Sunday, March 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Acres to go before demolition squad can sleep
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 29
The deadline of March 31 for removal of all encroachments on government land in the district is unlikely to be met. Lack of clarity in the definition of encroachment and allegations of bias in demolitions have made things murkier.

Given the current pace of progress, the authorities may have to extend the drive indefinitely to achieve the target. Although the administration claims that land worth several crores of rupees has been reclaimed in the recent past, rough estimates put the value of land still under encroachers at about Rs 100 crore. The patches of land still to be reclaimed are located at various places, belonging both to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF).

Several acres are still under the occupation of about a dozen slum clusters and unauthorised colonies. These include AC Nagar, Azad Nagar, Ekta Nagar, Rakesh Nagar and Krishan Nagar.

Residents of 16 such colonies had filed a petition in the high court. The petition was disposed of reportedly on the assurance by the state government that each affected person would be heard before a notice is issued and that personal notices would be served to each resident.

The issue has snowballed because `organised’ encroachments have escaped the attention of the demolition squad. At least 30 persons, including a member of the MCF, were booked after a complaint was lodged by a Janata Dal (U) leader, Mr Rajkumar Gaur, in June last year. Mr Gaur had alleged that 2.5 acres of government land had been usurped by certain influential persons who had built a colony there.

He said the authorities had failed to remove these encroachments even after 10 months. He claimed that there were several cases of illegal occupation of government land by influential people. While the ‘mafia’ goes about usurping land, the authorities are only interested in demolishing extensions by small plot holders in housing board colonies, he alleged.

It is reported that a commercial plaza located on Mathura Road had encroached on the service road and had converted it into a parking slot. According to BJP MLA from Mewla Mahrajpur Krishan Pal Gurjar, influential persons and builders have occupied land worth several crores on the Neelam Bata road and in adjoining areas. He had recently alleged that the authorities were demolishing the houses of the poor in Sector 29 but leaving the “big fishes” untouched.

Ms Sharda Rathaur, president of the District Mahila Congress, has scoffed at the reported statement of the authorities that demolition may not be carried out in those areas where the roads are wide enough for fire brigade vehicles to pass through. She said hundreds of houses had been razed in Sectors 3, 7, 10 and 29 where the roads had been about 100-feet wide.


DDA land disposal chief held, DLF denies deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
Close on the heels of the raids on offices and residences of some of the top Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials, the CBI has arrested a senior official, Anand Mohan Sharan, from whose residence the agency had seized Rs 36 lakh in cash.

He was later remanded to police custody till April 4. A large number of his supporters gathered outside the court premises and raised slogans in support of him. The supporters were seen having heated arguments with the police personnel when they were denied access inside the courtroom. Some of them got wild and went to the extent of manhandling press photographers. Some photographers claimed that their equipment were damaged by Sharan’s supporters in the scuffle.

Sharan, a 1990 batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, who was DDA’s Commissioner (Land Disposal), was arrested last night by the anti-corruption unit of the agency. The agency has charged him with entering into a criminal conspiracy with private builders and allotting them space in a DDA project well below the market rate.

In another development, the former DDA Vice-Chairman, Mr P. C. Hota, has replaced Subhash Sharma, whose official and residential premises were raided by the CBI on Thursday following the registration of two cases against him.

After the raids, Sharma was summoned by the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development late last night and was served the order, directing him to hand over the charge to Mr Hota. Sources said that the handing and taking over of the charge was completed in the ministry.

Mr Hota, an IAS officer of 1970 batch from the Orissa cadre, had been DDA’s Vice-Chairman till October 1 last year before taking charge of his new assignment in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Sources said that no fresh charge had been leveled against Sharma, an IAS officer of 1970 batch from the Union Territory cadre. The CBI has registered two cases against Sharma in which the agency has accused him of abusing his official position and taking illegal gratification.

Ironically, the DLF Universal Ltd, which has been accused by the CBI of agreeing to provide illegal gratification, has denied any deal with the DDA.

The press release of DLF said, “It is categorically denied that any bribe or any consideration whatsoever was ever paid by DLF to officials of the DDA to obtain the increase of floor area ratio (FAR) or any undue favour of any kind. These reports have unfortunately damaged DLF’s reputation and goodwill.”

In fact, DLF has been in possession of this plot since 1948, the company claimed. The company had applied in 1975 to the DDA for conversion of the existing lease of this property into perpetual lease with full commercial plot and an FAR of 300 in accordance with the Delhi Master Plan, conversion rates and policies applicable at that time, the release said.


Urbanisation, lifestyle changes put Gurgaon in high-risk HIV zone
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 29
With increasing urbanisation, residents of the city are also exposing themselves to a greater risk of contracting the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). According to experts, Gurgaon falls in the high-risk zone.

But what does it take to make an area a high-risk zone? Experts say a higher percentage of slum dwellers, truckers, street children, commercial sex workers and factory and migrant labourers in the population, accompanied with modernisation and lifestyle changes, are some of the factors responsible for the enhanced risk.

Speaking at a training programme on prevention of AIDS, conducted by the Haryana AIDS Control Society at the local Civil General Hospital for the benefit of doctors, paramedical and other supporting staff of the Health Department, Dr Vishek Kumar cautioned that although Haryana is not as badly affected as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Manipur, the authorities must not be lax.

The Haryana AIDS Control Society functions under the National AIDS Control Organisation. Its training programmes are held in all districts of Haryana. In Gurgaon, the District Health Officer, Dr S. P. Singh, is the nodal officer of the programme.

Dr Vishek Kumar from the Civil General Hospital, who was the trainer-speaker, said that as there was no cure for patients infected with HIV, the only remedy lies in prevention. This could be best achieved through mass awareness.

According to statistics, the national ratio of the disease among men and women is 3:1. The figure is misleading as the data is based on sampling of blood donated to the blood banks, he said. In a conservative society, men donate blood more often.

Contrary to what the statistics suggest, women are more susceptible as a greater fraction of their body is exposed to infection during intercourse. This is important as statistics show that sex is the causative factor in 80 per cent of the cases.


Only a financial analyst can shed light on MDU’s bottom line
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, March 29
Although the budget estimates of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) for 2003-04 show a deficit of Rs 1762.82 lakh, the university expects to show a surplus of Rs 1746.28 lakh at the end of the coming financial year. As against an income of Rs 7362.15 lakh, the university proposes to spend Rs 9124.97 lakh on various developmental activities and on the salary bill of its employees.

The university will also have a surplus of Rs 3509.10 lakh at the end of the current financial year (March 31,2003). Interestingly, the budget estimates for the year 2002-03 had also shown a deficit of Rs 2103.13 lakh.

The university does not have a full-fledged Finance Officer (the post is being held by a Deputy Registrar) and mystery shrouds the conversion of deficit into surplus. Experts in financial matters believe that the expenses might have been shown on the higher side by the university in the estimates.

At the end of fiscal 1999-2000, the university was in a deep financial crisis and almost all its departments were starved for funds. But with numerous IT courses being introduced through the distance education mode, the outcome was incredible. During the year 2001-2002, the Directorate of Distance Education generated a surplus of Rs 20 crore. The total surplus of the university was Rs 29 crore during that period.

Since then the popularity of information technology courses has waned, in keeping with the general trend, and the Distance Education Department could generate a surplus of Rs 10.65 crore during the year ending March 31.

Simultaneously, the university took certain other measures to enhance its resources and curtail expenditure.

Improbable though it may seem, the university has notched a surplus of Rs 35 crore during 2002-03.

A provision of Rs 1158.39 lakh has been made in the budget estimates (2003-04) for the ongoing works started during the preceding years. An amount of Rs 475.34 lakh has been provided for new works and will be funded from the surplus funds of the university. A provision of Rs 485 lakh has been made for development and construction works of Post-Graduate Regional Centre, Mirpur (Rewari).

There has been an increase of Rs 590.55 lakh under the salary head in 2003-04 over that in the revised budget estimates of 2002-03. This is mainly because of the calculation of salary on the basis of the total sanctioned posts and partly due to the revision of pay scales of the teaching staff. The university propose to earn Rs 25 crore through the Directorate of Distance Education and another Rs 25.24 crore from internal receipts. The grants-in-aid of Rs 1660 lakh from the state government include the maintenance/salary grant of Rs 1410 lakh and Rs 250 lakh as state government’s share on account of payment of arrears to the teachers due to revision of grades etc.

The university will shell out Rs 2989.57 lakh towards salary, including contributory provident fund, to its employees.


Panel to decide on fee-related complaints
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
The Delhi High Court has directed the Fee Anomaly and Grievance Committee of the Government of Delhi to decide on complaints filed by parents against public schools with regard to fee hike and other charges.

Now, the aggrieved parents can expect early decisions on their complaints.

The court was informed that despite numerous complaints, the Director of Education did not take any action against the erring schools. The petitioners claimed that an order dated December 15, 1999, was issued by the Office of the Directorate of Education, which lays down the guidelines for considering such complaints.

The order stipulates that any parent or guardian or a student of any recognised unaided school, individually or jointly aggrieved by the amount of fee or any other charge being levied by the school, may register a complaint with the Deputy Director of Education (HQ) in the prescribed format. The complaint shall then be referred to the Fee Anomaly Committee of the district concerned along with the nomination of a chartered accountant.

The Fee Anomaly Committee is to examine and scrutinise the individual complaints within 30 days and submit its report to the Director of Education with its definite findings. The directions of the committee would be binding on the Managing Committee /Manager of the recognised unaided school and the excess fee shall be refunded to the students/parents within 30 days of the issue of such directions.

Noida asked to pay interest on deposit to rejected applicant

Noida: The District Consumer Forum has ordered the Noida administration to pay interest on registration money up to the day it is refunded. The order was passed by Chairman Kartar Singh and members S. C. Sharma and Ms Vijay Lakshmi Sharma of the Noida Consumer Court on the complaint filed by Rajiv Arora, director, M/s Electro Anil Ltd, against the authority.

The applicant had deposited Rs 50,000 on October 30, 1991 under the Noida’s scheme of plots in Phase 1 and Phase II. The Noida administration had informed Electro Anil Ltd on April 25, 1992 that its application had not been included in the scheme, therefore the amount was being refunded. Then authority had also rejected the applicant’s demand for payment of interest till April 1992.

In response to the forum’s notice, the authority had argued that it had the right to reject the application. As the allottee’s money had been refunded, there was no question of payment of interest on it.

Rejecting these arguments, the forum ordered it to pay interest at 12 per cent up to the date of refund to the complainant on the amount deposited by him along with Rs 1,000 as damages for the suit. OC


Cops blame LIC manager for security lapse
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 29
The police have failed to achieve any breakthrough in the case of Rs 19.54 lakh being robbed from the cashier of a private security agency outside the office of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in Sector 15 here yesterday.

According to a report, the police carried out surprise raids and organised nakabandis at the exit and entry points of the roads along the border with UP and Delhi but failed to apprehend the car-borne unidentified armed miscreants. The police authorities are reported to have blamed the manager of the LIC branch for the lapse on his part as he failed to inform the police and seek their help when a huge amount was being given to the cashier of a private security company for depositing it with the HDFC Bank at Panipat. According to some eyewitnesses, the miscreants came in a white Maruti Zen and attacked the cashier and the gunman of the private security agency when they were boarding their van after collecting the money and giving the receipt to the manager of the LIC branch. As soon as the miscreants fled, a customer informed the police control room.

Border crop row resolved

Sonepat: The officials of Sonepat district and Baghpat district have arrived at an understanding on the reaping of the standing wheat crop in about 15 acres of disputed land along the Yamuna embankments at a joint meeting held at the Rai PWD (B&R) rest house, 13 km from here, yesterday.

The farmers of Jhundpur village have been allowed to reap the crop but they have to file a case in the court of Baghpat for acquiring permanent possession of the disputed land. Earlier, the SDM, Sonepat, contended that since the farmers of Jhundpur village had sown the crop in the disputed land, they were authorised to reap it. He also referred to the Dixit Award on the land lost when the Yamuna changed its course during monsoons and said that the farmers of both the states have to abide by this award. If the land surfaces in the UP area, the farmers of that state are authorised to sow crop the crop and if it surfaces in the Haryana area, the converse would hold good.


Consumers firing on all cylinders to get LPG supply
Our Correspondent

Panipat, March 29
The District administration has failed to check the shortage of kitchen LPG cylinders to the consumers here. The distributors have started telling the consumers that there is shortage of supply. A likely increase in the price of cylinders is the reason that the distributors are supplying the cylinders at a premium.

According to available information, the authorised gas dealers of the town are alleged to have caused an atmosphere of short supply of cylinders at the bottling plant itself, resulting in the advance booking for 10 to 15 days.

A cylinder costs Rs 245 at a normal rate, but in black market, it costs Rs 300.

Contacting the three gas agencies of Tehsil Town, Model Town and Baba Ganga Puri Road, a customer gets the same reply that the cylinder is in short supply. It is available at a premium of Rs 50 only.

One of the gas agencies confirmed that they received the supply from the bottling plant on March 8 and 22 only, and they are again waiting for the stock.

Another gas agency is alleged to have adopted the same practice.

The delivery boys are reportedly supplying gas in the streets and lanes for a premium of Rs 50 minimum.

When the head of the bottling plant was asked for comments on the particular gas agencies, he confirmed that the supplies were made on their due dates. Their regular weekly requirement was reportedly provided to them without delay. He confirmed that there was no short supply as alleged by the distributors.

Another customer of Tehsil Town alleged that there was no check on the distributors and these agencies have started charging extra money from March.

In Delhi also, the manager of a plant said that there was no short supply and the difficulty had arisen due to the staff union agitation and now supply was normal.

The Citizen Council Panipat in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner has requested him to intervene as the dealers were getting full supply from the bottling plant at Kohand.


Educated elite responsible for skewed sex ratio
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 29
Though Sonepat district has taken a lead over other districts of the state in the field of education in the case of sex ratio it has the lowest percentage of girls in comparison to boys. Moreover, the middle and upper classes are found more responsible for this disparity when compared to the families of poor sections of society.

According to official information, with a population density of 545 per square kilometre the total population of the district is 10.45 lakh. As per the census report, the sex ratio between the girls and boys in Sonepat district has been reported as 840 and 1000 against the state’s ratio of 874:1000.

In the opinion of sociologists, the educated middle and upper classes are more conscious about the norms of small families but they have a preference for boys and to ensure the birth of a male child they never mind going in for foeticide.

In some of the survey reports, they say, it was found a majority of the middle and upper class families have one or two sons, two sons and one daughter, one son and one daughter or at the most one son and two daughters. But hardly any family is found with only one or two or three daughters.

On the other hand, the sex ratio in the poor sections of society was not that alarming as in the upper class families, obviously because of lack of higher education, poor economic conditions and perhaps their apathy towards family planning.

The sociologists are of the opinion there is a need to make the educated and well-to-do families more conscious about the continued widening gap in the sex ratio.

Deeply concerned over the situation and increased incidents of foeticide, the government health authorities have introduced a number of measures to overcome this situation and take action against the doctors and clinics indulging in this illegal practice.

The clinics have been banned from carrying out sex determination tests during pregnancy and the doctors have been directed to get their sonography machines registered with the health authorities.

The health authorities have also been instructed by the government to carry out surprise raids on clinics equipped with the facilities which could be used for sex determination.

When contacted about the progress made by the district health authorities in detecting the cases of illegal foeticide, the Civil Surgeon, Mrs Garg, said so far no case had been detected though a special team had been conducting checks.

She also opined, “The success of this drive depends on the consciousness and awareness among the people who must be responsive for eradication of this social evil of foeticide.” She also regretted that though most of the doctors had voluntarily stopped sex determination tests certain unscrupulous elements might be indulging in the illegal practice in connivance with the interested families.


Eye donation centre opens at Kosli
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari , March 29
At present, there are about 12 million blind people in India . Of them, 1.3 million are afflicted with corneal blindness. They can be treated if enough corneas are available for transplantation in suitable cases.

This was stated by Dr Anil Tara, Chief Executive Officer of the Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, in his keynote address delivered on Saturday at the inaugural function of their eye donation centre set up at Bhagwan Kaur Venu Charitable Eye Hospital at Saadat Nagar, Kosli, about 35 km from here.

He said that every year eight to nine million deaths occurred in India but not even 1 per cent eyes were donated, which was the requirement. He went on to say that 40,000 new cases of corneal blindness were added to the existing backlog against which only about 21,000 eyes were collected all over the country in 2002.

Further, the tragedy is that most of these afflicted persons are children and young adults who have their whole lifetime ahead of them.

He further said it was a matter of grave concern that the incidence of corneal blindness was high in rural areas which did not have adequate infrastructure for eye donation as well as eye transplantation. Needless to say that Rewari and its surrounding areas till date did not have any facilities for eye donation, which deprived many people of the opportunity to donate eyes even if they wanted to. Thus, keeping this in mind, Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre as well as Rotary Regency Gift of Sight Co-ordination and Processing Centre had opened a 24-hour eye donation centre at their Rewari Satellite Hospital.

The eye donation centre was formally inaugurated today by the Nawab of Pataudi , Mr Mansoor Ali Khan. The nawab and his wife Sharmila Tagore have been designated “ Ambassadors of Sight”.

In his inaugural address, Mr Khan said the plight of the young suffering from corneal blindness was something tragic. He also said every member of the public could play a crucial role in providing a renewed lease of life to these young people by restoring their sight and that too without denying themselves anything —— merely by ensuring that their eyes were donated to a registered medical eye bank when they left their mortal bodies.

Emphasising the need for extensive propagation of eye donation and creating awareness in the community, he expressed the hope that the eye collection centre would facilitate a great number of potential donor families in this region as the facility for eye collection would now be available at their doorstep.

Dr Abhishek Vajpayee, eye specialist at Bhagwan Kaur Venu Charitable Eye Hospital, said they had adopted the entire Kanina block of the district where an extensive programme titled “Community Eye Health” would be launched from April which would comprise preventive, curative and rehabilitation- oriented measures for all those suffering from various eye ailments as well as blindness.

Among others who also spoke on this occasion included Mrs Supriya Gupta, President, and Mrs Tanuja Joshi, Secretary, of the Venu Charitable Society and the Congress legislator, Mrs Anita Yadav, who is also the President of the Haryana Mahila Congress.


Along with her father, in the hall of fame
Our Correspondent

Rewari , March 29
Following in the footsteps of her father, Rao Inderjeet Singh, a noted shooter, a former minister and now a prominent Congress leader of Haryana, Arti Singh (elder daughter of Rao Inderjeet Singh) too has carved a niche for herself in the hierarchy of women shooters in the skeet category with her fine performances in various competitions at the international level.

Arti Singh (23), who has been a national champion in the women’s skeet category in shooting since 1997 and who has been representing India in the skeet category at the international level since 1999, won a gold medal in the Grand Prix Women’s Skeet championship of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF ) and a silver medal in the women’s skeet final of the Asian Clay Shooting Championship which were recently held at Dr Karni Singh Range ,Tughlakabad , New Delhi .

Earlier, she also secured a bronze medal in the ISSF World Cup, 2000, and achieved the fourth position both in the Lonato World Cup, 2001, and the Sydney World Cup Grand Prix for Women’s Skeet, 2002. Besides, she also secured the sixth position in the Asian Shooting Competition at Langkawi, Malaysia, in 2000, in the Commonwealth shooting competition in Bisley, England, in 2001 and in the Asian Games held at Busan in South Korea in 2002.

It is noteworthy that Arti Singh, who graduated in English Honours from Delhi University in 2000, is now a part of the Indian shooting team.

Cultural programme held at SITM

A colourful cultural programme titled ‘Navrang 2003’ was held at the Somany Institute of Technology and Management (SITM) here on Friday. Mr Ashok Bishnoi, General Manager, Haryana Roadways, Rewari, and Mr Mahavir Kaushik, SDM, were the distinguished guests.

A play, “Mission Kashmir,” staged by a group of college students, was highly appreciated by the audience while Sudhir’s recitation of a poem commenting on the ugly face of Indian politics drew wild applause from the audience. Similarly, poems and songs recited by N. Sangeeta, Jaya Nischal, Vishal Saxena and Madan Mohan, dances presented by Priyanka Agarwal, Shilpa Choudhary and Megha Sharma, a group dance-cum–song presented by hostel girls and a play, “ Elephant of the Blind,” staged by Dinesh and company were other highlights of the programme.

In his address, Mr Bishnoi lauded the Somany family for its efforts in establishing an engineering college at Rewari which, he hoped, would prove a boon for the youths of this backward region. Two students of the college, Rajat Bamal and Vikas, who had bagged a gold and a bronze medal, respectively, in national sports competitions, were also honoured on this occasion.


Advani gives full marks to health, education sectors
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 29
Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani said India will be counted among the top countries in the world in education and health if the progress in these sectors continues at the present rate. Mr Advani was inaugurating the multi-speciality Vinayak Hospital in Sector-27 here yesterday. The Dy Prime Minister said that now we have so many state-of-the-art hospitals in private sector that the government hospitals in the country draw inspiration from them.

Security, education and health are the basis of a country’s progress, he said.

Time was when the VIPs used to make a bee-line for getting treatment in hospitals abroad, but now the doctors as well as facilities at Indian hospitals have come at par with the best in the world. India used to spend a lot of foreign exchange on MPs’ treatment abroad 10 years ago. Mr Advani said it is necessary that the benefits of the medical research should be extended to public health facilities for the common man.

He said private sector can play on important role in this field where government efforts are not enough to ensure the health of such a vast population. These hospitals play an important role in spreading awareness about common diseases to the masses.

The Vinayak, 150-bedded hospital, has all modern facilities as also an ultra-modern diagnostic lab as part of the equipment of the hospital and can handle all cases, said its director Dr V.S.Chaudhry.

The project took over a decade in coming into being and will provide the best medical care at an affordable price in Noida, he emphasised.


The cry for peace is worldwide

Nearly 130,000 people from all walks of life congregated at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium the other day to listen to a discourse on peace — an indication that inner peace has become a rare commodity in these days of violence and war.

The speaker was Prem Rawat. He represented no particular religion and hence the large audience can not be explained away as a religious congregation. Further no publicity campaign has preceded the event, ‘Expressions from the Heart,’ though he was an internationally acknowledged speaker, always on the move. And without doubt, his one topic is inner peace.

Look at those television pictures from Baghdad with fighter planes raining bombs and the trail of destruction that follows. The air-raid sirens, the sandstorms, the soldiers moving in armoured vehicles through hot and dusty desert roads, bring before us, a true account of the state of the world. Even as the US-Iraq conflict continues to wreak havoc in cities and deserts, there are demonstrations and protest rallies in all national capitals and around embassies of the world against the continuing war.

And those who live away from the war zones must consider themselves very fortunate these days. But is it really so? What about the wars going within every individual? What about the discontent over unfulfilled desires and struggles of everyday living? It is in this context, messages from Rawat on inner contentment acquire significance.

“I am not proposing any solutions to world problems. I do not have one. But what I am proposing is something many have proposed before me. For so long as people have debated their problems, there have been those who have said, “Look for your answers within you. Within you is the domain where you will find your peace.’’

My peace is within me. Your peace is within you. So many people think peace will come when we have controlled every single element that prevents it. That will not happen. That is not within my reach. But what is within my reach is within myself.’’

Having said so, the teacher adds that his effort is to make possible self-knowledge available to people. “I just want to plow the field. I want to make the seed available so if people want it they can have it. If they do not want it, I am not forcing it. This is not a religion.’’

His use of the word ‘plow’ is significant. A wise farmer will plough the seedbed before sowing. Most religious teachers of the day rather seek to provide easy comfort to the listeners by telling them what they want to hear. The devout are told that all their problems will go away once they practice a certain yoga, some particular breathing exercise, or worship a certain deity. Or they prescribe formulae for success and prosperity as if there are magic wands to usher in health and prosperity; as if discipline and hard work could be dispensed with.

He activates the minds of his listeners and sets them thinking for themselves — he takes their mind off from petty philosophies and theories and drives home the point that there is no fixed formula for happiness. It has to be found within. This in itself is an achievement in this materialistic age when men seek to court happiness in a thousand shapes; and the faster he follows it, the swifter it flies from him. Almost everything promises happiness to us from a distance, but when we come nearer, either we fall short of it or it falls short of our expectations.

Malcolm Muggeridge, a renowned journalist, who dominated the western media scene until a decade ago, used to write very sarcastically about modern man’s attempt to find happiness. “Wealth increasing for evermore, and its beneficiaries rich in hire-purchase, stupefied with the telly and with sex, comprehensively educated, told by Prof Hoyle how the world began and by Bertrand Russell how it will end; venturing forth on the broad highways…heaven lying about them in the supermarket, the rainbow ending in the nearest bingo hall, leisure burgeoning out in multitudinous shining aerials rising like dreaming spires into the sky; happiness in as many colours as there are pills — green and yellow and blue and red and shining white; many mansions, mansions of light and chromium, climbing ever upwards.’’ Modern man’s idea of progress, he would conclude, is only an illusion.

Prem Rawat speaks of a peace that is already within each person, waiting to be discovered — a peace that, he says, we own the power to make real. He exhorts the audience to realise the preciousness of this life, of this breath: “This breath is so valuable that no one, even with great riches, can buy one. We want happiness in our lives, and with what we see as the greatest wealth — money — we buy things.

Yet, if what we are trying to buy is happiness, it is already inside of us. But it is not in use. And in this process, we waste our most precious commodity — our breath.”

He believes that peace begins within a person. “Peace begins within me and when it has taken hold of me, when I have allowed it to blossom, then peace for me is also possible on the outside. When the people of the world are at peace, there will be peace in the world.”

Prior to the event in the Jawaharlal stadium, he had held 20 events in the north and south of the country. Everywhere the events attracted large audiences. For the past 30 years, Maharaji has continuously travelled to all the six major continents addressing millions on inner contentment and personal happiness.

If you talk with anyone who has had a close brush with death, you will find someone who is glad to be alive. For instance there is the testimony of a lady who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a young wife and mother of two children. Excellent medical care and God’s grace saved her life. She says there has never been a morning since that experience that she has not awakened and thanked God for the opportunity to live another day. Maharaji would like us to contemplate on the preciousness of this life without having to wait for a shocking experience to shake us out of our dullness. For additional information, please visit

M P K Kutty


No religion preaches violence: CJ
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
Expressing concern over the mounting global unrest and the ongoing war in Iraq, former Chief Justice B. N Kirpal said that no religion preached violence.

He was speaking at a function organised to mark the release of Dr I. M. Singh’s book, ‘My Search for God,’ here today. The author, who is a practising physician based in the United Kingdom, claims his book is about the irony of God as with growing global unrest it seems God never existed.

In his own words, “ I am unhappy with God, but this does not mean that the intention of the book is to undermine anybody’s outlook on his or her religion”.

Dr I. M. Singh went on to add that he had profound respect for Lord Ram and Krishna, Lord Buddha and Jesus, without whom we would still have been in the Stone Age. He, however, added that we had reached an age where we had to make a choice between religious mythology and rational science.


Artful robbers caught
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
North district police today claimed to have busted a gang of robbers who operated at ISBT in the garb of tonga-pullers. They were identified as Gulam Farid, kingpin of the gang, his associates Khalid alias Kodi, Nanhe and Salim.

During interrogation, they disclosed that they operated in crowded places like Old Delhi Railway Station and ISBT. They picked up the passengers from the ISBT, Old Delhi Railway Station or New Delhi Railway Station and made them sit on the front seat of tonga and placed their suitcases on the rear seat. On the way, three members of the gang sat on the rear seat and opened the suitcase or briefcase of the victims, using the masterkey. Thus, they removed their valuables, the police said.

House ransacked

The Mehrauli police arrested a youth on the charge of robbery today. The suspect, Lakshman and his associates rang the doorbell of Madan Lal early this morning when he and his family members were asleep. As soon as the victim opened the door, the suspects entered the house and overpowered Madan Lal and started ransacking the house. While the suspects were ransacking the house, wife of the victim got up and raised the alarm. Neighbours came out and overpowered Lakshman while his accomplices escaped. The police have registered a case of robbery and are making efforts to nab the accused.

Paani Panchayats

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday said 100 applications had been received for setting up Paani Panchayats and that MLA funds would be used for the same.

Detailing her government’s efforts in solving the problems of the rural areas, Mrs Dikshit said officials had been instructed to go on weekly rounds of the areas under their jurisdiction.

Harmony Awards

The Editor of ‘Frontline’, Mr N Ram, and an NGO, Bal Ashram were today awarded the Ramakrishna Jaidayal Harmony Awards for the year 2002 by Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Speaking on the occasion, Sri Sri Ravishankar praised the efforts of the Organisation of Understanding and Fraternity (OUF) to help mankind understand the meaning of universal brotherhood.

He said, “It is imperative for peace that the heart and the mind should be opened. The only way to brotherhood is mutual trust, wisdom, knowledge and greater understanding of one’s own self.”

The OUF general secretary, Ms Nafees Kahn, said that the organisation honours luminaries from the field of journalism and voluntary organisations for their achievements and contribution in fighting the divisive tendencies like regionalism, communalism and casteism.

The awards, given at a function in the Capital, carry a cash prize of Rs 100,000 and a silver plaque. The evening began with a musical programme presented by the children of Masoom, an organisation dedicated to the uplift of mentally challenged children.


Robbery bid foiled, six gangsters held
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, March 29
The Ganaur police have foiled a robbery bid and arrested six gangsters from a tubewell in the fields of Garhi Keshri village last evening. The police have recovered two knives, iron rods and leather belts from them.

According to information, on receiving information, a police party led by the ASI Dhanpat Singh, conducted a raid and took them in custody.

The gangsters reportedly admitted that they were planning to loot the villagers. They are identified as Praveen of Shamri village, Praveen and Vinay Kumar of Dehra village in Panipat district, Ajit of Kathura, Sandeep of Lalheri Khurd and Pravesh of Lalheri Kalan.

Sarpanch suspended

The sarpanch of Jatola vilalge in Kharkhoda Development Block has been placed under suspension by the deputy commissioner on charges of committing irregularities in the food-for-work programme.

According to the complaint of the villagers, sarpanch Om Prakash had allegedly got the work of digging done with a JCB machine much against the government’s order to complete the work by employing casual labourers. He was supposed to give employment to them under the programme.

Xen granted bail

District and Session Judge S.K. Sardana has granted bail to executive engineer S.C. Singla who was arrested by the vigilance team while accepting illegal gratification from a contractor of the PWD department.

However, the SDO V P Chhabra and JE S.D. Sharma who were also arrested the same day were refused bail.

Loan defaulter

Jhajjar: The local branch of the Punjab National Bank today possessed the factory premises of a loan defaulter in Kharhar village of the district today.

A PNB press note stated that the bank issued a loan of Rs 17,90,000 to Mr Anoop in 1997. The bank then issued a recall notice under the Securitisation Act for recovery of the loan in November last year. Again, the bank issued 30 days possession notice, but the amount was still not returned.

Bar Association

In a sudden development, around 18 members of the Bar Association in Bahadurgarh unilaterally declared a parallel executive body of the Bar without holding election.

According to information, some advocates called a meeting which was attended by around 18-20 members of the Bar

Association, out of a total membership of 86, and announced the new executive body including Mr Virender Dalal as President, Mr Narender Chhillar as vice-president, Mr Inderjeet Bhardwaj as secretary, Mr Virender Dahiya as treasurer and Mr Chand Singh as joint secretary.

VAT ‘effigy’ burnt

An ‘effigy’ of VAT was burnt amid anti-government slogans raised by the traders here today.

According to a report, the traders also resolved to join the proposed countrywide bandh on March 31 and April 1 against the implementation of the VAT.

Automatic exchange

Mr A K Nagpal, Chief General Manger, Telecom, Haryana Circle inaugurated the 9 K Trunk automatic exchange and upgraded customer service centre here today.,

According to a report, Mr R C Hooda, General Manager Telecom, Sonepat District and other officials were present on the occasion. The total capacity of Sonepat main exchange has been increased by 14,932 lines and the telephone numbers by 7,671. New exchanges at Pinana, Khanda and Teori village have been opened whereas Sonepat, Kundli and Sector 15 RSO were commissioned.


Headless body recovered on railway track
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 29
The Government Railway Police (GRP) recovered a headless body of an unidentified man lying on the railway track between Sonepat and Sandal Kalan railway stations about 3 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the GRP officials made a series of attempts to recover the head of the victim but in vain. The body has been sent to the PGI, Rohtak for a post-mortem. The age of the victim is around 28 years.

Road accidents

A couple sustained serious injuries when their scooter was hit by a three-wheeler on the road between Barwasni and Kilorad village about seven km from here today.

According to a report, Mr Ramesh Shastri, a resident of Ashok Vihar along with his wife Mrs Roshni, was going on a scooter when it was hit by a three-wheeler on the way. Both the husband and wife fell from it and suffered serious injuries. Both were taken to the local civil hospital and stated to be out of danger. The police have registered the case and further investigation was on.

According to another report, a tractor-trolley and a truck collided on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh Road near here last evening. None was hurt in the accident. The truck rammed into a private hospital and damaged the electricity wires of a poll.


Two contract killers held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
With the arrest of two contract killers, the North-West district today claimed to have solved a case of attempt to murder and robbery that took place on March 28 in Azad Pur area. The police have recovered a country-made pistol, three live cartridges and a knife from them.

The accused Bobby (24) and Ram Dev alias Babu alias Gupta (22), resident of Jehangir Puri, were nabbed when they tried to fire at the complainant Raj Kumar (38), resident of Jehangir Puri, who owns a vegetable shop in Rohini.

When Raj Kumar and his brother Om Parkash (40), went to Azad Pur Subzi Mandi to procure vegetables, the accused fired a round at Raj Kumar, but it misfired.

When the complainant tried to escape, the assailants chased and tried to rob them. The beat constables present nearby sensed some trouble and rushed to the spot. While the two were overpowered by the police, others escaped under the cover of darkness.

During interrogation, one of the accused Bobby told the police that Raj Kumar was partner with Suraj Pal and Zafar Ali, both residents of Jehangir Puri in vegetable business. Due to some differences between them, they split and the vegetable shop came in the hands of Raj Kumar.

But Pal and Ali wanted the shop back. They tried to eliminate Raj Kumar with the help of contract killers and agreed to pay Rs 1,26,000 for executing the plan. Pal also procured the weapons from Ghaziabad and provided them to Bobby.

The police are making efforts to trace other accomplices Mukesh, Ram Chander and Ram Dev.Back

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