Tuesday, April 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Special prayers mark Baisakhi celebrations
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
Baisakhi was celebrated with great enthusiasm across the city today. On the occasion of the birth celebrations of the Khalsa, special prayer meetings were held in gurdwaras.

In Gurdwara Majnu ka Tila Sahib, a huge congregation gathered for the special prayer meeting. The programme began with the recitation of Sukhmani Sahib and Nitnem followed by Asa di Var and shabad kirtan. Giani Sahib Singh, Head Granthi, recalled the lore about the formation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh on Baisakhi in 1699.

Baba Harbans Singh inaugurated the foundation stone of the Langar Hall and Guru Hargobind Sahib Nivas at Gurudwara Majnu ka Tila.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhajan Singh Walia, secretary, DSGMC, said Sikhism stood for social service and sacrifices against the tyranny of injustice.

The newly appointed office-bearers of the DSGMC assured the people that they would strive to fulfil the promises made at the time of the elections. DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna said they were not a parliament of politicians but meant to give a new outlook to the new generation. They also adopted the slogan, ‘truthful character through code of conduct’.

Siropas were presented to prominent members of the community and students who had performed well in Punjabi were awarded merit certificates. The vice-chairperson of the NDMC, Mr Ram Bhaj, unveiled the naming plaque of Guru Gobind Singh Marg, the circular road adjacent to Khalsa School and the gurdwara connecting B Avenue, Sarojini Nagar.

Mr Bhaj said that people passing the road would be reminded of the sacrifices made by the guru. Sardar Darshan Pal Singh, Pradhan of the Gurdwara Committee, recalled the sacrifices made by the Guru.

Apart from special prayers and religious discourses, free langars were organised in gurdwaras across the city.

The All-India Citizens Committee organised a meeting to pay tributes to the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The speakers urged the youth to come forward and fight terrorism.

President of the Sewadar Committee Raja Singh Sethi called for placing a ban on the use and sale of gutka and pan masala, especially near religious places. 



Residents caught in the crossfire between civic body chief and councillors
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Mahnedragarh, April 14
The residents of this town bear the brunt of poor civic amenities as the tussle between the councillors and the president of the local municipality continues.
The development takes an unusual turn as the rebels assert that they have passed a no-confidence motion against the president of the Municipal Council, Ms Shakuntala Mittal. However, Ms Mittal continues in office as she obtained a stay order in her favour from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. She had moved a petition against her ouster challenging the validity of the majority of votes cast by the rebels on the no-confidence motion. She had pleaded that the MP and the MLA did not take part in the voting on the motion.

The tug-of-war between the rebels in the Municipal Council and Ms Mittal has been going on for the past two years. The motion against her was moved and adopted by the majority of the elected councillors a few months back. As she has not been getting cooperation from the rebels, the local body is unable to do the business of passing resolutions with regard to the developmental works in the town. Even the routine administrative work of keeping the town clean has suffered. As the chain of command is apparently missing and the full House of the local body unable to conduct business, the scavengers and other staff have become work-shy. As a result, the township has virtually become an open dustbin. Even the public places and thoroughfares are found littered with garbage. There is stink all round. The residents regret that they had never seen such plight of the town in the past. With summer already in, there is always the danger of outbreak of diseases.

Sewerage system at many places has gone bust and there are a number of cases where dirty water and refuse are found stagnating on the streets and lanes of the town.

All the roads are in a state of disrepair. More than half of the streetlights are non-functional. Even while the authority of the president stood exposed after the elected councillors voted in favour of no-confidence motion, the High Court’s order a few days back, directing the government for action on grave charges against Ms Mittal, has further eroded her authority. The rebels have levelled serious charges against her, including that of corrupt practices.



Farmers resent non-purchase of wheat 
at support price
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 14
Resentment prevails among the farmers of this district against the non-purchase of wheat at the support price for the last three days by the officials of the procurement agencies.

According to a report, this has created a glut in various grain markets and the purchasing centres set up by the state government for the purchase of wheat from the farmers.

Many farmers sitting in the purchasing centre of Biswan Meel have alleged that the officials of the procurement agencies had not turned up there for the last three days and they are being forced to sit in the open and wait for the auction of their wheat. This is contrary to the claims of the state government and the district administration that wheat of the farmers would be purchased by the official agencies when it is marketed by them.

Some other farmers pointed out that this is the season for thrashing wheat and they have to work in their fields most of the time. But they have to wait for days together in the grain markets and the purchasing centres for selling their produce at the support price to the procurement agencies.

Several farmers alleged that the authorities have failed to make arrangement for the supply of drinking water in the mandis and the purchasing centres.

The authorities have also failed to provide toilet facilities to the farmers who are spending their nights in the markets and the purchasing centres.

The situation in other purchasing centres is also worse and the farmers are facing hardships in selling their produce.

