Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Police HQ gives fire safety the go-by
J. T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
The multi-storeyed Delhi Police Headquarters building is among the 42 buildings in Delhi owned by the government of the National Capital Territory or the Central government or autonomous bodies which are flouting the fire safety measures prescribed in the Delhi Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Act, 1986.

The police headquarters, housing the offices of Commissioner of Police Radhey Shyam Gupta and other senior officers, is yet to implement the fire safety measures in the building even after the high court passed an order on May 29, 2003, and subsequent notices were served by the Delhi Fire Service to the agencies concerned for taking immediate action to equip these buildings with necessary fire safety measures.

It seems the authorities have not woken up even after the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy, which occurred six years ago. The audience on the fateful evening could never have imagined that the hall of entertainment would turn into an inferno.

The apex court, which gave a landmark verdict to compensate the Uphaar victims, recently also held the Delhi Police Licensing Branch equally responsible and asked them to pay their share for granting or renewing licences of cinema halls which had flouted the fire safety rules.

A senior Delhi Police official said the building housing the police headquarters was constructed in the early 70s and subsequently the fire safety laws were amended. Since at the time of construction the building had fulfilled the necessary fire safety procedures, it is the latest requirement which needs to be addressed.

The Delhi Police have already written to the Public Works Department (PWD) to install fire safety equipment like sprinklers besides segregating the different wings by erecting doors at an estimated cost of Rs 85 lakh to Rs 1crore. Since the PWD was responsible for the maintenance of the building, it would take some time to install the fire safety equipment, added the official.

To facilitate speedy implementation of the aforesaid, illegal encroachments in the building had been removed. Also, to give a facelift to the 30-year-old building, the police authorities have appointed an architect and are in the process of finalising the design.

The National Building Code of India bylaws which stressed the need for fire safety measures in such high-rise buildings, said when adequate and sufficient fire safety measures were provided and made operational the authorities granting permission under the building bylaws should strictly enforce the provisions relating to the fire safety system while granting an occupation certificate.

The other buildings which do not follow fire safety rules are the Tis Hazari courts, D, B and O blocks of the Karkardooma courts, Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Central government-owned Northern Railway flats and Panchkuian Road and Rail Niwas multistoreyed flats. The other buildings controlled by local bodies, which fall in this category, are Akbar Bhawan, Yashwant Place, Super Bazar, Shakti Sadan and Gaffar Market.


MoD transfers land, decks cleared for mini secretariat
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, August 7
The decks have finally been cleared for the construction of the mini secretariat here with the Defence Ministry transferring 66 acres of its land to the district administration. Residents of the district can now breathe easy, as the completion of the mini secretariat will facilitate the redressal of grievances of the common man under one roof.

Currently the DC’s office, the SDM’s office and the district courts are functioning from the Narian Singh Park area while several smaller offices are operating from the Seema Theatre complex. The SP’s office is 3 km away from the city. This puts the residents to a lot of inconvenience. Incidentally, in the absence of the mini secretariat, the post of the District and Sessions Judge has been lying vacant since there is no office for housing the judge.

The completion of the project has been a longstanding demand of the people of the district, ever since Panipat district was carved out of Karnal in 1989. Several organisations have been clamouring for it. A former president of the District Bar Association, Mr Satyindra Singh, had even moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

In fact, the foundation stone of the mini secretariat was laid by Chief Minister, Mr Bhajan Lal, on June 3, 1994. However, the project had been hanging fire in the wake of a dispute between the district administration and the defence authorities on the ownership of the project site.

Later, the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had taken up the matter with the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes.

Finally, wisdom dawned on the administration and it transferred a “suitable” site to the defence authorities at Ambala, which was reportedly encroached upon by people. The encroachments were removed by the defence authorities recently.

According to official sources, the ambitious project would cost around Rs 50 crore and would be fully funded by the state government. Besides having various government offices and courts, a mini market is also planned in the complex to cater to the needs of the people. The project is slated to be completed in two years.


BJP knocks at HM’s door with dossier on CM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
A delegation led by Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Madan Lal Khurana today presented Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister of Home Affairs L. K. Advani with the “chargesheet” prepared by the party against the “misrule” of the Sheila Dikshit ministry.

Mr Khurana told mediapersons that the delegation urged Mr Advani to dismiss the Sheila Dikshit ministry because it had forfeited its right to continue in power even for a single day on account of its failure to prevent the collapse of the administrative machinery.

Releasing the chargesheet to the media yesterday, Mr Khurana had said the Government of NCT of Delhi was neck deep in corruption. Today, he urged Mr Advani to order an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“We demand that the Sheila Dikshit Ministry, which has failed utterly on all fronts and is anti-people, immoral and steeped in corruption, should be dismissed immediately,” he told reporters after the 30-minute meeting with Mr Advani.

He specifically referred to the alleged discrepancies in the allotment of tenders for laying of sewers for the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) in which case, he said, the Lokayukta had detected gross irregularities and suggested suitable action against the guilty.

The delegation also sought the constitution of a Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the financial and administrative irregularities committed by the Government of NCT of Delhi over the last four-odd years. Mr Advani, Mr Khurana said, gave them a patient hearing.

The contents of the chargesheet, he said, would be highlighted during the party’s campaign that Mr Advani would inaugurate on August 10 at a public meeting at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. BJP president Venkaiah Naidu would also be present.


BJP threatens agitation against “British legacy”
Our Correspondent

Meerut, August 7
The sartorial code of the Wheeler Club — where the ethnic kurta-pyjama, the traditional dhoti-kurta, the nondescript sandal and the ubiquitous Gandhi cap are a strict no-no — has raised the BJP hackles.

Hundreds of BJP youth activists today protested outside the Meerut sub area office, demanding a change in the bylaws of the Wheeler Club, which they feel are reminiscent of the Brown Sahib.

The activists, led by the BJP youth front and district chief, Mr Sunil Bharala, shouted slogans against the club management and proceeded to the Headquarter Sub Area Commander’s office, but were halted in their tracks by the Corps of the Military Police (CMP).

Speaking on the issue, Mr Bharala said that Meerut was the cradle of freedom fighters. Any ban on ethnic dresses was a slur on the Indian tradition. The “holy’’ kurta-pyjama was worn by thousands of ‘krantikaris’ during the struggle for independence, it was pointed out.

Mr Bharala submitted a memorandum, demanding an immediate change in the bylaws of the club within a week. Otherwise, they would launch a stir against the British legacy. He also declared that it would be the club management’s responsibility, if the bylaws were not recast.

The Colonel Adjutant of HQ Meerut Sub Area, Yash Pal Yadav, heard them.

The Wheeler Club (circa 1862) is one of the oldest clubs of the country and is affiliated with the famous Agra Club and the Poona club. The club is registered under the Company’s Act 1950 and its bylaws can be changed with a simple majority.

The Sub Area Commander, Brigadier Rana Goswami, is the chairperson of the club.


(Dis)Service Tax: Providers pass on burden to users
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 7
The decision to impose tax on the service industry and professionals has only burdened the common man. Nearly all consultants and service providers have hiked their charges, on the pretext that they have to pay service tax now.

For instance, the cable operators in the region have started charging an extra Rs 10 per connection per month as service tax. Mr S. S. Chaudhary, a resident of Sector 14 here, said he had been paying a cable bill of Rs 210 each month for about a year.

Although there was no turning away from the service, there was no rationale for charging Rs 10 from each subscriber every month. It is estimated that Faridabad has over 2.5 lakh cable connections.

Similarly, other service providers like courier agencies, chartered accountants, architects, property dealers, doctors, educational institutions, insurance companies and their agents have started charging extra to meet their tax liability.

A resident of Sector 15-A here was asked to pay extra for the courier service he was availing of from an agency in NIT.

He was surprised when the booking person said that the additional charge was on account of service tax and it would be recovered from the user. Social activist K. L. Gera feels that the passing of any tax burden to the consumer by a commercial enterprise is unjustified. This could also become an excuse to fleece the common man, who generally has no idea how much he is shelling out on account of service tax.

Since the service tax had become an additional burden on the common man, the purpose of the tax has been defeated.

He suggested that the excise and tax authorities should furnish details of the charges to be paid as service tax under different slabs.


Clans heading for showdown on cremation

Jhajjar, August 7
The Kadian and Sangwan khap row over the cremation of Ranbir Singh snowballed today with the former deciding to take the body in a procession of about 20,000 people for the last rites to Charkhi tomorrow. The panchayat of the Kadian khap met again in Beri village today. Attended by about 500 persons, including political leaders, the panchayat made it clear that if the Bhiwani district administration failed to facilitate the cremation in Charkhi, the khap members would march to the village in full strength to consign the body to the flames. With Sangwan khap refusing to budge on its stated position not allow the cremation in Charkhi, the entry of Kadian khap members in such numbers could create a serious law and order situation. The Sangwan khap members in Charkhi are already on vigil to thwart any attempt to cremate the body there.

Today’s panchayat held in Beri was also attended by leaders from various political parties. Those who were present included Mr Raghubir Singh Kadian, Congress MLA from Beri, Mr Om Prakash Beri, senior Congress leader of the region and former MLA, Mr Kultaj Singh, HVP leader, Capt Bhoop Singh Kadian, INLD leader, and Mrs Bimla Devi of the RLD. The Kadian khap had called on the political leaders to come to their support in its meeting yesterday. A delegation of the khap was dispatched to meet the Bhiwani Deputy Commissioner today to request the administration to make arrangements for a peaceful cremation in Charkhi.

The khap leaders declared that if the administration expressed its inability to do so, the whole Kadian khap would move towards Charkhi at 8 am tomorrow with the body of Ranbir Singh.

The Sangwan khap, representing Charkhi village, had refused to allow the cremation of Ranbir, who was found dead in the village three days ago, as he belonged to the family of Leela Ram, accused of raping and killing Sunita of the same village on August 18, 2001.

Shiv Sharma adds from Bhiwani: The situation in Charkhi could be best described as bizarre with the body of Ranbir lying on ice slabs at the Jat Dharamshala of Beri village for the last two days. The administration is caught between the two khaps. “The situation is tense but under control,” the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harpal Singh Malik, told this correspondent.


CBSE releases list of fake boards
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
It is bad news for students who, having failed to score in examinations, procured “fake” marksheets. Acting on complaints filed against organisations claiming to be educational boards and supplying fake marksheets to students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has released a list of the illegal boards.

The CBSE has identified the Central Board of Higher Education, Vachaspati Bhavan, Uttam Nagar, the All India Board of Secondary Education, Ghazipur, the Central Board of High Education, East Patel Nagar, the Board of Adult Education and Training, Brahmipur, Nangal Rai, as fake boards functioning in the Capital.

The CBSE had been receiving complaints about these fake institutes, which were supplying fake marksheets to students who had either failed or scored very low marks. The CBSE has asked the police to take action against these boards for cheating and misleading the students.


Suicide by cop: Family blames harassment by officers
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, August 7
In two different incidents, a police constable and a head constable committed suicide. Both died in hospital. The head constable had swallowed sulphas tablets while the constable had shot himself with a countrymade revolver. These suicides have created a commotion in the police ranks in Ghaziabad.

Head constable Dev Ram, who was posted in 41 Bn of the PAC, had swallowed sulphas tablets last morning. He was rushed to Meenakshi Nursing Home and later to Narinder Mohan Hospital where he breathed his last. His family alleged that Dev Ram took the extreme step as he was being harassed by his senior officers who were always demanding cash from him.

PAC Commandant Deepak Seth said Dev Ram, who was responsible for depositing the children’s school fee in the bank, had failed to deposit Rs 5 lakh. The school Principal had complained about it.

Shyam Singh Yadav, 52, a constable in the Kavi Nagar police station, shot himself with a 315 revolver at 10 pm on Tuesday at his residence in Govind Puram Colony. The grievously injured constable was rushed to Sarvodaya Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Shyam Singh was posted as a munshi in the Police Lines and was reported to be upset over his ‘liabilities’ – an unmarried daughter and an unemployed young son. His wife and he used to have tiffs quite often. But the police feel the bullet could have been fired accidentally.

Jawans hold up traffic

The jawans of the PAC in civvies and their wives held up traffic on the Delhi-Ghaziabad road near Dabur crossing for over three hours today morning. They were protesting against the pressures on Head Constable Devi Raj. The women protestors heckled the PAC Commandant, Depak Seth. It was only after the Dy Commandant, Mrs Asha Singh, gave assurance in writing that the blockade was lifted by the protestors. Seeing the body of Dev Raj, which was brought to the PAC headquarters today, the women lost their cool and came out on the road. They raised slogans against the PAC commandant and alleged that Dev Raj had been harassed by his seniors.

As soon as Dev Raj’s body was placed in a vehicle for being ferried to his home town in Almora, dozens of PAC jawans and their wives came out on the road and blocked the traffic from Maharajpur check post to Dabur crossing for about three hours. The agitating jawans were demanding Rs. 25 lakh compensation to the family, jobs to the children of the deceased, free education for Dev Raj’s children, his full pay as pension to the family and withdrawal of charges of misappropriation of funds levelled against Dev Raj.

Polluted water claims 12 lives

Ghaziabad: More than 12 persons have reportedly died after drinking polluted water in Shahid Nagar in Sahibabad during the past one month.

The Health Department officials claim the deaths occurred because of sickness. Local residents have alleged that potable water, mixed with sewer and drain water being supplied to the colony, had caused these deaths.

Those who lost their lives due to diarrhoea are Shahida, 60, Mustafa, 2, Ansari, 49, Khatun, 2, Imran, 4, Hashim, 2, Zia Ahmed, 26, Anees, 1, Munish, 8, Mohd Asim, 12, Nazia, 20, Muskan, 2, and Jansi, 60. In all, 15 adults and children are reported to have lost their lives as a result of consumption of polluted water in Shahid Nagar alone. The names of the dead are entered in a register at Jama Masjid here. OC


Princely states are dead. Long live the princes and their darbars!
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, August 7
The rule of the princely states may be over but not their style of functioning. The power that be still believe in the concept of holding ‘darbars’, prevalent during the reign of medieval kings in India.

The office of the Deputy Commissioner has been holding fortnightly darbars in the district these days to listen to the problems of the common man and then directing a suitable action for their redressal. Earlier, it was held every week when the Deputy Commissioner accompanied by senior officials of various departments would listen to the individual’s problems. The complainants are asked to bring three copies of their complaints in writing. While the administration claims that it is a good move to interact with the common people having specific grievances, it is seen that many complaints which earlier had not been attended by certain officials are again marked to these darbar officials for redressal.

“Sometimes the officials concerned consider this an affront to their self-esteem and reprimand the complainant for taking up with the senior authorities. Thus, their work gets further delayed,” says Ram Gopal, a resident of Daultebad village near Sector-16-A here.

He said attending the darbar of Deputy Commissioner, reminded him of the history of the royal rule of princely states when people would line up outside the palace.

Another resident, Rajbir Singh of Punarjagran Sanstha, said that today’s darbars were no different from those of historical times. IAS, HCS and ministers were modern-day kings. If the officers honestly carry out their duties, there is hardly any need for such darbars, he said.

Rajbir alleged that it was a political stunt by the ruling parties. Every officer or head of the department should be made accountable for their duties and the ‘action taken report’ vis-à-vis public grievances be made public.

He said sometimes grievances of a complainant were kept pending without rhyme or reason.

While the Chief Minister holds ‘Sarkar Apke Dwar Programme’ in various Assembly constituencies, the programme also prompted several district and other high officials to hold darbars.

The former Mayor of the Municipal Corporation Faridabad had held many such darbars. The new administrator of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has also announced to hold one in his office.


Sonepat admn fails to provide proper civic services
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 7
The district administration appears to be absolutely ignorant of the inconvenience being caused to the residents here due to poor civic services- lack of cleanliness, poor drainage, street lighting and other amenities.

According to a report, due to the administration’s apathy, residents in several neglected areas have now decided to approach the Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala with these grievances.

They have also threatened to stage dharnas and rallies if the administration does not take any action.

Residents complain that the municipal council’s staff does not bother to clean the streets for days together. Overflowing drains, stench emanating from garbage heaps, mosquitoes have become a common sight.

And though the municipal council has the vehicles for sprinkling water on the streets and the roads but there is done only in case of VIP visits.

Enquiries made by this correspondent revealed that despite a population of over two lakh, there are only 266 safai workers with the municipal council. The 4,611 filth depots are cleaned occasionally. According to an estimate, almost 90 tonnes of garbage is generated on a daily basis. Over three decades back, when the population of this city was around one lakh, there were 259 safai workers and the garbage generated daily was 20 tonnes.

However, the state government ordered to recruit only six safai workers in 1996 and since then, no fresh recruitment has been made.

No safai workers have been posted in the residential colonies of Sectors 12, 14, 15 and 23 by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), due to which the residents can be seen throwing garbage on the main roads of these colonies.

Although the state government has released Rs 1.26 crore for the shifting of milk dairies by the municipal council, no action has been taken in the direction.


Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam approves proposals worth Rs 15 crore

Ghaziabad, August 7
The working committee of the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam cleared 15 proposals worth Rs 15 crore, including a Rs 9.35 crore proposal for construction works, at a meeting here.

Included in these were three proposals, which had not been a part of the circulated agenda.

According to information, the committee also approved a proposal regarding a swimming pool in Rajinder Nagar. This work has been assigned to Seg Construction Association. The company will pay Rs 2.51 lakh per annum to the Nagar Nigam, which will be increased by 25 per cent after three years.

A health club, a restaurant and facilities for indoor games will be provided in the swimming pool complex, which will have 600 sodium lights.

The committee also approved new names for several roads and parks in the city, as proposed by the members. The road from BPL factory to Maharajpur check post has been named Sat Guru Ram Singh Marg.

The Nigam approved a proposal for setting up of a residential and commercial complex, at a cost of Rs 2.50 crore, in place of an office at the city zone in town hall.

The board had taken this decision two years ago in its meeting.

The proposal for construction of a board-room in the nigam head office was also cleared (cost Rs 1.80 crore). While 17 works, involving a cost of Rs 1.36 crore, were approved in the second proposal, 20 works (Rs 2 crore) were approved in the third proposal.


No check on illegal commission on property registration
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 7
Officials of the sub-registrars of Ganaur, Kharkhauda and Gohana tehsils are learnt to be charging an unofficial commission (one per cent) for registration from the owners of properties.

This is happening despite the district collector having fixed the land rates for urban and rural areas and the registration deeds being valued according to the rates fixed.

It is alleged that this amount is unaccountable and is distributed among the clerical staff and the officials of the sub-registrar offices every day. Thus, the officials are minting money in the absence of any checking by the district authorities.

It is also alleged that the officials spend money for the entertainment of high officials who stay at the rest houses either for government or personal work. 


Police stay put despite order to vacate building
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, August 7
The police authorities in Sonepat are reluctant to vacate the dilapidated building of the revenue department in Gohana town despite directions from the commissioner, Rohtak division.

The government proposal to use around one acre of this prime land in the town for constructing a commercial complex is hanging fire as the city police station and the CIA staff offices continue to function from here.

About one and a half years back, the then commissioner of Rohtak division, Anita Chaudhary during her visit to Gohana inspected the dilapidated building and reportedly wrote a letter to the DGP Haryana urging him to vacate the building so that the area could be used for commercial activities.


MTNL services below par
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
The government today said that the overall quality of services offered by the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in Delhi remained below average.

Minister of State for Communications Ashok Pradhan in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said that in many of the cases there have been abnormal delays.

He said the delays were specially long in the case of shifting of telephones, transfer and clearance of telephone faults.

The Minister said the MTNL has not even fixed norms or targets for providing certain services.

For example, the best quality of service was provided to Central Area, while the east remained neglected.

He added that in Delhi, the percentage of execution of new connections within 15 days’ norm increased from 13 per cent in 198-99 to 31 per cent in 2000-01. It was 30 per cent in 2001-02.

In shifting of telephone connections, the performance in the city was very ‘unsatisfactory’, the Minister said.

Delhi-Hanoi rail link

The government fully supported the initiative for a rail link between New Delhi and Hanoi, the Rajya Sabha was told today. The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) countries at their ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh in June
have agreed to study the feasibility of establishing the rail link, Minister
of State for External Affairs Vinod Khanna told the House during the Question Hour.

The government fully supports this initiative and has offered to send a team of experts to carry out a preliminary study in this regard, he said. The government has not so far identified the agency, which would conduct the feasibility study, he added.

Graft cases against Super Bazar

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to fix ‘criminal liability’ on the part of the former chairman of Super Bazar and others in seven major corruption cases pending against the co-operative society, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs V Sreenivasa Prasad said today.

He told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that the Disciplinary Committee of Super Bazar constituted by the Centre would initiate action against the officials of the society as soon as the CBI submits a comprehensive report.

On the action taken regarding the Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation that Super Bazar be transferred either to the Delhi government or some multi-state cooperative society, Mr Prasad said the Sheila Dikshit Cabinet had turned down the Centre’s proposal.

The national cooperative institutions were also not willing to manage the affairs of Super Bazar, he added.


Sonia to launch poll campaign tomorrow
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
Indian National Congress (INC) president Sonia Gandhi will launch her party’s campaign for the Assembly elections, to be held later this year in NCT of Delhi, on Saturday.

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Prem Singh on Thursday told mediapersons that August 9 was a red-letter day in the history of the Freedom Struggle for it was on this day, Mahatma Gandhi gave a call to the people to do or die to end the British rule. The day had marked the launch of the Quit India Movement.

Singh said Ms Gandhi would address the rally in Laxmi Nagar Assembly constituency across the Yamuna. There are 20 constituencies in trans-Yamuna.

Ms Gandhi, he told reporters, would address another rally on August 18 in Bawana in Outer Delhi after inaugurating the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana industrial area. The constituencies here send 21 MLAs to the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

Power shortage

A large number of residents held a demonstration in front of the resident of Transport and Power Minster Ajay Maken in Rajouri Garden to protest against the shortage of potable water and power supply. The demonstration was led by the Jan Kalyan Samiti and Nav Chetan Committee.

Rs 10,000 for pilgrim

The Delhi Development Minister, Mr Haroon Yusuf, on Thursday gave Rs 10,000 each to the pilgrims bound for Kailash Mansarovar. They were also presented with some essential commodities.

Women’s education

A six-week training course on ‘Methodology of Women’s Education and Development’, organised by the NCERT, was inaugurated today. The programme is being attended by 29 educators from District Institutes of Educational Training and State Councils of Education and Training and State Institute of Education of various states and a few NGOs.

Shalaka Samman

Hindi writer Rajendra Yadav will be conferred the Delhi Hindi Academy’s Shalaka Samman for 2003-04 for his outstanding contribution to the Hindi language and literature. The award carries Rs 1,11,111, a shawl, a citation and a memento.

The Hindi Academy of the Government of NCT of Delhi on Thursday said poet Satyapal Nangia has been selected for the Kaka Hathrasi Samman, which carries Rs 21,000, a shawl and a citation.

The Academy also announced the Sahityakar Samman for 2003-04 for outstanding contributions in development of Hindi language, literature and journalism. The awardees in this category are: Prof Chaman Lal Sapru, Dr Baldev Vanshi, Dr Hardayal, Dr Diviek Ramesh, Mr Upendra Kumar, Mr Surendra Tiwari, Mr Balram, Dr Bhagwati Prasad Nidariya, Dr Yatish Aggarwal, Mr Bhagwan Dass Morwal and Ms Alka Saxena. Mr Virendra Prabhakar has been chosen for the award in the photo-journalism category. These awards carry Rs 21,000, a shawl, a citation and a memento each.

Academy vice-president Janardan Dwivedi said Dr Daljeet and Prof PC Jain would be honoured with the Vishishta Kriti Samman for their book “Krishan: Raag Se Viraap Tak”. The award carries Rs 21,000, a shawl and a citation.


Life term for murder accused
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, August 7
Mahender Singh, one of the three accused in a murder case, was today sentenced to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5000 by the Additional District Sessions Judge of the Fast Track Court, Mr B.S. Rawat. Two other accused-Dilbagh and Narender- were awarded rigorous imprisonment for two-and-a-half years and one year respectively under Sections 325 and 324 of IPC .

However, Bijender, another accused in the case, was acquitted by the court for want of evidence.

It may be recalled that one Attar Kaur of village Nangal Khurd was seriously injured when the marriage party of her grandson, Ashok Kumar, was attacked by the alleged accused on May 25, 2000. She succumbed to her injuries while being taken to the Civil Hospital.

Raids by UHBVN

Officials of the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) conducted surprise raids at Rai village last evening in which some persons were caught with illegal connections. According to a report, the officials are contemplating legal action against the erring consumers.

Goods worth Rs 1.50 lakh gutted

Goods worth about Rs 1.50 lakh were gutted when fire broke out in a kirana shop at Ganaur town, 16 km from here late last night. According to a report, the cause of the fire was not immediately known. The fire was brought under control by the municipal fire brigade after a few hours. The police were still investigating into the case.

Demand to ban Coke, Pepsi

Large number of workers affiliated to the ‘Azadi Bachao Andolan’ demanded ban on Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other brands of aerated drinks here last evening.

Educational institutes to reopen

Dadri (Noida): Schools and colleges in Gautam Budh Nagar would reopen after they were closed yesterday in protest against the assault on Mr D. P Nagar, the principal of Bharatya Adarsh Inter-College, Tilpata.

The principals of various schools and colleges had a meeting with the District

Magistrate, Mr Venketeshwar Lu, regarding the prevailing security in educational institutions. The principals agreed to reopen the institutions on the assurance by the district administration that all possible security would be provided. The DM was informed of the attack on Mr D.P Nagar on July 27, in which anti-social elements had also damaged public properties.

Membership drive by shiv sena

Bhiwani: With a view to giving a new direction to the party, Shiv Sena will launch a membership drive from August 15. Former district president Preetam Parmar said Mr P N Doon, incharge of the party in north zone, had dissolved the Haryana body. Talking to mediapersons, he criticised the decision to affiliate colleges of Bhiwani district with Sirsa University.


Two senior MCD officials held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government today claimed to have arrested two senior officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on charges of embezzlement.

The officials were identified as Sanitary Superintendent Ramesh Chand Tanwar and Sanitary Inspector Krishan Swarup. They were posted in the Central Zone office in Lajpat Nagar. Their third associate is admitted to hospital. He will also be arrested after his discharge, a spokesman of the Anti-Corruption Branch said.

He said that in January 2002, Assistant Sanitary Inspector Sant Ram Saini made a proposal that the Central Zone was short of safai kramcharis to load garbage from ‘dalaus’ to carry it to landfill sites. Trucks are not available either to carry the garbage. So, it is always found in dalaus. The proposal was approved by the authorities. Two trucks were sanctioned and the zone was permitted to appoint 16 safai kramcharis on part time basis.

The Sanitary Superintendent, Sanitary Inspector and Assistant Sanitary Inspector allegedly prepared a bill for 46 persons instead of 16 and withdrew Rs 1.90 lakh in February 2002 and distributed among themselves.

The Anti-Corruption Branch registered a case of embezzlement and an inquiry into the case was made. During investigation, it was found that none of the 46 safai kramcharis figuring in the bill ever worked overtime. The total bill thus was allegedly found bogus. The embezzled money was later retrieved from them and deposited in the treasury.


Woman strangled by husband
Our Correspondent

Noida, August 7
A young man in Nithari village under Sector 20 police station has reportedly killed his wife Neera.

Ravinder was married five years ago and the couple have a two-year-old son also. The man was allegedly having an affair with another woman in the neighbourhood. The couple used to clash on this issue a number of times.

On Tuesday, Ravinder came back from duty at noon and left immediately, saying that he would be back soon. At about 2.30 am, he came back with a young woman. Neera became furious and raised a hue and cry.

Hearing the commotion, the neighbours collected there. Feeling offended in front of his neighbours, Ravinder dragged his wife inside. After sometime, the man allegedly strangled his wife and left after locking the house.

In the morning, his child was found crying which attracted the neighbours. They saw Neera sprawling on the floor. The police were informed who have sent the body for an autopsy. The cops are looking for Ravinder and the woman who had come with him the previous night.


Narcotics worth Rs 1.10 cr seized, four arrested

New Delhi, August 7
The Narcotics Branch of the Delhi Police today claimed to have arrested four persons, including a woman, on charges of drug trafficking. The police recovered 1.10 kg of heroin in two different cases. The price of the seized heroin would be around Rs 1.10 crore in the international market. In the first case, the police received a tiff-off that one Poonam Chand, resident of Sahibabad, would be supplying heroin to his contact near ISBT, Anand Vihar.

Accordingly, a trap was laid and the police arrested two persons, who were later identified as Sunder Singh, resident of Ghaziabad and Arjun Singh Pundir, resident of Baghpat. The police seized 500 grams of heroin from each of them. In another case, one woman, identified as Nirmala (25), resident of Raja Bazar, was arrested and 100 grams of heroin was recovered from her possession.

Gambling racket

With the arrest of seven persons, the North-West district police today claimed to have smashed a gambling racket in Rohini.

Acting on a tiff-off, the police arrested Lalit Kumar (36), resident of Adarsh Nagar, Amit Gupta (26), resident of Rani Bagh, Jeevan Dass (58), Sanjeev Kumar (41), Raj Kumar alias Raju (32), Vinay Kumar (30), and Subhash Chander (35), residents of Rohini. TNS

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