Saturday, March 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


HC seeks explanation from Directorate of Education
Why do most govt school students flunk in board exams?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
The Delhi High Court has sought an explanation for the poor performance of the students who are enrolled in the government-run schools in the city. Following reports that out of 100 students who enrol in government schools, only 14 reach class X and of these only four pass the board exams, the court has ordered the authorities concerned to file their responses.

Disposing the Public Interest Litigation filed by Social Jurists, Justice Usha Mishra and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog have directed the NDMC, the MCD and the Directorate of Education, NCT of Delhi, to file their responses on April 7.

“The fact that only four students pass the class X exams is an indication of the quality of education in these schools. There are so many students who despite having passed class V exams still find it hard to write and read,” pointed out Mr Ashok Aggarwal of Social Jurists who has moved the court to ensure that quality education is provided to students.

The court has sought details regarding the lack of amenities and also how many schools are being run in double shifts, apart from issuing orders to conduct inspections and surprise visits more frequently. “The authorities concerned have also been asked to indicate whether libraries and laboratories have been provided in all these schools and whether qualified librarians and technicians have been appointed to facilitate teaching,” said Mr Aggarwal.

“Way back in 1993, the A. K. Sharma Committee had recommended that supervision of schools is necessary and that double shifts in schools should be done away with. This was repeated by the recent Vats Committee report. But these recommendations are yet to be implemented,” added Mr Aggarwal.

It was pointed out that double shift schools do not fulfil the mandatory 1,200 hours of teaching and that students suffer on account of lack of amenities like electricity. “The students in double shifts are mostly boys and they are the worst sufferers. The teachers are either absent or there are other problems like no electricity,” said Mr Aggarwal.

During an inspection of the government, MCD and NDMC schools, it was brought to the notice that most schools lack adequate infrastructure for ensuring all-round development. “A big trunk or an almirah serves as a library in many schools and in most schools these are beyond the reach of the students,” said Mr Aggarwal.

The court has also directed the MCD and the NDMC officials to opt for Students Welfare Committees that have been started by the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi. These committees should involve the public to ensure the smooth running of schools. The committees are paid Rs 1.20 lakh to ensure that the schools have proper water and electricity connections apart from solving various other problems. 


1984 riot victims to send PM a letter a day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
The All India Riot Victim Relief Committee today alleged that political parties were interested only in “encashing” Sikh votes on the 1984 riots issue and were not “committed” to build a memorial in honour of the victims in the Capital.

“We have written a letter in this regard to several leaders, including Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, but no one, with the exception of Vijay Kumar Malhotra, has even bothered to reply,” committee president Kuldip Singh Bhogal told reporters here.

Mr Bhogal said the committee would send a letter everyday to the Prime Minister demanding a plot for construction of the memorial in the National Capital. The memorial could be in the form of a high pillar inscribed with a brief history of the circumstances behind the event.

The demand comes almost three weeks after the threat by two `84 riots widows to commit self-immolation due to the apathetic attitude of the government, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the members of the community. However, they decided to postpone their action till mid-April, following an appeal by the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and his appeal to the Sikh community to extend a helping hand to the 1984 riot victims.


Probe into ‘fudged’ MCD payment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Municipal Commissioner Rakesh Mehta today ordered a vigilance inquiry into an alleged fake payment of Rs 40-50 lakh made by the Horticulture Department of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for planting of saplings in the Civil Lines Zone in 2000-2001.

The Municipal Commissioner ordered that the inquiry report of the case should be submitted to him within two months. He ordered that such inquiries should be conducted in other zones as well. Strict action will be taken against the officers found guilty, the Commissioner said.

The vigilance inquiry was ordered after a case of fake payment was registered by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government. The fake payment took place allegedly during the BJP’s tenure in the corporation. The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government conducted raids at over 10 places where it found no tree had been planted. When sleuths of the branch tried to contact the Deputy Director of the Horticulture Department, Ishwar Singh, he was not available. Director of the department Devpal reportedly released the amount before undertaking the mandatory inspection of the work. However, he refused to comment on the fake payment.

According to the MCD, the fake payment was apparently made in connivance with the officers and contractors.


Privatisation has few takers: Kapoor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Expressing remorse, Lt Governor Vijay Kapoor today pointed out that private players are not positioning themselves to fill the vacuum in the economy created by the diminishing government role.

Elucidating further, he said only three companies had submitted bids for power distribution in the National Capital, of which two got the rights last year. Mr Kapoor was speaking at a seminar on ‘Defence-industry partnership in human resource management’.

He went on to add that the state government wants to scale down its operations in waste management and wasteland development but there are not many takers. Besides, the government wants to further reduce its role in urban transport. There would be scope for privatisation of water supply two to three years down the line, as it would be difficult to impose user charges immediately, he said at the seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Directorate of General Resettlement (DGR) of the Defence Ministry.

The private sector has to create suitable structures to play a larger role in these areas. There should be enough players as otherwise the replacement of the government monopoly with a private one would be a redundant exercise.

These structures will require additional manpower, which would create employment opportunities for ex-servicemen as well. Maj-Gen V. S. Budhwar, the Director-General of Resettlement in the Defence Ministry, said the personnel in defence forces retire much younger because of organisational needs. Almost 80 per cent of the retiring personnel are below 35 years of age.

He disclosed that the Directorate General of Military Training will soon enter into an understanding with the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, for a six-month course for defence personnel. A proposal to this effect was sent by the directorate to the institute, which had, in turn, asked for the exact curriculum. The directorate is holding consultations with the CII in this regard, he added.

Mr Kapoor launched a website on the occasion, which will provide data on the skills of ex-servicemen in specific fields of industry. 


Six kids among 11 killed

Six children and five other persons were killed in separate road accidents in Faridabad and Rohtak yesterday.

In Rohtak, eight persons, including three children, were killed and eight others injured when a jeep carrying them collided head-on with a speeding truck near Bhainsru Khurd village on the Sampla-Kharkhauda road last evening.

According to information, the incident occurred at around 9 pm. The jeep was reportedly carrying more than 15 persons who were returning after attending a marriage party at Raipur in Sonepat.

In Faridabad district, three children, including two girls, were killed in separate road accidents. According to reports, two girls, identified as Neelam and Shanta, aged about ten years, were killed near Kuslipur village on the National Highway after a speeding truck hit ran over them. The victims, along with two women, were crossing the road when the accident took place. The women also were injured seriously. TNS


PU alumnus a Pak spy?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
A Panjab University alumnus was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell outside the Pakistan High Commission with some sensitive defence documents. The accused, Omkar Nath Kalia, (63), who has been charged with spying for Pakistan, was arrested by a team of Special Cell sleuths headed by ACP L. N. Rao.

Omkar Nath Kalia, who used to supply books to various embassies in the Capital, has been passing sensitive information to Pakistan, it is alleged. The sleuths seized some highly classified documents like those related to the Intelligence Bureau, the Navy, warfare initiatives and the Babha Atomic Research Centre from his possession.

Originally belonging to Hoshiarpur in Punjab, he has travelled extensively in the USA, Thailand, Korea and Switzerland. The accused is a postgraduate in Political Science and LLB from Panjab University and has served as an instructor for the National Discipline Schemes.

Youth detained at IGI airport during Karzai’s arrival

In another incident, a youth who was found moving in a suspicious manner was detained by the Delhi Police in the Indira Gandhi International Airport around the time when visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai was to arrive there to leave for Shimla.

The youth, who gave his name as Kailash, was being interrogated by a joint team of the Delhi Police and intelligence agencies to ascertain his motive. The suspect, in his early twenties, was nabbed at around 11 am when he was found climbing a wall at the airport around the time Mr Karzai was to reach there to leave for Shimla.

He claimed to be from Nanded in Maharashtra.


For some women it was just another day out
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Dignity, education, health and welfare of women will form the core of this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.

Closer home, women are being encouraged to improve their lot and help usher in a new beginning. While the corridors of Parliament are echoing with voices raised for greater representation, the city in its own way is paying tributes to womanhood. The city will play host to seminars, discussions and the ubiquitous fashion shows.

Taking the lead in the Women’s Day celebrations was the Chief Minister herself. Speaking at a function organised on the eve of the Women’s Day, Ms Sheila Dikshit urged women to play a proactive role to improve their condition. She noted that women were equally responsible for the problems they were facing in the society.

Ms Dikshit added: “On this day, we should not only demand our rights but should also understand our responsibilities and work accordingly. Women can play an important role in the betterment of the society.” Citing the example of her own government, the Ms Dikshit said, “The Delhi government, which has women in almost all important posts, including the Chief Minister’s, is one of the best.”

Ms Dikshit pointed out that women should take initiatives towards empowerment on their own rather than waiting for someone to help them. She urged women to join hands with the government. Sharing the dais with the CM were Ms P. M. Singh, the first woman chairperson of the NDMC, Ms Tajdar Babbar, MLA, and Ms Neeru Nanda, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare.

Concern has also been expressed over the portrayal of women in cinema. Women dressed in improper clothing and in roles that are demeaning have been criticised and a plea has been made to ban these. Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Anjali Rai demanded a ban on channels and video albums, which were damaging the identity of women.

While these women of substance hogged the limelight, there were scores of their less-fortunate counterparts who had gathered for the celebrations, though most of them seemed clueless. These women, mostly drawn from rural parts of the Capital, had been brought by NGOs to participate in the function, of which they knew nothing.

For these women, the celebrations were a song and dance programme or perhaps just a day out. When questioned, most of them expressed ignorance about the event and could justify their participation on the ground that it was their ‘day out’. As for the city bred, they expect to be cosseted. From a therapeutic beauty massage to a discount at the grocer’s, women are finding themselves wooed in every manner.


Mushroom production target of 5,000 tonnes
to be met 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 7
The Haryana Government has fixed a target of 5,000 tonnes for mushroom production during 2003-2004. It is likely to touch 4,950 tonnes by the end of the current financial year. According to official sources, Haryana has already become one of the leading states in mushroom production and there was good scope for marketing mushroom due to close proximity to the national Capital.

The mushroom growers have been receiving good remunerative prices for their production. The mushroom cultivation was adopted by the farmers during the 1980s and about 850 tonnes of whitebutton mushroom was produced in 1990-1991. As the state has a large vegetarian population, Mushroom become a staple and popular diet in Haryana because of its delicacy and high nutrition value. The main mushroom districts were Sonepat, Karnal, Panipat, Gurgaon, Ambala and Yamunanagar. Mushroom cultivation is labour intensive and generates employment for the small and marginal farmers and unemployed youths. A spawn-cum-pasteurised compost unit had been established at the HAU, Hisar. A similar unit had also been established at Sonepat by the Haryana Agro Industries Corporation for mushroom development and spawn production at Sonepat.

The Centre has also been providing training and encouragement to the farmers to adopt mushroom cultivation.

According to the Deputy Commissioner of Sonepat, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Sonepat, has already sent a proposal of Rs 11.25 crore to the Union Rural Development Ministry for approval. It is hoped it will boost the mushroom production and increase the income of mushroom growers. Another Rs 11-crore scheme has already been approved by the state government for boosting the mushroom production and providing training to mushroom growers.


Troubled residents receive nothing but ‘sympathy’ 
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 7
A section of the government officials have an easy way to cope with their ‘inefficiency’. They ‘botch’ up their assignments, even when their half-baked approach will burden the public with financial losses. The residents of Dron Vihar, a colony in old Gurgaon city find themselves at the ‘receiving end’ of the officials, who were assigned to assess the commissioner rate of land for computing the new structure of house tax for the year 2000-2001.

They have been running from pillar to post for rectification of the anomalies. The authorities at the highest quarters reportedly have expressed sympathy for their cause, but are unwilling to intervene ‘to sort out the matter’.

The colonies of Dron Vihar, Subhash Nagar, Indrapuri and Jawahar Nagar were once contiguous to Jacubpura, one of the oldest colonies of Old Gurgaon. With the passage of time, habitation came up on this area.

In the early eighties, the local Municipal Council recognised the area as part of its geographical jurisdiction and divided them into four colonies, Dron Vihar, Indrapuri, Jawahar Nagar and Subhash Nagar. In effect, the residential premises there were recognised and became full-fledged colonies, having a legal status in the revenue records.

However, the officials stirred up a hornet’s nest when it glossed over the very existence of Dron Vihar at the time of assessing the commissioner rate of land in various colonies. The rate for Jawahar Nagar was fixed at Rs 1,500/sq yards, Subash Nagar at Rs 500/ sq yards and Indrapuri at Rs 2,000/ sq yards.

According to the president of the Dron Vihar Sudhar Samiti, Mr T.C.Jain, when the residents of Dron Vihar created a hue and cry, the officials of the concerned department did some “table work” survey. Rather than own up their lapses, they speculatively fixed the same rate as assessed for the nearby Jacubpura at the rate of Rs 4,000/sq yards. However, the areas of Jacubpura are more developed than the Dron Vihar and the nearby cluster colonies. According to the residents of Dron Vihar, the anomaly has cost them dearly as the new house tax is assessed on the value of the land and the cost of construction on it. Earlier, the computation of the house tax was based on the rentals. Also, the appreciation in the rate of land and house tax for succeeding years would be based on the year 2001. Consequently, on account of the ‘wrong assessment’, they are paying almost double amount as house tax.

Mr Jain said that the Dron Vihar Sudhar Samiti took up the issue with various authorities, including the former Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mr A.K.Singh. According to them, Mr Singh had referred the matter to the Municipal Council. The Municipal Council reported that the colony was legal. The matter was then referred to the office of the Tehsildar. His office, which was earlier responsible for the wrong assessment of the land, ‘stuck to its gun’.

In the meantime, Mr Singh was transferred. The Dron Vihar Sudhar Samiti has taken up the issue with Sanyukt Kalyan Parishad, a larger body representing the residents of various colonies, to take up the issue with the Commissioner, Gurgaon Division.


Buddhists welcome excavation
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 7
The Haryana unit of the Buddhist Society of India has welcomed the order of the Allahabad High Court for excavation of the disputed Ram janmabhumi-Babri Masjid site at Ayodhya in UP. The Vice-President of the society, Dr Lal Singh, in a statement here today opined that the work if done properly could not only lead to sound clues but would also reveal several facts related to Buddhism and its ancient sites. Claiming that his assumption had been based on certain historical facts like the description of Ayodhya by the Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang in the 7th century in his book. According to Dr Lal Singh, the Chinese traveller in his book had mentioned about the existence of hundreds of monasteries.


Privatisation of sanitation will deprive 42,000 of livelihood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
The privatisation of sanitation work of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will deny livelihood to 42,000 workers and hence must be stopped.

This was stated by a former Congress legislator, Jaikishan, today. He told mediapersons that the party leadership – in the MCD and the Government of NCT of Delhi – should declare that privatisation of sanitation would not be carried out.

“If sanitation is privatised,” he said, “nobody can save the workers from the socio-economic exploitation of private companies. No privatisation of sanitary work in any government department should be done.”

He criticised the “discriminatory” attitude of bureaucrats against Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) officials. He said SC/ST officials and employees were being forced to struggle hard to protect their constitutional rights.

The SC/ST officials, he said, had been “deliberately” posted in such “unimportant” government departments that were least concerned with public dealing. “SC/ST employees who do not accept the dictatorial attitude of the officers and politicians of higher castes… a well-planned strategy had been prepared to prove them inefficient and corrupt by levelling false charges,” he alleged.

He demanded that vacancies against the posts reserved for SC/ST candidates be filled immediately and departmental promotions of SC/ST officials that were pending since long be finalised forthwith. He alleged that the SC/ST certificates issued by other states were not being accepted in the NCT of Delhi. “In the Department of Education,” he claimed, “an ST candidate has been waiting for his promotion for the last three years without a specific reason.”

Jaikishan urged the Government of NCT of Delhi to decide the cases of the residential plots allotted to Scheduled Castes and other poor families under the 20 Point Programme.

He said that Gram Sabha land lying unused in villages should be distributed among the Scheduled Castes and poor families who have been living under drastic circumstances due to shortage of residential accommodation. 


MC launches drive to collect house tax from govt depts
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 7
The Sonepat Municipal Council has launched a vigorous campaign for the recovery of house tax from the government departments in this city against whom a sum of Rs 26.50 lakh is outstanding for the past few years.

According to a report, the authorities of the municipal council had issued notices repeatedly to all heads of the government departments but they had failed to deposit the arrears of house tax outstanding against them. The outstanding amount against various government departments is as under: Hafed, Rs 21,29,600, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Rs 1,38,835, SDM’s office, Rs 1,66,434, in addition to the arrears of Rs 36,992 as fire tax and other arrears of Rs 37,037, city police station, Rs 47,925 as house tax and Rs 6,400 as fire tax, community health centre, Rs 28,805 as house tax and Rs 6,401 as fire tax, the Public Health Department Rs 24,797 as house tax and Rs 5,510 as fire tax, the Animal Husbandry Department Rs 38,652 as house tax and Rs 8,589 as fire tax and arrears of Rs 2,940.

The Sonepat Municipal Council had filed cases against 72 persons of the city in the court for the recovery of house tax and succeeded in recovering the amount in 32 cases.

School timings changed

The Haryana Government has changed the timings of the schools where the Board of School Education, Haryana, has set up examination centres for the 10 plus 2 annual examinations starting from today. According to official sources, the schools will open at 7.30 am and close at 12.30 pm. The timings of other schools will, however, remain unchanged and they will open at 9.30 am and close at 3.30 pm as usual.

Phones out of order

Sonepat: Hundreds of phones in the areas around the Fountain Chowk in Gohana town have reportedly been lying out of order following the digging of the ground by JCB machine at the chowk. The work was carried out to widen the road around the chowk.

Despite several complaints to the BSNL authorities, no action had been taken for the last one week to repair the damaged underground phone lines.

Farmers honoured

Seven farmers of the district who had made outstanding contribution to the mushroom cultivation during past one decade were honoured by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, during a function at Ganaur recently. They include Master Jagdev Singh of Bhadana village, Dalbir of Jharont, Bijender of Khubru, Ashok of Ganaur and Ram Kumar also of Khubru.

The senior district extension specialist of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dr V S Pahil, was also honoured on the occasion.


Ambedkar statue damaged in Kavi Nagar
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 7
While the Mayawati government is going ahead with installing statues of Dr Ambedkar in the state, some mischief-makers have taken upon themselves to damage and disfigure them. Anti-social elements damaged Dr Ambedkar’s statue here at Mehrauli village under the Kavinagar police station.

The left arm of the statue, holding the symbolic Constitution of India, was severed. The police had later recovered the arm from a farmer’s field about a furlong away from the spot. The police have registered a case have registered under Sections 153-A and 427 of the IPC and of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act but no one has been arrested yet.

On the statement of the villagers, the police said that at about 2.30 am on Wednesday night, the villagers heard shouts of youngsters but the noise died down after a few minutes. The villagers thought the youths were celebrating the cricket match victory.

At around 6 am, the villagers noticed that the left arm of the statue was missing. They informed the police and the local BSP leaders. City Magistrate Sarvjit Ram and police Circle Officer Dharam Singh rushed to the spot along with a police contingent.

A company of the PAC has been deployed at the spot to maintain peace.

This statue was unveiled by Ms Mayawati a few years ago.


Bahadurgarh MC adopts budget proposals
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, March 7
The Municipal Council of Bahadurgarh adopted the budget proposals for the financial year 2003-04 in a meeting of the general body held here recently.

The surplus budget was presented in the meeting with an estimated income of Rs 5.82 crore against the expenditure of Rs 5.52 crore for the next financial year. According to information, the budget proposals were passed in the meeting unanimously, which was attended by 20 councilors out of total number of 25. The revenue collection includes Rs 1 crore as house tax, Rs 1 crore as stamp duty, Rs 85 lakh as rent from the MC shops, Rs 70 lakh as electricity duty, Rs 1 crore as development charges.

The council has also proposed to put on sale its land, which is expected to fetch Rs 50 lakh apart from Rs 77 lakh from miscellaneous sources. While on the expenditure side, Rs 1.65 crore would be spent on the establishment as payment of salaries of the MC staff, a sum of Rs 2.50 crore has been fixed for carrying out various development activities in the town, Rs 40 lakh would go in the repayment of the loans provided by the NCR Development Board while an amount of Rs 37.40 has been fixed for miscellaneous expenditure. 


Dr B. C. Roy awardees announced
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
The Medical Council of India today announced names of the Dr B. C. Roy national awardees for years 2001 and 2002.

Dr C. P. Thakur, Union Minister for Development of North-Eastern Region, Dr S. P. Agarwal, Director, General Health Services, Government of India, and Dr S. K. Sama of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital figure in the list of awardees.

Dr Thakur and Dr Sama had been chosen for the Medical man-cum-Statesman award for the year 2001 and 2002, respectively, while Dr Agarwal had been selected in the Eminent Medical Person award category for 2002, an MCI release said.

Dr Sanjiv Malik of the Indian Medical Association has been chosen for the award vis-à-vis contribution to socio-medical relief.

A committee under the chairmanship of Dr Karan Singh, Member of Parliament, recommended the names of seven persons for the B. C. Roy major awards and 30 names for minor awards for contributions in various fields, such as medical, philosophy, science, art, literature and statesmanship.

The awards would be given away on July 1, which is observed as Doctors’ Day, the release said.


Seminar on gurdwara management tomorrow

New Delhi, March 7
All prominent Sikh institutions of Delhi for the first time will hold a ‘Seminar on Management of Gurdwaras- An Analysis’ on March 9 at Hindi Bhawan (near Bal Bhawan) at 5 pm.

In this seminar, Prof Darshan Singh, former Jathedar, Shri Akal Takht Sahib, is specially invited. Other speakers on this occasion will be Mr Gurtez Singh, Professor of Sikhism, and Dr J.S. Negi. On this occasion, Mr Rajinder Singh, convenor, Khalsa Panchayat, Mr Raja Singh Sethi, President, All-India Shiromani Gurdwara Sewadar Committee, and Mr Satnam Singh, Vice-President, Punjabi Chetna Manch, will also take part.

This seminar is being held in Delhi for the first time.

Mr Tehal Singh Taneja, President, Delhi State Shiromani Gurdwara Sewadar Committee, at a special meeting in Kalkaji Singh Sabha Gurdwara requested all gurdwara managements of Delhi to be present at this seminar and the institutions to organise more such programmes in Delhi.

At this meeting, Mr Darshan Singh, Kalkaji, Mr Baljit Singh and Mr Inderjit Singh were present at this meeting. TNS


BIS men lift samples of mineral water

Faridabad, March 7
The authorities of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have lifted samples of at least 14 bottling plants of mineral water in five districts, including Faridabad. The action assumes importance amid reports that several brands of bottled mineral water supplied in the National Capital Region had been unsafe. At least six plants of mineral water have been sealed in Delhi and Noida by the authorities.

According to sources in the BIS, the water samples have been lifted from plants operating in Rewari, Jhajjar, Mahendergarh and Sonepat. Six plants are located in Faridabad district alone. A majority of the mineral water supplies in the region have reportedly acquired ISI (BIS) certification. The samples have been sent to the Food Research and Analysis Centre (FRAC) laboratory at Delhi for testing.

It may be recalled that the BIS has no authority to check or conduct raids to detect irregularities or violation of required norms in the food industry. The authority in this regard lies with district health officials, who have so far been like mute spectators to the issue that has been hitting the news for the past few months. It may be recalled that mineral water worth several lakhs was being supplied to consumers here each day in a town like Faridabad. TNS


College continues to ‘function’ without basic facilities

Jhajjar, March 7
The Government College, Dubaldhan, has many similarities with other colleges situated in the rural areas of the country. The college continues to ‘function’, even though basic facilities for academic activities, such as adequate number of classrooms and teachers are lacking. The college situated on the Rohtak-Siwana road, just 8-km away from Beri town, was established in 1972 and was taken over by the state government in 1980. The college has 537 students on its roll, including 277 girls.

Like other rural colleges, it has provided an opportunity to women students to continue their studies, who otherwise would not have been able to enroll themselves in colleges, as parents are reluctant to send their girls to other towns for studies. Students mainly from the four neighbouring villages of Dubaldhan, Majra, Siwana and Chimani are enrolled in the college.

However, academic facilities are unsatisfactory, with students having the option of subjects from only Arts stream. Political Science, Economics, English and Hindi/Sanskrit are the other compulsory subjects available to the students here. The option of The college cited the reason of ‘lack of students’ to withdraw Mathematics as an optional subject for the students. The college sources said that staff members ‘discouraged the students’ from opting for Mathematics, as the post of the Mathematics teacher was lying vacant and was unlikely to be filled in the near future. The college has a teaching staff of ten lecturers, with two vacancies for English and Hindi posts.

Like all other government colleges, the academic infrastructure here is deplorable. The college building is inadequate for accommodating all the students. A lecturers told the NCR Tribune that “only four rooms are presently being used as classrooms” in the college, as the remaining rooms are being used as ‘principal room, principal retiring room, NCC room, girls common room, NSS room, library, reading room, staff room etc’. Consequently, most of the classes have to be organised in the open with students sitting on the ground.

The principal of the college, Mr Sahib Singh, said that a grant of Rs 5.18 lakh had been sanctioned recently for expanding the college building. He said the construct works will be taken up soon as the amount has been deposited with the Public Works Department, which would build the rooms. He agreed that problems of water and regular electricity supply are as common and perennial as in other parts of the district.

The lack of basic infrastructure has had a direct impact on the academic atmosphere in the college as talented students have opted to enroll themselves in colleges in the cities for higher studies. He said this had affected the results of the college as ‘mediocre’ students could produce only ‘mediocre results’.

“In fact, a large chunk of the students get themselves enrolled in this college only in the hope of passing the examination by taking advantage of the favourable atmosphere in the college,” revealed a lecturer on condition of anonymity. The students attendance is also very poor here, as sources disclosed that a majority of the students hardly attend 50 per cent of the classes. They maintained that the situation is more or less similar in most of the rural colleges and this college is no exception.

However, despite such obstacles, the college has achieved some distinction in academics and extra-curricular activities. Anupama, a student of the college, was on the merit list of the university in her graduation course. She also won several competitions in spoken Sanskrit at the university level. The college also has NCC and NSS units apart from sports teams in Kabbadi and Kho-Kho. Another major problem faced by the students of the area is that of transportation as no Haryana Roadways facilities are available in the region.

The private transporters, who have been given permits to ply buses on the local routes, do not provide bus pass facility to the students.

Academic sources here also questioned the establishment of two colleges within a distance of just 10-kilometers. They argued that had only one college been established in Beri town, which falls between Dubaldhan and Dujana, things would have been positively different. A strategically located college in Beri town would have been more viable and able to provided better academic infrastructure, including proper transport facilities to the students.


Five hospitals served notices by pollution board 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Five hospitals in the NCT of Delhi, including the prestigious Army Research and Referral Hospital, were served notices by the Central Pollution Control Board for violating rules regarding disposal of biomedical waste, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Replying to written questions, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Dilip Singh said the CPCB served show-cause notices to the Army Research and Referral Hospital, Hindu Rao Hospital, Tirathram Shah Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Batra Hospital.

He said after examining responses from these hospitals, the CPCB carried out inspections to check measures taken and directed them to take necessary action for further improvements wherever needed in disposing biomedical waste.

Meanwhile, as many as 15 common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) were under construction at different stages to treat industrial effluents generated from 21 industrial estates so that the Yamuna pollution was reduced, he said in reply to a separate question.

Mr Dilip Singh said the Yamuna river water was within prescribed norms when it entered the NCT of Delhi at Palla. However, the water quality deteriorated in Delhi due to discharge of partly treated and partly untreated sewage and industrial effluents through 19 drains falling into the river and lack of fresh water inflow in the river, he said.


Railway budget: High on heels, low on wheels

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?
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First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The Railway budget 2003-4 has not come as a surprise. Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar has explained that it is a budget, which puts people before profit. Already the people are fed up with the kind of healthcare, safety and security of the passengers travelling by the Indian Railways about which the minister has promised to present a white paper in the near future.

Although the common man seems to have welcomed the Railway budget as there has been no increase in the passenger fares and freight charges, the truth is that the minister presented this budget with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections, which does not exist in reality.

Mr Nitish Kumar thinks he has achieved his goal by presenting this people-friendly budget. But the budget has neither addressed the most important factor, safety and security, in right earnest nor has it cared about the financial health of the Railways. It has been suffering from losses due to several factors like accidents and it has to pay by replenishing the damaged rolling stocks, locos, tracks and bridges. Still, it has shown a big heart even to reduce the Rajdhani and Shatabdi fares to the tune of say a hundred rupees or so to win over the upper middle class. All this very clearly shows that the minister has cared less for the budget and still less for the amenities for the passengers. This is a kind of joke being played on the common man by giving an emotional touch for getting immediate gains.

The minister should have addressed both immediate and long-term planning so that the common railway passenger need not shed tears time and again and face accidents, derailments and other problems.

Mr Nitish Kumar has boasted of introducing 50 new trains and increasing the frequency of the trains for populist reasons more than the genuine ones. Instead of introducing new trains, it would have been better if he had promised punctuality of trains.

Last year, Rs 14,000 crore was raised for safety measures. Paradoxically, everybody knows what happened during the course of the year gone by. First, a Rajdhani derailed, then a number of trains in quick succession like the Bangalore Express and Sikandrabad-Manmad Express took a heavy toll of precious lives in addition to damaging crores of railway properties.

For curbing these frequent derailments, the government should put extra efforts by installing anti-collision infrastructure or extending the communication system between the guard and the driver. The minister should ensure the people that all that has been promised in the budget would be implemented not only in letter but also in true spirit.


Lodhi Colony, New Delhi

What the learned say about happiness

This is with reference to the article `Discovering happiness’ (NCR Tribune, February 23) by M. P. K. Kutty. In this connection, I wish to say that great writers, statesmen, eminent persons, religious leaders, philosophers and psychologists have given different views on the concept of "happiness". It is now for us to decide, which one suits us:

* You do have to be religious, to be pure in heart. Happiness comes from the mind.

* Happiness is a state of mind, wherein you have found peace and fulfilment.

* The way to happiness is best travelled with competent companions.

* Happiness must be sipped, not drained from life in great gulps.

* To have joy, one must share it - happiness was born a twin.

* The way to happiness is made much brighter by applying the principle "Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you".

* Happiness is an expression of appreciation for the things, which we have now. Happiness is today. Happiness is now.

* Happiness is in the journey, not in the destination. Happy is he, who has found self and has lofty, noble aspirations.

* Zest is the secret of happiness.

* Happiness is knowledge and unhappiness is ignorance.

* Happiness is activity, it is a running stream, not a stagnant pool.

* The three secrets of happiness: see no evil, bear no evil, do no evil.

* Happiness keeps up the spirit of the one who possesses it and brings a smile on the lips of others.

* Happiness grows at our own fire-sides, and not to be picked in the stranger’s garden.

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad

When banks turn their back on customers

The citizens should have been proud of our banking industry. Over the years, it may have enlarged its scope and network. Yet, it has not done anything democratically to claim that banks are of the people, for the people and by the people.

The small investors are the backbone of their finances. But what they receive in return is the poorest service. It is the same unsympathetic treatment as they receive at the government offices. In various banks, it’s been noticed that people have to stand in queues for long for deposits and withdrawals. Common taxpayers and loan instalment payers face a lot of problems.

There has been little transparency in the banks. The cashier deposits money, hands over the vouchers to the depositors and asks them to return the next day for entry of the amount in their passbooks. They have no regard for the customer. The old, infirm, housewives, office-goers and almost everybody get this shock treatment.

Neither the introduction of computer technology nor the comfortable working conditions of the staff has added to better service conditions of the customers. The managers simply sit unconcerned in the cabins with their tinted glass room. They remain busy conferring either with the businessmen who gobble up small investors’ hard-earned money or reading newspapers or magazines. They are never found interacting with the customers or redressing their grouses or being sensitive to their basic facilities. All these have multiplied the customers’ woes.

More and more educated customers are being lured by the private banks that claim to give hassle-free services.

The existing palatial building of the banks raised at the people’s expenses are divested of the decent work culture. In contrast to the present set-up, common investors still vividly recollect the ramshackle buildings of the fifties and sixties of the last century, the dedication of the clerical staff, importance given to the depositors and courteous.

The bank employees of the last century, though were deprived of computers and other technological achievements, were known for their efficiency of manual work. Their sense of duty could win the customers’ hearts. Money from customers was deposited and entry made then and there. In the same pattern, the customers could withdraw their money without any hurdles and their entries were made forthwith.

But the present set of bank employees has the most regressive outlook. Their approach costs the banks and the investors dearly. Credit goes to the old guards for the present infrastructure assets of the banks.

People seek efficient and reliable work culture especially in money matters in every type of society. But in a democratic society, their aspirations are higher. When no reforms take place, people get frustrated. However, people of India have still high regards for the Indian Postal Department. The reason is that all monetary transactions there are transparent. The common people who lead a low-profile life and have a meticulous sense of accounting depend very much on the simple post offices.

I understand that post offices garner a larger chunk of small savings than the banks. Of course, the countrymen’s grouse against the Union Government in controlling the postal department is justified.

The poor condition of the post offices — broken furniture, without any sitting or standing facility for customers and dilapidated buildings — do not attract the better-off people to come and deposit their savings. . In fact, this kind of apathy on the part of the Union Government is incomprehensible. It was not discernible even during the British rule. Why should the people of India bear it when they live in a sovereign and democratic republic?


NIT, Faridabad

Where is Kelkar Committee report?

It is shocking to know about the Union Government’s non-committal on Vijay Kelkar Committee report. The much ado about the Raja Chelliah Committee on tax reforms (1992) licked the dust during the tenure of Mr Manmohan Singh as Union Finance Minister.

The committees recommended measures for simplifying laws to make the tax system more classic and broad-based to facilitate better compliance and enforcement.

What a great embarrassment when we listen to our Prime Minister saying that the Kelkar Committee report is ‘bureaucratic’ in nature. Hence, "we are not bound to implement its recommendations". It is proven a faux pas.

What is wrong and harmful if the biggest landlords and farmhouse owners are brought in the tax net? Why does the government allow 5 per cent individuals to take false benefit of tax saving tactics in the name of agricultural land? Why does it fool nation by constituting committees and commissions without implementing any of their recommendations? Who are reaping the benefits of liberalisation and privatisation of PSUs?

If committees are not economically viable and socially justified, then what do we foresee to plan long-term strategies to combat social and economical malaise?

Why do we always blame Macualay or A. O. Hume’s Safety valve-system? Don’t we justify the ground for India to be called a soft state? We are soft on all fronts.

Why does not the government take action against black-moneyed class? I feel offended when such black marketers get undue benefits under the umbrella of agriculture deficit income.



Rallies as traffic bottlenecks

It is painful to learn that traffic in the National Capital was disturbed for several hours as thousands of activists of the United Front of Bank Unions staged a rally in support of their demands. They marched from Ramlila Ground towards Parliament. In the process, traffic on the busy Vikas Marg, ITO, Mathura road and Connaught Place remained choked for hours.

This is not the proper way to press their demands. One can show his protest even in sitting at one place. The organisers of such types of rallies kindly keep in mind and authorities concerned must introduce a law in this regard.


MDU, Rohtak


This is with reference to the feature, `Rice for Masses’, announcing the launch of Daawat’s Paripurna brand of rice, in The Tribune on Monday, March 3, 2003.

We would like to bring to your notice that Ms Manju Jha, Marketing Head, IT Overseas Ltd, has been incorrectly referred to as `the owner of Daawat brand’ in the feature.

You would agree that such an error could cause unnecessary confusion and create wrong perceptions in the readers’ minds.


Anthem PR, New Delhi


Seven-yr-old boy crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 7
Praveen, a seven-year-old boy, was crushed to death by an unknown vehicle on the inter-state Sonepat-Meerut road near Khewra village, about 13 km from here, last evening.

According to a report, the victim was crossing the road when the accident occurred. The police have registered a case on the charge of rash and negligent driving and causing the death of the boy against the driver of the unknown vehicle and sent the body for a post-mortem examination.

According to another report, a motor cycle was hit by a speeding bus on the GT Road near Bahalgarh village, about 10 km from here, last evening. Three persons riding on the motor cycle were injured seriously. They were rushed to the local Civil Hospital from where they were sent to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment. The injured persons were identified as Anil Kumar, Karamvir and Joginder.

Another accident occurred on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh Road near Ahmadpur village when a speeding car hit a three-wheeler, resulting in injuries to Manoj, driver of the three-wheeler. He was immediately hospitalised and stated to be out of danger.

Meanwhile, Ram Babu, a resident of Nepal, was seriously injured when he was hit by a speeding vehicle on the GT Road near Murthal village, about 8 km from here, last night. He was rushed to the local civil hospital for treatment.

The police are still investigating into the case. However, no arrest has been made in this connection.


Bangladeshi dacoits’ gang busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
The North-West district police today claimed to have busted a gang of Bangladeshi dacoits and foiled a dacoity attempt in the Saraswati Vihar area in the district. With their arrest the police also claimed to have solved more than 10 cases of burglary and recovered television sets, tape recorders, a suitcase containing jewellery, watches and clothes from their possession.

The accused, Mohammad Ilyas (22), Mohammad Anwar, alias Nata (28), Alam Gir (22), Abdul Arif, alias Sapan (25), and Ansar, alias Naibu, alias Muslim (25), all hailing from Bangladesh, were nabbed while they were planning to commit a dacoity in the area.

During interrogation the accused revealed they used to pose as rag pickers and strike during the wee hours when the chowkidars and guards would be a bit relaxed.

Auto thief nabbed

The Crime Branch on Friday claimed to have apprehended an auto thief and solved more than 25 cases of auto theft with his arrest.

Based on a tip-off, the police arrested Ravi Sharma, alias Pawan Kumar, alias Sunil (24), resident of Muzaffar Nagar. During interrogation he revealed that he used to drive the stolen vehicles to Assam and other north-eastern states for disposal there. The vehicles used to be registered at various transport authorities like Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

55 kg hashish seized

The Delhi Police Narcotics Cell has apprehended four persons in two different cases and seized 55 kg hashish from them. In another case two persons were nabbed and 275 grams of heroin was seized from them.

In the first case, Murari Lal (37), resident of Alwar, and Rambir (22), also from Alwar, were nabbed from the Delhi Cantonment area and two bags containing 25 kg hashish each were seized from them.

In another case, Matadin (43), resident of Gurgaon, and Ram Niwas (32), resident of Bahadurgarh, were nabbed and 5 kg hashish was seized from them.

In the third case, two persons, Narain Das, alias Kalla (48), resident of Delhi, and Ramesh Singh (34), resident of Jahangir Puri, were nabbed and 2.75 grams of heroin worth Rs 28 lakh in the international market was seized from them.


PHDCCI asks for more funds for tourism
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 7
Describing the current Rs 3.5 crore allocation for tourism as grossly inadequate, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry today sought raising budgetary allocation for the NCT of Delhi’s Department of Tourism.

A PHDCCI statement noted here that the Union Budget 2003-04 had recognised tourism as an important economic activity. “States should henceforth give importance to tourism in their state Budgets,” the PHDCCI said. The Government of NCT of Delhi currently has a Rs 3.5 crore budgetary allocation for its tourism sector whereas states like Kerala allocate Rs 60 crore for the development of this sector. The PHDCCI has also asked the Government of NCT of Delhi to have a fresh look at its existing tax structure for the industry.

The tourism industry, it says, appreciates the Government of NCT of Delhi’s initiative of rolling back the luxury tax rates to 10 per cent till March 31, 2003.

But, it continues, there is an immediate and urgent need to rationalise and harmonise the tax structure as overall revenue collection of the state will go up if taxes are reduced. According to the PHDCCI, the next step would be to abolish luxury tax on hotels by the government. 

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