Thursday, January 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Safe passage for intruder car
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, January 29
The Maruti Esteem car, which strayed into the path of the motorcade of the Prime Minister and disappeared when the security forces fired at it, reached its destination in Gurgaon without being intercepted for 20 minutes. The three occupants of the car reached their destination without a hitch and coyly climbed into their beds past midnight.

The Gurgaon police swung into action when they received information from their counterparts in Delhi that the getaway car had a Haryana registration (HR 26 Q 0427) issued by the Gurgaon Road Transport Authority.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Sukhbir Singh says that he was patrolling the DLF area when he received a message that the car, which intruded into the PM’s motorcade in South Delhi at about 10:45 PM, had a Gurgaon registration. The Delhi Police had also informed them that the car was headed towards Gurgaon, said the officer.

After alerting all the check posts, the DSP rushed to the office of Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mr R K Kharab, where the vehicle was registered. They checked the vehicle records and traced its address. Immediately, the police raided the premises of the owner of the vehicle, Mr Umesh Singh, who told the policemen that he had given the car to his paternal uncle, Mr Dhare Singh.

Later, the police swooped down on Mr Dhare Singh’s residence at Gandhi Nagar. During questioning, it was disclosed that he, along with a driver Ashok Kumar, had picked up a call girl.

After taking some drinks, all of them were returning to Gurgaon from Delhi when they ``inadvertently’’ strayed into the motorcade of the Prime Minister. The security personnel fired many rounds at the Esteem but they did not bother to intercept the vehicle and it sped away.

Mr Dhare Singh reportedly told the Gurgaon police that they did not stop the vehicle as the call girl was with them at that time. But they had no intention of creating problems for the Prime Minister’s security, Mr Dhare Singh told the local police.

After dropping Mr Dhare Singh at his residence, the driver and the girl went to a workshop at village Jharsa chowk, on National Highway No. 8, and hid the vehicle. Later, the Gurgaon police found the vehicle during a search operation. There were at least three bullets marks at the back of the vehicle and the rear glass had smashed due to the firing.

The Gurgaon Police handed over the three accused and the vehicle to Delhi Police at about 1 am, said DSP Sukhbir Singh.

The DSP said that the three occupants of the car — Dhare Singh, Ashok Kumar and Umesh Singh — had no criminal antecedents. Nor was any weapon or any unobjectionable material found in their possession, said the officer..

However, the incident had exposed the chinks in security: It remained a mystery how the car strayed into the Prime Minister’s motorcade and stayed on the road for a considerable time without being intercepted. Had the security personnel failed to record the registration number of the vehicle correctly, the car would still be parked in some makeshift workshop.



Security breach: Only questions, no answers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
Even while officially it is being proclaimed that there was no breach of security when the white Maruti Esteem car strayed onto the sanitised route of the Prime Minister, the top brass of the Delhi police went into a huddle here to find out what went wrong and why the vehicle could not be intercepted even as it sped towards the neighbouring state of Haryana.

This despite the fact that that the Delhi police claims having pickets in place, particularly at entry and exit points on inter-state borders, and an elaborate mobile patrolling network of Police Control Room vans.

Senior police officers agree in private that it must have taken at least 15 to 20 minutes for the vehicle to reach its destination in Gurgaon from the point of intrusion on Rao Tula Ram Marg and this was time enough for interception. If the SPG is to be believed, an alert was sounded immediately after the incident. The area around Rao Tula Ram Marg, which falls under the Delhi Cantonment police station, is in any case supposed to be a highly guarded area what with international passengers arriving and departing from the IGI at late hours.

To add to the discomfort of the police, senior security officers have pointed out that given the recent claims that the response time had been considerably reduced why no police control room vehicles reached the area and started a search for the vehicle.

Another question that is being asked is whether the Delhi and Gurgaon police personnel, who are supposed to man the check posts, were alive to the situation or were just asleep at that late hour.

Sources said that some serious introspection was on and some heads were likely to roll in the next few days. In the meantime, the local policemen, who were supposed to prevent vehicles from straying on the prime minister’s route, have been placed under suspension and asked to explain how the alleged lapse occurred.



Murdered child’s parents had paid ransom
R.D. Sapra

Sonepat, January 29
A large number of residents and parents of Ankit, a Class VI student of Rishikul Vidyapeeth, Sonepat, called on the Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramjit Singh Ahlawat, here yesterday and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the ghastly murder of Ankit after his kidnapping. According to a report, the SP is reported to have assured them the culprits would be brought to book within a week’s time.

Meanwhile, the parents of the victim, Ankit, have disclosed they had given Rs 5 lakh as ransom amount to the alleged kidnappers but they had killed Ankit and thrown the body, wrapped in a gunny bag, into a well near Barwasni village. They charged that if the police had taken prompt action against the kidnappers, Ankit’s life could have been saved.

The parents also pointed out the alleged kidnappers had demanded Rs 20 lakh as ransom from them but they had declined to give this huge amount. They said they had immediately informed the police about taking action against the alleged kidnappers.

Ankit, it may be recalled, was allegedly kidnapped by two unidentified scooter-borne youth when he came out from school on January 10 last after the closure of the institution. Subsequent to this, Ankit’s parents received telephonic calls from the alleged kidnappers, demanding a ransom of Rs 20 lakh. The last call was received on January 12.

There is a serious allegation that the police officials entrusted with the job of inquiry into the kidnapping had rounded up a number of persons. They were allegedly let off one by one after getting a huge amount as ‘nazrana’ from them.

A high-level inquiry into complaints against these police officials was likely to expose their misdeeds and the story behind the inquiry conducted by them, the distraught parents alleged.

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP), Mr Rajiv Jain, has expressed grave concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Sonepat district. He alleged the police administration seemed to have collapsed as it had failed to take deterrent action against the dreaded criminals and anti-social elements operating in this region.

In a signed press statement issued here today, Mr Jain cited the ghastly murder of Ankit and Sheela Devi Malik, a social worker, and said the police had so far failed to apprehend the culprits involved in these cases.

This incident, he said, had caused panic among the school-going children who had started feeling insecure. He alleged the ruling party politicians were shielding criminals and anti-social elements for their selfish ends.

Referring to the murder of Sheela Devi Malik, the HVP leader said Ms Malik was shot dead around noon when police officers from Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh were attending a joint meeting called by the Director-General of Police, Haryana, Mr M. S. Malik, to chalk out a joint strategy to curb the activities of inter-state criminals, smugglers, proclaimed offenders anti-national elements.



Notices to VIPs for keeping horses, cattle at home
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
Senior politicians, including Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma, have been served notices by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) for keeping cattle and horses in their bungalows illegally.

The NDMC sources said here today the “offenders had been served notices and challans” for keeping cattle at their official bungalows.

More than 28 challans have been issued so far to various VIPs. Animals kept in the residences of these people would be taken away and auctioned, the sources said.

Besides Mr Verma, other prominent leaders who were served challans include Union Minister Vasundhara Raje, Leader of the Opposition Manmohan Singh and Union Minister Uma Bharti.

According to the sources, the council permits residents to keep two cattle in their premises if the space in their bungalow is adequate.

“The residents have to submit an application to the Health Department which investigates if there is adequate space and proper ventilation for the animals besides ensuring that it is situated at a proper distance from human habitation,” the sources said.

The council then issues a licence for a year at the rate of Rs 8 per cow, they said.

The NDMC as a part of its drive earlier this month had sent notices to residents that no cattle would be allowed in bungalows without a requisite licence from the council.

After receiving complaints that VIPs were rearing cattle in their backyard, the NDMC decided to pin these high-profile residents and to their amazement recovered nine horses from Ms Vasundhara Raje’s house and eight cattle from the residence of senior Congress leader Arjun Singh, the sources said. 



Delhi’s seismic network being reinforced
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
As Delhi falls in the high-risk seismic zone and the Capital could witness a high-intensity earthquake, the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) is installing 12 more digital strong motion accelerographs in areas not adequately covered before.

The Rs 7.5-million project sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology goes under the acronym —- Augmented-Delhi Strong Motion Accelerograph (A-DSMA). Once the project is operational, it will cover all types of sub-surface categories in the city.

Seismology experts said that in the past, five earthquakes of Richter’s magnitude 5.5 to 6.7 are known to have occurred in Delhi or close to it since 1720 AD. Two major lineaments – the Delhi-Hardwar ridge and the Delhi-Moradabad faults — pass through the territory, both with potential of generating earthquakes of high magnitude..

