Friday, February 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


End of the road for holders of 
multiple driving licences
HC for national vehicle licensing body
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to explore the feasibility of creating a national motor vehicle licensing authority to check a person from acquiring more than one licence from different states.

The direction came from a Bench comprising Justice Usha Mehra and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog.

The setting up of a Central National Licensing Authority will ensure that vehicle owners hold only one licence like the passport. Further, if the licence of a person is seized for some offence, he should not be able to procure a new one from another state. However, this cannot be prevented when there is a multiplicity of authorities. The government counsel has been asked to respond to the court’s query by March 27.

Referring to its earlier direction to the Centre to formulate a national driving licence registration system, the court said under the existing scheme a driver could obtain more than one licence.

The court was disposing of a PIL, which initially highlighted the law and order situation in Delhi but the court broadened its scope by including within its ambit the general policing and traffic management in the Capital.

When the counsel for an association of transporters sought stay on the court’s earlier direction, which makes it mandatory for all commercial vehicle drivers entering Delhi to have special training with the Drivers Training Research Institute (DTRI), the Bench said they should first come up with an equally effective alternative scheme.

The counsel for Centre and Delhi Police also said that mandatory training of drivers with the DTRI was not practically possible, considering the huge volume of traffic here.

The court had earlier directed the Delhi Government to open nine more DTRIs in different parts of the city within next two years. The direction was issued following the suggestions of a committee of officials from the Delhi Traffic Police, the Transport Department and the Delhi State Transport Authority for streamlining the traffic in the city, which has more than 40 lakh vehicles.

The court had directed that all states, whose vehicles ply regularly in the Capital, would incorporate in their motor vehicle rules the condition of mandatory training with the DTRI.

Meanwhile, police counsel Mukta Gupta informed the court that the DCP, South Delhi, has submitted a list of senior citizens living alone in his area to Delhi Public School president Salman Khursheed. Mr Khursheed will distribute the list among students, so that they could interact with the senior citizens.

The idea was proposed by Mr Khursheed during the last hearing. The purpose is to ensure that old people get a chance to remain in touch with the outside world.



Pupil dies as DTC bus hits Army school vehicle
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
A girl student was killed and four others of the Army Public School were injured today afternoon when the school bus in which they were travelling was hit by a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus on Kotwali road in the Delhi Cantonment Area in South-West district.

The victim — Sonam (13), a class VI student and a resident of Delhi Cantonment — died on the spot. Manasvini Ghosh, Shilpi Singh (8), Madhu (12) and Meghna (12) have been hospitalised with injuries. .

The incident occurred at around 2.30 pm when the children were returning home after attending school. The police said that at the time of the accident 31 children were present in the vehicle out of which 26 students escaped unhurt. They were later dropped at their homes safely by the Army authorities. A number of parents thronged to the mishap site to ascertain the condition of their wards. Many anxious parents made frantic calls to the school and the police.

A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered and the DTC bus driver, Kulwant Singh (50), has been arrested and is being questioned by the police. The police disclosed that the DTC bus (Route No 77) was plying between Mangolpuri and Chandi Chowk. 



Habitual absence from duty can lead to dismissal: SC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
Taking a stern view of employees taking leave without sanction, the Supreme court has ruled that habitual absence from duty for long periods on several occasions could lead to dismissal from service.

Rejecting an appeal by a Delhi Police constable, who went on medical leave but did not respond to repeated notices till he was dismissed from service, a Bench comprising Justice S Rajendra Babu, Justice D M Dharmadhikari and Justice G P Mathur said the view taken by the disciplinary authority was justified.

The court held that even if after giving repeated opportunities to the delinquent officer to improve, he proves to be incorrigible and is found completely unfit to remain in service, then in order to maintain disciple, appropriate action could be taken.

The Bench upheld the findings in Harihar Gopal’s case, as per which after finding the person guilty of habitually absenting himself from duty, the disciplinary authority could adjust his leave against the period of absence for maintaining correct records of duration of service.

The Bench said the decision of the court in Bakshish Singh’s case was not a precedent. In Bakshish Singh’s case, the apex court had ruled that the order terminating the employment could not be sustained as in the order of dismissal the disciplinary authority regularised unauthorised absence from duty by granting an employee leave without pay. 



Primary schools: Headache for govt
Prem Pal Singh

Meerut, February 20
The government-run primary schools in Meerut, which are mostly operating on rented premises, are closing down one by one. Yet, the state education department, oblivious of their status, is shelling out lakhs in rent and salary dues.

The buildings of six schools collapsed in the recent downpour, resulting in their closure. Thirteen other primary schools have closed shop due to shortage of students or staff. The most telling blow, however, was the eviction of over 20 schools from rented premises by the landlords, following orders from the court to that effect. That leaves some 30-odd schools, which are still operating from rented premises.

Despite closure, in government records, most of the aforesaid schools are still ‘running’: In other words, the government is still forking out the rent and the salaries of the staff. It is said that senior education officials seldom attend their offices and are mostly attending court proceedings or having discussions with the owners over rent disputes. All this has taken a toll on the maintenance of the buildings.

No wonder, the building of Peramal Primary School collapsed. The five other schools, which were closed after their buildings collapsed, are located in Malviya Chowk, Anandpuri, Lisari Gate, Rajendra Nagar and Madhav Nagar. Interestingly, the Education Department is still paying the rent of these buildings.

Twenty other schools are only on paper. Most of these have lost the court cases and had to vacate the buildings. These include such schools as Andarkot, Makbara Diggi II, Brahampuri I and III, Nehru Bal Vihar, Poorva Mahavir, Poorva Ahiran (girls), Prahalad Nagar (girls) and Shah Khaki (girls). Incidentally, all these schools were closed before the end of the current academic session. Then, there are schools which have both buildings and teachers but not enough students. These were also housed on rented premises and include: Poorva Ahiran II, Bhag Vatpoora, Dev Puri, Krishna Puri (girls), Abdul Wali, Poorva Mahavir Kotla I and II, Idgah, Panch Mukhi Temple, Anderkat (girls) and Vaishya orphanage schools. In the case of aforesaid again, the department is still shelling out the rent and salaries.

Additional Director, Primary Education, Rana S. Kumar, told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that schools housed in rented premises have become a major headache for the administration. However, Divisional Commissioner N. S. Ravi says that there is a move to restart these schools. Some could be shifted to the buildings of community centres, he added. This proposal is before the authorities in Lucknow.



Conserve power or squirm in summer
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
Conserve power if another summer of discontent is to be avoided is the Government of NCT of Delhi’s terse message to consumers. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today made it known that conservation would constitute second generation of power reforms after the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) was unbundled last year.

The Chief Minister told a seminar hosted by the Department of Power in association with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency that the annual trend of seven to 12 per cent surge in demand was not sustainable. Conservation, she hoped, would bring about a negative growth of six to seven per cent.

Mrs Dikshit said a suitable legislation could be brought out to give an impetus to evolving a sustainable energy conservation regime. “After declaring 2003 as the Year of Energy Conservation, it is important that a culture of conservation and demand-side management be evolved,” she said.

Power Minister Ajay Maken in turn said energy conservation measures could be focussed more on bringing down peak demand and deferring demand from peak to off-peak hours.

Differential energy tariff and thermal energy storage system are options, the government says, could be considered.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has suggested among others energy audit, design changes in buildings, rationalisation of streetlights and changes in municipal water pumping system to conserve power. 



Man robbed, pushed out of running train

Sonepat: An unidentified passenger was robbed of cash and other valuables and pushed out of a Delhi-bound train near Khera Kalan railway station, about 25 km from here, by some miscreants last evening. According to a report, a police patrolling party, which spotted him near the railway tracks, took him in a jeep to a hospital in Delhi. When the passenger gained consciousness, he narrated his harrowing experience.

According to another report, the Government Railway Police (GRP) have arrested one Suresh Shah of Nepal in connection with the looting of a passenger, Mr Ram Milan of Bihar, in the Delhi-bound Unchahar Express on the DUK section of the Northern Railway three days ago. The youth is stated to be a member of an inter-state gang of robbers adept at looting passengers in running trains. The youth, it is alleged, offered Mr Milan drug-laced biscuits and the latter fell unconscious as soon as he ate them. Thereafter, the youth fled with Mr Milan’s luggage. The passenger was brought down from the train at Sonepat in an unconscious condition and admitted to the civil hospital here. He gained consciousness only after a day. He was later taken to the Ambala railway station where he identified the alleged suspect who was immediately taken into custody by the GRP. OC



Modi Tyre property auctioned
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 20
With Modi Tyre defaulting on payment of Rs 93 lakh in dues to its workers, the district administration auctioned its property worth over Rs 36 lakh today. The auction was held under the supervision of Naib Tehsildar Vishwanath Singh.

The auction started with the tyres. The reserve price for the tyres was Rs 20 lakh with Rs 25,000 security deposit. The highest bidder had to deposit one-fourth of the total amount on the spot. The balance will have to be deposited within a fortnight.

The administration had held an auction on January 17, too. However, since the highest bid fell short by Rs 2 lakh of the reserved price of Rs 20 lakh, the auction was cancelled by the Naib Tehsildar. Today’s auction was in continuation of that auction and it fetched Rs 15 lakh more. Iron scraps were auctioned for Rs 2.45 lakh. Bids for plastic and iron cans and for rubber scrap fetched another Rs 41,000 and Rs 30,000, respectively.



Bansi bristles at Devi Lal’s statues in Haryana
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, February 20
Former Chief Minister and Haryana Vikas Party chief Bansi Lal vowed to extirpate all statues of late Devi Lal, father of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala from the state if he was voted to power by the people in the next assembly elections.

At a press conference held at the PWD rest house in Bahadurgarh here today, Mr Bansi Lal voiced his aversion to installing statues in every nook and corner of the state and naming institutions, public places and firms in the name of late politicians. He said, “ Politics is a struggle of chaudhar (power) and we politicians are not great enough for our statues to be installed throughout the state. Devi Lal was no exception”.

He said he would also institute an inquiry into land worth several crores of rupees being grabbed in the name of Devi Lal Trust in the state. He said the Centre should step in to check the misdeeds of the state government. “All powers have been centralised and the bureaucrats have nothing to do. Programmes like Sarkar Aapke Dwar have done more harm to the people than good”, observed the former Chief Minister.

However, Mr Bansi Lal did not foresee any prospects of a mid-term poll in the state, saying that the Chautala government would complete its five years in the office. He alleged despite three trips of the Chief Minister to foreign countries not a single new industrial unit had been established in the state. Instead, the existing ones were moving to other states. He maintained his party would go alone in the next Assembly elections.

The HVP leader also pulled up the Congress chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, for not intervening on the SYL issue. He said she should support the judicious distribution of water and help in getting the SYL water for Haryana. He alleged that the silence of Ms Gandhi on the SYL issue exposed her partisan attitude.

Mr Bansi Lal, who was also Union Defence Minister in the past, extended his support to the Centre on foreign policy on the Iraq issue. He said India’s sympathies were with Iraq but we needed US cooperation in many fields. He also opposed the privatisation of the profitable oil public sector undertakings. 



Post-privatisation, people still hit by power cuts
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 20
Although the state government is pumping crores of rupees to improve the power supply and the attendant infrastructure in the district each year any remarkable impact is yet to be noticed. This impact includes the overall supply position, reduction in power theft, corruption, management and overall satisfaction level among consumers.

According to an official statement, the state government has spent Rs 40 crore on the development of the power sector in Faridabad district in the past three years. It is claimed that the supply which was around 47 lakh units per day in 1999-2000 has gone up to 67 lakh units this year. The impact of this improvement is hardly visible, especially in rural areas, claims Raj Kumar Gaur, general secretary of the Janata Dal (Haryana). He said there was hardly any village in the district which got power supply for more than 10 hours in a day. He said a majority of the villages got power supply only at night and if there was any supply during the day it was for not more than two to three hours.

The power supply in the urban areas has also not been smooth. Big and frequent power cuts were the bane of the multitude during the chilling weather conditions in January this year.

Mr S. S. Lamba of Punarjagran, a voluntary organisation, said the claims made by the authorities were only aimed at taking credit. He said if the department wanted to make an impact then it should improve its functioning and provide services without demanding or expecting bribes from the common man. He said despite privatisation and corporatisation there was no change in the style of functioning of the staff of the power department and corruption was still the bearbug.

The power department’s move to check power theft by replacing mechanical meters with electronic ones had reportedly not yielded positive results. The reasons attributed for this include the speed of new meters and the shortcomings in their operation. It is reported that about 4000 meters installed in past three years had become defective and the department had initiated the work of replacing these. The situation has proved to be anti-consumer as they are made to pay the cost of the new meters. The new meters are reported to be 30 to 50 per cent fast although the authorities do not agree with this claim.

A resident of a colony here said his two-monthly bill had gone up by at least 70 to 80 per cent after the new meter was installed. The meter replacement drive has been opposed by the residents in various colonies here who demand that old meters working perfectly should not be replaced. The All-Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union (AHPCWU) has also alleged that new meters are fast and defective. The union suspects a racket behind the purchase of meters.

Residents often carp that complaints about faults are not attended promptly. A former Deputy Commissioner had to raid several complaint centres of the department last year when he came to know that employees had not been attending to complaints.

On other hand, the employees’ union of the department claims there is acute shortage of staff in the department and the government has failed to recruit more employees despite heavy increase in the workload.



School-chartered service keeps DTC coffers jingling
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
With the schools opting for the CNG bus service of the DTC to ferry their students, the loss-making state-run corporation has begun earning close to Rs 12.5 lakh per day out of the school-chartered service.

According to the corporation’s senior manager in charge of traffic A. K. Goel, due to its high degree of safety record, there is a heavy demand from public schools for DTC’s chartered service.

He said that most of the public schools in the Capital rely on the DTC to provide them buses for the students. Mr Goel added that as part of its social obligation, the DTC has offered some of the new buses to schools so as to enable the schools to concentrate on their core concern of academic excellence.

The corporation has deployed 1,100 buses on school-chartered service and are in the process of adding 1,000 new CNG buses to its fleet. Besides offering services on a special hire basis at the rate of Rs 25 per km, the DTC has also taken care to deploy its best crew on school duties keeping in view the safety and behaviour aspect, Mr Goel added. 



TB cases on the rise
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, February 20
Despite all efforts made by the health authorities, the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in Ganaur subdivision has gone up to 392, according to the Senior Medical officer, Dr J. P. Aggarwal.

The main causes for this upward trend were increasing air pollution due to release of poisonous smoke through brick-kiln chimneys and industries’ furnaces besides lack of awareness among the people about the causes and preventive measures for this dreaded disease, Dr Aggarwal opined.

“As TB is a contagious disease, he said, the people in the company of TB patients do not take precautionary measures. And the consumption of raw unboiled milk by the people, particularly in the villages, is also one of the reasons for this disease occurring,” he added.

Worker burnt in boiler fire

A worker of an industrial unit at Rai was seriously burnt following leakage from the unit boiler on Wednesday. He has been referred to Delhi in a serious condition.

According to information, Kapil Dev, working as boiler attendant at Super India Private Ltd at Badkhalsa, near Rai, was on duty in the unit when the boiler leaked and he was trapped in the subsequent fire which flared up. He was immediately taken to the Civil Hospital, Sonepat, but as his condition was serious he was rushed to Delhi.

Cane growers to be paid in 14 days

The Sonepat Cooperative Sugar Mill has made arrangements to make payments to cane growers within 14 days, according to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh. The DC, who is also the Chairman of the mill, has claimed the recovery ratio of sugar has increased from 9.59 per cent last month to 9.70 per cent during this month.

Suicide victim was in debt

Mr Raman Anand, a resident of Sector 13, Rohini (Delhi), was reported to have committed suicide by jumping before a running train near Rathdhanna railway station, about 9 km from here, on Wednesday night.

According to the GRP sources, the victim was debt-ridden and this was the reason behind his taking this extreme step. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

4 booked for dowry death

Bhiwani: Four persons of a family have been charged with dowry death after the bride died under mysterious circumstances at Miran village in this district.

The police sources said Vijay of Mahjad village in Hansi tehsil in his complaint alleged his sister was harassed by her in-laws for bringing insufficient dowry and ultimately they murdered his sister on Wednesday. The police have registered a case under Sections 304 B and 34 of the IPC against Satpal, Suresh, Lal Chand and his wife. The body of the deceased was handed over to the relatives after an autopsy done at the Civil Hospital here on Thursday.

Booked for negligent driving

A jeep driver has been charged with hitting a person on a complaint made by the victim, Anil, resident of Bagpur village in Jhajjar district. The complainant said the driver of the jeep (HR08C-0491) hit his motor cycle, resulting in him sustaining multiple injuries. A case has been registered but no arrest has been made so far in this connection. OC

MDU to conduct entrance tests in Haryana

Rohtak: The Haryana Government has nominated Maharshi Dayanand University as the central admission making agency for BE/B.Tech in engineering and technology/lateral entry in engineering degree BE/B.Tech.), MBA, MCA, B.Pharmacy and degree in hotel management and catering for the year 2003-2004.

A spokesperson of the university said the varsity would conduct the entrance tests as well as hold counselling for all these courses. He said the information in this connection was conveyed by the Technical Education Commissioner and Special Secretary, Technical Education Department, Union Government.

BKU men block roads

Activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) yesterday blocked traffic on at least three main roads leading to Panipat, Jind and Sonepat towns for several hours as part of the state-wide bandh by the union. The union gave the bandh call demanding the immediate release of its chief Ghasi Ram Nain.

The police teams kept themselves at a distance from the protestors. The activists put up blockades by felling trees and other articles at Brahmanwas, Ritauli and Bhalaut villages on Panipat, Jind and Sonepat roads, respectively. The villagers deflated the tyres of several vehicles, including a Haryana Roadways bus at Ritauli village and parked it across the road. They raised anti-government slogans.

Dowry death

A woman was murdered allegedly by her in-laws at Nehru colony here on Tuesday evening. In the FIR, Mr Ram Mehar Ladwal, father of the victim, currently staying at Shakur Basti in Delhi, stated that his daughter Savita got married with Surender at Nehru Colony here in 1997. He alleged that the in-laws of his daughter started harassing her for bringing ‘inadequate’ dowry and did not allow the members of his family to see her. OC



Soft drinks vendor killed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
Rakesh (25), a resident of Jahangirpuri, was reportedly killed by a few unidentified youths last night. The deceased was a soft drinks vendor. The suspects took cold drink bottles from Rakesh and did not pay for that. He had an argument with the suspects when they refused to pay. While he was arguing, one of the suspects hit him on his head with a bottle. He was rushed to Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital where he died. The suspects are absconding, the police said.

Stabbed while out on a stroll: Ram Prakash Narang, a resident of Lajpat Nagar, was stabbed by three youths last night. The incident occurred when he was strolling in Lajpat Nagar-I. The suspects came from behind and asked his name. As he told them his name, they stabbed him repeatedly on the abdomen and right leg. He was taken to Holy Family Hospital. The suspects are absconding, the police said.

Addl SHOs transferred: Additional Station House Officers of Rajender Nagar, Kamla Market, Chitranjan Park, Pahar Ganj, Old Delhi Railway Station, IGI Airport, Karol Bagh and Lodhi Colony police stations have been transferred. Besides, Amrik Singh, who was posted at South Delhi Head Quarters, has been transferred to Lodhi Colony and Jagdish Chander transferred to Karol Bagh and Police Training College, the police said.

Proclaimed offender held: The Central district police on Thursday arrested a proclaimed offender, Rakesh Kumar, alias Subhash, who was a resident of Bahadurgarh in Haryana. He was involved in a number of crime cases in Delhi and Haryana. He was declared a proclaimed offender by the district and sessions court, Bahadurgarh, in March last year.

Robbery case solved: With the arrest of three persons, the South district police on Thursday claimed to have worked out a robbery case of Chitranjan Park. The suspects were identified as Mukesh, Anis and Mohammad Rahis. One countrymade pistol along with two live cartridges and two knives were recovered from his possession. The suspects were arrested from near “Ganda Nallah” where they were planning to commit another robbery in the area. During interrogation, they confessed to having committed the robbery, the police said.

Work on emporia buildings: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday inaugurated the renovation and development works of State Emporia Buildings at Baba Kharak Singh Marg.

The development and beautification of this complex would be undertaken at a cost of Rs 1crore and completed in nine months.



Industry pleads for easing of 
pollution board consent
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 20
The Gurgaon Industrial Association (GIA) yesterday made a plea to the Haryana Government for an amendment to the state’s 1999 industrial policy to exempt more units from the rigours of obtaining “consent” from the Pollution Control Board.

GIA president J. N. Mangla lamented that the present policy does not permit installation of a generator having more than 10 KVA capacity by a unit to be exempted from obtaining consent from the Pollution Control Board. The experience of all these years since the implementation of the policy is that the arrangement is only impeding the growth of industry.

The GIA feels that in the face of erratic supply of power, it is inevitable that the units, especially those related to IT, set up captive power plants in their premises of higher than the prescribed capacity to keep their production at the optimal level. The policy was formulated with an assumption that power supply would improve, but the situation remains just as dismal. Hence, the need for the government to revise the industrial policy to provide more leverage to the units.

The GIA further said that it is incongruous that a non-polluting unit will be just as well assumed to be in the “polluting” category till given a clean chit by the Pollution Control Board if it transgresses the prescribed capacity of generators out of necessity.

Making a strong case in favour of revising the policy, the GIA said that the entrepreneurs are willing to abide by whatever parameters that are set for installing generators of higher capacity. The GIA also lamented that the units which are legally entitled for exemption from the consent are being pressured by the board to seek consent.


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