Wednesday, December 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Govt machinery oils its wheels for INLD’s Iftar
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 3
The district administration is firing on all cylinders to make the Iftar party of the INLD to be attended by Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala a success. The party is being organised tomorrow at Ferozepur Jhirka in Mewat.

The anomaly is that the extravaganza is officially claimed to be that of the ruling INLD and not of the state government but Mr Chautala has issued the invitations for the occasion through various departments of his government in his capacity as the president of the INLD.

According to well-placed sources, the INLD has not given up its efforts to persuade the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to grace the occasion. However, the indications are that the party will have to work harder to be successful, at least in this venture, considering the fact that the Rashtrapati Bhavan itself has cancelled its ritual Iftar this year. The President, along with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the president of the Congress, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, had cancelled their Iftar parties this year to contribute the same money to the needy.

Also, the entire development is jarring when juxtaposed with the stance of the Chautala government as well as that of the INLD not to celebrate this year’s Divali in the background of the lynching of five Dalits in Dulina in Jhajhar district on Dasehra day.

Among others, the president of Jammu and Kashmir’s National Conference, Mr Omar Abdullah, whose resignation as the Minister of State for External Affairs is yet to be accepted, has given his consent to attend the function.

The district administration and various government agencies have been in a high-voltage working spree for the past couple of days to tie any loose ends at the venue. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Rastogi, and the district police chief, Mr Kuldip Sihag, spent the entire day today at the venue, the Shamshuddin Park.

The park has been divided into as many as 14 sectors under the supervision of as many magistrates. The sectoral magistrates are officers of the rank of BDO, tehsildar, naib tehsildar and DRO. In the pyramid type bureaucratic structure created to ensure smooth functioning of the affair, the sectoral magistrates have been placed under the supervision of the three SDMs of Gurgaon, Nuh and Ferozepur Jhirka. The civic administration is, of course, working under the direct supervision of the Deputy Commissioner.

The police authorities are also in the vanguard to make their presence felt. The district police chief today monitored an elaborate drill of his force for the event. The entire manpower of the municipality of Ferozepur Jhirka are spending overtime to give a face-lift to the area. Also, the municipality of Gurgaon is not behind in contributing to the exercise. The municipality has pressed into service more than 50 workers, including scavengers, to ensure that the roads leading to Ferozepur Jhirka from Gurgaon are spick and span.

The District Health authorities are also involved in the preparations. The Medical Superintendent of District Civil Hospital, Dr S. P. Singh, said that a team of doctors of the health department had already inspected the goods bought, which will be used in preparation of eatables on the occasion. The eatables will also be inspected by the doctors of the health department after final preparations, he added.



PIL seeks to stall ‘legal’ slums
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The Delhi High Court today issued notices to the Centre and the Delhi Government on a petition seeking to restrain the authorities concerned from taking any decision on regularisation of over 1,600 illegal colonies in the Capital.

Issuing notices to the union and Delhi governments and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), a Bench comprising Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice R. S. Sodhi directed them to submit replies by January 6 next year to show cause why the petition should not be admitted and the regularisation process not be stayed.

The PIL has stated that regularisation of illegal colonies would convert Delhi into a “haphazard city, which would not be fit for living”. When the Bench said these were policy matters and the Supreme Court had ruled that the courts’ power to interfere in these were limited, advocate R. K. Kapoor, appearing for the petitioner, said it was an important issue as the national Capital “cannot be allowed to be converted into a slum”.

Such a decision of the government would put enormous pressure on civic amenities and result in the deterioration of environment further as both air and noise pollution would increase manifold, Mr Kapoor argued. Agreeing with his contention, the Bench said it was “unfortunate” that no body was concerned about this aspect of the matter. “If things continued like this, the city would one day become unfit for living,” it observed.

Quoting newspaper reports attributed to Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar that a note has been moved by his ministry before the Cabinet for regularisation of unauthorised colonies which have come up by March 31, 2002, the PIL said: “This would put a huge expenditure on developmental infrastructure including sanitation, water supply, roads and electricity.” Such a move would only benefit and encourage land and building mafia, who were behind the mushrooming of illegal structures in the Capital, the PIL said. The policy of regularisation, which had been followed by successive governments with an eye on votes, would also amount to “unauthorised projections” on public land and public streets and would affect planned development, it said. Also challenging the Urban Development Ministry’s move for changing the Master Plan norms and allowing additions to the DDA’s flats and conversion of commercial properties in such localities from lease hold to free hold, the petitioner said this would adversely affect the entire process laid down in the Master Plan.



Joint patrols to protect Haryana canals
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 3
In order to check theft of canal and river water, the Haryana Police have decided to launch joint patrolling with the staff of the irrigation department on the embankments of the rivers and canals in the state. The step has been taken in view of the Rabi sowings.

According to official sources, the state government has directed the field officers to constitute joint mobile patrolling parties for this purpose. These officers will also ensure that the canal water reaches the tail-ends, enabling the farmers to sow the Rabi crop.

The state government has also directed the field officers to enforce the ‘Thikri Pehra’ in their areas to check canal water theft, and take strict action against errant farmers.

The incidence of canal breaches is also on the increase in the Gohana Water Service Division of this district for the last few months, owing to the failure of the authorities to check the menace.

It is alleged that the officials of the division are hushing up most cases. Informed sources reveal that the canal breaches are generally the handiwork of some unscrupulous and influential farmers, who are backed by local politicians. The officials find in the breaches a lucrative opportunity to dupe the government: they do this by preparing bogus muster rolls in connection with the repair work and pocketing the public funds.

Though the Government of Haryana had set up a Vigilance wing to stamp out corruption in the Irrigation Dept, that too has become defunct.

The officials of this wing, it is alleged, have become a part of the official clique which flagrantly violates government rules and indulges in malpractices.

A post of SDO Vigilance has been created in the district to supervise the maintenance of canals and distributaries and also to check the utilisation of public funds. According to sources, the SDO Vigilance has never checked an ongoing work at a site. A high-level inquiry is looking into the racket and is likely to expose the irregularities in the Gohana Water Service Division.

Though the state government has made available lakhs of rupees to various water services divisions for desilting and deweeding operations, the tail-end fields continue to remain dry. It is alleged that the amount spent on these operations had been misappropriated by officials. Some of the works have been executed on paper only. It is further alleged that the muster rolls prepared by the officials included the names of persons who were never put on the job.



Securitymen fan out for Putin visit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Policemen in plain clothes and commandos were deployed in good numbers as security agencies in the Capital were put on high alert today for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in the wake of the bomb blast in Mumbai yesterday.

The forces in all the nine police districts of Delhi have been put on round-the-clock alert and deputy commissioners have been asked to personally monitor the situation. Mr Putin is on a two-day visit to the Capital.

As part of the security drill, patrolling by PCR vans has been stepped up in the Capital. A senior police officer said that hundreds of policemen in civvies and trained commandos had been deployed along the route that Putin’s motorcade would take and the venues of his functions.

Intelligence personnel have also been deployed to gather information about any impending militant strike. Special attention is being given to crowded places, including markets, shopping complexes and cinema halls.

Senior police officers said that on-the-spot checking of buses was being carried out and the bomb disposal squads were in readiness. The staff of the buses plying in the Capital and on inter-state routes have also been asked to stay alert for suspicious objects.



Auto drivers get back to business
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 3
The strike called by autorickshaw operators and rickshaw-pullers fizzled out with most of them coming on the road today. The unions of these vehicles operators had given a call for indefinite strike on Monday against the tough stand taken by district authorities’ of not allowing them to do business without proper authorisation and documents.

The call received an overwhelming response on the first day but its effect started to taper off subsequently. The city wore a normal look today with the vehicles being visible on the road as they were before. The interesting development is that the unions have yet not officially called off the strike.

According to observers, the strike ended in a fiasco on account of the police authorities not relenting and the move finding support from the public.

The police, after giving enough time to the operators and the rickshaw-pullers, launched a drive in the first two weeks of November and impounded more than 800 rickshaws whose operators did not have “token” and identity cards from the municipality. Also, more than 100 autorickshaws which did not have proper documents were challaned. The unions of the two vehicles alleged that the police were harassing them for nothing. The police stood its ground and cautioned that it would register criminal cases against those members who tried to forcefully include operators in the strike.

According to official sources, a large number of mafiosi own hundreds of rickshaws and give it to the labourers on daily rental. These labourers-operators do not have identity verifications, which poses a security threat. Also, many of these operators-labourers have often been reported to be indulging in anti-social activities, including petty crimes in various parts of the city. Moreover, there are more than the required rickshaws in the city and the vehicles are a great source of hurdles in ensuring smooth flow of the traffic.

With regard to the autorickshaws, many of them have been shifted here from Delhi after the authorities removed them on the pollution issue. The authorities’ stand is that besides ensuring the rule of law and road safety, pollution was also the angle which could not be lost count of. Proper documentation would ensure these aspects.

Although the authorities have been one up and have received kudos in the entire development, the public has reasons to have guarded optimism on the final outcome. It has been the bitter experience of the public here of the authorities launching a drive on various issues and then forgetting the incident. Burning issues have a habit of being swept under the carpet.



Nine more kids die of ‘brain fever’ 
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 3
With nine more kids succumbing to `brain fever’ in Saharanpur and Muzzafarnagar districts, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr M. A. Haq, has, through a letter, alerted all government hospitals and primary health centres in Gautam Budh Nagar about the lethal disease.

The CMO has instructed doctors to note down all particulars of patients suffering from `brain fever’. Further, this information should be sent to the CMO daily. Dr Haq has also asked the public to protect itself from mosquitoes and keep themselves fully covered while sleeping. If possible, neem leaves should be burnt in the houses as its smoke is effective in warding off the mosquitoes.

Further, people have been advised to take special care of children and not allow stagnant water to accumulate inside the house or around it.

Dengue cases down in Delhi

New Delhi: The incidence of dengue in the NCT of Delhi has dropped appreciably, though the same cannot be said about cholera or malaria. According to the figures released by the Department of Health, only 27 dengue cases had been reported this year as against 260 last year. This year, 287 cases of malaria were reported; the corresponding figure last year was 845. Similarly, 838 cases of cholera were reported this year as compared to 1,258 last year.

Health Minister A. K. Walia has accordingly directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to start taking action on the Action Plan for those zones where five or more cases of cholera had been reported this year. The DJB has been given a week’s time to formulate the Action Plan so that it could be implemented by April. TNS



Commissioner for disabled soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Chief Minister Sheila Dishit has agreed to appoint a full-time commissioner for the disabled persons within the next few months, according to the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), which organised a walk for freedom in the Capital today to mark the World Disability Day.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said the government needed to do more for the disabled people and hoped to achieve the target.

The walk for freedom was joined by disabled people, their family members and friends and those working in the disability sector to create awareness and sensitise people about the issue. Students also chipped in to highlight the problems faced by the disabled.

The students of Lady Irwin College performed a skit to underline the major problems encountered by the disabled and the attitude of the society towards their issues. Equal opportunity, support, parent groups and barrier-free environment were the major demands of the disabled, as projected by students at the function organised by the group, ‘Concerned Action Now’, and the United Nations Information Centre.

The skit dealt with the fact that disabled people want dignity, support and vocational training and emotional sustenance to lead a normal life. Disabled children from Tamanna, a special school run for the disabled children, and students from the Delhi Public School also organised functions dealing with the hopes and aspirations of disabled people.

The theme chosen for this year is ‘Independent Living and Sustainable Livelihood’’. It aims to focus on recent efforts to find innovative approaches in achieving the long-held goal of full and equal participation of persons with disability in the society.

Speaking on the occasion, Javed Abidi, the executive director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, said: “Our demand is education, employment and accessibility. This occasion is basically to bring people with different forms of disability together so they can jointly assert their demands.”

Children from many Delhi schools and the National Cadet Corps (NCC) also joined in the festivity. The organisers said the Chief Minister had assured them about the appointment of a full-time commissioner for the disabled within the next few months.



Woman, baby missing; son’s body found
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, December 3
There is no news about the woman who disappeared along with her baby and a three-year-old son on the night of December 1 in Sisrauli village. Her three-year-old son is believed to be dead; the police have found his body in Rajwahe. The boy was apparently killed.

The truck driver, Singh Raj, with whom the woman was living, is absconding. The police suspect the involvement of the driver in her disappearance.

Sing Raj’s father, Khazgan Singh, belonged to Chittori village, which falls under Dadri police station in G.B. Nagar, but his mother was from Sisrauli. After his mother died, Singh Raj had inherited 15 bighas of land and a house from his maternal grandfather.

