Saturday, October 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


There’s a chink in Raisina Hill’s armour
Cecil Victor

New Delhi, October 25
Different procedures to control parking in the high security zone comprising Parliament House and the North Block-South Block-Rashtrapati Bhavan complex have created a loophole on Raisina Hill which a terrorist can use to wreak havoc.

Cars are allowed to be parked on both sides of the slope leading up to the seat of the Government of India in misplaced confidence that no mischief will be perpetrated. The central ethos of security is quite the opposite — an overriding suspicion that the worst will happen at any time..

After the attack on Parliament which is just 100 metres from Raisina Hill, security has been appropriately tightened by controlling the entry of cars, setting up surveillance cameras and arranging security forces in a manner that will make it difficult for a repeat of the attack on 13 December last. Visitors’ cars are made to park near the fountains at the base of Vijay Chowk with loud-hailer facilities to draw the attention of the drivers.

Inexplicably, cars are allowed to be parked on Raisina Hill which is the approach all VVIPs must take to enter either North Block, South Block or Rashtrapati Bhavan. On Wednesday, the place was particularly more crowded with cars on both sides of the slope, those on the left facing Rashtrapati Bhavan and those on the right facing India Gate.

There was at least one taxi and several private vehicles there, giving the impression that not all the visitors were government officials and therefore immune from the requisite security drill of having their cars checked for explosives.

If a car packed with explosives is detonated by remote control or even in a suicide attack (and this is no figment of imagination but culled from experience of terrorist attacks in various parts of the country) when VVIP vehicles are passing, the effect will be accentuated by enclosed nature of the structures on either side.

No attempt is made to check the cars parked on Raisina Hill for possible hidden explosives.

This difference in procedures for checking vehicles in Parliament House and for those on the Raisina Hill complex does not fit in with the suggestions made by counter-terrorism experts that the Parliament House-Rashtrapati Bhavan complex must be treated as one to allow for the establishment of an arrangement that will be seamless and impenetrable.

The creation of separate “zones” covering the entire Lutyen’s complex of government offices, VVIP residences, MPs’ bungalows will be rendered ineffective if parking is to be treated in different ways at different places.

Why take a risk on Raisina Hill when vehicles can be parked near the fountains as they are done for Parliament House?

If this is the result of several different agencies handling security within their own confined bailiwicks, it needs to be remedied at the highest level. The plethora of different security forces drawn from different agencies looks very impressive indeed and perhaps that is what is inducing unacceptable overconfidence and allowing for chinks between them that could be exploited by inimical elements.



DFS gifts itself high-tech vans
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The ‘archaic’ Delhi Fire Service, which is mandated to maintain disaster management centres (DMCs), will go hi-tech after a HazMat (Hazardous Material) van each is commissioned in the DMCs at Nehru Place, Rohini and Laxmi Nagar.

The Delhi Fire Service says the three state-of-the-art HazMat vans have been procured. They will be detailed to the three DMCs to make them more efficient and lend them teeth.

The van is equipped with software, a weather monitoring console, a video monitor with zoom and portable gadgets that measure radiation. The van can double up as an ambulance and mobile fire-station and travel four lakh km without oil change.

The three vans cost about Rs 12 crore. The Delhi Fire Service will maintain the HazMat vans but personnel drawn from the Delhi Police will commandeer it. The hi-tech option of purchasing HazMat vans was exercised after the Government of NCT of Delhi decided that the threat of a terrorist attack warranted an investment in hardware useful in disaster mitigation.

Accordingly, Rs 11.40 crore were sanctioned for importing the equipment from a UK-based company to reinforce disaster management centres and personnel detailed for relief and rescue operations in the event of an NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) attack.

The shopping list included modern equipment and special protective clothing for personnel drawn from the Delhi Fire Service and other agencies. Besides HazMat van, the purchases comprised rescue tools, decontamination units and special protective gear consisting of helmet, an anti-flash hood, gloves and the works.

The HazMat vans were to have been delivered in July, payment toward which had been transferred to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) – the agency mandated to procure them.

The Government of NCT of Delhi will be spending Rs 14 crore for equipping the DMCs with hi-tech machines. The DMCs are expected to have all the necessary state-of-the-art rescue equipment, emergency appliances and machinery to deal with chemical disasters.

According to officials engaged in institutionalising the chain of command and drill, the purchases were necessitated on account of the obsolete hardware available with the Delhi Fire Service and allied agencies. Thirty men each, they said, had been deputed to the three disaster management centres located in Nehru Place, Laxmi Nagar and Rohini. All such personnel were made to undergo a two-week-long training before they were detailed for rescue and relief operations.

While the centre in Nehru Place became operational in April last year, those located in Laxmi Nagar and Rohini were integrated into the system in October. The responsibility of managing a situation has been fixed on the State Crisis Group that comprises officials drawn from the Government of NCT of Delhi, Delhi Police, etc. Chief Secretary of the Government of NCT of Delhi is the ex officio chairperson of this Group.



