Sunday, February 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


PM’s day out: Nehru Place turns into virtual fortress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The Capital’s prime business district, Nehru Place in south Delhi, normally bustling with activity, today turned into a virtual fortress as the security forces sanitised the entire area, mindful of the recent breaches of the prime minister’s security. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee was to lay the foundation stone of the Rs 100-crore Aastha Kunj, a spiritual complex.

The entire area remained out of bounds for the public for several hours even as the prime minister himself made light of the inconvenience to the public with his characteristic wit and humour, saying that the people should co-operate with the PM who was but an occasional visitor to the area. Even the DDA officials, the organisers of the function, were not spared by the Special Protection Group’s (SPG) and were made to repeatedly produce their I-cards at the ceremony. “It was a classic case of once bitten, twice shy”, commented a senior security official.

Though the local residents had been informed about the curbs on movement in the area because of the Prime Minister’s presence, a number of persons working in the business district had to return home as the offices were closed. Even in cases of emergency, the policemen were found unwilling to relent.

Later, after laying the foundation stone, the prime minister said that the very fact that ‘’a garden for the soul’’ had come up here in the times of agnosticism is a commitment to man’s resolve not to let doubts overpower his inherent faith.

Though praising the recent works of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which had developed this park, besides ensuring a 19 per cent green cover for the Capital, he took a dig at it, saying that numerous foundation stones had been laid in the past but only a few of those projects could be completed.

He cautioned the organisers of the function, lest ``’even this foundation-stone has to wait like the mythical Ahilya in Ramayana for an incarnation of God to redeem it.’’

Mr Vajpayee said he had only laid the foundation stone and the construction work was yet to start. “In today’s politics, only foundation stones are laid and constructions do not take place,” he said.

On the time-frame for completion of Aastha Kunj, he said the task should be accomplished within two-and-a-half years instead of three.

Mr Vajpayee, however, lauded the DDA for planning such a novel project spread over 200 acres in the vicinity of four temples.


BKU rally passes without major hiccups
Our Correspondent

Meerut, February 1
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) mahapanchayat sent life for a toss in the city today. All roads seemed to lead to the Government Inter College ground, which was packed to capacity with thousands of BKU activists, lustily cheering their leaders who went hammer and tongs at the government.

Several leaders, including BKU President Mahendra Singh Tikait and BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, former chief minister of UP Jagdambika Pal and former Governor Romesh Bhandari, also joined the rally.

However, former prime minister H D Deve Goda was turned back from Modinagar, some 20 km from Meerut, on the ground that the situation could deteriorate in Muzaffarnagar. The BKU president responded by accusing the government and the administration of humiliating the farmers and jeopardising their interests.

Senior administrative officials had halted the railway and road

traffic to Muzaffarnagar. The trains passing through Muzaffarnagar were also diverted, causing much inconvenience to the passengers, some of whom were stranded at railway station and at the UPSRTC bus terminals. The prices of eatables went through the roof as thousands of famished BKU activists thronged the eateries.

Mindful of violence that might erupt, the administration kept a safe distance from the BKU rally and not a single policeman was posted at the mahapanchayat site. Senior Suprintendent of Police, Muzaffarnagar, Bhajni

Ram Mina told the NCR Tribune that the police contingent was kept in the barracks. However, several senior police officials were seen patrolling the streets with their hooters on. The residents preferred to stay indoors.

The BKU president asked the administration to order the unconditional release of arrested activists and revoke all cases registered against the BKU leaders by February 7. Otherwise, it will resort to ‘chakka’ jam throughout western UP.


Delhi Govt won’t bail out lawyers on crèches
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
The Delhi Government’s Social Welfare Department has refused to part with more resources to set up crèches for lawyers in the city. The department informed the Delhi High Court that lady lawyers seeking government assistance for setting up crèches in various courts in the Capital are capable of looking after their interests.

Terming the demand as ‘unwarranted,’ the department has pointed out that crèches were set up for the economically weaker sections and that the lady lawyers should use their resources to set up crèches in the courts.

In an affidavit filed before a Division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice B D Ahmed, Joint Director, Social Welfare, Mr. Rajesh Mishra, said that the lawyers were an organised group and capable of opening such facilities fully funded and supported by them.