Delhi is located in zone IV, which is rated fairly high seismically: the general occurrence of earthquakes is of 5-6 magnitude, a few of magnitude 6-7 and occasionally of 7-8 magnitude.

Various studies have been conducted on the intensity of a possible quake in Delhi and the findings of seismologists have been published in various scientific journals. According to one expert, the maximum size of an earthquake that may occur in this region could be 7.6. Another seismologist opined that that in 50 years, an earthquake in the magnitude of 6 is almost certain and that there is 80 per cent probability of a 7-magnitude event visiting the region.

The DST had stated that buildings not having safety measures and poorly built structures will suffer heavy damage in the national Capital in the event of a major earthquake. Chimneys of major plants will crash and factories, bridges and monuments will be demolished. There will be heavy overturn of household articles like furniture and interior fittings, flushing of underground water and ejection of sand, causing upheaval.

Delhi has fast changing sub-surface features, making it behave differently in adjoining localities in case of major earthquakes. Thorough investigations and data collection are necessary to access the damage potential of different parts.

The CBRI has been operating the DSMA network in and around Delhi since 1996 under a DST-supported project, Strong Motion Seismic Instrumentation. The network comprises 16 units of digital tri-axial strong motion accelerographs. Of these, eight are located inside Delhi and the rest around the city within a 200-km radius.

The city has highly sensitive and strategic structures and dense human population. The region surrounding the city is believed to be seismically active. A micronisation study of Delhi has, therefore, been given national priority, considering the vulnerability of the region.

Seismic activity in North India, including the Himalayas, is due to collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate.



Encroachment drive: A bumpy road for authorities
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 29
With the deadline of removing encroachments and evicting illegally occupied government land just a month away, the campaign may not only leave the district administration unusually busy but also leave a trail of unrest and resentment among the affected people.

The district authorities held a meeting here yesterday to chalk out a plan to demolish the encroachments and stop all illegal commercial activities in various urban (HUDA) sectors and colonies. The authorities decided to issue a warning to the encroachers and declared that a week’s time would be given to them for removing the encroachments themselves. They added demolitions would be carried out if there was no favourable response.

According to the district administration, about 13 housing board colonies in residential areas, including Sectors 3,7,10,18,21-D, 23,28,29 and 55, had been identified where the encroachments had been in a large number. The Chief Minister of Haryana in a meeting with Deputy Commissioners and SPs recently had directed removal of encroachments by February-end positively.

While the state government seems firm on its stand, local residents and experts feel the drive would bo no cakewalk. They fear discrimination in the campaign may mar the motive of the drive as a large number of encroachments had been done by persons close to the ruling party and some of them were even been occupying influential posts. Land worth several crores has been under illegal occupation but the authorities may be unable to recover it simply because the encroachers wield influence with the powers that be. Moreover, many of them had taken legal recourse.

Mr Rajkumar Gaur, secretary of the Haryana unit of the Janata Dal and a resident of Ajronda village, said a selective campaign could lead to unrest among residents if the authorities were not impartial.

Citing the demolition of dairy structures at Trikha Colony here on Monday and Tuesday, he said the police action had been brutal and inhuman as several persons, including women and minor girls, were beaten up mercilessly. He charged that the persons arrested had been wrongly charged with attempt to murder as the policemen wanted their act of opening fire on unarmed persons to be overlooked. He alleged that the authorities with their high-falutin talk of removing encroachments from various colonies were perhaps well aware that some shops illegally functioning in Sectors 7, 10 and 18 belonged to an influential activist of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal.

He alleged that the authorities had demolished a shop belonging to a common man situated near the Sector 7-10 chowk but spared the shop of an INLD worker just across it despite the fact that it was also an encroachment. It is also reported that some of the officials of HUDA and the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad had been allegedly collecting bribe for allowing encroachments in various areas.



Aid to drought-hit farmers a sick joke: LJP
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 29
A large number of Lok Janashakti Party workers, led by Mr Samsher Singh Malik, president of the state unit, took out a procession here yesterday to register their protest against grant of meagre compensation by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government headed by Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala to the drought-affected farmers of Haryana in general and Sonepat district in particular.

According to a report, Mr Ramraj Sharma, vice-president of the state unit of the party, Mr Sarvesh Kumar Tittoo, president of the district unit, Mr Anil Sihar, Mr Ramesh Thekedar and Mr Suresh Sena, president of the Haryana Dalit Sena, accompanied the procession. Carrying placards and raising anti-government slogans, the processionists passed through the main bazaars of the streets and reached the mini-secretariat. They submitted a memorandum to the SDM, Mr Sujan Singh, for forwarding it to the state government for taking action against the anti-farmer and anti-people Chautala government.

The memorandum pointed out that Haryana had been the worst hit by drought and the farmers had suffered a colossal loss as their kharif crops had been ruined by it.

The farm labourers and small farmers had to migrate from Haryana for taking shelter in other states and getting employment there. Most of the drought-hit farmers had come under heavy debt and they had no food for their children.

The memorandum also pointed out that the party had already urged the central and the state governments to grant Rs 10,000 per acre as compensation to the farmers whose crops had been ruined by drought in Haryana. It was regrettable that the state government had been giving compensation between Re 1 and Rs 10 only to the drought-hit farmers, which was a tantamount to making a mockery of their sorry plight. This had caused widespread resentment among the farmers of the state against both the central and the state governments. The drought-hit farmers were fed up with the Chautala government, which made claims of being pro-farmer and pro-people but the facts stated otherwise.

The memorandum alleged the state government was not serious about the loss of kharif crops suffered as a result of the drought. It had utterly failed to conduct a free and fair girdawri in the state. It blamed the central government for adopting an anti-farmer attitude by planning to stop the subsidy on the seed, fertilisers and pesticides and not giving the remunerative price for their produce.

On account of this policy, the farmers, farm labourers and other workers were on the verge of starvation, the memorandum further alleged. If a comprehensive survey of the farmers was carried out independently and impartially, a majority of the farmers would be found jobless in Haryana.

Change in STD code

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has changed the STD code of Sonepat SDCA from 01264 to 0130 on technical grounds with effect from the midnight of January 31 this year.

According to official sources, the telephone numbers of Sonepat city, Kundli, Rai, Bahalgarh, Jakhauli, Murthal, Ganaur, Bhigan, Kharkhauda, Nehra and Mehlana would also be changed from six figures to seven digits with effect from the midnight of January 31 next. Now, the subscribers will have to dial additional digit of 2 before dialling the old numbers. The subscribers have also been advised to contact telephone numbers 2240000 and 2240200 in case of any difficulty.



Braving the cold, they cycled to garner 
funds for riot-hit 

New Delhi, January 29
While the northern part of the country continued to grapple with what seemed to be an unrelenting cold wave, six bikers rode across the country, covering 12,000 kilometres and 19 states. These bikers of ActionAid on an ‘Aman Yatra’ were received in the Capital on Monday.

The volunteers took upon themselves the onus of spreading the message of peace, unity and harmony and collected money that would be used to rehabilitate 5,000 families and 2,000 children who have become victims of the Gujarat riots.

The ActionAid bikers chose to ride across the country to garner support for the victims of riots, especially children, who are the future of the country. The organisation has started Aman Parivar and Aman Shishu programme for the rehabilitation of children. It is being pointed out that a sum of Rs 10 crore is required for the rehabilitation of the affected people.

The peace riders, Chandan Lahiri, Solomon Jacob, Joy Raja, Arnab, Saurabh and Inderjeet, started their journey from Delhi and visited 19 states, including places like Kolkata, Patna, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Jodhpur, Hyderabad and Bhopal. Undeterred by the cold wave that left North India shivering, these riders attributed their success to the task of spreading the message of peace and harmony. TNS



Delhi to have 9 retail fruit & veg mandis 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
Nine new retail fruit and vegetable markets will be established in the coming years where, as Development Minister Haroon Yusuf puts it, farmers will be able to sell their produce at wholesale prices, thus benefiting households who would otherwise have to shell out more money to buy the same from weekly markets or shops in colonies.

The minister on Tuesday told a news conference the first of nine retail markets would come up at Andheria Mod by March for which purpose land had been taken possession of. Explaining the concept of retail markets, the minister told reporters 200 cabins would be built and given on first-cum-first-serve basis to farmers who would want to sell their produce there also. Currently, farmers sell in bulk at the wholesale mandis (markets.)

The minister said kisan identity cards and modification of mandis would also be taken up soon. For grading commodities according to their quality a plant would be set up in the Azadpur fruit and vegetable mandi. Also planned is a similar set-up in Tikri for which 73 acres will be acquired.



Poor kids go on the merry-go-round
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
It was a day of fun, laughter, lots of free rides, a good meal and something to cherish throughout life for the 400 underprivileged children from CRY-supported projects who turned up at Appu Ghar on Tuesday.

The inclement weather and the fact that the programme was almost cancelled did not dip their enthusiasm. The children had high jinks: enjoyed the striking cars, the frog rides, the Appu Columbus, and My Fair Lady. They rode the motorbikes with glee and enjoyed the aeroplane ride.

All in all, it was an unforgettable treat and experience for the children for whom even two square meals a day is often a luxury. They painted the town red as all the rides were free of charge thanks to the management of Appu Ghar.

Gaurav, a CRY volunteer, said: “They were not willing to get off the rides. They did the train ride into the water for 40 minutes before I could convince them to try something else also.”

Ten-year-old Raju from Alamb (a CRY-supported project) said, “Mujhe bahut hi mazaa aaya. Main yahan pehle kabhi nahin aaya hun. Mujhe mere doston ke saath bahut hi accha lag raha hai.” (I have enjoyed a lot. I have never come here before. With my friends, I am in my element here).

Rashmi, Shahnaz and other girls from Navshrishti (a CRY project for the girl child at NebSerai) echoed the same feelings: “Hamen bahut mazaa aaya. Hum pehli baar Columbus jaise jhule mein baithey.” (We had a ball. For the first time in our life, we sat on a swing like Columbus).

Vice Admiral Col. H Johson, advisor CRY, said: “We celebrate CRY day, the day Rippan Kapur, founder CRY, started Cry with just Rs 49 and a will to do something for India’s underprivileged children every year. We do so knowing that these children have otherwise no means of getting recreation, especially of this type.”



Land of contention: Legal notice to MC chief
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 29
The row over the ownership of a stretch of prime commercial land in the Taraf Rajputan area has snowballed into a major controversy with two local residents serving a legal notice on the Municipal Committee (MC) president, Mr Sanjay Bhatia.

In their notice served through a counsel, Mr Rajinder Krishan Aggarwal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Maha Singh urged Mr Bhatia not to take the law into his own hands by misusing his official position as the MC chief. The notice warned that Mr Bhatia would be personally liable for any criminal or civil action that Mr Maha Singh initiated against him.

The land (1 bigha and 10 biswas) in the eye of the storm, according to the notice, was purchased by Mr Maha Singh and Mr Narender Singh, vide registered sale deed, dated February 7, 2001 from Mr Rishi Pal. Before the purchase of the land, the previous owners wanted to construct shops there and a certified copy of the sanctioned site plan was obtained on April 2, 1999.

The notice alleged that a new site plan submitted by Mr Maha Singh and Mr Narender Singh was rejected by Mr Bhatia, vide order July 17, 2001. Then the owners approached the SDO (C), who is reported to have sanctioned the site plan in his order, dated December 4, 2001.

Then Mr Bhatia filed an appeal to the Commissioner and Secretary, Urban Development Department of Haryana Government against the orders of the SDO (C). The Commissioner upheld the orders of the SDO (C), the notice claimed.

The notice alleged that Mr Bhatia with the help of the civic body staff and JCB machine tried to demolish the existing shops in total disregard for the orders of the higher authorities.

Human chain against MNCs: To protest against the entry of MNCs in the Indian market, several organisations and schoolchildren formed a human chain from Babarpur to Patti Kalyana along the GT Road in the district today.

Thousands of protesters owing allegiance to the CPI, CPM, CITU, the Haryana Nagrik Manch, the BKU (Khokhar) and a large number of schoolchildren, shouting slogans against the MNCs, lined along the over 20-km stretch of the GT Road. The protesters urged the public to buy Swadeshi products as the MNCs were taking the Indian capital out of the country and contributing to the unemployment problem. The protest was part of the 1,200-km human chain organised in four states.

‘Qazi Sanaullah Award’: The Imam of the local Dargah Makhdoom Sahib, Maulana Mohsin Kasmi has been awarded the ‘Qazi Sanaullah Award’.

In recognition of his services to the Holy Quran, the Maulana was presented with ‘Tafshir-e-Mazhari’, a holy book, which was written by Qazi Sanaullah Panipat over 200 years back.



