N C R   S T O R I E S


Are women only good for canvassing?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
Despite statistical evidence that women fare better in elections not many political parties are willing to acknowledge this, but when it comes to canvassing it is women who are asked to lead.

From the small screen saas and bahus to the silver screen dream girls, women have been a canvassing staple for the political parties. “Political parties are now unabashedly using glamour to woo the voters in their areas. It is also unfortunate that they are appealing to the mass sentiment by asking women like Smriti Irani, who is a household name because of her role in ‘Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, ” to canvass, pointed out Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research (CSR).

She added, “Strangely enough, why did they not think of fielding such stars from any one of the 70 constituencies”. The fact that women are being increasingly used as commodities, it was pointed out, is manifest by the fact that women are used as baits to attract voters.

“When it comes to giving more seats to women the political parties take a backseat but they do not stop at anything in using women for deriving political mileage”, said Dr Kumari.

Criticising the dual policies and the sheer apathy towards women, Dr Kumari also pointed out that political parties had not even spared a child, a victim of rape, who was pulled into the spotlight for ulterior motives.

“Child rape is a sensitive issue and equally sensitive is the attempt to reveal the identity of the rape victim, thus putting her future at stake. It should not be done at any cost”. The CSR Director said following the rape of the eight-year-old child the police had rounded up at least 22 persons for questioning but had clarified that the suspects had not been picked up on the basis of their political affiliations.

Decrying the political antics which had not spared even a little girl, Dr Kumari said, “This appears to be stage-managed by the political parties. Even the police have made it clear that the rape issue had nothing to do with politics. It is strange that the father of the girl (rape victim) had no explanations to offer when reporters asked him to throw more light on the complaint”.



Two candidates withdraw from Gole Market

New Delhi, November 28
Two candidates have withdrawn themselves from the assembly elections in the Gole Market constituency held by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
The two, Indian National Congress (INC) rebel Romesh Sabharwal and Mr Nand Kishore Bhatt of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), withdrew in her favour on Friday, the penultimate day of campaign before the polling on December 1.

Mr Sabharwal, a former chairman of the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC), had thrown his hat in the ring in the 1998 assembly elections also but withdrew thereafter.

Mr Bhatt, meanwhile, withdrew from the contest and joined the INC at a function hosted at the Chief Minister’s residence. That leaves Ms Dikshit to vie for the seat with 16 other candidates.

Ms Dikshit’s main contender will be the BJP’s Poonam Azad, wife of cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad. In the 1998 assembly elections, Ms Dikshit had defeated Mr Azad by a margin
of more than 5,000 votes. TNS

Holiday on Dec 1: All Union Government offices, including industrial institutions in Delhi/ New Delhi, will remain closed on December 1 on account of the polling that day, an official release said today.

The Government of NCT of Delhi has already declared a holiday on that day and announced that all offices under its jurisdiction would remain closed to enable people to vote. TNS



campaign trail
Last lap of campaigning gets aggressive
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
The countdown for the D-Day having begun, the last lap of campaigning is becoming aggressive. Candidates are trying all that they can to woo and win.
Poll planks and star campaigners in place, both the Congress and the BJP are engaged in a constant battle of trying to be one up on their opponents. The Congress, which is angling for an encore, has made corruption its main poll plank. The recent Judeo case has made its contribution towards adding fuel to the fire.

The BJP, armed with its star campaigners, is harping on the Congress’s “poor governance” vis-à-vis the outbreak of dengue and the “failure” to provide water and electricity. Voters in Delhi are being beseeched by the 817 persons in the fray for a 70-member house. From pamphlets to SMS it is difficult dodging the would-be neta.

The Election Commission has meanwhile made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll. Fifty-five companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed in Delhi to aid in the polling process and five companies have been kept in reserve.

The final lap of campaigning saw BJP Candidate Manoj Jain pay obeisance at the shrine of Hazrat Nizzamuddin. Having sought the blessings of the Head Priest and also his support, Mr Jain also visited the areas around Humanyun Tomb and Nizammudin basti.

Mr Jain has promised to solve the problems of water, electricity, public convenience and has also promised the provision of multi-storied parking and underground passage for pedestrians.

On the last day of electioneering, which is tomorrow, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, is slated to address a public meeting in North Delhi. Political bigwigs, including Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, also attended public meetings earlier.

Among others who addressed public meetings during the last week of campaigning are Defence Minister George Fernandes, Lok Janshakti Party President Ram Vilas Paswan, BSP chief Mayawati, Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.



Call for boycotting BJP and Congress in Dec poll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
The All India Gurdwara Sewadar Committee at a meeting held here has decided to boycott the BJP and the Congress in the December 1 elections.
The meeting, which was presided over by Mr Raja Singh Sethi, held that Section 144 should be implemented in the country and not more than four persons should be allowed to gather anywhere. It also pointed out that the central government would be responsible for any untoward event.

Bibi Palvinder Kaur, president, Punjabi Sikh Sangat, called upon the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections and scrutinise each and every voter at the time of voting.

Metro service to start at 4 am on Dec 1

The Metro will commence its service earlier than usual at 4 am on December 1 to facilitate the movement of polling staff. Generally, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) starts its operations at 6 am.

The service is available between Shahdara and Inderlok (earlier known as Trinagar) and caters to 80,000 passengers daily.

Trinamool candidates contesting against BJP

Two Trinamool Congress candidates will fight against the BJP, its coalition partner in the NDA Government, in the Delhi Assembly poll.

Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy denied reports in a section of the media that the party had withdrawn its two candidates in Karol Bagh (reserved) and Paharganj.

“The report is false. We have not withdrawn our candidates. Nominations cannot be withdrawn after the last date, set for the purpose by the Election Commission,” said Mr Roy, who is here to campaign for his party.

The Trinamool candidates from the reserved Karol Bagh seat and Paharganj are Devdas Sonakar and Mohinder Kumar, respectively.

Memo alleges partisan attitude

The president of the Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Rajesh Lilothia, on Friday submitted a memorandum to the Chief Electoral Officer alleging a partisan attitude by the Delhi Police in the conduct of the assembly elections.

Mr Lilothia alleged in the memorandum that the police stopped vehicles used by the Congress party in the campaigning for the December 1 poll but spared the tempos and other vehicles used by the BJP.

He sought appropriate steps so that no untoward incident occurred on the day of polling. 



Park Residency owner killed near residence
Tribune News Service

Relatives and friends outside Aashlok Hospital with the body of Dalip Sultani, who was shot dead near his Safdarjung Enclave residence
Relatives and friends outside Aashlok Hospital with the body of Dalip Sultani, who was shot dead near his Safdarjung Enclave residence in the Capital on Friday. — Photo by Kamal Singh

New Delhi, November 28
Two unidentified assailants shot dead a restaurant owner this morning in the Safdarjung Enclave area of South West district. The victim, Dalip Sultani, (50), a resident of Safdarjung Enclave and owner of Park Residency restaurant, who also owns several acres of land in Haryana, was shot dead in his car close to his house. He has two restaurants in Delhi, including the Park Residency in the Green Park area.

The victim was immediately rushed to Ashok hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The police said that Sultani, who was sitting in the front next to his driver Mohammad Ayub Khan, was shot at twice in the chest and stomach around 10 a m.

The assailants also fired at the driver but he managed to escape unhurt. The assailants came on a black colour motorcycle and intercepted Sultani, who was travelling in a Wagon R car. Soon after the incident, the assailants fled in a car, the police said.

There was considerable panic in the area after the attack. The police said that there was utter confusion in the upper middle class colony as several people were going to their offices when the incident occurred.

The police also said that the assailants were probably aware of the victim’s movements and must have recede the area many times before actually deciding to murder him in broad daylight. A team of forensic experts, assisted by the police officers, also visited the spot and examined the vehicle in search of clues.

As Sultani was in hotel business and he also owns land in Haryana, the police are looking into both personal and business enmity angles. The driver has been questioned about the description of the assailants, which would help the police ferret out the accused.

The police also questioned the family members and hotel employees of the victim to gather some more information. A case of murder has been registered.



Panipat skips Heritage Week celebrations
Tribune News Service

Panipat, November 28
Caring two hoots for the directive of the Haryana Chief Secretary, Mr A N Mathur, on preservation of cultural and historical heritage, the district administration has failed to hold any World Heritage Week (November 19-25) celebrations this year.

In fact, not to talk of government departments, even the social organizations and NGOs seem to have forgotten about the heritage week, aimed at creating awareness among the general public, specially the students and the youth, by organizing various activities. The more disturbing fact is that a majority of the historical monuments are in a state of drift on account of bureaucratic apathy. It may be recalled that the city, famed for three battles of Panipat which had a bearing on destiny of India, boasts of some prominent monuments, including those protected under the Ancient Monuments Act.

Among the prominent historical sites are the Battles of Panipat Memorial at Kala Amb, the Panipat Museum, the Dargah of Bu Ali Shah Kalandar, the Tomb of Ibrahim Lodhi and scores of other sites. The NCR Tribune has highlighted their pathetic state time and again.

Mr Mathur, in his order, had asked the DC, Mr Mulk Raj Anand, “to organise functions at the site of the protected monuments by involving schoolchildren, socio-cultural organizations and other respectable persons of the district.” The Chief Secretary had also ordered that on-the-spot painting and debate contests be held for the conservation and preservation of the ancient monuments.

The cleaning and upkeep of the protected monuments, including the removal of the encroachments, was also ordered by Mr Mathur. However, turning a blind eye to Mr Mathur’s order, the district administration seems to be not inclined to do anything for the preservation of the rich historical heritage. A top district official told this correspondent that preservation of historical monuments was not on the priority list of the district administration, which was busy in other functions intended to give publicity to the Om Prakash Chautala government.



There are blackbuck in your backyard
Cecil Victor

New Delhi, November 28
If you ask villagers and shopkeepers at Tughlakhabad about the whereabouts of the Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, either they shake their head in bewilderment or give you blank stares.

Ditto on the Bhatti side of this nearly 7,000 acres of real estate in the heart of the South Delhi district. It is a pity because in the 18 years that Asola was notified as forest area, talk of vanishing flora and fauna, native to the Aravalli ecosystem, should have been quashed and at least the dense populace surrounding this woodland should have been made aware and proud of it.

On the Bhatti side, the 132 Infantry Battalion (Ecology) of the Rajput Regiment of the Indian Army has since 2001 been engaged in reclaiming the disused mines, planting 50,000 saplings of varied species annually. However, the sprawling 2,000 acres is still a stark landscape of keekar monoculture.

On the Asola side, where up to the late 30s leopards preyed on blackbuck, chinkara and neelgai, the most ferocious carnivore still extant is the slinky jackal. Forest conservator R.S. Prashanth says efforts are underway to reverse the degradation of flora and fauna and rectify the ignorance about the existence of the game reserve in the heart of the National Capital Region of Delhi. In 100-acre enclosures blackbuck and spotted deer have been reintroduced and in four years the population of the former has more than doubled to 80 but the deer have shown a reluctance to procreate fast enough, growing only by three offspring, bringing the total to 18.

As for the flora the claim is that a survey conducted by the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, some years ago established that the Asola-Bhatti sanctuary has 407 species (compared to 178 in 1953). Of these, 45 are new and represent regeneration. It is said that only one species peculiar to the Aravalli ecosystem in this part of the National Capital Region is not to be found. Other forestry experts say there are many more that could be part of a concerted effort to reintroduce the species within the huge acreage of the sanctuary. Mr Prashanth has indicated that there are plans to set up a modern nursery backed with a well-equipped laboratory, though he says that cloning and suchlike high-tech regeneration are not on the cards at the moment. He has also asked for four forest rangers and more motorcycles and Gypsies and wireless sets to enable the staff to patrol the vast perimeter of the sanctuary, particularly to timely plug breaches in its wall made by villagers to push their cattle to graze in forest land. There have been as many as 200 such breaches over the past three years.

As for the problem of anonymity of so large a game sanctuary in the heart of Delhi the department has been inviting schoolchildren to visit and study efforts at regeneration of flora and fauna in a degraded habitat, which was one of the original objectives for the establishment of the sanctuary. At least, the next generation knows it is there.



brazen attack
Yet another murder bid in Tis Hazari courts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
Panic prevailed on the Tiz Hazari Court premises in the East district this morning after an undertrial was shot at by a person. The undertrial, Rajesh Yadav, was shot outside the court when he was about to enter the police lockup on the premises.

The incident occurred around 11.40 am when Yadav was being brought to the police lockup from the court in the same building. The accused, who was later identified as Chittaranjan Dass Singh, resident of Mukhmainpur in North-West Delhi, started firing at Yadav.

As the accused fired five rounds from a countrymade weapon, two bullets hit the victim in the stomach and another hit a Maruti car parked on the premises.

Immediately after the firing incident, lawyers, litigants and the general public, who were on the premises, started running helter-skelter, trying to find cover.

However, the police, who were present in strength, managed to overpower the accused and seized the weapon. They also managed to bring the situation under control within a few minutes after the incident took place.

The victim, Rajesh Yadav from Jahangirpuri, was rushed to Bara Hindu Rao Hospital while the accused was arrested and taken into custody.

Singh told the police that he had a personal enmity with the victim over a monetary dispute. Yadav is alleged to have borrowed Rs 75,000 from Singh and did not return the amount.

Security guard shoots himself

Sudarshan Singh, a security guard in Solitaire Plaza in Karol Bagh area, reportedly committed suicide by shooting himself from his single barrel gun today. He joined the Solitaire Plaza one week ago. No suicide note was recovered from his person. The police have registered a case and the investigation is on, a spokesman of the Delhi Police said.



Protest march by Sena against vandalism
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, November 28
The district unit of the Shiv Sena today took out a procession in protest against large-scale vandalism and arson by an assembly of people who had gathered to offer namaz on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr in Udoog Vihar area last Wednesday.

The processionists, led by the state vice-presidents of the organisation, Mr Pushependra Rathee and Mr Balesh Juenja, started from Sohna Chowk and terminated at Sadar Bazar post office, the centre of the old Gurgaon city.

Mr Rathee and Mr Juneja stated that a meeting of representatives of various organisations would be convened soon to take stock of the violent incidents. The mob set ablaze about a dozen vehicles, including half-a-dozen cars around the nearby area of a factory. The labourers from the industrial units in the area have been offering namaz at the site for the past two years.

According to the police version, there was fracas among the congregationalists. The assembly was divided into groups owing allegiance to Moulvis, who had difference of opinion on the issue of collection of donations. The donations were to be collected from among the members of the community. The police version is that the donations raised were for funding of madarsas. While the members of the opposing groups were having scuffle on the issue of donations, a rumour was spread that someone from the factory had brick-batted on the congregationists.

The police have also underlined that the breach of peace was mere law and order problem and categorically ruled out any communal undertones in the entire development.

The rumour is understood to have dissolved the internal dissension among the congregationists.

The Shiv Sena has taken the stand that the arson and vandalism was a deep-seat conspiracy by fundamentalists of a particular religion. The sequence of events leaves no one in any doubt, it added. It took the opportunity to go on the offensive and urged the people to be on guard against what they described fundamentalist forces, which have tried to sow the seeds of religious hatred in Haryana.

The Shiv Sena also urged the government to ban such religious congregations on roads and initiate probe into the functioning of madarsas operating in the state.

Meanwhile, the Gurgaon Industrial Association has expressed concern at the incidents of violence in the industrial area and made out a case for stern action against the culprits.



Special Focus on jhajjar/Bahadurgarh
Most ZSB secretaries’ posts are lying vacant
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 28
Most of the posts of secretaries in the Zila Sainik Boards (ZSB) in the state are lying vacant, which is adversely affecting the work in the offices. The state government has already abolished the posts of the assistant secretaries and now the ZSB are being run by the clerks.

According to information, the Zila Sainik Boards are set up in every district for the welfare and resolving the problems of the ex-servicemen in the their respective district as they need not to rush to remote headquarters for every official work. It may be mentioned here that about two lakhs ex-servicemen families are in Haryana, of which half the population are living in Jhajjar, Rohtak, Rewari and Bhiwani districts only.

Of the total 19 ZSB, posts of the secretaries are lying vacant in nine districts and one secretary is given extra charge of three districts. For instance, the secretary at Gurgaon Board is also overseeing Jhajjar and Faridabad ZSB, while one secretary is looking work in Narnaul along with Rewari, Bhiwani and Rohtak districts. Under these circumstances, the secretary is busy only in travelling to attend office from one district to another and official work suffer and the ex-servicemen who are to directly deal with these offices also face harassment due to non-completion of their work. The workloads continue to pile up day by day in the offices due to lack of staff and the head.

The sources said that about 20 percent posts of clerical staff was also vacant in the offices, which is also adding more dust to the long pending files. Another grievances of the secretaries posted in the Boards are the non-implementation of Fifth Pay Commission’s report recommendations issued in 1996. The Army has been giving better salaries to the retired officer in the re-employment scheme than the pays on the post of secretary. So, the retired officers took less interest in this posting and prefer to work with the Army under re-employment scheme, the sources said.

The state government has already abolished the posts of assistant secretaries saying that there is no need to set up two parallel posts with the same salary, as the pay scales of both were the same. A retired Army officer said on the condition of anonymity that the pay scales of an HCS and a secretary were at Rs 460 and Rs 490, respectively in 1979, but now the HCS officer is getting much higher salary than the secretary.

Martyr’s last rites

The mortal remains of martyr Havildar Ashok Kumar were consigned to flames in his native Bahalgarh village of the district today. He died of a heart attack on duty in Pura Sector of Jammu. He was recruited in the Para shoot regiment in 1992. He left behind his mother, wife and two children. The district officials, including SDM S. K. Katyal, DSP Narender Kumar, were present on his funeral.

CM to visit district on December 2

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, is coming to the district on his two-day visit on December 2. The chief minister will inaugurate the newly constructed Blood Bank at the Civil Hospital on that day. The bank is equipped with all the modern facilities and equipment, including five rooms; blood bank, sterilisation room, counselling room, registration room and blood donations room. He would also inaugurate the lift irrigation project in Nyola village of the district on the same day. The project was competed at the cost of Rs 7.50 crore to provide irrigation facilities to the thirsty fields in the sandy land along the Rewari border.



Sonepat continues to suffer water pangs
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 28
The drinking water supply and the sewerage in the entire city of Sonepat are plagued with a plethora of problems.
According to a report, despite several protests made to the authorities concerned from time to time, the residents of Mohalla Kalan and its adjoining areas continue to get the supply of the contaminated water for the past seven or eight months.

