Tuesday, May 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Poser to MDU: Do army officers make better VCs?
Vipin Sharma

Rohtak, May 5
A debate is raging over the appointment of a non-academic person to the coveted post of vice-chancellor among academicians, bureaucrats, students, teachers’ organisations and in political circles. The tenure of three vice-chancellors in the state is scheduled to expire in the next few months.

The All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO) has appealed to the Chancellor-cum-Governor and the state government to appoint educationists as vice-chancellors, to ensure the all-round development of the varsities.

Dr Vazir Nehra, vice-president, AIFUCTO, and convenor, Haryana Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (HFUCTO), said here today that a person with an academic background could understand and resolve the problems of teachers as well as students.

Referring to the Maharshi Dayanand University, he said, four out of the total five vice-chancellors appointed during the last 15 years had an army background. He wondered why the government kept appointing army officers as vice-chancellors when their was no dearth of renowned academicians in the region. Dr Nehra said that it was often difficult for an armyman to deal with problems pertaining to a university, students and teachers. He said this was a major reason for the increasing grievances of the teachers as well as the students.

Commenting on the problems faced by the M D University, he singled out the merit promotion scheme, violations of university Acts and statutes, discrimination in appointments of teachers, irregularities in admissions, excessive fee hike and the relentless attack on the democratic culture of the university.

The AIFUCTO leader alleged that the ‘faulty’ decisions and large-scale irregularities committed by the university administration in the last few years had forced a number of teachers and students to seek the intervention of the court. He claimed that in several such cases, the university authorities had to pay hefty amounts as compensation. Moreover, he said, the university administration was ‘too focussed’ on frequent shifting of employees from one department to another.

The Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti of M D University also came out against the proposed extension to the present vice-chancellor and sought the appointment of an academician to the post.

On the other hand, it is felt in some quarters that there had been considerable improvement in the discipline on the campus in the last few years.

They emphasized that vice-chancellors with an army background gave priority to maintaining discipline on the campus.



Tower collapses, eight labourers spiked to death
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, May 5
Eight labourers died when a high-tension electricity tower, on which they were working, collapsed in village Dhankot, around ten km from here.
According to eye-witnesses, more than 30 workers, belonging to a Hyderabad-based private company, were tightening the electricity wire of Power Grid Corporation. The Andhra company has bagged the contract for laying the high tension wire in the region.

At about 7 pm, more than ten workers were perched on the 120-feet-high tower, tightening the wire with the help of a tractor; some other workers were handling the wire on the ground.

When the tractor pulled the wire, the impact uprooted the tower and it came down in a heap. All the eight labourers, who were on the tower, fell down and got enmeshed in the iron spikes and rods. Six died on the spot while two succumbed to their injuries in a nearby hospital.

The deceased have been identified as Sanjay, Fardhyan, Chumru, Ram, Laxman, Dhansar, Sikhu and Hemraj; Ram and Laxman happened to be brothers. All of them belonged to Jharkhand.

It has been alleged that the Hyderabad-based company, which had hired the labourers, was violating the prescribed rules and regulations of the Power Grid Corporation.

The depth of the basement should be more than 20 feet, but the uprooted tower, it is alleged, was resting on a foundation which was just eight feet high.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, informed mediapersons that the police had arrested the project manager and supervisor, Mr Shyamol Bhatacharya, and its engineer, Unnat Prakash, for causing death by negligence.

Today, they were produced before the district court which has ordered 14 days’ judicial custody.



Youngster beheaded in broad daylight 
Nawal Kishore Rastogi

Rewari, May 5
In a ghastly incident in broad daylight, a 20-year-old youth, Naresh Kumar, was killed by three persons of his own village near a motor-repair workshop on the Railway road in Bawal town, about 14 km from here on Sunday.

It is stated that when Naresh Kumar, son of Bhagirath, a former sarpanch of Tihara village near Bawal, along with his cousin, Rakesh Kumar, went to get their car repaired, they were being shadowed by three other villagers armed with swords. They have been identified as Pritam Singh, son of Raje Singh, Ombir Singh, son of Attar Singh, and Vijay Singh, son of Ravinder Singh.

The assailants overpowered Naresh Kumar, cut off his neck and inflicted multiple injuries on his body, killing him on the spot. A number of panic-stricken shopkeepers were witnesses to the grisly incident. Subsequently, the Bawal police, arrived on the scene and nabbed Pritam Singh and Ombir Singh from a nearby field; however, their third accomplice, Vijay Singh, managed to escape.

Following a complaint lodged by Rakesh Kumar, a cousin of the deceased, the police have registered a case of murder and rioting under Sections 302, 148 and 149 of the IPC against ten persons, including Pritam Singh, Ombir Singh and Vijay Singh. Reportedly, an old enmity between two rival village factions headed by Bhagirath and Bhagwan Singh, both former sarpanches of Tihara village, is stated to be the cause behind the cold–blooded murder. One Ram Mehar, son of Raje Singh and brother of the accused Pritam Singh, was murdered in the village on the May 18, 2002. The police had booked Bhagirath, Raj Bir and 15 others for the murder.

However, when the police were unable to arrest Bhagirath and Raj Bir, they were declared proclaimed offenders by the court. It is stated that the failure of the police to apprehend the accused had fueled the feeling of revenge among some members of the rival faction. It is felt that the murder of Naresh Kumar, Bhagirath’s son, is a fall-out of the erstwhile killing. In view of the escalating tension in the village, a 24-member police contingent has been posted in Tihara village near Bawal.

Mukherjee gets Interim bail

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today rejected former Judge Shamit Mukherjee’s plea for regular bail in the case connected with the DDA scam but granted him interim bail for a period of 30 days after the expiry of CBI custody on May 7. Justice R C Chopra, while declining to grant regular bail, said Mukherjee, a former Judge of the Delhi High Court, would be entitled to be released on interim bail for 30 days on health grounds of his wife and mother.



Jittery kidnappers turn into cold-blooded killers 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
With the arrest of five youths, including sons of two policemen, the North-West district police today claimed to have cracked a case of kidnapping for ransom involving a businessman’s son. The kidnappers had reportedly got the jitters and killed the victim.

The suspects, who belong to well-to-do families, have been identified as Vikas Sidhu, a science graduate from Ramjas College who runs an insurance agency in Janakpuri commercial complex; Vikas Chaudhary, a 12th class student of Open School and son of an assistant Sub-Inspector in the Delhi Police; Joginder Singh alias Minto; Yogesh, who is doing graduation in Satyawati College and is the son of a head constable; and Anil Pratap, who happens to be the son of an Assistant Director in the DDA and is pursuing his B.A. Honours (Hindi) in Satyawati College.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), North-West, Sanjay Singh, the police have seized a black colour Yamaha Motorcycle and a Maruti car used to commit the crime. The suspects kidnapped the victim, Parakh Chadha alias Sunny, son of a businessman, on January 18 from his residence in Ashok Vihar. The suspects had demanded a ransom of Rs 35 lakh, which they were hoping would enable them to start a business.

According to the DCP, Vikas Sindhu and Vikas Chaudhary were the masterminds. Initially, they decided to kidnap the son of a businessman in Karol Bagh. However, they dropped the idea as Karol Bagh was a busy area and they were afraid of being caught. Later, Chaudhary suggested that they should kidnap Sunny whom he had known for a long time. They had studied in adjacent schools in Ashok Vihar and used to meet occasionally in Deep Cinema complex. Having chosen the victim, Sindhu and Chaudhary recruited Joginder Singh alias Minto.

On January 18, the trio went to the victim’s house at around 7 pm. As Sunny’s parents knew Chaudhary, he along with Joginder waited near the house while Sidhu called on Sunny and told him that Chaudhary was waiting for him.

Chaudhary persuaded Sunny to accompany him on the Yamaha motorcycle (DL 8 SF 5661) to Lekh Ram Park where Sidhu and Joginder were already waiting. Sidhu, later, left on his motor cycle and came back in a Maruti car, which he had borrowed from a friend. Chaudhary told Sunny that they were proceeding to Ghaziabad, where his sister lived, and they all left in the Maruti car.

The victim was sitting in the rear, sandwiched between Chaudhary and Joginder, when they strangulated him after crossing the Hindon river. Then, they emptied a large Pepsi bottle and filled it up with petrol at a pump. Near Ghaziabad, they dumped the body in a drain. The body was doused in petrol and set on fire. The accused returned to Delhi and from the next day began making the ransom calls.

The kidnapping case was registered on January 18 by the parents of the victim when he did not return. They complained that an unknown youth had taken their son on his black motorcycle, which carried the registration number 5561. Since they had got the registration number wrong, the vehicle could not be traced. A list of the victim’s friends was also made and they were interrogated. However, Vikas Chaudhary was not in the list. The latter was caught yesterday on his black motor cycle. During interrogation he confessed to the crime. His interrogation also led to the arrest of Sidhu and Joginder from their houses. Later, Anil Pratap and Yogesh were also arrested, the DCP said.



Row simmers over land acquired for Taj Expressway
Parmindar Singh

Greater Noida, May 5
Now that the foundation stone of the prestigious Taj Expressway, which will stretch from Greater Noida to Agra, has been laid, the battle lines seems to have been drawn between the farmers of the area and the district authorities.

The Greater Noida Authority and the farmers of the area are yet to amicably settle the land acquisition process. Moreover, a large number of farmers, whose lands have been acquired by the administration, are yet to receive the promised compensation from the government.

The main cause of the dispute relates to the rate of compensation to be given to the farmers whose lands are to be acquired by the government for building the expressway. The farmers of this area are demanding land compensation at the same rate as is applicable in Noida.

However, it is understood that the Greater Noida Authority, as well as the builders of the Taj Expressway, are in ‘no mood’ to pay compensation at the Noida rates.

Jagmal Singh and Hari Singh, both farmers of Tugalpur village, said even though the proposed Taj Expressway is to pass through their fields, no understanding has yet been reached on the rate of compensation.

In a meeting called by Additional CEO of Greater Noida, Mr Komal Nath, the farmers had been requested to let the foundation stone ceremony proceed without hindrance while the matter related to the land compensation could be decided later.

However, the farmers had made it clear that they will not allow the work on the Taj Expressway to proceed unless their demand on the land compensation was addressed adequately.

Reportedly, the villagers of Murshidpur and Salarpur are also getting organised for the ‘struggle’.

Clearly, the battle lines seem to have been drawn as the authorities appear to be determined to pay compensation at the rate of Rs 234 per sq m while the farmers are insisting on the Noida rate of Rs 386 per sq m. 



Evaluated answer sheets gutted 
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, May 5
A fire broke out in the council hall of Maharshi Dayanand University in the wee hours today, which reportedly destroyed a huge pile of evaluated answer scripts. According to information received, the fire was noticed in the council hall adjacent to the office of the vice chancellor at around 6.45 am by the securityman on duty. He reported the incident to the higher authorities and the chief security officer. Senior officials from the vice chancellor’s office rushed to the spot. A fire brigade was summoned, which could control the fire after an hour. Dr A K Rajan, Registrar of the university, has claimed that the answer books pertaining to September and December 2002 examinations had already been evaluated and the award list was safe. He said the examination process and the results would not be affected.

Scooterist yet to surface

New Delhi: Even as the police scoured the city for the suspects involved in the murder of 36-year-old Sunita Chadha on Friday, the North-West district police today claimed that they were in the process of compiling a list of black Cielo cars in the Capital and the adjoining districts. The police claimed that there are about 1,300 black Cielos plying on Delhi roads and in its adjoining districts. The profiles of the occupants are also being matched. The police teams have also fanned out in Haryana as they suspect the suspects may have entered Haryana after committing the crime. “We have some definite clues about the persons involved in the crime and are working on them to establish their involvement in the murder of Sunita,” said a senior police official. However, the police are yet to establish the identity of the scooterist involved in the altercation with the occupants of Cielo; he has not yet come forward to assist the police in the matter. The police on Sunday had announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for information in the case.



Assn chief waylaid, robbed of Rs 7 lakh
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 5
As many as half-a-dozen armed men reportedly robbed Mr Pawan Goel, president of the Foodgrains Dealers Association, Sonepat, and snatched about Rs 7 lakh and a car from him on the Sonepat-Rohtak road near Kanwali village, about 15 km from here on Sunday evening.

The incident occurred when Mr Goel, who is also a trader, was returning to Sonepat after collecting an amount from the kiryana merchants and other shopkeepers at Kharkhauda town in the district. On the way, the miscreants intercepted Mr Goel’s car and asked him to get down at gunpoint. Then, they whisked away in the car along with the looted cash. The miscreants had threatened to kill Mr Goel if he raised an alarm and gave information to the police in this regard.

In another incident, two persons sustained bullet injuries when a youth fired shots at them at Pipli Khera village, about 15 km from here on Sunday.

According to a report, the victims, Mahinder Singh and his son Ashok, were rushed to the local civil hospital and later sent to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment. The police have registered a case against the assailant, Surinder, and launched a manhunt.

The incident occurred, when one of the victims, Mahinder Singh, and another man, Hari Ram, had an altercation after consuming liquor. 



Congress under fire on water, power front
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
The Congress Government in the state led by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was accused of failing to provide water and electricity to the people in the Capital in the Lok Sabha today.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Mr Madan Lal Khurana said the National Capital Region was reeling from the impact of shortage of water and electricity and the worst sufferers were those living in unauthorised colonies.

He went on to say that the people were facing this situation because of the sheer neglect by this government. The government should have made a contingency plan three to four months ago, he said.

Supporting him, BJP Chief Whip Vijay Kumar Malhotra said Ms Dikshit should resign and go. Mr Khurana said that during his tenure as the Chief Minister in 1995, a scheme for drawing water from Haryana was undertaken, which was inaugurated by Ms Dikshit yesterday after what he described as “much delay”.

Nearly 1,000 contractors were illegally collecting money from lakhs of people in unauthorised colonies for using electricity, he said, adding ever since the power distribution was privatised nine months ago, the Government had suffered a loss of about Rs 1,850 crore and it was expected to touch Rs 2,600 crore next year. Mr Khurana demanded a CBI probe into the issue. His party colleague Lal Bihari Tewari said 40 to 50 lakh people living in unauthorised colonies were facing acute hardships.

Business-friendly place: Delhi has been ranked number one in the list of business-friendly places as per a study conducted by Bibek Debroy and Indicus Analytics for CII, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

The report has attempted to rank 36 cities in the country based on the criteria relating to communication, finance, transport, professional education, tourism (leisure and business), relative growth amongst others for which quality data was made available, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Vidyasagar Rao told the House.

Three to five variables were used for each of the selected criterion, he said, adding on the basis of analysis attempted in the report, Delhi has been ranked number one as the overall index ranking.

AIDS cases: Minister of State for Health A Raja said as many as 106 cases of AIDS were reported in 2002 from various hospitals in the national Capital. From AIIMS alone, 23 cases were reported, he said.

Water Plan: Delhi Jal Board has informed that they have formulated a special scheme to deal with the likely shortage of potable water in summer, Minister of State for Urban Development Pon Radhakrishnan said. It will include boring of 70 new tube wells, which will add about 15 to 20 MGD of water and increase in the number of filling stations, he said.

Encroachment: A part of land at Tughlakabad Fort, which was cleared of squatters on March 17, 2001 had been encroached upon immediately after the operation, by raising semi-permanent structures by the same persons who had been evicted.

Since the matter is sub judice in the Supreme Court, the Centre is not in a position to initiate immediate steps to make the land encroachment-free, raise boundary wall around and develop the land aesthetically to prevent such incidents in future, Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan informed the Lok Sabha.



INLD playing ‘politics of fodder’ for electoral gains
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 5
Believe it or not but the district which was a victim of drought last year is sending tonnes of fodder to the drought-hit areas of Rajasthan now.
This has been made possible primarily due to the ‘efforts’ of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) which intends to contest the coming assembly poll in Rajasthan.

But this attempt, claimed to be for a noble cause, has drawn flak from the opposition parties and their leaders who have described it as harassment of poor farmers who, they claim, were still awaiting the compensation money for the severe drought which hit the state last year.

Criticising sending fodder from Faridabad and the adjoining areas to Rajasthan, the firebrand RPI MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, said it was another setback to the farmers of the district who, he said, had not been able to cover up the losses caused by the drought last year.

He said nothing could be more shameful for a government which had failed to provide drought relief to the farmers of its state but had been forcing them to contribute fodder for the neighbouring one, merely due to the fact that the ruling party wanted to contest elections from there.

He alleged that crores of rupees from the state funds were used for campaigning in the last UP elections, where the ruling party failed to get even a single seat.

Describing it as a mere politics of fodder, Mr Dalal alleged the authorities had directed officials, including tehsildars and patwaris, to ensure collection of fodder to be sent to Rajasthan.

With the help of the police they had been threatening people and collecting the fodder forcibly.

He claimed that people, especially farmers, who had been facing acute shortage of water and power, would not forget such harassment and were in the mood to topple the present government at the first available opportunity.

