Saturday, June 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Delhi Govt transfers five officers on EC’s orders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
The Delhi Government has ordered the transfer of certain election officials against whom the Election Commission had expressed reservations regarding their role in the preparation of electoral rolls for the scheduled November Assembly elections in the NCT of Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said today that the government had decided to transfer a Sub-Divisional Magistrate and four assistant electoral registration officers. An intimation in this regard would be sent to the EC. The EC had in its directive to the state government yesterday said the SDM and the four officers should be transferred for dereliction of duty in the preparation of electoral rolls. The commission had asked the Chief Secretary to send a compliance report by Saturday.

“We thought that in the interest of fair elections, it is better that these officials were transferred, as desired by the EC. We don’t want anybody to raise these issues in the elections,” Mrs Dikshit said.

She said Chief Secretary Shelja Chandra had received the EC communication and a compliance report would be sent before the expiry of the deadline. About the allegations of registration of 6.5 lakh bogus voters in the Capital, the Chief Minister said the government had decided to once again scrutinise these applications to find out if any fraud had been committed. “We are all for a free and fair election in Delhi and the government is taking all steps towards this,” she said.

“However, in politics, everybody makes claims and counter claims and allegations. These allegations need not be true every time they are made. We will verify them to remove all doubts,” she added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the principal opposition party in Delhi, had claimed that the Congress had registered 6.5 lakh bogus voters to influence the elections in its favour. It had claimed that 38 voters alone were registered at the address of Delhi Minister of Industry and Environment Deep Chand Bandhu. Incidentally, he also has the charge of elections. Delhi BJP chief Madan Lal Khurana had alleged that the names of a large number of voters were dropped from the electoral list after the party raised objections, including nearly 20 voters at Mr Bandhu’s house.

Mr Khurana had claimed that 6.5 lakh bogus voters were still there in the electoral rolls. The BJP in fact petitioned the Election Commission against the irregularities committed by the ruling party and made a specific mention about the presence of 6.5 lakh bogus voters.

About the BJP’s demand of making photo-identity card a must for the Assembly elections in Delhi, Mrs Dikshit said though her party had also favoured the move, the ground realities in the Capital were such that it appeared unlikely that these ID cards would become mandatory for voting. “Conducting elections through voter ID cards is ideal. We have been demanding it for long, but the nature of Delhi’s voters and the shifting population in the Capital makes it impossible to implement our desire,” she said.


Family on holiday killed in car-bus collision
Bipin Bhardwaj

Lalru (Ambala), June 6
Four members of a businessman’s family from Janakpuri and their maid were killed after their car and a Haryana Roadways bus collided on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near here this morning. The deceased included Krishan Lal Ajmani (58), his wife Chandarkanta (52), their son Parath (7), his mother-in-law Shakuntla Devi (78), and maid Seema (15).

Residents of Flat No 120, Bock No C2 of Janakpuri in New Delhi, they started their holiday trip to Shimla at about 7 am in a Hyundai Accent car (DL-8CG-5467). The car collided head on with the bus (HR-56-1925) belonging to Jind depot here at about 11.15 am. The bus driver, Suba Singh, is absconding.

Mr Ajmani, his wife and son were in the front while his mother-in-law and their maid were in the rear. Both the vehicles were at high speed. The bus dragged the car for about five yards and the bonnet of the car was crushed under the bus, leaving its occupants no room for escape. The car was completely damaged.

Eyewitnesses said that the couple and the old woman died on the spot while Parath and Seema struggled for life for over half-an-hour; they could not be saved as the Police Control Room vehicle reached the spot late.

Passers-by and shopkeepers joined the policemen in the rescue operation. They had to break the windscreens with iron rods to extricate the bodies.

Subsequently, Mr Vipin Verma, an Ambala-based doctor and a relative of the family, reached the spot. He told The Tribune that his sister was married to Mr Ajmani’s brother. “I got a phone call from my brother-in-law in Delhi,” he said.

The bodies were later sent to the Civil Hospital in Rajpura in Patiala district for a post-mortem examination.

The members of the victim’s family in Delhi had been asked to reach Rajpura to collect the bodies, the police said.

A case under Sections 279, 304-A and 427 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the bus driver.



Did bank drive 45-year-old debtor to suicide?
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, June 6
Did 45-year-old Azad Singh of Khidwali village commit suicide due to the mounting pressure from a bank on him to repay the loan taken by his late grandfather Rai Singh for the purchase of an Escort tractor nearly 15 years ago?

Azad Singh, who had also been working as a peon with the Rohtak Primary Cooperative Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (earlier known as Land Mortgage Bank) since 1983, died under mysterious circumstances on June 4 at his village, 15 km from here. He had reportedly consumed poison tablets.

The bank manager, Mr M. Khan, says that that the deceased was a dutiful, obedient and hardworking person. He said that Azad Singh had been absent from duty since May 26 without any intimation. He pleaded ignorance about any loan outstanding against Azad Singh or his late grandfather.

Investigations made by the police, however, revealed that late Ram Singh had taken a loan of Rs 1.33 lakh from a bank for the purchase of an Escort tractor. The loan amount with interest has now swollen to Rs 4.50 lakh. The police have not disclosed the name of the bank from which the loan was taken. The bank had reportedly been pressuring Azad Singh to repay the loan or otherwise it would sell his agriculture land.

