Tuesday, April 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Can Delhi roads be freed of the VVIP menace?
Advani uses chopper to hop to Mehrauli, that will be 
the norm now 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
If the authorities adopt the new policy of ferrying VIPs attending public functions in the Capital by helicopter, traffic snarls, heartburn caused to the public and security breaches on sanitised routes may soon be a thing of the past.

To avoid inconvenience to the general public, especially students, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, today set the ball rolling by deciding to use helicopter services while moving in and around the national Capital.

Official sources said Mr Advani decided not to go by road to avoid inconvenience to the people, particularly students appearing for their exams, and also to prevent the resultant traffic snarls in the already beleaguered city which boasts of the highest number of vehicles in the country.

The Deputy Prime Minister will now use a helicopter to attend functions in and around the Capital, they added. As a part of the exercise, Mr Advani today arrived in a helicopter to attend the 40th anniversary of the Special Service Bureau (SSB) at its headquarters at Ghitorni on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road.

The traffic on this usually congested road continued unhampered even as the VIP reached the venue and returned much to the relief of thousands of commuters who use this stretch of road every day.

During the past few weeks, many students failed to appear for their exams due to the VIP movement, which has also been causing regular traffic jams on the Delhi roads. There have also been reports of even the sick being unable to receive emergency medical aid as the security considerations demand stopping of all traffic on VIP routes. Such disruptions have evoked strong public criticism with often the VIP himself becoming the target of public ire.

Those in favour of the new VIP transport policy claim that ferrying by helicopter would be safer and leave a large number of police and security personnel free to pursue their regular duties. It would also prevent security breaches. Earlier this year unauthorised people stumbled on to the sanitised VIP routes of the Prime Minister and the President, giving nightmares to those responsible for their security.

Also, coordination between different agencies responsible for VIP security would be much easier if helicopters are used as it would involve less personnel and briefing them accurately would also be simpler.

These sources said a proposal to procure a fleet of helicopters exclusively for the use of VIPs in the National Capital Territory region was mooted several months ago and now that Mr Advani, who is among the most protected persons in the country because of the threat perception, had made a beginning, things might move faster.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, which is headed by Mr Advani, is the nodal ministry handling matters relating to VIP security.


Traders fuss over VAT, down shutters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
A two-day countrywide traders’ bandh began today in protest against the introduction of VAT regime from tomorrow. The bandh call was given by the Bharat Udyog Vyapar Mandal and the Confederation of All-India Traders. Traders claimed the bandh was “a grand success” in the national capital region. Initial reports indicated that the bandh was near total with trading and business activities in posh Connaught Place, Central Delhi and North Delhi areas coming to a grinding halt.

Similarly, in areas like Sadar Bazar, Khari Baoli and Azadpur business was virtually paralysed with an overwhelming response in the wholesale markets.

In major South Delhi market centres, including South Extension and Lajpat Nagar, shops were closed as today is the weekly off for them. (The central government has explained that small traders do not come under the ambit of VAT as there is a threshold limit ranging from Rs 3-5 lakh of turnover.)

Rohtak: Traders here observed a total bandh. The President, Haryana Beopar Mandal, Mr Lakshmi Chand Gupta, said traders would down shutters on Tuesday also. The industrial units located here, however, functioned as before. Mr D. K. Jain, President, District Industries Association, said VAT did not apply to industry. The response was unprecedented. No shop, including tea-stalls, dhabas and paan kiosks, were open on Monday. The agitated traders staged a dharna at Bhiwani Stand and raised slogans against VAT and the central and state governments. They demanded immediate withdrawal of the proposal.

Mr Gupta said though the adjoining states of Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh were not implementing VAT, the Haryana Government appeared to be in a hurry to impose the tax.

Sonepat: The response to the bandh was partial: the main markets remained closed but shops stayed open in the interior. The call was given by the Haryana Pradesh Beopar Mandal and the Bharat Udyog Vyapar Mandal.

Panipat: Almost 95 per cent of business establishments, factories, manufacturing units, shops and other industrial units remained closed. However, some chemists, tea stall owners and a few auto spare parts dealers and mechanics kept their establishments open.

The bandh is scheduled for two days but it is likely to continue for an indefinite period in response to a call by Panipat Blanket Association, the Panipat Velvet Association and the Panipat Handloom Association. These bodies are also protesting against the imposition of excise duty of 11.5 per cent on blankets and textile yarns.

During a visit to different markets, including the industrial areas, Amar Bhawan Chowk, Sethi Chowk, Palika Bazar, Jatal road, Insaar Bazar, Model Town tehsil camp, it was found almost all shops and industries were closed since morning. Representatives of various traders’ organisations were found moving in the markets to ensure total compliance. The district administration had taken precautionary measures by deploying police personnel in the main markets.

Bhiwani: The bandh was total. Traders at Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Siwani and Loharu took out processions and raised slogans like ‘Kala kanoon vaapis lo’.

Local traders submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner wherein a demand was made to withdraw the anti-trader and anti-public Bill. The president of the Bhiwani Beopar Mandal, Mr Pyare Lal Rangwala, claimed the bandh was total.

Ghaziabad: A bandh was also observed in Noida, Ghaziabad, Modi Nagar, Dadri, Bulandshahr, Surajpur, Hapur, Bhanghel, Bilaspur and Dinkore. The effect could be said to be around 80 per cent in Noida.


Shy of privatisation, Sheila proposes water regulatory commission
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday ruled out privatisation of the water utility but said a regulatory commission would be set up on the lines of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to oversee the water distribution. She is chairperson of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB.)

Addressing reporters after DJB Chief Executive Officer PK Tripathi presented the budget estimates for the year 2003-2004, the chief minister told them that despite a deficit budget there would be no hike in water tariff.

The plan allocation for 2003-4 has been pegged at Rs 650 crore. Mr Tripathi has proposed an increase in the revenue receipts to Rs 487.62 crore, as against the revised budget estimate for 2002-2003 at Rs 454.73 crore, an increase of Rs 7.23 per cent. This increase was managed without any hike in tariff for domestic consumers, the CEO informed press persons.

The DJB was taking steps to augment water supply by boring 27 tube wells and re-boring 99 tube wells, Mr Tripathi informed. He said 24 underground reservoirs and booster pump stations were undertaken and commissioned during the year. About 10 underground reservoirs and booster pumping stations were shortly to be commissioned and 14 would be further taken up in the coming financial year.

Mr Tripathi said the DJB would continue to focus its attention simultaneously on micro and macro issues. Long-term investments were being made to set up water and sewage treatment plants, improving infrastructure by laying and replacing the pipelines. He also emphasised the need to improve work ethic and efficiency of the organisation through computerisation and imparting specialised training to the staff.

He said concrete measures would be taken to improve public awareness about water conservation and importance of rainwater harvesting.

Mr Tripathi said work on Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant was proceeding as per schedule and work for distribution and transmission lines has been awarded. The entire system was on schedule. He also gave the status of sewer lines in unauthorised / regularised colonies, urban villages and resettlement colonies.

During the year the DJB had replaced 180 km water lines and proposes to replace 200 km in the coming year. Construction of tube wells in the Palla area would be completed and commissioned, which would add another 20-25 MGD of water to the system. Adequate water was being supplied in unauthorised / regularised colonies and rural areas, urban villages and Harijan bastis through proper management and adequate control.


Number of I-T assessees swells in Noida
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 31
Noida has registered the fastest growth rate among income tax assessees in North India since 1992. This was stated by the Additional Commissioner, Income tax, Noida Zone, S. Rahman. He said the number of income tax payees had swelled from 20,000 in the year 2001 to over 37,000 by the end of the last quarter of this financial year.

This will clearly dispel the doubts in the public mind about the working of thw income tax department, Mr Rahman said while addressing a seminar organised by the Noida Entrepreneurs Association.

He said the income tax department had initiated many schemes for the benefit of the residents.

A new scheme 1/6 has been started for those whose annual income may be less than Rs. 50,000 but who own one of the six facilities identified by the department. If they own a residence in a city/urban area with 600 sq ft area or a godown or shop with 100 sq ft area or they possess a cellular phone, own a motor car, a credit card or have gone on a foreign visit or are a member of a club with a membership fee of Rs. 25,000, they have to file an income tax return.

Assistant Income Tax Commissioner N K Nele said the department had even coined a new slogan. Although the number of income tax payees has increased in the recent years, considerable improvement is needed in the system.


Frantic efforts to extricate labourers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 31
Despite frantic efforts for more than 20 hours, the administrative machinery has failed to extricate two persons who were buried nearly 35-feet deep in mud while digging a well in the field of a farmer of village Sandal Khurd on Sunday afternoon.

The administration today reportedly deployed a JCB machine as the one which was used yesterday could not dig deeper than 20 feet. The rescue operation was abandoned at midnight.

The rescue operation is being supervised by DSP Gannaur and BDO Sonepat. The officers were keeping their fingers crossed when the reports last came; they have pinned their hopes on the JCB machine as it is not possible to dig out the buried persons manually.

It will be recalled that two persons — Prakash (32) and Harii (20) — residents of Rajasthan were buried alive in mud while digging a well in the fields of one Azad Singh of Sandal Khurd on Sunday afternoon. The police and administration officers were immediately informed about the incident. Prakash, a father of five children, originally hails from Sadalpur village; and Hari, who has one child, is a resident of village Mandri in Karoli of Rajasthan. They, along with other labourers, have been digging the well for the last four days. The well had been dug till 35 feet when the incident took place.

PUC certificate: deadline lapses

New Delhi: The Government of NCT of Delhi has declined to extend its deadline expiring at midnight today for carrying a computerised Pollution Under Control Certificate having the photograph of the number plate of the vehicle despite long queues of people being seen at the petrol stations.

“Just for the sake of two or three days of inconvenience, government would not modify its order,” Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.

In a bid to make pollution control laws more stringent, the government has directed the drivers to carry a “proper and valid” computerised PUC Certificate having the photograph of the number plate of the vehicle from tomorrow and failing to do so, the drivers will be challaned with Rs 1,000 for first and Rs 2,000 for subsequent offences.


Lawyers slug it out on Bar premises
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, March 31
The struggle for supremacy threatened to turn violent as rival factions of the District Bar Association confronted each other today in the Bar room for control of the premises and attendant facilities.

Both the parties claimed to be the real executive body of the DBA and allegedly arrived at the Bar room armed with weapons and held out threats to each other.

A resolution of the District Bar Association was adopted at a meeting in which Mr Naseeb Kadian, president, alleged that former president Kapoor Singh Sahrawat had made life threats to him in a telephonic call on March 29. Mr Sahrawat had allegedly said that his group would capture the Bar premises on March 31 and if he dared to intervene, he would face dire consequences. Other members of the Bar who interfered in their activities would also be eliminated, it is alleged.

The resolution further said that six lawyers, including Satish Chahar, Yash Pal Saini, Kapoor Singh Sahrawat, Bijender Saklan, Jaideep Punia and Navin Rahar along with at least 10 outsiders, one of them being Praveen of Dighal village, entered the Bar library armed with deadly weapons. They asked the current members of the DBA body to vacate the premises and allegedly threatened to kill them. In the interim, 100 other advocates assembled there, following which the group of six and their supporters fled.

The executive body of the Bar Association lodged a complaint against them and demanded registration of a criminal case. They also announced they would strike work till the case was registered and the accused arrested.

The group led by Mr Sahrawat and Mr Jaideep Punia complained that when they reached the Bar room, members of the group led by Mr Chahar whipped out pistols and threatened to shoot them, if they did not go away.

In a complaint to the police, Mr Punia said following a controversy in June last year over voting rights to advocates they had split and formed their separate association, which was registered. He said the high court in an order had upheld the voting rights of 171 advocates who were debarred in the previous election. On June 15, two separate elections for the executive body were held inside the Bar compound.

He claimed that as theirs was a registered association they should have control over the Bar facilities. But the members of the unrecognised Bar association stopped them from entering the Bar room. He said the Bar was the joint property of all members, irrespective of whether there were two or more associations.

Mr Punia said members of the unregistered Bar were stopping members of the registered one from using the facilities. They also demanded registration of criminal cases against the rival advocates.

The police are hearing out both the groups. No case had been registered till the filing of this report.


Delhi advocate killed

Rewari: Subhan Lal, an advocate of Delhi, his wife and two others were killed when their car collided with a truck on National Highway 8 near Asalwas village, 12 km from here, today. Two other members of his family were injured seriously. OC


Nauchandi Mela begins under shadow of war 
Our Correspondent

Meerut, March 31
North India’s famous religious fair-turned-commercial exhibition 810th Nauchandi Mela began yesterday at 6.45 pm amidst bursting of crackers. Colourfully decorated and illuminated stalls have started coming up at the mela ground.

A symbol of communal harmony, the Nauchandi Fair was inaugurated by the Commissioner of Meerut division, Mr Nepal Singh Ravi, by cutting a ribbon and releasing colourful balloons.

The Commissioner, however, cautioned the cops to be alert in view of the war in the Gulf.

He paid floral tributes to Dr B. R. Ambedkar and Indira Gandhi and also at the statue of Bharat Mata. He performed puja at the famous Nauchandi Temple and presented a sheet to the shrine of Balen Miyan.

Both these religious places are situated opposite to each other and are visited by each visitor at the Nauchandi Mela.

The fair is still to pick up its true colours as participants are still setting up their stalls. It will attain its full glory within a week. It was formally inaugurated yesterday as per the tradition that it is to be started on the second Sunday after Holi.

Speaking on the occasion, the Commissioner asked all visitors and residents of Meerut to maintain communal harmony and enjoy the exhibition.

He said that the exhibition plays a great role in social harmony and an equally great part in boosting economic activities.

He called upon the policemen to be fully alert and asked them to keep an eye on the bad elements in view of the ongoing US war on Iraq. He claimed that the administration has ensured better civic amenities, medical aid and educational stalls this time.

He hopped that this year’s fair would leave an indelible mark on the minds of lakhs of visitors.


BSNL opens nine new exchanges
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 31
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has opened new telephone exchanges at Pinana, Khanda, Teori, Ganaur RSU, OCB 283 at Sonepat, Kundli, Gohana Road, Sonepat and Sector 15 in the city.

Disclosing this, Mr R. C. Hooda, General Manager, Telecommunications, Sonepat district, told mediapersons here today that the nigam has implemented the computerised wide-area network at Sonepat, Ganaur, Kundli and Kharkhauda. All commercial activities have been made online after the implementation of the computerised wide-area network and the advice notes in the above-mentioned areas are being issued through this network. This, he claimed, has greatly reduced the paper work.

He also disclosed that ISND services are available in Sonepat and Kundli telephone exchanges of this district after the commissioning of 7 K new technology OCB exchange. A new technology, 9 K AXE-10 TAX, has been commissioned in the city. This will improve the connectivity of Sonepat district with other districts. Long-distance services will also show great improvement and will be more stable and reliable. During 2002-2003, a total of nine OFC rings were proposed for providing alternate transmission for various exchanges. This work is already in progress, he said.

According to Mr Hooda, mobile connections are also being provided in Sonepat SSA and a total of 1,375 (1,200 Cell One and 175 Excel) connections have been granted. Three online cash counters, two in Sonepat and one at Gohana, have been started for payment of telephone bills. The online payment facility will reduce wrong disconnection of telephones. Caller ID facility has been introduced in 44 exchanges of Sonepat district and Internet connections are available on demand. The customer service centre at Sonepat has been upgraded with the facility for telephone bills payment and issuing of duplicate bills. 


Fire in cotton mill causes loss of Rs 25 lakh
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 31
A large quantity of cotton and other machinery worth about Rs 25 lakh were reduced to ashes in a devastating fire which broke out in a cotton mill at Rasoi village about 15 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the fire caused by a short-circuit, spread across a blow room. This caused panic among the workers engaged in the work. They immediately informed the officials of the fire-brigade at Sonepat. On receiving information, two fire brigades were rushed to the site and brought the blaze under control within two hours. A similar fire had already caused a huge financial loss to the management. The police are still investigating the case.

Freedom fighter dead

Mr Ram Gopal Arya, a veteran freedom fighter and Congress leader died here yesterday. He was 85. According to a report, the body was cremated today. A number of people accompanied the funeral procession.

Mr Arya was associated with Arya Samaj and other social, religious, voluntary organisations and educational institutions of the region. Leaders of various political parties and other organisations paid tributes to Mr Arya.

Certain educational institutions remained closed for the day as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

Centres for exams

The Board of School Education Haryana has set up as many as 117 examination centres for the annual middle and matriculation examinations commencing from April 1 and April 2 respectively in the district.

According to a report, the time of the examination has been fixed between 1.30 pm and 4.30 pm.

The Board has constituted eight flying squads to check copying. The annual examinations for middle and matriculation standard will be held on alternate days. Five types of question papers will be distributed by the Board.

Rally against US attack

A number of workers affiliated to the Leftists parties, particularly CITU took out a procession here today in protest against the attack on Iraq.

According to a report, carrying placards and raising slogans against the US and the UK, they marched through the main bazaars of the city and reached the mini secretariat where they held a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office. The procession was led among others, by Mr S N Solanki and Mr Howa Singh, both CITU leaders.

The leaders of various trade unions called on the DC and submitted a memorandum to him for forwarding it to the President of India demanding an immediate stoppage of the war against Iraq.

Eight hurt

As many as eight persons were injured, two of them seriously, in an accident near Murthal on GT Road today. The injured have been referred to a trauma centre in Delhi.

According to information, Ravi, Sheela, Neetu, Billu, Kamal, Chaman Lal, Mukul and Kulwinder (Driver)— residents of Ludhiana in Punjab were returning from Gurgaon after performing a religious ceremony in the morning today in Sumo van..

Just 5 km from the Murthal Chowk on GT Road, the Sumo overturned due to tyre burst.

On receiving information, the highway patrol police reached the spot and brought the injured to Civil Hospital. Ravi and two-year-old Mukul, being in serious condition, were referred to the trauma centre.

Four killed

Four persons have reportedly lost their lives in different incidents including road accidents during past 20 hours in the district.One Rajnish of Ambala who was travelling in Himalayan Queen train last night, was struck against a pole when he tried to look at the railway station form the moving train just a minute before the train stoppage at Sonepat railway station. Before taking to hospital, he reportedly succumbed to injuries.

One Rajbir of village Kumaspur has reportedly died of burning in the night. He was brought to the civil hospital in serious condition, and he was brought to the civil hospital in serious condition, and he was referred to the PGIMS Rohtak. But he died on the way, afer postmortem, his body has been handed over to his family.

In two other road accidents- one near Kundli on GT road and other near Kharkhoda on Rohtak-Sonepat road, during night , two persons have reportedly lost their lives. The identity of the victims is yet to be ascertained.


Britannica brings out compendium on 
Indian visual art
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the President of India, today received Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Art of India - Prehistory to the Present at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, publishers of high-quality reference, education and learning products, have brought to visual art lovers a unique and aesthetically appealing scholarly insight into the history of art, from prehistory to the present.

Tracing the history of visual art of India, Art of India - Prehistory to the Present is divided into three sections — Historical Record, a logical periodization; Genres in Context, Indian art by media, including architecture, painting, sculpture, epigraphy, photography, textiles, crafts, and numismatics; and Guide to the Arts, over 111 comprehensive articles that highlight places of interest, art forms, and famous art-world personalities who have left an indelible mark in the world of visual art.

Written and compiled by world-renowned scholars and experts, the book has been edited by Prof Frederick M. Asher of the University of Minnesota.

This compendium of visual art, Art of India, is invaluable for art connoisseurs the world over. A first of its kind from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Art of India is yet another significant landmark in its mission to consistently provide new, exciting, well-researched products for the Indian and the international markets. Art of India, spread over 600 pages, is priced at Rs 2,700.


Good governance key to socio-economic growth’
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, March 31
Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of the two-day national seminar on ‘Social Transformation in Haryana: Issues and Problems’, eminent demographer and social scientist Dr Ashis Bose said that good governance holds the key to furthering socio-economic development. The seminar is being organised by the Sociology Department of Maharshi Dayanand University.

Dr Bose pinpointed rampant casteism, the dismal state of women and the neglect of youth as the major problems plaguing Haryana vis-a-vis social development. Unemployment and corruption add to these problems, he added. He suggested that Haryana should utilise `sports’ as an industry to channel the youth force. He called upon the Sociology Department to prepare a social development report for the state to facilitate social transformation.

Earlier Vice Chancellor Maj-Gen (Retd) Bhim Singh Suhag called for a paradigm shift for meaningful social change in the state. He emphasised on harmonious socio-economic transformation for all-round development of Haryana. He expressed concern at the adverse sex ratio in the state and said that the seminar would ponder over such relevant social issues.

The director of the seminar and Head of the Sociology Department, Dr K. S. Sangwan, deliberated upon the themes of the seminar. He pleaded for a sociological approach to tackle the problems of the state. 


TBWA bags first place in Delhi Ad Club quiz contest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
The TBWA India bagged the first prize at the 11th DACAMM Quiz-2003 conducted by India’s well-known quizmaster, Mr Derek `O Brien today in New Delhi. An annual quiz event organised by the Delhi Advertising Club (DAC) had 24 teams from leading corporate houses, advertising agencies, publication groups and public sector undertakings.

The teams from the Indian Express and the NTPC got the second and third prize respectively. Cash prizes of Rs 15,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 7,500 were awarded to the winning teams. In the semi-final round, out of 24 teams, six teams from TBWA-India, the India Express, NTPC (two teams) Percept Advertising and R K Swamy BBDO qualified in the semi-final round.

The quiz comprised general rounds, audio/video rounds, buzzer and computer-generated rounds. The event was sponsored by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and co-sponsored by the Indian Express.

The prizes were distributed to the winning teams by Mr G. K. Dhawan, president (DAC) and others.


Govt losing trade tax for want of checkpost
Our Correspondents

Jahangirpur (Noida), March 31
The officials of the Trade Tax department seem to be fiddling while the state exchequer is suffering revenue loss of lakhs of rupees here.

There is no checkpost of the Trade Tax department in the area. The tax officials do not seem to have proper understanding with the police officials, sales tax, civil supplies and transport departments.

This negligence results in revenue loss of lakhs of rupees to the state government.

Trucks laden with the iron rods, steel, food stuffs, retail goods are being brought from Haryana, Delhi, Mathura, Agra, Muzaffarnagar to various destinations like Javer, Khurja, Rabupura, Kakode, Jahangirpura Jhajhar without paying any tax for want of a trade tax post in the area. It is seldom that the tax officials check vehicles in this part of the state.

Vet welfare assistants flay HAU

Rewari: Veterinary and Live Stock Development Assistants (VLDAs) of Rewari district flayed the authorities of Haryana Agriculture University for not implementing the state government’s decision to raise the minimum qualification from matriculation to 10 plus two for admission to the diploma course of VLDA.

In a resolution adopted at their district-level convention here today, they denounced the HAU authorities for asking the state government to reconsider this decision instead of implementing it in the first instance. They also urged the state government to initiate measures to ensure the implementation of the above decision in HAU, Hisar from the ensuing session.

Mr Hitesh Kumar, deputy general secretary of the Diploma Veterinary Association Haryana, said the HAU authorities had adopted an arbitrary posture in doing so. The convention was chaired by its district president Mr Dharam Singh Yadav.

Anti-US protest

New Delhi: The Committee Against War on Iraq held a protest march through the streets of Old Delhi against the US aggression on Iraq. The demonstration was held in response to the call given by major opposition parties to observe March 31 as an anti-war protest day. TNS


Trains cancelled due to derailment 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
Local trains in Delhi were cancelled due to derailment of two goods trains between Brar Square and Safdarjung Railway Station this morning. Nine coaches of the train derailed.

Spokesman of Northern Railway said that the incident occurred at 2 am when the train was going towards Haryana. No casualty was reported in the incident. Derailed coaches fell on the opposite track resulting the derailment of another goods train coming from the opposite direction which was carrying kerosene. Engine and a few coaches full of kerosene also derailed.

Though no casualty was reported in the incident, kerosene of lakhs of rupees was destroyed. Office-goers faced difficulty and reached offices late. The passengers had to wait for hours for buses as there are fewer buses in the Capital due to change of private buses into CNG mode. According to the spokesman, the train service on the track was resumed in the evening as the derailed coaches were shifted from the track. A committee has been constituted to find the cause of the derailment, he said.

Legal aid centre

A legal aid centre was inaugurated by Chief Justice of Delhi B.C Patel today for the workers of Mayapuri Industrial Area. While inaugurating the centre, he said that resolution of disputes by way of conciliation is the best method to achieve eternal peace and happiness. Referring to the rights of workers, the Chief Justice said that the management should keep the welfare of workers uppermost in mind and resolve the disputes with sincere efforts so as to build up a strong and prosperous India, a press release said.

Navratra festival

Sri Santoshi Mata Mandir, Hari Nagar, Jail Road, New Delhi will celebrate its 62nd Navratra festival with great fervour. The festival will start on April 2 by Mr Shamsher Bahadur Saxena and his wife Mrs Kanta Saxena, founders of the temple by lighting up the holy Akhand Jyoti at 8.00 am. Famous troups will perform sankirtan and bhajans daily from April 2 till April 10 from 2 pm to 2 am. Bhandara will be served daily from 3 pm to 10 pm. Vishal Bhagwati Jagran will be performed on April 10 from 9 pm onwards. Arrangements have been made for drinking water, clockroom, security, medical aid and cleanliness.


Pak national held for staying illegally
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 31
The Delhi Police arrested a Pakistani national who had been staying here illegally and helping terrorists carrying out subversive activities. Mohammad Yamin (33), hailing from Multan in Pakistan, was arrested from the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Kashmere Gate area of North Delhi, police said.

The police said some foreign currency and Rs 1,100 in Indian currency, suspected to be fake, were recovered from him. During interrogation, Yamin disclosed that he had been entering India illegally to carry out smuggling using ‘sawaris’ (couriers) who would travel by the now-halted Amritsar-Lahore Samjhauta Express. He has been arrested under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act and is being interrogated about his links with the ISI and terrorist groups, the police said.

DSFDC official held

The Anti-Corruption Branch of the city government today claimed to have arrested an official of the DSFDC, Satish Kmar, and another person, Vishnu Dutt, for allegedly demanding and accepting Rs 1,000 as illegal graft. According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mrs Garima Bhatnagar, one Sunder Lal had applied for a loan of Rs 50,000 two years ago but he could not get it. The complainant visited the DSFDC office several times and met the official who reportedly demanded Rs 1,000 for clearing the loan. The complainant contacted the Anti-Corruption Branch. A raid was conducted and they were arrested.

Gang of dacoits smashed

An inter-state gang of dacoits, who were operating in the Samai Pur Badli area of North-West district, was busted. The also claimed to have solved more than four cases of dacoity with the arrest of three members of the gang after a brief encounter in the area and recovery one country-made weapon, one button-actuated knife and a live cartridge.


Security guard among two killed in factory
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 31
Two persons, including a security guard, were killed in a plastic factory in Arya Nagar area of Loni last night. The bodies were found in a room in the factory in the morning. Both security guard Shiv Sagar and the other person, unidentified so far, were in their early 40s.

The police have recovered some liquor bottles, three glasses, eatables and a water jug from the room. The police are now looking for the third person who had had drinks with the deceased.

The murders had possibly taken place after all the workers had left the premises. Incidentally, a relative of Shiv Sagar is believed to be missing.

According to SO Sihani Gate police station, C.P. Singh, one Mukesh Yadav had been arrested last night from Bahalolpur village in Sector-58 of Noida. Mukesh Yadav is believed to be facing a murder rap. The police are interrogating the youth.

Meanwhile, the discovery of five bodies in Noida in the last three days from different locations has rattled the residents here. None of the bodies has been identified by the police.

Three bodies were recovered from near a canal under Jahangirpur Police station area; two more bodies were recovered from the Dadri police station area.

One of the bodies found near the canal is possibly a case of natural death. According to the police, the person had died after an attack of some disease similar to epilepsy.

All the aforesaid deceased were between 25 and 28 years. The police have failed to identify the bodies, but it appears that the youths were killed elsewhere and their bodies were dumped in Jahangirpur area.


Gang of thieves smashed; goods, jewellery seized 
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 31
The Noida police today claimed to have busted a gang of thieves which specialised in pickpocketing and looting houses in broad daylight.

One Sukhbir provided a tip-off at Atta police post that some criminals who had looted Ms Sabha Ahmed’s house in B-80 Sector-27 on February 28 at the point of a dragger were trying to sell a stolen cell phone and a camera.

The criminals would go to Harola via Bank of Baroda in Sector-9, police were informed. Sudesh Gupta, SO Sector-20 police station formed a team to catch the suspects.

According to SP City Vijay Bhushan, the gang specialised in targeting the house when the menfolks were away. They would normally strike during daytime after terrorising the women with arms like dagger, knife etc.

Kirpal was their ringleader and a nimble-fingered pickpocket. They have committed up to 1,400 thefts, loots and picked the pockets of hundreds of people, Mr Vijay Bhushan said.

Affuser, son of Mohd Rafique of Hagalpur, Bihar; Ahmed, son of Mahinder, resident of Chhayesa, Faridabad; Mohd Sultan, son of Mohd Sharif of Mungher, Bihar; Mohd Azad s/o Mohd Zabir, were arrested. Two mobile phones, one camera, stolen from Ms Sabha’s house and some jewellery were recovered from them.

The case No 138/03 is registered in Sector-20 police station. The accused confessed that they had looted some of these items from a house in A Block of Sector-31 about 20 days ago. Over a month ago, they had looted a house in J Block of Sector-25 and stolen jewellery from there also.

The gang had committed thefts and loots in Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon, SP City Vijay Bhushan added.

The ringleader Ahmed, alias Babbloo, was absconding. Mohd, father of Altaf had worked in the house, the criminals had targeted on February 28 in Sector-27.


Centre should chalk out road-map on export schemes: PHDCCI
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 31
The president of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), Mr P.K. Jain, urged the Centre to chalk out and publicise a road-map in advance for the proposed consolidation of the various export incentive schemes so that the exporting community has enough time to adapt their operation to the likely changes. Although he did not dwell, there were indications that he was referring to the international scenario in connection with the present situation in Iraq.

Reacting to the annual amendments to the Export-Import policy announced by the Centre today, Mr Jain, who is also the founder president of the Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), complimented the government on recognising the service sector—entertainment, tourism, etc— as a significant engine of export growth.

He hoped that the focus given by the government to the development of infrastructure in export clusters will help in rapid development of the infrastructure facilities so that the competitiveness of the country’s exports in terms of cost and availability of infrastructure improves.

Welcoming the amendments, he expressed the view that the exporting community will be greatly relieved by the continuation of various duty neutralisation schemes, as stability in the policies is very essential, especially in the current scenario of global export pessimism and the emerging Iraq situation.

However, he regretted that like the enhanced flexibility of the EPCG scheme announced today by the government, it should also have provided more flexibility in the operation of advance licences, DEPB, DFRC, etc.

He hoped that the government’s plan to implement Electronic Data Inter-exchange will be pursued vigorously so that procedural transaction costs are minimised. High procedural transaction costs, by reducing margin to the exporters, reduce the incentive to export.

The proposed codification and consolidation of rules for SEZs and EOUs will reduce transaction costs, check revenue leakage and lead to the promotion of exports.

The special attention given by the government to the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is indeed essential, as they, in many countries, have radically contributed to the country’s export efforts, he added.

Also, with the continuation of the Focus LAC and increase in coverage of the Focus Africa programme and announcement today of the Focus CIS programme, it is hoped that there will be a distinct move towards market diversification of Indian exports.

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