Tuesday, May 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Daewoo workers try to barge into 
premises, clash with cops
Our Correspondent

Greater Noida, May 19
At least 20 persons, including six workers and 14 policemen, were today injured when 500 workers of Daewoo Motors attempted to enter the factory premises in Surajpur here.

According to the police, the trouble erupted at noon when a large number of employees tried to enter the office complex of the company. When their attempt was thwarted, they clashed with the policemen deployed around the factory and pelted them with stones. The cops also resorted to a lathi charge, in which six workers were injured. No arrest has been made.

The bank representatives are holding meetings with the representatives of workers to resolve the issue. The district administration is keeping a close watch in the area. Workers are livid since the take-over of the plant by the banks yesterday.

Nobody could have dreamt that the Rs 3,800-crore Daewoo Motors will touch its nadir within seven years of the launch of the mid-sized family car, Matiz. The farmers, whose land was acquired for setting up the sprawling complex, are ruing their decision now. On one hand, they have lost their land; and, on the other, they are no longer assured of employment in the factory.

The company had been providing livelihood to 1,320 workers and their families. The Daewoo plant, which had been a hub of activity for about a decade, is now deserted, except for the police force deployed there.

Dr Charat Ram and Bharat Ram had set up the DCM plant on 500 acres near Habibpur village in 1984. The farmers, whose land was acquired, had received a measly compensation of Rs 8 per square yard only. The farmers, who had opposed the deal, were warned that their children and relatives would not get employment in the factory.

The factory assembly line was humming during the period 1984 to 1994 with DCM Toyota rolling out tempos, buses and trucks. In 1994, the Korean company, Daewoo Motors, acquired a 49 per cent stake in the company and two years later it had acquired complete control.

Around this time, Daewoo recruited 1,500 more employees, taking the total strength of the workforce to 1,850. But the next year 225 workers were retrenched as “their documents were found to be fake”. Many of the sacked workers had accused the company officials of accepting heavy bribes for giving them jobs.

In 1999, the workers took out a huge rally and went on hunger strike. The union cashier, Rajinder Tyagi, was shot dead near the plant gate. The mystery behind the murder has not been unravelled so far.

Fourteen months ago, the management vanished from the scene after bringing production to a halt, leaving the company deep in debt. It owed Rs 1,500 crore to ICICI Bank, IDBI, Canara Bank and the State Bank of India. Anxious to recover their dues, the banks pressed for auction of the plant and tried to occupy the premises, which was stoutly opposed by the workers.

The current lockout has brought 1,320 workers and their families on the brink. The workers are unhappy that no political leader or government agency has been moved by their plight.



300 ‘most wanted’ criminals on the prowl 
in Meerut zone
Our Correspondent

Meerut, May 19
Western Uttar Pradesh, especially Meerut zone, is notorious for crime. The zone is the popular choice: both as a turf and as a safe haven.
No wonder, more than 300 gangsters, with rewards on their heads, are still at large in western UP. Muzaffarnagar district tops the list with 91 such gangsters. As against this, Saharanpur boasts of only 16. Most of these criminals are engaged in kidnapping for ransom and contract killings, according to Inspector General of Police, Meerut Zone, Mr Vibheeti Narayan Rai.

Around 30 “big bosses” are engaged in kidnapping for ransom in Meerut zone. They have their own gangs: some of the notorious ones are the Ravindra Bheva gang, Pramod Bhadara gang and Bijendra Pramukh gang. While some of them have settled down in politics, they haven’t really got over their old habits.

At least 273 gangsters with rewards on their heads are listed in the six districts of Meerut zone — Meerut, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanur. Of these, 68 are in Meerut, 211 in Ghaziabad, 25 in Bulandshahr, 53 in Baghpat, 91 in Muzaffarnagar and only 16 in Saharanpur. If one includes the number of gangsters in Gautam Budh Nagar, the figure crosses 300.

The SSP of Muzaffarnagar, Bhajni Ram Mina, revealed on telephone that 17 gangsters out of the 91 in the district were notorious for kidnapping for ransom. They included Man Chand (reward Rs 25,000) and Shaukin (Rs 20,000) of Titavi police station, Afzal alias Kala (Jhighana), Latif Chaudhry, Babu Khan, Dilshad, Shah Nawaz Barla (all Rs 10,000 each), Sushil Muchh and Vikki Tyagi (Rs 5,000 each). While Afzal and Latif are notorious for kidnapping and murder, Manchand and Shaukin are known for their ransom activities.

Meerut is second on the list in the zone: Dimple Tyagi (reward Rs 5,000), Ajay Goyal (Rs 10,000), Rakam Singh Phalawda (Rs 5,000), Nisha alias Maruti (Rs 2,500), Vrindra and Pramod Bhadur (Rs 5,000 each) and Shakil alias Doda (Rs 2,500) are the notorious gangsters. Over a dozen of these have reportedly shifted their bases to the nearby districts of Delhi as they are afraid of being killed in encounters.

Baghpat also has a good record with Prem Pal alias Fauzi (reward Rs 10,000), Jaivir (Rs 15,000), Vinod (Rs 2,500) Bhadur Singh alias Kale Singh (Rs 2,500) and Ravindra (Rs 2500) listed in the police records. Rohtas Gurjar and Budhu alias Kale are notorious for kidnapping in Saharanpur.

Known for gang wars, Jatan Srohi and Sensar Pal are listed in Bulandshahr police records while another known criminal of the area, Vikas Yadav, died in an encounter recently. Islam Thakur, Balram Singh, Yogesh Kumar and Kale alias Bhura are the other gangsters in the district.

While the Meerut police have killed 32 noted gangsters, including Pushpendra Jat and Chaman, in 24 encounters in a year, 20 others have been eliminated by the police of other districts. However, the crime graph and the incidents of road hold-ups and train robbery are still high, proving to be a major headache to the police and administration officials. 



Former MLA’s son shoots uncle 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 19
Dinesh, the only son of former MLA Kitab Singh Malik, allegedly shot dead his uncle in their native Anwali village under the Gohana Sadar police station on Sunday. Dinesh is reportedly absconding from the village; the police have registered a case of murder.

According to information, following a dispute over ancestral property between the families of Kitab Singh Malik and his brothers, a meeting of the village panchayat was held in the village on Saturday.

On Sunday, Dinesh was beaten up by his cousin Ramesh and uncle Nafe Singh. Infuriated, Dinesh brought a licensed gun from his house and aimed it at Ramesh. However, when his other uncle, Ranbir Singh, tried to intervene, the gun went off and the bullet hit Ranbir in the head.

After the incident, Dinesh managed to escape from the village and Ranbir was taken to the PGIMS, Rohtak, by the villagers. However, he succumbed to the injury before he could be admitted and the doctors declared him brought dead.

The former MLA was not present in the village at the time of the incident, but he reached the PGIMS later.

It may be mentioned that the former MLA had legally disowned his son, Dinesh, about two months back, depriving him of the rights to his property.

Dinesh is employed in the Central Cooperative Bank and is posted at the branch in Bhainswal Kalan village.

3 die of toxic gas in well: Three labourers died after inhaling poisonous gas while working in a 30-feet well at the Yamuna Action Plan treatment plant near Gohana town on Sunday.

The bodies of the victims could be retrieved by the employees of the Gohana fire station only by late evening. The victims have been identified as Suraj Mal of Ludan, Kuldeep of Busana and Hari Om of Moi Hooda village.

According to information, two labourers went down the well to repair an electric motor. When both of them neither came up nor responded to the calls for about two hours, another labourer was sent inside the well. But he also met with the same fate. The incident was immediately reported to the authorities and SDM Suraj Bhan Jangra, DSP S. S. Rana, department officers and fire officials reached the spot. However, the rescue operation was delayed due to non-availability of oxygen masks at the Gohana fire station.

The authorities organised the oxygen masks from Sonepat and only then the rescue team could go down the well and retrieve the bodies, which were later sent to the civil hospital for post-mortem examination.



Dreaded gangster nabbed after encounter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 19
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police today claimed to have arrested a notorious criminal of western UP after an encounter in Vikaspuri. The suspect was identified as Jagmohan Punjabi alias Leela alias Mohan.

He was arrested from H-Block in Vikaspuri. Two stolen Hero Honda motorcycles, one country-made pistol of .315 bore, one live and another used cartridges were seized from him. He was reportedly involved in 20 cases of murder, robbery and motor vehicle thefts. He was also reportedly involved in a robbery-cum-murder case in Derawala Nagar. An old cosmetic merchant, Pawan Kumar Sethi, was murdered and robbed of Rs 2.3 lakh in Derawala Nagar, the police said.

The police had received a tip-off that a notorious member of the Amir Raja gang of western UP would come to Vikaspuri to meet his associates, with a view to committing robberies and dacoities in Delhi and nearby areas. A trap was laid near the DVB office in H-Block in Vikaspuri.

He was seen moving on his Splendor Hero Honda motorcycle at 8.05 pm yesterday. When the police team signalled him to stop, he tried to flee. The team chased him. While fleeing, he lost control over the vehicle and fell down. He ran in the opposite direction but realising that it was a dead end turned back and fired from a country-made pistol at the police team. He was finally overpowered and arrested.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he came to Delhi to form a gang to commit robberies and dacoities. He also confessed to his involvement in a number of heinous crimes, including the murder of the cosmetic merchant.

He also revealed that he had been a class IV worker in a heater factory at Shamli in Muzaffarnagar in 1989 where he came in contact with Amir Raja who lured him into world of crime. In 1990, he along with Amir Raja killed an orchard owner in Muzaffarnagar district. Jagmohan’s younger brother had also become a notorious criminal, the police said.



Samata leader feigned death to evade arrest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 19
The West district police today arrested a leader of the Samata party in the Vikaspuri area, who had arranged his own death certificate to evade arrest from the police.
Ram Mehar Malik, General Secretary, Samata party, Haryana unit, was arrested from his clinic on Sunday evening in Vikaspuri after the police received a tip-off.

Malik was arrested by the police in 1992 under the NDPS Act and sent to jail. In 1995, the accused applied for bail on the ground that his wife was ailing. He later jumped the bail, arranged his own death certificate and had it produced in the court through his brother. He later started one Sapna hospital in Karnal and his wife Snehlata helped him to run the hospital.

The police said that Malik, a metric fail was practicing as a doctor and even had a clinic at Nangli dairy, when he was arrested in 1992 for possessing one kilogram of Charas in the clinic. The court, on receiving the certificate, ordered authorities to close all cases pending against him. After this, he opened two clinics — one is Sonepat and another in Vikaspuri — and made contacts with political parties. His efforts yielded results for he became General Secretary of the Samata Party.

Now, all cases have been reopened and action will be taken against him for duping the law. According to the police, Malik had obtained certificates through his late brother Ram Karan (then alive) from the Gohana Municipality, on verification from a local sarpanch in village Khanpur.

Employees robbed of Rs 4.5 lakh

New Delhi: Three unidentified youths robbed Rs 4.5 lakh from two employees of a trader in Sadar Bazar area this morning.

The victims, Mukesh Sharma and Amar Singh, who work as an accountant and a casual worker, respectively, in a wholesale grain shop in Sadar Bazaar, went to the J and K Bank on Bahadurgarh Road from where they proceeded to the State Bank of India branch in the same area for drawing bank drafts of the aforesaid amount. While they were on their way, the suspects attacked them and snatched the bag in which they were carrying the money. A case of robbery has been registered in the Sadar Bazar police station. TNS



Sadhu caught with Webley Scott revolver 
Our Correspondent

Meerut, May 19
A sadhu engaged in the sale and purchase of foreign small arms was caught red- handed here while trying to palm off one such weapon to a local gangster. An English-made Webley Scott revolver and six live cartridges were also seized from him. The sadhu belongs to Allahabad.

According to the Superintendent of Police, Mr R. K. Swarnakar, they had received a tip-off that a sadhu was going to sell a Webley Scott revolver to an unidentified person of Barat for Rs 50,000 on the bank of Badauli canal. On the assigned day, two teams of policemen took the sadhu into custody.

Under interrogation, he revealed that his name was Radha Krishna Pathak and he hailed from Allahabad. He was currently living in Shiv mandir Swarga Ashram in Mavikala village of the Baghpat Kotwali area with his family.

He told mediapersons that he had turned `spiritual’ 13 years back. He had purchased the revolver two-and-a-half years back from one Hanif of Harchandpur village for Rs 23,000.

However, the SP told the NCR Tribune that the police suspected that he was involved in an illegal arms racket. The cops are now looking for Hanif who is said to have sold the revolver to the sadhu.

When contacted in police custody, the sadhu told this correspondent that he was going through a bad patch, at least that is what his ‘janam patri’ said. He added that he would now study the janam patris of all the inmates in the jail.

Rs 2 lakh looted at gunpoint

Faridabad: Three armed motorcycle-borne youths looted about Rs 2 lakh and a scooter from two traders at gunpoint on the Ballabgarh-Tigaon road here last evening.

It is reported that the victims, Vijender and Prakash, who were engaged in ghee and oil trade in Ballabgarh, had come from Tigaon on a scooter to collect some payments when they were intercepted by the youths near the NTPC plant. The accused snatched the cash and the two-wheeler and fled towards Ballabgarh. A case has been registered.



Officials wink at many cases of canal water theft 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 19
The cases of unauthorised irrigation and canal cuts have been on the increase in Sonepat district for the last few months in the absence of checking by the officials of various water service divisions.

According to a report, the officials of the irrigation department are allegedly hobnobbing with the unscrupulous farmers. The officials are instrumental in hushing up several cases of water theft. As a result, the standing crops at the tail-end villages are badly hit.

Informed sources have revealed that whenever canal cuts are made by some farmers, backed by some ruling party legislators or politicians, they are hushed up in the name of mishaps.

Thus, the officials find a way to dupe the government and misappropriate public funds by preparing bogus muster rolls in connection with the repair works and pocketing the money.

Several farmers alleged that they had not received the canal water for the last six months even during the rotation period and this has ruined their crops.

Expressing concern over the erratic supply of canal water, the farmers of many villages blamed the irrigation department officials for not cleaning the canals, distributaries and minors properly despite the instructions issued by the government.

The farmers whose fields are situated on the tail-end have demanded a high-level probe into their complaints about unavailability of the canal water and a stern action against the officials responsible for the anomaly.

Representatives of various farmer organisations have claimed that the farmers are still getting an erratic supply of canal water which has hit their crops badly. They also urged the state government and the district authorities to take note of it and act against the erring officials.

Meanwhile, the maintenance of the canals, distributaries and minors continues to remain a problem despite a packet incurred on them in the district. Though the state government had spent crores of rupees on the clearance of canals and other distributaries in the past, the problem has persisted as water does not reach the tail-end fields of the farmers.

The farmers alleged that the embankments of various canals and distributaries were facing the problem of silt, resulting in the waterlogging in many areas.

Many farmers alleged that the vigilance wing of construction divisions has become a den of corruption as none of the officials had ever visited the site of the on-going works for an inspection. In the absence of any checking by the high-ups, the SDO vigilance never bothers about the complaints of the use of sub-standard materials in the execution of the works by the officials of the Sonepat construction division.

It is alleged that most of the works carried out in the jurisdiction of Sonepat construction division are widely infested with corrupt practices and have come in handy to some unscrupulous officials to mint money at the cost of the department.

Some farmers alleged that the SDO concerned has never maintained his headquarters but duped the government exchequer by claiming the house rent and the CCA from it. A high-level inquiry is likely to expose the misdeeds of the official concerned.

The state government, it may be recalled, has appointed an executive engineer (vigilance) to supervise the works relating to the maintenance of the canal network as well as to check the malpractices in the utilisation of public funds by the officials. Hitherto, an SDO vigilance was entrusted with the job in the district.



Only 7 pc of Vedic script remains, says scholar 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 19
The ancient Hindu literature of the Vedas run into 4,000 pages but today only seven per cent of the original script is available as the rest has been lost. This has been the claim of Dr Satya Naryan Dasa, a former IIT graduate and presently engaged in research work on the Vedas.

Dr Dasa made the above quoted remarks while interacting with some professors and students of the University of Gavle, Sweden, via a video conference recently. Dr Dasa, Director of Jiva Culture, a non-profit body on Hinduism and culture, has been heading an ashram at Vrindavan in Mathura district to study the Vedic literature. He is working on the process of recovering the lost Vedic knowledge. He said he wanted to rediscover the ancient Indian knowledge system and explore ways in which these could be integrated with a modern lifestyle in a meaningful way. In response to a student’s question on what was the Hindu view on the cycle of creation, he said according to Hindu scriptures creation exists for about 311 trillion years (1 trillion is equal to 1000 billion). The present creation is already 155 trillion years old. The calculation, he said, had been based on the means and studies developed by ancient Indian scholars and sages. In the one and a half hour session, Dr Dasa dwelt on a range of topics covering culture, religion, oneness of god, absolute truth, misery less bliss, self-realisation and the manifestation of the absolute in the forms of Brahman (Supreme Consciousness) Parmatma (Super Soul), Bhagvan (Supreme Person), the three life-paths of Karma, Janna and Bhakti, birth-rebirth, law of karma and liberation of the soul.



Sugar mill poll: Dalal gets a shot in the arm 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 19
The victory of as many as eight supporters of the former minister and MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, in the recently held elections of the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Sugar Mill, Palwal, has come as a major setback to the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). The Board of Directors has 12 members, who are elected by the shareholders after every five years.

The elections, which had been delayed by about four years, were held on May 14 last. The results sprang a surprise and came as a shot in the arm of the RPI MLA, Mr Karan Singh Dalal, considered the bete noir of the Chief Minister in the state politics.

Although the top INLD leaders have been busy in electioneering for the Fatehabad Assembly bypoll, the election of as many as eight supporters of Mr Dalal out of the total 12 directors of the sugar mill would be demoralising for the INLD leadership, which had been aiming at sweeping these elections, said a political activist here. Reacting to the results, Mr Dalal told NCR Tribune that it had been an indication of the people’s mood who had become fed up of the misrule of the present government. He claimed that despite the misuse of official machinery and other resources in these elections the 25,000 voters had given a humiliating defeat to the INLD candidates. He said the losers included office-bearers of the INLD. It was quite shocking for the people that one of the candidates fielded by the ruling party had been a proclaimed offender (PO).

He said the PO was arrested after the intervention of the judiciary. The directors elected included Mr Sanjay Singh, Mr Harender Tewatia, Mr Mehar Chand Dalal, Mr Gajraj Sehrawat, Mr Harender Beesla, Mr Ram Sharan Chauhan, Mr Rajkumar Nanglabhikhu, Mr Pope Singh, Mr Sachinder Singh, Mr Prem Singh, Mr Ramesh Gudrana and Mr Jitender Singh. Mr Harender Beesla, Mr Ramesh Gudrana, Mr Prem Singh, Mr Jitender Singh and Mr Sachinder Singh were among who were elected unopposed. Mr Mehar Chand Dalal is the elder brother of Mr Karan Singh Dalal. While the Deputy Commissioner is the ex-officio Chairman of the Board of Directors of the sugar mill, the Vice-Chairman is to be elected from among the elected directors.



The Himalayas - A perennial challenge to man’s spirit of adventure
K.K Paul

The Himalayas have always held a special significance in the spiritual history of India. Our mythology and epics are replete with references where sages and saints are known to have sought shelter for a long time in the Himalayas to attain higher forms of knowledge. Some of these sites are now revered as the traditional abode of our Gods and have become places of pilgrimage. The Himalayas have also been seen as a challenge to man’s spirit of adventure and limits of endurance. Mt Everest being the highest spot on earth has been truly recognised as the crowing glory of the Himalayas. It is the mother goddess for Sherpas, who worship it as Chomolungma while the Nepalese call it Sagarmatha. The golden jubilee of the first climb on Mt Everest is being observed on May 29, 2003. The highlight of the occasion would be a large get-together of mountaineers and Everesters in Nepal where they would be honoured by the King.

In India the event would be commemorated in a befitting manner with Sir Edmund Hillary himself being honoured and remaining the focus of activities along with other Everesters. Mt Everest was named in 1865 after the British Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, Sir George Everest. It was earlier known as Peak XV and estimated in 1952 to be the tallest in the world at 29,002 feet. Ever since then a whole lot of memorabilia and history attached with the peak have emerged so much so that a whole new area of research which can be called Everestology seems to be developing. According to one of the Everest historians, had the peak been climbed at the very first attempt the achievement would have been noted as any usual first but it is the challenge posed by the repeated failures to conquer which made this climb attain a very special place. Even though the first to reach the top can only be once there have been many record-breaking efforts associated with Mt Everest, which would be of interest.

The first ever flight over the peak was in a biplane in 1933, exactly two decades before the Hillary-Tenzing climb.

Since it is located on the Sino-Nepalese border, for the first time in 1960 a Chinese team climbed, approaching the peak from its Chinese side. The US expedition (May 1963) for the first time saw six climbers on top in two attempts. In 1965 the Indian expedition very ably led by the legendary Capt M. S. Kohli, had nine atop the Everest, which stood as a record for 17 years. In 1975 the Japanese Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit. Our own Bachendri Pal and Santosh Yadav followed much later. Italian Reinhold Messner became the first in 1980 to reach the top without oxygen or a radio.

In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer had the distinction of being the first blind climber to reach the top. The real icing on the cake, however, remains the golden jubilee climb of 2002 when Dawa Sherpa, Brent Bishop and Peter Hillary reached the summit in honour of their famous Everester fathers, supported by Jamling Norgey son of Tenzing from the base camp.

One of the most famous New Zealanders, and the first man to climb Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary has been honoured and felicitated round the globe several times over, not only for his achievements in mountaineering and adventure sports, but also for his social work in the area of welfare of hill people and particularly the Sherpas, which today has placed him on a pedestal perhaps much higher even than the Everest.

Sir Hillary’s simple thought, “I was brought up to believe that if you had a chance to help people worse off than you then you should do it,” holds a strong message for humanity and would forever remain a source of inspiration for others.

Controlling environment through sea water: The ultimate aim of scientific research is to ensure that the technological developments are put to use for the overall good of mankind. At any given time several innovative ideas based on scientific experimentation continue to be put to empirical testing and are exploited on a large scale after proven success. The 20th century has seen a number of technologies being harnessed in the service of mankind. However, in spite of several positive developments, environmental and climatic control continue to pose a stiff challenge. For the first time in 1946 the General Electric of US successfully tested the seeding of clouds with a very fine spray of dry ice so as to form the nucleus for ice formation, eventually resulting in precipitation in the shape of rainfall. This catalytic process of seeding to ensure rainfall through dry ice was later improved by use of chemicals like calcium chloride, silver iodide and lead iodide. On the other hand, the Russians continued to focus on softening and reduction in the size of hailstones, so as to reduce damage.

While fertilisation of clouds, as it is popularly known, to hasten rainfall and use of chemical techniques to reduce the cover of fog from the vicinity of airports has been already put to use, a new area of research to control the environment through fertilisation of sea water has been developed. Russ George, a US-based environmentalist, has recently been successful in testing a revolutionary concept. Use has been made of the fact that the land mass of the earth is much less than the surface of the sea exposed to atmosphere. Seeding the sea bed with iron oxide slurry helps in the growth of phytoplankton.