Fire-safety steps in highrises under scanner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The Delhi High Court on Friday ordered the Delhi Fire Service and the municipal agencies to inspect 1,200-odd high-rise buildings to ascertain whether they had the necessary fire safety approval and were complying with requisite norms. That was a part of the seven-point directive the court issued. The court also ordered transfer of the maintenance of all 214 “static water tanks” meant for fire-fighting purposes from the Department of Public Works (PWD) to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) so that water was available round the clock during Divali. The PWD was told to bear the cost of such work.

Ordering constitution of a team of officials from the Delhi Fire service (DFS), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Cantonment Board to inspect fire-safety measures in the highrise buildings, the court said a sample report of inspection of 10 buildings be submitted within four weeks. The agencies were told to nominate their representatives for the team within two weeks.

A Bench comprising justices Anil Dev Singh and RS Sodhi, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), said the sample inspection of 10 buildings would be done in all five district centres of Connaught Place, Rajendra Place, Janakpuri, Nehru Place and Preet Vihar. The court, however, cautioned that the inspection of buildings should not be used as an excuse to “exploit” users or owners of such buildings.

Noting that the basements in most of the high-rise buildings in the Capital were being “illegally” and “hazardously” used for housing offices, the judges said the team would also inspect the basements of ten high-rise buildings in the district centres of Nehru Place, Rajendra Place, Connaught Place, Janakpuri and Preet Vihar.

The court directed the MCD, the NDMC and the Delhi Police to ensure no encroachment of public places were allowed to hamper the movement of fire brigade vehicles during the festival of Divali. “The effort was to ensure that this Diwali goes fire (incident) free,” the justices said.

The direction was given by the court after recording the statement of DFS Chief RC Sharma, who gave details about the equipment, necessity to build 36 new fire stations, one new workshop for repairing of fire tenders and other equipment and allotment of land for the purpose.



Condolence meet turns into condemnation rally
Our Correspondent

Rewari, October 25
A citizens’ meeting, organised in the complex of Guru Ravi Das Hostel here today to condole the death of five Dalits recently near Jhajjar, turned into a ‘condemnation rally’ when one speaker after the other flayed the lynching incident. A number of resolutions were passed in the meeting, demanding a CBI probe into the killings and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

Criticising the Chautala government for its ‘anti-Dalit, anti-farmer and anti-worker’ policies, the deputy leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party, Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav, announced that they would bring in an adjournment motion in the special session of the Rajya Vidhan Sabha on October 30 and would not allow the House to run its proceedings till the issue was discussed threadbare.

Denouncing the Chief Minister’s ‘arbitrary and high-handed’ style of functioning, he said that it was deplorable that the Chief Minister visited the houses of the bereaved families only after 10 days when the ghastly killings had assumed national as well as international proportions. He read out certain resolutions unanimously endorsed with a show of hands by the gathering. The resolutions include a CBI probe into the Dalit massacre; payment of a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased; grant of a government job to one member each of the bereaved families; and punishment of the ‘guilty’ police personnel.

The Chautala government also came in for criticism by the Haryana Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, who blamed the ‘rampant police corruption, police brutality and religious fanaticism’ for the massacre of the Dalits.

He slammed the state government for charging the opposition, particularly the Congress, with making political mileage out of the Dulina episode. The Rewari Congress chief, Mr Harish Saini, Mr Hanuman Chhabri, M.C., Mrs Prem Wati, Municipal Councillor, Dalit leaders Ram Nath, Hans Raj, Lala Ram and several others also addressed the rally, presided over by Mr Amar Singh, RPI activist .



Signature dishes from marketing gurus this Divali
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The festive season in India is turning out to be a helluva marketing opportunity which nobody is willing to forgo. And this has manifested itself in an almost thundering crescendo of creative imagination and innovative marketing of gift items during Divali.

Objets d’art, mouth-watering sweets, cookies, cakes, silverware, kitchenware, pop religiosity has penetrated everywhere. Thus Episode, a silverware outlet, is offering a ‘complete Divali range” consisting of silver diyas, silver coins, Om bell and Ganesha in different forms.

“As Divali is one of the most celebrated festivals of our country, we have decided to offer exclusive designs in Divali accessories as well as exclusive Ganeshas and diyas,” the Episode Director, Mr Sanjiv Whorra, said.

Elite Sotre, a crystal product retailer, also seeks to capitalise on the Ganesha USP. The store has introduced a crystal replica of Lord Ganesha to mark the occasion. Kasturi, a pickle and murabbas company, has introduced ‘dry glazed murabbas’ consisting of an assorted mix of murabbas, topped with dry fruits and an aromatic elaichi flavour.

Not to be left behind, Gurgaon-based confectionery company, Hot Breads, is hosting a weeklong ‘Cake Festival’ which will conclude on October 30. In the words of the company, “The festival promises cake connoisseurs an opportunity to gobble up a mouthful of their favourite cakes.”

The element of innovation has been thrown in in the form of various shapes and sizes. Thus there are joy cakes, cake toons, cakes with funny faces to conform to different moods and personalities.