During a visit to Khidwali, this correspondent learnt that late Rai Singh had two sons — Maman Singh and Jugti Ram — and owned nearly eight acres of land. When the tractor was purchased, both his sons lived together and ploughed the land together. Rai Singh died 10 years ago and his sons separated. During the division of assets, Maman, father of Azad Singh, got the tractor.

Following the division of the ancestral land, Manan and his three sons had to work overtime to meet the family expenses. The tractor was reportedly sold by the family in 1994-1995. The family was not in a position to repay the loan, which had been gathering interest every year. Maman and his three sons lived together. Azad Singh was the eldest among the brothers. He had two daughters and a son, all of whom are married.

Police sources said that Ram Phal, brother of Azad Singh, had told them that the tractor was taken against a loan from a bank and the family had not been able to repay the instalments. Finally, the tractor was sold. His brother said that only Azad Singh knew from which bank the loan was taken. But other family sources said that the loan was taken from a co-operative bank near the Bapu Park.

The police hope to solve the mystery shrouding the death soon.


How Aurangzeb transformed the Sikhs and other such historical ‘facts’
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
The NCERT is at it again. If the gaffes in the History textbooks prescribed for class VII and XII are any indication, it seems the council needs to check more than just printing errors.

Last year, the council was ‘‘rushing to meet deadlines’’ when the errors in the authorised books for class VI and IX were pointed out. This year, it wants that “all errors should be sent to us, we will rectify them”.

On page 151 of Chapter 15 in the textbook for class VII, a sentence reads: “Shivaji’s army was adept in gorilla warfare”. A guerrilla fighter would surely squirm at this. On page 169, there is yet another bloomer, which one could dub a “factual error”. It says: “Khwaja Muinnudin Chisti came to India with Mahmud of Ghazni in A D 1161”. Historians point out that Mahmud Gazni had died in 1030 AD.

A rather loaded reference says that “Aurangzeb completed the transformation of the Sikhs from a Bhakti movement into a military brotherhood”.

“These are factual errors. Incidentally the author, Sima Yadav, who specialises in Ancient Indian History, was chosen to write a book on Medieval History”, said a source.

In the prescribed book for class XII, there is ample evidence of biased writing apart erroneous references. “Ras Behari Bose has been referred to as Subhash Chadra Bose’s elder brother, whereas the two were not even related. At one place, Ras Behari has been referred to as Ram Behari,” points out an eminent historian, Prof. Arjun Dev.

He goes on to add: “The book says that Veer Savarkar advised Bose to go to Japan (Where is the evidence of that?); Then, it mentions that Udham Singh assassinated General Dyers after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, whereas General Dyers died of an ailment much later”.

Historians point out that the book lacks elementary knowledge and reflects the bias of the writers. “Savarkar has been extolled as the greatest hero of the time, there is however no mention of the politics that he advocated,’’ said a historian.

There are references to the whole community rather than to individuals or groups. One such reference says that "in 1942 the Sikh community also followed the same policy as the Hindu Mahasabha.’’ ‘‘Actually, the whole community did not do so,” says an expert of Modern Indian History.

“The 18th century did not just represent the dark age, there was growth of literature and art, and the book fails to point that out. It also fails to point out how the Indian economy was languishing just when the Industrial revolution was about to begin. Again, what were the conditions, political as well as economic, when the British conquered India, are some of the facts that find no mention,” said Prof. Dev.

While historians and academicians are worried over the erroneous references, the Council Director, Prof. J S Rajput, says: “It happens every year. The council, after printing a book, sends it for evaluation and then reprints it. We will look into the errors and reprint, if necessary”.



Sleepless Patel Nagar residents block traffic
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
There was total chaos in Patel Nagar today when residents of the area spilled into the street and jammed traffic in protest against the erratic power and water supply. They complained that they had not been able to sleep in the night due to the load shedding for several hours.

Though the protestors dispersed after about two hours, some of them have threatened that they would damage government property if there is load-shedding in the night again. Earlier, they blocked the traffic on the main road to force the authorities to act on their demand. Office-goers were the worst hit and reached their work places late.

The police had a hard time diverting the traffic. The blockade was lifted only after the protestors were given assurances by the senior officials of the power and water departments that the supply would be normal.

A resident said, “Only we know how we spent the night. The government does nothing for the residents. The politicians come to us for vote during elections. Once they are elected, they forget the promises they had made during campaigning. The chief minister keeps reiterating that the government would provide essential services, but nothing has been done in that direction. Now, the Congress government is going to complete five years. I do not know how many years it requires to provide water and power to the citizens.”

Another resident said that he made many calls to the local office of the private power distribution company, but there was no response. When he went to the office, he was assured that within a few minutes the power would be restored, but it proved to be a lie. “They play with the lives of the residents. One cannot work in the day, if one does not sleep at night. If this happens again the residents will damage government property in the nearby areas,” he warned.

First catch in Metro: CA held with fake currency

In the first criminal case registered by the Metro Rail police since Metro began operation six months back, a Chartered Accountant was arrested on the charge of printing and circulating fake currency.

The suspect, Piyus Rastogi, was nabbed at the gate of Metro Rail station in the Welcome area of North-East Delhi during routine frisking. He was proceeding to board a train last evening, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Railways) Dependra Pathak said. A search led to the recovery of fake currency worth Rs 45,000 in the denomination of Rs 100, he said, adding a subsequent search at his residence in the Patparganj area yielded fake currency worth Rs 10,000. TNS



Sheila selling power to other states 
while Delhi burns: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today accused the Sheila Dikshit Government of creating artificial power surplus to justify its sale of power to other states.

