Thursday, December 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


When cops turn land-grabbers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 4
The Federation of the Residents Welfare Associations has demanded that the Sonepat Municipal Council be superseded by a more efficient body. Also, a CBI probe should be ordered into its scandalous working, especially the misuse of municipal as well as public funds.

In a press release issued here today, it also urged the State government to immediately suspend the executive officer of the municipal council and remove its chairman and other members who, the association alleged, have utterly failed to protect the property of the council, which had been grabbed by the police department and other influential persons in different parts of the city.

It also alleged that the building of the Chakor restaurant, worth several lakhs of rupees, had been usurped by the police department after it was vacated by the Haryana Tourist Corporation last year, but neither the executive officer nor the chairman of the municipal council had raised their voice against the grabbing of this building. Encouraged by the inert reaction, the police department had housed its Civil Lines police station in the building.

The State government and the district administration had remained silent spectators and ignored all protests by the public on this issue.

The association further alleged that the executive officer and the chairman of the municipal council had provided spacious rooms to the CID on the premises of the Sonepat Municipal Council. Hitherto, the CID office was functioning on the premises of the old Civil Hospital which was vacated by the Sonepat Municipal Council for setting up a commercial complex.

The officials of the CID, it may be recalled, had occupied the hospital building after breaking the lock on the main door. This building was in possession of the civil surgeon at that time. Neither the civil surgeon nor the executive officer of the Sonepat Municipal Council had even murmured against the forcible possession of the building by the CID officials.

The association urged the State government to order the shifting of the Civil Lines Police station and the CID office from the municipal buildings and hand over the same to the council.



Clashes again erupt on Haryana-UP border 
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Panipat, December 4
Bloody clashes have again erupted on the Haryana-UP border over a disputed tract of land. In a daring daylight action, farmers of Ramra Par village, which fall in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, opened fire on their counterparts of Tamsabad village in Panipat district, injuring three of them seriously.

The toll could have been higher had the police not acted swiftly. In fact, the police party, which was led by SHO (Sadar), Mr Sandeep Singh, also came in the line of firing from the UP side. It was only when the police returned the fire that it was able to apprehend the two attackers, Nasim and Jamshed, both residents of Ramra Par village. Two country-made pistols have been recovered from them.

According to information, farmers of Tamsabad village were watering their wheat crop when several farmers from the UP side resorted to indiscriminate firing. Panic spread in the village as farmers from the adjoining fields rushed for cover. However, three farmers of Tamsabad — Inder, Ravinder and Shispal — were injured in thehe firing and rushed to the local Civil Hospital.

Bloody clashes over land disputes on the UP-Haryana border are a routine affair. The current dispute is over the ownership of 247 acres of land which farmers from both sides claim as their own. The Yamuna, which changes its course every year, is to be blamed for the dispute. The bloody clashes, particularly during the harvesting season, are a recurring feature.

A fortnight earlier, the Haryana farmers, apprehending trouble, had urged the district administration to intervene in the matter. However, before the laid-back administration could take any action, trouble has again erupted on the inter-state border.

Senior police officials, including the SP, Ms Mamta Singh, the DSP (City), Mr Baljit Rathi, and the Samalkha DSP, Mr Kuldeep Singh, visited the village to take stock of the situation. Irate farmers have blamed the police and the district administration for dragging their feet on the problem. Due to the administrative apathy on the part of the Haryana and UP authorities the problem has defied solution for years together.



Circus managers disappear, lions in tow 
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, December 4
The failure of the district administration to act in time and seize the three African lions of Asian Circus, presently running in Gurgaon, gave an opportunity to the circus owners to run away with the proscribed animals. On the complaint of an NGO, the People for Animals, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had directed the Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arurag Rastogi, on December 2 to take action against the Asian Circus for violating the Union Government notification, which bars exhibition and training of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions.

Yesterday, the representatives of People for Animals, the police department, the forest-cum-wild life department and the media inspected the circus and found the three African lions being exhibited during a show. However, the local administration did not respond with any urgency and seize the banned lions. Today, Wild Life Inspector, Mr Sultan Singh, And Sub-Inspector, Mr Shahid Khan, along with the chairman of People for Animals, Haryana, Mr Naresh Kumar Kadyan, inspected the circus and found all the three African lions missing. The owners, managers and other senior officials of the circus were also untraceable. In fact, the first show of the circus, which started at 1 p.m., ran as usual. While the show was on, the government officials read out a notice and appealed to the owners/managers of the circus to come forward and accept the same.