Meanwhile, the representatives of various farmer organisations have criticised the district authorities and the officials of the procurement agencies for their failure to buy the wheat marketed by the farmers and warned that if the steps are not taken to improve the situation, the farmers have no alternative than to launch agitation and gherao the officials of the procurement agencies.



Transport strike likely to hike prices of 
essential commodities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
The All India Motor Transport Congress’ decision to refrain from plying trucks in protest against the frequent hike in diesel prices and Value Added Tax (VAT) is likely to put pressure on the prices of essential commodities like milk and vegetables as also other household products as the supply chain would be severely affected.

Transport Minister Ajay Maken, however, said the Government of NCT of Delhi had taken steps to stock essential commodities. The Capital has ‘ample’ stock of grain and other essential commodities in various markets sufficient for a month. Milk, oil and LPG also would be readily available. He, however, feared that there could be problem relating to the perishable items as the NCT of Delhi was largely dependent on the neighbouring states for the supply of fruit and vegetables.

The Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), an independent monitoring agency, has criticised the government for its ‘improper’ handling of the crisis. Senior Fellows Subrata Roy and S P Singh and analyst Rakesh Sethi have claimed that the levy of 20 per cent sales tax on diesel as against the four per cent sales tax on essential items was an anomaly. This, they asserted, displayed the ‘insensitivity’ and ‘irrationality’ of the government towards the transporters.

Meanwhile, life was disrupted in Faridabad as goods carriers and big trucks remained off the road today in the district on the first day of the nationwide strike observed by the All India Motor Transport Congress and the All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners Association.

However, vehicles including tempos, mini-trucks and light goods carriers have not joined the strike. The vehicles carrying essential commodities like gas cylinders, fruit, vegetables and other products have been spared from the agitation at present. All the same, strike by trucks and heavy duty vehicles may affect the industry here.

According to a spokesman of the Manufacturers Association and representatives of Industries Association, if the strike prolongs, it may affect the production and supply. Many units may be forced to stop their operations due to the lack of supply of raw material and finished goods to their destination. It may result in temporary retrenchment of workers, it is stated.



Haryana varsities face a mire of anarchy 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, April 14
Confusion and anarchy will beset the universities of Haryana in the days to come. Reason? Consequent upon the abolishment of the post of pro-vice-chancellors, there is no one to administer the university in the absence of the vice-chancellor.

The powers and duties of the pro-vice-chancellor in the absence of the vice-chancellor were: to preside over the meetings of the Executive Council, the Academic Council, the Finance Committee and the Selection Committee; to see that the provisions of the Act, the statutes, the ordinances and the regulations are duly observed; and to take necessary steps to ensure such observance; and to convene or cause to be convened the meetings of the Court, the Executive Council, the Acadmic Council, the Finance Committee and any other authority or body of the university.

Now the million-dollar question is: who would perform these duties? As per the acts of these universities, if a vice-chancellor is unable to perform his duties owing to his temporary incapacity on account of leave, illness or any other reason, or the office of vice-chancellor falls vacant due to any reason, the chancellor shall make such arrangements for the duties of vice-chancellor to be performed by some authority until the vice-chancellor joins. How would it be practised when a vice-chancellor goes abroad on leave or when he is taken ill.

Of course, the registrar happens to be the chief administrator officer of the university. But he also happens to be just a secretary of the faculty whose chairman is the dean of the faculty. In every university, there is a large number of faculties. Then, who can be the head of the university in the absence of the vice-chancellor?

Interestingly, in all the universities of Haryana, the registrars are appointed by the vice-chancellors temporarily till the regular selection is made by the chancellor on the advice of the government. In the case of Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar, this temporarily appointed registrar is a lecturer of some local private college. The registrars appointed temporarily in Kurukshetra and Maharshi Dayanand Universities are junior faculty members in the rank of reader.

Incidentally, the universities of Haryana come into the category of the best universities in the country as accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council of India. All these universities have excellent infrastructure, highly qualified teaching faculty, dedicated employees, and above all disciplined students. This makes it more important that the political leadership of the state should pay special attention to the needs of these universities.



Congress threatens protest over 
‘illegal construction’

Jhajjar, April 14
The state unit of the Congress has threatened to organise a demonstration in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner if the administration fails to take action within 15 days against the owners of the Shyam Complex in Bahadurgarh and the MC officials, who allowed the unauthorised construction, which caved in on Friday.

It has also demanded the demolition of the remaining part of the building immediately as it has become unsafe and poses a threat to the people living around the building. Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, spokesman of the HPCC, said here today that the Commissioner, Rohtak Range, had also commented that the building bylaws had been violated in the construction of the complex. He said it was a ‘shame’ that the ruling party politicians were defending the owner.

He demanded that the owner and other partners of the building, along with the officials of the Municipal Council, should be arrested under the law. The spokesman also issued a warning to the district administration, who had been ‘unnecessarily harassing’ the Congress workers at the instance of the INLD MLA, Mr Nafe Singh.

