Thursday, August 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


BJP unit will tom-tom Centre’s good work
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will ride piggyback on the “achievements” of the Union ministries of Urban Development, on the one hand, and the Home Affairs, on the other, in the run-up to the Assembly elections in the NCT of Delhi.

It is not for want of a credible alternative, as Delhi BJP president Madan Lal Khurana claims, but because the Union Government has “outperformed” the Government of NCT of Delhi insofar as development and administration of Delhi is concerned.

Mr Khurana told mediapersons after releasing the chargesheet against the Sheila Dikshit ministry here today that “the achievements of the Union Government will be one of the fronts on which the party will take on the Indian National Congress (INC).”

He referred to the guidelines for Master Plan of Delhi 2021, which the Union Ministry of Urban Development announced recently, to buttress his claim that the Centre had the well-being of several lakhs of Delhiites in mind while formulating the guidelines.

Mr Khurana told reporters that the other plank would be the failure of the Sheila Dikshit ministry in fulfilling the promises made in the Congress manifesto and corruption. The chargesheet, he said, highlighted the government’s failure on all fronts.

“The Sheila Dikshit Ministry has failed on all fronts… What has the government with such a majority done? The BJP alone can solve the problems of Delhiites.

The BJP is with the people of NCT of Delhi through thick and thin,” he said.

Mr Khurana said issues culled out from the chargesheet would be touched upon in the course of the Parivartan Yatra that begins on August 16. He himself will lead the yatra to explain the issues to the people of Delhi.

The chargesheet has been prepared by a committee headed by Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly Jagdish Mukhi. The chargesheet will be handed over to Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani tomorrow.

The committee comprised among others Leader of Opposition in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Subhash Arya, vice-president of the Delhi BJP Surendrapal Ratawal, general secretary Nand Kishore Garg and spokesman Mewa Ram Arya.

Meanwhile, the party is toying with the idea of holding simultaneous polls to the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). A resolution passed by the party at its weekly meeting urged Mr Advani to order fresh elections.

The resolution read: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has failed miserably in discharging its primary duty of sanitation, cleaning and removal of garbage and desilting of storm water drains …. Simultaneous elections will enable the people to elect an accountable civic body. 



Gang on prowl for visa-stamped passports smashed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
With the arrest of six persons, the South district police today claimed to have smashed an organised gang, which used to snatch passports with valid visas stamped on them and dispose them of for huge amounts to travel agents. Their prime targets were people from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Two motorcycles, one scooter, two firearms, five live cartridges and two knives were seized from the gangsters. The police also claimed to have solved as many 18 cases of snatching and robbery committed by the gang in different parts of Delhi.

The accused — Ashfaq Rizvi (25) of Batla House, Amir Siddiqui (24) of Turkmangate, Devender Kumar alias Danny (25) of National Sports Club of India staff quarters, Umesh Kumar (20) of Aligarh and Jitender (21) of Aligarh — were nabbed from near the Modi flyover, Mathura Road, where they had assembled to commit a dacoity. They were planning to loot a Chandni Chowk-based merchant of Rs 10 lakh, according to the police. Two of their associates, Vinod and Basu, are absconding.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Vivek Gogia said the main accused, Rizvi, told the police that he had snatched 16 passports with visas of countries like the US, the UK and Canada in three different incidents in the Chanakyapuri area recently.

He and his associates used to look for persons who had got their visas stamped. Having identified their potential target, they would follow them and snatch the passports at an opportune time.

Another associate, Danny, would dispose of the passports to travel agents for around Rs 1 lakh each; yet another associate, Vinod, who is absconding, used to get Rs 4 lakh for each passport with a valid visa. Rizvi had good contacts with security guards and embassy officials.

Mr Gogia said that the interrogation of the accused would enable them to solve some more cases. Recently, the gang had robbed factory worker Prakash of Rs 63,000 from Mayur Vihar area, robbed rice merchant Kamal Aggarwal of Rs 1.2 lakh and salesman Mahavir Prasad of Rs 90,000 in New Ashok Vihar.

One of their associates, Amir, was an associate of Babloo Srivastava and was earlier arrested in an extortion case of Rs 4 crore. 



She wanted to be a doctor, today she is at their mercy 
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, August 6
Ekta, who dreamt that she would become a doctor, is struggling for her existence in the Lok Nayak JP Hospital in New Delhi with serious injuries in the neck and the spinal cord.

