Thursday, November 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Mewat finds isabgol more lucrative
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Nuh (Mewat), November 20
The change in the cropping pattern in favour of aromatic and medicinal plants experimented by the Mewat Development Agency (MDA) has found favour with the people of Mewat.

Encouraged by the enthusiasm among the farming community, the MDA has launched the second phase of its exercise to expand the canvas of the new cropping pattern.

The MDA, with the help of a non-government organisation, Natural’s Care, had encouraged the plantation of ‘isabgol’ last March. The plantations were done on 30 plots, each measuring half acre in the five revenue blocs of Nuh, Taoru, Ferozepur Jhirka, Nagina and Punhana by way of demonstration.

That the new cropping pattern has borne fruit, the reason is not far to seek. The traditional crops were sarson and wheat. While ‘isabgol’ fetched them, on an average, a net profit of about Rs 12,000 per acre, the return from sarson and wheat ranged from Rs 4,000-5,000 per acre. To encourage the change in the cropping pattern, the MDA had also supplied seeds and offered expertise free of charge.

The MDA is an agency of the Haryana government, constituted for the overall development of Mewat—considered to be one of most backward areas of Haryana.

A visit by the ‘NCR Tribune’ to the farms in all five blocs showed that the farming community is quite hopeful. A good number of farmers have taken up plantation of new crops.

The MDA has also held demonstration farming of Khas, Palma Rosa and Lemon Grass—all aromatic plants—in thehe fields of 90 farmers in the Nagina, Nuh, Ferozepur Jhirka and Taoru blocs. The cycle of these plants is about a year. The farmers will be able to harvest their crops in February.

According to Dr P.K. Khare, secretary of Natural’s Care, they are also high value cash crops and each plantation has a life of seven years. The oil of these plants are extracted and used in perfumery, confectionery, aromatic oils, etc. Like in the case of ’isabgol’, the oil will be marketed in Delhi with the help of the MDA.

According to the MDA chairman, Mr S.A. Khan, the MDA will also set up an oil extraction plant in Mewat for the cost benefit of the those farmers who go in for plantation of the aromatic plants. The proposed extraction plant, expected to be in place by January, will, however, be managed by a society of the farmers.

In an effort to strengthen their position, the farmers going in for medicinal and aromatic plants have formed “Mewat Essential Oil and Medicinal Plants Growers Society”.

According to experts, the medicinal and aromatic plants have started appealing to the farmers as they need less water as compared to the traditional crops. As it is, Mewat along with other parts of Haryana, has been facing water shortage, especially on account of scanty rainfall in the past few years.

Besides, the overall climate and soil in Mewat provides conducive stage for these crops.



Identikit out, but still no arrests
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The Delhi Police today claimed to have questioned hundreds of young men bearing the name “Rahul” in their efforts to trace the suspect who had in a brazen day light attack criminally assaulted a fourth year student of Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) on the terrace of the Khooni Darwaza in the heart of the city last Friday.

Senior police officers monitoring the case said that police parties had also been sent to several places in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to trace the suspect and his two alleged associates. Rahuls in the Capital came under the scanner because the victim had reported in her initial statement that this was the name tattooed on the arm of the suspect.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central), Arvind Deep, said that “efforts were continuing on all fronts to trace the suspect. Our teams are working overtime and have fanned out all over the city to find the suspect, who may possibly hiding in some place.”

The police also claimed to have put together an identikit of the suspect based on the description provided by the victim. The police parties, 15 in all, have been provided this identikit.

The students of all the four medical colleges in the Capital observed a day’s strike today, to protest against the assault and to express solidarity with the victim. All the fourth year students on Monday had boycotted their examination, forcing the authorities to postpone the exam.

The students also requested the Dean of the college, Brij Krishan Daon, to make efforts to beef up the security on the campus. Daon, in turn, has asked some faculty members to escort the students around the campus and find out the lacunae in the security.

The dean, along with a delegation of students, met Delhi Health Minister A K Walia and asked him to ensure that the authorities took necessary action against the suspects. Walia has assured them that he would communicate their concern to the higher authorities.

He also reportedly asked the students to call of their agitation and to keep their cool as the culprits were not from inside the college.

Meanwhile, the Maulana Azad Medical College Old Students Association has strongly condemned the assault and expressed concern over the safety of the students on the campus. A MAMCOS team met the Dean and discussed the issue with him and the student representatives. The MAMCOS release said: “We demand early and strong action against the culprits and a more secure place for study and work.’’ It also appealed to the administration and the police to take action, so that this type of incident is not repeated in the future. The Delhi Government should look at the assault as a blot on humanity and come forward with a definite plan to assure the students of fool-proof action, the release added.



Three acquitted for lack of proof
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
Acquitting three people charged with abetting suicide, a Delhi court has blamed the city police for shoddy investigation in a dowry death case. The acquitted persons, including the husband of the deceased, were released for want of sufficient evidence.

Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Kapoor, while acquitting Raju, the husband of the deceased, Bairagi, her father-in-law, and Jashoda, her mother-in-law, observed that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the accused under Sections 304B (causing dowry death) and 498-A (cruelty) of the IPC. Nor was there any direct evidence of harassment of the deceased in connection with dowry.

Holding that there was no evidence on record to show that before her death the deceased was subjected to torture in connection with dowry, the court said that the prosecution witnesses tried to fill this lacuna in their statements by giving before it a different version than the one that was narrated to the police as well as to Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of the area.

The court held that perhaps the SDM had merely appended his endorsement to the statement of the witnesses prepared by the police. The deceased, Jyoti, who was married to Raju for over two years, committed suicide by hanging herself on April 6, 2001. The police had filed a case on the basis of the statement of her mother Rama Devi, who alleged that her daughter was being harassed for dowry.

The court questioned why the police did not register the case on the same day and why the statements of the deceased’s mother and other witnesses were not recorded on the same day.



Livid villagers try to choke IOC supply line
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 20
After failing to elicit a favourable response from the authorities regarding the demand to get jobs in lieu of the land acquired by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the agitated residents of nearby Asavati and Pyala villages today started blockade of the link road connecting the bottling plant of IOC at Pyala village in the district.

About 300 villagers staged a dharna on the road today. The members of the ‘Sangarsh Samiti’, formed to carry on the agitation, declared that the blockade of the road would continue till their demand was met.

The protestors, including several women squatted on the road and raised slogans against the IOC management, alleging that the company officials had ‘ditched’ the villagers after signing a ‘tripartite agreement’ reached in July this year.

Mr Chanderpal Singh, spokesman of the Sangarsh Samiti said that the agreement was signed by the senior officials of LOBP division of IOC located near Pyala village. It was signed in the presence of the SDM of Ballabgarh and Palwal subdivisions.

He claimed that the application forms for getting employment were given to all the 342 persons whose land had been acquired in 1989.

He said while CVs and the required application forms were submitted to the company within a week, the affected persons had not been called for interview or appointment till today.

He said the Samiti had come to know that the IOC officials had expressed their inability to provide job to the affected persons during a meeting of the officials concerned with the Additional Deputy Commissioner, here recently.

He said the affected persons had decided to intensify the stir as no favourable result was in the offing. He claimed that the panchayats of over a dozen nearby villages had announced their support to the agitation and were ready to join the road blockade, which could spread if there was no response.

According to the Samiti members, the land measuring about 90 acres was acquired way back in 1989 at a rate of Rs 25 per sq. yard and the company had promised to absorb the affected persons in the plant.

They said the nearby bottling plant of Bharat Petroleum had provided jobs to several villagers whose land had been taken by the company. It may be recalled that the villagers had launched dharnas and hunger strike in the past two months.



Dangerous triangle ends in murder
Parmindar Singh

Noida, November 20
A youth shot dead his eldest brother in Bamhota village under Kavi Nagar police station. The youth was fed up of his brother’s illicit relations with a woman, who was the wife of their tenant. Both the brothers had a liaison not only with the woman, but were also making eyes at her daughter.

