Tuesday, July 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


High Court rebuffs victims’ association on
Uphaar relief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The Delhi High Court today turned down the request of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy that the Rs 6.85 crore compensation amount be handed over to the association instead of individuals.

A Special Division Bench comprising justices S. K. Mahajan and Mukul Mudgal refused to entertain the AVUT application, which said money must be given to the association which in turn would disburse it to the victims’ families and the injured.

The compensation would only be handed over to the individuals after they approach the court registry and file an affidavit, the judges said.

The injured and legal heirs of the victims would have to approach the court individually. The compensation amount would be put in a fixed deposit for three months while the formalities were completed.

The AVUT had approached the court with its request in order to avoid complications, as the petition for compensation was filed by the association through its executive committee and not by individuals. The matter was posted for July 28 and the association was asked to produce the list of names of the injured and legal heirs of the victims.

On Monday next, the court would also hear an application filed by the Licensing Authority of the Delhi Police, seeking a stay on disbursement of Rs 2.14 crore paid by it as compensation to the victims of Uphaar fire, until the Supreme Court decides on the appeal it was filing against the high court’s order on compensation.

The court would also hear an application filed by Ansal Theatres and Club Hotels Pvt Ltd, seeking the release of the sealed cinema building in order to generate funds for the compensation.

The Licensing Authority for movie halls in the Capital had deposited the amount on June 23. On June 27, a Vacation Bench of the high court had also ordered disbursement of Rs 6.85 crore compensation, which includes Rs 2.14 crore, Rs 2.45 crore and Rs 2.26 crore paid by the Delhi Police (Licensing Authority), the Delhi Power Corporation Ltd (erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), respectively. The court on April 24 passed a landmark judgement, after six years of protracted legal tussle, asking a hefty compensation of more than Rs 20 crore be paid by the owners of Uphaar Cinema, the Licensing Authority, the DVB and the MCD, after holding them responsible for the fire, which occurred on June 13, 1997 at the hall during the screening of Hindi movie ‘Border’, killing 59 persons and injuring 104.

The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy had moved the Delhi High Court, seeking damages worth Rs 120 crore from the owners of Uphaar Cinema, the Licensing Authority for movie halls in the Capital, electricity supply company (erstwhile DVB) and the MCD jointly and severally to the petitioners who had lost their relatives in the tragedy and also to the injured.

On June 23, in compliance with the order, the Delhi Police (Licensing Authority), the DPCL (erstwhile DVB) and the MCD deposited cheques towards their share of the compensation.

However, owners of the theatre, the Ansals, have not deposited their share, which came to about Rs 12 crore, including Rs 2.5 crore as fine for selling extra seats in the hall. 


Three missing schoolkids found drowned 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
Three schoolchildren, who went missing last evening in the Sultanpuri area, were found dead this morning: they had reportedly drowned in a pond near the Sukhar Bazar road.

Their bodies were fished out this morning at around 6.45 am by the police with the help of the fire brigade personnel. They were rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where the doctors declared them brought dead.

The police said the deceased — Sanjay, Uma Shankar and Bawar — all in the age group 10-11 and students of class IV, went missing last evening. While Sanjay and Bawar were studying at Murali Devi School, Uma Shankar was a pupil at Navin Public School. The bodies were handed over to the families after the post-mortem examination.

The police have booked a case and initiated inquest proceedings to ascertain the cause of death of the three children.


Abducted in UP, grew in Switzerland, meets family after 22 years
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
Had it not been for the unhesitating help rendered by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, a child kidnapped 22 years ago and now living in Switzerland would not have been able to either trace or meet her natural parents in a remote village, Narihun, in Badohi district of Uttar Pradesh.

The genesis of the modern day fairy tale that transcends international boundaries is traced to two decades ago when the girl Shahjahan, then eight years old, and her six-year-old sister, Kishwar, were kidnapped from their home by certain relatives. The date was April 1, 1981. While Kishwar was abandoned in Varanasi from where she managed to find her way back home, Shahjehan was left in an orphanage in Kolkata.

Then destiny came to play its part. A Swiss couple spotted the eight-year-old in the orphanage and took an instant liking to her. She was subsequently adopted by the couple and taken to Switzerland where she was brought up with love and affection. It was here that she became Shahzaadi from Shahjehan.

Even while she had all the good things in life, including doting parents, the desire to meet her natural parents continued to torment her. She subsequently married George Stephan, an engineer. It was then that she decided to trace her parents.

With the help of some friends and the embassy, she approached the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police earlier this year where officers for a change did not brusquely brush away the request but seriously pursued the few leads. With their help, advertisements were placed in the leading language newspapers.