Ekta was one of the two girls who survived the freak accident on GT Road on August 4: a truck had veered out of control and turned turtle on their stationary Maruti van, parked on the roadside near Kundli; five of their colleagues had died. All of them were preparing for the pre-medical test and going to their coaching institute.

Pragya, the other lucky survivor, admitted at a trauma centre in Delhi, is also fighting for her life. The ill-fated girls who died in the accident were Aradhna, Yamini, Monica, Anjali and Akanksha.

Ekta, daughter of Mr Baljeet Singh Bhayan, an employee in the state horticulture department, belongs to village Jewra in district Hisar. She has a good track record and had secured a distinction in the matriculation examination.

Keen to become a doctor, she had this year joined the Akash Academy in New Delhi after passing her plus two examination from Yashodha Public School, Hisar.

Coming from an ordinary family, Ekta was unable to bear the expenses of boarding and lodging in the academy and preferred to stay with her maternal uncle at Moti Lal Nehru School of Sports, Rai; she would commute daily to the academy.

Ekta needs to be treated in a medical centre, which has super specialty facilities for spinal injuries. Such treatment is sure to cost a lot, says Mr Inderjit Singh, a family friend. Mr Baljeet Singh Bhayan, the father, is not in a position to fund her treatment; it has been suggested, therefore, that the administration and the state government should take a humane view of the tragic mishap and come forward to help the four survivors – the two brilliant girls and the driver and the cleaner of the Maruti van.



Clans slug it out as body waits on pyre

Jhajjar, August 6
The row over the cremation of Ranbir Singh, who was found dead in his house in Charkhi village in Bhiwani district with a noose around his neck, has taken a serious turn with panchayat of Kadian Khap insisting that the body should be cremated in his native village Charkhi.

The family of the deceased, who belonged to Kadian Khap, had been ousted from Charkhi two years ago after his elder brother, Leela Ram, was accused of raping and killing a woman of the same village. The family of Leelaram has been living in Jhajjar and some other villages after the decision of the Sangwan Khap in Charkhi village to ostracise their family.

The younger brother of Leelaram, Ranbir, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in his Charkhi residence two days ago. The body had been sent to the PGIMS at Rohtak for the post-mortem examination. When the body was brought back to Charkhi for the last rites, the villagers belonging to Sangwan Khap objected.

Now, a showdown between Sangwan Khap and Kadian Khap seems imminent. The elders of Kadian Khap organised a panchayat in Beri village today, where representatives from 12 villages had gathered. The panchayat decided that the body would be preserved in the Jat Dharamshala in Beri and it would meet tomorrow to decide on the future course of action.

The Kadian Khap has also decided that if the administration and the state government acceded to its demand to allow the cremation in Charkhi but the Sangwan Khap did not budge from its stand, the body would be taken to Parliament where a demonstration would be held.

The Sangwan Khap is also firm on not allowing the cremation in its village. The khap members have reportedly intensified the vigil around the village to foil any attempt to cremate the body there.



Online registration of births, deaths in three hospitals
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi today inaugurated its online registration of birth and death certificates in three of its hospitals. Under the system, births and deaths would be recorded from the three hospitals — Bara Hindu Rao, Swami Dayanand Hospital and Kasturba Hospital — as they occur. This would, in turn, save the time taken by the records to reach the office of the Sub-Registrar from the hospitals. It would also enable people to get the certificates within a day of birth or death. The receiver will be given an acknowledgement slip of the information that has been recorded electronically containing a reference number of the record. Certificates can be obtained from the Citizens Service Bureau on furnishing these slips.

The e-technology will save time and effort, which was earlier spent on manually transferring the details of births and deaths in the hospitals. And with the details being typed at the hospital itself, it is pointed out that there will be lesser typographical errors.

Private hospitals can also log on to the MCD’s system and upload the information required for the certificates. A central repository of data would also be built over a period of time, which can be used by people to seek information about deaths and births in the family.



Land acquisition: Farmers fear they may 
be short-changed
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, August 6
The concerted state government and HUDA move to acquire land in half a dozen villages around the city for their brainchild, New Gurgaon, has rattled the farmers of these villages. They are afraid that they may be short-changed.

The representatives of farmers and various other organisations have decided to meet shortly to take stock of the situation and chalk out a strategy.

The HUDA has issued a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act; it is eyeing land in Harsaru, Garhi, Mohammadpur, Khandsa, Gadoli Khurd and Gadoli Kala.

A farmer activist and secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Mr Khazan Singh, said that the land was being sought to be acquired without taking the farmers into confidence.

The farmers fear that the HUDA would pay them peanuts. The reason for their misgivings is not far to seek. According to them, the HUDA recently acquired land in Baas Kusla, Aliardhana, Baas Lambi etc and paid the farmers just over Rs 2 lakh per acre. As against this, the Government of NCT of Delhi had paid compensation at the rate of Rs 23 lakh per acre to farmers whose land it had acquired. The farmers contend that there cannot be such a price difference in the National Capital Region.

The HUDA had recently paid compensation at the rate of over Rs 2 lakh per acre in Wazirabad-Tidhara village. The farmers allege that five years ago land was sold in Wazirabad at the rate of Rs 1.80 crore per acre. Incidentally, the market value of land in nearby villages like Ghata, Ghasaula and Badshahpur five years ago was Rs 1.80 crore.

The farmers are also worried about the demolition drive in colonies that have come up in about 50 villages, including Gurgaon, Sikandarpur, Jharsa, Chakarpur, Nathupur, Wazirabad, Basai, Naharpur and Islampur. In fact, these areas have become a part of Gurgaon city. According to them, the government has shortlisted about 38,000 residences in these colonies, including Kirti Nagar, Jhimar Colony, Harijan Colony, Hans Enclave, Devi Lal Nagar, Rajiv Nagar, Islampur (Nai Abbadi), Surya Vihar, Lakhman Vihar, Sheetla Colony and Ashok Vihar for demolition.

Strictly speaking, these colonies are illegal as they have come up outside the “Lal Dora” area. But the farmers allege that the Lal Dora rules are antiquated. Since then, the population in the city has grown by leaps and bounds. It has also spilled over into new areas outside the city. The government should, therefore, draw up contingency plans like special zones for housing. They also argue that the aforesaid colonies are not encroachments. 



The needy left out; the greedy lap up the cream
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, August 6
Substantial money, advanced by some of the nationalised and cooperative banks to a number of small-scale industrialists of the region, has gone down the drain.
It is alleged that a number of small entrepreneurs, who secured loans from the banks on furnishing security in the shape of plants, machinery and raw materials in their units, disposed of the loans later.

The bank authorities thus find it hard to recover the money. The legal process is not helpful either. Unless such shady deals are curbed, the public money will continue to pass through the banks into the hands of unscrupulous entrepreneurs.

The general public are unsatisfied with the day-to-day functioning of many nationalised banks which, it is alleged, are fast becoming the centres of inefficiency, delay and maladministration. Many customers are critical of the working of the State Bank of India as they face inconvenience to deposit the money, particularly in the government accounts.

The working of the Haryana Financial Corporation has also become the subject of criticism as many industrialists had failed to repay the instalments of the loan amount.

The banking scenario is dismal. The needy have been left out and the greedy have lapped up all the cream with the connivance of politicians and bankers.

Official sources have revealed that the banks had fixed a target of 1,010 educated jobless youths who had to be given the loans under the Prime Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme during the last financial year. However, the banks had sanctioned the loan amount for 976 educated unemployed youths till November 30 last year but these banks had advanced the amount to 619 educated unemployed youths so far. The banks had imparted training to as many as 399 educated jobless youths during the period under review.

It is alleged that the non-cooperative attitude of the bank managers and officials and the malpractices in the grant of loans to the unemployed educated youths has made the scheme a farce.

The processing of applications is delayed at different levels and the recommendations of the task force committee entrusted with the job are not honoured by the bank authorities for pecuniary reasons.

The scheme has suffered a setback on account of cumbersome procedure. Political considerations pay an important role and the deserving candidates are refused loans. There are numerous complaints of corrupt practices against the officers of Punjab National Bank who, the applicants allege, have become virtually commission agents.

Under the scheme, the educated unemployed youths were to be provided with loans up to Rs 35,000 to set up industries or start a trade or business. The government, however, liberalised the rules and the applicants were not required to furnish any surety or guarantee for the loans.

Officials, however, maintain that only genuine applicants were given the loans. But a cursory perusal of the list of the loanees reveals that only influential persons or their relatives or those who enjoyed the support of political bosses got the loan.

In certain cases, applicants who were already running some business and were not eligible for the loans under the scheme, were also accommodated under political pressure.



Ganaur MC ‘not depositing’ PF deductions
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 6
Employees of the Municipal Committee of Ganaur allege that the authorities are not depositing the provident fund contributions deducted from their salaries in the PF accounts. The reason is that the MC has no money to meet other expenses.

There are 29 safai karamcharis, four clerks, five peons, a secretary and an inspector in the Ganaur municipality office. The provident fund amount is deducted from their salaries every month as per the government rules but it has not been deposited in the employees’ accounts since February 2002, a number of employees allege.

According to information, the amount deducted during the past 18 months has gone up to Rs 3 lakh. Had it been deposited on time, interest amounting to Rs 28,000 would have been added to their accounts. “The interest loss cannot be compensated,” the employees say.

They say that they had urged the authorities to deposit the amount in their accounts a number of times but in vain.

The amount is being used to make payments to the contractors and in meeting other official expenses, they allege. One of the employees, on condition of anonymity, informed the ‘NCR Tribune’ that the reason behind the deteriorating financial situation of the municipality was the abolition of octroi. “Earlier, the municipality was self-sufficient with a regular source of income and we used to get salaries on time. But now we have to wait for months together to get our salaries as the municipality is totally dependent on the financial grant from the government.” the employee said.

One sweeper remarked that as there was no amount in the GPF accounts, they were unable to make use of their own money during the hour of need. 



Haryana Roadways bus stand a study in neglect
Rakesh Bhardwaj

Panipat, August 6
The Haryana Roadways Bus Stand here appears to have been totally neglected by the authorities.
Not only is the overall maintenance of the bus stand poor, causing inconvenience to the passengers, lack of cleanliness, damaged roads, encroachments and poor law and order situation add to their woes.

In the waiting hall for passengers, for instance, unauthorised shops have occupied a major portion. They have also encroached a large area on the platform. Unauthorised rehris and other vendors near the entrance and exit gates have completely encroached the service lane, causing major traffic problems.

The single main lavatory near the exit gate of the bus stand and being maintained by Sulabh Shauchalaya is not functioning properly. A urinal nearby this and another urinal near STD booths at the entrance gate have rarely been cleaned for want of adequate water supply. The other lavatories, it appears, have hardly ever been cleaned, thus rendering them unfit for use.

Eve-teasing has become common. Despite a police chowki within the bus stand, girls and women are subjected to harassment everyday.

Inquiries revealed that owners of the PCOs located here are charging STD rates for local calls to nearby towns and are also not issuing receipts to the customers.

Eatables being sold by the vendors in the bus stand and in dhabas here are dearer, but unhygienic and of poor quality. Vinod Kapoor, an engineer, alleged that having eatables from these unauthorised vendors and dhabhas is to invite trouble and a sure way to visit the civil hospital, hardly 500 yards away from the bus stand.

The vendors roaming in and around the bust stand don’t spare even girl students, alleged a teacher, Om Prakash Gupta. He said that these girl students face harassment from the unauthorised vendors and the personnel at the police chowki in the bus stand never come to their rescue.

When this correspondent visited the enquiry counter, there was no staff deputed there. Only when the matter was brought to the notice of the General Manager, Roadways, Panipat Depot, a staff member was asked to attend the counter.

The roads are damaged and are congested due to private buses parked here. The buses, including those of Haryana Roadways, never bother to enter the bust stand but pick passengers from the GT Road. This itself cause traffic jams on the road.

“The bus stand has very little space and hence all buses can’t be accommodated,” defended Mr Roop Chand, GM, Panipat Depot. He said despite several letters to the GMs of other Haryana Roadways Depots to ensure that their drivers entered the bus stand instead of parking the buses outside, there had been no improvement in the scenario.

Regarding the parking of private buses outside the bus stand, the GM expressed his helplessness to challan them and said that it was the duty of the District Transport Office (DTO).

Mr Roop Chand refused to admit the presence of unauthorised shops and vendors and the lack of basic amenities to the passengers. He insisted that proper services were being provided at the bus stand.

Regarding poor maintenance, he said that even for small construction works, they are totally dependent on their head office for sanction.



Names of 112 foreigners detected in electoral rolls
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
Names of 112 foreign nationals have been found in the electoral roll in NCT of Delhi. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Harin Pathak, on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that whenever the names of Bangladeshi or other nationals were found in the voters’ list, these were deleted and suitable action taken to deport them to the countries of their origin, if found residing in the country illegally.

Anti-begging squads: Charity cost dear to 1,789 people in the Capital as they were challaned for giving alms to beggars at traffic intersections of the city during the past six months. In a written reply, the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr Harin Pathak, said the government had constituted anti-begging squads to conduct raids at public places to apprehend beggars.

Vacancies in Delhi Police: The Delhi Police have 779 posts vacant as on April 1, 2003, including those of 14 Deputy Commissioners as against the 45 sanctioned. As many as 245 vacancies of Sub-Inspectors and 251 of Assistant Sub-Inspectors are also to be filled. Mr Pathak said 18 posts of Assistant Commissioners of Police as against the sanctioned 272 were also lying vacant. The police: population ratio in the Capital was 1: 233.

Custodial deaths: Four persons were reported to have died in police custody between 2001 and June 30 this year. These were reported from police stations in Bhajanpur, Lodhi Colony, Ambedkar Nagar and Patel Nagar. In the first case, it had been found that police personnel had not used any third degree method, while the three other cases were prima facie those of suicide or natural death.

Ad hoc trade licences: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has decided to issue new ad hoc trade licences to the commercial establishments operating from the residential colonies. Mr Pathak said the modalities had not been firmed up.

Matrimonial disputes: The reported cases of matrimonial disputes have witnessed a slight increase from 1,341 in 2001 to 1,413 in 2002. Mr Pathak said 772 such cases have been registered up to July 28 this year.

Extortion by Delhi Police: There have been isolated incidents in which the Delhi Police personnel are alleged to have extorted money from the vendors in the market opposite the Red Fort.

Kidnapping of newborn: Two cases of kidnapping of newborn kids have been reported in the current year and the Delhi Police have recovered the child in one case.

Home Guards’ deployment: A sum of Rs 6.5 lakh was outstanding against 30 government departments for deploying the Home Guards as on July 30 this year.

Apex Trauma Centre: An Apex Trauma Centre is being set up at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at an estimated cost of Rs 54 crore exclusively for the accident victims, the Union Minister of State for Health, Mr A. Raja, told the Lok Sabha in a written reply. 



23 panches elected unopposed in Bhiwani district
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, August 6
As many as 23 panches were elected unanimously even before these villages went to polls under the Panchayati Raj Act in the district.
Now, elections will be held for three sarpanches and panches on August 10.

Disclosing this here today, district election officer Harpal Singh said that elections for the sarpanches of Dharan, Dohkadina and Kheri Bura and panches of Garwa, Rampura and Dhana Jogiyan villages will be held on August 10.

He informed that Shanti Devi of village Dariyapur, Sultani Devi of village Dhani Dhiraja and Satpal, son of Harphool, were elected unopposed at village Sainiwas in Siwani block. In the Dadri first block, Om Prakash of village Bond, Ishwar of village Ram Nagar Kapoori, Naurang of village Sanwad and Baby of village Faugat were elected unanimously as panches. Rameshwar of village Dhanimahoo, Pratap Singh of village Saral and Kashmiri were elected as panches in the Tosham block.

Prem Kaur, Ranbir and Daya Kaur were elected as panches from the Badhra block.

While Ram Bir and Mayapati were elected as panches in the Loharu block, Angoori Devi and Om Prakash were elected as panches in the Buwani Khera block.

In block Bhiwani, Ved Pal, Umed Singh, Anil, Satish and Roop Chand were elected.



Chautala inaugurates Rs 75-lakh Panchayat Bhawan
Our Correspondent

Rewari, August 6
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has asserted that panchayats in Haryana had been abundantly empowered only to restoring their past credibility, utility and respectability and ensure amiable settlement of village disputes at the panchayat level. He was addressing the inaugural function of a newly built, Rs 75 lakh, Panchayat Bhawan here today.

Reiterating his government’s resolve to efficaciously strengthen the village panchayats, he called upon the panchayat functionaries to settle village disputes at their own level to avoid disastrous litigation.

Making a specific mention of social reformation movement, launched in the last quarter of the 19th century in Haryana, under Swami Daya Nand’s guidance, the CM impressed upon the senior citizens to contribute towards the eradication of certain social evils. It is noteworthy that the foundation stone of this Rs 75 lakh Panchayat Bhawan, which was today inaugurated by the CM, was laid earlier also by the CM on July 29, 2000.

Mr Chautala said that the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal would be completed within a year. This would then provide irrigation facilities in 7.5 lakh acres of land in South Haryana, enabling the farmers here to grow paddy, rice and cotton like their counterparts of other canal- irrigated areas of the state.

Regarding the development works in the state, he said that by accomplishing 35,000 development works in the last three years, the government had set up an excellent record in the domains of developments.

He also said that he was now touring different villages to monitor the progress of the development works. The CM also distributed 700 sewing machines to Dalit women of the district under the ‘ Sampooran Gramin Vikas Yojna’ on this occasion.



Rakhi-making competitions held in Rewari 
Our Correspondent

Rewari, August 6
More than one hundred students of different classes participated in the rakhi-making competitions organised in the R.B.S. Model Public School here recently.
Describing the competitions as a fine display of the creative talents of the children, Mrs Sharad Sinha, Director of the school, said that the child artistes showed that they could make both kinds of rakhis—superior and low-priced.

Aprajita, Savita and Kalpana bagged the first position in the senior category comprising competitions from V to V111 classes while Alisha, Rahul and Mudit topped among the competitors of junior category from 1 to 1V class.

Water supply plan: The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, inaugurated the Rs 1.14-crore Water Supply Scheme of Ghudkawas group of villages at Dhoki village, eight km from here last evening.

The water supply will provide 55 litres of drinking water per capita to 12,659 residents of Ghudkawas, Mundhalia, Dhoki, Dabri, Kakoria, Bhurthal Thethar, Bhurthal Jat, Chillar and Nurpur villages of Rewari district.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister said that his government had been giving top priority to the augmentation of water supply in the rural areas of the state.

He said that the subsoil water in about 60 per cent areas of the state was brackish whereas only 40 per cent of the state territory was endowed with sweet subsoil water.

Mr Chautala expressed happiness at the ample rainfall which the state had received recently after a prolonged drought. He hoped that it would go a long way in recharging the depleted subsoil water resources which threatened to decimate the supply in numerous areas of the state.

Making a specific mention of ‘Swajal dhara’–-a countrywide community-led, participatory water supply programme, the Chief Minister explained that under this programme, the panchayats had been empowered to plan, implement, operate, maintain and manage water supply schemes for which 10 per cent of the capital cost would be shared by the community while the remaining 90 per cent of the capital cost would be provided by the government.

He called upon the people to go in for ‘Swajal dhara’ in a big way to derive maximum benefit from it.

Marooned: Dozens of villages on the bank of the Ganga have been flooded due to the release of 1.15 lakh cusecs of water from the Raiwala barrage in Dehra Dun. Several of these villages have been cut off from the rest of the state. Villagers in the area have started migrating to other places. They alleged that the rescue and relief efforts launched by the district administration were inadequate. At least three Naib Tehsildars are camping near the Makhdoompur Ganga Ghat where the situation is stated to be grim.



Opening the floodgates to civic woes
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 6
Sonepat city and its surrounding areas received heavy downpour today submerging several areas in knee-deep water. Water entered the houses in some areas including the residential colonies along the Old DC Road, Garhi Ghasita, Kakroi Road and Rohtak Road.

The residents blamed the Municipal Council and the Public Health Department for the poor maintenance of drainage system in the colonies. All the low-lying areas were flooded and most of the main roads and streets inundated. Several cars and two-wheelers were stranded in the rainwater accumulated on the roads. In the residential colonies of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), particularly in sectors 15, 12 and 23, the roads were flooded, and the residents had great difficulties getting out of their houses. Traffic on various roads remained disrupted for several hours due to rainwater.

The residents have demanded action against the officials responsible for the poor maintenance of the sewers and the drainage system in the city. For the present, they have demanded that rainwater be pumped out from the low-lying colonies.



Rs 20 crore grant to improve amenities in 
dyeing unit site
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 6
With a view to strengthening infrastructure in Sector 29 in the industrial area here and checking pollution in this textile town, the Union Ministry of Textiles has sanctioned a financial assistance of Rs 20 crore.

According to an official press note, the money will be utilised in providing basic infrastructure in Sector 29 in the industrial area, to where about 500 dyeing units, currently functioning from the residential areas, are slated to be shifted.

To be built over 250 acres, the site will be inaugurated by the Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on September 25. These dyeing units are largely blamed for the large-scale water pollution in the city.

The shifting units would be provided with all basic amenities, besides a water treatment plant to control pollution. After the shifting of dyeing units to the industrial area, no unit would be allowed to function from the residential areas, the press note warned.

Cyclist run over by bus

Bhiwani: One person died while another sustained injuries when a roadways bus hit their cycle near Lohani village on Bhiwani-Loharu Road today. The bus was heading towards Bhiwani. According to information, Ashok, son of Sumer and Satpal were going towards Bhiwani on their cycle when they were hit by the bus. They were admitted to civil hospital where Ashok succumbed to his injuries. His body was 
handed over to his relatives after a postmortem. The police have registered a case against the bus driver and are investigating.. OC

Dharna against power crisis

Sonepat: Hundreds of residents from Jhanjhauli village sat on a day’s dharna in front of the office of the sub-divisional engineer of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) at Kharkhauda town, 19 km from here yesterday to register their protest against the continued power crisis. Three electricity transformers were burnt in the village leading to the crisis.

According to a report, the villagers shouted slogans against the officials and demanded immediate replacement of the transformers. They also threatened to hold up the traffic and gherao the officials.

The residents alleged that the UHBVN has failed to replace the transformers despite repeated representations to its officials.

According to anther report, the residents of Sisana village held a massive demonstration in front of the DC’s office here yesterday to register their protest against the ‘illegal occupation’ of the cremation ground by some influential persons. They also submitted a memorandum to the DC demanding stern action against those persons who had occupied the ground.

Phone problems

The phone subscribers in three villages Bali Brahamanan, Sikandarpur Majra and Rabhra are a harassed lot as the BSNL authorities converted the local dialling code from 92 to 95. Even to talk to a person at Rohtak, they have to use the STD facility at Gohana and have to bear the STD expenses besides the payment of local call. The villages are located at a distance of 10 to 15 kms from Gohana town.

Several complaints to the BSNL authorities have not solved the problem continuing for the last two years.



BSF Dy Commandant passes away
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
Deputy Commandant of Border Security Force (BSF) Satish Chandra Menon died while performing his duty as part of the United Nations (UN) Peace Mission in Kosovo on Monday.

Menon was 43. He leaves behind his wife, son and daughter. Born on October 9, 1960 in Kerala, Menon joined BSF as Assistant Commandant in 1989. He has also served in the technical wing of the Indian Air Force.

In a statement released to the media, the BSF said Menon was performing his duty near village Slatina, Mitrovicha on Pristina–Belgrade Highway on the intervening night of August 3 / 4 when some unknown suspect ambushed his UN Patrol vehicle by opening fire. The mortal remains of the officer are being brought home and the last rites will be performed with full Force honours, the statement added. 



Extortion case registered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
The South Delhi Police have registered a case of extortion on the basis of a complaint lodged by the son of a senior police officer who gave lift to two girls near Hauz Khas. The incident occurred last evening near Hauz Khas when the victim, Kanak, son of Mrs Vimla Mehra, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Against Women Cell), was going in his car. When he reached near IIT on Outer Ring Road, two girls asked him for a lift, the police said.

While they were on their way towards Africa Avenue, the girls asked him for money. When he refused to oblige, the girls threatened to tear their clothes and raise a hue and cry. Kanak had no choice but to hand over the Rs 3,000 he was carrying.

This is the first incident of its kind in the area. There is a group of girls in the Capital engaged in such acts, the police said.



Three pickpockets caught from bus near Shakti Nagar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
The North district police have arrested three robbers and pickpockets during a routine check near Shakti Nagar near Ganda Nala in a bus.
When the police asked the passengers of a bus to come out for checking, three young boys tried to run away.

However, the police nabbed them. Shekher, resident of Subzi Mandi, Ramesh, alias Nanhea, resident of Ashok Vihar and Darshan, resident of Janakpuri were found to be involved in many cases.

Chain-snatcher nailed: With the arrest of a chain-snatcher, the North-West district police have claimed to have solved 10 cases of chain-snatching in Model Town, Shalimar Bagh, Rohini, Sultan Puri and Mangol Puri areas.

The police spotted two persons on a motorcycle No DL 4S AJ 6512 and tried to
stop them, but the accused instead of stopping tried to escape.

However, the police overpowered Raj Kumar, resident of Mangol Puri while the pillion-rider Sunil, alias Sunny, managed to escape.

Two sentenced to RI: Seven years after they caused the death of a 70-year-old woman by hurling a brick at her, two persons have been sentenced to eight years’ rigorous imprisonment.

Joginder Singh and Suresh Kumar hurled a brick at Sumitra following a quarrel with her son, who had objected to their whistling outside his house.

A Delhi court today pronounced the sentence awarding them rigorous imprisonment for eight years. Additional Sessions Judge P C Ranga convicted Joginder Singh (19) and Suresh Kumar (21) of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for causing the death of Gurdial Singh’s mother Sumitra on June 16, 1996.

According to prosecution, the incident occurred when Singh asked them not to whistle outside his house.

When the quarrel started taking an ugly turn with the accused abusing and manhandling Singh, his mother came out to take him inside the house.

However, while she was pulling her son towards the door, a brick thrown by the accused struck her head and she fell down. She was rushed to the hospital where she was declared brought dead.

Head Constable suspended: A Delhi Police Head Constable, Mahendra Singh, has been suspended and an inquiry ordered against him for allegedly beating up a tempo helper during the movement of visiting Prime Minister of Lesotho, Bethuel Pakalitha, near Rajghat this morning. 



Panipat Refinery to aim at zero breakdowns
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 6
The Panipat Refinery has become the first refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation to go in for the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).
The TPM was launched at the refinery by the Executive Director, Mr Rohit Bhardwaj.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhardwaj said it was a matter of privilege that the Panipat Refinery had become the first in the Indian Oil to go in for TPM. He also administrated the TPM pledge to the nine pillar chairmen and four new leaders.

Dr Sarita Nagpal, senior counsellor from the Confederation of India Industry (CII), informed that the Panipat Refinery had become first PSU in the country to have crossed TPM kick-off stage. In the context of refinery operation, this will result in enhanced productivity and cost reduction, she said.

A consultant from the CII, Mr Narsimahan, hoped that the Panipat refinery would become one of the best in the world in a short span of time. Mr R Shah, Executive Director (M&I) from the Refineries Headquarters, informed that the preparations for TPM are in full swing in all refineries of the Indian Oil.

Earlier, Mr A K Malhotra, GM (PJ), welcomed the guests, Mr C Manoharan, GM (T), outlined the journey of TPM and its objectives. The function concluded with TPM yatra.

Based on the concept of “my people my equipment and my refinery”, the TPM is a proven strategy for achieving excellence in business through complete cultural change. The TPM encompasses powerful structured approach to change the mindset of the people, making a visible change in the work culture of the company.

The TPM focuses on zero accidents, zero breakdowns, zero customer complaints and zero defects, a company press note said.



Touchtel launches SMS on fixed line
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, August 6
Bharati Telenet Limited, which is providing services under the brand name Touchtel, today announced the launch of Short Messaging Service (SMS) on fixed line for its customers in Delhi and the NCR region.
The customers will be required to pay 80 paise per SMS.

Usinf the facility, one can send a message to fixed line as well as WLL and GSM mobile phones. As an introductory offer, the first 100 SMS messages sent till August 31,2003 will be free.

Announcing the launch, the Chief Executive Officer, Northern Region, Touchtel, Mr Rajiv Kohli, said that the service will be available to all the customers of the firm.

The company plans to expand its operations to Bahadurgarh, Jhajjhar, Meham, Rewari, Nilokheri, Fatehabad, Kurukshetra, Gharaunda and Adampur by December. Currently, it is providing its services in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Karnal, Ambala and Panipat.

According to Mr Kohli, the company has a subscriber base of one lakh, half of them of which are in Haryana. Gurgaon and Faridabad account for 46,500 of the subscribers in Haryana, he added.

Stating that Touchtel was India’s first fixed line service provider to launch text based SMS facility, Mr Kohli said the SMS rates (80 paise per SMS) will be the same intra-circles, inter-circle or even in case of international SMS messaging.

The company also announced that the SMS compatible phone, which will enable the customers to avail this facility, will be offered to its customers for a one-time payment of Rs 1,499 as against the market price of Rs 2,100.

In addition to this Touchtel subscribers can exchange their existing hand sets with SMS phone for an upfront payment of Rs 449 and Rs 80 per month as rentals towards the phone.

The new offer will also include telephone directory and other value added services, as in case of mobile phones.

The SMS facility works on the same premise as on a GSM and offers a host of features to replicate the experience of a GSM phone.

The SMS phone can store up to 50 messages at one time. Each SMS can be of maximum 640 characters. If the phone is busy while the SMS is being sent, the phone will continue to try every 15 minutes.


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