Kolkata-based croissant, Kookie Jar, is offering innovatively packaged confectionery items. According to the company, the special packaging material “will be a collector’s delight”. The assortment includes ‘chocolate diyas’ and ‘cakes with motifs’.

And if it becomes a problem of plenty, Ruby Tuesday India, a part of the worldwide American Casual dining restaurant, has offered an ingenious solution. The company has offered with food vouchers of various denominations. The menu has some “signature dishes” for the calorie-conscious. But the USP, the company says, is the ‘serious salad bar’ which is a riot of colours and boasts of several mixed and unmixed salads at any time.

To cap it all, there are corporate gift packages such as three attractive Real Fruit Juice gift packs offered by FMCG major Dabur or the dinnerware by Seasonal Dekor. As the battle royale continues, the creative cells of marketing wizards are reaching new elevation in the flight of innovative fantasy.



Inspector’s widow runs amok at Police HQ
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
A commotion was caused at the Police Headquarters here when a widow of a Delhi Police inspector went berserk after she had been made to wait for hours and then denied access to the Joint Commissioner of Police, New Delhi Range. Overcome by rage, she ripped her clothes much to the discomfort of the cops.

The widow had come to seek justice and wanted that the persons who had killed her husband, Inspector Ram Singh and her young son, be arrested. Inspector Ram Singh and their son Rakesh were reportedly done to death by a known bad character of the area. The suspect has been absconding since the incident in 1998.

Inspector Ram Singh was at that time posted as Additional Station House Officer (SHO), Roop Nagar. The double murder was reportedly the fall-out of some rivalry between the suspect and Inspector Ram Singh’s son. The widow, Mrs Ram Snehi, has been demanding the arrest of the suspects since then. Mrs Snehi, according to sources, arrived at the police headquarters at around 12.40 p.m. to meet the Police Commissioner, Mr R. S. Gupta.

The staff, however, directed her to meet Mr B. K. Gupta, Joint Commissioner, New Delhi Range on the fourth floor of the multi-storeyed building near the ITO crossing. The staff there informed her that the officer was away and she would have to wait. After three hours of waiting and ‘vague’ answers to her queries, she lost her patience. Abusing the Delhi Police at the top of her voice, she threw the lunch pack that she was holding at the policemen, and then started ripping her clothes.

She was pacified finally with the help of some women police constables.



11 engineers suspended for ‘lese-majeste’
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, October 25
Eleven engineers of the UP Public Works Department, including an executive engineer, have been suspended by the Chief Minister, Ms Mayawati, for delay in constructing a guest house in Badal Pur village, her parental village. The move has been resented by the Association of Engineers as also the Association of the Junior Engineers in the state. Ms Mayawati had started the development process in her parental village during her last tenure as the UP Chief Minister.

On a scrutiny, the authorities had found slackness on the part of the engineers of PWD Div II.

The Chief Minister, who took the matter seriously, had then suspended executive engineer Babu Ram and others.

According to insiders, a fact glossed over is that a contractor who had managed to take a contract for development works worth lakhs of rupees had done next to nothing. Still, he had been able to get his bills passed for which the engineers had to face the flak.



Noida misses SC deadline on water plant
Our Correspondent

Noida, October 25
Though the authorities in Uttar Pradesh are known to go back on their assurances, promises and targets fixed for achievement in various fields, it is also not uncommon here that the directions of the courts are also taken rather casually.

A case in point is the deadline set by the Supreme Court for Noida to set up a water treatment plant. The two-year limit expired last month. But the administration is nowhere near setting up the plant. A lot more time will be taken before the project will become operational.

"Water supplied in many sectors by the authority has been declared unsafe for drinking by the UP Jal Nigam and IIT Delhi. The Supreme Court had issued directives to Noida on September 12, 2000 to construct a water treatment plant of requisite capacity within two years. But when a few months ago, the officials concerned were contacted, they expressed their ignorance about the court order. It was only at the pursuance of the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations (FONRWA) that then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had ordered the installation of a water treatment plant within a year. He was transferred soon and nothing much has been done after that,” complains P. S. Jain, secretary general of the FONRWA.

With frequent transfers of top officials of the Noida administration in the recent past, no one is likely to be held accountable for the delay. Making the situation worse, the authority's recent proposal to increase the rates of the water supplied to almost double has made people see red.

"In the last couple of years, Noida has witnessed tremendous growth in housing complexes in different sectors. The newly developed sectors have resulted in a large number of new water connections, which of course means more revenue for the authority but lesser water to the consumer, Mr Jain says.

“The amount of water supplied has not been increased and almost every sector faces the problem of water scarcity. The situation has become such that water does not reach even the first floor houses and flats in most sectors because of low pressure. Whenever there is a scarcity of water, the authority sends a water tank on request. But that is no solution. How can a housewife, staying on the third floor be expected to carry more than one or two buckets of water upstairs?” asks Jain.

As for the supply of unsafe drinking water, he argues, "Not everybody can afford to buy mineral water for everyday consumption. So, the common man continues to consume this water day after day.

Besides, such is the quality of water supplied to the residents that outbreak of water-borne diseases is a regular feature. Here again, the health, sanitation and medical authorities are usually found napping,” he says.



PM’s self-employment scheme 
‘ridden with corruption’
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 25
Thanks to the lack of proper planning and flaws in the processing of payments, the Prime Minister’s self-employment scheme has been rendered a failure as far as this district is concerned. The needy are being left out and the greedy have bagged the cream offerings with the alleged connivance of politicians and officials.

The district unit of the Non-Employed Persons Sangh has alleged that there had been widespread malpractice in the granting of loans with the connivance of bank and government officials. It has also demanded a high-level probe into the scheme and punish the guilty.

According to sources, in a way, the ambitious programme offering loans to the educated unemployed did, in fact, achieve the target. It educated the unscrupulous elements in the art of defrauding the banks. It is difficult to pin-point the institutions or individuals responsible, but it is learnt that politicians and bureaucrats have pressurised nationalised banks to look the other way and depart from the rules, resulting in advantages being reaped by the undeserving. The official figures are never released every year about the number of beneficiaries under the scheme. Both the bank officials and the authorities of the District Industries Centre (DIC) are stated to be conniving with each other in this regard. And the educated jobless youth are critical of both as they allege that they are being harassed on one pretext or the other.

The non-cooperative attitude of the bank officials and malpractice in the granting of loans to the unemployed educated youth has made the scheme a farce. The processing of applications is abnormally delayed at different levels, and the recommendations of the Task Force Committee, entrusted with the job, are not honoured by the bank authorities for pecuniary reasons. The officers are sore at the dilatory tactics adopted by the bank managers and the applicants are disappointed when their proposals are rejected without any rhyme or reason.

Under the scheme, educated unemployed youths were to be provided loans up to Rs 35,000 to set up industries or start a trade or business. The government later liberalised the rules and the applicants were not required to furnish any surety or guarantee for the loans.

Officials maintain that only genuine applicants were given the loans. But a cursory perusal of the list of the loanees reveals that influential persons or their relatives or those who enjoyed the support of political bosses have got the lion’s share and the real aim of the scheme to provide help to the poorer sections of the society remained a dream. In some cases, the candidates who were already running some business and were not eligible for the loans under the scheme were accommodated under political pressure. Meanwhile, the district unit of the Non-Employed Persons Sangh alleged that the lead bank officer of Punjab National Bank and other bank managers as well as the officials of the DIC and the District Rural Development Authority (DRDA) had betrayed loan seekers in one way or the other to get money from them as bribe.

In a press release, it also demanded a high-level probe into the racket and transfer all officials who are connected with this and other schemes of the government.

The sangh also raised its voice against the rampant corruption prevalent in the offices of the DIC and the DRDA and alleged that no work was done without greasing the palms of officials.



Metro has not disrupted traffic for a single day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The DMRC has adopted a new method of construction at busy traffic junctions without stopping the flow of regular traffic for even a single day. This technique, called the in-situ (on spot) cantilever technique, enables construction to take place at both ends of the roads. The construction advances to the central median of the road through special bridge builders. This technology is being used for the first time in Delhi and is faster than conventional techniques, a release said.

This method has been used by the DMRC by building an elevated crossing at the intersection of Pul Bangash of Roshanara Road and Rani Jhansi Road. This road crossing spans 55 metres, which normally would have required the road to be closed for at least four months for completing the construction. As no alternative road was available close by for traffic to be diverted, the conventional method was considered un-viable as it would have disturbed the traffic in the area severely.

The new methodology involves constructing both the side and spans beforehand to provide the necessary counter weight to the structure planned. The road crossing span had to be bridged by using the cantilever system called “bridge

builder” from both ends so as to complete it at the earliest. Thus, two bridge builders were deployed simultaneously.

The size of the bridge builder and individual in-situ segment of the bridge was kept such that its weights are manageable. Accordingly, 3-metre long segment from each end was planned to complete the bridge in a total of 17 repetitions.

Bridge builder technology is normally employed for deep rivers/gorges where support from bottom/ground is not viable. This technology uses intricate high-tension wire pre-stressing of cast segment with an already erected bridge. This requires, apart from the waiting period for the concrete to gain strength, also needs adequate use of HTS wire and pre-stressing system to bear the load of the hanging segment.



Talks fail, telecom officers to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, October 25
The negotiations between the management of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and its agitating telecom officers held yesterday in Delhi have failed to resolve the issue. The telecom officers have now decided to intensify their agitation.

The officers in the country have launched a relay hunger strike since October 23 to demand acceptance of their demands, which included payment of IDA pay scales for executives in the MTNL and the BSNL, benefit of IDA pay scales for officers who retired in the intervening period and pay scales and pay fixation for DE (ad hoc), besides some other demands.

The BSNL, according to Mr Arvind Pal Dahiya, district secretary, TEOA (I), Rohtak telecom district, requested the negotiating committee of the agitating officers for some flexibility in regard to pay scales and offered to increase pressure mid-way about all pay scale demands. The management is reported to have assured positive disposal of all other demands, including absorption of ad-hoc DES with equivalent pay scales and status.

The telecom officers’ negotiating council, however, categorically stated that it would not compromise or offer any flexibility as far as pay scales were concerned. The meeting, which lasted for over 90 minutes, ended in a stalemate, as the management could not meet the aspirations of the members of the agitating officers.

Mr Dahiya claimed that the `work to rule’ agitation launched by the officers since October 23 had adversely affected the telecom services in the country. The agitation, he said, would continue till their demands were accepted.



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

This is with reference to the news `Judge raps MDU for flouting its own rules’ (NCR Tribune dated October 19, 2002).

At the outset, I would like to mention that in the past, one avoided going to a court of law, as far as possible, but now the tendency of the litigants, including students, has changed.

The increase in the number of suits filed against universities in recent years by students, teachers and non-teaching employees is mainly due to a change in their social attitude and their economical condition.

There are judgements in favour and against the students. The Supreme Court has rejected all the contentions raised by the students and held, “Taking all the circumstances into account, it is not possible to say that rule of natural justice had not been followed.” (AIR, 1973, SC 1260).

Again the Hon’ble High Court of a state had held: “No doubt the right to read is a fundamental right, but freedom guaranteed is not to indulge in discipline and lawlessness.’’

It is the atmosphere that makes a university. It is a mistake to suppose that freedom to read confers upon a student the right to indulge in discipline and lawlessness”. (AIR, 1969, Ori. 256).

Here, my submissions are neither in favour of the student community nor in favour of the university. Without going into the details, to conclude, I feel it appropriate to reproduce a recommendation of Kothari Education Commission (1964-66):

“....Steps should be taken to make the administration of educational institutions as democratic as possible by associating the teachers and the students with it, so that the grievances of individuals could be satisfactorily settled in most cases within the system itself and the temptation to go to courts of minimised.”

Om Parkash Wadhwa, Lecturer, Gohana (Sonepat)

Should exams be given the go-by?

Should examinations be abolished? There is a lot of criticism directed towards the existing system of examinations. The approach of examination means the beginning of fear, tension, anxiety and stress in the minds of the students.

They work very hard to pass the examination with flying colours. Exams are held to test students’ ability and create healthy competition among the However, exams are not a reliable test of gauging the ability of the students as luck plays a major role. Further, they encourage cramming, unnecessary expenditure on help-books and also encourage private tuition.

This has resulted in mushrooming of a large number of tuition shops in every city and even small towns by inexperienced persons. Again, the standard of marking differs from person to person. Besides, the present day examination system encourages the students to use unfair means for

which they employ new methods to copy in the examination hall. Guess papers sell like hot cakes. Many reforms have been introduced like introduction of objective questions. In some foreign countries, they use machines to test the students, where a student has to press a button before the right or wrong answer and the result of the test is declared there and then. No doubt examination fever grips every one but there is no other way to test students’ ability and as such every one has to pass through the ordeal of examinations and the more confident wins the race through hard work. Only those succeed in life who are ready to face all sorts of tests in their lives. Thus exams cannot be abolished.

Annie Sharma, Faridabad

Homespun teachers

The much ado over university teachers’ increased work load is difficult to comprehend. Teachers are nation builders and supposed to be dedicated, devoted and determined. The university teachers should follow the guidelines of the UGC as they get hefty salaries and allowances. As Nehru said, ``University is a place where horizons of knowledge widen and soul-searching ideas germinate…’’ The turgid mindset of teachers, who resort to strikes, dharnas and slogan-mongering, seldom follows universal paradigms of epistemological parameters of teaching. The unionist teachers should shun petty politics and a pseudo-scholar sectarian approach. The majority of college teachers engage in tuitions, deal in property, indulge in political patronizing, or spew venom in name of caste, creed or class. Do we then take a cue from the ineffable sprit of Dr Radha Krishnana’s philosophy, which remains a perpetual source of moral strength and fortitude? Do teachers, who make oodles of money by extraneous means, indulge in self-introspection? For that matter, are they accountable to income tax authorities?

The teachers’ fraternity ought to follow the maxim of torch bearers — The light of knowledge dispels darkness and ignorance of soul. Take the deletion by the MDU university of the 1st compulsory paper of MA English Previous — Contemporary English Structure and Phonetics —from the syllabus.

This paper is the most effective and rewarding one for all English learners who approve and appreciate the guidelines of Central Institute of English and Foreign Language, Hyderabad. To delete such papers from syllabus has done incalculable harm to the students community in particular and the state in general. The syllabus formation committee should have added more advanced disciplines such as Transformational Generative Grammar, Semiotics, Stylistics, Narratology etc. in the syllabus to bring MDU at par with national universities. The NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) would have appreciated the fine step. We Haryanavis already lack in communication skills, pronunciation, intonation, stress, rhythm etc. To inculcate such skills, Phonetics is the subject for every English learner in India. By deleting the Phonetics paper, the Dept of English in particulars and the University Syllabus Formation Committee in general have projected a poor image.

The MDU Rohtak has acquired various jocular, pejorative and ludicrous sobriquets in academic circles. I have been facing interviews since 1989 and no P.hd scholar ever got selected for the post of a lecturer in English at P G Centre, Rewari. All the eight lecturers were `locals’ and none from DU, JNU, PU or CIEFL. The reality is that no teacher of P G rank could come out against the deletion of the Phonetics course.

In these circumstances, extraneous considerations determine appointments in MDU. Who, then, cares for Phonetics or TG Grammar? Who cares for UGC guidelines or advanced courses at the P G level?

Teachers are by and large toeing the line of the tuition cabal. Or they chose to be `yes’ men of politicians. Even the Commissioner of Higher Education is gripped by inertia. The poor sheep are fleeced by tricksters who invoke the horror of one kind or the other.

The homespun lecturers usually oblige their godfathers in perpetuating their isms and strengthening their fiefdoms. Thus, the ritual of sycophancy emerges out of a system, which is not academically healthy. It is, therefore, true that the education system in Haryana is tailored to suit the needs of the homespun scholars. The Syllabus Formation Committee should rise above such narrowly conceived ideals and must realise the urgent need for re-introduction of a language efficiency based paper of Phonetics and TG Grammar as English language has undergone a metamorphosis — from literature to language de-structuring process of learning, which the Dept of English is highly wanting in..

Ram Autar Yadav, Rewari

Cracker menace

Divali is an occasion of festivities but the menace of fireworks and crackers turns it into an event of sorrow and mourning for many. Property worth crores is destroyed. Innocent lives are lost. Hundreds of children are rendered invalid for life. Pollution so created takes its own toll. In short, it is death and destruction all around and all for the sake of something momentary, miscalled pleasure.

Authorities have earmarked separate places to be used as cracker bazaars. But the stuff bought from there is used in inhabited localities and therein lurks the demon.

Effective steps need not be taken by the government that has not been able to do away with the bane of pan masala and lotteries.

With Divali round the corner responsibility falls on all of us, parents, teachers, social organisations, elders, to do all that we can to spread awareness about this menace.

Ram Saran Bhatia, Faridabad

Does crime beget punishment?

Women are an inseparable part of our society. Their services to menfolk cannot be ignored. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, daughters-in-law in our society. They are assets. However important they be in our homes they are generally looked down upon. It is ironical that the most valuable assets of the society are considered to be liabilities. That is why right from their existence in the mother’s womb the effort is to annihilate them despite laws of the land for their survival. If at all they survive at the time of their birth they are condemned and exploited throughout their lives in one form or the other. As daughters they suffer ignominy at the hands of their parents because they have to arrange dowry for them. As daughters-in-law they suffer agony for not bringing adequate dowry to satisfy the greed of their-in-laws. If ill luck is in store for them they have to suffer as widowed daughters-in-law. They plough the lonely furrow to earn bread and look after their kids. Society has reduced women’s life to a drudgery. It is their bravery that they take their troubles into stride. As teenagers or students they remain objects of sex. They have to be kept safe from prying eyes and prowling hands.

They struggle hard as working women and walk carefully to save themselves from the voracious people who want to plunder their honour.

The vicious cycle of excesses against women is endless. Crimes against women have not ceased. Of the many crimes against women, cases of rapes and molestation of women are heart-rending. All talk of freedom of women, their right of equality and their empowerment sounds frivolous.

We feel proud of democracy and free society. But if we don’t feel secure and the honour of our women is at stake what is the utility of our democratic form of administration? Delhi Police Commissioner R. S. Gupta cannot sit complacent simply by posting female cops on the Delhi University campus to deal with chronic and potential eve-teasers. Neither does it behove him to counsel women to mind their dress. To say that he stands for women empowerment, their freedom and their crucial role in society is not sufficient. He must show determination to uproot the crimes against women.

Reacting to a series of gangrapes in the last few days, psychiatrists feel that people no longer believe the law canshackle them. They cite high-profile cases like the Jessica Lall murder and BMW hit-and-run case. They believe that most rape cases do not get reported to the police because so much stigma is associated with them. They find fault with the judicial system as well because it has failed in sending out the message that crime begets punishment.

Ms Reva Nayyar, member-secretary of the National Commission for Women, and other NGOs put forward a few suggestions. They suggest that heavy patrolling is required, especially during nights, at most vulnerable places like hospitals, theatres, call-centres, parking lots, hostels, universities and other academic institutions.

Will the authorities remain stone-deaf or act to inspire confidence in women and their wards?

Ujjal Pal Singh, NIT, Faridabad

Plea for aid

My husband, Wakil Thakur, CR No 630914, aged 40,came to the PGI in May this year for treatment of chronic disease as both his kidneys had been completely damaged and he needed a transplant at the earliest.

He has been staying in room no 225,PGI, with the hope of undergoing an operation but was refused admission by the surgeons as he could not arrange Rs 1.5 lakh for post-operative treatment. He has so far undergone 28 rounds of dialysis at outside agencies. After borrowing money from villagers all means have been completely exhausted.