Eventually, at about 4 p.m., the wild life officials pasted a notice on the entrance gate of the circus. The notice states that “The circus has three African lions, which were seen on December 3. But today, these lions are missing.”

The owners of the circus have been directed to produce the ownership certificate of these lions. If they fail to do so, legal action would be initiated against them, warns the notice. The Conservator of Forests, South Circle, Gurgaon, whose office had pasted the notice, has also directed the circus owners to produce the ownership certificates of elephants in its custody.

After the notice was pasted, the second show, which was scheduled to start at 4 pm, was cancelled. The show was cancelled by the management of the circus and not by the police, it has been clarified.



Restrict liquor vends to market places: Court
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
Liquor vends in residential areas will have to down shutters. As per the latest ruling of the Delhi High Court, liquor vends will be banned from operating from residential areas.

The court, taking note of a petition which questions the liberalised excise policy of the city government, today banned the opening of any such vend with a direction that liquor would not be sold to a person below 25 years of age.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Anil Dev Singh and Justice R S Sodhi, while disposing of a PIL highlighting the issue, said the liquor shops should be restricted only to market places.

The court also made it mandatory for every shop owner to display a notice that states selling liquor to a person below 25 years of age is prohibited by law. The court also considered the submissions made by the Delhi Government that no liquor vend should be located within 75 metres of a major educational institute, a hospital with 50 or more beds and a religious place.

The city government, in an affidavit, had stated that all educational institutions and religious places would be included in the list. A pucca structure used for worshipping and covering an area of more that 400 sq feet would be included in the list.



Khurana: All sound and fury….
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
When Madan Lal Khurana talks, he rants. It was no different on Wednesday when the president of Delhi Pradesh BJP who also doubles up as a Member of Parliament chided the Congress-administered Government of NCT of Delhi for not regularising a single unauthorised colony in the last four years.

This, when the Delhi High Court is still to decide on the admittance of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition seeking to restrain the authorities concerned from taking any decision on regularising 1,600-odd unauthorised colonies. But it is votes, not the courts, that probably count when the Assembly elections are only months away.

Dismissing, summarily, the court’s concern over NCT of Delhi becoming “a haphazard city … unfit for living,” Khurana engaged the Sheila Dikshit Ministry in a fusillade over its “failures” to regularise “unauthorised” colonies and “unauthorised” construction in DDA flats. “Keeping the squatters under constant pressure, terror and fear,” he said, “reflects the perverted thinking of the Congress Government.”

With an eye on the votes of the 20 lakh squatters and another eight lakh Delhiites living in DDA flats who would want to see their unauthorised constructions declared legal, Khurana reminded media persons that colonies had been regularised only during the tenure of Jana Sangh and BJP governments. “The Congress has not regularised any colony,” he told the news conference.

However, when it came to the issue of shifting of polluting industries to the outskirts of Delhi, Khurana was vocal in his support of the apex court’s directions. “The BJP,” he said, “is waiting for the Supreme Court judgment in this regard. After the judgment, the BJP will launch an agitation against the Congress rule in Delhi.”

The Supreme Court has set December 31 as the deadline for completing the process of relocating polluting industries operating out of non-conforming, residential areas to the outskirts in Bawana and Narela. “In December 2000 Dikshit had announced that 20,000 small scale industries would be relocated in Bawana by October 2001. The year 2002 is coming to an end but the infrastructure is missing,” he said.

Taking pot shots at Chief Minister Dikshit, who claimed yesterday that the four years of the Congress’ rule in NCT of Delhi had recorded successes on several fronts, Khurana said the Congress Government had broken all records of corruption and sought a White Paper on its dealings on the fronts of power and transport.

Releasing the “chargesheet” that read corruption had reached a nadir in the four years of the Congress Government, Khurana alleged the privatisation of Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) was the biggest scandal to have rocked the nation after Independence. He further alleged rampant corruption in the provision of Rs 3,450 crore of subsidy to private distributors of electricity and giving them the erstwhile DVB’s immovable properties at a throwaway price.



Better environs can help improve IQ 
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
A conducive environ is not just essential for physical health, but goes a long way to determine the intelligence quotient (IQ) of a human being. According to a study conducted by the doctors of St. Stephen’s Hospital and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), residents of slums have a lesser IQ than their counterparts living in hygienic areas.

“We carried out the study in the Capital’s Nand Nagri and studied the impact of pucca housing on the children and its inmates. We found that the mean IQ of children living in a shanty was 12.9 as against the mean of 13.38 found in children living in better accommodation”, said Dr. Jacob Puliyel, Head of Department, St. Stephen’s hospital.

The report is based on the findings of a study conducted on 373 children between the ages of three and a half and five and a half years, in a cluster of five residential blocks in Nand Nagri. While 200 children were living in pucca houses, the rest were slum dwellers. “For people residing in slums there are no incentives for improvement. But for the ones who have been relocated and moved into better housing structures, there is a desire for improvement, which translates into a cleaner and more hygienic ways of living”, said Dr. Puliyel.

He added: “These people were essentially workers who had migrated into the Capital from the neighbouring states and had lived in slum clusters. The government periodically relocated these people and the ones who were given pucca housing were the ones who were more keen on educating their children”.

The research points out that though housing does not have a direct impact on the IQ, it is the change in attitude of the people who live in better environs that affects the lives of these people. “Once these people have access to better life, they also become keen on educating their children”. Puliyel points out that these migrant workers are strong people, who come to distant and unknown lands in a bid to lead a better life, “but once we relegate them into shabby and unhygienic living conditions, we almost break them mentally”.

He elaborates: “They have poor self-esteem, lower expectations from their children and less ambition”. It was also pointed out that children living in shanty areas were more exposed to incidence of hookworm infestation and, consequently, anemia . Anemia is known to affect the cognitive functions of the children.

“Providing help like basic housing structure can help lift the poor out of the cycle of poverty and save the lower IQs from percolating down the generations. This in turn will help ameliorate poverty”, adds Dr. Puliyel.



Chautala flaunts his secular credentials
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferojpur Jhirkha (Gurgaon), December 4
The Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, today flaunted the Iftar party organised here this evening by the INLD as a pointer towards the state’s robust secular health. Mr Chautala, while addressing an impressive gathering from Mewat area on the occasion, said that the Iftar party was organised without any political motive.

Taking a dig at the uppity leaders who organise Iftar parties in hotels and bungalows for highbrow audiences, his function was for the rural poor. Perhaps, Mr Chautala wanted to downplay the cancellation of such parties this year by the President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minster, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, on the ground that the money spent on the occasion could be harnessed for the needy and the poor. Mr Chautala confirmed in his public speech that he had approached the President with an invitation for the function.

Although Mr Chautala declared that he would not like to rake up political issues, he did try to send a message to the people of Mewat, dominated by Meo Muslims. He boasted that his government had spent about RS 40 crore on various development projects in Mewat in the last three years. Another 25 crores would be spent during the current financial year.

Lauding the Meos, he recalled that they had opted to stay in India and did not consider migrating to Pakistan after the partition. 



House tax major contributor to MCD kitty 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
Property tax was the main source of the Corporation’s income, which constituted 62.99 per cent of the total revenue last year, said the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Mr Rakesh Mehta, in his speech after tabling the budget proposals for 2003-04 before the House today.

He said that expenditure in the budget estimates of 2,002-03 of Rs 1910.83 crore has been revised to Rs 2,027.01 crore on the basis of needs and available resources. The increase in expenditure is due to the transfer of an expenditure pertaining to the ninth Five-Year Plan to non plan. In order to compensate the increase in expenditure, allocation under councillor’s head has been reduced from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 30 lakh per ward.

The estimated budget of 2003-04 is Rs 2,170.50 crore and estimated expenditure has been proposed at Rs 2169.98 crore which is 142.97 crores higher than the revised estimated budget of 2002-03 of Rs 2,027.01 crore, the Municipal Commissioner said.

The Education and Conservancy Departments have been given priority in the current budget proposals, with allocation of Rs 19.72 crore. At present, 1,146 MCD schools are being run under tents and the Commissioner assured that the tents would be changed into concrete buildings next year.

With the budget proposal, the Commissioner has also tabled the proposal for mobilising additional funds for infrastructure development by selling municipal bonds, loans from HUDCO, tie-up with IDFC for sanitation work, privatisation of toll tax, new system of property tax collection (UAM) and double entry system. If these proposals take practical shape, the Corporation will become self-reliant in financial matters, the Commissioner assured.

He said that earlier there was no arrangement of loans from private banks and financial institutions and it is for the first time that such a proposal has been tabled, he said.

The Municipal Commissioner said that the Corporation proposed to issue Municipal Bonds with the approval of the government for developing infrastructure. The Corporation intends to build flyovers, parking lots, municipal markets and may also get civic centre constructed out of the funds raised from these sources. The infrastructure created out of these funds will also be put to remunerative use to facilitate repayment of bonds.

He said that with a view to strengthen the zonal set-up, powers have been delegated to zonal officers. All cases up to Rs 6 lakh can now be finalised at the zonal level, thus cutting down on time required for approval of proposals and bringing more efficiency.

Similarly, ward wise allocation of the plan funds to the extent of 40 per cent of the outlay will be made from the next year.

He further said that with the construction of new civic center, the Town Hall building, which is a heritage building, will be converted into a museum hall.

With the estimated budget of Rs 63 lakh, the Slum and JJ Wing of the Corporation has undertake schemes for providing basic amenities to improve the quality of life of approximately 30 lakh population of the clusters. A provision of Rs 1,794 lakh has been made for the purpose under the centrally assisted slum development programmes in the budget estimates of 2003-04.

A provision of Rs 150 lakh has been made for containing the size of the jhuggi clusters and capturing open spaces in jhuggi clusters for use of ‘Shishu Vatikas’.

A few other important schemes including resettlement of 75,000 jhuggies on eastern or western embankment of the Yamuna have also been proposed.



Decline in vehicle theft cases in Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
The vehicle theft cases in the national Capital have shown a decline with 7,560 vehicles being reportedly stolen in the city from November 1, 2001 to October 31, 2002, the Rajya Sabha was told today. The Minister of State for Home, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, said in a written reply that during the corresponding period of the preceding year, 8,051 vehicles were reportedly stolen.

The steps taken by Delhi Police to prevent incidents of theft of vehicles include formation of anti-auto theft squad in every police district to provide focused attention against theft of vehicles and setting up of check-posts at exit points of Delhi.

The Delhi Police have stationed Police Control Room vehicles near women institutions and places frequented by them and deployed women police personnel in such vans to attend distress calls from women, the minister added.

The strength of the finger print bureau of the Delhi Police was increased from 38 to 65 posts in the year 2001. Of these, 28 posts are lying vacant at present, Mr Rao added.

The MCD has entered into an agreement with a Government of India undertaking for setting up an interactive web site for providing on-line services like issue of birth and death certificate and booking of community halls. The format of these services has been conceptualised by the Corporation to meet its own special requirements, Mr Rao told the Rajya Sabha in a written statement.

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr. A Raja, told the Lok Sabha that the AIIMS has started a two-bed special isolation facility for AIDS patients in 1987-88. He added that patients are regularly admitted in this facility on the recommendation of clinical units. Supportive nursing and hospital attendants are posted round the clock. In the year 2002 (till date), 35 patients have been admitted in the facility.

The Minister also informed the house that as per the staff inspections unit’s report of November 1999 on the norms study of CGHS dispensaries, there should be at least 2,000 cardholders in an area for opening a new CGHS dispensary (Allopathic), which already has a dispensary. But for the dispensaries of the Indian System of Medicine, there are no such rules. These units are opened as per requirement and demand of the CGHS beneficiaries.

The Minister of Health, Mr. Shatrughan Sinha, told the Lok Sabha that there is no report on banning of Chloramphenicol in developed countries. Chloramphenicol and its various dosage forms like suspension, injection, eye drops and capsules are permitted to be used in the country.

The drug is also included in the essential drug list of the WHO. He added that Neural Tissue Vaccines and Whole Cell Killed Typhoid Vaccines are officially included in the Indian Pharmacopoeia.



Poor infrastructure afflicts textile 
exporters in Panipat 
Tribune News Service

Panipat, December 4
Foreign jaunts by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala to woo the investors notwithstanding, the world famous textile industry has been left to fend for itself by the Haryana Government.

Poor infrastructural facilities, lop-sided government policies and continuous recession are set to deal a deathblow to the textile industry. And a spurt in the crime graph has created panic among the affluent industrial community and has put a full stop to the expansion of the industry.” It is virtually goonda raj and the authorities had miserably failed to control crime and instill a sense of security among the industrialists,” says a leading exporter. It may be recalled that Mr Banarshi Dass, owner of the Aggarsain Spinners Limited and his wife were killed by unidentified gunmen on the factory premises on January 17 last year, spreading panic among the industrial community. Mr Dilip Dua, president of the Yarn Dealers Association, says that the spurt in the daylight crime is giving sleepless nights to the industrial community.

And despite the fact that the industry pays heavy taxes and had reportedly earned Rs 1,400 crore in foreign exchange last year, the basic amenities continue to elude it.

“The exporters prefer to meet the foreign clients at Delhi hotels as they may lose business if the visitors saw the lack of basic civic amenities in the city,” said Mr Ram Niwas Gupta, secretary of the exporters’ association.

Pointing out the lop-sided policies of the government, Mr Gupta alleges that developmental charges on the land purchased by the industrialists outside the specified area were exorbitant, putting hurdles on the expansion of the industry.”

The laws have failed to keep pace with changing times.

“In the era of globalisation, the ambience including recreational facilities on the premises were necessary to attract the foreign buyers. This could only be possible when the factories were located on large-sized plots for which developmental charges have to minimum,” he reasons.

And despite all claims, the power scenario continues to be dismal. It is said that if you want to set up a unit here, first install a generator set as you never know when the Power Department leaves you “powerless”.

“The problem is more acute in the areas fed by the rural feeders,” complained Mr Amitabh Awasthy, president of the Kesri International, an export house.

A visit to the Old Industrial Area, the Industrial Area in Sector 25 and 2, Sanoli Road, Gohana Road, can be nightmarish experience. “In several areas of the town, there are no roads worth the name,” said Mr Awasth.

He alleged that he prefers to meet his clients in Delhi as the condition of road to his unit on the Sanoli Road is pitiable. Mr Janak Grover of the Grover Woollen Mills in the Old Industrial Area claims that entrepreneurs of the area constructed a road at a cost of over Rs 2 lakh about a year back as the district administration failed to do its job.

Problems are compounded during the monsoons in the absence of effective drainage system. This, apart from the insanitary conditions, earns a bad name for the town, which has created a niche for itself at the international level for high-quality textile products.

While the problems persist, the bureaucracy fails to see reason, says Mr Yash Pal Malik, president of the Panipat

Dyers Association, which is locked in tug-of-war with the administration over the shifting of more than 500 dyeing units to Sector 29 industrial area.

When the association is ready to install effluent treatment plants and have separate sewer lines for the polluted water, why is the administration adamant on shifting the units, he asks.

Perhaps, Mr Gupta best sums up the whole scenario.

“Panipat needs a package deal from the central government at least as a reward for earning over 1,400 crore in foreign revenue. And with the state government neither having the necessary resources nor will, this seems to be the only way out.



Metro Rail to provide impetus to development: L-G
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
The Lieutenant-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor today inaugurated a park at Shastri Place and later laid the foundation stone of a swimming pool and community hall at Maharana Pratap Park, Kanti Nagar, East Delhi. Mr Lal Behari Tiwari, MP, Choudhary Matin Ahmed, MLA, Dr Harsh Vardhan, MLA, Mr Jameer Ahmed, Municipal Councilor and other senior officers of DDA were present on both the occasions, besides a large gathering of local residents.

Inaugurating the park, the Lt-Governor said the development in East Delhi has been a challenge as the people settled here prior to the development of infrastructural facilities.

He said once the first phase of the Metro Rail, which is going to be inaugurated on December 24, 2002, has been fully developed, the people of East Delhi should fully exploit the opportunity provided by it.

Shastri Place is well located and could be commercially exploited to provide proper connectivity through the Metro Rail.

Giving examples from Western countries, wherein big cities are developed by laying down railway lines and other facilities prior to habitation, he said he hoped the Metro will act as a nucleus for the development of East Delhi.

Laying the foundation stone of a community hall and a swimming pool, he said that the development of Maharana Pratap Park was a unique experience and the same should be emulated in other parts of the city. He said development is a continuous process and efforts should be made to improve upon it further.

He accepted the demand of the people to install a statue of Maharana Pratap in the park. He appreciated the various developmental work done by DDA like construction of flyovers, beautification projects at Dwarka and Safdarjung Terminal, sports complexes etc all over Delhi.

He said that the efforts of the officers associated with such works should be recognised and encouraged



BKU gives warning on sugarcane rates
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, December 4
Farmers under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union sat on dharna in front of the office of the District Sugarcane Officer, demanding that they should be paid as per the sugarcane rates fixed by the government.

Hundreds of farmers led by Mr Rajveer Singh, district president of the BKU, trooped in the morning and sat on dharna in front of the District Sugarcane Officer’s office in Kavi Nagar.

According to Mr Rajveer Singh, the District Sugarcane Officer should buy the sugarcane from farmers and have it supplied to the mills.

According to a judgement of the apex court, only the Sugarcane Commissioner could work as an official intermediary between the government, sugarcane mills and sugarcane growing farmers.

It is the responsibility of the Commissioner to get the sugarcane rate fixed by the state government and get the amount paid to the farmers from the sugarcane mills.

He said the mills had started rolling and farmers now should be paid as per the decision of the Supreme Court.

When the apex court had given the state government the right to fix the sugarcane rate the same rate should now be got paid to the farmers. The BKU has given a memorandum and a warning also that if by December 23, 2002, the farmers are not paid as per rates fixed by the state government a panchayat at the Delhi panchayat ghar will be held.

The memorandum has called for getting them the balance payment of Rs 12 crore from Modi Sugar Mills paid.



Lt-Governor visits Dwarka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
Lieutenant-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, visited Sector 6 of Dwarka along with the DDA VC, the MCD Commissioner, and the NDMC Chairperson. 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 the 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 have 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.



‘84 riot victims form ‘widow jatha’ 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
Widows of the five thousand-odd Sikhs who lost their lives in the 1984 riots have renewed their pleas for justice and reconciliation. The ‘Widow Jatha’, a forum floated by the widows for securing their rehabilitation, on Wednesday threatened to take “drastic” action if the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was not mandated to investigate the “killing (of) people in a planned way” and the agency set a timetable for completing the probe.

The forum accused H.K.L. Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar of the Congress Party of killing the Sikhs. “Despite repeatedly naming the culprits who ruined our lives and killings, the government has failed to arrest even a single accused. We have moved every authority and all the Commissions constituted till now have failed to get us justice. What kind of laws and legal process are these? Who will give us justice ?” it said.

The Jatha would be calling on the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr LK Advani, on December 8 to demand institution of a CBI inquiry, arrest and punishment of guilty persons and proper rehabilitation of the widows. “We will meet Mr Advani and if the government fails to take any notice of our plight, we will be forced to commit mass suicide,” it said.

The widows, who were given Rs 3.5 lakh compensation and a job, have organised themselves in a group as they felt that all the political leaders were using their cause for their own benefits; nobody was talking about the problems encountered by them. “We have been condemned to a live of misery,” lamented Harbans Kaur.

Harbans Kaur was among the fortunate few who got a government job to survive but widows like Preetam Kaur, who were not given any source of livelihood, were on the verge of starvation. The Widow Jatha demanded that widows like Preetam Kaur be given a government job and pension for the widows be increased from Rs 900 per month as it was not sufficient to meet their daily needs.

“Ninety per cent of the widows were absorbed in Class IV jobs and even when some of them got themselves educated, no promotional avenues had been opened to them,” pointed out Darshan Kaur.



Don’t withdraw sops, plead senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 4
The Senior Citizens Welfare Forum here has urged the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre not to withdraw the concessions given to senior citizens and ignore the Kelkar Commission’s report on the issue.

In a press release issued here today, the forum demanded that the benefits proposed for the other persons in the report should also be extended to them. It said that although welfare of the elderly was the constitutional duty of the government for which the Social Welfare Department had been created but it was not functioning towards this end.

It also said that the Finance Adviser, Dr Kelkar, had treated an ordinary person and a senior citizen on a par with regard to the income tax exemption limit. Before it, every tax payer was exempted up to Rs 50,000 and senior citizens were given concession up to Rs 1 lakh. Hence, the Kelkar Commission’s report should not be accepted without restoring the benefits already enjoyed by senior citizens, who had limited and fixed income.

According to the association, a few years ago, the then Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, exempted the income of senior citizens from tax up to Rs 1 lakh after rebate on savings to help them meet the rising cost of living.

However, in the last Budget, Mr Yashwant Sinha did not raise the income tax exemption. It came to Rs 1.50 lakh after rebates and deductions. But the Kelkar Committee now proposed to raise the exemption limit to Rs 1 lakh and withdraw the exemption available to senior citizens, upset over lower rates of interests on deposits of their money.

The association described it as unfair that senior citizens had been clubbed with others. It urged the Union Finance Minister to increase the income tax exemption limit to Rs 1.50 lakh for the senior citizens in view of rising cost of living. It added that the senior citizens should not be liable to income tax and should be exempted from the purview of this tax as well as filing of income tax returns which were not of interest to the department or the assessees.



Statue of Netaji unveiled by Chautala
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 4
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, unveiled a statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose last evening. A large number of residents along with the district officials were present at the Subhash Chowk for the ceremony.

An amount of nearly Rs 10 lakh was spent on the statue and for the beautification of the chowk nicknamed as ‘Chandni Chowk’ by the residents. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav said he took up the task of remodelling the chowk after receiving several complaints regarding traffic hazards caused by the old statue erected in the middle of the road.

Academic Council appointments

Prof Azahar Kazmi, Department of Business Administration, Aligarh Muslim University and Dr K C Yadav, former Head, History Department, Kurukshetra University and Prof K. S. Solanki, Dean, Physical Education Department, CCs Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, have been co-opted as members of the Academic Council of the Maharshi Dayanand University. Their membership will be for period of two years with effect from November 18, 2002 to November 17, 2004.

IT exam from Jan 8

Maharshi Dayanand University will hold the examinations of IT. Courses (BCA/APGDCA/APGDIT/MSC, Computer Science) from January 8, 2003.

Candidates who have got ‘reappear’ should submit their examination forms through their respective study centres, along with fee of Rs 510. Examination forms without late fee are to be submitted by December 17, 2002. Examination forms with late fee of Rs 500 can be submitted up to December22, 2002. Forms received after this schedule won’t be entertained.

Controller of examinations Dr K. C. Bhardwaj said that university would issue the roll numbers to the study centres and candidates are advised to collect the roll numbers from their respective study centres.

Canter driver arrested

Sonepat: The National Highway No. 1 police have arrested one Subhash, a canter driver while he was trying to escape with a purse of a woman containing Rs. 18,000 in cash and other documents yesterday.

According to a report, the purse of the woman fell down when she was travelling in the jeep along with her husband and other family members. The canter driver picked up the purse and made an attempt to escape. A car driver who was coming behind the canter noticed it and chased his vehicle. The canter driver was overpowered near Hassanpur Kurar village and later handed over to the highway police for interrogation.

BJP party members for Gujarat

Faridabad: Activists of various political parties have started leaving for Gujarat to campaign for their party candidates in the ensuing assembly polls. A team of BJP activists led by the MLA from Mevla Maharajpur, Mr Krishan Pal Gurjar left for Bhuj district in Gujarat.

They will stay in the constituency up to the poll date, a spokesman of the party said. The Congress Party has also announced that its workers would also leave soon for campaigning in Gujarat.

Three youths run over

Three youths in their early twenties were run over by a train near Palwal town on Monday evening. The deceased, who could not be identified, were reportedly walking on the track when the accident took place. Meanwhile, in another incident, a youth identified as Ashok Kumar, a resident of Budhnagar committed suicide by jumping before a train near Bhadkhal over bridge on Tuesday.

Former Sarpanch held

A former woman sarpanch of a nearby village was arrested on corruption charges. The Sarpanch, according to the enquiry report, had allegedly built a ‘Harijan Chaupal’ on her own land in contravention with the provisions of the law. 