This is a single cell under sea water algae which absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide. It has been computed that use of such methods would reduce the extent of greenhouse gases, as ordained by the Kyoto protocol, far more economically as compared to traditional methods of afforestation. The empirical testing has since been completed in the Pacific, off Hawaii.

There is, however, a strong group of marine biologists who have objected to this technique as they say that a change in the chemistry of sea water would adversely impact the marine biology. The debate continues.

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



‘Organic farming to replace conventional farming’
Nalini Ranjan

Organic farming is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and the global demand for organic products is growing rapidly. It is not only expected to increase the income of the farmers, as the organic products generally command a premium, but also help in moving towards sustainable agriculture, which is completely environment friendly and takes into account the health concerns of the consumers. Many farmers in are now practising organic farming, but it is not being done in an organised way. The Ministry of Commerce is promoting organic cultivation for export purposes and has established a regulatory mechanism, which covers fixing of standards for this type of farming, accreditation or certification of agencies and inspection, etc. Apart from this, the department of agriculture and co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture, has formulated schemes for the current tenth five-year plan for giving a major push to organic farming. The scheme envisages setting up of a national institute of organic farming, which will be responsible for the promotion of organic cultivation, setting standards whenever necessary and expanding the regulatory mechanism to cover the requirement of small and marginal farmers. Mr Mukesh Gupta, Advisor to the Organic Agriculture Wing of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Principal Investigator for Agro Bio-technology for Department of Bio-technology, Government of India, unfolded many new facets of this type of farming.

Mr Gupta is a well-known agriculture scientist and he is the member of numerous committees of state and Central governments. For the first time in the world, he introduced the vermiculture technology for organic farming. Two such centres are already being run at Alwar and Rewari of the National Capital Region (NCR). And the technology was displayed during IITF-2001 and 2002, at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. On both the occasions, he was conferred with gold medals for excellence in technology innovation. He has written two comprehensive books on this subject. Also, over 100 research papers and presentations go to his credit. He is recipient of many national and international awards in this field. Recently, he was awarded by the Asian Development Bank for the outstanding work on organic farming.

In a conversation with the NCR Tribune, he narrates some of the important aspects of organic farming.

What is organic farming?

Organic agriculture or farming is a holistic approach, based on a set of processes that leads to sustainable eco-system, safe and nutritive food and animal welfare. It is based on minimising the use of external inputs and avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. It is a kind of farming system, employing management practices, which seek to nurture eco-system, achieve sustainable productivity and provide weed, pest and disease control through a diverse mix of mutually dependent life forms.

Organic farming encourages a balanced host-predator relationship through augmentation of beneficial insect populations, biological and cultural pest control, recycling of plant and animal residues. Soil fertility is maintained and enhanced in a sustainable manner by a system, which optimises soil biological activity and the physical and mineral nature of the soil as the means to provide a balanced nutrient supply for plant and animal life as well as to conserve soil resources with the recycling of plant nutrients as an essential part of the fertilizing strategy. Besides, pest and disease management is attained by means of crop selection, rotation, water management and tillage. Before the modern agriculture came into existence, farming was primarily dependent on natural processes and methods.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in chemical fertilizers came in the course of time provided new inputs for soil fertility. This almost eliminated the practice of recycling of organic material through biological means for providing nutrition to plants.

The modern technology and chemicals considerably raised outputs and enabled new cultivation even in low productivity areas. But in less than 50 years of modern agriculture, it has started showing many negative effects, such as land degradation, increasing cost of cultivation, pesticide contamination, environmental pollution, etc. With the result many new research initiatives are being taken to explore biotechnology applications in agriculture. Our foundation, M. R. Morarka G D C Rural Research, which founded in 1995, for the first time realised that in future precision, agriculture would only be the sustainable form of cultivation. The system would also enable farmers to adopt micro planning for optimum use of resources available with him. Our foundation for the first time in the world evolved the concept of biological enrichment, which means feeding the soil system for nutrient management. After the advent of vermiculture, a new technology development programme for large-scale production of vermicasting, which was introduced for the first in the world, the surface bed method of vermiculture. This new biotechnology of vermiculture has been a pioneering success in offering a new alternative to the chemical fertilizers used for farming.

How does this biotechnology work?

It is a low investment process that can be learned by anyone in less than a fortnight. By utilising only locally available materials, it has now completely transformed the process of recycling of organic matters for farm fertility management. It now offers such a large potential that in a very short span of time, its development, the know-how has been disseminated to over 15 thousand farmers in almost every agro climatic zones of the country to set up 10 kg to 10,000 kg of vermiculture per day. It is based on the nutrition enrichment through bacterial inoculations, in other words it is bringing back the old philosophy of feed the soil concept instead of feed the plant concept that was prevalent for many decades.

What is the worldwide scene vis-à-vis this type of farming?

The principles and practices of organic farming have been discussed extensively worldwide and there is a broad agreement on the practices, which must be adopted with minor differences here and there. Efforts are already on at international level to reconcile the micro differences and completely harmonise various national systems. The Codex Commission, a joint FAO/WHO, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement, European Union and other organisations, have issued detailed guidelines on organic farming. Any country in the world can prescribe standard and regulatory system through national legislation and others have adopted the techniques through executive instructions.

What should be done in this regard in the Indian context?

For the promotion of organic farming, an area and group-based approach should be adopted by the different state governments. This will help in concentrating activities of the state agencies, help in creation of awareness and educating the farmers easily making a quick assessment of demand and arranging supplies, farmer level documentation being supervised easily.

The farmers should be organised in a group and they should be properly registered by district level officers of Agriculture and Horticulture departments. The registration can be through simple intimation conveying basic information about the farmer, area proposed to be brought under organic cultivation and the crops proposed to be cultivated.

This information will help the district level officer to monitor, supervise and arrange for financial and other technical assistance. For providing technical support or help in documentation, service providers can be contacted. These could be members of the group, outside volunteers from government or semi-government body, reputed NGOs and agro clinics. The service providers will play an important role in the early stages of the development of organic farming.

What are the other biotechnological applications in agriculture?

Plant tissue culture, a biotechnology for mass multiplication, is presently being used for very high value plants. Our foundation has now started working to utilize the method for common field crops and horticulture as well.

Recently, genetically modified planting materials have found large-scale acceptance. Algal biotechnology has also drawn the attention of scientific community. Many seaweeds and alga are being artificially grown for their large-scale production. Solid waste management and industrial effluent treatment have also been taken up based on biotechnology’s. In many of these methods, outputs from these processes are being utilized for growing both food as well as non-food plants.

What is your ministry doing to promote this type of farming?

In the new guidelines, issued by the Agriculture Ministry, specific provisions for introducing organic agriculture for poor, small and marginal farmers were made. The strategy was outlined for restricting the role of government agencies in regulating organic agriculture.

An extensive role for private agencies has already been provided. In the guidelines, organic agriculture has been defined and international regulations have been incorporated to provide wide spread markets all over the world.

What are the main activities of your foundation?

Since its inception, our foundation is making efforts to address the issues of prime concern, like health, nutrition, education, skill development for income generation. We motivate farmers to adopt organic practices to save on costs and to maintain sustainability of their land productivity.

For them, saving in cost of cultivation, up to 40%, is the sufficient reason to adopt organic farming. The organic products have also been able to create additional employment opportunities at farm level and has been treated as a major benefit by the farmers.



Govt staff urged to join strike on May 21
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 19
The All India PWD Mechanical Karamchari Union, affiliated to the Haryana Karamchari Mahasangh, has given a call to the government employees to take part in the nationwide strike on May 21 to protest against the ‘anti-worker’ attitude of the BJP-led NDA Government and the INLD Government, headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister.

In a joint press statement issued by Mr Ramesh Sharma, state president and Mr Ved Vyas Arya, state general secretary of the union, criticised the Central government for pursuing anti-worker policies on the directive of the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank which have led to the retrenchments in various government departments, boards and corporations and closure of various boards and corporations.

They also pointed out that a number of field employees in the irrigation, public health, PWD (B and R), HUDA and CADA would join the strike and express solidarity with the union. The union leaders expressed anguish at the failure of the Chief Minister to accept the genuine demands of the employees and said that the leaders of the joint action committee had to return disappointed after the deadlock of the talks between them and the Chief Minister.

They demanded the employment of retrenched HSMITC employees, regularisation of part-time and ad hoc workers, removal of anomalies in the pay-scales, withdrawal of false criminal cases and cancellation of all sorts of transfers made during the regime of the previous government.

Meanwhile, 18,600 Haryana Roadways employees have decided to join the strike. This was announced by Mr Ranbir Singh Malik, president of the Sonepat Depot Roadways Workers Union here today.



IG probes triple murder case
Our Correspondents

Ghaziabad, May 19
The IG Meerut Zone, Mr V N Rai, visited Ghaziabad on Sunday in connection with a case of triple murder in Pilkhua police station area two years ago.
This is the first time an IG police has visited a district for investigating a crime.

It may be recalled that during 2001, one woman and her two children had been murdered in Pilkhua. Later, the deceased’s husband Nitin Garg, and Sunil Kumar, Narish, Pradeep and Rinku had been challaned under case No. 221/2001.

Rajinder Prasad Garg, s/o Visheshwar Garg, resident of Kishen Ganj under police station Ilkhua was the respondent.

Later, Nitin Garg had also been killed during 2002. This murder is registered under case No. 228/2002 in Pilkhua police station, it is learnt.

One killed

Jhajjar: One person was killed and three were injured when a Tata Sumo collided with a mule-cart near Imlota village on Dadri Road here last evening.

According to information, family of a brick-kiln labourer was going on mule-cart when a speeding Sumo coming from the opposite direction rammed it.

The head of the labourer family Om Prakash died on the spot while his wife and two others riding on the cart were injured and referred to PGIMS Rohtak. The Sumo driver escaped after the accident.

Lifer dies after illness

Bhiwani: A lifer died following prolonged illness here at district jail yesterday. The prisoner identified as Uday was a resident of Kamania village. He had been suffering from tuberculosis for a long time. His condition deteriorated on Saturday. The jail authorities admitted him to the civil hospital where he died yesterday.

Exam results cancelled

Rohtak: Maharshi Dayanand University has cancelled the results of two candidates of BA examination.

The Vice-Chancellor, exercising his powers under clause 31 of the University Calendar ‘General Rules for Examination’ , quashed the result of the candidates Ajay Kumar (Registration number 98-JVC-437) and Mahender Singh (Registration number 98-AR-263) of BA III held in April/September 2001 under roll number 924611 and 25327 respectively.

The detailed marks card issued to both the candidates for BA II examination held in April 2002 has also been cancelled.



Three soldiers killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 19
Three Army jawans, including Bijender of IVth Sikh Battalion are reported to have died in Nagaland as the vehicle on which five jawans were travelling, overturned there on Saturday. According to a report here, Bijender belonged to Salimsar Majra village in Sonepat district. Three of them died on the spot as the vehicle turned turtle.

The body of Bijender is being brought to his native village for cremation. He leaves behind his wife, one son and one daughter. Bijender was the son of Subedar Ram Kanwar, a retired Army officer and he had returned to his battalion after the leave period. He had left home on February 11.



Competition on Shastra Vidya held

New Delhi: Jamunapar Guru Nanak Singh Society under the aegis of Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Jitarnagar, organised a competition on Shastra Vidya. Baba Deep Singh, Ranjit Akhara, stood first, Bir Khalsa Dal stood second and Dashmesh Akhara, Karnal, came third. The participants and the audience were greeted by Mr Tehal Singh Taneja, president of the society.

Giani Ranjit Singh, Head Granthi, Gurdwara Sis Ganj, offered prayers before the competition began. Mr Paramjeet Singh Sarna was the chief guest on the occasion. TNS



Sahibabad cops nab gang leader after encounter
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, May 19
The kingpin of a gang of looters, Rawal Bihari, was nabbed by the Sahibabad police after an encounter on Sunday.
The police seized a .9 mm pistol, which the gangster had snatched from a Special Task Force cop on April 16, along with 28 live cartridges. But his three accomplices succeeded in giving the police the slip.

In another incident, the Dholana police arrested two liquor smugglers and seized imported liquor worth Rs 50,000 and a car used for smuggling liquor.

SP City Ghaneshwar Tiwari said the Sahibabad police learnt on Sunday morning that a group of gangsters had gathered around Arthala gate.

When Inspector Vijay Kumar Singh with his force reached the spot, the criminals were seen coming from the opposition direction. When the policemen challenged them, the criminals tried to escape after firing at the police party. But the police were able to overpower one gangster while the other three escaped. The arrested criminal, Rawal Bihari, was a resident of Daulat Ganj in Jharkhand and was employed in a Noida factory, the police said.

He confessed that he had snatched the .9 mm pistol from a cop under Mohan Nagar bridge on April 16. He has also told the police the names of his associates.

The Dholana police, meanwhile, arrested two liquor smugglers with a car and seized 46 foreign liquor bottles valued at Rs 50,000.

In another incident, a notorious kidnapper and rapist, Kaushik Yadav, was killed in an encounter with the Vijay Nagar police last night. He was a history-sheeter of Badayun district, the police said.

Due to the rise in crimes in the area, the SSP had called a meeting to discuss the crime scenario and ordered special vehicle checking.

The criminals were challenged during a vehicle check but a hail of bullets from the criminals hit the police jeep. The cops returned the fire and one of the criminals was killed.

Man robbed:
Sultan, a resident of Pabsara was robbed by two unidentified armed motorcycle-borne youths near Jhundpur village about 15 km from here last evening.

According to a report, he was returning home on a bicycle when he was waylaid by the youths on the way. They allegedly snatched Rs 1,200 from him and escaped. The victim informed the Rai police about the incident.

The police launched a hunt for the culprits. It is stated that Sultan was employed in the Haryana Sheet Glass Company at Sewli village, but the company was closed down because of workers’ strike. He started selling melons, etc at Jhundpur village along the Yamuna river.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |