N C R   S T O R I E S


Cong promises full statehood for Delhi
Tribune News Service

The INC promises YOU …

  • Statehood for NCT of Delhi, so that the government gets more powers
  • Hike in pension for freedom fighters, senior citizens and widows
  • Affordable tariffs for electricity and water in the slums
  • Bio-medical waste treatment plants in Okhla and Ghazipur 
  • More flyovers for signal-free movement of vehicles
  • Extension of Metro and introduction of an integrated transport system
  • Expediting the filling up of vacancies in government departments
  • 1,063 new beds in Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain Hospital

New Delhi, November 24
Turning the NCT of Delhi into a world class city by putting in place a transparent, efficient and responsive administration is what the Indian National Congress (INC) promises to do if given the mandate to govern for the next five years.

The manifesto for the December 1 Assembly election, released on Monday, promises to make that dream come true by incorporating for the first time the demand for securing statehood for the NCT of Delhi, so that the elected government is delegated more powers.

Making the NCT of Delhi a “State” of the Union and restructuring the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) into smaller, manageable entities, the party hopes, would help do away with the multiplicity of authorities that has been the bane of successive governments.

The party said it would “demand and see to it that it acquires full control over the land and the police. It will then ensure government’s accountability to the Delhi Legislative Assembly and to the people of Delhi”.

Besides Dikshit, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) President Prem Singh, Chairman of Campaign Committee Karan Singh, Chairman of Manifesto Committee JP Aggarwal, DPCC spokesman Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, Ahmed Patel and Anil Shastri were present. Dwelling on her and her party’s vision, if given the mandate to govern for another five years, Ms Dikshit said reforms would be persisted with in all sectors with particular emphasis on power and transport. Administrative reforms would also be a key component.

The manifesto promises to give a fillip to e-governance by bringing all the departments online and empowering the citizens by promoting the Right to Information Act, which is already in vogue. The Bhagidari (citizen-government partnership) would be another hallmark.

A showpiece of the Government of NCT of Delhi, the Metro, would be extended to reach more places so that connectivity is enhanced and access made easier. Besides the 16 flyovers in the pipeline, the party promises to build another 60 to ease the flow of traffic.

A 1,000 MW gas-based plant in Bawana and a 700 MW generation unit at Indraprastha are also on the agenda. Also the completion of the Sonia Vihar water treatment plant, so that another 140 million gallons of water is available per day.

The manifesto also promises sops to the minorities, traders, youth and government employees. It also recounts the achievements of the Sheila Dikshit Ministry over the past five years and seeks a renewed mandate to further the party’s developmental agenda.

For the Minorities and the Backwards, the party promised interest-free loans up to Rs 50,000, establishment of English-medium schools in areas dominated by the minorities, and promotion of Urdu and Punjabi by facilitating their teaching in government schools.

The pending demand of the Jain community to include them in the list of minorities would be pursued with the Union Government. The Delhi Waqf Board properties would be secured for establishing educational, vocational, trading and fund-raising centres. The party released its manifesto in Urdu and Punjabi languages also. 



Chariots dispatched

New Delhi: The Indian National Congress (INC) will dispatch Raths (chariots) and Nukkad Naatak (street play) teams to all the 70 constituencies in the last week of campaigning for the December 1 Assembly election in NCT of Delhi. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Ahmed Patel and Nafisa Ali flagged off 10 Raths on Monday. The Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress has launched the Raths. Its president, Rajesh Lilothia, said the Raths and the street plays would inform the people about the achievements of the Sheila Dikshit ministry. TNS



Satpal Maharaj goes canvassing for friend Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Joining film stars and senior political leaders in the quest for securing a seat in the assembly polls for “their friends” (read candidate) was Mr Satpal Maharaj. The former Union Minister went canvassing in the Gole Market area to garner support for Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

The supporters showed their support by weighing Ms Dikshit against coins and listened in rapt attention as the merits of the Congress party led in the state by Ms Dikshit herself were counted.

From the Metro Rail to the flyover construction, it was pointed out that the Congress was the only party that could take the masses ahead on the road to progress and development.

Mr Satpal Maharaj drew attention to the failings of the government at the Centre and said the BJP raked up the issues of religious relevance before elections so that the people were distracted from issues like unemployment and poverty.

The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, attended public meetings in Satyawati College parking, Ashok Vihar, Saket and Gulmohar Park. He was seeking support for Mr Mange Ram Garg, Mr Vijay Jolly and Ms Arti Mehra.

