Thursday, March 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Five-day Russian extravaganza for Delhiites
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
The Days of St Petersburg, a five-day festival showcasing the best of Russian culture, began here today. The festival, a maiden initiative commemorating the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg, is being organised by the Government of NCT of Delhi and the St Petersburg Association for International Co-operation.

The five-day cultural extravaganza features classical ballet by artistes from V. Ganibalov Theatre of St Petersburg, folk dances performed by popular troupe Samovar, a painting exhibition by the duo of Valentina Anapova and her son Dmitry Anapov as well as 300 years of St Petersburg through the eyes of children and an exhibition of books on India in Russian and translations of Indian works into Russian.

“The idea of this festival arose during Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s visit to St Petersburg and Moscow in September last year, where decisions were taken to continue cultural co-operation on a regular and sustained basis as well as to identify new areas of cooperation,” said Art and Culture Secretary Nita Bali.

“Painting, theatre, performing arts and preservation of heritage buildings are some areas where we have a lot in common,” Ms Bali said. “The main idea is to cement ties with St Petersburg in the sphere of culture as these will lead to co-operation in other fields as well. There is immense potential for business and trade ties between the two metropolitan cities,” she added.

Ms Bali said this agreement was under the protocol signed by the Government of NCT of Delhi with the Russian Government last year. The NCT of Delhi was the only Indian city able to enter into agreements with foreign governments, she pointed out, adding that Delhi had already entered into agreements with Chicago, Moscow, Tokyo as well as 14 other Asian cities.

Chairman of St Petersburg Association for International Co-operation Natalia Eliseeva said the idea for this festival had originated during the tercentenary celebrations in St Petersburg. Another stimulus came from Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself closely linked to Russia’s second largest city, disclosed Ms Eliseeva.

Mr Putin had observed that economic ties with India were developing satisfactorily but there was a lot to do in the cultural sector. “These words inspired us immensely,” she said.

Calling the cultural life of St Petersburg a “large-scale phenomenon,” Mrs Eliseeva assured Delhi viewers of a treat. “We also plan to have a Days of Delhi in St Petersburg sometime at the end of this year or early next year,” she promised. “We will take the Festival of India in the USSR (1987) and the Festival of the USSR in India (1989) as our starting points but will aim to approach and even surpass these,” she claimed.

According to sources in the Government of NCT of Delhi, a Days of Delhi festival is planned to be held in St Petersburg later this year or early next year. 


Board exams: When tele counsellors get stumped
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
Even though the number of tele counselling service providers and the number of callers has steadily increased, there remains a section that is still grappling with the concept of tele counselling.

“How many satellites does Earth have?” “Can you solve a sum for me, I can’t get it right?” are some of the calls that Ms Meenu Bhargav, tele counsellor for the CBSE Helpline, has received.

Explains Bhargav, “There are a whole lot of callers who do not understand what tele counselling is all about. Some children call up to ask questions related to a subject or a particular portion, they think that counsellors can answer all their queries”.

While most students in public schools display more awareness, the concept remains novel to their counterparts in government schools. “The government schools are very hesitant when it comes to acknowledging the need for counselling, this is a reason why there are so many posts of counsellors lying vacant. Also, there are so many schools where despite a counsellor students cannot make use of their services because they are yet to realise the potential of counselling”, points out Ms. Renu Sharma, a counsellor with a Delhi Government school.

Counsellors agree that the last few years have seen a spurt in counselling services. “There is a change in perception, people have now begun understanding the concept of counselling. Since we also provide correct information to the students apart from helping them tide over emotional crisis, out callers are not just school and college students, but also their parents”, says Sharma.

She adds, “In the schools we need to explain what a counsellor really does. Lack of information is what prompts students to ask questions like what are the important portions that I should study or will the Maths paper this year be difficult”.

This year like the previous years the tele counsellors have been kept busy with the telephones tingling all the time. “There are days when one cannot even take a breather”, says R D Srivastava.

But now that the exams have begun the number of callers has decreased. “Perhaps, they realise that now it is just them and their books,” points out Aloka Bose, Counsellor, Birla Vidya Niketan. She adds, “The calls peak when the exam are just about to begin, but there is a discernible slump once the exams start. Generally it is callers who have not performed well and want information regarding re-exams and results”.


Sub-Inspector, MCD officials nabbed for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested one Delhi Police SI and three MCD officials in two cases of corruption. In the first incident, an SI posted in Prashant Vihar was arrested for demanding a bribe of Rs 10,000 and accepting Rs 7,000 from one person for helping him in securing bail in a case. The accused, who was the investigating officer of the case, offered help to the complainant. The CBI caught the accused red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 7,000 on the premises of the Tis Hazari court. The CBI later recovered incriminating documents.

In another incident, three MCD officials, who offered help to one person to construct a room on a land at Quadipur, were nabbed. The officials demanded Rs 5,000 from the complainant and were caught red-handed while accepting Rs 3,000. The accused were posted in MCD division 16, Rajpura Road. Initially, two of them were nabbed. The third accused, a junior engineer, later surrendered to the CBI.

MCF inspector caught red-handed

Faridabad: A building Inspector of the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) was caught red-handed while taking Rs 5,000 as bribe from a resident of a village here today.

The complainant identified as Mathura Prasad had reported to the senior police officials that the inspector, posted in NIT, Zone 2, had been demanding the bribe for not taking any action against him for violation of rules and for approving his building.

A team consisting of a tehsildar and the DSP nabbed the accused identified as Ranbir Singh. The powdered currency notes paid as bribe were recovered from the culprit.

The accused has also named an MCF official of the rank of an SDO in this regard. The police have registered a case under Section 17, 13, 49 and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. This is the first case in which an MCF official has been nabbed taking bribe in the past few years, although allegations of rampant corruption have been common in the civic body.


Justice Patel takes over at Delhi HC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
Justice Babulal Chandulal Patel on Wednesday took over as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. He was administered the oath of office by Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor. Chief Secretary Shailja Chandra read the warrant of appointment. Justice Patel, who was Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, took over from acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta. Justice Gupta had been officiating as Chief Justice since Justice SB Sinha was elevated as Supreme Court judge last year. Justice Gupta has now been appointed Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her Cabinet colleagues, judges of the High Court, District and Sessions courts, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Legislative Assembly Prof Jagdish Mukhi, members of the Delhi Bar Council, Commissioner of Police RS Gupta, senior officials of Government of NCT of Delhi and eminent lawyers were present at the swearing-in function held at Raj Niwas.

Justice Patel, who started his practice in Ahmedabad in 1968, was made judge of the Gujarat High Court in 1990.


Noida govt hospital: No pay for two months
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 5
The doctors and the paramedical and other staff of the District Government Hospital in Sector 30 here have not been paid salaries for the last two months. There is little chance of their getting paid for this month also, it is learnt.

The non-payment of salaries has played havoc with their fiscal management. For instance, their LIC premiums and other tax-saving investments are in jeopardy. These payments have to be made this month, if tax-saving is to be facilitated.

The staff shortage also has a bearing on the attitude of the doctors. Hospital sources admit that the main reason for the “bad treatment” meted out to the patients in the hospital is the non-payment of salaries. This, in turn, has reduced the number of patients visiting the hospital to a trickle.

Interestingly, Rs 50 lakhs made available by the government for paying the salaries of the hospital staff last year had been exhausted in seven months. Even the wages for November and December were delayed due to the paucity of funds.

In November, District Magistrate K. Ram Mohan Rao had requested the government for a special grant in view of Divali. The salaries for December could also be paid due to the special efforts of the DM.

The post of Chief Medical Officer in the hospital, which was set up in 1998, was created only last year when Dr Daya Prakash was posted here from Farukabad. Being a new district hospital, only 32 doctors, 20 nurses and 14 ward boys are posted here.

Although the number of patients has declined, Dr Prakash has been making efforts to improve the cleanliness and sanitation in the hospital for which he has recruited 13 new sweepers.

According to Dr Prakash, the issue of non-payment of salaries was discussed with Health Secretary R. K. Mittal and Director-General of Health Services Dr Gayatri Sharma on February 19 in Lucknow. 


Children are their benefactors in this cruel world
Prem Pal Singh

Meerut, March 5
One should not mistake trees for woods. In Sanjay Van, you will not spot even a blade of grass. One can then imagine the plight of animals kept in this state government-owned wildlife park.

Among the animals in captivity are rare black bucks, who keep banging their heads against the iron grill of their small enclosure in exasperation.

If they are injured, it’s their bad luck. The Forest Department will not even requisition the services of a veterinary doctor.

Their only benefactors are some schoolchildren from nearby villages who visit the black bucks once in a while. The children extend something edible to the creatures through the iron fence. This might be once a week, but for these hapless creatures it is a feast.

By now, the animals have begun to recognise their benefactors in this cruel world. They spring to their feet when they see the children trooping in. If the children don’t come, they get neither food nor water for days together.

This is the state of affairs in the park at the busy NH-58, 10 km away from the Meerut district headquarters. Three black bucks and five deer have been confined to an area enclosed with iron nets for the recreation of visitors.

The authorities, it is learnt, are not supplying even food and water to the animals. Their authorised diet was stopped several months back and the forest officials have not been able to arrange even ordinary grass for them.

The worst-hit is a small deer, which is confined to a room of the guesthouse of Sanjay Van. Schoolchildren and some grade 4 employees of the department keep this deer alive by feeding it bread.

It is not that the senior forest officials are unaware of the condition of the animals in Sanjay Van. Divisional Forest Official Abhay Kumar Singh reveals that the department has made no allocation for the animals kept in Sanjay Van. The department employees often provide fodder on their own.

Under these circumstances, he was considering ordering the release of these animals in the Hastinapur reserve forest. Releasing them is again a difficult proposition as they might not survive in the forest, having been confined and fed for so long. He has now appealed to some NGOs to come forward to help these poor creatures.


Kargil martyr’s family gets cash relief after four years
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 5
After four years of dithering, Naik Satbir Singh of the Jat Regiment, who died during the Kargil hostilities, has finally been given the status of a martyr by the state government.

When the state government had announced financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh for all those jawans who had sacrificed their lives on April 1 and after during the Kargil conflict, Naik Satbir Singh was denied the assistance on the ground that he had died on March 31.

However, inquiries with the military authorities established that he had lost his life in the wee hours of April 1. Now, the Zila Sainik Board has disbursed Rs 10 lakh (Rs 5 lakh each to his widow and parents), according to secretary of the board J. S. Bisnoi.

Sepoy cremated

Sepoy Amit Kumar, who was killed in action against terrorists in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on February 28, was cremated in his native Mahmoodpur village, about 45 km from here, on Tuesday with full government honours.

A contingent of the Army and police jawans presented the guard of honour to the martyr by firing five rounds in the air. A large number of villagers were present at the time of cremation.

On behalf of the state government, SDM of Gohana Suraj Bhan, DSP S. S. Rana, secretary of the Zila Sainik Board J. S. Bisnoi and a number of other officials were present. Amit Kumar had enrolled in 15 Maratha Light Infantry nearly two-and-a-half years ago and, after training, he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir. During a terrorist attack on February 28, he received bullet injuries and died before he could be rushed to the hospital.

Amit Kumar, aged around 21, was unmarried and his untimely death has shocked his family and other villagers.


Lottery trade thrives with cops’ connivance 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 5
The lottery trade here is becoming brisker by the day to the discomfiture of the police. It has now caught the imagination of even greenhorns who are on the lookout to make a quick buck.

The sad fact is that the new entrants in this arena, who gradually become die-hard gambling addicts and consequently ruin themselves, are mostly poor rickshaw-pullers, labourers and schoolchildren. No wonder, the lottery stalls are usually cramped with such ready customers. The police attribute the growing popularity of the trade to certain illegal activities, including satta, being carried out in the garb of lottery business in the city. The most popular lottery for this kind of activity is the single digit one where the result is declared by the end of the day.

The common practice is what the police term “telephone satta”. According to informed sources, certain numbers pertaining to the single-digit lotteries are booked over the telephone by the gamblers. If the number turns out to be right when the results are declared it yields rich dividends both to the booking guy and the gambler. Despite satta being played right under their nose, the authorities have been unable to check it as the deals are made orally, thus making it difficult to prove anything in a court of law.

Informed sources also reveal that certain lotteries, which are not authorised to be sold in the city as the states running them are not paying any tax to the administration, are also being sold.

The areas where the lottery trade is flourishing are the railway road, bus stand, Tarana road, Sarang road, Sikka Colony, old DC Road and Sectors 14 and 15 as well as the button factory and the Model Town area, Mandi road and Gohana road.

The sale of the lottery tickets is on the rise in almost all labour colonies of the city.

Certain officials of the Police Department reveal daily trading in the lottery business in the city is worth several lakhs of rupees. It is also alleged that the police officials are minting money by taking bribes for allowing this business to carry on in different parts of this city.


IOC Pipelines Div observes National Safety Day 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
National Safety Day was observed in all units of Indian Oil’s Pipelines Division yesterday. All employees took a pledge on the occasion to ensure safety at their workplace.

In his message to employees spread across the country, Mr A. M. Uplenchwar, Director (Pipelines), Indian Oil, said all Indian Oil pipeline units were well-equipped and had installed safety devices, safety appliances and therefore must achieve perfection in their safety performance to ward off hazards as per the safety, health and environment management systems.

The Indian Oil Pipelines Division owns and operates over 7,000-km-long pipeline network with about 70 stations located across the country. Crude oil and petroleum product transporting pipelines across the globe were acknowledged as the safest mode of moving petroleum products and crude oil the world over. Pipelines are regarded as underground highways that silently and safely transfer liquid gold without any hindrance to environment and ecology.

“For improvement of safety in our own workplace we have to ensure strict enforcement of work permit system. No safety device should be bypassed without proper scrutiny, documentation and authorisation. We should adhere to operating guidelines and enforce better methodology for a safer environment. Sequencing of critical activities and explaining to the executing agencies will ensure safety at workplace,” he said.

Strict supervision was essential in critical activities like hot work, working at heights or inside an excavated trench and during maintenance of crucial part of the equipment. Use of personal protective equipment at workplace should be mandatory to avoid injury and save human lives. Contract labourers’ safety should be given equal emphasis as they were the most vulnerable, said Mr Uplenchwar.

He also suggested keeping some good films on safety which could be regularly shown to employees and contractors’ labour etc, including visitors.

National Safety Day is observed every year on March 4 to generate awareness and renew commitment to the goal of integrating safety and health at the workplace and in daily life.

The theme for this year’s National Safety Day was `Improve Occupational Safety and Health 9OSH) Standards and Gain in Global Competitiveness.’


Promises, promises...HUDA turns its back on small entrepreneurs 
Our Correspondent

Panipat, March 5
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is not serious at all about ameliorating the sufferings of medium and small entrepreneurs of Sector 29 of Industrial Estate here, who are facing a harrowing time thanks to official apathy.

When the estate was set up and plots were advertised the authority had declared all kinds of facilities would be provided.
Dilapidated roads with huge potholes, blocked sewage lines, which have not been repaired since they were laid, thus causing a problem of back flow, stagnation and water-logging, absence of proper streetlights and non-availability of other facilities like banking, ESI Hospital and fire brigade tell the sorry tale of the industrial estate of HUDA’s Sector 29, which was developed by the authority about 20 years ago.

Mr Bhaskar Chatterji, Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Urban Estate, Haryana, visited Sector 29 of Industrial Estate on February 21 last year along with the Chief Engineer, the Superintending Engineer, the Executive Engineer of HUDA, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. R. Anand, the Estate Officer, HUDA, along with a contingent of 21 officers of the departments concerned.

He found chemically rich water ponds in the 21 unsold industrial plots had created a stinking mess with the entrepreneurs refusing to purchase them on one account or the other.

Mr Chatterji made inquiries from the staff concerned and gave instructions for the rectification of defects. But even after one year the status of these plots remains the same, resulting in a loss of capital amounting to crores of rupees.

At the time of allotment no provision was made for processing and dyeing units in this industrial sector but dyeing units had been running here with the connivance of HUDA, the Department of Industries, the Pollution Control Board and even the electricity board, an entrepreneur of this industrial sector, Mr Nemi Chand Jain, alleged.

One of the entrepreneurs, on condition of anonymity, alleged that due to wrong industrial policy of the Haryana Government, HUDA, which was authorised to set up only residential areas, unauthorisedly developed industrial estates in many towns of Haryana.

Moreover, the enhanced charges at the rate of Rs 320 per square meter were a tall order for the entrepreneurs who had taken the matter to court, he further alleged.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs who had taken industrial plots from the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) in other towns were a happier lot as they did not have to pay enhanced charges despite such a clause in the Act, he told.

The secretary-general of the Urban Estate Industrial Association of Sector 29, Panipat, Mr Prem Girdhar, has also expressed resentment and dismay over the indifferent attitude of HUDA in providing basic facilities in this sector.
While talking to this correspondent, he said the apathy of the authorities towards the problem of non-functional sewerage system in this industrial estate was causing heartburn.

Manholes were being bored to drain out the choked sewer water by the authorities concerned. Overflowing and frequent blockage of manholes frequently emitted a foul smell, leading to a threat of epidemic. Stagnation of drain water and water-logging on the industrial plots and roads caused great inconvenience to the local industrialists and their workers, he added.

Mr Ashok Pahwa, another industrialist, said transaction of lakhs of rupees was being done daily in this industrial sector but no banking facilities had been provided by HUDA though provision was made at the time of allotment of plots to the entrepreneurs.

The HUDA authorities are quiet on this issue even though many cases of robbery and looting have occurred.

He further said that except two or three nationalised banks around Sewah at a distance of 3 km from this industrial estate there was no other bank in the vicinity of Sector 29.

The secretary-general of the industrial association alleged that employees were terror-stricken when they had to return home after factory hours along with their monthly remuneration. After sunset the area is in complete darkness as the streetlights hardly work.

He said that even if they were to have one bank branch it would prove to be a boon for the units as a majority of the entrepreneurs of this estate are exporters having bank business off and on.

He sought the opening of two to three bank extension counters in the industrial estate for the safety of the staff, themselves and their cash transactions.

Another industrialist complained that there was no ESI Hospital or dispensary for the workers in this industrial estate even though there was provision for this while setting up this industrial estate. The workers of this industrial estate were often told in case of an emergency to go all the way to the Civil Hospital, which is about 6 km away.

After 19 years, the HUDA authorities had just covered the plot area for the ESI dispensary, erected a gate and boundary wall with a board confirming it as the site for the ESI dispensary, he alleged, adding that God only knew when this hospital would come into existence.

At the time of allotment of industrial plots, HUDA had assured the entrepreneurs 24-hour power supply with no cuts. But the ground realities were at variance with the promise made. After each hour there was a power cut of 15 to 20 minutes, resulting in total heat loss of the unit, alleged Mr Ravi Kumar of a pharmaceutical company.

Mr Anil Kumar alleged that no fire station was provided and at the time of emergency fire engines had to be called from Panipat city or some times from the Panipat refinery, covering a distance of 7 km to 20 km.

When the Estate officer, HUDA, was approached to comment on 21 plots being mired in slush she told this correspondent that she did not know anything about and could say something only after a day or two as she was busy in a meeting.

Mr Jain said he had written a letter the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the Principal Secretary and the Commissioner, Urban Estate, Haryana, requesting them to intervene in this matter. 


Sonepat gains ground in horticulture
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 5
Taking advantage of its proximity to the national Capital, Delhi, and professional and scientific guidance from horticulture experts, Sonepat district has made rapid strides in the fields of horticulture and floriculture during the past one decade.

“The area under floriculture has gone up to 650 hectares, more than 300 acres are covered under robusta and 400 acres are under baby corn. Mushroom production has gone up to 3,200 tonnes,” said the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, while talking to NCR Tribune.

“We have also taken up a project to motivate the farmers to take up cultivation of exotic vegetables like broccoli, red cabbage and lettuce to bring significant enhancement in their income.

Towards this end, they are provided training free of cost and inputs like seeds, fertiliser, pesticides etc,” he said, adding that the beginning had already been made by with exotic vegetables abounding in around 20 acres.

When questioned about hardly any processing facilities being provided in the region despite repeated demands of the farmers, particularly mushroom growers, which otherwise could have provided better remunerative prices to them, the DC said the recently started Food Park project at Rai in the district would certainly cater to this need of the farmers.

The DC claimed that according to a report of the Union Agriculture Ministry Sonepat district had achieved first position in the country by producing 2200 tonnes of mushroom during 2001-2002, leaving Solan district in Himachal Pradesh behind. “This trend will certainly give a momentum to the Diversification of Agriculture programme of the government,” he hoped, adding that the central government had also announced some incentives in next year’s budget proposals for promoting floriculture.

Other factors which have contributed in its growth include low per capita land holdings, training programmes of HAU’s Agriculture Research and Development Centre and the Horticulture Department at farmers’ doorsteps and better awareness among the educated unemployed youths, he observed.


Symposium on place of women in society
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 5
A symposium would be organised on “The place of women in society and atrocities against women” on the occasion of International Women’s Day in Pt B D Sharma PGIMS here on March 8. Mr Ranveer Gujral, secretary, district unit of Indian Nurses’ Counselling Society, said that the principal of Nursing School in the PGI, nursing students and matrons had been invited for this symposium.

Workers want salary

The employees of Municipal Council (MC) here have threatened to go on an indefinite strike if they were not paid the salaries for the past two months within five days.

The agitated employees staged a demonstration on the MC premises and raised slogans against the authorities. Mr Rajender Chatola, president, Municipal Council Employees’ Union, alleged that the MC authorities had not deposited the amount of their provident fund during the past two years to their accounts. Besides, they said that the arrears of three installments of dearness allowance had not been paid either so far.

The employees leader said the non-payment of salaries for the past two months had made it hard for the employees to make ends meet.

Ms Pratibha Suman, Chairman, MC, said that the council was ready to disburse the salary of January, but the employees had refused to accept it. The employee leader said the union members would not receive their pending salaries in installments and demanded immediate payment of the salaries for January and February.

MRI technique

Several faculty members of Pt B.D.Sharma PGIMS and former faculty members of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi highlighted the advantages of MRI technique compared to that of C.T. scan during a seminar on ‘The Role of MRI and Electro-neuro Physiology in Paediatrics’ held here recently.

Dr Satish Sharma, president, district branch of Indian Academy of Paediatrics, said Dr Pranshu Sharma, MRI specialist from ‘Saral Diagnostics’ in Delhi and a former faculty member of AIIMS, spoke on the MRI technique.

Dr Pranshu Sharma said the MRI technique was more effective and safe as compared to that of CT scan, especially in the ailments of brain, spine and joints.

Dr Dinesh Sareen, consultant neurologist from Tirth Ram hospital, Saroj hospital and Saral Diagnostics in Delhi, stressed the role of electro-neuro physiology in the diagnosis of diseases of peripheral nerves, muscles and certain diseases of central nervous system. The two sessions of the seminar were chaired by Dr R K Yadav, Associate Professor, Department of Radio Diagnosis and Dr A K Sood, Professor and Head, Neurology Department of Pt B D Sharma PGIMS.


AIWC kicks off welfare schemes in Sadhrana
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Sadhrana (Gurgaon), March 5
This sleepy village, about 20 km from the madding crowd of Gurgaon city, came alive today with the arrival of former actress, Ms Sharmila Tagore, and a host of office-bearers of the All India Women Conference (AIWC).

They launched a number of welfare schemes in the village such as a sewing centre, an adult education centre, welfare projects for youths, schemes for rain water harvesting, herbal cultivation and renewable energy—all for the purpose of women empowerment and fostering gender equity. All these centres and projects were under the theme of ‘integrated development’ of the village.

The AIWC, a voluntary organisation, having about 500 branches in the country with three of them in Haryana, has its headquarters in Delhi.

In fact, the launching of the centres and projects was part of the celebrations of Platinum Jubilee year of the AIWC.

The All Indian President of the AIWC, Dr Aparna Basu told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that this village was chosen in Gurgaon district after a survey. The scale was tipped in its favour as it has a woman sarpanch.

The AIWC has branches in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Rewari districts in Haryana. Efforts would be made to launch women-related projects at all its branches, Dr Basu said.

She said the AIWC would appoint teachers for running and managing the centres launched today.

The president of the Gurgaon branch, Mrs Aasha Sharma, said that the women of the village have pledged to play a greater role in society. A number of them have shown keenness to be part of the adult literacy project being launched by the AWIC.

What, however, pulled the heartstrings of women at the function was the views expressed by Ms Sharmila Tagore. She said that Parliament and social organisations must play an active role in empowering the women who are the backbone of any society. The world will also be a better place if women are given a pride of place, she added.

This village was part of the royal estate. No wonder, the members of Sharmila’s family, Tiger Pataudi et al, hold charm and inspire awe among the residents of the nearby villages.


Move to computerise all police stations
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
A proposal to computerise the police stations in Delhi is being considered, said the Minister of State for Home Affairs Harin Pathak. The move is to network the police stations so as to access data bank readily to facilitate prevention, detection and investigation of crime.

The proposal has been lying with the government, Mr Pathak told the Rajya Sabha.

About the 1984 riots, Mr Pathak said that out of 373 cases in which charge-sheets were filed in Delhi, 321 accused have been acquitted, 29 convicted, eight discharged and seven cases consigned to record room. Eight cases were pending trial, the minister added.

Also as many as 68 high-rise buildings in the Capital do not conform to the minimum fire safety standards, the Rajya Sabha was told today. At present, there were 767 high-rise buildings in Delhi, of which 547 buildings have obtained ‘No objection certificate’ from fire service, Mr Pathak said.

Of remaining 220 buildings which were constructed before the notification of Building Byelaws for the Union Territory of Delhi, 152 have been provided with bare minimum safety facility prescribed under the Delhi Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Act, he said.

Delhi Fire Service, has in the last 4-5 months, inspected 114 high-rise buildings, including 68 buildings which do not conform to the minimum fire safety standards, Mr Pathak said. The time limit down by the Delhi High Court for Delhi Fire Service to complete inspection of all the high-rise buildings is due to expire on March 31, 2003.

Replying to a question that whether the government is aware of the pathetic conditions including the shortage of doctors in CGHS dispensaries, hospitals particularly in Delhi, Union Minster of Health and Family Welfare Sushma Swaraj told the Lok Sabha that the CGHS dispensaries and hospitals in the country are in a good condition. As far as the availability of doctors is concerned, nearly 90 per cent of the sanctioned posts are filled up and medicines are adequately available in the dispensaries.

To another question whether the government is aware of the CGHS hospitals and nursing homes in NCR towns like Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida are charging more than the prescribed amounts for treatment, Minister of State for Health A Raja said that the hospitals are charging only the nominal amounts and not charging more from the patients.


Young lovers jump into river
Tribune News Service

Ghaziabad, March 5
Love is blind; it can be touchy too. Be it the beating up of the brother of the girl by villagers or the building opposition to their relation, two young lovers jumped into the Kali river in Aalampur-Kaysthan village under the Kotwali area of Atrauli to commit suicide. While the girl was rescued by village divers in an unconscious state, the boy seems to have been taken away by the river.

A youth of Aalampur-Kaysthan used to work in Delhi. The cousin of his elder brother’s father-in-law too was living in the same area with his family. The boy, who used to visit that family often, fell in love with the youngest daughter. But when the family came to know of the romance, they curtailed her movements.

Not able to bear this separation, the youth reportedly took his beloved to his village three days ago. The girl’s brother, reported to be a cop in Dadri, came along with some others to the village and tried to take his sister back. But he was beaten up by some villagers and turned back.

The young lovers were reportedly so upset over the ignominy faced by the girl’s brother that they decided to jump into the river.

When villagers came to know of it, some of them plunged into the river to rescue the lovers. Though the girl was brought out from the water in an unconscious state, there was no trace of the youth. The family has not informed the police about the incident, it is learnt.

Youth shot dead

A youth was shot dead on the national highway near Dujana Rajwaha on Monday night. While three bullets pierced his chest, one bullet hit his head. The reason for the murder could not be ascertained.

Krishan Pal alias Billu, son of Balli Yadav, a resident of Baghpat, was living in House No 218, A-2, Sector 23 Rajnagar, Ghaziabad with his brother Jaswant Yadav. He was employed as a tractor driver by a company engaged in earthmoving.

On Monday evening, he left the house saying that he was going out with his friends and would return late. When he did not return till late in the night, his brother inquired from his friends and informed the police.

In the morning, his bullet-ridden body was found near Rajwaha by some people. The police took the body into custody and informed the family on the basis of a paper found in his pocket. As much as Rs 230 was recovered from his pocket. The body has been sent for an autopsy.


Delhi Govt signs MoU with NGOs for empowering women
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
The Delhi Government today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 37 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for effective implementation of its Stree Shakti programme for women’s empowerment.

A prestigious project of the Delhi Government under its Bhagidari system, Stree Shakti will now have one mother NGO and 36 field NGOs to work at the grassroots level for the empowerment of the fair sex, a city government release said.

The programme aims at empowering women through intervention in areas of health, literacy etc.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit stated that with society itself becoming involved in the process of empowerment through NGOs, these programmes will be implemented more effectively and with required follow-up actions. The Stree Shakti programme has till now benefited more than 70,000 people through 70 camps and gender resource centres, the release said.


Woman sets herself on fire
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 5
A 28-year-old housewife, Sunita of Kumaspur village has reportedly committed suicide by setting herself on fire after pouring kerosene on her clothes. She was brought to the civil hospital in a serious condition. But as she had been burnt more than 90 per cent, she died before getting treatment.

According to information, Sunita, wife of one Surinder and mother of 6-year-old girl, took the extreme step after a quarrel in the family, as stated by her husband and in-laws. However Sunita’s parents alleged that she had been killed.

A case has been registered and the police were investigating the case.

Crop transportation tender

Faridabad: A former minister and RPI MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Dalal, has alleged that the district authorities have given the tender of transportation of Rabi and Kharif crops, purchased by the department, to a person hailing from Sirsa district.

In a statement here today, Mr Dalal said all the contractors who had gone to the ADC office to collect tender forms for the work were turned back. “Form is not available,” they were told.

He alleged that the individual who was allotted the work last years was again being given the work secretly.

He regretted the high-handedness on the part of the administration to deny even the application forms to the majority of contractors.

Mr Dalal has announced to take the issue to the state assembly session today. TNS

Youth electrocuted

A youth suffered serious burns after he had been electrocuted in the Pali Road area here yesterday. The victim, identified as Virender, had gone to the place in connection with some work, when he came into touch with the high-tension wires. He has been admitted to a hospital in a serious condition. TNS

Heroin seized

Noida: The Noida Sector 20 police have arrested a drug peddler and recovered about 500 gm heroin on March 3. The drug pusher is reported to have a Bihar MLA as his godfather.

According to Sudesh Gupta, SO, Sector 20 police station, during a police patrol on March 3 night, a youth was found moving in suspicious circumstances near a mosque in Sector 8. When the policemen asked him to stop, he tried to escape, but was soon overpowered.

On frisking, about 500 gm heroin was recovered from him.. He identified himself as Ravi Bhushan of Bihar, currently living in Sector 8 juggi cluster.

He said that he had been working for an MLA from Bihar. He confessed that he had been selling smack for a long time and used to sell it in the slums of Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida.


Jhajjar farmers to get relief package
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, March 5
The state government finally decided to provide a relief package of Rs 1.75 lakh as compensation to the farmers of the district, whose crops had been damaged in the drought during last summer.

It is noteworthy that the district was left out of the package earlier when the compensation was distributed in other drought-affected districts of the state. However, as the opposition leaders and people raised protested, the government later relented.

According to information, the district administration has set up a committee comprising six district officials who would distribute the compensation in the respective areas.


Painter held for stabbing ASI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
The Kapashera police arrested a painter who allegedly stabbed an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) inside the police station last night. The ASI is admitted to Safdarjung Hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.

The suspect, Mohammad Irshad, came to the police station and lodged a complaint against Ganesh who did not pay him for the work done by the painter.

When he came to the police station, the ASI was on duty and he called Ganesh also to the police station and the case was settled.

Irshad again came to the police station and lodged another complaint. After lodging the complaint, he refused to go back saying that it was cold outside.

He slept inside the police station. The suspect got up around 3.30 am when the ASI was sleeping and stabbed latter, the police said.


Hindu College student run over
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 5
Sunita, a student of B.Sc. in Hindu Girls College was run over by a tractor-trolley on Tuesday near the turning of Gohana Road while she was on her way to college on a cycle from her house in Ashok Vihar. She was going to take the examination.

The tractor driver escaped after the incident. However, she was taken to civil hospital, but was declared brought dead by the doctors. The police have registered a case against the unknown driver.

Murder accused surrenders

Satnarain, one of the alleged accused in the murder of the Sarpanch of Purkhas village, Hoshiar Singh, has surrendered before the police at Gannaur on Tuesday.

However, the main alleged accused Jaiveer was still absconding.

A large number of people from Purkhas village reached at Gannaur police station on Tuesday demanding immediate arrest of the main accused.

Petrol pump heist foiled

An attempt to loot a petrol pump near Butana village was foiled by a police party on patrol after the arrest of one miscreant near a school at Gangana village about 45 km from here last night.

Stating this, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Pramjit Singh Ahlawat, told mediapersons here today that four other miscreants, however, managed to escape under the cover of darkness. A hunt is on to apprehend hem.

He disclosed that the arrested youth was identified as Mahabir and he has given the names of other accomplices.

Giving the details of the police action, the SP said that the police officials had got a tip-off and raided their hideout, but they fled in a car. The police, he said, also chased them and succeeded in arresting one of them. However, four others drove away the car and fled.

Bid to loot liquor vend

The Superintendent of Police said that the police have also arrested two youths and foiled their attempt to loot a liquor vend near Pugthala village about 20 km from here last night. The youths were identified as Dharamvir of Samalkha and Rakesh of Mandi village. The police, he said, also recovered two country-made pistols, one live cartridge and a motorcycle from them.

He disclosed that the duo had parked their motorcycle in the middle of the road to loot the passers-by besides a liquor vend at Pugthala village. The police, he said, have also registered a case against the duo and investigations were on.

According to the SP, the Kharkhauda police have arrested one Harphool of Bawana (Delhi) village and recovered a country-made pistol. A case under the Indian Arms Act has been registered against him. Further investigations were on.


Two chain snatchers held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 5
Janak Puri police arrested two chain snatchers last evening. They were identified as Raj Kumar alias Rajpal (23) and Monu alias Vicky (24). During checking at night, police signalled them to stop, but instead of halting their scooter, they increased its speed.

The police chased their two-wheeler and apprehended them. Small quantity of smack was recovered from their possession. During interrogation, the suspects confessed to be involved in 23 cases of snatching.

They operated in South-West, West and North-West districts, police said.

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