Tuesday, September 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Four teenagers killed in accidental fire
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29
Four children were killed in a major fire that broke out this afternoon in a house in Chandernagar in East Delhi.
The police said the house, no E-24, in Chandernagar belonged to Prem Kumar who lived on the first floor. He had given the ground floor on rent to Kishori Lal.

However, on the ground floor, Prem Kumar had retained possession of one room for storing some chemicals. The fire started this afternoon when Prem Kumar was handling some drums filled with chemicals. Prem Kumar’s children — Pawan (13), Harsha (15) and Jaya (16) — who were present in the house, became victims of the blaze. Kishori Lalal’s son Rajan (16) was also killed.

Prem Kumar’s two daughters, Neelam (10) and Sonam (8), who had suffered serious burn injuries, have been admitted to JPN Hospital for treatment.

According to the DCP, East, Ms Nuzhat Hasan, some chemicals kept in a drum in the house had caught fire which soon engulfed the whole house. The bodies have been sent for a post-mortem. The police had registered a case and further investigations were on.



Parents ask HUDA to rein in schools
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 29
The Faridabad Abhibhawak Ekta Manch here, a registered body of parents of school students, has asked the authorities to rein in the management of various private and public schools which are flouting the norms and commercialising school education.

The manch has shot off a missive to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) Administrator here, asking the latter to allow it to be represented in every action taken vis-a-vis the schools. It has also demanded that the notices issued and the replies forwarded by the schools be made public, so that things could be made transparent and clear to all.

According to the general secretary of the manch, Mr Kailash Sharma, issuing of show cause notices alone to erring schools would not serve the purpose as this action had almost become an annual ritual. The school managements had no fear of any punitive action. This, he said, had made the violation of rules an easy affair, although the HUDA Act, 1977, authorised the authorities to resume the plot along with the school building, if violations did not stop and schools

did not abide by the rules. These rules, he said, had been made quite clear before the allotment of plots for schools in the HUDA sectors. It is reported that there were 72 schools, a majority of them affiliated to the CBSE. They had been allotted plots in the sectors by HUDA over the years.

According to the manch, as many as 14 schools had been found guilty of violating the rules in 1998 under clause 17(4) of the HUDA Act, but on appeal by the schools the then Administrator, HUDA, had set aside the plot resumption orders. The Estate Officer, HUDA, had again issued notices to certain schools recently and the responses in many cases had been unsatisfactory. The manch has appealed to the present Administrator, Mr P. C. Varma, to give a hearing to it before taking any final decision.

Certain important terms and conditions laid by HUDA for the schools include reservation of 10 per cent seats for poor students (weaker sections) with nominal fee, representation to HUDA in the management committee of the schools, prior information to HUDA about decisions regarding admission policy, fee structure and changes therein, priority to children of some sectors in admission, no upgradation without permission from HUDA and no additional construction.

The HUDA authorities are authorised to take action against the erring schools in accordance with the provisions of Section 17 of the Act. But the manch claims that hardly any of the provisions were strictly adhered to by a majority of the schools. The erring schools had been let off without any action being taken so far. According to it, there had been a 300 to 400 per cent hike in the tuition fee since 1994-95. Also, several miscellaneous funds had been created under superfluous heads or nomenclatures by various schools.



Decomposed body found in high security zone 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29
A decomposed body of a nude woman was found in a high-security VIP area, in the vicinity of the Presidential estate, in the Capital today. The decomposed body of the woman in her early twenties was found opposite gate No 29, Rashtrapati Bhawan, in the Ridge area. The unidentified body was found at around 11.30 am, which could have been dumped the day before. The police have sent the body to Lady Harding Hospital for the post-mortem examination to ascertain the cause of death.

The body did not have any visible injury marks and any conclusion can be arrived at only after getting the post-mortem report, said the police.

Since the deceased was found wearing gold earrings and a silver ring, the police overruled robbery as the motive. The deceased was 5 feet 2 inches tall, of medium built and wheatish complexion, said the police. Another dead body, of a 25-year old man, was found on the 16th floor of the Kanishka Hotel this afternoon. The person was identified as Mahender Singh, a resident of Kabir Nagar and an employee of the Ahluwalia Construction Company.

