Saturday, October 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


CM sends Advani a terse rejoinder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
In a terse rejoinder to Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani’s reply to the chief minister’s assertions as to why the July 25 and August 29 circulars issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs were retrograde and therefore had to go, Sheila Dikshit has reiterated the move was politically motivated and fraught with dangers for the federal polity.

In a letter dispatched Thursday to Mr Advani, the chief minister said the Deputy Prime Minister had in his reply not alluded to the provocation for the circulars, which were “singular” and “extraordinary.” On an earlier occasion, when the Transaction of Business Rules was amended in 1998, she asserted, it was done on the specific request of the chief minister. The Deputy Prime Minister’s reply to her letter, the chief minister said, did not indicate what the “inadvertent omissions” were in the order of 1998 that necessitated the change. “Even in case there has been no change at all, as claimed, the question arises as to why in the first place the two circulars were issued and why it was also felt necessary to interpret these changes,” Ms Dikshit wrote. Making known her displeasure at the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ intention to distort the federal set-up, the chief minister stated, “[This] charade of amendments / modifications carried out by the Union Home Ministry has led my Government to the conclusion that this has been done surreptitiously to embarrass a popularly elected government.”

In the matter of defining the word “government” in relation to the NCT of Delhi, she maintained, “The perception has all along been that there is a Government of the NCT of Delhi with regard to all subjects other than transferred subjects. The people of Delhi elect legislatures and look to the Council of Ministers and the Chief Minister for redressal of their aspirations.”

Referring to the Department of Law’s advice on the matter, the chief minister clarified the department’s advice on the query on different days had been completely at variance with the advice on individual files and the advice on the present policy file. “I am afraid that the Law Secretary’s opinion is neither final nor decisive because the same Law Secretary a day before my press conference has given a different interpretation, which was brought to your notice.”

Referring to the controversy over statehood for the NCT of Delhi, the chief minister said she had forwarded to the Ministry a compendium of documents on major policies and the model of a suitable dispensation for the NCT of Delhi with particular reference to the “Delhi 21” document. Holding Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Madan Lal Khurana responsible for raising the “controversy,” the chief minister said it was unfortunate that no reply had been received in this regard from the Ministry.

Joining issue with Raj Niwas in the wake of the controversy surrounding the circulars, the chief minister on Friday asserted certain institutions had become politicised to the detriment of democratic federal traditions.



End of a 6-yr sabbatical at Jamia?
Sanjog Gupta

New Delhi, October 11
After Delhi University, it is the turn of the two other leading universities in the Capital to resume their political exercises. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia will witness a surge in campus activity, mostly centred around student politics.

While JNU eagerly awaits the announcement of election dates and nominations, Jamia students are desperately seeking elections. The last students’ union elections in Jamia were held six years back. In 1996-97, due to the growing incidence of union office-bearers being involved in nefarious activities, the process was discontinued.

According to university authorities, the union members had been using the process only as a stepping stone to a political career and a means of acquiring clout. After six years of serenity, the issue has resurfaced with a large segment of students demanding representation through a “free and fair process of elections”. An MA student said, “We need a medium for voicing our opinion and communicating our demands without fearing a teacher backlash.” However, the authorities are not willing to relinquish their stand, citing “disciplinary grounds”. One lecturer said: “We have regular weekly meetings where selected student representatives raise their problems. There is no need for politicising the process.”

While the tug of war between a section of Jamia students and the teachers/authorities continues, JNU eagerly awaits election dates. The two main players battling it out are the Students Federation of India (SFI), the Leftist union, and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP — fresh from its success in DUSU elections, where it defeated the NSUI — is focussing its attention and energy on JNU, which has traditionally been a Left stronghold.

The SFI has been claiming that it is bound to repeat the ‘sweep of the polls’ witnessed last year, with its candidates winning all posts of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU), but these views are dismissed as ‘jargon’ by the ABVP.

The two parties have a long-standing rivalry on the JNU campus, which boiled over in the form of a major confrontation between their supporters at the ‘Gurudakshina’ ceremony in August. Ashok Singhal of the VHP had attended the ceremony, which was organised by ‘shakhas’ of the RSS on the campus. The JNUSU – consisting of SFI members – had protested against the conduction of the ceremony in the Administration Block, which angered the ABVP supporters, leading to violent clashes between the two contingents.

The process officially got under way on Wednesday night, when the Election Commission was announced. The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) handed over the responsibility of university administration to the Election Commission (EC), which is being headed by Somesh Patnaik, a PhD student in the Centre for Political Studies.

The 26-member commission has the responsibility of conducting “free and fair elections” in JNU and ensuring that the new office-bearers are elected within four weeks of appointment of the EC. The dates for elections will be announced by next week and according to Liya, an EC member, “Elections will most probably be held in the last week of October or first week of November.”

Even as JNU prepares itself to be subsumed by political activity for the month, the issue of students’ rights, especially the ‘right to vote and right to be represented’ promises to hold center-stage on the Jamia campus. With both sides – the students and the university authorities – adamant on the ‘righteousness’ of their positions, it remains to be seen whether elections will return to Jamia after a six-year sabbatical.



Corporate freebies: Cashing in on basic
human instincts
Ravi Bhatia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
If Don Corleone of Mario Puzo’s Godfather fame were alive and kicking today, he would have certainly found stiff competition from the manufacturers of consumer goods over “offers that you cannot refuse”.

Just as the dreaded head of a Mafia family exploited the primeval fear among the human beings, the manufacturers too are appealing to the basic human instinct of greed and passion for acquisition. “ Sell the goods and sell them a dream”, seems to be the new marketing mantra.

Almost every consumer product on the shelf these days carries a freebie along with it. Buy a cake of soap and get a small sachet of shampoo free. Buy a particular brand of tea and get a packet of cookies gratis. The examples are numerous.

The offers of freebies apart, many manufacturers of popular brands of consumer goods are now coming out with schemes offering anything from a bar of gold (like the recent Hindustan Lever scheme appended to its brand of dish wash soap) to a free car (Donear Khulja Sim Sim – 100 percent win-win offer), or even a free all paid for trip for two to an exotic holiday destination.

Marketing honchos, who have been given the credit for these schemes, claim that most of them have been a success and the sale of the products went up remarkably despite the recession and general slowdown in the economy.

“ Extensive market researches and surveys had indicated that because of the economic uncertainty, people in general were reluctant to spend money on any thing other than the bare essentials. The manufacturers were concerned as their goods were not moving at all while the overheads and costs were mounting. The strategy was to make ‘‘subliminal appeals to basic instincts,’’ confessed a marketing executive of a consumer good manufacturer, who for some strange reason demanded anonymity.

The carefully crafted strategy focussed on the most essential and popular of such consumer goods and the others were tagged on as freebies. “ The result was promising as the goods which hardly seemed to move off the shelves suddenly started disappearing. As a result, a demand was created for them, much to the relief of the manufacturers who walked home with increasing profit margins, even after taking into account the money spent on schemes and promotions.

It is obvious that the price of the item is “adjusted” to take into account the cost of the freebie. But despite this, the consumer is happy.

Such has been the popularity of these promotional gimmicks that now even the smaller shopkeepers have jumped on the bandwagon. It is common for those organising weekends or festival sales to announce schemes like buy two get one free .

Several housewives, who were caught festival shopping, agreed that this marketing strategy was catching on and it was good in a way. “We now have to develop our own strategy and buy only those items with which we get what we normally use at home free”, one of them said.

They are now waiting for the new trend to trickle down to the local vegetable seller. Buy two kg of potatoes and get 250 gm of onion free.



His Excellency Chautala...
Tribune News Service

Panipat, October 11
What is common among King Vikramaditya, Raja Bhoj, King Harshavardhan, Ashoka the Great, Chandra Gupta Maurya, Maharana Pratap, the Rewari chieftain Hemu and the present Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala? Seemingly nothing.

However, crossing all sycophantic limits, the district administration has equated these legendary rulers with Mr Chautala, who, like his “ancestors”, shared the “happiness and sorrows” of his subjects.

An official press note claims that, following in the footsteps of these legendary men, Mr Chautala has been standing with leaders of all communities through thick and thin, which shows that he treats everybody on an equal footing, irrespective of the community they belonged. To substantiate this rather amusing claim, the press note says that Mr Chautala had visited the residence of Diwan Chand Bhatia, a veteran Congress leader and the pioneer of the handloom industry of Panipat, and offered condolences at his untimely demise.

Going a step further, the press note, which sources said had the blessings of senior officials, reminds that Mr Chautala had also visited the bereaved family of former local BJP legislator Fateh Chand Vij. The CM had done this, the press note claims, despite his busy schedule and it showed that Mr Chautala had been fulfilling the responsibilities of the august office in an effective manner.

It may be mentioned that the two leaders had made significant contributions towards the development of the area in general and Panipat in particular. By offering condolences to their families, Mr Chautala had not done something great, said a prominent resident of the city.

And even as the Opposition parties cry foul over the lack of developmental works and deteriorating law and order situation, the officials claimed that the developmental works were bound to pick up as Mr Chautala had been sharing the “happiness” and “pains” of all sections of the society.



Drought puts banks in a spot
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 11
The managements of various nationalised and co-operative banks are in a quandary over the heavy losses incurred by the drought-hit farmers in this district and elsewhere in the state.

According to a report, branches of various banks in Sonepat and neighbouring districts have advanced loans worth several thousands of crores of rupees to hundreds of farmers as term loans. Official sources stated that the banks were worried that the heavy losses on account of the drought might lead to their loans going `bad’ and strain their bottom line.

The standing kharif crop in many districts has been ruined due to delayed rainfall and prolonged drought conditions.

The farmers are now reluctant to pay the instalments against the loans taken from the banks. Well-placed bank sources said the managements had sent written instructions to the field staff to physically verify the extent of damage to the crops.



Schizophrenia: The horrible truth
bout beautiful minds
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
Schizophrenia is a condition that affects just one in a hundred, but this serious mental ailment is a dreaded condition, which in severe cases can lead to death. Caused by a chemical imbalance in brain — of substances like dopamine and serotonin — Schizophrenia usually develops in the late teens or early 20s, though it sometimes starts in middle age or even much later in life. The disease is one of the subjects that came up for an exhaustive debate during the mental health week.. “The earlier it begins, the more potential it has to damage the personality and the ability to lead a normal life. Although it is treatable, relapses are common, and it may never clear up entirely. It makes working and studying, relating to other people and leading a full, independent life very difficult, and causes families much distress”, points out Dr. Samir Parikh, psychiatrist.

Schizophrenia affects our ability to be in control of our thoughts and actions. Dr. Parikh adds, “It may feel as though thoughts are being inserted into the mind or being pulled out by some outside, uncontrollable force. The body may feel as if it has been taken over, like a puppet or a robot under outside control. At worst, the whole personality seems to be under the influence of an alien force or spirit. This is a terrifying experience, which the person tries to explain according to education and upbringing”. Broadly, Schizophrenia can be categorised as hallucination, paranoid Schizophrenia, Catatonic Schizophrenia, in which the muscle movement is affected, Undifferentiated Schizophrenia, which includes the above-mentioned features, and Residual Schizophrenia, in which negative symptoms like no speech and actions are visible.

“Hallucination is the experience of hearing, smelling, feeling or seeing something, without there actually being anything there to hear, smell, feel or see. Then, there are delusions, which are false and unusual beliefs, which cannot be explained by the believer’s culture or changed by argument. People talk about ‘paranoid’ ideas. Delusions may come out of the blue or may start as an explanation for hallucinations or the sensation of being taken over”, points out Dr. Parikh. He elucidates: “Negative symptoms affect interest, energy and emotional life…’’ As a result, the person may not bother to get up or go out, may not wash or tidy up, and may never get excited or enthusiastic about anything any more. Sometimes, schizophrenia interferes with a person’s train of thought, so it may be difficult to follow what they say”. Early identification of the disease makes the prognosis easy. “The peak onset of the disease in men is between 15 to 25 while in women it is between 25-35. Schizophrenics attempt suicide at least once. Nearly 10-15 per cent of those who have had the disease for more than 20 years commit suicide and 30 –35 per cent are prone to substance abuse”.

Though the reasons that trigger the disease are not clearly known, medical experts point out: “Approximately one in ten people with schizophrenia have a parent who suffers from the illness. This is more than the general population, where the risk is one in a hundred. This is likely to be due to heredity (genes), not upbringing. But the gene or combination of genes, responsible has yet to be discovered”.

New ways of producing pictures of the brain show that some people with schizophrenia have larger spaces in the brain than people who don’t suffer from the illness. This suggests that parts of the brain may not have developed quite normally. Stress, arising from sudden events like a car accident, bereavement or moving home, often occurs shortly before an episode of schizophrenia, and, though it cannot be the cause, it may help to bring the illness on.



4,000 Bawana plots are up for grabs

New Delhi, October 11
The 4,000 plots in Bawana Industrial Area that have fallen vacant on account of the allottees defaulting on payment will soon be up for grabs. Those plots would be allotted by a draw of lots to interested parties from among the 11,000 that are eligible but were put on the waiting list. Industries Minister Deep Chand Bandhu today told mediapersons that 4,000 plots had fallen vacant as the allottees had not paid up the amount due on time. “We will now allot these plots by a draw of lots… that will be a Diwali gift of sorts,” he said. The Supreme Court has set December 31 as the deadline for shifting polluting industries operating from unconforming, residential areas.



Crackers: Sitting on a powder keg and sipping tea
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 11
The sale of crackers, which needs to be regularised by the district administration before Diwali festival, has already begun in the town and nearby places. Shopkeepers and retail outlets located in residential as well as commercial areas have started selling crackers, thus endangering the lives of residents. Even tea stalls have started selling crackers, of course, on a sly.

The town has already witnessed two major incidents of fire due to crackers in which two teenaged boys died in the past one week.

However, the authorities seem to have been least bothered about the danger posed by the unscrupulous sale of crackers in the town. It is reported that crackers worth several crores of rupees are lying as stocks with wholesale and retail agents. Besides, shopkeepers in every nook and corner of the town have started storing crackers in ample quantity, without ensuring safety precautions to be taken when handling such dangerous items.

Several grocery shops, magazine stalls and even tea stalls have started the sale on a sly. While these are not displayed openly, any one, especially children, could get any type of cracker on demand. This is when authorities do not allow sale of crackers by shops located in congested and busy residential and commercial areas.

To enable the residents to buy crackers, the district administration allows special cracker markets to be set up in the designated areas in various parts of the town and other subdivisional towns a few days before Diwali. Several fire incidents in the past leading loss of lives had prompted the authorities to take such measures in the past.

Recently, two boys (both brothers), aged 18 and 15 years, were killed after the stock of crackers kept in their house at Tigoan town near here caught fire. Several house hold items were also destroyed in the fire. The crackers had been purchased for the occasion of the birthday of one of the victims.

Another incident took place in NH-I locality of the NIT area a few days ago in which household items worth several thousands of rupees were gutted. Again, the fire started when the crackers stocked in a room exploded.

According to experts, these incidents are a clear warning to the authorities that storing, stocking and selling crackers had been going on illegally and had been posing a major risk to the residents in several areas. A social organisation here has demanded strict action against the shopkeepers or persons selling or stocking crackers illegally.



Women’s group plans mass drive against dowry
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, October 11
The Haryana unit of the Janvadi Mahila Samiti (JMS) has decided to take up cudgels against the all-pervading social menace of dowry. The plan to have a long drawn out campaign against the custom of dowry was revealed by the leaders of the JMS informally to ‘NCR Tribune’ here today.

The JMS leaders gave startling figures to substantiate the gravity of the problem. They said that two-third of the violence against women was related to dowry. In every passing hour, there was one dowry death and 7,000 dowry deaths took place in a year in India.

The state president of the JMS, Ms Jagmati Sangwan, said that the practice of dowry was assuming horrible proportions cutting across social and caste barriers and that the trend of giving and receiving dowry had intensified and spread in all its forms, especially in the wake of the process of globalisation.

She attributed the drastically declining female sex ratio and marginalisation of women as integrally related to the fast aggravating social cancer of dowry.

The JMS state secretary, Ms Manjeet Rathi, highlighted various dimensions of the dowry prevalent in Haryana based on a survey report of five districts of Rohtak, Jind, Hisar, Bhiwani and Kaithal comprising 400 respondents from among disparate age groups and socio-economic background.

According to her, a substantial part of family income among all sections was often incurred towards arranging the dowry on the occasion of the marriages of their daughters.

These women leaders expressed great concern over the trend of glorification of dowry by displaying it publicly and considering it as a status symbol.

This pernicious practice was leading to fast ‘commodification’ of women, thanks to the ever-increasing consumer value system in the society.

Ms Jagmati Sangwan said that the JMS had chalked out district-level conventions of women activists during the first leg of their campaign to apprise the activists of the multi-dimensional dowry problem. Then they would seek to involve other sections of the society, viz the youth, students, socio-cultural organisations, employees, intellectuals and teachers, to launch an all-out offensive against the dowry system.

She said that the state committee of the JMS had visualised the entire anti-dowry campaign as a social reform movement, which the women’s organisation considered necessary towards eliminating social obstructions on the path of achieving a civil society.

Ms Amita Malik, another JMS leader, said that half-hearted criticism and piecemeal opposition of this dangerous custom had failed to contain it. Therefore, a mass movement was the need of the hour to eradicate this menace.



Huda forcing allottees to pay donations: CPM
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, October 11
The district unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has alleged that the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) was charging a forced `donation' of Rs 1,000 for a ‘gaushala’ before approving building plans to the plot-holders in various sectors of the authority here.

In a statement issued here today, the party alleged that building plans of plot-holders were not approved until they paid the `donation' to the `gaushala’. Describing the action of Huda authorities as unconstitutional and illegal, the CPM demanded a thorough inquiry into the arbitrary collection of donations. The party described it as "cheating" and demanded immediate ban on such collections in the name of religion or `gaushalas'.

The statement further alleged that the Huda officials here were taking donations from sector residents for even petty works. The party urged the Deputy Commissioner to inquire into this illegal actions of the Huda officials and take appropriate action against the guilty. It said that the receipts issued by the Huda officials against the donations were unsigned.



First-ever synod of Delhi Archdiocese begins today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
The plight of marginalised sections of the society, like Dalits and Catholics, who have migrated to the national Capital from other states, and the need to improve the service institutions like schools, colleges and hospitals will be discussed in the first-ever four-day synod of the Archdiocese of Delhi, which gets under way tomorrow.

This will be the first time ever that a diocesan synod of the Archdiocese of Delhi would meet since it came into existence in 1959, Delhi Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, who will inaugurate the synod at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Central Delhi, told reporters here today.

As many as 322 prominent Catholic leaders from 50 churches and 100 institutions from Delhi and neighbouring areas will participate in the synod (council).

The other important issues, which will come up for deliberations at the full strength meeting of the archdiocese, include setting up homes for the aged, the importance of family life in the changing times and the role of the laity (common people) in the administration of the Church.

He said Pope John Paul II had released ‘’Ecclesia in Asia’’, a document on Special Synod for Asia, in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in November 1999. ‘’Synods and councils are often held at various times on various levels in the Church to revitalise it and to make it more relevant to contemporary societal need. But for Delhi, this is going to be the first-ever synod, and we are quite expectant about its positive outcome.’’

Bishop Anil Couto, convenor of the diocesan synod, said the preparations for the meeting began more than a year ago when suggestions for discussions on issues were solicited from individuals and institutions belonging to all Catholic churches and institutions of the Delhi archdiocese.

He said the response was collated and then sent back for discussions to respective institutions. ‘’A consolidated report of these is now ready, which will form the basis of workshops during this synod, leading to eventual formulation of diocesan policies.’’



Planned cities need of the hour: Fernandes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
Planned development of cities in the country is the need of the hour as it would ease the pressure on metropolitan cities and improve the quality of life there, the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, said here today. The function to lay the foundation stone of a mega flyover between Dwarka, sub-city and south Delhi, however, witnessed a spat between Mr Fernandes and the Union Labour Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, over the contract being given to Larsen and Toubro, the construction major.

Mr Fernandes said Chandigarh was the only city in the country where the planners had taken proper care for locating residential colonies, industries and other infrastructure. ‘’Barring Chandigarh, we lack planned cities in the country,’’ he said.

Now that the population of the metros is growing at a quick pace, stress should be given on developing new cities with perfect planning as it would not only keep the density of population under check but would also take care of a number of problems like power and water supply, he stressed. The flyover, named after Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan , would be about two kilometres long, the longest in the Capital, and would be connected with a four and a half kilometre proposed road between Dwarka and south Delhi.

Dwarka, a township developed by the Delhi Development Authority close to Indira Gandhi International Airport, has a population of about ten lakh. The flyover, to be built by construction giant L&T at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore in 30 months, would improve the sub-city’s connectivity with the rest of the capital.

In the function, Defence Minister and Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma were involved in a spat over entrusting the construction of a flyover connecting Dwarka, a sub-city in South-West Delhi, with South Delhi to the multinational construction giant.

Mr Verma, who spoke ahead of Mr Fernandes at the laying of foundation stone of the flyover at Palam, attacked the Delhi Development Authority for entrusting the work to Larsen and Toubro, saying “Their record of completing projects within the timeframe is very dismal”. “Larsen and Toubro was given a work in my constituency and they are yet to start their construction six months after the foundation stone was laid,” Mr Verma said, adding, “I am very apprehensive of allotting them works in the Capital”. Coming to the company’s rescue and terming Mr Verma’s comments as “unfortunate”, Mr Fernandes said, “ I have full faith in Larsen and Toubro. They have overseen construction of numerous defence projects too and have a good track record. There is no cause for apprehension”.

Even before Mr Fernandes completed his speech Mr Verma left the venue.

The Defence Minister said L and T was progressing “ahead of the deadline” on a naval project, ‘Seabird’, in Karnataka and also in the construction of national highways across India. Speaking at the function, the Union Minister for Urban Development, Mr Ananth Kumar, claimed credit for the speedy progress of the Metro Rail project in the Capital and said the Centre was committed to playing a bigger role in speeding up the development of Delhi.

“From now every week there will be one foundation stone laying and a project inauguration. The Centre will play a greater role in enhancing the growth rate of the capital”, Mr Kumar said. Between 1982-1998, only 12 flyovers were constructed, but during the past four years 25 new flyovers were to be added, the minister said and announced that another 20 flyovers would be constructed during the next two years.

The proposed two-km flyover, expected to be completed within two and half years, will bridge the missing link between Delhi and Dwarka, the sub-city envisaged in the Master Plan-2001 for a population of one million.



Delhiites to get taste of Italian fashion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
After Italian food, the city will now be given a taste of Italian fashion. An event titled, ‘Fifty Years of Italian Fashion’ comprising of a fashion show followed by a two week exhibition, showcasing works of Italian couturiers, will be on display in the Capital from October 18. Organised by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Centre in India along with Studio Galgano, Rome, the event celebrates 50 years of Italian fashion. The event comes to India after a tour of Latin America, Japan, Korea and China.

The fashion show will be held in the Italian Embassy and will showcase the recent collections of famous designers in the range of high fashion and ‘Pret- a- Porter’. Creations of nearly 160 designers like Valentino, Versace, Trussadi and Lancetti will be on display. .

Sikh preachers’ directory

The Shiromani Gurdwara Sewadar Committee has decided to publish a directory of Ragi Jaths, Katha vachaks and preachers of Sikh community, keeping in mind the great need for preaching and expanding the Sikh religion. Adopting a new approach for preaching Sikhism, the committee has started the work of making a directory of Ragi Jaths, Katha Vachaks and preachers of Sikh religion, living in the country and abroad.

PTI union chief begins strike

The President of the PTI Employees Union, Mr Vinod Kumar, today began his indefinite strike at Jantar Mantar in protest against the continuing victimisation of workmen, the management’s indifferent attitude, the non-fulfilment of several demands, including enhanced bonus, third promotion within 14 years of service and job to one of the family members of an employee in special circumstances. The union said the management would be solely responsible for the strike and its consequences.

The President of the Delhi Union of Journalists, Mr S.K. Pandey, today vowed to take agitation of the PTI Employees Union to a logical conclusion, a press release said.

PNB opens 156th branch

Mr S.S. Kohli, Chairman and Managing Director of PNB, inaugurated the 156th branch at Scope Minar, Lakshmi Nagar district centre. Addressing the gathering, he reiterated the bank’s commitment towards delivering efficient and quality services.



Former MC chief dead

Rewari, October 11
Mr Jagan Nath Sapra, a former President of the Rewari Municipal Committee, died here on Tuesday evening. He was a staunch disciple of the great saint, Ram Ram Baba. He was 84. His funeral here on Wednesday was largely attended. He is survived by two sons.

A shradhanjali samaroh to pay respects to him was held in Radha Krishan Temple in Model Town here on Friday, according to his nephew and President of the BJP unit of Rewari, Mr Jagdish Sapra.

Bomb scare at bank

Panic prevailed among people after a rumour spread that a bomb had been planted at the branch of the Central Bank of India at Ganaur town, 20 km from here, yesterday.

According to a report, the rumour followed the recovery of an unclaimed box, which had been kept outside the bank. People thought that it contained a bomb. Thereupon, the people of the area assembled in large numbers and informed the police about it. On receipt of information, police officials arrived on the scene. The situation was brought under control after the crowd that had gathered there was dispersed.

Assaulted in court

Mr Harish Chander, a resident of Farmana village, was allegedly assaulted and roughed up by some persons of the same village on the premises of the judicial courts here on Thursday. According to a report, Mr Harish Chander sustained serious injuries and was rushed to the local Civil Hospital for treatment. Mr Harish Chander had come to attend court regarding a case relating to some land dispute. The alleged assailants, however, managed to escape immediately after the assault. The police are still investigating. No arrest has been made in this connection.




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DR Wazir Singh Nehra, Vice-President, All India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation, "has expressed concern over the questionable procedures with regard to the appointment of vice-chancellors in different universities... and stressed that a proper procedure be adopted for appointment to such coveted posts.’’ (NCR Tribune October 8, 2002).

The procedures for the appointment of vice-chancellors, as recommended by Dr Radhakrishanan Commission (1948-49), Dr D S Kothari Education Commission (1964-66), Dr P B Gajendragadkar Committee (1971) and by a UGC Committee (1991-1993) are marvellous and not questionable. Yes, questionability is in the implementation of these recommendations by the appointing authorities in India.

Here, I would like to say that our Constitution or the Acts (for example: the UGC Act, 1956, Kurukshetra University Act, 1956, and the Maharshi Dayanand University Act, 1975) enacted by our Parliament/State Legislature are good enough, but the implementation is not good. For instance, it is often said that our policies are good but their implementation very bad.

Here, without elaborating on the procedures recommended by the aforesaid committees, I would like to cite a few recommendations contained in the latest UGC Committee (1991-1993) report:

"The selection of vice-chancellor should be through proper identification by a Search Committee. The Search Committee may comprise:

a) a nominee of the Visitor/Chancellor, who should be the Chairman of the Committee and should be selected in consultation with the Government concerned;

b) a nominee of the Chairman, UGC; c) a nominee of the Executive Council of the university; and d) a nominee of the Academic Council of the university.

The nominees of the above authorities shall be persons of eminence in the sphere of education and shall not be connected in any manner with the university concerned or its colleges or any constituent parts. The Visitor/Chancellor should appoint the vice-chancellor out of the panel".

Here, I would like to submit for the kind information of the academicians that, firstly, the appointing authorities -- the chancellors -- do not constitute the Search Committee. Secondly, even if they are on the committees, such panels become the committees of the chief ministers and not that of the chancellors. This is because we do not find a member on the Search Committee duly nominated by the UGC, we do not find one member duly nominated by the Executive Council (i.e. the Syndicate) and the Academic Council. The Academic Council consists of about 100-150 academicians. Almost all the professors of university teaching departments, a good number of principals of maintained/affiliated (government/non-government) colleges of the university and several elected lecturers of the university teaching departments/affiliated colleges are the members of the Academic Council. In case a nominee of the Academic Council of the concerned university is on the Search Committee, how can the academicians point their fingers at the appointed vice-chancellors.

Thirdly, most of the time, the nominated members on the Search Committee are not eminent personalities. In one case, a Reader (not even a Professor) was put on the Search Committee by the appointing authority of the vice-chancellor. He was Dr S G Debhankar, Reader in Business Studies at Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, to select the vice-chancellor of Dr B R Ambedkar University, Ahmedabad.

Professor Kapil KUmar, President of Fedcuta, had sent a letter dated 16th June, 2000 to Dr Hari Gautam, the then Chairman, UGC, and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Government of India. The relevant contents of the lettr are as follows:

"We find this shocking. How can a Reader be a member of the Search Committee of vice-chancellor? This is just to keep you updated on what is happening in our education field."

Without going into the details, it is submitted that vice-chancellors be appointed after following the above mentioned UGC procedures in letter and spirit. No deviation.

Om Parkash Wadhwa Lecturer, Govt. College, Gohana (Sonepat)

Everything is in a name

This refers to the news feature titled 'A veritable feast of frescoes,' published on page 2 of the NCR Tribune of October 6, 2002. While the information given in the rest of the write-up is ok, the introductory paragraph is erroneous. It is now well documented that the Shekhawati region in northern Rajasthan got its name from Rao Shekha, one of the chieftains of the rulers of Amber. Rao Shekha was born in 1433 A.D. to Mokal Singh, the ruler of Barwada, a small principality of Amber. No doubt the area was earlier occupied by various clans of Pathans and several Rajput converts to Islam in the Mughal era, but the descendants of Rao Shekha had captured the territory and firmly established themselves in the region, now comprising districts of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu.

The last holdings of any Muslim Nawab were Jhunjhunu and Fatehpur. Thus, to say and create confusion that the Sheikhs, who were rulers of the region, gave their name to the area known as Shekhawati, is incorrect.

There are several well researched reference books on Shekhawati available with reputed publishers or booksellers. Since I was also involved for three years in field research work and documentation of 19 places in the Shekhawati region, I wished to point out the incorrect report in order to put the things in proper perspective.

Ranbir Singh, President, Society for People's Advancement, Technology and Heritage, Rohtak.

PoW faux pas

Former Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh has very rightly stated that releasing 90,000 Pakistani prisoners of war after the 1971 war was a blunder, which has cost the nation dear.

The Indian government was in a commanding position and quite competent to settle the Kashmir issue once and for all, before releasing the 90000 prisoners.

But a golden chance was lost immediately as the prisoners were let off unconditionally. The result is for all to see. Pakistan is creating hell in J and K, and there has been turmoil in Punjab.

Subhash C Taneja, Rohtak

Majesty of law

The majesty of law is tested only when the offender is a man with clout, as is the case with Salman Khan. Otherwise, how could he walk away, flinging a bail of Rs. 950 in the face of the law? People are rightly demanding that he should be booked under a more stringent provision of the law than Section 304-A of the IPC (rash and negligent driving). But, surprisingly, even the legal-minded are not looking beyond the pale of Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) whereas the plain truth is that the crime falls squarely within the definition of murder.

One of the definitions of this capital crime, as given in Section 300 of the IPC, is: "Culpable homicide is murder.......if the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid."

An illustration under the Section reads: "A without any excuse fires a loaded cannon into a crowd of persons and kills one of them. A is guilty of murder, although he may not have had a premeditated design to kill any particular individual."

Thus, under the law, Salman Khan is prima facie guilty of murder and the supremacy of the law must be upheld, and he be booked under Section 302 IPC.

Ram Saran Bhatia, Faridabad

Plot on turn

This is with reference to a letter published in your esteemed newspaper on August 13, ‘Neither plot, nor refund in 21 years’, by Mr Rakesh Kumar.

The Lands Department has informed that Mr Rakesh Kumar, who is registered under Rohini Residential Scheme, has been assigned Priority No 21402 for allotment of LIG plot, measuring 48/32 square metres. The DDA has allotted plots up to Priority No 1741/6394, for plots measuring 48/32 sq m. respectively. Mr Kumar will be allotted a plot in Rohini on his turn.

Neemo Dhar, Director (PR), DDA

Breach of trust

Spare the rod and spoil the child was conventional wisdom. The sole purpose was to reform wayward children. But to apply the wisdom on elected corporators of Faridabad Municipal Corporation has few precedents.

To supersede the corporation, simply because the councillors did not toe the government line and tie up with the ruling party in Haryana, has strange connotations. Some political parties call it `murder of democracy'. One can coin several other invectives to describe the action. But one thing is clear. It is ridiculous action. Even the Birtish rulers did not act in this manner. They made an allowance for dissent when the

Congress or the Muslim League councillors won the people's mandate at the municipal level in pre-independent era. To do what the British never did will give democracy watchers the world over a wrong impression. The four-tier democratic framework should be duly respected. Implicit in this is respect for people and their mandate.

Intervention is justified, if there is a breach of people's trust. Or skeletons are found in their cupboards. However, every opportunity ought to be given to the elected representatives to defend themselves before an appropriate enquiry officer. Otherwise, let the elected representatives decide their own fate. Under the circumstances, it will not be wrong if elected representatives invoke the people's mandate in every pulpit. Let the people's mandate triumph!

Ujjal Pal Singh, Chairman, NIT, Faridabad

Free birds

In the twilight zone senior citizens find it difficult to do any kind of writing, let alone maintain files, keep records and fill umpteen forms, required by each and every department. Most of them cannot afford the services of accountants either.

But while every one offers lip sympathy, no one exempts the senior citizens from all kinds of taxes. As a gesture, can’t the government exempt them of such encumbrances for a couple of years, so that they might live longer?

Automatically, thereafter, the government will get the due taxes from the heirs, or confiscate the properties and the bank balances held by the deceased, in case there is no legal heir. Such a gesture, declaring the senior citizens free birds, that is free of all obligations, will demonstrate that the government is committed to providing them a welfare-oriented carefree life. And there is no chance of the government losing much. Is it then fair to expect trembling hands and wavering memories to go through all the hassles?

R L Pathak, New Delhi



3 held for running fake education board
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
Three persons who were allegedly running a fake education board and selling fake high school and intermediate certificates were arrested by the Crime Branch after a complaint from the Mumbai Labour Union after its two employees, Mane Hemant and Rathod Girishbhai, produced these fake certificates, seeking promotion.

The accused, Suresh Chand Vagish, resident of Uttam Nagar, Maheshwar Prasad, resident of Tilak Nagar, and Arjun Kumar Mahajan, resident of Vikas Puri, were nabbed after the Crime Branch team raided the premises of the fake education trust on October 8 in Uttam Nagar and seized 25 forged certificates of high school and 40 intermediate school certificates from their possession.

Fake switches

Members of a gang who were supplying fake Anchor switches in the market were arrested by the North district police. The accused, Sandeep Arora, alias Bobby, resident of Sarai Rohilla, and Sanjay Arora, resident of Shalimar Bagh, were arrested. The team raided two premises and seized six moulding machines, one grinding machine, one butting machine, three thermostat controllers and other things from the hideout.

Drugs seized

The Crime Branch Economic Offences Wing has apprehended a person, Rajesh Saxena, and seized fake ayurvedic drugs after raiding the premises in Shahdara.

The accused used the original labels of ‘Rasayan Vati,’ manufactured by Rajvaidya Shital Prasad and Sons on the fake drug bottles.



Two nabbed, kidnapped child recovered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11
Two persons, including a woman, were arrested by the South Delhi police for kidnapping a one-and-a-half-year-old child of a vegetable vendor on October 1 from Sarita Vihar in South district. The child was safely rescued from a house in Hari Nagar, Part II, and restored to his parents. The accused, Sangeeta, alias Poonam, alias Priya (28), resident of Sarita Vihar, and Prabhakar Chandraprabhat (35), resident of Badarpur, were nabbed by the district police on October 5.

