Tuesday, September 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Poll Polemics
Sheila ups the ante, may slap defamation
suit on Khurana
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
With the expiry of the deadline — set for BJP unit chief Madan Lal Khurana to tender an apology for charges levelled against the Chief Minister, Mrs. Sheila Dikshit — it was indicated that the latter may file a defamation suit against him tomorrow.

“The deadline for Mr Khurana to furnish an apology for making defamatory and baseless corruption charges against me has ended. I am ready with the case and we might file it tomorrow itself,” Ms Dikshit told reporters here.

Asserting that Congress will stage a comeback in the November Assembly elections, the chief minister said the recently held Delhi University students elections indicate the mood in the national Capital.

Ms Dikshit had taken exception to the allegations made by Mr. Khurana at a press conference, where he had said that there was something fishy in the cancellation of allotment of land and the unprecedented haste in recruitment of workers in the Department of Health. Mrs. Dikshit had sought a public apology from Mr. Khurana within a week, failing which he would face a defamation case.

The Delhi BJP chief had further alleged that these decisions had been taken to raise funds for the forthcoming elections. He had also sought an inquiry by the CBI into all these decisions.

With barely three months left for the assembly elections in the National Capital Territory , the two traditional rivals, the Congress and the BJP, have moved into election mode, trading charges and engaging in a game of one upmanship.

Apparently upbeat over the NSUI win, the chief minister said that the DU poll results had proved that Congress enjoyed a good reputation among the youth and the intellectuals. “Not only did the NSUI sweep the polls, it won all the four seats and relegated the BJP-backed ABVP to the third position,’’ she said.

Asked whether the Congress will go in for an alliance in the Assembly elections with like-minded parties, Mrs. Dikshit said the situation was fluid and decisions would be taken by the leaders in due course. Meanwhile, both the BJP and the Congress units were closely monitoring the developments in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) executive elections, slated for September 24. While the Shrimoni Akali Dal (SAD) is allied with the BJP, the present DSGMC president, Mr. Paramjeet Singh Sarna, is considered close to the Congress. He has also so far resisted all attempts to persuade him to merge his faction with the unified SAD.

The DSGMC is said to have considerable influence over the sizeable Sikh population in the NCT of Delhi and this perhaps explains why both Congress and BJP are taking such an interest in the gurdwara committee elections.


Ban on invites to MPs raises hackles 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
The Bharatiya Janata Party members of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today disrupted the proceedings of the house for more than 15 minutes and squatted in the well to protest against the recent decision of the Mayor, Mr. Ashok Jain, that no Member of Parliament from Delhi should be invited to official functions of the corporation.

All the seven Members of Parliament from the National Capital Territory of Delhi belong to the BJP. Shouting slogans and generally creating a ruckus, the BJP councillors termed the order as arbitrary and accused the ruling Congress of hatching a conspiracy ahead of the Assembly elections.

The Mayor, however, justified his order, claiming that recently a function was organised in his segment where for some inexplicable reason he was not invited while the local MP hogged the limelight. The house was adjourned for 10 minutes following the sit-in by the BJP councillors.

Later, when the house was reconvened, the BJP corporators said that the dropping of the name of the Mayor from the list of invitees was apparently a mistake and not a deliberate one. They said that it was unconstitutional for the Mayor to take such a decision.

Later, the issues of dengue and midday meal were discussed in the House. The Municipal Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Mehta, claimed that only 15 cases of dengue were reported in the Capital this year. Eight of the 15 cases were from Uttar Pradesh. The corporation had made adequate arrangements for treatment of dengue.

Contesting the commissioner’s claim, the Leader of Opposition, Mr Subhash Arya, alleged that the figures given by the commissioner were fictitious. The corporation, he pointed out, did not have the staff to visit residential and other areas to check the overhead tanks.


Opp blamed for raking up varsity row
Jatinder Sharma

Rohtak, September 8
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, today traded charges on the issue of affiliation of colleges with the Sirsa university.

Mr Chautala accused the Opposition parties of fomenting the students’ agitation in Haryana and raking up non-issues like fee hike and affiliation of colleges with the newly established Ch. Devi Lal University. He was addressing a state-level sammellan of the Punjabi community, organised here on Sunday evening to honour the newly appointed Vice-Chancellors of the Kurukshetra University and the Haryana Agricultural University, Mr A. K. Chawla and Mr M.K. Miglani, respectively.

With Mr Chautala going on the offensive, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, raised the stakes further by promising that the party would reverse the decision when it came to power in the state. He said that though he was not against the establishment of new universities, he would oppose any attempt to play with the sentiments of students in order to glorify an individual.

Mr Hooda said that he was against politicisation of education and forcefully pleaded for the holding of elections to the students unions in Haryana. The elections were banned after the Bansi Lal government came to power in 1997.

Later in the day, the CPM state secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh, also joined in the war of words and described Mr Chautala’s statement on the fee hike and affiliation of colleges as misleading.