The police said that the deceased used to sleep on the terrace of the hotel and had joined the company two months ago. The body was found at around 12.10 pm by the hotel staff this afternoon. The police have sent the body for the post-mortem examination.

Another unidentified body of a man in his late twenties was found on the Baba Kharak Singh Marg near the Children’s Park at around 4 pm. The deceased was 5 feet 5 inches tall with a round face and of medium built. The body has been sent to the RML Hospital for the post-mortem examination.



When counsellors need counselling
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, September 29
A large number of candidates, along with their parents, staged a dharna and shouted slogans against the Pt B. D. Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences administration in protest against the ‘mismanagement’ and ‘irregularities’ during the counselling process for admission to MBBS and BDS courses today.

According to information, several students gathered at the office of the Director, PGIMS, for counselling at 9 am today. However, the candidates alleged the counselling process could not be started till 4.30 pm. They alleged that even members of the counselling team had no knowledge about the number of seats vacant in different institutes for several hours. When contacted, the PGIMS authorities admitted that earlier there was some confusion regarding the number of seats vacant.

The agitated candidates finally staged a dharna at the Director’s office at around 11 am and raised slogans against the PGIMS authorities. Leaders of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) also joined the protesters and condemned the authorities. Later, a delegation of seven persons, including SFI leaders, met Maj-Gen Virender Singh Poonia (retd), Director of the institute, in connection with their demands.

However, the Director reportedly could not satisfy the aggrieved candidates. The candidates questioned as to why counselling for reserved categories was not organised prior to that for general category as per the established practice. Secondly, they asked why the management quota in Medical College, Faridabad, was 50 per cent while it was 20 per cent in all other institutions. Besides, they said a good number of seats were lying vacant in various institutes while the management had been making admissions against them by taking donations.

They said admissions against these seats should strictly be made on merit per the norms.



Three die as van hits stationary truck
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad (Hapur), September 29
Three members of a family, besides the driver, were killed when their Maruti van hit a stationary truck on the Modinagar road and bypass crossing. Two others were injured.

The Maruti van was coming at a high speed from Babugarh side when it hit a stationary truck from behind. The truck was parked at the Nizamuddin tri-junction. The van was badly smashed. Soon after the accident shrieks of pain and cries for help could be heard.

The driver and cleaner of the truck were reportedly bathing at a nearby hand pump at the time of the accident. They reportedly tried to disentangle the truck from the van, but when they failed to do so, they sped away in another truck.

Later, the police arrived and extricated the dead and injured from the wreckage.

Two men and two women died on the spot while one youth and a girl were rushed to the Khan Nursing Home, Hapur, in a critical condition.

According to the police, Pursa Ram of Gajalpur village under Babugarh police station area was going to Ghaziabad for the engagement ceremony of his younger son, Satish. Pursa Ram, 55, his wife Krishna, 50, Rekha, 24, wife of son Neeraj, and van driver Varinder Kumar of Dankaur died on the spot.

Pursa Ram’s son in-law, Umesh, and daughter Neha are seriously injured. The van was being driven at a high speed. It had veered to the left to allow another car to overtake it and hit the stationary truck in the process.

In another accident in which a truck hit a stationary truck from behind, Shankar Singh of Faridabad was seriously injured. He was rushed to Madhu Nursing Home where he was declared brought dead.

In the third accident on Modinagar road a small girl, Vaishnu, was crushed under a bus near Adarsh Nagar. The police have sent the bodies for a post-mortem examination.



Gangsters back with vengeance in Western UP
Our Correspondent

Meerut, September 29
More than a dozen incidents of murder, abduction, robbery, extortion and bank dacoity in the past 25 days have proved that the police force has failed to turn the heat on gangsters. Transfers on a large scale and the arrival of new officials, who are still getting to know the district, are proving to be an impediment for the police force. The gangsters are also taking advantage of these imponderables.

The crime graph suddenly registered a spurt with the installation of the Samajwadi Party government in the state. Panic prevails in Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur, all in western UP. Though the goldsmith, who was kidnapped in Meerut on Friday, was eventually rescued by the police, criminals seem to have put the police on notice. In the past three years the western UP police has managed to eliminate certain gangsters in encounters. Following the encounters, pressure mounted on the gangsters and they started fleeing western UP, some of them opting for jail as a safe habitat.

Bijendra Jinjokhar, Sushil Moonchh, Dimple Tyagi, Titu Tyagi, Sharad Tyagi, Vinay Tyagi, Ranpal Loiyya, Satendra Babrala, Yogesh Bhadora and Pramod Bhadora were among the gangsters who led big gangs and committed big crime. Their names spelled terror. 



Newly married woman shot at outside restaurant 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29
A newly married woman was shot at near a restaurant in Sadar Bazar by an unidentified man on Sunday evening. She was later admitted to a nearby hospital, where she was operated upon.

The victim, Uzma Parveen, had gone to see a night show at Filmistan cinema hall along with her husband, Mohammad Sami. The couple decided to have dinner at a restaurant after the show was over. Sami asked his wife to wait outside the restaurant while he went to the toilet. By the time Sami returned, the assailant had shot at the woman, the police said.

There was panic in the restaurant following the shooting. The manager of the restaurant reported the incident to the police. The husband fainted on seeing his wife lying in a pool of blood. He was also hospitalised, but discharged after some time when he became conscious.

The police said that a special team had been constituted to crack the case. They have a clue and the suspect is likely to be arrested soon. The police said that the shooting could be an outcome of personal enmity. The suspect was a local ruffian and known to the victim.

Row over passage: One shot dead

Dadri (Noida): One person was shot dead while his wife, son and two other family members were seriously injured in Rithori village of Dadri in a dispute over the rights to passage. A case has been registered against four persons who are absconding after the incident. According to the police, Kartar Singh, 40, was shot dead while his wife Rati, son Sarup and two others were wounded in an attack by Raja and his companions. Kartar Singh and Raja had their houses opposite each Other. As Singh’s was a corner house and owing to the narrow street, Raja used to encounter some amount of difficulty in negotiating his tractor. This standing dispute had come up for discussion at the panchayat too but a solution had alluded it. OC



Save Ganga: DPS kids take the plunge

New Delhi: Pained by the tragic state of the Yamuna, schoolchildren have taken the onus of cleaning and saving the river from further deterioration. Students of various branches of Delhi Public School began work on saving the Yamuna through their participation in the campaign ‘Ahavan’, started by the Delhi Public School (DPS) Society in association with the Times Foundation.

The campaign that started in April and concluded here yesterday was marked by events like street plays, a march for the river, cleaning and spreading of information. The programme started at the Hardwar branch of DPS and gradually spread to the rest of the branches. The Agra branch carried out the river yatra and drew attention to the state of the river through the march and placards that read, ‘Save Yamuna, Save Taj’. Inspired to take the good work ahead, students from the R.K. Puram, Mathura Road, Dwarka, Ghaziabad, Noida and Panipat branches as well as the international branches also contributed their share. The students of the organisation also took an equal interest in the cleaning of the river as not only did they organise campaigns but also took the initiative to go to the riverbanks and clean them. TNS



DVB privatisation: Mukhi seeks Sheila’s resignation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29
The Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Professor Jagdish Mukhi, demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in view of the CAG report pointing out grave irregularities committed by the Delhi Government in privatisation of the DVB.

Professor Mukhi demanded that the CBI enquiry should be instituted to investigate the largest scam in privatising the DVB. He declared that the matter should also be taken to the Delhi Lokayukta.

He stated that he had alleged on the floor of the Assembly on April 11, 2002 that the DVB privatisation should lead to the largest scam as the government had given major concessions to the private bidders after the R.F.Q. which made the bidding non-competitive.

He gave the details on the floor of the House how the three bidders had been given favours worth crores of rupees.

Professor Mukhi said that all the allegations he had made about the Delhi Government with regard to the DVB privatisation stand certified by the CAG in its report. He demanded an immediate session of the Delhi Legislative Assembly to deliberate on the grave situation created following the CAG report.



‘Anti-Kiloi’ remark of Chautala decried
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, September 29
Mr Krishan Murti Hooda, a former minister and spokesman, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee today organised public meetings at Basantpur, Brahmanwas, Sarai Nasirpur Kupa and Chamarian villages of Kiloi region to mobilise people against a recent ‘derogatory’ statement made by Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala against the residents of Kiloi. Mr Hooda alleged that the Chief Minister, during a public meeting at Kiloi, had got infuriated over the ‘thin’ gathering at the meeting and described the region as ‘dead’.

The Chief Minister had allegedly gone to the extent that he would consider only 89 assembly segments out of a total of 90 segments, ignoring the Kiloi region for the next assembly election. The Congress leader said he proposed the residents of Chamarian village to boycott the public meeting of Chief Minister scheduled to be held at the village if the latter did not apologise for his ‘unwarranted’ statement.

He said the villagers approved his proposal by raising both of their hands.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Hooda charged the Chief Minister with discriminating against the residents of Kiloi in the matters of employment, development and supply of power and water. Referring to the Satlej-Yamuna Link canal issue, he alleged that the Chief Minister was not serious about completion of the canal. He said the Chief Minister did not make any announcement regarding the completion of this canal on the occasion of the birth centenary of a former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Devi Lal on September 25 as Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a union minister of Punjab Akali Dal were present on the dias.

Impersonation case: A case of impersonation was detected at Vaish Girls’ High School examination centre here on Sunday. According to information, a girl was caught appearing in place of Mamta (roll number-125523) of Sunderpur village in the matriculation examination. However, the examinee managed to escape leaving behind the answer script. A case under Section 419 and 420 of the IPC was registered in this regard.



Soil being used to fill craters on roads, 
adds to dust, haze 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, September 29
Even as residents are waiting for the authorities to take up repair and reconstruction works of the roads damaged during the monsoon rains, the dust pollution in the area has become yet another major concern for the people.

It is learnt that the dust pollution has been caused by the dumping of soil (earth) and other ‘kutcha’ building materials to fill up the craters on the roads.

The authorities reportedly consented to allow the contractors to dump these materials on the road instead of ensuring that only hard stone materials were used for filling up the patches on the roads.

“The Municipal Corporation had reportedly sanctioned about Rs 15 lakh initially for the repair works. However, it seems that the amount was used to dump ‘kutcha’ building materials accompanied by soil to repair the patches, which has not only surprised the residents, but it has caused major inconvenience to the commuters,” said R. K. Yadav, a resident of Sector-16 here.

He claimed that the dust pollution was particularly affecting the people suffering from respiratory problems.

Mr M. S. Jaggar, a teacher based in Sector-9 here, called the decision to dump soil on these roads to fill up patches as “foolish”.

He said the authorities would have to get these dumped materials removed before the repairs of roads were undertaken.

He suspected that something was “fishy” and the authorities ought to punish the officials and the contractors responsible for the “mess”.

It may be recalled that a ‘probe’ was still in progress regarding the ‘faulty’ construction of a road between Ballabgarh and Tigaon.

Although crores of rupees were spent on the construction of the road, it was damaged within four months. However, the accused in this case is yet to be charge sheeted.

Residents complained that even as there is no progress in holding people responsible for the irregularities, the repair of roads have been unduly delayed. “The state government had announced that all the major roads would be repaired by Dussehra, but there has been no progress so far,” said Raj Kumar Gaur, secretary of the Janata Dal, Haryana. It seems that the authorities have no time to provide basic amenities to the residents, as they are busy in holding meetings, fairs and welcoming the Chief Minister and other VIPs, he said.

He said most of the approach roads to the villages had “disappeared”, and only large potholes were seen.

The various business and industries associations have expressed concern over the state of the roads in the town and nearby areas.

They have expressed their apprehension that industrial and commercial activities would be adversely affected if the roads were not immediately repaired.

A delegation of the Manufactures Association Faridabad (MAF), representing over 400 units, had met the Municipal Commissioner recently to express their apprehension and had demanded that the repair works should be undertaken on a priority basis.



Arrangements in place for purchase of paddy
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 29
The district administration has made adequate arrangements for the purchase of paddy from the growers in this district at the support price fixed by the Union Government.

Stating this, Mr Dalip Singh Dahiya, chairman of the Sonepat Market Committee, told mediapersons here recently that the official procurement agencies-Food and Supplies Department, the Food Corporation of India (FCI), HAFED, CONFED, the Haryana Warehousing Corporation and the Haryana Agro Industries Corporation-would start buying paddy from October 1 in the five foodgrain markets of the district-new and old food grain markets of Sonepat, Gohana, Ganaur and Kharkhauda.

He also disclosed that the market committees have already prepared themselves for meeting the rush of the paddy growers.

The market committees, he said, have made adequate arrangements to ensure the supply of drinking water and power supply at the purchase centres.

The sanitary conditions have also been improved in all the foodgrain markets in the district, he said. Mr Dahiya expected that the paddy arriving at the various purchase centres to be much larger in quantity due to the increase in production of paddy this year.

The official agencies in this district, he said, had purchased about 1.12 lakh tonnes of paddy in the last season.

He also announced that the paddy purchased would be in accordance with the minimum support price fixed by the government. He appealed to the farmers to bring their produce to the markets in accordance with the norms fixed by the government. He stated that the private traders and the owners of rice shellers were also entitled to buy the paddy from the farmers at the support price fixed by the government.



Schemes to solve housing shortage in Haryana
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 29
The Haryana Housing Board has drawn up new schemes for the towns of Panipat, Karnal, Ambala, Hisar, Rohtak and Faridabad to meet the housing problem.
According to a report, in view of the problem of land scarcity, particularly in the towns like Panchkula, Faridabad and Gurgaon, the board has realised the necessity of vertical development of housing stock under the Group Housing Schemes.

Accordingly, the construction of four-storeyed flats has been taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore at Sector 46 in Faridabad for the registered applicants. Similarly, the board has also received overwhelming response for 256 flats (nine storeyed) to be constructed under the Group Housing Scheme at Sector 43 in Gurgaon. The construction of these flats will be taken in hand shortly.

So far, the board has constructed 59,038 houses in various parts of the state out of which more than 72 per cent houses are meant for the economically weaker sections and the lower income groups (LIG).

At present, the construction of 747 houses of different categories costing Rs 16.36 crore is in progress at Ambala, Shahbad Markanda, Kurukshetra, Sonepat, Rohtak and Faridabad. The construction of 461 more houses costing Rs 32.69 crore is to begin shortly for the registered applicants at Shahbad Markanda, Rohtak, Bahadurgarh, Hisar, Fardabad and Gurgaon.

The registration for 45 triple-storeyed houses in Panipat and 228 single-storeyed houses in Rewari is in progress and the last date is September 30.

Haryana being one of the prosperous states is not facing housing shortage so acutely, still the problem did exist in the state.

Accordingly, the board intends to explore the possibilities of setting up housing colonies even in the villages and small and medium towns where there is a great need for the planned houses.



Disruption in water supply: Sunday holiday 
goes for a toss
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, September 29
Water supply in the old section of the city remained disrupted for most part of the day due to the bursting of a water pipeline in Chhota Halwai Hatta.
The residents, particularly the women, were severely troubled, as they had to fetch water from distant places to meet their requirements. The need for water was severely felt today as Sunday being a holiday, most of the family members remained at home.

Enquiries made by this correspondent revealed that the employees of the Public Health Department had managed to repair the damaged pipeline by the evening. However, when the water supply was restored, the employees noticed another leakage in the pipeline. Subsequently, the employees decided to stop the water supply in the entire old section of the city, as the saluice valve of the Chhota Halwai Hatta had developed defects.

The employees of the PHD, however, succeeded in repairing the damaged water pipeline by 6 pm in the evening yesterday and the supply was restored around 7.15 pm.

Meanwhile, the residents in some parts of the city have been receiving muddy water in the past few months as the saluice valves in certain areas, including Ram Bazar, were leaking profusely. Residents alleged that their complaints registered with the concerned authorities in this regard have fallen on deaf ears. The Sonepat Residents Welfare Association and the ‘Sonepat Citizens Forum’ have urged the district authorities to take serious note of the public complaints in this regard and order the repair of the saluice valves, which is responsible for the supply of muddy water to the residents. They also threatened to launch an agitation if the faulty saluice valves are not repaired. 



A crusader's journey

Kailash Satyarthi during ‘Shiksha Yatra’
Kailash Satyarthi during ‘Shiksha Yatra’, a rally for education.

For 48-year-old Kailash Satyarthi, now an internationally recognised name, life began in obscurity in a small village in Vidisha. When he was barely 12 years old, he was particularly moved by the condition of a large number of children who had to abandon their studies because of financial constraints. He discovered that most of the children from affluent families discarded their old school books after being promoted to a higher class. An idea was suddenly born and one fine day, he managed to get a handcart and went from house to house collecting old school books. The day's toil was encouraging. By evening, he had managed to collect more than 2,000 books, many in very good condition. This was the beginning of a movement, the 2,000 books became the corpus of a unique Book Bank from where those in need could borrow them free of cost and continue with their studies.

This was the beginning of a long and selfless career in social work for the young Kailash. Even at the cost of incurring the wrath of his parents and relatives, Kailash encouraged students from the lower strata of the society to work in their spare time to earn for their education. Many spend their free time working in tea stalls or polishing shoes in the town.

But what apparently was the turning-point in his life and which propelled him into social work even with more vigour was an incident when he was 15. That was the time when leaders kept on sermonising over the ill effects of the caste system and how it had to be eradicated. Innocent as he was, he was taken in by the rhetoric and in 1969, on the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatama Gandhi, he organised a community dinner where the meals served were cooked by those belonging to the so-called lower caste. Kailash and his friends, who had by now formed an organised group, invited all the local politicians to partake of the unique dinner. But to their surprise not even a single of them turned up.

This served as an eye-opener. After the dinner, he and his family were ostracised by the upper castes of the village. So moved was he by the incident that he decided to give up his caste name for good and rechristened himself as Satyarthi, the seeker of truth.

In 1987, he hit the headlines when he led a group of 200 so-called lower castes, to the famous Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan for "darshan". Entry for untouchables was strictly prohibited in that temple. Although, he was mercilessly beaten up by the goons and members of the priest community, he was successful in drawing the attention of the whole country towards this social injustice.

Not only that, he gave up a promising career as an electrical engineer to campaign against child servitude in the country and launched the 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan' and 'South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude' as a mass movement and a coalition for total elimination of child labour. He is leading the two most important and effective civil society movements for social change, 'Global March Against Child Labour' and Global Campaign for Education', active in more than 144 countries across the globe. As a grassroots activist, he has led to the rescue of over 60,000 children working as bonded labour and developed a successful model for their rehabilitation and education. He made the issue of child labour a human rights issue and not a welfare matter or charitable cause. With forceful arguments, he established that child labour is, in fact, responsible for the perpetuation of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population explosion and many other social evils.

He is the architect of the first internationally recognised child labour free social labelling system 'Rugmark'. He organised several social movements on the issue of child labour and education, including the 80,000 km Global March Against Child Labour, which covered over 100 countries, 15,000 km Shiksha Yatra, 5,000 km India March Against Child labour, across the country. He is the member of a high level group under the aegis of the UNESCO on Education for All. He is on the boards and committees of several international organisations like Centre for Victims of Torture, International Labour Rights Fund, International Cocoa Foundation etc. He was honoured by the former US President Bill Clinton in Washington for featuring in Kerry Kennedy's book 'Speak Truth To Power', where his life and work features among the top 50 human rights defenders in the world including Nobel laureates Achbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wessel and His Holiness Dalai Lama.

Apart from these distinctions, he is recipient of many international awards like - Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Award - USA (2002), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung International Human Right Award - Germany (1999), La hospitalet Award - Spain (1999), Golden Flag Award - The Netherland (1998), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award - USA (1995), Trumpeter Award - USA (1995), Aachener International Peace Award- Germany (1994). In an exclusive conversation with the NCR Tribune, he travelled down the memory lane.

What inspired you to initiate the crusade against child servitude?

In my childhood, I had read a story that goes like this - once Lord Shiva and his spouse Parvathi were roaming in the Himalayan jungle. Parvathi noticed that an elephant was moving with ease crushing swarms of ants moving on the ground. Shocked at this, she entreated the Lord to punish the mahout for his slackness, which caused this genocide. Shiva said that the mahout is not punishable. Then she urged him to punish the elephant itself. To that also the reply was the elephant committed no sin. "Then who is guilty, me?" asked an irritated Parvathi. Then Lord Shiva replied "you yourself are the sinner." Because watching the ants being crushed you did not warn the mahout to change the course of the elephant. That mythical episode was an eye-opener for myself.

What is the magnitude of child labour?

Around 24.6 crore child labourers are working in different countries of the world, of them six crore alone are in our country. Approximately, 80 crore adults in the world are unemployed today, in which, again six crore alone are from India. They could be a substitute for child labour.

What are the major activities of your organisation?

We have given the concept of Bal Mitra Gram. It was initiated in 1999. The concept of Bal Mitra Gram is an innovative approach to child labour and ensuring that no child goes to work but instead goes to school. It has succeeded in various states of India like Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. We have adopted four tier steps towards a model child friendly village. These are: withdrawal of child labour from the village, enrolment of all children in school, formation of Bal Panchayat and making their voices heard in the adult panchayat. We have initiated "stop migration" campaigns. For this, we are taking variety of steps like street plays, skits, folk songs, picketing, dharna and demonstrations in different parts of the country from where children migrate to various hazardous industries.

The children constitute around 12 crore out of 32 crore illiterates in our country. Keeping this in view, we initiated Shiksha Caravan. Braving all odds, our activists continue to organise raids to rescue bonded children from various occupations. The liberated children are then imparted vocational training and also given conventional education. Mukti Asharam, Bal Asharam and Girl's Collective are three transit rehabilitation-cum-vocational training centres for the freed bonded or child labourers situated on the outskirts of Delhi in Ibrahampur.

What's your next step?

We are going to organise children's world congress on child labour from May 10 to 16, next year in Florence in Italy. About 500 children are expected to participate in the conclave to speak about their plight.



Decks cleared for release of new tubewell connections
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, September 29
The Haryana Power Distribution Corporations (UHBVN and DHBVN) would purchase one lakh poles and 12,000 transformers of 25 KVA capacity with a view to releasing pending tubewell connections.

This was stated by Maj-Gen (Retd) B S Rathi, chairman, Haryana Power Transmission and Distribution Corporations while addressing a public meeting at Morkheri village, 25 km from here on Saturday evening.

He said there was a need to change the transmission and distribution system in the state. The old transformers, cables and wires resulted into 20 to 25 per cent line losses due to technical reasons. On an average, there was about 20 to 25 per cent power theft in the state resulting into the shortage of power in some villages.

He urged the consumers not to steal power and get the unauthorised connections regularised by the department. The nigams had already introduced a scheme for an ‘on-the-spot’ release of connections in villages for domestic and non-domestic applicants.

He claimed that more than 80 per cent defaulting consumers of certain villages in Jind district had made the payment of their current bills.

While referring to the demands of consumers, Mr Rathi disclosed that the nigams would construct three 132 KV substations at Meham, Sampla and Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak.

MBBS/BDS counselling: The second counselling for admission to the MBBS/BDS courses for the session 2003 in various medical/dental colleges in the state would be held on September 29 and 30 in the college council room of the Director’s office, PGIMS, Rohtak. The PGIMS public relations officer said the candidates should report at 9 am for getting their documents verified. He said the counselling for various courses would start at 4 pm at the same venue.

IMSAR listed among best schools: The Institute of Management Studies and Research (IMSAR) of Maharshi Dayanand University has been listed amongst the best schools in the fourth Business Today survey of India’s best business schools. A university administration spokesman said the ranking/listing had appeared in the latest issue of the leading business magazine, Business Today (October 12). He said it was a countrywide survey done by Bt-Acnielsen Org-Marg. It was a comprehensive study done methodically by the publication, along with its research partner. Meanwhile, the two-day literary cultural festival ‘Expressions’ hosted by IMSAR concluded last evening. Earlier, in a prize distribution ceremony, chief guest Santosh Bansal, industrialist (IMSAR alumnus) and the Guest of Honour, Dr N K Garg, Dean, Students’ Welfare, MDU, gave away the prizes to the winners of various events.



Mahakirtan of ‘Shabad Vain’ 

New Delhi: To celebrate the 400th year of Prakashotsav of Guru Granth Sahib, a Mahakirtan of ‘Shabad Vain’ will be held on October 1 from 6 pm to 6 am at ‘Karam Singh Ka Dera’, Rashid Market, Jheel in Trans-Yamuna area. The Kirtan will be organised by Sant Roshan Singh ‘Maskeen’ and Sant Phuman Singh of the Dera Baba Karam Singh Committee. The Sadh Sangat are invited to attend the Kirtan. This is the first-ever programme to celebrate the Prakashotsav of Guru Granth Sahib where Langar will be served for the entire duration of the Kirtan. TNS

Dussehra function

Faridabad: The leader of the opposition in Haryana, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda will be among many prominent leaders of the Congress, who will be attending a special function here on Dussehra. Stating this, senior Congress leader V D Saluja, convenor of the programme said that while Mr Hooda will be the chief guest, the Congress MP from Meerut, Mr A S Bhadana will inaugurate the function.



Youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Sonepat, September 29
A youth Jasbir Singh of Sewli village who was admitted to the Civil Hospital here on Saturday after taking sulphas tablets in his house, died in the hospital here yesterday.

According to a report, the victim took the tablets to commit suicide as the police had decided to ask him about a case of suicide of his friend Om Parkash of the same village a few days ago.

Wrestling match

Mr Ajay Chautala, a member of Parliament from Bhiwani failed to turn up in the wrestling match organised in memory of Ch Devi Lal here yesterday.

According to a report, the organisers of the match waited for six hours for him and thereafter, Mr Baljit Singh Dabra gave away the prizes to the match winners.

The first match was won jointly by Shripal of Farmana and Rishipal of Sarsad village and they were given Rs 17,000.

The second match was won by Satinder of Bagru village and he was given Rs 12,000 whereas the third match was won by Jai Bhagwan of Nian village and he bagged the third prize of Rs 8,000.

Chains snatched

Faridabad: Two incidents of chain snatching have been reported in the town in the past 24 hours.

According to complaints lodged, Sunita Devi of Sector-15 was shocked when two motorcycle-borne youths snatched her gold chain when she was returning home.

In another incident, two youths took off the gold chain from the neck of one Cheta going on a rickshaw near Sector-9 here.

The gangsters also pulled away her earrings. As she raised the alarm, the miscreants took to their heels. No arrest has been made so far. This is fifth such incident in the area in the past one month.

Shot fired in jail

Ghaziabad: A bullet fired from a loaded revolver which had been seized from a woman, caused a commotion in Dasna jail.

The woman came to see a dreaded criminal in the jail. The jail staff are trying to sweep this incident under the carpet The bullet was fired when jailor S. N. Diwedi was trying to recover the loaded revolver during frisking.

Meanwhile, jail superintendent Shoab Akhtar denied the incident. The superintendent said it was just a rumour. 



Woman killed as gun goes off accidentally 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29
A 38-year-old woman was killed when a .315-bore gun of her brother went off accidentally in her house in Kotla Mubrakpur this morning.
The police said that the deceased Sansar found her younger son Bhanu (13) fiddling with the gun. She got panicked and tried to snatch the gun from her son’s hand, but accidentally pressed the trigger. The bullet hit her on the right side of the abdomen killing her on the spot. She was rushed to the AIIMS where she was declared brought dead. The police said the weapon belonged to the Sansar’s brother Veer Singh, resident of Meerut who had come to visit her sister. The police had informed the Deputy Commissioner of Meerut about the incident and asked him to cancel the weapon licence of Veer Singh for his negligence.

Burglary solved: With the arrest of two persons, the North district police today claimed to have solved a burglary case which took place on September 16 in the meat exporter’s house in Sadar Bazar. The burglars had taken away Rs 3.25 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh from the house.

Initially when the police questioned the servant Parvez, he gave contradictory statements. The police arrested him on September 19. During interrogation, he confessed to the crime and told the police about how he conspired the burglary along with his brother. Parvez told the police that he informed his brother Jahangir and Abdul Hanif about the cash and jewellery in the house and the daily routine in the family. On the fateful night, he had even given the gate keys to the accused to facilitate their entry into the house. The police have recovered cash Rs 2.53 lakh, gold jewellery and three wristwatches. Hunt is on for the other accused Abdul Hanif.

Blue film CDs: The North-East district police today has arrested three persons Vikas Kumar Bhamu (19), resident of Jhunjhunu, Rohtash Kumar (22), resident of Jhunjhunu and Subhash Chander (23), resident of Malaisar and seized 825 blue film CDs from them.


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