Another star in Surya Prakash’s caravan was Divya Dutta. The BJP candidate from Kamla Nagar seems to have managed a coup. The latest Bollywood face to make an appearance in his canvassing team was Divya Dutta who went campaigning with him to Shastri Nagar.aMs Arti Mehra, BJP candidate from Haus Khas, is determined that youngsters should be given a chance, and to ensure that she gets it, she has been keeping herself very busy, asking the people to vote for the “youth”. A 30-something Mehra had desi bahu and ‘youth icon’ Smriti ‘Tulsi’ Irani seek votes for her today. 



JD (U) candidate’s plea seeking acceptance of nomination rejected
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea by Janata Dal (U) candidate from the Tilak Nagar constituency challenging the rejection of his nomination papers for the December 1 Assembly elections.

Mr Justice B. D. Ahmed turned down the petition saying the court had no jurisdiction to entertain such a matter after the poll nomination had been issued. It was also pointed out that the petitioner could move an election petition once the elections were over and if he succeeded the election from the constituency could always be set aside.

In his petition, Mr Ranjit Singh through counsel N. K. Jha challenged the rejection of his nomination on the ground that he had filed the papers on time, which was November 14, the last date for filing nomination papers. He contended that he had been issued three notices by the Election Commission giving him permission for campaigning, asking him to file his expenditure report and calling him on November 17 before the Returning Officer of the area for allotting the election symbol.

But on November 17 he received a letter from the RO, Mr M. A. Asraf, saying that his nomination papers had been rejected on some technicalities, it was alleged. Such process was done only after acceptance of the nomination papers of the contesting candidates, the petition claimed.

However, EC counsel P. R. Chopra explained that scrutiny of nomination papers was done on November 15 and the rejection letter sent the same day. As for the commission’s notices, he said they were given to all candidates who filed their nominations.

He also pointed out that candidature became final only after the last day of withdrawal when the symbols were also allotted.



Fake voter I-card racket busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
In the midst of electioneering, the Delhi Police have busted a racket in fake voter I-cards with the arrest of three persons and seized a number of forged electoral documents. The suspects were identified as Kamal Sharma, Anil Kumar and Vishal Jain. The racket came to light when complainant Surender Singh received an identity card from the suspects, which was found to be fake.

The victim complained to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) that one Kamal Kumar was approaching people in Dabri area of South-West Delhi and promising them voter I-cards and inclusion of their names in the voters’ list in lieu of monetary benefits, Deputy Commissioner of Police (EOW) Dinesh Bhatt said. The DCP said that on the basis of the complaint Kamal Sharma and Vishal Jain were arrested from Chandni Chowk. Their interrogation led to the arrest of the kingpin Anil Kumar from Kotla Mubarakpur.

The suspects would prepare fake voter I-cards and sell thesefor rates between Rs 500 and Rs 2000 each, the police said, adding. That 12 such cards, a large number of holograms, lamination sheets, photographs of prospective beneficiaries, a computer, three software CDs and some other items were seized from them.

The complainant was asked to strike a deal; he accordingly paid Rs 800 and in return got a voter I-card which was found to be fake.



pedestrian jam
One day motorists would like to forget in a hurry
Tribune News Service

A day motorists would like to forget New Delhi, November 24
It couldn’t get worse than this with the city battling what seemed like an endless fight with traffic snarls. One dreads what will happen on D-Day (November 27), when 12,000 couples will tie the knot and leave the roads at the mercy of bullies and traffic demigods.

While a sea of humanity descended at the ongoing trade fair, an equal number kept the roads congested with their canvassing feats. Confusion was compounded by political rallies, traffic diversions resulting from the ongoing Metro work and a procession taken out to mark the Martyrdom Day of Guru Tegh Bahadur. The commuter’s cup of woes, brimming by the end of the day, was garnished with the diversion caused by the inauguration of Abilympics by the Prime Minister.

A broad day light nightmare and vouching for the same were scores of harassed office goers, who were caught unawares. “No one really expected this on a Monday morning. The first day of the week and yet thousands seem to have time for fairs and fetes”, rued Alok Sharma, whose routine journey of 30 minutes got extended by an hour.

While the ITPO officials keep claiming that traffic regulation, streamlined parking and the pick and drop facilities from convenient spots have led to less congestion, the bad news is that more people now walk down to the venue, causing a virtual “pedestrian jam”.

Traffic coming towards ITO, Connaught Place and the adjoining areas was clearly the worst hit. Bumper to bumper queues with impatient drivers honking, as if to invoke divine blessings, irritable cops and harried pedestrians, sums up Delhi as on November 24.

While the traffic cops, along with the Delhi Police personnel, tried to control both traffic and tempers, the day belonged to the bullies who cared little for a few scratched vehicles and the frayed nerves of motorists.

“Some of the drivers are in a perpetual hurry. They have to get past no matter what. I have been twice scratched since morning”, complained a car owner.

The endless traffic jam almost lulled to sleep those using public transport. “It normally takes between 20 to 25 minutes to reach ITO from Patparganj, but today it took twice the time. One could afford to take a nap as the auto driver inched ahead”, pointed out a media professional.

And with most people reporting late for work and even school buses caught in the jam, dinner table talk in most homes, needless to say, will be the day that was.



brazen attack
PCR staff beaten up; carbine, pistol snatched
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The police have launched a massive hunt to trace the half-a-dozen armed assailants who had attacked the PCR staff in the wee hours today in the Mohan Garden area of Uttam Nagar in West Delhi.

The assailants, who were armed with house breaking implements, also abducted a chowki incharge, who was later pushed out of the getaway vehicle in Janak Puri area. The policemen, who were beaten up by the assailants, include a head constable and two constables who were being treated for their injuries. The group of men, apart from beating up the cops, also escaped after snatching a carbine and a nine mm pistol.

The police said that the three cops, who were travelling in a Police Control Room (PCR) van near Mohan Garden area on patrol duty at around 1.45 am, questioned the miscreants who were moving in a suspicious manner near a jewellery shop in Peepalwala in Mohan Garden. The police searched the assailants and found them to be in possession of house breaking implements like crowbar and iron rods.

While they were being frisked one of the assailants, who was hiding in the dark, started pelting stones at the policemen; taking a cue, the others also attacked the PCR staff, who were taken by surprise. In the melee, the assailants also damaged the PCR van and smashed its windscreen. The assailants, who were heavily armed, also seized a licenced weapon from a cop before they fled the area.

Messages were flashed immediately; later the getaway vehicle was found abandoned near Sagarpur area. Some more house-breaking implements were recovered from the vehicle.

The crime team and the dog squad were also rushed to the spot to lift the fingerprints and other important clues. Senior officials, including Special Commissioner of Police (Security and Operations) S K Kain, Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Satish Chandra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Satish Golcha and other officers visited the spot.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Satish Chandra said that the assailants had been identified from the dossiers and would be apprehended soon. Several teams had fanned out in the neighbouring districts as there is a strong suspicion that the assailants belonged to these areas, he added. 



Noida turning into haven for criminals
Parmindar Singh

Noida, November 24
About 100 criminals from Bulandshahar, Ghaziabad and other adjoining districts have reportedly taken refuge in Noida. The police department here is considering launching a joint campaign in a number of districts for nabbing those criminals who, after committing a crime in one district, easily slip into the other, according to SSP G K Goswami.

A sort of data bank on criminals from all districts is being prepared for the purpose, he added.

The police will also take help from history-sheeters and master criminals of yesteryears, now resting on their laurels, to check the rising crime graph. They will be asked to throw light on today’s criminals and their modus operandi.

“The police is of the considered view that there is a dreaded criminal’s mind behind every big crime. However, the big fish might be living the life of a respectable and law abiding citizen for all practical purposes, SSP Goswami said.

‘One cop for one criminal’ plan is also being implemented. The activities of bigger criminals will be personally monitored by SI, SO in charge police stations, Circle officers, Superintendent of police and even the SSP himself.

“We are trying to collect the addresses of all relatives of the criminals, apart from their own addresses. The idea is not to allow the criminals to slip away from the police dragnet”, the SSP said. For example, it has been confirmed that 54 criminals, who were active in Bulandshahar district, are now living in Guatam Budh Nagar. Similarly, Ghaziabad police have given a list of 43 criminals of that district who are now residing in Guatam Budh Nagar. 



Four killed in head-on collision
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 24
Four persons were killed and 14 injured in a head-on collision between two Tata Sumo vehicles coming from the opposite directions near Gandhr Mor on National Highway no 10 at midnight on Sunday.

