Tuesday, November 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Govt, BJP wash Metro linen in Assembly
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The first day of Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Winter Session saw the Congress and the BJP trading charges over the power supply to Delhi Metro. The government refuted allegations of wrongdoing on the issue of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) having to purchase electricity from a private distributor instead of buying bulk from the government-owned transmission company.

Both the Treasury and Opposition Benches chose to dwell at length on the controversy-ridden Metro project at the expense of the transport policy that was listed for the short duration discussion. Initiating the debate, Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress said the Centre was trying to strip the Congress-ruled Government of NCT of Delhi of powers to administer the Delhi Metro.

Criticising the BJP-led NDA government for ignoring the interests of a popular, democratically elected government, he said the Centre had proposed a levy of metro tax on Delhiites. The Government of NCT of Delhi, he said, had received a communique from the Centre on the proposed levy of the tax. The BJP, he said, was trying to take credit for the project after all the perseverance by the Congress-led Government of NCT of Delhi in expediting the project.

Responding to allegations levelled by Leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told the House that the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) was the competent authority to decide how the DMRC should buy electricity, from whom and at what rate. Power Minister Ajay Maken, in turn, dismissed the allegations saying the government had no say in the matter.

The worsening law and order situation in the Capital also came up for discussion as the Treasury Benches took potshots at the Centre for doing precious little to stem the soaring crime graph. Intervening in the debate, the Chief Minister said that much needed to be done to render the Capital safe for women. Law and order being a central subject because of the special Union Territory status of the NCT of Delhi, and the Bill for statehood still hanging fire, the Chief Minister hastened to add that the acts of crime were tragic and the House was one in condemning the same.



Free from encroachment, Rohtak to 
break new ground
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, November 25
Rohtak district will achieve the distinction of being the first district in the state to be absolutely free from encroachment within the next five months.

Talking to the ‘NCR Tribune’ here today, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, claimed that 221 acre had been cleared from encroachment by demolishing 2,447 illegal structures during nearly one-and-a-half-month drive against encroachment launched in the district.

He said as many as 40 of a total of 147 villages had been cleared from encroachment so far.

Divulging details of the unauthorised structures that had been removed so far, he said 63 acre panchayat and shamlat land was cleared by removing 1,224 unauthorised structures in Lakhan Majra block of the district. Similarly, 76 and 75 acre panchayat land was cleared by demolishing 322 and 349 illegal structures in Meham and Rohtak blocks, respectively. However, the district authorities found the job much easier in Kalanaur block where they found only 11 unauthorised structures spread over 4 kanal 16 marla panchayat land. Sisarkhas village in Meham, Ritauli in Rohtak and Nandal, Chiri and Kharainti villages in Lakhan Majra blocks topped the list of encroachment.

Commenting on the functioning of the drive, Mr Yadav said separate teams consisting of a Naib Tehsildar and a Block Development Officer (BDO) used to visit a village in each of the five blocks every week.

He said the team used to clear the panchayat land from encroachment in that village and demarcate the unauthorised structures in another village. In this way, he said the district administration would be able to get the whole district free from encroachment within five months.

Moreover, the Deputy Commissioner said the drive against encroachment and that for beautification of the town were being carried out simultaneously.

He said almost all the main roads and crossings in the town had been widened to relieve people of the long-pending problem of traffic congestion.

He claimed that the district authorities faced no resistance from the people during demolition. Moreover, no opposition party could mobilise the masses against the drive.

The people were also mentally prepared for it, he said.

Besides, he said that there was no discrimination against any individual during the drive and alternative shops were given to the affected traders and petty shopkeepers.



Hoteliers game for casinos
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, November 25
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI), along with its state unit today came out in support of the pro-casino policy of the government, saying that it was not only a ‘novel’ but also a ‘bold’ idea. The support from hoteliers will undoubtedly come as a morale-booster for the state government, which has come in for criticism from various quarters for its decision to open casinos.

The president of the HRANI, Mr Rajinder Kumar, said here that casinos would attract foreign and domestic tourists and the policy would boost the state’s revenue on one side and bring Haryana tourism on the world map on the other.

Lauding the state government on several counts for promoting tourism in Haryana, he urged that the proposed expansion of the Delhi-Jaipur National Highway be completed expeditiously.

Mr Rajinder Kumar was here to preside over a meeting of the executive committee of HRANI. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Haryana hosted the event. The states of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan and the Union Territory of Chandigarh are affiliated to the HRANI. The body is claimed to have more than 1,200 hoteliers from the affiliated states as members.

Though he hailed the casino policy of the Haryana Government, the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Haryana, Col Manbeer Chowdhary, lamented that the state’s policy on the role and scope for private hoteliers was not clear.

He wondered if the state would be as liberal as it is with the hotels of Haryana Tourist Corporation with regard to the opening of casinos. According to him, the private sector was yet not clear whether it would be allowed to open casinos at all. The sooner the policy was made clear, the better it would be for the tourism industry, he added.



Lovelorn minor girl ends life 
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, November 25
A minor girl, who was refused permission to marry her boy friend, ended it all by sprinkling kerosene on her and setting herself aflame. The family of the deceased and the residents created a furore at the police post when cops refused to register an FIR against the youth.

The 15-year-old Ritu, daughter of a physically challenged person Ram Dulare, alias Dullu, of Modhopura area in Vijay Nagar, had locked herself in a room in the evening on November 23 and committed suicide by setting herself aflame after sprinkling kerosene on her.

Some people tried to rescue her after breaking the door and took her to the district hospital in a badly charred condition. She succumbed to her injuries in the morning. After her postmortem examination, about 100 people reached the police post and caused a commotion.

They alleged that three days ago, a youth Vidhu from the neighbourhood had seduced the girl and taken her away. The youth dumped the girl at her house after two days.

Her brother, it is learnt, had opposed her marriage with the youth. Upset with it, the girl killed herself.

The family members and neighbours said that the youth had been harassing the girl for quite some time. He would say that he wanted to marry the girl. The youth had taken her away when she was alone at home, her sister-in-law said.

When he came to drop the girl home, he was beaten up by the girl’s family, it is said.

After the crowd had caused a disturbance for an hour at the police post, police promised to register a case against the accused.



Shrines come under heavy security blanket 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
In the wake of terrorist attack in Jammu last night, the Delhi Police have taken various measures to provide security in the Capital’s shrines to avert such attacks.

In Delhi, thick security has been thrown around religious sites like Kalkaji, Sai Baba and Iskcon temples and Chhattarpur temple complex in South district, Laxminarayan (Birla temple), Hanuman and Jhandewalan temples in Central Delhi and Santoshi Mata temple in the West district, said Joint Commissioner of Police (South) Satish Chandra.

“The city is on a red alert and special guards and police have been posted at all important places in Delhi. Special attention is given to temples where maximum security has been provided,” he said.

Apart from them, plain-clothed policemen are keeping a watch on the visitors coming to temples and all devotees are being frisked thoroughly before they enter them.

Devotees have been advised to keep their belongings home.



More power bill collection centres sought
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 25
Representatives of various organisations, including the Sonepat Residents’ Welfare Association and the Sonepat Citizens Forum, today criticised the authorities of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) for not setting up more collection centres for the recovery of electricity bills in this city and elsewhere in the district. They said that the existing collection centres at the building of old power house in Indira Colony were not enough to cope with the rush of consumers who wanted to deposit the amount of bills issued to them after every two months.

In a press release issued here, they said that long queues were seen outside these centres and the consumers had to stay in these for a long time for their turn. Most of the cashiers, they alleged, were coming late and this was the main cause of the long queues. Moreover, no boxes were put up at these centres for those consumers who are interested to make payment through cheques for amounts over Rs 2,000.

These representatives also urged the UHBVN authorities to set up a separate window for the collection of electricity bills from senior citizens.

They also expressed their grave concern over the “inefficient and unsatisfactory” working of the complaint centres of the UHBVN in the urban and rural areas of the district. They alleged that most of the employees remained absent from duty in connivance with the officials almost every day and the consumers were harassed on some pretext or the other when they approached these centres for the removal of faults.

Meanwhile, the Superintending Engineer (Operation) of the UHBVN, Sonepat Circle, Mr R. K. Gupa, disputed the claim of the representatives of these organisations and claimed that immediate action was taken on the complaints of consumers by the employees of the complaint centres. He also said that the power supply and distribution system were much better here than in other parts of the state. 



Poor canal water supply hits Gohana farmers hard
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 25
The maintenance of canals and distributaries continues to remain a problem despite heavy expenditure incurred on them in Gohana sub-division of the district.

According to a report, although the state government has spent lakhs of rupees on Gohana Water Service Division for the cleaning operations of the canals and distributaries, the position has hardly improved as water does not reach the tail-end fields of the farmers.

Farmers who are supplied water by Israna minor, Butana distributary, Gangesar, Bichpari, Baroda and Busana tails, have made a series of complaints to the authorities about the non-supply of canal water but no action has so far been taken.

Many farmers alleged that the Gohana Water Service Division has become a den of corruption and the officials from the junior engineers to the executive engineers were harassing the farmers on some pretext or the other whenever they approach them with the complaints about the insufficient and erratic supply of canal water.

The district authorities have also taken a serious note of the farmers’ complaints and directed the officials of this division to take steps to ensure canal water for the tail-end villages.

Meanwhile, the farmers of several villages including Garhi Ujala Khan, Garhi Sarai Namdar Khan, Gamri, Khanpur, Kakana, Kasanda, Kasandi, Nagar and Sainipura are facing an acute shortage of canal water for sowing rabi crops and have appealed to the Chief Minister to provide relief to them by ordering the suspension of the officials responsible for the water crisis.

They also criticised the local authorities of the Gohana Water Service Division for their failure to redress their grievances about the shortage of canal water even during the rotation period.

They said that the standing crops worth several lakhs of rupees had been damaged during the kharif season due to erratic supply of canal water.



Shradhanjali Samaroh turns out to be kin’s 
political statement
Our Correspondent

Rewari, November 25
The Shradhanjali Samaroh, which was organised at Budhpur village near here yesterday to commemorate the 45th death anniversary of the grand old man of Ahirwal, Rao Mohar Singh, virtually turned out to be a political rally aimed to project Rao Narbir Singh, the grandson of Rao Mohar Singh, as a rising leader of Ahir politics.

The organisers claimed that over 30,000 people attended the samaroh while independent observers said there were between 15,000 and 20,000 people. In fact, Rao Narbir Singh was chief organiser of the rally. People from various parts of Ahirwal.

Almost all speakers, including legislators, former ministers, saints and others, paid glowing tributes to Rao Mohar Singh. But more significantly, most of them did not forget to mention that Rao Narbir Singh, a budding volatile politician of Ahirwal, was now a worthy successor of his illustrious grandfather.

The most conspicuous was the presence of three prominent Congress legislators of Ahirwal - Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, deputy leader of the HCLP (Rewari), Rao Narendra Singh (Ateli) and Mrs Anita Yadav, president of the Haryana Mahila Congress (Salhawas). They seemed to lend the samaroh a fair semblance of a pro-Bhajan Lal rally, meant to strengthen the pro-Bhajan Lal forces in Ahirwal in sharp contrast to their rival camp headed by another senior Congress leader and legislator Rao Inderjit Singh. The participation of former union minister Col Ram Singh, now a political confidant of Mr Bhajan Lal, also lent credence to this impression.

Interestingly, Rao Narbir Singh himself, who held a press conference at Rewari earlier, had made his intentions clear about his re-entry into the poll arena from Jatusana in the next assembly elections. He had then told ‘NCR Tribune’ that he was not averse to joining the Congress Party if he was assured of the party’s nomination from a seat of his choice in the next assembly poll.

Besides the tone and tenor of the speeches made at the samaroh by four former prominent ministerial colleagues of Rao Narbir Singh - former Haryana BJP chief Prof Ram Bilas Sharma, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, now a Republican Party of India legislator, Kanwar Suraj Pal, a senior BJP leader, and Mr Jaswant Singh Bawal - also indicated that Rao Narbir Singh still enjoyed their trust and confidence. Giving a description of their fight against the “dictatorial” functioning of Mr Bansi Lal as well as the events leading to the ouster of his government in July 1999, Prof Ram Bilas Sharma asserted that their `Mahabharata’, launched for the restoration of the honour and dignity of Ahirwal, had not yet reached its climax.

Without naming Mr Om Prakash Chautala, he said that there was an urgent need of putting an end to the present total mis-governance of the state and putting things here in the right perspective to ensure a just and fair deal for Ahirwal.