The prime accused, Sangeeta, who did not bear a child even after 11 years of married life, desperately looked for a child since doctors said that she was not in a position to give birth to a child. During this time, she came into contact with another person, Prabhakar, who told her about the child of Vijay Kant Upadhyaya, alias Pintoo, resident of Sarita Vihar, a vegetable vendor. Sangeeta, regularly used to visit the house of the vendor and used to play with the child. She also befriended the vendor’s wife, Guddi.

On October 1, she went to the child’s house and asked his father to get some lemons and chillies from the mandi. When Pintoo left the house, Sangeeta took the child along with her to Prabhakar who was waiting astride a scooter nearby. They took the child to Prabhakar’s house in Hari Nagar part-II and kept him there for five days. The police identified the house and the child’s mother also identified Sangeeta.



SI who demanded bribe absconding

Noida, October 11
A case had been filed against an SI, who had been demanding bribe from truckers and businessmen at a border check post and had beat some of them, is reported to have absconded.

A businessman, Irshad of Muradnagar, used to ply his truck via this check post to Delhi. The police had demanded Rs 250 from the driver to allow the truck to ply. When he refused to pay up, he was allegedly beaten up. When Irshad himself arrived on the spot, he was not allowed to take the truck by paying just Rs 250. The SI then reported to have demanded Rs 70,000 from Irshad as a one-time bribe, for allowing his trucks to proceed to Delhi. This was reported by Irshad to the SSP on September 3. On confirmation of the allegation in an inquiry, the SSP asked Sector 39 police to register a case against the accused SI. The accused is said to have absconded after the filing of the case against him. OC



Wife’s lover held for abetting suicide
Our Correspondent

Rewari, October 11
The police have arrested Krishan Kumar, son of Om Prakash, resident of Lisana village near here, paramour of a young married woman, Sarita, on the charge of abetting suicide. The woman’s husband, Anil Kumar, had earlier committed suicide. The arrest has come in the wake of the Madhuban-based forensic laboratory’s report of the chemical examination of the victim’s viscera, which had earlier been sent by doctors of the local Civil Hospital, where a post-mortem examination of the body of Anil Kumar was conducted.

The report, it is pinpointed, has revealed that Anil Kumar had been poisoned to death. However, his body had been recovered from a well here by the police. Following the receipt of the above report as well as a complaint lodged by Rakesh Kumar, brother of the deceased, the Model Town police here on October 5 registered a case of abetment of suicide under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC against Krishan Kumar and Sarita.



Arhtias evading market fee
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 11
The market committee of Sonepat has been suffering a huge loss of revenue on account of the evasion of market fee by unscrupulous arhtias. According to a report, at least 50 truckloads of vegetables and fruits are being imported daily by unscrupulous traders and they sell the same without making entries in their registers, thereby evading the market fee.

Some officials of the market committee are said to be in league with these arhtias and are receiving huge money as `nazrana' regularly from them. In return, these officials show less arrivals and sale of vegetables and fruits in their registers.

It is reported that if any arhtia received 15 truckloads of vegetables or fruits in a day, the officials of the market committee must make entries against the same quantity. However, those officials who take `nazrana' from the arhtia would show it as 1 plus 5. In this way, the arhtia is allowed to evade the market fee, thus denying the market committee its rightful revenue. It is also alleged that such arhtias never present their account books and the officials feel helpless to probe into the public complaints against them.

Meanwhile, the Retailers Welfare Association has sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, demanding a high-level probe into the scandal and stern action against the arhtias and the officials of the market committee who are allegedly involved in this racket.

They also urged the Deputy Commissioner to order immediate transfer of the staff posted in the vegetable and fruit market to ensure an independent and impartial probe.

Meanwhile, enquiries made by this correspondent have revealed that the income of the market committees of Sonepat, Ganaur and Gohana towns had declined considerably on account of the evasion of the market fee by unscrupulous arhtias, backed by some powerful ruling party politicians.



All things beautiful, at less cost
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, October 11
Vibrant colours, pretty objects, beautiful sarees, shawls, canvas items, leather footwear, ayurvedic products, cosmetics and other handmade varieties of articles have been put on display at the Community Centre, Nanakpura. The exhibition is on till tomorrow. One can have a dekko of all things beautiful on display between 3 pm and 7 pm. The DayalBagh Manufactures, a non-government organisation, has exhibited the products to help 4,000 residents who have been given shelter by the organisation.

Started in about 1915, the ashram belongs to Radhasoamis who keep themselves occupied in chanting, leading a spiritual life and spreading the message of peace among people. DayalBagh, which literary means ‘Garden of the Merciful’, are established all over world, including North America, Europe and Sri Lanka. Satsang bhavans have been constructed at different places, enabling the devotees residing outside to assemble for congregational prayers and other religious and social activities. The people in the ashram have set up small-scale industries that are not only advantageous for the residents but also provide employment to many unemployed.

Ranjan Chopra, Chairman, Exhibition Committee, said, “Our main purpose in holding this exhibition is to make people realise how the organization works, how we manage our day-to day living and still indulge in social activities to serve mankind. We have exhibited good quality products at cheaper rates.

These products make possible the existence of thousands. We want their efforts to be successful. We also have educational institutions, small industries, hospital, ayurvedic centres and sabhas.” 


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