Thursday, March 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


VAT: A mire of confusion
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 26
Confusion prevails among traders and the manufacturing community here over the fallout of Value Added Tax (VAT) when implemented from April 1. Besides holding meetings with sales tax authorities, the business community is trying hard to get a clear idea of the scenario after the new tax regime comes into force.

Although a section of the trading and business community has been of the opinion that VAT could be detrimental to its interest and has started opposing its implementation in the present form, many others seem to have taken a wait and watch policy.

The Manufacturers Association Faridabad (MAF), a prominent body of industrial units here, recently held a detailed discussion with the sales tax officials on the issue. The Deputy Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) was among those who had a panel discussion with the manufacturers. General secretary of the MAF Navdeep Chawla said that the confusion on several issues has been cleared in the meeting. The interaction was very fruitful as the manufacturers and traders had several doubts in their mind and these required a clear-cut solution, he said.

He said no policy or plan could be launched or implemented in an effective manner unless there is a clear picture and all the confusion has been removed prior to it. He said his organisation would welcome some more sessions on the topic.

The excise and taxation authorities of Haryana had organised a lecture-cum-seminar on the topic at the Municipal Auditorium here recently but many people, especially from the business community, had no information about it.

Moreover, observers feel that such meetings in which the speakers give only lectures and there is no interaction with participants is hardly useful. They believe that the authorities should entertain queries and try to satisfy them.

As the Haryana Government has announced to come out with a website on the subject, it is also felt that a 24-hour helpline both on the Internet and on telephone must be set up where people could put their queries and get replies instantly.

A section of the business community also feels that the awareness campaign on VAT began rather late. A local entrepreneur, Mr Ramneek Prabhakar, said that he still has no clear idea on the issue and has several doubts. He regretted that the replies of the authorities concerned have been confusing. Giving an example, Mr Prabhakar said he had been told that there was no provision of penalty if VAT was not paid on time. “How could it be possible in a direct tax regime?” he asked. He added that the rate of VAT or tax on several commodities had not been clear so far. 



Bad for VAT, good for service: Industry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
Captains of industry today gave a guarded opinion on the measures announced in the Delhi Budget with the glaring absence of any specific announcements on the proposed comprehensive VAT regime, raising fears of stifling economic growth in the Capital.

The chairman of the Delhi State Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr Vikram Bakshi, said that an announcement indicating the implementation of VAT would have facilitated the development of a common market and addressed the industry’s concerns vis-a-vis the cascading effect of taxes and levies.

The president of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), Mr P. K. Jain, echoed similar views and said that “lack of any clear-cut announcement on the road map for implementation of VAT in Delhi is unfortunate”. Concerns have also been voiced on the decision of the government to introduce ad valorem basis of road tax calculation for private non-commercial vehicles. Mr Bakshi said that it could lead to an escalation of prices of cars in the Capital. The transport department, however, stands to gain from this move and according to the CII chairman, it should help the government in reducing fiscal deficit.

Mr Jain endorsed these views and said that although the Delhi Government has invited public-private partnership in waste management, the industry’s demand for a budgetary support by way of incentives for technology collaboration, subsidy schemes for composting, transporting and energy recovery and tax rebates has not been taken care of. “The need for a designated fund for promoting the bio-technology sector has not been addressed,” the PHDCCI president said.

In most of the other measures, the government, however, got a thumbs-up. Mr Bakshi said that the Finance Minister has attempted to address many of the fundamental issues critical to the growth of the nation’s Capital.

Reduction in stamp duty on immovable property from 8 per cent to 5 per cent, as also the thrust on the tertiary sector, were welcomed by the industry. “The tertiary sector contributes to 81 per cent of gross state domestic product (GSDP) and the Budget has given an impetus to transportation, tourism and entertainment, which are critical for a service-driven economy,” Mr Bakshi said.



Addicts find their happy hunting-ground
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, South District, Mr P. Kamraj, is inquiring into the allegations that the staff of the Nizammuddin police station are accepting gratification to allow addicts to use the parks around the historical tomb in the area.

Highly placed sources said that with the pressure on illegal trafficking in drugs building up, the addicts were looking for places where they could indulge their habit undisturbed. Many of them used to haunt the green area around the tomb, a protected monument, till the police stepped into the picture. The police would allow the addicts to use the facilities only if they were given the hafta. A deal was struck and the sources said that the addicts started paying up Rs 100 per person per week to some of the officials of the police station.

This amount not only buys the addicts the freedom to use the parks but also gives them protection against the raids by other agencies. If the number of addicts thronging the parks at any given time is an indication, the staff of the local police station could be pocketing a fortune.

These sources said that the police have deputed a known drug peddler of the area to collect money on their behalf. Incidentally, while this person is a known peddler, he has never been arrested.

He is said to maintain a detailed list of the customers using the parks and has been given the freedom to pursue his trade. He is said to be always ready with the quota, be it charas, cocaine, heroin or just plain liquor.

The popularity of the parks as safe havens in the area has reached all over the city by word of mouth and addicts now from as far as Connaught Place, ITO and some areas in East Delhi regularly visit there.

The DCP, South, when contacted said that he had no information of such arrangement by the police but promised to inquire into the nexus.

He said if any policeman was found involved, strict action would be taken against him.



Chain-snatchers get the taste of women’s might 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
Three women have taught a lesson to chain-snatchers which they would not forget in their life in East district last night.
According to police, Shamim Bano, a resident of Yamuna Vihar, came to a medical shop adjacent to the Surya Hospital in the East district last night to purchase a strip of sleeping pills for her sisters who also accompanied her.

But the chemist refused to give her the pills, saying that the doctors’ prescription was necessary for it. Shamim came back to her car, parked nearby.

The drama began just after the woman had started her car. The window panes of the vehicle were open.

The youths came from behind and snatched the chain of Shamim Bano and boarded a waiting autorickshaw to escape. The women raised a hue and cry but in vain.

Soon they realised that they would get nothing by screaming. After a short while, Shamim spotted the auto. She started her car and rammed the auto from the side. The auto overturned and the youths scrambled out.

True to Bollywood style, Shamim and her sisters came out of the car. Grabbing one of the boys from his collar, the women rained blows on the startled chain-snatchers.

As they were scuffling with the miscreants, the police nearby rushed to help the damsels fighting so bravely. All of them were overpowered and arrested. They were identified as Mohammad Ramzani, Aman and Nadim, aged between 20 and 25 years.

The DCP East, Mrs Nuzhat Hassan, said that it was an exceptional case of courage shown by the women and when the public acted bravely, it would help the police a lot in nabbing the criminals.

The DCP said this was the first case in the recent times where women had fought back. Recently, a woman resident of Sainik Farms used a kitchen knife to battle an armed intruder and stabbed him, she said.



UHBVN held guilty, asked to refund money
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 26
The Sonepat District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) to refund the amount of Rs 13,718.89 along with nine per cent interest from the date of deposit till the date of realisation to Mr Surinder Singh Gill, a son of late Mr Baksha Singh, resident of Mohalla Mashad, Sonepat, within 10 days from the pronouncement of the order.

According to a report, the forum comprising Mr Amrit Kirpal Singh, president, Ms Sunita Gahlawat and Mr Suresh Rana, both members, also held guilty of the charge levelled against the SDO, Model Town sub-division of the UHBVN and directed him to pay a sum of Rs 2,000 from his own pocket as personal liability as he had failed to confirm the real owner of the electricity meter and verify as to in whose name the meter stands in the house of the complainant.

Mr Surinder Singh Gill, in his complaint filed in the court of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, had stated that he was the real son of late Mr Baksha Singh who had applied for a domestic power supply connection on his premises in 1956-57 and after the death of Mr Baksha Singh, he was the beneficiary and enjoyed the same facility.

He alleged that after sometime, the name of Mr Baksha Singh was recorded as Mr Bikram by the UHBVN in its record inadvertently. Later, the name of Mr Bikram was changed and recorded as Mr Karan Singh and the same was started showing in the electricity bills. On the other hand, the UHBVN authorities maintained that when the existing electricity meter was replaced, it was found that the M&P seals were opened and refixed and connected load was found to be 3.860 KW in the presence of the consumer. 



Love could not conquer caste!
Our Correspondent

Meerut, March 26
A boy and a girl ended their lives by consuming poison on Tuesday morning near the Karimpur village under Mawana police station, 30 km from the district headquarters.
Their parents performed their last rites secretly without informing the police. Rumour has it that they were killed by their parents.

According to the preliminary reports, 18 years old Kusum (name changed), resident of Ganeshpur village, had an affair with a boy of Gurjar community of Karimpur village for several years. Their parents opposed their relations as they were of different castes.

Girl’s father said that his daughter had gone to the fields near the Ganga canal. She was accompanied by her brother. She left her brother after a while at 10 am, saying she was going to have some water.

When she did not return for two hours, her brother looked for her and reached near a tubewell where he found his sister and her lover dead.

A bottle of liquor and a packet of high pesticide were found near the bodies.

The boy raised the alarm. He rushed to the village and informed his father. Their parents rushed to the fields and transported the bodies to the funeral ground where they were cremated.



J&K team condemns Pulwama massacre
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 26
A 26-member team of Jammu and Kashmir, participating in the National Unity Camp in this city, has strongly condemned the massacre of 24 Pandits in Pulwama and demanded the dismissal of the Mufti government.

Talking to this correspondent here today, members of the team also expressed anguish and sorrow at the incident and said that the central government should declare Jammu and Kashmir as a disturbed state to curb the activities of militants. Stating that this brutal incident was not only a blot on the state government but also the central government.

They held the weakened policy of the PDP-Congress government responsible for the spurt in terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. They demanded that the Centre should take stern steps to protect innocent people from falling prey to the guns of the terrorists.

Meanwhile, members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, led by general secretary of the state unit Jatinder Pawar, took out a procession here last evening to register their protest against the massacre.

Carrying placards and raising slogans against Pakistan and the government, they passed through the main bazars of the city and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for forwarding it to the President of India, demanding stern action against the terrorists and curbing their activities with a strong hand. The leaders of the Front termed the Pulwama massacre as inhuman and cowardly and said that it was an attempt by militants to frustrate the efforts by the Mufti government to bring back displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

Capt Shamsher Singh Malik, president of the Haryana unit of the Lok Janshakti Party, also condemned the killings and blamed the weak-kneed policy of both the central and the state governments. 



Sewerage collapses in Sonepat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 26
Sewerage in most parts of the city seems to have collapsed due to various reasons. According to a report, the sewers in most of the areas are decades old. They have been badly damaged due to poor maintenance and misuse. They get clogged, frequently flooding the roads and streets.

In Mohanpura, Ahsok Nagar, Azad market, on the Button Factory road, Railway Road, the old DC road and the Sarang road, residents complained that sewer lines are never desilted and that the water pipes have corroded.

The officials of the Public Health Department maintained that throwing of polythene bags and building materials into the sewers are the main reason behind clogging. Unless this is not checked, the situation will be the same.

Many residents said that most of the sewer lines in their areas are already clogged and the sewage flows back into their houses. In many areas, water pipes are near the sewers. This leads to sewage getting mixed with drinking water.

Some residents alleged that complaints made to the officials of the Public Health Department in this regard have fallen on deaf ears. The Residents Welfare Association has condemned the indifferent attitude of the PHD officials towards the public complaints and demanded stern action against those found responsible for this anti-people attitude.



Project to upgrade skills of 1 lakh weavers 
Our Correspondent

Panipat, March 26
The Union Minister of State for Textiles, Mr Basanagouda R. Patil, today inaugurated the five-day ‘Tantavi Exhibition’ of exclusive handloom products here in Skylark Tourist Complex. The exhibition, which is the sixth in this second series of Tantavi Exhibitions, has been organised by the National Centre for Textiles Design, New Delhi, and the Weavers Service Centre, Panipat.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Patil said that along with technology upgradation, skill upgradation of weavers is also necessary. For that, a massive programme of skill upgradation of one lakh weavers over a period of five years with an outlay of Rs 125 crore would be launched shortly.

To provide an opportunity to the weavers and exporters to experience and benefit from an exclusive and exquisite range of handlooms, the government has decided to take ‘tantavi’ to other important handloom textile centres in the country, he said. An outlay of Rs 625 crore has been earmarked for various schemes for the handloom sector, which includes welfare of handloom weavers during the period of the Tenth Five Year Plan.

Mr Patil pointed out that till last year, there was no excise duty on hank yarn and the duty-free facility was reportedly benefiting sectors other than handlooms. And in the name of hank yarn, evasion of duty on cone yarn was reported, he said. To protect the interest of handloom weavers, it was announced that the handloom weavers would continue to get hank yarn without having to pay the duty, he added.

Stating that the historical city of Panipat occupies a special place in the handloom map of the country and is one of the largest handloom centres for the domestic as well as export markets, the minister said. As per the handloom census, 20,000 out of 25,000 handloom units in Haryana are in Panipat. Apart from handlooms, about 2,000 power looms, 1,000 shuttle looms and over 300 spinning units are working in Panipat providing employment to more than two lakh persons, he said.



Textile unit associations protest against VAT
Our Correspondent

Panipat, March 26
Thousands of representatives of textile units, business establishments, shopkeepers of cloths and blanket markets and office-bearers of six different associations today staged a protest here against the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on blankets and textiles products. Almost all shops and showrooms in the markets remained closed today.

The protestors, carrying placards and shouting slogans against the central government, marched through the main roads and markets of the town and reached the Skylark Tourist Complex where Union Minister of State for Textiles Vasanagouda R. Patil was to inaugurate the five-day Handlooms Products Exhibition.

The protestors and police almost came to blows at Lal Batti Chowk when the latter tried to stop the rally. However, good sense prevailed following the intervention by local BJP leaders and representatives of the associations who promised that there would not be any untoward incident at the tourist complex.

On reaching the complex, the protestors created an embarrassment for the organisers of the exhibition as they occupied the chairs and sofas in the ‘pandal’ and started shouting slogans against the government.

Later, the protestors marched to the PWD Rest House where the minister was waiting to go for the inauguration of the exhibition. A 12-member delegation comprising the representative of the Velvet Association, Radhey Sham Gogia, president of the Handloom Association Ashok Banga, Mr Vishnu Goel and Mr Pawan Garg from the Shoddy Yarn Association and accompanied by district BJP president Manohar Lal Suneja, chairman of the Nagar Parishad Sanjay Bhatia and city BJP president Lal Chand Chabhra met the minister and handed over a memorandum explaining the problems they would face if VAT is imposed.

The delegation suggested that instead of imposing 14 per cent VAT, the government can charge Rs100 per loom to increase their revenue. Even if the government is adamant on imposing the VAT proposals, the government should ban entry of imported handloom material in the country to safeguard the interest of the domestic manufacturers. 



Roads are clean, CM’s coming!
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 26
The visit of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala here tomorrow has come as a boon to the local residents. The city has been given a facelift with the roads repaired, roundabouts painted, pavements cleaned of weeds and grass, storm water ducts scavenged and opened and welcome arches bedecked with flowers erected all over the city.

However, there is no gainsaying the fact that it is only on the eve of the visit of any VVIP - Chief Minister or Governor - that the civic and district administration swings into action. True to their routine, the PWD (B&R) and municipal workers have been working overtime for the past couple of days to spruce up the roads, which are to be used by the motorcade of the Chief Minister.

An office-bearer of the Federation of All Residents’ Welfare Associations commented that whereas the inner lanes where the residents actually live are littered with garbage and mud and the roads in a state of disrepair, only those roads and areas, which are to be used by the Chief Minister, have been given a facelift. He suggested that the Chief Minister must take a detour and pay a surprise visit to the areas not on his itinerary to see the true state of affairs. Besides attending the marriage of the daughter of Mr Ved Singh Malik, a former Haryana minister, Mr Chautala will hear the grievances of the gram panchayats of the Sonepat block at an open darbar to be held in the Panchayat Bhawan here in connection with his “Sarkar Aap Ke Dwar” programme. The Chief Minister will also sanction funds for the development schemes in the panchayats to be undertaken on a priority basis.



Residents fed up with menace of stray animals
Rakesh Bhardwaj

Panipat, March 26
A major industrial town of Haryana and popularly known as the ‘Handloom Nagari’, Panipat has become a haven for stray animals. They have also emerged as a major cause for road accidents in the city. The residents of different localities are “disturbed” over the problems created by stray animals.

Cows, pigs, donkeys and dogs have become a new danger for the children playing in the streets. Moreover, these stray cattle have also contributed to traffic jams in the city.  Over the years, the unprecedented growth in population has created acute shortage of basic amenities. Now, stray animals have become the latest hazard for the people. 

The areas where this menace is most visible include Hali Park, Assandh Road, the prestigious Ram Lal Chowk, Jain Mohalla, Model Town area, Insaar Bazzar, Sethi Chowk, Amar Bhawan Chowk, Sanoli road, Tehsil Camp, Bishan Sarup Colony and the G.T.Road in particular.

Parveen Sharma of Jain Mohalla alleged that whenever they have made efforts to “remove pigs from the streets”, their owners, generally safai karamcharis, have gone on strike and as a result, the residents had to face insanitary conditions. The authorities concerned are unable to take appropriate action against those safai karamcharis, he alleged.

These animals have been giving sleepless nights to the farmers of the surrounding villages as they have entered the fields and destroyed their crops, particularly at night. Now they have been forced to organize “Theekri Pehra” to save their crop from these marauders.

However, to some extent, the residents of the town are also responsible for this menace, particularly in cases related to cows and pigs. Those keeping cows have been careless in their maintenance and do not feed them properly. They leave them free to feed on whatever is available on the streets and bring them back only in the evening. The same is the case with pigs. They roam about in the streets and lanes, eating rubbish as well as creating nuisance in front of houses of residents of colonies. Most residents are of the opinion that the district administration should take preventive measures to stop this nuisance and alleged that the district administration had done nothing to impound these stray animals.

The Executive Officer of Nagar Parishad, Mr Shiv Kumar Vats, admitted that stray animals have become a big problem here. However, he confirmed that they have made elaborate arrangements to impound these stray animals. They have warned the owners that the animals will be taken and left outside the city. He further confirmed that as many as 502 pigs were nabbed by the Nagar Parishad staff and Rs.1,14,000 were collected from their auction.

Moreover, 2,050 pigs were sold and sent out of the district to nearby areas in Uttar Pradesh by their owners, said the EO, adding that the department would take similar action against stray pigs. When asked about the action taken against the stray cows and donkeys, the Executive Officer said that the department was doing its job on “priority basis”.

Besides, he appealed to the ‘Gaushala committees’ to take positive steps to curb the cow menace and provide them shelter in their gaushala’s rather than letting them go free in the streets and lanes. However, when the supervisors of the two ‘Gaushala committees’ were contacted, there was no positive response from them. They said that they had “numbers of cows” with them and were “overloaded”. Moreover, they did not have the funds. Similarly, the supervisor of another ‘Gaushala’ said that it was impossible to accommodate any more animals due to the lack of funds. Rather, they appealed to the general public to come forward and donate generously for the welfare of cows.



Wheat bags lying in open for three years
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 26
Thousands of bags of wheat worth several crores of rupees, procured by the Food and Supplies Department and other state agencies three year ago, are still lying in the open on the premises of the new grain market at Gohana town in this district.

According to a report, bulk of this has reportedly been damaged due to the vagaries of weather including rain and it has become unfit for human as well as animal consumption. The foul smell from the stock has caused resentment among the passers-by.

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) authorities have declined to lift it and store in its covered godowns. Similarly, hundreds of wheat bags lying uncovered at plinths of various procurement agencies have also been damaged.

The same is the case with the stocks lying in the open at the godowns of the Food and Supplies Department and the new grain market in Sonepat city. Though these stocks had been covered with polythene and tarpaulin sheets, they have also been extensively damaged.

The district authorities and top officers of the procurement agencies have failed to visit the places where stocks are rotting to take stock of the situation and the extent of loss.

With the wheat procurement season round the corner, the old stocks lying in the open at various places in the district will pose a hindrance to the new arrivals.



Mother and child killed, four injured 
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, March 26
In a road accident near the ‘Truck Union’ on Bahalgarh Road, a mother and her child reportedly were killed and four others injured this morning.
Two of them have been seriously injured and have been referred to the Trauma Centre in Delhi.

The other injured have been admitted in Civil Hospital and are reported to be out of danger.

According to information, Suresh Kumar and Vijay Kumar of Gandhi Nagar Colony in Shahdara (Delhi), along with other family members were going to a religious place in village Pathri in Jind district for a religious ceremony in a Maruti car today morning.

Near the ‘Truck Union’ complex on Sonepat-Bahalgarh Road, the Maruti Car tried to overtake a tractor. However, the car dashed against the tractor and overturned.

In the accident, a seven-year-old boy, identified as Shivam, reportedly died on the spot and another woman, identified as Neelam, succumbed to her injuries when she was being rushed to the hospital. Neelam and Shivam were the wife and son of Suresh Kumar. After receiving the information, the police reached the hospital and recorded their statements.

One killed, two injured in truck collision

A driver was killed on the spot and two others sustained injuries when trucks collided on the G T Road near Bahalgarh village, about 10 km from here last night.

According to a report, the victim was identified as Rajnath Singh of Jaunpur (U.P.), whereas the injured are Mr Virender Singh of Janti Khurd village and Mr Luxman Dass of Darbhanga (Bihar). Both the injured persons were rushed to the local civil hospital for treatment, and their condition is stated to be serious.

The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress. It is stated that the victim, the driver of the truck (No. H.R. 45 C 1734), suddenly applied the brake, which resulted in a collision with the truck coming from behind.

According to another report, a five-year -old boy, identified as Sunny, was crushed to death by a tractor at Wazirpur village, about 40 km from here yesterday. It is stated that the body was received by his parents and later cremated.

18 chemists fined

As many as 18 chemists were caught red-handed by the Sonepat Chemists and Druggists Association for selling medicines in different parts of the city during the strike yesterday, in protest against the introduction of VAT by the government.

According to a report, the erring chemists were fined Rs 500 each and the amount was deposited in the account of the association.

Woman commits Suicide

Rohtak: A married woman committed suicide by consuming poison at Chuliana village last evening.

The deceased was identified as Sudesh (30), wife of Mr Subhash. She was rushed to the PGI when her condition deteriorated. The doctors declared her brought dead.

LPG cylinders scarce

There has been an acute shortage of LPG cylinders in this city and elsewhere in the district despite the end of the strike by the employees of the gas companies.

According to a report, the persistent shortage of the LPG cylinders has led to the establishment of a black market in the absence of any inspection by the authorities of the Food and Supplies Department and the district administration. It is alleged that several shopkeepers have been selling the LPG cylinders in the black market.



Dilli Haat to be barrier-free tourist spot
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
After having earned the distinction of being a favoured destination for shopping and eating out, Dilli Haat will now set an example as the first barrier free tourist spot.
Dilli Haat has been selected to be the first tourist spot, which being barrier free, will provide physically challenged visitors easy access into the scope area. Taking up the cause of the disabled was the NGO, Samarthya, working to promote non-handicapping environment. The founders of Samarthya, Sanjeev Sachdeva and Anjlee Agarwal, suggested the changes to the architect of Dilli Haat, Pradeep Sachdeva.

With the renovations in place, Dilli Haat will now have ramp slopes with handrails, flooring at the entrance and more accessible parking. For the benefit of the disabled, the ticket counters have also been lowered and access to telephone booths and drinking water facilities has also been ensured.

The DTTDC financed Rs nine lakh for the project that was approved by the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit.

With the necessary modifications in place, Dilli Haat will now offer respite to those who could not make it there. Dilli Haat boasts of more than one lakh visitors each month. Artisans and craftsmen from across the country have put up stalls displaying their best while various state tourism departments have put up their food stalls, offering mouth watering cuisine.

Seminar provides tips on healthy living: HelpAge India in collaboration with the Rahat Charitable and Medical Trust organised a seminar on ‘Nutrition and Fitness for Healthy Ageing’ in the Capital. Speaking on the occasion, health and beauty expert, Vandana Luthra, said, “taking care of the body is like going to a temple. Everybody should feel the same way about their bodies”.

The seminar was the third in the series of six seminars on ‘Active Ageing for Healthy Living’ being organised by the HelpAge India. “There are two kinds of age, the chronological clock that starts ticking from the day we are born, and the biological age, identified through our fitness level”, pointed out Mr M.M. Sabharwal, president HelpAge. He added, “you could be old at 40 and young at 80. There is no reason why we, at whatever age, can’t enjoy a healthy and happy lifestyle”.

Ms Sujata Malik, Incharge, Occupational Therapy, Safdarjung Hospital, said that three areas must be focussed on, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The seminar was aimed at making old people aware of their food related health vulnerabilities like reduced metabolism, loss of teeth, taste bud shrivelling and gastric dysfunction.

Traffic diversion for March 27: The Delhi Traffic Police have made elaborate traffic arrangements in view of the ‘Bharat Bachao Rally,’ organized by the Lok Jan Shakti Party on March 27. As more than 5,000 people are expected to attend the rally in Ramlila Ground, the traffic police have advised motorists to avoid the area. The Indraprastha Vishwa Hindu Parishad is also organizing ‘Shri Ram Katha,’ at Gandhi Maidan, near Ranjit Singh Marg from March 27 to April 4.

Motorists have been asked to avoid roads leading to Ramlila Ground, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Asaf Ali Road, DBG Road, Minto Road, Ranjit Singh Marg, DDU Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, IP Marg, Rajghat–Ring Road and Ajmeri Gate.



Two sentenced to life imprisonment for murder 
Shiv Sharma

Narnaul, March 26
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr V S Malik, sentenced two people to life imprisonment on charges of murder. According to the prosecution, a complaint was registered at Satnali (Mahendergarh) Police Station on June 9, 2001 against two youths, Prem Kumar and Kartar Singh of the same village that they had stabbed to death Balwan Singh, when the latter had complained regarding disturbances caused during the nikasi of Prem Kumar.

The two accused had attacked him with knife. The court has also fined them Rs 500 each and ordered additional imprisonment in case of non-payment of the fine.

Examination dates changed: The examination dates for the Home Science paper of the ongoing Senior Secondary annual examination, which was scheduled to be held on March 18, would now be conducted on March 29 at 1.30 pm. This was stated in a press release issued by the Board here today.



Two criminal gangs busted in Noida
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 26
The Noida police today claimed to have busted two criminal gangs, one of which used to cheat jewellers by palming off fake gold biscuits for real ones. The second gang specialised in snatching chains and cell phones from ladies.

In the third case, a security guard was nabbed who had stolen goods worth lakhs of rupees from the Forge Allied factory in Sector 7 Noida, where he was employed. In all eight criminals have been arrested. Vinod Kumar, a jeweller, was contacted by a person, who showed him a 24-carat gold biscuit and expressed his intention to supply him hundreds of such biscuits.

The jeweller tested the biscuit and found that it was of 24-carat gold. He agreed to the deal and paid him Rs two lakh, the police said. However, when the jeweller took the gold biscuits to his shop and tested the quality of the gold, it was found to be fake. He filed a case in Sector 20 police station.

Circle Officer R B Singh and SO Sudesh Gupta cracked the case and arrested five persons, identified as Ashok Kumar, the leader, Feroz Khan, Gul Mohd, alias Gullu and Kishen Kumar Singh.

The Superintendent of Police, (City), Vijay Bhushan, said that they were operating in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Meerut, Bulandshahar and Bihar. Each biscuit weighed 2.5 gm and was valued at Rs 1,450.

The police have recovered Rs 40,200 in cash and 70 gold biscuits from the accused, the SP said. They have been booked under Sections 419, 420.

In the second case, a lady had lodged a complaint that her cell phone had been snatched. The police inquiries in Faridabad and Ghaziabad confirmed that there were gangs involved in such incidents . they were operating in Ghaziabad, Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and other NCR region and were involved in snatching cell phones from girls and young women who were found talking on cell phones alone on road sides.

In Gurgaon, the criminals had also assaulted some girls and reportedly cut the fingers of two of their victims, the police said.

Mr Bhushan said the police team managed to nab the culprits even though they had no lead. He said Ravi Kumar, Prakash Vishet, Rahul and Raj Kumar were nabbed from slum clusters of Sector 1, 9 and 10.

The cell phone of Prem Prakash, a resident of Sector 20 was also snatched. He lodged a complaint on March 25. The arrested criminals also confessed to have snatched the purse of one Neera Devi from Atta on March 1, containing Rs 400. Subsequently, the cell phones and the purse were recovered from the accused by police.

In another case, goods stolen included TV monitors, brass rods, calculators, etc. Ajay Kumar, a security guard hailing from Bihar, was nabbed at Sandeep Paper Mill on March 25 along with the stolen goods. During interrogation and frisking, a country-made revolver of .12 was also recovered from him.


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