Swami Shranananda, chairman of the samaroh, gave his blessings to Rao Narbir Singh. In his brief address, he assured the people that his services were always at their disposal and he would continue to strive for the betterment of Ahirwal.



Official nod to land ‘scandal’ worth crores
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, November 25
Ghaziabad has been rocked by a land scandal in which a large chunk of land worth crores of rupees have been appropriated with the connivance of junior staff in Tehsil headquarters, after getting fictitious documents and orders prepared in the name of a Naib Tehsildar. Many people have also reportedly benefited by pocketing land compensations running into crores of rupees.

This scandal seems to have shaken the Tehsil Department here. This is the second case of its type, the first being the case of Suresh Nanda who had got himself declared a voter on the basis of fictitious documents and claimed the ownership of a large piece of land.

One Ram Gopal reportedly struck friendship with Tuffail Ahmed, the husband of Khurshid Jahan Begum, who was a prosperous landlord of the town and owned land worth crores of rupees.

Subsequently, it is alleged that Ram Gopal, on the basis of forged documents, had transferred Tuffail Ahmed’s land in his own name and also pocketed the land compensation.

Khurshid Jahan Begum’s advocate-son Khalique had filed a case in Delhi High Court, which was later transferred to Allahabad High Court and was also heard in the Revenue Court.

After the matter came to light, the Additional District Magistrate Amar Nath Upadhya had exposed this fictitious order. The matter which was investigated by the Registrar, showed that the order of June 23, 1994 pertaining to ownership register of village Jatwara seems to have been signed and issued by the then Noida Tehsildar Zulfiqar Ahmed. No other record, however, is available in any other document, except the ownership register.

The order of ward no. 932/93 passed by judicial Munsif (sub-judge) on November 16, 1993 seems to have been entered in the records, “Register of Ownership” on Tehsildar’s order dated June 23, 1994. The ADM further says that the “Judicial Sub Judge had passed the order pertaining to this case for which only the Tehsildar is competent to issue orders. The orders passed by Naib Tehsildar are, therefore, illegal and against the law.” The order passed, therefore, appears to be fake and fictitious.

As per this report, Additional District Magistrate had pronounced his decision on November 11, 2002. Referring to the previous report, he said the Naib Tehsildar had passed a stay order, which again is within the competence of a Tehsildar. However, orders pertaining to change of names (ownerships) had been illegally issued. The Naib Tehsildar’s order, therefore, deserves to be cancelled.



Mahendragarh MC chief ousted
Tribune News Service

Mahendragarh, November 25
After a prolonged struggle opponents of the President of the local municipal council, Mrs Shakuntala Mittal, today ousted her from the post by successfully piloting a no-confidence motion against her.

In a special session of the House meeting of the council, convened by the SDM, Mahendragarh, Mr Sandeep Singh, at the behest of the local Deputy Commissioner, to introduce and discuss the no-confidence motion, nine of the 13 elected members supported it. The House has a total strength of 15, including the local MP and MLAs who have no right to vote.

According to Mr Sandeep Singh, Mrs Mittal and three other elected members, considered to be her loyalists, did not turn up for the meeting. All nine present, who voted in favour of the motion, constituted two-thirds of the “effective” strength of the House.

Those who voted in favour of the motion are Mr Rohtas Sharma, Mr Ram Chander, Dr Kishan Lal, Mr Ramesh Soni, Mr Mahipal Saini, Mr Subhash Chand, Mrs Kaushalya Devi, Mrs Bimla Devi and Mrs Saroj Devi.

In response to a question regarding election of the new president or an interim arrangement, Mr Sandeep Singh said he would consult the district administration about the rules for initiating appropriate action.

Mrs Mittal was elected president of the municipality more than two years back. Since the past one year she had earned the wrath of the elected members. Ever since the struggle for supremacy started in the council, the development work had taken a beating. Cleanliness of the town was worst affected as there was virtually no authority to keep a check on the activities of the scavengers.

The members, after successful passing the motion, said Mrs Mittal had lost their goodwill on account of her dictatorial style of functioning and the group of practices in the council.



Six AIIMS doctors accused of negligence 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
According to the HIV sentinel surveillance 2002, till September 30, 2002, 713 AIDS cases were reported in the national Capital, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr A. Raja, in a written reply said the prevalence of HIV in adult population (15-49 years) in the country was 0.8 per cent, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

He added the government had undertaken the launch of mobile clinics for treatment and counselling in slums and JJ clusters apart from covering 1200 schools under the AIDS education programme. Eleven targeted intervention projects for the high-risk groups in slums and clusters had also been taken up.

Mr Raja also informed the House that six complaints of alleged negligence of doctors in AIIMS had been registered and the cases were being investigated. He added there were 24 complaint boxes in different areas of the hospital and inquires were made into any death in the hospital, which could be attributed to the hospital.

The availability of blood in Delhi’s blood banks has improved from 2.69 lakh units in 2000-01 to 2.81 lakh units in 2001-02, Mr Raja said. The anticipated demand at that time was 2.8 lakh units, he said, adding at present there was no shortage of blood as level of blood supplies available in the national Capital matched its yearly demand. However, there were sporadic instances of shortage in a few blood banks, the minister said.

The Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Shahnawaz Hussain, informed the Lok Sabha that steps like installation of CCTV cameras, surprise checks by senior officers, initiation of disciplinary action against erring staff and provision of prepaid taxi counters had been set up at Indira Gandhi International Airport to ensure that the travellers were not harassed by touts.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had constructed 28,143 flats in Dwarka, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr O. Rajagopal, said, adding further that 330 group housing societies had been allotted land for construction of 37,700 flats. Out of 28,143 flats, possession letters had been issued in 13,001 cases, he said.

He said the rate of occupancy remained low because of delay in availability of electricity and water and amenities like hospitals, schools and public transport. He added that these inadequacies were now being taken care of.



Rs 10.33 crore sanctioned for road repair
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, November 25
Villages in Uttar Pradesh with a population of one thousand or more will be selected for construction of roads under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar (Employment) Yojna, said the UP Revenue Minister, Mr Ravi Gautam. He said that a survey of roads in the district has been completed and a committee under the District Magistrate has been formed for the purpose. He said Rs 10.33 crore have been sanctioned for improving the conditions of roads.

The PWD will be given the responsibility for improving the conditions of roads while the Revenue Department will allocate the required funds. Regarding the construction of district and Tehsil office complex on the 450 acre government land, he said the plan has been submitted for the necessary approval. Mr Gautam said the district jail needs 60 acre of land, and will be decided in consultations with the Jail Minister. He said that an announcement for the construction of a tourist complex and a Nagar Panchayat in Dinkaur could also be expected soon.

He said the boundaries of Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Bulandshahr districts were not well defined.

The necessary changes in boundaries could not be carried out due to a ban on changing the boundaries of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha constituencies.



SAD (B) flays attack on temple
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has condemned the attack on the Raghunath Temple in Jammu. President of the Delhi unit, Jathedar Kuldip Singh Bhogal has expressed sympathy for the kin of the victims and said that the government had to take stern measures to check such instances.

He said backed by Pakistan, these extremists are trying to destroy the peace in the country and by attacking places of religious sanctity are trying to create communal disturbances.

Blaming the PDP for having failed to curb insurgency in the state, Bhogal said that the release of militants from jails has had an adverse impact. The militants are now emerging stronger and striking back with a vengeance, he blamed, asking the Government at the Centre to take stringent measures.

World Disability Day: Thousands of disabled people from all over the country will arrive in the national Capital to showcase their unity and strength on the eve of the World Disability Day on 2nd and 3rd December.

On this occasion, a delegation will call on the President of India. The delegation will represent the various states and Union Territories of India. Ten outstanding disabled people with their friendly corporate will be awarded the NCPEDP- Shell Helen Keller Awards 2002.

Former Finance Minister P.Chidambaram, NTPC chief C.P Jain , director of McKinsey Ashok Alexander, Subodh Bhargava, chairman, Shell Group of Companies in India Vikram Singh Mehta and former Maruti chief Dr V.Krishnamurti will grace the occasion.



A samrat’s magical journey
Nalini Ranjan

An accomplished magician, capable of performing some of the most spine-chilling and awesome feats on stage, Samrat Shankar was born in a nondescript village in Sirsa district of Haryana in 1950. Lured by magic quite early in life, he started practising it from the age of 12 and has honed his talents as a disciple of some of the greatest magicians of the world, including our own legendary B.N.Sarkar.

Now a grandmaster in the alchemy of magic, Samrat Shankar has given more than 15,000 solo stage performances in various cities of India and abroad over the past 20 years.

Samrat Shankar is a magician most admired for his philanthropic disposition. Magician Shankar is a very kind-hearted person. He has donated more than 1.5 crores of rupees through charity shows so far. Out of 17,000 shows, he has done 12,000 shows for charity purposes. It is a record for any showman. Be it Kargil conflict or Gujarat tremor, he has donated immensely to the National Relief Fund.

His 65 members troupe is biggest in magical fraternity. Initially, his name was Shiv Kumar Modi. Later on, his fans kept his name as ‘Samrat Shankar’. On stage, he is a man “possessed” and conjures up a whole string of dazzling items in electrifying succession, which indeed makes him the fastest sorcerer in the world. His ‘Indrajal’ encompasses all the five sensory perceptions and is an unforgettable experience to watch. While enacting it on stage, he changes into three different roles swiftly.

In an exclusive conversation with the NCR Tribune, he talks on various aspects of his association with this age-old art.

Who inspired you to take up this profession?

I come from a respectable as well as orthodox Aggarwal family. I was enchanted by a magic show at my early age, when I saw the performance by renowned magician Dev Kumar of Calcutta at my native place. I was so fascinated, and from that day I determined to become a master in magic.

My father was furious when he heard about my decision and tried his best to dissuade me from this magical journey. I started practising it from an early age of 12 under the tutelage of some of the greatest magicians of the land like B.N. Sarkar.

What are your major items on stage?

My main items on stage are: converting a beautiful girl into a wild bear, a dangerous fight with a 50-feet large dragon of China, vivisecting a girl in two pieces with a circular saw and then recomposing her, disappearance of a Maruti car with four persons on board, transforming a five-feet tall person into a two- feet pigmy, changing the dress of a girl into almost ten different colours through a mere slight of hand, twisting the make-up of a girl in a swift circular motion, vanishing a huge live elephant from centre stage within a twinkling of an eye.

In your opinion, is magic an art or science?

Magic is a fine art. It is basically a combination of tricks.

We take a little bit of support from hypnotism and yoga. I learned meditation and other aspects of yoga from Swami Devidayalji Maharaj.  The government is apathetic to the plight of magicians. Complete abolition or a partial reduction in entertainment tax on magic shows will give this charming art a much-needed boost.

Could you mention the awards you have received so far in this field?

I was awarded with the title of the best magician of the East at the All India Magic Competition in New Delhi in 1981 and won it a second time in succession in the following year.

The Government of Rajasthan presented me a citation honoured me with a gold medal in 1984. All India Magic Convention honoured me with the title of ‘Jadu Ratan’ and the Akhil Bhartiya Jadu Kala Sammelen bestowed me the title of ‘Jadu Bhaskar’ in 1994.

The Chief Minister of Delhi presented me with the award of ‘Jadu Shiromani’ and Chief Minister of Punjab honoured me at my native village in the presence of a large gathering in 1999.

What are the new things you are doing?

Presently, I am engaged in mastering the fabled Indian rope trick, which finds a mention in the Mughal period. It is mentioned that a magician would climb up to a rope suspended on two sides by a pole and then through his magical powers, he would command a boy who would scale such heights that he would become invisible to the spectators on the ground below.

Then out of the blue, fragmented parts of the boy’s body would begin falling on the ground. The magician comes down from the rope and collects the pieces together and the boy is brought into being right in the front of the amazed audience.

Right now, I am also teaching the basic tricks of this trade to my younger son. I am very serious about him. He is popular with the title of `Junior Samrat Shankar’.

As a celebrity magician, what are you doing for the promotion and preservation of this ancient art?

It is an irony that there is not a single institute, neither government nor private, where one can learn magic. Nobody is coming forward in this front.

But, I have personally talked in this regard to the Haryana government and he has given me his consent to give all possible helps in this regard. And I am hopeful that very soon a magic academy will be functional in my native.



HUJ chief elected
Tribune News Service

Mr Vipin Sharma, who writes for ‘The Tribune’, was unanimously elected as the president of the district unit of the Haryana Union of Journalists (HUJ) in the annual election held here on Sunday.

Dr Satish Tyagi, election officer said the last date for submitting the nomination form for the post of president was November 20 and he received only one nomination form, which was found correct in all respects after scrutiny.

In a general body meeting chaired by the outgoing president, Mr Virender Singh Chauhan, the election officer declared Vipin Sharma elected unopposed. He was administered the oath of office by Dr Tyagi. Later, the house authorised Mr Sharma to nominate office bearers and the executive committee members.

In a resolution, the general body paid homage to the Sirsa based journalist, Mr Ram Chander Chhatarpati who had to pay for his journalistic ventures by laying down his life.



Driver killed as truck overturns
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 25
The driver of a truck was killed, while his cleaner was injured seriously when their vehicle overturned near Asaudha on National Highway 10 here on Sunday evening. According to information, four persons were travelling in the truck, which was loaded with empty LPG cylinders. The truck, going from Narnaul, was on its way to the gas plant near Asaudha village. All occupants of the truck were said to be drunk, which resulted in the accident as the truck went out of control. While driver Rampreet Singh, hailing from Bihar, died on the spot, cleaner Surender was injured in the accident. The two other escaped unhurt and fled from the scene. In another incident, an unidentified person died when a train ran over him near Asaudha railway station on the Delhi-Rohtak section here on Monday. The deceased has not been identified so far.

Integration week held

Faridabad: The National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB), an autonomous body under the Union ministry of Commerce and Industry, oberved National Integration Week from November 19 to 25. Stating this, the NCB Acting Director-General, Mr S. J. Raina, said all staff members were administered the national integration pledge at the NCB complex here. A cultural event depicting traditional ethos and a sense of unity in diversity was held. A kavi sammelan on patriotic songs was also held.

Nine hurt in collision

Sonepat: At least nine persons, including four women, were injured when a car and a three-wheeler collided with each other on the Sonepat-Gohana road near Barwasni village, about 5 km from here, on Sunday night. According to a report, the car was on its way from Gohana to Sonepat. When it came near the blind curve on this road it collided with a three- wheeler coming from the opposite direction. This resulted in the accident. Four persons travelling in the car and five in the three-wheeler were injured.

All injured persons were rushed to the local Civil Hospital. They are stated to be out of danger. The police are still investigating into the case.

According to another report, an aged man, Mr Ram Kishan, sustained serious injuries in a road accident near Juan Mahra village, about 10 km from here, on Sunday evening. He was immediately hospitalised.

Housewife commits suicide

A young housewife, Mrs Geeta Joshi, was reported to have committed suicide by hanging herself with a rope in her house at Kundli village, about 25 km from here, on Sunday night. According to a report, she took this extreme step in the absence of her husband, Mr Suresh Kumar, who was away.

Dacoits strike at Sainik Vihar

New Delhi: Six unidentified youths robbed jewellery worth lakhs of rupees from the house of Dr Shakuntla Khosla, a resident of Sainik Vihar in Saraswati Vihar.

The dacoits entered the house of the victim early this morning when all the family members were asleep. They grabbed the aged mother of the victim and robbed the jewellery she was wearing. Later, they robbed the jewellery of Dr Shakuntla who was sleeping in the adjacent room. While the dacoits were busy in ransacking the house, the victim’s mother managed to come out and raised an alarm, on which they ran away.

Car robbed

Three unidentified youths robbed the car of a travel agent from the T-Point of Africa Avenue and outer Ring Road last evening. The victim, Ramesh Sharma, is a resident of Vasant Kunj. The incident occurred when he was going home from Hauz Khas after dropping his friend. TNS



Martyr’s statue unveiled
Our Correspondent

Narnaul, November 25
The life-size statue of martyr Lance Nayak Nitya Nand was unveiled by Sudha Yadav, member of Parliament, at his native village Koria, about 8 km from here yesterday.

Lance Nayak Nitya Nand of the 13 Kumaon Regiment, laid down his life on November 18, 1962, at Rezangla post. The function was organised by `Rezangla Shorya Samiti’, under the presidentship of O.P.Indora. Sudha Yadav was the chief guest on the occasion. The family members of Lance Nayak Nitya Nand were also present and were honoured with a shawl each. Speaking on the occasion Sudha Yadav, recalled the heroic deeds of the Indian soldiers who fought for their country in the most adverse circumstances. She justified the demand for one rank one pay. She also reiterated the demand for the opening of a Sainik school at Pali Gothda (Mahendragarh district).

Honoured for social service:
Six prominent citizens, namely Mr Rajiv Jain, general secretary of the Haryana Vikas Party, Mr Parveen Khurana, Mr Tara Chand Gandhi, Mr Ved Pal Arya, Malik Sobh Raj and Mr Paluram Thareja were honoured for their contribution to social service at the annual function of the Samaj Sewa Samiti, a prominent social organisation, here on Sunday evening.



Pragati Maidan to get facelift

New Delhi, November 25
To give a state-of-the-art look and comfort, India Trade Promotion organisation (ITPO) is all set to give a facelift to its fair ground in Pragati Maidan. ITPO’s general manager (Protocol and Culture) Safadar H Khan informed in an exclusive conversation with the ‘NCR Tribune’ that on the lines of Frankfurt Trade Fair Complex of Germany, all the 19 state pavilions and other halls would be interconnected with automatic escalators.

“For this, we are talking with a top Germany-based technology company. All modalities of this ambitious project are being worked out right now. And we hope that in the next year fair, we will see a sea change,” he said. OC



Duo attacked, car snatched
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 25
Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Fazilpur village, and his car driver, Satbir, were injured seriously when they were attacked with iron rods by about a dozen persons at Gita Bhawan (city) chowk here late last evening. The assailants managed to escape with the car immediately after the incident.

According to a report, the police have registered a case of murderous assault against the assailants and launched a hunt for them. It is stated that both Rakesh Kumar and Satbir were coming to Sonepat and when they reached near the bypass road of Sector 7, they noticed a Tata Sumo in which three youths and a woman were sitting. The Tata Sumo hit their car and the occupants tried to escape but they were chased by Rakesh Kumar and Satbir up to Gita Bhawan Chowk where the Tata Sumo stopped. Its occupants came out of the vehicle and they, with the help of other associates who arrived on the scene, attacked Rakesh and Satbir with iron roads and escaped after snatching the car.

According to another report, five persons of a family, including a woman, were injured when they were attacked by a group of persons at Badshahpur Machhri village, about 10 km from here, last night. It is stated that some persons of the village constructed a room in a bid to occupy some land of the graveyard, but they were prevented by the members of a family, who were attacked by the former.

The injured persons were identified as Ms Babita, Noori, Satish, Sarajuddin and Shamsher. All of them were immediately hospitalised. They are stated to be out of danger. However, the police had not yet registered any case against the alleged assailants, the injured persons alleged.



Snatching case solved with arrest of three
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 25
With the arrest of three persons the West district police today claimed to have solved a case of snatching. A gold chain of Ms Krishna was snatched on November 23 near UCO bank, Dabwali Mandi, when she was returning home after attending a wedding.

The three, Rajan, Gyanender and Lokinder, all from Uttar Pradesh, intercepted Krishna around 10.30 pm on the fateful night and snatched her gold chain at dagger-point. When Krishna alerted the police the PCR staff immediately swung into action and overpowered all three despite one of them whipping out a knife at the policemen.

In another case the West district police nabbed two auto thieves, Sumit and Surinder Singh, alias Sodhi, both residents of Uttam Nagar, and recovered a stolen Maruti car, which was stolen from Vikaspuri.

The Economic Offences Wing of the Crime Branch conducted raids and seized 801 pirated VCDs, CDs, three CD writers, one audio cassette recording machine and one computer with accessories. The police arrested four persons and seized pirated material worth Rs 3 lakh.

In the first raid, the police raided Sagar Music Gallery and arrested shop owner Tara Chand Sagar. In the second case, raids were conducted at three places in Bhajanpura Market and three persons were arrested. The shop owners, Harish Prajapat, Mohinder Tiwari and Rajesh Kumar Rajput, were arrested.

The North district police arrested two persons for allegedly raping a woman and launched a hunt to trace their other two associates. The police said four persons entered a jhuggi near Subzi Mandi and slapped a 40-year-old woman. The woman got scared and ran to her neighbour’s jhuggi where the four followed her and started molesting her. She fell unconscious then.

Later, the woman went to the police station and claimed four persons in their early 20s had raped her in the morning. The police later arrested Harish, alias Asrhoo, and Tirnga, residents of Subzi Mandi, and launched a hunt for the remaining two. 


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