Tuesday, January 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Higher auto, taxi fares from Feb 1
Tribune News Service

Drivers on the leash

  • Fare for autos tentatively pegged at Rs 10 for first km and Rs 3.50 for every subsequent km travelled. Fare for taxis expected to be Rs 15 for first km and Rs 7 for every subsequent km travelled.
  •  Higher fares linked to four-point code of conduct. Code makes it mandatory for drivers to use electronic meters, display fare chart, display magnified copy of driving licence and wear badge.
  •  Electronic meters would come into force immediately. Fare chart would be implemented from February 15; display of driving licences from March 31; and badges from April 30.

New Delhi, January 20
Travel by autorickshaw or taxi will become costlier from February 1. Transport Minister Ajay Maken on Monday told media persons the Council of Ministers met in the morning and ratified the revised fare structure. The revised fares will be declared on January 31. The fare for autorickshaws has been pegged tentatively at Rs 10 for the first kilometre and Rs 3.50 for every subsequent kilometre travelled. Similarly, the fare for taxis is expected to be Rs 15 for the first kilometre and Rs seven for every subsequent kilometre travelled.

The autorickshaw fare today is Rs five for the first kilometre and Rs 2.50 for every subsequent kilometre travelled. Taxis charge Rs 10 for the first kilometre and Rs five for every subsequent kilometre travelled. The fares notwithstanding, fleecing is not uncommon.

To discipline the errant drivers the Department of Transport has linked the revision of fares with adherence to a four-point code of conduct. A time-table has been drawn up for coming into force of the code of conduct. The code of conduct makes it mandatory for the drivers of autorickshaws and taxis to use electronic meters, display a fare chart, display a magnified copy of driving licence and wear a badge. Electronic meters, Maken said, would come into force immediately.

“While use of electronic metres would have to be started immediately, the code on display of fare chart would have to be implemented with effect from February 15; display their driving licences from March 31; and wear badges from April 30,” Maken said.

The fare conversion chart would be prepared by the transport department and handed over to the operators for display. It is likely to list point-to-point tariff for travelling from one place to another. The fare chart, said the minister, would put an end to fleecing of commuters.

The government had mandated a committee to recommend a suitable tariff. It comprised two representatives from National Centre for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) and Sales Tax Commissioner Rahul Khullar.

The committee, in its report, had recommended an upward revision of fares for autorickshaws and taxis. The government used that as a bait to get the autorickshaw operators to call off their strike. “No electronic meter, no hike,” was the government’s response then.

The strike, meanwhile, had drawn a vehement reaction from commuters in general and certain non-government organisations (NGOs) in particular. People’s Action, for instance, had called for sterner measures to discipline the drivers.

Buoyed by the groundswell of support to its agenda, the minister had maintained electronic meters would have to be installed for the government to consider revising the fares. With Monday’s decision, the deadlock seems to have been broken.



Dhindsa joins parking lot row
‘Construction of shopping complex insult to Sikh faith’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
With the Union Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) General Secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, also condemning the construction of a multi-storied parking lot-cum-shopping complex outside Gurdwara Bangla Sahib by the NDMC, the ties between the SAD and the BJP in the Capital have taken a bad knock.

The SAD (Badal) General Secretary said the construction of the complex by the NDMC would be an “insult to the Sikh faith.” The holy place would become a witness to all kinds of disrespectful acts. Therefore, he asserted, the Akali Dal (B) will never allow such a construction to take place. The BJP had played a key role in the matter and the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Anant Kumar, had laid the foundation stone of the complex.

In fact, the foundation stone has been laid for the second time in less than six months – the first time it was laid by the Lt Governor of Delhi, Mr Vijai Kapoor, when the SAD (Badal)-led Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee was in power.

With an eye on the assembly polls in the Capital, the BJP is trying to woo the Sikh electorate in the city, who are dominant in some of the assembly segments. Though the party has an electoral alliance with the SAD (Badal), the relations between the two have not been very cordial of late. While the SAD (Badal) admit that they cannot go alone in Delhi, the party leaders indicate that they will not allow the BJP to exploit the situation as they did little for the welfare of the community when the party was in power in the Capital.

The shadow boxing between the two partners has begun and the Mr Dhindsa’s outburst on the parking complex issue is only an indication of the simmering tension between the two parties, political observers said.

Mr Dhindsa’s comments come at a time when the DSGMC president Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, who won the polls with a thumping majority, has been inching closer to the BJP leaders.

With the change of guard in the DSGMC, the NDMC issued a show-cause notice to the Sikh body, stating that the construction was being carried out without a valid plan approval.

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee led by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna commissioned the NDMC to construct the complex after the civic body objected to the earlier plan and questioned the ownership of the land.

The SAD (B) claimed that the land earmarked for the car parking lot originally belonged to the DSGMC and alleged that the present committee has ‘’sinfully sold religious assets to the government’’.



Fly-by-night exporter dupes people of Rs 20 lakh
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 20
People here have reportedly been defrauded of more than Rs 20 lakh by B. S. Chauhan of Global Exports, an outfit started by him about three months ago in Ten Singh Palace on Rakesh Marg here. He has to all intents and purposes absconded.

Though the police have sealed the first floor office of Global Exports, no case has yet been registered. Vendors, staff and various traders, who had helped Chauhan in establishing and running the company, are now queuing up for their dues at Global Exports in Ten Singh Palace. Victims of Chauhan’s fraud are running from pillar to post now.

Though the police have raided many places, the search has not borne fruit. Chauhan, it is learnt, was staying in a room in a hotel on the Apsara border since two and a half months while his partner Anil Verma was living in another hotel at Shahdara.

Chauhan had posed as a Director of Pers. Global Export Group from Bombay while taking on rent three shops from Ten Singh, saying that he would be manufacturing and exporting bed sheets, jeans, pants and shirts on a large scale. Anil Verma was introduced as a Manager, who was appointed by him.

He is reported to have opened a similar office in Dilshad Garden. The five girls appointed by him for that office are also visiting Ten Singh Palace to get their dues.

Chauhan got the two offices furnished from Shiv Pradeep Singh Rawal at a cost of over Rs 1 lakh. He had issued three cheques to Rawal which had bounced on January 10.

Similarly, he had issued cheques after giving a small amount in cash, to proprietor Ten Singh for rent. They too have bounced. He has also defrauded a tea trolley man at base of his office in Rakesh Marg as well as in Dilshad Garden of Rs 3,000 each.

Chauhan had also bought some carpets from Ramte Ram Road for Rs 45,000 against cheques. Five invertors worth Rs 50,000 were also procured similarly in Shastri Nagar.

Five costly mobile phones were also bought by him from Ten Singh Palace. Munna and Intezar Aslam, who supplied him bed sheets and one Noida trader have also been cheated by Chauhan. Mr Dheeraj, a computer dealer in Shastri Nagar, is also ruing his fate for having supplied Chauhan computers worth Rs 1 lakh.



The day it rained eggs & tomatoes 
Our Correspondent

Meerut, January 20
Stones were not the only objects which were pelted by irate traders at the house of the Additional Commissioner, Trade Tax Department, here. It also rained eggs and tomatoes at the hapless officer’s residence. The frenzied traders then converged on the residence of Additional Commissioner (Enforcement) of the department. The unbiased traders gave him the same egg-and-tomato treatment. They then decided to sit on dharna in front of the two officers’ houses. The drama continued for more than three hours.

The traders were annoyed with the trade tax officials following raids conducted on the business premises of two of their brethren. The raids were made with the purpose of detecting trade tax evasion in the new wholesale market (Navin Mandi) area yesterday.

The traders also stopped all trading activity in the mandis of the city for the second consecutive day.

On Saturday evening, a joint team of trade tax department and administrative officials raided the premises of two traders at the busy Delhi road. The Chairperson of the Mandi Council, city Magistrate Satish Kumar, and the Additional Director, Trade Tax, Mr S.P.S. Chauhan, headed the teams with at least 150 police personnel accompanying them.

Hearing the news of the raid, a large number of traders gathered at the site and confined the Additional Commissioner there for more than four hours. Traders also manhandled the SP (City), Mr D.K. Chaudhry. Senior civic officials reached there to secure the release of the Additional Commissioner, Trade Tax.

During the ongoing drama, some junior Trade Tax Department officials shifted “crucial” documents of the raided traders to an unknown safe place. The ADM (City) secured the release of the Additional Commissioner, Trade Tax, in exchange of all documents and assured the traders that no action would be initiated against them. But the ADM (City) could not fulfil his promise as trade tax officials confirmed there was strong evidence of tax default against traders.

The angry traders then proceeded to throw stones, eggs and tomatoes on the houses of the two officials mentioned. The infuriated traders also constituted a team of traders to raid the residence of trade tax officials. Mr Dharam Vir Anand, President of the Joint Traders’ Union, said a Maruti van had already been purchased for this purpose. He also announced the gherao of the Trade Tax Department on Tuesday if the traders’ demands were not meet.

Meanwhile, the District Magistrate has issued an appeal for peace after a marathon meeting. Mr Chauhan, meanwhile, told NCR Tribune in a telephonic conversation that the department would no let-up in the raids as Chief Minister Mayawati had increased the revenue collection in Meerut.



Fog turns Sonepat into ghost town
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 20
Sonepat city and its surrounding areas continued to shiver as people witnessed another coldest night of the season. The dense fog and zero visibility disrupted normal life, business activity, rail and road traffic.

According to a report, the severe cold wave and chilly winds have kept most of the people indoors. Attendance in government offices and schools also remained thin in the absence of any check by the authorities concerned. Business establishments, too, recorded a thin attendance. Most of the bazaars and shopping centres looked deserted till noon. The departure of several long-distance trains was rescheduled. Some trains were running behind schedule for hours. Thousands were stranded at Sonepat and nearly railway stations. They had to wait for the delayed trains at the railway platforms in the biting cold.

Similarly, surface traffic moved at a snail’s pace. Drivers of vehicles were forced to use the headlights during the day also to avoid accidents on account of the thick blanket of fog and zero visibility. With the fog making driving a peril, especially in the wee hours and later at night, most people are avoiding stepping out.

The demand for power supply has been stepped up due to the use of heating devices. This has forced the UHBVN authorities to enforce load-shedding in the urban and rural areas.

Meanwhile, there has been an acute shortage of LPG cylinders on account of rising demand during the cold and foggy weather conditions. Reports of black-marketing in the LPG cylinders are pouring in and the authorities concerned have failed to check the profiteering by the dealers of LPG agencies. TNS adds from Delhi: Impenetrable fog continued to envelop the Capital, making travelling arduous. Low visibility and extreme cold kept Delhiites indoors with frequent and prolonged power cuts worsening the situation.

Airport sources reveal that at least 11 domestic and six international carriers were diverted to other stations, as poor visibility made landing impossible.



Leaders defuse tension

Ghaziabad: There was considerable tension in the city today, following the distribution of inflammatory leaflets. The leaflets were issued in the name of the councillor of Kala Bhatta, a minority pocket. But when the local councillor and the residents came to know of the attempt to stoke communal embers, representatives of both communities apprised the District Magistrate Sanjeev Mittal of the mischief and the dangerous portents.

The highly objectionable slogans were found written on leaflets purportedly distributed by mischievous elements on the letter-head of Pradeep Chauhan, the nominated councillor of Kala Bhatta. Immediately, Councillor Chauhan and Imam Dr K Z Bukhari, the city Qazi, swung into action, going around the locality advising the people not to get provoked and maintain peace. Even SSP Chander Prakash, ADM (City) Raj Kumar Sachan, SP City Rajesh Pandya, City Magistrate Sarvjee Ram, CO K R Gautam went round localities like Kala Bhatta and Lalten Factory, advising people to maintain peace and communal harmony. OC



‘White rust’ fears
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, January 20
In view of the possibility of ‘white rust’ affecting sarson crop, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harpal Singh, has directed the Agriculture Department officials to store adequate quantity of anti-rust medicines.

Mr Singh directed them to inform the farmers about the ‘white rust’ disease by holding meetings in villages so that timely action could be taken.

He directed the department to deploy additional field staff to check the sarson crop and file a report to the administration. The DC asked the Deputy Director, Agriculture, to call a meeting of dealers and direct them to stock medicines in adequate quantity.



PHDCCI calls for acceleration of reforms 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
While populist budgetary proposals would be high on the agenda of Delhi Finance Minister Mahinder Singh Saathi, as the state goes to the polls later this year, an influential industrial and trading lobby has come out with a hard economic programme that the minister cannot wish away while drafting the Budget for 2003-04.

Fixing user charges for utility services, expediting reforms towards facilitating privatisation in more areas, reducing non-plan expenditure through right-sizing the government and rationalisation of expenditure are some of the proposals mooted by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its pre-Budget memorandum to the Delhi Government.

The chamber is hopeful that the above measures would translate into availability of more funds for development.

The economy of Delhi has undergone a radical change during the past few years, with tertiary service sector contributing 80 per cent of the state’s revenue. Despite the state having surplus on the revenue account, the fiscal deficit and public debt have been increasing largely on account of the unsatisfactory performance of public utility and public sector undertakings.

The chamber said there is a need for imposition of reasonable user charges on the basis of the economic cost of providing utility services, including water supply and solid waste management, to recover at least 50 per cent of the cost.

“Fixing of user charges should ensure generation of sufficient resources for maintenance and expansion of civic facilities so as to ultimately phase out dependency on financial assistance from the state,” the chamber said.

The water tariff in Delhi attempts to cross-subsidise amongst user groups and consumption levels and between priced and free supply.

On the restructuring of the loss-making Delhi Transport Corporation, the chamber said the restructuring should provide for setting up of three to four large companies and take into account the changing transport needs on account of the implementation of the Metro project to effectively manage the public transport system in the Capital.

The state should undertake a comprehensive study of the Delhi Jal Board for its re-organisation with the objective of transforming it into a commercially viable water utility.

Expressing confidence that Value Added Tax would be introduced from April 1 this year, the chamber hoped that the introduction of this tax would lead to competitiveness of industry by removing the cascading effect of various taxes and levies.

“To keep the burden of domestic taxes low and not to escalate the prices of commodities, the revenue neutral rate should not be more than 10 per cent. All products including liquor, diesel, petrol and aviation turbine fuel should come under the revenue neutral VAT rate,” the chamber said.

The state government must ensure that the Unit Area Method for assessment of property tax is introduced from April 1 this year to provide for a progressive, simpler and transparent system.

The stamp duty for registration of property in Delhi should be reduced to six per cent from the present 13 per cent. Several states have such lower stamp duty. Higher stamp duty in the Capital results in declaration of lower value for the purpose of registration, the chamber said.

The government must encourage public-private partnership in solid waste collection, treatment, disposal, water supply project, maintenance of recreational areas and sweeping of commercial and industrial areas, outsourcing services for collection of property tax and user charges.

With the relocation and shifting of industrial units from and in Delhi, the Capital has emerged as an ideal destination for hi-tech, non-polluting service sector industries. By continuing with the reform agenda, the state government would have funds for infrastructure development, which could provide an impetus for the service sector and sunrise industries like IT and biotechnology to boom and help Delhi emerge as a cyber city of the 21st century.



Farmers of southern dists getting a raw deal: Vidrohi
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 20
The Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, today flayed the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Government headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala for the alleged injustice meted out to the farmers of southern districts as well as Sonepat and Rohtak districts in the matter of drought relief.

In a signed press statement issued here, he alleged that the bulk of the amount of drought relief has been allotted to Bhiwani district which falls in the Lok Sabha constituency represented by his son Mr Ajay Singh Chautala where the canal water was available in large quantity.

The state government, he said, has allotted Rs 23.78 which is 40 per cent of the total fund allotted to the drought-hit districts of the state.

He said that it was all the more agonising that other districts had been allotted meagre funds as the drought relief for the farmers whose crops had been damaged. In this way, the state government has done

injustice to these districts where the loss was much more than Bhiwani district as these districts had also been facing a shortage of canal water for irrigation.

Mr Vidrohi said that the Chief Minister had always been ignoring the southern parts of the state in the allotment of development funds.

Similar is the case with the districts of Sonepat and Rohtak which had been discriminated by the successive governments in the state. He wondered whether this was not a cruel joke by the government as it had sent hundreds of truckloads of fodder to Rajasthan apparently to earn accolades for itself while entire south Haryana had been facing a severe fodder crisis.

He condemned the ‘step-motherly’ treatment to southern Haryana and the districts of Sonepat and Rohtak and appealed to the people to teach a lesson to Mr Chautala in the next assembly elections.



Flyover construction gets a flying start
Jeevna Bhinder

New Delhi, January 20
The Public Work Department, an important organ of Delhi government for the developmental process, has for the first time introduced Q-4 standards on the construction of flyovers. These standards are comparable to ISO-9002.

According to the officials, the Public Work Department is engaged in various processes like planning, designing, construction of governmental assets including hospitals, schools, colleges, prisons, and construction of roads, flyovers, subways including many other developmental processes.

The PWD is working on the construction of flyovers including flyovers at Mayapuri and Dhaula Kuan. Some of the planned projects are an underpass at Moolchand Crossing on Ring Road, Naraina Intersection on the Ring Road, underpass at Bhairon Road Intersection near Pragati Maidan, Aruna Asaf Ali Road.

It is taking many steps to adopt the state-of-the-art technology in its work through development process which includes pre-cast segmental technology, cold-emulsion technology, trench-less technology, pollution-free hot-mix plants.

Pre-cast segmental technology is used for the construction of two flyovers on Ring Road, one at Moti Bagh and Africa Avenue and two flyovers at Outer Ring Road at Savitri Cinema and Nehru Place which resulted in faster construction.

Work done with cold-emulsion technology includes J B Tito Marg, August Kranti Marg and many more projects are to be expected in the coming years. This technology is used for resurfacing of roads with the use of hot bitumen and is helpful to make the environment pollution-free.

Trench-less technology is used to lay services beneath the road surfacing without any requirement of cutting roads for open trenches and refilling after laying of services.

Emission of particulate matter from usual Hotmix-Plants being much higher than the permissible limits under the Environmental Protection Rules. These plants were categorised as hazardous industry and were not allowed to operate within the city. The plants are moved away from Delhi after enforcement of strict pollution norms by the Haryana Government. The decision adversely affected the Delhi roads because this is an integral requirement development of road processes.

To provide green and healthy environment in Delhi, the PWD has been nurturing lakhs of trees, plants, shrubs, thousand acres of lawns and gardens on PWD roads, government colonies and on the office premises.

Its vast stock of public assets includes 6,500 dwelling units, schools, police stations, about 2,000 lane master plan roads, six bridges, 25 flyovers, 18 subways, and thousand acres of lawns and gardens.

Its workload over the years has been increasing at the rate of 20 per cent per year. As per the cost index, the equivalent workload of Rs 210 crore in 1992-93 is Rs 370 crore in the year 2001-02.



TUs cry foul, seek probe into dept working
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 20
Representatives of various trade unions today sent a joint memorandum to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, demanding a high level probe into the scandalous working of the Labour Department in Sonepat district and immediate suspension of the District Labour Officer and the inspectorate staff for not safeguarding the interests of the working class.

In a press release, they also demanded the transfers of the entire staff of the office of the District Labour Officer to ensure an independent and impartial probe into the complaints of the workers against the partisan attitude of the authorities in settling the cases of disputes between the employees and the employers.

They also said that some of the inspectors had a longer stay and they had been hand in glove with the employers and taking bribe from them regularly.

The representatives of these unions said that the Factories Act and all the labour laws are being violated by the employers and the authorities of the Labour Department had failed to check the flouting of laws.

They pointed out that the workers of several factories, including women workers, are being exploited by the employers who fail to make payment to them in accordance with the Minimum Wages Act. Moreover, the women workers are being paid much less than what is fixed under the Minimum Wages Act. When the workers launch an agitation for seeking justice, they are retrenched and harassed on some pretext or the other by the employers in the absence of any action taken against them by the Labour Department authorities.

The representatives of the trade unions also blamed the police for interfering in the disputes between them and the employers and the police officials act at the behest of the employers.

They warned that if no action was taken against the Labour Department authorities and the police, they would gherao them.



12 new faces in Buwani Khera municipal committee
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, January 20
Buwani Khera municipal committee elections will see 12 new faces this year. The voters also preferred new faces against the old ones. Only one out of nine candidates has been elected for second term.

The elections were held yesterday wherein Mainpal outvoted his nearest rival Om Prakash from ward No. 1 by a margin of 87 votes. Mainpal got 429 and Om Prakash 342. In ward 2, Kamlesh got 374 votes and defeated Savitri by 89 votes. In Ward 2, Kapoor Singh got 344 and Satpal 232.

In Ward 4, which witnessed neck-to-neck fight, Sunita outvoted Sudesh by a margin of 17 votes. Sunita got 388 and Sudesh 369 votes. In Ward 5, Gajender got 489 votes and outvoted Satpal by a margin of 72 votes.

In Ward 6, Maya Devi got 348 and Usha Rani 232 votes. Satbir, in Ward 7 got 341 votes and outvoted Ram Kishan by 52 votes. Satyawan of Ward No. 8 got 412 and his rival Ram Singh got 386 votes. In Ward No. 9, where election was quite tough, Mahesh Sharma outvoted his nearest rival by 106 votes. Mahesh got 397 whereas Madan Lal got 291 votes.

Mahipal outvoted Jagan Nath in Ward No 10 by a margin of 145 votes. It is worth mentioning that Pushpa Devi and Mithlesh Devi had been elected unanimously for Ward No 11 and 12 respectively. Raghubir Singh got 346 votes in ward 13 whereas his nearest rival Pratap Singh got 306 votes.

There are 10,555 voters in Buwani Khera municipal committee while 10,100 cast their votes. As many as eight seating councillors were defeated in this election.



It takes 10 yrs to secure conviction in adulteration case
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, January 20
Upholding the conviction of Naresh Kumar, a milk vendor of Samchana village awarded by the Chief Judicial Magistrate for possessing substandard and adulterated milk for sale, the Additional Sessions Judge, Dr Shiva Sharma, rejected the argument that the convict was less than 18 years on the day of the commission of offence 10 years ago. The accused was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year and also to pay a sum of Rs 1,000 as fine, and in default thereof, to undergo further imprisonment for two months by the Chief Judicial Magistrate on February 2, 2000.

According to the prosecution story as unfolded by the complainant is that the government food inspector and district health officer had on December 1, 1992 intercepted Naresh Kumar on Railway Road. He was carrying about 15 kg cow milk, contained in a drum for sale. The food inspector took samples of the milk which were found adulterated. Dissatisfied with the orders of conviction awarded by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Naresh Kumar filed an appeal against the judgement in the court of Additional Sessions Judge, Dr Shiva Sharma. The counsel for the accused-appellant contended that the trial court did not appreciate the legal and factual position in proper perspective and thereby fell into error and wrongly recorded the conviction of the accused.

He also argued that Mukhtiar Singh, who was associated by the prosecution as independent witness, was not examined in the court, which has created a serious doubt in the genuineness of the prosecution story. Supporting the judgement of the trial court, the public prosecutor said that the sample of milk was lifted properly after making the bulk representative and homogeneous.

He argued that the evidence of the witness, Mukhtiar Singh, was given up by the food inspector as ‘won over’ by the accused. Mukhtiar Singh, he said, was a resident of Samchana village, the village of the accused. Pronouncing the order, Dr Shiva Sharma said that the counsel for the appellant had at no stage produced evidence that the accused was less than 18 on the day of commission of the offence. That being so, he said that he has no hesitation to reject the contention of the accused. Dr Sharma, however, agreed with the accused-petitioner that Naresh Kumar has suffered the pain and agony of a protracted trial for more than 10 years. The accused is in his twenties and has two children, two younger brothers besides his wife to support, he said.

Taking into consideration the antecedents of the accused and the fact that a trial spread over for more than 10 years while maintaining the conviction, “I reduce the substantive sentences of imprisonment from one year to nine months. A fine of Rs 1,000 had already been paid by the accused. I direct that the accused be taken in custody to serve the sentence of imprisonment,” Dr Sharma ordered.



Discrimination in demolition drive alleged 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 20
The president of the Congress district unit (Women), Ms Sharda Rathaur, criticised the demolition of about 500 houses and jhuggis in Azad Nagar locality of Sector-5 here yesterday by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

In a statement here today, Ms Rathaur said that the district authorities had been “overreacting” to the reported statement of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, here recently that all encroachments on government land would be removed by March 31.

She said it was unjustified to demolish the houses of the poor people when the extreme cold weather had led to the death of dozens of people in the state.

She said although encroachments did pose problems for planned urbanisation and for providing better civic amenities, the government and its officials were mainly responsible for the present encroachments. Accusing the government for the lack of housing facilities for the poor people, especially those living below the poverty line, she said the poor were left with no choice but to build their huts and kutcha houses on vacant lands where they found work and employment.

She said the officials of the district Red Cross Society were trying to gain `sympathy’ and popularity by distributing blankets to the ‘uprooted’ people.

She said the Red Cross Society should have worked for providing shelter to the affected families much before their houses were demolished by the government.

The Congress leader alleged that even as thousands of jhuggis and houses of the poor had been razed to the ground by the authorities in the past few years, the rich and the influential people had been sitting on government lands worth several crores of rupees.

However, she alleged that the officials did not think about these encroachments as they had ‘links’ with the authorities in the state.

Mr Raj Kumar Gaur, a Janata Dal leader here, has also criticised the demolition at Azad Nagar yesterday. He said it was always the poor people who became the ‘target’ of such demolition drives. He alleged that there had been discrimination by the authorities while taking action against encroachments.

He also repeated the charge that authorities always ignored the encroachments by influential people or those supporting the ruling party in the state.



AHPCU demands better working conditions 
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 20
The All Haryana Power Corporations Workers Union (AHPCU), representing the majority of the employees of the Power Department, has questioned the “ongoing reforms and overall progress in the power sector”. It said that the power situation in the state would not change if the interests of the staff were overlooked.

A spokesman of the AHPCU said “even as the state government was claimed to have pumped in hundreds of crores of rupees to improve the infrastructure in order to improve the power supply, the situation continued to be bad”.

He said the government had not recruited adequate number of staff over the past several years and the existing employees were forced to do extra work without being compensated.

He said while there was an acute shortage of staff in majority of the divisions, the authorities continued to privatise several of the other services, leading to confusion and lack of accountability.

He said due to the increased workload, the department required atleast 16,000 new employees at various levels. However, he said the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) and its associated wings, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHVBN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) had become `top heavy’. He alleged that even as there was a large number of senior officers in the nigam, there was far less number of junior staff to meet the requirements of the department. Alleging that the policies of the government and the HVPN officials were unjust and impractical, he said the scheme to hand over the work of meter reading and bill distribution to private agencies on contract basis had failed to bring about positive results so far.

He said although latest communication instruments were provided to the field staff of the nigam, no scheme would be successful without adequate number of staff in the field.

He said the lower and middle rank staff of the department were not only feeling ‘demoralised’ due to anti-employee decisions but were ‘frustrated’ due to the lack of internal promotions and victimisation on flimsy grounds.

He said the authorities were ’forcing’ the employees to take to the agitational path as several of their demands were pending with the authorities.

He disclosed that the state government had not created ‘even a single post’ to meet the requirements at the 66 KV power substation at Chhainsa village that was inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. He said several new power substations had been built in past couple of years and the authorities had shuffled the staff ‘from here and there’ to look after their operation and management.

As a result, he said the ‘weekly off’ was being denied to many of the employees.



UPCC campaign reins in defaulters
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 20
The campaign for an on-the-spot checking, launched by the UP Power Corporation, has been a grand success, yielding a revenue of over Rs 1 lakh.
The power connection of one factory has been disconnected and the factory fined Rs 3.5 lakh for using 25 horsepower more than its sanctioned limit.

First information reports against six such defaulters have also been lodged. The UP Power Corporation had started a campaign for checking the power from house to house on January 15.

In all, nine teams had been formed for three divisions under the guidance of BB Singh, Dy General Manager of UPPC, Noida.

They were headed by S S Jain, O P Kapoor and M P Singh. The teams inspected 17 connections in all in Sector 8 and Khoras Colony, of which 59 connections were disconnected and 44 meters were changed on the spot. Seven cases of additional load were unearthed.

According to M P Singh, a sum of Rs 2.25 lakh was recovered from 52 consumers and Rs 1.32 lakh revenue was received for 47 new connections.

In distribution division II, Executive Engineer A K Malhotra said that 38 connections were checked in the campaign in Noida Phase-II, Sector-28, Nithari and Baraula village. Ten out of them were found to be using additional loads, 10 meters were also changed on the spot while three new connections were given. A sum of Rs 1.33 lakh was recovered from the consumers.

Under the Power Distribution Division III, 162 connections were checked in Harola and Sector-V and a revenue of Rs 4.10 lakh was recovered from here.

Ten new connections were given. The other team had found that many shops in Atta market were using one meter only.

In Sector-II industrial area, a hosiery unit was using 56

horsepower in place of sanctioned 28 horsepower connection. The connection of this factory was disconnected and a fine of Rs 3.50 lakh imposed on it.

The UPPC Noida chief B B Singh has appealed to the public to deposit their bills regularly, otherwise a fine can be imposed if defaulting connections are out.



‘We must move away from pass-fail system in schools’
Tribune News Service

Dr K. Venkatasubramanian is a noted educationist and well-known economist who studied in Columbia University, New York, and taught at York University, UK. He was the founder Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry Central University. As a Member of the Planning Commission, he is in charge of education, health and family welfare, women and child development, youth affairs, sports, culture and police research in the rank of a Union Minister of State.

