Sunday, October 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Crackdown puts exporters in a fix
Illegal immigrants on the run
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, October 12
Bad days are ahead for the handloom manufacturers and exporters here, it seems. After four days of dilly-dallying, the local police decided to get tough with the illegal Bangladeshis working in the export firms. At a meeting here, the SP, Ms Mamta Singh, directed the DSPs and SHOs to verify the records of the factories and conduct raids, if need be, to flush out illegal immigrants, sources said.

Following this decision and with a large number of illegal settlers fleeing the city after the arrest of 21 Bangladeshi nationals by the police on October 7, the production in export firms is sure to be adversely affected.

The SP’s directive is seen to be an outcome of the media spotlight on the apathetic attitude of the police in arresting the 21 illegal immigrants and their subsequent plan to release them on personal bonds. It was only after the media highlighted the issue, keeping in view the security concerns in the wake of the alleged disruptive activities in the North-East, that the police produced them before a local court. They have now been sent to jail till October 23.

However, the net result of the police campaign against the illegal immigrants would be known only after the passage of time. It may be recalled that the powerful exporters’ lobby had been successfully blocking the efforts of the district administration and police to flush out the illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, panic has gripped the exporters as a number of Bangladeshi workers had either fled or were in the process of leaving the city. Industry sources said the exporters were not likely to meet the deadlines for the overseas orders as a section of the labour had fled the city.

In many a case, several workers had been given advances and the exporters are set to lose a substantial amount.

On the other hand, the Indian labour was expensive than the Bangladeshi workers and arranging labour at the eleventh hour could pose a fresh set of problems. Top exporters held a secret meeting here on Wednesday to take stock of the situation arising of the fleeing of labour and its likely impact on the exports from the city. Last year, the city earned a whopping Rs 1,400 crore in foreign exchange. This year, the orders had reportedly been good. However, the sudden fleeing of these labourers could throw a spanner in the works of the export houses. 


Money orders gather dust at PO
Prem Pal Singh

Meerut, October 12
If you need to send across money urgently, don’t rely on the Postal Department, at least here.

A heap of Money Orders (MOs) have piled up at the Ganta Ghar Head Post Office. Some even date back to December 2001. But who cares?

Senior officials of the department feign ignorance about the matter. However, sources say that the department has been dipping into the money orders to extend loans.

The ‘NCR Tribune’ managed to peep into several undelivered Money Orders and found some glaring instances of negligence. An MO for Rs 100, number 31545J288, dated December 3, 2001 from Mumbai, MO No 1498 dated June 27, 2001 for Rs 3,000 from Gwalior, MO No 3133 for Rs 240 dated July 10, 2002 from Dadawari, Kota, and MO No 447 dated July 17, 2002 for Rs 2,200 are gathering dust at the post office.

No official in the department has an explanation for the inordinate delay. The Senior Superintendent of Post, Meerut Circle, doesn’t know that the MOs have not been delivered for months. But if one visits the Head Post Office here, the sorry state of affairs is for all to see.

Take the case of Ubed-Ur-Rehman. He is baffled for the last three months why he has not received a money order from Gorakhpur, which was despatched on July 8.

Ubed-Ur-Rehman finally managed to have a Duplicate Money Order (DMO) sent on July 27 from Gorakhpur. His DMO was received by the Meerut office, but the department did not bother to deliver it even on this occasion.

The MO is transferred through an express satellite facility to its destination as soon as the form is submitted to the booking clerk. Then, a printout from the ESMO section is sent to the MO paid section and the in charge of the section puts the MO on the rack of the beat postman.

The next day, it is supposed to be delivered by the postman. The whole procedure takes three days.

However, postal officials do not bother to give printouts from the ESMO section, just to avoid the extra ‘hassle’. Up to October 8, 2002, the department had not issued printouts of 753 MOs from June 2002 to September 2002 from the ESMO section. When the ‘NCR Tribune’ contacted the Senior Superintendent of Post in this regard, he passed the buck to the Senior Post Master (SPM), saying that it was under his jurisdiction.

He also added that he did not received any complaints in this regard and the SPM should know about it.

When asked why the printouts from the ESMO were not issued, the System Engineer explained that the transmission lines had been down from February to March 2002. However, there is speculation that the department is using the undelivered money to extend loans. Of course, postal officials deny the allegation.

The SSP, Mr P. C. Joshi, said that some people were spreading false information to malign the department and he would inquire into the matter and the guilty would be punished.


Frayed tempers over ‘fast’ meters 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 12
While the State power department is determined to replace old electro-mechanical power meters with new electronic ones, the authorities have failed to convince the consumers that the new meters are not `fast’. Most of the domestic consumers, whose meters have been replaced, feel that their power bills now are grossly inflated.

One Rajender Singh, a resident of Ajronda village near Sector-15-A here, has even got the new electronic meter dismantled. He revealed that the new meter, replaced a few months ago, had logged 2-month bills of Rs. 15,000 and Rs 11,000, respectively, while the bills earlier (before the replacement) seldom exceeded Rs. 2,000.

Some other residents of the village, namely, Chander Pal and Hawa Singh Khatri, also corroborated the report. They complained that even when no electric gadgets were operative, the meters showed units were being consumed.

They charged that the new meters had been rigged, so that the Power Department can recoup its losses, accruing from pilferage and distribution losses due to the connivance of the staff.

Mr Kailash Sharma of Sector-10 and Mr Tarif Singh of Sector-9 lamented that the new meters had robbed them of their peace of mind. Nobody to ready to listen to their grievances and the officials of the department kept claiming that the electronic meters were `okay’ and they were duty bound to replace the old meters under the orders of the state government.

But not many people agree that replacement of meters would end power theft and line losses. Rajesh Kumar of Jawahar colony claimed that there were hundreds of `kundi’ connections in various colonies and slum areas. He alleged that even certain officials and employees of the Power Department were involved in the racket. How can the new meters stop theft when power is being pilfered directly from the line, he wanted to know.

Ms Sharda Rathaur, president of the Congress district unit (women) and secretary, HPCC, who is a resident of Sector-16, agreed that the new meters were defective. Demanding that the drive to replace old meters which were functional be stopped immediately, she said the state government would not be able to face the fury of the people in the next elections. Ms Rathaur and her supporters had staged a big demonstration at Ballabgarh a couple of years ago when the drive was launched there. Mr Karan Dalal, a former minister and the RPI MLA from Palwal, sees a major `racket’ behind the drive.

He also criticised the State Government for `harassing’ residents. The power department in the district has already replaced 5000 meters and intends to replace some more in the near future. A prominent leader of the Haryana State Electricity Board Employees Union also admitted that the new meters were `fast’ and that there was no need to replace meters which were not defective.


Girl rescued from house of mahila activist
Tribune News Service

Panipat, October 12
The police today arrested Asha Sharma, president of the Mahila Chetna Manch, on the charge of keeping a teenaged girl in confinement in her office-cum-residence.

The girl, Anjali, originally a resident of Yamuna Nagar, was yesterday rescued by a police team and sent to Nari Niketan, Karnal.

According to information, Anjali had allegedly been confined to a room for the last 10 days by Asha. Earlier, she was made to do sundry jobs in the house.

It may be recalled that Anjali was handed over to the manch about three months back by the district administration when she came to the city from Yamuna Nagar and claimed to be an orphan.

The sources said the girl was confined to a room and not allowed to speak to any one. However, when Asha went to Jind for some work, Asha reportedly phoned the SP, Ms Mamta Singh, and narrated her tale of woe. The SP, in turn, directed the Samalkha DSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, and the DDPO, Mr VP Sharma, to rescue the halpless girl. A police party raided the manch office and rescued the girl. She has been sent to the Nari Niketan after recording her statement. A case has been registered.

Three colleges on strike

The indefinite strike by the students of three local colleges over the increase in examination fee entered the third day today, crippling teaching work. Today, hundreds of students boycotted the classes and held demonstrations on the college campuses. Later, they marched in procession to the DC’s office, where they held a noisy protest.

The students alleged that there was no uniformity in the examination fee in the three colleges. They alleged that in IB College, the fee charged was higher than in SD College and Arya College. They have threatened to intensify the agitation till their demands are met.

Abducted boy freed

Meerut: More than a month after a 15-year-old Meerut school boy was kidnapped for ransom, the police today claimed to have rescued him after killing one of the alleged abductors in an encounter in Iccholi area late last night

The police said that efforts were being made to trace the three other suspects, who managed to escape. The school boy, Sudhansu Gupta, has been reunited with his parents.

The boy was reportedly kidnapped while returning home in Ganga Canal Colony from his school on September 4.. The kidnapping was one of the many reported in the city. The incidents had caused considerable tension in the city with traders and residents calling for a bandh and holding regular demonstrations outside the police station..

The police said that special teams were created to tackle the crime and painstaking investigations launched to identify the suspects. A watch was also kept on some of the known criminals who were earlier involved in similar incidents.

A breakthrough was achieved last night when information was received that the suspects were going to transport the boy to another hideout .

The police team, led by SP rural, immediately swung into action and intercepted the vehicle on the Lavan-Masuri Road. The suspects reportedly fired at the police party. The police returned the fire and one of the suspects was killed while the others disappeared into the nearby fields. The police said that efforts were on to identify the deceased. The area around the spot was being scoured for the absconding suspects. Meanwhile, the statement of the boy has been recorded and some of the places where he was confined during month-long captivity have been identified. Further investigations were on.


Wanted criminal flees from custody
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 12
A dreaded and most-wanted criminal, Joginder alias Jaggu of Chamarian village in Rohtak district, managed to escape from police custody last evening.

According to a report, the criminal succeeded in freeing his hand from the handcuff. The incident occurred near the railway over-bridge in the city.

The police raided the nearby educational institutions, some shops, houses and the main entry and exit points, but failed to trace him. All police stations in the region have been informed about the escape and all vehicles on the national and state highways were being checked when reports last came in.

Jaggu, along with another criminal, was being ferried in a jeep from Kharkhauda to Sonepat by two policemen. They were to be produced before a judicial magistrate. According to reports, Jaggu managed to wriggle out of the handcuff when the two policemen got down from the jeep to inspect a flat tyre. The escorts raised an alarm and informed the Kalupur check post.

The police had arrested Jaggu and his accomplice while they were looting passers-by near Khurampur village, about 25 km from here on Thursday night. However, the third suspect, Anup Singh of Chamarian village (Rohtak), managed to flee under the cover of darkness.

However, the police seized a Maruti van, two country-made pistols and some live cartridges from the duo. Cases under the Indian Arms Act and other sections of the IPC have been registered against them. Further investigations are on.


Media exhorted to exercise self-restraint
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
A two-day seminar on “Law of Arrest: Police Powers and Accountability”, organised by the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science in association with the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, at the India International Centre, New Delhi, was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Coal, Mines, Law and Justice, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad. The valedictory address was delivered by Mr Justice V. S. Malimath, Chairman, Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System.

Among those who addressed the seminar were Ms Maja Daruwalla, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Dr N. M. Ghatate, Member, Law Commission of India, Mr P. C. Sharma, Director, CBI, Mr K. T. S. Tulsi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, Justice Rajender Sachar, former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court, Ms Kapila Hingorani, senior advocate, Mr Prakash Singh, former DGP, Mr V. Subba Rao, Chairman, Bar Council of India, Mr Nikhil Kumar, former Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr M. I. Sharma, IG, CID, Dr U. N. B Rao, Joint Commissioner, Delhi Police, Prof S.P. Srivastava, Lucknow University, Prof V. C. Govindraj, Mr K. P. Singh, DIG, CID, Haryana, and Mr Manoj Mitta, Editor, Indian Express.

In his inaugural address, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, highlighted the right of personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and stressed that the procedure of law for depriving anyone of his personal liberty had to be reasonable, just and fair, as held by the Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi case.

Referring to the grave challenges before society posed by rising trends of crime and violence and the increasing sense of insecurity among citizens, the minister highlighted the need to strike a balance between the state’s duties to ensure peace and order in society on the one hand and to protect the human rights of individuals on the other. Citing the Supreme Court verdict in Joginder Kumar case, he said the dilemma really was where to put emphasis, whether on violators of laws or on abider of law. He wanted the human rights of the accused persons to be fully protected but equal respect be shown to the rights of the victims of crime. He favoured categorisation of all crime as either `heinous’ or `non-heinous’ instead of the present classification of `cognisable’ and `non- cognisable’ offences. While stressing that the police in a democratic society should be transparent and open in their functioning, he exhorted the media also to exercise a voluntary self-restraint in projecting the details of terrorist crime, to avoid providing inadvertent publicity to the terrorist. The minister hoped the seminar would comprehensively examine the various issues connected with the law of arrest.

Delivering the valedictory address, Mr Justice V. S. Malimath, Chairman, Committee on Reform of Criminal Justice System, appreciated the active participation and contributions made by the delegates and explained the onerous task assigned to the committee for making recommendations for bringing about comprehensive reforms in the criminal justice system. He also expressed concern for the victim in the criminal justice process.


Armed desperado caught after chase
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
An armed desperado who had along with his two accomplices robbed a businessman of his briefcase from his shop in Swaran Park, Udyog Nagar, Mundka, was caught after a dramatic chase and exemplary courage shown by the victim, Mr. Yashpal Gosain, on Thursday.

The police said the other two suspects who managed to escape have been identified and efforts were being made to trace them. The suspect, Ramphal, of Panipat, Haryana, is now being interrogated to ascertain his involvement in other similar incidents. According to the police, Mr Gosain had just entered his shop on Thursday afternoon and kept his briefcase on the table when the three suspects, armed with a gun and knife, barged into his office and deprived him of the briefcase. They also attacked one of his employees, Jagmohan, when he tried to resist them.

Brandishing their weapons, the suspects then ran out of the shop, threatening a large number of persons present outside on the road. Mr Gosain ran after them, shouting for help. But before the people, most of them truck drivers, could react, Mr Gosain jumped into his car and sped after the suspects who were running towards the railway tracks. On spotting the car pursuing them, the suspect, Ramphal, reportedly fired at it but before he could reload his countrymade gun, the businessman rammed into the trio, throwing them off balance. By the time, several of his workers accompanied by his son landed at the spot about half a kilometre away from the place of the incident and managed to overpower Ramphal while the other two managed to escape.

The police said that it was possible that the same gang had been operating in the other areas of the Capital as well as at the railway stations. Ramphal has been remanded in five days’ police custody.


4 of family killed

Rohtak: Four persons of a family were killed and at least 14 injured when the jeep in which they were travelling collided head on with a Tata-407 vehicle.


PDS commodities being diverted to black market
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 12
Representatives of various political parties, trade unions, social and voluntary organisations today expressed grave concern over the malpractice in the distribution of rationed articles among the families living below the poverty line (BPL).

They demanded a high-level probe into the racket and stern action against the owners of fair price shops and the officials found responsible.

In a joint press release, they alleged that most of the fair price shops owners were selling sugar and kerosene in the black market and certain officials of the Food and Supplies Department were in league with the unscrupulous depot-holders.

They also alleged that the higher authorities of the department had failed to check the malpractice.

Meanwhile, the public distribution system (PDS) seems to have become a subject of criticism in the city and elsewhere in the district because a large quantity of rationed commodities, particularly kerosene supplied to the fair price shops, find their way into the black market, instead of reaching the ration card holders, including the BPL families holding yellow and other ration cards.

Most of such consumers are deprived of their monthly ration of levy sugar and kerosene. All complaints made to the authorities concerned in this regard have yielded little results.

Members of several BPL families interviewed by this correspondent said that poor quality atta was being sold at the fair price shops.

Faulty weighing, over-charging and diversion of rationed sugar and kerosene to the black market were some of the other complaints of these families. They also alleged that the owners of the fair price shops never issued proper receipts to them for the commodities distributed. Several cardholders alleged corruption in the Food and Civil Supplies Department.


Reduce gap between rich & poor: Shekhawat
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, October 12
The Vice President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, today urged for measures to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor so that a just and equitable society was created in the country.

Mr Shekahwat, who was here to inaugurate a two-day “parichay sammelan” (introductory convention”) organised here by local members of the Vaish and Aggarwal community, said that social evils related to conduct of marriages were the major causative factors for the maladies afflicting society.

The convention was organised to facilitate eligible females and males from the community to publicly introduce themselves so that they could decide on mutually agreed suitable matches for themselves on the occasion. According to the organisers, the participants had come from various parts of Haryana and the neighbouring states of Punjab, Delhi and Rajasthan.

The idea behind such a function is to provide a platform for eligible females and males and their parents, hailing from economically the lower income bracket, to make on-the-spot choice of matches.

This is to enable reduction of expenses. In fact, this noble practice finds succour and sustenance from the philosophy propounded by Maharaja Agarsen who once had his kingdom covering parts of central Haryana with headquarters at Agroha. Maharaja Agarsen was from the Baniya community and is a cult figure for it. The entire exercise is essentially to help the community that automatically injects reformative measures in the Hindu religion.

Those who attended the function included a Rashtriya Janata Dal MP from Bihar and national president of the Vaishya Parishad, Mr Prem Gupta, a former MP from Bihar and senior Congress leader Rajni Ranjan Sahu, the Deputy Speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Mr Gopi Chand Gehlot, the local BJP MP, Mrs Sudha Yadav, a senior BJP leader of the state, Mr Sita Ram Singla, and a Congress leader, Mr Vashist Goyal. Mr Subhash Goyal and Mr Illiaya Mohammad, both ministers in the Haryana Government, were also among those present. A local industrialist, Mr Purn Chand, presided over the function.

Speaking at the public function, Mr Shekhawat chastised the organisers of such functions, saying that involving only lower income group members of the community for such matchmaking would not do. They need to have a holistic approach by involving those from higher strata of society. The intended reforms with regard to marriages in terms of avoidable expenses could come about only when the rich were also included in the spectrum, he added.


Good vs evil fight begins within

It is said that a community expresses itself in and through its celebrations. Dasehra is then the celebration of the natural human desire for the triumph of good over evil. In our art and literature also, this has been an underlying theme. In the mythology that surrounds this festival, Mahishasure personifies evil: Durga represents the powers for good. In the case of the legend relating to Rama and Ravana, Dasehra is the celebration of Ravana’s death at the hands of Rama.

The stories are too well-known. There was a battle between the Devas (gods) and the demons (asuras) lasting about 100 years. Mahisha, the buffalo-demon defeated Indra, the Lord of the gods (Devas). Mahishasura had received a boon from Brahma that he would not suffer death at the hands of men or spirits. Made invulnerable in this manner, he runs amuck and tyrannises the gods (devas) and the world. The desperate need to contain the Asura (demon) leads to a conclave among the gods. They discover the dangerous boon insuring the asura against death did not include woman. The result is the incarnation of goddess Durga to accomplish the task of killing Mahishasura.

Durga had to fight the demon for nine days and beheaded him on the tenth day, which is marked by Vijayadasmi. The Durga festival is observed all over the country in one form or the other. The ten-armed Durga is a combination of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti, the consorts of the gods. During Navaratri, three nights are devoted to the worship of the three Devis. For example, on the ninth day of Dasehra, it is Saraswati’s turn to be worshipped. She is the goddess of learning.

Mahishasura, in the form of a buffalo, is symbolic of evil. A contemporary writer points out that the buffalo is slow witted, thick skinned, course, enjoys lounging in the slush, and symbolizes a mere physical development. This is in keeping with the Hindu tenet that ignorance is the cause of all human suffering. If a person has no sense of the sacred, then it is due to the lack of wisdom. The black buffalo symbolises the darkness, which can cloud a man’s understanding and bring about his ruin.

The motherhood aspect of divinity is another picture available to us through Durga puja It shows Durga not simply as a woman but as a protecting mother. Hindu theology will permit the adoration of `God the Mother’ as much as `God the Father.’ Unfortunately, such dominance of the Mother in mythology does not translate itself to real life: the reports of female infanticide, dowry deaths and abandonment of widows tell a different tale. Durga, the Mahishasura mardini, (the killer of the buffalo demon), is source of inspiration to the weak and the oppressed; the Durga of Devi Mahatmyam intervenes to restore justice and to defeat evil.

But the Indian woman is yet to acquire that status in society and is yet to be liberated from the bondage of tradition. She today presents us the picture of a beast of burden.

And social progress is so much dependent on the condition of women. The hands that rocks the cradles have so much to do with the destiny of the nation, and their education is the primary task to be attended to if the nation is to be delivered from the morass of evil it finds itself in. 

Undoubtedly, Mahishasuras abound in our land; communalism and corruption are the two prominent asuras who pose a threat to peace, stability and progress. In a situation of poverty and want or in conflict and violence, it is the women who bear the brunt and they need to wake up and organise themselves to counter the evils. 
The religious fervour—of which the country has an abundance—in the next few days will manifest itself in the display of magnificent idols, in pujas and processions; in shopping, holidaying and so on. Customs and rituals dominate our religious spirit and they often dissipate our energies without making a difference to the situation we find ourselves in. This again could be interpreted as the clouding of our intellect by ignorance!

A proper awareness of the evil, both within and outside, is necessary if we are to have real victory over evil. There are evils bedeviling society and spreading misery all round which call for joint action. Durga and Mahishasura also represent the forces of good and evil within a man. These powers are constantly at war. It is here that the battle is decisive.

Ultimately the misery of existence can be traced to the pride and selfishness, the greed and jealousy that occupy the human heart; the baser instincts have to be overcome if we are to succeed against the great evils that get manifested in our society today.

The religious leaders have a role in initiating that regeneration in the human heart so that the forces of good will triumph over the evil within. It is a matter of allowing the Spirit of righteousness and truth to triumph in the human heart.

This is also a matter of choice to be made by the individual. Are we willing to allow the Spirit of God to operate within? Or will we yield a place to the demon to operate freely? Once we decide to stand for the right values, help will come from above to guide us to victory.

M P K Kutty


From glaciers to lakes, Pithoragarh spells adventure
Tribune News Service

Lush green hills and valleys
Lush green hills and valleys.

The district of Pithoragarh was carved out of the district of Almora in Uttar Pradesh in 1962. Surrounded by peaks like the Nanda Devi, Trishul, Hardeol, Nandakhat, Rajrambha, Bambadhura and Panchchuli, it has a fair share of magnificent glaciers Milam, Namik, Ralam, Meola and Balati.

The water from these glaciers that fills the rivers of Kuti, Dhauli Ganga (East), Gori Ganga, Ram Ganga (East), Saryu and Kali (Sharda) provides ample scope for rafting and canoeing. While the lower hill ranges are home to picturesque summer resorts like Champawat, Lohaghat, Pithoragarh, Didihat and Berinag, the lush forest cover is home to a mind-boggling variety of flora and fauna.

In the south, Pithoragarh district touches the Terai area of Nainital. The northern part of the district is the abode of exotic and colourful tribes. The place is known for festivals and religious ceremonies, which are celebrated through out the district all the year round.

Snow-capped mountains
Snow-capped mountains.

The district headquarters of Pithoragarh is located at an altitude of about 1,650 metres in a lush sprawling valley, also known as Sore. Of the places to see in the area is Champawat, which is 76 km from Pithoragarh at an altitude of 1,615 metres. It is the erstwhile capital of the Chand Rajas of Kumaon. The ancient fort now houses the Tehsil offices.

Devidhura, 45 km from Lohaghat at a height of 2,500 metres, it is the site of the famous temple of Barahi Devi, and also the venue of a grand fair on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

Kali Temple

Pithoragarh is also dotted with pilgrimage sites
Pithoragarh is also dotted with pilgrimage sites. 

Kali Temple, in Gangolihat is an important religious site, about 77 km from Pithoragarh. At this ancient temple, a colourful fair is held during Navratris. The famous Patal Bhuvneshwari caves are located 14 km away.

Chaukori at a distance of 112 km from Pithoragarh is picturesque, affording a splendid view of the Himalayas.

Berinag lies 102 km from Pithoragarh and also provides a fantastic view of the great mountains.

Punyagiri Temple is one of the most renowned temples in the Kumaon region. Lakhs of pilgrims visit the shrine during April to June. The site is around 20 km from Tanakpur, out of which 6 km is to be trekked.

Jaul Jibi, which is about 68 km from Pithoragarh, is the venue of a grand fair, held every year at the confluence of the rivers, Gori and Kali, in the month of November.

Ritha-Saheb is a Sikh pilgrimage site. It is about 62 km from Lohaghat. Accommodation facilities for travellers are provided by the Gurdwara authorities. Rameshwar, 36 km from Pithoragarh, is located at the confluence of the Ram Ganga (East) and Saryu rivers. It is the site of a Shiva temple, where a huge fair is held every year on Makarsankranti (January).

Milam Glacier

A majestic glacier, which lies 208 km from Pithoragrah, is a popular place to visit. From Munsiyari, one has to trek for 54 km to reach here.

Munsiyari lies 154 km from Pithoragarh en route to Milam Glacier. Perched at an altitude of 7,000 feet, Munsiyari commands a fascinating view of the Panchchuli Range and Gori river. It also forms the base for treks to Milam, Namik and Ralam glaciers. Munsiyari is also the venue of numerous fairs during August and September.

Shyamla Tal, 132 km from Pithoragarh, is a beautiful natural lake on the bank of which is located Swami Vivekananda Ashram.

Chhota Kailash

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is conducted by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam. The road journey for this Yatra concludes at Tawaghat near Dharchula. From this point, pilgrims have to trek through the valley of the Kali (Sharda river). Campsites are centred around Narayanswamy Ashram, Sirkha, Budi, Gunji, Navedhang and Kalapani.