He claimed that the fodder collection had led to sharp increase in the rates of fodder in the district and people were feeling scared of keeping fodder from where it could be acquired by the authorities.

Meanwhile, reports from the rural areas have indicated that fodder rates have nearly doubled up due to its less availability. Mehar Chand, Rajvir and Raju of Fajjirpur village said the fodder which was available at Rs 40 to 50 per quintal earlier was now being sold between Rs 80 and 90 these days. The president of the Haryana unit of the Janata Dal (U), Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has condemned the move of the Haryana government to send fodder to Rajasthan.

He said instead of providing any relief to the drought-affected farmers it was ridiculous on the part of the authorities to send fodder to neighbouring states when south Haryana had already been facing shortage.

He said the authorities might be giving other reasons but he claimed that such a politics was quite understandable even to a common man.

It may be recalled that two trains each containing 5,000 quintals of fodder have already been despatched in the past one week from Palwal.

While the first train was flagged off by the Chief Minister himself on April 29 last another train was flagged off by the state Cooperation Minister yesterday. The state government had reportedly announced it would send two dozen trains to Rajasthan.



How to manage hospital waste? An onerous task
Our Correspondent

Noida, May 5
Hospital waste management is a big challenge in the town. The medical fraternity needs to deliberate and address the problems seriously.
Proper destruction of medical waste through incineration could become a landmark for this industrial town, Dr Om Prakash, CEO, Noida said while addressing the 16 anniversary of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Noida, as chief guest here last night.

The Noida administration will allot a plot to the IMA, Noida in Sector-31 on lease for the next 25 years where the IMA will have to set up a blood bank and a medicine bank in the IMA building to be built there, so that the essential services could be provided to the poor masses, Dr Om Prakash said.

A medical city and a biotech city are being planned on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. The question of advisability of medical practice by doctors in residential colonies was being considered.

Dr Om Prakash gave a clarion call to the doctors that they should try to bring about a change in the thinking of the people by their own behaviour and changed mindset.

They should also come forward and take part in health campaigns and programmes launched by the government from time to time for the welfare of the masses.

The proposed health city being set up in Noida, he said, would provide all medical facilities to the people at one place.

The CEO also called for the need to launch a sustained awareness campaign on the important aspects of public health.

The new District Magistrate, Mr L Venketeshwar Lu, said that with polluted water and all-round pollution in Noida, it was impossible for people to stay healthy.

Referring to the bitterness in relations between the doctors and the patients, the DM said access to the medical facilities has sadly been confined to a select class only. After a thorough soul-searching at an individual level as well as the fraternity level, could one hope for an improvement and revival of trust between the doctors and the sick.

You cannot get respect forcibly, but you can achieve it by making sacrifices and showing genuine concern about the ordinary patients.

Dr Mahesh Sharma of Kailash Hospital and President of IMA, Noida had earlier voiced concern that the traditional relations of trust between the doctor and the patients had been vitiated by commercialism. Even patients threatening doctors with court cases was a common occurrence now. The patients had become more knowledgeable and demanding now.

Among others, Dr Sanjeev Mittal, Secretary-General of IMA, Anil Bansal, President IMA, Delhi, Harinder Gupta President of IMA, UP also addressed the function.



Philatelic honours for four evergreen 
singers this month
By D.R K.K Paul

In order to commemorate well-known historical and national figures who have enriched the country on account of their talents in diverse fields, or brought laurels and fame to the nation through their efforts, or otherwise made immense contributions through public service, the Department of Posts, Government of India, has been regularly coming out with stamps in their honour.

The contributions of Bollywood have been well recognised in the shape of stamps in honour of Nargis Dutt, Raj Kapoor, K. L. Saigal, Dina Nath Mangeshkar and V. Shantaram. Though not from Bollywood, Satyajit Ray besides several South Indian film personalities have also been bestowed with such an honour.

So far, however, no playback singer of the post-Independence era had been recognised in this manner.

It is in this context that the decision of the Department of Posts, to release on May 15 stamps in honour of legendary singers Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore and Hemant Kumar, will be hailed by all their fans.

While Rafi and Mukesh stuck to playback singing alone, Kishore, a multi-faceted actor-singer, also tried his hand at composing for his own films.

Hemant was on the other hand an immensely successful singer-composer, who went on to get the best music direction award for “Nagin” with his famous Man dole mera tan dole as early as 1955. Incidentally, music directors Ravi and Kalyanji assisted him and it is known that the haunting been of “Nagin” was personally played by Kalyanji.

All four playback singers had deep knowledge of the Indian classical music but were very versatile and could harmonise and incorporate Western styles to suit the situation. Mukesh, though identified as Raj Kapoor’s voice, had initially begun in the K. L. Saigal mould in `Dil jalta hai to jalne de’ from “Paheli Nazar” in 1945 (Anil Biswas).

Kishore on the other hand had a rough time initially. Imagine at one time even Mohd Rafi had to playback for Kishore Kumar in “Shararat” in 1958. His bouncy and youthful style went very well with Dev Anand and later contributed to the success of Rajesh Khanna. By the seventies and early eighties he had become virtually indispensable for the entire industry.

Hemant Kumar, who arrived in 1952 with “Anandmath”, and became a rage with `Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan’ in “Jaal” the same year, had a distinct style of his own. With his deep and sonorous voice, he had the enchanting capability of transporting the listeners instantly into a dream world.

Mohd Rafi, however, remains unsurpassed for his range and variety. Be it a comic situation (‘Sar jo tera chakraye’ (“Pyaasa”) or a patriotic song from “Haqeeqat”; be it a romantic melody like ‘Chauhdavin ka chand’ (1960), a bhajan from “Baiju Bawra” (1953) or a ghazal from “Kaajal” (1966), he remains unmatched till date.

These days there have been a number of clones but an imitation can never replace the original. They will remain evergreen.

Cigar or cigarette, both are bad: A study reported in newspapers of May 4 concludes that in spite of all efforts the smoking habit is picking up in schools and younger age groups more as a fashion statement than anything else. Contributions of the media to the growth of this menace have also been commented. Though all forms of smoking are bad, Sir Winston Churchill often defended his addiction to cigars by emphasising “a cigarette is a cigarette but a cigar is a smoke”.

He, along with the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, are known to have been the most famous, if one is allowed to use the euphemism, mascots, for cigars; and both lived up to ripe old ages of over 90. This is not to extol the virtues of cigars over cigarettes but the fact remains that the statutory warning on cigarettes is often found missing on some of the cigar boxes and pipe tobaccos of Indian origin.

The world cigar is derived from sikar, the Mayan term for smoking, indicating its origin to be in Mexico or the Americas. The origin of cigarettes is attributed to the 16th century beggars in Spain who used to pick up discarded cigar butts, shred them and roll them in scraps of paper for smoking, thus improvising the first cigarettes. These poor man’s smokes were known as cigarrillos.

Later, in the 18th century they acquired respectability and their use spread to Italy and Portugal. French and British troops became familiar with them during the Napoleonic Wars.

Nicotine, the most active ingredient of tobacco, is named after Jean Nicot, who was the French Ambassador to Portugal. It is a liquid alkaloid and in pure form is highly poisonous with an unpleasant odour. The main difference between the cigar and the cigarette smoke is that the cigarette is inhaled and hence the transfer of the active ingredients into the blood stream and the nervous system takes place in lungs. On the other hand, cigar or pipe smoke, which is not inhaled into lungs, gets absorbed in the system through the mucous membrane.

The cigarette smoke leaves the system somewhat acidic while the cigars have an alkaline after-effect. The smoke after entering the lungs goes into the alveolus and microscopic capillaries where it has an interface with the blood stream. It thus tends to raise the blood pressure directly as well as cause long-term effects on lungs by way of deposits leading to cancerous growth. Stringent controls not only on the sale of tobacco products alone but also on advertising and films are accordingly suggested.

Rare celestial show in May: May this year will witness three significant celestial events, out of which two can be easily seen in India. While the new moon on the 31st will have a solar eclipse, visible in Delhi and in most north-western parts of the country, another rare event is due on the 7th when the planet Mercury transits from a very close angle over the sun. On that day both the sun and Mercury have almost the same longitude. The sun will be at 22 degree 8’ 34” and Mercury would be at 22 degree 37’ 44”, but retrograde. The lunar eclipse of May 16 will not be seen in India.

Mercury is known to be the fastest of all planets and being the closest to the sun completes one revolution only in 88 days as compared to 365 days being taken by the earth.

Since on May 7 the planets are going to be very close to each other and in the same plane the transit of Mercury will be clearly visible. However, on account of a very large size differential, Mercury having a diameter only about 1/60 of the sun, it will not be in the shape of an eclipse but will be seen as a black dot over the solar disc.

Such a situation is known to occur during the daytime only seven to eight times in a hundred years. On May 7, the transit from East to West is scheduled to commence at 10.43 IST and will be over by 16.02 IST. The sun is so bright and overpoweringly brilliant that any planet which comes very near to it tends to lose its power and influence.

In astrological terms the planet in such a situation is known to have become combust and is known to give negative results. In day-to-day life Mercury is usually associated with education, speech, oratory, intelligence, writing, religious rites, devotion, maternal uncle, maternal grandfather and younger co-borns etc. Eclipses and such transits in the nature of combust are not considered good omens in Hindu mythology.

Those interested in watching are advised special precautions and not to attempt any viewing through the naked eye.

(Dr K. K. Paul is Special Commissioner, Administration, Delhi Police)



Police chief cut up over ‘one-sided’ 
play to widow’s charge
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 5
A widow of about 40 years of age, Mrs Sheetal (named changed), reportedly alleged in a section of the press that when she visited the Farukhnagar police station on April 17 in the evening to lodge a complaint against one of her relatives, the SHO made indecent comments.

She alleged that the officer in charge made a condition that if she stayed overnight at the police station then only her complaint would be looked into.

She had gone to the police station with a complaint that after her death, her stepson (who is in defence services), threatened her to leave the village, failing which she would be liquidated. When she returned from Haridwar, she found that the lock of her house had been broken and some belongings stolen.

After her allegation in public against the SHO, the district police chief, Mr Kuldip Singh Sihag, deputed an officer of the rank of DSP to inquire into the whole case. Mr Sihag, who met the mediapersons today, alleged that even though the DSP had gone to the village to inquire the case, the woman did not turn up to give her side of the view. However, the police have said that the investigative officer, who along with some members of the village went to her house, did find that a portion of the boundary wall was broken. But even after sending a number of messages by the DSP to the woman to give her view, Mrs Sheetal has not responded.

Mr Sihag was apparently cut up over the ‘one-sided’ version of the woman published in a section of the press. He produced a person of the village, Mr Net Ram, an employee of the electricity department, who claimed to have accompanied the woman to the SHO’s office when she had gone to lodge her complaint.

Mr Net Ram said that he had left the office of the SHO along with the lady, and the allegation against the police officer was unfounded.

The police also produced the stepson and the Sarpanch of the village, Mr Raj Pal Dhankad. Both of them told mediapersons before the police chief that the woman was of loose character. Meanwhile, the police have registered an FIR invoking Sections 447 (punishment for criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50) and 380 (theft in house) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).



He is the grand old man of 
Delhi’s medical fraternity
Nalini Ranjan

Doctors in the national Capital fondly refer to him as the grand old man of the medical profession with even the most experienced of them never hesitating to consult him when faced with a tricky diagnosis. For the 80-year-old Dr Anant S. Ahluwalia, life is a gift from God which ought to be used to help others while at the same time sparing no efforts to keep oneself healthy and disease-free. Alert and energetic, this octogenarian can put a lot of younger people to shame with his energy and interest in life. An ardent fan of the veteran Bollywood star, the evergreen and young at heart Dev Anand, Dr Ahluwalia perhaps has been inspired by the hero of yesteryears to maintain his youthful figure and vigour. What is amazing is that this former Indian Air Force officer is absolutely free from afflictions which normally beset old age. After taking his MBBS degree from King George Medical College, Lucknow, in 1950, he joined the Indian Air Force as a medical officer-cum- flight lieutenant in 1952 and retired in1976 as wing commander-cum-chief medical officer. Till 1997, he was adviser to many prominent hospitals. He earned coveted degrees like MRCP, FICA and FIAMS from some of the well-known foreign universities even after his retirement. He has been the president of the New Delhi branch of the Indian Medical Association. After practising allopathy for about half a century, he realised that some other systems of healthcare were more effective and devoid of any side-effects. Then he decided to study naturopathy and eventually opened a holistic clinical research institute of integrated medical sciences under the name, Return to Nature, at his Sarita Vihar, South Delhi residence. Dr Ahluwalia advocates that to ward off disease, the safest and easiest way is to follow the laws of nature. Recently, Dr Ahluwalia was awarded with a national award for his research in this field by NIAHSNI Holistic Health for All Society at a public function at Talkatora Stadium. In a conversation with NCR Tribune, Dr Ahluwalia recalled some of the important moments in his long and rewarding medical career spanning almost half a century.

How did you join the medical profession?

I basically hail from Rawalpindi district, now in Pakistan. My father, Dr Karan Singh, was also a trained doctor and served the Indian Army for many years. He retired as a Major. It was a big rank for any Indian in those days. My father and my mother, Mrs Gowardhan Kaur, always wanted to see me as a qualified doctor. My mother is still alive. At 98 years of age she is still so active that she never misses out on any kitty parties in the area. After schooling, I took admission in King Edward Medical College, Lahore. I was a second year student of that medical college when the country was partitioned in 1947. After Independence, our family had to shift base to India. My academic achievements were excellent so I got admission in King George Medical College in Lucknow. At that time it was the most reputed medical college in India. In 1950, I was awarded the MBBS degree. At that time getting such a degree was a rarity. In college, we learned many new things. Dr B. N. Sinha, who taught there, was a fatherly figure for me. He was the first Indian Fellow of the prestigious Royal College of Surgery (FRCS), London. On his advice, I went to Safdarjang Hospital in Delhi in early 1951.

Then, its name was American Hospital and it was dominated by American, English and Anglo-Indian doctors. Indian doctors were treated as second rate citizens. I was so disappointed that despite being armed with an MBBS degree and a recommendation letter from Dr Sinha I could merely get the job of a lab assistant in the hospital. I joined because I had no other option then. Then that hospital had only five wards. Now, the number has gone up to 17.

There I came across many peculiar things. One of them was a unique refrigerator which worked on kerosene. In the laboratory, I found the purity level of alcohol was a phenomenal 98 per cent. Such pure alcohol is rare in hospitals. We used to add some flavours to it and drink it as whisky.

My formula worked and with the concoction brewed by me I became popular among those snobbish doctors. In 1952, I was inducted into the Indian Air Force. Here, I served at different locations for about three decades.

You have been a witness to the three wars fought after Independence. Could you recount some interesting incidents?

I would like to share some intrinsic information regarding the Indo-China War of 1962. The main reason behind our defeat that China had played a big trick on us. It had deployed its army at almost all border areas. It had cleverly arranged seemingly large number of soldiers in the front lines with only a few left to make up the rear lines. The Indian Army surrendered at most of the border pickets labouring under the misapprehension that they were horribly outnumbered. At the time of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 the situation was so critical that doctors were prepared to take up arms.

Subsequent to retirement from the Indian Air Force, what kept you occupied?

After retirement, I went to England where I got a postgraduate degree in medicine (MRCP). After that I proceeded to Sandford Medical College in the USA for further studies.

Here the standard was so high that despite many attempts I could not manage to get admission in that college but I was adamant I wanted to learn some new things from this institute. After much persistence, I got permission to work as a clinical assistant there. I would like to mention that at that time 10 doctors of that medical college were Nobel Prize recipients in medicine. During that period, I also did an advance course in human sexuality from Master Johnson Institute, Chicago. Spending some time there, I returned to India again. I wanted to give a new dimension to sex education in India. But it was a difficult task. Sex education was a taboo in those days as far as the school curriculum was concerned. So I joined the Panchkuian Road-based Banwari Lal Hospital as Chief Consultant. Here, I worked for more than 14 years.

After spending a long time practising the allopathic system of healthcare, what prompted you to switch over to naturopathy?

The father of homeopathy, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, was a qualified allopathic doctor but he changed his stream. It is all a matter of what gives you satisfaction. Naturopathy is nothing but the management of lifestyle. When we are born, we are completely healthy.

As a result of distancing ourselves from nature we are afflicted with various kinds of diseases. There is no denying the fact that more often than not chronic diseases do not find a cure in conventional allopathic treatment. We have forgotten the basics of our existence and it has badly affected our health. There are many complementary therapies that help get rid of many chronic diseases. For example, magnetotherapy is a big help for spinal disorders, problem associated with joints, controlling obesity and blood dysfunction.

Acupressure is ideal for treating rheumatism, cervical pain, dorsal spondylitis, joint pain and migraine. The earth itself is a magnet. Our emphasis is on lifestyle which starts in the womb and ends at the tomb. It needs to be regulated properly by following the natural path if one wants to stay healthy. Most of the diseases are caused due to improper weight management.

Naturopathy offers an excellent solution to overweight people as one can lose weight without the use of any medicine.

Our Return to Nature centre is totally charitable in nature and we offer free health check-up camps for different types of ailments. Our motive is to spread the message of cheap, drugless therapy among the masses. It is the best solution to get rid of quacks as well. We have done a lot of research on the attributes of tea. It is a panacea for many ailments like diabetes and diarrhoea.

Scientific evidence suggests that tea provides lots of health benefits just like many fruits and vegetables. It contains a number of antioxidants, known as flavonoids. These flavonoids help the body from the damage caused by free radicals and help maintain the cells and tissue healthy.

Recently, you have started Delhi Andrology Society. What is its role?

Andrology means sexual health of a man. Unfortunately, in India very few people are ready to talk about this. However, the Delhi Medical Association is supporting our venture. Dr Suresh Sikka, an eminent andrologist from Toulene University, New Orleans, is on our advisory board. In India, detailed epidemiological studies are not available but andrologists’ experience suggests that 10 per cent our male population suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction.



11 roads, subways built, repaired in Sonepat 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 5
The district administration has almost completed the construction and repair works of as many as 11 roads and subways in Sonepat district following the orders of the state government.

According to official sources, a sum of Rs 26.37 lakh had been spent on the road between Sonepat grain market and Kakroi Road in the city. Moreover, a sum of Rs 15.59 lakh had been spent on the road between Kilorad and Shahzadpur.

The following amount had been spent on various roads in the district: Waterworks Gohana to Rohtak Road (Rs 4.96 lakh); Katwal village to Rewari village (Rs 5.93 lakh); Baroda village to Kohla villge (Rs 56.72 lakh); Maqimpur village subway (Rs 30.53 lakh) and repair of Mission Road, Sonepat (Rs 14.91 lakh).

At Gohana town, a sum of Rs 2.12 crore had been spent on the development of new Subzimandi and another Rs 7.57 lakh spent on the construction of the road leading to the grain market there. The state government had spent Rs 16.21 lakh on the town park in Sector 14, Sonepat and another Rs 1.33 crore on the Choudhary Devi Lal Park in Sector 7.

It has allocated Rs 99.80 lakh for the construction of a senior secondary school and another Rs 37.20 lakh for the community centre in Sector 15, Sonepat.

A sum of Rs 87.79 lakh had been spent on the construction of the office of the HUDA at Sonepat. The Sonepat Zila Parishad had decided to construct four major roads in the district and the work on these roads would be started soon. Most of the roads and link roads in the rural areas are in disrepair and have become unfit for the movement of vehicular traffic. The Sonepat-Rohtak Road is in a worst condition and the authorities have so far failed to repair it.



‘Summit of Mind’ in Delhi from May 7
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
A three-day convention to deliberate on the problems of the disabled persons and formulate strategies for solving them will be organised in the Capital from May 7.
Titled the ‘Summit of Mind’, the convention will be inaugurated by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr Satyanarayan Jatiya.

The seminar is the first of its kind and is being organised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), a statutory body under the ministry. More than 500 representatives from 250 NGOs and officials of several government bodies working in every area of disability will converge for the convention.

The RCI Chairman, Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia, said the convention would help in preparing roadmaps for any future work in the disability sector.

The convention would have special sessions on ‘Disability— Rehabilitation in the New Millennium—Challenges and Opportunities’, ‘HRD-Grassroots and Higher Level’, ‘Role of NGOs in Rehabilitation Programmes’, ‘Information Communication Technology in Rehabilitation’, Promotion of Cross Disability Approacheses’, ‘Research in Rehabilitation’ and ‘Barrier Free Environment’. 



IOB branch in Rewari
Our Correspondents

Rewari, May 5
Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has opened its branch in Rewari, thus taking the tally of its branches to 17 in Haryana.
It was formally inaugurated today by Mr S.C. Gupta, Chairman and Manage Director of the IOB. Like all the 1,430-odd branches of the IOB throughout the country, its Rewari branch too is fully computerised.

Besides, it is fully air-conditioned which bestows a rare distinction on it among all the other 22 existing branches of the various other banks at Rewari .

It is quite creditable for the IOB authorities that over 500 prominent citizens of the town opened their accounts with the Rewari branch during its inaugural period.

The Rewari branch of the IOB also provides a 3-day clearance facility for Delhi-based cheques of its account holders.

The quick clearance facility is not available at other branches of the various other banks at Rewari, according to Mr Lalit Kumar, senior manager of the bank.

Laminating glass processing unit

Sonepat: The Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Mr Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, inaugurated the Laminating Glass Processing Unit at the Gold Plus Toughened Glass Limited, Liwasspur village about 13 km from here yesterday.

The fully automatic state-of-the-art plant will provide the quality PVB laminating glasses catering to the need of architectural and automotive application.

The hi-tech glass (gold safe) provides enhanced safety, improved security, sound control, ultraviolet screening, better solar energy performance and disaster protection. This plant as on today is the largest PVB lamination plant of the country which can produce the flat laminating glass of size 2400 mmx4000 mm and bend laminating glass of size 1830mmx3050mm.

This hi-tech plant contains washing unit, drying unit, PVB laying theatre to effect requisite temperature, humidity and dust-free conditions, nipping and pre-pressing unit and a huge autoclave (2500mmx5500mm).

With the advent and commissioning of PVB lamination plant, Gold Plus has become the only glass processing group of India manufacturing all types of processed glass under one roof.

The product range contains insulating glass, horizontal toughened glass, horizontal heat strengthened glass, flat PVB laminating glass, bend PVB laminating glass, heat soaked glass, decorative glass, toughened automotive glass and laminated automotive glass.

