Monday, November 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Girls on vacation waylaid, molested 
Our Correspondent

Meerut, November 3
It was a harrowing night for shopkeepers and an excursion party from a Kanpur educational institution on the Kanpur-Delhi Road near Ruknpur village, 7.5 km from Khurja town, on Thursday night. Eight masked and heavily armed men went on a looting spree and allegedly gang raped several of the 35 girl passengers of a tourist bus for three hours. All the while, the police did not act. Even later, they did not register a case despite the tourist party and the other victims raising hell.

It is said that the marauders were in “total control” of the area for over three hours. The gory episode came out in the open when some local residents and journalists, including this correspondent, rushed to the place and found tell-tale signs of molestation from a nearby field.

The gangsters reportedly began their looting stint at about 1.30 am near Dashara village. They robbed Shiv Kumar Singh, owner of Shiram Hotel, of Rs 14,500, a gold ring and a chain. They then held up a truck driver at a dhaba and robbed him of Rs 5000 at pistol-point.

They went on to rob four passengers of a Maruti van and later extorted Rs 1500 from a shop owner. They disappeared in the dense sugarcane and arhar fields, but resurfaced on the road near Rukunpur village, 3.5 km away from Dashara village.

They stopped a tourist bus, on its way from Kanpur to Hardwar, by creating some obstacles on the road. There were 35 girls, 15 boys, five guides and a few teachers in the vehicle. When some male passengers resisted the assailants’ attempt to loot them, they shot at one of the passengers, injuring him.

Once the passengers were terrorised, the masked men first robbed the male passengers. They then dragged the girls in batches of two to a nearby arhar field at pistol-point while some of them took control of the bus. They allegedly took turns in raping some of the girls.

The victims somehow reached the Arniya police station and filed a complaint but the police allegedly did not register any case. The tourist party discontinued their journey and returned to Kanpur.

When journalists and villagers visited the fields, they found tell-tale signs of molestation. Some eyewitnesses said that the police had removed some evidence before the local mob gathered there on Friday morning.

When contacted on telephone, SSP of Bulandshahr R. N. Katheria confirmed that the incident had happened and that he himself had camped at the site for two-and-a-half hours next day. One of the culprits had been identified and a hunt was on to apprehend the others.

Surprisingly, DIG, Meerut range, Gurdarshan Singh, refuted all charges against the police in a conversation with the ‘NCR Tribune’. He also denied that such an incident had occurred. Meanwhile, the SHO of the police station has been removed. The CO, Mr Nepal Singh, has reportedly taken three persons from Nagaliya village in custody for interrogation.



Despite denials, power tariff hike next year
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
Denials by the Government of NCT of Delhi notwithstanding, power tariff could see a hike sometime next year. Although the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is competent authority to revise the tariff, the Council of Ministers can present its case before the commission.

An indication of the Government of NCT of Delhi’s plans to submit a proposal to the DERC for a hike in the electricity tariff can be had from what Chairman and Managing Director of Delhi Power Supply Company Limited Jagdish Sagar has to say.

According to Mr Sagar, the proposal could be moved as early as December. “By December end, we are planning to submit a proposal regarding a hike in the electricity tariff from next year in the Capital,” he said over the weekend.

Mr Sagar, however, said a final proposal would only be prepared after due consultations with the two distribution networks – the New Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) and the Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) – and transmission and generation companies.

“All of us have to see how much it (power) costs us … buying and distributing … then only a proposal will be prepared,” he said. Asked about the quantum of hike, Sagar refused to make a guess but said: “It is not going to be a steep hike. The rise should be nominal.”

On the power supply to Delhi Metro, Mr Sagar said they would buy it from the distribution companies at the market rate depending on their areas of operation. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is expected to begin commercial operations sometime in December.

No official response was forthcoming. Sources, however, said irrespective of what the government might have to say, it would be the DERC that was mandated to take a suitable decision. The private distributors too would not commit just yet, preferring to wait and watch.



DUTA to thwart UGC agenda to delink colleges
Sanjog Gupta

New Delhi, November 3
The University Grants Commission (UGC), acting upon the recommendations of the 9th Expenditure Reforms Commission (ERC), has decided to vest its responsibility for disbursing funds to the DU colleges with the Delhi State government. But, under the veil of Divali festivities, ‘invisible forces’ are working against this directive of the UGC, much like the defiance of its previous directive on ‘workload’.

Under the proposal, the UGC would funnel the funds in bulk to the State-funding agency, which would in turn disburse these funds to individual colleges. The rationale for the proposal according to the UGC and the ERC is that the central funding agency should not be involved in the day-to-day financial management of the colleges. By transferring the responsibility of funding recurring expenditures of colleges to a state agency, the UGC would retain its ‘national status’ and be driven by ‘national perspective’. UGC Chairman Prof. Arun Nigavekar said, “Being a national agency we should be involved in setting a direction for all universities in India rather than running Delhi University.”

The university perceives this directive as a threat to its unique “federal character” as it would mean a delinking of the colleges from the Central University. The dissent emanates mainly from the teachers, who have been bolstered by their last “victory” over the UGC. They believe that the existing system of teaching, wherein university department teachers and college teachers work in consonance to develop the curriculum and impart the same to the students, is extremely effective and one of the main reasons behind the elite status of the Delhi University. Not only does the interaction enhances the teaching standards but also opens the avenue for teachers to learn from each other.

The DUTA has drawn up an action plan to thwart the UGC agenda to “delink colleges” and has already begun work on the same. They have been visiting Staff Association Meetings in colleges and departments and plan to conduct a General Body meeting in the coming month. The DUTA also plans to create a national consensus against the policies being followed by the government to “disinvest in higher education”. The prescribed course of action entails the following programmes:

* Court arrest in large numbers outside the residence of the Prime Minister.

* Meet President APJ Kalam in his capacity as the Visitor of the university.

* Organise a seminar on higher education, which would focus on the “policy assault” by the government and its adverse consequences for teachers and students alike.

* Hold an All India convention in January and invite teachers’ associations affiliated to the FEDCUTA and AIFUCTO as well as those outside the national level organisations to “forge a common platform of demands and action.”

The season for festivities is fast turning into a season of agitations as the conclusion of one marks the commencement of another. While the UGC prepares the ground for transfer of responsibilities – pertaining to the funding of colleges - to the State, the DUTA meanwhile is busy mustering support from all possible avenues to “thwart the vile intentions of the Central government for pulling out of higher education”.



DFS sets up 15 fire posts 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
To avert any untoward incident during Divali, the Delhi Fire Services has set up 15 fire posts in different parts of the city.

A Delhi Fire Service official told the media here today that these posts would be set up near Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Lahori Gate, South Extension, Lajpatnagar Market, Azad Market, Wazirabad-Loni Road crossing, Sonia Vihar, Baratooti Chowk, Tilaknagar, Mundka PVC Market, Qutab Road, Idgah Road, Sanjay Amar Colony, Okhla Phase-I and Shastri Par colony.

The city police have also been put on high alert. Increased patrolling and security checks are being carried out in the city.

The high court has issued an order to all government and private hospitals to make arrangements for those who are injured in fire. The health Ministry has reviewed the arrangements for Divali and the three Central government hospitals – Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Lady Hardinge – have been instructed to ensure requisite supply of medicines and surgical equipments.

Hospitals have been asked to keep a burns specialist ready and the Central Accident and Trauma Service (CATS) has also been asked to remain on alert, with one assistant sub-inspector available to deal with any medico-legal case. Most of the hospitals in the city have been asked to ensure that they do not turn any victims of burns away on the ground of inadequate facilities. Doctors have also issued certain dos and don’ts for avoiding accidents and mishaps.

The Delhi high court had also issued instructions to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the traffic police to ensure that roads and streets were kept free of encroachments, to facilitate easy access to a troubled spot by fire engines.



Kids enjoy crackers, come what may
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 3
Promises are like piecrusts! One promise that is hardly kept is the one given by the people to refrain from bursting crackers on Divali. While schools and other organisations hold a rally every year promising to shun crackers, it is the children who go in for crackers in a big way.

Although a section of parents and families claim that their children had become aware of the damages caused by the air and noise pollution, it is not so with the majority of youngsters between 7 and 18 years, according to experts.

Physicians of the local civil hospitals and leading private hospitals admit that the number of burn cases had been increasing each year and the majority of the victims belong to this age group. The use of crackers normally starts from the Dasehra festival and the week in and around the Divali festival sees the maximum use of crackers.

A resident of Sector-14 here admitted that his children do take part in the `No crackers rally’, organised each year, but purchase crackers worth several hundred of rupees each year. He said children in his locality compete as to which child would explode bombs or burst crackers having the maximum sound or light.

It may be recalled that at least two children have died and a couple of others had got injured in the cracker-related incidents in the past one month.

While two brothers aged 14 and 18 died from burns at Tigaon town in the district, two others got injured in an incident in which crackers got burnt accidentally, about four weeks ago. Students and children have been using crackers even on the school premises for the past one week, said a teacher of a public school here.

He said crackers were available at each and every shop located near the schools. 