Many residents said that the colour of the water was almost black and they think that there is some inter-mixing between the sewage and water lines. Even the drinking water gives foul smell and the residents have been complaining to the authorities of the Public Health Department from junior engineers to the Superintending Engineer, but there has been no response.

“We don’t think they even bother to read our complaints. What if there is an outbreak of a disease, who would then be held responsible,” they added.

A sluice-valve of the area leaks profusely daily and the water spread in the nearby bazaar, which looks like a pool of water. The pedestrians are forced to wade through the water almost daily.

Neither the officials of the Sonepat Municipal Council nor the Public Health Department have ever visited the area during the past eight months and the residents continue to face manifold problems on account of the water.

According to the residents, the local water reservoir was built at a time when there was the population of the town was around 35,000. With the increase in population and the construction of multi-storeyed buildings, it is inadequate.

The Residents Welfare Association has protested against the supply of contaminated water supply mixed with sand, mud and other insects and demanded immediate stoppage of the water. It also warned that if steps are not taken to check the leak of water from the sluice-valve, the residents have no alternative, but to gherao the officials.



Three billion people are devoid of basic 
facilities: Jagmohan
Our Correspondent

Noida, November 28
Three billion people are still deprived of basic facilities, the Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan said. Our Parliament is going astray from its purpose and has been reduced to the level of meaningless discussions.

He said the level of debates and discussions in Parliament was sadly going down by each day. He felt sorry that the chosen representatives of the people were using such a language in the House, which was not only improper but also even reprehensible. A part of the world appeared prosperous and healthy, but there are still about three billion people who are devoid of basic facilitates like sanitation. Hundred crores people go to bed without meals every alternate day, Mr Jagmohan added.

There is a complete imbalance in development, which are taking place these days, and we have become retrograde in the matter of principles, proprieties and spiritualism. What is happening in Assam and Bihar is indicative of depraved mentality where innocent people are being killed, he said.

Mr Jagmohan, who was speaking as the chief guest at the Amity School of Communication convocation here yesterday, also came down heavily on media that it had lost much of its sheen as impartial, fair and constructive journalism

Emphasising the significant role of the media, Mr Jagmohan said during decade of 90s media had not projected a correct picture of Kashmir. Pakistan’s regional papers had played a very important role in the Partition of India. Sometimes media grossly plays up some events and incidents of minor importance.



Draw for allotment of Noida plots in December
Parmindar Singh

Noida, November 28
The draw for the allotment of plots under the Noida Residential Scheme 2003 will be taken out during the first week of December, it is learnt. According to Noida Authority sources the forms of the applicants are being processed these days.

Some 73,000 people had applied for the residential plots in the scheme that was launched on August 15 this year. A total of 3,072 plots are available in different Noida sectors under this scheme.

There are 22 plots in Sector 43, 70 in Sector 47, 260 in Sector 48, 10 in Sector 50, 256 in Sector 51, 136 in Sector 52, 272 in Sector 71, 182 in Sector 72, 1014 plots in Sector 105 and 249 in Sector 108 for which the draw will be taken out.

There are four sizes of plots in the scheme. In the first category, there are 611 plots of 112 sq mt size, followed by 1,123 plots in 162 sq mt to 200 sq mt sizes. Category III has 606 plots of 250 to 300 sq mt size and finally there are 426 plots of 450 sq mt size.

It may be recalled the Noida Authority had earned over Rs 7 crore from the sale of these application forms alone and had collected another Rs 500 crore in the form of registration fee with the application forms. The Trade Tax Department had then sent a notice to the Noida Authority to deposit trade tax on this income.

Unlimited Internet use for Rs 499

BSNL, G B Nagar, has offered a second landline (basic phone) to the existing customers of BSNL at a concessional rate exclusively for Internet use. The monthly charge of this new line is fixed at Rs 499.

One can get it immediately from BSNL stalls being arranged in different sectors of Noida, the GM, Telecom, Noida, Mr A.K. Garg, says.

The Internet access charges will be payable separately by the customer to the ISP concerned. The documents required to be attached with the application form for a phone connection include a photocopy of the last bill paid for the existing BSNL telephone, a copy of the driving licence / passport/ identity card issued by government/ semi-government for personal identity proof, and two passport-sized photos

The second basic connection is being provided against the existing BSNL telephone and without any security. Its advantage is that the existing telephone will not remain busy while using Internet, monthly rent of the second phone has been fixed at Rs 499 for unlimited use. The second basic phone will have access to virtual no 172222.

The Sulabh scheme is available @ Rs 160 per month for incoming calls only. One may opt for outgoing facility also under this scheme but there will be no free call and call charges are fixed @ Rs 1.20 per call, the GM, Telephone, has clarified.

BSNL stalls will function in different sectors (from10 am hrs to 5.30 pm) from November 29 to December 7 for providing the customers application form and accepting the duly filled in forms for the above scheme along with the requisite documents.

Alternatively, SDOP-IV, 370, Ganga Shopping Complex Sector 29, Noida can be contacted on all working days.



Unauthorised workshops on main arteries create traffic hazards
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 28
Unauthorised makeshift workshops and parking encroachments on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh, Sonepat-Gohana, Sonepat-Rohtak and other main roads, especially the telephone exchange and the railway roads, have created a serious traffic hazard on these busy roads in this city which is a district headquarters.

According to a report, scores of automobile spare parts shops and motor repair workshops have mushroomed. Almost all of them are unauthorised. Virtually from 8 am till late in the evening hundreds of vehicles can be seen parked on the main roads along the roads occupying nearly half of the roads’ width span. Most of these vehicles are there for repair. The Atlas road and a stretch of the railway road between the PWD (B and R) rest house and the railway station are the worst hit.

Local mechanics with the help of their counterparts from other areas have turned even the main road into veritable workshops. These roadside repair workshops are completely unauthorised.

The automobile parts shops and the makeshift workshops run a brisk business together at the cost of the motorists.

The Sonepat-Bahalgarh and the Sonepat-Murthal roads were initially meant to accommodate fast-moving traffic but with these unauthorised parking and repair work encroachments they have been reduced to a narrow corridor of slow moving traffic.

During the peak hours, the high traffic congestion results in bumper-to-bumper driving and in places traffic bottlenecks.

The civic authorities and the traffic police seem to be ineffective in either curbing the flourishing unauthorised workshops or the illegal parking on the roads which handle the biggest traffic stream of the city. This is apparent in the manner encroachments here continue unchecked.

A glaring example of this is the 3 km stretch between the railway crossing near Hindu College and the ECE factory roundabout. At any time of the day scores of trucks are parked on the main roads along this stretch. There are more than 100 spare parts shops situated along the side road. While the side road is used by the shopkeepers as a sit-in place and for tool containers, the trucks and other vehicles are parked on the man road blocking more than half of the road width.

Some of the shopkeepers said this was the biggest truck repair centre in the city. They admitted it was completely unauthorised.

After the city had grown in a haphazard manner, the state government enacted the Country and Town Planning Act to regulate the growth and development. It is generally felt that once construction is done, whether legal or unauthorised, it stays for all times. When such constructions are brought to the notice of the municipal council’s authorities, the builders are served with notices. Further construction is stayed. But finally everything is regularised with the owner paying a penalty. All this has made a mockery of the rules governing the construction of buildings in and around Sonepat. An impression has gone round that any construction can be done without sanction and later regularised.

The provisions of the Country and Town Planning Act have not been enforced effectively and the purpose of the Act has been defeated because of the lukewarm attitude of the authorities. In many cases, the Act has been openly flouted. The construction activity goes on unabated even on days when the district authorities are on an alert and they are demolishing the unauthorised constructions without any delay. But the well-connected do not face any difficulty. Buildings are completed in record time to be rented out to various government departments, banks and other commercial establishments which are short of accommodation. Many newly constructed residential buildings are used as offices. This has pushed up the rentals.

The Tenants Association has demanded effective implementation of the Rent Control Act and urged the state government to amend it to safeguard the interests of the tenants.





Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism?

If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The Indian cricket team’s poor and lackluster performance in the final of the triangular series against Australia in the Eden Gardens before a massive crowd of about 1,25,000 on November 18 has once again proved that the Indian team consists mostly of paper tigers, especially when they are pitted against formidable rivals in finals.

The main reason for the debacle is our Test players’ preoccupation with commercial endorsements, which generate a lot of money. Result: They spend less time practicing on the field. Whenever one switches on TV, our players are seen pushing one consumer product or the other. Recently they were seen advertising tonics such as Chavanprash.

It is high time the BCCI imposes a ban on players appearing in commercial ads. The Board can compensate the players by increasing their match fees.

After all, the burden of preserving the heritage of this noble game and inculcating in the players the urge to win lies with the Board as well.

ANUP KUMAR, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi

Halt trains at Vivek Vihar

I would like to bring to the attention of the Railway Board and the Northern Railways the plight of residents of colonies situated near Vivek Vihar due to lack of proper facilities at the local railway station. The affected colonies are: Jhilmil Colony, Vivek Vihar, Vishwakama Nagar, Dilshad Garden, Surya Nagar and Seemapuri. Most passenger and express trains do not stop here and the residents have to go to Shahdara, Delhi or Ghaziabad to board the trains.

I, therefore, request the Railway Board authorities that all passenger and express trains bound for Moradabad must be stopped at Vivek Vihar railway station, especially 309/310 Ambala Passenger and 304 Kalka-Delhi Passenger.

Will the Railway Board look into this matter and consider these suggestions in public interest?

BISHAN DAS BHATIA,  Jhilmil Colony, Delhi

Reward honest workers

Teachers and lecturers are given recognition in the form of awards on occasions like the Teachers Day. But ‘D’ category employees like peon, sweeper-cum-chowkidar, water-carrier, gardener etc and the clerical staff employed in schools and colleges do not get any kind of reward or award, whatever their level of dedication and commitment.

This came to mind when Rameshwar Dayal, a sweeper-cum-chowkidar of our school, retired after having put in 35 years of diligent service. Even now, after retirement, he has no house or plot worth the name. It is sad that committed and honest workers get a pittance for salary whereas cunning and the unscrupulous persons mint money with scant regard for moral or ethical values.

Our government should find a way to help and reward honest workers and punish the shirkers.


Weed out illegal immigrants

It is a matter of great satisfaction that East & North Delhi district police have busted a gang of Bangladeshi criminals, including six women.

They were involved in a sensitive robbery in Vivek Vihar, where they had broken open the main gate of the house, tied the old couple and looted lakhs of rupees.

Bangladeshi women were working as maids in the posh colonies and providing information to anti-social elements, enabling them to strike at an appropriate occasion.

As a matter of fact these illegal Bangladeshis have created a law and orders problem in the country. The need of the hour is to expose and remove them from the mainstream, especially from Capital and Calcutta, where they are settled in large numbers.


Use your master computer

I always read your column, Speaking Out/Do you have a Grouse. It has a feel of the pulse of the people and highlights the enlightened views of the intelligentsia, which will guide our society and nation towards greatness.

This time, all letters were worth pondering over. Mr Ujjalpal Singh’s concluding remark that “Elections should take place under President’s rule’’ in very timely.

Similarly, ‘Book worms needed’. TV serials have become monotonous and do not transmit any message. A few years back channels had beamed serials on historical personalities — The Great Maratha, Tippu Sultan, Chanakya etc – and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharat. Then, there were socials like Humlog and Buniyad and stories from the world of literature, which inspired children and elders alike to read. We should revert to it. There is no dearth of good novels and stories which can be serialized on TV channels. Incidentally, the audio-visual media leaves an indelible impact on the minds of children and adults alike.

“Women at fault” is a very timely warning to ladies to preserve their dignity and self-respect.

In the end, the best letter, `Teach Politics from childhood’. I want to tell the leadership that we in childhood had a full subject on Civics which in later stages of school & college converted into Political Science. Now days, while experimenting with education we have clubbed civics, history and geography under one head, Social Studies. Result: Today even adults do not have any idea of the World map, World’s history etc. Their knowledge is locked in the “mouse” of a computer by clicking which they can glance at the subject matter and conveniently forget all about it. I am not against computers or calculators, but at the same time I want the children and adults to use their own brain, the master computer given to human beings by God.


Happy homes wanted

Principal Madhu Chandra in her article, ‘A tribute to Children’ (NCR November 17) concludes: “So, the greatest lesson we can learn from children is that of honesty, integrity and that hard-to-find quality innocence. On these, revolves a beautiful world.”

In this connection, I wish to say that all children do not possess these inherent qualities. To have these qualities, the child needs a happy home. If children every where were imparted the right kind of training, there would be no wars, no crimes, and no poverty.

Almost all the problems that afflict the human race can be traced to wrong environment during childhood. Proper home training helps in development of a balanced personality. So, no child should be allowed to remain unduly long in an unhappy home, for unhappiness can soon afflict both mind and body.

To build a happy home, both parents must be prepared to get along well with each other. Each must respect the rights of the other and both must be prepared to blend their personalities. Some child specialists have this to say about children: ``Talk and listen to your child. Listen to his experiences, answer his questions; help him build a vocabulary. Children need examples more than criticism. Every child that is born brings the hope that God still has faith in man. Stimulate the child’s interest in learning. Try to develop his curiosity; instill in him the realisation that learning is fun.”

O P SHARMA, Faridabad



Employees oppose privatisation

Faridabad, November 28
The employees of the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), who are opposed to the policies of contractual system in the department, have claimed that round-the-clock power supply at reduced rates could be realised if the state government give up the privatisation of the department in the present manner.

Addressing the sub-divisional protests held today, the leaders of the All Haryana Power Corporation Workers Union (AHPCWU) claimed that the target of improving the power supply situation in the state could not be achieved with the present policies and measures. They said while there was a need to check power thefts at higher levels, the improved system of distribution and supply network could bring the desired results only when the staff on duty was dedicated. TNS



DSGMC announces anniversary dates
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee today announced the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji would be observed on January 5 instead of December 27 this year, the martyrdom day of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib on December 24, 2004, and the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji would be celebrated on November 26, 2004. This is according to the Nanak Shahi calendar, a spokesman of the DSGMC said.

Inflated power bills: The BSES Yamuna Power Limited has allegedly sent inflated power bills to consumers in its areas. It is alleged if the official concerned is informed he does not correct the bills. Such is the case with Modern Ball Bearing Company, Lothia Road, Kashmiri Gate. One of the owners of the company, Mr Bishambar Behl, claimed in a complaint letter he had paid the electricity bill of Rs 47,000 by a demand draft. But the BSES sent an inflated bill of more than Rs 4 lakh. He has complained to the officials concerned but they did not pay heed to his grievance, he alleged. 



Two die as bus dashes against truck 

Sonepat: Two persons died and five other were injured, two of them seriously, in a road accident on the GT road near Rai this morning when a Haryana Roadways bus dashed against a truck. The seriously injured have been referred to a trauma centre in Delhi and the police have registered a case.

According to information, a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-55-7463) was coming to Delhi from Chandigarh. Near Rai, it reportedly dashed against a parked truck from behind. Lal Singh, a retired inspector of the CRPF, reportedly died on the spot whereas another unidentified person succumbed to his injuries while being taken to the Civil Hospital by the national highway traffic and the police.

The injured included Satpal, Jawahar, Sheetal Kaur, Satender and Badan Singh. Two of them have been referred to the trauma centre in Delhi. OC



Blind murder case worked out
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
With the arrest of two youths, the East district police today claimed to have worked out a blind murder case of an employee of T-Series that took place in School Block, Shakarpur. The suspects were identified as Raju Jha and Chandan. Their two associates are still absconding.

They were arrested from the Bhairon Marg area last evening. During interrogation, they confessed to have killed Shyam Sunder Vadhawa who worked in T-Series Cassette Company in Noida. They disclosed that that on the night of November 22 they were having liquor in DDA Park in School Block in Shakarpur.

They were not satisfied with the liquor they had. They wanted more but did not have money. They stabbed the victim and robbed him.

He was admitted to a hospital by the police where he succumbed to his injuries, the police said.

Load-shedding schedule

The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) on Friday announced electricity would not be available on November 29 in J - Block Jehangirpuri from 10 am to 6 pm and in F Block of Balinagar, 5 and 2 A Block of Ramesh Nagar, Bank Enclave, F and FA Block Sudershan Park from 9 am to 5 pm.

On December 2 power will not be available in B Block Jehangirpuri from 10 am to 6 pm.

Auto thieves held

The Crime Branch of the city police arrested three auto thieves and worked out 12 theft cases of vehicles and recovered two Maruti cars from their possession.

The suspects, Krishan Kumar, Praveen Kumar and Raj Pal, used to steal cars from Dwarka and other areas of the Capital and sold them to their contacts in Haryana after getting the registration numbers changed. They were arrested from Nand Enclave where they had gone to deliver a stolen vehicle, the police said. 



Focus on quality, minister urges exporters
Tribune News Service

Panipat, November 28
The Minister of State for Textiles, Mr G. N. Ramachandran, yesterday urged handloom manufacturers and exporters to focus on quality to compete in the globalised economy.

Addressing a meeting of the Exporters Association jointly organised by the National Handloom Development Corporation, the Weavers Service Centre, Nitra and the Textile Committee, the minister said the quality of the product was its USP in the wake of globalisation and liberalisation.

Underlining various incentives granted by his ministry towards the promotion of the textile and handloom sectors, the minister complimented the local exporters for exporting handloom products worth over Rs 1,200 crore during the last year.

The DC, Mr Mulk Raj Anand, informed that after the shifting of about 500 dyeing units from the residential to industrial area, Sector 29, the pollution problem would be tackled to a large extent in the city.

Basic infrastructure such as water and power supply, sewerage, drainage and effluent treatment plant are being provided at the site for the convenience of the dyeing units.

The general secretary of the Exporters Association, Mr Ram Niwas Gupta, demanded a reduction in the cotton and cotton yarn as their higher cost had an adverse affect on the export of finished handloom products.

He also demanded waiving of income tax on the handloom products on the pattern of  wooden crafts. The minister assured that these demands would be considered by the central government.

The Nitra Director, Mr J. V. Rao, the Deputy Director of the Weavers Service Centre, Mr S. V. Mathur, the Deputy Director of the National Handloom Development Corporation, Mr Deol Lal, and the Deputy Director of the Textile Committee, Mr Tilak Prasad, highlighted the activities undertaken by their respective organisations.


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