My husband has one son and four daughters below 14 years, who are starving in the face of financial hardship during his illness. His sister Bimla is ready to donate her kidney to save the life of her younger brother but the operation is being postponed for want of money. Cross-matching of the donor doesn’t have any meaning in case money is not arranged by the patient.

Those who want to help Wakil Thakur should donate liberally for this noble cause. With folded hands I seek your help for saving his life. Those who want to help my husband can send their donation either through cheque/draft or cash in the name of the Director, PGI, Chandigarh, or the Medical Superintendent, PGI, or contact the PGI Public Relations Officer on phone number 747585 to 90 (extn 6100).

Nirmala, PGI, Chandigarh

Gratifying news

It was gratifying to note that the Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Traffic Police to improve regulation of vehicles in the Capital to make driving safe in the city. As a result of rash driving the life of others is at risk. So many times jams occur due to wrong driving.

If we may follow the traffic rules and regulations strictly the problem of jams may be solved to a large extent. The defaulters, whoever they may be, should be punished so that others fear to commit the same mistake.

Subhash C. Taneja, MDU, Rohtak

People’s character

The way the traffic of a city moves shows the character of the people of that city. Delhi has seen a rapid growth in vehicles. Nearly 35-40 lakh vehicles are running on Delhi roads in combination with the increase in the population and the urban mobilisation, which has resulted in high traffic capacity and road accidents. In 2001-2002 the number of pedestrians killed on Delhi roads was approximately 1,352, more than 50 per cent of the total deaths in road accidents.

East Delhi is most accident-prone area and nobody is taking care of that. The traffic police is totally unaware, especially in Seelampur, Jafarabad, Moujpur and Gokalpuri, where the roads are so narrow that the vehicles and the pedestrians move side by side. The pedestrians have a habit of crossing the road anywhere, any time. The equipment used to ensure smooth traffic flow is out of order. For instance, we have traffic lights but many a time these signals are not functioning, resulting in indiscipline and chaos. At Nathu Colony Chowk, the traffic lights have not been working for the plast more than six months. In most cases, jumping red light becomes a cause of pedestrian’s death. Speeding vehicles crush the pedestrians as the faster the vehicle is travelling the lesser is the time for the driver to take corrective action and in such collisions the chances of death are higher.

In such cases pedestrians are at a higher risk of getting hit for they are not visible to drivers coming from behind. Anger levels rise and keep rising over each irrational act of the other road user, wastage and consumption of valuable time of office goers. The Delhi Traffic Police should take some firm action to avoid such traffic problems, either by making one-way system during office hours or by deploying more personnel as well as electronically made devices to tackle the traffic problem effectively so that the vehicles on the road can move smoothly and people can reach their destination in time.

New Delhi being the capital of India the Delhi Traffic Police should take some firm action by avoiding such traffic problems and setting an example to other states that the character of the people of a city is reflected in the manner in which its traffic moves.

N.C. Pandey, Shahdara, Delhi



Hooda seeks CM’s resignation
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, October 25
The Congress Legislative Party leader, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister on account of government's failure on various fronts, especially in maintaining law and order.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Hooda reiterated his party's demand for a CBI inquiry into the Dulina lynching incident. He expressed doubts that the Commissioner who is inquiring into the incident could have a soft corner towards the police whose role had come under the scanner. 



Faridabad women’s hostel in disrepair
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 25
The Working Women’s Hostel, run by the District Red Cross Society in Sector-16 here, is in dilapidated condition needing an urgent repair.

Although the hostel, built up in 1980-81, has about 41 rooms for housing 80 incumbents, it is learnt that several cubicles have become unfit for living. The problems are leakage and seepage from the roof and walls and poor maintenance.

The state unit of the Indian Red Cross Society has now announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for carrying out repairs and maintenance of the hostel building.

The secretary of the Society today handed over the cheque to the Deputy Commissioner, it was stated in a press release issued here.

The hostel is meant to provide residential facility to women employed in private and government departments and those who belong to low income groups.

It is reported that no repair work has ever been undertaken since the building was built. A sum of Rs 7.5 lakh has been spent on some of the repair work taken up in 2001-2002, but some of it is still to be taken up.



Legal camp focuses on women 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The Crime Against Women Cell in West district on Thursday organised a legal awareness camp to create awareness on various women-related problems among the students, teachers, principals, NGOs like Lawyers Collective and Mahila Dakshata Samiti, police personnel and officials.

The camp, held to instil confidence among boys and girls, was organised at the Cambridge Foundation School in Rajouri Garden.

A pamphlet on legal information regarding women mentioning various protective and penal provisions was distributed among the participants.

During the workshop, it was decided to have such legal awareness and interactive sessions in various schools, particularly in rural, slum and resettlement areas in West district where the issues of elopement, sexual abuses, physical violation and eve-teasing will be discussed, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (West), said.

New sewer lines in Sadar Bazar

The Health and Urban Development Minister, Dr A. K. Walia assured a delegation of Sadar Bazar Welfare Association that new sewer lines in Sadar Bazar would be reconstructed.

Besides, new water lines will also be laid down in the area. Keeping in mind the problem of traffic congestion in Sadar Bazar, the Minister said rickshaw and tongas would be replaced by the Rural Traffic Vehicle (RTV).

Tehbazari will also be removed from the area after providing an alternate site to the traders. The jhuggi clusters near Kutab Road chowk and Teliwara will also be removed, a press release said.

The members of the delegation who met Dr A.K. Walia included the president of the association, Brij Mohan Wig, general secretaries, K.C. Kapoor and Rakesh Jain, senior vice-presidents, Manohar Lal Anand, Ratan Lal Bhalla and Baldev Raj Gulati. 



Plan for 1 lakh new phone connections 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, October 25
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to provide more than 1 lakh new telephone connections in Haryana during the current financial year. This was stated by Mr A.K.Nagpal, Chief General Manager of the BSNL at a function here last evening. He also announced that the mobile telephone service would begin from October 28 next in two phases. The Nigam, he said, would release 41,000 mobile telephone connections during the first phase and 68,000 in the second phase and this target would be completed by the end of the current financial year.

Ban on cracker sale

Faridabad: Although the sale of crackers has been going on for the past couple of weeks, the district authorities have now announced the ban of sale of crackers in congested residential and commercial areas of the town to prevent fire incident.

The District Magistrate has invoked the powers under Section-144 of the IPC to stop the sale where probability of fire incident and loss to public life and property was more. It is stated that the crackers could be stored and sold by the individuals or agencies having a proper licence under the `Indian Explosives Act. The district administration warned that strict action would be taken against anyone found violating the law.

Dowry case registered

Jhajjar: The district police have registered a case of dowry harassment in Khudan village of the district. According to the police, Tara Chand, father of the victim Manisha, in his complaint to the police has accused the husband and in-laws of beating his daughter and confining her in a room for not fulfilling their dowry demand.

He said that Manisha was married to Satpal, son of Rampat, and gave dowry as per their financial capacity. However, after sometime they started complaining about insufficient dowry. 



Load shedding in north Delhi 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) has announced scheduled load shedding for urgent maintenance work on October 26 and October 28. A series of maintenance work is being carried out at 11 KV sub stations at Vivekanand Puri, 66/33/11 KV sub station at Rewari Line on October 26 and at 33 KV I/C at Narela and Jahangirpuri on October 28.

Load shedding will also affect Subhash Nagar, Mansarover Garden, parts of Mayapuri and parts of Raja Garden on October26.The NDPL also announced a scheduled power cut for maintenance work on 33 KV I/C Narela and Jahangirpuri, which will result in load shedding between 10 am and 14 pm in Tikari sewage plant, Alipur No 1, Bhaktawarpur No II, Narela, Alipur No II and AIR Khampur on October 28.
Giving the reasons for the power cut, Mr Anil Kr. Sardana, CEO, NDPL, said, "our aim is to provide reliable power supply.



Applications for ‘Best Farmer’ award

Faridabad: The Haryana government has invited applications for choosing the ‘Best Farmer’ of the State and district levels. While the State level award would carry Rs 9 lakh, Rs 25,000 each will be given to the winners at the district level.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, the farmers could contact him or the Deputy Director, Agriculture, for submitting their forms. The last date is November 7.

Meanwhile, the agriculture department has announced incentive schemes to motivate the farmers to take up cropping of oilseeds and pulses in the district.



MTNL official held for accepting bribe 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government arrested Ashok Kumar Rohilla, a Technical Telecom Assistant of MTNL posted at West Patel Nagar office, for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 300. The complainant, Rajesh Rana, a resident of West Baljit Nagar, reported the matter to the Anti-Corruption Branch. The Anti-Corruption Branch sleuths laid a trap and arrested the suspect red-handed, the police said.

Man killed: A resident of Madrasi Colony near Tis Hazari, identified as Gopal (24), was allegedly strangled to death by a rickshaw-puller, identified as Kamal Bahadur, last evening. Gopal was also a rickshaw- puller. According to information, both of them were friends. After consuming liquor at a dhaba at Mori Gate Terminal, they had an argument, which finally resulted in the death of Gopal. Kamal Bahadur is absconding.

Pirated VCDs Seized: The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police recovered 1,536 pirated VCDs of newly released Hindi and English movies following raids conducted at shops in Lajpat Rai Market and Masjid Moth area. Besides, the police also recovered duplicate products of Nirali Steel Appliances from Vishwas Nagar, Shahdra, worth Rs 5.5 lakh. The raids were conducted following a complaint lodged by Super Cassettes Industries Ltd and Prime Protection Pvt. Ltd.

Pickpockets arrested: The East district police today claimed to have busted a gang of pickpockets and snatchers who operated in the city buses. They were identified as Daniel Jones alias Danny and Vardh Rajan.

Two knives were recovered from their possession. They operated mainly in East Delhi, the police said.


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