The police have arrested the younger brother, Rakesh Yadav, and recovered the murder weapon, a countrymade gun. According to the police, Ranpal Singh Yadav of Bamhata village had taken Budhu Singh, an employee of the UPSEB, as his tenant 15 years ago. Ranpal fell in love with Budhu Singh’s wife, Shakuntala. One day, Budhu Singh caught them in a compromising position. He raised Cain. But Ranpal Singh got the better of him and liquidated him. Budhu Singh was clandestinely cremated also. Subsequently, Ranpal agreed to take care of Budhu’s family — two daughters and a son.. But, according to the police, Ranpal soon started paying court to Mona, Shakuntala’s daughter also even though he continued his liaison with Shakuntala. The accused Rakesh Yadav objected to Ranpal’s advances to Mona.

On November 18 evening, according to the police, Rakesh went to a PCO to bring Mona home. Ranpal Singh Yadav had opened a PCO in the industrial area for Mona. At the PCO, Rakesh also found his brother, Ranpal and got so enraged that he decided to do away with him.

After sometime, Rakesh also reportedly had a crush on Shankuntala, forming an eternal triangle that resulted in the death of one of the three.



With pizzas once a year, what more do underprivileged kids want!
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
A choice of five different pizza toppings to suit your taste and a special screening of a movie. Not a marketing gimmick this, the occasion for the dream outing was the International Children’s Day.

Barely six days after the Children’s Day, it was time again to celebrate, this time the International Children’s Day. And all this under the UN auspices, which decided for once to address children’s concerns rather than knotty adult problems in West Asia. With UN leading the pack, corporate entities and the government also jumped on to the bandwagon.

At the receiving end of the largesse were the underprivileged children of the Capital and doling out the free pizzas and burgers at retail outlets were the celebrities. The event may have required little by way of protocol, but it surely had the honchos scratching their heads.

Not to miss a marketing opportunity, the corporate strategists, on the appointed day, were spelling out new and promising schemes, coupled with assurances to address children’s concerns. But the enthusiasm for the schemes was rather tepid compared with the exhilaration that the children felt when the sumptuous pizzas were brought in. For most of the children, who barely manage to have two square meals, the choice of five different toppings was the ultimate offering. Next came a visual treat for the underprivileged — the Hollywood blockbuster Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. All this while their privileged counterparts had the celebrities taking their orders at select McDonaldd’s outlets. Bipasha Basu, Javed Habib and Jaspal Rana joined ranks with the crew at McDonald’s to generate funds for the eye treatment of those children who cannot bear their medical costs.

However, the management and the security, in their frenzy, ended up offending the media and the visitors. In a bid to appease the guests, they stopped the visitors from entering the premises, hustled out the photographers and the cameramen and told them in no uncertain terms that they were not welcome. This, despite the fact that these very organisers had persistently reminded the media of the event for well over a week and had begged for adequate coverage.

In another dream outing, around 100 children from CRY (Child Relief and You) were treated to the Hindi version of Harry Potter and the five sumptuous offerings launched by Domino’s Pizza in the Indian market. Cricketer Nikhil Chopra was roped in to spend time with these children.

Dominos also announced that it will donate three rupees from the sale of each set of garlic breadsticks to CRY as a token of its appreciation for the commendable work being done for the underprivileged children.

With multinationals coming to the assistance of these marginalised children, it seems corporate sector is realising its social responsibilities.



How to get panchayati raj institutions going?
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 20
Although the panchayati raj system was introduced several years ago and the state government claims to be making satisfactory progress in its implementation, the financial and administrative autonomy for local bodies seems to be still far away. While these bodies are crying for more funds, excessive red-tapism has been a bane of the system. These issues came before the Second State Finance Commission, which held a meeting with district officials and elected representatives here.

On the request by the chairman of the commission, Mr Surajbhan Kayal, several sarpanches, panches and members of the zila parishad, municipal committees and the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) met the commission members and handed over several suggestions to improve the panchayati raj system. Several of them complained that the present scenario regarding the power and authority enjoyed by the panchayati raj institutions was dismal.

According to the sarpanch of a nearby village, the pace of development works had been sluggish as there was too much interference of administration in any decision. He said several important files either remained pending or kept stuck in official hassles and the panchayats were at the receiving end most of the time.

He claimed that sarpanches or panches who wanted to carry out schemes on priority basis were faced with so many problems. On the other hand, the tendency to commit frauds or make illegal money had been on the rise.

According to experts, bodies like the zila parishad had proved to be defunct institutions, as these had only become a platform of politics. Members who did not owe allegiance to the ruling party did face a large number of hurdles to clear any file of development work. Allegations of misuse of funds and rampant favouritism had been common.

At a recent meeting of the zila parishad, several members belonging to the Opposition had to stage a walk out when they were not given a hearing about the demands and issues raised by them. It is reported that lakhs of rupees were spent on each meeting and the infrastructure provided but the end result was poor.

The same is the story of the MCF here, which is the largest civic body in the state. While the annual budget of the MCF is about Rs 119 crore, the army of officials and employees working here allegedly eats a good chunk of the same for various expenditures and salary. Many residents have lost faith in the system due to rampant corruption. MCF members and officials claim that the poor financial condition had been one of the biggest hurdles. Some of them have even favoured resumption of Octroi, abolished a few years ago.

The suggestions given to the Second Finance Commission include provision of providing a share to the local bodies from the incomes earned through the Local Area Development Tax (LADT), registration fee, excise collection and stamp duty. The local bodies’ representatives have asked the Finance Commission to ensure financial freedom to take a majority of decisions at the local level, for making the system result-oriented.



CM is neglecting farmers’ plight: HPCC
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 20
The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) has charged the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, with adopting a negligent attitude towards the sufferings of the drought-affected farmers in the region. Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, HPCC spokesman and a former minister, said today farmers in several parts of the region suffered heavy losses due to the unprecedented long dry spell. However, he alleged the Chief Minister failed to observe the gravity of the situation and provide compensation to the affected farmers ever after three months of the drought. On the other hand, he said the Chief Minister had been engaged in foreign visits in the name of alluring foreign investment.

Criticising the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for making no increase in the minimum support price of sugarcane for the second consecutive year, the Congress leader alleged the ruling party had revealed its anti-farmer attitude. Besides, he alleged farmers in the region had not been getting sufficient power and irrigation water for sowing rabi crop these days.

Commenting on the imposition of various taxes, he claimed strong resentment prevailed among the masses against the decision. He demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the step to honour public opinion.

He also condemned the casino Bill recently passed by the Haryana Assembly. He said the party would launch an agitation if the Bill, which would ruin the youth of the region, was not withdrawn by the government.

Reacting against the recent inclusion of Mr Yogendra Dahiya into the Haryana Vikas Party, he claimed Mr Dahiya was not a member of the state executive of the Congress as published in a section of the press. He alleged that Mr Dahiya had been frequently changing parties and joined Mr Charan Singh, a former Prime Minister, Mr Devi Lal, a former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, and Mr Bansi Lal, Haryana Vikas Party chief, one after the other.



ANMC-21: A springboard for Asia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dikshit, in the presence of Governor of Tokyo, H.E. Shintaso Ishihara, and other heads of the member cities of Asian Network of Major Cities-21 (ANMC-21) inaugurated the plenary meeting of the Second Summit Conference of ANMC-21 here today.

The summit conference of ANMC-21 shall be holding important presentations on joint projects identified in the Tokyo Declaration made at the first summit conference held at Tokyo in October 2001.

The sessions will discuss various policy dialogues on the environment by the representations of the member cities and also an I.T. presentation titled, “Employment of IT in Disaster Management” by Mr Sam Pitroda on behalf of Delhi.

The summit conference would also come out with a Delhi Declaration on the concluding day and decide upon the city for the next summit conference. An exhibition on ANMC-21 has also been organised at the India International Trade Fair at the Hamsadhawani theatre in Pragati Maidan and at the Delhi Haat to coincide with the summit conference as decided at the last plenary meeting in Tokyo.

This exhibition depicts the everyday life in Asia and major attractions of member cities in the areas of tourism, industries, local products, performing arts and art & culture.

The exhibition would host culture festivals by way of performing art from the member cities of Kaula Lampur, Tokyo, Bangkok and Jakarta.

The ANMC which has emerged as a major forum of cities representing the emerging face of Asia in the new world order, aims at providing an opportunity to Asia to establish a new identity and develop as a world leader.

Some of the issues that shall be addressed by the network are environment, urban planning, promotion of art, culture and tourism, human resource development, education, women development, health, disaster prevention, aid and technological development, including information technology.

As a follow-up of the decisions taken in the August 2000, three projects identified for implementation by Delhi are: Development of Women, Asian Arts and Crafts at Delhi Haat (AACTTM) and Asian I.T. Open University.

The first plenary meeting of ANMC-21 was held in Tokyo in October 2001. The first plenary session in Tokyo adopted the Charter of ANMC-21 and contained the objective as follows: To strengthen Asian identity and enhance the importance of Asia in the international community by strengthening and cooperation amongst major Asian cities.

To enable fellow major Asian cities to share their knowledge and experience of common problems and participation in joint projects in order to make it possible for the positive outcome of these projects to be fed back to regions, citizens, companies and so forth, which will in turn contribute to social and economic development in Asia.

The session witnessed the signing of the Tokyo Declaration. Presently, 12 major Asian cities are members of ANMC-21 and 15 joint projects had been identified for implementation between organising and participating cities.



Social Justice Front’ to fight communalism
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 20
Representatives of various political parties, social organisations, prominent citizens and mass organisations have decided in a meeting to float a platform, “Social Justice Front” to launch a campaign against the communal and casteist forces in the wake of lynching of five persons at Dulina in Jhajjar district on October 15.

Those who participated in the meeting included Mr Inderjit Singh, state secretary, CPM; Capt Shamsher Singh Malik, president, Lok Janshakti Party, Haryana; Ms Kanta Ahladia, president, Samajwadi Party; Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, president, Janata Dal (United); Mr Raghbir Singh Chaudhary, state secretary, CPI; Mr Satyawan, state secretary, SUCI; Mr S N Solanki, president, CITU; Mr Kishan Swaroop, state secretary, Kisan Sabha; Mr Ram Mohan Roy of Harijan Sewak Sangh; Mr Dharambir Chiri, general secretary, Khet Mazdoor Union; Mr Sunil Datt, state secretary, DYFI; Prof D R Chaudhary, renowned writer; Prof Suraj Bhan, president, Democratic Forum; Prof Man Mohan of Janwadi Lekhak Sangh; Ms Jagmayal Sangwan and Ms Manjeet Rathi, president and secretary of Janwadi Mahila Samiti; and Mr Naresh Kumar, member of SFI national secretariat.

The participants were unanimous in their view that Dulina killings were the result of a well-conceived conspiracy of the communal organisations to divert the attention from the misrule of the BJP which was getting politically isolated. It was never a spontaneous mishap as was being described by the vested interests and the state government, they opined.

It was specially underlined that a calculated game, as a part of the well-planned strategy, was being executed by the casteist forces to exploit the feelings of the people towards cow by projecting themselves as cow protectors. Ironically, these divisive forces, namely the VHP, Bajrang Dal etc were desperately trying to top in elected elements from Arya Samaj Gurukuls, Gaushalas and a handful of self-styled chieftains of Khaap Panchayats, the participants said.

This pernicious nexus needs to be understood, exposed and foiled, the meeting said. The meeting resolved to keep the platform open to all those organisations and individuals who have regard for the rule of law, social justice and the cause of defending the human rights. The meeting was critical of the conduct of the government and its administration for their ‘failure’ in handling the situation even after the ghastly episode.

The meeting wanted that the senior officers should have been taken to task who were specially deputed to save the lives of innocent persons, but instead, they just remained silent spectators when the barbaric lynchings were being committed.

Second, those elements should have been arrested who instigated the crowd by spreading rumours of cow slaughter.

Other vital dimensions can only be probed conclusively through a judicial inquiry, the meeting demanded.

In a specially adopted resolution, the meeting condemned the murderous attack on Sirsa-based journalist, Mr Ram Chander Chhatrapati, and demanded a CBI enquiry into the attack as well as into the entire functioning of “Dera Sach Sauda”.

The meeting appealed to the followers of the Dera to remain calm and seek a thorough probe in the interest of transparency of a place being run in the name of religion. The Social Justice Front concluded that after opening up of the blockades of roads in Jhajjar, there would be peace and harmony and there would be a situation where the law can take its own course.



One crore houses for working class soon
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, November 20
Underlying the need to amend various labour laws to check the exploitation of the working class, the Union Labour Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, on Tuesday declared that the Central government proposed to built one crore houses for the working class in the unorganised sector.

He was addressing a rally after unveiling the statue of a Kargil martyr Vijay Singh at Puther village near here.

Paying rich tributes to the Kargil martyrs, Mr Verma claimed that the Vajpayee government had done much more for the welfare of the martyrs than the previous governments.

Mr Verma said the state governments had been asked to implement various provisions of labour Acts strictly.

He said an amount of Rs 1,015 crore, which was with the Labour Ministry as the contribution of the Employees Provided Fund, would be spent on the welfare of the working class.

Regarding new wage board for the journalists and non-journalists, Mr Verma said the ministry was in touch with the representatives of the newspaper and agency management and various journalist and non-journalist bodies.

The Union Minister of State for Home, Mr ID Swami, informed that the Centre was working on a scheme under which soldiers sacrificing their lives while fighting cross-border terrorism would be treated on a par with the martyrs of war.



No increase in Delhi crime rate: minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The Capital has witnessed as many as 813 cases of sexual harassment against women and children in the past 10 months. The Minister of State for Home, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said that till October 31 this year the number of cases of sexual harassment stood at 813 as against 928 during the corresponding period of the preceding year.

The minister denied any increase in the crime rate in the national Capital and said the number of IPC related crimes in Delhi during the first 10 months of the current year registered a fall by 9.94 per cent when compared with the number of such crimes reported during the corresponding period of the preceding year.

Elaborating on the measures taken to punish the criminals, Mr Rao said an inter-state crime co-ordination secretariat had been set-up in the headquarters of Delhi Police.

Mr Rao also informed that one PCR Van had been provided on an experimental basis to the Crime Against Women Cell to attend to any complaints received on the toll-free helpline number set up for the aid of women and children.

The Rajya Sabha was informed today that the DDA had inaugurated a 6-km flyover from NH8 to Dwarka Dwar, which includes an underpass near Palam Colony. The project has incurred an expenditure of Rs 100 crore and is expected to be complete by March 2005. The DDA has also sent a proposal for consideration of the government to allow the limited mixed use of industrial plots subject to certain regulations on the premise that there is a possibility of widening the use permissibility of industrial plots. Activities which do not affect the overall environmental and infrastructural parameters could be permitted in these plots.

The Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr O Rajagopal, informed the Rajya Sabha that the NDMC had been conducting regular raids in the city to keep the subways free from encroachers and unauthorised squatters.

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr A. Raja, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said the government had received certain complaints regarding the unsatisfactory attendance of the staff and officers, shortage of medicines and non-functioning of medical equipment in the CGHS dispensaries. A task force had been constituted on December 28, 2001, to conduct surprise checks of CGHS dispensaries and look into the aspects of punctuality and availability of medicines.

Mr Raja also informed that as per the feedback from the Drugs Control Administration, NCT of Delhi, out of the 1,419 samples received for testing till October 31 this year eight samples were found to be spurious. The Drugs Control Department conducts routine inspections and raids and samples are drawn at random from retailers and chemists for checking the quality. The House was also informed that the department had been giving out the details for consumer protection and close liaison was being maintained with the local police to check and stop movements of drugs of doubtful quality.

The minister also informed the House that the matter relating to the construction of a mental hospital in the national Capital had been pending for sometime and the issue had been delayed on account of procedures related to the Expenditure Finance Committee, powers of the state government as well as clearance to be received from various local agencies. The high court has, however, passed an order asking the Cabinet Secretary to make an inquiry in the project.

Mr Raja attributed the rise in the number of cases related to TB to the increase in the reporting of the disease owing to the improvement in programme management. He said the incidences of TB had remained more or less constant all over the country for the last few years.

He said the number of TB cases detected in the Capital during the year 2001-02 stood at 27,382. Though at present there was no provision for setting up of Multi Drug Resistance (MDR) TB treatment centre under the National Programme, there were some hospitals like the LSR Institute of TB and Allied Diseases that were providing treatment for MDR TB patients.



Water vending station inaugurated
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, November 20
Zero-B inaugurated its first water vending station in New Delhi at the IITF 2002 on Wednesday. The water vending station dispenses water at the price of Rs 3 per litre (refill bottle).

The company also carried out free water testing in which visitors were invited to bring samples of water from their homes. The samples were analysed by the service team for hardness, potability and total dissolved solids. All of these elements can cause serious health illnesses and the visitors were also informed of the risk that they were taking by consuming their home water.

The cost of Zero-B water favourably compares with bottled water, which is priced at Rs 12. A microprocessor system dispenses water in quantities of 300 ml, 1 litre and 5 litres, depending on the customer’s need. The Zero-B product is also eco-friendly since it does away with the “use and throw” system of plastic bottles.

The Zero-B water stations are aimed at entrepreneurs interested in setting up localised operations for the supply of drinking water and is ideal for high traffic areas such as railway stations, bus stands, tourist spots and shopping malls.

Health camp held

Mr Ram Bhaj, MLA and Vice-Chairman, NDMC, inaugurated a health camp at Aliganj near Gurudwara, Lodhi Colony, on Wednesday, which was part of a Stree Shakti campaign. This is the second camp organised in the NDMC area to provide healthcare services on the doorstep of the habitants. The first camp was organised in the Gole Market assembly constituency.

At least 300 residents availed consultancy services in three disciplines i.e. homoeopathic, ayurvedic and allopathic. HIV counselling was given and blood tests and ECG were done.



Plea to probe misuse of funds by MC
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 20
Representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations and trade unions today urged the state government to order a high-level probe into the misuse of funds by the Sonepat Municipal Council authorities. In a memorandum sent to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, a copy of which was released to the press here today, they also demanded immediate suspension of the Executive Officer and others who were allegedly involved in this scandal. They also pointed out that such an inquiry would expose the misdeeds of the authorities and subordinate officials of the council.

Three hurt in collision

Three persons, including a woman, were seriously injured when a canter collided with a three-wheeler on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh road near Diwan Farm, about 5 km from here, on Tuesday evening.

According to a report, the three-wheeler was loaded with devotees returning after taking a dip in the Yamuna on the occasion of Kartik Purnima. As a result, three persons, namely Mr Radhey Sham, Mr Anurag and Ms Shanti, were injured seriously. All injured persons were rushed to the local Civil Hospital.



11 criminals expelled from Ghaziabad
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, November 20
The Ghaziabad administration has expelled 11 criminals from the district, including seven from Hapur tehsil.

A case had been filed in the court of the Additional District Magistrate (Admn), Mr Rakesh Chandra, against these seven in view of their background and their image in public. A show-cause notice had been sent to all 11 criminals but none of them bothered to reply.

The Additional DM has barred these persons from entering the district under the Ghaziabad Goonda Control Ordinance.

Those expelled are Araf, son of Farooque, resident of Gandhi Vihar, Aziz, son of Banji Patti, Manoj, son of Om Prakash of Shambopura, Pawan, son of Ramesh Chand of Chanderlok, Rattan, son of Baljeet of Gangapur, Mukesh, son of Dev Dutt of Chamery, and Harvansh, son of Ishwar Singh of Laja Puri.

The police had filed six cases against Chhotey, five against Manoj, six against Pawan and seven against Mukesh. Cases against Rajiv, son of Yoginder of Moti Nagar, and Shamshad, son of Hashim of Chanderlok Colony, had also been filed under the Goonda Control Ordinance.

One dies of snakebite

Faridabad: At least two persons died in separate incidents in the district. Bharat Lal, a resident of Kheri Kalan, died after a snakebite in the village. In another incident, one Surjit of Friends Colony here died after he took some poisonous substance.

In another incident, a motor cycle belonging to Om Prakash of Sector 14 here was stolen. This is the sixth vehicle to be stolen in the town in the past four days. The police have also registered a case of dowry harassment against certain persons on the complaint of a woman residing in Chhainsa village.

Garment shop burgled

Thieves are reported to have entered a garment shop at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, on Tuesday night and taken away garments worth over Rs 25,000 from it.

According to a report, the shopkeeper has lodged an FIR with the police for investigation.

Probe into cow’s death

The SDM of Sonepat visited Jatheri village, near here, on Tuesday and held an inquiry into the reported killing of a cow there. According to a report, the village people told the SDM that the cow belonged to a group of Rajasthani people and had died a natural death. They also alleged that some anti-social elements were trying to create tension on this issue and they should be booked immediately.



Two youths held at ISBT flyover, 1 kg charas seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The North district police today arrested two youths of Himachali origin and recovered one kg charas from their possession. They were arrested from the ISBT flyover where they had gone to deliver the consignment to their contact in the Capital. They were identified as Netra Singh Thakur and Premjit. The suspects had brought the consignment from Kulu where they were told to deliver it to somebody in Delhi. They were promised Rs 2,000 each for the job.

The West district Crime Against Women Cell will organise a workshop on Thursday at Bhartiya College in Janakpuri in coordination with the Delhi Aid Authority, the Forum for Social Justice and the college management.

The workshop will lay emphasis on instilling confidence, self-reliance and independence among girl students in dealing with the day-to-day situations of life, particularly concerning crime against women. An interactive session will also be held between students and the panel on various aspects of crime against women and various burning issues. A demonstration of self-defence techniques inculcated among the girl students will also be staged.

Burglars’ gang busted
With the arrest of three youths the West district police on Wednesday claimed to have busted a gang of tempo operators, who commit burglaries in the district. They were identified as Roshan, Javed Khan and Tulsi. On Tuesday the suspects picked up mobile phones and TV sets from an electronic goods shop in Vishnu Garden owned by Avtar Singh who raised the alarm. The suspects were arrested. The robbed items were recovered from their tempo. The suspects used to reconnoiter the area during the day and select their target, the police said.



A new loan scheme for your dream home
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
Birla Home Finance today launched its Easy Home Loan Deposit Scheme in the Capital.

“The scheme, which was first launched in Jaipur around two months ago, is tailor-made to suit the Indian market”, said Mr H. S. Bawa, Chairman, Birla Home Finance, while addressing a press conference.

The scheme requires a member to save on a monthly or quarterly basis (minimum amount Rs 370 per month), for a specified period of three to five years for which he gets 5 per cent compounded interest rate. After the completion of the specified tenure, the member would be entitled for a home loan at a concessional rate of interest for construction or purchase of residential house property in India.

The company offers its members loan at 7 per cent interest on annual reducing balance and the amount of loan offered to a member would be double the value of his savings, plus interest.

“We are offering a unique facility of transfer of the scheme, if a member so desires, making it a gift option”, said Mr Bawa. A member can also nominate any relative, friend or trust to avail the benefit of the scheme.

The member can also terminate the contract and get an additional bonus of 1 per cent along with 5 per cent interest.

The scheme is targeted at salaried businessmen, traders, shopkeepers, factory workers and government employees in the age group of 18 to 54, said Mr Bawa.

He said the scheme would be especially beneficial to low-income group people, or self- employed professionals or businessmen, who face problems in completing documentation formalities for availing home loans from banks or other institutions.

“In India, compared to the USA where almost 70 per cent of the people live in their own houses, hardly 10-15 per cent people have their own houses. A huge potential market, makes chances of success of such a scheme very bright”.

Mr Bawa also said that in case one opts for the scheme and after the contract period requires a higher amount for purchase or construction than what he gets he will also be entitled to avail loan under any other scheme offered by the company, though at an interest rate which that particular scheme is offering.


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