Kuti Valley

This valley affords adventure tourism. The upper reaches of Pithoragarh district provide thrilling treks like Trail’s pass, Milam Glacier, Ralam Valley, Chhota Kailash, Sinla etc. All these lie above 300 metres. These are good not simply for treks but some great skiing during winter. Several snow peaks like Mount Hardeol challenge the most intrepid of mountaineers. The Gori and Sharda rivers are wonderful for river rafting while the lakes and rivers in the lower reaches are apt for angling. Pithoragarh is one of the best sites for hang-gliding.

How to reach

The nearest railhead is Tanakpur, 151 km away and the nearest airhead is Pantnagar Airstrip, 249 km away. Tourist rest houses and hotels are available for accommodation.


SC, OBC members pledge to unite 
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, October 12
A large number of representatives of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) today pledged at a public meeting here to organise and unite themselves under the leadership of former Haryana minister Kripa Ram Punia to strengthen their voice for redressal of their grievances.

Members of these sections assembled under the banner of the Janhit Sewa Sangathan, a non-political outfit, headed by Mr Punia, a bureaucrat-turned-politician. In fact, Mr Punia had quit as a senior IAS officer while posted in the state to join politics. The SC and OBC members took the vow as part of the ‘sankalpa’ during the ongoing ‘Navratra’ festival.

SC and OBC members from nearby Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh also came to participate in today’s meeting. Members from 17 social organisations of SCs based here took part in the function. A few days ago, members of these communities had invited Mr Punia to preside over a similar social function in Gwalior. The organisers said that such meetings had already been organised by the Janhit Sewa Sangathan in majority of the districts in Haryana. According to them, meetings in the remaining districts would be covered before the year-end. The purpose of the meetings is to listen to the problems of the members of the weaker sections of the society in the state, following which an appraisal report would be prepared by the sangathan. This would be followed by a policy paper consisting of the future course of action for solving the problems.


Telecom staff stage demonstration
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, October 12
Telecom officers staged a demonstration in front of the office of the General Manager, Rohtak Telecom District, as part of the agitation launched by the trade union in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands.

Mr Arvind Pal Dahiya, district secretary, Telecom Engineering Officers’ Association (TEOA), Rohtak Telecom District, said that the association had demanded IDA pay scale for executives in MTNL and BSNL from E-2 to E-5 scales of the Mohan Committee for JTOs to DEs. Besides, the association had also sought payment of pension by the government for those who had opted for MTNL, benefit of IDA pay scales for officers retired in the intervening period, pay scales and pay fixation for DEs working on an ad hoc basis and no lateral entry at the level of JTOs and above.


Declare Rohtak drought-hit: Cong

A large number of Congress activists of the Kiloi assembly segment led by Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, a former minister and spokesman of the Haryana Congress, staged a demonstration here this afternoon, demanding declaration of Rohtak district as drought-hit and adequate compensation to the affected farmers. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the Governor through the Deputy Commissioner. He said the farmers almost all over the state had been adversely affected due to the long dry spell but, he alleged, the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had announced providing compensation to the farmers only in six districts. The farmers in this district were on the verge of collapse and in dire need of compensation, he said.


BJP leaders to address meetings
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, October 12
Senior BJP leaders and union ministers would address different public meetings to be held from October 22 to 30 and November 8 to 15 at different places.

In a statement here on Friday, Mr Gulshan Bhatia, state office secretary of the party, said leaders of the central unit of the party, including Mr Arun Jaitley, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Mr Ashwini Kumar and a Union minister, Mr Santosh Gangwar, would address these meetings. He said the party campaigns, including ‘Chalo gaon ki aur’, membership drive and a rally to be held in Delhi on December 8 would be discussed at these meetings.

Rs 73,800 snatched

Four armed miscreants snatched an amount of Rs 73,800 from a person at Ismaila village recently. The complainant, who claimed identification of two of the robbers, first sought justice from the village panchayat. However, the matter was reported to the police on Thursday evening when the panchayat failed to resolve the issue.

Mr Kanwal Singh, a resident of Ismaila village stated in the FIR that he had received a token money of Rs 2 lakh in a land deal on October 7. He said that after giving an amount of Rs 1.26 lakh to his cousin and an another person, he was returning from Kultana to Ismaila village.

He alleged four youths armed with knives and iron rods intercepted him and snatched the amount. He said although two of the robbers had covered their faces, he was able to identify them as Rajesh and Sunil of Ishmaila village. The Sampla police have registered a case under Section 392 of the IPC in this connection.

No-trust move

Sonepat: A majority of municipal councillors of the Sonepat Municipal Council are contemplating bringing about a no-confidence motion against the INLD-supported Chairman, Mr Satpal Goel, shortly in protest against his dictatorial attitude besides his tendency of withholding funds for the development of their wards.

According to a report, the disgruntled municipal councillors had made a series of such attempts in the past but failed to remove Mr Goel from the post. At least 16 out of 31 municipal councillors boycotted the meeting of the council, convened by the Chairman yesterday. The Chairman postponed the meeting and said that he would again convene a meeting next week to take decisions on various issues.

10 hurt in mishaps

At least 10 persons were injured, some of them seriously, in different accidents on National Highway 1 and other roads in and around this city on Friday. According to a report, all injured persons were immediately hospitalised. These include two women. An unidentified youth who sustained grievous injuries was referred to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment. The police are still investigating. No arrest has so far been made in this connection.


Load to be shed today on rotation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) will shed load on Sunday in certain areas of North Delhi. The private distributor of electricity says load will be shed on rotation from 10 in the morning till five in the evening in Hudson Lines, Delhi University, Kingsway Camp, Indra Vihar, Mukherji Nagar, parts of Vijay Nagar, Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), Ravara Patel Chest and SFS Mall Road. The shedding of load has been necessitated, says the company’s press release, because conductors have to be replaced between Gopalpur and Civil Lines.

Rally by Safai kamgar body

The Municipal Safai Kamgar Congress of Delhi State will organise a dharna and agitation on October 18 in front of the office of the Deputy Municipal Commissioner in protest against the dismissal of daily wage workers. The Safai Kamgar Congress demanded that temporary employees working from 1994 be taken on pay rolls, an increment of Rs 68 in the salary of daily wage workers. The union is also opposing the identification drive of daily wage worked in MCD.

PTI workers on fast

To protest against the victimisation and illegal transfer of the employees of Press Trust of India (PTI), the PTI union continued hunger strike at Jantar Mantar for he second consecutive day today.

The PTI union also received support from Delhi Union of Journalists vice-president Satish Tripathi, The Times of India Employees Union general secretary Roopchand, Indian Express union secretary Navkant Thakur, UNI Workers Union president M. L. Joshi and secretary Mukesh Kaushik. They addressed the gathering against the management. 


Pirated VCDs, lewd films seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police seized 1,432 VCDs, MP3s, audio cassettes, pornographic movies and a CD writer after raids conducted at different shops in Delhi. The first raid was conducted at Lucky Audio and Video Centre, Mahipalpur. As many as 1,097 pirated VCDs of newly released English and Hindi films were seized.

The suspect, Nagender Kumar, had also been arrested and a case under the Copyright Act had been registered at the Vasant Kunj police station. In another raid at Sushil Electronics and Mukesh Electronics and a video shop in the Sultanpuri area, the police seized 334 VCDs and arrested suspects, Sushil Kumar and Amit Sharma, the police said.

PCR men rewarded

At least 49 personnel of the Police Control Room were rewarded with cash and certificates by senior police officers for their good works. The PCR van stationed near Gangan Cinema in North East district received a message that two youths robbed a TSR near Kalandar Colony. The PCR personnel chased the boys and arrested them. They were identified as Tahsin and Aas Mohammad. In the body search a countrymade pistol and five live cartridges were seized. In another case, staff members of a PCR van caught four persons and recovered Rs 500 from their possession which they had robbed from a TSR driver in the Bawana area.

Four held for betting

The Special Staff of the East district police has arrested four persons for running a betting racket during the India-West Indies match today at a residence in Preet Vihar. The betting was reportedly made for Rs 22 lakh and was found registered in a register recovered by the police. A television set, two briefcase recorders, two calculators, one pager, four registers and four writing pads were recovered from their possession.

The four persons — Ramesh Chand Grower (47), resident of Rohini, Tarun Kumar (37), resident of Indira Park, Anil Kumar (33) and Mukesh Kumar. both residents of Preet Vihar —- were nabbed around 11 am from Anil’s house in Preet Vihar. 


Murder suspect falls in police net
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, October 12
The district police today arrested a murder suspect who was also allegedly involved in several incidents of snatching and theft of vehicles and highway robberies.

The accused, Shankar, alias Bablu, of Julana village in Jind district had allegedly stolen a Maruti car from Mansarover Park here nearly three months ago. Along with his four accomplices, he snatched a car from near Bahu Akbarpur village and took away cash and a mobile phone from its occupants in June last. He was also allegedly involved in snatching cash and other valuables from the occupants of different vehicles on state highways. Later, Shankar allegedly murdered the head of a gang, Sandeep, alias Mota, with the help of his accomplices-Anil of Rohtak, Manoj of Titauli and Kuldeep of Bahu Akbarpur villages— at Nindana village on June 20 last following a dispute regarding the distribution of stolen property. Anil and Kuldeep had already been arrested by the police while Manoj reportedly committed suicide a few months ago.


Forever, a toothy smile
Tripti Nath

Hindustan Lever has taken upon itself the task of plastering a long-lasting toothy smile on its loyal customers. HLL's oral care brand, Pepsodent, has taken the lead by announcing the launch of ‘Pepsodent Dental Insurance’. In partnership with New India Assurance Co. Ltd., Pepsodent will now offer its customers free dental insurance of Rs 1000 on purchase of any pack of Pepsodent. The age of the interested beneficiary should not exceed 50 years on the day he applies for enrolment. The last date of receiving complete proposal forms is April 30, 2003.

The insurance cover will take care of expenses incurred in the extraction of a permanent tooth or teeth due to severe caries and periodontics, resulting in the loss of a tooth. It will also cover the cost of medication. The insurance cover will be provided for a year and will come into effect after a period of six months from the date the ‘Pepsodent Dental Insurance’ certificate is issued. ‘Pepsodent Dental Insurance’ forms will soon be available in all superior Pepsodent packs of 100 and 200 gm and select retail outlets.

The policy promises reimbursement of medical/surgical treatment for the covered expenses at a dental clinic/hospital. As per the specified limits, the company will reimburse the dental surgeon's consultation fee upto Rs 150, cost of dental procedure under local anaesthesia up to Rs 400, cost of related medication up to Rs 250, cost of X-ray up to Rs 100 and cost of tooth extraction due to severe caries up to Rs 100 (Rs 200 in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai). Pradeep Banerjee, Category Head-Oral Care Personal Products, is hopeful that the initiative would raise awareness about oral health in the country.

ISO stamp

Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (DCHRC) in Vasundhara Enclave has been certified for implementing ISO 9001: 2000 and ISO 14001:1996 standards for its integrated quality and environment management system.

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is the world-wide federation of national standard bodies (ISO member bodies) which prepares and publishes international standards for organisational activities, processes and services through its technical committees.

ISO 9001: 2000 specifies standards for a quality management system of a medical establishment. ISO 14001:1996 specifies requirements for an environment management system to enable an organisation to formulate a policy and objectives, taking into account the legislative requirement and information about significant environmental impact.

The hospital was awarded the coveted certification after a Germany-based certifying body carried out an audit for comprehensive cancer care, administrative and support services. DCHRC director, Dr S. Khanna, has reiterated the hospital's commitment to provide high quality, uniform, consistent, efficient, personalised and compassionate services in an environment, which ensures the operational health and safety of patients, their attendants and employees.

Digital hearing

Widex India Ltd, which is dedicated to providing complete hearing solutions, has launched Senso Diva, a new dimension in hearing aid technology. Senso Diva, a fully digital hearing aid, represents the best in Senso performance, the latest in chip technology and the most recent thinking in audiological principles.

In Senso Diva, the current potential of digital technology has been fully utilised in order to derive efficient and versatile solutions. This has been achieved with the introduction of a new multi-channel noise reduction system and a new adaptive directional microphone system. The instrument also provides solutions to many other classical problems, including preservation of listening comfort in adverse listening conditions, provisions of accurate reproduction of music and nature sounds, establishing audibility for week sounds, obtaining a distortion free sound image, preventing acoustic feedback and reducing occlusion effect.

The new features of Senso Diva include slow acting compression with sound stabiliser TM, a new portable programmer (SP3), compass fitting software, microphone match with optimic TM, adaptive beam forming and locator TM.

Telemedicine link

Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC) has established telemedicine link with Gajra Raja Medical College (GRMC), Gwalior. The Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, inaugurated the Escorts-GRMC tele-cardiology centre in GRMC on Saturday in the presence of the Head of the Department of Non-Invasive Cardiology, EHIRC, Dr R.R. Kasliwal, and member of Parliament, Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Mrs Dikshit expressed the hope that the tele-cardiology centre would `benefit all patients, doctors and students, who are would bring accolades to our country in the coming years.”

Speaking on the occasion from Delhi, EHIRC executive director, Dr Naresh Trehan said, “This tele-cardiology link between EHIRC and GRMC gives us a chance to reach out and touch the lives of people of Gwalior and nearby places, providing them with world-class heart care facilities that should ideally be available to every citizen of our country. This is an excellent example of how technology can be used in healthcare to overcome the distance barrier.

Our next endeavour is to increase the number of heart command centres in our country, so as to reach out to a wider section of our society.”

The tele-cardiology centre will enhance distance diagnosis and enable medical practitioners in Gwalior to hold real time discussion of cases, ready transfer of medical reports and images besides real time assistance from EHIRC, Delhi. The centre is likely to be extended later to Guna and Shivpuri.

Lifestyle food

Residents of Noida can now look forward to shopping that promotes health consciousness. The third branch of Whole Foods, a store with a range of guaranteed organic, chemical-free, adulteration free rice and pulses, wheat dalia, millet flour, amaranth seeds, spices, breakfast cereals, sattus, jaggery, honey, mustard oil etc.

It was inaugurated recently in Sector 18 by Joint Commissioner of Police (Training), Dr Kiran Bedi.

The inspiration behind Whole Foods is none other than Ishi Khosla who has worked as senior nutritionist at Escorts Heart Institute for eight years. Khosla says that in the course of her counselling sessions, she found that her patients had difficulty in obtaining prescribed foods as readymade whole grain products. This is how the idea to start a one-stop shop for a range of healthy and healing foods was born, says Khosla, who also runs two Whole Foods centres in Greater Kailash and New Friends Colony. The store offers a range of food specially recommended for certain common lifestyle related diseases as heart disease and cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and osteoporosis.

The store also offers a tasty array of wholesome bakery products, which includes whole wheat bread, multi-grain breads and cookies besides special fruit drinks. The outlet also has high fibre roasted nuts, dry fruits, roasted namkeens made from whole grains and nutritious seeds, soya bean products, spices, special tea, low fat snacks, sprouts, diet, yoghurt, natural dietary supplements, wheat grass, oil sprays and natural oils. Whole Foods is an effort to revive the concept of consuming food in its whole, natural and unrefined form. Khosla believes that Whole Foods can restore the balance in today's skewed diets.

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