Saturday, October 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


PM will look into circulars: Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Cabinet colleagues on Friday evening called on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and reiterated their demand for the withdrawal of the controversial circulars issued on July 25 and August 29 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Chief Minister Dikshit quoted the prime minister as having told the delegation that the matter would be looked into. The circulars, she told media persons, ought to go as they not only curtailed the powers of a duly elected, popular government but had also given rise to avoidable confusion within the Government of NCT of Delhi and bureaucracy alike.

The chief minister was accompanied by her Cabinet colleagues AK Walia, Deep Chand Bandhu, RK Chauhan and Mahinder Singh Saathi. Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) President Subhash Chopra was also a part of the delegation. Taking part in the deliberations also was Member of Parliament from Chandni Chowk and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Vijay Goel.

The chief minister said the prime minister’s intervention was sought as her meeting with the deputy prime minister had not yielded desired results. Dikshit said the deputy prime minister had told her he would get back to her in a day or two after he had studied the implications of the two circulars dated July 25 and August 29 issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. That, she said, did not happen.

(Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Cabinet colleagues had on September 13 – two days after the special session of the Delhi Legislative Assembly – called on Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and sought the withdrawal of the controversial circulars. That meeting was not without its share of discordant notes. The deputy prime minister had maintained the circulars had in no way diluted the powers of the elected government. The chief minister was of the view that the timing of the circulars was not above suspicion.)

“What was the need of issuing the circulars if no powers were to be curtailed ? And if no powers have indeed been curtailed what is the harm in withdrawing them in the first instance?” Dikshit reiterated and also asserted, “It is my government’s interpretation of law that the intention was to strangulate the powers of a popular, duly elected government.”

The chief minister felt the circulars had created an avoidable confusion in the Government of NCT of Delhi and the bureaucracy because of the emergence of multiplicity of authorities. The Centre’s issuing the circulars without even as much as consulting the duly elected Government of NCT of Delhi, she maintained, was not acceptable.

The prime minister was also apprised of the resolution passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly seeking statehood for the Government of NCT of Delhi. The INC maintains the ‘Delhi 21’ document prepared by the Department of Planning of the Government of NCT of Delhi in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests should be the basis of negotiations. The BJP feels the discussions could begin with the draft Delhi Re-organisation Bill 1998.



‘Otherwise, be ready for an agitation’

New Delhi, October 4
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit says the Indian National Congress (INC) will be forced to choose the path of agitation if the controversial circulars are not withdrawn. “The prime minister gave us a patient hearing. We will therefore wait before deciding on an appropriate response,” she told the NCR Tribune.

The chief minister said it was the Council of Ministers’ unanimous view that there was no alternative but for the circulars to go. She said Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani had in his letter received Thursday reiterated that no powers had been curtailed. “I will reply to his letter in a day or two and also wait for a word from the prime minister’s office before talking to the legislators,” she said. The Council of Ministers, she said, would be rendered irrelevant if the controversial circulars were not withdrawn. “The circulars sent a wrong signal,” she said, and asserted that on numerous instances the Raj Niwas had summoned meetings without inviting the ministers concerned. TNS



Gangrape victim’s family gagged by panchayats
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, October 4
It is a horrendous tale of a Dalit gangrape victim; of a callous panchayat, which was unmoved by the trauma of a newly married woman; and of corrupt policemen who effected a compromise without even bothering to consult the victim. The woman is crying for justice and trying hard to come to terms with the harrowing events of last Friday night, when she was gang raped by eight men. The victim's family was allegedly pressurised by the ‘panchayats’ of both villages to withdraw the complaint while the police hushed up the matter for a heavy sum.

The ordeal began when the victim (name concealed to protect identity) left her husband's house in Nilothi village on September 27 in a huff, following an argument in the family. She left a suicide note, which said that this was the last day of her life and she would never return.

She reportedly boarded a maxi cab at about 12 noon. The vehicle was bound for Bahadurgarh via Barahi village. She got off the vehicle near Asaudha village and started walking towards the railway station, just one kilometer ahead. Midway, she was spotted by some youths of Asaudha village, and then began her nightlong trial. On being informed about the incident two days ago, some journalists visited the house of victim's husband who is a tailor. A family source, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that three youngsters initially caught the woman on her way to the railway station and molested her. She was finally held in captivity till the fall of the day. The evildoers also invited their accomplices to ‘enjoy the night’.

However, when they were drinking in an abandoned room near the railway station, the victim managed to sneak out of confinement and reached the cabin of the railway gateman posted near Jakhoda village railway crossing. She narrated her ordeal and begged him to give her refuge. The gateman immediately informed the station superintendent at Asaudha railway station. The SS sent two railway employees to help the victim, but before they could reach the spot, the youths had already located the victim and forcibly taken her along with them. The source further said that about eight youths raped the woman that night and then transported the victim to her parental house in Baliani village in Rohtak district in a Qualis jeep.

Next day, the victim’s father came to Nilothi village and revealed the incident. A panchayat of the Nilothi village approached the police chowki in Asaudha and reported the matter. The father of the victim’s husband and the victim’s father were also with the panchayat and gave a written complaint mentioning the identities of some of the accused. The police acted swiftly and swooped down on all the accused. Their relatives were also summoned, who rushed to the police chowki along with some ‘panchayat’ persons, including two former sarpanches. The victim was not summoned.

