Tuesday, January 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Sikh bodies sore over Tara Singh’s statue site
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
Controversy continues to dog the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee over the installation of a statue of Sikh leader, Master Tara Singh, and the construction of a parking lot outside Gurdwara Bangla Sahib with several Sikh organisations expressing their reservations over the choice of site for the installation of the statue.

The decision to hand over the construction of the parking to the New Delhi Municipal Council has come under criticism from the Shrimonai Akali Dal (Badal) which claimed that this was allowing the government to interfere in the religious affairs of the Sikhs.

The statue of Master Tara Singh, who played a pivotal role in the freedom struggle, is to be unveiled outside Gurdwara Rakab Ganj on January 8 by the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar.

The DSGMC president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, said the statue of the revered Sikh leader was being erected on a public land after a bitter struggle for it for several years.

He said the political opponents were trying to score brownie points, thus undermining the contribution of the Sikh leader, who played a vital role during the freedom struggle.

However, the secretary of the Master Tara Singh Trust, Mr Tarlochan Singh, said the DSGMC did not even bother to consult the Trust, which had been engaged in the dissemination of the values cherished by the leader.

“The statue should have been placed in a central place like the statutes of other freedom fighters,” he said.

Mr Tarlochan Singh said the artisan as per the directions of the Trust had sculpted the statue seven years ago and now when the statue was being installed, they were not even being invited.

The president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Avtar Singh Hit, said the place where the statue is proposed to be unveiled was earlier used for ‘public conveniences’.

“Erection of statue at such a place would be demeaning and insulting to the contributions made by the revered leader,” he said.

The president of the Delhi Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Balwinder Singh Talwandi, opposed the statue at the chosen spot as it would be demeaning to the stature of Master Tara Singh.

Mr Sarna said the spot for the unveiling the statue had been chosen by the DSGMC for three reasons: it is right opposite Parliament, which has been the long pending demand of the community; the place is just outside the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj where the Sikh leader used to stay during his visits to the Capital; and finally, the place is nearby, making it easy for the gurdwara staff to maintain the statue. He said the NDMC had agreed to beautify the area, remove all ‘public conveniences’ from the vicinity, and modify the bus stop to give the area a new look.

On the construction of the car parking, the Badal faction, adopting a confrontationist attitude, said it would take stern measures to stop the construction of car parking outside the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib.

Mr Sarna said Mr Ananth Kumar would lay the foundation stone for the parking on Wednesday. The parking would meet the demands of thousands of devotees who throng the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib every day. He said the work started by the earlier committee was stopped by the NDMC as it had not taken the requisite permission.

However, Mr Avtar Singh Hit said the construction of parking lot by the government body would amount to interference in the affairs of the community.

He said the Lt-Governor, Mr Vijai Kapoor, had laid the foundation stone for the parking lot last year and the kar sewa under the guidance of Baba Harbaksh Singh was being carried out until the present committee stopped it.

Mr Avtar Singh Hit said as the members of the community would have constructed the parking lot through the kar sewa, it would have been a free parking. Now, with the NDMC getting directly involved in its construction, the devotees would have to pay for parking their vehicles.

Further, with the civic authorities move to decongest Connaught Place by reducing the parking space there, it is quite likely that motorists would park their vehicles here, thus defeating the very purpose for which this parking lot was being constructed.

“We would take all possible steps and, if necessary, physically stop the construction of this parking lot by the government body,” he said.



Hit by Metro mania, BJP dumps statehood issue
Ramesh Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
After months of haggling over a suitable dispensation for the NCT of Delhi, the Delhi Pradesh BJP has dumped the issue of statehood for the popular appeal of Delhi Metro and projected transport as its main theme for the elections later this year.

Introduction of high-speed trams, improving the connectivity of areas hitherto ignored by extending Delhi Metro’s services and giving an impetus to the long-forgotten Ring Railway figure prominently in the ambitious transport policy the BJP wants to hard-shell.

The party believes the inauguration of Delhi Metro has pitchforked transport as the recurring theme and also highlighted the need for an efficient network of various modes of transport that will keep NCT of Delhi in good stead in the years to come.

“Transport,” Delhi Pradesh BJP President Madan Lal Khurana says, “will be our mainstay in the months ahead. The BJP has a vision for the future of Delhi and we want to give Delhiites a transport policy that will last five years and beyond.”

The declaration comes a day after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit virtually launched her party’s election campaign by addressing a rally organised by the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) at Mahavir Swami Park in Gandhi Nagar, East Delhi.

Attributing the dismal transport scenario to decades of neglect by successive Congress governments at the Centre, the party says Delhi Metro would have remained a distant dream had it not been for the efforts made by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre.

“The Delhi Metro,” Khurana is emphatic, “is a project of the BJP in general and the Union Government in particular.” He says Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra first mooted the proposal when he was Chief Executive Councillor.

“The late Jag Pravesh Chandra of the Congress also supported the idea but the then Congress government at the Centre was reluctant to go ahead with the project. The proposal died an untimely death because of the Congress’ indifference,” he says.

Questioning the Congress’ roadmap of reforms in the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), Khurana says it was the same party that took control of the then Delhi Transport Undertaking from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

“The Congress first takes control of the transport utility. It then stops the Ring Railway after promising Delhiites that the service will continue after the Asiad games were over. If they were concerned about Delhi they would have responded differently,” he adds.

Khurana’s exuberance however is not shared by some of his colleagues. The issue of statehood, they explain, has not been jettisoned and that the party will continue to campaign for the cause. Transport, they add, won’t be projected as a plank “at the expense” of other issues.

The campaign for securing statehood for the NCT of Delhi may have lost momentum but it is very much on the agenda, say BJP office bearers much to the amusement of a section of the Congress. “Metro mania seems to have gripped the BJP,” said a Sheila Dikshit aide.

The BJP’s transport policy, says the aide, is a hogwash and a poor copy of the one unveiled by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit a couple of months back. “It is an election gimmick. Such rhetoric will not take anything away from the achievements over the past four years,” he adds.

Notwithstanding Khurana’s disenchantment with the issue of statehood, the Congress says it is going full steam ahead to introduce institutional and administrative reforms that will make the Council of Ministers responsive and accountable to the people of Delhi.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told The Tribune she is hosting a seminar later this week to solicit views from a cross section of people on the suitable dispensation for NCT of Delhi. “I want to remove speed breakers in the way of putting in place an administration that responds,” she says.



Farmers block highway, hold sugar mill 
officers captive
Our Correspondent

Meerut, January 6
Sugarcane farmers in the area intensified their movement for an immediate payment of their dues by the private sugar mill owner and the government.
Angry farmers blocked the National Highway No 58 for several hours and took control of the state co-operative sugar mill, Muhiuddinpur. They also confined the general manager and other senior officials of the sugar mills. The farmers demanded that their dues towards mill owners should be settled soon.

In the morning, more than 600 farmers reached the main gate of Muhiuddinpur sugar mill in tractors and trollies and gheraoed the main administrative block of the state-owned sugar mill. The farmers confined several senior officials of the mill, including its general manager. They also blocked the National Highway No 58. Parking their vehicles in a zigzag manner, they told the mediapersons that half of the sugarcane season had passed while they were still awaiting the payment. Even the government and the private mill owners had not paid their last season’s dues worth several crores of rupees.

The farmers shouted slogans against the Mayawati Government. Meanwhile, long queues were seen on both sides of the N H-58 and the passengers requested the farmers to clear the highway. Hearing the news of the ‘kisan andolan’, District Magistrate Rama Raman rushed SP City, D K Chaudhry and the Additional District Magistrate (Finance) to the spot with a large police force. The officials tried to reason with the angry farmers, but failed.

The district sugarcane officer and the deputy commissioner sugarcane also rushed to the spot.

The District Magistrate ordered the release of a cheque of Rs 2 crore to the farmers for their current season but they were adamant that all the dues of the past and present seasons must be settled. The DM again sought the release of additional Rs 1 crore from the government and told the farmers that their dues would be given soon.

Speaking to the ‘NCR Tribune’, the District Magistrate revealed that he was going to hold a meeting of private mill owners in this regard and the tangle would be resolved shortly.



Delhiites weather cold wave
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
The Capital today woke up to a cold morning and almost zero visibility. Dense fog continued to disrupt air and surface transport schedules. Schools recorded thin attendance.

Delhi has been witnessing a cold wave and dense fog with the night temperature threatening to touch five degree Celsius. According to the Met office, the Capital recorded a minimum temperature of five degree Celsius, two degrees below normal, and a maximum temperature of 15.2 degree, six degrees below normal, during the last 24 hours.

Airport sources said that the visibility on the runway virtually became zero from 5 am to 8.35 am, resulting in the delay of all incoming and outgoing domestic as well as international flights.

The meteorological office at the airport gave clearance to the Air Traffic Control only after 8.30 am when the weather started improving. Rail traffic too was disrupted by the poor visibility due to dense fog. Several Delhi-bound and outgoing trains were delayed causing inconvenience to the passengers.

Waiting rooms in the railway stations were crowded as people chose to stay indoors to avoid chilly winds. Meanwhile, city schools that reopened after the winter vacation today recorded thin attendance.

Mr R.D. Singh of the Met department said, “We are expecting a rise in the night and day temperature. However, the fog is likely to remain.”

Our Correspondent adds from Sonepat: The cold wave, sweeping Sonepat city and its adjoining areas since December 31 last, intensified today due to dense fog. According to a report, the fog and poor visibility disrupted the rail traffic on the DUK section as

almost all the long-distance mail and express trains passed through Sonepat behind schedule. Some of the trains were cancelled causing inconvenience to thousands of passengers who remained stranded at Sonepat and nearby railway stations. They cooled their heels for hours together.

Similarly, most of the suburban trains originating from Delhi, Panipat and Kurukshetra also ran behind schedule for about an hour or so and the commuters, mostly government servants and schoolteachers, reached their destinations behind schedule.

The Northern Railway has restarted the running of 303 UP passenger train between Delhi and Kalka with immediate effect. This train had been cancelled about two and a half months ago. During the period, the passengers faced immense hardships.

Similarly, traffic on the National Highway No. 1 and other state highways remained disrupted for hours as thick fog forced the auto drivers to ply their vehicles at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, all the schools were reopened today despite foggy weather conditions and biting cold.

The District Magistrate had closed down the schools on December 27 because of dense fog and poor visibility.



Children to preach rule of the road
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
The Capital, notorious for its rash driving and killer roads, is all set to observe a road safety week. The Capital witnesses about five fatal accidents each day, not to mention the mishaps that go unreported.

With road rage and negligent driving claiming lives almost every second day, the traffic police and authorities have taken stringent steps to check the menace. From issuing challans to imparting lessons in driving, various initiatives have been started to curb accidents on the roads.

The Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr R. S. Gupta, today flagged off a week-long road safety programme. The Commissioner, while stressing the need for road safety, also applauded the traffic police for having curbed the nuisance, which had resulted in a fall in the number of fatal accidents.

He pointed out that the declining trend was because of the sustained efforts of the police force to create awareness among the road users.

According to the statistics revealed by the Delhi Traffic Police, a total of 1,547 fatal accidents were reported till December 15 last year as compared to 1,768 and 1,943 such accidents reported in 2001 and 2000, respectively. The Capital has more surface traffic than that of all the major metros put together.

Schoolchildren are also roped in to spread the message of road safety. Hundreds of schoolchildren assembled with banners around the India Gate to mark the beginning of ‘Traffic Week’, which will conclude on January 12. The children carried placards and raised slogans to draw attention to the need for maintaining discipline on the road.

The early morning chill was not a deterrent for these volunteers who preached ‘Lane driving Safe driving’, ‘Helmet hai jahan, Safety hai wahan’ and ‘two-wheeler is for two, not for too many’. Mr. Gupta said that children were being roped in as they could act as catalyst in spreading the message in the family and society.

The safety week is being organised by the Delhi Traffic Police and the Society of Indian Automobiles Manufacturers. The week will include events like a safety walk, traffic drills and screening of films on road safety. 



DU restricts admission to PG medical courses
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
The University of Delhi has announced that medical graduates, who have completed their course from the colleges affiliated to the university, will be eligible for admission to the university’s post graduate courses.

In a statement issued here today, the university announced that only those medical graduates who have studied in Maulana Azad Medical College, the Lady Hardinge Medical college and the University College of Medical Science will be eligible to seek admission against the 75 per cent reserved seats in the university’s post graduate courses. It was also pointed out that those students from Delhi, who have taken admission in other universities or states for their graduation under the 15 per cent all India quota, are not eligible to seek admission to the post graduate courses against the 75 per cent reserved seats.

The decision has been taken in consonance with the December 17 judgement of the Supreme Court, according to which students who have completed their MBBS under the 15 per cent quota from universities other than the Delhi University and have applied for admission to PG courses are not eligible for the PG Medical Entrance Test scheduled for February 9, 2003.

The university has directed the students who are not eligible to take the test to apply for return of their bank drafts/ cheques together with the Bulletin of Information to the office of the Deputy Registrar, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi.



Why pulse polio campaign fails to click in 
Uttar Pradesh?
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, January 6
Yet another pulse polio campaign was launched in Ghaziabad, Noida and Bulandshahr districts today. But sadly it is marked by a lack of enthusiasm among health department staff and a poor response from the public. “How long shall we go on participating in this ritual,” the common man seems to ask. With 1,162 patients, Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of polio cases in the world. According to a recent study of the World Health Organisation, over 500 children are stricken with polio in UP. Western UP has been identified as the worst-hit area with districts of Meerut, Badayun, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Etawa and Muradabad having a sizeable number of polio patients.

Polio is found only in 10 nations in the world. As many as 1,582 polio patients have been identified out of which 90 per cent are in India. India has 1,437 polio cases while UP alone has 1,162 cases.

In spite of administering polio drops to kids throughout the year, the incidents of polio appear to be increasing. Parents now ask: How many more polio drops will protect their children from contracting the scourge?

The health department officials appear to be ill-equipped to answer this query satisfactorily. In spite of the WHO’s pressure and the state government’s instructions, why the pulse polio campaign has not met with much success? Nobody really seems to have the right answer.

About a 1,000 cases of polio are reported to have been detected, out of which 33 are from Ghaziabad, 17 in Bulandshahr districts. Unfortunately, a majority of cases relate to Muslim-dominated areas. They as a community are known to be opposed to the polio campaign.

In all, 647 booths have been set up in Gautam Budh Nagar where 430 health staff teams will administrator the polio drops to over 2.80 lakh children under five years of age in over 2.85 homes in different parts of the district. In Ghaziabad district, 1,674 booths as well as 2,210 mobiles teams have been set up to administrator the drops to kids. These facts mean either there is some defect in administering the drops to the kids or people are taking it rather casually.

Dr B.K. Sharma, president of the Private Doctors Welfare Association, alleges that the staff employed in pulse polio campaign are not fully trained to give drops to the children properly. Nobody ensures whether two drops of the vaccine have gone inside child’s mouth or dropped outside and wasted.

A little more patient approach and following a few rules and systems can ensure the success of the programme. But the way a lot of drum-beating is being done, it would rather harm the programme, alleges doctors.

Some even consider availability of WHO’s funds a hindrance in its successful implementation. Dr Vinode Kumar, Chief Medical Officer of Ghaziabad, however feels the programme will start achieving success from this year onwards. “None of the 33 children found afflicted with polio has become physically challenged yet, he says.

“The stool test of most of the children, who had complained of weakness due to fever, showed some polio virus, which is being treated,” Dr Vinode Kumar adds.

The Health Department has however finalised arrangements for administering polio drops to children in 1,674 booths across the district. Besides, 2,210 mobile teams will go from door to door to give polio drops to kids, the CMO adds.

“The detection of 33 polio cases proves that there is no attempt to conceal things and there is complete transparency in the programme,” claims Dr Vinode Kumar. He says most policy decisions are taken at the national level and “we at our level have little say in it”.

The CMO also conceded that there are at least 4 per cent children who always miss the polio drops in every pulse polio campaign due to some reason or the other, which he did not specify. Each child must continue to take the drops till there are traces of the disease.

The former president of the India Medical Association, Dr R. K. Podwar, feels that unless a law is enacted on giving polio drops to children, complete success will not be achieved. In Muslim-dominated localities, there are still many parents who wilfully keep their kids away from the campaign. Due to the mistake of some people, others will also have to suffer, Dr Podwar says.



HVP drive to enrol jobless youths
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 6
The Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) has launched a programme to enrol educated jobless youths and to take steps to reduce the rate of unemployment in the state.
Inaugurating the party’s campaign at Mohana village, 19 km from here, on Sunday, Mr Nirpendra Singh, former MLA and president of the youth wing of the party, said that if the HVP came to power in the state, it would provide jobs to each unemployed youth and grant Rs 200 to Rs 250 per month as unemployment allowance.

He accused Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala of betraying the educated jobless youths and not giving employment to 70,000 youths as announced by him repeatedly. He alleged that the Chautala government had retrenched a large number of employees during the past three-and-a-half years. On the other hand, the government jobs were on sale in the state and meritorious candidates were ignored, he further alleged.

The HVP leader termed Mr Chautala as anti-farmer and anti-people and alleged that the Chief Minister had utterly failed to safeguard the interests of Haryana and the people on the SYL canal issue. He also reminded Mr Chautala that the Supreme Court had given the verdict on the amended petition filed by the then Bansi Lal government.

He also described Mr Chautala as the biggest enemy of the farmers and said that this government had failed to ensure adequate and uninterrupted power and canal water supplies to the agriculture sector of the state.

He also alleged that both the Chautala and Bhajan Lal governments had misused the public funds for their selfish ends.

The HVP leader cautioned the people not to be misled by the false propaganda of the Congress and the ruling INLD against Mr Bansi Lal who, he claimed, could deliver goods to the people if he came to power in the state.



Leaders politicising SYL issue: JD(U) leader
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 6
The president of the Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (U), Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, has accused the leaders of political parties of politicising the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal issue and misleading the people of the state.

In a signed press statement issued here today, he alleged that neither the Congress nor the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) were interested in the completion of this canal in the Punjab territory as they wanted to keep the issue alive to use it at the time of next assembly elections.

He criticised former Chief Minister and president of HPCC Bhajan Lal for the proposed gherao of the Prime Minister’s House by the Congress on January 15 and the convening of an all-party meeting on the issue by Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and said that the Congress was already in power in Punjab and if Mr Bhajan Lal was keen to get the issue resolved why he had not asked Mrs Sonia Gandhi to direct Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to immediately start the construction of the canal.



‘MLAs should think beyond their own constituencies’
Nalini Ranjan

From a simple constable in Delhi Police, to the Chairman of East Delhi District Development Committee, Mr Amrish Gautam has travelled a long way. He took over this coveted post in August last year. Apart from this, he is also the Chairman of Loni Road-based Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College and Kichiripur-based Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital. He is also an active member of many boards and committees.

Mr Gautam was among the delegation, which had gone to see the preventive measures to check the menace of AIDS in Thailand and Combodia recently. As the Chairman of the East Delhi Development Committee, he criticised the developmental work. Meanwhile, his activities don’t confined to his constituency only.

In an exclusive conversation with the NCR Tribune, he talks about politics and development.

What prompted you to come into this field?

I am basically from Bulandshahr district. I have done Master degree in Hindi and Economics from Meerut University. Then I joined the Delhi Police as a constable. Although I was reluctant to join that job, I had to join the service to face the fiscal difficulties. I continued my studies even after that. About eight years after joining the job, I was selected for the stenographer post in the Home Ministry. After spending more than eight years in the Home Ministry, I left that job in 1993.

Later, I contested the Assembly elections on Janata Dal ticket. However, despite my best efforts, I lost though with a very low margin. I came to politics only to serve the people around my area.

Do not you think that you had contested the elections without making proper groundwork?

I lost due to booth-rigging and other malpractices by the BJP candidate in the Assembly elections. I have been active in social works since college days. Under the National Service Scheme (NSS), I had gone to remote parts of the country and organised literacy camps. I had also been the general secretary of the All India Confederation of SC/ST for many years.

Before switching over to full-time politics, I worked for my area. The people of my area were facing various problems. I tried my best to help them.

However, my financial position was very deplorable. On many occasions, I would not have a single penny to buy some eatables and to catch the bus or rickshaw. Despite such difficulties, I never lost my hope and ultimately in 1998, I won the elections with a landslide victory on Congress ticket. Undoubtedly, the local people supported me a lot.

As the Chairman of East Delhi District Development Committee, what have you done for the residents of Trans-Yamuna?

In such a short span of time, I have done numerous works. For example, the campus of Dr Ambedkar College was shifted to the newly constructed building, Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital has now a hundred-bed capacity and we have got sanction for 250 more beds. It is now deemed as the most state-of-the-art hospital in Trans-Yamuna area after Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. Now this hospital has round-the-clock emergency services, special ward for TB patients and facilities for post-mortem examination also.

About half-dozen community centres, ‘Chopaals’, free vocational centres for poor and women candidates, dispensaries have been provided in localities like Kundali, Gharoli, Shashi Garden etc. For the benefit of the slum peoples, two dozen mobile dispensaries have been introduced, two plots have been allotted for senior secondary level schools in Kchiripur and Mayur Vihar Phase-III.

Two small bridges had been constructed in Ghazipur and Kondali.

Due to my personal efforts, hundreds of senior citizens, windows, TB patients, physically challenged people got financial support from the government side. We are also doing for the better rehabilitation of hundreds of snake charmers family in Gharoli.

How East Delhi District Development Committee is different from Trans-Yamuna Development Board?

This Committee was set up in 1999 for the purpose of better development of this area. Arvind Singh Lovely was its first Chairman.

It is basically a monitoring agency, so we have lesser financial powers. To do any work we have to depend on Trans-Yamuna Development Board, but there has been a good co-ordination between both the agencies.

What inconvenience do you face in the way of monitoring?

Monitoring is not an easy job. If the officials concerned are not willing to co-operate, then what can you do?

And there is no denying the fact that it has become the order of the day. Then we have no option.

It is a general tendency that nobody is willing to perform his duty properly and when you take action, they pass the buck. Nobody is accountable here.

Despite two exclusive agencies for trans-Yamuna, the pace of development in this area is very slow. What is the reason?

It is true to some extent. Few years ago, Trans-Yamuna had been deemed as a very backward area. And the people of this area were facing the basic problems, like shortage of drinking water, electricity and sanitation facilities. Now these problems have been solved.

Of late, both the agencies are focussing on beautification drives and infrastructure development. But it is ironical that representatives of several constituencies think of their own constituencies only.

Apart from politics and social works, what do you do in your leisure time?

Since my college days, I had been writing short stories and poems. I have written hundreds of such pieces so far and now I am planning to publish them. My two short stories, ‘Dhie’ and ‘Ghashiyaree’, got the Dalit Writing Awards.



Khap sacks general secretary
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, January 6
The Sarvjatiya Sheoran Khap 84 has relieved its general secretary, Dharm Pal Singh, of the charge. The decision was taken at its meeting held at Kisan Bhawan, Loharu, 50 km from here, late yesterday. The decision follows the “unsatisfactory clarification” given by the general secretary in the light of his absence at a meeting held at Sidhanwa village on December 22.

The meeting through a resolution elected the secretary of 25 Sheoran Khap villages, Pyare Lal Umarwas, as the acting general secretary and gave its approval to the election of the Kanni conducted by the Dalwan Kanni. Om Prakash Dadum, Om Prakash Umarwas and Sita Ram Kakdoli were elected as president, secretary and vice-president respectively.

Thief poses as hermit: The police claimed to have arrested a thief who posed himself as a hermit and stole household items at Behal today. The police said that Sumer Singh of Salhewala village had stolen some household belongings from a locked house of the village on May 23, 2001 and absconded. He went to Bahole village in Punjab in the guise of a hermit. On the complaint of the house owner, living in Chandigarh at present, the police arrested the thief with five bottles of illicit liquor at Behal. The police recovered stolen goods from his possession. He was presented before a court, which sent him to judicial custody.



Two killed in car-canter collision
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 6
Two persons were killed on the spot when a Maruti car and a canter collided with each other on the Sonepat-Gohana road near Kheri Damkan village, about 30 km from here, yesterday.

According to a report, the victims have been identified as Mahabir and Satyavan, both residents of Lath village. A youth, Manoj, was also injured in this mishap. He was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger.

According to another report, four persons, including a woman, were injured when a truck and a car collided with each other on National Highway 1 near Bhalgarh village, about 10 km from here, last night.

The injured persons, who belonged to Amritsar, were travelling in the car that was on its way to Delhi. The injured persons have been identified as Mr Chander Parkash, his wife Janak Rani, Avinash and driver Sanjay. The injured persons were immediately hospitalised. A case has been registered.

Woman pushed into well: A young housewife was reported to have been pushed  into a well by a youth at Rajpur village, about 10 km from here, on Sunday evening.

According to a report, the woman was identified as Roshni Devi, wife of Ramesh of Rajpur village. The youth has not been identified as he is still absconding. The woman was rescued from the well in a serious condition and immediately hospitalised.

The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progress. The injured woman has not given any statement in this regard as she has been referred to the PGI at Rohtak for further treatment. This case has caused a sensation in the village.



West dist police claim 70 pc crime workout rate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
The West district police today claimed the initiation of various social schemes and interaction with groups had kept the crime rate under control. The district boasted of 70 per cent workout rate in crime during the year 2002.

The district also has the distinction of initiating self-defence technique capsule courses for women college students and schoolgirls in the district. A gender workshop followed by legal awareness camps and interaction with them had instilled self-confidence in the minds of the students, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Deependra Pathak.

On the crime front, two cases of dacoity, 70 cases of murder, 50 cases of attempt to murder, 54 cases of robbery, 49 cases of rape, 96 cases of snatching, 391 cases of burglary and three cases of kidnapping for ransom were reported in the year 2002 in the district.

The district police also initiated area policing plan, besides providing special care for senior citizens and coordination with inter-border police.

Solving the dacoity-cum-murder case of Rs 25 lakh from Anand Parbat, nabbing Bobby Sonu of an inter-state gang of dacoits, notorious extortionist Ranbir Rathi, busting the Sonu Mota gang, nabbing of Sweta Dingra, member of the sleazy friendship and extortion gang, and unearthing a number of cricket satta rackets were the achievements of the district, according to Mr Pathak.



Man killed in collision
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 6
A resident of NIT area here was killed in an accident involving two cars last night. A case has been registered in this connection. According to the police, the deceased, identified as Ved Prakash, was driving the car when it collided with another car coming from the opposite direction.

The body was handed over to his family after the post-mortem examination in the civil hospital.

Meanwhile, in another case, the police have nabbed five youths on charges of carrying illegal arms and planning a dacoity in Sarai Khwaja area near Sector-31 here.



FIA launching forum to facilitate exports
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 6
The export business from Faridabad, having touched Rs 1000 crore in the last financial year, promises to grow at an unprecedented rate. The Faridabad Industries Association (FIA) has come up with a new growth oriented plan to boost exports and help members find market overseas.

Mr S. Narasimhan, secretary of the FIA, told the NCR Tribune that FIA Exporters Forum was being launched here to provide a specialised base to its members to facilitate exports. He said the FIA, which is observing its golden jubilee, has planned to increase the membership of the organisation in a big way. Mr S. Narasimhan, said FIA which had 400 industrial units as its members at present, was trying to enroll new members.

As large number of units had acquired ISO standard certification, he said there was a need to provide them the opportunities to showcase their products to the international customers.

Mr Narasimhan said that while about 253 units were involved in export business in some way or the other, atleast seven units were 100 per cent export oriented.

The export turnover from Faridabad had increased from Rs 10 crore in 1992 to Rs 1000 crore at present.

He said the list of the names of the FIA Exporters Forum would be made public.

The aim of the forum was not only to assist the units to locate new customers and markets abroad but to promote interactions among the members and help each other overcome various obstacles in the export business.

Presently, medical devices, readymade garments, fabrics, exterior and interior furnishing, fashion accessories, corrugated boxes, canvas shoes, lampshades, dash board instruments, motorcycles and spare parts, steel forging and machine components, auto tubes and hoses, induction motors, casting bars, cork and rubber products, mica plates and casting and rolling plants are some of the products being exported from Faridabad.

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