Saturday, December 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


SC allows govt to register 5,000 autos
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20
The Supreme Court today amended its order banning fresh registration of autorickshaws and permitted the Government of NCT of Delhi to register 5,000 new autorickshaws.

The apex court’s order will come as a breather to the government in general and commuters in particular. Commuters have been most affected by the strike of autorickshaw operators.

A Bench comprising justices Y. K. Sabharwal and H. K. Sema passed the order on the application filed by the government to allow fresh registration of autorickshaws. Fresh registration of autorickshaws had been banned by the court in its order of December 16, 1997.

Appearing on behalf of the government, Assistant Solicitor General Mukul Rohtagi submitted that the population of Delhi that was 93 lakh in 1997 had gone up to 1.40 crore. However, the number of autorickshaws plying on the roads was only 45,000.

Mr Rohtagi said in view of the freeze imposed by the courts on fresh registration, the government was unable to meet the challenge thrown up by the autorickshaw strike. The court accepted the contention and amended its earlier order thus permitting the government to make fresh registrations.



Cylinder blast causes heavy damage to house
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 20
A massive explosion in a house in the NIT area here this morning resulted in heavy damage to the building and household items. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blast, reportedly caused by a leakage of LPG from a cylinder kept in the kitchen.

According to Mr Gajender Pal Kalra, who resides on the second floor of the three-storeyed house, M-121 of the NH-5 locality of NIT, the explosion took place at about 5.30 am today when everybody was asleep. It is learnt that gas had leaked from the cylinder kept in the kitchen.

The members of family said that before they could understand anything, the explosion had brought down a part of the building, including the roof of the kitchen and walls of two rooms. Luckily, no one was injured.

A visit to the spot revealed that seven doors and two windows were brought down completely. The latches of some others were broken or thrown away. The side wall of the living room collapsed and the debris was thrown on the roof of the neighbouring building.

While the impact of the explosion resulted in cracks in nearly walls and lentils on the second floor, the kitchen was worst affected as its roof collapsed.



Shradhanand College reader shot dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20
M N Singh, a 55-year-old reader in the Department of Botany in Swami Shradhanand College was shot dead by four armed assailants in full view of students and teachers in the afternoon today on the college premises in North-West district of the Capital.

The body of the deceased has been taken to the Jaipur Golden Hospital for a postmortem. The motive behind the sensational daylight murder was not clear though the police suspect that some property dispute in Singh’s family could have been the reason.

The incident took place around 12.30 pm in the new building when Singh went to vote for the Academic Executive Council of the DUTA elections which were being held today. The four assailants gained access to the first floor college gallery and while the two fired at Singh, the other two brandished their weapons to keep the student fraternity at bay. The police believe that the suspects had planned the murder meticulously as they knew exactly where and when to strike.

Also, preliminary examination of the bullets recovered from the body indicated that the suspects were armed with sophisticated weapons.

The police said that all the four were described as young and ordinarily dressed and were able to mingle in the college crowd easily.

Immediately after the incident, the assailants fled through the rear gate of the college. The incident created considerable panic among the students and teachers as they were celebrating the college farewell. Hundreds of students were shocked to witness the firing. Senior police officers who immediately visited the spot had ordered for additional policemen in the college and placed pickets to bring a sense of security among the students. However, tension persisted in the area and the university campus as both teaching and student fraternity condemned the incident.

Singh, a resident of Sector 8 in Rohini, leaves behind his wife and two daughters.

A large number of students and Delhi University teachers gathered at the residence of Singh to condole the brutal killing. A case of murder has been registered and efforts were on to trace the suspects.



Ahulana villagers ‘on the breadline’
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 20
The president of the Haryana Krishak Samaj and veteran Congress leader, Mr Samsher Singh Surjewala, has accused Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala of blackmailing the people of Ahulana village by threatening them with the closure of the Chaudhary Devi Lal Sugar Mills.

Talking to mediapersons at Gohana town, 35 km from here, yesterday evening, he informed that the mill had opened much after the start of crushing season and owing to this, the growers have suffered huge financial losses. The mill management has now announced its decision to close down the mill with a view to pressurising the people to end their peaceful agitation.

He said that the management should accept the demands of villagers and fulfil the assurances given to them for the recruitment of local people in the mill. He extended his full support to the people of the village and said that the Congress had never encouraged any form of violence. The Congress, he said, was giving support to the people for safeguarding their interests in their fight for justice.

It may be recalled that the villagers of Ahulana village have been agitating against the recruitment of workers in the sugar mill, which they claim, was biased. Mr Chautala had assured the villagers that the local people would be recruited in the sugar mill.

Mr Surjewala also claimed that some people have even been deployed to terrorise the villagers and that innocent people were being charged with criminal cases by the police. He warned that if the situation prevailed, the Congress would launch an agitation against the government.

He urged the state government, particularly the Chief Minister, to fulfil his assurances and avoid confrontation with the villagers.



Brother flays Chautala for sugar mill crisis
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 20
Mr Pratap Singh Chautala, a former MLA and brother of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, has alleged that the Chief Minister played a cruel joke on the farmers of the region by suspending the functioning of the mills. Addressing newsmen here today, Mr Pratap Singh Chautala alleged that the Chief Minister had acquired nearly 85 acre worth several crores of Ahulana gram panchayat for setting up the mills.

He said the situation of thousands of farmers residing in nearly 15 villages surrounding Ahulana village had been worsened as the crops of sugarcane standing in their fields had started drying up.

He appealed to the Chief Minister to negotiate with the agitating villagers and restore the functioning of the mills in view of the deteriorating condition of farmers in the region.



Life sentence for five
Our Correspondent

Meerut, December 20
Life imprisonment was awarded to all five accused in the much-awaited Chirori gangrape case. The court also ordered them to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the girl.

The incident occurred in the morning of December 1, 2000, when Sohanbir, father of the victim, a 15-year-old student of 10th Class, was accompanying his daughter to her school.

The father and the girl were on two separate bicycles. The five accused Kareshpal, Bobby, Praveen, Narendra and Nepal intercepted the girl on her way to school near a mango orchard. The accused were armed with countrymade pistols and lathies. They beat up Sohanbir badly and tied him with a rope. The accused then dragged the girl and her father to the nearby orchard taking advantage of the dense fog. The accused then raped the girl Naina (name changed) in front of her father. When the girl fainted, the five accused left.

After a while, Sohanbir managed to set himself free and rushed to his village for help. The villagers reached the spot and took the girl to a hospital.

Sohanbir reported the matter to the police. Caste tension prevailed in the village as the accused were of Dalit community while the victim belonged to the Jat community. Several political parties also came in support of the victims.

The District Magistrate, Meerut, Mr Avnish Kumar Awasthi, booked the accused under the National Security Act.

The High Court later rejected their bail and commented that a capital punishment should be awarded in the rape case. The trail began in the court of Additional District and Session Judge K R Vijay Laxmi and ended in 150 dates.

On December 19, 2002 at 6 pm, the court pronounced its judgement and awarded life imprisonment to the culprits. It commented that such accused were threat to a civilised society.

The jampacked court awarded the sentences under Section 376 of the IPC and ordered the accused to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

It also ordered the accused to pay a fine of Rs 50,000, otherwise they would have to undergo imprisonment for one more year.



Romeo gets his just deserts
Our Correspondent

Noida, December 20
A roadside Romeo who had been stalking a young woman was taught a befitting lesson. While chasing the hapless damsel, the Romeo unwittingly followed the girl to her house the other day and that proved to be his undoing. The man is in the house of correction now! As soon as the woman reached home, she raised an alarm. As a result, the man was overpowered and given a sound thrashing by the residents of the locality, who later handed him over to the police.

According to Sector 24 police, the wife of a resident, Kavita (name changed) used to work in a company in Sector 58 where a youth Narinder was also employed. But after sometime, he changed his job and joined another company.

But he did not change his routine of waiting for Kavita outside the company gate in the evening. Though he had tried to speak to her umpteenth times, he had always been rebuffed.

On Wednesday, he was again waiting for her at the office gate and attempted to talk to her, but she rebuked him as usual. “Mind your own business,” is all she said. But the Casanova was adamant. He said he would keep chasing her till she would talk to him nicely and started following her. When she boarded a bus for her home, he also caught the same bus and again tried to broach the subject.

When Kavita alighted from the bus at Sector 22 stop and started walking towards her house, Narinder followed her. Even the woman’s threat that she would raise an alarm did not deter him and he kept walking by her side till she reached her house. At this point, he is alleged to have caught her hand and tried to molest her. But once inside her house, she raised the alarm and informed her husband. The gay Lothario is facing the music in jail now!



IPS told not to discharge effluents into Yamuna
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20
Indraprastha Power Station, the Capital’s oldest power generation centre, had been asked to avoid discharge of polluted effluents containing high suspended solids into the Yamuna, the Rajya Sabha was told today. The station had been asked to adopt better ash pond management practices like continuous sprinkling of water filled ash ponds to avoid the re-suspension of dust and find out alternate ash disposal sites wherein ash from filled-in ponds could be disposed till the adoption of long-term steps, the Environment and Forests Minister, Mr T. R. Baalu, said in a written reply.

Security arrangements had been tightened at the reservation centre of the New Delhi railway station in the wake of threats from terrorists, Parliament was informed today. Besides the presence of the Delhi Police personnel, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had also been deployed at the reservation centre of the Northern Railway, the Minister of State for Railways, Mr Bandaru Dattatraya, told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

Anti-sabotage checks were conducted regularly at the reservation centre by the Delhi Police to prevent any terrorist strike, he added. About 9,800 reservation slips were handled at the centre daily, the minister said.



Metro a dream come true, says Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 20
“A dream come true,” exclaimed a visibly moved Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday after inspecting the tunnel built by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC.) The 905-metre-long tunnel extends from Patel Chowk to Connaught Place. Work on drilling the tunnel had begun in July.

“Giving Delhiites the Metro will be the biggest achievement of my government,” the Chief Minister said. Expecting a radical change in the way the city moved, she said the face and ethos of Delhi was about to undergo a sea change.

“It is a thrilling and sentimental experience. Delhi Metro is the greatest achievement of the four years of my government. With the operation of Metro, Delhi will expand, its form and ethos will change,” Ms Dikshit said after inspecting the tunnel in Connaught Place.

Delhi Metro will begin ferrying passengers on December 24. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will inaugurate the service that day. The DMRC officials said invitations would be sent out after consultations between the Union Government and the Government of NCT of Delhi.

Downplaying the controversies that had threatened to jeopardise the inauguration of the Metro, the Chief Minister said the DMRC should be praised for completing the project on time. The Metro, she added, was a milestone for Delhi and both the governments were partners in it.

The tunnel has been built using the most advanced construction technology. DMRC Managing Director E Sreedharan told mediapersons the technology caused least disturbance, ensured maximum safety and was environment-friendly. “The project management conforms to ISO 9001,” he added.

Phase I of Delhi Metro has a 6 km-long underground tunnel. Three machines were being used to drill the tunnel. Mr Sreedharan said the machine constructed up to eight or nine metres in a day. On certain days the progress could be up to 25 metres. The Metro corridor is spread over 6.6 km of Central Delhi running from densely populated areas of Connaught Place, Central Secretariat, New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station and the crowded Chawri Bazar.

The DMRC said another parallel tunnel from Patel Chowk to Connaught Place would be completed in another month. The German-made machines from Bangkok Metro would be dismantled and re-installed at the Metro’s Main Station to complete boring till Kashmere Gate Station.



Khurana made DMRC Chairman

New Delhi
Delhi Pradesh BJP president and member of Parliament Madan Lal Khurana has been appointed Director and Chairman of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

A letter to this effect was handed over to Mr Khurana by Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar in the evening today. Mr Khurana will take over charge from the Urban Development Secretary, who is the ex officio chairman of DMRC, on December 22. Mr Ananth Kumar, whose ministry is a co-partner of the Government of NCT of Delhi in the Delhi Metro Project, has called a meeting of officials tomorrow at which Mr Khurana will be present. TNS

Surajkund fest: Is it for 9 or 7 days?

The decision of the authorities to hold the inauguration of the ‘Tradefest-2002’ at Surajkund only at 5 pm tomorrow has resulted in a controversy over the total number of days of the event.

Invitation cards have been sent to a large number of dignitaries and business houses. But the claim of the organisers that the event’s duration will be nine days (December 21 to December 29) comes out to be wrong.

“Inauguration of the fair late in the evening tomorrow results in a loss of one day as nobody (visitors) would be able to visit it after about 7 pm when the ceremony would conclude,” says a resident of Sector 16-A. He claimed that the fair duration had been reduced to only seven days as both December 21 and the last day (December 29) will be lost because of the opening and closing functions. TNS



Load-shedding for seven hours

New Delhi
The North Delhi Power Ltd today announced there would be load-shedding for seven hours due to maintenance work at two substations. The affected areas would be the booster pump at Holambi, substation number 64, chemical trader (DSIDC), City Defence VIII, Ghoga Sammoth, Swatantar Nagar, substation number 58 (DSIDC), substation number 68 (DSIDC), 11 KV feeder substation number 43, parts of Pooth Kalan, Budh Vihar, Sultanpuri, Mangolpuri and Avantika Rohini sector II. The maintenance would be carried out between 10 am and 5 pm, a release said. TNS



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The ICS (Indian Civil Service) was the backbone of the British Administration in India. It gave way to the IAS after Independence. Despite producing some of the country’s best administrators and diplomats, the premier service (IAS) continues to be criticised by the media, politicians, non-IAS services and the people.

I believe the IAS has become the target of criticism because of its remoteness from the people, its readiness to do the bidding of its political masters, its rigid interpretation of rules and procedures for those who follow them, its reluctance to take note of the ground realities and the absence of the spirit of public service in rural areas among most of the officers, resulting in their alienation from the ordinary people.

IAS officers, as a result, no longer are known for the neutrality that the ICS personnel were famous for. The tragedy is that they have entered all the arms of the government and the public sector, including universities and even those that are best left to specialists or technocrats. Consequently, the ills afflicting the IAS are reflected at all levels of governance.

Moreover, this system of complete domination by the IAS prevents talented technocrats/specialists from making to the top of the hierarchy, breeding frustration among the country’s best and the brightest. The service, therefore, needs to be overhauled so that it can face the challenges of the next 25 years, so crucial to India.

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad

Non-working ticket counters

Indian Railways has a fixed number of ticket counters operating round the clock. But these counters are now being outnumbered by the number of commuters. Besides, the time prescribed for ticket distribution is consumed by railway staff using various tricks like gossip mongering forcing the passenger board the train without getting the ticket in the right time.

There are instances at several of the railway stations where one ticket cou8nter functions when three to four counters should have been functioning. Commuters face various trials and tribulations before the counters and ultimately force them into a dilemma - whether to travel without ticket or to leave the train and wait for another.

If the commuter chooses to board the train, more trouble is in store for him when the ticket examiner comes to check the ticket. The examiner is always willing to argue and fight it out with the hapless passenger without giving much attention to the complaints of the lackadaisical attitude of the ticket counter officials, which led to this situation.

In both ways, the Railways is the loser in terms of revenue. The TTE fleeces the both government and passengers and only adds the weight of his pocket. There is said to be a widespread connivance between the ticket counter officials and TTEs. The longer the arrangement between them, the heavier the share of booty. We usually witness such scenes at Rewari, old Delhi, Karnal and Kurukshetra railway stations where such methods are usually adopted by railway personnel.

I heard another strange phenomenon about Rewari railway station. The services of unemployed youths, usually sons or relatives of TTEs are taken for ticket checking of soldiers who travel with heavy bag and baggage. Their luggage is unbundled in order to harass them for unwanted gains. The officials hardly give a chance to even the jawans, who come from far off places to reach home peacefully, to relax. The extraneous considerations of TTEs put the passengers in trouble and cause tension among the brave sons of the soil. This is another face of the railway officials. Is there any higher authority to nab this nexus of officials of the railways?


Flog the dowry-hungry in-laws

It was painful and shocking to learn that a woman was burnt to death for her failure to arrange for Rs 50,000 for a dowry-hungry in-laws at Kasna village in Greater Noida. In my opinion, dowry deaths will not come down unless such dowry-hungry people, including women, are flogged in public, their faces blackened, garlanded with shoes and then paraded in public. Laws on these lines should be made at the


Which court shall I go?

I had sent applications (dated November 11, 2002) to both the President and the Prime Minister of India for redressal of my grievance. Since there is no court left open to me and there has been no response for the past 19 long years from the authorities concerned, I would be obliged if the contents that are similar in both the applications could be published in the esteemed columns of the ‘NCR Tribune’.

In 1983-84, I was the holder of a class I post in HQ-DRDO, New Delhi. I had then crossed 50 years of age and rendered more than three decades of meritorious service in defence of my Bharat. A chargesheet, dated October 20, 1983, alleging delay in accounting of petty sums of tea canteen employees, involving no loss to the state whatsoever, was served on me on October 25, 1983. I had admitted the charges in toto the very next morning. Rule 14(5) (a) of the CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965, says that no inquiry was to be conducted on admitted charges and the disciplinary authority himself was required to have made his final quasi-judicial order on it. But no such order was ever made and the chargesheet was left abandoned at that stage. Yet my total salary has been withheld, arbitrarily ever since November 1, 1983 without any order thereto.

The only so-called reply received from the office of the DGR&D, vide their letter No. RD/Pers-7/8436/GP-IV dated 7-12-2001, saying that mine was already a settled case and cannot be tenable in law. Having said so, they have acted both the party as well as judge in their own cause.

By now, I have become aged at 70 and infirm. I am in need of my service dues to meet the medical bills and the maintenance of my family. I have no other source of income. In free India, I do stand ousted from all courts. And no court is left with any power to take up my case.

B. S. BINDRA, Kanpur, UP

Kelkar Committee Report

Amidst the ongoing discussion over the Kelkar Committee Report, it is feared that the voices of the old and the aged, euphemistically called ‘senior citizens’, will be lost. Therefore, it seems necessary to highlight certain facts for the attention of the government, the media and the public at large.

Presently, a senior citizen with an annual income of Rs 1,30,000 or below, is not required to pay income tax. Various other rebates protect him.

But after the implementation of the Kelkar Committee Report, there will be no rebates or exemptions for senior citizens and he would stand at par with others.

Availing of the exemption of Rs 100,000 like all others, he shall have to pay income tax of Rs 19,000. Obviously, this is ruinous to him. Justice demands that at least an exemption of Rs 50,000 be extended to him.

Keeping in view the steep fall in his bank interest (income of senior citizens which cannot be restored to its previous level despite the noble intentions of the finance Minister), steep rise in his expenses on medical treatments (the bane of old age) and the loss of other facilities and perks, which he legitimately enjoyed during service, it is necessary that a senior citizen be exempted from income tax on the annual income upto Rs 2,50,000/.

Moreover, with income within this limit, senior citizens should also be exempted from undergoing the ordeal of filing returns.

RAM SARAN BHATIA, District & Sessions Judge (retd), Faridabad

Relief for senior citizens

The recommendations of the Kelkar Committee is a good beginning as far as the simplification of the taxation procedures are concerned. The present system is too cumbersome and complicated, making it mandatory for the taxpayer to take the assistance of CAs.

He has rightly recommended that the standard deduction and other exemptions under various sections like 80 L should be done away with altogether and proposed that in order to offset the shortfalls, the overall taxation limit be raised suitably.

However, the recommended limit is abysmally low, which has led to hue and cry, particularly from senior citizens.

The worst hit by the recommendations will be the senior citizens and the disabled, who enjoy better facilities in the existing system. These two categories of people do not have regular income.

As a matter of fact, the tax limit should be raised to Rs two lakh for regular income class, while it should be totally exempted in the case of senior citizens/disabled persons. It is hoped that the Finance Minister will take note of the suggestions made by the people. The government that works against the interest of the weaker sections can well be charged for violating the spirit of the Constitution.

And is no section weaker than senior citizens and disabled persons, who ought to be totally exempted from the burden of taxation.

R.L.PATHAK, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi


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