Ironically, the panchayat of Nilothi village left it upon the people of Asaudha to punish the accused. The Asaudha panchayat asked for a compromise between the two parties. They imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of the accused, which reportedly was to be given to the victim. However, the father of the victim's husband refused to take the money but agreed to abide by the decision of the panchayat of Nilothi village. Then, it was decided that the money collected would be donated in a ‘Goshala’ in Mandhoti. The sources confirmed that the money had never been donated in the Goshala and the police party at the chowki could have pocketed the sum. The police then let off all the eight accused after a compromise between the two panchayats. The victim was not even consulted by the police or the panchayats on how she wanted to pursue the case. An investigative department of the state government has also held an inquiry and indicted eight persons in the case. This report also confirmed that the Asaudha chowki police had accepted the money.



Russian Revolution was a coup …. Bless NCERT!
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
The row over NCERT’s new History texts refuses to die down. First, the printing of the books was stayed by the Supreme Court. Having crossed that one hurdle, the books are now being slammed for containing factual errors. If the errors pointed out by historians are an indication, the much-hyped history texts are sure to leave the students in a tizzy.

Excerpts from the book for class VI reveal that the editors have cited Madagascar as an island in the Arabian Sea. There are even more glaring errors like the Russian Revolution being dubbed a “coup” and Fascism and Nazism being described as “a sort of counterpart of the dictatorship of the proletariat imposed by Stalin”.

But the book does not fail to mention Osama bin Laden. It notes that “Osama bin Laden and similar other persons (no names mentioned) have changed the whole world and has virtually prompted the United States to join hands with India in her fight against terrorism”.

“The wheel, the book points out, was first used for spinning and weaving rather than carting, which is absurd. It is a fact that the wheel was used for spinning at a much later stage”, says Vishwa Mohan Jha, who teaches History at ARSD College in the Capital.

Teachers of History claim that students, as young as ten-and-a-half, will be taught about Judaism, but reference to religions like Sikhism and Islam comes at a later stage. Also the NCERT claim that it has reduced the student’s burden is not true. The same volume of information has been condensed in fewer pages, claimed History teachers from Springdales School.

“The books state that human beings descended on Earth a few lakh years ago in Africa whereas the advent of human beings is at least more than a million years old”, said Ms. Suchi Bajaj, History teacher at Springdales.

The quality of editing and the use of language has also been questioned. ``Elementary editing has not been done and the language and the sentence construction is also poor”, added Mr Jha. Historians, who had assembled at a conference organised by Sahmat, issued a circular stating: “So slavish has been the imitation at places as to amount to virtual plagiarism.”

Prof. Arjun Dev, whose book ‘The Story of Civilisation, vol. I ’ has been used as reference, said: “The book is about contemporary India and events like Gandhi’s assassination are not even mentioned. Gandhi’s death was a major event after the Indian Independence”.

“The number of students opting for History is dwindling because of the huge syllabus they have to cover, but with such factual errors, there may be no students of History left”, rued Ms. Bhattacharya, a history teacher, at the conference.

While the Director of the NCERT reserved his comment, saying that the authors should do the speaking, Dr. Makhan Lal, who is part of the team that has written the History texts, told the NCR Tribune: “I have 28 years of experience, I know my facts, I say there are no errors”.

Refusing to comment on references describing the Russian Revolution as a coup he said, “I take your comments about the errors with a pinch of salt”. 



Admn to get rid of bio-medical waste
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, October 4
The health department is bracing itself for removing bio-medical wastes from all the Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and the government hospitals at Haily Mandi, Sohna and Mandi Khera in the district on the pattern of the General Hospital here.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has already taken the responsibility to lift the bio-medical wastes from the District General Hospital here until the government ties up with a private firm for the job.

A private firm has already been functioning for a long time at the behest of the IMA to lift the wastes from all the nursing homes and clinics in the city.

Now the IMA has decided to encompass the government General Hospital here within its ambit. The authorities hope to get a good response from the IMA, but they are grappling with another problem: to bring the wastes from the far-flung health centres of the district here.

Although bio-medical wastes are of minuscule quantity at the centres and the authorities can continue with the present arrangement, they want to conform to the facilities provided for the General Hospital.

The centres, as was the case with the General Hospital here before the IMA came into the picture, dig pitholes and bury the wastes.

The necessity to replace the method was on account of huge quantity of wastes, about 50 kg each day, according to a conservative estimate from the General Hospital. Besides, the State Pollution Control Board, which also has the responsibility to give effect to the provisions of several central statues like Environment Protection Act, was getting under the skin of the health authorities for safe disposal of the wastes in the hospital.

The wastes collected from the nursing homes and clinics as well as the government hospital are transported for treatment to Deen Dayal Upadhaya Hospital in Delhi.

According to sources, the government has reservations on installing its own incinerator for waste disposal in the hospital on account of huge capital and maintenance cost that would be incurred on the machine.



SC evacuated after hoax bomb call 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
For the second consecutive day security personnel today went into a tizzy after an anonymous caller told the Police Control Room that a bomb had been planted in the Supreme Court. Bomb disposal squads, Delhi Fire Service tenders and sniffer dogs were rushed to the apex court even as the premises were evacuated and the area cordoned off. An extensive search of the sprawling court complex was carried out under the supervision of senior officers. The call was later declared a hoax. However, security in and around the apex court has been further upgraded.

