Tuesday, December 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Govt forms panel 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
Negotiations between the Government of NCT of Delhi and unions of autorickshaw operators continued today with the former constituting a three-member committee to resolve outstanding issues.

The committee comprises Sales Tax Commissioner Rahul Khullar, a representative of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) and an economist.

Transport Minister Ajay Maken said that the committee would examine the gamut of issues raised by autorickshaw drivers but discounted any let-up in the drive to impound autorickshaws not having electronic meters.

The protracted negotiations continued even as autorickshaw operators owing allegiance to certain unions and associations took out a protest march. They reiterated their demand for upward revision of fares and an end to ‘indiscriminate’ impounding of autorickshaws. The Panthers Auto Drivers’ Front also submitted a memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC.)

Decrying attempts by the Department of Transport to deny them the means to earn livelihood, the demonstrators claimed many of them were daily-wage workers and the impounding of autorickshaws hurt them the most. The delegation that approached the NHRC claimed that the officials gave them a patient hearing.

The strike, meanwhile, has drawn a vehement reaction from the commuters in general and certain non-government organisations (NGOs) in particular. Expressing solidarity with the government’s desire to discipline errant autorickshaw drivers and put an end to the fleecing of commuters, the People’s Action today applauded the ‘principled stand’ of the Transport Minister.

The NGO has suggested sterner measures against the unions of autorickshaw operators so that enforcing the rule of law in letter and spirit could curb the menace of extortion.

In a memorandum submitted to the minister, the NGO said no amount of negotiating with the unions of autorickshaw operators would solve the problem and that the issue needed to be addressed head on.

Caught in the midst is Transport Minister Ajay Maken, who reiterated that the drive to impound autorickshaws not conforming to the guidelines would continue. The prickly issue of revision of fares had thus far been resisted by the government.

Autorickshaw operators contend that the fares in the Capital are the lowest among the metropolitan cities elsewhere in the country and therefore should be revised.



Land allotment in Dadri begins at home
Our Correspondent

Dadri (Noida) December 16
That ‘Charity begins at home’ was amply demonstrated by the members and the pradhan of Iradpur, Rajatpur village gram sabhas in Dadri. They have gone ahead and distributed land allotment documents to their own family members.

This has offended the villagers and they are vehemently opposing the move. The matter has been brought to the notice of the District Magistrate, G B Nagar, Mr K Ram Mohan Rao, but no solution appears in sight.

One Sanjeev Kumar lodged the complaint with the district magistrate on Tehsil Day in Dadri on December 3. He has demanded an inquiry into it and sought punishment for those found guilty. He has also sought the scraping of the biased allotment letters that have been distributed and issuance of fresh allotment letters to the bona fide and deserving claimants.

A total of 28 persons of the village received allotment letters, but not all of them are landless. According to a government policy, only landless persons can be given land allotment papers.

It is alleged that along with 10 Valmikees, allotment letters were also issued to Rajputs and people belonging to other upper castes.

Rita, daughter-in-law of Jagdish, an employee of DDA, Delhi, and Krishna, wife of Ram Kumar, brother of Ram Avtar, gram sabha member were given allotment letters. It is alleged that Ram Kumar already owns 40 bighas of land.

In another case of gross irregularity, Saroj, sister-in-law of the village pradhan, was given an allotment letter. She is a resident of Visahada village, while the allotment letters were meant to be distributed to the residents of Rajatpur.

The villagers alleged that most of the people who received the allotment papers are either employees of government or semi-government organisations and many of them do not belong to the landless category.



Terrorists’ identikit flashed all over
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
Two days after the Tughlaqabad encounter in which two suspected Pakistani terrorists were killed while a third managed to escape, the police were yet to receive any concrete evidence that could help them establish their identities.

Highly placed sources said that the teams of Special Cell of the Delhi Police and officials of the intelligence agencies were tapping all their sources to help identity the suspects whose description, photos and fingerprints have been widely circulated throughout the country.

A senior police officer said that investigations in such cases were quite painstaking and prolonged as the suspects were highly trained professionals. It is apparent that they had planned their operation meticulously and taken precautions to obliterate all leads to their identities.

The investigating officers were now depending on the data bank of suspected Pakistani-trained terrorists maintained by several intelligence agencies, including some from friendly countries, to help in the identification of the two terrorists killed in an encounter on Saturday morning near the Delhi-Haryana border.

While the officials were reluctant to comment, sources said that the intelligence agencies had already activated the friendly liaison, a euphemism for exchanging information even with the absence of a bilateral treaty.

Meanwhile, the police were also trying to ascertain the ownership of the white Maruti Zen which was being used by the suspects with fake number plates. Working on the premise that it was a stolen vehicle or purchased under a false name, transport authorities of various states, including that of Jammu and Kashmir, were being contacted. For want of a registration number, the police have flashed the engine number to the manufacturers. This would help narrow down the search as the records show where the vehicle was originally sold at.

Police parties also continued to conduct raids at possible hideouts in some cities of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in search of the third suspect who escaped. The police believe that the suspect was quite familiar with the area and perhaps enjoyed the support of some people. Otherwise, he would not have disappeared in such a manner even while the police were hot on his trail. The possibility of his being a local was not being ruled out either by the senior police and intelligence officials who were closely monitoring the investigations.



An edge-of-the-seat vrooming excitement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
Cheering crowds of more than 8,000 enthusiasts! Battle of 30 aspiring motor sport whizkids selected from seven cities after gruelling regional rounds. Mind-blowing musical thrilling performance by Shweta ‘Ishq’ Menon and Jassi. Roaring sounds of engines burning the newly laid asphalt tracks. Country’s leading CEOs fighting for pole positions using their speed skills.

The grand finale of JK Tyre National Karting Championship 2002, concluded at newly built virgin track right at the Capital’s commercial centre, Pragati Maidan on Sunday, had all the making of spellbinding speed extravaganza.

While the battle between the regional finalists of championship, which was held in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Delhi was nail-biting, even the racy entertainment at the event provided equally an edge-of-the-seat thrill. Though the championship was into its third year, it constituted hot battles among two new competition classes—the cadet class participants aged between 8 and 12 years and juniors class participants between 12 and 16 years. And though these speed junkies are young in age, they gave the most spellbinding and exciting races, which were full with bumper-to-bumper chases, spins and surprising ends. Finally, it were Parth Ghorpode and Akhil Khushlani who won the cadet class and junior classes..

Setting the climax for the evening was the finals of senior classes, which was won by Delhi-ite Aman Ahluwalia who won a gleaming new Maruti Suzuki Alto besides a fully sponsored drive at JK Tyre National Racing Championship 2003.

The event also witnessed a few of the fastest corporate takeovers as the country’s six leading CEOs, namely Puneet Dalmiya, Vivek Khuslani, Vinit Jain, Sanjeev Jhunjhunwala, Sameer Thapar, Abhishek Somany and Vikram Pati Singhania battled with each other literally on the karting track for the special CEO race. Sameer Thapar won the race after a lot of interesting tussles.

And there was a high-decibel performance by Shweta Menon, who grooved on numbers such as Khallas, Sharara, Kalion ka chaman while Jassi enthralled the crowds with Dil le gayi kudi, channon ka jawani vich pai gaya and haanji haanji!!!

Electrifying fireworks dazzling the skies brought an end to the nation’s biggest motor sport extravaganza till next year, when the championship will again take the fervour of speed across the nation!!!



Govt employee held for wife’s disappearance
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 16
On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the district police have arrested a state government employee, charged with abducting and making his wife untraceable for the past two years. As the woman has still not been found, the court has remanded the accused in judicial custody.

The police allegedly did not take much interest in the case and failed to arrest the accused for more than two years. However, they had to swing into action and nab him after receiving directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the police must take action and report on the progress of investigation, said Mr Karambir Singh, brother of the victim.

He had sent a complaint to the Chief Justice of the High Court stating that the police had not arrested the accused despite several representations. Mr Karambir said the accused, identified as Bhoodatt, a resident of Sadpura village, had been married to his sister, Bimla, for several years and had been responsible for her missing since July 2000.

He said his brother-in-law, an employee of the public relations department here, had not only been trying to mislead his family and other relatives about the sudden disappearance of Bimla, but had also been making attempts to force them to withdraw the police case.

He said his sister, married in 1991 and a mother of a 10-year-old boy, was being harassed for not bringing enough dowry. She had also lodged a complaint with the police and met the Deputy Commissioner in 1999, Mr Karambir said.

He claimed that his sister, aged about 28 years, had been missing since July 4, 2000. Suspecting that she might have been murdered and her body disposed of, he blamed the police for not arresting the accused immediately and this delay had reduced the possibility of tracing her. 



Officials forget 1971 war memorial function
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, December 16
Wives and relatives of soldiers, who sacrificed their lives in the 1971 Pakistan-India war, had the distasteful experience on the Vijay Divas today when no administrative official came to pay tributes to the brave departed souls at the War Memorial in Nehru Park.

It was surprising that none cared to even clean the memorial as a mark of respect and the war widows had to face the disgusting scene of pigs roaming around the place.

Every year, a function is organised at this memorial where administrative officers and senior leaders pay tributes to the bereaved soldiers. Besides, war widows are honoured by the Zila Sainik Board and the administration. Though the war widows were informed, the hosts did not show up at all.

The widows then cleaned the place with their own hands and saluted the late soldiers.

Prem Kaur, widow of martyr Krishan Singh of Bond Khurd, deplored that they were invited but officers have no time to pay respects to those who made supreme sacrifice for the pride of nation. Another woman Surja Devi, widow of Kartar Singh of Bamla village, however said that she was given Rs 500 and a shawl last time.



Chautala working ‘towards finishing BJP’
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 16
Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, MP and the Vice-President of the Haryana BJP, has accused the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, of working against the BJP and eliminating it from the political scene in the state.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said Mr Chautala could not hope to succeed in his gameplan in view of the landslide victory of the party in the Gujarat assembly elections.

Referring to the Ahulana village incidents of arson and protests, he condemned the police lathi charge and firing on the people and charged the Chief Minister with backing out of the assurances given to the people of the village at the time of setting up of the sugar mill. He demanded immediate acceptance of all demands contained in the memorandum sent to the state government by the committee set up by the panchayat to resolve the dispute. He also demanded immediate withdrawal of the cases instituted against the village people by the police in order to maintain peace and in a bid to normalise the situation.

The BJP leader alleged favouritism and nepotism in the recruitment were the main reason of discontentment among the people of Ahulana village and they would never forget the atrocities committed on them by the police and the administration. He warned that if the state government failed to accept the demands of the committee it would face an agitation as all the demands were just and legitimate and these should be accepted without any further delay.

Mr Sangwan also termed those people as `Jai Chand’ who were trying to sabotage the agitation of Ahulana villagers and others who were safeguarding their interests for getting justice on the issue of recruitment. He alleged that the people of Sonepat district were fed up with Mr Chautala and his government which was discriminating against them in the matter of development and employment.

He declared that his party would continue its fight against the discrimination by the state government and it would not allow it to continue with such a policy. He also appealed to the people to remain united and teach a lesson to the Chautala government, which was anti-people and anti-farmer.



Dalits being terrorised in Haryana: BSP
Our Correspondent

Rewari, December 16
Mr Narendra Kashyap, in-charge of the BSP affairs in Haryana, has asserted that Dalits are a completely terrorised lot under the Chautala regime in Haryana and unbridled atrocities on them have been on the increase throughout the state.

Giving concrete instances at a crowded press conference here today, he said the Dulina lynching incident, where five innocent Dalits were massacred with the open connivance of the police and administrative officials on the occasion of the Dasehra festival recently, spoke of total collapse of the administration in the state. He went on to say that a minor Dalit girl was gangraped recently in Faridabad. It was all the more painful that the criminals were booked only after their intervention.

Narrating another fresh incident which occurred at Jatu Luhari village in Bhiwani district, he said a Dalit bridegroom was not allowed to ride a mare by men of the upper caste. Dalits were, thus, being ruthlessly denied even their social rights. Instances of increasing atrocities on Dalits in the state could be multiplied to any length, he added.

Describing the Chautala government as completely anti-Dalit and anti-farmer, Mr Kashyap reiterated his party’s demand pertaining to the dismissal of the Chautala government which, he explained, they had put forward through a written and signed memorandum earlier submitted to the Governor of Haryana.

Lashing out at the “arbitrary and dictatorial” functioning of the Chautala regime, he sarcastically remarked that there were states which had a Chief Minister and a Deputy Chief Minister but Haryana had the unique distinction of virtually being run by three Chief Ministers - a father and his two sons. There were numerous such victimised industrialists, business magnates and others who frequently related their tales of woe in private, he added.

Mr Kashyap went on to say that the previous state governments led by Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Bansi Lal too had also victimised the Dalits by their acts of omission and commission. Thus, the people of Haryana were now fed up with these Lals and Chautalas and were earnestly yearning for a change.



No full-time Administrator, HUDA admn 
in a state of drift
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 16
The full-time post of Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), has been lying vacant for the past five months. Although the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) has been given the additional charge of the Administrator, it is reported that this has led to the accumulation of file work in the office. As a result, consumers have been facing inconvenience.

A resident of Sector 8 here said that his work had been pending for many months as there was no one to take up his appeal. He said the Administrator used to listen to appeals at least once a week. As the present incumbent was holding only an additional charge and also perhaps he did not have enough time, this was not taking place these days. He said many times, he had been asked to come next time, as the “officer” was busy in other work.

The Administrator of HUDA here not only sees the work of HUDA sectors but also has the charge of estate offices (HUDA) of Sonepat, Jhajjar, Rohtak and Bahadurgarh. The completion reports of all constructions in urban sectors of five districts are finalised here, besides taking decisions on auctioning and selling of plots in the up-and-coming commercial and residential sectors.

The work of the Administrator had been given as additional charge to the ADC after he joined here in June last. While an IAS officer was posted against this position in July this year, his tenure lasted only one month. Since then, the work has again returned to the ADC after he took over it as an additional charge for about 15 days in November.

The HUDA office here has developed over 50 sectors and the work of creating new ones is still going on. It is reported that the work of overall supervision and removal of encroachments on HUDA land has been adversely affected. While land worth over Rs 100 crore had been recovered after removing the encroachments during the tenure of Mr Vijayendra Kumar, residents in various sectors have started encroaching on it again as there was no one to monitor such developments.



YC rally on Dec 19 against ‘jobs on sale’
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 16
The All-India Youth Congress has decided to organise a massive rally on December 19 in support of the demands of agitating people of Ahulana village against the recruitment made by the managing committee of the Chaudhary Devi Lal Sugar Mills. The rally will be organised on the premises of the grain market at Gohana town in the district.

Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, President of the All-India Youth Congress, accused Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala of not taking care of the demands of the people.

He told mediapersons the police resorted to a lathi charge and firing to disperse the innocent people who were protesting against the recruitment of employees. He alleged that an elderly person, Mr Yad Ram, died in the police firing and at least 24 persons sustained injuries in the lathi charge. Youth Congress workers, who came in support of the agitating people, were also beaten up by the police.

Mr Surjewala pointed out the villagers had donated the land for setting up the sugar mill on the assurance that the village youths would be recruited on a priority basis. The assurance was given by the Chief Minister, he said. But, Mr Surjewala alleged, people from UP, Bihar and Rajasthan were recruited instead and the jobs had been ‘bought’.

He demanded that all criminal cases registered against the villagers should be immediately withdrawn. He demanded 10 per cent reservation of jobs in the mill for the villagers and cancellation of recruitment made earlier by the management.

Mr Surjewala also demanded the release of a white paper in connection with the recruitment made in the mill.



11 central govt offices to be shifted from Delhi 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
The government has decided to shift 11 central government offices outside Delhi to the National Capital Region. Six offices have been shifted outside Delhi, including three out of 11 identified, the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar, informed the Rajya Sabha.

He said as shifting of offices was a continuous process, the actual shifting depended on a host of factors like availability of land and construction of alternative buildings at the place where the offices were to be shifted. However, the progress of shifting of offices was being reviewed from time to time and the offices concerned were reminded to make arrangements for shifting outside Delhi, as decided by the government.

In reply to another question, the minister said the government had issued guidelines for regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi, which had come up before March 31, 1998. The said guidelines had also been filed in the Delhi High Court, which had directed the government to notify the colonies, which could be regularised as per the terms of the guidelines. The Delhi Government had been requested to submit the list of such colonies and the list was still awaited.

The government had constituted a committee to examine the existing guidelines for regularisation of unauthorised colonies and to suggest modifications/amendments required, if any, so as to facilitate the expeditious regularisation of such colonies. The committee had since submitted its report.

The Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr O. Rajagopal, told the Rajya Sabha that the New Delhi Municipal Council had informed that no exemption had been granted in levying property tax in respect of private properties in unauthorised colonies and assessments/recoveries of taxes were made in accordance with the provisions of the NDMC Act, 1994.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi had also reported that property tax was being levied on most of the houses in unauthorised colonies in accordance with the rules laid down on the subject.

The high court had permitted supply of electricity and water to the unauthorised colonies that had come up before 1993. It had also permitted construction of roads and drains in such unauthorised colonies on private land, he said.

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mr Shatrughan Sinha, informed the Rajya Sabha that out of the 131 samples of milk collected from the Ghaziabad area during 2002, 48 were found adulterated. In all the 48 samples, cases had been filed in a court of Ghaziabad. The minister said for curbing the malpractice of supplying synthetic milk in Ghaziabad district, samples of milk were regularly being taken and tested and necessary action taken under the PFA Act/Rules.

In reply to another question, he said the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was planning to upgrade their facilities and a detailed Master Plan had already been submitted to the Delhi Urban Arts Commission.

The Master Plan included expansion of housing facilities, expanded hostel facilities, new institutional buildings like pay wards, extended OPD, digestion centre, renal centre, dental college, captive power plant, extensive arrangement for parking arrangements, boring of new tube wells, covering of nallah etc. The project was expected to cost Rs 1,300 crore and was proposed to be implemented by phases as part of Vision 2025.

The government had not considered the project yet. Its implementation would depend on due clearance and availability of funds. The bed strength at the AIIMS was expected to become three-fold on the completion of the restructuring and would help to cope with the increasing patient workload, he added.



After drought, shortage of fodder hits farmers
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 16
The after-effects of drought this year are still being felt by the residents in the region, especially the farmers. The farmers, whose kharif crop production has been adversely affected, are now facing shortage of fodder for their cattle.

Suraj, a resident of nearby Fajjupura village, said that the rates of dry fodder for cattle had gone up sharply due to unavailability of the same. He said the fodder, which was earlier available at Rs 40 to Rs 50 per mann (40 kg), was now being sold at Rs 150 to Rs 175 per mann in the villages. He said that due to severe dry conditions, fodder supply in the area had gone down.

Kishan Pal, a farmer of Chhainsa village, said that he had to buy sugarcane leaves to feed the animals. Due to the unavailability of fodder, some residents had sold their cattle, he said. He said if the situation persisted, he also would sell his buffaloes as a last resort.

It is reported that due to drought, the paddy arrivals in mandis of the district had been low. Thanks to the low rainfall and inadequate supply of canal water for irrigation, it seems that the sowing targets of rabi crops for the coming season might not be achieved, admitted an agricultural expert here. He said the farmers had been at the receiving end this season due to low production.

The president of the Haryana Janata Dal (United), Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, alleged that the Chautala government had failed miserably to tackle the situation arising after the severe drought this year. Ridiculing the supply of fodder from Haryana to Rajasthan by the state government recently, Mr Vidrohi said the farmers of Haryana, especially the southern districts, had already been reeling under the effects of this “national calamity”. He asked the government to make available fodder in the districts of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Rewari and Narnaul.



‘My first priority will be to clean and 
beautify the city’
Smriti Kak

Parminder Mandip Singh
NDMC Chairperson Parminder Mandip Singh. 

An IAS officer of the 1972 batch, Parminder Mandip Singh is the first woman to take over as the Chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). An alumna of the Sacred Heart School, Dalhousie, where she completed her schooling, Ms Singh completed her master’s in Geography from Panjab University. She took the civil services examination and was given the UT cadre.

A student of geography, Ms. Singh effectively held the post of Commissioner, Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of NCT of Delhi, prior to her present appointment. She also worked as Chairperson, Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board, Commissioner Excise, Transport and the Managing Director of Delhi Tourism.

Her tenure as the District Collector of two districts in Arunachal Pradesh remains her cherished posting. In a face to face with the ‘NCR Tribune’, Ms. Singh spoke of her priorities in her present capacity with the NDMC.

How have you prepared yourself for your current position?

I know how to get the job done. This, without the aid of any magic mantra. I have a reputation of getting things done. And fortunately, I have not been subjected to any gender discrimination, wherever I have been posted. As for the latest position, I have my priorities right and am looking forward to implementing some new ideas. At the same time, some of my predecessors have done exemplary work, which I plan to carry forward.

What tops the list of your priorities?

Cleanliness. I am a cleanliness freak. My first priority will be to beautify and clean the city. We are going to launch an anti-poster drive through out the city and make sure that places like Connaught Place are free from posters.

Singapore, with its neat and clean roads, well organised traffic and of course, the beauty, is what I have in mind when I talk of beautifying the city.

Litter, parking problems, congestion and upliftment of women are also high on my agenda. Apart from this, I want to upgrade the civic amenities like electricity and water supplies.

Are there any specific plans for decongesting the city? Inadequate and unplanned parking facility and unruly driving are the bane of Delhiites.

We are trying to work out a plan to make Connaught Place a traffic free zone from the beginning of the next year. The modalities are being worked out and we are talking to the traders and other stakeholders to see how effectively the plan can be implemented..

Multi-level parking spaces in the area and battery operated vehicles for commuting will help the city’s commercial hub breathe easy. There will be battery-operated vehicles for the people to commute within the area and vehicles will be banned. The NDMC has already worked out plans to create multi-level parking in the city. Initially, there will be three such parking levels in the city around Connaught Place.

We are also taking the problem of littering very seriously. In fact, the NDMC will get cracking on those who violate the laws. Like I said before, sticking posters on walls, especially in the Connaught Place, will be checked. We will impose fines on people found violating the rules.

What do you have in mind vis-a-vis the uplift of women in the city?

We are looking at places where hostels for working women can be constructed. There are a number of hostels operating in the Capital, but compared to the number of women, who come to the city to earn a livelihood, the number is insignificant. We need to provide safer surroundings to the women in the city.

Apart from this, we are also contemplating opening shelters for the homeless women and children. Those living on the streets have no security and access to shelter. Then, we are also looking at starting more vocational courses for women that will help them gain economic independence and empowerment.

There is a need to provide courses, which are relevant and provide livelihood. Like for instance, we can run more courses to trains women in computers, grooming, and dress design. These courses can help them earn more money.

You mentioned upgrading civic amenities, how do you propose to do that?

Upgrading the civic amenities like water and electricity supply is also a priority and we want to ensure results without any delay. To meet the power demand of the newly constructed offices and residential complexes, the NDMC is constructing sub-stations with the latest technology. My efforts will be to ensure uninterrupted supply and energy conservation. New pipelines will be laid and water conservation projects like water harvesting will also be taken up.

There are a number of outstanding dues that the NDMC is yet to recover. Illegal constructions in the city are also on the rise despite laws prohibiting the same. Are there any specific plans to deal with these problems?

The NDMC is ensuring that the department collects all outstanding dues. We have worked it out with the department of estates that ‘no-objection certificates’ will not be issued to MPs moving out of their official residences until they get a clearance certificate from us. There are, however, some cases where the people have expired and it will be quite a task for us to retrieve the dues from their family members.

As far as illegal constructions are concerned, we will get cracking after illegal constructions and squatters. We have ordered the enforcement directorate to step up its activities. We will constantly be on the look out for illegal constructions and will be monitoring the developments and watching out for illegal encroachments. Fines will be imposed on encroachers.

What else should the people in the Capital expect?

We are already working on building toilets across the city on BOTS basis. This will continue while there will be more toilets for women. Then, we are looking at volunteers and NGOs and school children to help us in our plan to beautify and clean the city. We will start with parks and public places.

School children will be given lessons on hygiene and cleanliness and they will be expected to take forward the message. Garbage collection centres will also be added in such a way that segregation of waste can be done at the initial stage. This will be made possible by using different coloured bins for different type of waste.

Health is another issue we are looking at. The NDMC is planning the launch of free health camps, which will be held thrice every month in different areas. We want to encourage people, particularly women to pay more attention to their health.

I also want to dispel the notion that the NDMC is not a transparent organisation. I am open to ideas and constructive criticism and those who have a problem can contact me. An interactive website is also in the offing. The grievances of the people will be attended on priority basis and the citizen charter will be made more accountable and transparent.



Civic amenities in Mahendragarh in poor shape
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Mahendragarh, December 16
Residents of Mahendragarh town continue to reel under inadequate basic civic amenities even after the change of guard in the local municipal council.
With the authorities not doing much to gear up the civic amenities even after the passage of no-confidence motion against the president of the municipal council on November 25, the residents are nostalgically recounting the glorious days of the town when it was part of the Maratha kingdom and thereafter of the princely state of Patiala.

To the misfortune of the general public of this town, the municipality, which was formed about three years ago, almost became defunct no sooner than it was constituted. Almost for the past one year, things had come to such a pass that the streets were not cleaned by the scavengers of the municipality on account of the struggle for supremacy. This had led to the passage of a no-confidence motion against the president, Mrs Shankuntal Mittal.

But the misery of the residents persists. Out of about 600 streetlights in the town, just six are functional. The reason being that faulty lights have not been replaced. As a result, the entire township remains in pitch darkness. The area becomes a security risk after the fall of dusk so much so that women hesitate to go from one “mohalla” to another and have stopped visiting markets in the evening.

Almost all sewage lines are choked. Sewage water flows out on to the streets. Puddles of such water have accumulated even on the main roads, especially on the Gaushala road.

At several places, one can see heaps of garbage littered around and pigs and stray cattle wallow in them.

The township has become a happy breeding place for flies. An elderly resident says that it is only because of winter that they are saved from mosquitoes and other flies.

The state government’s claims of improving the conditions of roads in big cities like Gurgaon and Faridabad may have some substance, but it appears to have almost forgotten the existence of this town. Not even one road in this town is in one piece.



Noida class IV staff take out rally
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 16
The Noida administration offices in Sector 6 were virtually turned into a cantonment with a strong posse of police camping there in view of the strike by class IV employees and safai karmacharis today.

Though the main strike and demonstration were by safai karamcharis at the office of the Health Officer, Power Corporation and forest department in Sector 15, its impact had also been seen in main offices in Sector 6.

Safai karmacharis under the banner of the All-India Safai Mazdoor Karmachari Congress had notified Noida CEO about their demonstration, rally and dharna for its 10-point charter of demands. The Noida administration had notified the SP City, City Magistrate and Sector 20 police.

In view of the demonstration, police were deployed in strength at Noida Stadium and around Noida offices in Sector 6 and Sector 15. Class IV employees from all departments reached Noida Stadium in Sector 21 in large numbers early morning today. They marched to the offices in Sector 15 and Sector 6 by noon in a long rally from the stadium. The rallyists carried placards and banners displaying their main demands.



Sex racket unearthed
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 16
With the arrest of four persons, including three women, the Civil Lines police have busted a gang engaged in flesh trade in the city.
According to a report, the flesh trade racket was being run from a rented house in Jiwan Nagar area on the old DC Road by Devinder and his wife, Sunita, both from Punjab.

On a tip-off, the Civil Lines police sent a decoy customer to the house. After the customer settled the deal, he was shown three women by Devinder. Once the payments were made, the decoy customer signalled to the waiting police party. Thereupon, the police party caught three women.

The arrested women were identified as Sunita, Poonam and Gitu, who had been living with Devinder in the rented house for the last few months. These women had been hired by Devinder on a monthly contract for which they were paid in advance. During interrogation, the accused disclosed that the racket involved sourcing women and girls for prospective clients.

Youth held

The police registered a case against a youth, Satbir of Mandaura village, and his associates in connection with the ghastly murder of a woman, Rajesh, and her three children on the night of December 14 at Lehrara village in the district.

According to a report, this followed a complaint made by Mr Hukam Singh, the father-in-law of Rajesh. The complainant alleged that Rajesh had given Rs 1 lakh on loan to Satbir after selling some land but he declined to return the amount in spite of repeated requests. Meanwhile, the body of the victim, Rajesh, bore 32 injuries inflicted with some sharp-edged weapons.

Five-day remand

The Ganaur police got five-day police remand of Rajinder, a notorious criminal, resident of Sayya Khera village in the district. The culprit was involved in a number of criminal cases like murders and extortion. He was arrested by the Delhi Police recently. He had been absconding since 1998, a report said.

Dean appointed

Rohtak: The Vice-Chancellor of Maharshi Dayanand University, Maj Gen (retd) Bhim Singh Suhag, has appointed Dr Surinder Kumar, professor of economics, as Dean, faculty of social sciences under Clause 1 of Statute 19 of the University Act. Prof Surinder Kumar has been appointed Dean, faculty of social sciences, for a period of three years with effect from December 20, 2002.

Vijay Divas

Meerut: The 9 Infantry Division (Pine Division) celebrated ‘Vijay Divas’ at Meerut cantonment today. On December 16, 1971, the Pakistan Army surrendered East Pakistan (now called Bangladesh) to the Indian Army. The Indian Army celebrates this day for their victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.

On the occasion, the General Officer (Commanding) of the 9 Infantry Division, Maj-Gen R. K. Singh (VSM), laid a wreath on the war memorial and paid homage to the silent heroes of the nation. Major Singh greeted all officers and their families of the entire Pine Division.

Speaking on the occasion, Major Singh said that the Indian Army was fully professional and the officers and the boys of our elite force were prepared to meet any eventualities. Several cultural and sports events were organised on the occasion. Prizes were also distributed on the occasion.

Painting exhibition 

A painting and handicrafts exhibition was held here. The exhibition was hosted by the District Industries Centre at the Suraj Kund road. Several well-known artists of the city showed their workmanship in the event. Prizes were distributed to the artists.

The artworks of Priya Darshni were praised by visitors. Her painting, ‘Dancing dolls’, attracted the attention of most of the visitors and won the first prizes. 



World Punjabi writers’ meet on Jan 12 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
In a move to promote Punjabi language, literature and culture, the Punjabi Academy of the Delhi Government is planning to organise a two-day World Punjabi Writers’ Conference in the Capital.

Academy chairperson and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh will participate in the first-ever conference being organised at the official level on January 12 and 13.

The conference is likely to be chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said the academy’s governing body vice-chairman, Dr Harmit Singh, today.

Writers from Pakistan, England, Canada, the USA, Australia and other countries are likely to participate in the conference, which would hold four sessions discussing issues concerning language development besides organising “kahani and kavi durbars.”

He said several institutions in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh would be closely associated in organising the conference.

Legal aid centre opened: The acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Devinder Gupta, has inaugurated the legal aid and counselling centre at Raghubir Nagar.

Justice Gupta, who is also the chairman of the Delhi Legal Services Authority, observed that free legal aid to the poor was a constitutional obligation. He expressed satisfaction over the settlement of disputes at the existing legal aid centres, a release said today.

Stolen car, arms recovered: The PCR staff deployed at Chhatarpur Mandir have recovered a stolen Santro car. Four country-made pistols, 13 live cartridges, one big knife and one dagger have been seized from the car.

A police team spotted a Santro car (DL 3C Q 6798) with two occupants heading towards Andheria More. When the cops tried to stop them, they went towards Mahipalpur main road and escaped after abandoning the car. The car was later found to be a stolen one.



Senior citizens honoured
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, December 16
Several senior citizens were honoured for their notable achievements in different fields of life by the Brahmin Vikas Parishad at a function organised on Sunday at the local Brahmcharya Shekhawati Ashram.

The chief guest at the function, Dr Bhisham Chander, applauded the parishad for initiating the custom of honouring renowned senior citizens. Former state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party and trustee of the ashram Ramesh Joshi said that honouring elders had been part of our culture and the central government had also provided several facilities to senior citizens as a mark of respect.

Dr Vasudev Sharma, a former minister while presiding over the function, stressed that it was our responsibility to follow the path showed by seniors and give due respect to them.



Minister plays hooky
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, December 16
Mr Kartar Singh Bhadana, Minister for Cooperatives and the president of the District Public Relations and Grievances Committee, failed to turn up for the monthly meet of the committee meeting consecutively for the fourth time today. The meeting, held here today was presided over by Mr Mohinder Kumar, Deputy Commissioner.

Twelve complaints were put up for the meeting of which 11 were sorted out on the spot. On the complaint of Mahender Singh of Gocchi village, the president directed the Public Works Department to remove an electric pole, situated in the middle of the road, which could cause accidents. Another complaint concerned with pollution caused by brick-kilns near Bamnoli village was also taken up. The DC directed the Pollution Control Board to take appropriate action to check pollution in the affected area.



1 kg ganja seized from two
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 16
The Kasna police have arrested two drug peddlers who used to smuggle ganja, opium, charas etc. As much as 1 kg of ganja has been recovered from the arrested persons. The SO of Kasna police station, Mr N. P. Singh, said they were getting information about smuggling and sale of drugs in the area. The police had already launched a campaign in this connection. The police got a tip-off from a reliable source that two persons would try to sell ganja in the area.

The police laid a trap near Navada village crossing. When two persons were seen coming, they were nabbed and taken to the police station.



Five killed in mishaps

Faridabad: At least five persons have been killed in the town in the past 36 hours. Abdul, a resident of AC Nagar here, was run over by a train yesterday. In a similar incident, Khudela, wife of one Liyakat Ali of Krishna Nagar, was overrun by a train. A youth, who could not be identified, was also killed after he had been hit by a train near Neelam flyover.

In the fourth incident, Lakhan Singh, a cleaner of a truck, was killed after he fell down from the vehicle. Similarly, a youth was crushed to death by a speeding dumper truck in Sector 21 here. TNS


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