Friday, February 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Health shocker from primary schools
5,236 students in Meerut needed urgent medical attention
Our Correspondent

Meerut, February 6
Primary students in the district are in the grip of various diseases. This has been borne out by the medical examination conducted in primary schools in all five districts of Meerut division. In Meerut and Baghpat districts, more than 3,000 students during the medical examination had to be referred to Medical College, Meerut, and Government District Hospital, Meerut. The diseases detected included jaundice and suspect hepatitis B infection.

Children are being medically examined in all government primary schools of Meerut division.

The outcome of this medical examination is shocking, to say the least. But the real shockers have sprung up in Meerut district. There are 1.9 lakh students in 935 primary schools. The government has taken note of the health of 1,52,064 students till date. In Meerut alone, 5,236 students were found needing immediate medical attention. They were treated by the doctors in the schools and at home. Doctors found 2,579 students down with serious diseases, including jaundice, hepatitis B, typhoid and other infections and communicable diseases.

All these kids were referred to the specialists in LLRM Medical College and Government District Hospital.

In Baghpat district, more than 50,000 students were medically examined. A total number of 1,279 kids were found seriously ill while 969 kids were found down with some disease. At least 1,349 kids were those who needed immediate medical attention. All these students had to be referred for further medical tests.

In Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Gautam Budh Nagar only 40 per cent students have undergone medical examination till now. As many as 18,036 students were found to be suffering from some disease and needed to be hospitalised for further treatment. A total of 193 students were found seriously ill in Ghaziabad while 1,358 kids were found down with other diseases. Doctors referred them for treatment to various hospitals.

While 3,978 students needed immediate treatment in Gautam Budh Nagar, 198 were found suffering from serious ailments. In Bulandshahr, 2,509 kids were found to be ill and 365 were in a serious condition.

The Divisional Commissioner could not give any reason when the NCR Tribune sought his statement on the situation. But he said the parents had been informed about their kids’ ailments and the administration was taking steps to ensure a healthy future for the kids. A cleanliness drive in the villages and the areas around the primary schools would be started soon to improve the situation.


CII gives recipe for industrial growth
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 6
The Northern Region of the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) has urged the state government to opt for a bold policy framework that encourages investment in research and technology.

The recommendation was made by the Northern Region chapter of the CII in its pre-Budget Memorandum 2003-04 submitted to the government.

According to a spokesperson of the CII Northern Region, the body feels that in the present scenario the state governments are increasingly required to play a proactive role of a facilitator for industrial development. Likewise, the states are vying with each other to attract industrial investments. Against this backdrop, the industrial policy of a state must give due importance to technology upgradation, quality improvement and productivity, besides infrastructure development, so that the industrial units could successfully face global competition.

On the issue of industrial incentives, CII Northern Region strongly feels that the impact of various incentive schemes implemented hitherto has not been quite encouraging. Long-term incentives lead to the creation of inefficient and uncompetitive industry. Therefore, the body has underscored the need for doing away with all tax-based incentives in the light of the upcoming VAT regime. It has further suggested that all tax-based and other fiscal incentives (deferrals/exemption etc) should be phased out sooner than later.

To effectively play the role of a facilitator and create an industry-friendly image, the chamber has suggested that the Directorate of Industries should create a web site to make available the programmes and policies of the department to a large audience of prospective entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it is also advisable to create a data bank of information to help the industries process projects and identify new technologies and relevant services.


Move to rent out farmhouses to foreign tourists
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Encouraged by its success in promoting highway tourism, Haryana Tourism has now embarked upon an ambitious plan to explore the hitherto untapped potential of farm tourism.

Haryana Tourism Managing Director, Ms Navraj Sandhu, has written to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, asking him to identify villages where farmers would be interested in renting out part of their farmhouses to foreign tourists.

Ms Sandhu, who took over as Managing Director of Haryana Tourism last April, says that she was inspired by the concept of farm tourism during her visit to England and Denmark. She recalled that during her visit to a dairy farm in a village, about 20 minutes drive from Copenhagen, she found that the owner had reserved a two-room cottage for tourists. Similarly, in Birmingham, tourists can visit farmhouses maintained by local bodies and live in hotels and cottages in the vicinity. She said that she was also inspired by internet literature on farm tourism in Korea, Philippines and Thailand. ``I’ve heard about farm tourism in coffee plantations in Coorg in Karnataka. Farm tourism offers additional income to the farmers and affords them an opportunity to learn about a foreign culture.’’

Ms Sandhu said that she has also written to the Ministry of Tourism as it gives grants to promote rural tourism in the country. ``We will invite proposals by buying space in newspapers. Infrastructure development will depend on the response.’’

Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon, Mr Anurag Rastogi, said that he has asked the sub divisional magistrate to get in touch with private farm owners to find out if they are interested in renting out their farms to tourists.

``We will also issue an advertisement in the newspapers to invite applications from farm owners. If somebody wants to rent out space in farmhouses, we will act as facilitators. It will be a project of Haryana Tourism. We will provide local support.

Gurgaon is emerging as the new corporate capital. People come to Gurgaon for business. Some of them might prefer village surroundings to a stay in a five-star hotel. There are a large number of farmhouses in Gurgaon. But, we need to know if the owners are interested in renting out a part of the premises to tourists.’’


Where even the dead cry out for help
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
It was a traumatic experience for the five families which went to Nigambodh Ghat to perform the last rites of their near and dear ones. Grieving as they were, their agony was prolonged by the wet wood supplied to them for the pyre, which refused to kindle. “Even the last rites could not be performed as per tradition” was the lament of these families.

However, not ready to condone the matter and keen to prevent others from going through the traumatic experience, the families raised a hue and cry over the issue, forcing the authorities to order an immediate inquiry to expose the contractor-official nexus in the supply of fuel wood to the crematorium.

The family members told the Leader of Opposition in Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Mr Vijender Kumar Gupta, who reached the cremation ground, that the wood was so wet that the bodies would not catch fire. No amount of ghee and sugar could help ignite the embers Intrigued by the callous and apathetic attitude of the officials manning the cremation ground, the bereaved families resorted to slogan shouting and gave vent to their anger by damaging public property and manhandling the officials.

Mr Gupta said the supply of wet wood for cremation was a recurring problem as there is a nexus between the suppliers and the MCD officials. The wet wood is heavier and fetches a higher price, but the anguish it causes to the bereaved families is often overlooked.

Municipal Commissioner Rakesh Mehta, who also reached the spot, immediately ordered an inquiry, sensing the gravity of the situation. He said not only the guilty contractors and the officials would be punished but also the supply of dry fuel wood would be ensured.

While many people, deep in mourning and distressed by the loss of their loved ones, do not make an issue of supply of wet wood, some others reconcile to the situation by merely cursing the system and their fate.

The supplier-officials nexus had surfaced earlier with the MCD canceling the license/contract of a particular supplier. However, the vested interests are so deeply entrenched that the practice continues unabated.

And, for the dead, it is yet another struggle trying to break the shackles of worldly life before the soul departs and the body ends its lifecycle.


Schools told to use only roadworthy buses
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
The district administration has directed the managements of all privately managed schools to ensure that the vehicles ferrying children are roadworthy and driven by trained and experienced drivers, who do not have major cases of traffic violations against them.

According to a report, it has also made it clear to the managements that they would now be held responsible in case the school buses are involved in any accident. This decision followed an accident involving a mini-bus carrying schoolchildren from Rattangarh Majra village to Naina Tatarpur village, resulting in injuries to 17 children. Later, a girl student succumbed to her injuries in the hospital. The district administration is also considering a proposal to ban plying of heavy transport vehicles in the city during the morning and afternoon school transportation hours.


Court throws out boy’s dying declaration
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Neetu had to pay with his life for taking his girlfriend to a movie. A decade later, a Delhi court acquitted the three persons accused of killing the teenaged boy, on the ground that the dying declaration was unreliable.

“I am of the considered opinion that the prosecution has not been able to establish its case against the accused persons for want of evidence. Hence, they are entitled to an acquittal,” Additional Sessions Judge R K Yadav observed in his order this week.

It all started when Neetu went for a movie with a girl after school, but the latter did not reach her house in North Delhi till late evening. Rita’s parents found out that Rita had gone out Neetu who was later brought to their house and allegedly doused in kerosene and burnt.

In his dying declaration, recorded by the Investigating Officer, deceased Neetu had alleged that Ram Bharosey, his wife Bhagwan Devi and one Virender Singh bolted him inside their house and burnt him on December 15, 1993, after pouring kerosene on him through the grill of the window.

Defence counsel Harish Khanna and Rakesh Gupta had questioned the reliability of the dying declaration, pointing out that the prosecution had failed to explain as to how the kerosene lamp, its wick and the match box were found inside the room when the oil was poured through the window.

The court refused to buy the prosecution’s argument, contending that “presence of these articles inside the room demolishes the theory that the accused persons had poured kerosene on Neetu and threw a burning matchstick on him,” Yadav said.

Even if one goes by the dying declaration, how is it that there were burns on the boy’s face, scalp and the back of the chest when, as per the declaration, kerosene fell on the trousers and throat of the victim, the court asked.


Houses of scandal abound on National Highway 1
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
Flesh trade is reported to be thriving in this city and its surrounding areas in the absence of any effective check by the police and the district administration.

According to a report, mobile phones are used to evade detection and get immediate information in the case of an imminent raid by the police.

Raids on posh hotels on National Highway 1 between Murthal and Ganaur and arrests of a few persons a few months ago have exposed the thriving flesh trade and the complicity of some hotel owners in encouraging this trade in the area.

Sources disclose cyber cafes in and around the city are increasingly being used to set up meetings. Cabins offered by many of the city’s cafes are taken on rent to show girls to a prospective client. Couples then leave for

a pre-decided place which is either a hotel or a guesthouse. It could even be a residence in the posh colonies of the city. Incidents which normally go unreported, pertaining to fights in several posh residences, led to the exposure of these places being used as brothels.

The sources also point out that several posh residences and guesthouses in Model Town, Jiwan Nagar, old DC Road, guesthouses near the general bus stand, Sector 14 and Sector 15 and hotels on the GT Road are host to these activities.

It is also learnt that several guesthouses of various government departments are similarly being used for this trade and the police, including senior officials, are allegedly aware of it.

Powerful leaders, bureaucrats, businessmen, traders and government employees are involved in the trade and they pay pimps who run the racket and in turn “key policemen” who are on their monthly payment rolls.

A few months ago, the police had arrested five persons along with women in a raid at a posh hotel on the GT Road run by a powerful Haryana politician after the public mounted pressure on the police. However, no prominent person landed in the police net, which, the sources say, speaks volumes about the nexus in this trade. Those arrested in this raid include four women from Delhi and one from Sonepat. Later on, the police sent their challans in a court of law.

Meanwhile, representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations have expressed grave concern over the alleged flesh trade activities in a tourist resort at Rai, which is run by the Haryana Tourism Corporation. 


HVP may have seat adjustment with Cong
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, February 6
The Haryana Vikas Party and the Congress are scaling new heights these days. Under the new strategy, the Congress plans to have a tie-up with the HVP with an eye to grabbing power in the next assembly elections.

Sources in the Congress disclosed the HVP chief, Mr Bansi Lal, was anxious about forging a tie-up with the Congress. Those lobbying for his party are in the process of arranging a meeting between the Congress president and Mr Bansi Lal. Political sources have disclosed Mrs Sonia Gandhi is also interested in the new dimensions.

The Congress, which faced defeat in the Gujarat Assembly elections recently, is now facing an uphill task in Uttar Pradesh also. The party stalwarts presume the BJP may announce Lok Sabha elections with the ensuing assembly elections in four states.

According to these sources, those lobbying for an adjustment include Mr Bansi Lal’s daughter-in-law, Ms Kiran Chaudhary and the Congress’ Arjun Singh and Digvijay Singh, establishing that the Congress should take advantage of its increasing popularity in the state. Sources said Congressmen too had an accommodating attitude towards Mr Bansi Lal. Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhajan Lal also wants to kill two birds with one stone. By accepting Mr Bansi Lal he can bring down the voice of the Leader of the Opposition in Haryana, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who has, of late, become more aggressive against Mr Bhajan Lal.

In the new tie-up, the HVP has demanded two parliamentary seats and 15 assembly seats. These are Bhiwani and Mahendragarh parliamentary seats besides seven assembly seats in Bhiwani district and eight others, including Sonepat and Jhajjar.

The Congress is offering the Bhiwani parliamentary seat and seven assembly seats, including five in Bhiwani

The party is considering the HVP demand as the Congress has no representation in the Lok Sabha from Haryana and the HVP has the potential of winning the two parliamentary seats and seven of Bhiwani assembly seats.

An obstacle coming in the way of the new tie-up is that the Congress has asked for a merger of the HVP with the Congress whereas the HVP is making efforts for seat adjustment.

The Congress is giving the argument that in 1999 the HVP got Congress support on the table of the Vidhan Sabha but later it had to suffer blows given by the HVP.

Congress sources say if a tie-up is arrived at it will be very hard for the ruling INLD to face strong opposition in the next elections.


Illegal maxicabs ply as private buses go off road
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 6
About 50 per cent of the buses of private cooperative societies, given permits by the state transport department to ply on the designated routes in the district, have either gone off the road or have been plying on profitable routes only. As a result, the unauthorised plying of maxicabs or private carriers has increased considerably.

According to reports and surveys of the transport department, several private buses have stopped operation on some of the routes, which are reportedly not viable for their existence in the recent few years.

A majority of such operators had been allotted small routes up to 30 to 60 km. A member of the private bus operators association claimed that the routes had not been allotted judiciously and the problems of such operators ignored.

Moreover, he said the link roads and state highways had been in disrepair and the vehicles became unfit for operation due to high wear and tear. It is stated that some of the operators turned to longer and profitable routes despite the fact that it was illegal, but they seemed to have an understanding with the authorities.

The roadways officials here have claimed that some of the buses had been challaned or impounded which had been found violating the route norms in the past few months.

Many such vehicles have been evading passenger tax to the tune of several lakhs a year. They have been mainly operating on the routes allotted to the private cooperative buses and where the service of Haryana roadways buses has been thin.

The general manager of Haryana Roadways here, Mr S S Dalal, says that the roadways buses could not ply on the routes allotted to the buses of cooperative societies.

He said that the service frequency of roadways buses on their routes was proper and there had been no complaints against it.

According to sources in the department, a move had been made recently to allow longer routes to private buses, including 32-seater vehicles to cover all the routes where the menace of maxicabs and jeeps was acute. But, a decision in this regard was awaited.

As per the reports from the rural areas, the trend of financing jeeps and maxicabs had caught on with the rural educated unemployed youths who risked to ply the vehicles illegally to earn a living.

The District transport officer (DTO) is the authorised body to regulate and check the plying of such vehicles.


Sonepat faces shortage of LPG cylinders
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
There has been a regular shortage of cooking gas cylinders in the city and elsewhere in the district despite the district administration assurances that there is no shortage of the product.

According to a report, the consumers complained about the delays in the delivery of the LPG cylinders and alleged that artificial shortages were being created by the dealers for blackmarketing.

They also complained that the dealers had to be reminded several times that their gas supply had run out before they get a refill.

On the other hand, the dealers took the plea that though there might not be an overall shortage of LPG cylinders, the supplies in their area were held up for some reason or the other.

Some consumers alleged that the dealers had stopped the home delivery system and they had to collect the refills from the godowns of the dealers. Thus, they had to spend about Rs 10 to Rs 15 per cylinder more on the transportation of the LPG gas cylinders, the consumers complained.

Many consumers alleged that the dealers of the LPG agencies were charging more price than what was fixed and all their complaints made to the district authorities had fallen on deaf ears. Even the officials of the petroleum companies did not bother about the complaints regarding less weights and other irregularities as they shielded the dealers for their pound of flesh by way of bribe.

According to another report, the owners of petrol pumps are indulging in profiteering whenever the prices of petrol and diesel are increased by the government and the oil companies. The local authorities also never checked them and fixed the rates of petrol and diesel after the announcement of increase or decrease in the prices. Thus, the consumers have been duped up by the owners of petrol pumps in the city and elsewhere.


Scholars trapped in unfair promotion scheme
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, February 6
Scholars at Maharshi Dayanand University, trapped in the academic cobweb spun by the promotion schemes of the University Grants Commission, are keeping their fingers crossed on whether anyone would hear their cries for justice or not.

These are the scholars who have published a large number of research papers in various journals of national and international repute and got their promotion only under the merit promotion scheme. They are at present trapped in the old pay scale of Rs 3,000-5,000. Interestingly, their luckier colleagues, who do not have any research published in their name, got promotion and enjoy much higher pay scales of Rs 12,000-18,3000 and Rs 16,400-22,400.

The trapped scholars are facing a piquant situation: Whom do they approach, what should they say and how should they say it. They feel humiliated and face academic frustration. If one looks at the five-volume report submitted by Maharshi Dayanand University to the NAAC for accreditation, one can easily find a large number of Readers and professors who had hardly any research publication at the time of their selection. These are the teachers who do not even fulfil the eligibility conditions of having at least three publications for promotion to the post of Reader and five publications for promotion to the post of Professor under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).

Now, the question is what kind of merit is required for selection in the open?

The answer is obvious. But this is not the case in every selection. Of course, a number of selections made in the open are those of distinguished scholars also.

Similarly, it does not mean that everybody who has been promoted under the merit promotion scheme (MPS) has publications to his/her credit. As a matter of fact, a large number of teachers promoted under this scheme do not fulfil the criteria for the post of lecturer and their increments had been stopped. But they were promoted as Readers and in some cases even became Professors. What a shame! This scheme has come to be known as the mercy promotion scheme and has resulted in spinning a cobweb which has trapped even those who have made significant contributions to their subject.

Even today one can find some Professors and Readers who are not even PhD and have hardly any research publication in their name. Some of them may be heading a university teaching department (UTD) and in such a capacity might be taking vital academic decisions also.

On the other hand, one can find some scholars who were academically very active till they were trapped in the merit promotion scheme. They have a large number of publications to their credit. But once trapped, they either stopped having their work published or stopped reporting it. Many committed suicide. What a sorry state of affairs!

It is time for all those who matter in high places to cure the malady afflicting the academic atmosphere. us wish an early recovery and a healthy academics.


Tractor companies resorting to fraudulent practices: CPM
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 6
The state unit of the CPM has demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged fraudulent business practices being indulged in by tractor companies in the state in the sale of tractors to farmers.

The party, in a statement, said the issue had come to the fore as more and more tractor buyers had been approaching farmers’ organisations, telling that they had been cheated by the companies through their dealers.

The secretary of the state unit of the CPM, Mr Inderjit Singh, said the party had sought a probe in the light of such a demand being made in a resolution passed at the state-level conference of the Haryana Kisan Sabha held at Jind.

Many farmers, he said, had been complaining against a Faridabad-based tractor company, having a monopoly in air-cooled tractors, of cheating them through price manipulation, charging huge amounts of money in the name of service security deposit, promising free services and not issuing certain components to the buyers even after including the cost in the tractor price.

Mr Inderjit Singh said the CPM understood well that innocent and illiterate farmers were falling prey to these dealers chiefly due to the purchase and sale of tractors through bank financing system, the intricacies involved in it, and lack of transparency and adequate safeguards. It was, therefore, necessary, he said, that all such deals were probed by a central agency. According to reports, the CPM said, some farmers had been returned a part of the excess money charged but this had been done to keep the lid shut tight on the larger scandal.


Delhi tops in female foeticide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
The highest number of cases of female foeticide is reported in the Capital. Addressing a seminar on Thursday on “Safety, Health and Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Women,” Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit observed that women were also to be blamed for the anomaly. “Despite commendable contributions, women are not treated on a par with men and to a certain extent the fairer sex is also to blame for it,” she said.

Quoting statistics, Mrs Dikshit said that the NCT of Delhi had 821 females per one thousand male population. “Girl child and quite often daughters-in-law are ill-treated or not treated on a par with the male members. Preference is shown for a male child. There is a need to bring about a change in the attitude of society in general in this direction,” she said.

She said that the absence of women in the process of decision-making also appended to the problem.


Check western culture: Prabhu Chawla
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
Mr Prabhu Chawla, a veteran journalist, has said that the trend of today’s youths to accept western culture was dangerous for the Indian society.

Speaking at the annual prize distribution function of the Hindu Vidyapeeth here yesterday, he said that in the era of globalisation, the youths were attracted to the western culture and there was an immediate need to check this trend as it would destroy the Indian culture and society. He called upon the teachers to inculcate the sense of Indianness in the students and also make them understand the high values and ethics of the Indian society.

He said that there was no dearth of talent in our country and Kalpna Chawla had proved it.


Weddings on roads spell misery for users
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
Weddings in this city are perhaps celebrated with greater pomp and show than elsewhere in the state. But no matter how grand the marriage is, including delicious food and fancy invitation cards, everyone inevitably economises on one item. That is hiring a banquet hall for the ceremony and the reception. After all, roads are everybody’s property and nobody thinks twice before cordoning off a section of a lane or road and putting up a striped shamiana complete with chairs and other paraphernalia.

The poor man who has to use the road or street to get to his destination has to make his way as best as he can through the crowd of wedding guests.

However, the motorists and scooterists have to make a long detour.

The authorities have failed to take action against the people who are in the habit of closing the streets and roads for holding marriages and other social functions.

Meanwhile, the season of Bhagwati Jagran is on its peak these days. Going late into the night, these jagrans not only disturb the residents of the city but created problems for the police also.

The recent spurt in the incidents of thefts have already worried the police and they have taken to intensive night patrolling.

It is believed that some culprits mix themselves with the devotees attending the jagrans and after sometime sneak into the deserted houses and commit various crimes, including robberies and burglaries. Since the police avoid interfering in the religious congregations, they find it difficult to trace the culprits immediately.

Further, raising tents and shamianas on the roads and streets causes traffic hazards too. The district and police administration has failed to fix the timings for the holding of Bhagwati jagrans and curb the use of loudspeakers after midnight.


Green belt marred by illegal parking
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 6
The unauthorised car parking and the construction of private roads on the Neelam-Bata Road here have not only led to encroachment on public land, but also caused inconvenience to the commuters in general. Some residents of the NIT have written to the deputy commissioner to take action against the accused.

According to a representation, the residents alleged that the green belt of about 100 feet on both sides of the Neelam-Bata Road had been encroached upon.

They said that some of the companies and offices having their buildings here, had constructed illegal parking on the green belt. They had also constructed private roads to link their office premises with the main road illegally.

Thus, not only the green belt had been damaged, the encroachers had also found a means of extending their construction through the process,

said Mr Krishan Lal Gera, a social worker based here.

He said the sprawling green belt had been encroached upon and some of the leading offices, showrooms and hotels had been involved in the encroachment.

He said a former Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) had spent lakhs of rupees on the provision of green belt and constructed a service road for the benefit of residents here. However, he said, the MCF officials had turned a blind eye to the encroachment by influential persons and the Neelam-Bata Road was a case in point.

He said haphazard construction of parking and link road had increased the risk of accidents.

The residents might approach the High Court if the district authorities failed to demolish the illegal structures within a fortnight, he said.


BJP Kisan Morcha to take up water project issue
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Rewari, February 6
The Kisan Morcha of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to take up the cause of funding the new project of linking Jawahar Lal Nehru (JLN) canal with Masani barrage basin, drawn up by the irrigation department of the Haryana government, with the Union Finance Ministry and other ministries concerned at the Centre.

The Morcha will take up the issue after its two-day national executive meeting, beginning today in the party’s headquarters in the Capital.

Incidentally, the meeting was to take place at Dharuhera, about 30 kms from here, near the Masani barrage basin.

The venue of the meeting was shifted on account of the suicide committed by a national vice-president of the Morcha in the night of January 30.

As per the suicide note recovered by the police, the act had something to do with an employment racket.

Senior state leaders of the parent BJP had serious reservations against holding the national executive meeting in the district after the shocking incident.

The Morcha took the lead in favour of the completion of the project.

To bolster its case, it collected resolutions from 65 village panchayats from the areas surrounding the Masani barrage endorsing its stand of an early completion of the project, which is christened ‘Escape Channel’. The matter was recently raised by the national president of the Morcha, Prof. Shivankar Rao, in his public speech in which the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajapyee, was the guest.

Besides, a farmers’ delegation from the district led by a member of the national executive of the Morcha and a prominent BJP leader of Ahirwal belt, Rao Shiv Rattan, submitted a memorandum, along with the resolutions of the village panchayats, to Mr Vajpayee.

The issue is expected to be raised in the ongoing meeting of the Morcha’s national executive.

The rear guard action by the Morcha, a frontal organisation of the BJP, naturally stems from the fact that the project which would give huge leverage to the farmers of Ahirwal belt, appears to be jinxed as the state government apparently does not have the inclination to fund it.


Raid on brick kiln, bonded labourers freed 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
A team of government officials, headed by Mr Sujan Singh, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Sonepat, carried out a surprise raid on a brick kiln near Rampur Kundal village about 25 km from here yesterday, and got the bonded labourers freed from the clutches of the owner of the brick kiln.

According to a report, the action followed a series of complaints made to the district authorities by the bonded labourers, alleging that they were being forced to work in the brick kiln without any payment.

On receipt of complaints, the district authorities swung into action and deputed the SDM to conduct the raid.

Thereupon, the SDM, accompanied by the officials of the Labour and Food and Supplies Departments, reached the brick kiln and found as many as 34 members of the families, including women and children working there in pitiable condition. The officials asked them to come out from the brick kiln without fear and they were then sent in a truck to Aligarh (UP) from where they had come.

The brick kiln owner told the officials that he had given Rs 1 lakh as advance for working in the brick kiln. The brick kiln, he maintained, remained closed during January on account of rains and foggy weather conditions. This had resulted a loss of about Rs 50,000 to him. He also denied that these labourers had been forced to work without payment . But the officials did not agree and got the labourers released.

Tikait call to farmers

Panipat: Urging the farmers to unite, the BKU supremo, Mr M S Tikait, said here today that the agitation of the farmers in western UP would end in the ‘victory of the farmers’.

Speaking at a function organised in connection with the Sir Chhotu Ram Jayanti at the local Kisan Bhavan, he asked the farmers to take to streets for their rights as this was the only way the Central and the state governments would accede to their long-pending demands.

Paying tributes to the “farmers’ messiah” Sir Chhotu Ram, the firebrand leader regretted that the disunity in the farming community was a major cause why the farmers were taken for a ride by the successive governments.

During the times of Sir Chhotu Ram, all farmers honoured the decision of the leader. Now, attempts were being made to flout the decisions taken by the farmers’ leaders with the result that they were at the receiving end of the authorities, he said. Prominent among those who spoke were Mr Ram Kishan Ghangas and Mr Ram Dayal Khurb, both veteran farmers’ leaders. TNS

Contaminated water

Faridabad: Notwithstanding the much-publicised Rennywell water augmentation scheme, launched by the Chief Minister, some parts of the NIT and urban sectors have not been receiving clean water. The majority of the areas have been getting either contaminated supply or it is mixed with dust and soil. The Chief Minister had inaugurated the scheme worth Rs 43 crore on January 26. TNS

SUCI to hold rally at Parliament

Bhiwani: The Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) will hold a demonstration at Parliament in protest against the ‘anti-people’ policies of the Central Government on February 10. The state secretary of the organisation, Mr Satyawan, told this correspondent here today that the activists from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and part of Madhya Pradesh would assemble at Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi and march to Parliament.

Coming heavily on the Central Government policies, he said that increased unemployment, attacks on labour rights, commercialisation of health and education, reduction in agricultural subsidies for electricity and irrigation, rise in prices of seeds, fertilisers had proved that the Central Government failed on every front. OC

Blood donation camp

Sonepat: As many as 83 students and staff members donated blood voluntarily at a one-day blood donation camp organised on the campus of the Government College at Gohana town, 35 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, Mr Balwan Singh, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the camp. Mr Tek Chand Aggarwal, principal and other staff members of the college were present on the occasion.



House looted in Lodhi Road
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
Unidentified intruders robbed jewellery and other items worth lakhs of rupees from the house of a photo journalist from Lodhi Road Colony last evening. The victim, Vijay Saluja, a photo journalist, working for PANA-India photo agency, went to market along with his family members.

The incident occurred between 8.30 pm and 11 pm. The intruders first tried to enter the house of a judge residing opposite the victim’s house. But they could not succeed there as one of the family members of the judge was inside the house and he called the police. The victim said that the intruders decamped with jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh, camera kit and Rs 30, 000. A case of robbery has been registered, police said.

GANGSTER NABBED: West district police arrested Upender, alias Rajinder, from Janak Puri after a brief encounter last evening. He is member of Satinder Barwala gang and had operated with dreaded criminals like Amir Khan Raza and Rajpal Nai in UP and Delhi. Police had a tip-off that some hardcore criminals would assemble near Janak Puri club to loot a petrol pump. A trap was laid and Upender was spotted there waiting for his associates. When he was approached by the policemen, he fired at them.

The policemen returned the fire and overpowered him. During interrogation, he disclosed that he planned to loot a petrol pump in Janak Puri, the police said.

BLIND MURDER SOLVED: North-East district police today claimed to have worked out a blind murder case of taxi driver and several other motor vehicle theft cases with the arrest of four suspects from Loni Road yesterday. They were identified as Satpal, Prem, Sonu and Mrs Devindri, alias Sunita. They were arrested during a drive launched by the district police to check autorickshaw drivers who did not use electronic metres. During interrogation, they confessed to be involved in a number of motor vehicle theft cases. They have their contacts in Nepal where they sent the stolen vehicle and disposed them of, the police said.

Minister of State in PMO Vijay Goel directed the health department of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to take disciplinary action against the staff of its dispensary in Sadar Bazar who do not report for duty on time.

The direction was given following a visit by the minister. When he visited there, a number staff members were not in the dispensary. Patients standing in the queue made complaint that employees in the dispensary generally came late. He said that the dispensary would be renovated and a number of doctors would be posted there. 


Alleged rapists of teacher held
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 6
The Kundli police have arrested two youths in connection with the alleged rape of an unmarried woman schoolteacher of Delhi at Saboli village in the district on Tuesday evening.

According to a report, the youths were identified as Jagdeep, alias Dhola, of Manjhawla village (Delhi) and Ram Mehar of Balla village in Karnal district. Both the culprits were produced before the judicial magistrate here yesterday who remanded them in police custody for two days.

The duo had forced their way into the house of the sister of the rape victim and criminally assaulted her by showing pistol to her. When the sister and her brother-in-law came to her rescue, the culprit Jagdeep fired shots on them but they escaped unhurt. Thereafter, the duo managed to escape in a car.

Student killed

Sandeep, a student, died on the spot when he was hit by a jeep on the G T Road near Murthal Chowk about 8 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the victim belonged to Kurar village. The police have registered the case against the jeep driver who is at large.


IOC Panipat Refinery gets award
Tribune News Service

Panipat, February 6
Maintaining its track record, the Panipat Refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation has bagged yet another award.

This time, it has been awarded by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for exemplary work in energy conservation in the large category sector.

Mr A K Malhotra, general manager (Technical), received the award from Mr Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State for

Petroleum and Natural Gas and Parliamentary Affairs at a function at the Teen Murti Bhavan in New Delhi.

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