According to the police, the call was received at around 11 a.m., soon after the court had resumed its daily business. Within minutes, teams were rushed and the premises evacuated. This is the second time the sittings of the apex court have been disrupted owing to a bomb scare. After the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament, the Registrar of the Supreme Court had received an e-mail from suspected militants, who threatened to blow up the complex.

On Thursday the police had received a similar call that five powerful bombs had been planted at St Stephen’s Hospital. The entire hospital was evacuated, causing considerable hardship to the patients and their relatives. One Virender Singh, who had reportedly made the hoax call, has been arrested and is being interrogated. The police said that with the festival season around the corner and in the aftermath of the attack in Gujarat, they were not taking any chances. Meanwhile, the police said that they had been able to identify the number from which today’s call had been made. In the evening the Lt Governor reviewed the security arrangements.



15,000 baptisms
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee today announced that it would bear the cost of 15,000 persons baptised to Sikhism on Tuesday to visit one of the five Takhts in the country.

“The DSGMC would bear Rs 60 lakh, to be incurred on taking the 15,000 persons to one of the holy places of the religion,” said the DSGMC president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna.

He said this was the first time since the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that so many persons have been baptised under one roof on a single day. Those who were given the “Amrit” included about 1000 children, studying in different DSGMC-run schools in the Capital. Mr Sarna said the move was to check the growing trend amongst the members of the community to move away from the basic tenets of the Sikhism.

“We wanted to inculcate pride in the members of the community in following the religion as stated by the Sikh Gurus and also give them some insight about the three century old religion, which has a distinct identity,” he added.

The baptism function organised at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj was attended by several persons, including Joginder Singh Vedanti of Akal Takht Amritsar and several other revered religious leaders of the community.

The Akal Takht Jathedar lauded the efforts of DSGMC.



Passengers go through hell in DPM train
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 4
A sharp rise in the number of passengers and the changing of racks have made travelling a nightmarish experience in DPM (EMU) train, running between Delhi and Panipat.

According to the commuters, the railways had replaced the racks of this train with ordinary racks which delays the journey by an hour or so daily between Delhi and Sonepat, a distance of nearly 48 km.

This train leaves Delhi at 12.50 pm and reaches Sonepat around 3 pm almost every day, causing inconvenience to the passengers, particularly to Sonepat-based women teachers employed in Delhi.

The running time of the train between Delhi and Sonepat was only an hour but it runs behind schedule for an hour or so on account of the replacement of the racks. As a result, the schoolteachers and the students reach their homes late.



CM urged to solve MSP-linked problems 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 4
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala visited the foodgrain market at Ganaur, a sub-divisional town in this district, about 16 km from here last evening. Mr Chautala heard the grievances of the farmers and the traders in regard to the problems faced by them regarding the procurement of paddy.

According to a report, Mr Chautala arrived at the market without informing the authorities about his proposed visit. He met the farmers and traders and tried to familiarise himself with the problems of the farmers, particularly in regard to the paddy procurement process.

The paddy growers complained to the Chief Minister that the procurement agencies were not purchasing their paddy. Consequently, the farmers alleged that they were being forced to sell their produce to the traders and the owners of rice sellers at a throw away price which was much below the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government.

They also alleged that their repeated requests to the authorities of the procurement agencies in this regard have fallen on deaf ears. Similarly, the traders complained that it was difficult to obtain information regarding the procurement process or procurement agencies. They complained that they were still in the dark regarding the procurement agencies that were authorised to purchase the paddy on government account.

Mr Chautala took serious note of the complaints made by the farmers and the traders and he summoned the officials of the various procurement agencies on the spot. However, none of the officials arrived during his brief visit to the mandi. Subsequently, Mr Chautala left the mandi for another destination. Earlier, the Chief Minister assured the paddy growers and the traders that he would look into their complaints personally and take stern action against the erring officials who had failed to begin the procurement process of paddy. He also directed the Deputy Commissioner to ask the officials of the procurement agencies to immediately start the procurement process of paddy.

He also directed the Deputy Commissioner and send a report to him regarding the action taken against the erring officials. It is reported that some of the officials of the procurement agencies arrived at the mandi after Mr Chautala had left. 


City roads turn unsafe as civic agencies 
pass the buck
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 4
The recent monsoon rains have left Sonepat roads in a pitiable condition. In many places, the road surfaces have been washed away notwithstanding the tall claims of the official agencies of maintaining motorable roads in this city.

According to a report, in several parts of the city and residential colonies, the roads have developed cracks, potholes and uneven surfaces.

Even the roads, which had acquired carpeting last year, have now become the bane of motorists. The situation is worse for the cyclists, who have to put up with the bumpy rides on the undulating road surfaces. The Atlas Road and the mandi road are such examples, which have become unfit for travelling.

Ironically, Sonepat had relatively low rainfall this season. Had the city had its usual share of monsoon rain, the plight of the roads and those travelling on it may have been much worse.

Experts have felt that there were two major causes for the road surfaces to cave in under even minimal rain conditions. One, the alignment was not correct and the water, instead of flowing to the sides, remained on the road surfaces and consequently, damaged the roads. Second, the material used for road surfacing was not of the desired quality that could withstand water damage.

