief fund.

Addressing a meeting of party workers at Bawal, 14 km from here, on Sunday, Mr Rao said that the white paper on drought had become all the more necessary in view of Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh's recent statement in which he categorically said that the Haryana Government had not submitted any memorandum so far to the Centre regarding drought in the state.

He further said that it was ironical that the Chief Minister was away on his foreign jaunts to seek foreign investment in the state while the hopeless farmers, stricken by the rigours of a severe drought, had been crying for help in vain.

Taking another dig at the Chautala government, Mr Rao said that instead of fulfilling its electoral promise of providing 70,000 new jobs to unemployed youths, it had “arbitrarily” rendered about 20,000 government employees of MITC and other departments jobless through the closure of the corporation as well as retrenchment.

He claimed that the farmers, employees, traders and people of other sections of the society were now disenchanted with the Chautala regime and were desperately yearning for a change.


Bansi criticises Chautala for anti-people policies
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 9
Bansi Lal, the former Chief Minister and the supremo of the Haryana Vikas Party said the people were fed up with the present Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government, headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala. Addressing a public meeting at Palri village about 15 km from here last evening, he criticised the Haryana Chief Minister for its anti-people and anti-farmer policies. He said the people of the state wanted to get rid of the government at the earliest.

He said that his party was the only alternative for the people, which alone could provide a clean government in the state. If its party comes to power again, it would revoke all the anti-people decisions of the present government and provide employment to the jobless youths by setting up a separate wing at the state headquarters.

He also promised that the jobless youths of the state would be given bank loans for setting up of industries and other trades and the government would purchase all the goods manufactured by them for onward sale.

Mr Bansi Lal also announced that his government would set up a vegetable and fruit market of an international standard at Rai in Sonepat district for which the land was acquired from the farmers of the area. He said his government would replace the statues of Mr Devi Lal and install the statues of the martyrs in his place.

The HVP leader also alleged that Mr Chautala was the real enemy of the farmers who had denied them free water and electricity as promised during the last Assembly elections.

He also lashed out at Mr Chautala and alleged that Mr Chautala was misusing the public money for frequently going on foreign tours. He said this was clearly an ‘anti-people’ act.

Mr Bansi Lal opposed the idea of the Congress installing Mrs Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Minister of the country, and said that no one with foreign origin could be the Prime Minister of India. He appealed to the people to remain united and continue to fight against the anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the Chautala government.



Insufficient rain affects sowing of kharif crops
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 9
Lack of monsoon rain has adversely hit the sowings of kharif crops in Sonepat district. The farmers of the area have failed to sow at least 33 per cent of the cultivable land on account of this shortfall in rain this season.

Stating this, Mr S N Roy, Deputy Commissioner, told mediapersons here today that Sonepat district had 4.22 lakh acres of cultivable land and the farmers had sown their crops in only 2.82 lakh acres. The remaining 1.40 lakh acres of land has remained uncultivated due to the lack of monsoon rains, erratic supply of canal water and non-availability of other facilities.

He claimed that the officials of the Revenue Department have already competed the work of special girdawari in the drought-hit areas of the district in accordance with the directives of the state government. The officials, he said, are also inspecting the uncultivable land and taking stock of the situation.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, the survey has revealed 76 to 100 per cent loss in 20,873 acres of land, 26 to 50 per cent loss in 2,229 acres of land and 1 to 25 per cent loss in the remaining land. They survey also revealed that 45,819 acres of land in Sonepat tehsil, 60,610 acres in Gohana tehsil, 11,768 acres in Ganaur and 22,019 acres in Kharkhauda tehsils had remained uncultivated.

He claimed that the officials had completed the survey work in an impartial manner so that the affected farmers could get the compensation from the state government for the losses they had suffered on account of the drought condition.

Referring to the photography work for the preparation of electoral identity cards, the Deputy Commissioner disclosed that it would re-start from September 10 and would be completed by November 3. The schedule is as follows:- Baroda (Reserve) Assembly constituency: September 10 to 15, Gohana: September 16 to 25, Kailana: September 27 to October 6, Sonepat: October 7 to 17, Rai: October 18 to 27, Rohtak: October 28 to November 3. He said that the photography work would be done between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily during the stipulated period in each Assembly constituency.



Global meet on mountain women in Bhutan
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, September 9
‘Celebrating Mountain Women’, an international gathering being organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Mountain Forum as a part of the activities under the UN-sponsored International Year of the Mountains (IYM) in 2002, will be held in Bhutan from October 1 to October 4.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan, His Excellency Lyonpo Dr Kinzang Dorji, will inaugurate the meeting. The keynote and valedictory addresses will be given by Ms Irene Santiago (development expert) and Dr Najma Heptullah (President of Inter Parliamentary Union and Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha) respectively.

This is the first-of-its-kind global celebration of mountain whose prima facie focus will be on empowerment of women through innovation and entrepreneurship. It will also facilitate face-to-face interaction of various actors. It will also provide a platform for mountain women to articulate their concerns and ideas related to the future of mountain livelihoods and cultures.

The conference will bring together approximately200 people, including, representatives of mountain women’s formal and informal groups, indigenous mountain women, key academics/ resource persons from different mountain regions, entrepreneurs, elected political leaders, media representatives, policy makers and planners, donors and NGOs.

Various development players will come together to share the problems and progress of mountain women. The two most compelling movements in the last century – related to women and environment - have been reflected in the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the 1995 UN Conference on Women (FWCW). Both conferences highlighted the diverse needs of these movements and the failure of planned development to meet them.

Women living in the mountain regions of the world make a major contribution to the economy. They are the main producers of food crops and managers of common property resources, with principal responsibility for assuring food security. They have access to and control an enormous store of indigenous knowledge and wisdom.

Despite this, women have a little or no say in policy planning and implementation. To counter these trends, the experiences and perspectives of mountain women need to be heard, and their capacity for economic and social contributions to the community recognised and strengthened.

The international gathering in Bhutan will be a forum for the voices of mountain women. The planned activities will put mountain women on the centre stage, mainstream their reality into the IYM discussions, thus enabling a major paradigm shift.



Giving a new vision of hope to the blind 
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, September 9
Lakhan, a Vth class student never thought that he could ever attend school again. He had met with an accident while flying kite in which he had damaged his cornea. A team of doctors at the Venu Eye Hospital treated him and made it possible for him to attend school like any other child. Pradeep, a 10-year-old child had been suffering from incurable visual impairment and a nervous disorder that rendered him immobile. His family had no hopes for him but since the time he came into contact with Venu Eye Hospital, his life has dramatically changed. After one-and-a-half-year of treatment, Pradeep can now enjoy normal life.

Like them, thousands of people have benefited in the last 20 years from the service of Venu Eye Hospital, an NGO that provides quantitative and qualitative eye care under one roof.

Venu means flute, which is made of the same bamboo reed used by the blind in India as their pathfinder. Started in Greater Kailash-I nearly 20 years ago, it is presently located on a 2.5 acre land in Sheikh Sarai Institutional area. It has developed into a major centre providing services for the underprivileged. It has satellite hospitals, mobile eye care units and full-fledged rehabilitation programmes. More than 30,000 patients are treated annually, and has special Pediatric and Ophthalmology units.

Decorated with animal paintings, vibrant colours on walls, swings and cartoon books, it resembles a play school in order to make the children at Venu comfortable while undergoing treatment.

The hospital has a special staff for treating people with low vision. Dr. Sunita Lulla, a Low Vision specialist said, “We are not just treating people but making them aware about eye care. After lot of efforts, people have now started coming to us for Low Vision treatment. Low vision is not a disease but a problem that can be rectified after taking few precautions.”

Dr. Gaurav Kakkar said, “An eye care does not begin with reading and writing of a child. Sometimes, poor vision may go undetected even in a normal child. However, later, this can have adverse effects. So we want people to understand that if they come for eye check up, there is no harm. Eye care does not mean glasses and if a child needs glasses, it does not mean that his success will stop. An eye care is needed much before the child learns to read and write. We are trying to make people accept this.”

Other important projects at Venu Eye Hospital include Cornea retrieval programme and grief counseling. The hospital motivates family members to donate the eyes of dead persons. Even as there is a demand for 40,000 eyes per year, only 21,000 were being collected through voluntary donations.

Another interesting project of the organization includes the imparting of education through its rehabilitation programmes. The focus of the project is on making it possible for the blind to avail of the opportunities like a normal child.

The CBR of Venu Eye Hospital has rehabilitated more than 293 persons with visual impairment. The life of two blind sisters, Angeeta (4) and Sangeeta (2) has dramatically changed and they can now carry on with normal activities.

Venu has been serving the people with dedication and determination. Sharmila Tagore and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi have been closely associated with Venu for last the nine years. The director of VEI, Tanuja Joshi, said, “I have been associated with VEI since 1987. Initially, it was difficult to win the trust of the people. Our best advertisement is our patients who are content with our service. We are educating them, giving them relief and making them independent.”

It has recently inaugurated its 24 hours eye collection center at Dhankot.



‘Teachers alone cannot bring about a change’
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

CEMD founder director Jayshree Oza
CEMD founder director Jayshree Oza

Jayshree Oza is the founder director of the Centre for Education Management and Development, a non-profit Non-government organisation that works in the field of management in school education system.

The CEMD has completed 10 years and trained scores of top brass in the dominion of education. Under Jayshree’s vision, the focus of work remains on bringing quality to mainstream systems of school education through development of leadership and management strategies. Jayshree has to her credit facilitating projects for national as well as international organisations in the United States, Thailand, Switzerland, and Singapore.

She has served on Joint Review Missions of the DPEP and has provided consultancy to the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

In a face to face with the NCR Tribune, she highlights the vision and the designs of CEMD.

Tell us about CEMD and who inspired you to set up the institute?

Established in 1992, CEMD is working towards improving the quality of education in schools. Having more than 30 years of experience in the field of education, I felt a need to start a place where I could train teachers and the school administration. We started this NGO because we wanted to work in a system, which has support.

The organisation has chosen to focus on the education delivery system and build capacity of people at all levels from the teachers to the administrators.

The CEMD has been working with the Government closely. How easy is it to make the bureaucrats understand the changes that CEMD proposes to bring forth?

Teachers alone cannot bring about a change. If we train them and send them back to their schools, they are not able to achieve much. Therefore, we train and rope in the principals as well as the directorate. The reason that schools should be made more independent.

We have to give them more powers so that they can implement effectively the changes of the modifications, which are necessary for improving the school. At the same time, we tell the administrators that by giving the schools more powers they can also make them more accountable. A principal becomes entitled to account for the work done or not done. The department is happy working with us.

The CEMD recently held a two-day strategic reform programme in the Capital. Can you tell us more about this and the conclusion that has been arrived at?

We worked with principals and administrators from the directorate of education and discussed in detail the objectives of providing effective education to all schoolchildren. The CEMD had in 1998 conceived and developed a school reform programme for the Delhi government schools in consultation with the school functionaries. The pilot project launched in Central Delhi, is now being undertaken by the Directorate of education in the whole of the city.

The two-day seminar was to help the participants understand the collective needs of the Directorate of Education, to identify problems and find solutions. The principal focus of the participatory approach was on development of a shared vision of the ideal school and the collective articulation of strategies \ towards realising that vision. The imperative need for the involvement of civil society and the value of community participation in school processes also received attention.

There is a major disparity when one sees the kind of education that a public school student receives as opposed to what the counterpart in the government school receives. Is there a focus on reducing this disparity?

When we train teachers we encourage them to contextualise the curriculum. There is no way one can change the laws and the rules in the book, but how you teach them and simplify them for the children is important. A child in Delhi may not relate to the climate in the coastal regions, it is therefore mandatory that the teacher tries to innovatively explain it to him. Nodal agencies like the NCERT only prepare the texts, we thrust on the fact, that curriculum needs to be contextualised in the classroom. We ask teachers to make contact with the child, which is both difficult and necessary.

Interplay of the pedagogic and curriculum is a must. There is a grey area in between that needs to be mastered. Therefore, we ensure that we also work with the heads of the schools and make them a part of the changes and the measures that need to be taken.

We have also noticed that during the training workshops the public school teachers get to learn a lot from their counterparts in the government schools.

When you look at the education scenario, do you feel that there are a whole lot of things that need to be scrapped?

There are too many rules in the book and too many lacunae in the implementation of these rules.

We are in a state of flux. To scrap it all is not the answer. The dilemmas at the moment are the diversities in social system, the religious divide and the difference in classes. The educational system duplicates the diversity of national character. It should be able to retain individual identities and at the same time should give what is universal at all. We have to bridge the gap that technology has created. While some students have it there are others who don’t.

The value system is in doldrums. We have to ensure that money is utilised properly. If there are finances available they should be utilised with accountability. And this implies both to the government as well the public schools. I must add that most of the public schools are not well-versed in management. If they cannot mange their funds they hike the fees and compensate, whereas the government schools that are bound in rules are more adept at management.

Quality of education is greatly affected by the management of the school. The government schools are almost consistent with their dismal performance, which aspect of the management is most important for them to learn?

I say some schools are effective while others are not. There are effective government schools and ineffective public schools. Some government schools are more effective than public schools. They also get the poorest and most disadvantaged children. These schools need more powers. The administrators have to trust them more and let them delegate with effective management.

Some principals in government schools do not take action because they fear enquiry.

They are accountable so they won’t work, but if you allow them their space at the same time hold them accountable and encourage them instead of looking for the loopholes things will be different.

Administrators should provide them support. Everyone likes doing good work when they know someone is watching. The focus should shift from finding faults to providing guidance.

What is your immediate plan of action?

We will be working at the suggestions made at the two-day conference. There have been very useful ideas put up that need to be worked on and implemented.

Apart from that, we will undertake a survey of all those children who are not in school. Officially, there are around six and a half lakh children outside school but we believe that at least two lakh of them are in schools, which are not recognised.

We plan to bring these unrecognised schools on board. Even if they are not recognised they are at least imparting education, which means that the community needs them. My argument is that if you recognise these schools or at least acknowledge their presence you get to have jurisdiction over them. Once that happens they too can be made accountable.

I firmly believe that we have to set an example in the city, the national Capital for the rest of the cities to emulate. Starting from providing quality education to effective management.



CEA chief gets IEE award 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
.Mr H. L. Bajaj, Chairman, Central Electricity Authority, has been conferred the ‘Outstanding Engineer Award’ by the International Branch of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE).

A noted power professional, Mr Bajaj has been associated with BHEL and NTPC. Mr Rajinder Singh, chairman of Gujarat Positra Post Infrastructure, has been honoured as the fellow of Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE). Mr Singh is the first Indian to be bestowed with this honour. He has been associated with NTPC as chairman and managing director for more than eight years.

Lecture on ‘Gujral doctrine’

The 33rd Shri Ram Memorial Lecture focusing on the \lquote Gujral doctrine\rquote will be organised by the PHDCCI on September 11. Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, former Prime Minister, will deliver the lecture.

The doctrine has evolved over a period of time with the objective of advancing and furthering India's enlightened national self interest through mutually beneficial co-operation with its neighbours, including countries in the extended neighbourhood of India.

IIT-JEE: Enrolling date extended

With the changed schedule of IIT-Joint Entrance Examination from 2003, FIITJEE Institute for IIT-JEE has extended the enrolling date to September 15 for the one-year version of Rankers Study Material for IIT-JEE, 2003 aspirants and to October 20 for the two-year version of Rankers Study Material for IIT-JEE, 2004 aspirants.

FIITJEE's Rankers Study Material is an exclusive and comprehensive correspondence course that ensures integrated preparation for both screening and main examination.

The course includes extensive coverage of theory to build up a foundation and clear concepts with fundamental search-based problems. Of the 2,078 FIITJEE'ians who made it to IIT-JEE this year, 412 students had also enrolled for Rankers Study Material including the top rankers with AIR-6, AIR-7, AIR-8, AIR-9, AIR-10.



23 employees found absent
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, September 9
The City Magistrate, Mr G. L. Yadav, carried out a sudden inspection in four departments and found 23 employees absent from their duties this morning.

According to official sources, the City Magistrate inspected the office of the District Transport officer at 9.10 am and found Ms Rajrani, accountant, and Mr Rajkumar, stenographer, absent from duties. Thereafter, he paid a sudden visit to the office of the Deputy Commissioner and found Mr Ashok Walia, office superintendent, Ms Dulari, and Ms Krishna, assistant, Mr Azad Singh, ‘kannongo’,

Mr Om Parkash, ‘patwari’, and Mr Bijender Singh, Mr Kuldeep, Ms Veena, Ms Kamla,

Ms Anita, Ms Kanta and Ms Chanchal, all clerks, and two class IV employees absent.

Mr Yadav inspected the office of SDM at 9.20 am where Mr Atar Singh, assistant, was found absent at 9.30 am. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, said disciplinary action would be taken against the erring employees of different departments. He directed the heads of various departments to reach their offices in time and to ensure timely arrival of their employees.

Installation of bust flayed

Panipat: The installation of the bust of the Lala Jagat Narain at the local Ram Lal Chowk, which was inaugurated by an MP, Mr Ajay Chautala, has come in for severe criticism at the hands of a former Samalkha MLA and advocate, Mr Jai Singh.

Addressing a press conference on today evening, Mr Singh termed the installation of the bust as an attempt to “please” certain persons by the Rotary Club (South). He claimed that he had been associated with the Rotary Club from 1962 to 1995 and there was no fund for the installation of such busts. He warned to bring the matter to the Rotary District Governor.

Claiming that Lala opposed the formation of Haryana and the construction of the SYL canal, he wanted that the busts of other eminent local persons such as Hakumat Rai Shah, Fateh Chand Vij, Dr Ranjan and Madho Ram, who had worked tirelessly for the interests Haryana, should have been installed in the city.

‘Sarkar Apke Dwar’

Jhajjar: The district administration is fully geared up to launch the third phase of ‘Sarkar Apke Dwar’ programme of the state government, stated Mr Mohinder Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of the district officials here today.

Giving details of the second phase of the programme, he said that Rs 8.29 crore had been spent on the completion of 825 announcements made by the Chief Minister. He said that all the pending works taken up on the announcements would be completed before the start of the third phase.



Forest dept staff to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 9
The Forest Department Mazdoor Union has decided to hold a massive demonstration in front of the office of the Divisional Forest Officer here on September 11 in support of its long-standing demands.

According to Mr Anand Sharma, general secretary of the state unit of the union, the employees would also sit on a day’s dharna to press their demands. He said that the employees would go on a two-hour strike on September 18 and hold demonstrations in front of the houses of the legislators in the district. The employees, he said, would observe a day’s strike on October 17.

Mr Sharma termed the Chautala government as anti-employee and announced that the union would continue their agitation till all the demands were accepted by the government.

Dispensary opened: Mr Chaman Lal Madan, chief organiser of the local Sant Nirankari Mandal, inaugurated a charitable dispensary here on Sunday. According to a report, schoolchildren presented a cultural programme on the occasion.

Bank nets profit: The Sonepat Urban Cooperative Bank had earned a profit of Rs 1.20 crore during the year 2001-2002. According to a report, this information has been provided in the annual report of the bank published today.

Worker injured: A worker, Sant Lal, was injured seriously when a speeding car on the G.T. Road near Rai village, 13 km from here, last evening. According to a report, the accident occurred when he was crossing the road. The injured worker was sent to a trauma centre at Delhi for treatment.



Power for all by 2012: Union Minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
Union Minister of Power Anand G. Geete today said his ministry was determined to ensure 'power for all' by year 2012 through an integrated approach to tackle power shortage in the country.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Lux Pacifica 2002, a three-day international lighting conference, organised by the Indian Society of Lighting Engineers, Mr Geete spoke about the multi-pronged Action Plan of Energy Conservation, which aims to save 25,000 mw at less than one-fifth of the new capacity creation.

Considering that in India, power consumed by lighting amounted to 18 per cent of the power generated, the savings through energy efficient light sources would be considerable, said Mr R. V. Shahi, Union Power Secretary. 



Doctor robbed

New Delhi: Two unidentified youths reportedly robbed a person travelling in his car of his valuables today morning near the Malviya Nagar red light in South District.

The incident occurred around 9.30 in the morning when the victim, Dr R. S. Rakesh, was in his Indica car and two youths in their early twenties gained entry into his car. While one sat on the front seat along with the victim, the other sat on the rear seat. They both threatened him and robbed a gold chain, ring and Rs 200 from the victim.

The culprits hen got down at the Safdarjung signal and fled the spot.



PNB distributes new coins, notes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
Keeping in view of the problems faced by the general public on account of the soiled and mutilated currency notes and shortage of coins, Punjab National Bank (PNB) distributed coins and new currency notes amounting to Rs 1.15 crore in the Capital.

The exchange of old and mutilated currency notes and distribution of coins/new currency notes was done through a special campaign, organised for this purpose. The New Rajinder Nagar branch was specially opened on Sunday for this purpose. Ten of its branches that are open on Sundays also participated in the drive.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr P. L. Madan, general manager (Delhi Zone), PNB, said that new coins amounting to more than Rs 50 lakh and new currency notes amounting Rs 65 lakh were distributed to the general public. Besides, soiled and mutilated notes worth over Rs 2.00 lakh were exchanged.

These special services were availed by over 3,000 people at 10 Sunday open branches - Pitampura, Prashant Vihar, Paschim Vihar, CGHS Patparganj, Punjabi Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, West Patel Nagar, Rana Pratap Bagh, Kamla Nagar and Dilshad Garden and the special counters at New Rajinder Nagar branch.

Mr Madan added that keeping in view of the enthusiastic response from the general public, these special services should again be organised by PNB at New Delhi on October 27 and November 24.



Lamp company aims for high growth in region
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The Osram group, manufacturers of various varieties of lamps (for general lighting, photo optics, automotive lighting), is expecting tremendous growth in the Indian market.

The company has major expansion plans for the Asia Pacific region. While its factories in Korea, Japan and India supply to the local markets, its plants in China, Indonesia and Malaysia produce for the regional and global markets.

According to Dr Kurt Gerl, senior vice-president, Osram, the company has established a good sales presence in the region, offering complete product range for the consumer and professional use. "In the coming years, we expect high market growth in China and India," he said. "Taking into consideration the combination of lamps, electronic control systems and photo semiconductors, our world market share puts us at the first place along with Philips, followed by General Electric."

He said the company had registered sales of 4.5 billion Euro during the last fiscal year.


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