Asian showcase at Delhi Pavilion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
For the first time, a dozen major Asian cities shall get together to showcase the achievements of half the world’s population at the India International Trade Fair – 2002. According to Mr Rajni Kant Verma, MD, Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation, the progress made by these Asian majors in the economic and industrial fields shall be collectively displayed at the Delhi Pavilion. The Delhi Pavilion is managed by the DSIDC on behalf of the Delhi Government.

The display would be a part of the Asian cities’ exhibition, which has as its theme ‘Tourism, Industry and Local Produce.’ The exhibition aims at strengthening Asian industry and forging stronger bonds among major Asian cities.

The forthcoming exposition is the second in the ongoing endeavour to enable major Asian cities to share their knowledge and experience of common problems. Through participation in joint projects, the experiences are to be ploughed back for Asia’s social and economic development.

Besides Delhi, Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Jakarta, Tokyo and Yangon will participate in the forthcoming ANMC 21 exhibition.



Cops wink at Panipat traffic chaos
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, November 3
The handloom city is one of the most chaotic cities in the world. The traffic scene in Panipat is seen to be believed. It resembles a jigsaw puzzle. It is a mad rush on the roads with the traffic rules being given the go-by. And the worst part is that the traffic wing of the local police seems to be unconcerned. Traffic jams, including on the Assandh Road flyover and service lanes on the GT Road and sometimes on the GT Road itself, are a routine affair. Instead of regulating traffic, the policemen just turn a blind eye to the chaos.

However, they get their act together the moment a VVIP or VIP cavalcade with hooter sounds passes through the GT Road. Suddenly, the vehicles of lesser mortals are ‘forced’ to use the extreme parts of the road by pilot jeeps or the security guards brandishing AK 47s to make way for the ‘sahib’.

The local police seem to be a dab hand at challaning the vehicles. And if you want a proof of the police ‘hospitality’, drive a two-wheeler to the ‘Red Light’ point and a particular stretch of a service lane on the GT Road, popularly called the Bank Square. The police’s sole aim at these points is to “extort” money from the “violators”. Their only achievement has been to procure jazzy helmets for its traffic wing personnel.

A visit to different parts of the city confirmed the chaotic traffic scenes. The autos seem to be the worst offenders. In fact, a large number of “rejected” Delhi autos, phased out in the wake of the introduction of CNG autos in the Capital, have found their way to Panipat.

If this is not enough, the slow-moving traffic—horse-carts, rickshaws and bicycles—only compounds the problems, particularly on the service lanes. The service lanes, which were cleared a few months ago for the smooth flow of traffic, are back to square one, so are the long jams.

And the people of affluent industrial city, which earned a foreign exchange of over Rs 1,400 crore through the export of handloom products last year, seem to have resigned to their fate. An elevated highway project or a flyover had long been proposed on the GT Road with a view to easing the traffic on the road. However, in the absence of any follow-up action by the district administration, the project had failed to come out of the official files.

It is alleged that the powerful exporters’ lobby does not want the elevated highway project to be implemented as the value of their factories and showrooms along the GT Road will go down drastically.

Besides, Panipat is the only major town which does not have a byepass. Experts feel that if Panipat has a byepass, half of the traffic problems will be solved.



Murthal eateries are robbing state exchequer
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 3
A large number of roadside dhabas, restaurants and hotels on the National Highway No. 1, particularly between Murthal Chowk and Ganaur, ride a gravy train. They do a roaring business by charging a fancy price for eatables from the customers, mostly truck operators and other travellers. The owners of these establishments do not pay sales tax or income tax, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer.

According to informed sources, some dhabas have become so popular that the people from far-off places visit them and the owners charge the rates of eatables equal to almost those of five star hotels.

Many travellers have complained time and again that the eatables and dairy products are adulterated but the owners just ignore their complaints. The restaurateurs also serve liquor and beer to the customers on demand, obviously without any licence for their sale. Both the officials of the police and excise department wink at their action. Most of them allegedly get monthly commission.

The foodstuff samples have often been taken from these establishments by the officials of the health department. Some of the owners had also been prosecuted and sentenced by the court.

Most of the hoteliers have encroached upon public land in front of their eateries, but the authorities of the PWD (B and R) have failed to get the public land vacated in spite of the directives issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has also been incurring a huge loss of revenue on account of power theft by many of them.

It alleged that some officials of the UHBVN are in league with them and getting monthly ‘nazrana’ from them.

Informed sources point out that most of the dhaba owners use ‘kundis’ for stealing power at night to attract customers, causing a huge loss of revenue to the UHBVN.



Rs 11 cr water plan for Sonepat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 3
NABARD has earmarked Rs 11.10 crore for launching 13 potable water supply schemes in 33 villages of Sonepat district during the current financial year.

Giving the information, the Deputy Commissioner told mediapersons here today that the work on 11 projects has already been started and it would be completed shortly.

The work on other two projects, he said, would be started soon. The main aim of the project is to supply potable water to the residents living in the rural areas of the district. He said that the Public Health Department has started the work on 237 potable water supply schemes in 321 villages of the district. Of them, 74 are based on canals for 137 villages and 163 others based on tubewells for 184 villages of the district, he added.

According to the DC, the PHD is supplying 70 litres per head per day water in 12 villages whereas 55 litres per head per day in 140 villages and 40 litres per head per day in 142 villages of the district. In 27 other villages, people were getting less than 40 litres of water per head per day.

The DC disclosed that the PHD had taken a number of steps to augment the water supply in each village and new pipelines are being laid for the purpose.



Inaction against riot perpetrators decried 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
Mr Onkar Singh Thapar, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), today regretted that no action had been taken against the perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots even after so many years.

Addressing a function held to observe the death anniversary of the victims, he said this indicated a total lack of interest and attention of the authorities. He said that while the United States had taken prompt action against the persons who attacked Sikhs mistaking them for Arabs after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre (WTC), in “our own country, the culprits were still at large”.

He said that the government should emulate the United States where even the President had apologised to the Sikhs. He appealed to the government to make sincere efforts to rehabilitate the surviving victims and punish the guilty.

The function was organised at Shaheed Ganj Gurdwara in the Tilak Vihar colony. A special “ardas” was also offered in the memory of the victims. 



Three killed as car hits truck
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 3
Three persons were killed and a six-year-old child was injured seriously after a car a stationed truck near Dabodha village on the Jhajjar-Bahadurgarh road here last night. All the deceased were occupants of the car and belonged to Dichao village in Delhi. They were coming to Jhajjar.

According to information, the car (DL 4C 2112) went out of control and rammed a truck parked on the roadside near a canal in Dabodha village in high speed. The incident occurred about at 12 midnight. The driver of the car, Inderjeet, died on the spot while Sahab Singh and Balbir Singh succumbed to injuries in the PGIMS at Rohtak.

Youth stabbed:
A youth was stabbed to death by some unidentified persons at Agra Chowk of Palwal town in the district last night. Jagat Singh of Kuslipur village was with a friend when some youths surrounded him and attacked him with knives. The victim was rushed first to the hospital but died on the way.



Man stabbed over property dispute 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 3
A property dispute led to the murder of a 25-year-old person, Santosh, in the Brahampuri area of North-East district last night.

The police said that Santosh, Rajesh and Mahesh were good friends. Rajesh had a property dispute with her sister and the trio went to her residence in Brahampuri to threaten her. They fought with Rajesh’s sister and her neighbours.

During the scuffle, Rajesh and Santosh sustained stab injuries but Mahesh managed to escape. Santosh and Rajesh were rushed to GTB Hospital where Santosh was declared brought dead, the police said. 



Using laser beams to etch motifs on jeans
Tribune News Service

Lee jeans has launched its latest international range called Photons. The collection has been made by etching motifs using laser beams on denim. The motifs are currently classified as Ceal, Muff, Edge, Blaze, Shrub and Blossom and show up in the blueness of the jeans in the most spectacular ways, adding to the visual appeal.

Suparna Mitra, Business Head, Lee, said that “the Photon collection was initially launched in Mumbai and Bangalore and has now being extended to other major metros and mini-metros in the 65 odd outlets as well as important departmental stores and multi-brand outlets. We have also extended Photon to include tinted and sandblasted jeans that carry laser details.”

MP3 system

Philips India Limited has further consolidated its position with the launch of FWV795 the Next generation – MP3 Hi-fi systems with Smart Surf and Smart Sound.

Also a unique feature in the FWV795 VCD Mini Hi-fi System is the Smart Surf option. This feature essentially allows the user to choose songs either album-wise or track-wise, making it easy to select the songs, from an MP3 song list of 150 songs.

Thermal inners

Thermal Innerware in India has launched Esancia – a new range of international quality thermal innerware for men and women. Positioned as the perfect safeguard against shivering cold, Neva Esancia is made from Polyfill sandwiched between two layers of cotton using the special CPS (Cotton Polyfill Sandwich) technology in technical assistance with Euro Max Clothing Company.

Esancia is warmer than even woollen thermals, yet very light weight and highly comfortable. The silicon finish makes it more comfortable and gives it a soft feel.

Burfi mixes

MTR Foods Limited has launched a product for the Indian homemaker — instant burfi mixes in four exciting varieties. Consumers can now enjoy home-made burfi in Badam, Kaju, Vanilla and Chocolate flavours that takes just 15 minutes to prepare..

J. Suresh, CEO and Executive Director, MTR Foods, said: “MTR believes in constant innovation to offer consumers the best quality and the widest range in products.”

Formal trousers

Monte Carlo is now coming up with a range of formal trousers called Dressier this winter. Dressier is a high-end product using an exclusive range of fabric and accessories.

The design team of Monte Carlo has kept superior comfort in mind while developing this range. Exclusive fabrics like poly-wool-blends, poly-wool-linen and imported polysters are used for the trousers in this segment,” said Vice-Chairman Kamal Oswal.

Seasonal perfume

Nina Ricci fragrances were the first international brand to be launched in India officially. It has introduced both men’s fragrances (Ricci-Club and Signoricci) and women’s fragrances (Nina Ricci, L’Air Du Temps, Deci Dela, Les Belles, Premier Jour). Since then, Nina Ricci has introduced its colour cosmetic line in select counters in India. Every year, Nina Ricci make-up introduces two seasonal collections – spring-summer and autumn-winter.

Checks in colour

Park Avenue, a leading ready-to-wear brand from Raymond Apparel Limited, has unveiled a fresh range of textured checks shirts called Checkers.

Set in the moods of the festive season, the collection has various colours. There is a wide option of 38 designs and colours comprising small and bold checks to choose from. This Checkers collection is available with button down and regular collars in full sleeves as well as half sleeves.

DVD writer

Sony has introduced its new generation Digital Video Disc (DVD) writer in India for personal computers. These DVD writers are targeted at the rapidly growing value PC segment and to further expand Sony’s share in the growing Indian PC market.

Ron Low, Regional Account Manager, Sony Electronics, said that with the proliferation of the PC and Internet in India, there is an enormous potential for rapid growth in the Indian market. Sony is the world’s leading Core Technology Solutions company known for its innovation and best customer service.”

Kids’ shampoos

Sarvoday Ashram, Etah has launched a unique range of children’s shampoos and soaps made from the natural extracts of strawberry, mint, lemon and orange. The shampoos being sold under the name ‘Savi Kids’ have wheat germ extracts that produce vitamin A, very good for enriching hair. The entire range of shampoos are very mild for the soft scalp of children and is free from chemicals.

Chinese secrets

The Ching’s Secret Hakka Noodles are hygienically made and are available in two varieties: Veg Hakka Noodles and Egg Hakka Noodles. The Ching’s Secret ranges of authentic Chinese food ingredients are painstakingly developed from documented and practitioner’s secrets of original Chinese chefs.

Dental cream

Colgate dental cream has now been revitalised to make teeth stronger, provide maximum decay protection, fight germs for hours and offer fresher breath. The “Best Ever” Colgate Dental Cream not only repairs weak spots on teeth but locks in additional calcium and essential minerals to make teeth stronger than ever before.

An eye statement

Oakley has now launched its unconventional and trendy eyewear in India. These eyeglasses not only make a fashion statement but also goes beyond by providing total eye protection. Oakley Eyewear is not just unique in its appearance but is strongly driven by high-end scientific technology. The success of Oakley worldwide is based on three fundamental principles - find opportunity, solve with technology and wrap in art.

Car audio

Indo-Silicon Electronics, which is into marketing car security devices, car entertainment system and car care products, has launched its “Silicon” range of car audio products.

The company has launched Power Amplifiers and Speakers in the “Silicon” car audio range, which has three variants each. H S Chadha, Director, said: “The power amplifier range starts from 300 watts and goes up to 800 watts and promises to deliver every bit of pure music with utmost clarity.”

Nose strips

A new product is soon to hit the Indian market –Biore Pore Perfect Deep Cleansing Nose Strips. The strips offer a weekly pore refining treatment that instantly removes clogged dirt and oil. With regular use, they also diminish the appearance of pores. Biore Nose Strips have been proven to clean pore-clogging dirt better than any other pore strips. Only Biore deep cleansing strips have the Pore Target System that seeks out dirt and pore-clogging material and pulls them away like a magnet. Biore strips will leave your pores cleaner and looking smaller when used regularly.

Oil Radiator

Usha International brings to you Oil Filled Radiator from the Lexus range of Home Appliances. The radiator is compact and portable and has three heating positions, which are sure to spread warmth across your home. Its adjustable temperature control helps you to adjust the temperature according to your needs. And in case you want to change the location of the radiator, its castor wheels allow easy mobility.


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