Another reason, though to a smaller extent, was that the silt in the drains had not been properly cleared. Consequently, the water instead of flowing into the drains, collected along the roadside, and subsequently, damaged the road surface.

The official agencies, on the other hand, have merely passed the buck of poor road maintenance from one department to another, be it the Sonepat Municipal Council, the Public Works Department (B&R), the Market Committee or the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

Officials also accuse other agencies like the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the Public Health Department (PHD) among others of digging up along the roads for laying cables and sewers and then, not carrying out proper repairs of the roads.

The Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) and the Sonepat Citizens Council have urged the state government to allocate more funds for the repair of damaged roads in this city as almost all the roads and streets in the walled areas are in a state of neglect.


Travelling world over, she transforms lives
Sanjog Gupta

New Delhi, October 4
“The source of peace and happiness lies within and we are not separate from it,” are the prophetic words that echo around the world in surreal consonance. The words, perpetually resounding in the subconscious of Siddha Yoga devotees, have transcended domestic boundaries through the inspiring endeavours of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.

‘Gurumayi’, as she is widely known, takes abode in Gurudev Sidha Peeth located in the Tansa valley, Thana, Maharashtra, which was formally established under the auspicious tutelage of Swami Muktanada or Baba. She is the carrier of Siddha Yoga traditions and finds voluminous following in over 600 meditation centres around the world.

Gurumayi’s awe-inspiring endeavours over the years have included the establishment of ‘Prasad Chikitsa’ in 1992. The charitable wing of Gurudev Siddha Peeth indulges in spiritual and social activities, which form the perfect medium of expression to Gurumayi’s love and compassion. The trust runs medical, educational, nutritional and community development programmes.

The trust, to its recent credit, has the establishment of an eye clinic in 2000, which provides highly subsidised care in all areas related to ophthalmology. The trust has also actively contributed to national needs by indulging in relief work for the earthquake victims in Gujarat and Tansa river flood victims. The trust also hands out scholarships to meritorious students with limited resources in order to help them realise their dreams.

The latest feather in Gurumayi’s cap is the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, which seeks to provide a new paradigm for the study and preservation of Indian religious thought. Established in 1997, the institute continues to inspire the activities of scholarly research, translation & publication, Vedic education and conservation of Indian scriptural knowledge.

Guided by a methodological perspective, the institute is planning to imbibe the virtues of new technology to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge relating to religious areas. It plans to launch a virtual library in 2002, which will provide international scholars access to rare manuscripts from Muktabodha’s web site. The faculty at the institute plans to release one – original or translated – book per year. It has an overriding commitment to its vision of developing a campus where resident faculty and students will be able to pursue Indological studies and research.

The list of credits remain endless for this ‘realised’ soul, who is committed to awaken the seeker’s spiritual energy and introduce them to the greatness that lies hidden within them.

She travels the world with the mission of opening hearts and transforming lives, which in her opinion is “the birthright of each individual”.



Six Sonepat villages engulfed in darkness
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 4
At least six villages remained in darkness throughout last night following a major fault in the Palra feeder of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) near the village, about 15 km from here, yesterday.

According to a report, the affected villages include Palra, Palri, Basodi, Baroli and Garh Meerakhpur. Normal life of the people remained paralysed and thousands of people faced inconvenience on account of disruption in the power supply system.

Many people alleged that their repeated complaints to the authorities concerned for replacing the old electricity wires had borne no fruit. This had been causing frequent power breakdowns and resulting in frequent tripping and low voltage.

According to another report, a group of women hailing from Baroda village held a demonstration in front of the SDM’s office at Gohana town, 35 km from here, yesterday to register their protest against the erratic supply of power.

The agitating women arrived in their tractor- trailers and shouted slogans against the government and the UHBVN officials. Ms Sheela, President of Durga Swashakti Mahila Group, who led the procession, submitted a memorandum to the SDM, alleging erratic supply of power and frequent load shedding in the village.



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism?

If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune,

First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

Day-by-day, the Sahibabad railway Station is becoming more and more crowded. Over 20,000 commuters, including students, factory workers, teachers and office-goers, residing in Sahibabad and work at Ghaziabad, Shahdara and New Delhi etc come to the station everyday. As many as 89 trains have stoppages at Sahibabad.

However, the facilities provided by the Northern Railway here are far from sufficient. For example, with effect from July 1 this year, the Railway Board introduced a new Inter-City Express Train between New Delhi and Bareilly via Ghaziabad, Hapur and Moradabad. At present, this train leaves New Delhi at 5.35 pm but it does not stop at the Sahibabad railway station, causing a lot of inconvenience to the commuters. This is when this train has a stoppage at the Pilkhawa railway station, but not at Sahibabad, an important station.

This new train passes through Sahibabad at 6.05 pm in the evening. Similarly in the morning, it leaves from Ghaziabad for New Delhi at about 9.20 and reaches New Delhi at 10 am. This suits well to the commuters, but has no stoppage at Sahibabad. Will the higher authorities of the Railway Board probe into the matter and do the needful at the earliest for providing a stoppage for this train at the Sahibabad railway station?

M. B. Dubey Bijnori, Secretary/DYS (Regd), Delhi

Impose a natural calamity cess

Various parts of India face natural calamities every now and then. During 1999, Orissa suffered huge damage due to the severe cyclone. In 2000, there was a severe earthquake in large parts of Gujarat. Every year, floods cause immense damage in Assam, Orissa, Bihar, coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and in some other parts of India.