He had brought the woman, along with her two children, to his place from Bihar and they were living under one roof. The villagers informed the police yesterday that Singh Raj had killed the woman and her two kids.

A little later, Vijender Singh of the same village informed the police that the body of the three-year-old son of the woman was lying outside the village. The body was retrieved and sent for post-mortem examination. The SP City, Mr Rajesh Pandya, said no clues had been found in this case, so it was difficult to say if they had been murdered. There was no sign of injury on the body of the child, the CO of Loni, Mr Rajveer Singh, said.



Ministry directs DC to proceed 
against circus owners
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 3
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, to take action against the owners of Asian Circus for violating the Union Government notification which bar the exhibition and the training of certain animals.

In its DO letter no RKJ/2/2002-AWD, dated December 2, 2002, the ministry has mentioned that as per the gazette notification no 9-9/97-AW, dated October 14, 1998, no circus in India can exhibit bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions.

The letter further mentioned that if the violation of PCA Act, 1960, is found action against the circus may be taken as per Section 38 of the Act. The seized wild animals may be handed over to the Chief Wildlife Warden, Haryana, or his representative. The officer will thereafter make arrangements for their rehabilitation in rescue centres to which they will be transported, added the letter.

The ministry has acted following the complaint by the chairman of People for Animals, Haryana, Mr Naresh Kumar Kadyan.

In the presence of the media, Mr Kadyan with fellow colleagues visited Asian Circus, at present running in Gurgaon city, and found that the circus owns three lions.

Mr Satendra Gupta, manager of the circus, informed mediapersons that the Supreme Court had banned the display and training of Indian lions whereas Asian Circus owned three African lions.

They had also taken the stay order from the Allahabad High Court for keeping the three lions in the circus in Uttar Pradesh, added Mr Gupta. The manager further clarified that the circus was neither giving training to the banned animals nor displaying them to its viewers. All these three African lions were just kept in the cage, said the manager.

Mr Kadyan explained that the Supreme Court had banned all kinds of lions. No circus was authorised to keep lions, added the chairman of PFA.

Till late in the evening, the district administration had not taken any action against the circus. One of the officials from the office of the District Forest Officer-cum-Wildlife Warden said the department was willing to seize the animals but had no infrastructure to keep them.

The official further said the department had also no funds for executing such type of work.

Mr Kadyan said that People for Animals was ready to bear the expenses for seizing the banned animals and making arrangements for transporting them to the assigned destination.

The letter written by the ministry elaborated that Section 34 of the PCA Act 1960 empowers any police officer above the rank of a constable or any person authorised by the state government in its behalf, who has reason to believe that an offence against the Act has been or is being committed in respect of any animals, may, if in his opinion the circumstances so require, seize the animal and produce the same for the examination by the nearest magistrate or by such veterinary officer as may be prescribed, and such police officer or authorised person may, when seizing the animal, require the person in charge thereof to accompany it to the place of examination.

One of the animal lovers observed that the district administration may be busy in making arrangements for the Chief Minister’s scheduled visit tomorrow in the district.



Rickety Faridabad bridges cry out for repair
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 3
The Agra Canal, constructed by the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh for carrying irrigation water to its areas, has been proving a bane for the residents here. The canal passes through Faridabad district.

While it is learnt that the district was entitled to using a very limited amount (15 to 20 per cent) of its water for irrigation purpose, about a dozen odd bridges constructed over it have been creating problems for the residents of villages and colonies across it. Nearly all the bridges are old and in a dilapidated condition. They are also too narrow and are not able to meet the increasing rush of vehicles.

“The population of the areas on both sides of the canal had increased and as a result, the number of persons who cross the canal has increased several times in the past two decades,” says Ashok Kumar, a resident of Kheri Kalan villages, situated across the canal.

He said the bridge connecting his village with old Faridabad and Huda sectors had been old and not repaired for years.

He said although the bridge was old, a large number of vehicles including heavy duty trucks pass over the bridge daily. As the location of Air Force base at Tilpat was also across the canal, a wider bridge was important.

Although the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had inaugurated the much-awaited bridge over the Yamuna near Mohna village to provide an easy access to the villagers living across the river, the district authorities have failed to construct any new bridge over the Agra Canal despite the demand of several villages across it.

The authorities have reportedly claimed that it was the duty of the UP Government to construct or repair bridges over the Agra Canal as it was its property.

