Tuesday, February 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Addl DCP’s car jumps red light, kills youth
Caution: Death lurking on roads
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
A youth was killed and another was seriously injured when the official vehicle of the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Control Room, knocked down a motor cycle on Ring Road near Alpana cinema in the Model Town area of North-West Delhi. The deceased was identified as Rahul Sharma while the injured, who is still in hospital, has been identified as Amit Verma. Amit was riding on the pillion on Rahul’s motor cycle.

The police said a case of causing death by rash and negligent driving had been registered against the driver of the car. Whether Additional DCP P. S. Bhushan was in the vehicle or not could not be ascertained. The area police said that the driver, Satpal Singh, had been arrested. The accident occurred around 2 pm when there was no rush of traffic. The motor cyclists were reportedly coming from Azadpur after visiting an insurance firm there. As soon as they reached a crossing on the Ring Road near Alpana cinema the police vehicle reportedly jumped a red light and knocked them down.

There was considerable tension in the area after the accident as a large number of people gathered around the profusely bleeding youth. The police arrived on the spot and removed the injured to the trauma centre where Rahul was declared dead.

While officially the police denied that the police vehicle (DL IS 6890) had jumped the red light at the crossing, many eyewitnesses, including the injured youth, are believed to have told the police that the vehicle had sped through the red light. The police said further investigations were continuing and the statement of the victim as well as the driver had been recorded.

Residents and relatives of the victims alleged that the police had initially tried to hush up the matter but pressure from some local politicians and residents made them relent.



RTV rams truck, 10 schoolkids hurt
Tribune News Service

A child, who was injured in the mishap
A child, who was injured in the mishap.

The ill-fated RTV which collided with a bus while trying to overtake a truck
The ill-fated RTV which collided with a bus while trying to overtake a truck in Sector 57 of Noida on Monday. — Tribune Photos

New Delhi, February 3
Ten children along with the driver of the RTV they were travelling in were injured when they met with an accident in Noida this morning. The students were on their way to school when the RTV they were travelling in collided with a truck. The incident occurred in Sector 57 of Noida when the bus, while trying to overtake a truck, collided with another truck coming in from the opposite direction.

The condition of one student and the driver is reported to be serious. The authorities said the children, students of Delhi Public School, Kendriya Vidyala and Army Public School, were discharged after being administered medical aid. A case of negligent driving has been filed against the driver.

The parents of these students had a harrowing time when some news channels flashed reports that five children had been killed in the collision. Panic-stricken parents rushed to the hospitals to ensure the safety of their wards. Relief soon gave way to anger as the parents expressed their displeasure and horror at the incorrect report transmitted by the TV channels.

The children escaped severe injuries since they were sitting in the rear of the RTV but owing to the impact of the collision the front of the vehicle was damaged.

Two youths killed: Two youths were killed in a road accident in the Surajkund area here last evening. According to information, Manish (22), a resident of Fatehpur Taga village, was on his way back from the crafts mela on his two-wheeler. Soon after he gave a lift to another youth the scooter collided with a dumper truck near a temple on the Surajkund road.



Five pockets get industrial status
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
The Union Government today announced the NCT of Delhi Master Plan 2001 had been amended to allow industrial activity in Lawrence Road, Wazirpur, Naraina Phase I, Naraina Phase II and GT Karnal Road.

The decision comes after Delhi Pradesh BJP President Madan Lal Khurana on February 28 told a news conference that the ministry would notify 24 residential areas with 70 or more per cent of industries as Small Scale Industrial Areas.

Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar told mediapersons that prior to the amendment to the Master Plan only specific type of industries like food, cotton and textile products were allowed in these five areas. Declaring them as industrial areas will make them eligible for drawing electricity up to 100 KW. (They are drawing only 30 KW at present.) The industries would, however, have to get clearance from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

“The advantage of this is that it gives more freedom to the lessor to change his trade or manufacturing activity. This will result in flexibility in industrial activity that will help the economy,” the minister said. Mr Khurana was present at the news conference. The minister said the Centre had also accepted recommendations of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which is under the Union Government, for in situ regularisation of 24 locations with more than 70 per cent industrial activity as industrial areas.

However, as a matter related to this aspect is pending in the Supreme Court, a committee has been set up under the chairmanship of the Secretary of Urban Development Ministry to suggest how to go about implementing it. The committee will submit its report within a month. Mr Khurana, while stating that the decisions were an outcome of the Delhi Pradesh BJP’s demands, sought to dismiss suggestions that these were motivated by the upcoming Delhi Assembly poll. “We have not suddenly started speaking about these issues like others but have been doing it since 2000,” he said.



Cong reaches out to Purvanchalis 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
The Congress went on a ‘promising’ binge today when it assured Purvanchalis, or migrants from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, of fulfilling their long-pending demands. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Chopra were in concert as they promised the 5,000-odd men holding the licence for driving a three-wheeler rickshaw that the Government of NCT of Delhi would extend to them soft loans so that they could become owners of their vehicles.

Ms Dikshit said the government would also consider setting up language academies of Maithili and Bhojpuri and release Rs 1 crore for building ghats on the Yamuna in time for next year’s Chhat Puja. Mr Chopra in turn said 30 per cent of people of Purvanchal origin were working in small industrial units and the relocation or closure of industries had hit them the most. The Union Government, he said, would be sounded out on the regularisation of small industrial units being run in various pockets of the NCT of Delhi. The Congress, he asserted, would take the matter up with the Union Government. Criticising the “selective” relocation of industries, he said the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was trying to displace the people of Purvanchal who were employed in industries. Legislator Mahabal Mishra, who hails from that region, echoed the sentiments of many of his ilk when he said injustice was being done to them as ration cards had not been issued to them till date. The Union Government, he alleged, was playing partisan politics in the allotment of ration cards to people living below poverty line. The Chairman of the party’s Purvanchal Cell, Mr S.K. Puri made a similar demand.



Do celebrities make better hawkers?
Gaurav Choudhury

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
With expectations going through the roof and a cricket-crazy nation waiting with bated breath for a replay of the glory of 1983, the World Cup is one opportunity corporates will not let go. From the official sponsors to the unofficial ambush marketers, everybody is slugging it out for a bigger share of the great South African pie.

As brand gurus toss about in their beds, celebrity endorsements are in vogue for shoring up sales, with sporting icons laughing all the way to the bank. Beverage major Pepsi has the first move advantage as it took the plunge as early as September last year and is hopeful of garnering the maximum brand recall value.

Its mascot, Shah Rukh Khan, keeps beaming on the idiot box with a punchline which perhaps epitomises the feeling of an entire nation: ‘‘Mein kab se wait kar raha hun, aap log Cup laoge”, and “Ek Cup aur ho jaye.”

Coca-Cola, on the other hand, has yesteryear hero Sunil Gavaskar coaching Johnny-come-lately Virendra Sehwag while sipping Coke. Simultaneously, Aamir Khan, another role model of generation next, is shown in different regional get-ups, but invariably an avid Coke fan, his countryside guise notwithstanding. Electronics major LG, one of the official sponsors of the cricket extravaganza, has all cricket captains endorsing their products with the punchline “Cricket First”.

Competitor Samsung has strummed out a Team Samsung jingle with Kumble, Srinath, Dravid, Sehwag, Mongia and Ratra strutting their stuff. Hawking by brand ambassadors is not a nascent development and reflects the coming of age of Indian sports industry, cricket at least.

Communication experts attribute the trend to greater saleable value of a celebrity vis-ŕ-vis a politician. ‘‘Politicians are not looked upon as role models by youngsters, especially in this age of scams. Sporting icons and film personalities, on the other hand, enjoy greater brand equity. This explains why celebrities from the tinsel world are often roped in to do the inaugural honours”, a Delhi- based communication consultant said.

In recent times even politicians have invoked the charisma of film personalities to lure crowds during rallies. During the last Lok Sabha elections, Chandni Chowk MP Vijay Goel had several actresses like Pooja Batra escorting him during his road shows.

“Given the dearth of role models, sports and film stars often acquire a demigod status and nothing can be more handy for a brand promotion exercise”, an analyst said.

Easy publicity is the primary reason for this growing penchant. “If a beauty queen or a film actress is visiting a store, chances are that it will hit the pages of most newspapers with perhaps a photograph splashed in colour. This makes sound business as on a comparative basis advertisements would have cost much more. Moreover, advertisements involve larger production costs,” explained a communications expert.

Says Mr Manu Anand, Managing Director of Frito Lay India, which uses Saif Ali Khan and Mohammed Kaif as brand ambassadors, “Research shows that Saif relates to the core target audience (boys and girls in the 13-18 age bracket) and brings with him an easy-going friendly manner and a boy-next-door’s natural wit and charm. On the other hand, Mohammed Kaif symbolises the fiery spirit of young India”.



Gurgaon gets princely visitor
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 3
Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, on a private visit to India, came here today and said India had enough skilled manpower and strong values. If his country and India made joint efforts the two countries could gain immensely in the field of commerce and business. The Crown Prince was here along with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs of his country, Mr Bendt Bendtsen, to inaugurate a Research and Development Centre of FIBCOM-a joint venture between ITI Ltd, Tellabs Denmark and the Danish Development Bank. The firm is claimed to be one of the leading manufacturers of fibre optic-based SDH products and DWDM systems. Incidentally, Mr Bendtsen is also on a private visit to this country.

Later, the two dignitaries visited Sohna, about 40 km from here, to lay the foundation stones of units of another Danish firm, Danisco India. The firm here currently manufactures a range of flavours and imports ingredients such as pectin, emulsifiers, enzymes and cultures from its international facilities to meet a growing and sophisticated demand from the food processing industry in India, South Asia and the Gulf.



Sheila, detractors get together to attack BJP 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
The bitterness of the past few weeks was forgotten as the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC), Mr Subhash Chopra, joined the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, in highlighting the achievements of the Congress during its four years in power. The occasion was a rally organised by the party in Ashok Vihar.

The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, told the gathering that farmers would be given plots or sheds under the same industrial projects for which their lands would be acquired. She also announced the setting up of a blood bank where blood will be made available to labourers free of charge.

In a frontal attack on the BJP, Ms Dikshit said that the party and its president, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, had forgotten the problems faced by the Delhiites during the past four years. She also attacked the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Ananth Kumar and said he should have informed the Government of NCT of Delhi before making any announcement in connection with the DDA flats.

Detailing the achievements of her government, she said all the promises made in the 1998 election manifesto for the welfare of the people had been fulfilled. All possible steps have been taken to make the Capital fully developed, modern, green and beautiful, she said.

The Industry Minister, Mr Deep Chand Bhandu, who organised the rally, said the Government of NCT of Delhi will move the Supreme Court seeking more time for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers whose tenements, built after 1990, were sought to be demolished. Criticising the BJP for taking unwarranted credit for the Delhi Metro, he said the real credit goes to the Government of NCT of Delhi.

The Delhi Transport Minister, Mr Ajay Maken said the government had come out with an ambitious, visionary transport policy and the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) had now become a reality with the launching of the Metro Rail.

He said the government had also unbundled the monolith Delhi Vidyut Board, which would help in reversing the legacy of poor service and financial losses.

The Finance Minister, Mr Mahinder Singh Saathi, stressed the need for unity and criticised the slogans of the BJP for cultural nationalism and Hindutva. “These empty slogans are dangerous for national unity and integrity and harm the economic, social and political fabric of the country,” he said. Others who spoke on the occasion were Health Minister Ashok Walia and Development Minister Haroon Yusuf.



Hooda condemns parties for exploiting SYL issue
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 3
Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Leader of the Opposition in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, has strongly condemned the “partisan attitude and the delaying tactics” in the construction of the SYL canal in Punjab territory and accused the leaders of all political parties in the state of exploiting the issue.

Talking to mediapersons here on Sunday, he said that the political parties had come to power in the past by misleading the people on this issue. “It is not the time to quarrel with each other for getting credit over the orders of the apex court but to seriously raise the issue on the joint platform for getting the share of river wasters from Punjab. He also called upon the leaders of all political parties to come together on the issue and pressure the Centre for the completion of the SYL canal and the judicious distribution of canal waters.

The Congress leader also threatened the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of blockade of all roads leading to the national Capital if it failed to get the construction of this canal completed in Punjab territory.

Mr Hooda also accused the INLD government, headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, of fooling the farmers in the name of drought relief and alleged that the government had been working against the interests of the farmers.

He also charged Mr Chautala with misleading the people on the fund collected for the deposed Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr Mahindra Chaudhary, two years ago. He alleged that this fund had been embezzled by Mr Chautala.

Later addressing a party workers’ meeting, Mr Hooda appealed to them to take part in large numbers in the proposed ‘Adhikar’ rally to be held on March 2 at Jhajjar to protest against the non-completion of the SYL canal and lack of proper drought relief to the farmers in the state. He predicted that the rally would be a massive success.



DC briefs officials on CM’s directives
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, February 3
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mahender Kumar, on Saturday held a meeting of the district officials and briefed them on the Chief Minister’s fresh directions issued to all the deputy commissioners at a state-level meeting in Chandigarh two days ago.

Putting forth the tentative targets for the small savings scheme to all the departments for the current year, the Deputy Commissioner asked the officials to urge the people to deposit more and more in their small savings accounts.

He said that it was this money, which helped the people in any emergency situation, apart from being utilised by the government in carrying out various development activities.

The meeting was attended by ADC Suprabha Dahiya, SDM of Jhajjar Pankaj Agrawal, CTM Mahender Pal, DDPO Ajay Mishra, DPRO R. S. Kadian and heads of other district offices.

Addressing the meeting, the DC informed that the Chief Minister had given instructions to complete their targets of small savings scheme before the deadline under any circumstances.

He also asked them to speed up the anti-encroachment drive to remove all encroachments by February 28, which would result in the beautification of the district. He directed them to take the public into confidence in the drive. The DC also appealed to the people of the district to cooperate with the administration in the drive to remove encroachments.

Expressing concern over the unauthorised maxi cabs plying here, Mr Kumar asked the officer concerned to take strict action against the illegal operators and ensure that not a single unauthorised vehicle embarked on the road.

Mr Mahender Kumar also instructed the officials of the Public Health Department to provide adequate drinking water to all the people of the district and also to arrange drinking water for cattle. He also issued strict orders to the officials concerned to check evasion of market fee.

With an aim to arrest the increasing population and also to control widening difference in the sex ratio, the Haryana Government has launched ‘Devi Rupak Yojna’ and the people should take advantage of the scheme, he said. To make the people aware about, it should be publicised among the people, said the DC.

He also directed the District Education Officer to make sure that all the private educational institutions follow the set terms and conditions.



Councillors slug it out over community hall 
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, February 3
An ambitious project for the construction of a huge community hall, spread over an area of 8000 square feet near Kalyanpuri bus stand in East Delhi, has become a bone of contention between the two councillors of the area, Mr. Anil Chaudhary and Mrs Vidya Devi. Both the councillors want the community hall, which would directly benefit the residents, to be built in their respective areas.

As a result, even one month after the foundation laying ceremony, construction work on the project is yet to begin. Sources said that the project has been officially deferred till the matter is settled between the two Congress councillors. This being an election year, the councillors do not want the other to get the credit for initiating development works. The local MLA of the area, Mr Amrish Gautam said that it was unfortunate that the project had fallen victim to tussle between the two leaders. With a population of over a lakh in this area, there was an urgent need to have a large community hall, as there existing one had become inadequate. It had been constructed in the early eighties.

The residents of the area had repeatedly demanded such a facility from their representatives. Conceding to their demand, the authorities had earmarked a plot for this purpose near the Chand Cinema hall.

All the modalities related to the community hall had been subsequently fulfilled, and its foundation stone was laid by the then Mayor of Delhi, Mr Shanti Desai.

But after some time, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) raised an objection on the ground that the plot was not part of the slum wing of the Municipal Corporation Delhi (MCD).

A fresh search for a suitable piece of land was launched and the present site near the Kalyanpuri bus stand was identified and earmarked for the project.

When contacted, the Executive Engineer and in-charge of this community hall, Mr Ved Prakash, said that he had received instructions from senior officers for halting the work and it was being pandered around that construction was not possible as the land was under encroachment by some slum clusters. The work will start once the encroachments are cleared, he said.

But there is considerable resentment among the people of the area as they feel that they are the unwitting victims of ego clash between the two leaders.

They have now appealed to both the councillors to forget their differences and allow the work to proceed for the benefit of the people. Several delegations of the residents have met the two leaders in the last few days.



Neighbourhood milkman may be a thing of the past
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 3
Private dairies in the heart of towns and cities may be a thing of the past in Haryana, if all goes well with the government’s plan to shift them out of the municipal limits. The plan also includes the shifting of cattle kept for private use. This could not only result in escalation in milk prices but could render many people unemployed. It is reported that at least 10 to 15 per cent of the population in most towns and cities may be affected directly or indirectly by these orders.

However, the authorities claim that the drive to shift the dairies out of the municipal limits has several advantages, including the improvement in hygiene and cleanliness of the cities and towns. The authorities refuted the claim of the dairy owners that their business would be affected. They ‘reasoned’ that since the government had decided to provide an alternate site for shifting the dairy, the supply of milk would not to be affected.

However, people associated with the `dairy’ business in urban areas disagreed with the views of the administration. They said that hundreds of families in dozens of colonies in towns and cities, especially those located on the outskirts, had been dependent on these `dairies’ as their main source of income. “Where will they go if they are forced to close their `dairies”, asked one of the owners.

A dairy owner in Chawala Colony of Ballabgarh town said that three generations of his family had been in this `business’ and had been settled in the town for the past 30 years.

He said his family had nowhere to go for alternative employment if they were asked to close down their dairy. He said there were about 2,000 private dairies in Ballabgarh town and majority of the families running them were dependent on it for their earning.

One of the residents of Trikha colony of Ballabgarh town said that they were ready to relocate their dairy out of the town but they did not have the necessary finance.

Moreover, he said supplying milk from a distance of 5 to 10 km would make the business financially unproductive due to the increase in transportation charges.

He said several families preferred to take milk personally and had no faith in the quality of milk brought by the distant milkman. In effect, they would lose many of their regular customers and ultimately, their source of earning would suffer.

Deepak, a youth of Trikha Colony here said that his colony was one of the several unauthorised (unregular) areas and the municipal corporation was still to provide roads, sewerage network, parks and streetlights. He said it was difficult to understand how the cow dung was ‘choking’ the sewerage system, when there was no sewer lines in the colony.

Moreover, he said the administration had offered only 95 plots for the `Mirzapur dairy project’, while there were over 1,500 dairies in the colony and nearby areas.

He claimed that the plots being offered as alternative site had not been developed and no disposal system or water supply had been provided so far.

He said the recent demolition drive against the dairies had led to panic among the population and many persons had been forced to take their cattle to other places for fear of them being `impounded’ by the officials. He claimed that this had led to spurt in milk prices by 15 to 20 per cent in past few days.

It may be recalled that the recent drive had been marked with ‘violence’ and the police `opened’ fire and lobbed teargas shells to disperse a stone throwing crowd at Trikha Colony here recently.

Several persons including women had been injured. While the recent actions of the administration provides a clear signal that ‘force’ may be used to evict the `dairies’ out of the town, the issue could snowball into a major ‘controversy’, as most of the people running these dairies are migrants from the nearby villages..



Plan to shift dairies out of Sonepat city put on hold
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 3
The Haryana government’s scheme to shift the dairies out of Sonepat city has been shelved in view of the failure of the authorities of the Sonepat Municipal Council to take steps for the removal of these dairies from different parts of the city.

According to a report, it has ordered the shifting of such dairies from the city last year and allotted funds to the Sonepat Municipal Council for the purpose.

The aim of the scheme was to improve the sanitation of the city and remove filth and garbage from the residential areas.

The Sonepat Municipal Council, it may be recalled, had drawn up a scheme costing Rs 1.25 crore and passed a resolution for getting the panchayat land of nearby Kilorad village. But the scheme was shelved on political ground. Thereafter, the council passed another resolution acquiring panchayat land of Dewru village but this proposal met the same fate.

The delaying tactics of the Sonepat Municipal Council’s authorities have caused widespread resentment among the residents of the city as insanitation had resulted in the spread of various diseases in the city.

The municipal authorities, on the other hand, say that the scheme to shift the dairies is sponsored by the National Capital Region and when they receive any grant, the work would be started immediately.

Meanwhile, the RWA has expressed concern over the unsatisfactory working of the Sonepat Municipal Council.



“We don’t teach, we create learning opportunities”
Tribune News Service

Sudha Gupta is no stranger to raised eyebrows and sceptical glances. She faced them way back in 1990 when, after checking out several pre-nursery schools for her son, she declared that playschools in India were just not good enough. She faced them again in 1996, when armed with an NTT qualification, she set up a pre-nursery school based entirely on her own ideas about what small children needed.

She still faces them every time she comes up with a new concept, such as computer-aided learning for a 2-year-old or stage-exposure for every child in her school. But Sudha Gupta has just done what she believes in and the results are there for the world to see.

From a 3-room school, with 2 teachers and 35 children, today Mother’s Pride has three sprawling branches, a staff of 400, including 180 teachers and 1,600 children on its rolls!

Her success story has been a saga of hard work and the will to act on her convictions. Disappointed with the playschools, to which she went for her own son’s admission, she was determined to put aside her mantle of a traditional housewife after 8 years of marriage and decided to prove her mettle.

She did extensive research into early learning and pre-nursery teaching, helped greatly in her endeavours by her father, former Joint Secretary, NCERT. She consulted leading experts and child psychologists and discussed her ideas and methodologies with them. She applied herself to the understanding of issues involved in educating the child at an early age and acquainting herself with contemporary methodologies. And then, she set about translating her dream into reality.

At this time, the playschools were just another version of a crčche for slightly older children. There was hardly any infrastructure, no emphasis on a child’s individuality, no concept of learning through games and a poor teacher to students’ ratio. Most schools had little or no space for children to romp about freely.

Sudha Gupta has changed all this. She designs all her school buildings on her own, meticulously working out the specifications with the needs of the children in mind. There is a riot of colour everywhere, with an abundance of natural light. Most importantly, there is a whole lot of open space, where children can run about and play freely.

Animal and nature symbols are used everywhere to enthuse the little children. Everything is child oriented. Even the wash basins are put up at a low height to suit the children!

And she has made her ideas work. Her curriculum is totally activity-based and follows the concept of “learning by doing”. There is focus on the all-round development in the chronological manner best suited to the child. The physical, social, emotional, intellectual and lingual development of the child is closely monitored. There is no teaching by rote. Instead, learning opportunities are created where the children learn by the situations they face, the challenges that are put before them, the games they play, the dramatisations they see, the songs they sing and the interactions that occur. Throughout, they are gently guided, led rather than pushed, corrected rather than scolded and appreciated rather than nagged. Above all, they are listened to. So that they can be individually appraised and their own particular strengths and talents can be brought out and accented.

In an interview with the NCR Tribune, Sudha Gupta talks about what makes herself and her schools a success.

When you first started Mother’s Pride, did you ever imagine it would become such a success?

I didn’t start the school because I wanted it to be a success. My aim was to make my ideas work. Success and failure are comparative terms. And I have never believed in comparisons. I am not even a competitive person. But yes, I do believe in doing my best, even better than my best. When the inspiration first came to me, I was afire with ideas about how to educate pre-nursery children. Some ideas were totally innovative; some were modified variations of what was already in existence. But, I was eager to put them into practice. I was eager to see them work. And somewhere in me there was the conviction that I could definitely do a better job than what most pre-nurseries were doing at that time.

So, I did what I wanted to do, in the best way I could do it. As far as success is concerned, well, even though we started with 35 children, by the end of our first year we had 300 children on our rolls and more coming everyday! So, I knew that my ideas were working.

What kind of problem did you face in your initial stages?

We were very fortunate that we didn’t face any large obstacles in setting up the school or in its operations. Our major problem was in making people aware about the benefits of a good pre-school education, on the one hand, and the fact that we were a truly different pre-school from the other run of the mill ones, on the other hand. Well, people had their own ideas about what playschools are or should be. And it was a challenge to shake their pre-conceived notions.

You say that Mother’s Pride is different from other pre-schools. I seek your comment on this?

At Mother’s Pride, we don’t teach. We create learning opportunities. All learning is activity-based and we focus on overall development of the child. For example, we have a huge skating rink and open spaces for mobility for the physical development of the child. To ensure a strong emotional development, we give them full liberty for optimum emotional growth and at the same time teach them how to combat adversities.

Challenges are placed before the child in a well-researched manner and they are given the opportunity to surmount them. Through a curriculum, designed by leading child psychologists, we help remove the various fears that can check a child’s growth - fear of crowds, fear of machines, fear of water, fear of strangers, even fear of other children or excessive shyness, etc.

As a result, the child grows up emotionally healthy. For intellectual development, we have games, mazes, puzzles and activities that enhance a child’s memory, increase his powers of observation, sequential thinking, logic problem solving and decision-making abilities. And we don’t stint when it comes with innovative methods. We started teaching even 2-year-olds with computers way back in 1996, when even formal schools didn’t have computer labs. This is our difference in approach. People asked how we expected such small children to learn computers. My reply was that kids in my school were not learning computers, they were learning through computers. The computer was a tool that helped in improving eye-hand co-ordination, sharpening memory and introducing a lot of new concepts.

Another different approach that we have at Mother’s Pride, there are no selections. Every child takes part in every activity. There is regular stage-exposure and every child at Mother’s Pride is fully confident of performing on stage, without a hint of nervousness or stage fright.

We also believe in generating memorable experiences for children. An experience, which they will remember all their lives and perhaps even use to define their course of existence. We make it a point to take children to meet prominent personalities of India. They went to congratulate Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, when he became the President of India.

They tied rakhi to Atal Behari Vajapyee on Rakshabandhan. They greeted the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, on his birthday and received blessings from the Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, on Teacher’s Day. These are occasions to remember and the messages and words of great men and women can fall like seeds on the fertile soil of a child’s impressionable mind. So, at Mother’s Pride we try to create such opportunities as often as we can.

How do you ensure that a child’s development takes place not just at school but also continues at home?

Well, we cannot ensure it, but we can certainly facilitate it. The child is with us for 3 hours and at home for 21 hours in a day. So, if the child has to grow in the right direction then it is necessary that the approach of the school and that of the parents should be, if not the same then, at least similar. So, we do pay a lot of attention to parenting. We conduct seminars and parent orientation sessions. At these sessions, educationists, child psychologists, clinical psychologists and child specialists interact with the parents on child development issues and good parenting practices. We have a panel of experts consisting of people like Ms Rajni Kumar, Chairperson of Springdales Education Society, Ms Lata Vaidyanthan; Principal of Modern School, Dr Aruna Broota; Clinical Psychologist, Dr Roma Kumar, Child Psychologist and Dr P. S. Narang, Child Specialist.

You know, in my experience, it is very easy for people to become parents but very difficult for them to be parents.

But every parent wants to do their best for their child and most are willing, even eager to do their part. So, we discuss various children learning issues at length, parents share their experiences and are counselled on various questions, such as how to deal with a child’s tantrums, what to do when the child behaves badly in public or uses emotional blackmail and gets away with it repeatedly, how to be firm, yet fair, how not to dominate or overprotect the child, when to give praise to the child and when to withhold it, how to deal with attention, seeking behaviour and many other such issues. The focus is the child and so the parents and the school must co-operate for his benefit.

The response from the parents is excellent. They make it a point to attend the sessions even if they are held on working days. This year alone we have held six such sessions and over 1,000 parents have attended them. So you see, even in this regard the approach of Mother’s Pride is different from others. But the good news is that a lot of schools are beginning to emulate us.

You are only 38-year-old, very young to have achieved all this. How does your family react to this?

Is it possible for anyone to achieve anything without some very strong support from her loved ones? My husband, who was an executive engineer with MCD, has been with me in every step. He is involved in everything we do. My younger son is a product of Mother’s Pride and my in-laws have been very supportive too.

You know, Mother’s Pride stands for everything. Even the name symbolises it. I want every child of Mother’s Pride to be everything a mother can be proud of, whether it is the mother who gave birth to them or their Motherland. 



SUCI to protest against ‘anti-people’ policies
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 3
The Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) has decided to hold a demonstration at Parliament on February 10 to protest against the ‘anti-people’ policies of the government.

The SUCI activists from the northern states—Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, UP and parts of Madhya Pradesh are likely to participate in the demonstration..

Mr Satyawan, secretary, SUCI, Haryana told that they would protest against those policies which are leading to increased unemployment, attacks on labour rights, communalisation of education, commercialisation of health and education services, reduction in agricultural subsidies for electricity and irrigation, rise in prices of seeds, fertilisers, diesel and other agricultural inputs and reduced procurement at minimum support prices. The protest, he said, was also against the spread of communalism, corruption, vulgarity and obscenity in society and violence and discrimination against women as well as casino legislation.

The SUCI leader said that the BJP-led Central government was implementing the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation that were introduced by the Congress 12 years ago in the name of progress and prosperity. These policies are leading to an all-round destruction of livelihood and the social fabric, he said.

Mr Satyawan described the new agricultural policy as anti-farmer. If the Land Ceiling Act in agriculture is amended on the lines of the new policy, the farmers would be ruined, their lands would be grabbed by the capitalists and the multinational companies. The rural rich would also benefit from this policy.

The SUCI leader said that not only the poor but the middle class families also have been deprived of the health and education facilities. Drought compensation has not been provided to the farmers.

In Punjab, the ruling Congress has withdrawn free electricity supply to the agriculture sector. Power tariff has been raised time and again in Haryana. Huda has increased the rates of drinking water being supplied by it to the residents in Huda sectors in the state. Mr Satyawan said that like the Congress, the BJP was also incapable of solving the problems of the people, the INLD, Bahujan Samaj Party and even the CPM government in West Bengal, were all serving the capitalists. They impose heavy economic burden upon the people by way of taxes.

In such a situation, the SUCI feels, that the people’s mass democratic movement was the only way to solve people’s problems.



Cong to discuss stir plan against
 INLD’s ‘anti-people’ policies
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 3
The Congress leaders in Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat districts would meet at Sampla town, 25 km from here on February 5, to chalk out a plan for agitation against the ‘anti-people’ policies of the Indian National Lok Dal government.

Prof Virender Singh, president, District Congress Committee (Rural) said the opposition leader, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, would be the chief guest at the meeting while all the party MLAs, former ministers and the district unit presidents would attend the meeting.

The DCC president alleged that the Chautala Government had backtracked from its pre-poll promise and failed to make payments to the farmers for the sugarcane acquired even after the expiry of three months.

He said Mr Chautala had assured the farmers before the elections that they would be paid the price of the sugarcane within 15 days of the procurement. However, he alleged the farmers had been waiting for the payment of their produce for the last three months.

The Congress leader said the issues to be discussed at the meeting, include discrimination against Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonepat districts in the matter of drought relief, construction of SYL canal, misappropriation of funds collected in the name of Fiji Prime Minister Mahender Chaudhary, rising crime graph in the region, etc.

He said they would also discuss the plan for the proposed ‘Adhikar rally’ to be held at Jhajjar on March 2 at the meeting.

IMSAR alumni meet

The Institute of Management Studies and Research (IMSAR) of Maharshi Dayanand University will organise its alumni meet on February 16. A university spokesman said the annual alumni meeting would be a forum for corporate interaction of the present students.

He said the institute would discuss with the alumni about curriculum development. The old students would also elect new office-bearers of the alumni association in the meeting.

IMSAR Director S.K.Bedi said that at present the alumni base of the institute was more than one thousand and most of them were occupying high positions in corporate world.

Hats off to Kalpana

Different political and non-political organisations continued paying tributes to Columbia crash victim Kalpana Chawla for the third day in succession today.

Mr Sheeshpal Beniwal, president, Haryana unit of Samta Party, expressed grief on the untimely death of the promising astronaut and urged the people, especially students, to draw inspiration from her.

A condolence meeting was organised at the Congress Bhawan here to pay homage to Ms Chawla. Mr Shadi Lal Batra, local MLA and president, DCC (Urban) said the young astronaut made every Indian proud of her extraordinary achievements at international level. The heads of various educational institutions being run by Sri Baba Mastnath Educational Institute observed a two-minute silence and paid tributes to Ms Chawla.

Mr Suresh Munjal, a former municipal councillor and secretary, Haryana unit of Akhil Bhartiya Sonia Gandhi Association; Ms Ram Murti Devi, president, state unit of Government Primary Teachers’ Association; Mr Manjit Singh Dahiya, national president, Bhartiya Ambedkar Sangharsh Samiti; Mr Raghbir Singh Saini, leader of Rashtriya Saini Panchayat; et al. paid homage to Ms Chawla.

DAV School mourns for Kalpana

Faridabad: Tributes were paid at a meeting organised at DAV Public School, Sector-14 here to condole the death of Karnal-born, space scientist, Ms Kalpana Chawla and six other astronauts who were killed in a tragic incident on February 1.

The Principal of the School, Dr A V Bhalla, teachers and other staff of the school took part in a ‘havan’ held at the school this morning. While it was expressed that the untimely death of Kalpana Chawla and her associates was a global loss, they said the achievement of Kalpana was outstanding which brought laurels to the country, state and her home district.

The meeting prayed for peace to the departed souls and the school remained closed as a mark of respect. TNS

Succour for students

Sonepat: Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, a BJP MP, distributed financial assistance and woollen garments among the poor and the destitute students at a function organised by Dr Ambedkar Samaj Sewa Samiti on the premises of Dr Ambedkar Shikhsha Sadan Hostel on Kakroi Road here on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion, he lauded the role of the samiti for helping the poor and the destitute students and urged other social organisations to come forward and followed the example of the samiti.

Earlier, Mr Sangwan also honoured the brilliant students on this occasion. A cultural programme was also presented by the students in the function.



Three-day Rural Health Mela from Feb 8
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
The Government of NCT of Delhi will organise a Divya Jyoti Rural Health Campaign that includes a rally and a three-day-long Rural Health Mela from February 8.
Health Minister A.K. Walia and Dr S.K. Arora of Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan, the collaborating NGO, told media persons that the campaign would include allopathy and the Indian systems of medicine.

Under the campaign, a 24-km-long rally flagged by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit would be organised on February 8 in West Delhi. A three-day Rural Health Mela would be held in Punjab Khor village near Qutub Garh.

Dr Walia said that since various diseases could be treated easily if detected early, several health check-up facilities like ECG, ultrasound and blood pressure would be available in the mela, besides consultations by doctors and specialists.

About 50 stalls would be set up by the government, local bodies, NGOs and private hospitals. Socio-cultural programmes, street plays, health chat and lectures would be organised every day. Blood donation camps would be another feature of the campaign.

Dr Arora said the Sansthan would adopt 66 villages in North and North-West Delhi for dental and eye care. A state-of-the-art mobile dispensary would visit every village at regular intervals.

Cataract cases detected by the mobile dispensary would be treated free of charge at the nearest government hospital, Dr Walia said and urged the NGOs to organise more such programmes for the benefit of the masses in general and for the people living in rural and slum areas.

US agency to help fortify power sector reforms: The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) and the Public Service Commission of Maryland, United States, on Monday launched a partnership programme aimed at strengthening power sector reforms in the NCT of Delhi.

The programme will support the DERC’s efforts to continue reforms in the power sector and establish a strong and independent regulatory system in the Capital. In particular, it will focus on demand side management, energy efficiency, improving tariff guidelines, consumer participation and establishing a regulatory database.

A communique issued by the US embassy said that the partnership would be implemented through the United States Energy Association. A three-member team from the Public Service Commission of Maryland is here conducting detailed discussions with the DERC.

The two sides are focusing on broad range of issues, including legal questions related to tariffs and guidelines for revenue and tariff filing. They will also discuss the process for filing complaints, consumer issues and demand forecasting.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides the funding for the partnership, the communique said. The USAID gives support to other partnerships between the US and Indian utilities, regulatory agencies and energy organisations in the NCT of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Orissa.

One shot dead, family robbed: Six unidentified youths shot dead Nirmal Kaur (45), injured her husband Ajit Singh (50), their two family members, Sonu and Gurmukh Singh and robbed Rs 30, 000 and some valuable goods from their residence in Sabroop Nagar near Dabri in North-West district last evening. The injured were admitted to LNJP Hospital from where they were discharged.

The suspects who were armed with countrymade pistols and knives entered the house of the victim at 1.30 am and shot dead the woman. When her family members resisted, they were stabbed. A case of murder-cum-robbery has been registered. The involvement of criminal tribes is suspected in the case, police said. TNS



Poor civic amenities due to frequent 
transfer of officials: Goyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
Chandni Chowk MLA Vijay Goyal during his visit to the Civil Lines, said as officials are often transferred from one department to another, their responsibilities change which result in the poor civic amenities to the people. There is also total lack of coordination among the various departments.

He was referring to the Harijan Basti on Boulevard Road, where because of lack of coordination between the Delhi Jal Board and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the residents are facing immense hardships.

While ordering the laying out of a new sewer line in the colony, Mr Goyal issued orders for the removal of garbage that had accumulated in the area. He also gave orders for making parks for children in the places of unauthorised parking lots.

Mr Goyal announced that from the funds allotted to him, he would help develop Ashok Market and clear it off garbage. He also visited Sarai Phoos, Railway Colony Motia Bagh and Nawabganj and directed the authorities to solve the residents’ problems.



Three bodies, two of women, 
recovered; man missing
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 3
Mystery shrouds the death of a housewife Mrs Premvati in her house at Mohalla Bhatan here last night.
According to a report, on receipt of information, the police have seized the body and sent it for a post-mortem.

According to another report, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has also seized the body of a 24-year-old married woman Mrs Bala, lying on the railway track near Ganaur railway station about 16 km from here on Sunday and sent it for a post-mortem.

The woman was crossing the railway track when she was hit by a running train and killed on the spot.

Meanwhile, the Gohana police have recovered the body of a youth, Rohtas of Khatik Basti of Gohana town, who was reported to be missing from his house since January 28 last. The body has been sent for a post-mortem.

It is stated that Mr Partap, father of the deceased, has also been missing from his house since January 28. The police have registered the case and investigations are on.

Loot case registered: The Kharkhauda police have registered a case of loot against two youths, namely Kale of Sehri village and Jagmal of Bidhlan village, and launched a hunt for them.

According to a report, the duo had snatched Rs 27,300 from a youth Krishan of Bidhlan village while he was returning to his house at Bidhlan village on a three-wheeler after withdrawing the money from a bank. On the way, the duo had asked Krishan to get down from the vehicle and when he got off, he had been thrashed before they snatched the amount and fled on their motorcycle.

Initially, the police declined to register the case on the day of the incident, i.e. January 27, but the case was registered only yesterday when Mr Padam Singh Dahiya, an INLD MLA of Rohtak assembly constituency intervened.



Murder case registered after post-mortem
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 3
The Sampla police have registered a case of murder in connection with the death of a resident of Karor village on the basis of a post-mortem report.
Earlier, death of Mr Inder Singh was understood to be the result of an accident and the matter was closed under Section 174 of Cr PC.

According to police sources, the family members of the deceased had told the police that Mr Inder Singh was in the habit of drinking and he was under the influence of liquor when a lighting kerosene lamp fell on his clothes on January 30. Subsequently, he sustained severe burn injuries and died in a few minutes. However, the post-mortem report revealed that he had died from strangulation. The police converted the section of the Cr PC into Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC.



One killed, two hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, February 3
One person was killed and two were injured in separate road accidents in the district. The injured have been admitted to the civil hospital here. According to reports, Pawan, a resident of Samaswas village, was killed on the spot after being hit by an unidentified vehicle while passing by the railway crossing here late on Saturday night.

In another report, Raj Kumar Jakhad of DC Colony sustained injuries when a Maruti car hit him. Nasroodin of Kaunt village also sustained injuries in another mishap when a Tata Sumo hit him.

charged with power theft: A flourmill owner has been charged with theft of power here. The mill is located at the Loharu Road. The Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam staff have registered a report of theft with the police. The report said that the inspection team of the HBVN conducted a raid on the premises of the flourmill. The team detected that the flourmill owner had tampered with the meter.

The police have registered a case under Sections 379 of the IPC and 39 of the Electricity Act.


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