This year, the monsoon has failed in large parts of the country, leading to severe drought conditions, shortage of drinking water and crop failures. All such calamities cause huge loss of property, including railway tracks, roads and other movable and immovable assets. The central and the state governments have to spend crores of rupees on relief work, putting a huge burden on the state exchequer. There is, therefore, a need to introduce a permanent ‘natural calamity cess’.

After the Bangladesh war in 1971, a cess in the form of a 5 paise postage stamp was introduced. This stamp had to be affixed on postcards, including letters, envelopes etc over and above the normal postal charges. The cess so collected was meant to be utilised for the defence purposes. I suggest that the government introduce a natural calamity cess of 10 paise, in the form of a similar postage stamp on a permanent basis, to help people hit due to natural calamities.

O. P. Sharma, Faridabad

Stop train at Vivek Vihar

I would like to bring to the urgent attention of the Railway Minister as well as the Northern Railway the plight of daily passengers in the Delhi area, who work at Sahibabad, Shahdara, Ghaziabad and other neighbouring stations, and are residing at Vivek Vihar, Seemapuri and Jhilmil colony.

I would like to suggest a few steps to mitigate the sufferings of the daily commuters from here. The authorities may provide stoppages of all passenger trains, especially trains 306, 309 Umballa, 308 (Moradabad), 4556 (Bareilly Express), 1/2 MD (Moradabad), 375 (Shahjahanpur), 304 (Kalka), 307 (Moradabad) and 310 (Umballa), and express trains at the Vivek Vihar railway station. At present, 47 trains stop here and more than 15,000 passengers use the station daily. Moreover, the station is running under the contract system. It is surprising that all passenger trains stop at Vivekanand Puri, located between Kishanganj and Dayabasti stations, but not even 10 trains stop at Vivek Vihar. What is the use of this railway station then?

At present, the 2 TAD train leaves Delhi Junction at 1.50 pm for Tundla via Delhi-Shahdara, but does not suit passengers. Therefore, I suggest that the departure of this train from Delhi Junction should be 2.30 pm or 3 pm.

As there is no EMU train from Ghaziabad Junction via Shahdara between 5.20 pm to 7.25 pm, GD-5 EMU should be start its journey from Ghaziabad at 6.30 pm instead of 7.25 pm. I request the Railway Board look into the matter and do the needful at the earliest.

Bishan Das, Delhi

Modi, terrorism and inaction

Just two terrorists of the Tehrik-a-Khasas (Movement of Revenge) have injured the body and soul of Mother India! The storming of Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar in Gujarat resulting in so many casualties is not an ordinary incident.

Any ordinary government employee would have been fired for a lapse in his duty, not Mr Narender Modi. He is the pampered boy of the ruling party at the Centre. Mr L. K. Advani, who accompanied Mr Modi, praised the latter when the flushing out operations gained momentum. As the chief executive of a state that borders Pakistan, Mr Modi has miserably failed to do his duty. He will fumble for answers if he is subjected to pointed questions in this regard.

Right from the citadel of our country’s democracy, Parliament, the terrorists have stormed the Red Fort, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and other places have been stormed by terrorists, but we have done nothing. The nation-wide bandh effected by the VHP, marred by stray violence, is not the answer. The need of the hour is something concrete. We have to fight against terrorism determinedly and teach the enemy a lesson. For it, we need peace amity, unity and integrity of the entire nation. We need to act.

Ujjal Pal Singh, President, NIT, Faridabad

Stop Hindi promotion

My friend Sanjeet asked me one day, `Do you know Hindi?”

I laughed at the question.

“Oh what made you laugh?” Sanjeet asked.

I said, “Hindi alias matrubhasha alias rashtrabhasha are all one and the same but a South Indian, nay, even the elite in North India, seems to detest its taste and tenor. Sanjeet, there was nothing wrong in what you asked me but what made me laugh was that I felt you took me as anything but an Indian. Well, I’m a Hindustani 24-carat and know Hindi quite well.”

Intervening, Sanjeet said, “Then may I ask you again, why did you laugh?”

“Yes, that’s the point. I laughed because the protagonists or the self-styled well-wishers of Hindi have made the language a laughing stock. Sometimes, they preach that one should ‘learn Hindi at the rate of one word a day’ and that Hindi is simple, easy to comprehend and again stress the fact that it’s our mother tongue”.

“But you did not tell me what made you laugh?” he said.

“It sounds funny, Sanjeet. If somebody was asked if he knew his mother tongue, wouldn’t you laugh? Who would need to be `schooled’ in it? I laughed because even if we assume that India was born on August 15, 1947, does one need 52 years for learning the mother tongue? The blessed tribe who happened to be at the helm and wielded political power made a mockery of the language, which belonged to the largest democracy of the world, by offering the gullible unwanted incentives, prizes and increments if they learnt the language not for the sake or good of Hindi but to perpetuate their hold and favour their near and dear ones. I laughed. I should have wept at the colossal sums of money going down the drain”, I told him. I continued: “I feel strongly about the matter and suggest that all kinds of Hindi promotional schemes be scrapped forthwith because a whole generation has lived through 50 years of such jugglery and a day might come when some foreigner visiting this country might as well ask if we knew Hindi.”