They say prior permission from the UP Government would have to be taken if the district administration decides to construct or repair the existing bridges.

On the other hand, it is also learnt that the state irrigation department has failed to deposit the Abiyana (water charges) to the UP Government for the use of canal’s water for past several years. While this amount has accumulated to several crores, the UP administration may not be interested to construct new bridges.

One of the other bridges in the news is Palla bridge near here.

It is learnt that this bridge was built about 50 years ago and its condition has become very poor. Residents of about 64 colonies and villages including Agwanpur, Ismailpur, Tilpat, Palla Bassantpur and Sehatpur have been making the demand for a new bridge from time to time. An estimated budget of Rs 1.5 to 2.0 crores is required for the construction of new bridge.



Greater Noida may have airport
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The government is considering feasibility reports of proposals to set up new airports at Greater Noida and Navi Mumbai in an apparent bid to cater to the rising number of air travellers from the two Metropolis.

Stating this in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation said a proposal had been received from the Uttar Pradesh Government to develop Taj International Airport and aviation hub near Greater Noida.

The Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr O Rajagopal, told the Lok Sabha that a proposal regarding conversion of industrial plots to freehold was still under consideration. He said the government had earlier permitted the DDA to convert residential properties from leasehold to freehold. After the conversion of properties from leasehold to freehold, the local bodies ensure compliance to master plan, he added.

The DDA and the Government of NCT of Delhi have made firm allotment of plots and flats to 16,410 eligible units, which are eligible for relocation from non-conforming areas to industrial complexes at Narela, Badli, Patparganj and Bawana. Referring to the unauthorised colonies in the rural areas, Mr Rajagopal said the government had filed guidelines for regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi.

The Minister of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Ananth Kumar, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha said the DDA had reported that it had constructed 414 three-storeyed flats in Sector 18, Dwarka, under the Vijayee Awas Yojana introduced for allotment to the widows of those killed or permanently disabled in Operation Vijay.

The DDA had fixed a subsidised rate of Rs 4 lakh for two bedroom flats and Rs 6 lakh for three bedroom flats, he added.

The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, told the Lok Sabha the Delhi Police were continuing their endeavour to improve functioning of the Police Control Room Van System. Any lapse on the part of the staff was inquired into and appropriate action taken. The audio tapes of the calls received are analysed on random basis in order to monitor the average response time, quality of action and behaviour of the staff.

He also informed the house that the traffic police had launched a pilot project under which solar powered traffic signal had been provided at one of the busy traffic intersections to avoid congestion during a power failure.

Referring to the question whether the Union Government had stripped the powers of the State Government of Delhi, he said the government had not issued any instructions, which in any manner derogate from the powers, which vest in the Legislative Assembly of the NCT of Delhi.

He added that in so far as the structural changes in the administration through grant of statehood to the National Capital were considered, the Government of NCT of Delhi was advised in April 1999 to indicate its views on the subject. However, it was only recently that the Government of NCT forwarded the resolution by which the Delhi Legislative Assembly had resolved that the NCT be granted statehood by bringing about major institutional and structural reforms based on broad consensus.

The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, told the Rajya Sabha that three monuments in Delhi had been declared protected. These are the remaining portions of Red Fort, Salimgarh Fort and City Wall of Shajahanabad. The ASI and Tourism Ministry have taken up major conservation works at a number of monuments within the Red Fort, including landscaping, illumination and providing basic facilities to tourists.



Rally against attacks on religious places
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 3
Members of the All India Anti-Terrorists Front took out a procession here last evening to register their protest against the increasing incidence of attacks on religious places.

According to a report, the procession was led by Mr Jatinder Panwar and Sardar Sandeep Singh, general secretary and the district president of the Front.

Carrying placards and raising slogans against militants and Pakistan, they marched through the main bazaars of the city and reached the railway station where a rally was held.

It was addressed by the Front leaders and urged the Central Government to take stern action against the militants. They should be given death sentence, said the leaders.

They also urged the Central Government to destroy the militant centres situated along the border without delay.

The leaders also appealed to the people particularly the youths to remain united and maintain the unity and integrity of the country. They warned that if the Central Government failed to take any step against terrorism, the Front would stage a demonstration in front of the Lok Sabha shortly.

The leaders disclosed that an anti-terrorists national force has been constituted and it will be in operation on January 26 next year.

The vice-president, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, will honour the families of those police personnel killed in the attack on Parliament House on December 13 last year. A function will be held to honour them on December 12 at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi.



L-G takes stock of Dwarka welfare schemes 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The Lieutenant-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, visited Sector-6 of Dwarka along with VC, EM, DDA, Commissioner,
MCD and Chairperson, NDMC. Land for 44 societies was allotted in this sector, of which 40 societies have already constructed their flats and habitation has started.

Certain promenades of varied sizes and a central plaza have been introduced adjacent to designated greens in this sector which provide facilities like kiosks for grocery, milk booth, telephone booth, public toilets, information boards etc. Care has been taken to keep the areas green.

In addition, they would also cater to the needs of the informal component of commercial sector. The promenades have been connected to green areas. The Lt-Governor indicated that the DDA should take up the development in three other sectors of Dwarka as well as in some areas of Delhi. Similar directions were given to the MCD and the NDMC also. A detailed schedule for the operation and maintenance also needs to be worked out.

He directed that the local shopping centre should also be developed. Dwarka is a thriving sub-city of 21st century with roads, beautiful houses, prestigious educational institutes like Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Campus (proposed) and a number of reputed management/IT institutes.

Large complexes of cooperative group housing societies in addition to the DDA-built houses are the living examples of public-private participation in urban development. A hierarchy of commercial complexes and a linear shopping mall has been planned with a provision of metro rail in the centre. For the first time in the planned development of Delhi, the schemes of mixed land use have been implemented in Dwarka.



Vijay Goel inspects Metro station
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The Minister of State in Statistics and Programme Implementation and Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Vijay Goel, yesterday visited Kashmiri Gate Metro Station and inspected the most modern techniques and systems installed for the convenience of the passengers at the station.

The first part of the first phase of the Delhi Metro would be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee on December 24, 2002. Six stations-Shahdara, Welcome, Seelampur, Shastri Park and Tis Hazari — have been constructed on the Shahdara-Tis Hazari route which would have four-coach air-conditioned metro train service. During peak hours frequency would be three minutes whereas during normal hours it would be eight minutes. The metro services would be available between 6 am and 10 pm. Automatic fare collection system is being started first time in the country on this route. There would be flap doors control on the metro stations.

Kashmiri Gate Metro Station under the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency has been constructed at a cost of more than Rs 10 crore in three years. This station would become the world’s busiest station in the year 2005 at the time of the completion of the first phase of the project. Ten lakh persons would avail the services of the Metro at that time. Latest information display system, escalator, lift for handicapped, information in Braille for blind passengers, eatable stalls and newspapers stalls etc are special features of the station. The station would be able to handle 10,000 passengers at one point of time.

Kashmiri Gate Metro station would become the world’s first ever junction to have a station at 12 metre ground level and another 14 metres above the ground level. With the commissioning of the 11-km Central Secretariat—University and Shahdara—Barwala route at least 2,000 persons per minute would be travelling from this junction.



Helping children of a lesser god
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The Rotary Club of Delhi Midtown presented a mobile health van to Mrs Maneka Gandhi, chairperson Rugmark Foundation, an NGO engaged in eliminating child labour from the carpet industry. The mobile health van would be used take care of the health of carpet weavers and their families in Uttar Pradesh. Equipped with the basic medical facilities, this mobile health van is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Seoul,
Korea and the Rotary Club of Delhi Midtown under the matching grant programme of the Rotary Foundation of the Rotary International.

It would primarily attend to the health problems of Rugmark school children, besides serving the community in the Bhadohi district of Uttar Pradesh.

The concept of a mobile clinic was mooted because the carpet industries are spread over a very large area and are far away from cities where health facilities are often not available.

Therefore, the foundation aims to provide on-the-spot health facilities to the children of the carpet weavers and their families.

The Rugmark Foundation of India has been engaged in the manufacture of carpets without the illegal involvement of child labour. The foundation hopes to provide a regular health service for children of the Rugmark schools.

Often, the carpet weavers ignore their health problems because the village

dispensary/health centre is located far away from their villages. The provision of medical services in their villages will provide them with an incentive to take their children for timely medical check-up.

The foundation claimed that there was an export of more than 2.5 million carpets with Rugmark label up to September 2002, which clearly establishes credible production procedure without the use of child labour. 



No-trust move against ZP chief falls

Rohtak, December 3
The no-confidence motion moved by nine members of the Zila Parishad against its Chairman, Mr Dharam Pal Makrauli, fell today for want of quorum.

Although the no-confidence motion was signed by nine members out of a total of 13 members of the Zila Parishad, only two members - Mr Suresh Nandal and Ms Usha Parmar — came for the meeting fixed for today by the Deputy Commissioner to consider the motion. According to the law, the presence of two-thirds of the total members is necessary for considering a no-confidence motion against the Chairman. The Deputy Commissioner, who arrived at the meeting place at the appointed time, waited for nearly 45 minutes for the arrival of other members.

Thereafter, he declared that the no-confidence motion had fallen for want of quorum.

As soon as the Deputy Commissioner made the above announcement, Mr Makrauli arrived at the meeting place along with nine members. Interestingly, the members who had earlier signed the no-confidence motion preferred to abstain from the meeting and side with Mr Dharam Pal. These members, according to informed sources, had gone underground nearly three days before the meeting date and surfaced today after the meeting was declared over. OC



60-yr-old woman raped by taxi driver
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
A 60-year-old woman was raped by a taxi driver late last night behind Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in New Delhi district after he offered a lift to the woman to Ghaziabad.

The police said the woman was waiting for a bus at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib bus stand around 10 pm, when the accused Rajinder Singh (28), a resident of Pithoragarh, offered her a lift and promised to drop her at a place where she would get her conveyance easily.

Initially reluctant, the woman later got into the taxi. The driver took advantage of the fact, taking a few rounds nearby. Finally, he took her to a lonely place and raped her. The victim later informed the PCR around 12.05 am and the police arrested the accused.

Robberies solved: With the arrest of four persons the East district police on Wednesday claimed to have solved two case of robberies and one case of snatching. The police have recovered one countrymade pistol with two live cartridges and two knives from their possession.

The accused, Shakeel (22), hailing from West Bengal, Raj Kumar, alias Pammi (21), resident of Gandhi Nagar, Nawaz Ali (18), resident of Krishna Nagar, and Riyazul (20), resident of Kanti Nagar, were arrested for their alleged involvement in robbery of Rs 1.60 lakh from a person in Gandhi Nagar on November 17 and Rs 19,000 from a person on August 25.

18 held for gambling: The North-West district police have arrested 18 persons who were involved in gambling in the Rohini area on Tuesday night and recovered Rs 58,000, which was used for gambling. The police, after raiding G-27, Sector 3, arrested Joginder Lal (55) and Manjeet Singh (50), who encouraged others to gamble.



The world at your fingertips with Touchtel
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, December 3
The private telephone service provider, Touchtel, has launched entertainment based ‘phone plus services’ in Haryana. These services range from providing cricket scores, musical greetings to astrology and bhajans. It also provides subscribers with a ready access to information and services that would otherwise take a lot of time, money and effort.

According to Mr Rajiv Kohli, CEO, Touchtel, Haryana, “the company is keen to provide to its customers not just regular services but the power of a totally integrated telecom package”.

Its intention is to provide solutions that bring about a change in the customer’s lives by putting the world at their fingertips, added the official.

Now Touchtel customers can send musical greetings to any cellular phone or landline in Gurgaon and Faridabad and have the option of listening to music online.

A subscriber need to dial the short code 1751 and can then choose a Hindi/English track followed by the message to be attached and the number to be sent to.

As per the latest facilities, Touchtel customers can access the latest cricket scores by simply dialling 1750 on the Touchtel phone. It provides the listeners with details of the match, the batting scores, the bowling statistics etc.

Other services include a joke of the day, a thought of the day, which can be accessed by dialling 1753 for those looking at the lighter side of things.

Moreover, the subscribers can access live astrological predictions by dialling 1754 and interacting with a professional astrologer.

Geeta Sar and Bhajans have also been added to the list of facilities that subscribers can have access to.

The company provides complete telephone services and solutions ranging from DSL broadband Internet access, leased lines, ISDN services, VPNs, unified messaging solutions, a state-of-the-art high-speed communication network, capable of handling voice, data and video. Touchtel marks a new beginning in the delivery of integrated end-to-end communication solutions.


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