Saturday, August 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Noida Authority told to explain fudged accounts
Parmindar Singh

Noida, August 1
The local audit examination department of the state has demanded an explanation from the Noida Authority regarding financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 690 crore in financial year 1999-2000.

Though the sources in the Noida Authority dubbed it a “minor slip”, but the communication received appears to have unnerved the senior officials. A similar report was also received in 1996-97, in which anomalies to the tune of Rs 611 crore had been pointed out. The Noida Authority, it is learnt, has not been able to clarify its position on the audit objections raised from 1996 to date.

According to sources, MA Murtaza, on behalf of the Industries Secretary, J S Deepak, has sent a letter demanding an explanation from the Chief Executive Officer, Noida, Dr Om Prakash, about audit objections and anomalies found in the Authority’s accounts. The letter has also sought action against guilty officials.

The Industries Secretary is understood to have sent this letter after the local audit unit submitted its report to the administration. The unit reportedly objected to the increase in cost — of Rs 158 crore — allowed to a contractor in Phase-II, as also an extension in time limit of the project.

The unit also objected to the amount of around Rs 13 crore spent on acquisition of land, which had been time-barred. The audit team also objected to the payment of power bills by Noida administration at the rate of Rs 4.25, instead of Rs 2.60 per unit. This entailed an additional payment of over Rs 44 lakh to the UP Power Corporation.

Sources disclosed that over Rs 13 lakh paid to employees as medical allowance (at higher rates), Rs 20 lakh paid as car/scooter and uniform washing allowances also elicited critical comments from the audit team.

The Authority had reportedly suffered a loss of Rs 16.22 lakh on account of inflated payment of car allowance to the employees. The extra payment of Rs 1.12 lakh, on account of residential telephones, to the employees; Rs 1.47 lakh spent on fuel of vehicles used by the employees; and an expenditure of Rs 7.86 lakh on construction and maintenance of buildings were the other areas where objections were raised.

According to the CEO of Noida, Dr Om Prakash, a departmental inquiry will be conducted by his own officers. He said he had already asked the Noida Financial Controller to prepare a report in this connection.

The Noida administration’s accounts are audited by the local audit examination wing every year. An audit team visits Noida administration’s offices and submits its report to the senior bureaucrats after examining the records of the Authority.



Protect small service tax providers, says chamber
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, August 1
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) today urged the Excise Department for sympathetic treatment in collection of service tax and sought assessee-friendly measures.

The President of the PHDCCI, Mr PK Jain, speaking at a workshop on `Service Tax,’ organised by the Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, lamented that in the present regime there is no basic exemption for the small service provider.

Even if a person has provided the specified services for a small amount, he is required to follow the procedure and pay the tax. As against this, in all other taxes there are basic exemptions.

Pleading for scrapping of the service tax proposed in the Finance Act, 1994, and introduction of a separate legislation in its place, the PHDCCI suggested that minimum basic exemptions based on a threshold limit be incorporated in the new scheme. This would safeguard the interest of the small service tax providers.

The expert group, constituted by the Central government as also the Kelkar Committee, had recommended a minimum threshold limit of Rs 10 lakh for which a simple declaration should suffice, he added.

The chamber also underscored the need to introduce online registration, so as to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. It also suggested that assessments be done on an annual basis, as was the case with income tax and sales tax, for better administration.

The other recommendations were: introduction of summary assessment as followed by the income tax and the sales tax departments in case of small assessees; allowing assessees to rectify mistakes on their own after completion of assessment; and simplification of forms to make them user- friendly and appropriate for a computerised environment.

The President of the GCCI, Mr Arun Jain, urged the Excise Department not to approach the police department as the service tax is a new concept and the assessees are not too familiar with it. Gurgaon, unlike Delhi, did not have much scope for collection of service tax. Therefore, the department must take launch an information campaign on the issue.

The Commissioner, Central Excise, Gurgaon, Mr HK Sharan, said that there were a large number of service providers in the districts of Gurgaon, Mahendergarh and Rewari. They include cable operators, chartered accountants, real estate agents, architects, beauty parlours, cab operators, dry cleaners and photo studios. He said some of these service providers felt that they could escape taxation. However, the department might be lenient today, but it will not condone such cases in future, he added.



Sarna rushes in to honour Tohra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, was stating the obvious when he said here today that “whatever I have achieved in the service of Sikh community today is because of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s love, affection and guidance”. He was speaking in honour of Mr Tohra who paid obeisance at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib today after being elected as president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee for the 26th time.

Came as it did after the merger of the Akali Dal factions led by Mr Tohra and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and also the refusal of the Sarna faction in the DSGMC to merge with the unified SAD, Mr Tohra’s visit assumed significance. Whether it will lead to calling of DSGMC elections, which are due, remains to be seen.

Besides Mr Sarna, other office-bearers and 30 members of the DSGMC were present on the occasion. Welcoming the dignitary, secretary of the DSGMC, Prof Harmohinder Singh, said that Jathedar Tohra had created history by being elected president of the SGPC. (Mr Tohra has become the SGPC president after a gap of four-and-a-half years.) The Sikh sangat of Delhi was particularly elated at this development, he said.

Mr Sarna said that Jathedar Tohra was one of the few towering Sikh personalities of the 20th century whose selfless service and dedication to the Sikh panth had endeared him to one and all. “He will be able to give the correct leadership to the Sikh panth at this critical juncture when many Sikhs are becoming Patits and are straying from Sikh customs,” he said.

Mr Tohra thanked the DSGMC and the Sikh sangat of Delhi for honouring him. He said that he would rededicate himself to the uplift of the Sikh panth. He lauded the efforts of the DSGMC in the field of Dharam Parchar in Delhi as well as in Punjab and other states. He would welcome any individual Sikh who dedicates/makes efforts for the uplift of the Sikh character and tradition. “All organisations, including the DSGMC, are welcome as and when they would like to meet me for any guidance towards Dharam Parchar of our Sikh community,” he said.



Self-defence workshop shores up women’s confidence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
For self-defence, your pens, notebooks, or for that matter, even dupattas can be used as effective weapons. One does not necessarily need a gun for self- defence, say professionals who have taken on the task of training women between 16 and 40 years.

The Delhi Police’s Crime Against Women Cell, in collaboration with the International Centre for Women and Child, conducted a training workshop where these women were taught how to tackle everyday hassles of travelling in crowded buses or walking on secluded dark streets, where they run the risk of encountering harassment.

Part of the training for these women was how, without losing their composure, they can brave unnerving situations and also fight back the assailants. They were also equipped with means of saving themselves when threatened at gunpoint or with a knife.

The women, who were a part of the training, confess to have emerged stronger and with a greater degree of self-confidence. They claim the training has helped them discard notions of weakness associated with women.

Women from various social backgrounds and ages, students and housewives, teachers and some even from the slum clusters put to display their newly acquired marital arts skills.

Some women claimed that the workshop had enabled them to put domestic violence on hold. A housewife pointed out that she retaliated when her husband, a habitual drinker, hit her. On one occasion, she gave him a punch in the stomach, following which he even apologised for the first time in their married life.

All the 93 women, who undertook this 15-day training, are unanimous about their improved mental and physical strength following the workshop. They claim to feel better equipped to tackle tricky situations at home, work place or on the streets.

Inspector Neeta Malhotra, who supervised the training, pointed out that girls, as young as even 11 and 12, showed an inclination to join the training programme. She added, “The fact that even a young girl feels the need for self-defence underscores the importance of imparting such training”.



Death of kids due to electrocution: Jagmohan presses for firm action
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Demanding stern action against builders and local police officials, the Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, has intervened in the case of death of two children of a family, within a span of fortnight, due to electrocution, in Bhagwan Nagar.

The New Delhi MP, in a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner, R S Gupta, has demanded that the case be investigated by a senior official and the progress be monitored.

Mr Jagmohan said the incidents of electrocution and the alleged harassment and beating of the family members be investigated by a senior official, so that justice is done.

“Action also needs to be taken against unscrupulous builders who are constructing unauthorised and high-rise buildings, flouting all municipal and safety laws,” he wrote.

The aggrieved persons, Ms Joginder Kaur and her daughter-in-law, Ms Manjit Kaur, in a memorandum to the Union Minister, had alleged that the area police was harassing them in collusion with a builder’s lobby. The family, within a span of a fortnight, lost 13-year-old Savneet Kaur and seven-year-old Tejendra Singh, when they were electrocuted by a high tension wire dangling in front of their high rise building.

The father of the two children, Mr Pritpal Singh, was badly injured in the mishap and the police refused to take him for medical examination, the memorandum alleged.

“Now, the family is being bullied and threatened by these builders and they are pressurising them to vacate their residence, fearing the likely adverse fall out of investigations into the incidents of electrocution,” the minister wrote.

Mr. Pritpal Singh, who was badly injured while trying to save his son from electrocution, was allegedly beaten up by the builders. The local police, too, registered a case against the aggrieved family rather than taking stern action against the builder, the letter added.



Cielo driver shot at near Vasant Kunj
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Unidentified armed desperadoes last night shot at one person while he was driving his Cielo car in Rajokari village near Vasant Kunj in South-West district. The incident occurred at around midnight when the victim, Ravi, was intercepted and shot in the head by the assailants. The nearby villagers, who heard the shot, came to Ravi’s rescue and nabbed the suspects, Javed and Khalid. The duo was subsequently handed over to the police. Ravi was immediately rushed to the Safdarjung hospital, where he is being treated.

Power cable snaps, affects 5,000 telephone lines

Ghaziabad: Over 5,000 telephone lines were affected when an 11 KV power cable snapped, causing a fire in the Patel Nagar telephone exchange. Some equipment was also damaged. The cable had snapped near a telephone pole at the bus stand yesterday. The current was passed on to the telephone equipment in the exchange, which triggered the fire and damaged the equipment. The telecom department has suffered a huge loss due to the electricity department’s carelessness. According to Divisional Engineer, V K Agarwal, over 2,000 telephone lines had been gutted. However, this is not the first incident of its type. Earlier, too, the telecom department has suffered on account of carelessness of the UP Power Corporation Staff, Mr Aggarwal alleged.

Payment row: Youths loot electronics shop

Sonepat: There was quite a flutter when some armed youths forced their way into an electronics shop on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh road here last evening and beat up its owner and decamped with about Rs 17,000. A dispute between the owner and a customer over the payment of monthly instalment of a TV set is stated to be the cause of the incident. OC



Lack of dilution capacity leading to pollution of Yamuna 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
The indiscriminate discharge of wastewater from slums and few sewage treatment plants are responsible for the pollution of the Yamuna in NCT of Delhi. Replying to a question, the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Mr Dilip Singh Ju Dev, on Friday told the Rajya Sabha the lack of dilution capacity in the Yamuna downstream of Wazirabad barrage was also one of the major reasons for the pollution of the river in its Delhi stretch.

The minister said siltation of about 91 km of trunk sewers was another important factor contributing to the pollution of the river in the national Capital. He said the Yamuna Action Plan-II for NCT of Delhi, approved at a cost of Rs 387.17 crore, envisaged a 135 million litres per day (mld) Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and 324 mld STP capacity rehabilitation, besides replacement of 30.82 km of trunk sewers.

Government Schools in Delhi: In response to another question, the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Dr Vallabhbhai Kathiria, told the Upper House that no government school in NCT of Delhi was being run in open space, though there were 53 schools under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) located in rented buildings and an equal number in tents. Quoting reports of the MCD, he said construction of school buildings on tented sites was a continuing process.

Dealing with Child Labour in Rural Areas: The Centre of Concern for Child Labour, a voluntary body, has suggested giving more thrust on dealing with child labour in rural areas, the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Ms Jaskaur Meena, said in a written reply.

The suggestion came during the process of consultation on the draft National Plan of Action for Children, prepared by the Department of Women and Child Development. This suggestion had been considered during the consultative process with the Ministry, she said.



Chautala’s magic fails to wash with amenities-starved villagers

Jhajjar, August 1
“We are being exploited... and these politicians will again come to our doorsteps with folded hands. We will have to choose one or the other. There will be no end to our miseries and we will again be abused and exploited,” Ram Kishan, a resident of Jasaur Kheri village, said as he jostled with others to get breathing space in a jam-packed Tata 407 vehicle.

He was travelling from the Asaudah railway station to his village. It was crammed with 60 to 70 persons, all going to Asaudah, Jasaur Kheri and Nilothi villages.

They are daily-commuters and employed in Delhi. A Tata 407 takes them to and fro the Asaudah station, as there is no other conveyance on this approach road. There is no wonder they gnash their teeth against the government and politicians.

The Bahadurgarh-Kharkhoda approach road is in a shambles, especially in the village areas. The villagers said that in Asaudah village, the road has been completely washed away in the rains. Even the pedestrians cannot use the road anymore.

The newly constructed nullah along the sides of the road for draining out rainwater has caved in. It has now turned into a lake in about 200-metre long area creating two to four feet deep pits on the road.

Similar conditions prevail in Jasaur Kheri and Nilothi villages. Besides, other basic amenities are also not available in these villages. For instance, people are depending on the private water supply system, thanks to the failure of the government water supply schemes. Poor electricity supply adds to their woes.

Although Chief Minister Mr Om Prakash Chautala launched a massive campaign to attract villagers by touring a dozen villages of the Beri block during his two-day visit here recently, such anti-establishment sentiments are rampant in the area. These three villages are not an exception.

The Chief Minister’s visit to many villages evoked mixed response. In some places, people were just indifferent. Even the magic of Mr Chautala’s speeches has waned. After listening to his address in Achchhage village, a villager, Suraj Bhan, remarked: “Chautala saab is interested in joking with the people. He does not heed to our requests. When people complain to him, he makes a light-hearted comment, thereby evading the same.”

When the Chief Minister’s entourage was returning from Madana village, some women carrying pots on their heads to bring water spotted Mr Chautala and shouted: “You come here in motor cars, but could you not see this dilapidated road? When will you construct this road?”

Mr Chautala’s style of asking for votes also do not go down well with the people here anymore. After listening to the complaints of villagers, the Chief Minister says: “I have fulfilled all your demands. Now would you accede to my one request? Please, stamp on the spectacle (his party symbol) while casting your vote.” Villagers respond in the same vein as the CM did to their complaints — laugh it away.



Village belles missing the swing and song on Teej
B. S. Malik

Sonepat, August 1
There is a saying, “Ayee Teej boegi beej”, meaning Teej festival has come and sown the seed (of festivals). And “Ayee Holi bhar le gai jholi”, meaning Holi has come and taken away the bag (of festivals).

Today is Teej and there are reports of celebrations from all parts of the district. It is like any other festivals for children. In the view of elderly persons, Teej celebrations now-a-days are vapid due to many reasons, mainly the growing individualism in the society, degradation of social values and change in the professional temperament of the people.

One Vidyawati (60) recalled that they used to go in groups for swinging in the gardens after completing the domestic chores. On double rope swing, two persons used to sit on the swing, two used to swing it and a dozen others sing Shravan folk songs. Everyone would get a chance to enjoy the swing by turn.

Ram Dei remembers that there were huge neem and peepal trees on the banks of village ponds and womenfolk used to go there in the afternoon, after the domestic and agriculture works, wearing new clothes and singing songs praising the month.

One Chand Kaur recalled the instances when they used to avail the services of brothers-in-law (devars) for helping them (women) swing. “But this is hardly seen now-a-days,” she lamented.

Many of them would feel dizzy swinging but never missed a chance to accompany others to the village pond or to huge trees around the village. There used to be a competition in swinging the highest and plucking the leaf, Maya Kaur said but added that with the passage of time, the festival’s charm has diminished.

A teacher, Vidywati, attributed this trend to the rapid growth of entertainment means though electronic media. Earlier, major occasions of entertainment used to be the festivals, she said.

“Today’s young girls hardly remember the ‘Shravan Geets’ and it shows the decline in our folk culture,” said young Sunita.



Festival at Dilli Haat a big draw
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
The annual Teej festival at Dilli Haat in the Capital is turning out to be a big draw with various activities including dance and music show being organised along with a display of Rajasthani delicacies. The festival, which started at Dilli Haat on July 30 will be on till August 3. Teej, a festival of swings and that marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan, is celebrated in parts of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati.

Decorated swings are hung for the occasion in villages and towns from trees and women swing and sing songs in praise of the Goddess, the consort of Lord Shiva. Girls sing love and rain songs. The day commemorates the marriage of Parvati and Shiva.

The festival is being organised in the Capital by Delhi Tourism in association with the Union Ministry of Textiles. Ethnic costumes, artificial jewellery, handicraft and handloom items from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, West Bengal and Maharashtra are on display at Dilli Haat on the occasion. 



Brick kiln workers ‘denied’ hike in minimum wages
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 1
More than three lakh brick kiln workers are being denied the minimum wages, which were increased by the state government after a gap of eight years. Stating this, Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, president of the Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (U), told mediapersons here today that these workers were being exploited by the owners of brick kilns on some pretext or the other by violating the Minimum Wages Act and other labour laws.

He alleged that the authorities of the Labour Department had become silent spectators as they had failed to enforce the laws. He pointed out that the state government had increased the wages of brick kiln workers in the middle of June when the brick kilns were on the verge of closure on account of end of the season. This, he said, had led to an opportunity to the owners of the brick kilns not to give the revised wages to the workers employed there.

Mr Vidrohi demanded that the state government should announce the increase in the wages of the workers from the commencement of the season, i.e. from October, so that the workers were not exploited by the owners.



Speaking out


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.

This is with reference to the reports ‘Can women’s power see a Bill through? (NCR Tribune, June 16) and ‘Quota blues: Women protestors stopped in their tracks’ (NCR Tribune, June 17).

The 73rd amendment of the Constitution is related to the provision of reservation of seats for women in the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and 74th amendment relates to the reservation of seat for women in municipal bodies.

Article 243 (a to g) is related to the reservation for women and composition, powers and functions of these PRIs, whereas Article 243 (p to Zg) deals with the reservation for women and composition, powers and functions of municipal institutions. Both these rural and urban governments are called local governments.

Ideally, we have three types of governments: (1) Central, (2) State and (3) Local. The local governments are the primary political institutions, state and the central governments are secondary and higher political institutions. Our Constitution mandates to provide primary education to the people but not the secondary and higher education.

We have allowed 33 per cent participation of women in local governments but are reluctant to give 33 per cent reservation in seats to women in the state legislatures and in Parliament.

2001 was the year of Women’s Empowerment in India. Before elections, every party promises that it will give power to women through 33 per cent reservation. But the Bill, which was introduced in the 11th Lok Sabha in 1996 is gathering dust on Parliament’s shelves and could not see to get through even during the present 13th Lok Sabha.

Through these reservations, several women have performed their role quite independently and achieved sufficient development of their villages and municipal areas. Several others have worked entirely according to what they were told by their husbands or other male members of their families.

Since Independence, the participation of women in politics at the central level could not cross 10 per cent. And participation of women in the Rajya Sabha is almost similar if not identical. Hence, to demand 33 per cent of reservation is a big jump.

The Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have 250 and 545 members respectively. The total number of MPs then is 795. In case, 33 per cent reservation is given to women in Parliament, as many as 800 women are required at the national level. This is because one woman would fight election from the BJP and the other would fight on the Congress ticket and the third on the Janata Dal or another party’s ticket. Probably, we don’t have 800 women of national stature.

Haryana has 90 Assembly seats. In case 33 reservation for women is provided in the state legislature, the state requires at least 90 aspirants from three categories – the BJP, Congress and Janata Dal, which would not be available with the public to elect.

Saying and doing are two different aspects. Women are protesting but only a few women leaders, 6-7 per cent, are of national and state stature.

A Member of Parliament is a policymaker. The politicians are masters of governments. Again, as per data, the percentage of women in legislatures in general and not through reservation in some of the other countries is as follows: China & Switzerland (21 per cent), the United Kingdom (18 per cent), Australia (15 per cent), Zimbabwe (14.7 per cent), the United States of America (11.7 per cent), France (06.4 per cent) and Japan (04.6 per cent).

In a nutshell, women in particular and men in general should give a thought, keeping in view of the percentage of women in legislatures in other countries as well as to see whether we have sufficient number of aspirants of national stature.

OM PARKASH WADHWA, Lecturer, Govt College, Gohana

Papa, don’t preach! Help me develop 

Have you finished your homework? Don’t waste your time watching TV all the day or else I’ll complain to your father!” Today one need not be gobsmacked to hear the mothers repeating the above words. It is clear that every parent wants his or her child to excel in life, but is it constricted to the course books only? It’s germane for a child to study with passion and concentration. And parents are duly responsible for their overall personality development.

Ideally, parents develop a propensity to make the child to study his textbooks only and this sometimes completely proselytises their vision of life. Everything else for them becomes a mere bagatelle. Studying all the time may stymie their personality development. So, parents should help their children to realise their natural flair and also assist them to realise the wherewithal of achieving their goals in life. Man is a social animal and parents should also encourage them to do socially well. A child should know how to make inferences and how to extricate himself out of a difficult situation. Thus, the basic concept of education and parent’s aficionado together can definitely make a child to develop acumen and an infallible self-confidence. This in turn will exalt their overall development, which is essential for a healthy living.

Parents can also be like alchemists and may encourage their children to follow their dreams and possess a potential to convert them into reality.

AKANKSHA CHAUDHARY Class XI, Model School, Rohtak

Death knell for Delhi

The proposal of the central government to allow commercial use of residential properties will spell the death knell of Delhi. It seems that politicians have gone overboard. Instead of taking measures like cleaning Delhi and getting it rid of illegal constructions, the politicians are making it a mess. Delhi roads are the most crowded among all the metros in the country. Pollution and shortage of water and power are the worst and now commercialisation of residential areas will further worsen things.

VARINDER K. ARORA,  Kiran Vihar, Delhi

Seven deadly sins

Apropos M. P. K. Kutty’s article ‘Living our faith in our daily life’ (NCR Tribune, July 13) wherein he has stated “We are stated to be one of the most religious peoples of the world and our country is rated as one of the most corrupt. Mahatma Gandhi pinpointed the evil that eats into the vitals of the society, when he included among the seven deadly sins, religion without morals.”

Perhaps, the NCR Tribune readers would like to know about the ‘seven deadly sins’, which according to some great thinkers are:

“Commerce without Ethics; Pleasure without Conscience; Politics without Principles; Knowledge without Character; Science without Humanity; Wealth without Work; Worship without Sacrifice.”

O. P. SHARMA,  Faridabad

Menace of quacks

It is a matter of great concern that there are 40,000 unqualified doctors, who are practising in the national Capital and playing with the lives of innocent patients. It is high time that these quacks are exposed and their licences forfeited.

I fully agree with the views of the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) about passing a anti-quackery Bill immediately. Recently, a doctor who claimed to be an MD was exposed as unqualified because he had forged the degree. Many patients have lost their lives due to poor treatment meted out by such quacks. Hence, quacks may be shunted out without any further delay.


Pay ex gratia to widow

The dilly-dallying tactics adopted by the officials of the office of Director, Primary Education, Haryana, in releasing ex gratia to a widow, Birwati, has multiplied her woes. Birwati has not been paid her ex gratia amount since November 10, 2000. This unreasonable delay has made her life miserable. Birwati’s husband, Mohan Lal, Headmaster of Government Primary School, died on November 10, 2000.

Will the Director, Primary Education, Haryana, initiate punitive action against the officials responsible for causing unnecessary delay in releasing the ex gratia to Birwati?

TRILOK CHAND GUPTA,  Citizen Welfare Association, Faridabad



Arhtias eat into market committee’s revenue
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 1
The market committees of Ganaur and Gohana towns in this district have been suffering a huge revenue loss on account of evasion of market fee by unscrupulous arhtias. According to a report, several truckloads of vegetables and fruits are being imported daily by unscrupulous arhtias, who sell it without making entries in their registers, thereby evading the market fee.

Some of the officials of the market committees are said to be in league with the unscrupulous arhtias and are receiving huge money as `nazrana’ regularly from them. In return, these officials show reduction in the arrivals and sale of vegetables and fruits in their registers.

It is alleged that such arhtias never present their account books and the officials feel helpless in probing into the complaints made against them.

Meanwhile, a racket involving the non-recovery of market fee from several wholesale arhtias of the Ganaur and Gohana vegetable and fruit markets has come to the light.

Market fee amounting to several thousands of rupees had not been recovered from some arhtias, who had allegedly connived with some officials of the market committees to ensure that their files were shelved. The non-recovery of the fee has led to the shortage of funds for various development schemes.

Representatives of various farmers organisations as well as the Retailers Welfare Association held a joint meeting yesterday and urged the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala to order a high-level probe into the scandal and take action against the officials, who connived with the unscrupulous arhtias.



NDPL’s Consumer Care Cell to help regularise bills
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) announced the setting up of a separate Consumer Care Cell for this month, especially for those who did not receive their electricity bills for any reason and wish to regularise their bills.

The Consumer Care Cell will look into all problems pertaining to consumers, who either do not receive their bills at all or irregularly, or have arrears appearing despite having paid on time. The NDPL had recently finished with a similar 30 days amnesty scheme for consumers who wanted to declare about their tampered metres.

Commenting on the facility, the CEO of the NDPL, Mr Anil Kumar Sardana, said, “setting up of special Consumer Care Cell is a sincere effort on our part to look into the genuine problems of our consumers related to regularisation of their billing system and guide them through the right process. I urge all the NDPL consumers with billing related problems to come forward and avail of the opportunity.”

Streetlight maintenance: The BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, the BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and the North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) jointly reacted to the MCD’s allegation that they had demanded maintenance charges for streetlights at Rs 900 per point.

This is misleading and incorrect. The Discoms never submitted any proposal for enhancement of the streetlights maintenance charges. The Discoms charged as per DERC’s approved rate Rs 60 per point per month. This can be verified from bills paid by the MCD, a press release said.

Protest by Youth Congress: Several Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress activists were detained by the police on Friday after they staged a protest against the BJP legislator and councillors of Shalimar Bagh.

Addressing the gathering, Alok Aggarwal and Vijay Sharma blamed the local BJP MLA and councillors for selling the government land allegedly on throw away prices in connivance with certain officials.

They also alleged that despite the orders of the Delhi High Court in regard to a park situated in Shalimar Bagh in Singhalpur village, an office was being run there and the remaining land had been made into a dump yard.

The demonstrators burnt the effigy of the local BJP MLA and blocked the main roads. The police detained hundreds of Youth Congress activists and local residents, who were released after the intervention of senior police officials.

Appointment hailed: The Valmiki Ekta Parishad, Delhi, has welcomed the appointment of Malook Chand Beniwal as general secretary of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe Cell.

Beniwal has held the posts of member of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe Welfare Board and president of Municipal Safai Kaamgaar Congress.



Minor’s rape: case registered
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, August 1
The Ganaur police have registered a case against a youth, identified as Sunder (19) of Pugthala village, on the charge of attempting to criminally assault a seven-year-old girl of the same village yesterday.

According to a report, the girl was returning to her house from the school along with another girl when she was waylaid and taken to a nearby house by the culprit.

In the meantime, the other girl informed the mother of the girl, who arrived on the scene and rescued her. Later, the girl was medically examined.

According to another report, the Rai police have registered a case against three persons of Khewra village for attempting to rape a married woman of the village while she was alone in her house. The police have launched a hunt to apprehend the culprits, who are still at large. It is stated that the three culprits forced their way into the house and tried to her. The culprits fled when she raised an alarm.

Raids conducted to check adulterated foodstuffs

To check the sale of adulterated foodstuffs, the officials of the Health Department carried out surprise raids at a number of shops in the bus stand area here last evening. Samples of various items from these shops were also taken away for examination.

According to a report, the shopkeepers kept their shutters down and kept away from the area to avoid the raids on their shops.

However, the officials succeeded in seizing the samples of aerated water bottles, drinking water and other foodstuffs from some shops.

The officials involved in the raids included Dr A. P. Gulia, Health Officer, Dr Ashwani, a medical officer and Mr S. S. Punia, the Food Inspector.

FSIA for extension of date for filing VAT returns

Faridabad: The Faridabad Small Industries Association (FSIA) has demanded the extension by at least about a month for filing VAT returns and fact sheets in the state.

The association in a letter to the Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Haryana, has said that as a large number of businessmen and traders had no “proper knowledge” and as the VAT system had been introduced only recently in Haryana, the filing of returns by July end this year had become extremely difficult. The FSIA appealed to the Haryana Government to extend the last date for the submission of details to August 31.

According to association, this step would help a large number of businessmen in the district.

It stated that the traders, manufacturers and business organisations in the state had accepted the VAT system and had been cooperative and it was now the time of the authorities to look after the interest of the business community. TNS



Jot Mahotsava langar
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 1
The Navyug Sewa Samiti has sent two truckloads of the foodstuffs to Hardwar for organising a langar on the occasion of ‘Jot Mahotsava’ commencing from today.

According to a report, Mrs Madhubala, a member of the Sonepat Municipal Council, flagged off these trucks at the Shiva temple, Chhoti Masjid, here last evening in the presence of a large gathering of people.



Fake stamp papers found in dept files
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, August 1
Fake revenue stamp papers worth Rs 65,000 have been detected in 47 files of the state government department looking after rural construction and services. This is a record in itself as never before had such a large quantity of fake stamp papers been found in government department files.

The District Magistrate, Mr B. L. Meena, recently launched a campaign to scrutinise the record of government departments, corporations etc with a view to checking irregularities in the files/documents during the last four years. The campaign was launched on the instructions of the state administration. The ADM (Finance), Mr C. L. Shekhar, and the Assistant Commissioner (Stamps), Mr Ajay Kumar, were specially designated to lead the inquiry.

Significantly, Assistant Commissioner (Stamps) A. K. Goel, who was asked to inquire into the working of the rural services departments, found a large number of stamp paper irregularities. He also stumbled upon a large number of fake stamp papers; in fact, he detected fake stamp papers worth 65,000 in 47 files containing 10 documents. The stamp papers were in the denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100.

Besides, some instances of forgery have also come to light. In some cases, the value of the Rs 100 stamp paper was purportedly enhanced to Rs 500 each by overwriting and other means. These documents pertain to years 1997 to 2003 and were found to have been procured from stamp vendors in different towns.

The District Magistrate, the Divisional Commissioner and senior bureaucrats in Lucknow are informed about the details of the sensational findings, it is learnt.



Armed desperadoes escape with Rs 10 lakh 
from factory 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Six unidentified-armed desperadoes entered a factory in Prashant Vihar on the Outer Ring Road and escaped with Rs 10 lakh this afternoon. The police said that the incident took place at around 3.15 pm when six unidentified youths in their early twenties, armed with knives and country-made weapons, entered ‘JRM Private Limited’, owned by one Jadgish Jain (60), resident of Sonepat.

At the time of the incident, Jain was present in the factory along with six employees and six labourers.

The armed desperadoes threatened Jain and his employees and fled with the cash.

A case of dacoity has been registered and the police are on the lookout for the absconding youths.

Gang busted: With the arrest of five persons, the North-East district police today claimed to have busted a gang of robbers operating in the area and recovered one country-made weapon along with two live cartridges, three knives, one mobile phone, one wrist watch and 100 Riyals from their possession.

A special team constituted to check robberies in the area received a tip-off that a group would be assembling near Yamuna Khadar, opposite Kaithwara Pusta, for committing a bus dacoity. The team planned out a strategy and nabbed Naim alias Aiem alais Nanha alias Nadeem (22), resident of Ghaziabad, Aftab alias Charley alias Naseem (23), resident of Welcome, Shahid alias Imran (22), resident of Chandni Mahal, Rashid alias Arif (20), resident of Ghonda and Arif alias Zakir (22), resident of Seelampur.

During interrogation, Naim accepted that he alongwith his associates, Aftab and Shahid robbed one mobile phone, one wrist watch, 100 riyals and Rs 300 in Shastri Nagar from one Abid Hussein, resident of Dilshad Garden.

Four auto-thieves held: Four auto-thieves, including the person to whom the vehicle was being handed over, were arrested by the anti-snatching cell of the West district police.

The police received a tip-off that Maninderjit Singh alias Manni (26), Manish alias Anil alias Jhangi alias llu (22), Jasbir Singh alias Golu (25), all residents of Tilak Nagar and Satbir Singh alias Sony (25), resident of Subhash Nagar, would assemble near Ghorewala Mandir, Raghubir Nagar, to steal a Tata-407.

The police laid out a trap and arrested them.During interrogation the accused told the police that they were involved in more than 16 cases of auto- lifting in the West, North and South-West districts.

Boy crushed in Saket: An eight-year old boy was crushed to death by a Tata Sumo at the Saket red light crossing this morning. The police said the victim, identified as Sumeet, resident of Paryavaran Vihar, was on the way to his school at G-Block, Saket, with his maternal uncle when the incident took place.

Sumeet was immediately rushed to the Benarji Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The police have arrested the erring driver, Sanjay (40), resident of Dilshad Garden and registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving.



District control room to link all rural telephone exchanges 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 1
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to set up a district control room in the main telephone exchange of Sonepat. The construction of the building will be started soon.

It is stated that one of the reasons for the establishment of the district control room at Sonepat is to cope with the persistent shortage of staff.

According to official sources, under this scheme, the telephone exchanges of Kundli, Rai and Ganaur will be shifted and linked with the main telephone exchange.

With the commissioning of the district control room, the subscribers would be required to lodge their complaints only once, after which it would be rectified.

The telephone subscribers of Kundli, Rai and Ganaur would also be able to lodge their complaints through the Interactive Voice Remote System (IVRS).

The BSNL would also release the new telephone connections for Kundli, Rai and Ganaur.

The subscribers would be able to get their work done fast, as the district control room would be monitored by the senior officers of the BSNL.

The BSNL also plans to erect towers at a number of places so as to facilitate mobile telephone connections in the district. The first such tower will be erected at Kharkhauda.

The officials said the BSNL has sanctioned new telephone lines for the exchanges at Kharkhauda, Nahra, Rai, Kathura, Butan (500 lines each) and Ganaur (1,000 lines) during the current financial year. The work to increase the capacity of these exchanges would begin soon.


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