He added that the demand was unwarranted in case of lawyers who were well protected under the Bar Council Act. The State, it was pointed out, is committed to provide facilities to those who are economically weak, but the lawyers do not come in that category.

Besides, most of the crèches run by the Government were set up in places provided by a host organisation. In the present case, no space had been offered by the courts, it was stated. The Bar Council should have provided the space for running crèches in various court premises as the lady lawyers have already given a representation in this regard to the Bar, which is duty bound to safeguard the rights, privileges and interest of the advocates on its rolls, the affidavit added.

The Delhi Government had also contributed Rs one crore to the Advocates Welfare Fund. This fund should be used for establishing crèches in various courts, it suggested.

The affidavit came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking provision of crèche facility in the high court and all district courts in the Capital.

The petition was filed by Social Jurist through counsel Ashok Agarwal, seeking day-care facilities for children upto three years, for the benefit of lady lawyers, judges, court staff and litigants.


Seized vehicles reduced to junk
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 1
Hundreds of vehicles, including cars, jeeps, mopeds, scooters, motor cycles, trucks, tractors and Maruti vans, seized by the police during the past one decade have been reduced to scrap as they have been lying in the open in various police stations of this district.

According to a report, the police authorities are in a quandary about disposing these vehicles that have been damaged by rust and the vagaries of weather while lying in the open. A list of these vehicles is also being prepared to inform the higher police authorities.

The police have so far failed to trace their owners. The machinery and other equipment of some vehicles are reported to have been stolen and the police authorities are worried on this count.

The police had seized as many as 97 vehicles under Section 102 of the IPC. These include 25 cars, five mopeds, 35 motor cycles, 22 scooters, 1 TATA 609, 1 TATA Sumo, two tractors, two trucks and two Maruti vans.

Similarly, under Section 25 of the Police Act, the police had seized 44 cars, one jeep, one moped, 38 motor cycles, 39 scooters, two TATA Sumo, one autorickshaw, one three-wheeler and four Maruti vans. The number of vehicles seized by the police under the Police Act has gone up to 133. All these vehicles have been lying unclaimed. Under Section 102 of the IPC, the seized vehicles are said to be stolen. At the time of seizure, almost all vehicles are in a working condition but these have now become unserviceable.

According to the police sources, the owners of many stolen vehicles have already received handsome amounts as claim from the insurance companies and now they are reluctant to reclaim their vehicles.

The police department is contemplating auctioning these vehicles in the near future.

However, at the moment they are rotting in the police backyards, making them resemble junkyards.


Lady kicks up royal ruckus, makes a pile
Parmindar Singh

Noida, February 1
A young woman left the cops here at their wits’ end when she managed to make a quick buck under the law enforcers’ eagle eyes. She made an appearance at a police post in Sector 22 under the Sector 24 police station on January 30. Dragging a boy behind her who, she claimed, had stolen her purse in a bus, she kicked up a royal ruckus.

The wronged woman allegedly caught hold of a boy who was standing behind her in the bus and took him to the police post along with her companion, proclaiming that her purse, containing some cash and other articles, had been stolen by him. She told the police to give the boy a thorough thrashing to induce him to make a confession. Ruing that the cops were failing in their duty to maintain law and order, the wrathful woman gave the embarrassed looking cops a tongue-lashing.

Some people who recognised the boy said he was from a decent family and if the police locked him up his life would be spoiled. The boy said he had only come to procure some medicines from the market for his ailing father.

At this juncture, some people offered to compensate the woman for the loss suffered by her, provided she did not press charges against the boy.

The sight of 10 crisp Rs 100 notes reportedly cooled her frayed temper. With alacrity, she rushed out of the police post, richer by Rs 1,000.

Later, she was reportedly joined by three of her companions. She was seen strolling in the main market of Noida in the evening having a gala time. Realising that they had been tricked, the police are now on the lookout for the damsel.


UHBVN runs out of transformers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 1
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) is facing an acute shortage of 100 KVA transformers.

According to a report, executive engineers of various divisions of the UHBVN have sent an SOS to the circle offices, demanding immediate supply of the 100 KVA transformers to meet their requirements. These transformers, they point out, are needed most to avoid losses to the standing wheat and sugarcane crops in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of the UHBVN.