Electrical gadgets burnt in Huda Colony
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 29
Electrical appliances worth several lakhs of rupees were burnt in Huda Colony due to fluctuating voltage late on Tuesday night.
Electrical appliances, including colour TVs sets, washing machines, water pumps, fridges, bulbs and tubes were burnt when the voltage suddenly became high. The residents rushed out of their houses after switching off the main supply. Panic spread in the area for a few hours as rumours spread that a transformer in the area had caught fire.

The officials of the Electricity Department were informed but till late night nobody reached the spot.

Meanwhile, the residents of a majority of the areas in the city had to suffer due to long unscheduled power cuts since Tuesday evening.

The residents went without power throughout Tuesday night. The power supply could only be resumed by early Wednesday. The city had been reeling from severe power crisis since early this month. The unannounced long power cuts had thrown life out of gear in the industrial city.

The production of handloom products and blankets had been severely affected and their cost had gone up since running power supply on generators was a costly affair. As a result of power crisis, the water supply had been adversely affected since the tubewell supply was linked to the power supply.

Quiz wizards: D N College, Hisar, and Government College, Adampur, won the first and second prizes, respectively in the inter-college quiz competition held at the local SD College. IB College, Panipat, won the third prize in the competition, which saw the entry of 12 colleges.

Vivek Gupta from the host college won the first prize in the song competition. Similarly, Bilal Ahmed from the local Arya College won the second prize and Rishi Sharma from Guru Nanak Dev College, Karnal, the third prize. In the ghazal competition, Manisha of DAV College, Karnal, walked away with the first prize followed by Nidhi from the IB College. Arya College’s Bilal Ahmed got the third prize.



DPCC sit-in against hike in telephony tariff
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) on Wednesday held a sit-in to protest against the hike in tariff of basic telephony and sought its withdrawal.
DPCC president Subhash Chopra told media persons that the BJP-led Government at the Centre was arbitrarily hiking the charges of essential public utilities thereby hitting the common man the hardest. “The BJP,” he said, “was doing so to fill the coffers of a few business houses and companies.”

The 12 per cent hike in rental of land line would swell to 75 per cent if, he said, one were to take into account the reduction of call time from three minutes to two and free calls from 60 to 30.

Joining DPCC president Subhash Chopra in the sit-in were Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, J P Aggarwal, Mukesh Sharma, Narendra Nath, Krishna Tirath, Yoganand Shastri, Arvinder Singh Lovely and others. Also present were Meira Bhardwaj, Veer Singh, Naseeb Singh, Tarwinder Singh Marwah, Amrish Gautam, Shadi Ram and Roop Chand.



Sarpanch sacked
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, January 29
The sarpanch of Serla village in the district has been removed from his post with immediate effect. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr H S Malik, said the sarpanch was incompetent. The DC using power provided in section 177 of The Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, declared the post as vacant.

Man killed in mishap: A man was reportedly killed on the spot in a road accident that occurred near new grain market late last night. The deceased identified as Subhash, son of Ran Singh of local Dabar Colony, was hit by an unknown vehicle.

NEC team visits Vaish College: Two-member committee of NEC, a UGC branch, inspected Vaish College and reviewed its record and other activities today. The members of the team met the management committee and the students. Earlier, the team paid a visit at the BLJS College, Tosham, two days back. It will visit Adarsh College tomorrow.

Panchayat seeks more teachers: The panchayat of Kairu village has asked for  more teachers for their school. It has written a letter to the Chief Minister wherein the sarpanch mentioned the fact that no teacher had been provided to the school between 1999 and 2002 by the education department, resulting in the students’ suffering.

The letter drew the attention that the post of science and Sanskrit teachers had been lying vacant for several years. The students, the letter said, had to go outside for drinking water as the school had no proper arrangements for drinking water.



Day of death registration
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 29
The work of registration of deaths in the state has not been satisfactory. Only 73 per cent of the deaths were registered and the rules were bypassed in several cases. This has been stated in a report of the Census Department of Haryana.

The officials have stated that the department wanted to achieve the target of cent per cent registration by 2010. To create an awareness, the department has decided to observe January 30 as ‘Death registration day’ in the state.

Two held for murder:
Two persons including a woman have been arrested in connection with the murder of a youth several days ago in Palwal subdivision of the district. The woman is wife of the deceased and it is suspected that she and a person close to her were responsible for the murder. The court has sent the accused in police custody. The victim identified as Aman of Dudhola village, had been lynched about 15 days ago.



Paharganj to be beautified

New Delhi: Union Minister of State and Member of Parliament from Chandni Chowk Vijay Goel on Wednesday directed the MCD to undertake a cleanliness drive in Paharganj on Saturday. Mr Goel said on Saturday that the employees of Paharganj Zone would spruce up the roads and bylanes. “The idea,” he said, “is to present a clean and beautiful Paharganj to passengers alighting at the New Delhi Railway Station.” TNS



Passport & visa racket busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
The Special Cell of the Delhi Police yesterday claimed to have busted a passport and visa racket with the arrest of five persons, including a woman. The suspects were identified as Pawan Kumar Garg, Deepak Garg, Vivek Wadhawan, Usha Devi, all residents of Vikaspuri, and Arun Kumar of Lajpat Nagar.

The police received information about the suspects being involved in the passport racket issued on fictitious names from the Regional Passport Office in Patna in Bihar. They were getting visas from the US Consulate office in Kolkata by submitting forged or fraudulent documents. The suspects had also induced six persons from Punjab and had obtained Rs 1.15 crore on the pretext of sending them to the USA on genuine passports and visas.

A trap was laid and the suspects were arrested from Vikaspuri. During interrogation they disclosed that their modus operandi involved purchasing genuine passports having expired visas of the USA. Thereafter, they would get prepared forged passports in fictitious names. They would then apply for US visa at the Consulate in Kolkata.

In order to obtain visas from the US Consulate in Kolkata they used to submit forged documents of bank statements, LIC policies, income tax returns, fixed deposits, birth certificates and affidavits. After visas were obtained, Pawan Kumar Garg and Usha Devi would escort their clients to the USA . They used to charge between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh.

The police have recovered 36 forged passports, 63 blank passport applications forms, five fake affidavits, 163 rubber stamps of immigration offices, banks, governments offices and other companies. Apart from this, 25 blank passbooks of the Bank of India, 624 affidavits of sponsorship from the USA, a computer with printer and scanner have also been recovered.

Pawan Kumar Garg disclosed that he had so far sent 60 persons to the USA on forged documents. He was earlier arrested twice but jumped bail. Since he was involved in criminal cases, he had managed to get his passport in the name of Pawan Kumar from Bareilly and two other passports in the name of Priya Kumar and Arun Kumar. He had managed to get visa from the US Consulate in Kolkata by submitting fake documents and projecting himself as proprietor of M/s Credit Corporation of India. He had purchased property worth Rs 57 lakh, the police said.



‘Barati’ found tied to electric pole
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 29
Close on the heels of the gruesome murder of a young rickshaw-puller, Lal Singh, who was allegedly stoned to death and whose body was then thrown into a village field near here by unidentified killers on the night of January 14, another grisly murder of a young ‘barati’ (member of a marriage party) has now been reported from Lisan village under Jatusana police station of the district.

It has been reported that Bhagwan Yadav, son of Chet Ram Yadav, resident of Dehlawas Gulabpura village, joined a marriage party which proceeded on January 22 towards Lisan village from Bhankli village where the wedding of the daughter of Dharam Pal Yadav was solemnised. Subsequently, the marriage party, along with the bride, returned to Bhankli village.

But when Bhagwan Yadav failed to return home his worried family sent his brother first to Bhankli and then to Lisan to make inquiries in this regard. In the meantime, when Santosh Yadav, daughter-in-law of Dharam Pal Yadav, went to their fields to fetch fodder next morning she found the body of a young man tied to an electric pole. Soon, the others got wind of the matter and the body was identified as that of Bhagwan Yadav.

The police have registered a case of murder under Section 302 of the IPC. But even after five days, they are still clueless about the killers. Besides, the motive for the murder is also proving to be a tough nut to crack.



Inter-state gang of dacoits busted 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 29
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were recovered from an inter-state gang of dacoits.
One Marshal jeep, two trucks, colour TV sets, Rs 70,000 looted from a petroleum employee, 10 countrymade revolvers, 110 bags of plaster grain and a large number of live cartridges have been recovered from the gang.

The value of the goods, including trucks, is estimated at Rs 15 lakh. The dacoits had committed crime in UP, Uttaranchal, Delhi and even Nepal.

With this, many incidents of dacoities and loots have been solved. The gang had specialised in looting the godowns of the factories.

SSP Chander Prakash said that among the arrested dacoits, Sudhir Kumar is of Durga Puri Mansrovar and Ashfeq, alias Pappu, is resident of Modi Nagar, Sanjay Sharma, alias Itender, of Bulandshahar, Chander Pal Jatav of Aurangabad, Ratanpur while Jagat Sankaula is from Gulawathi.

Besides, the police have arrested Raju Sharma of Nand Gram, Brahmandan Sharma, alias Kalu Jakhora, of Sambhawali, Ravi Prakash, alias Chhotu Jatav, from Mohalla Vijay Nagar slums in Modi Nagar and Pawan Kaushal of Bulandshahar.



Girl abducted, cops accused of inaction
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, January 29
A Dalit widow has charged the district police authorities with adopting a casual attitude towards her complaint regarding the abduction of her young daughter by a neighbour on Tuesday.

In a letter, copies of which were sent to the I.G., Rohtak range, Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, the complainant, Ms Shakuntala Devi, a resident of Jati mohalla on Jhajjar Road here alleged that her neighbour Rajender Kumar coaxed her daughter into accompanying him. She said her daughter also took Rs 50,000 and ornaments worth Rs 15,000 with her. The complainant said the matter was immediately reported to the police post concerned. However, she alleged that the police had done nothing so far. The policemen were harsh with her, she said. In her complaint, she alleged that Ms Krishna Devi, mother of Rajender Kumar, also supported her son in committing the crime. She said that Manjeet, alias Romi, and Pawan of Nehru Colony, accomplices of Rajender, were also involved in the crime. She sought stern action against the culprits.



IOC to build world’s largest petrochemical project
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 29
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the only Fortune 500 company of the country, will complete the world’s largest petrochemical project at Bal Jattan village, near here, by next year.

To be built at over an area of 760 acres at a cost of Rs 5,104 crore, the work on the project is in full swing and slated to be completed by mid-2004. The site, which is about 4.5 km from the Panipat Refinery will be connected to the refinery through a corridor. In fact, infrastructure such as the development of approach roads, site grading, boundary wall, raw water canal, construction of building have either been completed or at an advanced stage, IOC sources said here.

The sources informed that the IOC planned an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore on the refinery to double its capacity from 6 million to 12 million metric tons per annum (MMTPA). The doubling of the capacity is an offshoot of the withdrawal of local area development tax (LADT) of 4 per cent by the Haryana Government. Besides, a 30 MW power plant was also proposed.

True to its reputation of being an eco-friendly refinery, 500 acres of the 1,100 acre of the refinery was under plantation with over 4.5 lakh trees.

The sources said the petrochemicals project will comprise mainly paraxylene (PX) and Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA). PTA is used for the product of Polyester Staple Fibre (PSF) and Polyester Filament Yarn (PFY), which is used for the textile manufacturing plants.

The PFY will produce PX, which in turn will be used as a feedstock for producing the PTA. The project is primarily aimed at the utilisation of Naphtha available from the Panipat and Mathura refineries.

A carrying capacity study for the total area of Panipat covering 25 km radius is being done through NEERI, Nagpur, to study the combined impact of the existing and planned projects in Panipat. In fact, the no-objection certificate from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board and environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests have already been received.

And with a view to maintaining the ecological balance, the 75-acre greenbelt having a width of 50 metres is being developed in collaboration with the Forest Department. About 17 varieties of fruit and other trees are being planted and about 43,750 sapling are slated to be planted in the first phase.

Since most of the land was under cultivation, the development of the belt was planned along with the construction of the project. The soil, which was alkaline in nature and no good for the growth of fruit tree, was being replaced by good soil and further conditioned by mixing with gypsum. The whole belt will be fenced before the plantation to protect the seedlings from the wild and domestic animals.

Among the species, which will be planted are mango (5,060) jack fruit (780), jamun and kadamb (1,560 each), aonla, ber and aru (3,500 each), guava (2,415), lemon and karonda (10,000 each) and anar (1,875). Meanwhile, the refinery processed 6.08 MMTPA of crude oil during 2002. On the safety, health and environment front, the refinery has received the prestigious ‘Sword of Honour’ Award from the British Safety Council, London. It also completed over two years of operations without any accident, achieving accident-free 5.29 million man hours.


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