R. L. Pathak, New Delhi

A nation without borders

Recently I had the opportunity to visit to the Wagah Border. It, indeed, turned out to be a wonderful experience. Having been there, I realised that anybody who misunderstands India as a land of many religions can get a true picture of the unity in diversity if he visits the Wagah border at the time of sunset. This is the time when Indian and Pakistani national flags are brought down.

During this ceremony, many a visitor assembles on both sides of the border. The enthusiasm and the spirit of being a true Indian overflows inside the Indian enclosure, ready to devour anyone who dares to disturb our unity. At this unique moment, one finds that we all are one and are bound in heart and soul to our motherland. We are grateful to and proud of our Army personnel who without caring for their own comforts, far from their near and dear ones, are guarding our borders and protecting us from enemy attacks.

Having said this, I must hasten to add that it is not justifiable that we should love our countrymen alone and hate others. I could perhaps sense the feelings of hate towards India in the hearts of people who had assembled on the other side. Though I am born and brought up in Delhi, my ancestors were in Lahore. And while facing the people of Pakistan on the other side, I somehow felt that they are no different from me. I could visualise them as my own brothers and sisters. Is it not the duty of all people in the world that we should respect the feelings of all and appreciate their love for their own motherland? They have every right to do so. This respect for all others’ human rights will definitely help in reducing man-made tensions. This will also be useful for channelling our energies in the development of the society rather than wasting precious human lives and other resources in perpetuating enmity. Instead of nurturing enmity, let us try to work for the development of all.

Shweta Kohli, Delhi

Teaching is worship

Through your reputed column, I would like to appeal to the honourable teachers of Delhi University to kindly agree with the UGC direction of increasing the workload to 16 hours. This would mean only extra 12 minutes of teaching each day. Teaching is worship, so is learning. They would be doing it for a social cause.

However, I do agree with the DUTA that there is no justification for the UGC to cut teaching posts/jobs considerably. As a matter of fact, teaching posts may be increased as much as possible. Illiteracy will be removed to a large extent if teaching posts are increased to meet the demand.

Subhash C. Taneja, MDU, Rohtak

Teach for two more hours

This is in reference to the news report, ‘DU teacher’s workload up per class by 5 min’ (NCR Tribune October 3). At the outset, I would like to mention that Dr S. K. Khannar, the Secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC) (vide his DO No. F 28/84 (CPP) Vol. III), despatched a booklet containing the minimum number of actual teaching days, programme of examination reforms and workload for teachers in universities and colleges to the Registrars of all universities/institutions deeemed to be universities.

This is as follows: “The workload of various activities should be not less than 40 hours a week for a teacher who is in full time employment...the break up of workload per week: (1) teaching – 16 hours; (2) testing/exams - 2 hours; (3) tutorials - 4 hours; (4) preparation of teaching - 10 hours; (5) supervising extracurricular work - 4 hours; and (6) administrative work - 4 hours. Total, 40 hours...Where extracurricular work or administrative work is not assigned or unfortunately tutorials do not take place, teaching work may be slightly increased, but as far as possible a teacher should not have to teach or lecture more than three hours per day.”

The UGC notification on revision of pay scales, minimum qualification for appointment of teachers in universities and colleges and other measures for the maintenance of standards, 1998, too speaks as follows concerning direct teaching hours of the teacher per week as follows: 1) Lecturer/Sr Lecturer/Lecturer (Selection Grade) – 16 hours; 2) Readers and Professors - 14 hours.

Teachers working in the constituent/maintained/affiliated colleges of universities in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana (Kurukshetra and MDU) have been teaching 24 periods per week for the last 30-35 years. Forty minutes per period x 4 periods a day x 6 days, it becomes 960 minutes or 16 hours. However, from the academic session 2000-2001, as per the instruction of the Haryana Government/universities, the teachers of colleges (government/non-government) were directed to teach a period of 45 minutes, i.e. 45x4x6 = 1,080 minutes = 18 hours per week.

Teachers of Delhi University, Punjab University, Kurukshetra University and MDU and the affiliated colleges of them are governed by the UGC, i.e. the pay scales or minimum qualifications required from a person to be appointed as a lecturer in a university or college are one and the same. Hence, if we (lecturers of Haryana colleges) have been teaching 18 hours per week, which is more than the DUTA members or other university or college teachers have been teaching, they should also gladly accept and teach the students for 18 hours per week.

Om Parkash Wadhwa, Lecturer, Government College, Gohana (Sonepat)



Hooda loyalists’ meeting postponed
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 4
A meeting of the Congress party leaders and activists, owing allegiance to Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, leader of the Congress legislature party, proposed to be held here on October 6, has been postponed indefinitely.

According to Mr Vas Dev Saluja, general secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), the function was postponed in view of the death of the son of brother-in-law of Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in a road accident on Thursday, in Rohtak district. Mr Saluja has expressed his grief over the incident and mourned the death.

Symposium on lubricants

The research and Development Centre of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will organise a three-day International symposium on `fuels’ and `Lubricants’ from October 7 to 9 at hotel Le-meridien in New Delhi.

Stating this the Chief Research Manager of the R and D wing of the IOC, here, Mr R K Dua said that it would be third international symposium, after two such programmes held in 1997 and 2000. Claiming that while over 500 delegates from India and abroad took part in the earlier occasions, he said the theme of third the symposium was “Fuels and lubricants: Exploring new Horizons” and it could provide an opportunity for policy makers, experts, scientists, technocrats and entrepreneurs. He said that the Union Petroleum Minister Ram Naik would inaugurate the symposium at 9 am, while Dr R. A. Mashelkar, Director-General CSIR and secretary to the government department.

Scheme for tubewell users

Narnaul: The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam has initiated a prospective scheme for tubewell users in order to provide uninterrupted power supply. The DC said in order to make necessary changes in the transmission lines for obtaining a transformer either actual expenditure or minimum Rs 10,000 would be charged. The transformer would be supplied within seven days from the date of application.

The DC has directed the officers of the DHBVN to remove the transmission lines passing over the residential areas and tighten the loose ones. Mr Man Singh directed officials to register cases against those interrupting the water channel lines for filling ponds. He has also directed the Electricity Department authorities to replace iron poles immediately to avoid electrocution.

World teachers’ body

Rohtak: Dr Wazir Nehra, vice-president, All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations, has been appointed the organising secretary of the World Teachers' Organisations' Conference, to be held in Delhi from December 13 to 15.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of AIFUCTO held yesterday. Dr Nehra, who is also the convenor of Haryana Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations, said a delegation of AIFUCTO met the Chairman, University Grants Commission and discussed the problems being faced by teachers yesterday.

He said the UGC Chairman apprised the delegation that a decision had been taken to extend the last date for completing the refresher or orientation courses for the university and college teachers from December 31,2000 to Dec 31,2004.

The UGC Chairman reportedly expressed displeasure over the 'negligence' on the part of certain state governments, including that of Haryana, which had failed to provide the designation of Reader to the college teachers, despite the UGC notification. 


Minor fire at Shram Shakti Bhawan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
A minor fire was reported at the Shram Shakti Bhawan, which houses offices of Power, Water Resources and other ministries, here today.

Fire service sources said that the fire was reported at about 15:25 am on the first floor of the building. Seven fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the fire and it was extinguished shortly. The sources said that short circuit seemed to be the cause of the fire and no casualty has been reported.



Sixteen-member auto thieves’ gang busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
With the arrest of 16-member auto thieves’ gang, who were involved in vehicle thefts, circulation of fake currency notes, export of manpower on forged documents and snatching, the East district police today claimed to have solved as many as 43 cases. The police also recovered 11 cars along with forged registration certificates, insurance, NOCs, fake currency worth Rs 42,700, computer, printer and scanner from their possession.

One loaded country pistol, two button-actuated knives, punching tools, stencil used for making stamps and a number of vehicle keys have also been recovered from their possession.

Acting on a tip-off, the Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), Mr B. K. Gupta said that some persons were planning to rob a petrol pump in Geeta Colony. The accused Pradeep Kumar, alias, Manoj (24), resident of Mandawali, Mahender Singh Rathore (24), resident of Shankarpur, Munish Kumar (24), resident of Sangam Vihar, Munna Khan (22), resident of Shahdara, Tajender Singh alias Kake (25), resident of Moti Nagar and Raja Ali (22), resident of Mandawali, were all nabbed.

During their interrogation it was revealed that one of the accused Tajender Singh, used to be a notorious auto-lifter and used to sell the stolen vehicles to Vikas Kaushal, a retired DSP of Punjab police and Bhupender Singh Soni in Punjab besides Rajesh in Nepal. Based on their information, the police formed a special team and nabbed Vikas Kaushal, resident of Hoshiyarpur, Praveen Arora, resident of Rohini, Satender, alias, Monu, resident of Rohini, Pankaj, alias, Sonu, resident of Rohini, Manish Gupta, resident of Azadpur, Kehar Singh, resident of Mahindra Park, Raju (27), resident of Old Arjun Nagar, Sanjay Mukherjee (27), resident of Shastri Nagar and Shailender, alias, Chhotu (24), resident of Shakarpur, were nabbed.

The accused met in the Tihar jail when they were lodged there for committing different crimes. The gang used to identify a vehicle first and then break open the petrol tank lock of that particular vehicle and replace with another lock, which can be operated with an ordinary key. After stealing the vehicle they used to sell financed vehicles on forged documents in Punjab and Nepal.

They also used to lodge a false theft report in some police station and had received the insurance claim against the sold vehicles on number of occasions. The fake currencies used to be circulated with the small farmers in Punjab to evade detection. The police are looking for some more persons, who were involved in this case, said Gupta.



Wanted man shot dead in encounter
Our Correspondent

Noida, October 4
The Sector 58 police shot dead a dreaded criminal, who was carrying a reward of Rs 10,000 on his head, in an encounter last night. His other companion, however, gave the police the slip.

The police have recovered Rs 1 lakh in cash, a Maruti car, an American pistol and eight live cartridges.

The SP (City),Mr Vijay Bhushan, said the SO of the Sector 58 police station, Mr Santosh Kumar Yadav, got a tip-off from an informer that some criminals were coming to Noida in a car. He immediately formed two teams and the police surrounded the criminals in Sector 63.

When the criminals were asked to stop, they started firing at the police party. In the return of fire, the dreaded criminal was shot dead.

Mr Bhushan said the killed criminal had been identified as Vedu, alias Ved Pal, alias Ved Ram,son of Sukhbir, who was a resident of Jyoti Khurd village under the Meerut police station. The Meerut police had announced a reward of Rs 10,000 on his head.

Ved Pal had robbed a Maruti car and Rs 1 lakh in cash from Kailash Singh of Rohtak at the crossing of Sectors 55-57 in Noida in recent days. Kailash had come to Sector 4 on some business and was on his way back to Rohtak. The deceased was wanted for 16 heinous crimes, including murder, dacoity and looting in Meerut, Bagpat and Bulandshahr, the SP (City) added.



Stolen two-wheelers worth Rs 3 lakh recovered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
The South district police today claimed to have nabbed four persons and recovered nine stolen two-wheelers worth Rs 3 lakh from them.

The police, on receiving information that an auto thief was moving around in a stolen two-wheeler in Badarpur, nabbed the accused. Later, he was identified as Mukesh Kumar Sharma (22), resident of Badarpur. He was using a fake registration certificate for the scooter. Based on disclosures made by him, his other associates, Mohammad Yunus (32), Lakhi Prasad Sharma (32), both residents of Badarpur, and Vashishth Prasad (33), resident of Faridabad, were also nabbed.

Robbers nabbed: With the arrest of four persons the North district police on Friday claimed to have busted a notorious gang of robbers and pickpockets who were operating in busy markets like Kashmere Gate, Sadar Bazar, Connaught Place and Karol Bagh. Four spring-actuated knives were seized from their possession.

The accused, Jagdish, Kishan, alias Dhila, Sohan, alias Sheru, and Radhey Shyam, alias Vicky, all residents of Nabi Karim, were nabbed. During interrogation they revealed that they were committing crimes in busy markets, busy intersections and running buses. They also committed several crimes in areas like Walled City, Lahori Gate, Karol Bagh, Pahar Ganj, Nabi Karim and Connaught Place. They targeted mostly people who were found carrying mobile phones.

VCDs seized: The Economic Offences Wing has seized more than 1400 VCDs, MP3 CDs and videocassettes from Central, East and North districts after conducting raids.

Based on the information of Prime Protection Limited, the police party raided two places in Prasad Nagar and seized 760 pirated VCDs, MP3 CDs and 170 video cassettes of newly released Hindi and English movies. Bhagwan Dass and Prithviraj of Nanak Video Coverage have been arrested.

In another case, Babu Lal of Aggarwal Sons in Farsh Bazar was arrested for keeping pirated CDs in his possession. As many as 653 VCDs and MP3 CDs of newly released Hindi and English movies were recovered from his possession.

Chain-snatcher held The PCR van deployed at Model Town nabbed three persons— Sunil, Vinod and Pawan— all residents of Model Town when they tried to flee after noticing the PCR staff. The police seized one dagger, one khukhari, an iron rod, a screwdriver and a torch from their possession. 

Waiter killed: A waiter of a restaurant at Palwal town in the district, who had been seriously injured in a shootout on Thursday, succumbed to his injuries in a private hospital today.

Identified as Bhim Singh the victim had got into a ‘brawl’ with the accused working as security guard at a petrol pump there. The accused had come to take food and was reported to be in an inebriated condition.

Scooterist killed: A scooterist was killed and seven others injured in different accidents in and around Sonepat city on Thursday.

According to a report, the victim was identified as Amit of Chauhan Joshi village. The injured persons were rushed to the local Civil Hospital. Three of them were sent to Delhi for further treatment. The police have registered cases and further investigations are in progress.



Train robbers’ gang cracked

Rewari, October 4
With the arrest of three armed gangsters, Dharmendra Kumar of Rewari district, Manoj of Saharsa district of Bihar and Deapak of Etawa district of UP, who attempted to loot vehicles on the Rewari-Dharuhera road near here on Wednesday night, the Rewari city police claim to have busted a notorious gang of robbers who were involved in train robberies.

The police also recovered from them booty worth about Rs 60,000, which they had recently stolen from a passenger train, which was going from Ludhiana to Darbhanga.

Giving details in this regard, Mr Hanif Qureshi, SP, disclosed that the gangsters apparently mistook a police vehicle, which had its lights switched off, for a private vehicle and made it stop there in their robbery bid. But the police party headed by Mr Chander Bhan, ASI, jumped out of it, they were taken aback and tried to flee along with the above booty (which was with them). However, the police party overpowered them.

Mr Qureshi further said that during interrogation they confessed that they had committed several thefts and robberies in running trains in the past three years. 



Youths posing as SDM, staff held
Our Sports Reporter

Rohtak, October 4
The Sampla police arrested four youths who were allegedly posing as the SDM and his official staff and charging money from the vehicle owners in the name of various lapses near Sampla town on National Highway 10 on Thursday evening.

Those arrested have been identified as Bijender, Neeraj, Sanjay and Jai Bhagwan of Kheri Sampla village.

According to information, the youths intercepted a truck by placing a scooter and a motor cycle in front of the vehicle and told its driver that the vehicle was overloaded. The youths, who were posing as official staff, demanded an amount of Rs 1,000 from the truck driver to ‘settle’ the case. The frightened truck driver reportedly gave Rs 180 to them. Meanwhile, the youths tried to escape on seeing a PCR van. However, the police nabbed them and a case under Section 384,419,420 and 170 of the IPC was registered against them.


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