Sunday, March 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Deadly strain of TB stalks Faridabad
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 22
As another ‘World TB Day’ falls on March 24, the health authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to a fatal form of the disease which claims about 4 lakh lives each year in India. Studies conducted recently at the reputed laboratories in private sector revealed that there had been a high incidence of Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR) of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in the patients at least in Faridabad and neighbouring areas.

Physicians and private practitioners in the field do admit that lack of awareness especially among the patients and their relatives and improper implementation of programmes to check the disease had been mainly responsible for the ‘MDR-TB’.

According to Dr Raman Kakkar, a well-known TB specialist based in Sector-16 here, if a patient discontinues the treatment, TB turns into a dangerous form of disease called ‘MDR-TB’, which means the drugs stop working on the patient.

He said that such an incidence had assumed serious proportions. This view is supported by Dr Vinod Kaul of the microbiology lab and research centre (VSML) here. He told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the number of cases of test reports of MDR-TB referred to his lab had been high. The VSML is a microbiology reference laboratory having its branches in Faridabad and Delhi.

He said of the total 810 patients with suspected TB referred to the centre, more than 265 had been confirmed for TB infection by culture test, which revealed the presence of ‘Mycobacterium Tuberculosis’.

He said the sensitivity test was performed which found higher resistance to Rifampicin and Ethionainide in about 64 per cent patients of ‘MDR-Mycobacterium TB’.

He added that 18 per cent patients had developed resistance to three drugs: Isoniazid, Rifampicin and Streptomycin. According to Dr Kaul, the high incidence of MDR-TB bacteria isolated from the region had been mainly due to the intake of inappropriate combination of anti-tubercular drugs, inadequate dosage of the drugs and their intake for insufficient duration.

Dr Kaul said it appeared that the region was heading for TB epidemic unless the government agencies or NGOs come forward and implement the ‘DOTS’ (directly observed treatment short course) programme more rigidly.

According to Dr Raman Kakar, the majority of persons affected with TB were poor people who had no idea about the fallout of the discontinuation of drugs midway. While India had more TB cases than any other country, each year approximately two million people develop TB which is one-fourth of the total such cases in the world.



All the world and his wife praying for the Cup today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Faith can move mountains. Reason enough for a nation of more than a billion to root for the home team, as it pulls out all the stops to play the crucial match against Australia.

The moment of reckoning has finally arrived. Bees Saal Baad. A game with strong Victorian lineage, cricket has entrenched itself so deeply, taking the plebeians closer to the elite—for once at least. As Saurav Ganguly and his men in blue walk out to the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday to take on Ricky Ponting’s eleven, a billion Indian prayers are expected to reverberate in rhythmic tandem with the sixers of Sachin Tendulkar.

All the world and his wife seem to be eating, drinking and sleeping cricket. The excitement on the eve of the D-day is palpable in the roadside, paan shops, city buses (where the good old transistor is making a comeback), upmarket malls, eating joints, plush hotels, not to speak of the political corridors of high power.

Buried beneath this thrilling crescendo are also the shady deals of betting. The satta market is abuzz with the total stakes estimated to go up to several thousand crore of rupees on Sunday.

The common fan, however, is far removed from such dark deals. Hoping, praying and doing just about everything to ensure the team’s victory.

Special prayers, yagnas and mahayagnas are being held to get the Cup back to India – 20 years after Kapil’s Devils did it for the first time in 1983. “Having reached thus far, we must make sure that we leave no stone unturned, therefore the special prayers,” pointed out Vikas Kumar, a diehard cricket junkie.

And for once, the government agencies are also careful not to play spoilsport. Apart from expressing their solidarity with the men in blue, the babus have rescheduled power cuts that have of late become a regular feature across the city to ensure an uninterrupted power supply.

“We normally have power cuts for two hours in the afternoon and later again at night. But for the last two days, things have been hunky-dory. This may be an indication that we will watch the final without the ubiquitous power snaps,” said a resident of Ghaziabad. Analysts and game watchers are not limited to studios alone, opinions range from India’s striking streak, batting order, field placement to Mandira’s ‘couture du jour’.

For restaurants and hotels, the situation presents a unique scenario. Business in most of them is driven by weekend patrons. And the World Cup final being held on Sunday, restaurateurs are hoping the people will come out from the cosy comforts of their home and watch the match in the big flat screens in the taverns and cafes.

At Chandni Chowk, a big screen was installed on March 20 for the match between India and Kenya. A number of people, including Hindus and Muslims, watched the Indian victory that day. Tomorrow again, thousands of cricket buffs are expected to watch the final on mega screen.

War in Iraq may have hogged the limelight, but only temporarily. “This is far more momentous than any war. There are no questions of a choice, it is always cricket first,” gushed Suresh Kumar a banker when questioned whether the war was likely to dilute the impact.

One thing, however, appears certain. Fireshows on Sunday evening will outperform the US firepower in Bagdhad. And the big question would be whether Saurav and his tigers pull it off against the Kangaroos. Till then, the nervous wait continues.



Khurana bats for traders against VAT
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Delhi Pradesh BJP president Madan Lal Khurana today said the Government of NCT of Delhi should consult trade and industry before formulating a suitable legislation for introducing Value Added Tax (VAT) in the Capital.

“It would be suicidal otherwise,” Mr Khurana told a news conference. “As long as trade representatives are not satisfied, VAT should not be enforced,” he said in response to queries on the party’s stand on the introduction of the new tax regime.

BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman V.K. Malhotra and Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly Jagdish Mukhi also addressed the news conference. They said the Delhi Pradesh BJP would vehemently oppose the introduction of VAT in its present form.

They said VAT would adversely affect the Budget and development of NCT of Delhi as sales tax was the main source of income. “The government should discuss with the representatives of commerce to enlist their suggestions and incorporate the suggestions of the trade representatives before finalising the legislation,” they said.

Mr Jagdish Mukhi demanded that the government convene immediately the empower committee of state governments in which it should put forward its view to find a proper solution to the problem. “Otherwise, it would ruin the trade and industry,” he said.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has already called on Union Finance Minister Jaswant Singh to discuss about the introduction of VAT in NCT of Delhi. 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. I also told Mr Singh of the essentially dichotomous stand being adopted by the Delhi BJP unit as far as VAT is concerned.”

While the BJP-led central government is advocating the implementation of VAT, the Delhi unit of the BJP is opposing the same.



Chautala effigy burnt 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 22
While the bulldozers of the district administration razed hundreds of extensions and constructions done by the residents in Sector-3 here, the activists and supporters of the BJP took out a procession and burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. They were protesting against the alleged beating of the BJP leaders here on March 15 and the demolition drive.

The BJP MLA from Mewla Maharajpur, Mr Krishan Pal Gurjar, former MLA Anand Sharma, Sita Ram Singla, district BJP chief Jagdish Goyal and Deputy Mayor were among those present in the rally. The party leaders alleged that the Chautala government was bent upon destroying Faridabad in the name of anti-encroachment drive.

They said crores of rupees invested by the residents in their houses had gone waste. They charged that the encroachments of only poor persons were removed and asked people to get united on the issue and build up pressure against the campaign.



GDA flats go a-begging in Kaushambi, Vaishali
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, March 22
Wrong policies have landed the Ghaziabad Development Authority in the soup. The development authority is unable to market its own flats constructed in Kaushambi and Vaishali residential colonies at a cost of crores of rupees.

Although the price of these flats has been reduced by the GDA officials by 30 to 50 per cent, the authority has failed to attract suitable buyers.

About 450 flats in Vaishali and Kaushambi, constructed at a cost of crores of rupees, have not been sold even years after their construction. The GDA had set up Kaushambi, Vaishali and Indirapuram residential colonies in 1988. The GDA authorities had attracted the buyers by promising Delhi-type residential flats and complexes.

The proximity of these complexes to Delhi had helped the GDA with attractive success and fat profit from these schemes initially.

The residential flats were literally sold out like hot cakes then.

But more than 190 flats in various towers of Kuashami and 266 flats in different apartments of Vaishali have failed to attract any takers even 14 years after their construction.

According to insiders, the GDA officials have left no stone unturned in their efforts to palm off these residential units as per the instructions of GDA Vice-Chairman Prashant Trivedi. But sadly, no buyers are queuing up at the GDA offices for the flats. Even an attractive reduction between 30 and 50 per cent in their price has also failed to create a demand for these units.

Lakhs of rupees, spent on publicity and advertisement hype, seem to have gone down the drain.



Water shortage may be a thing of past 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 22
The public health authorities have decided to close its more than one thousand common water stand posts in the town to overcome the problem of water shortage and supplement potable water supplies to the consumers.

According to the Superintendent Engineer (SE) of the Public Health Department at Sonepat, Mr S.K.Kaushal, the water supply through these stand posts was being misused.

“As the water taps of most of the stand posts are found missing, the precious water keeps flowing throughout the supply hours. Not only it is a wastage, but it also results in accumulating in low-lying grounds or spreading on the roads and streets,” he said.

Mr Kaushal disclosed that there were around 25,000 water connections in the town and almost every house within authorised colonies had been covered. But, according to a survey report, there were nearly 2,000 unauthorised connections also and “these are either to be regularised or removed”, he said, adding that the connections could be regularised by paying Rs 2,000 to the department.

After contemplating such actions in the authorised colonies, he said, the department is contemplating to launch similar actions in unauthorised colonies also.

The department had also planned to take action against those who had installed electric motors on direct main water pipelines, he added.



Mahapanchayat gives ultimatum to political 
parties on SYL 
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 22
After the political parties, it is now the turn of the various social organisations to come out in support of the early completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project.

The ‘Sarvkhap Deshori Mahapanchayat’, an umbrella body of the ‘khaps’ in the country, has served an ultimatum to the ruling INLD in Haryana and the Congress Party in Punjab to get the project completed by December 31, failing which it would launch an agitation. The ‘Sarvakhap Deshori Mahapanchayat’ issued the ultimatum in a meeting of its representatives in village Wazirabad, near here. Although the organisers of the meeting claim that it is an All-India body, the ‘Khaps’ were mainly from Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

The resolution was moved by ‘Haryana Jal Sena’(a social organisation constituted several years back to agitate on the water issue in Haryana). The water from Ravi-Beas, which is to be brought to Southern Haryana through the SYL canal project, is meant for Gurgaon, Rewari, Mahendergarh, Faridabad, Rohtak, Jhajjhar, Bhiwani and Sonepat districts.

The speakers alleged that all the political parties in Haryana have been found wanting on this issue. The political parties in Punjab have been opposing the completion of the SYL canal to bring water to Haryana.

They also lamented that the directive of the Supreme Court to the Punjab Government to get the construction completed by January 15 was not complied with.

The ‘sarvakhap’ postponed its deliberations on the issue of setting up of Shri Krishna-Balram University in Wazirabad. The village panchyat of Wazirabad has already made its intention known that it would donate 100 acres of land for setting up the proposed university. 



307 farmers receive credit cards worth Rs 1.99 crore 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 22
The Deputy Commissioner of Sonepat, Mr Balwan Singh, gave away kisan credit cards worth Rs 1.99 crore to 307 farmers of this district, at a function organised on the premises of the Panchayat Bhavan by the Punjab National Bank here today.

According to a report, Mr H K Bansal, senior Regional General Manager of the bank, presided over the function. Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Commissioner lauded the role of the Punjab National Bank in financing the efforts of the farmers to increase the farm output.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the farmers to take advantage of the scheme and repay the instalments of the loan within the stipulated period. The Deputy Commissioner also assured the bank authorities that the district administration would provide all assistance in making the scheme a success.

Mr Bansal also highlighted the details of the various schemes and claimed that almost all the eligible farmers in this district have been financed under the kisan credit scheme. The scheme, he said, was aimed at providing financial assistance to the farmers for boosting the farm output.

Mr S.L.Arora, lead District Manager of the Punjab National Bank, said that the farmers taking advances upto Rs one lakh are exempted from stamp duty charges and are being charged low interest rate, which was even below the PDR of banks. He also said that the loans are being given in according with the land holdings of the farmers. He disclosed that the rates of interest would be lowered after the receipt of the instructions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He said that the central government has advised the banks to reduce the rates of interest on loans given to the small-scale industries and agriculture sectors.

Mr Arora also disclosed that 63,579 farmers had been provided a loan of Rs 183.24 crore under the scheme. He said the commercial banks had granted loans amounting to Rs 32.88 crores to 6,817 farmers and the remaining amount of the loans had been provided by the branches of the cooperative banks.

He said that by granting loans amounting to Rs 19.22 crore to 3,364 farmers, the PNB had created “a record in this district”. Mr Arora appealed to the farmers to approach the bank authorities for getting the kisan credit cards in future.



One ‘model village’ in each block of Haryana
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 22
The Haryana Government has decided to develop one village in each block of the state as ‘model village’ at par with the cities and towns. According to official sources, the villages of Murthal, Khewra, Sandal Kalan, Purkhas, Khanda, Kathura and Baroda have been selected for this purpose in Sonepat, Ganaur,
Rai, Kharkhauda, Gohana, Mundlana and Kathura blocks of the district. The layout plans of these villages have already been sent to the state government for its approval. The plans have been prepared by the Country and Town Planning Department.

Official sources revealed that these villages would be developed within 18 months. All basic and modern facilities like roads, sewerage, electricity, drinking water, pucca streets etc. would be provided in the villages. Residential sectors will be constructed on the gram panchayat land.

Small-scale industries would be set up in the villages and all industrial infrastructure would be made available in the villages. The aim of the scheme of the state government is to convert the villages into model villages having all types of basic and modern facilities, which are available in the residential sectors of cities and towns.



‘Once I was blind, but now I see...’

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness,’’ so goes a saying. Here is a story about one, destined to struggle with his blindness all his life, but able to bring hope for the hopeless like himself.

Selvaraj became blind at the age of two. His mother, say villagers, had mixed salt with mother’s milk and put the mix into his eyes for cure, for curing an eye ailment. He turned totally blind. The family, which was well of, began losing its cattle wealth and land disputes deprived it of some property as well. Astrologers had opined that his was an inauspicious birth.

He was abandoned at a temple for two years; he was given shelter subsequently by a teacher who had no issues. Another sympathetic soul ensured his admission to a blind school where he studied up to eighth class.

In the past 45 years, Selvaraj, who hails from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, has experienced life’s pains and struggles. He runs a shelter for around 20 blind women in the Wayanad district of Kerala. He was in Delhi recently.

He has a diploma in agriculture and rural works from the Tata Agriculture and Rural Training Centre for the Eligible Blind in Gujarat, besides a postgraduate degree in English from Anna University obtained through distant education.

But life had not been easy for him. In Chennai, he had eked out a living selling lottery tickets for a while but had to stop it as very often policemen and others used to rob him of the sale proceeds and tickets. While engaged in this trade he had joined a vocational training institute to learn caning of chairs. That did not call for much investment and remained his source of income for a number of years.

Persuaded by a friend that his blindness was evidence that there was no God, he became an atheist and joined the Marxist party. In his enthusiasm to spread the atheistic philosophy, he used to call well-known atheists like Dr Kovoor to address party workers camps.

Even while being a prominent Marxist, he borrowed a Braille Bible from his friend, Chacko, studying for his BA degree. Selvaraj wanted to prove the hollowness of the Bible and the greatness of atheism. His arguments should rest on surer grounds.

As he was reading with such a frame of mind, a verse from the Gospel of Mark riveted his attention: “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body. What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’.’’(Mark 7: 18—23)

These words of Jesus on indwelling sin set him thinking. He had been guilty of most of the sins listed and they had their origin, not on any outside source but within himself. The stark reality of corruption pierced through his defenses and his shield of atheism lay shattered to pieces. He saw his own ugliness as if the scales had fallen from his eyes for the first time. The light of truth dispelled the darkness of unbelief and Godlessness. It was a moment of truth. As he confronted the truth, the scoffing atheist nearly turned pale seeing his own evil. How could he, blind from childhood, stoop to such an evil life? He was overcome by so much remorse over his sins that he decided that he was not worthy of life. For quite some time his thoughts centred on ending his life. His own three brothers, local bad characters, had died gruesome unnatural deaths.

After an interval, he again turned to the Bible and was convinced it was not right to take his own life. The value of a single soul far outweighed the worth of the whole world. And it was to redeem souls like his that Christ paid the ransom by dying on the cross. In other words, his death on the Cross constituted the penalty already paid for Selvaraj’s sins. Further reading encouraged him to put his wicked past behind and commit his ways to the Lord. Once he invited Christ into his life, a new Spirit will guide him.

The blind man, living in darkness, began to see. And more clearly through the light of the word of God. (Bible) His evil habits like smoking and drinking, and his fascination for Marxist ideals fell by the way like dead leaves from a plant. He became a renewed person with new goals and attitudes.

In the new light, he decided that he can no longer live for himself. He keeps the greatest commandment, which is to love God with all his strength. And the second is to love his neighbour. He wanted now to focus on his neighbour.

“Who is my neighbour?’’ he asked himself. He recalled that his own life, following his blindness was a story of rejection and tragedies. He had learnt too that every blind person usually go through such pain and suffering. Now it would be his mission to treat every blind person as his ‘neighbour’. He will spend the rest of his life serving them. He quit his job with the cordite factory, sold his two acres of land and acquired a small plot on the roadside in Nambikolly in Wayanad district. This happened in 1994. Henceforth, it would be a shelter for blind women. Plans were drawn up for their training and rehabilitation. He has bigger proposals to extend help to blind men; to start a Braille press and add other facilities.

Today he is thankful to God for making him blind. Had he not been blind, he would have been like his brothers, taking on the character of a ruffian, with anti-social attitudes. The Lord has opened his “inner eyes” through all the suffering. In his life, Christ’s promise “to make darkness, light before the blind” and “to lead them by paths that they have not known’’ have been fulfilled.

M P K Kutty



State-of-the-art cable to connect telephone exchanges
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 22
All the 62 telephone exchanges in the Rewari telecom district will be connected with the optical fibre cable system by the end of March 2003. The optical fibre cable system is the most reliable transmission media in the country today.

This information was provided by Mr B. L. Varshney, General Manager of the Rewari Telecom District at the inaugural function of the newly installed 2000 lines telephone exchange of Bawal, which was commissioned by Dr Sudha Yadav, Member of Parliament, on Friday (March 21). Mr Varshney further said that a new Trunk Automatic Exchange (TAX) with a capacity of 5,000 lines was recently commissioned at Rewari, which would ensure the much needed augmentation of circuits for level “95” and STD calls. Mr Varshney added that new 2,000 lines RSU would also be commissioned in Sector 3 here.

Making a specific mention of the BSNLs much awaited cellular mobile services, he said that it had already been commissioned in Rewari, Narnaul, Mahendergarh and Dharuhera, while additional sites were under installation along highways to make the service seamless.

He also said that there was a plan to deploy about 10,000 WLL (Wireless in Local Loop) lines in the telecom district in the coming financial year. The WLL technology would facilitate rapid provisioning of the telephone connections, particularly in scattered rural areas. Besides, Internet and host of other services would also be available through WLL technology, he said.

Close on the heels of commissioning the new telephone exchange and dedicating it to the people of Bawal, Dr Yadav also released the new Telephone Directory 2002–2003 of the telecom district. In her inaugural address she emphasised the need for a large-scale provision of cellular mobile services in view of the “unsatisfactory” results of the WLL services in South Haryana.

Simultaneously, she wanted expeditious removal of certain deficiencies, which were proving detrimental to the interests of the cell-phone users of BSNL in South Haryana. Besides, she also pleaded for organising frequent “Open Durbars” to ensure speedy redressal of grievances of the telephone subscribers in South Haryana, as well as regular convening of the meetings of the Telephone Advisory Committee (TAC ).

Earlier, highlighting the achievements of the BSNL in Haryana, Mr A. K. Nagpal, Chief General Manager of Haryana Telecom Circle, said total computerisation of all commercial works including billing had been accomplished in all the nine Secondary Switching Areas (SSAs) of the state. Besides, there was a plan to provide state-of-the-art network at all the district headquarters in the state.



Marine trainee goes missing
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 22
The family members of Ashu Malik, a resident of Rewari, who had joined in October 2002 as a trainee on the ship “M. V. Prince G” at Dubai, UAE, are still unclear about his where about. Ashu Malik was a student of Indian Marine Institute, Noida, and had joined the ship for training through Prakash Naik, owner of the contract company, Aarti Ship Management, Mumbai.

Mr Satpal Bhatt, a resident of Tagore Nagar, Jalandhar city (Punjab), had been the middleman and had charged Rs 1.75 lakh from the Maliks for this purpose. Mrs Kanta Malik, wife of Mr O. P. Malik, resident of Gurgaon, has been running from pillar to post to know the where about of her son. It is reported that Ashu Malik telephonically informed his parents on November 2, 2002 that he wanted to change his ship immediately since the staff on his ship were involved in smuggling.

Consequently, his wish was conveyed to Mr Satpal Bhatt, who reportedly gave an assurance that it would be done within two months. Meanwhile, his parents received another phone call from Ashu Malik on November 5, 2002, which unfortunately happened to be their last conversation.

Thereafter, they made concerted efforts to secure precise information of the whereabouts of their son from Mr Satpal Bhatt as well as Mr Prakash Naik. However, they failed to get any concrete news in this regard. Finally, when their patience was exhausted and when they sternly insisted on getting precise information in this regard, they were telephonically informed from Dubai on December 31, 2002 that the ship sank during a cyclone (on December23, 2002) and their son could not be traced till date.

Later, on their insistence they also received the statement of fact, the scrutiny of which cast grave aspersions on the genuineness of the information. Subsequently, Mrs Kanta Malik has made several representations to the Union External Affairs Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, and the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr I.D.Swami, urging them to take appropriate action to ensure the safe return of her son.

Recently, she also made a written request to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, urging him to order a thorough search for her son, who, she apprehended, had been kidnapped by the ship-staff allegedly involved in smuggling.



Role of media, public in disaster 
management stressed
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 22
The one-day work shop on disaster management organised here by the district authorities under the supervision of the office of the Commissioner, Gurgaon
Division, Mr L. M. S. Salins, emphasised the need of public participation to reduce the effects of any possible tragedy.

Speaking on the occasion, former Chief Secretary of Haryana L. C. Gupta, who was the chief guest, urged upon the government side to recognise the growing influence of the media and harness its reach in the interest of society at the time of any disaster. During a crisis, there is panic and confusion and the public at large should be consciously reached by the authorities through the media to keep up the general morale.

Mr Gupta, who was associated with the Indian Institute of Public Administration, Delhi, and who is considered to have expertise on the subject, referred to the earthquakes in Latur and Bhuj (Gujrat) and tried to interpolate the lessons learnt from them in the “disaster management plan” in the wake of possible occurrence of a disaster in Haryana.

He said that, among other measures, a good communication system should be in place at the time of crisis. The general experience was that the communication system goes bust during times of natural or man-made disasters like earthquakes, floods and war. He advised the authorities to contact various funding agencies to put in place all the preparatory measures to meet any aspects related to natural disasters.

The office of the Commissioner, Gurgaon Division, has worked out a disaster management plan for all the four districts falling under its jurisdiction. As per the plan, the command and control measures following a crisis will be headed by the office of the Deputy Commissioner of the district concerned. At the sub-divisional level, the relief and rescue operations will be headed by the SDM. The Commissionerate has been periodically conducting mass awareness programmes on the subject. The mass awareness campaigns in the districts are headed by the District Revenue Officers.

Today’s workshop was organised for the senior officers of the areas. The Haryana Institute of Public Administration was also represented on the occasion.

Some of the speakers also noted that the high-rise buildings, especially in Gurgaon city, were not conforming to the parameters to cushion them against seismic disturbances. They further pointed out that the public did not seem to be conscious about the vulnerability during a possible earthquake to life and property to those living in such skyscrapers and around them. 



Sanjay Atri in MDU Executive Council
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 22
Dr Sanjay Atri, lecturer of G. B. Ayurvedic College, Brahmanwas, was elected to the Executive Council of Maharshi Dayanand University from amongst the members of the University Court. He polled 30 votes out of a total 64 votes. His term expires on February 14, 2004.

His nearest rivals, Ms Neelam Sheoran, lecturer of Government College for Women, Rohtak, and Dr Roshan Lal, lecturer of Government College, Gurgaon, polled 17 votes each.

The University Court, which met here yesterday under the chairmanship of the Governor and Chancellor of the university, Babu Parmanand, approved the annual audit report for the year 2001-2002 and also the budget estimates for the year 2003-2004.

Vice-Chancellor Maj Gen (Retd) B. S. Suhag, Pro-Vice-Chancellor J. K. Sharma and Registrar Dr A. K. Rajan were among those who attended the court meeting.

Noida artist donates money to famine-hit Rajasthanis

Noida: A noted Noida artist, S. S. Kukkal, who had displayed his paintings in Rajasthan Art Exhibition recently, had reportedly been a runaway success. He announced that he would donate the amount fetched by his two paintings for the welfare of the famine-stricken people of Rajasthan.

Kukkal said that about a hundred artists had participated in the exhibition organised by Madhukar Gupta, Divisional Commissioner, Bikaner, under the aegis of the Rajasthan Creative Artists and All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society. Each artist had displayed two paintings. Mr Kukkal said the Noida administration should also organise similar arts and crafts exhibitions in Noida to promote appreciation of art among people here.

Married woman elopes

Jhajjar: A married woman eloped with a youth in Gubhana village of the district, the police said here today. According to information, Ramkumar of Gubhana village lodged a complaint with the police that he married off his 19-year-old daughter in Dubaldhan village recently. However, during a visit to her parents, she went out of the house late in the evening on the pretext of answering the nature’s call on March 13.

The complainant said that he spotted Jagdeep, brother of his cousin’s wife, who had been staying in the village for about one year, talking to her daughter on a street near their house. On seeing him, Jagdeep went away. However, when her daughter did not return for a long time, he got suspicious and started a hunt but in vain. He complained that Jagdeep had eloped with her daughter. The police have registered a case under Sections 363 a 366 of the IPC in this connection and started investigations.

Looted car recovered

The district police have recovered an Indica car, which was looted by three desperadoes at pistol-point from Rajesh of Silothi village. According to information, Rajesh was going to his house in Silothi village from Bahadurgarh when three motorcycle-borne youths intercepted him and snatched the car (DL4C644) at pistol-point and drove away. The CIA staff of the police succeeded in recovering the car and arresting the accused.



Gandhian Brij Mohan Sharma dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Noted Gandhian and freedom fighter Brij Mohan Sharma, who served as president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, died here this morning after a prolonged illness.

He was 76. He is survived by two sons and a daughter. An active Congress worker in the pre and post-Independent India, Brij Mohan Sharma was deeply influenced both by the Gandhian ideology and the Nehruvian vision of progress and modernity.

He was also president of the All India Youth Congress, chairperson of the MCD Standing Committee and chairman of Super Bazar during his six decade-old active political and social life.

A condolence meeting will be held on Monday at his ‘Mahavir Vatika’ residence in Daryaganj today.

Stone of subway on Mathura Road laid: Chief Minister of the NCT of Delhi Sheila Dikshit today laid the foundation stone of a pedestrian subway on Mathura Road near Arab Ki Sarai in Nazamuddin area. The subway will be constructed by the MCD at a cost of Rs 80 lakh within a record period of one year. It will be 30 metre long and six metre wide and will have 11 shops. With the construction of the subway, pedestrians will be able to save time and be safe in crossing the road that usually has heavy traffic.

Besides, most of the people coming from the railway station to Basti Nizamuddin will also be benefited. Thousands of people who visit Nizamuddin Dargah every year also have to cross the busy Mathura Road. 



Woman assaulted by husband with sharp weapon
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 22
A young housewife, Mrs Rajwanti (26), was allegedly beaten up and assaulted with a sharp-edged weapon by her husband Surinder in their house at Jawahar Nagar area here last evening. According to a report, the man managed to escape immediately after the incident. The injured woman was rushed to the local civil hospital from where she was referred to a trauma centre in Delhi for further treatment.

A family quarrel is stated to be the reason behind the attack. The police are still investigating into the case.

Falls from train: A youth, Ram Bhagat of Ahulana village, was seriously injured when he fell down from a moving train at the Ganaur railway station, 16 km from here, last evening. According to a report, the injured youth, who fell down from the foot-board of a coach, was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger.

poor phone service: The members of the action committee sat on a day’s dharna in front of the telephone exchange at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, today in protest against the poor telephone service for the last few months. According to a report, the telephone subscribers have threatened to launch an agitation if the authorities failed to ensure improved services within three days.

Kanya Mahavidyalaya: Mr Padam Singh Dahiya, an INLD MLA, gave away the prizes to the girl students of Kanya Mahavidyalaya at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here, yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, he lauded the achievements of the college in various fields, particularly in education and sports, and assured that he would provide all-out assistance to the college management for introducing more courses.

Mr Dalip Singh Dahiya, chairman of the Sonepat Market Committee, who presided over the function, also promised to render help for the expansion of educational facilities in the college.

Earlier, Dr Usha Kapooria, principal of the college, read out the annual report and highlighted the achievements of the college in academics and sports.

Cycle rally against war: A large number of workers of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Disha Chhatra Sangathan took part in a cycle rally organised here today in protest against the US-led attack on Iraq.

Carrying placards and raising anti-US and anti-British slogans, they went around the main bazars of the city. The leaders of both the organisations strongly condemned the attack and demanded immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and settling of the issue amicably.

Meanwhile, Muslims in the city and elsewhere offered peace prayers in the mosques and Idgah and resolved to stand by the Iraqi people in their hour of crisis. Workers of various trade unions also took out a procession here today and burnt the effigy of US President George W. Bush at the railway station.



Gang involved in petrol pump robberies busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Five members of the Sanjiv alias Ganja gang of inter-state robbers, who had committed three sensational petrol pump robberies earlier, were apprehended by the North-West district police.

The police today claimed to have solved more than 22 cases of robbery, burglary and motor vehicle theft with their arrest.

Three country-made pistols, eight live cartridges, one button-actuated knife and a rod were seized from them.

The police received a secret information that the gang was planning to commit a robbery in petrol pumps located in isolated areas in Mangolpuri.

The cops spotted five persons in a white Maruti car (DL-2CJ-8911) on road No 316, Mangolpuri Industrial Area. When the police tried to stop the car, the driver started accelerating the vehicle.

The occupants were rounded up later. The car was found to be stolen from the Geeta Colony area.

The five occupants of the car were identified as Sanjiv alias Ganja (27), Naushad (36), Suraj alias Rajbir (30), Sagar alias Bunty (24), all residents of Ghaziabad, and Shyam Sunder alias Pappan (32), resident of Shahdara.

The gang mostly targeted petrol pumps in the nights as they found them soft targets with lots of money and less number of security persons. In petrol pumps, they used to fill petrol first and would later threaten the employees with pistols and knives to part with the money.

They also targeted showrooms of consumer durables and robbed truckloads of television sets, VCDs and washing machines, Toyota Qualis jeeps and Maruti cars, which they used for committing the crimes.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-West) Sanjay Singh said that the gang was so desperate that they committed a large number of crimes within a span of four months.

“We have also identified the receivers of the stolen property and efforts are being made to trace them,” he said.

During interrogation, the suspects confessed to have committed three petrol pump robberies earlier in various places in Delhi.

The suspects also told the police about their involvement in a host of other crimes like robbery, burglary of electrical goods shops and motor vehicle thefts. 



Manpower racket smashed, 1 held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
The Delhi Police Crime Branch today claimed to have busted a gang of manpower agents who used to cheat job aspirants on the pretext of getting them jobs.
One person, Anil Kumar (23) from Bulandshahr, was arrested near Badarpur and a large number of demand drafts, each of Rs 1,600 from candidates, a mobile phone, a copy of an advertisement in ‘Sandesh’ and an HDFC ATM card were recovered from the hideout.

The accused with the help of his associates gave an advertisement in Gujarati newspaper ‘Sandesh’ that Bajaj Technology needed field officers, supervisors, clerks, drivers, guards and storekeepers and asked the candidates to apply with their bio-data.

A complaint was received by the Crime Branch in this regard. When the sleuths raided the premises as per the address given in the advertisement at MTL enterprises, G-93 A, Prahlad Pur, it was found to be fake. The police later found that the accused persons in connivance with the local postman were getting the letters and drafts near an address in Badarpur. A trap was laid and Anil was apprehended. His associate Krishan pal, a resident of Inderpuri, has absconded and efforts are being made to trace him.



Drunk neta bashed up for un-Holi advances
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 22
Who says our ‘netas’ do not have a romantic heart? One such leader had to pay a heavy price for showing his romantic inclination too much to a young woman of Khora colony on the pretext of celebrating Holi on March 19.

The neta, a contractor by profession and said to be the president of the Farmers Cell of the BJP, had taken one peg too many to celebrate the festival of colours. And under the influence of liquor, he is said to have grabbed a young woman who raised an alarm. The people immediately surrounded the “netaji” and gave him a sound beating.

People also decided to blacken his face and parade him atop a donkey. Luckily for him the Indirapuram police, who descended on the scene, played spoilsport to the crowd by whisking him away. It is learnt that the police had a tough time snatching the so-called neta from the clutches of the angry crowd. He was detained in the police station for the night and allowed to go home only next morning.

He was also lucky since the father of the young woman had not lodged any formal complaint, to protect the honour and reputation of his daughter. Otherwise, the playboy neta would have faced some unpleasant consequences of his chivalry.


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