He said that the haste in the formation of the university and the arbitrary announcement regarding the affiliation of several colleges to it had given rise to serious apprehensions among the students, parents and the general public with regard to the ‘authenticity’ of the so-called university.

The statement of the chief minister that fees had been hiked on the orders of the Supreme Court was also untrue, Mr Inderjit Singh said. The fact was that the Supreme Court had actually asked the state government to constitute high-level committees to regulate the fee structure in unaided private institutions.


SC admits appeals against HC verdict in
Uphaar case

New Delhi
The Supreme Court today admitted appeals filed by the Delhi Police and the Delhi Municipal Corporation challenging a judgement of the Delhi High Court in the Uphaar cinema tragedy in which 59 people were killed by a devastating fire in June 1997.

The High Court had directed each one of them to pay 16 per cent of the total compensation of Rs 18 crore.

A bench comprising Justices S Rajendra Babu and G P Mathur, however, said the compensation amount already deposited by them in the High Court should not be disbursed till the disposal of the appeal.

The owners of the cinema hall, the Ansal brothers, who were asked to deposit 55 per cent of the total compensation, have not done that so far and instead filed a petition seeking permission of the High Court to dispose of the cinema hall
in order to enable them to deposit the compensation amount. TNS


Hospital rape: Ward boy held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
The East district police today arrested Bhura (22), a ward boy who had allegedly raped an attendant of a patient at Shanti Mukand Hospital yesterday. A resident of a slum cluster in Seemapuri, the suspect was absconding ever since he committed the crime. Finally, his acquaintances led the police to his hideout, from where he was arrested.

The victim was found in an unconscious state in the bathroom attached to the ward by an employee of the hospital. The victim was found to be bleeding profusely in one eye. Later, she was admitted to a government hospital.

The victim, who stayed in Mayur Vihar Phase II, was employed as a private nurse by the family of S.K. Kaushik, a patient at the hospital. Kaushi (80) had suffered a cerebral stroke and is paralysed. According to the police, at around 1.30 A.M. Bhura allegedly entered Kaushik’s private ward. The room had two beds and the victim was resting on one of them. The suspect allegedly assaulted her and, when she tried to resist, gagged her mouth and dug one of his fingers into her right eye. Later, he dragged her into the bathroom and left her there.

When another ward boy came to the room in the morning to give Kaushik a sponge bath, he noticed blood stains and the victim’s dupatta on the floor. He opened the bathroom and found the victim. Later, he informed the doctor on duty who called the Anand Vihar police. 


Dreaded criminal escapes from custody of cops
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, September 8
Dreaded criminal Gurjit Singh, wanted in a number of cases, including attempt to murder, theft and loot, in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttaranchal, has escaped from police custody.

Gurjit was being escorted from Dasna jail to Ludhiana for a court date when he escaped from Khanna railway station.

Interestingly, the police kept the news of the escape under the wraps for three days. So far, there is no clue to Gurjit’s whereabouts. Holding the escorts responsible for the lapse, SSP Chander Prakash of Ghaziabad has suspended three cops. Gurjit Singh had about a dozen cases of theft, loot and attempt to murder registered against him, for which he had been lodged in Dasna jail. He had been sentenced to seven years in jail in an attempt to murder case.

Head constable Sohan Pal Yadav and constables Balram Singh and Bishembhar had escorted Gurjit from Dasna jail.

On September 4, when the Chhattisgarh train reached Khanna at about 4 am, Gurjit told the cops that he wanted to go to the toilet.

Once inside the toilet, he wriggled out of his handcuffs and jumped off just as the train picked up speed.

According to the Ghaziabad police, there are dozens of cases lodged against Gurjit in Dehra Dun, Kaushambhi, Ludhiana, Fazilka and Ghaziabad police stations.

Interestingly, this is not the first incident of criminals escaping from police custody. In recent months, Amit Sirohi, nephew of dreaded Jatan Sirohi, had escaped from the custody of Ghaziabad Police.


Move over Harry Potter, the real-life wizards
are here

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
Not all wonders are confined to the pages of a Harry Potter. Some feats — like wriggling your ears for 18 hours at a stretch or passing the body through a handcuff — have been performed by talented people without wizardry.

Having wriggled his ears for 18 hours, Jagdish Malik of Samalkha is in the distinguished company of Ved Prakash Sharma of Bhiwani, who handcuffs himself and then slips his feet and body through the loop.

To felicitate these 30 men and women, who have with their uncanny and mesmerising feats secured a place in the Guinness and Limca Book of Records, a function is being organised in the city.

The record holders will enthrall the audience at a function, Bhartiya Gaurav, which will be held in the city on September 16 at the Siri Fort Auditorium.

The organiser of the Bhartiya Gaurav and editor of Hindi Sandhya Mahalaxmi, Mr. Sharad Jain, points out, “It will be a chance of a lifetime to watch these people perform the most breathtaking acts as they stretch the limits of their physical and mental capabilities”.

He asserts, “Despite having won accolades for their feats, most of these people are forgotten and no steps are taken to ensure their financial well being.” Jain adds, “We asked these people to assemble in the city and showcase their talents, so that we can seek help for them from the government as well as the society”.

Joining the Sandhya Mahalaxmi’s celebrations on turning 10 will be Seshu Babu, who has set a record standing for 30 hours and 10 minutes dressed as Mahatma Gandhi; Maniram Pathrod of Neemuch who can produce music from a shehnai placed beneath his ears; Faizon Khan of Bhopal who can clap with one hand; and Surajmal who can lift 10 kilos with his moustaches.

“It is a pity that these people do no get the recognition and benefits they deserve. We are trying to create a platform for them and hope to make it an annual event,” says Jain.

Visitors will also get an opportunity to admire a collection of 35 jackets, each made from four different printed parts, 30-month-old Siddharth of Chennai compose music and Ashok Verma of Agra lift a little over five kgs with the aid of his eyelids.

“The outdoor feats will be performed on the 13th near Jageer Place, Mayapuri Chowk”, points out Jain. One of the performers will be 12-year-old Nimesh Morabi of Dhanbad, who will pull a 800 cc Maruti car for over a distance of 100 mts using his teeth. What’s more the child wonder will perform the act wearing a pair of sandals, each of which is embedded with 140 sharp nails.

Besides the occasion will also provide a platform to those wishing to gain entry into the Guinness Book. “We have contacted the records departments and they have told us about the formalities, which need to be fulfilled for entry into the book”, pointed out Jain.

Watching Sumiata Singh, a 23-year-old, eat glass bulbs and have a 3500-kg Tata 407 truck pass over her may just be the right cue for some of us to do something different. 


National literacy campaign may come to naught in Faridabad
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 8
On the occasion of World Literacy Day today, an NGO engaged in various developmental works, has cast doubt over the success of the nationwide ‘Sarva Siksha Abhiyan’ (SSN), a national level literacy campaign in the district.

The NGO named as Shakti Vahini has despatched a letter to the district authorities appealing to involve voluntary organisations, community groups, women organisations and panchayats to ensure fruitful results.

According to it, the SSA was a massive programme and if a strategy to involve various factors was not chalked out and implemented, then there were chances that the grant running to crores of rupees could go down the drain. Mr Ravi Kant, Executive Director of the NGO claimed that, he had reports that certain officials of the education and related departments had started making purchases of items and goods, that were not required at this stage.

In the communication to the Deputy Commissioner, the NGO has claimed that unless the SSA was made a public movement by involving community groups, women bodies and village representatives, there was no guarantee of the success of this programme. It is reported that the Union government has sanctioned about Rs 6,000 crore for this nationwide programme and the budget kept for the campaign in Haryana is around Rs 275 crore.

While it is not known, how much this district will receive for the SSA, but experts believe that the amount could be around Rs 25 crore.

The NGO has said that the move made by the district education department so far had been like a secret campaign as the voluntary bodies and other groups had not been involved.

It says this would lead to a complete `failure’ and misuse of funds as reported in certain programmes of education launched earlier.

According to `Shakti Vahini’ officials, “SSA was an effort to universalise elementary education by community ownership of the school system and an attempt to provide an opportunity to improve human capabilities to all children.

It says the success of the `Abhiyan’ (SSA) will depend on the quality of the community-based planning process and it was important to recognise a habitation.


Eight lakh kids not enrolled in Delhi schools
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
Despite various attempts and programmes to educate children and take them to school, there are at least 8.48 lakh children in the age group of 0-14 who are still not enrolled in schools in the Capital.

The revelation came in as the country celebrates another International Literacy Day today. Out of total population of 29.68 lakh children in the age group of 0-14 in the Capital, only 21.4 lakh were enrolled in school, leaving 29 per cent of the children in this age group out of school, according to a survey by Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) Mission Delhi.

While the highest rate of students not enrolled in this age group were in North-West District with 28 per cent, it was followed by upscale South District with the localities like Defence Colony and Hauz Khas with 17 per cent of children out of school, the survey said.

The lowest was in New Delhi District with one per cent not enrolled there, the survey said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit after watching a presentation by Education Director Rajendra Kumar on the survey said that is not the final data but it is fairly good indicator of the situation in the national capital.

She said the plan for carrying out these activities in a phased manner is being prepared. Ms Diskhit added that this would ensure there is no sudden strain on the school education system and the children are not deprived of quality learning at any point in time.


Understanding the universe through our
ancient scriptures
By Dr K. K. Paul

Despite the recent advances, cosmology is an area of science, which continues to be in the realm of mystery for the common man. The big bang theory about the creation of universe, relativity, the fourth dimension of time, black holes etc., have now become somewhat familiar but only in words and form, not in content, as much is still not really understood about them. Eddington, Asimov, Sagan, Davies, Feynmann have all written popular accounts to unravel the mysteries of creation, but none has been able to capture the imagination of the common man as well as Stephen Hawking. His “A Brief History of Time” has become one of the most well-known books in the world and has succeeded in bringing the complexities of theoretical physics in a simple form into the fashionable and ‘informed’ social circuit, as well as the drawing rooms.

Some of these scientific concepts are seemingly modern but in fact merely an echo of what had been stated in our ancient scriptures, Brahma Sutra and Upanishads. In order to explore our own roots and our rich philosophical tradition, we have had to often depend on western philosophers and Indologists, but it is now well-recognised the world over that when the European thought was still fledgling, we were already thinking of space and universe. Sankhya Yoga clearly brings out:

(Om. The invisible is the whole, the visible is the whole. From the whole, the visible universe has come out. The whole remains ever itself even thought the infinite universe has come out of it.)

These set of philosophers, who have tried to integrate the ancient thought into some of the modern concepts were originally led by the famous philologist Max Muller and now more popularly by Ilya Prigogine, Nobel laureate (Order out

of Chaos), Capra (Tao of Physics), and Zukav (Dancing Wu Li Masters, The Seat of the Soul). It may appear strange but it is indeed true that little work in this direction has emerged so far from the mind of an Indian scientist philosopher.

It is in this context that the recent publication by Jitendra Kumar Barthakur entitled ‘Time’ is considered important. It is often said that having failed to explain certain fundamental phenomenon, a scientist starts philosophising about them. It is as such natural that Indian philosophy, which is deeply enshrouded in religion, should be analysed from a scientific angle. Accordingly, the author has been able to juxtapose some aspects of Mundakya Upnishad on to the modern theoretical concepts. Shankar’s interpretation of MU has been widely used to synthesise Om, Atma and Brahman and relate it to a better understanding of Time as a concept rather than a physicality. Referring to Atharva Veda, creation of matter from energy has been interpreted, their interchangeability being only a twentieth century reality.

Creation is depicted in Vedas as a continuous and an everlasting process, with the indestructible light emerging as its first manifestation, which matches very well with some of the current theories. Further, the concept of Vishnu in theology and its relevance to physics has been well brought out. “The perception of Vishnu (Rig Veda) brings into existence three concepts of inertness, cause and effect and the wholeness”. While the author has found support for these three concepts, he has also come out with an entirely new interpretation of MU, with a geometry of projections to picture the elemental relationship between Om and Atma, fostering an actual perception on one hand and the limitless oneness on the other.

Today as we travel deeper and deeper into space, the very conception of such ideas thousands of years ago, without any scientific instrumentation or theoretical back up appears mind boggling, but that shows the richness and depth of our ancient wisdom and philosophy. An area of weakness often pointed out in our thought process is lack of precision, but the mystics were never interested in measurements and were always more concerned with knowledge, involving an understanding of the totality of existence.

This work provides an authoritative and impressive multi-disciplinary treatment of some complex phenomenon, which may continue to be debated for some time as there is enough food for thought and a raison d’etre for a mankind, as mind and thought would always be at a higher pedestal than scientific discoveries.

The Sixer Man

Salim DurraniArjuna Awards have courted controversy since their very inception in 1961. Eyebrows were raised even when the first awards were announced on the occasion of the Republic Day in 1962. Along with the greats like Ramanathan Krishnan (Tennis), P. K. Banerjee (football) Maharaja Karni Singh (Shooting) and Nandu Natekar (Badminton) there was a handsome and a flamboyant young cricketer Salim Durrani, who had just cut his teeth with his debut in Test cricket two seasons ago, with only seven test caps and without a tour abroad. But as the later events would show, the selectors had spotted the right talent indeed. For some, he was an arrogant and an enigmatic figure, some thought he was a maverick, but charisma he certainly had. Inspite of the absence of TV, and with print media also having a very limited reach, it was indeed a miracle for Durrani to have acquired such a strong and a countrywide fan following, especially amongst the fair sex, with a limited exposure and in such a short time.

A flashing left-hander, he had developed a style of his own and is known to have obliged the crowds whenever they wanted a six. So much so that after his retirement, he even wrote a book titled “Asking for a Six”. Incidentally, that was not the only thing he did after his retirement, which was perhaps somewhat hastened by his dabbling in films. Perhaps it may come as a surprise to most readers that the famous heroine of yesteryears, Praveen Babi, had made her debut in a film `Charitra’ with Salim Durrani in the lead role. Salim Durrani could play only 29 test matches in a career spanning 15 years from 1959-1974 as he was regularly in and out of the team for reasons other than cricket. But whenever he really played, he was a match winner. Some of the most memorable Test victories, which were rare for India those days, have his name etched on them. India after facing a white wash of 5-0 in England in 1959, were hosting Ted Dexter’s team in 1961-62. Solid rock like defence of Ken Barrington had become impregnable for all our bowlers.

Ultimately, slow left arm turners of Durrani paved the way for two historic wins at Eden Gardens and the Corporation Stadium (Madras), as it used to be called at that time.

Durrani captured 8 for 113 at Calcutta and 10 for 177 at Madras, alongwith useful contributions from Chandu Borde. Later, when the Indian team visited West Indies under Nari contractor in early 1962, with Hall and Griffith at their best, he was able to score a century off them, though we lost that test. With 18 wickets in the series, it was a fine all round performance. Ten years later, fortune smiled on him, as he was again picked up for the tour of West Indies under Ajit Wadekar in 1971. India smelt victory in the second test at Port of Spain, where Gavaskar had made his debut.

Sobers and Clive Lloyd were going strong at that time. At the team meeting on the night of the fourth day, Durrani chipped in with a confident claim that those two should be just left to him.

If promises had to be kept, this was the day. Durrani created history with two inspired and invaluable on the spot deliveries, scalping both Sobers and Lloyd within a span of ten overs, and India winning the rubber for the first time in West Indies. Now in retirement, Durrani is receiving only a small monthly stipend from Champs, a foundation established by Gavaskar for caring, helping, assisting, motivating and promoting sports persons (Champs). The little master had recalled recently that such was the charisma of Durrani those days, that in 1971, when they were travelling by rail, it was only Durrani who received any attention from the train staff and even got blankets at night to keep warm. Magnanimous as he was, Durrani quickly passed them on to a very raw Gavaskar, who was shivering.

(Dr K K Paul is Special Commissioner, Administrator, Delhi Police)


Lest we forget
Thousands pay homage to Rewari hero V.K. Govil
Our Correspondent

Rewari, September 8
Glowing tributes were paid to Brig. V.K. Govil at a Shradhanjali Samaroh held at Data’s house in Model Town here yesterday.

It is noteworthy that Brig. V.K. Govil of the EME Corps, who died on July 22, 2003 in a terrorist attack at Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir, was son-in-law of late Prem Swaroop Data, a staunch Gandhian and veteran freedom fighter of the Rewari region. His wife Indu Govil, who is the daughter of late Prem Swaroop Data, arrived at her parental home in Model Town here on Sunday.

The condolence congregation comprised a number of prominent citizens, friends and relatives of the Data family; who came from Rewari, Rohtak, Faridabad, Jind, Alwar, Jaipur and several other places.

Prominent among those who paid homage to Brig. Govil were Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav, deputy leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party, Mr Vijay Somani, national convenor of Rashtriya Navchetna, Dr S.N. Saxena, an eminent ophthalmologist of Haryana, principal Suraj Kaul, Mr J.D. Naharwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Rewari and a host of others.

Freedom fighter Dr Shanti Swaroop Data highlighted the specific phases of Brig. Govil’s chequered career while Dr Tara Saxena, a close associate of the Data family gave a graphic account of Brig. Govil’s last journey which was attended by thousands of citizens and the army brass on July 23, 2003.

Thus, a number of people thronged the Data’s residential quarters here to pay homage to the martyr.

Brig. V.K. Govil (54) is survived by his wife Indu Govil and two married daughters.


Pratap Jyoti Yatra to foster spirit of nationality
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 8
The Pratap Jyoti Yatra, undertaken by the Rashtriya Gaurav Chetna Abhiyan Samiti from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan on August 31, reached Sonepat on Sunday evening. It was accorded a warm welcome by many social organisations, including Sonepat Rajput Kalyan Samiti.

Speaking on the occasion, the convenor of the samiti, Capt Vikram Singh, said the aim of the yatra was to make the people aware of the ideals of Maharana Pratap and create a sense of nationality among them.

Besides, the yatra was also aimed at gathering information about the social, political, cultural and geographic activities in the country, to formulate plans of social works .


She is creating new opportunities for poor children
Nalini Ranjan

For the 30-year-old housewife and resident of Race Course area of the Capital, social work is part of her inheritance. Daughter of Kameshwar Singh, a well-known social worker and a former minister of Bihar, Namrata Singh, virtually grew up with social work as she often accompanied her father on his trips to the villages to alleviate the suffering of thousands of those living below the poverty line in extremely piteous conditions.

Married to a senior Delhi police officer, Mrs Namrata Singh, continued with her passion and incidentally found a very supportive husband. Boosted by this, she established her own educational and social service organisation, the Namrata Educational Society, in 1996, engaged totally in the welfare of the deprived in the nation’s Capital.

For the last six years, Mrs Singh along with a small but dedicated band of volunteers has been relentlessly working with the children and the aged in the slum clusters to provide them with basic facilities and some education. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. But her biggest reward is the smile that she has brought on the faces of many a child who suddenly realised that he or she was now able to read and write. Her husband, Mr Braj Kishore Singh, has stood by her steadfastly through out her initial years of struggle.

In a conversation with the NCR Tribune, she talks over various activities of her organisation.

What prompted you to start this social service organisation?

In fact, it took shape in my mind much earlier than its actual inception. The idea started coming into shape when I was a philosophy (Honours) student of Patna University. Like Mahatama Gandhi, I was also so much impressed with the ideas of the great philosopher, Thoroeu. His book, ‘Unto the Last’, is like a Bible for me even today. Under the influence of his mind-blowing thoughts, I decided to do some thing really meaningful for the betterment of our society. Apart from this, my father played a vital role in moulding my mind towards these activities.

What are the main activities of your organisation?

The main activities of our organisation are to impart non-formal education to the people of slum areas, especially children and to provide vocational training to girls and women of these areas so that they could be self-reliant.

It is my personal opinion that without attaining economic independence, goal of women empowerment can not be achieved.

And, there is no denying the fact that for this they should be at least literate and armed with some skills or expertise. Apart from these activities, we organise awareness drives from time to time on various issues for different target groups.

How did your dream of social service organisation come in to existence?

It was during the time when my husband was posted in Vasant Vihar area. There, I saw that despite being dubbed as posh area, there were so many slum clusters there. Most of the residents of these clusters rarely sent their wards to the schools.

The people and their children were living like bonded labourers.

They never used to send their girls to schools driven by some misconceptions and insecurity. I was really shocked to see these unfortunate people. Despite having carried out so many government-sponsored literacy drives, these people were so far untouched by these campaigns.

Later, I decided to give some informal education to these people and incepted our organisation.

The first centre of our organisation was set up at Vasant Kunj area. Now, the most challenging work was to convince the parents. I went door to door to make them see the advantages of education and I succeeded to some extent. Initially, we started taking the children in the age group of four to six years. The response was so overwhelming that after few months, we had to stop the enrolment due to our limited space and infrastructure.

Then, such was the popularity that even much older children started coming. Seeing the tremendous pressure from their parents’ side, we set up another two such centres at Moti Lal Nehru J J Camp, near JNU and Rahul Gandhi J J camp, near Vasant Vihar. Here we started taking older children (up to 14 years).

How do you manage your all three existing centres?

We don’t charge a single penny from the children or their parents. It is completely a charitable venture. Our family and we bear most of the expenses. Rest comes from the membership fees. We have hundreds of active and dedicated members across the country. Apart from this, we accept various donations like clothes, eatables, reading materials etc, if anybody wants to donate. Basti Vikas Kendras, run by Municipal Corporation of Delhi, are also giving good support in this venture.

Moreover, our non-formal educational drive is not like stereotyped literacy drives like National Literacy Mission, Adult Education Programme or Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. Our main objective is to teach them the lesson of life along with making them capable of reading and writing.

If the person attains that stage then we give them some vocational training of his choice, like sewing, cutting and tailoring, dress designing, beauty culture etc, so that he can become self-reliant.

In the vocational training, there is no need of higher education. The simple formal education is enough. It is a thing of pleasure and satisfaction that dozens of girls and widows are running their houses through their income after taking formal and vocational training from our centres.

From time to time, our active members organise awareness camps at various locations of the slum area on different types of issues, like legal rights and human rights, sanitation, about drinking water and eatables, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

Apart from this, what are the other activities your organisation is carrying out?

We are also working on HIV/AIDS project at different clusters, which have come up near the highways in Katihar, Bihar. These clusters have become as the "enjoyment centres" for truck drivers. The UNDP is also assisting our organisation in this front.

We are also working on the welfare and betterment of different handicraft artisans of our country.

We are trying to give them a proper forum and channel so that their voice would be heard.

We had also set up a stall in the recently concluded Social Development Fair at Pragati Maidan. We had also organised a seminar on this topic few months back at V P club.

Once Katihar was famous for its jute industry. But due to inadequate support from the government and other factors, almost all the factories have closed down or on the verge of closure.

The artisans of this industry are starving and nobody is coming forward to their rescue.

We are trying to rejuvenate and revive this dying industry. For this, we are also taking help from the Handicraft Promotion Council. We are also running free day care home for the kids of maidservants.

What problems are you facing in this field?

Ideally, the main problem is financial. It is an irony that some people and institutions have surplus money, but they have nothing to do with these types of activities.

Redtapism, bribery and kickbacks are rampant in government offices and it is very difficult to take grants from them for this kind of social venture.


Special Focus on Faridabad
Heavy rain leaves a trail of craters
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 8
The extended monsoon rainfall has had its adverse impact on the city roads and elsewhere in the district. Many of the roads have been so badly damaged that accidents are feared. Although the authorities have announced that repair works would soon be taken up, the residents are skeptical of the announcement. Meanwhile, it is a challenge for the residents to move around in vehicles in the city. As Faridabad is a large industrial and commercial centre on the outskirts of the national Capital, the movement of vehicles on the roads is heavy, particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.

Sachin Jagar, a resident of Sector-9 here, who travels to his office in Sector 25 in the NIT area daily, said that he had to be very cautious while driving his motorcycle for fear of any mishap. He claimed that the time taken to reach his office had increased due to the damaged roads. He said potholes filled with rainwater had led to a number of accidents. Moreover, the damaged roads had caused jams and chaos, he said.

Mr S. K. Bakshi, a manager in a factory near Sector-37, said that the roads leading to his residence in Sector-3 had been badly damaged.

Roads in most sectors of the city, including the posh areas and the colonies of the NIT have been severely damaged. The condition of roads in nearby towns, including Palwal, Hodal, Hathin, Hassanpur, Tigaon, and roads linking various villages and sub-divisions is no different.

Officials of the Transport Department admit that the damaged roads have not only affected the mileage of vehicles, but has led to the increase in the breakdowns and maintenance costs.

A leading automobile workshop on the Mathura Road said that the number of people coming for service of their vehicles had increased in comparison to last year.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) has announced its plan to repair the roads. The authorities have announced that carpeting of roads would be taken up as soon as the monsoon season was over. It is learnt that the MCF has decided to spend Rs 15 lakh on preliminary work. However, the residents feel that this amount was meager in the light of the severe damage caused to the roads in the city and may not provide much relief to the citizens.


NCR Briefs
Youth killed by speeding car
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 8
Dharminder, a youth of Bad Khalsa village was knocked down and killed by a speedy car on the G T Road near Bad Khalsa village about 13 km from here last night.

According to a report, the victim was crossing the road when the accident occurred.

He was returning to his village after the duty. The police have registered the case and further investigations were on.

Group clash: Three persons Ramdhan, Satish and Om Parkash were injured in a clash that took place between two groups at Murthal village about 8 km from here last night.

According to a report, a dispute over a plot was stated to be the cause of the clash. The police are still investigating the case. However, no arrest has been made in this connection.

Medical camp: As many as 50 patients suffering from various diseases were examined and treated by a team of doctors at a one-day free medical check-up camp organised by the Gaytri Parivar at Rai village about 13 km from here yesterday.

Non-payment of pension: Resentment prevails among the retired employees of the Sonepat Municipal Council against the non-payment of their pension for July and August.

According to a report, they have complained to the district authorities, demanding immediate payment of pension to them.

Panchayati Raj institutions

Rewari: Mr Rajender Singh Yadav, the newly appointed vice-chairman of the Panchayati Raj cell of the HPCC has expressed concern at the increasing bureaucratic hold over the Panchayati Raj institutions in Haryana.

Addressing a press conference here today, which was his first after his elevation to the above party post by the HPCC president, Mr Bhajan Lal, Mr Yadav recalled that the Panchayati Raj, which was a brainchild of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, was formally introduced in the country by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

But to our chagrin, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE extremists in May 1991 much before the implementation of the Panchayati Raj Act.

It is true that some states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana etc implemented it.

But it was now for everyone to see that the trio comprising the chief minister and his two sons, which had been ruling the roast in Haryana, had created such a situation as had made a mockery of the letter and
spirit enshrined in the Panchayati Raj Act.

Mr Yadav asserted that there was an urgent need to free the Panchayati Raj institutions from the bureaucratic shackles to ensure their sovereign functioning in Haryana .

On this occasion, Mrs Saroj Bhardwaj, state secretary of the Haryana Mahila Congress; Mr Kotu Ram Dhamija, Rewari city Congress chief, senior Congress leader V.D. Sharma, advocate and numerous other party activists felicitated Mr Rajendra Singh Yadav on his elevation to the above post.


Delhi Digest
Global expo on water sector 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
The Fifth Water Asia, International Conference and Exhibition focusing on water and waste management, is scheduled from September 10 to 12 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

The event will commence with the inauguration ceremony and keynote address by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The ceremony will be followed by eminent speakers such as Mr A D Mohile, Chairman, Advisory Committee, Mr Gautam Khanna, Managing Director-Pentair Water, Mr Yogendra Prasad, Chairman and Managing Director, NHPC Limited.

This event is being supported by the United Nations and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Water Asia 2003 will address the issues such as water conservation, recycling, reuse, water sector reforms, water treatment and waste water management need for standardisation in the field of drinking water. The panel of speakers for these sessions will include luminaries such as Mr S S Chauhan, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board, Mr R Jeyaseelan, Chairman, Central Water Commission, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder Sulabh International, Mr Rui. F De Carvalho, President, R J Burnside International Limited and Dr Leena Srivastava, Executive Director, the Energy and Resource Institute, among others.

Safai Karamcharis: More than 10,000 safai karamcharis and their supporters have decided to agitate around the Town Hall here in support of their demands. Delhi Nagar Nigam Safai Karamchari Maha Sangh president Bal Kishan Mahar said if their demands were not accepted, they would go to any extent. “We have also decided to gherao the Town Hall. Today all the five safai karamcharis broke up the 11-day fast with the support of the general secretary of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Tariq Anawar.”


Crime wave envelops Meerut, nearby areas
Our Correspondent

Meerut, September 8
A dacoity for Rs 7.31 lakh at the Punjab National Bank at Machhra, robbery in a UPSRTC bus on the busy Meerut-Baraut Road and the robbery of Rs 1.94 lakh from a cigarette trader on the Sharda Road—all happening the same day have left people scared. They are not feeling safe anywhere. On September 4, criminals looted several vehicles on Delhi-Hapur Road bypass.

The same day, armed robber looted an Indica car and some cash from a trader from Panipat on Bulandshahr-Badaun Road.

On August 29, a Mahendra Maxi jeep and a Hero Honda motorbike were looted near Ganga Nagar on the outskirts of the city.

While a Maruti Zen car was looted from Pearl traders on August 27 near Mundoli village on busy Court Road, while the robbers stormed a bus in a broad daylight near Ramal village and fled with jewellery worth lakhs of rupees and Rs 2.50 lakh, in the evening of August 23.

A khaddi trader and his wife were robbed of cash, motorbike and jewellery on August 22 while Rs 2.15 lakh were looted from an animal trader near Saradhana on August 18.

A car and cash were also looted from animal traders in Bulandshahar on August 17. While a Navy commander and his family were robbed of a car and other valuables near Mawana town on August 16.

Robbers once again stormed a bus in Muzaffarnagar on August 12, while another UPSRTC bus was looted on August 11 in Baghpat district.

On August 6, four armed men shot dead the head cashier of Haryana dairy on Mawana Road and fled with Rs 6.30 lakh and a Maruti car. Two other UPSRTC buses were also looted on August 4, 5 in Muzaffarnagar while another UPSRTC bus was looted on Bijnor Road on August 3. 


HelpAge cards to bring smile on old and weary faces
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
To mark the 15 years of their association, HelpAge India and Archies Limited today unveiled a range of greeting cards, diaries and calendars for the year 2003-04.

The sale proceeds will be spent on “spreading smiles” on the faces of the disadvantaged elderly people of the country.

At a conference here today, HelpAge president M M Sabharwal announced that the proceeds from these cards would be channelled into the age-care products to take care of nearly 25 per cent of HelpAge’s Restoration of Vision programme for the aged people across India.

Jointly launched by Delhi Lt-Governor Vijai Kapoor and veteran actor Amrish Puri, the new range has greeting cards, desk calendars, organisers, wall calendars, diaries and telephone indexes.

Nearly four million cards are produced each year under the partnership, making it the largest between a card manufacturer and a voluntary organisation, Mr Sabharwal said, adding that HelpAge India’s cards enjoyed the biggest market share in their segment.

He pointed out that in their association with Archies, they have not only been able to raise awareness and visibility for the cause through these cards and products, but also transform the partnership into an epitome of corporate social responsibility.

Speaking on the occasion, Amrish Puri said the problems of the old people in the country were not essentially confined to food, shelter and medical care, but also pertained to the emotional succour so that they did not feel left out from the mainstream.

He said, “My message to the younger generation is that they must be in an emotional bonding with the elderly populace of society. Everyone will be turning grey some day or the other and it is of paramount importance for the society to provide a life of dignity to the old.”

Lauding the role of HelpAge, the Lt-Governor said the most difficult problem confronting the old people in the country pertained to their inability to make decisions for themselves.

He promised that the Delhi government would be, “too willing to join any efforts in this direction”. Stressing the need for intensifying collaboration between the city government and HelpAge, the Lt-Governor said efforts should be made for setting up more HelpAge homes in the Capital.

Archies Executive Director Vijayant Chhabra said HelpAge cards were special to them because these were for a noble cause. ‘’Through the cards, we are able to reach out to so many underprivileged older people and make a difference to their lives in some way.’’

The motifs are striking in both colour and content – capturing women of rural India, the beauty of flowers and nature in its most vivid hues. Artists like K Rajaiah, Ketanchi, Y Shirwedkar, Suresh Chowdhry and Annu Naik have contributed to this year’s designs.

HelpAge Executive Director I S Dhillon said there were 52 million disadvantaged elderly people in the country. “Their problems are varied and of a great magnitude. But it is vital to integrate them with the mainstream of the society so that they do not feel redundant, uncared for and left out.” 


21 cities to be linked with mobile phone service from Oct 2 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 8
The Haryana Circle of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to link as many as 21 cities and towns with mobile phone service from October 2. This was stated by Mr A. K. Nagpal, Chief General Manager, Haryana Circle of the BSNL, while inaugurating the 70th consumers centre at Gohana, a sub-divisional town of this district, 35-km from here yesterday.

Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, BJP MP, and Mr R. C. Hooda, General Manager,

Telecom, Sonepat, were among those who were present on this occasion. He disclosed that at present as many as 42 cities and towns of the state were linked with the mobile phone service. The BSNL, he said, had already given 1.35 lakh mobile telephone connection to the subscribers against the capacity of 1.10 lakh mobile telephone connections.

The CGMT also disclosed that the Haryana Circle had earned a net profit of Rs 200 crore during the year 2002-2003, which is comparatively less when compared to earlier years on account of about 70 per cent decrease in the traffic plan of the Nigam.

He further disclosed that the BSNL has started the computerised consumer service at Gohana. The BSNL, he said, has already linked the complaint call centre service with telephone No. 1500, and subscribers can use this number free of cost for the redressal of his grievances.

The subscribers can also book the new telephone connections on this telephone. However, they can also seek their telephone bills by post and by fax. The BSNL has also taken steps for expanding its WLL service network.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |