Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Helmsmen missing at 13 fire stations
Nalini Ranjan

New Delhi, April 22
It is surprising but true that out of the 36 fire stations in Delhi, 13 have been running without managers, the equivalent of an SHO of a police station, for years together. Interestingly, the fire station based at Rashtrapati Bhawan is also among them.

According to sources, the other fire stations operating without managers are located at Najafgarh, Rani Jhansi Road, Wazirpur, Teliwara, S. P. Mukherjee Marg, Pili Kothi, Bawana, the DSIDC , Bahorgarh, Daryaganj and Roopnagar.

What is amazing is that in some of these fire stations much junior officials are at the helm, putting a question mark over the fire-fighting ability of the station, specially during the summer months when most of the areas under these stations become fire-prone.

Senior officials of the Delhi Fire Service, when contacted, admitted there was a shortage of trained fire officers and claimed a list had been submitted to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for filling the vacancies but for some inexplicable reason a long period had elapsed. These officials claimed they had repeatedly brought the shortage of manpower and equipment to the notice of the authorities but nothing had been done so far. The staff strength of the Delhi Fire Service has not registered an uptake in tandem with the fast growing urbanisation and population explosion.

What is befuddling is the fact that some of the less significant fire stations like the one in Mayur Vihar in East Delhi has not one but two managers.

In the absence of managers, these stations are running under the supervision of fire officers equal to the rank of a sub-inspector or inspector who, according to sources, neither have proper managerial skills nor adequate experience.

When contacted in this regard, the Chief Fire Officer of Delhi, Mr R. C. Sharma, said he was aware of the inadequacies and had apprised the authorities. He hoped that they would deal with the problem urgently.


Six illegal migrants netted for dacoity
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
As part of its continued crackdown against illegal Bangladeshi migrants, the Delhi Police today arrested six robbers in the wee hours in connection with the dacoity at the residence of Surendra Aggarwal in the Preet Vihar area in East district.

The police also claims to have recovered countrymade weapons, daggers and the stolen goods from their possession. The dacoits entered the house of Aggarwal (38), who runs a sanitary fittings unit at Dilshad Garden, around midnight and decamped with valuables and jewellery after injuring one person.

The police said the dacoits entered through the terrace after passing the railway track. They gained access to the drawing room. Arjun, the servant, raised the alarm on seeing the robbers. Amber Aggarwal (26), nephew of Aggarwal, woke up.

The robbers later ransacked Amber’s room. Amber was injured on his forearms during the scuffle with the dacoits who were armed with daggers and screw-drivers.

When his uncle came out of his room, the dacoits snatched his gold chain and later escaped across the rail track. The track-patrolling group followed them and nabbed Vilayat Hussain in a park.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Nushat Hassan said, “The others were arrested subsequent to the interrogation of Vilayat Hussain alias Shahin by a motor cycle patrol in the Shakarpur area while they were trying to escape under cover of darkness after crossing the railway line.”

After the arrest of Hussain, the police raided a hideout in Aali Gaon near the Badarpur area of South Delhi and apprehended the other members – Aziz, alias Mulla, Kamal, alias Mohammed Maroof Hussain, Mohammed Zahid Hussain, alias Ripun, Kabir, alias Ali, and Muneer Hussain, all Bangladeshi nationals.

The track-patrolling group was formed by the East district police after studying the pattern of previous dacoities. The dacoits always selected a house present next to the railway tracks, so that they could make good their escape without hassle.


Parents protest against 200 pc hike in charges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
Agitated over the exorbitant fee hike, parents of students enrolled in the Rukmani Devi Public School, Pitampura, today staged a dharna outside the school premises. These parents were protesting against what they allege is an unjustified fee hike of more than 200 per cent in the annual charges. The school authorities informed the parents that the annual charges had been increased from Rs 1,300 to Rs 4,000. This, apart from having to foot additional charges for CNG buses, donations during admissions and other miscellaneous expenses, alleged the president of the Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh (DAM), Mr Vijendra Kumar.

The harassed parents today vent their ire by staging a protest outside the school. Led by the DAM, the protester complained the school had been fleecing parents on one pretext or the other. Parents complained that school authorities in the past had resorted to moneymaking initiatives like changing the school blazer every year and making it compulsory for students to purchase shoes from the school itself.

“These malpractices, including seeking donations from parents, have of late become the norm. There are many schools in the Capital that resort to such practices and we have decided to put an end to this”, said Mr Vijendra Kumar.

He went on to add, “The Directorate of Education and the government of the state are not doing anything about it. They have failed to take action. They have not kept an account of the activities of these schools”.

He pointed out that the onus of finding out and eliminating such malpractices is on the officials and not the parents.


