Saturday, February 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Encroached area erupts on demolition fear,
forces requisitioned
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 14
The demolition drive elicited a violent response here today with blockade of National Highway 2 (Mathura Road) by a large number of persons. Several persons were injured as the police caned the protesters. This was the first public protest on the road after the start of the demolition drive. The state government had announced all encroachments would be cleared by March-end.

Residents of A.C. Nagar and Sant Nagar here, who staged a dharna on the highway up to 5.30 pm, later squatted on the railway track. Hundreds of youths again clashed with the police at the railway line between the Bata flyover and Neelam overbridge. While the mob pelted stones the police lobbed teargas shells. The cops were able to clear the rail track by 6.30 pm.

The protesters earlier stopped the Mumbai-bound Paschim Express, damaged the lights of the train engine and broke windows of several compartments. While several passengers were injured no one was reported to be seriously hurt.

A goods train was also stopped by the crowd. A heavy police contingent arrived here with cops being stationed near the tracks. The district administration has reportedly sought reinforcements in view of today’s lawlessness. Several persons have been detained and others are likely to be arrested in connection with the incident.

The protesters, who numbered 500 initially, had assembled outside the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad (MCF) office in the noon. They were demanding withdrawal of notices served to residents of A. C. Nagar and Sant Nagar colonies, asking them to clear up the encroachments by Sunday or face demolitions on Monday.

One of the residents claimed a local BJP MLA had assured them that no action would be taken but apparently the promise held by him did not satisfy the people. As a result, as many as 2,500 persons, including women, children and aged persons, assembled at Ajronda Chowk on National Highway 2 at about 3 pm. Squatting on the road, they demanded withdrawal of the notices.

While a large number of policemen, including riot police, reached the spot, the officials, including the SDM, Mr Jitender Dahiya, and the ASP, Mr S. Kaviraaj, tried to persuade the protesters to lift the blockade. They appealed to them to stage a demonstration outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office. But the crowd declined and decided to continue with the dharna at the same spot.

They asked the authorities to ask the DC to make himself available on the highway but the officer was busy elsewhere. Thousands of vehicles were stranded on both sides and the police had to divert several vehicles from approach and link roads inside the sectors. As the protesters did not comply with the request of the officials, the policemen were ordered to cane them and lob teargas shells. Several persons got injured in the process.


Caste-based delimitation challenged
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14
The associate members of the Delimitation Commission on Friday dispatched written objections / suggestions on the re-organisation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in NCT of Delhi. The Commission will examine the proposals on February 25.

The associate members had met yesterday and discussed the working paper of the Delimitation Commission. While the Congress has broadly agreed to the proposed changes, the BJP is expected to make known its stand tomorrow.

Delhi Pradesh BJP President and Member of Parliament Madan Lal Khurana will meet the press tomorrow. All the seven Members of Parliament from New Delhi, Outer Delhi, Sadar, Karol Bagh, East Delhi, South Delhi and Chandni Chowk are from the BJP.

According to Secretary of Delimitation Commission CR Brahmam, not many changes are envisaged in the Assembly constituencies as they had already been delimited on the basis of the 1991 census unlike the Parliamentary constituencies (1971 census.)

Meanwhile, a petition challenging certain provisions of the Delimitation Act, under which the Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies are being rearranged on caste basis, was filed Friday in the Delhi High Court.

A Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice BD Ahmed directed the Centre, Election Commission, Delimitation Commissioner and Registrar of Census Commissioner to file their replies on the petition.

The petition sought to restrain them from proceeding with delimiting the constituencies on the basis of caste. The court also issued notice to the Government of NCT of Delhi and fixed the next date of hearing for March 24.

The petitioner is Ms Kiran Singh. Her counsel, Arun Maitri, said Article 82 of the Constitution prohibits delimitation on the basis of caste and lays down that it should be done in accordance with population figures.

The petition pointed out that before passing the Delimitation Act, 2002, the Union Government passed the 84th Constitutional Amendment by virtue of which the number of seats in Parliament as well as Assemblies would remain stagnant till 2026.

But, the counsel said, provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002 allow an increase in number of Reserved seats for the Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes and also re-adjustment of these seats according to the 1971 and the 1991 Census.

Therefore, if the Act was implemented, the number of Reserved seats would increase while the number of General category seats would decrease as the total number of seats would not change.

If this happens, the counsel said, Parliament would no longer represent the true character of the country’s population and diversity. Despite provisional figures of the 2001 Census being available, delimitation was being done on the basis of 1971 caste figures, he said.


Mother, daughters commit suicide over molestation
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 14
A teenaged girl, who was allegedly molested by a youth, committed suicide along with her three family members, including her mother and two younger sisters, at a house in Sanjay colony here last evening.

It is reported that Mrs Vimla Anand (42), wife of Vijay Anand, an employee with Thompson Press here, and her three daughters, identified as Tripti (19), Jyoti (17) and Sonia (15), consumed sulphas laced liquid at about 4 pm in their house. The matter came to light when the girls’ father came back from work at about 7 pm to find his house locked. His six-year-old son was at a neighbour’s house, where he was ostensibly asked by his mother to wait till ``they returned from work in Delhi’’. The police found a suicide note which stated they were taking this extreme step as the eldest daughter had been molested by a neighbour, identified as Raju, during the day when she was alone.

Reportedly, the accused had entered their house by scaling the wall and molested the girl. When the victim told her mother about the incident they decided to commit suicide by taking poison. The police have registered a case against the accused who runs a tea stall.

Although incidents of eve-teasing and molestation have been common here, this is perhaps the first incident which has claimed lives of four female members of a family in the town.

The incident has sent shock waves throughout the industrial town with hundreds of friends, relatives and colleagues thronging the Anand residence to express their solidarity with the surviving members and register their protest against growing incidents of lawlessness.

Meanwhile, the police said a case had been registered on the basis of the suicide note against the neighbour and efforts were being made to trace him. The suspect reportedly went into hiding late last night after the incident came to light.

The police said several teams had been sent to trace the accused. The premises of some of his fiends and relatives were being raided. The four were later cremated after the bodies were handed over to the family following post-mortem formalities.

Man rapes 12-year-old

New Delhi: A 35-year-old person was arrested for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl in Prasad Nagar. The accused, Satish Kumar (35), resident of Prasad Nagar and a bachelor, was arrested after the medical examination of the victim confirmed the rape.

The victim is a class IV student in Kanya Mahavidyalya in Karol Bagh and her classmate had invited her to her uncle’s house. The police said when the victim went there the accused allegedly raped her. The incident came to light when the victim narrated the incident to her teacher, who then informed her parents.

The victim’s friend also told her teacher that her uncle had criminally assaulted her several times on previous occasions.


Criminals assault lady doctor in clinic, decamp with assets
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, February 14
Three criminals came calling at the residence-cum-clinic of a lady doctor in Rajinder Nagar Colony, saying that they wanted to “show” a patient.

Once inside House No 9/82 in Sector III, they assaulted the doctor, Mrs. Sarla Mehta, and decamped with jewellery and cash amounting to several lakhs.

While one person went into her cabin for a check-up, the others took positions outside. As per plan, those waiting outside also barged in and roughened up the doctor.

She was made to part with all the jewellery she was wearing at gunpoint. Before leaving, they rendered the doctor unconscious by giving her a dose of chloroform and tied her hands and feet. Later, they assaulted the maid, deprived her of her silver jewellery and locked her up in a room.

“In a matter of 15 minutes the miscreants had opened the safe and steel almirahs in the house and decamped with all the cash and the jewellery,” Dr Mehta said.

Later, the doctor freed herself and informed her husband, Dental Surgeon Dr R S Mehta, and the police. One of the three youth had come to her for a “check-up” three days earlier also, Dr Mehta said.

The police investigations are still on. This is not the first time a doctor has been assaulted in Ghaziabad.


Watchdog to keep tabs on Gurgaon builders
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 14
Residents of the city can heave a sigh of relief going by the promises made today by the district administration to ensure their welfare. A monitoring committee will be formed to coordinate the activities of various government departments and keep tabs on private colonisers and builders who are lax in their responsibilities towards residents.

The Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mr Anurag Rastogi, said the proposed committee would be supervised by his office and function on a regular basis. Conceptually, the purpose was to ensure equitable and proper growth of the fast expanding city and minimise the grievances of the public. With a flurry of activities taking place, the residents often find themselves at the receiving end of apathetic officers. Roads dug up for laying cables and sewers are not repaired for a long time. Lack of proper supply of water is another sore point. The officers concerned wash their hands off the problems, fobbing off requests with the plea that they do not relate to their departments.

The city is controlled by many authorities in parts. A part of it is under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Council, HUDA keeps another part and a good chunk has private builders and colonisers responsible for providing infrastructure. Then there are the ubiquitous Public Health department and the PWD. The Deputy Commissioner has divided the city into three zones. He will have meetings with residents and members of various Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) in each of the zones along with senior officers to solve their problems, if possible, on the spot. The committee will be set up perhaps after the Deputy Commissioner’s proposed meetings with the public. The dates of the meetings and how to go about holding them were finalised today at a meeting of top officers of the District. The Deputy Commissioner presided.

He made it known that the administration would make private builders and colonisers accountable for acts of omission under the terms whereby they were given licences and permission to do business by the government.

In fact, the idea of setting up a committee is a sequel to the joint meeting of the RWAs and the Deputy Commissioner, which was organised by the district administration a few days ago. The meeting was convened to facilitate the Deputy Commissioner and other authorities get feedback from a wide spectrum of the public. A large number of the participants were residents of private colonies, including DLF City, Sushant Lok and parts of South City set up by Unitech.


5 criminals on the run: Probe into jailbreak
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 14
The Haryana Inspector-General of Police (Prisons), Mr Rakesh Malik, has ordered an inquiry into the alleged escape of five dreaded criminals and undertrial prisoners from the district jail of Sonepat on the intervening night of February 12 and 13. He has given directions for taking stern action against the errant officials and employees.

Talking to mediapersons inside the jail premises here last evening, Mr Malik said the inquiry would be completed within a couple of days. He announced that all prisoners, found to be in excess of the capacity, would be transferred to the district jails at Gurgaon and Karnal by July end.

He also disclosed that the Haryana Services Selection Board had started work on the recruitment of 1,500 jail wardens. After these appointments, the security measures would be tightened in the district jails.

When questioned about the steps taken by the jail administration after a prisoner escaped in 1996, Mr Malik declined to comment. Meanwhile, inquiries revealed that there are 1,095 prisoners in the Sonepat jail, which has a capacity for 363. These include several members of inter-state gangs.

The five undertrial prisoners who managed to escape are Anil of Kilorad village, Ranbir of Palra village, Aas Mohammad of Muradnagar in Ghaziabad district, Ashok of Jhundpur village and Raghbir of Baswan village in Mathura district of UP.


Special Focus on Jhajjar/Bahadurgarh
Giving a new lease of life to women’s education

Jhajjar, February 14
Vaish Arya Kanya Mahavidhayala has been successfully fulfilling the educational needs of women for about 33 years in Bahadurgarh and the nearby region. The college, situated just across the railway station here, has around 1,100 girl students on its rolls, from nearly 35 villages in Haryana and Delhi. Over the years, the college has had good achievements in academics, though the lack of infrastructure in extra-curricular activities has led to the absence of sports and cultural events.

The college is governed by the Bahadurgarh Siksha Sabha, which is also in-charge of running the Vaish College of Education for Women (B.Ed college). The Bahadurgarh Siksha Sabha founded the Vaish Arya Kanya Mahavidhayala in 1970 and the Vaish College of Education for Women in 1977 to provide higher education to girls in the region. The management of the college is hopeful of initiating a Science faculty at the undergraduate level from the next session, apart from other professional and vocational courses.

The Principal of the Vaish Arya Kanya Mahavidhayala, Mr Vijay Sharma, said the college has an excellent record in academics. Giving details about the achievements of the students, she said a student of MA English, Anita Rathee, is a gold medallist, who topped the MDU, Rohtak during the last session (2002). Four students of the college, Santosh, Nidhi, Ashu and Monika of B.Ed were in the merit list of the university. However, there has been a conspicuous lack of extra-curricular activities in the college. The principal said that most of the parents were reluctant to send their children out of station for participating in sports or cultural events.

Unfortunately, the college does not even have a sports team or a NCC unit and has never participated in any youth festivals. Activities like seminars and quiz contests are rarely organised in the college. The principal, however, maintained that besides a NSS unit, the college is preparing to take part in various sports activities. She said that they have built courts for volleyball, basketball and badminton and some girls are preparing to take part in athletics.

The principal informed that the college is introducing many new courses from the next academic session, including B.Sc, M.Com, Geography and Psychology at the undergraduate level.

Currently, the college is running courses on Bachelor of Computer Application, MA in English and Political Science and a vocational course in Office Management apart from having Arts and Commerce faculties. The manager of the college, Mr Yashpal Gandhi, maintained that in keeping with the expansion of courses, new buildings were being constructed.

Moreover, science labs and a hostel for working women were being built within the campus with funds from the Centre and state government. The management also has some grouse against the government, which while imposing strict rules and regulations on them, have been hesitant in providing financial help to them.

The college has a teaching staff of about 35 lecturers, out of which only 15 are permanent. The management demanded that in the interest of the students, the ban on fresh recruitment should be removed and vacant posts be filled-up by the government. 


Influential locals cash in on anti-encroachment drive
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, February 14
Influential people have tried to take advantage of the anti-encroachment drive launched by the state government. The district administration demolished the boundary wall of the land belonging to the Punjab Wakf Board in Hassangarh village of Rohtak district and legally occupied by Mr Shashikant, a resident of the same village.

A heavy police contingent led by the SDM, Mr G.L. Yadav, arrived there recently and demolished its boundary wall. Mr Shashikant said that the SDM had informed him that the demolition was done on the “verbal orders” of the Deputy Commissioner.

He said that the three-acre land, situated adjacent to the DAV Public School on Sampla-Kharkhauda Road in Hassangarh village, was possessed by him after the Wakf Board, the original owner of the land, leased out the land to him for four years in March 2001.

He said that he had paid the rent in advance to the board at the time of the deal. He said that the DAV school encroached upon this land while the marketing board, Sampla, constructed ‘pucca fuds’ for the purchase centre of the grain market on the recommendation of the local panchayat in 2000.

However, when the lease-holder erected a wall around the two and a half acres of free land, the villagers and the marketing board officials objected to it.

They said that the land had been handed over to them by the panchayat and they had spent lakhs of rupees in the construction of ‘pucca fuds’ on it. They threatened to lodge a formal complaint for encroachment but backtracked when they realised that the land belonged to the Wakf Board. Meanwhile, the village panchayat passed a resolution, which sought to oust the leaseholder from the land. According to the panchayat resolution, which was also sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Rohtak, the panchayat had given this land (with khasra No 263) to the marketing board in 2000.

It also stated that the possession of the land by the leaseholder has created many problems, including the blockade of the Samachana-Hassangarh road.

The panchayat requested the DC to intervene and cancel the lease of the land, adding that the panchayat was ready to take the land on lease.

It further suggested that if the Wakf board surrendered this land to the panchayat, the sarpanch would give the Wakf board another piece of land in turn.

Mr Shashikant alleged that the sarpanch and the school authorities have used the political influence of some people to evict him from the land. He alleged that these people had put pressure on the district administration to direct the Wakf Board to cancel his lease.

The DC summoned both Mr Shashikant and Wakf board officials and put pressure on them to comply with the wishes of the panchayat.

However, the Wakf board wrote back to the DC that the cancellation of lease was not possible and Mr Shashikant would remain the owner of the land for four years. Meanwhile, Mr Shashikant filed a suit for permanent injunction in the court with the active support of the Wakf board.

But the administration, apparently under pressure from some influential people, acted swiftly and demolished the boundary wall.

Youths rob loaded truck

Four youths reportedly robbed a loaded truck from near Chandpur village in the district. According to information, a truck (HR47A-144) was going from Jind to Jaipur. When it reached near Silani Gate here last evening, four youths asked for a lift to go to Chandpur village.

However, near the Chandpur turn, driver Mohan Singh and his assistant Dalip alighted from the truck to answer the nature’s call. In the meantime, the four youths drove away with the truck.

The police have arrested two youths, Pramod and Sombir, in this connection and registered a case.


Probe demanded into health care scam
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 14
Representatives of various political parties, social and voluntary organisations as well as trade unions today urged the state government to order a probe into the public complaints against the office of the civil surgeon.

In a joint memorandum sent to the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, a copy of which was released to the press here, they also demanded the immediate transfer of the civil surgeon and other staff, as this would ensure an impartial probe into the misdeeds of the officials responsible for the poor health services in this district.

The memorandum alleged that almost all the government hospitals, dispensaries, community health centres and the primary health centres were over crowded, ill-equipped and under-staffed. The insufficient stocks of vital drugs and other essential articles of everyday use tell upon the efficiency of the staff.

All the health institutions are in “unhygienic” conditions. Non-availability of medicines and skeleton services of doctors only add to the misery of the patients.

The memorandum also highlighted the details of the medicines, injections and other life-saving drugs, which have been in short supply for the last few months and alleged that the civil surgeon had failed to ensure their regular supply.

This, the memorandum further alleged, has resulted in the deterioration of the health services in the district and the patients were being forced to visit private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics for treatment.

The civil hospital in this city is in bad shape. The new building of this hospital, with a capacity of 100 beds, was inaugurated in October 1989 by the then Chief Minister, Chaudhary Devi Lal.

Now, it has developed cracks and is in a pitiable condition.

Dogs, donkeys and stray cattle freely move in the corridors of the hospital. The rooms and the corridors are poorly lit. Even the patients in the emergency wards are forced to buy bandages, cotton wool, syringes, glucose bottles and life-saving drugs from the market.

A number of posts of doctors have been lying vacant for the last few years. Many patients alleged that the laboratory tests done in the civil hospital are not considered reliable.

The patients are advised to have their blood and urine test done elsewhere. The patients alleged that ambulances of the hospitals were being misused.

The patients are talking about a racket in which some medical officers and chemists are said to be fully involved. There are allegations that the doctors prescribe only such medicines as are available with their favourable chemists.



Parties attack Centre for not hiking MSP of wheat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad/Rohtak, February 14
The “failure” of the Union Government to hike the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat this year has invoked criticism from various political parties and leaders.

The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Bhajan Lal, said that the drought relief of Rs 10 per quintal was inadequate in view of the large scale drought witnessed by the farmers last year.

He mentioned that during the past one year, the Centre had enhanced the prices of diesel and kerosene many times. As a result, the cost of production of wheat and other agricultural produce had increased. He pleaded for an increase of at least Rs 50 per quintal in the MSP of wheat. He said that maintaining the previous level of MSP for wheat was a cruel joke with the farmers and thus it was not acceptable to the agriculturists. The Congress leader said that the increase in the MSP for rapeseed, mustard, gram and masur was also inadequate as the farmers had suffered heavy losses due to the drought last year.

The farmers in Haryana, he alleged, had not been paid compensation for the loss suffered due to drought. In most of the districts, the drought relief ranged between Rs 2 to Rs 9. The farmers of a few favoured Assembly segments had been paid drought relief at the rate of Rs 1,500 per acre, he said.

Describing the retaining of the MSP of wheat at Rs 620 per quintal as a cruel joke, the Janata Dal (U) state president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, said that the decision was totally anti-farmer. He said it seemed that a strong anti-farmer lobby had been active, which had made the NDA government to go against the hike.

He said the inputs of farming, which include water, power, fertilisers, seeds and other equipment, had become dearer by several times in the past few years, but the MSP had not been increased in the same ratio resulting in a lower income and margin for the farmers. He said if the government could not hike the MSP, then it should also freeze the cost of various inputs and stop the state government to hike rates of power at its own will.

A former Haryana minister and RPI MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, said that the decision on MSP had not only exposed the Vajpayee government but also the Chautala government, which was supporting it from outside. He described it as a slap not only on the face of poor farmers but also on the Haryana government, which, he said, claimed to be farmer friendly.

He dared the Chief Minister, if it was a real well-wisher of the farming community, to withdraw his party’s support to the Vajpayee government if it did not hike the MSP. He said India was one among a very few countries where the fate of farmers was decided by a government by declaring the MSP of crops but not ensuring that farmers got inputs at proper rates.

Activists of the district units of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) and the Congress have also condemned the MSP decision. They have demanded at least an increase of 25 to 30 per cent in the MSP of wheat and other crops.

(Inputs from Our Correspondent)


Three killed as trucks collide
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 14
Three persons, including a driver, were killed in a head-on collision of two trucks near Badhkal Crossing on the National Highway here yesterday. The deceased have been identified as Buddhan, Dina Nath and Munna, all working in a bakery. While Buddhan who was the driver of one of the trucks and Dinanath died on the spot, Munna died in hospital. Another youth, identified as Sanjeet, was injured in the incident.

Mystery shrouds girl’s death

A 16-year-old girl died under mysterious circumstances here today. Identified as Nidhi, the deceased had been brought to a hospital in a semiconscious condition. The girl belonged to Dayal Pur village and it is suspected that she might have consumed some poisonous substance.

Research scholars roughed up

Rohtak: Several research scholars of Maharshi Dayanand University were allegedly manhandled by the police while they were trying to meet the Vice Chancellor, Maj-Gen Bhim Singh Suhag (retd), in his office today.

Mr Sunil Phougat, president, Maharshi Dayanand University Researchers’ Association (MDURA), said the members of the association staged a demonstration in front of the Vice Chancellor’s office during a meeting of the Academic Council of the university as per the scheduled programme. However, the V-C did not come out of his office for two hours and the desperate scholars tried to enter the administrative block but were roughed up by the cops, he alleged. He said that some of the demonstrators sustained injuries and were admitted to the PGIMS.

Mr Phougat said the association had been seeking time to meet the V-C in connection with their long-pending demands including withdrawal of the considerable enhancement in library security fees, PhD registration fees etc.

Two killed in mishaps

Sonepat: One person was killed on the spot and another escaped unhurt when their motorcycle fell into a canal minor near Badhaa village, about 10 km from here, last evening.

According to a report, the victim was identified as Sumer Singh of Garhi Balla village in Panipat district and his friend as Mahabir who ran away soon after the accident. On the receipt of information, the police arrived on the spot and took the body into custody for the post-mortem examination.

According to another report, Mr Rajinder, a driver of a three-wheeler, was killed on the spot when his vehicle was hit by a car near Madina village, about 45 km from here, last night.

The victim belonged to Madina village and the police have registered a case against the car driver on the charge of rash and negligent driving and causing death. Further investigations are in progress.

Meanwhile, a Haryana Roadways bus of Sonepat depot was involved in an accident on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, today. Almost all the passengers travelling in the bus sustained minor injuries. It is stated that the steering wheel of the bus developed some snag and the driver fell down from the seat. However, he managed to stop the bus in a nearby field.

Cylinder blast

Panic prevailed among the residents of Rohtak road when a fire broke out after an LPG cylinder exploded here last evening. According to a report, the fire was brought under control by the municipal fire brigade, which was summoned by the residents of the area.


One killed, 12 labourers hurt as truck turns turtle
Our Correspondent

Noida, February 14
One worker was killed and 12 others were injured seriously when a Tata 407 truck carrying labourers from a work site met with an accident last evening in Greater Noida area.

A labour contractor, who was transporting the labourers, allegedly took away the body of the deceased. This has reportedly helped the police to wash their hands off the accident even though a police Head Constable was also injured in the accident.

Workers of LG company left by the Tata 407 after work. Near Mauser factory, the vehicle reportedly hit the road divider and turned turtle. At least 12 workers sustained injuries.

The by-standers extracted injured Jatan, Kanwar Singh, Karm Veer, Kishen, Dharmendra and others from the mangled truck and rushed them to a hospital. Jatan Singh, a resident of Meerut, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

The police reportedly did not act in spite of having received the information. Workers told the police that their contractor had absconded and had taken away the body of the killed worker.

Since there was nobody to file a complaint, no FIR was registered.

The workers alleged that the contractor had already “met” the police officials to “soften” the offence.

Scooterist gored to death by bull

A scooterist returning home on Tuesday evening was killed by one of the two stray bulls which had locked horns on the road near Baraula village in Phase-II.

According to the police, Rakesh Chand, a resident of Khaura Colony, was an employee of a company in Phase-II. As Rakesh’s scooter approached the bulls, they disengaged and one of them charged at Rakesh’s scooter, smashing it and goring Rakesh, who died on the spot.

This is, of course, not the first incident of its kind. Stray cattle on Noida roads have caused many accidents and deaths. They have maimed at least 12 persons.


Fine-tune college policy


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism?

If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

THIS is with reference to the report, "Nehru Government College is in despair" (NCR Tribune January 25, 2003), and a letter in response to this by Mr O. P. Duhan from Rohtak, titled `Backward in Jhajjar’ (NCR Tribune, February 1, 2003).

I endorse the views expressed by Mr Duhan that “steps may be taken collectively by the people of the area to get the college building repaired at the earliest”. From the higher education point of view, if somebody feels that Jhajjar is backward, then I would not agree with him/her.

Jhajjar district has six government colleges whereas Rohtak district has one government college for women and two government colleges in suburban areas (Govt College, Meham, and Government College for Women, Sampla). There is no government college for boys in Rohtak.

Sonepat district has only one government college in Gohana. Jhajjar’s colleges are: Govt College, Bahadurgarh (Morning), Government College, Bahadurgarh (Evening), Government College, Dujana, Government College, Dubaldhan, Government College, Badli and Government College, Jhajjar.

In Jhajjar district, the government is not neglecting higher education facilities, rather misutilising the public money, not at its (government) discretion but on the advice of the public. The people of the rural areas such as Dujana, Dubaldhan, Badli and other villages are demanding and compelling the government to establish government colleges.

The people in the rural area want that their wards should get primary, higher secondary and college education in their own villages only.

Government College, Dujana, is hardly 12 km from Jhajjar proper. Again Government College, Dubaldhan, would be hardly 8 km from Government College, Dujana. Suburban college, Kalanaur, Rohtak, is nearly 8 km from Government College, Dubaldhan. And the students have the facility to avail bus passes up to 60 km. I have visited almost all the colleges of Jhajjar, Rohtak, Sonepat, Rewari, Mohindergarh, Faridabad and Bhiwani districts as a member of the Flying Squad of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) for a number of years.

In a nutshell, people of the area should raise the demand to close these rural colleges, which are costing the public exchequer for teaching about 200-500 students, and demand emphatically to strengthen the colleges falling in sub-division areas and district headquarters areas. Authentic data is available on colleges which do not have even 300 students. Some of these colleges are practising unfair means in the examination.

It needs to be understood that colleges were established in backward areas to uplift the backward masses. But these colleges are situated not more than 15 km from the urban or suburban colleges. These colleges have not yet ensured the desired strength of enrolment as per the Kothari Commission recommendation. Shall these backward area students be confined to the backward areas of the district for their higher education? Shall they not travel even up to their sub-division or district headquarter for their higher education?

On the one hand, students are going for higher education study from a city to metropolitan cities and abroad and, on the other hand, these backward area students don’t want to go or they are asked to remain in their villages for higher education. Governments may have their vested interests.

Rewari, Sonepat, Panipat, Kaithal, Kurukshetra don’t have government colleges. The government should shift some of the rural colleges or the colleges where the strength of students is not more than 500 to the sub-division areas or district headquarter areas.

O. P. WADHWA, Lecture, Govt College, Gohana

Politicians are not pets

The newspaper reports say that the Finance Minister and the Defence Minister have been recommended for the Kargil and Siachen medals. The world over, military medals are exclusively for the forces. No where in history has a military medal ever been awarded to a politician. (Apart from Idi Amin, who ludicrously gave himself the Victoria Cross and an equally grand medal for stamp collection, too, to boot!). Please consider a little military history....

In 1881, Queen Victoria awarded the ‘Kabul to Kandahar Star 1880’ to officers and men of the British and Indian armies and also exceptionally to Voronel, Lord Robert’s horse; to Bobbie, a small white Mongrel, the regimental pet of the 2nd Battalion - the Royal Berkshire Regiment, which made it to Kandahar, 50 miles from the direction of Kabul, bravely on its own. The Queen gave these awards personally. The English take their pets seriously.

Must we take our politicians seriously and award them military medals?

Also, Gander, a Newfoundland dog, mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada, killed in Lye Mun in 1941, was given an “Animal VC”, posthumously for carrying a live grenade into Japanese lines. Then Peter, the RAF patrol dog (Scotch Collie), during World war II and Tyke, a brave homing pigeon, who flew through artillery to deliver messages.

It was the dauntless officers, the Indian Army and the airforce, who battled the invaders in Kargil, climbing icy heights to bayonet the enemy. No Finance, Foreign Minister or other politician can fall in this category. Our soldiers and officers have only their honour, their uniforms and their medals left, let not any politician start wearing military medals, uniforms. Where will it stop?

Premendra Singh, Lt Col (Retd), New Delhi

Fee impediment for talented students

This refers to Ms Smriti Kak’s article, ‘How long can fee hike be put off,’ published on February 6. In this regard, I would like to say that something has gone wrong with the education funds, which are drying up.

In fact, the Centre and the state governments are trying to increase the fee. For school and college fee, the government has introduced self-financing courses.

But the government should also think about the middle-class and lower strata people. Fee hike is one of the main hurdles for the talented students.


New Year gift culture

This is with reference to Ram Autar Yadav’s letter in the NCR Tribune (February 1) about the New Year Gift culture which, according to the writer, is fostering a feeling of graft in the minds of file-pushers and bureaucrats.

In this connection, I wish to add that the New Year gift culture is only a “fraction” of the Divali gift culture.

The Divali gift culture has now spread its tentacles from middle-rung traders, businessmen and industrialists to big business houses, big industrialists and corporate sector.

For them, Divali has become an important occasion for exchanging greetings. And the gifts are an important public relation component of attempts to project the corporate image and philosophy.

The age-old tradition of giving sweets and dry fruit has paved way for `expensive’ gifts, which last longer and remain etched in the minds of the receivers.

This has resulted in the mushrooming of consultants, public relation agencies and advertisement agencies, which specialise in ‘Divali gifting’ and their mode of delivery.

In the above context, it can safely be said, that the nature of the gift, whether given on New Year or Divali, and the money spent on it, is proportionate to the status and designation of the recipient or the benefit that is likely to accrue to the giver, from him!

The government employees (Class I, II, III, IV) cannot accept gifts under Clause 13 of the government employees (conduct) rules 1966 as amended, which lays down:

“13, Gifts - (1) save as otherwise provided in these rules, no government employee shall accept or permit any member of his family or any person acting on his behalf to accept, any gift. Explanation - the expression “gift” shall include free transport, boarding, lodging or other service or any other pecuniary advantage when provided by any person other than a near relative or personal friend having no official dealings with government.”

O. P. Sharma, Faridabad

Valentine’s Day bias of cloistered English media

An important spring festival of North India, Basant Panchami, passed off on February 6 without a murmur. The Capital’s English media almost ignored the festival, giving it a sketchy coverage.

It was the English daily, The Tribune, Chandigarh, which published a write-up captioned `Relevance of Basant Panchami’ (February 6).

However, some English dailies of the Capital, including their daily supplements, are giving regular coverage to Valentine’s Day which falls on February 14, despite the fact that the said “day” does not gel with the Indian traditions and social ethos. In fact, our neo-rich middle class, who are master imitators of western culture and festivals, are also responsible for giving a big boost to the celebration of Valentine’s Day every year at the expense of Indian festivals such as Basant Panchmi etc.

One fails to understand why we middle class Indians borrow only the negative aspects of the western culture and refrain from imbibing their positive aspects such as hard work, discipline, work culture and love for indigenous festivals. One also fails to fathom why our English print media does not give wide coverage to Indian festivals and the Indian New Year.

Sujata Sharma, Faridabad


Shahdara to get the best police station award
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14
On the occasion of the Delhi Police Day celebrations, three best police stations in the Capital will be awarded by Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani on Sunday.

Delhi Police Commissioner R. S. Gupta constituted a special committee under the leadership of Special Commissioner of Police (Administration) K. K. Paul and comprising Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Neeraj Kumar and Joint Commissioner of Police (Armed Police) Y. S. Dadwal to choose the best three police stations.

While the Shahdara police station of North-East district bagged the first place, the second place went to the Hindu Rao police station of North district and the third place to the Ashok Vihar police station of North-West district. The Station House Officers (SHOs) of the winning police stations will receive trophies from Mr L. K. Advani and R. S. Gupta on the Delhi Police Day.

A member of the committee said: “The team, after taking into consideration a number of parameters, shortlisted six police stations. Of which, three were finally selected for awards looking at their positive record, technical aspects, record maintenance, cleanliness and efforts made by them to maintain law and order in the area.”

“It helps in getting the best out of the police officers. In the process, the police stations also get upgraded. Besides, there is considerable restraint on the part of local police officials as senior officers visit the police stations personally to keep a check on them,” he added.

Due to this fear, even the number of custodial deaths has drastically declined in the local police stations of late. The behaviour of police officers with the public and the overall functioning have become more efficient.

To maintain law and order in the city, Delhi Police Commissioner R. S. Gupta has already started the night patrolling exercise and made surprise visits to some police stations to instill a sense of fear and responsibility among the officers.



Pharmacists threaten stir against highway patrol duty
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, February 14
The Haryana State Pharmacists’ Association has threatened to launch a statewide agitation if the process of deputing the pharmacists on highway patrol duty for providing medical aid to the accident victims was not checked by March 31.

Addressing newsmen here today, Mr Anand Tayal, state president of the association, said a dharna would be staged at the office of Director-General, Health Services, at Panchkula on April 7 in this connection. He alleged that the action of deputing them on highway patrol duty was illegal as only the medical officers were authorised to provide medical aid under the said circumstances. He suggested that separate medical teams equipped with all the required medicines and equipment must be detailed under the headship of a medical officer for the purpose.

Mr Tayal also demanded that the pharmacists deputed on the said duty during the last two years be paid travelling/dearness allowances. He argued that the cops deputed on the same duty had been getting these allowances. He also demanded that an IAS officer be appointed as Director-General, Health Services in place of a doctor as it was purely an administrative post.

Two quacks nabbed

In a drive launched against quacks by the district authorities, two persons were booked by the police from different parts of the town today. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, said a team of the Health Department officials raided Krishan Clinic at Hisar bypass chowk here and seized a huge stock of allopathic medicines, medical equipment and an OPD register. He said ‘doctor’ Krishan Barak, who had been running the clinic, could not produce any documentary proof of his being a registered medical practitioner. In another raid at Manju Health Clinic, located at Bhiwani stand chowk here, the team of the health officials booked Gopal Krishan while treating patients without possessing any required degree or certificate.



Valentine’s Day: Shiv Sainiks hold sit-ins

New Delhi, February 14
The Shiv Sena today carried out a series of peaceful protests at major shopping centres and food chains in the Capital in protest against Valentine’s Day celebrations, saying that it was western tradition which glorified obscenity. The Sena activists carried placards and pamphlets, shouting anti-Valentine’s Day slogans and asking the youth to shun the path of western culture which promoted obscenity and vulgarity.

However, no untoward incident was reported. The protests were carried out in Kamala Nagar, frequented by Delhi University students, heart of the Capital’s business activities, Connaught Place, and the Ansal Plaza shopping mall in South Delhi. Shiv Sainiks held sit-ins and shouted slogans outside Archies Galleries, Nirula’s and other food and fun joints. TNS


Two arrested for cricket betting
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14
Crime Branch officials today claimed to have arrested two persons from the Adarsh Nagar area for their alleged involvement in betting during the New Zealand-West Indies World Cup cricket match on February 13.

One colour TV, one telephone recording system, one land phone, Rs 3,650 and five mobile phones were recovered from their possession. Acting on a secret information that some people are involved in betting, Sandeep Aggarwal alias Tinkoo, a resident of Adrash Nagar, and Suresh Kumar alias Babloo, a resident of Kaithal in Haryana, were apprehended by the police. The total betting amount, according to the registers, was estimated to be Rs 7,68,430.

Manpower racket

With the arrest of three persons, the Delhi Police Special Cell today claimed to have busted a gang of manpower racketeers who used to cheat innocent job seekers from Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The police have seized nine passports, 25 applications with CVs, two fake employment agreements and two fake rubber stamps of fictitious companies. Acting on a secret information that one Dr S. K. Bansal (43), a resident of Rohini, was cheating innocent job seekers who want to work abroad, the sleuths apprehended him. Later, his two associates Mushtaq Ahmed and Naresh Kumar, a tout in the Regional Passport Office, were nabbed.


Student shoots self in Kavi Nagar
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 14
A B.Com student and son of steel merchant Manohar Lal Agarwal shot himself with a licensed gun last night living in house No 89 in I Block of Kavi Nagar. The 19-year-old Ranjan had reportedly been very upset for the last many days, the neighbours said. He shot himself twice with revolver, first in the armpit and then in the forehead.

Hearing the gunshots, his parents came running, but as the room door was bolted from inside it had to be broken. Ranjan was found in a pool of blood. He was rushed to a private hospital where he was declared “brought dead” by the doctors.

The Kavi Nagar police station in charge has questioned the family members and neighbours about this sensational suicide. Ranjan is said to have bolted the door from inside and had switched on the TV at full volume. The suicide note blames nobody for his extreme step. The licensed revolver and two emptied cartridges have been recovered by the police from Ranjan’s room. Neighbours said Ranjan was fond of astrology and palmistry. The police are investigating into the case.

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