Reacting to the statement of the zila mahamantri of the INLD, Mr Baljeet Nandal, that the building was built after getting the necessary clearance from the local MC office, the Congress leader said that their statements in favour of the building owner had ‘exposed their involvement’.

He alleged that they were trying to use the influence of the government in hushing up the incident. Some politicians had been misleading the people by their propaganda and complicating the matter.

He said that an impartial inquiry would unravel the true story. He said that all the shops in the complex had been sold in advance and asked the administration to cancel those deals immediately.

Mr Nandal, on the other hand, alleged the Congress leader was issuing false and fabricated statements. He said the building was constructed by Mr Radhe Shyam Kabra and his partners after getting the necessary clearance from the MC.



Traffic blocked in protest against robbery
Our Correspondent

Modi Nagar/Ghaziabad, April 14
Hundreds of villagers blocked the Raj crossing at Khanjerpur village road in protest against the police failure to arrest the criminals involved in the robbery two days ago.

However, the police claimed to have solved the crime by arresting two robbers. But the villagers are not buying the claims.

Over six criminals had beaten up some eight villagers returning from Sikri Fair. One child had been killed in the attack and six villagers were injured, two of them seriously.

Hundreds of villagers from Tibra and Khanjar Pur villages had joined a protest rally yesterday afternoon at Raj crossing. The villagers had come here in tractor trolleys and blocked the roads. Circle officer Prabhal Pratap Singh rushed to the site and declared that two of the robbers had been nabbed and the police would soon catch the rest of the criminals involved in the loot. Co Prahhal Pratap Singh claimed that the two criminals were Devinder, s/o Dharamveer and Ravinder, s/o Murari alias Khanna, both residents of Tibra.

The CO said that they were dreaded criminals who were wanted in two murder cases in Hapur and Garh area. Village Khanjarpur Pradhan had, however, alleged that he wanted to speak to the arrested robbers to reassure himself, but the police had not allowed it.



Advani calls upon youths to maintain 
country’s unity 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 14
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K.Advani called upon the students to maintain the unity and integrity of the country. Speaking at a function of the Apollo International School at Bari village, about 15 km from here yesterday, he said it is the school that shapes the real personality of the children. Citing personal anecdotes, he said that the school days are the best period of one’s life. He concluded his speech by saying that he had enjoyed every minute he had spent in this school.

The Principal-cum-Director of the school, Mr K. N. Dar read out the annual report of the school and highlighted the achievements of the students in the field of education and sports.

Earlier, Mr Advani was given a tremendous welcome when he arrived in the school. The Principal of the school talked about the contribution of Mr Advani to Indian politics, his personal charisma and his statesmanship.

The students of the school presented a small cultural programme including patriotic songs for which they received compliment from the Deputy Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the visit of Mr Advani to the Anandmai Guru Maa Ashram at Teha village yesterday ‘caused inconvenience to the devotees of the ashram’ and led to traffic jam on the National Highway No. 1.

It is stated that the police officials had restricted the activities of the farmers of both Teha and Bari villages, particularly related to the reaping of their standing wheat crop, on security grounds. This has caused strong resentment among the farmers of the area.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders of the district were ‘disappointed’ as they were prevented by the officials from meeting Mr Advani. Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, the BJP MP from Sonepat and Mr Pardeep Jain, the spokesman of the state BJP, were allowed to receive Mr Advani.

Contrary to expectation, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, did not turn up to welcome Mr Advani. Mr Dheer Pal Singh, a Haryana Minister, received Mr Advani on behalf of the state government.



‘Official apathy’ disrupts water supply
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 14
With the onset of the summer season, the residents of this city have been facing an acute shortage of drinking water for the last couple of weeks. It has caused inconvenience to thousands of residents, particularly women who have to fetch water from far-off places to meet their daily requirements.

According to a report, many irate women blamed the officials of the Public Health Department for the drinking water crisis and alleged that the erratic water supply and low pressure had become a routine affair thanks to the failure of the authorities concerned to rectify the faults in the system.

Women complained that they were on tenterhooks because the water is hardly ever supplied in accordance with the schedule laid down by the department.

Many residents blamed the tubewell operators at the Murthal waterworks as well as the boosting stations for the overall menace. They alleged that these operators ‘never turned up for duty on time’.

The people alleged that the ‘lack of proper systematic mechanism’ to stem indiscipline was the main cause behind the water crisis in this city.

Most of the residents living in the Mohalla Kalan, Ram Bazar, Indira Colony and Model Town said that water pressure was very low. Even people living on the ground floor had difficulty in getting water. As such they have to ensure that their underground tanks were full so that water could be pumped to the overhead tank.

Meanwhile, a large number of women living in the Janata Colony near subzi mandi took out a procession here today and held a demonstration in front of the boosting station to register their protest against the non-supply of potable water for the past one week.

They also raised slogans against the officials of the Public Health Department and warned that if the water supply was not ensured regularly, they would gherao the officials concerned.



Foundation stone laid for Ambedkar Awas Yojna
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 14
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, laid the foundation stone of a housing scheme with usual official fanfare for the backward sections at Budhena village in the district today.

The housing scheme will be known as Ambedkar Awas Yojna and it would provide residential facilities for about 976 allottees, which are to be selected from the SC/STs, physically handicapped and other Backward Classes.

While the authorities did not disclose the time period for the completion of the project, it was stated that persons benefiting from the scheme would have to deposit an amount of Rs 12,700, while an amount of Rs 25,000 each would be given as subsidy and loan by the HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation). The total cost on each unit would be around Rs 62,700. The project would be mainly financed by the grants received from the Union government.

The Chief Minister also stated that about 3,500 houses would be constructed for the people living in slums and below the poverty line in about 16 towns of the state in the coming years.

The `Slum Clearance Board, Haryana and the Municipal Corporation, Faridabad (MCF), have been given the work for the project.

However, a section of the people here doubt the credibility of the project and have alleged that earlier housing projects taken up by the MCF have not been completed although crores of rupees were collected from the allottees.

According to Rajkumar Gaur, a Janata Dal leader based here, the `MCF had announced the construction of residential colonies under the name of Aravali Vihar and Surya Vihar in the early 1990’s. However, the project could not take off and the corporation had to refund the money collected from the allottees a few years later.

He said the MCF had also announced the construction of ‘Bapu Vihar’, a colony especially for those living in the Jhuggis and slums several years ago. This project was also `shelved’, although 35 acres of land was identified for the project.

Ms Sharda Rathaur, president of the district mahila Congress claimed that the state government was `least concerned’ about the housing problems of the poor. As a result, the population of people living in jhuggis and slum colonies had reached a staggering figure. She alleged that while the Chautala government talked about building houses for the poor people, thousands of people had been rendered `homeless’ in the demolition drive.

She said if schemes like `Bapu Vihar’ and other such schemes for the poor had been developed on time, there would be no need for the poor people to encroach upon the vacant plots. She said the project launched today was an `eyewash’ aimed at securing the `vote’ of the Backward Classes.

She said that no time period had been announced for the completion of the project. She also alleged that the demolition drive was ‘discriminatory’ in nature and was ‘halted’ recently without ensuring the removal of all encroachments.

According to the BJP leader, Mr K. P. Gurjar, MLA, land worth several crores of rupees was under `encroachment’ by influential people.



Padayatra marks Ambedkar’s anniversary
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
The Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress on Monday took out a padayatra to mark the 112th birth anniversary of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar. The padayatra originated at the party’s office and culminated at 10 Janpath. The party had made arrangements for a bhandara near Parliament House for distribution of prasad to people.

Sonepat: A large number of devotees, including men, women and children, participated in the shobha yatra organised in connection with the birth anniversary of Dr B. R. Ambedkar on Monday.

According to a report, the shobha yatra passed through the main streets and bazaars of the city. Photographs depicting the life of Dr Ambedkar were the main attraction of the procession.

A number of functions and meetings were held in several parts of the city. Leaders paid rich tributes to Dr Ambedkar and asked the people to follow the ideals of Dr Ambedkar for improving the lot of the Dalits and downtrodden.

Similar functions were also held at Gohana and Ganaur towns in this district.

Bhiwani: A seminar on “Scientific Aspect of Social Justice’’ was held on the occasion of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Jayanti on Monday by various public organisations like the Jan Sanskritik Manch, the Sarv Karmchari Sangh, the Janwadi Lekhak Sangh and the Orbit Organisation.

Meerut: Week-long celebrations on the 112th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar started here with the offering of floral tributes on his portraits and statues at the Ambedkar crossing in the Civil Lines area. The birth anniversary of Baba Saheb was celebrated with grandeur. In the morning at 6.30 a cleanliness drive was launched in the colonies of the poor and the destitute. A procession was also taken out by several school-going children holding banners and posters depicting the life and ideas of Dr Ambedkar.



Fleecing the gullible with false promises
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, April 14
Certain travel agents are having a field day in exploiting the gullible people with the promise of getting them visa and highly lucrative jobs in foreign countries. Despite the intelligence agencies having full knowledge about the fraud committed by such travel agents, who have proliferated all over the city, no solid action has been taken against them.

A family which has suffered huge losses at the hands of such fake travel agents has written to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, and the Director-General of Police, UP, to take strong action against these cheats.

According to Sushil Chahar of Sonepat and his relatives, travel agent Ramesh Chandra of Ghaziabad has fleeced them. He had charged Rs 2 lakh from them for getting a visa but the agent was giving them empty promises since October. The agents had inserted advertisements in papers to induce customers like them.

When they ask for refund of their money, the agents threaten them with dire consequences. The aggrieved persons in their complaints have implored the DGP and Mr Advani help them in the matter as the travel agents seems to have backing of powerful godfathers.

No licence or registration is necessary for opening a travel agency nor any permission is needed from the district administration. Even the police say they do not have any solid ground to take action against them.

These agents claim to arrange everything from passport, visa, travel insurance, employment, ticketing, hotel booking, and foreign package tours, etc.



CPM to contest Fatehabad bypoll
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, April 14
The Communist Party (Marxist) has decided to contest the forthcoming byelection to the Fatehabad assembly constituency slated for May 21. The party has convened a meeting of its Fatehabad district unit on April 18 to prepare its electoral strategy and name its candidate. The proposal will be finalised in the party’s state committee meeting to be held here on April 20.

The CPM State Secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh, said the party had decided to mobilise the support of all Left, democratic and secular parties, organisations and individuals for the ensuing election. He said it was imperative to combat the parties supporting the policies of liberalisation and privatisation who were hell-bent on destroying the country and the state by pursuing the politics of communalism, casteism and were perpetuating family rule.

Mr Inderjit Singh disclosed the CPM state leadership had already started discussions with leaders of other parties to seek their support. He recalled that the CPM nominee, Mr Prithvi Singh Gorakhpuria, had given a direct fight to the Lok Dal supported BJP candidate in the 1987 byelection and the Congress candidate was relegated to the third place. The same was the result in the 1991 elections. He claimed the CPM continued to remain a significant force in the area and its nominee had been securing substantial votes during various elections. The CPM candidate, Mr Krishan Sarup, had achieved third place by securing more than 12,000 votes and come third in the last Vidhan Sabha elections.



Withdraw anti-farmer order: BJP
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, April 14
The Bharatiya Janata Party has called the orders of the state government regarding registration of tractor-trailers and making issuance of permit for transportation purposes of these as mandatory an anti-farmer step. The party has demanded immediate withdrawal of these orders.

Addressing a meeting of the Bhiwani rural mandal here today, the district vice-president and district membership in-charge, Dr Shambhu Dayal, said the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, while announcing relief to drought-hit farmers had said the recovery of loans from farmers had been postponed and interest for one year would also not be taken from them. He said the state government despite being a part of the NDA government had yet not implemented this order so far. Since farmers of Bhiwani district had still not recovered from drought the administration should immediately suspend the recovery of loans. The meeting was presided over by mandal president Bhim Singh.
Expressing concern over the increasing incidents of loot, murder and extortion in the district, he sought that the farmers should be given payment of their produce by 5 pm so that they could return to their homes safely. Demanding implementation of the crop insurance scheme in Haryana, he said it could recover loss in the case of drought etc.

He said that power lines across the fields should be strengthened as hanging wires had caused fire several times.

Man gets burn injuries: One person was reportedly seriously burnt at Devsar village on Monday. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital here.

The injured, identified as Dayanand, was working at the rooftop of an under construction house. Dayanand’s hand touched the high-tension live wires hanging above the house. He got burnt and fell. 



‘Most of our gross national product is 
trapped in black market’
Nalini Ranjan

His name stands out in the prestigious row of famous bureaucrats like Khairnar and Alphonse. An Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the I979 batch of UP cadre, Mr Vijay Shankar Pandey, has had an eventful career in the country’s bureaucracy. Right from his first assignment as a sub-divisional officer to the present responsibility as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Government of India, he has come a long way.

Presently, he is the secretary of All India IAS Officers’ Association and Administrative Officers of the Shastri Bhavan, where offices of at least a dozen of different ministries are located. He is perhaps one of the very few IAS officers who work even on holidays and weekends.

Incidentally, Pandey has always been in the news for some reason or the other. After the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhaya, nobody was ready to take the charge of the district as the district magistrate. Pandey volunteered and according to his peers, did a good job in restoring peace and amity in the strife-ridden district.

He came into limelight on national level in 1995, when Mr Pandey and some like-minded young IAS officers dared to select the three most corrupt IAS officers through a unique voting system. Unfortunately, this exercise could last beyond two years because of immense pressure mounted by the very influential and powerful lobby.

During that period, six most corrupt IAS officials were voted out and publicly humiliated. After the demise of this novel exercise in 1997, he incepted an ‘Action Group’ with the same group of friends. Under the aegis of this organisation, hundreds of grievance boxes were placed at different places in Uttar Pradesh. Local people were encouraged to make complaints against the corrupt officials in their respective districts. After cross-checking the merits of the complaints, ‘Action Group’ would then try to redress their grievances. With this kind of help to the common people, very shortly the group became a household name in the Uttar Pradesh. The group is still alive and planning to resurface in a big way.

In an exclusive conversation with the NCR Tribune, this irrepressible IAS officer recounts some of the important events in his career.

How did your anti-corruption move start?

Since my college days in Allahabad, I had a great obsession for honesty. My father, R. P. Pandey, has been a role model for me. He served as district judge at different cities of UP. Because of the joint family, my father had a tough time in fulfilling the needs of everyone. Despite the financial crunch in my family, he never took a single penny as bribe. He always insisted on honesty.

One day, I went to the court premises along with my father. There I saw one poor hawker was running from pillar to post to get justice, as he was falsely implicated in an Arms Act case. During three-year period of his trial, he was forced to sell all his belongings. A local beat constable had fabricated this case because the hawker refused to give him hafta.

I was so perturbed by this incident that I requested my father to provide some help to the poor man. But my father was helpless, as he had no evidence or witness in support of his innocence. This was perhaps the turning point. After completing MSc in Chemistry, I had already decided to go civil services, as I wanted to bring some respite to these unfortunate people.

How did you realise your dreams after entering the IAS?

Initially, I served as SDM, ADM and DM in different districts of UP. There I found that common people were trapped in plethora of problems, as most of the officials of the state were corrupt.

When I joined as the DM of Fatehpur, there was so much black-marketing of kerosene that it was being sold at many times higher than the fixed rate. Kerosene was the only option to most of the families for lighting and cooking in the area. I immediately summoned the district supply officer and told him that the chaos should be checked in 24 hours, otherwise he would resign. That officer was so afraid of my order that he left no stone unturned in obeying my instructions.

Fatehpur was also a very crime-prone area. There were so many organised gangs of hardcore criminals. We talked to the Home Ministry of the state for extra force and ultimately succeeded in nabbing them. After the completion of that mission, the crime graph of the district had come down drastically. Fatehpur was the constituency of former Prime Minister Mr V. P. Singh. He was so impressed with my work that he gave me an award at a public function in Lucknow.

When I was the DM of Etawha, constituency of Mulayam Singh Yadav, there was a group of people who used to do what they wanted in his name. They had a powerful hold in the district administration and nobody was ready to open his mouth against them seeing their political connections.

But I dared to arrest them. After their arrest it was found that there were many cases of forgery and cheating against them. When I was the Commissioner of Banda, there was a menace of sand mafia, particularly in the Chitrakut district, constituency of Nanaji Deshmukh.

We initiated intense combing and nabbing drive against them. Few days later, some of them were nabbed.

In another incident, when I was the MD of UP Spinning Mills Federation, out of the total 12 mills, only 5 were operational and all of them were in deep financial mess.

In the three months period after taking this assignment, all the 12 mills started working on no profit no loss basis. For this, I had to take stern action against some faulty officials of these mills and suspend more than 250 officials.

What prompted you to initiate the radical move ‘choose the three most corrupt IAS officers’?

After spending many years in the bureaucracy, I found that a large number of senior IAS officers were corrupt and they were in nexus with corrupt politicians.

They used to coerce the newcomers to follow them. Some followed but others refused to do so. However, few like-minded IAS officers decided to do something concrete against them.

Also, it was not easy to oppose those influential officers, as they had strong political connections. Despite this, we were rigid in our resolve. Initially, we were given the list of such corrupt officials to the government.

Perhaps for the first time in the history of Indian bureaucracy, such step was taken. Interestingly, no action was taken against them as they had strong rapport with the government and inquiry commissions. Then we realised that it was not easy to get them punished. Subsequently, we tried to demoralise them publicly. Keeping this in mind, we initiated the move ‘choose the three most corrupt IAS officers’. This move met considerable success and public applause. Six most corrupt officers were chosen and demoralised in two years. But they took the shelter of courts and the drive had to stop.

What are the present activities of your ‘Action Group’?

After the failure of our move, we had incepted this organisation. We had made some changes in this move. Now, we had not confined merely to bureaucracy. We inducted honest people in our group from different walks of life and our focus had shifted towards different departments and different fields. At present, we are going to revamp the group. Some top celebrities have also given their consent to give all possible help to our organisation.

Now we are trying to come on national level in a big way. Also, we are toying with the idea of initiating a unique padyatra-cum-procession from Kashmir to Kanyakumari against the prevailing corruption in different sections of the society. For this, we are talking with different state IAS associations for their support.

If corruption is checked, our country would automatically be in the list of developed countries, as most of our gross national product is trapped in black market.

It is almost commonly held opinion that corruption cannot be curbed. Then why you are trying to go against the tide?

Bureaucracy is the steel frame of our system. If every member of this elite service makes up his mind then it would make a big difference. Without their support even politicians and mafias would be helpless.



Couple leave newborn in hospital
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, April 14
An example of how far human feelings have become dead in this stressful world was provided by a couple who fled after leaving their newly born baby boy in Hira Lal Hospital where the mother had got admitted. The man had given his name as Raju, a resident of Dasna. The woman who had come with him had reportedly left a few days ago. Only Raju had been seen looking after this baby for a couple of days.

But two days ago Raju too disappeared in the night, leaving the baby boy all alone. This has created a problem for the hospital staff. When doctors sent someone to the address given by the couple it was found to be fictitious.

Dr K. S. Garg, in-charge of Hira Lal Hospital, has informed the Kavi Nagar police about it.

Two killed in accidents: A youth lost his life in a road accident while another was run over by a train in Dadri.

Narinder Kumar was going on his scooter when, near a police station, an unidentified vehicle hit his scooter. Narinder died on the spot, the Dadri police said.

In the second incident near the Maripat railway station, an unidentified youth who was run over by a train died on the spot.

The police have sent both the bodies for autopsy. The bodies could not be identified so far.

Stolen goods recovered: In another incident in Sector 59, Noida, the Sector 58 police arrested four thieves in a jhuggi cluster and recovered stolen goods worth thousands of rupees. 



Celebrating 28 years of social service 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 14
The `R K M Educational and Charitable Trust’, located in Sector 15, today observed its 28th year of service. The Trust distributed bedsheets among poor persons on the occasion.

The trust organised an exhibition of garments and other articles prepared by the students of the ‘Tailoring and Sewing course’ run by it.

Mr R. P. Ojha, a retired IAS officer, who is the president of the Trust, said that hundreds of girls from the poor sections had been benefited by the courses run for the past 10 years.

He said the Trust provides stipend to poor schools students, manage a medical centre, a vocational centre, a library and a yoga centre at very nominal charges. The Trust spent an amount of Rs 6.16 lakh on various activities last year.

According to Mr R.S.Chauhan, the administrative officer of the Trust, the basic aim of the body was to provide relief to the poor and mentally challenged and providing medicare to sick persons.

He said an amount of Rs 1,36,670 were spent last year on providing stipend and scholarship to about 225 individuals.

He said over 10,000 persons were treated in the OPD wing of the Trust and the patents were provided treatments.

Major K. C. Palta (retd), additional secretary of the Trust said that they do not receive any grant or aid from the government but managed their expenditures on donations made by the people.

Two Killed In Accident: Two persons were killed and four others were injured in an accident involving a dumper truck and a three-wheeler autorickshaw here last evening.

The accident took place near Pali village, when a truck rammed into the three-wheeler, which was carrying passengers. The two persons killed on the spot could not be identified.

Meanwhile, in another case, the body of one Suresh Arora, a resident of NH-five of the NIT area who was reported to be missing since Friday, was recovered from a hotel in Agra.



Sensitisation workshops for cops on Saturdays 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
In order the sensitise the Delhi Police personnel about the problems of women and children, the police have planned to have two workshops on every Saturday involving police officials from all 124 police stations, including traffic, PCR and Crime Against Women Cell. During the recent workshop the police came across various issues bothering women in general and even police officials. Some lower level police officials who were not properly aware under which sections they should register the FIRs were told by the senior officers about various sections.

“We are planning to have 114 workshops spread over the next one year covering about 6,000 police personnel on regular intervals,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Training) U. N. B. Rao.

In this connection lead workshops had already been organised by the officers with the support of NGOs at Sudhinalay Complex in Sunlight Colony.

Delhi Police Commissioner R. S. Gupta, Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Azmi, Dr Reider Kvam, Lead Social Scientist, World Bank, and Vijay Srivastava, Executive Director, Centre Social Welfare Board, participated in the inaugural function.



Four held for looting petrol station
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, April 14
The CIA staff has arrested four miscreants in connection with the looting of a petrol station on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near the Kalupur octroi post on the night of March 5 last in this city.

According to a report, the arrested miscreants have been identified as Joginder of Kalupur village, Anil, Pankaj and Dev Varat or West Ram Nagar area of this city. During the course of interrogation, the miscreants confessed they had committed the crime with the help of certain employees of the petrol station.

The accused were produced before a judicial magistrate here yesterday and sent to judicial lock-up.

Fire in fields

Standing wheat crop worth several lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a fire which broke out in the fields of farmers at Badh Malik and Qumashpur villages in this district on Sunday evening.

According to a report, the fire was brought under control by the municipal fire brigade and the residents of these villages. The cause of the fire was still being ascertained by the police.

Caught for impersonation

Officials of the flying squad caught a youth, Kuldeep, who was found solving the question paper in place of an examinee, Surinder, at an examination centre set up on the premises of Government Senior Secondary School at Khanpur Kalan village, about 30 km from here, on Sunday.

According to a report, the centre Superintendent has lodged an FIR against both the persons on the charges of impersonation and cheating. Further investigations are in progress.

Body found on rail track

The Government Railway Police (GRP) recovered the body of an unidentified youth (20) lying on the railway track near the Harsana Kalan railway station, about 5 km from here, on Monday and sent it for a post-mortem examination. According to a report, the body still remains unidentified.

Wheat crop destroyed

Jhajjar: Standing wheat crop on one acre was reduced to ashes in a devastating fire which broke out in the fields of Rohad village on Monday. According to information, the crop of a farmer, Ram Kumar, was destroyed in the blaze. However, people from the village, fire engines and tankers of brick kiln owners, who immediately rushed to the spot, controlled the fire.

Phone tariff hike flayed

Rohtak: The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee has condemned the enormous hike made by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited in the tariff for calls made from landline to mobile.

In a statement here on Monday, Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, a former minister and spokesman of the HPCC, said telephone service had become an essential commodity these days. He said the middle class would be adversely affected by the hike.

The Congress leader said the Telecommunications Department had recently curtailed the number of free calls and now it had made a six-fold increase in the tariff for calls from landline to mobile as Rs 1.20 would be charged for a pulse of 30 seconds in place of three minutes with effect from May 1.



National integration camp held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
A seven-day national integration camp organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Youth Centre in association with the Sports Ministry concluded here today. Youth from across the country had gathered to participate in the camp that sought to encourage unity and patriotism. Among those whose attended the camp included social activists, ex-servicemen, freedom fighters and political entities.

New temple built: On the lines of the famous Balajee Temple of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Balajee Hanuman Temple has been constructed in the Trinagar area of North Delhi by the local Balajee Sewak Mandal Trust. This three-storeyed temple is the first of its kind in the Capital. It will be inaugurated tomorrow by the Shankaracharya of Badrinath Temple, Swami Madhvasram Jee Maharaj. A long religious procession was carried out to mark the occasion. According to the main priest of this temple, Pramod Maharaj, a separate statue of god Bharo was also installed in the temple. There is a huge space in the premises of the temple for any kind of religious conclave. 



Five Bawaria gangsters held after encounter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
Five members of the desperate Bawaria inter-state gang of dacoits involved in a spate of dacoities were arrested after a brief encounter by the North-West district police. The gangsters were planning to commit dacoity at Kashmiri Colony in Alipur in the early hours. Country-made pistols, knives and rods were recovered from them.

With the arrests, the police claim to have worked out at least three recent dacoities and a robbery in which four persons were killed.

The accused Sike alias C K alias Kala alias Raju Bawaria (22), Sunil alias Gavaya alias Vijay Bawaria (25), Kewal Bawaria alias Mohan (60), Joginder Bawaria alias Pintoo alias Jintender (21) and Sunil Bawaria alias Shailender (24), all residents of Muzaffar Nagar were arrested by the Operation Cell of the North-West district police.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-West) Sanjay Singh said that the police on March 30, 2001 nabbed three members of the Bawaria gang: Roop Bawaria (22), Pratap alias Pappu Bawaria (30) and Satpal alias Gopal Bawaria (35). Based on their interrogation, the police got a tip-off that the other gang members would assemble near Kashmiri Colony to commit dacoity.

The gangsters on seeing the police party, started running in different directions. One even whipped out a pistol and fired at the police. The police fired back. However, no one was injured.

Police had earlier caught three other gang members and with today’s arrest, the gang has virtually been liquidated, the DCP said.

The gang was so desperate that the members used to target a house in advance and strike in the wee hours of the day. They always carried knives and iron rods and intimidated the victims. When they faced resistance from the victims, they did not hesitate to kill them. The gangster had created a terror in the North-West district.



Murder case solved with arrest of four
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 14
With the arrest of four persons the South district police today claimed to have solved a murder case of a local Congress worker of Nizamuddin, who was murdered over a property dispute.

The victim, Sakeelur Rehman (40), resident of East Nizamuddin, was strangulated on the night of April 6 and later his body was dumped in Hardwar.

The accused, Mohammad Aizal (26), resident of Bara Hindu Rao, Mohammad Anzum, resident of Jaipur Estate, his wife Suriaya and Mohammad Seth (28), resident of East Nizamuddin, confessed to the crime as they fought over a property dispute.

Bus robbers held: The North district police have arrested seven bus robbers who were involved in a number of cases. One countrymade weapon, a live cartridge and four button actuated knives were seized from their possession. The accused, Javed, alias Raju, alias Chikna, resident of Ghaziabad, Mohammad Ismail, Rajesh, alias Juri, resident of New Seema Puri, Ajay, resident of Sultanpuri, Mohammad Sarfraz, resident of Shadipur depot, Rehmat Ali, resident of Kanhiya Nagar, and Jitender, alias Jitu, resident of Wazirpur, were nabbed after the police received information about their robbery operations in the buses. The robbers were active in buses plying on Roshanara Road, Subzi Mandi, Ring Road, Old Delhi Railway Station and Azad Pur Subzi Mandi.

Smack seized: The East district police have arrested one person, Satish Chauhan, alias Sonu (22), resident of Karawal Nagar, and seized smack worth Rs 24.5 lakh from his possession. The police, acting on secret information, raided premises in Vishwas Nagar and seized the drugs.


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