Among the four persons who were killed on the spot, the police have identified only one so far. He is Anand Singh, son of Kanwal Singh, a resident of Sector-8, Rohini. Efforts are being made to identify the remaining victims.

All the injured have been admitted to the PGIMS.

The condition of four of the injured is said to be serious. Gian Chand, an independent candidate who is contesting the Delhi Assembly elections from Sahabad Daultabad constituency, is also among the injured.

Tata Sumo no HR-26 E-8895 was heading for Delhi when it collided with the other Sumo (No HR-2 H-0026), which was coming from the Delhi side. The two vehicles reportedly lost control while trying to avoid hitting a Neel Gai.



HVPN chairman invites workers for negotiations
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, November 24
The Chairman, Haryana Vidyut Parsaran Nigam (HVPN), Maj-Gen (retd) Bhoop Singh Rathi, has invited the HSEB workers union for negotiations on the long-standing demands of the HVPN employees. The negotiations will be held at Panchkula on November 28.

The union has been agitating for the past many years for removal of anomalies in the pay scales and assured carrier progressive (ACP) scales. Under the scheme, an employee is assured improved pay scales after 10 and 20 years of services. The union also demand employment to a dependent of an employee, who dies while in service. The HVPN has, it may be recalled, amended its rules and said that ex gratia employment would not be given to those employees, who die between the age of 55 to 57 years. Earlier, this facility of giving ex gratia employment was available to dependents of those employees who had died at the age of 58 years also. The union wants to restore this facility.

The union also want the HVPN to withdraw its orders, which the employees posted in the field, is charged for the theft or loss of transformer. The union argues that the strength of the field staff has been reduced by 50 per cent over the years, as the HVPN has failed to fill the posts that fell vacant following the retirement of field staff. The union regretted that the loss of the transformer is being deducted out of the salary of the employees.

Further, the union demands the job of meter reading and bill distribution should be assigned back to regular departmental employees. The contract system introduced by the HVPN for meter reading and bill distribution has miserably failed. The union spokesman, Mr Bharat Bhushan, told NCR Tribune that the Nigam had introduced the meter reading and bill distribution system through contractors at Panipat, Hansi, Hisar, Jind etc, but it has failed everywhere. The union will also demand regularisation of the services of daily wagers and ad hoc employees, besides filling of all vacant posts.

Maj Gen Rathi has also said that the Managing Director, HVPN, Mr Samir Mathur, Ms Jyoti Arora, MD, UHVBN, and Mr Chandra Saini, MD, DHBVN, to assist him in the negotiations. 



Govt employees to go on nationwide 
strike on February 11
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 24
The central and state government employees will go on a one-day strike across the country on February 11, 2004, in protest against the economic policies and to demand the right to strike.

The secretary of the All India State Government Employees Federation (AISGEF), Mr R. C. Jagga told The Tribune here today that the decision to observe the strike was taken recently at a meeting in New Delhi. He said the issue of nationwide strike was also discussed with the leaders and representatives of other central and regional trade unions and they were likely to join the announcement very soon.

All the state government employees, staff of the Union Government and employees of the public sector and the teaching community will also join the strike. The Central and state governments had failed to protect their “right of strike” and the employees were being maltreated by the ruling parties and their governments, Mr Jagga said. The strike would pressurise the Union Government and other parties to introduce a bill in Parliament to ensure that the right of protest and strike, which is enshrined in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention number 87, 89 and 151, was not violated at any cost, he added. He said although India had been a signatory to the ILO conventions, but it was still to be ratified by Parliament.

He also said that the polices followed by the governments were anti-employees and there was a need to provide job security and proper rights to the workers employed at any level. Five crore employees in the country were feeling concerned and upset at the moves being made by the Union and state governments in the name of rationalisation. The ongoing privatisation, downsizing, reduction in the benefits to pensioners and “heavy retrenchment” were the issues of concern, he added.

As many as 1.75 crore Union and state government employees were likely to take part in the strike.



Land grabbing is a routine affair here
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 24
Land grabbing seems to have become a fashion in the city, which is a district headquarters in Haryana. The failure and laxity of the authorities has made a significant contribution to the problem.

According to a report, a large scale encroachments of public land in front of the houses by the residents in different parts of the city, particularly in Model Town, eight Marla Colony, Indira Colony, Sectors 14 and 15 and some other posh colonies. In the name of beautification, land worth crores of rupees has been encroached upon by the house owners. Initially, the house owners start planting trees on the vacant stretches of the land between their boundary walls and the roads. Soon, the strip of land is spruced up and a lawn is laid.

With no objection from any quarter, the house owners start building temporary walls or fencing it with the barbed wires making the grabbed area part of their private domain. And, many started constructing pucca walls after partitioning the road with the help of lawns and fencing.

There has been a massive grabbing of the unmetalled portions between the houses and the roads in Model Town, Indira Colony, Sectors 14 and 15, eight Marla Colony, industrial area and some newly developed colonies. Even in new residential colonies, there is large scale encroachments of long stretches of land in front of the houses. Emboldened by civic apathy, more and more house owners are putting up fencing with barbed wires.

In the Model Town area, several influential persons had grabbed municipal land worth crores of rupees in front of their houses. In the Indira Colony, a resident has constructed a pucca wall on a street near a dharamshala.

Everywhere in the city, wooden stalls have been put by the shopkeepers on the public land in connivance with the officials of the Sonepat Municipal Council and the PWD (B and R). In the race of land grab, several influential persons backed by some politicians and the bureaucrats have extended their boundary limits to take in the land between their large houses and the roads. Due to these encroachments, traffic is blocked and the scavenging services are also severely affected. Most of the residents have haphazardly covered up the drains in front of their houses resulting in blockage of storm water drains, which leads to floods during the rainy season.



Astonishing feats in the face of disability
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The ability to do things, which may otherwise be routine, but for the absence of either a limb or a sense that seem an absolute must is what Abilympics is all about.
Derived from Ability and Olympics, the Abilympics, which began here today, is a showcase of abilities that evoke wonder. Take for instance the ability to visualise hues of colours to dye beautiful patterns on cloth, this when one is visually impaired.

If this leaves you spellbound, there is more. Of the 131 participants training in the Capital for the 6th International Abilympics, there isn’t a single one who fails to astonish with his or her feats even in the face of disabilities.

Despite being paralysed Ela, a 21-year-old from Surat, is a self-employed artisan who has even won an award for her embroidery work. Ela, who cannot hold the needle with her hands, uses her toes to weave dreams on cloth.

Earning her livelihood through sheer hard work, Ela wants the government to help her to set up a small outlet and a workshop where she can “teach the disabled to become independent”.

Like Ela, there is a tie and dye artist from Pune, who having mastered the art is today, a master of the art form. Bhujbal, who was learning the art when his eyesight started diminishing, is today visually impaired, but his imagination is as vibrant as the colours he picks with his mind’s eye.

These special creators, part of the Indian contingent, are later scheduled to participate in 43 events, which include technology, PC assembly, creating web pages, English text processing, tailoring and other vocational skill contests like crochet work, hand knitting and contract bridge.

They will also showcase their skills in embroidery, speed and accuracy, greeting card designing, modelling with plasticine and cartooning, among others, in the categories of children’s events.

The participants from across the country have been camping here for the past month under a training programme organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Special educators vouch for the abilities of their students and claim that they are comparable to their counterparts in the more developed nations. A case in point being Rajesh Mahanada from Orissa who is mentally challenged but won a gold medal for the country in the last Special Olympics held in Japan. Hailing from a poor family, he makes a living by selling forest produce and vegetables.

The training in special arts has allowed him not just a chance to express his ideas but also a chance to generate more income. The event, which will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, will have 2,000 contestants from 35 countries.

Explaining the purpose behind the event, it was pointed put that it highlighted that ability was the issue in concern rather than disability.



Nagar kirtan, langar mark Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom anniversary 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee today held a nagar kirtan on the martyrdom anniversary of Sahib Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji which started from Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib. The programme started with the recitation of Sukhamni Sahib and Nitnem followed by Asa Di Var and Shabad Kirtan by famous Ragi Jatha of Bhai Avtar Singh Ji Gurcharan Singh Ji.

The historical facts about the martyrdom of Sahib Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur with Shabad Vichar was performed by famous philosopher Giani Sant Singh Ji Maskeen. Thereafter, Shabad Kirtan continued.

Mr Prehlad Singh Chandhok, president, Mr Nirwair Singh, senior vice-president, Mr Harbhajan Singh Matharoo, general secretary, Mr Gian Singh, vice-president, Mr Kuldip Singh, secretary, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Gatka Master, Prof Harmohinder Singh, Mr Gurmeet Singh Mita, Thekedar Surjit Singh and many other prominent members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee attended the huge congregation and Nagar Kirtan. The nagar kirtan started exactly at 10 am after performing Ardaas with Panj Piyaras and nagara followed by horses, bands, schoolchildren, gatka parties and Palki Sahib with Sri Guru Granth Sahib, followers and banners. The nagar kirtan procession after going through main bazars of Chandni Chowk, Ajmeri Gate, Pahar Ganj, Gole Post Office, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib terminated in the evening at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib.

Guru Tegh Bahadur, ninth Guru of the Sikhs, fought courageously against Mughal tyranny and violence to achieve a religious worship. The ninth Guru laid down his life for freedom of worship but did not compromise with his conviction. The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur gave birth to the creation of order of the Khalsa by great Guru Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699. It was thereafter the tenth Guru laid the foundation of Khalsa.

Guru ka Langar (free community kitchen) was served to all the devotees irrespective of caste, colour or creed.



CEAI urges govt to include disaster proof norms
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The Consulting Engineers Association of India (CEAI) has urged the government to include strict disaster proof and eco-friendly norms, including fire prevention, earthquake proof, use of eco-friendly construction materials and energy conservation for construction of new buildings in the country.

The CEAI organised two-day seminar in this regard, where the participants stressed need of effective land use, water harvesting, using passive fire prevention system with proper mandatory landscaping and solid waste management as part of the building plan.

Dr. H. C. Visvesvaraya, Chairman of the National Building Code, said that the Architectural Design Parameters should lay stress on the emphasis on insulation, daylight utilization, natural ventilation, shielding, window area and its disposition. The design forces related to earthquakes, landslides, water waves and tensional effects due to wind should be included in the section pertaining to design loads. This will make building safe and livable.

Dr S. Chatterjee, one of the participants stressed on need of clearing of engineering bill in the coming winter session of Parliament, which will help in regulating the engineers and engineering institutes in the country.



Sir Chhotu Ram remembered at mahapanchayat
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, November 24
Hundreds of farmers affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Sarvakhap Panchayat pledged here today to keep a photograph of the legendary Deen Bandhu Sir Chhotu Ram in their houses.

The pledge was in response to a call given by Desohari Mahapanchayat held under the auspices of the Akhil Bharatiya Sarvakhap Panchayat on the occasion of the 123rd birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram. The mahapanchayat was convened by the Jharsa-360 (Khaps of a cluster of 36 villages surrounding village Jharsa) a constituent member of the Akhil Bharatiya Sarvakhap Panchayat. The event was organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram and to take a decision on a date regarding the fraternity feast to be organised in memory of the deceased parents of the Secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Mr Khazan Singh.

In fact, this was the first time that the Akhil Bharatiya Sarvakhap Panchayat as an entity celebrated the birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram.

The speakers at the mahapanchayat, presided over by Mr Deva Singh, president of the Jharsa-360, paid glowing tributes to Sir Chhotu Ram. Sir Chhotu Ram was a minister in U Punjab Province before Independence. At that time Punjab province consisted of areas of present Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal

Pradesh and the portion of Punjab falling in Pakistan. He also headed the portfolio of Agriculture and Education. He is remembered, inter alia, for getting a law passed which freed farmers from the clutches of moneylenders. The law restored the dignity and real sense of proprietorship of farmers on their land which they had mortgaged to the moneylenders.

The star speaker on the occasion was the former president of the HPCC and grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, Mr Birender Singh. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Singh said that the relevance of the policies and concepts of Sir Chhotu Ram had become more pronounced in the present situation. According to him, the plight of the farmers, the peasants and the poor was becoming dismal with progress in time.

He lamented that the NDA government at the Centre was not attuned to the cause of the farming community. He tried to bring out the paradox in the present situation where the farmers reeling under debts of various banks were being subjected to harsh measures for recoveries and the big debtor industrial houses who were treated with kid glove attitude of the NDA government. While the Union Finance Ministry had some months back mooted the idea of declaring about Rs 1,10,000 crores borrowed by various industrial houses from various banks as non-performing assets (NPAs), no such mercies were showered on the farmers and the poor, he added.



Exemplary service

After obtaining a Master’s degree in Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a first class from the Central Institute of Education, University of Delhi, M. I. Hussain has been associated with schools run by the Delhi Public School Society for almost three decades now. He commenced his career with Delhi Public School, RK Puram, New Delhi, as a Social Science and History teacher and by sheer dint of hard work rose to be the Head of Department, History and Geography (1974-1985). In appreciation of his services to value-based education, he was assigned the challenging task of founding and establishing two schools of DPS Society, which he did creditably. He was the Founder-Principal of Delhi Public School, Maroda Sector, Bhilai (MP), for 10 years (1985-1995), where he left his mark as an outstanding administrator and a distinguished academician. Several innovative measures were introduced during his tenure, which made this school the most sought after institution in the district. His vision again translated into reality when he was called upon, in 1995, to lay the foundation of the DPS Society’s collaboration with Al-Noori Teaching Establishment, Kuwait, where he set up the Fahaheel Al Watanich Indian Private School, the most sought after academic institution in Kuwait.

After his return from Kuwait, M. I. Hussain served as Projects Director and Secretary of DPS Society from August 1997 to December 1998. On December 8, 1998, he was appointed Principal of Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, New Delhi. Since then he has worked tirelessly and brought about radical changes and improvements which have restored the school’s old glory and has, in fact, catapulted this flagship and pioneer institution of DPS Society, from its nadir to its zenith.

His achievements are providing education to the underprivileged, introduction of environment education, rainwater harvesting and water conservation, and promoting a pilot scheme to look after senior citizens. He took special interest and encouraged students who had volunteered in large numbers to assist the Delhi Police in their unique programme to look after the senior citizens of the neighbourhood by providing them physical and moral support and making all possible efforts to alleviate the monotony of their lives. He undertook special work to promote among the teachers an awareness about dyslexia, which is an inherent inability to read, write and spell, in spite of possessing average or higher intelligence levels. The teachers were trained to identify such children and give them special attention. About 25 such children have been identified and are being given special care and coaching.

A recipient of more than 20 awards in the field of education and co-curricular activities, Hussain was born in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he had his education before moving to the Capital to obtain his Masters degree.


What changes would you like to see in the education system?

I feel that learning in the Indian context tends to be theoretical and needs to be revamped. The syllabus should retain its intellectual depth and range, yet be more practical and activity oriented, so that learning is really understood and assimilated. In this way interest can also be ignited and learning can be a joyful experience.

The syllabus should attempt to include subjects which impart life skills like understanding money and managing it, stress management, interpersonal skills and positive thinking etc, besides a stress on the spiritual aspect and the teaching of a sound system of personal and public ethics. These ethics should include a social conscience - the need to empathize with the weaker sections of society, caring for the elderly, sharing with the needy and being truly secular, without prejudice.

A semester system of examination should be introduced in class XII, so that the burden of performing superbly in one exam is lessened and one can have a second chance.

What efforts are you making in reducing the burden on your students?

We have undertaken a number of measures to lessen the burden of studies on children. By making learning joyful: We have a belief that when learning is interesting and imparted in a positive atmosphere, there is no burden, no drudgery. Through the use of satellite by giving children the benefit of the best teachers in the country. Computer-aided education, re-tests on Saturdays, only two examinations, a system of continuous evaluation and no examinations till class IV are some of the other measures.

How is your school fulfilling its social responsibility in providing education to poor children?

In our earnest quest to serve the nation, we feel privileged in running an afternoon school for marginalized children on our premises, DPS, Ibtida Shiksha Kendra. This school is completely free - transport, books, tuition, uniform etc. We attempt to impart quality education to the children of India who cannot afford to be educated. The school was established in September, 2001. Presently we have 571 students on our rolls from classes Nursery to IV.

How is your school better than other schools?

Our school is fortunate that it is located in Lutyens’ Delhi - in one of the most exclusive areas of Delhi with wide roads and open spaces. A campus with 20 acres of prime land of which only one fourth is built up - the rest is for sports and recreational purposes. Fifty years of experience in education - a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. The mother school, which enjoys a good reputation and which also belongs to a progressive, dynamic group - the Delhi Public School Society. Talent and information is shared.

Empowerment of students by setting up a students’ council and students’ suggestion box and holding workshops on confidence building and personality development. In-service training of teachers by holding seminars, workshops in academics and a programme to enhance the spiritual and emotional quotient.

Setting up a remedial teaching plan after school hours for addressing problem areas. Identifying and nurturing gifted students through specially designed programmes.

Promoting fitness and sports by setting up a state-of-the-art gym, coaching in games like cricket, tennis, basketball etc. Keeping abreast with times, the introduction of state-of-the-art computer labs, in-house training programme for teachers in information technology, computer-aided learning.

How did you first step into the field of education?

Ans: I have a natural inclination towards cultural activities i.e. poetry, art, music, languages. I was always a good student. What could have been better than living in an environment where I could pursue my interests, interact with young people, while retaining the virtues of idealism and service. The commercial world was not one that I wished to be in, rather I wanted to teach all the knowledge and wisdom that I had acquired from my gurus.



Fake stamp papers discovered in UPSIDC files
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, November 24
The Revenue Department has unearthed stamp evasion amounting to Rs 20 lakh. Besides, the department has again found fake stamps worth Rs 15,300 in the UPSIDC files while scrutinising them in connection with the probe into award contracts on Saturday.

The Revenue Department officials stumbled upon these illegal stamp papers in six files. Earlier also, fake stamps had been discovered while scrutinising files.

The top Revenue Department officials have ordered that a FIR be registered against the fraud.

Assistant Commissioner, Stamp, Ajay Kumar said he had inspected the office of the UPSIDC Construction Division in Loni. He scrutinised 67 files of the department in connection with award of contracts and found 27 fake stamp sheets in six files having a value of Rs 15,300. Stamps of Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 denomination were found to be fake. Some Rs 500 stamps had been converted into Rs 5,000 stamps by resorting to tampering and erasing.

Mr Goel said bungling of Rs 20 lakh had also been detected in connection with land allotment by the UPSIDC. The UPSIDC had allotted 4,000 sq meter land to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, the possession of which had been handed over to BSNL without going in for the registry of the land.

The UP Power Corporation had been allotted 16,000 sq meters of land which too had not been got registered though a 32 KV sub station had been set up on this land.

A stamp duty of Rs 20 lakh should have been paid on both these allotments but was not paid to the exchequer.



Harrowing tale of high-handedness at the 
hands of a financier
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 24
As many as six persons here have fallen victim to the torture meted out by private financiers and have committed suicide. Despite this the administration has failed to evolve a strategy to put a check on the alleged atrocities committed by financiers while recovering the loans advanced to borrowers.

When Ibrahim of Patel Nagar here failed to get any protection from the police he lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission, imploring them to protect his life. In the complaint, Ibrahim said he had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 from a financier on the old DC road in April last year for the marriage of his daughter. The amount was to be returned in monthly installments of Rs 5,000 each. As a guarantee, he handed over five signed cheques to the financier.

Ibrahim has claimed in the letter that though he had returned Rs 60,000 between April 5, 2002, and March 5,2003, the financier further forcibly recovered Rs 36,000 from him, threatening that he had not paid even the interest so far. He has also alleged that after paying that much amount for which he sold his house also the financier refused to return his signed cheques. The financier’s musclemen caught hold of him and threatened that he had to cough up more for paying the installments late.

Fearing for his life, as stated in the complaint, he sold his bike and paid Rs 20,000 more to the financier. In this way he had already paid Rs 1.20 lakh to the financier so far.

He has further stated that he lodged a written complaint on September 30 against the torture by the financier but no action was taken. He again appeared before the SP and reminded him about the complaint. Then the matter was brought to the notice of DSP Arun Nehra. The latter called the financier to his office and instructed him not to torture Ibrahim. The DSP even directed the Civil Lines police station to take necessary action but even then nothing followed, he alleged.



Burglars, jewellers fall in police net

New Delhi: The Delhi Police Crime Branch claimed to have arrested Bangladeshi burglars and three jewellers in the Paschim Vihar area and recovered jewellery items from their possession. The police have recovered four pairs of gold tops, one gold chain, one silver chain, silver ‘kamarband’, silver ‘kara’, Titan watches, tape recorders, stolen clothes, mobile phones, knives, screwdrivers and iron rods from their possession.

The burglars have been identified as Khaliq Khan, alias Mastana, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Shamim Sheikh, residents of Bangladesh. Vinod Verma, resident of Vishwas Nagar, Umesh Verma, resident of Gazipur, and Gulbir Singh Verma, resident of Mandawali, are the jewellers who used to accept the stolen jewellery.

Country liquor seized: The North district police claimed to have arrested Paramjeet Singh, resident of Haryana, and seized a Toyota Qualis (HR-55AT-2093) and countrymade liquor, including 24 cartons of Mastana special and 1200 quarters. The liquor was to be sold only in Haryana. TNS


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