A large number of farmers have been visiting the offices of the Xens in the hope of getting 100 KVA transformers but they have been returning disappointed in the evening.

The UHBVN takes care of the districts of Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Sonepat, Rohtak, Panipat, Jind and Kaithal. The stores of these districts have run out of 100 KVA transformers and the authorities are facing the wrath of the farmers as they are in no position to replace the damaged 100 KVA transformers.


Auto fares up, at par with other metros
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
Travelling in auto rickshaws will become dearer starting midnight with the Delhi Government announcing a hike of Rs three in the fare over the existing Rs five for the first km and Rs 3.50 instead of Rs 2.50 for every additional km. Delhi Transport Minister, Mr. Ajay Maken, told newspersons that the government had decided to bring auto fares at par with those in metros like Bangalore and Mumbai.

The hike is expected to ensure a minimum monthly earning of Rs 6,625, Mr. Maken said, adding that the decision was part of the reform package of the government to rationalise three-wheeler operations. The fare committee, comprising an NCAER panel of senior economists, had submitted a report in this regard to the government, he pointed out.

The Transport Minister said that a series of measures would be enforced by the Transport Department to check malpractices such as tampering of meters, overcharging and the use of non-CNG vehicles. 


Illegal markets the latest in the encroachment saga
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 1
The state government has reiterated several times that encroachments on public land will not be tolerated and has even set a deadline to get these removed, but the authorities sometimes tend to ignore them unless these become an issue and are raised at a higher level.

Complaints by several residents about the alleged unauthorised auto market and subzi mandi (vegetable market) on the NH 2 (Tikona Park) of NIT seems to be a perfect example of the state of affairs prevailing here.

Residents of the area, led by social activist K. L. Gera, have approached the District Grievances Redressal Committee for removal of the major encroachments reportedly causing inconvenience to the movement of pedestrians, especially the students of a government school. The unauthorised vegetable market is right in front (outside the main gate) of the school.

It may be recalled that the Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala himself presides over the monthly meeting of the District Grievances Redressal Committee. The auto market is also said to be illegal.

The traffic remains choked during any part of the day due to parking of vehicles brought for repairs or sale, said a resident.

The shopkeepers here have constructed illegal ramps (phads) and had put up structures or sheds to occupy more space in front of the shops here.

The functioning of the auto market, where at least two schools are located and which is the main road to several areas of NH 2, is totally improper as there is heavy pollution, both air and noise.

It is alleged that several anti-social elements have been involved in occupying public land here and the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) officials have been ignoring the problem mainly due to the fact that bribes were being paid regularly.

It is also stated that the management of a temple situated here has also encroached upon the public land as it had put up grills all around the building, thereby encroaching more land but leaving a narrow passage for the local residents to move.

Residents demand that the vegetable market located just outside the gate of the government school be shifted to an appropriate place. Several complaints have been lodged about the subzi mandi but it is alleged that the MCF authorities have put the complaints aside due to unknown reasons.

It is also alleged that action against the encroachers, whenever it is taken, smacks of discrimination and rampant corruption. The residents have threatened to file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court if no action is taken within 15 days. 


An industrial capital that is home to mighty waterfalls and ancient temples
Tribune News Service

With the formation of Jharkhand, the total number of states in the Indian federation rose to 28. The state with 74.677 sq. km, having 18 districts, has Ranchi for its capital. Jharkhand is a mineral rich state, having most of the big industries of united Bihar.

Better known for its major steel plants, coal mines fields, heavy engineering plant and several industrial establishments, the state is rich in natural beauty. The state is also famous for different tribes, each known for its cultural ethnicity. The state has evergreen forests, wild life sanctuaries, lakes and waterfalls that account for its scenic beauty.

State capital Ranchi is a beautiful hill station, at an altitude of 676 metres and surrounded by waterfalls. Of places to see in the capital city are:

Ranchi Hill: Ranchi, being situated at an altitude of 676 meters, is a popular holiday resort. It is also a place for pilgrimage. Offering a panoramic view of the town, the Ranchi Hill is a must see on the tourist’s itinerary. The Shiva temple, situated on the top of the hill, fulfils the spiritual compulsions.

Dassam Falls: About 40 km. away from Ranchi is a village named Taimara, fl owing through which is the Kanchi River. Falling from a height of about 144 feet, Kanchi River turns into the magnificent Dassam Falls. While the waters are irresistible, warning to stay away is something one cannot ignore.

Hundru Falls: Hundru falls is about 28 km. from Ranchi. The Swarnarekha river, falling from a height of 320 feet, gives rise to the scenic Hundru Falls. Rains see the falls transformed into an impregnable form, but in summer the waters are friendly and exciting.

Jonha Falls: About 40 km. away from Ranchi is the Jonha Falls. The road leading to Jonha is narrow, but not as rough and rugged as that of Hundru. There is also a hospice tourist rest house with Gautam Buddha’s temple. The fall is also known as Gautamdhara after Lord Buddha.

Hirni Falls: About 70 km from Ranchi, on way to Chakradharpur, is located Hirni Falls. Located amidst dense forest, Hirni has been a favourite with nature enthusiasts.

Gonda Hill & Rock Garden: About 4 km from Ranchi, is situated the Gonda Hill with a water reservoir at its top. At the foot of the hill, is a big lake known as Kanke.

Tagore Hill: At a distance of about 3 km from Ranchi, the Tagore Hill is about 300 ft high. Legend goes that Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote a couple of his works on top of this hill. The hill is named after the poet laureate. At the foot of the hill, is situated the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram.

Jagannathpur Temple & Hill: The old temple of Lord Jagannath built in 1691, reminiscent of the architectural style of Puri Temple, stands atop the hill, which is about 10 km from Ranchi. A car and chariot festival held on Ashadhmas is a crowd puller.

Angrabadi: Angrabadi is a temple complex, dedicated to Lords Ganesha, Ram and Sita, Hanuman and Shiva. The Shankracharya, Swami Swarupanand Saraswati, having been captivated by serene, placid and celestial beauty of Angrabadi, christened it Amreshwar Dham.

Sun Temple: An exquisite piece of architecture is the Sun Temple, located about 39 kms from Ranchi. The Sun temple fashioned like a huge chariot with 18 wheels and seven horses, is an awe-inspiring structure. The surroundings of the temple is studded with a pond serving as a sacred place for Chhathavratis. There is a dharmashala meant for the pilgrims as well.

Belta National Park: Famous for its wild life, the park is located 11 km from Daltonganj, on the Ranchi-Daltonganj main road. Surrounded by impregnable forests, hills and valleys, the sanctuary is spread across 250 sq. km. It is full of elephants, sambhars, wild boars and pythons. Apart from spotted deers (cheetal), langur and blue bulls are present here.

Hazaribagh National Park: Located at 135 km from Ranchi, the park is home to tigers, panthers, sambhars and spotted deer.

To help visitors catch a better glimpse of the wild, there are watch towers.


IG reviews crime scenario
Our Correspondent

Panipat, February 1
The IG of Rohtak Range, Mr Resham Singh, on Friday night directed the SPs of the range to get tough with the criminals with a view to checking the spiralling crime graph in the area. Addressing a meeting of the top officials here, Mr Resham Singh also directed the officials to identify the illegal Bangladeshis in the districts and make concerted efforts to flush them out as outlined at a meeting of the top officials of the seven states at Sonepat recently.

Sources said the IG also directed the officials to make efforts to build police-public cooperation. The officials on their part put forth various suggestions for checking crimes. The IG also reviewed the crime scenario in various parts of the district. The SPs of Panipat, Sonepat, Jhajjar and Karnal attended the meeting. The SP, Rohtak was represented by the DSP.

Story-telling competition

With a view to improving spoken English, the English learning zone of Arya College organised a story-telling competition yesterday. According to Prof Rakesh Mohan and Mrs Anuradha of the English Department, the competition provided an opportunity to the students to improve their creative faculties and imagination. Students were expected to use past tense so that the grammar component did not get overlooked.

As many as 25 students of BA (functional English) participated. While Ekta won the first prize, Asha and Deepak bagged the second prize and Pooja and Seema the third.

Girls’ school opened

Rohtak: Mr Ajay Singh Chautala, MP and son of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, has said that the state government has been making sincere efforts to carry out developmental works in the villages. He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating a government girls’ primary school at Balambha village today. Earlier, he inaugurated a scheme to renovate the new Nidana miner. An amount of Rs 40 lakh would be spent on renovation of the miner, which would provide irrigation water to about 2,566 acres in Madina, Jindran and Korsan villages.

Mr Chautala also inaugurated newly constructed six classrooms in a Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School at Madina village, which were constructed at a cost of Rs 8 lakh. Later, he inaugurated Rajbir Rathi Shaheed Park and unveiled the statute of the martyr. At Meham, he inaugurated a fire station to be constructed by the municipal council at an estimated cost of Rs 15.25 lakh.

Roads damaged in rain

Sonepat: A large number of roads in long stretches in the sprawling city have almost been washed away in the delayed winter rains in the past one week. A majority of the roads have been damaged leaving deathtraps in the form of potholes. It is alleged that the municipal council, the PWD (B and R), the market committee and the HUDA are callous towards the repair of these roads.

According to a report, only some roads could withstand the onslaught of the incessant rains. Travelling on most of the roads is a nightmare, particularly for two-wheeler drivers. Walking on the roads has become so dangerous at night in the wake of poor streetlight. Some roads are so heavily damaged that the people are wary of using them. The Atlas road and the mandi road towards Kalupur village are fine examples of the deathtraps.

Affordable heart care must: Dr Lal

Faridabad: Dr Purshottam Lal, director of the Metro Heart Institute who was awarded the prestigious Padma Vibhushan this year, has stressed on the need of providing affordable heart care facilities to low and middle income class people.

Speaking at a function organised here last evening to honour him, Dr Lal said although Metro Hospitals and Heart Institutes had initiated measures in this direction, the authorities or various organisations must help in reducing the cost of treatment for heart patients by providing land and infrastructure at cheaper rates for setting up more specialised care centres. Dr Lal, who was awarded Padma Shree in 1993, said the Metro Institute provided one of the best state-of-the-art facilities in international cardiology at affordable rates. He claimed that no patient was turned out for want of funds or finances.


Farmers still waiting to reap the benefits of Masani Barrage
Our Correspondent

Rewari, February 1
Masani Barrage, which had been aptly described as a boon for the flood-prone areas of south Haryana, has now become a curse for the farmers of about two hundred villages of Rewari and Gurgaon districts.

The Masani Barrage was envisaged after the devastating flood in the Sahibi river, which had caused unprecedented havoc in parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi in 1977. Consequently, the then Prime Minister, Mr Morarji Desai, decided to have a master plan for the entire Sahibi basin for flood moderation and optimum utilisation of its water.

Thereafter, the Central Water Commission formulated a master plan and the construction work of the barrage on the National Highway 8, near Masani village, about 12 km from Rewari, began in February 1979.

It was estimated that the barrage would provide flood protection to about 1.6 lakh acres in Haryana and about 40,000 acres in Delhi apart from providing irrigation facilities to about 50,000 acres in South Haryana.

Besides, it was hoped that it would perennially recharge the subsoil water level and improve the brackishness of ground water in the area.

However, the plan completely went haywire when the average annual rainfall continually declined and several dams were constructed over the Sahibi river at various places in Rajasthan, which drastically reduced the flow of water from Sahibi to Haryana.

Consequently, the entire basin of the Masani Barrage has been lying waterless (dry) for the past about two decades. The subsoil water level has steeply declined to about 100 feet, thereby, causing unprecedented hardship to the farmers of about 200 villages of this region, who are now solely dependent on tubewells to irrigate their fields.

Sometime back a technically viable scheme to recharge the subsoil water of the entire basin of the Masani Barrage was formulated by the state Irrigation Department. In this direction, efforts were made to secure Rs 4 crore from National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to implement the scheme.

The scheme envisaged the construction of a 4-km long carrier-channel from the Asiaki distributary of the JLN canal upto the outer point of the basin.

Recently, a farmer delegation of the region, led by Rao Shiv Rattan Singh, a member of the national executive committee of the BJP Kisan Morcha, submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on January 13, 2003. The memorandum, supported by 65 village panchayats of the region, urged the Prime Minister to expedite the release of the requisite funds for the implementation of the scheme. Now, the national executive committee of the BJP Kisan Morcha has accepted an invitation to hold its two-day conclave on February 6 and 7 at Dharuhera, near Masani Barrage.

Mr Rao told the NCR Tribune that Prof Shivanker Rao, national chairman of the BJP Kisan Morcha, had assured him that the morcha would espouse the cause of the aggrieved farmers and make earnest efforts to expedited the implementation of the scheme.


Two-year-old killed in fire
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
A fire that broke out in a house in a South Delhi locality last night claimed the life of a two-year-old child while his parents suffered severe burns. The fire started around 8.35 pm yesterday from the kitchen of the house of Bhagwan Singh in Valmik Basti in Deoli area. Both Bhagwan Singh and his wife Jyoti suffered over 60 per cent burns and have been admitted in Safdarjung Hospital. Their two-year-old son Shivam died in the fire, the Delhi Fire Service spokesman said.

13 vehicle thieves nabbed

Crime Branch sleuths arrested 13 members of a vehicle thieves’ gang and worked out 90 cases of car theft reported in West and North-West districts. Fourteen stolen cars have been recovered. The suspects have been identified as Chitarbhuj, Niranjan, Rajesh Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Daya Shankar Sharma, Yashpal Shah, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Ranjan Chatri, Abhijeet Pal Chaudhary, Prakash Chandran and Sachin Rai.

During interrogation, the suspects disclosed that Siliguri was the main market of stolen cars where auto lifters used to deliver these cars to Ranjan. The brokers in Siliguri sold these cars to their customers in North Eastern States, Nepal and Bhutan after preparing forged documents, the police said.

Chopra stages dharna

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Subhash Chopra, today held a dharna at Jantar Mantar to protest against the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel for the third time in the past one month.

Addressing the party workers, he said the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel would have a chain reaction on the prices of all essential commodities, making the lives of the people beyond endurance and tolerance.

Accusing the BJP-led Centre of being insensitive to the needs and demands of the people, Mr Chopra said the government’s policies and programmes were not only anti-people but also encouraged and enlarged the scope of corruption.

Among those who addressed the rally included former MP Sajjan Kumar, former minister Jagdish Tytler, and MCD Standing Committee chairman Ram Babu Gupta.

Youth Congress appointment

Mr Ghanendra Bhardwaj has been appointed the general secretary of the Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress. The Youth Congress president, Mr Rajesh Lilothia, made the announcement here today.

Speaking on his appointment, Mr Bhardwaj said that the confidence and responsibility given by the state president will be honoured and he would work to spread the policies and programmes of the Congress to the common people. 


Capacity of Dahina power sub-station increased
Our Correspondent

Rewari, February 1
Dakshini Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has augmented the capacity of the 33 KV power sub-station of Dahina from 10.3 MVA to 14.3 MVA.

This has been effected by setting up one additional transformer of 4 MVA capacity, at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. The number of transformers at the sub- station has now been raised from two to three.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vineet Garg, said that the upgradation would benefit 2,600 power consumers of different categories of Dahina, Jainabad, Nimoth, Dhani, Kanwali, Gothra and Lisan villages. The power was supplied from six feeders of 11 KV capacity each, originating from the Dahina sub-station. The augmentation will come as a great relief to the residents of the region.


Rain gods shower mercy, Surajkund mela opens
Tribune News Service

Surajkund, February 1
The 17th Surajkund Crafts Mela opened amid traditional fanfare as rain gods chose to stay away today rather than spoil the organisers’ party.

Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala inaugurated the fortnight-long fair. Lt-Gen (retd) T. P. S. Rawat, Minister of Tourism, Uttaranchal, was the chief guest.

The dignitaries were welcomed with flowers and taken for a round of the stalls to view the items on display.

They showed keen interest and stopped to have a word with some of the crafts persons. The chief guest stopped for a brief while at the Mela Chaupal, where cultural troupes from Uttaranchal welcomed the guests. Uttaranchal is the theme state of this year’s mela.

The commemorative structure is a replica of the Singh Dwar of the famous and holy Shri Badrinath Temple located in Uttaranchal. Also depicted on the structure is the famous Jageshwar Dham located in Almora district of that state.

The area around the structure has been landscaped to depict the world famous Valley of Flowers.

The Singh Dwar has a height of 23 feet and a width of 30 feet. The over-all ambience of the mela area has been further beautified with colourful motifs, designs and artefacts typical of Uttaranchal.

The theme state has highlighted its presence with cultural events representing the folk dances and music of Uttaranchal. Special evening events are to be held at the Natyashala by the theme state on February 2 and February 3. A fashion show titled ‘Aarohan’ has been planned for February 8.


Long live Gandhism, at least abroad

Let me own this. If I could call myself, say, a Christian, or a Mussalman, with my own interpretation of the Bible or Koran, I should not hesitate to call myself either. For then Hindu, Christian and Mussalman would be synonymous terms. I do believe that in the other world there are neither Hindus, nor Christians nor Mussalmans. They all are judged not according to their actions irrespective of their professions. During our earthly existence there will always be these labels. I therefore prefer to retain the label of my forefathers so long as it does not cramp my own growth and does not debar me from assimilating all that is good anywhere else.’’ wrote Mahatma Gandhi, obviously hinting at the inadvisability of fighting over labels.

On January 30, the nation once more observed the ritual of paying obeisance to the leader, who fought against the mighty British and won freedom for the land without firing a single shot. It was also a tribute to the proponent of religious tolerance and communal harmony, who ultimately became a martyr for the ideals he preached during his lifetime.

The last phase of his life was marked by pain and brokenness over the display of religious hatred he witnessed. More than five decades after the gruesome murder of the Mahatma, the nation today finds itself as much plagued by religious intolerance as then. Some of the delegates at the recently held Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Delhi, who must have a better appreciation of how Gandhiji’s ideals are being followed in India and abroad did some plain speaking on the issue. Ujjal Dosanjh, the first coloured head of a province in Canada and the first Indian to be elected to a top political post in the West, had this to say: “Ironically even as the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to the motherland is being celebrated, we are also seeing the death of his ideas in his birthplace. This happens when leaders become bereft of vision and reduce public discourse to the lowest level. We NRIs are really worried about this trend.’’

Recent events in the country, particularly the growing communalism against which Gandhiji fought all his life, are pointers to the fact that the country no longer takes him and his teachings seriously. Had he been a witness to the current scenario in his own land he would have echoed the words of his mentor and friend Rajchandra: “I can tolerate people’s piercing my body with arrows but I cannot bear the falsehood, hypocrisy and atrocities, the irreligion prevailing in the world in the name of religion.’’

Even the weapons he had forged to fight injustice and untruth such as “satyagraha’’ have fallen into disrepute because they are being employed by unscrupulous persons for selfish ends and for creating anarchy.

Satyagraha, as conceived by Gandhi, is adherence to and following of truth and justice even at the cost of one’s life. Gandhi never preached unconditional obedience to the laws of the state, especially when it conflicted with the higher or the diving law or the dictates of one’s conscience. At the same time he emphasized that satyagraha is not a means to spread chaos or anarchy or disintegration. “A satyagrahi obeys the laws of society intelligently and of his own free will because he considers it his sacred duty to do so. It is only when a person has thus obeyed the laws of society scrupulously that he is in a position to judge as to which particular rules are good and just and which unjust and iniquitous. Only then does the right accrue to him of the civil disobedience of certain laws in well-defined circumstances,’’ wrote Gandhiji in Young India. (June 1, 1921)

Today whether it is in politics or in trade unionism, the weapon of satyagraha is indiscriminately used to tyrannise the opponent to fall in line with unjust demands. Similarly, civil disobedience is resorted to for flimsiest and selfish ends and for unjust causes. The result is the thwarting of the rule of law and indiscipline.

Gandhiji died a broken man, having witnessed the communal violence and the death and destruction it had caused. He did not join the Independence Day celebrations and spent time in prayer and fasting. Since his time, there has been a considerable deterioration of values in public life, he had advocated. In his voluminous writings he had identified seven social sins. They are: “politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, wealth without work, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice. “The scandals that get reported in the media give clear indication of the widespread corruption that had infected almost all areas of life including politics, business and religion.

However, it is heartening to note that in the West there is a renewed interest in the Gandhian philosophy. The many delegations that visit this country’s Gandhian institutions for study and research and for interaction at other levels as also institutions abroad doing research in non-violence abroad are testimonies of the growing influence of Gandhi worldwide. This is because any sane person watching the development in science in technology will easily come to the conclusion that the alternative to co-existence is only total destruction. And for peaceful co-existence, the principle of non-violence propounded by the great Mahatma is vital. More so with every passing day!

And so Gandhi is relevant for us today though we might have strayed from his path. As societies become pluralistic, the Gandhian ideal of tolerance and equal respect for all religions should be a norm.

After 1915, when he returned from South Africa, the story of Gandhiji’s life and the history of India’s freedom struggle become almost synonymous terms. The understanding of one without the other would remain incomplete and distorted, concludes Usha Mehta, a renowned Gandhian, in her book, Mahatma Gandhi and Humanism.

M P K Kutty


Three accused of gang rape, loot nabbed
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, February 1
The police today claimed to have arrested all the three accused in the case of abduction and gang rape of a woman on the evening of January 22.

Disclosing this here today, Superintendent of Police Sukhdev Singh said that Sunita Devi (name changed) of old Housing Board Colony lodged a complaint with the police yesterday that she was abducted by three unidentified motorcycle-borne youths when she was returning home from a temple. The accused gagged her with hands and took her to a bushy area near the city railway station and gang raped her. They also robbed her of ornaments worth Rs 80,000. Later, the accused left her at the same place from where she was lifted. Mr Sukhdev Singh said that a manhunt was launched after registering the case under Sections 342, 363, 376-G, 392, 394 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Police parties were dispatched to separate directions. The teams succeeded in apprehending Jai Singh and Maman Singh of Tigrana, Dharmender of Jatu Luhari, Ravinder and Manjeet of Tigrana and Suresh of Manan Pana of Bhiwani from a deserted kotha behind the new bus stand while planning for a dacoity. The police seized a pistol, two kukris, a duplicate pistol and an iron pipe from their possession besides a Hero Honda motorcycle. Three of them were involved in the gang rape.

The SP said that the accused were planning to commit a dacoity and to loot the Sanjeet Petrol Pump located at the Rohtak road. The gang leader, Jai Singh of Tigrana village, was the mastermind behind this plan. Jai Singh is a known criminal according to the police records, he said. The police seized the robbed ornaments from the possession of the accused. The police produced the accused before a court, which remanded them in police custody for further interrogation.


Kidnap-cum-murder case solved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
With the arrest of a youth, the Delhi Police today claimed to have worked out an kidnap-cum-murder case. The suspect, Kanchhid, was arrested from Okhla More last evening. His other associates are absconding.

The police had a secret information that the suspect, who was a contract killer, would be visiting Okhla village to see his associate. A police team was deployed near Grandley Cinema and he was arrested. During sustained interrogation, he disclosed that on August 2 last year, he along with one Rashid alias Chirman, Tayub, Main and their another associate allegedly abducted Isha Pradhan, a resident of Shaheen Bagh. They took the victim to Padisal near Alwar and killed him. It was a revenge murder as Rashid had suspected the involvement of the victim in the murder of his brother, the police said.

They had abducted the victim from Nizamuddin where Tayub and Kanchhid were waiting in a car. They overpowered the victim as soon as he alighted from a bus coming from Old Delhi Railway Station and took him to Alwar and stabbed him to death. Rashid allegedly gave Rs 50,000 to Kanchhid for killing the victim. The body of the victim was received by the Alwar police and was cremated there as unidentified. 


WTO helped advances in technology: EU expert
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
Mr. Michel Caillouet, head of delegation, European Union Commission, has said that innovation unleashed by the rapid advances in technology has heralded the advent of the global village. He also acknowledged the role of WTO for the advances made in technology and building of institutions.

“Now there is more information available; marketing a product has become an indispensable prerequisite and European Union is a classic example of that,” he said while addressing a Marketing Summit on ‘Winds of Change: Raising Marketing Storms’, organised by the School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, on Friday.

The Executive vice-president (operations), Barista, Mr Vikas Verma, referred to the era of the black and white television and the innovations that took place thereafter. He said “in the last five years, we have witnessed technical innovations unthought of by the previous generations”.

The summit consisted of two sessions — the Future of Marketing and Paradigms towards Paradise: Strategies for the Future. The sessions focused on issues such as the changing impact of marketing on business profitability and growth and development and management of long-term relationships with customers. 

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