With the hi-tech manufacturing facilities and wide product spectrum, it is expected that Gold Plus will continue catering to the automotive, architectural and industrial demands of the market with the same dedication as experienced by their clientele so far.

Wheat distributed to widows

Sonepat: Punjabi Seva Samiti, a voluntary organisation of Gohana town, in a rare gesture of generosity distributed around 85 quintals of wheat among the widows and other destitute women of Gohana town and adjoining villages on Sunday.

Each woman was given one quintal of wheat, collected from the commission agents of the mandi and others of the town.

The samiti adopted a unique method for the distribution of the wheat.

Instead of making it a public event to attract attention, the volunteers of the samiti went from door to door identifying the widows and destitute women. 



Labourer beaten up for demanding salary
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 5
The Rai Police have registered a case of assault on a labourer by a farmer and his associate at Jakhauli village about 15 km from here last night.
According to a report lodged with the police, the labourer Bhadia Saini of Jagdishpur village stated that he had not been paid his salary for the last 10 months despite repeated requests.

He said that he was given a job at Rs 2,000 per month. Whenever he demanded the salary, he was asked to wait.

In February, he requested the owner of the fields to pay the salary, the owner again assured him that he would be paid after the harvesting of wheat this season.

Last night, the labourer again pleaded with the farmer for the salary, but the fellow was roughed up by the farmer and one of his associates.

The manhandling resulted in the serious injuries to him. Thereafter, the members of his family took him to the civil hospital at Sonepat, and they informed the police. The alleged assailants are at large.

Waterless Chaulka: The Chaulka village in the district has remained waterless for the last two weeks following the burning of the electricity motor at the waterworks.

According to a report, there has been an acute shortage of drinking water. Many residents alleged that their repeated complaints to the authorities of the Public Health Department had fallen on deaf ears.

The villagers have urged the district authorities to come to their rescue and direct the PHD officials to ensure the supply of water to the village without delay.

Blood bank: The building of the blood bank on the premises of the local civil hospital is still locked as the authorities of the health department had failed to get the licence of the bank renewed from the state government.

According to a report, the health department officials have now deposited the fee for the renewal of the licence and the blood bank will start functioning only after the visit of the Central team from the Union Health Ministry.

The officials of the team are likely to visit the hospital next week and make an on-the-spot inquiry.

The closure of the blood bank has led to a daylight robbery by the owners of the private hospitals and nursing homes. They charge fancy rates from the patients.

The are at least 28 blood banks functioning in the state. They include 16 government, nine private, one district Red Cross Society, Panipat and two military blood banks.

The fee for the blood donors is Rs 500, but the owners of private hospitals and nursing homes charge Rs 1,000 or more.

Dowry case: The Ganaur Police have registered a dowry harassment case against five persons of the in-laws family including the husband of a married woman Mrs Sonu of Gandhi Nagar, Ganaur and started investigations into the case.

According to a report, the woman has filed an application in the judicial court at Ganaur naming the members of the in-laws family who had been harassing her for more dowry.

Hit by speeding bike: Mr Ran Singh, a resident of Bahalgarh sustained injuries when he was hit by a speedy motorcycle while crossing G T Road about 10 km from here last evening. He was immediately hospitalised and stated to be out of danger.



Best Travel Writer Award
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 5
The Indian Association of Tour Operators has presented “L.K. Bakhshi Best Travel Writer Award” to Ms Jyoti Koul at their 19th IATO Annual Convention 2003 recently concluded in Hyderabad.

Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Andhra Pradesh gave away the award. Bakhshi award was constituted in 1997 and is presented to the writers who excelled in travel journalism.

Free eye camp: The Tarun Mitra Parishad, a social organisation today organised a free eye camp at Basti Vikas Kendra, Mangolpuri.

Ram Kishore Navaria, Municipal Councillor inaugurated the camp. The councillor expressed gratitude of the organisation and hoped that the Tarun Mitra Parishad would organise such more camps in the neglected areas of the Capital.



WLL expanded in Gurgaon
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 5
The Haryana Telecom Circle today launched its Customer Service Centre (DTO) and expanded its Wireless Local Loop (WLL) in the city.
The Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Mr Prithipal Singh, inaugurated the Customer Service Centre at Sadar Bazaar.

Speaking at a public function in connection with the two events, he said that the BSNL would provide the best of services and implement the most enviable of schemes in Gurgaon telecom circle, considering the rapid modernisation and expansion of the city.

Dwelling on the telephone availability in the country, he said that on account of WLL system, the BSNL has been able to provide telephone connections to the consumers in the majority of the areas of the country.

Reflecting on the growing reach of the telecom department, he said that the waiting list for the telephone connection was longer in the rural areas than in the cities.

The Chief General Manager, Haryana Telecom Circle, Mr A.K. Nagpal, said that the Customer Service Centre, which is ninth in a series in the city, provides omnibus facilities in the interest of improving the quality of services of the department. The services include handling of complaints regarding telephone service, distribution of telephone directories, issuance of duplicate bills, receipt of payment of telephone bills by cash and receipt of payment of telephone bills by cheque/draft.

Today’s addition of 5,000 lines under WLL will further boost the breadth of the network in Gurgaon Telecom Circle.

The Gurgaon Telecom Circle plans to launch a mobile van for fault rectification in an effort to provide a personalised service to the corporate consumers.

It has already launched a mobile van for the collection of bills and rental money for the high-end consumers.

The General Manager of Gurgaon Telecom Circle, Mr Shivendra Bhatnagar, said that the department will do its utmost to reach the doorsteps of the customers.

The growing geographical expanse of the Gurgaon city and the burgeoning demographic profile make the task of the department more challenging.

Presently, there are in all 67 exchanges in the district, out of which 37 are in the urban areas. Out of the 1,15,734 working lines, 1,00,208 are in the urban areas. There are now 3,212 WLL working connections in the entire district circle.


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