Eve-teaser trapped by decoy

New Delhi: The anti-eve teasing squad of the Central district has nabbed three persons on the charge of eve-teasing a decoy women police constable. The accused, Deepak Kumar Bose (55), a system engineer in a news agency, winked at a woman constable and when the woman approached him he reportedly asked how much she would charge.

Another person, Chand Bahadur (45), a technician in Gestener Company, was also nabbed by the officials of Crime Against Women Cell, for eve-teasing women in the Press area. The third person was an official of the Syndicate Bank, and he also was nabbed for the same offence. TNS

Old man stabbed to death at residence

Noida: An old man was stabbed to death in Khora Colony of Sector 58 by criminals yesterday night. Armed assailants had attacked a house where they stabbed the elderly man. There was another incident of a person being injured in a knife attack at another place, the police said.

The house of Chukkan Lal, 65, was attacked in Jeevan Vihar of Khora colony by criminals. When Chukkhan Lal raised an alarm, he was stabbed by the assailants. His neighbours, woken by the commotion, also raised an alarm, forcing the miscreants to flee. Chukkhan Lal was rushed to the hospital by the police, where he was declared ‘dead’ on arrival. OC

2 policemen killed in mishap

Bhiwani: Two personnel of Delhi Police were reportedly killed in a road mishap. According to reports, Tej Singh (35) and Sunil Kumar (24) were returning after attending a marriage ceremony at village Jhojhu Kalan at about 5.30 am on their motorcycle. They were killed when an unidentified vehicle hit them near Adampur Dadhi village. The police was informed and their bodies were sent for postmortem examination to Charkhi Dadri Civil Hospital. OC



Drunken dairy owner killed
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 4
A dairy owner was killed in a road accident near Chhatehra village, about 50 km from here, last night.

According to a report, the victim, identified as Kalu, belonged to Devipura area of Gohana town. He was returning to his house on a motor cycle in a drunken condition. He was killed when his motor cycle skidded. He was killed on the spot.

The police recovered the body and sent it for a post-mortem examination.

According to another report, a 16-year-old youth, Harjit Singh, of Murthal sustained serious injuries when he was hit by a private bus on the GT Road near Murthal Chowk, 8 km from here, yesterday. He was immediately rushed to the local Civil Hospital from where he was referred to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment. He, however, succumbed to his injuries on way to Delhi.

The police have registered a case against the bus driver on the charge of rash and negligent driving and causing the death of the victim. Further, investigations were in progress. The police have also impounded the bus.

In another accident, two youths, namely Sunil and Chander Pal, were seriously injured when their motor cycle was hit by an unidentified car on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna road near here last night. Both the injured youths were immediately Hospitalised. They are stated to be out of danger. They were returning to their home at Rathdhanna village on their motor cycle.

Meanwhile, two employees of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) were injured when their scooter was hit by a jeep on the GT Road near Bad Khalsa village, about 15 km from here, yesterday. Both the injured persons who are posted at the 132 KV grid power sub-station at Biswan Meel, were hospitalised. They are stated to be out of danger.



Brother alleges foul play in woman’s death
Our Correspondent

Rewari, December 4
The unnatural death of the 39-year-old wife of Rajan Dhingra, whose body was fished out from the underground water tank in their house in Huda’s Sector 3 here and then consigned to flames without a post-mortem examination, in the cemetery here on October 9, 2002, has now taken a U-turn following the insistence of the complainant, Davender Kumar Sapra, younger brother of the deceased, on the registration of a case of murder against Rajan as well as his immediate arrest. The complainant has alleged that it was a cold-blooded murder and not a suicidal death by drowning as was being claimed by Rajan Dhingra and other members of his family.

The delayed investigation of the matter by Mr Ram Mehar, Inspector, CIA (Police), who had been entrusted with the investigation of the case by Mr Hanif Qureshi, SP, reportedly on November 9, 2002, was also apparently making things complicated.

Earlier, a daily diary report was registered in this regard at the Model Town police station here on November 5, 2002, on the basis of a complaint lodged by Davender Kumar Sapra, who was now at a loss to know why it was not being converted into an FIR even after the expiry of four weeks.


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