He was the director of education, Tamil Nadu, who introduced the mid-day meal scheme. He has written two books, which earned him the coveted honorary fellowship of the Author’s Guild of India, New Delhi. His book, ‘Transformation of India as Knowledge Superpower: Strategies of Action’, is a must read for policy makers, administrators, educationists and for every individual wanting to contribute to the growth of the nation.

In a freewheeling interview with the NCR Tribune, Dr K. Venkatasubramanian simplifies some of his views and theories as elaborated in the book.

What does the book highlight?

The book highlights the importance of knowledge, skills, imagination and like attitudes for developing India into a modern society. Such a society would provide the needed intrinsic strength to face global competition – the key to economic growth. It also elaborates on how we could equip ourselves with strategic competence to create, store, share and gainfully use knowledge for social transformation.

What are the most important issues we must address?

We must design strategies to address issues of food security, nutrition and population that may be independent issues but are still interwoven. While investment in agriculture and the green revolution have ensured that food production has kept pace with population growth, our main concern should be to ensure adequate availability of foodgrains to people below the poverty line.

Even if foodgrains, fruits, vegetables and animal products are aplenty in the market, inadequate buying power inhibits access to balanced diets among the economically disadvantaged sections of society.

Access to food and affordability depends on opportunities for gainful employment and on multiple livelihoods of sources for the landless poor. Fortunately, ecological farming is both knowledge and skill intensive.

There is need for spreading information on the opportunities of eco-jobs in the farm and non-farm sectors. Urban and semi-urban agriculture helps to link the producers in food processing industry and consumers in a symbiotic chain.

You emphasise knowledge throughout the book. Can you explain how a society can transform itself into knowledge society?

Through social empowerment. Development with a human face is the critical need of a liberalising economy. It seeks to enrich the people with the infrastructure, relevant skills and attitudes to tap the enormous opportunities that emerge in society. The benefits of reforms have to permeate to the grassroots, not merely through a process of ‘trickle down’ effect but also by equipping the masses to reap the benefits through their direct efforts and initiatives. In fact, social empowerment not a catchy phrase we have borrowed from the West.

Individual initiatives are the bedrock of a liberalised economy. It is necessary to create an environment that helps the creative insights of the people to blossom.

The challenge before us is clearly to establish a people-centred framework for social development.

To upgrade the quality of life of the people and overall social empowerment, business organisations and employer associations can possibly network with the government and NGOs for grassroots level developmental programmes.

You have given special importance to empowerment of women.

According to Prof Amartya Sen, nothing is more important today in the political economy of development as an adequate recognition of political, economic and social participation and leadership of women.

One of the main reasons for India’s backwardness despite achieving so much is the high percentage of illiteracy in general and the abject neglect of the girl child not only at school but also at home, this is the real reason for our slow progress.

Countrywide discrimination against the girl child should be wiped out; this should be the goal of our Five Year Plans hereafter.

According to Prof Sen, women should get ownership rights and gain high literacy. Women’s emancipation means making woman less dependent on others.

What are the changes one must make in the education system to benefit not only women but also the whole new generation?

Whatever may be the political ideology, the importance of universal primary education should be recognised.

About evaluation system at schools, we must move away from the conventional pass-fail method that hurts the self-esteem of the under-performing child based on the current evaluation method.

We should use an evaluation process to identify the individual knowledge skills and attitudes and map them on to aptitudes and competencies. Adult literacy, broad adult education and universal primary education are mutual complementary programmes. Added to all this is the non-governmental initiative in education, which can go a long way in achieving India’s transformation as a knowledge superpower.

Finally, can you sum up the main areas of focus on your book?

Well, the two sides of the coin in relation to transforming India into a knowledge society are societal transformation and wealth generation. We need societal transformation in the areas of agriculture, industry, education, health care, governance and employment.

For wealth generation, the important areas are IT & communication, biotechnology, weather modification, tele-medicine, tele-education, traditional knowledge products, services, infotainment, conventional and non-conventional energy, space technology and material technology.

Above all, the growth of a knowledge society progressively requires development of competencies for protecting knowledge and, therefore, involves areas such as strengthening of Intellectual Property Rights, protection of biological and microbial resources, protection of ancient knowledge and culture, protection of network and information generators from all kinds of physical and electronic attacks.



Rally against ‘worsening’ law and order
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 20
The activists of the Congress took out a demonstration in the town in the afternoon today against the ‘deteriorating’ law and order situation in the state.
The demonstrators assembled at the Bhiwani Stand chowk and marched through the main markets of the town. Carrying placards and raising anti-government slogans, the protestors reached the Deputy Commissioner’s office. In the absence of the Deputy Commissioner, they submitted a memorandum to the District Revenue Officer, Mr Mahender Singh, to be forwarded it to the Governor.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the leader of opposition, Mr Shadi Lal Batra, local MLA and president, DCC (urban), Prof Virender Singh, president, DCC (rural), Dr Raghbir Singh Kadian, Sri Kishan Hooda and Ms Kartar Devi, former ministers, among others, took part in the demonstration.

Addressing the demonstrators, Mr B.S. Hooda said that the party was ready to chalk out a joint strategy regarding the completion of SYL canal with other political parties. However, he said that the party would launch an agitation in Jhajjar on March 2 if no effort was made in this regard by the major parties. Mr Shadi Lal Batra, local MLA, alleged that there had been a rapid increase in the crime graph in the region while the police had failed to trace the culprits.

Prof Virender, president, DCC (rural) condemned the Chief Minister for ‘concealing’ the funds collected by the official machinery to assist Mr Mahender Chaudhary, a former Prime Minister of Fiji.

Dr Raghbir Singh Kadian and Ms Kartar Devi, former ministers, alleged that thousands of persons had been rendered jobless in the region by the ‘faulty’ policies of retrenchment and closure of various boards and corporations.



GVM girls cherish the memory of their alma mater
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 20
To maintain relations between the old students and the college, an alumni meet was organised on the premises of the GVM Girls College here last evening.
According to a report, more than 100 old students and their parents attended the function. Speaking on the occasion, the college Principal, Dr Shakuntala Gakhar, highlighted the achievements of the college in academic and sports events and claimed that the girls of the college have got good posts after passing their exams.

The function was followed by cultural shows presented by the students. An interaction session with the old students was quite enlightening. Many students shared their present and past experiences.

Ms Shobana, an old student, presently working as a lecturer in English in H.I.T., was very enthusiastic in telling that her span of four years as a student in this college was a wonderful experience.

Mr Mathur, father of an old BBA student, shared his views with the audience and he seemed to be satisfied with his choice of the college for his daughter. Many other parents also wished good luck to the college. The programme ended with a colourful cultural programme and light refreshment.

Earlier, the Principal inaugurated the function by lighting the candle in the presence of large number of girl students, teaches and distinguished guests.

Entrepreneurship awareness camp: The Department of Science, Government College, organised a two-day entrepreneurship awareness camp, which concluded on the campus of the college at Gohana town, 35 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the camp was sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi, for the science students of the college who were aspirants of becoming industrialists and engineers. Mr I S Mehla, head of the Department of Science, was the chief organiser of the camp.

Inaugurating the camp, the college Principal, Mr Tek Chand Aggarwal, appealed to the students not to run after ‘collar’ jobs but to be self-employed entrepreneurs after passing the graduation.

He asked them to keep in mind that the government jobs are rare in the time of globalisation and privatisation.

Senior consultants from Delhi Industrial Consultants Limited (HARDICON) also spoke of their valuable practical training to become an entrepreneur and to have entrepreneur qualities among the students.

Mr O P Wadhwa, a lecturer in Pb.Ad. also spoke, and claimed that the camp was a success in the history of the college.

Retd SI burnt to death: Mr Satya Prakash Pandit, a retired CRPF Sub-Inspector, was burnt to death in a fire while he was asleep under the influence of liquor in his house at Jakhauli village about 15 km from here last night.

According to a report, the victim was alone in the house when the fire broke out as his wife along with two children had deserted him about two years ago.

She had been living with her parents in Singhrawli village of Gurgaon district.



Raid on ration depot for black marketing
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 20
A team of district officials led by the City Magistrate, Ms Ranjit Kaur, raided a ration depot at Gandhra village today. A case was registered against the depot owner for selling ration in the black market.

According to official sources, the team raided the depot of Krishan Lal following several complaints of irregularities by the villagers. The team recovered 9 quintals of wheat from the depot while only 5.25 quintals of wheat had been supplied to the depot by the government agency till January 15.

The officials said the surplus quantity of wheat was kept in the depot for selling it in the black market. The officials said the depot owner fled the spot when he was asked to produce the record of the rationed commodities.

Wards elections

Jhajjar: The election for 13 Wards of the Beri Municipal Committee was held. The official sources said that the entire election process was peaceful.

Later, the results for all the Wards were announced. The elected representatives are: Bharpai Devi, Rajeshwar, Pervinder, Sumitra, Chand Singh, Vijay, Mahender Sharma, Balwan, Jaibhagwan, Vimla, Om Prakash and Ompati.



‘Prasad’ of burnt body distributed 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
With the arrest of one Kailash, the South district police today claimed to have solved a blind murder case in Badarpur area. On January 14, the police received a call that a rickshaw-puller was disposing of a body by throwing it in the Agra canal, Badarpur.

The accused was nabbed and during interrogation, he accepted that he had killed his friend, identified as Raju, resident of Punjab, for not paying back Rs 2,000. They were both labourers working at the same place.

On the fateful night, Raju stayed with Kailash and had an altercation over the repayment of the money. Kailash stabbed Raju in the stomach and neck several times while he was asleep. Next day, he bought an iron box, 50 kilograms of wood and oil, and burnt the body inside the house.

He even distributed the ashes to his neighbours as ‘prasad’ on Lohri day. When they complained of foul smell, he told them it was due to the tyres he had burnt in his house. Later, he took the body to the Agra Canal in a rickshaw and dumped it there.

SBI burgled: Unidentified persons reportedly burgled the State Bank of India, Rithala branch in North-West district on January 17 and decamped with Rs 2,68,000. The staff came to know about the burglary when they reported to the office today and found that the cash was missing. The bank guards are posted only during the office hours. The police are investigating the case.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |