Saturday, January 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Widow found shot dead in VIP area
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
A 47-year-old widow of Lajpat Nagar, Mrs. Amrita Kaur, was found shot dead in her Toyota Qualis in Lodhi Estate area late last night. The police believe that the mother of three may have committed suicide as Rs 23,000 in cash and the expensive jewellery she was wearing was found intact.

The police said that they had recovered the revolver with which she had presumably shot herself, once through the temple, from near the body. While the body has been sent for post-mortem examination, the weapon has been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) here.

The police said that the body was spotted by a police control room van which was on its round in the VIP area; the newly appointed Maharashtra chief minister, Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, and several other bigwigs have their official residences there. The police said that the revolver had five bullets left in the chamber and was dangling from her right hand.

Preliminary inquiries by the police have revealed that Mrs. Kaur was quite depressed ever since her husband, Mr. Bhupinder Luthra, died some months ago. Mr. Bhupinder was running a radiator factory in Gurgaon and ever since his death his widow was running it. The police said that Mrs. Kaur was facing some financial problems as the factory was not doing well. The revolver, a licensed one, also belonged to her late husband.

The police said that Mrs. Kaur reportedly left her house in the morning without informing any one. Her three daughters are all married and well-settled. While one lives in Delhi, the other two are in Britain and Canada, respectively. The son, Rishi, is still in college. The police said that further investigations were continuing.

Suicide in GK-I: In yet another suspected case of suicide, Devender (17), a domestic servant, reportedly committed suicide on Thursday night in Greater Kailash where he resided along with his friend. He used to work as a servant in S-104 in GK-I but was dismissed due to some reasons. He stayed along with his friend in the servant quarters in S-211 in the same locality. In the morning he was found unconscious. He was admitted to AIIMS where he died, the police said.

In another case, Sneh Prabha Chawla (51) committed suicide by setting herself afire in her house in Old Rajender Nagar this afternoon. A suicide note was recovered from her possession, which said she had taken this step on her own. When she committed suicide her maid was inside the house and a few other family members were upstairs, the police said.



Kidnapped boy discovered in well
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
The police found the body of a Class VI student of Rishikul Vidyapeeth Ankit from a well at Barwasni village, about 5 km from here last evening. The decomposed body was wrapped in a gunny bag; the police have sent it for post-mortem examination. The victim was son of Mr Karamvir, a resident of Ashok Vihar, Sonepat.

The boy had been allegedly kidnapped by two scooter-borne youths when he stepped out of school on January 11. Since then, the parents of the boy had received numerous ransom calls. The police had even raided a number of STD booths at Panipat and Sonepat, but in vain.

The well, where the body was found, is located between Barwasni and Mahra villages. A chowkidar of Barwasni village, who happened to pass that way, detected a foul smell and informed the police. The police have registered a case of murder. In another incident, the Government Railway Police found the body of one Raj Kumar (40), an employee of the Municipal Corporation Delhi, lying in a pit along the track near Ganaur railway station, 16 km from here. The GRP suspect it to be a case of murder.

In another incident, a widow Mukesh (40) was allegedly beaten to death by irate villagers at Rubhra. The villagers have also cremated the body without informing the police. The villagers alleged that she was seen with two youths of Chiri village in a compromising position. The youths were tied up but freed by their parents who rushed to the spot.



Rationalisation of teachers goes awry
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 24
The State Education Department is effecting `rationalisation’ of teachers in its schools, so that staff is posted as per student strength and subject requirement. As the rationalisation has left hundreds of teachers ‘surplus’ in various schools in the district, the transfer and adjustment of ‘extra’ teachers has created a panic situation among the staff.

While various teachers associations have announced their resolve to launch an agitation, the resettlement of surplus teachers is likely to get delayed. It may also lead to retrenchment of many teachers working on contract and ad hoc basis, said a member of a teachers’ organisation.

Claiming that ‘rationalisation’ could destabilise the system, he said the process had been initiated at the time of annual examinations. He said the haphazard transfers could lead to chaos and generate large-scale bitterness among teachers as there had been hardly any consultations with the teachers’ bodies and their representatives. He said several complaints of improper transfers had been reported and the affected teachers were running from one office to another, to get their new postings cancelled or to get a posting of choice.

An office bearer of the Rajkiya Adhyapak Sangh alleged that the government was targeting ad hoc and contract teachers. Besides, through selective absorption of surplus staff, the government could harass those teachers who were inimical to its interests. He claimed that the teacher-student ratio of 1:60 was not sound; the students did not get sufficient attention in the classroom and now they would be forced to take up private tuitions. Moreover, in the long run, it would lead to students in urban and semi-urban areas opting for private and public schools. There are 595 government-run primary schools, 99 higher secondary, 71 middle and 60 senior secondary schools in the district.

While about 354 posts of teachers are vacant in the primary schools about 346 post of regular teachers are vacant in higher and secondary sections. There are dozens of schools where the post of the headmaster is vacant. There are several primary schools where there are no more than two teachers.

The data available from the Education Department indicates that the strength of students in primary schools has gone down in the last few years. From 1,45,254 in 1998-99, it slipped to 1,42, 281 in 1999-2000. It went down further to 1,37,611 in 2000-2001. In 2001-2002, the strength dipped to 1,26,454. It is also alleged that records of student strength in some of the primary schools were ‘bogus.’ It is learnt that some of the students actually study in private schools but use their attendance in government schools to appear in the annual examination and obtain certificates.



Delhiites will have to segregate waste
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
Municipal Commissioner of Delhi Rakesh Mehta said that Delhiites would soon have to “compulsorily” segregate household waste into biodegradable and non-degradable waste before disposing it of.

In his keynote address to a seminar on Urban Waste Management here today, Mr Mehta said “All our efforts to segregate solid waste over the last five years have failed due to lack of support from the households, which are the primary generators of this waste. Hence, it will be made mandatory for them to do so under the Municipal Corporation Act.”

The MCD was constructing its waste carriers in such a way that they can handle this segregated waste separately. Criticising the general public for not playing their part in helping the authorities in Solid Waste Management, Mr Mehta said the environmental laws are very stringent but “we are very good at breaking them.”

The Municipal Commissioner called upon private players to come forward and take over the job of handling the waste from the Municipal Corporation.

While the existing landfill site in Gazipur in the National Capital Territory would reach the critical state in the next two years, the other landfill sites — Balaswa and Okhla — have reached critical state. And, the failure to identify and bring into operation a suitable site would eventually lead to irregular dumping and random tipping of the wastes in the city and surrounding areas, environmentalists said.

Delhi produces about 7000 metric tonnes of garbage daily, but the civic authorities collect only 4,000 tonnes of garbage each day. This means that 3,000 tonnes of garbage remains uncollected, resulting in other complications, including poor sanitation and health problems.

“Managing waste in Delhi needs creative solutions like large-scale composting plants on existing landfill sites, promoting recycling of plastics and metals, and involving communities in collection schemes. Instead of thinking of short-term solutions, the government should think of creative and longer-term strategies,” they added.



Dead tell no tales, but they surely pocket pension
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, January 24
The government has decided to recover the pension amount paid to ineligible persons identified after scrutiny of the list of the beneficiaries of old-age pension.
A sizeable number of persons, who otherwise are ineligible, have been pocketing the pension amount in connivance with unscrupulous officials.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that such government officials are being identified and action would be taken against them as per law. He said that the government was also fixing the responsibility of those employees who have been pocketing the pension amount in the name of dead beneficiaries.

Mr Yadav disclosed that HCS officers have been deputed to identify the eligible beneficiaries under this scheme launched by the late Chief Minister, Ch Devi Lal, in 1987.

The old-age pension had been doubled from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 per month after Mr Om Parkash Chautala took over as Chief Minister in 1999.

The Deputy Commissioner disclosed that there were 45,861 beneficiaries in the district under this scheme as on December 31 last year. He said that of the 8,088 persons enrolled under the scheme in June 2002 only 5,578 persons were found eligible for pension. Nearly 1,175 persons, who visited the Deputy Commissioner at his camp office, were found eligible and enrolled among the beneficiaries.

Mr Yadav disclosed that the birth records for the period 1942-1947 were inspected in the office of the Chief Medical officer here to identify the genuine beneficiaries. The birth record of these persons was then tallied with the record maintained for the same period by the police stations in the district.

He said that now the tehsil-wise verification of the beneficiaries has been launched and the names of ineligible persons and the dead beneficiaries are being deleted.

The HCS officers have so far selected five villages in each tehsil to start with verification of ineligible beneficiaries. These 20 villages have 9,941 beneficiaries of which only 9,590 were found present when these officers visited their villages. While 48 beneficiaries were found dead, 125 were ineligible and 178 were found absent.

The deputy commissioner said that the beneficiaries found absent have been directed to appear before the HCS officer deputed for verification in their respective village.

He said that three chances have already been provided to them and he was willing to provide another chance before initiating action against them.

These persons, he said, would also be served notice of recovery of the pension amount.



DUTA threat to boycott exams
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The Delhi University Teachers’ Union (DUTA) has threatened to boycott the examinations if the demands put forward at today’s general body meeting are not conceded within a fortnight.

A resolution seeking ex gratia payment of Rs. 10 lakh to Dr. M N Singh’s family, employment to kin and payment of full salary till the due date of retirement of the employee was raised by the former President of DUTA, Prof. S S Rathi. While adopting the resolution, the DUTA members demanded that the Vice Chancellor must convene a meeting of the Executive Council (EC) within 15 days to incorporate the demands raised.

“Today’s GBM was a divided one, we adopted a second resolution put forward by Prof. Rathi. The resolution comes in the wake of the University’s failure to implement the demands put forward by the DUTA. We have given the VC 15 days to implement the same ”, said Dr. Shaswati Mazumdar, President of DUTA.

The DUTA general body has demanded that changes should be made in the ordinance without delay, which calls for payment of ex gratia, payment of full salary till the time of retirement to those employees who die in service and providing job on compensation grounds to the next of kin.

A meeting of the Academic Council (AC) was also demanded to discuss the feasibility of reverting to the old examination system wherein students of one college would have to sit for exams in another college.

“If the demands are not met within 15 days the teachers body will boycott exams and in the meantime dharnas and protests will be organised outside the VC’s office, University Grants Commission (UGC) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)”, said a DUTA official.

The DUTA had earlier organised dharnas in all colleges across the city demanding the payment of dues to Dr. M N Singh’s family without further delay and has also called for a free and fair trial and sought the punishment of the accused who shot Dr. Singh on the college premises.



Need to educate public representatives stressed 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
The secretary general of the All India Citizens Committee, Mr Pramod Arya, yesterday demanded that the government evolve a postgraduate parliamentary management educational course to educate the public representatives so that they carry out their responsibilities properly.

Mr Arya was addressing a meeting on the occasion of the 116th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose here at the Netaji Park. He said that corrupt public representatives were in league with anti-people bureaucrats.

The parliamentary management education can reform the public representatives to discharge their duties properly.

He also stressed the need to hold the elections to the panchayats, district councils, state Assemblies and Lok Sabha at the same time. He demanded that the state Legislative Councils and Rajya Sabha should be abolished.

He said that election expenses should be collected from the political parties.

The speakers paid rich tributes to Netaji and called upon the youth to come forward to unitedly fight against the state sponsored and cross-border terrorism.

Raja Singh Sethi, president of Shiromani Gurdwara Sewadar Committee said that the parliamentary system cannot solve the increasing problem of terrorism.

The meeting passed a resolution appealing to NGOs to open educational institutions in the memory of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the villages.

Mr Mahavir Bansal, Arvinder Gupta, Mr Amrik Singh, Anoop, Kapoor and Jindal also spoke on this occasion.



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.

It pains my heart to see rag- pickers, in their teens, fending for themselves in this extremely cold weather. Recently, when I opened the main gate of my house, I found two young boys trying to fight the cold by burning piles of papers. The winter this year proved to be the coldest in the last 40 years. My heart went out to these poor kids and wondered about their future. The union government has made primary education mandatory for children upto 14 years.

More than 55 years have passed since our country attained freedom. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, wanted to make India not only free from the British rule, but also self-reliant.

However, we have only indulged in tokenism of undertaking amendments to our Constitution and holding seminars on ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’.

If this is our commitment to our youths, there is very little hope for them in the future.

The union government has decided to have total literacy in the country by the year 2010. However, it is sad that there is no concrete plan evident to give shape to this fundamental right.


No need to go gaga over Harry Potter

Some people in the media and some enthusiasts, who are master imitators of everything that is foreign, have started generating hype and euphoria about the next Harry Potter book, ’The Order of the Phoenix’.

It is being stated that advance orders are piling up for this book.

So much hype over the book, at least here in India, gives the impression that there are no worthwhile children’s books in Indian languages. We have our own ‘Panchatantra,’ ‘Katha Sarit Sagar’ and ‘Vikram Betal’. So, why go overboard over Harry Potter?

SUJATA SHARMA, Sector 15-A, Faridabad.

Starvation death

This is in reference to the report “Starvation Death” (Speaking Out, NCR Tribune dated January 11, 20 03). I fully agree that if the government at the Centre and state, along with other social institutions join hands to provide help to the drought victims, their problems can be solved. The need is to understand the real problem and do ones duty towards the society.

According to NSSO report 1999-2000, 26.10 per cent of the people in our country live below the poverty line. The poverty in several states in India, particularly in Orissa, Bihar Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh is appalling. The people are desperately looking towards the government to evolve a foolproof programme to eradicate the problem of malnutrition in our country. Indeed, it is a matter of great concern that even as buffer stock of approximately 60 million tonnes of foodgrain exists in the government godowns, starvation deaths are reported from several parts of our country.

Malnutrition among children of the poor states is widespread. Though free foodgrain is released to state governments under the Prime Minister’s ‘Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yogana’, it has failed to reach the poor people who need them most.

However, it is not just the responsibility of the state government and the Centre, it is the duty of every citizen to help the victims and the needy people.

The truth is that each and every individual in our country will have to contribute to make this endeavour fruitful.

In this modern era, nothing is impossible. If some people can land on the Moon, we can certainly eradicate the evil of starvation from India. We only need a sense of commitment, honesty, dedication, devotion and accountability and responsibility on the part of the government and the people.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

The celebration of ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ on January 9, the day Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa, honouring ten NRI with ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award’ by the Indian Prime Minister and announcing PIO card scheme is an excellent way of linking the NRI with India.

It will help them to understand how they can contribute to the growth and development of India. This will encourage the PIOs and NRIs to do business and invest in India and help the country take its rightful place on the world stage.

There is an urgent need to create a permanent commission for NRIs and PIOs, which will engage them and create a structure for their continuous interaction with India and its people. The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and his government need to be congratulated for taking this important step.


Silence not an option

This is with reference to ‘Face to Face’ with Dr Naresh Trehan, executive director of the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi. (NCR Tribune January 14, 2003)

In reply to a question, Dr Trehan observed: “We help a lot of middle class and under privileged people by providing treatment free or at a subsidised rate. Last year, we spent Rs 11 crore worth of service on poor and middle strata people”. This is commendable. But the same cannot be said about their sister hospital, Escorts Hospital and Research Centre, Faridabad, where a new wing for heart surgery was inaugurated on January 9, 2003.

In this connection, I refer to my letter published in NCR Tribune (December 7, 2002), wherein I disclosed that I had to spend Rs 67,089 on the treatment of my wife, aged 75, who remained in the ICU of a leading private hospital in Faridabad for 5 days in the first week of November 2002.

She passed away the day she was discharged from the hospital. The name of the hospital, which I did not disclose in my letter, is Escorts Hospital and Research Centre, Faridabad.

In my wife’s case, the percentage of charges on various tests conducted by the hospital works out to about 58 per cent of the total money billed by the hospital.

Subjecting the patient to as many tests as possible, whether essential or not, is an easy source of income for the private hospitals. I am pained to say this, as there is no transparency and ‘medical ethics’ in the working of most of the privately managed hospitals.

As a senior citizen and a retired government official, I strongly feel that it is not fair to criticise the day to day working of a private hospital. However, when things are badly done and well-established procedures are ignored, silence is not an option.

In the above context, I would request Mr Biswajiban Sharma, who interviewed Dr Trehan, to interview Dr N.K.Pandey, medical director of Escorts Hospital and Research Centre, Neelam Bata Road, NIT, Faridabad as well, to ascertain as to how much was spent last year on providing free or subsidised treatment to the poor, under-privileged people?

O P SHARMA, Faridabad. 

Councillors in schools

Indeed, it was heartening to learn that the CBSE has come up with a handbook for teachers to help them solve common problems faced by the students.

Now, the students will receive proper counselling in the classroom itself and not later by the professional counselling centres.

For this purpose, the CBSE has issued an order asking affiliated schools to hire counsellors for the benefit of students so that they may get proper counselling in the schools rather than rush hither and thither.


Respect for SC’s order

I would like to express my concern over the increasing tendency to defy the orders of the Supreme Court by people, agencies and government.

It seems that people have become used to defying the orders of the Supreme Court. Medha Patekar, the Chief Minister of Karnataka over the Kaveri water dispute and now, the Punjab Government by not completing the SYL canal, has been guilty of defying the orders of the apex court. I appeal to the people to respect the orders of the Supreme Court.

It may prove very harmful for the nation if the present tendency of ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court continues. I would request the press to highlight such articles that encourage the people to respect the Supreme Court.




Walia says Punjabi Bagh flyover is safe 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
Urban Development and Public Works Minister A. K. Walia yesterday inspected the Punjabi Bagh flyover and underpass and declared them “safe” and “sound” for vehicular traffic. A report carried on Wednesday in an afternoon newspaper had questioned the safety of the newly constructed flyover and underpass after cracks had developed in them.

The minister said Engineer-in-Chief Deepak Narain, Chief Engineer B. K. Chugh and Project Manager S. K. Rastogi had advised him that the crack had developed only in the decorative brick wall in front of construction/expansion joints of RCC work.

The minister said the “superficial” cracks were being repaired suitably and vertical grooves being provided in the wall so that any cracks arising due to differential expansion or contraction of adjoining RCC construction takes place along the grooves. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB), he said, was working on the water line to completely stop leakage of water into the abandoned DJB line. “There is,” he said, “no need to panic.”

He, however, did not choose to dwell on how an underpass that was thrown open to traffic on October 30 began developing cracks in less than three months.



Traffic blocked on Kharkhauda road
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 24
Traffic on the Kharkhauda-Delhi road was held up for two hours by irate residents near Saidpur village, about 25 km from here, yesterday in protest against the failure of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam officials to replace the damaged electricity transformer for the past two weeks.

According to a report, a large number of vehicles, including buses, trucks, cars and three-wheelers were lined up on both sides of the road, causing inconvenience to thousands of people passing through this road. In the evening, Mr Padam Singh Dahiya, an INLD MLA, reached the site and gave assurance to the irate people that the officials of the UHBVN would replace the transformer in a couple of days. The blockade was then lifted and people dispersed peacefully. Strangely, officials of the civic administration, the police and the UHBVN did not reach the site and hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on this road for two hours. This has caused strong resentment among the travelling public.

Collegians boycott Classes: Students of local colleges boycotted their classes and took out a procession here on Friday to register their protest against the police lathi charge on girl students of Kurukshetra University.

According to a report, the procession passed through the main bazaars of the city. It proceeded towards the mini secretariat where a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner. On the way, traffic was held up by the students at various places. Traffic jams caused inconvenience to the travelling public. The students demanded stern action against the policemen responsible for the lathi charge on the girl students.

Teachers’ protest on January 29: The Haryana Rajkiya Adhyapak Sangh has decided to organise a demonstration on January 29 here to protest against the rationalisation policy of the Education Department and adjustment of surplus teachers in other districts of the state.

According to a report, the leaders of the sangh are touring the urban and rural areas of the district to mobilise JBT teachers to join this protest in large numbers.



Security beefed up on UP–Delhi border
Our Correspondent

Noida, January 24
In view of the Republic Day security on the UP-Delhi border has been beefed up and a close watch is being kept on mischievous elements.
This follows decisions taken at a meeting between the UP and Delhi police where need for more foolproof security arrangements was underlined, SSP Rajiv Krishan said.

Being adjacent to the national Capital, the Noida police have also extended and strengthened their security arrangements, he said. The Noida police have also been put on alert in view of the January 26 programmes in New Delhi. A thorough check on the Noida-Delhi border is being carried on. A close vigil is being maintained on sensitive places. Guesthouses, hotels, vacant houses, cinema houses, bus stops, marketplaces are being closely scrutinised. The police have been ordered to be on high alert, the SSP said.



Two Faridabad girls get Kalashree Award

Faridabad, January 24
Two young girl students of Faridabad have won the prestigious Kalashree Award this year. The Nehru Bal Samiti, Delhi, gives the award each year to talented child artists on the occasion of Children’s Day.

While a total of about 400 prizes were given to talented participants from various states, students of Faridabad won as many as 34 gold medals, 46 silver and 54 bronze. Tanika Gandotra and Shireen Lamba, students of Creative Steps, an art school in Sector 9 here, bagged the Kalashree Award by pocketing five and three gold medals, respectively. TNS



Employee robbed of Rs 5.5 lakh

New Delhi, January 24
Two unidentified youths robbed an employee of a plastic chemical company in Sarai Rohilla while he was going to deposit Rs 5.5 lakh in a nearby bank. When the victim, Vinod, reached road number 40, the youths, who were on a scooter, caught him from behind. They snatched the bag in which the victim was carrying money at knifepoint. The victim raised the alarm but the passers-by did not care. The culprits decamped with the money. A case of robbery had been registered, the police said. TNS



‘Impersonator’ held

Ghaziabad: The Ghazibad Police have arrested an advocate for impersonating a CBI officer, beating up a physically challenged PCO operator and later for abducting him along with an employee, in his car. To protest against his arrest, the advocate created a scene and held up traffic on the road in front of the SSP’s office. OC



Achiever of the Year Award for BHEL CMD
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
For sterling contribution to industry, Mr K. G. Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director of engineering major Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), has been awarded the ‘Achiever of the Year Award’ by CHEMTECH Foundation.

Mr Ramachandran was unanimously selected for the award by the Chemtech-Cew awards committee comprising prominent personalities of the corporate world, including Mr Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL.

The CMD, BHEL, has been conferred the prestigious award under the category of Power Plant and Machinery Industry. The award will be presented by Mr Mohammad Fazal, Governor of Maharashtra, at a function to be held today in Mumbai.

With Mr Ramachandran at the helm, the operations of BHEL have seen a substantial increase in productivity related parameters like value-added per employee and turnover per employee. The company has focused on areas of materials cost reduction through design and engineering optimisation, value engineering, technology upgradation, better project management, quality improvement, right sizing of manpower and upgrading HRM systems.


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