10 yrs’ jail for rape of minor

Ghaziabad, April 22
The Senior Judge of Special CBI Court Manju Rani Gupta, in an important decision, awarded 10 years’ imprisonment to each of the three culprits who had abducted a minor girl and later raped her.

The sentence includes seven years’ rigorous imprisonment besides Rs 1,000 fine to each of the guilty persons.

According to Vijay Nagar police, one Charan Singh of Vijay Nagar area, had filed a report on March 22 last year against Bablu alias Naseemuddin, Ravinder and Ram Avtar, alleging that they had allured his minor daughter, abducted her and later raped her.

The police had arrested the trio near Santosh Medical College Hospital Ghaziabad along with the girl. They had taken the girl to Delhi where they had all raped her by taking turns, the police said. A medical examination of girl had confirmed rape. The court found all the three guilty and awarded them each with 10 years’ prison term, including seven years’ rigorous imprisonment with Rs 1,000 fine. In another incident, Ravi alias Bablu of Pratap Vihar, had been arrested and 80 gm smack, a knife and 3 kg electric wire were seized from him.

Meanwhile, the Vijay Nagar and Link Road police had nabbed three persons including a cable operator for showing blue films. The police had raided the place on a tip-off and arrested Raju, Ramesh and Tejeswar who were showing X-rated movies on a cable network. OC


Strike forces daily wage earners to flee
Tribune News Service

Panipat, April 22
Thousands of daily wage earners, rendered unemployed in the aftermath of the continuing indefinite strike by the manufacturers of handloom, blanket, velvet and shoddy yarn, have started leaving for their hometowns. The units are on strike in protest against the heavy excise burden.

Former Union Minister Vasundhra Raje Scindia, who was on a visit to Panipat recently, said the handloom industry in Panipat was in the small-scale industry category and the Centre would provide all necessary help to the units.

However, the owners of the units are surprised that despite declaring the handloom industry as a small-scale one, the government had imposed heavy excise duty on them, an industrialist and president of the Panipat Velvet Association, Mr Radhey Sham Gogia, alleged.

Another manufacturer and vice–president of the Panipat Handloom Textiles Association, Mr Prem Bajaj, alleged that in Panipat town no handloom unit was self-sufficient. Rather, they were dependent on each other.

Confirming the deplorable condition of the manufacturing units, the he told this correspondent that more than 90 per cent of the handloom units were not in a position to bear the excise burden and they had started laying off staff on daily wages and other workers.

Even the condition of weavers was deteriorating with each passing day. They were heading for their native villages in the hope that they would return when things here get better. Returning to their hometowns was a better option than sitting idle and wasting their limited resources on daily expenses.

More than 5,000 workers and labourers from West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and eastern Uttar Pradesh are taking a journey back home to places like Allahabad, Indore and Barauni. Ram Surat from Gonda district in eastern Uttar Pradesh alleged that they were left with no other choice as they had been sitting idle for more than 20 days and their savings were also dwindling fast.

Nazam Ali from Samastipur district in Bihar said the poor man was the main sufferer in the fight between big bulls.

Even Kaleem Khan, a resident of Bengal, lamented that he had come here to save some money, but now he had decided to go back empty-handed.


Of half-baked schemes & jobs worth zilch
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, April 22
The implementation of various employment schemes seems to be yielding poor results, despite crores of rupees being pumped in every year in various projects.

A project launched by the state government in 1995 to promote self-employment among rural youths in the district is a case in point. Almost all youths who took loans for setting up their units under the Udyog Kunj Yojna in 1996 were unsuccessful and have became defaulters.

The Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) had constructed several industrial sheds under the scheme at Gadhpure village in the district. The Haryana Financial Corporation (HFC) had financed the machinery and other equipment required for production. At least 10 youths were allotted constructed sheds and another 18 were given plots for setting up their ventures, which included preparation of bricks, water coolers, pumps and kits, readymade garments, shoes and leather bags.

It is learnt that nearly all beneficiaries of this scheme were on the road as their projects could not take of due to various reasons. It is stated that the capital cost burden on these youths was too much as their financial background was weak. Besides no help was rendered for marketing the products and the beneficiaries were unable to tackle the problems owing to lack of guidance. The youths not only became unemployed again but also joined the list of loan defaulters. Consequently, they had to forego the ownership of the plots and machinery. It is learnt that the HFC, which took over the assets for the purpose of auction, could not recover the loan amount. It is learnt that certain sheds are still intact but have become a resting place for cattle.

There are many schemes available for the unemployed and educated youth, especially in the rural areas, says Mr Anil Chaudhary, General Manager, District Industries Centre (DIC) here. He said his office had started an awareness-cum-motivation campaign in the rural belt to promote self-employment. He said three villages from each of the six blocks had been selected in the district where he and his team would visit and interact with the youths and their families. The Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojna (PMRY) and a scheme of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) were two prominent schemes at present which provided a subsidy of 15 per cent or Rs 7,500, whichever was lower, to the beneficiaries. A maximum amount of Rs 2 lakh could be extended as loan to the unemployed for taking up industrial activity.

Claiming that such schemes did not have a heavy capital cost, he said the DIC had the target of covering at least 500 youths under these schemes in the year 2003-2004. Out of the total sanctioned projects last year, loans had been disbursed to at least 370 beneficiaries so far.

He admitted that due to lack of knowledge and proper training the success rate had been below expectations.

At least 40 youths were recently trained for setting up food processing units at the local level. But, reportedly, the success rate of projects financed by bodies like the HFC had been only 25 to 30 per cent.


Catching raindrops and harvesting hope
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
On Earth Day 2003 - dedicated to the growing crisis of freshwater in the world - the Delhi-based NGO, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), previewed its powerful and evocative public service advertisement reminding people of the enormous potential of harvesting each raindrop. In an attempt to inform people about how to harvest rain and provide a toolkit of the practice it also launched a new and comprehensive website, Creating water literacy is the key to change, believes CSE.

“Today, everybody accepts that rainwater harvesting is part of the solution to the growing water crisis. But implementation remains poor. This is because there is little information on how we can all make water our business. And how we can become water warriors. This is the gap that we are trying to fill,” said Ms Sunita Narain, Director, CSE.

Noted film actress Nandita Das has joined hands in creating this water literacy movement. She and Soumya Sen, creative director of O&M, have directed the 90-second public service advertisement to promote rainwater harvesting as the lesson from the past, which provides us the solution for the future. Made in English and Hindi (it will be available in other Indian languages too), the advertisement has been shot by Ravi K. Chandran with the same finesse he displayed in “Dil Chahta Hai”.

The spot revolves around the concept of catching rain in a neighborhood, creating a cascading effect. People begin to collect water in a variety of objects and in fact in anything they can lay their hands on. Using a medley of emotions-wonder, comic and even the absurd-the idea that rainwater harvesting is a community effort and it is about building a sharing and caring society is subtly woven in.

“Rainwater harvesting must capture people’s imagination for it to work,” said Nandita Das while introducing her directorial debut.

Ms Narain underlined that despite legislation making rainwater harvesting mandatory in many cities there was a lack of initiative on the part of the authorities to enforce it. Also, in many cases, the CSE had found the implementation of rainwater harvesting projects to be shoddy. Rainwater harvesting had become an excuse for money harvesting. This was why it was necessary to take the message to people directly so that they could understand both the potential and the practice.

The CSE has worked for the past many years to highlight the importance of rainwater harvesting, both for rural and urban areas. Its research in this area has consistently pointed to rainwater harvesting being a simple yet extraordinarily powerful, people-friendly technology that has the potential to combat water crisis and drought in the country.


Yet another firing incident at marriage
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 22
In yet another incident of firing during a marriage ceremony, a youth of village Dubeta died on the spot when a bullet hit him in the head.

A case under section 304 of the IPC and Sections 30, 54 and 69 of the Arms Act has been registered at Sadar police station, Gohana, against another youth of the same village.

It is learnt that Sandeep and Rakesh, both residents of village Dubeta, were attending a marriage in village Joli on Monday evening. The barat had come from another village and both the youths were drivers of maxi cabs hired for the marriage party.

The incident took place when the marriage was being solemnised. Rajesh took the licensed gun of one Net Ram and fired a round. A stray bullet hit Sandeep in the head and he died on the spot. After the post-mortem in Gohana civil hospital, Sandeep’s body was handed over to his family members.


Executive committee of district unit of HVP reconstituted
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 22
The executive committee of the district unit of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) has been reconstituted in order to strengthen the mass base of the party in this district.

According to a report, the newly elected office-bearers of the district unit of the party are: Mr Kanwal Singh-president; Mr Umed Singh Dahiya-senior vice-president; Mr Mohinder Relan, Mr Rajiv Khatri, Mr Dharampal Larsauli, Mr Satbir Bhanwala, Mr Suresh, Mr Yoginder Dahiya and Mr Raghubir Sangwan of Butana-vice-presidents; Prof Chand Singh-Panchi, Mr Satbir Vats and Mr Ajit Dahiya, Thana Kalan-general-secretaries and Mr Rishi Raj Kaushik-secretary-general; Mr Vedpalkakana, Mr Narinder Sangwan, Mr Bijender Bhatt, Pandit Rattan Singh, Mr Ram Diya Baroli, Mr Rajiv Dahiya-Barota, Mr Paras Chauhan and Mr Mahavir Mor-secretaries, Mr Hawa Singh, Nangal Khurd-Assistant secretary and Mr Jai Bhagwan-Propaganda secretary.

Mr Ram Chander Krewari, Mr Om Parkash-Jataula, Mr Umed Singh, Jauli, Mr Zile Singh Malik, Madina, Mr Arjun Mor, Mr Shahbuddin, Mr Shardhanand Tyagi, Mr Sukhbir Dahiya, Prof Rajbir Singh, Subedar Mir Singh, Mr Om Parkash Jangra, Mr Subhash Verma, Mr Ramesh Khurana, Mr Naresh Sharma, and Mr Inder Singh Malik have been nominated the members of the executive committee.


BJP seeks CM’s resignation for water crisis
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for the water and power crises in the Capital.

BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the Delhi Government had failed ‘miserably’ to fulfil its promise in this regard.

The Delhi Chief Minister should resign immediately, accepting her failure to ensure proper civic facilities, Mr Malhotra demanded.

He said that there was acute shortage of water in many areas of the national Capital while frequent power failures had added to the problems of citizens.

Mr Malhotra alleged that while the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) was handed over to a private company, the sub-contract was being given to the kin of the Congress leaders. Demanding a probe into the allotments, he said Ms Dikshit should go before the initiation of the inquiry.

The BJP activists said that this was the onset of election preparation in the Capital. The party would focus on other issues and expose the Congress-led NCT Government.

Meanwhile, the Delhi unit of the BJP demonstrated at the Ferozshah Kotla Ground today against the shortage of potable water and electricity. Around 500 party activists participated in the demonstration.


Lure of husk: Farmers weigh harvesting options
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 22
A large number of farmers of this district are preferring manual harvesting of wheat as against mechanised harvesting to save on wheat husk. This has led to a significant increase in daily wages of the labourers in the farm sector.

Many farmers told the NCR Tribune that the price of wheat husk had remained high throughout last year even as they had burnt a large portion of their wheat straws from which the husk is produced.

They said that the trend of increasing wheat husk prices had forced them to use other options available for harvesting of wheat that conserved the wheat husk.

Farmers stated that though husk could be produced from the straw left over by the harvester-combine, it was not preferred by the animals, as it contained dust.

They said that the yield of wheat husk from this method was about eight quintals per acre.

A section of the farmers said that the mechanised harvesting of wheat was still preferred by those who planned to sell the wheat husk rather than use it for their own livestock.

They said that a large number of contractors were approaching them and paying them in lieu of getting the wheat husk produced in their fields.

The farmers also said that the husk generated by special machines, after manually harvesting the wheat, was sold at marginally higher prices as the machines have the provision of a fan, which separates the dust from the husk.

Referring to the burning of wheat husk, the farmers said that they had been burning the wheat straw to save time and energy as the mechanical instruments needed to plough the straw were costly and the land needed heavy tilling after the same to be readied for the next crop.

Meanwhile, the arrivals of wheat have increased manifold in this district as the majority of the farmers have completed the harvesting operation.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, told mediapersons here today that 96,434 tonnes of wheat had so far arrived in the grain markets of Sonepat, Gohana, Ganaur and Kharkhauda, in addition to the purchasing centres set up by the state government for the purchase of wheat at the support price fixed by the government.

He said that the entire wheat stock, barring 30 tonnes of wheat, had been purchased by the official procurement agencies as follows: Food and Supplies Department-24,436 tonnes; Hafed-46,651 tonnes; FCI-9,401 tonnes; Confed- 14,329 tonnes; the Haryana Agro Industries Corporation-712 tonnes and the Haryana Warehousing Corporation-875 tonnes.

Only 30 tonnes of wheat had been purchased by the private traders.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, atleast 58,373 tonnes of wheat had arrived during the corresponding period of last year and the Food and Supplies Department had purchased 15,004 tonnes, Hafed 28,129 tonnes, FCI 7,428 tonnes, Confed 7,462 tonnes of wheat from the farmers at the support price fixed by the government. Only five tonnes of wheat had been purchased by the private traders during the period under review. The Deputy Commissioner claimed that the district administration had made available the gunny bags and other goods to the officials of the procurement agencies.

He also said that he has already issued instructions to all the procurement agencies to lift the procured wheat stock from the grains markets and the purchasing centres and transfer it to the covered godowns so that the farmers could unload their stocks in them.


DC orders cancellation of licences of two commission agents
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 22
During a surprise inspection of the Gannaur grain market last evening, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, found two commission agents filling the bags without properly cleaning the wheat stock and ordered the cancellation of their licences.

According to information, the Deputy Commissioner arrived at the Gannaur grain market without any prior information following complaints of filling of uncleaned wheat by the commission agents. He found two commission agents of ‘Rameshwar Suresh Kumar Jain’ and ‘Ram Dhan-Shiv Kumar Trading Company’ violating the laid down norms for wheat purchase. Subsequently, he directed the market committee officers to cancel the licenses of both the firms.

The Deputy Commissioner also found an inspector of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Mr Mahender Singh, absent from duty in the market and sought the explanation of the officers of the department in Sonepat.

During this surprise visit, the Deputy Commissioner was urged by the president of the grain market, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, to arrange the early lifting of the purchased wheat. He also requested the Deputy Commissioner to depute two traffic police personnel in the market to regulate the movement of vehicles, which often caused traffic jam in the market as well as on the connecting roads.

The Deputy Commissioner also held discussions with the farmers and asked the officers of market committee to make all arrangements including electricity and drinking water.


DC takes stock of wheat procurement conditions
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 22
The Deputy Commissioner of Sonepat, Mr Balwan Singh, conducted an extensive tour of the grain markets and the purchasing centres set up in different parts of the district for the procurement of wheat at the support price from the farmers. According to a report, the DC went round the grain market at Ganaur, a sub-divisional town in the district and caught red-handed the labourers who were filling the gunny bags with uncleaned wheat procured by the official procurement agencies.

He also ordered the cancellation of the licences of two ‘arhtias’ involved in the racket. The DC took serious note of the non-lifting of the procured wheat stocks from the mandi and directed the officials of the procurement agencies to take immediate steps for lifting the procured stocks to the covered godowns so that the farmers could unload their wheat brought for sale there.

At least 40,000 bags of wheat were reported to be lying in the mandi when the DC inspected the place.

Many ‘arhtias’ complained that the police have failed to control the traffic jams on the roads leading to the mandi. Thereupon, the DC directed the DSP to take steps for the smooth flow of traffic on the roads.

Mr Jeet Singh Mehra, SDM told the DC that the administration has taken a series of steps to provide facilities to the farmers bringing their produce to the markets. Arrangements have been made to provide drinking water and toilet facilities to the farmers in the mandi during their stay in it.

The DC directed the officials to take action against the ‘arhtias’ and the officials of the procurement agencies if they violate the norms fixed for wheat procurement.


39 wheat procurement centres set up

Noida: Thirty-one thousand metric tonnes of wheat will be procured in Gautam Budh Nagar in the new financial year against 19,000 metric tonnes last year.

Thirty-nine procurement centres have been set up for the purpose with the help of four agencies. Small farmers will be given priority for the purchase of wheat, DM L Venkteshwaralu has clarified. Instructions have been issued for extending all facilities at these centres.

District Magistrate Venktesharalu has urged the small farmers to sell their wheat at these government centres at the rate of Rs 630 a quintal. They can directly inform him if they come across any wrong practice, the DM said.

Laxity or wilful violations at these centres will be strictly dealt with, the DM assured. Addl. DM (Finance and Revenue) Raj Mandal Pandey has been made officer in charge of wheat procurement. ADM Pandey said in all the 25 centres of PCF, 4 of UP Consumers Cooperative Union, 5 of marketing department, and 5 centres of UP Agro have been established. OC


Government keen on checking female foeticide in Haryana: Health Minister 
Our Correspondent

Gurgaon, April 22
The two-day annual conference of Gurgaon Obstetrics and Gynaecologist Society (GOGS) concluded here yesterday. Inaugurating the conference, the Haryana Health Minister, Dr M L Ranga, said that the state has the lowest sex ratios, 861 females per 1000 males as per 2001 census. The child sex ratio is 906 girls per 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years in the state, lamented the minister.

As such, the government is enforcing the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act 1994 in the state so that the imbalance is controlled, said Dr Ranga.

The president of Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), Mumbai, Dr Sadhna Desai, said that the women have a direct relation with female foeticide in the society.

Dr Desai, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, said that population stabilization is the theme for the gynaecologists.

A live workshop on latest teachings in hysterectomy was organised during the function.

This was followed by a discussion on population stabilization by eminent doctors of Maulana Azad Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital.

An eminent panel of doctors and lawyers also discussed the reasons why the PNDT Act had failed to work upto the expectations.

Panelists observed the there is an urgent need to check on illegal practitioners like maids, nurses and RMPS. They concluded that the society must give due respect to the fair sex.

Addressing the doctors and delegates, Dr Ragini Agarwal, secretary, GOGS, said that the epidemic of sex selective abortions is a reality, which cannot be ignored. The abortion related mortality is not a medical but an ethical issue, a human issue, giving the rights to live to the unborn girl child.

She added that the gynaecologists are best placed to understand the intricacies of fertility and contraception.

Contraception is a best way for population stabilization. There are many newer techniques for contraception available with least side effect. Abortion with medicine is safe and have better compliance. More than 150 delegates from neighbouring towns like Rewari, Bhiwani, Rohtak, Faridabad and Delhi participated in the conference.


Fire caused by short-circuit destroys wheat crop
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, April 22
Standing wheat crop in 6.5 acres was burnt in a devastating fire caused by short-circuit at Bhatgaon village about 15 km from here yesterday. According to a report, on receipt of information, the municipal fire-brigade rushed to the site but stopped outside the railway crossing which was closed for the passing of at least four trains. This led to the detention of the municipal fire-brigade for about 30 minutes. The loss of the crops runs into lakhs of rupees.

The incidence of fires was also reported from the villages of Rattangarh, Khewra and Lehrara where the crops worth several lakhs of rupees were burnt. These incidents were brought under control by the municipal fire-brigade.

RI for carrying unlicensed arms

Mr B S Rawat, Additional Sessions Judge of the Fast Track Court, has convicted two accused, Rajbir and Arwind, under the Indian Arms Act and sentenced them to two years’ rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000 each.

According to a report, the accused would undergo further rigorous imprisonment for one month each in default of the payment of the fine. According to the prosecution story, the city police had arrested the duo on September 16, 2001 on the charge of having unlicensed arms and sent the challans to the court.

Gets the stick for keeping 10 liquor bottles

The police have arrested a man Rajla for allegedly keeping 10 bottles of country-made liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

According to a report, the police have also arrested a youth Surinder and recovered a knife from him.

Three more persons were also arrested under the Gambling Act and the cases have been registered against them.

Sonepat bank branch earns distinction

The Sonepat branch of the Oriental Bank of Commerce has earned the distinction of the best branch in Rohtak region comprising the districts of Sonepat, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Sirsa, Jind, Hissar, Jhajjar and Fatehabad in profitability, deposits and advances etc.

According to a report, this branch has surpassed the target in deposits during the year 2001-2002 as the deposits had gone up to Rs 44 crore against the target of Rs 40 crore fixed for the year. However, the deposits of the branch stand at Rs 63.15 crore. In the field of profitability, the branch had earned the profit of Rs 1.70 crore during the year 2001-2002.

The Regional Head of the Bank, Mr Y K Vermani, it may be recalled, had already honoured Mr R K Chopra, senior bank manager of the bank by giving him the award for excellence in performing his duties and allied works.


Accident victim dies for want of timely medical help
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, April 22
“Had timely and proper medical aid been provided to my son, he could have survived,’’ regrets Ramdhari, who lost his young son in a road accident on Monday.

Ramdhari has accused the doctor of being callous by not attending to her son when he was writhing in pain. The victim, Amit, resident of Haluwas village, was returning from Chang village in a bus. He suddenly fell down from the bus near Devsar Chowk here and sustained injuries. He was admitted to the civil hospital.

Ramdhari alleged that Amit suffered injuries in leg and stomach. Although the doctor on duty plastered the leg, he did not care for his stomach pain. Ramdhari alleged that he lodged several complaints with the doctor, but he said that this was the case requiring surgery and the civil surgeon had been informed.

After struggling for seven hours, Amit died.

There was only one surgeon in the hospital who was performing family planning operations at the time of incident at Tosham yesterday.

Ramdhari and her relatives registered a complaint with the police and refused to remove the body from the hospital premises. Later, a panel of two doctors conducted a post-mortem. The cause of death has been stated to be stomach injury.

This is the second incident in a week when a controversy over the delivery of dead bodies has cropped up.

Earlier, a panchayat of Kasni village in Jhajjar district had refused to take away the body of an undertrial prisoner Rajesh who had committed suicide on Bhiwani jail premises.

Examinee flees

An examinee reportedly decamped with an answersheet from Adarsh High School centre at Buwani Khera today. The centre superintendent Tara Chand Yadav has registered a report with the police. The student has been identified as Naresh, son of Satbir, resident of Bamla.

Body recovered

The police have recovered a body under mysterious circumstances at Milakpur village of the district. The body bearing a bullet mark has been identified as Krishan of Seh Rewari village. The police have informed the relatives of the deceased.

Driver booked

The police have charged a driver with rash driving and hitting another vehicle here today.

According to report, Sunder Lal, resident of Buwani Khera village, lodged a complaint with the police that Wazir of Siwada village smashed his Tata Sumo into him. Sunder Lal has been admitted to hospital.

In another incident, the police have recovered a stolen truck from near local vegetable mandi today.


264 rape cases pending
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
As many as 264 rape cases have been pending in the year 2002, the Lok Sabha was told here today.

“The rape cases do not always end up with the conviction because of reluctance on the part of the victims to appear before the court, non-availability of the witnesses and the complainant or witness turning hostile,” Minister of State for Home Harin Pathak said in a written reply.

Even the conviction rate by the courts in rape cases in the national Capital was 47 per cent in 2002.

The government also admitted in the Lok Sabha that there were four times more prisoners in Delhi’s Tihar Jail than its capacity, but said four more prisons were being set up and other steps taken to resolve the problem.

Mr Pathak said during the Question Hour that while three more jails with a total capacity of about 900 prisoners were being constructed in Tihar Jail, one more would be constructed in Mandoli area to house about 3,000 prisoners, he said.

On the huge number of undertrials lodged in Tihar, he said 78 per cent of them were accused of petty offences and added 34 courts were held on the jail premises between 1999 and March this year and 2,411 such cases disposed of.

As against the sanctioned capacity of 3,637 prisoners, there were 12,586 in Tihar Jail as on April 15, he said. To questions relating to the complaints about torture in prisons, he said these were sent to special jail committees set up for the purpose.

He said there had been no custodial death in Tihar Jail in the past four years and agreed to a suggestion of Congress leader P R Dasmunsi to have additional women jailors to prevent cases of rape or harassment of women prisoners on the jail complexes.

DDA raids: During the last three years (April 1, 2000 to March 31 this year), the CBI has conducted raids on the offices and residential premises of 13 DDA officials, Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Pon Radhakrishnan said.

The DDA has reported that they have prematurely retired three superintending engineers (civil) and two executive engineers on February 24 after considering their overall service record, details of disciplinary cases initiated against them, the nature of charges established against them and penalties imposed on them, Mr Radhakrishnan said.

It has also reported that some representations/complaints were received against some of the DDA officials arrested by the CBI after the recent raids, he said, adding that the necessary action to verify the allegations has been initiated by the DDA and enquiries were at different stages.


12-year-old killed
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, April 22
A 12-year-old boy Jatin was killed on the spot after being hit by a speeding bus on G T Road near Bahalgarh Chowk about 10 km from here last evening. According to a report, the victim was crossing the road when the accident occurred. The police have registered the case against the bus driver on the charge of rash and negligent driving and causing the death of the boy.

According to another report, Mr Ran Singh, a resident of Bahalgarh, sustained serious injuries when he was hit by an unknown vehicle on G T Road near Rai village about 13 km from here last evening. The injured was rushed to the civil hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The police are investigating the case.

Gita Mandir Samiti poll

Dr O P Pruthi was re-elected as the president of the Sanatan Dharam Gita Mandir Samiti, a noted religious and educational institution of the region at an election held here. According to a report, Dr Paruthi got 56 votes and his rival candidate Mr Bihari Lal Jhamb bagged 42 votes. As many as 98 members out of 100 members took part in the election.

Mr Rajinder Paul Chugh was declared elected as the vice-president of the samiti. He got 50 votes whereas his rival candidate Mr Maheshwaranand Relan bagged 48 votes.

Similarly, Mr Krishan Gopal Chhabra was declared the junior vice-president of the samiti. He bagged 54 votes whereas his rival candidate, Mr Dewan Chand, got 44 votes.

Mr Puran Chand Malik was declared elected as the samiti general secretary. He got 51 votes whereas his rival candidate Mr Shiv Kumar Malik bagged 47 votes. For the post of the secretary, both the candidates Mr Manohar Lal Kumar and Mr Bhagwan Dass Ghari bagged 48 votes each and Mr Ghai was 4l elected as secretary during the toss.

For the post of the manager, Mr Ram Saroop Kumar, was declared elected and he defeated his rival candidate, Mr Ravinder Nath Relan. Mr Ravinder Chand Munjal was elected as the assistant secretary of the samiti by defeating his rival candidate Mr Harish Nagpal by a margin of only one vote. Mr Munjal got 47 votes and Mr Naggapal bagged 46 votes. For the post of publicity secretary, Mr Chander Bhan Chhabra defeated Mr Subhash Gakhhar by a margin of 10 votes.

Gaur Brahman Sabha

Rohtak: Seven candidates have been left in the fray for the post of president of Gaur Brahman Vidya Parcharini Sabha, a renowned organisation, which runs various educational institutes in the region.

According to information, as many as 74 candidates had filed their nominations for different posts for the election scheduled to be held on May 11. Today was the last day for withdrawal of nomination after which seven candidates are left for the post of president, four for the vice-president, eight for general secretary and six for treasurer. The Returning Officer, Mr Ramesh Sharma, had allocated election symbols to the candidates on Sunday evening. Mr Azad Atri, Mr Ramesh Sharma, Mr Suresh Sharma, Mr Sushil Sharma, Mr Hoshiar Singh, Mr Prem Singh Atri and Mr Mahavir Kaushik would now contest for presidentship. Mr Kali Ram Sharma, Mr Dayanand Kaushik, Mr Raj Kumar and Mr Satya Narayan Kaushik would contest for the post of vice-president, while Mr K. K. Kaushik, Mr Kushala Nand, Mr Pankaj Kaushik, Mr Ram Kishan Gaur, Mr Raj Singh, Mr Suresh Gaur, Mr Satish Sharma and Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma would fight for the post of general secretary. Mr Dev Kant Sharma, Mr Narender, Mr Sudharshan Kaushik, Mr Ramesh Sharma, Mr Sri Bhagwan and Mr Sri Bhagwan are the candidates for the post of treasurer. Meanwhile, the Administrative Officer of Gaur Brahman Education Society, Ms Sumitra Dahiya, was reportedly removed from service by the authorities on Saturday evening.


Yet another woman sacrificed at the altar of dowry?
Our Correspondent

Noida, April 22
A body of a woman hanging from a ceiling fan was recovered. While the in-laws of the woman claimed that it was a suicide, the woman’s mother accused them of having killed her daughter for dowry. The woman’s husband, mother-in-law and another person were booked by the Sector-20 police.

According to the police, Shiv Kumar Dhawan, resident of Sector-20, had married Poonam (33) alias Ruby, daughter of C. Gulati of Lajpat Nagar, 12 years ago. Shiv Kumar had a tailoring shop in Sector-21.

On Sunday, he along with his wife and children had to go to Lajpat Nagar, Delhi, to attend the birthday of his sister-in-law. Shiv Kumar left for Lajpat Nagar along with his 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. However, his wife had stayed back. He came back from Lajpat Nagar at about 12 at midnight and knocked the door, which was bolted from inside. There was no response from inside.

Later, with the help of neighbours, the door was broken and Poonam was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the inner room. Police reached the spot and sent the body for a post-mortem.

Poonam’s mother, Achala Gulati said her daughter had been killed for dowry. In a written report, she accused Poonam’s in-laws for torturing her daughter for dowry.

The police registered a case under 498, 306 of IPC and arrested Poonam’s husband, his mother Satyarani and another youth, Vicky Dhawan.

Property dealer shot at

Ghaziabad: Four criminals in two cars shot at a property dealer who was riding a motorbike in an attempt to snatch a bag containing Rs 1.50 lakh in Panchsheel Colony in the Lal Kuan area in broad daylight. When he tried to resist, he was shot at. The robbers fled the area. The victim is stated to be serious in Yashoda Hospital.

Rohtesh Bhatti of Dairy Machha village under the Dadri police station, was on the way to his village from Vijay Nagar on his motorbike after collecting Rs 1.50 lakh along with his cousin.

In Panchsheel Colony, four criminals in two cars had tried to snatch the bag from him. On seeing the criminals, Rohtesh and his cousin ran towards nearby shops while the miscreants pursued them.

Ultimately, the assailants fired shots at them. One bullet hit Rohtesh in the neck. His cousin escaped with the bag. After firing the shots and injuring Rohtesh, the four desperadoes also fled.

Rohtesh was rushed to a government hospital by some people who informed his family members on the basis of the address found in his pocket. Rohtesh was later shifted to Yashoda Hospital where he continued to be in a serious condition. Strangely, while some relatives said that Rohtesh had lost some money to the robbers, he himself is reportedly denying it.


Two held with fake stamp papers worth Rs 75,000
Our Correspondent

Ghazibad, April 22
The Ghaziabad police from two police stations have arrested two persons with fake stamp papers worth Rs 75,000.

There is no end to the scandals of printing and the sale of fake stamp papers in western UP. While it is a roaring business for many, there is no authentic word from any official source as to the legal status of documents like agreements, registries of property executed on the false stamp papers.

Kela Khera resident Bhole Shankar was nabbed by Kotwali police with the stamp papers worth Rs 37,000 while Indira Puram police arrested Dinesh from Shiv Hari Colony with over Rs 37,000 fake stamp papers. Both of them told the police that they had bought the stamp papers from someone else.

The Mussori police arrested Burva of Nahal village with six stolen bullocks while his three accomplice gave the slip to the police. In another case, a 15-year-old girl in Sihani Gate police station area has been missing since April 14. Her father had lodged a report of abduction with the police. However, the police have failed to crack the case so far.


Beopar Mandal call to withdraw excise duty on handloom textiles

Panipat: The president of Akhil Bhartiya Udyog Beopar Mandal and BJP MP Shyam Bihari Mishra called upon the traders, affiliated to different associations, to go all-out and fight for their rights. “Unite under a single platform to get the imposition of excise duty on handloom textiles, kambal and velvet industries removed,” he urged the traders.

He was speaking as chief guest in a public meeting organised by Paint Textile Sangarsh Samiti in the local Palika Bazar last evening.

Coming down heavily on the Central Government, Mr Mishra alleged that the traders and the manufacturers of Paint industries have been on strike for the last 21 days and the government seems to be unconcerned about their demands. OC

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