Saturday, March 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


A flurry of financial frauds, mostly unsolved
Parmindar Singh

Noida, March 21
Though there has been a slight decline in the number of crimes in Noida compared to last year, cases of financial frauds and cheating are on the increase.
According to police sources, in Noida alone, the four police stations have registered at least 72 cases of financial frauds and cheating. In some of the cases, government departments have been fleeced of crores of rupees. Interestingly, about 50 per cent of these cases had been closed after a preliminary probe.

The most interesting case pertains to the Sector 18 branch of Hong Kong and Shinghai Banking Corporation. The manger of the bank had registered a case with the Sector 20 police on October 3, 2002, about a person who had taken a loan for Rs 2 lakh, but never bothered to deposit the instalments. When the bank manager demanded the instalments, the loanee not only refused to pay, but threatened to eliminate the bank manager. The bank named three persons in its complaint. The investigators closed the file after sometime, saying that the “accused were not traceable”, the sources said. That was the end of the case.

Similarly, a case of cheating was filed in the Sector 20 police station against an executive engineer of UP Power Corporation, N.C. Agarwal, on January 19, 2002 for having defrauded the corporation of over Rs 2.90 lakh. An inquiry revealed that Agarwal had been depositing cheques presented by a company in the name of his son instead of the power corporation’s account in the bank. Sources said that this case was also closed on October 23, 2002.

In another case, Rs 3.45 lakh were deposited in the savings account of an employee by mistake instead of the current account of the corporation in Vijaya Bank. This amount had remained in the savings account of the employee for 18 months. The UP Power Corporation had failed to detect the mistake.

The employee, who reaped the windfall, had withdrawn the money within 10 days and used most of it by the time the mistake was found out.

The bank detected the blunder on February 21 last year when the bank manager filed a preliminary report with the police. The account holder was arrested and some amount recovered from him. But the bank had not taken any action against any of its own staff, it is learnt.

One person had reportedly withdrawn Rs 1,000 from UCO Bank against a fake voucher. Though a report was filed in the Sector 20 police station, the matter is still unsolved.

One Mr Khurana had filed a case against a person who had availed of Rs 4 lakh car finance loan by submitting a fake document. In another case, the amount deducted by a company from the employees’ salaries was not deposited in the PF account. The company had filed a case against its employee responsible for this lapse. This case was still unsolved.



India won’t miss the IT bus: Jaswant
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, March 21
Although India had missed the industrial revolution under colonial rule, it will not miss the ongoing knowledge revolution. This was stated by Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh while delivering the keynote address at the 11th Convocation of Maharshi Dayanand University here today.

“We have no option but to set before us the task of making knowledge the cornerstone of a resurgent India. We have already achieved a well-earned recognition at the international level as a knowledge-based society. Our experts have dominated the international scene in computers, IT, electronics, bio-technology, pure science, economics and management sciences. We are definitely comfortably placed in this new phenomenon,” he said.

Mr Jaswant Singh said that the future belongs to India and its younger generation. The need of the hour is to shun narrowness of thought and inferiority complex. He called upon the youth to seize the moment and give a direction to the changing times and lead a meaningful life.

Congratulating the candidates who got their degrees and medals, the Union Finance Minister said that they have it in them to touch the horizons of success in life. He fondly remembered Haryana’s proud astronaut daughter Kalpana Chawla who dared to dream that “my home is the Milky Way”. This kind of confidence and broadness of thought is required to achieve success in life, he said.

Earlier, he noted that the ratio of girl students getting degrees and medals in the convocation was higher than that of boys. An educated girl, he said, is an asset to the society.

The Chancellor, Babu Parmanand, awarded PhD degrees to 86 candidates in the faculties of law, commerce, education, engineering and technology, humanities, life sciences, management sciences, social sciences etc. Prominent among them were Additional District Judge Shiva Sharma (Law), the wife of Mr K. P. Singh, DIG (CID), Haryana, Mrs Deepa Singh (Law), and an ex-judicial officer, Mr R. D. Jatain (Commerce).



Khurana to meet Jaswant on VAT
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
Delhi Pradesh BJP president Madan Lal Khurana will be making another attempt to stall the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) in NCT of Delhi when he calls on Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh on Saturday.

Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma and BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra (both members of Parliament from NCT of Delhi) and Leader of Opposition in Delhi Legislative Assembly Jagdish Mukhi will accompany Khurana.

The VAT is to come into force from April 1. Certain states have voiced their objections to the new tax regime. NCT of Delhi is among them. The Government of NCT of Delhi has sought time to introduce the VAT.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had on March 15 called on Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh to discuss about the introduction of VAT in the Capital. She told the finance minister that the NCT of Delhi’s status as the Capital, and a centre of trade, should be factored in before introducing the new tax regime. The Government of NCT of Delhi, she said, was concerned about the likely impact on the trade in general and consumer in particular. “The legislation,” she said, “should protect their interests.”

The finance minister was also apprised of Delhi Pradesh BJP president Madan Lal Khurana’s utterances on the introduction of VAT and how they contradicted the party’s stand.



Police looking into ex-husband’s role in murder
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 21
The Noida police are looking into the role of Mahavir Dalal, former husband of Alpana (37), in her murder that took place yesterday night near Film City. One of the brothers of Mahavir Dalal, Sunil, has been already arrested. Mahavir works in the US and the police are now trying to find out whether he has arrived in India.

Alpana, a resident of Sector 44, and her companion Yogesh, an assistant manager of a five star hotel in Delhi, were returning from a hotel in Sector 18 when another car overtook them near Film City in Sector 16-A around 11 pm. Two persons came out of the other car and shot Alpana in her chest and injured Yogesh seriously. She died on the spot.

Soon after the incident, Yogesh, who also received bullet shots, drove to the Mayur Vihar Police Station in Delhi and then to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital where Alpana was declared brought dead. On gaining consciousness, Yogesh informed Alpana’s family. Subsequently, the Noida police were informed about the incident by the Mayur Vihar police.

The Noida police are trying to figure out why Alpana had gone for dinner so late and what was the objective of going to the Film City at that hour and why Yogesh had gone towards Delhi after the incident when there are good hospitals close by here.

The father of Alpana, Dhruv Lal Bhargava, has filed a report in the Sector 20 police station alleging that the two brothers of Mahavir Dalal, Sunil and Anil, had murdered his daughter. A case under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC has been registered.

Alpana was married to Mahavir of Delhi in 1990. Mahavir, who used to visit foreign countries, developed differences with Alpana, which culminated in their divorce in 1998. The Noida District Court had given the child, Koutalya (11), the right to stay with his mother on February 25. (The child is now studying in a school in Shimla.) After this, Mahavir had threatened Alpana on phone many times, Mr Bhargava said. 



Finance panel’s recommendations 
getting the go-by?
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
The Delhi Government has made a mockery of the constitutional provisions by withholding the recommendations of the Second Finance Commission, which had proposed that the net proceeds of taxes, duties, tolls and fees ‘leviable’ by the NCT of Delhi might be divided between the corporation and the state government. This was stated by BJP councillor Bijender Gupta and member of the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

This provision was made by Parliament when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, to strengthen the finances of the MCD and municipalities in other states.

Thereafter, all state governments had started constituting finance commissions, which recommend how much amount the municipalities require for their development works. The first Finance Commission of the Delhi Government had submitted its report in 1998.

The second Finance Commission was constituted in 2001 on the order of the Delhi High Court. However, its recommendations have yet not been implemented.

As per the recommendations of the second commission, the Delhi Government had to release Rs 350 crore to the corporation and the money would be disbursed under the non-Plan head, sources in the corporation said.

Sources said bickering in the Congress had delayed the sanction of money as the party was in power both in the NCT of Delhi as well as in the corporation. Three years have passed since the second finance commission made its recommendations.

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the corporation Ram Babu Sharma said that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had assured him that the recommendations of the second Finance Commission would be implemented soon. 



‘Alert’ operation gives police something to cheer about
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 21
The `Operation Alert’ campaign, launched by the police, has yielded good results as far as Sonepat district is concerned. The Superintendent of police, Mr Paramjit Singh Ahlawat, told mediapersons here today that the police had arrested three criminals wanted in different cases, 11 proclaimed offenders and 30 bail jumpers during the campaign, thereby creating a record in the history of this district.

The police, he claimed, also busted four gangs of highway robbers, burglars, thieves and murderers operating in this region. The police also solved nine cases of looting, burglaries, thefts etc and recovered eight country-made pistols, nine live cartridges, three knives, three iron rods and a motorcycle from the arrested members of these gangs.

The SP also disclosed that the police organised `naka bandis’ at 249 places in different parts of the district during the campaign. Thus, the police managed to arrest three persons — Mahinder Singh, Dharambir and Surinder alias Sheru — allegedly involved in a looting near Murthal chowk. Two country-made pistols, one live cartridge, a car (CH 01/7890) and Rs 1,400 were seized from them.

According to the SP, the police also arrested Ishfaq of Mani village (UP) and Vinod of Nehru Vihar (Delhi) and solved a robbery case of Ganaur. The police, he said, also recovered a country-made pistol, a ‘kamanidar’ knife, a motorcycle and Rs 6,200 in cash from them.

The SP further disclosed that the city police solved a case of kidnapping and arrested five persons including two women in this connection. The arrested persons have been identified as Ms Anita and Balraj of Burari village, Mukesh and Ramphal of Khaleela village and Ms Jaiwanti of Ganaur. The police, he said, rescued a woman, Mrs Ram Rati, allegedly kidnapped by them. A Maruti car (HR-06/G/8268) was seized from them.

He also claimed that the police solved three cases of looting and recovered property and goods valued at Rs 4.07 lakh. Similarly, five cases of burglaries and four cases of thefts were also solved and stolen goods worth Rs 1.71 lakh recovered.

Eight persons were arrested in eight cases registered under the NDPS Act in different police stations of the district. The police, he said, seized 3.2 kg charas and 130 gm opium from the arrested persons.

Under the Indian Arms Act, the police arrested 40 persons in 31 cases registered in various police stations of the district. The police, he said, also recovered 33 country-made pistols, 14 live cartridges and seven knives from their possession.

Under the Excise Act, 21 persons were arrested and 531 bottles of country liquor and 64 bottles of IFML were seized from them. The police arrested 14 persons in 11 cases registered under the Gambling Act in different police stations. The police also recovered a cash of Rs 3,515 and other articles of gambling from the arrested persons.



Nagar Nigam washes its hands of garbage
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 21
Over the years, the Nagar Nigam has failed to evolve a systematic and scientific plan to deal with 500 tonnes of domestic garbage generated by the Ghaziabad town daily. The result: Garbage either lies strewn on roads and streets or in small mounds on street corners.

After the Supreme Court directive in 2000, a strategy was chalked out for its retrieval, cartage and disposal, but somehow it was never implemented.

The Nagar Nigam has the capacity to deal with only half of the garbage it generates — the other half remains on the city roads. The domestic garbage generated in Mahan Nagar is estimated at 500 tonnes daily for which no special land-fill has been allocated. As a result, half-a-km stretch on the Meerut Road is home to the city’s garbage which, apart from being a blot on the landscape, also gives rise to obnoxious smells and odours.

Interestingly, no insecticide or even lime power is sprinkled on it. Instead, it is allowed to become a breeding ground for flies, mosquitoes, etc. A solid waste committee, set up under Ashim Bansal, had made certain recommendation in 1999 which were to be implemented within two years. But they are gathering dust right now. In October 2000, the Central government had issued a notification listing in detail the steps for management, collection, storage and disposal of garbage. The dumping ground and its overall management had also been spelled out. But this, too, remains on paper.

A separate system with attendant rules had been specified for toxic garbage being produced by hospitals, nursing homes and pathological laboratories.

The poisonous and harmful substances need to be destroyed in a scientific way in an incinerator. Till date, no incinerator has been arranged for the purpose. Toxic waste, combined with domestic waste, is left in open plinths in the city as if public health, sanitation and cleanliness are nobody’s concern.

The main reason for this pathetic state of affairs is the duality of operations, with usually overlapping jurisdictions between Nagar Nigam and the Ghaziabad Development Authority. Even in GDA colonies, there is no clear cut arrangement for transportation of domestic refuse. No fixed place is assigned for containers or garbage bins which are kept at random.



Abducted 22-yr-old freed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
A 22-year old girl, who was kidnapped by four persons from her house in Ambedkar Nagar, was later rescued by cops from Green Park.
The victim, who was due to marry next month, was kidnapped by one Ranjeet, a resident of JJ Colony, Khanpur who wanted to marry her against her wishes. Today morning the accused and his three associates forcibly entered the girl’s house and kidnapped her in a white Tata Sumo HR-69T-1310. The victim’s neighbour immediately contacted the police control room. The central control room was informed and around 12.15 pm a PCR van spotted the Sumo in Green Park.

While quizzing the occupants, the cops spotted a girl who was crying. When questioned, she told the police that she was being kidnapped.

The four — Ranjeet, Pawan, Sanjay and Parveen — all residents of Khanpur and in their early 20s were taken into custody and, during interrogation, Ranjeet confessed that he wanted to marry the girl. When he heard the news that she was engaged, he decided to kidnap her and marry her against her wishes.



Authorities pass the buck as drain remains choked and life becomes unbearable

Jhajjar, March 21
Life has become “hell” for the residents of Bahadurgarh residing along the 3 km stretch of the drain running through the town. The drain has remained blocked by heaps of garbage, including polythene bags, which have been dumped in it by the resident of the town and the sweepers of the Municipal Council. The drain is also used for discharging sewerage water and effluents from the nearby localities. The people here said the sewerage system in the town is almost non-existent.

Even though the unbearable stench emanating from the drain has made the life of the people living nearby “unbearable”, the dwellers here have “little choice”. The west juwa drain, with a capacity of 1080 cusec, passes through about 7-8 colonies before making its way out near the Parnala village on the National Highway No 10. Unfortunately, the drain has not been disilted for the last 27years. To make matters worse, the Bahadurgarh Municipal Council, the body responsible for sanitation and cleanliness in the town, has constructed shops by encroaching upon the embankment of the drain.

Subsequently, the SDO, Irrigation, lodged a complaint with the Bahadurgarh Municipal Council in this regard and sent a copy to the local SDM and Executive Engineer, Irrigation, Rohtak. The department sources said that that if the encroachment were not removed, it would move the court for necessary action.

According to sources, the Bahadurgarh Municipal Council “encroached upon the land”, near the Railway Road and auctioned it for the construction of shops. Strangely, “no official of the Municipal Council, except a clerk”, was present at the time of the auction, while it should have been held in the presence of senior officers, including an executive officer. Moreover, sources informed that “no paper work on the deal was completed”.

It may be mentioned here that the Municipal Council, in tandem with the local administration and the police, has launched an intensive drive to remove illegal encroachments on government land.

The “double standards” of the administration on the ongoing anti-encroachment drive has also been exposed by the fact that it has constantly ignored this encroachment despite the written objections from the Irritation Department, which is the real owner of the land.

When asked to clarify its view on the need to clear the “choked drain”, the Municipal Council authorities maintained that this responsibility was with the Irrigation Department and the Municipal Council “was not bound to engaged its staff for this work”.

On the other hand the Irrigation Department said it was the responsibility of the Municipal Council since it was their sweepers who dumped garbage in the drain, which resulted in choking and blockage of the drain. The also said that the department did not have “adequate funds for desilting of the drain”. 



Killer road: Residents nonplussed 
Priyanka Gupta

New Delhi, March 21
The Mehrauli-Badarpur road has proved to be a “killer road” for the residents of Saket. R. S Mathur, a 76-year old senior citizen living in Saket, was killed in January while crossing the Mehrauli-Badarpur road. He would have never imagined that his “obsession for regular walk” in the nearby Hauz Rani city forest would lead to his death. A speeding auto rickshaw hit him, causing severe head injury and ultimately his death at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. In another unfortunate accident, 78-year old S.S. Raina, vice-president of the senior citizens welfare association, Saket, was hit by a speeding two wheeler in the same area, and is nursing his fractured ribs.

Residents have seen such accidents on a regular basis on this stretch since Hauz Rani city forest area was developed. The residents have to cross MB road from Saket to enter the Hauz Rani city forest. The stretch does not have any blinker red light or subway to cross the road, which has led to major collisions here.

Even though the senior citizens welfare association, Saket, approached the Lt-Governor, DCP Traffic and Deputy Commissioner, MCD, there was no solution to their problem in sight. The association suggested the construction of a subway from H block/J block side to the city forest across the road. They also suggested that pelican lights be installed and speed breakers and zebra crossing be constructed there.

More than 5000 people, including a large number of senior citizens, ladies and children of the area use the park for their morning and evening walk and exercises. The area MLA, Speaker of Delhi Assembly and other eminent personalities of the area are also regular visitors to the park. A member of the senior citizens welfare association, Mr Ved Kumar, said, “We wrote a letter to the Lt-Governor on August 22, 2002, regarding this ‘killer road’ and other encroachments in the colony. After lot of persuasion, the ACP Traffic, Defence Colony, agreed to install two traffic light signals near N block and a pelican light near H block.”

S.R. Mathur, a resident of the area, said, “if we cannot avail the services of such a beautiful place, then what’s the use of maintaining it?” A.K Singla, ACP Traffic, said, “We give the requirements as per our survey. We have written to the MCD that a subway is needed. However, it is a time consuming project.”



Gupta stresses inter-state coordination 
for better policing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
Inter-state coordination mechanism based on an exchange of information, expertise and knowledge needs to be strengthened for effective policing, said Delhi Police Commissioner R S Gupta.

Mr Gupta expressed apprehension over terrorist strike in the national capital even as he spoke of his force’s ‘success’ in preventing any major subversive action last year.

At least 41 terrorists, including five Pakistanis, were arrested last year and ‘no successful militant activity’ was allowed, Mr Gupta said at an interactive session on ‘Law, Order and Security in Delhi — Perceptions and Reality’, organised by CII here.

“But there is no room for complacency. We have to remain vigilant,” he said.

Mr Gupta said the Bomb Detection Squads and Bomb Disposal Squads were being deployed in all the nine districts of the national capital and Sniffer Dog Squads were being augmented to keep a check on terrorist activities.

Speaking on the modernisation of the force, the police chef said all police stations would be computerised within the stipulated period. It would provide a database of wanted persons and help track them down, Mr Gupta said.

He said 10 police stations would come by the end of this year and three state-of-the-art disaster management centres have been set up in the city.

On the increase in the cases of rape and eve-teasing in Delhi, he said police were taking effective steps, including sensitisation of the force, to tackle these problems.

He said the issue of increase of crime against women was because of the weakening of the social values and family bonds.

An analysis of perpetrators of crime against women indicated that the majority of them were friends and family members.

A demographic profile of eve-teasers apprehended revealed that they were well-settled family men in the age group of 35 to 40, he said, adding that this was a poor reflection of our society and needs serious thinking.

Mr Gupta said special cells and helplines for women in distress have been set up and 6,000 police officers would be trained to sensitise them to the problems of women and enable them to deal more effectively with victims.

Traffic situation needs improvement, he said and added, “We cannot educate public. We can only assist them to follow traffic rules and regulations. People have to take the initiative themselves.”

He said the issue of complaint regarding the non-registration of cases at police stations was being looked into on priority basis.



Protect advocate’s rights, NHRC urges police
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 21
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has intervened on behalf of a complainant, a Supreme Court advocate and Congress leader, Mr Khazan Singh, directing the Haryana Police to take suitable action against the officials of the state government for allegedly violating his human rights.

The NHRC has urged the police that an “Action Taken Report” be sent to it within six weeks from the date of receipt of its communication. A copy of the letter has been addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon and copies of it were sent to the state’s Inspector General of Police (Crime) and the complainant in the case.

The ‘NCR Tribune’ has the NHRC’s letter to the police. The district police chief, Mr Kuldip Singh Sihag, was not available for comments when his office and residence were contacted.

Mr Singh had complained to the Commission that he was kidnapped and kept in illegal detention by the District Revenue Officer, Mr Lalban and the Estate Officer, Huda, Gurgaon, Mr Pradeep Dagar in the intervening night of December 17-18,last year, for several hours.

According to his version, he was detained on the premises of Huda office during. The officers tortured him mentally and threatened to liquidate him if he did not withdraw the case from the Punjab and Haryana High court pertaining to the closure of the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

According to the representation to the Commission the officials misused the government machinery on December 17 to illegally demolish a building of a high school run by Mr Singh and his kin along with the residential structures constructed on 13 acres in Bindapur Jharsa village.

He and his family members had purchased the piece of land. There was litigation on the ownership of the land between Huda and the owners. The demolitions were done in violations of the court’s guidelines. He and his family members were not served notice and the demolitions were done with the help of large contingent of police force, Mr Singh pleaded to the Commission.

He alleged he was kidnapped from the site of the debris of the demolished structures when he had gone there at about 11 pm the same day after getting reports that the government officials were trying to tamper with documents.

He was kidnapped at gun-point by the two senior officers with the help of several persons in civvies.

He pointed out to the Commission that he had been targeted for witch-hunting as he had moved the court to restrain the government from closing the Krishi Vigyan Kendra set up on 46 acres of prime land.

According to him, the government wanted to wind up the Kendra with an intention to start casino. He alleged that the government machinery was used to force him to withdraw the case at the instance of the Deputy Speaker of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, Mr Gopi Chand Gehlot, who is also the local MLA.

However, official circles had rebutted the charges of Mr Singh and justified the demolition of the school building and the residential structures.



‘Sector 14 no better than an unauthorised colony’ 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 21
For the residents of Sector 14, a prime residential area developed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority in Sonepat, there is “very little difference between an unauthorised colony and an authorised one”. The residents feel that just as in any unauthorised colony, damaged roads, blocked sewerage, encroachments, improper drainage, garbage dumps and loitering of stray animals are visible everywhere.

The president of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Mr Sushil Chand and its secretary, Mr K.D. Vashisht, justified their assessment.

They said though Sector 14 was the first sector to be developed by HUDA in the 1970s, it is “no better than an unauthorised colony”, which generally lacks proper maintenance.

Though people have moved into HUDA sectors for better living, the authorities are “unconcerned” so far as the maintenance of the facilities are concerned, the office-bearers alleged.

“Damaged roads with potholes provide space for the accumulation of filthy water, which have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the garbage piled up on the road is always an open invitation to stray animals, including pigs”, they reiterated.

Dowry Case registered: On the direction of the court, a case of dowry harassment has been registered against Balram, his mother Bala and his sister Sushil of village Siwah in Panipat district.

Balram’s wife, Meena, had lodged a complaint of dowry harassment against her in-laws in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Sudheer Jeewan.



Jal Utsav to create awareness about water conservation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
Water is essential and so is its conservation. A lesson that children and adults are learning world over. To commemorate the International Year of Freshwater, the Ministry of Water Resources is organising a series of activities and programmes across the country to create a greater awareness about the water conservation and related issues.

Titled the Jal Utsav, the programme will showcase a series of events. Beginning on March 22, the Utsav will have a water quiz for school children, wetlands and water quality round table conference, theatre presentation, photo and painting exhibitions, essay competitions and a cartoon exhibition.

A seminar on ‘Developments in Hydrological Information System’ will also be organised in association with the Government of Netherlands, who are also providing a grant-in-aid of 14.84 million Euro in the form of technical assistance under the bilateral Indo-Dutch agreement.

The project aims at improving the ‘Hydrological Information System’ in peninsular India so as to arrive at a comprehensive and easily accessible and user friendly database, covering all aspects of hydrological cycle.

The programmes have been planed so as to focus attention on the gravity of water problem through a creative and innovative platform.

Announcing the event, the Minister for Water Resources, Mr Arjun Charan Sethi, called upon the people to pool in their resources and knowledge for judicious use of water and said that using audio visual presentation will help in taking the message of conservation to the rural parts of the country with a greater impact.



Women protest with samples of dirty water

Faridabad, March 21
Scores of women residents of Sanjay Colony of the NIT area staged a demonstration outside the office of the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad (MCF), here today, demanding supply of clean drinking water. The protestors had brought samples of the water being supplied in ward 2 of the colony and showed them to the authorities. The residents of the colony alleged that despite several reminders and intermittent complaints lodged with the officials concerned, the water in the area continued to be contaminated and dirty. Several persons had fallen sick after consuming this water. A woman resident of the colony said that many people were forced to buy water from private suppliers. TNS



Doctors: Angels turned demons


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune,
First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

Whatever may be the field of his or her work, a doctor’s profession is one of the noblest ones. He is an angel of God when he gets permission to deal with His creation. He, therefore, is highly revered. In the Ramayana, we find Ram standing with folded hands before the noble ‘vaid’, a doctor of Ayurveda, for reviving his brother Lakshmna from deep coma. He rushes his dedicated disciple Hanuman at odd hours for ‘Sanjivani’ (life saving herb).

There are examples of Indian doctors working with missionary zeal. One such doctor was Dr Kutnis. He worked with extraordinary spirit of service in China during the Japanese attack on China. He lost his life while retrieving the lives of soldiers as well as civilians in the Chinese makeshift medical camps during the China-Japan war. His life story has been immortalised by V. Shanta Ram, the producer-director, actor and a genius of Indian cinema, in his one of the best art movies: ‘Dr Kutnis Ke Amar Kahani’.

Similarly, the Indian doctors working on the foreign soil, even if they left India for earning money, have made a mark there in their respective branches of medicine and surgery.

In the post-Independent India, though there had been a scarcity of Indian doctors, they were well known for their spirit of service. Dr Sushila Nayyar was one of them. After Partition, when settlement and rehabilitation of a large number of refugees from West Pakistan was being undertaken in Faridabad, Dr Sushila Nayyar, in true Gandhian spirit, identified herself with the uprooted refugees. She was a woman of substance and conscience. In the dark days of emergency, when Indian democracy was in real danger, she did not sit apathetic to the sensibilities of people. She protested and was sent to jail. Subsequently, due to her spirit of service and dedication to the people’s cause, she rose to the position of the Union Health Minister.

But, what has happened in Punjab in Rs 100 crore kidney scam has put to shame the medical profession. In the recent years, there have been rumblings of corrupt practices adopted by the doctors in government hospitals, private nursing homes and private hospitals. In the mad rush after money, most of them have lost the spirit of service.

This does not augur well for the country. What a shame that most of them, in place of being considered as angles to human beings, have turned themselves into butchers! Let them stem this rot themselves.


The old business of looking good

This is with reference to the news item, ‘The business of looking good’ (NCR Tribune March 12), wherein it is stated: “The business of beauty is profitable as also creative. With good looks and groomed persons, the order of the day, teaching beauty has become a serious vocation.”

Without going into the usefulness and utility of the schools and academies, providing training and courses in beauty culture, make-up, cosmetology, I wish to add that the Indian neo-rich middle class is the master imitator of everything foreign, may it be dress, language, beauty culture, customs or fashion.

This middle class has started discarding age-old beauty aids, hairstyles, and dresses. With the result, beauty saloons are mushrooming not only in cities, but also in small towns.

Beauty, good looks and attractive glowing skin are nature’s gift to human beings and there is no replacement for these natural gifts. Interference with these may bring some short-term benefits, but in the long run may prove harmful.

So, let us ponder and do not waste time and money on synthetic anti-ageing, expensive beauty creams, because our age-old beauty-aids for skin, face and hair are far more affective and cheaper. And it does not need any schooling or training for their use and application.

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad

Kudos to the hotel employee

It was gratifying to note that a major tragedy was averted outside the New Delhi Railway Station, where six powerful bombs were found in a plastic bag. Had it not been noticed, many persons would have lost their precious lives.

Of course, Girdi Ram, a hotel employee, who detected these bombs, done a nice job. Similarly, it is the duty of all citizens to be more alert while travelling. Thus, the anti-national elements must be exposed and be given severe punishment.


Remove ‘bhattis’ from Uttam Nagar

Of late, we, the inhabitants of Indra Park, Bindapur, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi, are facing a peculiar problem. By 5 pm, our colony gets covered with black clouds. It is made of the black smoke, which emits from the bhattis of potters.

Although the Delhi Government had driven out the polluting factories out of Delhi, it forgot to shift these potters to outer Delhi. Maybe, the government did this knowingly for getting some political mileage.

It is very difficult as well as dangerous for the residents to breathe here.

Will the authorities concerned take notice of this and save the residents from this unhealthy environment? The Central Pollution Board and the Delhi Government must take some remedial steps to curb this problem.

R.K. MALHOTRA, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi

Celebrate Nav Varsh in April

Last year, when I visited Ajay on the ‘Chaitra Prathma’ and chanted “Nav Varsh Ki Shubh Kamnayein, Bandhu (Happy New Year, friend)”, he was taken aback for a moment.

After a while, he started laughing and said, “What has happened to you? Have you taken opium or bhang that you thought of New Year more than three months after January 1?

“Oh, I really wanted to know whether you really know about the Vikrami Samvat, which is the basis of our calendar in the Swadeshi parlance. But you always shout ‘Be Indian, buy Indian’. It is really a pity that you do not know when the Indian calendar begins. Now I understand what is meant by the saying ‘nearer to the Church, farther from God.’ Call it a church, temple or gurdwara and call Him Parmatma, God, Vahe Guru or anything else.”

“Achcha”, he said, and added, “I know quite well all about the desi month of chaitra and also the prathma being the first day of our calendar. “Then, how come, you looked askance?

“Because the people around celebrate the first of January as the New Year day the world over. I agree with you that while I know it well, there are many of us who do not seem to know about this, which indeed is pathetic. All of us must know our calendar and our duties in keeping with the lifestyle. We must keep basic faith in our ethical and moral values.”

Needless to reaffirm that our civilisation and culture are not only one of the most primitive, they are also rich in content and tenor.

That’s why we feel proud about our tradition and heritage. But it seems that the western culture, being adopted by the modern generation, is fast eating into our vitals and eroding our ethical values. The example of it is not far to seek.

Most of our youngsters and the middle-aged celebrate the New Year Day on January 1. They don’t know when the Vikrami Samvat begins.

True, Indians subscribe to the dictum: ‘Love thyself without hating others’.

The saying goes ‘Do in Rome as Romans do’, which means any one of us going abroad would gladly join the international community and celebrate January 1 as boisterously with our friends over there. But while back home on the Indian soil, we should celebrate the same on April on Samvat.

Therefore, I would like to remind our people to exchange good wishes and greet each other on Vikrami Samvat.

Our desi month Chaitra has both geographical and historical background and significance. Indian calendar’s New Year Day dates back to Vikramiditya, the great emperor who defeated and trounced the foreign marauders from our soil.

Not only that. Lord Ram’s incarnation took place on the very day, which proved a rule for peace and prosperity and came to be known as the period of ‘Ram Rajya’.

Mother Bhagwati manifests her ‘shakti’ (power and potential) beginning on the first day of Chaitra and is symbolic of ‘Veer Bhogya Vasundhara’, meaning ours is the world, which believes that only the ‘survival of the fittest’ could be the only guarantee to save and protect the pious people from the demons and the dare devils.

We should not forget that the great social reformer, Saint Jhoolelal (whose prayers are sung by the Sufi vocalists and are very popular), was also born on this day.

Navratras dedicated to the Divine Mother begin on the prathma divas (first day) of Chaitra.

The period of nine days, ‘Navratras’, is deemed the most auspicious for all good beginnings.

Secondly, the Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji, and Sindhi Saint Jhoolelal Ji were born on the prathma divas as well. Even the Arya Samaj was founded on this day.

Bharat, being a country of farmers, reap their ‘harvest of gold’, which is a source of our survival and prosperity alike also coincides with this very month of Chaitra and on this very day.

All this not only reminds us of the rich past but also focuses on our commitment for the well-being and prosperity of all the peoples, the world over.

It is the Hindu culture and way of life, which affords equal opportunity to all religions of the world to work together for prosperity of the people.

R. L. PATHAK Lodhi Colony, New Delhi



An ‘aged’ dancer cry for justice
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
While others of her age are still enjoying their moments under the arc light, dancer Komala Varadan claims that she has been ‘singled out’ for injustice for the last 25 years.

“Am I the only one who is forty? Why do they refer to me as the aged dancer? Why doesn’t anyone write bald, aged dancer while mentioning about Kelucharan Mahapatra,” questions Ms Varadan who now wants Parliament, Cabinet and the Prime Minister to take note of the injustice that she has been suffering.

The dancer who is also a photographer and a painter, is peeved that the ICCR has ‘clipped her wings’ by empanelling her in “a lecture demonstration category” instead of considering her a “performing artist”.

Ms Varadan took the ICCR to court. However, as the judgement was not in her favour, she now looks for justice from the “Prime Minister, who is himself a poet and appreciates art”.

Furthermore, the dancer is angry with the critics who have described her performances in less than polite words. “They have refereed to my performance as ‘twilight dancing’. They have referred to me as a housewife who took up dancing and used her bureaucrat husband’s clout to get government accommodation, institutional land for the dance school, Kalaikoodam”.

Ms Varadan’s claims that the ICCR committee overlooked the clause related to age of the artist when “old artists” like Sonal Mansingh and Birju Maharaj were sent abroad. “These artists were certainly not between 25 and 45”.

However, her claim that she has been sidelined on the basis of her age is refuted by noted art critic Ms Shanta Serbjeet Singh, “The committee does not only consider age, but we look at the performance capability. There are others who have been put in the lecture demonstration category and are doing well, she is the only one who took the ICCR to court over the issue.”

Ms Singh adds, “Besides if we keep encouraging artists of her age, what will happen to the younger ones. Someone has to take care of them and keep their interests in mind.”



Cash and jewellery looted
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 21
At least two cases of burglary and an incident of chain- snatching have been reported in the town in past 24 hours.
Thieves struck a house in Sector 9 here and took away cash and jewellery worth Rs 25,000, belonging to one Ms Sushila Sharma. A complaint has been launched at police station of Sector-7 in this regard.

In another incident, dacoity took place in a house in Jawahar Colony, where the owner was deprived of cash and valuables worth about Rs 30,000.

In the third case, three youths attempted to snatch the gold chain from a young woman of NH-5 of the NIT here last night. The residents who rushed to the rescue of the victim, were able to nab one of the accused, who was beaten badly. He was admitted to a hospital. A case has been registered.

This is the second case in past 10 days in which a chain-snatcher has been caught and beaten. A youth who had been caught on similar charges in Sector-8 recently died after he got injured while trying to jump from a building, in an attempt to flee. This is third incident of chain-snatching in past 10 days.

DTC cutting into Haryana Roadways revenue

The transport authorities are concerned about the increasing frequency of route visits by the buses of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) in some of the NCR towns of Haryana. A meeting of the roadways officials of both the states has been convened to discuss the issue and decide on the number of route visits from both sides.

A senior official of the Haryana Roadways said that there were complaints that the DTC had been operating more number of buses on routes between Delhi and Faridabad, Delhi and Gurgaon and Delhi and Sonepat. As a result, it is claimed that the revenue recovery of Haryana Roadways buses on both long and short routes between these towns had been affected adversely.

It is reported that at least 100 trips were made by the DTC buses on these routes daily. Due to this, the number of passengers in Haryana Roadways buses had decreased. Faridabad depot has over 300 buses and a large number of these operate on long and short routes daily. About a dozen buses run on the route between Delhi (ISBT) and Faridabad only.

Complaint against in-laws

Sonepat: A young housewife of Ganaur, Mrs Meena, has filed a complaint in the court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Ganaur, Mr Sudhir Jiwan, against her husband Balram, mother-in-law, Mrs Bala, and husband’s sister, Ms Sushil, all residents of Siwah village in Panipat district.

She alleged harassment at the hands of her in-laws for not bringing enough dowry at the time of marriage and not fulfilling the demands of a motorcycle and some cash. According to a report, she stated in her complaint that she was married on August 12, 2001, and since then she had been harassed on some pretext or the other.

Youth attacked

Sri Niwas, a youth, sustained knife injuries when he was assaulted with a knife by two youths at Khewra village, about 13 km from here. According to a report, the injured was taken to a hospital and is stated to be out of danger. The police are investigating the case. However, no arrest has been made in this connection.



NDMC students to get mid-day meal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has decided to provide mid-day meal to the students studying in schools run by the council.
The decision was announced by the Vice Chairperson, Mr Ram Bhaj, who said that over 29,489 children would be covered under the scheme and each child would get cooked meal.The meal incidentally will cost the council Rs 4 per child.

The council has also decided to extend the grant-in-aid to various NGOs, medical, cultural and social institutions and the amount for the same has been increased to Rs 12,85,000.

Mr Ram Bhaj said that the civic body has made arrangements for the removal of waste as well. The process has been fully mechanised and 550 garbage bins, each with a capacity of 1,100 litres, are being procured. A total of Rs 1.9 crore has been sanctioned for the proposal.

To collect maximum arrears by way of recovering electricity and water dues by allowing rebate in late payment surcharge, the council has extended the last date of depositing the dues till the 31st of this month.

Among other initiatives are widening of roads between Parliament Street and All India Radio and naming of link roads in Sarojini Nagar and its adjacent areas. The decisions including one sanctioning a sum of Rs 1.13 crore for purchase of three power transformers for reliable electric supply were taken at the monthly meeting of the council here today.

Property tax date extended: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has extended the last date for depositing property tax arrears to March 31. This decision has been taken on persistent demand from various property owners and to facilitate benefit of Special Incentive Scheme to more property owners, an MCD spokesman said.

The property owners will be given a rebate of 20 per cent of the total payment of their property tax under SIS if it is paid till the last date given by the corporation. For instance, if the outstanding dues are Rs 5 lakh, the owner needs to pay Rs 4 lakh only. The balance of Rs 1 lakh will be allowed as a special rebate, the spokesman said.

Minor fire in Udyog Bhawan: A few computers were destroyed in a fire that broke out on the fifth floor of Udyog Bhawan this evening. An official noticed smoke coming from the UPS in computer room at 6.15 pm and telephoned the Delhi Fire Service (DFS). The DFS rushed seven fire fighters to Udyog Bhawan, which controlled it within a few minutes. A short-circuit could be the cause of the fire, spokesman of the DFS said.

Medical entrance test: All India Pre-Medical/Pre Dental Entrance Examination 2003 by the CBSE would be conducted on April 27, 2003.

This year, 2,42,788 candidates will be appearing in the examination at 452 centres spread across 32 cities in the country, a CBSE release said here today.

To facilitate the candidates, particulars of all eligible candidates with roll number and centre of examination have already been put on CBSE website ‘’ and admit cards have also been dispatched to the candidates separately.



Cloth merchants observe strike
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 21
On the call of the Haryana Vyapar Mandal, hundreds of cloth merchants observed a half-day strike in the city and elsewhere in the district to protest against the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) by the government from April 1.

According to a report, the striking merchants staged a demonstration and raised anti-government slogans. A rally was also held and the speakers urged the government to withdraw its decision without delay.

The leaders announced that they would submit the charters of demands to the area MLA and member of Parliament on March 23 and organise a demonstration and dharna at the district level on March 26.

The traders would also take out a procession and burn the effigy of the VAT on March 29 and observe a two-day complete bandh on March 31 and April 1. They would join the ‘All India Rally’ being held on April 8 in Delhi.

US action condemned: Hundreds of workers affiliated to CITU and the Shaheed Yaadgaar Sangthan took out a procession here last evening to register their protest against the unilateral US action on Iraq.

According to a report, carrying the effigy of the US President and raising anti-US slogans, they marched through the main streets of the city and held a rally outside the railway station.

JE bail rejected: The Additional Sessions Judge, Ms Anita Chaudhary, has rejected the bail application of an accused, Lalit, a junior engineer of the Ganaur Municipal Committee who was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act on February 21. According to another report, the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr R K Bishnoi, has rejected the bail application of Pradeep of Umedgarh village involved in the murder case and another accused Daleep involved in the NDPS Act case.



Holla Mohalla Purab held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
The Holla Mohalla Purab was held at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, near Humayun Tomb in the Capital.
The function organised by the DSGMC began with the recitation of Sukhmani Sahib and Nitnem. Asa Di Vaar with Shabad Kirtan was performed by Principal Baldev Singh.

Thereafter, ragi jathas participated in shabad kirtan and revived the memory of Holla Mohalla Purab, which was started with pomp and show by Guru Gobind Singh, a release said today.

Meanwhile, the president of the Istri Wing of Shiromani Gurudwara Sewadar Committee Bibi Ravinder Kaur appealed to the jathedar of Akal Takht to use his authority for providing the right of sewa and kirtan inside the Golden Temple and thus maintain sex equality in Sikh religion as preached by its founder.

She appealed to the women members of the community to come forward and join hands with their brethren to strengthen the community and the country.

Bibi Ravinder Kaur asked the DSGMC to organise Gurmat training camps for women as mother is the first teacher of the child and if you educate a woman, you educate a family.



Trucker held for rape of minor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
The Vasant Kunj police claimed today to have worked out a rape case with the arrest of a suspect, Billo, a truck driver.
The suspect was arrested from Rewari . He allegedly raped a four-year-old girl at Rajokari village on March 17.

The suspect, who lived in the neighbourhood of the victim, took her to a nearby jungle on the pretext of giving sweets and raped her, police said.

Man shot at: Mangolpuri police have launched a manhunt for three youths who allegedly shot at Subhash alias Captain, injuring him seriously. He was admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where doctors on duty stated that the victim was in serious condition. He received bullet injury on stomach. The suspects were identified as Toni, Rnku and Preet Kanwal, the police said.

Bookie held: The West district police today arrested an alleged bookie, Anil Puri, who was betting yesterday on India-Keya match. A mobile phone and a TV set were recovered from his residence at Sunder Apartments in Paschim Vihar. Raid was also conducted at the residences of his associates Raju and Arun Khera at Fateh Nagar and Kirti Nagar respectively but they had already left their houses, the police said.


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