The BJP attributed the current power crisis in the Capital to “the sale of electricity to other states by the Delhi government”.

“Yesterday, Delhiites faced the worst power and water crisis of the season, but like in the case of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning, the government was transferring the much-needed power to other states,” senior BJP leader and Parliamentary party’s spokesperson Vijay Kumar Malhotra told a press conference here.

He claimed that Ms Sonia Gandhi had assured Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh of power supply from Delhi. The Sheila Dikshit Government was just respecting her commitment and sold the power to that state at Rs 2.50 as against the purchase rate of Rs 2.60 to Rs 2.80.

“The surplus is being created in three ways: by load-shedding, delaying repair and third by ensuring low voltage,” Mr Malhotra said.

He said if people did not consume electricity because of any of these reasons, the units saved were shown as surplus. This was a crime against people who would be forced to come out on the streets. Mr Malhotra said his party would soon call a conference to decide on a strategy against this ‘anti-people’ stance of the state government.


52 cops and a ramshackle jeep to police 72 villages!
Shiv Sharma

Bhiwani, June 6
There must be something seriously amiss when policing in 72 villages is in the hands of just 52 cops, with one ramshackle jeep at their service. These cops, posted at the Tosham station and Kairu chowki in this district, have to look after the security of at least three banks, five petrol stations and the famous Khanak mines.

The situation becomes serious during board or university examinations or during the visit of any VIP when some of them are posted on special duty. Then the cook holds the fort in the Tosham police station. The condition of the arms available with the police station is also pathetic.

There are 72 villages in the Tosham area of which 48 villages come under the Tosham police station and 24 under the Kairu police chowki. The area is spread from Khanak in the north to the Jui road in the south, covering 40 km, and a 30 km area up to Isharwal on the Behal road and another 25 km area up to Daryapur Dhanana in the north-west. At present, there is one sub-inspector, seven assistant sub-inspectors, 13 head constables and 21 constables posted at the Tosham police station. At the Kairu chowki, there is one assistant sub-inspector, three head constables and six constables. The number of cops posted here is disproportionate to the population of the 72 villages.

Besides, there is one munshi, two junior munshis, four constables on summon duty, one on refresher course, one driver and one constable as gunman with the Khanak Mazdoor Union. One or two constables remain on leave at the Tosham police station most of the days while two to three out of the 10 constables remain busy at the Kairu chowki. It is learnt that 39 out of the 52 policemen handle patrolling duty in the whole area. During examinations or visit of any VIP, the cook has to look after the work in the Tosham police station.

These 52 policemen are also saddled with the security of 200 crushers and several sales points in the Khanak mines where transaction of crores of rupees takes place daily. Fortunately, the Tosham area is considered to be peaceful. Yet, one cannot rule out any untoward incident due to the dearth of policemen.


Tihar Jail to have fingerprint identification system

New Delhi: Tihar Jail, Asia’s biggest jail, will soon introduce the Biometric Finger Identification System (BFIS) to prevent convicts and undertrials from escaping by assuming fake identity.

“The system is aimed at maximising the chances of positive identification of inmates wherein every newly admitted prisoner would be photographed and his/her fingerprints taken,” Director General (Prisons) Ajay Aggarwal said here today at the inauguration of Jail Number VII on the premises. “This will help the prison department in avoiding release of prisoners by mistake and also to know whether a prisoner is a repeater, habitual or casual,” Mr Aggarwal said. This decision was taken after a Pakistani inmate having ISI connections lodged in Tihar under the Explosives Substances Act tried to flee recently by giving details of a fellow inmate whom he had befriended. “The fingerprint identification programme, now in its trial stages, will be launched in the next two to three months and is likely to cost Rs 2 lakh per unit,” he said. TNS


Noida residents in for a long wait as Ganga jal remains a distant dream
Parmindar Singh

Noida, June 6
Noidaites seem to be in for a long wait as far as getting Ganga jal is concerned.

Though Noidaites were slated to get the supply of Ganga water by June 2003 now it seems the deadline for the completion of the Ganga project, which has already crossed Rs 121 crore mark, has been shifted to July 2003.The Chief Project Engineer of the Noida Administration, Mr Yadav Singh, assures that Noida might start getting mixed Ganga jal after June 30.

It may be recalled that the efforts to bring Ganga water to Noida had been initiated 17 years ago in 1986. A leading entrepreneur of the town, the late Rajindera Jain, had demanded the laying of pipelines to bring Ganga water to Noida through a letter written to the then Prime Minister, Mr Rajiv Gandhi.

The Noida Development Authority, the Residential Development Council and the Ghaziabad Development Authority had started work jointly to bring Ganga water to the area.

Initially, a project for bringing 50 cusecs of water was prepared. A consensus was reached on Noida and Ghaziabad getting 20 cusecs each while the Residential Development Council was to have a share of 10 cusecs.

The then Noida Chairman, Mr Yogesh Chandra, had, according to the Noida Administration sources, initiated the project in all earnestness. But later the project got entangled in the mesh of bureaucracy so that it took 10 long years for the project to get approved. In 1996 the project was started for the second time. When a survey was conducted for bringing water from the Ganga canal near Muradnagar in Ghaziabad district and consensus was reached for laying an 18.4-km-long pipe line it had inflated the project cost to a whopping Rs 86 crore.

It may be recalled that senior UP minister Lalji Tandon had laid the foundation stone near CISF of a purification plant for Ganga water about 18 months ago. The same plant was to replenish water into Noida’s underground water reservoirs.

A separate network for supplying water to different sectors in Noida was also put in place. Noida’s requirement of potable water is 200 MLD but after getting a supply of 20 cusecs Noidaites would get a mere 48 MLD Ganga water, according to sources.

According to Mr Yadav Singh, the first stage of the project will get 50 cusecs of water. In the second stage, a pipeline for getting 80 cusecs will be separately laid. Noida’s share in it will be 60 cusecs while Ghaziabad and the Residential Development Council will get 10 cusecs each. This will hopefully end the potable water shortage in Noida permanently.

Under this network the Ganga water will be kept in an underground reservoir of 25,000 kilo litres capacity in Sector 63, Noida. It will be linked with sectoral underground reservoirs of 5,000 kilo litre capacity each.

These reservoirs will in turn be connected with 32 underground reservoirs of 1,000 litre capacity each. But the question being raised is when will the project see the light of day.


ESI services below par in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 6
Though Haryana is one of the top revenue grosser of the Employee State Insurance (ESI) funds the health services provided to the beneficiaries are still below the mark. The proposal to set up model ESI hospitals in the state is still hanging fire although such hospitals have been started in many other states.

The state has five full-fledged hospitals and about 68 dispensaries for the benefit of industrial workers and employers but the facilities available here are inadequate as far the demand of the latest and state-of-the-art services are concerned. While there has been a shortage of doctors and medical staff, the unavailability of all type of medicines has also been a cause of concern. The Union Labour Ministry and the state government had announced about two years ago the upgradation of facilities and setting up of at least two hospitals at Faridabad and Gurgaon as model hospitals. With this super speciality services would have been made available and the beneficiaries would not have been forced to go to private hospitals which charge exorbitant rates. But it is learnt that no progress has been made to develop model hospitals so far.

The ESI hospital at Sector 8 here was one of the hospitals which was proposed to be made a model one. But the hospital’s condition is far from satisfactory, say persons insured under the ESI. A part of the hospital building has reportedly been encroached. As a result of poor maintenance and lack of infrastructure the insured persons have to go to private hospitals to avail some of the facilities.

Another hospital that was to be upgraded as a model one was at Gurgaon which is still under construction. But it is learnt that the authorities have decided to keep it as a general hospital only. It is a matter of fact that a majority of expenses of the ESI hospitals and dispensaries are borne by the ESI

Corporation (ESIC), a Union Government enterprise, while the staff and operation are the responsibility of the state government. There are over 3.90 lakh insured persons in Haryana who contribute towards the ESI funds.

While there is hardly any maintenance of the building housing the Regional Director’s office in Sector 16 here, a new building acquired a few months back in NH-5 area of NIT is dogged by leakage.

It is reported that every room of the building constructed by a central agency leaks even when there is a shower.

According to ESIC sources, the corporation has no staff to maintain the surroundings and clean the premises. Haphazard growth of weeds has taken over the premises of the ESIC office and the residential colony here. The employees say bemoan there is no sweeper on the campus. Moreover, the Type-V house constructed as the residence of the Regional Director is lying vacant. The building was constructed in 1984 and it needs maintenance each year.


With unheard grouses galore, residents of HUDA colony languish in hell-hole

Jhajjar, June 6
Residents of the Housing Board Colony of a residential sector in Bahadurgarh are up in arms against the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) on account of its apathetic attitude towards the problems of the residents.

The much touted housing board colonies are developed by HUDA along with the residential sectors with the pledge to provide modern facilities and essential civic amenities.

However, the housing board colony situated at Sector 7 here is a telling example of the miserable conditions arising out of lack of even the minimum basic facilities.

All roads and streets in the colony are in a deplorable condition. Most of the roads are not even concretised and are full of potholes. The sites earmarked for parks are lying undeveloped and neglected. No arrangements have been made for the proper release of water. Garbage lies piled up at every open space and the unabated emergence of congress grass has made the residents’ feel they are living in a hell-hole.

Fed up with prevailing unbearable conditions and the negligent attitude of the local HUDA officials, the housing board residents welfare association (HBRWA) decided to take up the matter at a higher level and shot off a letter to the administrator of the housing board at Panchkula.

Mr Maha Singh Mann, President of the HBRWA, informed they had written about the grievances of the residents and also complained about the apathetic attitude of the local officials who never paid any heed to their grouses.

He said that there were about 30 sites for parks in the colony which were never developed. No iron grill had been erected to encircle these spaces which had become the happy abode of stray cattle and pigs. Further, water released by the residents had inundated these low-lying spaces. Mosquitoes had made it their breeding ground which posed a health hazard to the people living around.

Mr Ajit Singh, treasurer of the HBRWA, alleged a water release system existed in the colony on paper only.

He further said innumerable pits – up to six feet deep - could be spotted in the colony, which were created due to soil lifting at the time the colony was being developed. The officials concerned never bothered to get these refilled. They were now being used as garbage bins by the people.

Mr Ajit Singh deplored that the emergence and spread of congress grass was a major source of headache for the people. Despite numerous missives written to the authorities in this regard no steps had been taken to rid the colony of this.

Another major problem being faced by the people here was that of unavailability of water. Mr Ajit Singh said water was being supplied to the colony for hardly half an hour a day. He said the residents had met the SDO several times in this regard but in vain.

Moreover, high-voltage electricity wires passing along the houses hung loose and inevitably entangled with each other in stormy weather.

Girl’s body recovered from well

The body of a six-year-old girl was recovered from a well situated on the Beri road near Jahajgarh village today.

According to information, the child had been missing since Wednesday night from a dera of Rajasthani tribesmen. The girl was identified as Sapna (6), daughter of Kanshi. Sources revealed an altercation had occurred between two groups at the dera two days ago.

Her death could be the ugly outcome of that clash. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. The police have started investigations.





Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

ON the basis of a draw held in October 2001, I was allotted one 4 marla plot by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) in Sector 65, Faridabad, at a tentative price of Rs 1,679 per sq yd.

After I had deposited (10 per cent of the cost with the application and further 15 per cent on allotment) an amount of Rs 45,182, Huda increased the rate to Rs 3,101 per sq yd in October 2002, (ie after one year on the plea of enhanced compensation), and demanded an extra amount of Rs 1.53 lakh from me.

I was asked to pay this extra amount of Rs 1.53 lakh within 30 days, failing which action under Section 17 of Huda’s Act and levy of interest at the rate of 15 per cent would be charged from me. I think this extra amount of Rs 1.53 lakh charged now is too harsh.

Immediately after getting the demand letter, it was brought to the notice of Huda that the extra demand of Rs 1.53 lakh, over and above the allotted price of Rs 1.80 lakh, is on the ‘high side’.

Repeated references made to the Estate Office, Huda, Faridabad, as well as to the Chief Administrator, Huda, Panchkula, failed to yield any positive results.

In utter frustration, almost all the allottees of Sector 65 Faridabad (including me) asked for the cancellation of the plot and refund of the deposited amount. Out of my deposited amount of Rs 45,182, Huda has deducted about 75 per cent of the amount and refunded Rs 11,612-without giving any justification for the same.

The Chief Administrator, Huda, Panchkula had recently informed me that the rates for residential plots in Sector 65, Faridabad, have since been reduced and would be communicated to me by the Estate Office, Huda, Faridabad.

When I contacted Huda, Faridabad, I learnt that some error had crept in the calculation and the chargeable rate for the residential plots would be at the rate of Rs 2,301 per sq yd (a reduction of Rs 800 per sq yd).

However, I have not yet been provided the benefit of the reduced rate. In all fairness, Huda should graciously extend the benefit of the reduced rate to all the allottees of residential plots in Sector-65 Faridabad.

OM BALA, Faridabad

Discrimination against engineers?

I recently saw an advertisement in quite a few newspapers where the Army had exhorted engineers to join the service.

The Army is facing a tremendous shortage of qualified engineers due to the faulty recruitment policies, which is affecting its operational efficiency. At a time when there is so much unemployment amongst engineers, it is for the Army to introspect why no engineer wants to join the service. It will not be out of place to mention a recent development in the Army, which brings out how discrimination is meted out to engineers who join them.

In 1998 engineers of the Air Force agitated because of discrimination against them in pay and allowances as compared to the pilots.

This sent shock waves through the entire defence establishment.

Consequent to this, a special committee was appointed to look into this issue and in February 2000, the Union Government announced technical allowance to engineers in the three services.

While the Air Force and Navy implemented this allowance scheme promptly, the Army took more than two-and-a-half-years to identify the courses eligible.

However, when it came to the implementation of the scheme, the Army issued instructions wherein engineers recruited from outside were made ineligible for technical allowance of Rs 1000 pm, whereas this benefit was provided to officers who finished there engineering after joining the Army.

This has been viewed as a trick played by the regular officers of the Army against the technical graduates to deny them technical allowance.

However, no such discrimination is practiced by the other two services.

This has led to a simmering discontentment amongst the affected officers, which might take an ugly turn in the future. With such blatant discrimination, how does the Army expect engineers from the civil institutions to join the service?


Compensation for fire victims

On December 23,1995, a major tragedy took place in Mandi Dabwali, a town in Haryana located on the Haryana-Punjab border. A fire broke out at an annual prize distribution function of the DAV Public School, Dabwali. Within minutes, the school turned into graveyard.

442 lives were lost, including 258 children. Besides, many people received serious burn injuries and lost their limbs.

The CBI inquiry found several employees of the Municipal Cooperation, Mandi Dabwali and Haryana Electricity Board guilty of negligence.

Some of the employees were suspended and four of them were arrested. However, after sometime the arrested employees were let off on bail and the suspended employees got back their jobs.

In effect, even 7 years after the tragedy the culprits have not been punished.

Moreover, the compensation promised by the Union Government and the Haryana Government has also been forgotten.

The Dabwali Fire Victims Association has registered a PIL in the Haryana and Punjab High Court and wants the judiciary to intervene in this matter and help them.

Four girls had lost both their legs and are of marriageable age. Some victims are in need of plastic surgery and some will continue to need medication for another 15 to 20 years. Obviously, they are undergoing tremendous mental depression. Through your newspaper, I would like to highlight the suffering of the Mandi Dalwali fire victims and hope that compensation is provided to them soon.


Provide water at Railway station

Believe it or not, but it is true that for the last 33 years, Dainik Yatri Sangh has been requesting the Railway Board as well as the General Manager and Divisional Railway Managers of Northern Railway for providing proper drinking water at the Shahdara Railway Station.

However, this basic facility for the traveling public has not yet been provided. Unhealthy and brackish water is available on the platforms.

Presently, more that 50,000 commuters use this railway station and 91 trains halt here.

Water is the most essential need of human beings. And when the railway passengers enter and remain within the premises of the station, it is the legal as well as the moral obligation of the railway authorities to ensure that drinking water fit for human consumption is provided.

Unfortunately, most of the points made for the water on the platforms are lying without taps. Even though there are two water coolers on platform No. 2 and 3, they are always found “Out Of Order”.

It is amazing that even though platform number 1 and 2 was extended, no water points have been provided. Moreover, there is no arrangement for drinking water in front of the booking office, which causes great inconvenience to the traveling public.

It seems that the concerned authorities have little time for the problems of the people.

I appeal to the Railway Minister to order a probe into the matter immediately and do the needful without any further delay.

M. B. DUBEY BIJNORI, Shahdara, Delhi

Stop Train at Shahdara

Recently, the railway authorities have introduced an express train between Delhi and Kotdwar. It has come as a great relief to the passengers from Bijnor and Uttaranchal Pradesh. However, the eight bogies of the train are insufficient for the large number of commuters from the area.

Above all, this train has no halt at the Shahdara Railway Station, which is causing great difficulties to the passengers, who have to travel all the way to Delhi Station or to Ghaziabad to board the train.

One wonders why the local Member of Parliament, Mr Lal Bihari Tiwari, is silent on this issue?

I hope the authorities understand the problems of the commuters and take the necessary steps for providing a halt for this train at Shahdara Railway Station.


Fighting pollution

It is a good news that forest cover in India has increased by 60 per cent.

However, in view of the rapid degradation of the environment there is an urgent need to prevent illegal logging. Further, encroachment on forest areas should be stopped.

In order to fight the menace of atmospheric pollution, there is a need to grow large number of neem trees.

Scientific research has proved that neem tree is nature’s weapon to fight against pollution.

Government authorities and NGOs should give prime importance to growing neem trees in all possible places including gardens, colony parks, green belts, footpaths, empty roadsides, schools, colleges, hospitals, institutional buildings, offices and commercial complexes, bus terminals, railway stations and community centres.

The national Capital must take the lead and show the way to the rest of the nation in growing large number of neem trees.

For this, the involvement of all concerned government agencies, NGOs, RWAs, business and industry associations and school and college students would be necessary.

The retired senior citizens, who have the relevant experience and who still feel active and enthusiastic, may be authorized to supervise the operations in areas within their easy reach.

T. K. MALHOTRA, Rohini, Delhi

Need for fair selection

It was extremely shocking to know that Ajay Ratra, the wicketkeeper of the Haryana Ranji team, has been ignored even though he deserved a place in the England bound India A team.

It was he who had scored a match saving hundred against the West Indies at Antigua and earned a place for the England tour.

There is no logic in sending Parthiv Patel, the regular wicketkeeper in his place.

The need of the hour is to give a chance to budding cricketer with a view to prepare a second line team. The Indian cricket selectors have not been fair with players from Haryana.

Even earlier, talented player like Rajinder Goel of Rohtak could not represent the nation though he was the best spinner in his time. Similarly, they are cutting short the career of Ajay Ratra.

I hope that fair selection procedures will be followed in the future so that there is no discrimination is against players from Haryana.


Ending child marriages

The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1978, also known as the Sharda Act, is an important legislation to restrain the marriages of underage children.

Despite the fact that it is a cognizable offence, the practice continues. Parents are seen busy finding a match for their underage children. The practice is most rampant in the countryside where the people hardly known the consequences of such marriages.

The harvesting season is considered the most auspicious time and financially the most viable period for such marriages.

The parents hardly bother about this heinous crime. They argue that the children should be married when they are innocent. The parents understand that educated children may stand up against such evil practices.

The time has come to root out this evil. It is clear that steps such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (education for every child), strict enforcement of the registration of marriages and cooperation of village elders are the only way to eradicate this evil.


Virtue of Forgiveness

This is with reference to M P K Kutty’s article, “Forgiveness and Repentance: The Route to Survival”. (NCR Tribune, May 18).

The writer has quoted Donal Shriver, author of ‘An Ethic for Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics’ as saying that “Forgiveness with its companion repentance” is the best gift that the twentieth century can give to our descendants of the twenty-first century for protection from the massive evils that still clog our political history.

In this connection, I wish to say that even in our day to day life, the virtue of forgiveness plays an important role as it fosters mutual trust.

Sometimes we forgive and sometimes we ask for forgiveness. In both cases forgiveness is the central to all human relations.

Forgiveness is a decision. It is not a feeling. A decision to forget is the first step. Difficult to attain, forgiveness demands poise, patience, self-control, fortitude and sympathetic understanding towards others.

To sum up, forgiveness is showing mercy, when the injury has been deliberate. Sometimes, the greatest contribution we can make is to forgive and forget.

O. P. SHARMA, Faridabad


Ganaur civic body secretary suspended
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, June 6
The Haryana Government has placed Mr Naresh Verma, secretary of the Ganaur Municipal Committee, under suspension pending departmental action against him.

According to a report, the SDM Ganaur, Mr Jeet Singh Mehra, has confirmed the suspension orders issued by the state government. However, he declined to give the reason for suspension.

According to another report, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwal Singh, has ordered the suspension of Mr Jatinder, a panch of Saidpur village, and deputed SDM Sonepat, Mr Sujan Singh Yadav, as the inquiry officer for conducting a thorough probe into the allegations levelled against the panch of the village.

It is learnt that the panch had illegally occupied the land of the gram panchayat and constructed a house on it.

Free textbooks

The Haryana Education Department has decided to provide free textbooks to girl students, studying in class I to class VIII, and to students belonging to scheduled castes in the Sonepat district, this academic session.

According to a report, the department would provide dual desks to the students studying in class I, class II and class III. Swings and other entertainment facilities would also be provided to the students of government schools.

The department will also organise training camps for the teachers of government schools in the district. These camps will be organised between June 10 and 17, and between June 18 and 23 for primary schoolteachers, and between June 24 and 28 for teachers of middle schools.

Youth attacked

A youth, Ajit, was injured when he was attacked by another youth at Mandaura village, 25 km from here last evening. The police have registered a case.

‘Best villages’

The Haryana Government has allocated Rs 1.05 crore for giving awards to the ‘Best Villages’ in the state during the year 2002-03.

According to a report, each village would be given a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for development works. The awards will be given to various villages in all the 19 districts of the state.

Kharia in Sirsa district would get an additional amount of Rs 10 lakh for the state-level award.

The selected villages in each district are: Joshi Chauhan (Sonepat), Nasirpur (Ambala), Dwaraka (Bhiwani), Bangaon (Fatehabad), Karman (Faridabad), Jorasi (Gurgaon), Shikarpur (Hisar), Rasidan (Jind), Sankhol (Jhajjar), Sangchi (Karnal), Bhana (Kaithal), Gumthalagadhu (Kurukshetra), Chandpura Mahindergarh), Madlauda (Panipat), Nanakpur (Panchkula), Jhabua (Rewari), Katesara (Rohtak) and Potli (Yamunanagar).

Bhajan Lal to visit Rai

Mr Bhajan Lal, president of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), and former chief minister, would visit Rai on June 10.

According to a report, he will address a party workers’ meeting at the PWD (B&R) resthouse, Rai. Mr Jai Kishan, national secretary of the AICC, will also accompany him.


Four injured in East Delhi cylinder blast

New Delhi, June 6
Four persons were injured, two of them seriously, when an LPG cylinder exploded in a DDA flat at Jhilmil Colony in East Delhi this morning.

The victims were identified as Yogesh Mehra (33), his wife Asha Mehra (32), their neighbours Varun (17), Mridul (17), Murli Kumar, Raj Kumar and Mohan Kumar.

They were admitted to a nearby hospital, the police said. Yogesh sustained 45 per cent burn injuries while his wife received 40 per cent injuries. Others sustained minor injuries and were discharged from the hospital after being given the first-aid, the police said.

The explosion occurred when Asha went to kitchen to prepare breakfast for the family members. There was a leakage in the LPG cylinder and it caught fire soon as she lighted the stove. She cried for help. Her husband and neighbours rushed for her help. While they tried to douse the fire, the gas cylinder exploded resulting in injuries to the victims.

Their neighbours informed the Delhi Fire service (DFS) and the local police. The DFS rushed two firefighters. The PCR also reached the spot and took the injured to hospital. No foul play is suspected in the explosion, the police said. TNS


Dairyman crushed to death
Our Correspondents

Noida, June 6
Irate people held up traffic at G T Road Dadri in protest against the death of a dairyman who was crushed under the wheels of a UP roadways bus opposite Kidwai Nagar.

It took the police about an hour to remove the traffic jam. People were demanding compensation to the family of the deceased Irshad, immediate arrest of the driver and construction of a speed-breaker opposite Kidwai Nagar.

Irshad with his two younger brothers was going on a rickshaw to supply milk when the rickshaw was hit by the bus of the Agra depot. As Irshad fell down, he was crushed under the wheels.

His two injured brothers were rushed to the government hospital in a serious condition.

Police inspector Ajay Kumar assured the people that the driver would be caught soon.

Life term for murder

Bhiwani: The District and Sessions Judge R C Bansal sentenced a person, convicted of murder, to life imprisonment under Section 302 and fined him Rs 5,000. The convict will have to undergo one year more imprisonment if fine is not paid.

According to prosecution, the deceased woman Maya of Sahuwas village had been giving her 10 acres of agriculture land on ramification to Balbir (50), son of Kundan.

On September 14, 2000, she went to the accused in her fields and expressed her wish to give the land on ramification to another person of the village. This led to an exchange of hot words and the accused started beating her with a lathi. Maya had sustained several injuries on her head, breast and sensitive parts of the body. She had been rushed to the hospital by Suresh and Bajrang, who were working in a nearby field that time. Maya died on the way to hospital.

Two get 10 yrs RI

The court of Additional District Judge Lalit Batra, convicted two accused of selling poppy husk under Section 15 of the NDPS Act and sentenced them to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh today.

The accused will have to undergo rigorous imprisonment of one more year if they failed to pay the fine.

According to prosecution, Makhan Singh, son of Inder Singh and Makhan Singh, son of Pyara Singh of Dhirawali village in Hisar district had been travelling in a Maruti car with 373 kg poppy husk on March 4, 1993 towards Loharu. A patrolling team followed them near Dhani Netram village and nabbed them. The police recovered poppy husk in huge quantity and registered a case under the relevant section of the NDPS Act.



Youth killed in sleep
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, June 6
A youth Satyavan alias Dheelu (26) was allegedly murdered with sharp-edged weapons by some unidentified persons while he was asleep in his field at Tharu village about 5 km form here last night.

The police have registered the case and launched a hunt for the culprits.

It is stated that at least five criminal cases had already been registered against the victim. Last month, he was bailed out in one case.

Seminar on disaster management

Meerut: A two-day seminar on `Disaster Management and mitigation’, organised by the Central Command Lucknow, concluded here today.

General officer Commanding Uttar Bharat Area, Maj General K C Vig AVSM, VSM inaugurated the seminar.

Senior officials and delegates from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force participated in the seminar in which various challenges to the armed forces while dealing with natural calamities were discussed. OC


DSGMC raps Hit for ‘anti-Sikh’ statement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee has condemned the statement by Mr Avtar Singh Hit, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) that Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Sati Das were Hindus.

Addressing a party meeting, Mr Sarna said that Mr Hit should be summoned to Akal Takht for making a false statement.


Liaison proves dangerous; man killed

Sonepat, June 6
Illicit relations with a woman has led to the murder of a youth Vinod of Kauthal by his relatives on Sonepat-Panipat border near Haldana village about 30 km from here last night.

According to a report, the body of the victim was spotted in a car when the occupants were stopped by a patrolling police party on G T Road near Ganaur town. The police arrested two persons, Tilak Raj of Haldana village in Panipat district and Ram Chander Fauji of Patti Kalyana village in the same district. A case of murder has been registered against them and the body was sent for a post-mortem.

The culprits, during the course of interrogation, told the police that Tilak Raj has developed illicit relations with a woman.

Vinod, it is stated, had seen Tilak Raj in a compromising condition with the woman and he had also pressurised the woman to have an affair with him. But she refused and informed Tilak Raj about it. Thereupon, Tilak Raj along with Ram Chander Fauji assaulted Vinod with rods resulting in his death. Thereupon, both the culprits took the body of the victim in a car for throwing it at a far-off place from Haldana village. OC


Fake drafts worth Rs 45 cr seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 6
The Special Cell today claimed to have arrested two persons who allegedly dealt with forged bank documents and recovered fake drafts worth Rs 45 crore in the lobby of the Janpath hotel.

The accused, Chandan Anurag (41), resident of Saket, and his associate Shabir Ahmed (37), resident of New Friends Colony, were arrested by the sleuths while they were trying to encash the drafts at the Bank of Rajasthan. Anurag handed over two drafts, of HDFC, worth Rs 8 crore, to the officials, for which they were given eight genuine pay orders, worth Rs 2.6 crore, in the name of different companies. It was during this time that the police swung into action and nabbed him. His associate Shabir was later arrested and forged bank drafts of HDFC worth Rs 37 crore were recovered from his possession. During interrogation, Chandan told the police that he is a film producer, a financial consultant and also runs a computer institute. His associate Shabir is also a financial consultant.


Golden Jubilee year: Making Faridabad
the Manchester of India
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, June 6
The Faridabad Industries Association (FIA), which has completed its Golden Jubilee year, sees a daunting task ahead to revive the growth trend and put this industrial hub on the track of development, once again.

The FIA president, Mr Ashok Khemka, in his comments published in the booklet ‘FIA Golden Jubilee Year, 2002-03’ released recently, says that there are daunting tasks ahead, particularly the removal of traffic congestion at Badarpur border, reducing the level of air pollution and attracting new investors to Faridabad.

He said that Faridabad had a kickstart in the early years, but somewhere on the way the city lost its progressive path. The trend has to be reversed so that the city could again be the ‘Manchester of India’.

The removal of the traffic snarls at Badarpur border is one of the priority issues, though there is nobody who could tell when the flyover project would begin. This has been a cause of concern not only for the industrialists here but also for the residents and thousands of people who cross into Delhi and Haryana from Badarpur. The project is already delayed.

The issue was broached in January this year when the Union minister of surface transport had written a letter to the Haryana Chief Minister on sharing of the project cost, say the FIA sources say. But since the Haryana government expressed its inability to share the cost and did not work out the modalities of the project with the authorities concerned, the issue got delayed.

A district official when contacted said, he had no knowledge of what was going on, but said the Haryana government could only request the Union government to complete the project as it was the property of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

It may be recalled that crossing the 2.5-km stretch at Badarpur from either side takes at least 20 to 25 minutes and it could be up to 30 to 40 minutes at peak hours. The industry people here feel that unless the traffic bottleneck is removed at Badarpur, the industrial and commercial activities in Faridabad would continue to suffer.

An FIA spokesperson said that the issue would be taken up again before the authorities so that the proposal for constructing a flyover gets implemented as soon as possible.

Mr S Narshimhan, office secretary of the FIA, said that the main priority items before the association included the development of infrastructure for industries and business.

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