Subsequently, her father, Mr Mohammed Rafi, contacted the Delhi Police, claiming that Shahzaadi (Shahjehan) was his daughter and brought some proof along.

But the Crime Branch officials insisted on a DNA test and it was only after the positive test report that the good news was conveyed to the daughter.

Once they were traced, the desire to meet them became even stronger and finally she and her husband undertook the journey last week. She had an emotional reunion with her parents and most of the communication was through an interpreter, according to friends who helped her. Shahzaadi speaks no Hindi and her natural parents are not conversant with Swiss.

But the language barrier could not diminish the delight of the reunion. According to reports, Shahzaadi was distressed to see her parents living in poverty and has decided to help them lead a better life.

The officers of the Crime Branch are happy that they have been able to help to reunite the family and at the same time dispel their traditional boorish image.


NGO secures release of 48 protected birds
Our Correspondent

Meerut, July 21
The activists of ‘People for Animals’ today secured the release of 48 colourful birds of a rare and protected species from a shopkeeper in Lal Kurti Market here. The police took the shop owner into custody when he manhandled the activists and refused to part with the birds. The birds had been caged and had their wings clipped.

The NGO had earlier launched a drive against trafficking in protected birds. Several activists converged at the shop of Ram Bhaross alias Munna in Lal Kurti Market today and tried to take possession of the caged birds. Ram Bhaross resisted and allegedly manhandled them. He argued that he had a licence to sell the birds and that he did not have any protected species. What he had were just love birds, he tried to convince the activists, who would not go away.

When the shop owner failed to produce his license, the activists took possession of 22 coloured parrots and 26 other rare birds; some of them were badly wounded and unable to fly.

This, in turn, led to an uproar in the market with other shopkeepers joining Ram Bhaross in trying to stop the activists from taking away the birds. On getting information about the incident, the police rushed to the spot. However, by then the other shopkeepers had reportedly shifted the protected birds in their shops. A case has been registered against Ram Bhaross under various sections of the Forest Act.

Finally, the birds were taken to the Bird Dispensary in Ghaziabad. Director of the dispensary Aasman Sharma accompanied the birds to Ghaziabad. PFA officials said that the birds would be released after the injured ones had been treated at the dispensary.

No forest official reached the spot. The DFO of Meerut, Mr A. K. Singh, told the NCR Tribune that they had no information about the seizure. However, PFA activists alleged that they had informed district forest officials but they did not respond. Then, they informed Ms Maneka Gandhi, who send a PFA welfare officer to look into the matter. 


Man loses wife, children in house collapse
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
Three members of a family, including a six-month-old toddler, were killed and another suffered serious injuries when a house collapsed, burying them under the rubble in their sleep, this morning in Uttam Nagar in West Delhi.

The incident took place at 6.50 am when a portion of their house wall on the first floor came crashing down.

The house owner, identified as Sanjay (30), suffered serious injuries and was admitted to Uttam Nursing Home. His wife, Jyoti (28), son Deepak (10) and daughter Meelu (six months old) were crushed to death.

The fire service personnel later extricated the bodies, which have been sent for a post-mortem examination.

The Capital has been having incessant rain since last night with the monsoon getting re-activated over the north-west region of the country. The metro had recorded 6.42 cm rain by 8.30 am.

After a rainless and humid day on Saturday, the city was relieved of the sultry weather last evening. The skies opened up again last night with a persistent drizzle throughout the day.

The rain also brought along the usual problems of waterlogging and traffic snarls in the Capital. Despite the claims of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) that preventive measures had been taken after the monsoon lashed the city earlier this month, the ground reality was entirely different. Some parts of the city, particularly in the East, West and Central Delhi areas, were under knee-deep water.

As usual, schoolchildren and commuters bore the brunt. Office-goers complained that it took them three times the usual time to reach their destination.


Special UHBVN counters for Army men
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 21
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has ordered the opening of special counters in the offices of all sub-divisional engineers here for enabling senior citizens, freedom fighters and Army personnel to pay their electricity bills.

This decision was conveyed to a deputation of the Citizens Alliance for Promotion of Responsive Governance (Sonepat Chapter) by Mr T. C. Gupta, Superintending Engineer (Operation) of the UHBVN, here today. Mr S. P. Sachdeva, former Governor of Rotary International and president of the organisation, led the deputation and voiced the grievances of the consumers, particularly senior citizens, freedom fighters and Army personnel. He pointed out that they had to stand in long queues for making payments. He also demanded one hour’s extension in payment time at each collection centre to meet the rush of consumers.

The SE conceded their demand and directed his subordinates to take immediate steps for extending the time.

Regarding the non-adjustment of old securities against the fresh demand for power connection, the SE assured the

members that the computerised list of all the pending securities was being processed. As soon as the list was processed, the adjustments of the old securities would be made in their accounts.

Responding to the delay in addressing the complaints of consumers, the SE directed the SDEs to take suitable action against the erring staff.

He further made it clear that the no-objection certificate from civic bodies was not required for new electricity connections in approved and notified areas, including residential colonies.

He also promised that UHBVN would consider the matter about payment of minimum charges by farmers in areas where the ground water level had gone down considerably. The complaints about defective electricity wires and cables, especially in the rainy season, were referred for immediate action the SDEs.


Students, livid after thrashing, flee from school only to return
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 21
All the 34 students, who fled the Jawahar Navodaya School on Friday night after scaling the boundary wall, returned safely to the alma mater at Buthana village, about 50 km from here, late last evening.

According to a report, these students fled after they received a thrashing from a schoolteacher earlier in the day. From Buthana, they reached the regional centre of Navodaya Schools at Jaipur and contacted the administrative officer of the school.

In the interim, the principal of the school had lodged a report about the disappearance of the students. The Principal stated in the FIR that a cricket match was held between students of Class XI and Class XII on July 18. The students of Class XII were defeated in the match. The hooting and heckling led to a quarrel among the students; later, some of them were beaten up by the schoolteacher.

According to the principal, when the students informed him about the beating, he went to their rooms and provided them medical aid. However, the students were too livid to pay heed to the succour that was being provided. At night, they seized the opportunity, scaled the walls of the school and fled.


Kidnapping case cracked; five-month-old baby rescued
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
Elated over the success in solving the case of kidnapping of a five-month-old baby in Gokulpuri area, the North-East district police today expressed hope that they would also ferret out the newborn child, allegedly kidnapped by a woman in the wee hours from the maternity ward of GTB Hospital a few days ago.

The police said that they hoped to get some fresh leads once they located the main suspect—a doctor from Loni in Ghaziabad—in the kidnapping of the five-month-old boy.

Nitin (22) of Baghpat, Ram Dass (35) of Muzaffarnagar, Manoj alias Vinod (26) of Ghaziabad, Naresh (25) of Baghpat and Kavita (25) of Loni have been already arrested in this case.

The child, Anmol, was recovered from a woman, Ammna, who found it abandoned on a railway track in Loni. She had been looking after Anmol till now.

On the night of July 18, a call was received by the police that a five-month-old child had gone missing from a house in Bhagirathi Vihar.

Rishi Pal, his wife Bijendri, his cousin Nitin, daughter Anjali and son Anmol, alias Munna, were sleeping in one room and other family members in another room. The incident came to light at around 1.20 am when Bijendri woke up and found Anmol missing.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East) Praveer Ranjan said that during preliminary investigation, the police suspected Rishi Pal’s cousin as he kept giving vague statements. When he was further questioned, he broke down and confessed to having committed the crime.

He told the police that he had slept with Rishi Pal, and around 1 am, he picked up Anmol and gave him to two of his associates—Bhullan and Naresh—who were waiting outside.

When Naresh was nabbed, he told the police that he had handed over the child to one Manoj who in turn had passed the child on to Ram Dass and Kavita. The police conducted raids and apprehended Manoj, Ram Dass and Kavita.

During interrogation, it was revealed that a doctor in Loni had demanded a baby from Ram Dass, who in turn contacted Jasbir, Kavita and Manoj. The trio finally contacted Nitin for the child.

DCP Praveer Ranjan said that the doctor was supposed to deliver the kid to one Rajender, a resident of Moradabad, and the deal was fixed at Rs 3 lakh. Rajender wanted a newborn kid since he promised to give it to his widowed daughter.

Since the child was five-month-old, Rajender’s daughter refused to accept it. Finally, the child came back to Manoj, who later decided to desert it near a railway track in Loni. Manoj also watched the drama from a distance where a large number of people gathered near the kid and finally a woman carried away the child.

The police have launched a hunt for the doctor and others like Bhullan, Jasbir and Rajender who were allegedly involved in the crime.


Delhi Govt incapable of handling monsoon,
says Khurana
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says the Government of NCT of Delhi has done little to clean the sewers and drains, and wonders what has happened to the crores of rupees spent on desilting and similar works.

In a statement released to the media, the Delhi Pradesh BJP president Madan Lal Khurana today said the NCT of Delhi resembles a flooded area with sewers and drains overflowing and roads submerged under rain water.

Questioning the expenditure on dense carpeting of roads, Mr Khurana claimed that payments had been made to unscrupulous contractors without actually verifying the execution of the works. The chief minister, he said, owed an explanation.

“As per the standards, the dense carpeting of roads should last five years but they do not last one monsoon. Will she explain what happened to the money or will she blame, as is her wont, the Lieutenant-Governor for all the ills that plague the NCT of Delhi?” he asked.

Mr Khurana alleged the Government of NCT of Delhi had entrusted the works to a cartel of contractors and allowed the established norms to be violated. “The yardsticks for construction of roads and cleaning of sewers and drains have not been observed,” he alleged.

The monsoon, he said, had exposed the claims of the Government of NCT of Delhi and raised doubts about the quality of governance in general and the swindling of public money in particular. The chief minister, he added, ought to remove those doubts.


Meet discusses EC directive on rationalisation of polling booths
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 21
The District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, convened a special meeting here to discuss the instructions of the Election Commission relating to the rationalisation of the polling stations and sending the proposal in this regard by July 24.

According to a report, Mr Suraj Mal Antil, MLA (INLD), Mr S. N. Solanki (CPI(M)), Mr Rajeev Ranjan, Additional Deputy Commissioner and other electoral officials took part in the meeting.

The DC disclosed that the district administration has inspected the buildings of all the polling stations, their distances, areas, entrance and exit in accordance with the instructions of the Election Commission.

As per instructions, if a polling station is linked to two villages and the number of electorate is more than 1,500, a separate polling station will be set up.

According to the DC, the number of polling stations have been decreased by 193.

There will now be 837 polling stations instead of 1,030 stations at present in the six Assembly segments of the district: Broda (R) 123 instead of 153; Gohana 144 instead of 180; Kailana 153 instead of 184; Sonepat 147 instead of 186; Rai 145 instead of 169 and Rohtat 125 instead of 158.

The DC said that there would be no change in the polling stations identified for the weaker sections. They would be as under: Baroda (R) 37; Rohana 36, Kailana 40; Sonepat 12; Rai 22 and Rohtak 29.

The DC invited petitions and suggestions from the legislators and the leaders of the political parties about the proposals so that the final draft might be sent to the Election Commission during the stipulated period.


Haryana NCR districts to be nerve centres of
economic affairs
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 21
The Haryana Government is contemplating to provide modern amenities and sound administration to the big emerging cities like Sonepat, Rohtak, Faridabad and Gurgaon. These districts, located in the National Capital Region (NCR), will be the nerve centres of economic and infrastructural activities in the near future.

According to official sources, an industrial park has been developed at Rai in Sonepat district to accommodate small-scale units. The park will help decongest the Capital by offering the units sites for relocation.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has asked the Haryana agencies to pinpoint the source of problem of pollution affecting the drinking water supply system in the Capital.

The discharge of industrial effluents and municipal waste into the Western Yamuna Canal by Haryana has led to the shutdown of the Haiderpur and Nangloi water treatment plants on seven occasions during the current year. Consequently, the frequent shutdowns affected the water supply to a large number of residential colonies, which depend on the 200-MGD Haiderpur plant and 25-MGD Nangloi plant for their daily supply of water.

The industrial and municipal waste water is discharged into the Upper Yamuna Canal by Haryana in phases from an old canal, which has fallen to disuse.

A recent survey carried out by the CPCB in Yamunanagar and Sonepat had revealed that the old canal is used to store effluents and municipal waste. This is let out periodically into the WYC whenever the waste water starts overflowing.

The survey has also revealed that high concentration of ammonia was found in the effluent and municipal waste water stored in this canal. Hence, the CPCB has ordered the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and the Haryana irrigation department to dismantle this old canal immediately. It is learnt that the HSPCB in turn has ordered that the industrial and effluent as well as waste water be let out through Indri-Dhanora escape since many parts of Haryana are also supplied with Yamuna water.

However, the HSPCB officials have maintained that no industry in Sonepat region discharged any effluent into the WYC in the non-monsoon months – when there is water for dilution. On the other hand, the state government has asked the officials to check industries and ensure that the sewage treatment plants functioned properly so that effluents and waste water did not pollute water going to Delhi.


Skip NH 58 to avoid kanwarias
Our Correspondent

Meerut, July 21
The NH 58 will be out of bounds for traffic going towards Uttaranchal due to the heavy movement of kanwarias on their way to Hardwar. Hordes of kanwarias, on foot to fetch Ganga water, have already hit the NH.

Traffic on the NH 58 from Meerut to Dehra Dun has already been stopped after two kanwarias were killed in an accident on July 19, sparking violence by them.

According to the new route, vehicles moving from Delhi, Ghaziabad and Hapur and going towards Hardwar, Roorkee, Muzaffarnagar and Bijnore will be diverted from Ghaziabad to Hapur and Kharkhauda (Meerut) to L-Block turn via Tej Garhi Crossing, University Road, Commissioner’s Residence Crossing to Mawan, then to Bijnore via Behzooma and Ramraj town in Muzaffarnagar.

Vehicles from Moradabad-Garh Mukteshwar and going to Roorkee, Hardwar, Dehra Dun will be diverted from Kithore town to Parikshitgarh and Mawan, and then follow route 1 for further journey. Traffic from Hardwar, Roorkee and Bijnore and going to Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hapur and Moradabad will be diverted from Mawana to Incholi town, Commissioner Residence Crossing, Jail Crossing L-Block, Kharkhauda and Hapur. 


Rain turns life topsy-turvy in Bhiwani
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, July 21
Heavy showers have paralysed the normal life in the town today. Most of the areas in town are inundated with rainwater and the traffic is badly affected. The administration has failed to make adequate arrangements to face the fury of rain.

The water pumps, installed to eject water, have proved useless.

In several areas, normal life was disrupted following waterlogging and people were seen repairing and drying up their vehicles. The worst affected areas were: Naya Bazar, Bichla Bazar, Harjikan Chowk, Jagat Colony, Chiranjiv Colony, Ram Nagar, Labour Colony, Housing Board, Kamla Nagar, Bagh Kothi, Ramganj Mohalla, Dinod Gate, Shiv Nagar Colony, where sewerage system collapsed. Durga Colony, Jeetu wala area, Hanuman Dhani and several other areas of the town witnessed the backflow of the sewerage water in their houses. In old housing board area, where waterlogging is a common feature during rain.

The residents had to face hardships as sewerage water flowed back to their kitchens.

On the main road of Loharu Road area, rainwater entered to the shops. Public Health Department had separately provisioned to drain out rainwater in this area after the devastating floods of 1995. But the drain outlets had not been noticed and these were covered with sand resulting in the water flows and inundate in this area for several hours after rain. The department functionaries have no satisfactory answer why the water collects despite installation of separate drains here. The only disposal station could not drain out water speedily.

Earlier, there were two disposal stations in the town and one of these had been discarded by the then Bansi Lal government. The town had been facing adverse situation during rain.

Near old bus stand, several vehicles stranded after the entire road and area engulfed with water. This road connects the town with mini-secretariat, schools, private hospitals and other institutions, besides business establishments.


Heavy rain lightens the hearts of farmers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 21
Though the heavy rainfall during the night has proved to be a messy affair for the residents of the city, it has brought great relief to the farmers who are engaged in paddy plantation on a war footing.

Experts also consider it useful in many other ways, including providing the much needed water for the sugarcane crop and helping in the restoration of the water table, which was been depleting rapidly over the last six years.

According to official records, the Sonepat region recorded 98 mm of rainfall during the night and proved to be one of the heaviest rainfalls in a single day since 1997.

The continuous rainfall since late last night has disrupted the normal life in the town. Water has accumulated on most of the roads here due to lack of proper drainage system, which in many places is choked with garbage and waste material.

A large number of vehicles were stranded near Shani Mandir, Gita Bhawan Chowk and on the Rohtak road near Mission Chowk, due to the accumulation of knee-deep water.

Obviously, the business activities in most of the markets have been adversely affected, as the people have preferred to remain confined to their houses.

The worst sufferers have been the rehriwallas and the rickshaw pullers, who were seen unsuccessfully looking for customers at the railway station, bus stand, old Gohana stand and Kakroi Mor.

The common sight of shopkeepers displaying their articles on the footpaths and roads was absent today.

A large number of farmers had come from the villages to hire agriculture labourers for the paddy plantation.

Talking to the NCR Tribune, Randhir of village Bhatgaon, Surender of Murthal and Ram Diya of Kakroi said there was a shortage of labourers in the villages as farmer are in a hurry to get their paddy plantation completed at the earliest.

“It is the most useful rain in the last five years, which will benefit the paddy plantation and other planted crops in the region. However, there might be some losses to the fodder crops such as jowar and pulses during the kharif season,” a leading farmer, remarked Balbir Singh of village Lath.


Special Focus on Faridabad
Demolition affects lives of all residents in more ways than one
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, July 21
The demolition drive in the city has not only uprooted thousands of people, but it has impacted the daily life of the people in a multi-faceted manner. The town has witnessed violence, including police firing on at atleast three to four occasions in the past six months.

While several people were injured in these incidents, many others were booked and arrested.

During a demolition drive in Trikha Colony of Ballabgarh town in January end this year, the police met with heavy ‘resistance’ from the affected people. Atleast one person received bullet injuries and several others were injured in the stone throwing and lathi-charge by the police. Although the authorities later denied having ‘opened fire’, the ‘misbehaviour’ of the police with the women of the colony attracted the attention of the National Commission for Women (NCW). However, as usual, no action was taken against the culprits.

Another incident of violence took place on February 15 at Ajronda Chowk on the National Highway No.2, when agitated residents of AC Nagar took out a procession and staged a dharna against the decision of the authorities to demolish the colony, reported to be over 30-year old.

The police had to open fire and lathi charge the protestors, which later stopped two trains and pelted stones at them.

Violence again erupted at Sector 29 here on March 16 when the residents of the Housing Board Colony came out on the roads to protest against the demolition of the alleged encroachments. While the mob pelted stones on the officials, the police lathi charged the protestors, and allegedly beat up many politicians of the Haryana unit of the BJP, including some MPs, MLAs and prominent local leaders.

The violence at Indira Nagar here on Saturday was the fourth such incident when the police had to open fire.

Atleast four persons received bullet injuries, while hundreds of people were injured.

Disruption of road and rail traffic has been the other ‘side-effects’ of the demolition drive. Every time a demolition drive takes place near the national highway, the motorists and tourists passing through have to bear the negative fallout of the incident. Traffic jam and ‘chaos’ on the roads have been the results.

The traffic movement on the highway had to be directed on to the interior roads due to the blockade by the authorities near the YMCA chowk on Saturday and Sunday during a demolition drive at Indira Colony.

The rail passengers have also been the victims of the fallout of these developments, as trains were stopped for hours together on Saturday by the mob. Even as the disruption of road and rail traffic has been a serious issue, the authorities seem to be ‘helpless’.

The demolition of over 3,000 houses and jhuggis in five colonies in the past three to four weeks has not only rendered thousands of people homeless, it has put the education of hundreds of children at stake. Each of the colonies had two to three private schools where hundreds of children were enrolled.

However, a resident of the Indira Colony said that his family was concerned more about shelter than the education of the kids. Indira Colony had about half a dozen private schools.

One R. C. Verma, a resident of A C Nagar, which may become the target of the demolition drive in the near future, said he was looking for an alternative place for residence.


‘After Inspector Raj, it is the turn of Civic Bodies
Nalini Ranjan

In working for the society, he finds his ultimate satisfaction. For 52-year-old Jai Parkash Aggarwal, a resident of Swasthya Vihar area of Trans-Yamuna, spending more than 18 hours daily in working towards solving the problems faced by people in this area is a routine he finds himself incomplete without.

He, who has spent over 35 years towards this work, says the inspiration to work for people came from his father, Mr Lajjee Ram, who was himself a social worker and had participated in the freedom movement.

Jai Prakash Aggarwal is presently the general secretary of the Yamuna Paar Ekta Forum, an organisation working towards development of the Trans-Yamuna area for more than 17 years now. Infact this organisation started functioning even before the Trans Yamuna Development Board and East Delhi District Development Board were constituted.

Aggarwal is also the convenor of the East Delhi branch of the ‘Society for International Peace and Brotherhood’ and president of Vikas Marg Vyapar Mandal and Vikas Marg Traders Association.

In an interview to the NCR Tribune he spoke in length about various issues related to the Trans-Yamuna area.

You are from Rohtak, what made you work for the Trans-Yamuna area in Delhi?

Inspired by my father, a social worker, I also decided to work for the cause of the people. It began with helping needy students during my school days, which I continued with even in college. In 1968, when I came to Delhi for higher studies, I realised that East Delhi was one of the most neglected areas of the Capital. People in this part of Delhi were deprived of even the basic amenities. I took this as a challenge and decided to work here towards the development of this area.

You have been associated with the traders of Vikas Marg for many years now. Could you tell what type of problems they are currently facing?

After the end of the Inspector Raj, the “civic agencies raj” has started. They harass the traders without any valid reason, only to extort money. In the name of commercial misuse, the traders are being harassed by the civic agencies. Traders of Vikas Marg are also facing the problems of traffic congestion and parking. 

And how did you begin?

Those were the days when no body was ready to even visit this neglected area of the city, leave apart settling here. Along with a few like-minded youths, we took the help of the existing civic agencies and started our work.

During the initial phase, we had to struggle hard even to get basic civic amenities like drinking water and electricity in this area.

After a decade or so, our efforts started bearing fruit.

The result was that, the others too were motivated, and our movement became the residents’ movement.

Apart from your efforts during the initial days, what else have you done for the development of this area?

With our efforts, we managed to make drinking water available for the residents of colonies situated on Vikas Marg, from Bhagirthi water treatment plant. Besides, to some extent, we contributed towards the inception of Trans -Yamuna Development Board, the first government agency exclusively dedicated to the development of trans-Yamuna and Vikas Marg areas.

After getting civic amenities to this area, I also played a key role in getting some beautification drives started for this area. This included development and renovation of several parks near Vikas Marg area.

At that time, there was no community hall in the Vikas Marg area. The famous Aggarawal Dharam Shala near Madhuban Chowk, Shakarpur, various temples and gurudwaras were also a part of those efforts.

Then there was lot of work required for the development of several health care centres and government schools here.

For several years now, I have managed to get regular health check up camps and temporary literacy camps for the under- privileged, organised.

What are the main activities the Yamuna Paar Ekta Forum and the Shiva Club?

After the 1984 riots, the Yamuna Paar Ekta Forum was incepted by a very noble and kind hearted Sikh, Sardar Balwinder Singh, with an aim to restore peace and communal harmony in this area. East Delhi was one of the worst effected areas during the riots.

I began working with this social service organisation right from the days of its inception. This organisation shot into lime light in 1988 when almost every thing had been swept away by a heavy flood in the Yamuna Pustha area.

Our members worked actively towards restoration of normal situation. We distributed clothes, food stuffs and also organised free health care camps for many days in the affected area.

Now, this organisation is engaged in the development of this area.

The other social service organisation, Shiva Club, is dedicated towards the welfare and betterment of the residents of this area.

You have been associated with the traders of Vikas Marg for many years now. Could you tell what type of problems they are currently facing?

After the end of the Inspector Raj, the "civic agencies raj" has started.

They harass the traders without any valid reason, only to extort money. In the name of commercial misuse, the traders are being harassed by the civic agencies. Traders of Vikas Marg are also facing the problems of traffic congestion and parking.

There is no denying the fact that without these basic facilities, they cannot compete with the traders in the other parts of the city. However, there is no shopping mall here due to this very reason. Water logging is a major problem during the rainy season, as most of the sewer lines are not working properly.

The Central government had announced that in the case of more the 80 feet wide main road, commercial use would be allowed on both sides of the plots.

It was also announced that industrial and commercial properties would be given free hold status. Some parts of the area of East Delhi like Vishwas Nagar had been declared as Industrial area.

However, nothing has been implemented so far.

Are you satisfied with the pace of development of Trans-Yamuna?

Trans-Yamuna is developing at a good pace, but even today a lot remains to be done. Compared to the other parts of the city, this area still requires a lot of work.

The Delhi government is doing a good job on this front. We have marked considerably growth in health care sector. Several new hospitals are also coming up.

But we have to attain many things in other fields. Besides ensuring a smooth traffic flow, we need more roads and fly- overs for proper connectivity of this area to other parts of the city.

Construction of Laxmi Nagar based ambitious district center has not been completed so far even after 15 years. The main agency involved in this project, the DDA, needs to give priority to this project for the benefit of the residents of this area.

There is no tourist spot in this area. DDA developed Sanjay Jheel in Mayur Vihar area, but it is now lying in a very deplorable condition.


Wanna have house in Sonepat near Delhi? Here’s a chance!
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, July 21
The Town and Country Planning Department of Haryana has decided to set up as many as five sectors in Sonepat areas near Delhi to meet the housing needs of increasing population. The move will benefit Delhiites as well.

According to a report, the department will acquire at least 600 acres of land in Nangal Kalan, Rasoi and other nearby villages for establishing Sector 58.

At least 550 acres will be procured near Sector 7 along the Sonepat-Bahalgarh Road for forming Sectors 5 and 6.

Similarly, the department will acquire 640 acres for setting up Sectors 8 and 19. Moreover, 375 acres will be acquired near Garh Shahjahanpur village for Sector 16.

The department has already issued notices to the affected persons seeking objections from them on the issue


NCR Briefs
Woman raped by three youths
Our Correspondents

Bhiwani, July 21
Three youths allegedly outraged the modesty of a married woman in front of her husband at village Nangal, a late report said. The victim’s husband reported the matter to the police, wherein he said that three youths of Manheru and Gauripur villages called upon his wife and raped her in a field. The police are investigating the case.


The Commissioner, Hisar range, Mr P. K. Dass, stressed the need of vocational training in this electronic era, as it would exhaust the spirit of queuing lines for employment among youths.

After inaugurating the new block of Mauji Ram Memorial, built at the cost of Rs 5 lakh at Sunehri Devi Industrial Training Institute (Woman Wing) Tosham on Sunday, Mr Dass said that new entrepreneurs should come forward to set up their ventures, as there was no big industry in this backward area like Tosham.

Pilgrim killed in road accident

Sonepat: A youth Rajesh Kumar (22) of Busana village died on the spot when a Tata Sumo van hit his bicycle on the G T Road about 30 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the victim belonged to Busana village in Sonepat district. He had gone to Hardwar on bicycle for taking the holy water of the Ganga. While returning, he was hit by the vehicle and killed. The driver of Tata Sumo, however, escaped immediately after the accident.

Boy electrocuted

Govinda, a three-year-old boy was electrocuted in his house at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here last night. According to a report, he accidentally touched live wires and sustained burn injuries leading to his death.

Abandoned boy restored

A five-year-old boy was found abandoned at the railway station here yesterday.

According to a report, the Government Railway Police (GRP) found out the parents of the boy and handed him over to them. He was the son of Mr Kharak Singh of Panipat.


Delhi digest
Caretakers get the stick for causing mosquitogenic conditions
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The Director of Health Services-cum-Municipal Health Officer in the MCD, Dr K.N. Tewari today informed that the health department had prosecuted caretakers of a number of buildings for creating mosquitogenic conditions and causing mosquito breeding in the government and private buildings and houses.

Dr Tiwari said that creating mosquitogenic conditions was an offence under malaria and other diseases bye-laws and is punishable with fine up to Rs 500. This year, the breeding of mosquitoes has been detected so far on 4,642 premises; 1,149 persons have been prosecuted and 5,734 legal notices issued.

Murder case solved

With the arrest of two youths, the West district police today claimed to have worked out a murder case of a student of the Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, who was found dead near by the institute one month ago.

The victim, Narenderpal, had sustained stab injury marks on his body. The suspects were arrested yesterday. They were identified as Deepak Jat and Manish alias Jhanka. They are residents of jhuggi clusters in Vikaspuri area.

Load-shedding at Shalimar Bagh

The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) today announced load-shedding on Tuesday due to revamping of 1000-KVA transformer number 1, at Shalimar Bagh substation. The affected areas will be parts of AD blocks in Shalimar Bagh from 10 am to 6 pm, a press release said.


Manpower agent held for selling foreign pastures to jobless
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
With the arrest of a youth, the Economic Offence wing of the Crime Branch of the city police today claimed to have busted an employment racket. The suspect was arrested from his office in East Patel Nagar.

Identified as Ghanshyam Parsad Soodan, the youth had his office in the name of M/S Glomat Overseas Associates, located on the first floor, 12/4, East Patel Nagar. Operating as a manpower agent, he used to paint a rosy picture of employment opportunities in foreign countries to the victims, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (EOW), Mr Dinesh Bhatt, said.

The racket came to light when 73 persons, stranded at present in Tripoli, Libya, sent their complaint through an e-mail that they had been compelled to live in most unhygienic conditions in Libya. They reported that they had been sent to Libya by Ghanshyam Parsad. The victims had sent an SOS to the President of India also.

According to the DCP, the suspect assured the victims that they would get a better job and earn handsome money in Libya. He charged Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000 from each of them and assured them that everyone would get the job in reputed firms. One of them is M/s Naher-Al-Hayah, located at P.O. Box No - 14663, Tripoli in Libya.

The victims reached Tripoli on March 31, 2003. When they went to the office of the company, the official there refused to accept them as the company’s employees. There was none to provide the basic amenities and food to them. All the victims hailed from villages in Punjab, Haryana and UP. Hoping to come back and see their children in their homeland, the victims somehow managed to address their grievances through the e-mail.

As soon as the complaint was handed over to the sleuths of the Crime Branch, they raided the office and residence of the suspect. He resides at Kirti Nagar. During search, the sleuths recovered 100 passports, computers, dozens of files containing names of the 73 victims, who had sent the report from Tripoli. The police said that Ghanshyam Parsad had been running the shady manpower agency for the last four to five years.

His modus operandi was to lure the gullible job aspirants to go abroad. He had contacts with a number of Indian and foreign unscrupulous agencies through whom he would manage some sponsorships to show that the foreign companies needed employees. Biting the bait, the victims would pay the demanded sum. The racketeer would then manage their foreign tickets and sent them abroad.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police have written to the Union Ministry of External Affairs to arrange for the return of the 73 victims, stranded in Tripoli.

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 |