Sunday, March 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


HC asks government to list steps taken to enforce obligation
Are city hospitals sticking to their free treatment vow?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Having failed to elicit a reply to its earlier orders, the High court has asked the Central and Delhi governments to list within two weeks the steps being taken to enforce the obligation of the city hospitals to provide a certain percentage of free treatment in lieu of government land, received either free or at a discounted rate.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Usha Mehra and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog has directed the Centre and the state government to provide details by April 7 about the action taken to enforce such a clause in the land agreements with the hospitals.

The directive came after the court got no response from the government in this regard, despite its earlier orders. On November 15, 2002, the high court had directed the Centre and the Delhi Government to recover by March 3 any “unwarranted profits” made by hospitals on account of not fulfilling their obligation of providing free treatment to the poor in lieu of government land, obtained at throwaway prices.

The Bench also noted that the Union and Delhi governments, besides the other land owning agencies, had held a high-powered meeting on October 23 to implement the recommendations of the Qureshi Committee, set up to look into the free treatment given to the poor and needy by charitable and private hospitals.

The court had ordered the appointment of a joint committee, which would look into the records of such hospitals and ascertain how much was spent by them on providing free treatment to the poor.

Recovery action should be initiated in case a hospital was found breaching the condition under the land agreements, which makes it mandatory for a hospital to provide 25 and 40 per cent free treatment in indoor and outdoor patient departments, respectively, the court said.

If a hospital was found not providing free treatment and thereby making a profit, which was not due to it, such an amount should be realised from it, the Bench said and added that the money should be put in a pool to be used for health care.

Among other things, the committee had suggested that treatment ought to be entirely free, and free treatment in the IPD and OPD be brought down to 10 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively. Also a committee should be set up in all hospitals to monitor the treatment of poor patients. 


Leaders mull over issue of Sikh identity
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The issue of Sikh identify, a matter of grave concern for the community, was discussed by political leaders and intellectuals in the Capital today.

The issue figured at a meet convened by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee at Bhai Veer Singh Sadan.

DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna informed the gathering that a preparatory committee in cooperation with Prof Darshan Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Amritsar, has started ‘amrit sanchar’ in Delhi and Punjab. About 450 young boys in Dabhwali village in Punjab were baptised in a special ‘amrit sanchar’ programme and ‘dastar bandi’ ceremony. He said the DSGMC had started numerous programmes with regard to the separate identity of the Sikhs.

Mr Bhajan Singh Walia, DSGMC general secretary, informed the gathering that a number of programmes had been chalked out in this regard.

Manjit Singh Calcutta said normally the DSGMC restricts itself to looking after historical gurdwaras and Sikh educational institutions.

But after the 1984 riots, it had become imperative to organise activities to force the government to accept the independent identity of Sikhs. The idea is to revive the spirit of Khalsa created by Guru Gobind Singh, he added.

Income Tax Commissioner S. J. S. Pal said the leaders must lead the Sikh community by example. Information about Sikh history should be disseminated. This would help in producing good Sikhs, he added.

Prof Darshan Singh said the leaders and gurdwara committees will have to reform the entire community and initiate continuous effort in the field of these activities. Dirty politics had entered the domain of Sikhism, which had to be thwarted with full force.


It is a pain to be old, and not able to say it
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Picture a wrinkled but radiant face, silver-gray hair, ‘dadi maa ke nuskhe’, solemn hymns and all other attributes that are identified with age. For most of us, our grandma (or the grandpa!) would be the wisest, most experienced person we have ever come across in our entire life. But has it ever occurred to you that even behind this sublime aura may lie hidden some untold misery? “Yes! I have…” – you may retort – for, we all have seen them popping pills regularly for something or the other. But no, perhaps we have never fully comprehended the vast expanse of their endless pain. In fact, experts believe that geriatric pain is frequently under-identified and under-treated, resulting in needless suffering among patients who may already face significant impairment from their underlying disorders.

Pain is a common and often significant problem in the older population. Studies conducted by the American Geriatrics Society have shown that 25 per cent to 50 per cent of aged patients living in the community and 45 per cent to 80 per cent of those in nursing homes suffer chronic pain. These old patients are at increased risk for, they already suffer many potentially painful conditions that are often incurable such as arthritic disorders, diabetic neuropathy, post-therapeutic neuralgia, post-stroke neurolgic impairment, Parkinson’s disease and terminal illnesses.

Because pain is a subjective complaint, physicians and other healthcare professionals usually rely upon the patient’s self-report before evaluating or managing pain.

But when it comes to geriatric patients, a major factor that may inhibit appropriate pain management is the fact that a significant number of them have impaired ability to communicate. This may be due to neurological or other cognitive impairment resulting from disorders such as strokes or Alzheimer’s disease, or it may be that the patient has lost any memory of recent pain in cases like dementia.

Dr K. J. Choudhury, senior consultant, Pain Management at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, says that pain in old people should not be taken as casually as in young people, and that a totally different treatment approach needs to be tailored for this age group.

Says Dr Choudhury, “Since old people may be unable to request medication when needed, or may not be able to keep track of the due schedules, it is essential that pain medicine be prescribed on a regularly scheduled basis, rather than on a need basis. However, we also need to be careful that old patients usually have a relatively weak immune response. Long-term use of medicines may have undesirable side effects. The thumb rule is ‘start low and go slow’.”

Every drug tends to have a ceiling effect, that is after some time that drug may lose the earlier positive effect on the body, says Dr Choudhury, suggesting a phased prescription of medicines for managing pain in older people. “It is worthwhile to follow the Baynesian network principle, wherein the pain expert may begin with a regular dose of simpler and safer painkillers as paracetamol, then gradually move on to NSAIDs as and when needed and finally to opioids and other complex treatments.”

This phased medication regimen is especially significant, as studies have shown that NSAIDs can cause drug-induced renal failure over a long-term use. It is advisable that general physicians treat pain in old people with only simple analgesics like paracetamol, and rather refer the case to an expert pain physician before further aggravating the problem with wrong, inept and complex medication.

Pain balms, counter-irritants and muscle relaxants may help reduce tension of the muscle spasm, and provide short-term relief. However, they should not be applied to joints, since they serve no purpose in the joints. This is because joints do not have any muscles, and rubbing pain balms may at times actually harm the ligaments.

For diagnosing the extent of pain in people who cannot communicate well, alternatives to the traditional pain measurement instruments like the Visual Analogue Scale or asking patients to score their pain on a 1 to 10 scale may be effective.

World over, there are only about 7,000 pain management experts. India has only 500 or so. However, a majority of them may be working also as anesthetists. Only about 40-50 of them in India may actually be dedicated pain physicians. There may not be any exclusive geriatric pain experts in the country. On the other hand, the age group of 60-plus years is projected to increase from the current 7 per cent to nearly 9 per cent by 2016, according to the National Population Policy.

Therefore, the onus also lies with the society. Effective non-pharmacological methods such as education programmes, behavioural therapy, exercise routines, acupuncture, heat and cold massage, relaxation and distraction techniques may be usefully integrated with appropriate drug-based therapy for alleviating pain in older people. 


WB to assist in gender sensitisation of cops
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
To mark the International Women’s Day, the Delhi Police, along with the World Bank, have announced an initiative for gender sensitisation involving 52 workshops for all levels of Delhi Police personnel. As part of the initiative, 6,000 police personnel will interact with social activists and experts on empowering women and issues of child development in the 21st century.

Speaking at the opening ceremony here today, Delhi Police Commissioner R. S. Gupta said this was the biggest ever initiative taken by the police force in the country. He added that the police force is yearning to make its contribution to social change relating to women and children.

The training programme, which will cover all the 124 police stations of the Capital, will be conducted by the Coalition for Rural Empowerment (CORE), an NGO working in the area of crime against women and children.

CORE president Shreerupa Mitra Chaudhary said that the Delhi Police need modern training in view of the difficult challenges they are facing as a result of the large under-privileged population stemming from migration from neighbouring states.

Condemning the apathetic approach of the policemen, she said that policemen ought to behave like fathers or brothers rather than a brutalised, insensitive cop, and added that the training would go a long way in meeting this objective. In his keynote address, World Bank Country Director Michael F. Carter said gender disparities are pervasive in India and limit the capacity of women and girls to participate in and benefit from the development processes.

He added that the World Bank believes that gender disparities are inextricably linked to poverty and in its mandate for poverty reduction, addressing these issues and mainstreaming gender concerns is a priority. It is for the first time that the World Bank has supported such a broad initiative, Mr Carter said. 


Lower tax on houses in women’s name
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday reminded women of the Government of NCT of Delhi’s proposal to introduce a new property tax regime whereby residential properties in the name of women in Delhi would get house tax benefits by way of lower taxation rates.

“Any house in the name of women will attract a lower rate of house tax,” she said while celebrating the International Women’s Day with girls from slums and resettlement colonies. “This will somewhat improve the situation that is characterised by a near total absence of property rights to women,” Dikshit said.

Reiterating her government’s sensitivity to gender issues, she emphasised the need for empowerment of the fair sex through health, education and economic independence. Pointing out that the Government of NCT of Delhi had launched a number of training and financial assistance schemes, the chief minister asked the women to take advantage of these measures to become self-employed.

Dikshit said the 21st century belonged to women and added that “time has come when the contribution made by women to the economy, society as well as the polity was acknowledged in the right perspective and she be given the place she deserves.”


Section 144 fails to rein in copying
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 8
Contrary to claims and despite the imposition of Section 144, there was mass-scale copying at various centres set up by the Board of School Education, Haryana, for the plus two examinations in this district.

In almost all the centres this correspondent visited today, groups of goons and toughies were seen moving in a suspicious manner. Residents living near a school in Gita Bhawan area alleged that answer sheets were smuggled outside by the toughies. They had often seen people outside the centre scribbling away on the answer sheets.

Official sources have revealed that seven supervisors and one clerk were relieved of duty on the first day of the examination at Bajana Khurd, Mohana, Jagsi, Sonepat and Gohana. The flying squad also caught a youth who was trying to deliver notes to a student at an examination centre in the city. He was handed over to the police but was let off after they reportedly gave him a thrashing. Another youth was caught by the teachers and the people at Mandora village. He was also beaten up and let off.

The flying squad had caught 13 examinees at a centre at Purkhas village and four others at a centre at Ganaur town. Two teachers were relieved of duty on the charge of dereliction of duty. 


Two nabbed for bid to extort Rs 15 lakh in the name of CBI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Two of the three suspects, who tried to extort a sum of Rs 15 lakh from a Paschim Vihar-based transporter by posing as officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), were nabbed in Gurgaon yesterday.

The two suspects were identified as Satish Chandra Jain, an ex-serviceman running a taxi service, and Anand Singh, a science graduate and a resident of Jhajjar in Haryana. The police said that the third suspect had been identified as Rajinder Kumar Kaushik, a resident of Panipat. Efforts are being made to track him down. He is alleged to have been the mastermind behind the extortion attempt.

According to the transporter, Jai Karan Sharma, he received a fax in his office, which claimed that the CBI was considering raiding his premises because of certain irregularities in his business.

If he wanted to save himself, he was instructed to come to a spot near the Gymkhana Club in Gurgaon with Rs 15 lakh in cash. He was also asked to come in his Ascent car, so that he could be identified. He was told to light a cigarette when he reached the spot.

The transporter, however, reported the matter to the police. A trap was laid and the suspects were caught when they arrived to collect the money in a Maruti van. The suspects are being further interrogated to ascertain if they were involved in other cases as well.


Vidrohi raps Chautala for frittering away funds
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 8
The Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has criticised the celebrations by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to highlight the achievements of the Chautala government in the state during the past three years.

In a press statement issued here yesterday, he said Mr Chautala came to power on July 23, 1999, and would complete his four-year term in July next. He wondered at what prompted Mr Chautala to celebrate his three-year rule by holding a massive rally at Rohtak on March 2 despite the fact that his government had remained stable and none of his party MLA had ever revolted against him. He also accused Mr Chautala of promoting his two sons who had virtually been given a free hand to interfere in the administration. This, he said, was undemocratic as the ministers had not been allowed to exercise their constitutional powers.

Mr Vidrohi admitted that the strong grip of Mr Chautala over the party legislators had checked any kind of revolt by them. He also said this had provided stability to the government and the Aya Ram-Gaya Ram culture had taken a backseat in the state during the past three years.

He contested the claim of the Chautala government about 34,000 development works being undertaken during his regime and said the statistics released by the government were far from facts. He said there was nothing to feel delighted about as every government, be it of any party, which had ruled Haryana in the past had taken up such development works.

Mr Vidrohi regretted that instead of improving the lot of the people and providing relief to the drought-hit farmers and landless labourers, Mr Chautala was lavishly spending government funds on holding rallies and going on jaunts. He said the life of the people in the rural areas had been adversely affected and no steps had been taken to improve the standard of living of the people.

The roads in the villages were in a bad shape and the continuous scarcity of power and water had caused widespread resentment among the people living in the villages. He also said that no fresh avenues for employment had been created for village folk.

The Janata Dal leader said many policies of the Chautala government were anti-people and anti-farmer appealed to the Chief Minister not to waste government funds on tours and holding rallies but spend the same for improving the lot of the people in the state. He also asked him to take immediate and effective steps on tightening the administrative machinery and fulfilling the promises made to the people at the time of the assembly elections.

Mr Vidrohi also referred to the Budget proposals and described them as anti-farmer and anti-people and said the hike in the DAP fertilisers, diesel and other petroleum products would badly hit the farmers and the cost of their produce would go up considerably.

He urged the central government to order immediate withdrawal of the hike in DAP fertilisers, diesel and other petroleum products in the interest of the farming community.

Referring to the BJP defeat in the recently held assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and other states, he said the electorate had rejected the communal forces in these elections ad extended their support to the non-religious parties.


Revival of ‘Jal Yudh’ in Ahirwal by Congress hailed
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 8
The former legislator, Mr Raghu Yadav, who had spearheaded the “Jal Yudh” in Ahirwal in August 1993, has hailed the revival of the “Jal Yudh” by the leaders of the Congress Party in Haryana. An announcement to this effect was made at a massive Congress rally at Jhajjar on March 2. The rally was addressed by the Haryana Congress Legislative Party leader, Mr Bhupender Singh Hooda and the former HPCC chief, Mr Birender Singh.

It was presided over by Mr Rao Inderjeet Singh, who has now been entrusted with the overall command of the “Jal Yudh” (by his senior party colleagues).

The “Jal Yudh” would concentrate on the expeditious construction of the SYL canal as well as the equitable distribution of available canal water in Haryana.

Going into the genesis of the “Jal Yudh”, Mr Raghu Yadav asserted that as far as Ahirwal was concerned, equitable distribution of available canal water was more important than the long-pending completion of the SYL canal. He explained that the Eradi Tribunal had allocated to Haryana 3.83 M.A.F. of the Ravi-Beas waters in 1987, out of which 1.6 M.A.F. had already been flowing into Haryana since 1976.

He said that it was unfortunate that the share of water meant for the Ahirwal region had been “fraudulently” diverted to Sirsa, Jind, Kaithal, Hisar and Fatehabad districts.

Consequently, these five districts are now suffering from water-logging, whereas Rewari, Mahendergarh and Gurgaon districts along with parts of Bhiwani and Jhajjar districts, which had been denied their rightful share of water, were completely starved of canal water. Mr Yadav said the most practical and sagacious solution to the problem lay in just and equitable distribution of the available canal water.

Kharif cultivation

During the current Kharif season, mustard was sown in sixty thousand hectares of land as against the target of 67,000 hectares in the Rewari district. Similarly, wheat was sown in 48,000 hectares against the target of 51,000 hectares by the end of February 2003. Gram and barley were sown in 5,000 hectares and 4,000 hectares respectively. These information were provided by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vineet Garg to mediapersons. He said that 128 quintals of barley seeds, 4 quintals of mustard seeds and 9 quintals of gram seeds were supplied to the farmers at 50 per cent subsidy by way of drought relief. He further said that the Agriculture Department had installed 33 biogas plants in the district during the current financial year. A subsidy of Rs 2,300 was given to each farmer for this purpose. Moreover, as many as 15 tubewells were sunk by the department during the year 2002-03 under the mechanised agriculture project.

National Cyber Olympiad

The students of R. B. S. Model Public School, Rewari, have come out with flying colours at the 2nd National Cyber Olympiad conducted by the Science Olympiad Foundation, New Delhi. Dr Sharad Sinha, director of the school, told NCR Tribune that with the exceptional performance of Aditi Sinha, Swati Bhargava, Savita Saini, Shikha Verma and Almuddin, the students had surpassed the previous performance at the first National Cyber Olympiad in 2001-02. The second National Cyber Olympiad was held at over 650 centres throughout the country in November 2002.


I’m a BSP neta. How dare you ask me to pay!
Parmindar Singh

Noida, March 8
“How dare you demand stitching charges from me. Don’t you know who I am?”

A BSP office-bearer in Dadri, who had got certain clothes stitched from some tailors and then threatened to send them to jail for insulting him by demanding the stitching charges, has got his deserts.

He has reportedly been removed from his post.

Sadiq Saddiqui, who was the secretary of BSP Vidhan Sabha Committee of Dadri, has since been dismissed with immediate effect by the District BSP president, Mukesh Kardam. The new secretary will be appointed when the district committee of the party meets.

The sacked BSP secretary, Sadiq Saddiqui, it is learnt, was in the business of fabricating and supplying ladies’ ready-made garments.

He used to get them tailored in Nai Abadi Mohalla of Bulandshahr from about a dozen small-time tailors, and supply the garments in Delhi.

Saddiqui owed about Rs 1 lakh to the tailors as stitching charges. When they demanded the money, Saddiqui is reported to have threatened them: “Don’t you know, I can speak to the Chief Minister and the police brass directly and have you all sent to jail.”

The aggrieved tailors then met the state Revenue Minister, Mr Ravi Gautam, and the Chief Development Officer, Mr Chander Kant, recently and complained against Saddiqui. They requested them to help get the payments. The tailors also sought protection from Sadiqui.

Ravi Gautam ordered the police to inquire the allegations.

The district BSP secretary was found guilty in the probe and removed from the party post. Meanwhile, the police are conducting a thorough probe into the matter.


NEA welcomes VAT, irked at ESI mismanagement
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 8
The tenure of the Noida Entrepreneurs Association has been increased by three months. This decision was taken at the general body meeting of the NEA.

The issue of mismanagement in the ESI hospital and dispensaries under this hospital was raised at the general body meeting of the association although it did not form part of the agenda. It was decided to arrange a high-level meeting with officers of the Employees State Insurance Corporation.

The NEA President, Mr Rakesh Katyal, said employees’ state insurance had been started from the point of view of their health. Every month contributions for it are being made by workers and managements.

Despite it employees have to stand in queues from morning till evening in hospitals and dispensaries.

The Employees State Insurance Corporation earned a profit of Rs 1,062 crore this year. The ESIC has virtually become a profit-making machine. “We shall have to approach the Health Ministry to bring improvements in it,” is the general feeling. Most of the former presidents and general secretaries of the NEA were present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the executive of the NEA and all leading Noida entrepreneurs welcomed the application of VAT from April this year in the state.

Mr Rakesh Katyal, former President Sharanjit Singh and Mr Surinder Nahata clarified that industrial production would get a boost from VAT. They said advantages and disadvantages of VAT could be assessed only after its introduction.

The executive of the NEA has, meanwhile, assured that it should be able to resolve all issues pending with the Divisional Commissioner, Meerut.

Mr A. K. Tejwani said the executive had promised to resolve these issues in August also. But no effective step has since been taken. Mr Katyal assured the house that all matters pending with the Commissioner would be resolved within two months.

Some of the members present at the meeting had demanded that except the President other office-bearers should tender their resignation from their posts so that President could change the executive. Former President Sharanjeet Singh said the changes in the present executive could be affected in accordance with the rules and law.


Bus overturns at Gita Bhawan Chowk, traffic disrupted
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 8
Traffic in the prime commercial area of Gita Bhawan Chowk remained disrupted for about three hours last evening when a Haryana Roadways bus dashed against a police booth and overturned in the middle of the road.

According to a report, the police brought a crane and cleared the road after removing the bus.

A number of vehicles were lined up on both sides of the road, causing inconvenience.

The harried public reached home quite late at night.

Suicide attempt

A girl Reena Devi was reported to have made an attempt to commit suicide by taking sulphas tablets in her house in Lal Darwaza here last evening. According to a report, she was rushed to a local civil hospital where she is stated to be in a serious condition. The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress.

RI for contraband

Mr R K Bishnoi, Additional Sessions Judge yesterday convicted a youth Anand of Mahra village under the NDPS Act and sentenced him to five years’ rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 5,000. According to the prosecution story, the police had arrested him following the recovery of 425 gram charas from him.

Computerised bus depots

The Haryana Transport Department has decided to computerise all the Roadways depots in the state to maintain punctuality in the bus service and check the irregularities of the drivers and conductors.

Mr H C Jain, general manager of the Sonepat depot of the Haryana Roadways, told mediaperson here today that the Chandigarh depot of the Haryana Roadways has already been computerised with the help of the HARTRON. The Transport Department, he said, has also placed an order of computers. At least 300 computers will be installed at 20 roadways depots in the state. He disclosed that the department also plans to install punching machines in each depot. These computers will provide all information about the buses on various routes and the duty of drivers and conductors, besides the timings of buses.

The GM disclosed that Sonepat depot will be computerised shortly.

Mobile phone service

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to introduce a mobile phone service from March 10 at Gohana telephone exchange in the district. Mr R C Hooda, general manager of Sonepat district of the Nigam, told mediapersons here today that the Nigam has already provided the ISDN facility at CB exchanges in Sonepat and Kundli and internet connections are being provided to the subscribers on demand.


Watergate: Farmers hit hard in tail-end villages
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 8
Farmers in the villages of Gohana Water Service Division in this district have been deprived of their legitimate share of irrigation water for the past few months due to the erratic and inadequate canal water supply. The farmers alleged that the theft of irrigation water had led to the non-availability of water in the tail-end villages.

According to a report, many farmers, who did not have any alternative means of irrigation, have been compelled to steal canal water through pipes. Those farmers who had sown their wheat crop were hit hard by the water shortage.

Although adequate canal water was available in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Sonepat, Rai and Delhi water service divisions, the farmers of Gohana Water Service Division were indulging in large-scale theft of water.

Allegedly, the farmers enjoy the patronage of the ruling party politicians.

As a result, the farmers whose fields are situated at the tail-end of the distribution system, have borne the consequences of the canal water theft.

It is alleged that the officials of this division are hushing up the cases of canal water thefts to mint money. A high-level inquiry into the racket would expose the misdeeds of the officials of the Gohana Water Service Division in this district.

Farmers said that the transfer of the executive engineer, the SDOs and other officials will ensure an independent and impartial inquiry into the matter. Though lakhs of rupees have been made available by the state government to various water service divisions in the district for the desilting and deweeding operations of the canal network, the position can hardly improve in the tail-end fields of the farmers.

It is alleged that a large amount of the money had been misappropriated by the officials entrusted with the job to clean up the canal. Most of the works executed remain on paper only. It is further alleged that the muster rolls prepared by the officials included the names of those who were never put on the job.

Expressing concern over the erratic supply of water, the farmers blamed the executive engineer and the SDOs concerned for not cleaning up the canals, distributaries and minors properly, despite the instructions by the state government.

The farmers whose fields are situated on the tail-end of the distribution system have demanded a probe into their complaints. The farmers also criticised the officials of the district and the Irrigation Department for their failure to redress grievances on the shortage of canal water during the rotation period. They feared that standing rabi crops, particularly wheat worth several lakhs of rupees, would suffer damage if timely steps were not taken.


They deserve a better deal

The Supreme Court, in one of its judgements in a dowry death case in January this year, has expressed serious anguish over the increasing incidence of dowry deaths and has asked all trial courts and high courts in the country to deal firmly with such cases and ensure deterrent punishment for such crimes.

The Supreme Court Bench awarded M. V. Manjunatha Gowde 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for causing the death of his wife within a few months of marriage. It set aside the Karnataka High Court judgement, which had ruled that it was not a dowry-related death. A sessions court had earlier given him life sentence.

At marriage, the young bride usually leaves her home and parents to be with her bridegroom. She comes to her husband’s family with complete trust and with her dreams of a happy future. To torture her and set her afire for extracting more “gifts” (dowry) from her family is most barbaric. Yet, this is happening in our land despite the frequent protests and expression of anger. Dr Ambedkar launched a crusade against attitudes and beliefs that gave rise to the caste system; a similar crusade is needed against traditions that militate against treating woman with greater respect and dignity. It is amazing how even Schopenhauer, a philosopher was swayed by the ways of the traditional Indian. He wrote: “I am therefore of opinion that women should never be allowed altogether to manage their own concerns, but should always stand under actual male supervision, be it of father, of husband, of son, or of the state as is the case in Hindastan; and that consequently they should never be given full power to dispose of any property they have not themselves acquired.”

Well modern India still has something of those prejudices against women and such prejudices are stronger among the uneducated leading to severe oppression of women. In such societies the fate of women are no better than dumb animals!

The evil of the dowry system and its tragic consequences constitute a shameful blot in a country that boasts of giving woman the status of a goddess! But facts speak otherwise. The ratio of girls to boys in our country for the age group 0-6 has the dubious distinction of being one of the in the world. Too much has been written about female foeticide, infanticide and gender bias to need repetition here. Often stringent penalty and legislation are suggested as remedy. Can we raise the status of women through legislation? The civil society must awaken to the need and women’s education must be spread using all available means.

There is no denying that the status of middle class women has improved following their education and job opportunities. Kalpana Chawla, Indira Goswami, Kiren Bedi, Sabana Azmi and a few others are cited as icons proving the emancipation of middle class women. Unfortunately, it is women belonging to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in society who suffer most under various kinds of discriminations and human rights violations. Homeless women in the world’s great cities, women belonging to the lower castes, immigrant communities are also among the worst victims. It is the illiterate women of backward societies who suffer the brunt of poverty and privations and also the evil effects of alcoholism and drug addiction. They almost live an animal existence unaware of their rights, while male domination wrecks havoc on these helpless victims of circumstances.

According to Amnesty International, more women and girl children die each day from various forms of gender-based discrimination than from any other type of human rights abuse. Every year, according to UN Children’s Fund, more than a million infant girls die because they are born female. Every year, because of discrimination, millions of women are mutilated, battered to death, burnt alive, stripped of their legal rights, and brought and sold in an unacknowledged but international trade in slaves for domestic and sexual purposes.

The Indian parliament has passed legislation — The Girl Child (Compulsory Education and Welfare) Act, 2000, to provide compulsory and free education to girls up to the matriculation or secondary level. This is a significant measure in that education of women goes a long way in improving the general health and well being of families. The future of society, it is said, is in the hands of mothers.

There are other issues hanging fire – like increased representation for women in legislatures to which men had so far only paid lip service. There is the issue of equal pay for equal work, career advancement opportunities, eliminating gender bias in work places, ensuring better treatment of widows and older women and so on. Of late, there has been a growing protest against depicting women in the media as plaything and commodities and against obscene advertisements.

Man needs to show greater respect towards women when he realises that no one has come into this world without a woman without a mother. From birth to death, he is surrounded by women, as mother, wife and daughters.

According to a Hindu tale of creation, in creating woman, God took of the beauty of the flowers, the song of the birds, the colours of the rainbow, the kiss of the breeze, the laughter of the waves, the gentleness of the lamb, the cunning of the fox, the waywardness of the clouds and the fickleness of the shower and wove them into a female being and presented her to man as his wife. And the Hindu Adam was happy and he and his wife roved about on the beautiful earth. After a few days Adam came to God and said “Take this woman away from me, for I can’t live with her.’’ And God listened to his request and took Eve away. Adam then became lonely and was still unhappy and after a few days he came to God again and said. “Give me back my woman, for I can’t live without her.’’

Such disenchantment was repeated with Adam going to God for the fourth time complaining that he can not live without his female companion. God then made Adam promise that he was not going to change his mind again and that he was going to throw in his lot with her, for better and for worse, and live together on earth as best as they know how.

Society certainly owes much to the genius of women, to the richness of their sensitivity, their intuitiveness, generosity and fidelity. Their roles beyond their families in schools, colleges and healthcare institutions exhibit a kind of “affective, cultural and spiritual motherhood.” They deserve a better deal.

M P K Kutty


Criminals ransack MCD employee’s house
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 8
Criminals barged into the house of an Assistant Engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in Patel Nagar here after breaking the padlocks and decamped with valuables worth lakhs of rupees. Mr Mangu Singh, Assistant Engineer in the MCD, lives in House No 13 in C Block of Patel Nagar along with his wife and three daughters. He and his family had gone to attend a function in Meerut on Thursday.

Some criminals scaled the boundary wall and entered the house after breaking open the locks of the front door, drawing room, bedroom and store. The intruders went about leisurely picking up the valuables and all almirahs were found ransacked. Neighbours came to know of the loot when they saw the doors ajar. They informed Mr Mangu Singh’s family in Meerut on phone. Mr Mangu Singh’s wife Anita said the miscreants had decamped with Rs 17,000 and jewellery and clothes worth lakhs of rupees, including four rings, two bangles, a necklace, tops, earrings, anklets and costly saris. Neighbours alleged that even hours after informing them, the police had not reached the spot.

Fire in Gohana shop

Sonepat: Goods worth several thousands of rupees were destroyed in a fire at a shop in Gohana town, 37 km from here last night. According to a report, the fire caused by an explosion in a plastic electricity meter in the shop. A patrolling police party noticed the fire and informed the owner of the shop. The fire was brought under control by the residents of the area. Some account books and gunny bags were among the articles destroyed in the fire.

Women’s Day function

Rohtak: In a panel discussion on “Gender Discrimination: Causes, Implications and Interventions”, organised in the Maharshi Dayanand University today, the eminent gynaecologist and former director, Pt B.D.Sharma PGIMS, Dr Sushila Rathi, said, “Education and money power are the key factors for the empowerment of women. With will power, one can overcome the societal gender discrimination.”

The discussion was jointly organised by the Psychology Department and Students’ Welfare Office of the Maharshi Dayanand University. 


Sanitation work in unauthorised colonies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
The Municipal Corporation Delhi (MCD) will carry out sanitation work in unauthorised colonies in the Capital from next month. The corporation is committed to providing better civic services to the residents of the Capital.

Even though the corporation lacks funds, arrangements will be made to keep Delhi clean. Priority would be given to unauthorised colonies, where residents suffer from lack of basic civic amenities, said Ram Babu Sharma, Chairman, Standing Committee at a function organised at Rajiv Nagar in North-West district.

Ram Lila Ground rally

The Traffic Police advised motorists to avoid Rajghat, Vikas Marg, I.P. Marg, J.L. Nehru Marg, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg and surrounding areas of Ram Lila Ground as the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind would be holding a rally at Ram Lila Ground. Thousands of people are expected to participate in the rally. The motorists should avoid these roads from 8 am to 4 pm, the police said.

Diabetic Centre

Mayor Jaishree Panwar today inaugurated a Diabetic Treatment Centre in the Ayurvedic Dispensary at Aryapura, which is run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The former Union Minister, Mr Jagdish Tytler and Municipal Councillor Pratap Narayan were also present on the occasion.

The Mayor said that indigenous system of medicine was more popular in the country and was effective in diabetic treatment. The centre would especially help the needy people of our society, a press release said. 


Youth’s ear sliced off in brawl

Four persons allegedly sliced off an ear of a youth during a brawl that took place at a marriage party in the NIT area here last night.

According to a report, the victim, identified as Vikas, a resident of Jawahar Colony, had gone to attend a marriage in the NIT locality when the incident took place. It is alleged that the accused had a knife and they cut his ear off after a fight. The injured youth has been admitted in the hospital. A case has registered but no arrest has been made.

In another incident, a 28-year-old resident of Panhera village was killed after the tyre of a tractor burst near him. TNS


Hello! Connections at your doorstep, thanks to BSNL
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 8
The consumers of the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) may not be quite satisfied with the services provided by the department, especially when it comes to rectification of faults, yet the Nigam keeps devising strategies to face the competition provided by the private players in the field.

After announcing recently to provide a second phone connection to the existing consumers at a charge of Rs 50 only, the department has kicked off a scheme to provide connections at the doorstep of the residents.

The divisional Engineer, Telephone (DET) of BSNL’s exchange at Badarpur, Mr P C Aggarwal, told the ‘NCR Tribune’ here that a special mobile van had been put into service from today to scan the residential areas, including Sector-28, Sector-30, Sector-31 and Indraprastha Colony to offer phone connection to the residents.

He said the BSNL vehicle would visit these places till March 31 and provide connections to the consumers within 48 hours if the applicants submit the fee on the spot.

He said the officials would not only guide the applicants to fill up the form but would also accept it on the spot and complete all the formalities there only. The applicants need not visit the office for it. Besides, he said the applicants who book their connections with the mobile van would also be given the BSNL’s phone calling card (ISD and STD) worth Rs 525 as a free gift.

He said the above-mentioned areas will in the feasible sector and the department was prepared to release a large number of connections up to March 31.

Mr Aggarwal said the scheme would be extended to other areas shortly but it depended mainly upon the feasibility factor. The BSNL has about 1.30 lakh connections in the district and it includes 1.12 lakh connections in the urban areas. There are about 40 exchanges, of which 16 are in urban and 24 in rural areas. While all exchanges are connected with the ‘optical fibre cable’ media, the department has introduced cellular mobile service at Palwal Bannikhers and Puthla exchange areas. Inhouse billing has been started and a separate cell set up to deal with the customers here.


Panipat textile units rally against excise duty
Our Correspondent

Panipat, March 8
Nearly 3,000 units of the textile industry along with the commercial establishments of Blanket Market today observed strike in protest against the imposition of excise duty on blankets and shoddy-yarn in the recent budget proposal by the Union Finance Minister.

Owners of industrial units and blanket traders took out a procession in the town and later submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for the Union Finance Minister. In the memorandum, they have demanded the withdrawal of the tax proposals, including the 10 per cent excise duty on blankets and 14 per cent on shoddy-yarn.

It has been observed in the memorandum that the imposition of these duties will ruin the textile industry in this town, which is well known for its handloom products.

The industry had already been suffering from financial problems and these latest arbitrary duties will prove to be a major drawback for the textile units.

It is pointed out that blanket manufacturing is one the main works of the owners of the shoddy-yarn industry.

More than 80,000 skilled and unskilled workers from other states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa are working in these units.


Save energy, SSIs told
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 8
“The small scale industrial units must concentrate on saving energy and bringing efficiency to cut down the production costs and meet the required standards in the field,” this point was stressed by the entrepreneurs at a ‘Training programme on energy efficiency for SSIs’, organised by the Faridabad Small Industries Association (FSIA), here on Friday.

The Small Industries Service Institute, the Ministry of Small Scale Industries of the Government of India and the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) helped hold the training programme at FSIA park here.

Mr Rajiv Chawla, FSIA general secretary, said that the programme aimed at educating the participants on the systems and facilities to quantify energy use in their units.

He said that SIDBI and SISI organisations had been providing subsidy to the units.

Mr Shirish Asthana, Deputy Director, SISI, said more programmes would be held to increase interaction and awareness among the small units.

Mr K R Goyal, Mr S K Mall and Mr A K Singh from PCRA listed various aspects of energy saving in the operation of electric motors, boilers, D G sets and importance of energy audit.

According to PCRA officials, the association offered subsidy up to 50 per cent of the cost towards the conduct of energy audit of industrial premises to a limit of Rs 50,000 per unit, besides the advisory services to the applicants.

Mr M L Sharma, FSIA president and other members of the executive committee were present on the occasion.

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