N C R   S T O R I E S


Lazy Monday perks up at noon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
The NCT of Delhi recorded a voter turnout between 48 per cent and 50 per cent by the close of polling on Monday. The corresponding figure in the 1998 Assembly election was 48.99 per cent and 65.75 per cent in 1993. The highest turnout was recorded in North East District at 50 per cent and the lowest — nearly 40 per cent — in the North and Central districts.

The Election Commission (EC) said polling was by and large peaceful in the Capital. Deputy Election Commissioner AN Jha told media persons that any decision on repolling in NCT of Delhi would be taken only after the observers and the returning officers submit their detailed reports by tomorrow.

Najafgarh registered the maximum polling percentage at 55 per cent. Heavy voter turnout was also reported from Moti Nagar and Ambedkar Nagar. In contrast, Karol Bagh, said to be a stronghold of the BJP, recorded only 28 per cent. At many places, balloting was delayed due to the malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Deputy Chief Electoral Officer SS Ghankrokta conceded that there were a number of complaints about faulty EVMs that affected the voting percentage in certain constituencies. “The faulty EVMs were replaced by the technical persons deputed for election duties and balloting continued smoothly,” he said.

There were a few complaints of violations of model code of conduct, including one by INC nominee Alka Lamba in the Moti Nagar constituency from where BJP’s Madan Lal Khurana is contesting. The failure of an EVM in a Moti Nagar polling booth led to a minor scuffle between the BJP and the INC sympathisers.

In Geeta Colony, Health Minister Dr AK Walia and Naveen Kumar of the BJP traded charges on the issue of casting of bogus votes, allegedly by INC sympathisers. Dr Walia denied the allegation, saying it was his complaint that the EC officials were too strict and were turning back genuine voters.

President APJ Abdul Kalam exercised his franchise as President for the first time when he cast his vote minutes before polling ended. The President, who had rescheduled his visit to Punjab and Haryana, drove straight from the airport to the polling station inside Rashtrapati Bhavan Estate and stood in the queue to cast his ballot.

Among the early birds was INC President Sonia Gandhi, who cast her vote at a polling booth in Nirman Bhawan. Ms Gandhi is a voter in the Gole Market constituency, where Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is pitted against Poonam Azad of the BJP. Dikshit and Ahmed Patel accompanied Ms Gandhi to the booth.

Anil Shastri of the INC claimed Ms Gandhi had to wait at her residence due to technical glitches in the EVM at Nirman Bhawan. “She was informed about it … she had to delay her visit by 30 minutes,” he said. Shastri said the EC was urged to extend the hours of polling in certain constituencies because of the faulty EVMs.

Casting her ballot in the Lodhi Colony constituency, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra castigated the BJP for raking up the issue of her mother’s foreign origin. “This is a non-issue. Only the BJP is making it an issue,” she told reporters. She said she did not feel the need to campaign as the party had already done enough.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit alleged that the BJP workers were “terrorising” the voters and some of her party’s supporters had been beaten up.



Age-old woe

THE journey to the ballot box was not very easy for the elderly and the physically challenged. Many among them complained of problems in reaching the booths.

The aged complained that there should have been special arrangements for the old and the frail, so that they did not have to trudge a long distance to cast their votes. Several disabled people, braving the weather and the unfriendly approach to the polling centres, were unanimous in their view that despite the odds they wouldn’t have missed the chance to vote.

The problem was further aggravated with the security personnel stopping the vehicles about half a kilometre away from the polling booths. “Either they should have let us take the vehicles farther ahead or made special arrangements for the old people”, pointed out a senior citizen.

Bloomers without bias

The Election Commission does not discriminate against anyone. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit realised this when she found to her annoyance that her name did not figure in the voters’ list at booth no 10, located in the Delhi School of Art on Tilak Marg.

Confusion reigned with polling staff scanning the list without success. The voters’ list of other booths were also examined and finally her name was traced to booth number 14, located in the same complex. And just when the Chief Minister was about to cast her ballot, photographers trying to capture her on their lens caused a commotion. In the melee, the tables and an electronic voting machine (EVM) came tumbling down.

No hiccups for Khurana

The BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Delhi, Mr Madan Lal Khurana’s visit to his Kirti Nagar polling booth was without hiccups. His nearest opponent, former DUSU president and Congress candidate, Ms Alka Lamba, alleged that the BJP was resorting to bogus voting and violating the code of conduct by distributing campaign material even on the polling day. Mr Khurana dismissed the charges as “frustration of a losing candidate”.

Incidentally, the police have received a complaint of “irregularities in Moti Nagar constituency from Mr Khurana himself. The complaint alleges that the Congress had “hired goons” from Panipat to indulge in “irregularities.”

Mystery of missing name

A person, who is residing for 25 years in the same area, was unable to find his name in the voters’ list at Sanchar Bhavan, the booth closest to Nirvachan Sadan, the EC headquarters.

Having exercised his franchise in every election in the same constituency for the past 10 years, he was amazed to find his parents’ name in the list but not his own. The EC admitted that there were some instances of missing names.

Left out in the cold

For 25 workers the election brought bad news: it had literally rendered them roofless. These hapless people had only the Delhi Administration to blame for having converted their night shelter into a polling centre. These daily wage workers, who normally catch their forty winks in the Delhi Gate Bazaar night shelter, had to stay out in the cold after they were turned away from the MCD-owned night shelter. TNS



BJP, Cong supporters clash amid
claims, counter-claims
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
Despite the tightest security arrangements made for the Delhi Assembly elections by the Delhi Police and other Central police organisations, election related violence has been reported across the city.

At least six persons were injured and a police vehicle was damaged as BJP and Congress supporters clashed in Mehrauli area of South Delhi over claims and counter-claims about bogus voting made by the two parties.

The supporters of the rival parties exchanged blows and used batons against each other around noon in Bhatti village of Mehrauli. Six persons were injured in the incident. Just as the police stepped in, the mob turned its wrath on a police control room (PCR) van and damaged it. Unable to control the mob, additional police personnel were rushed to the spot and the situation was brought under control. As many as 15 persons were detained for creating trouble during polling in Mehrauli. Joint Chief Electoral Officer S. S. Yadav said that “there was a scuffle between supporters of two political parties, but nothing more than that happened. An inquiry is being conducted and the 15 persons detained were being questioned.”

In North-East Delhi’s Yamuna Vihar, Roopesh Batla was allegedly taken into custody after a clash with sitting BJP MLA Sahib Singh Chauhan. Unnerved by the polling pattern, Chauhan, along with his supporters, allegedly attacked Shiv Sainiks who charged the police had connived with the BJP men.

Though Shiv Sainiks claimed Batla was detained in Khajuri Khas police station, DCP (North East) Praveen Ranjan denied it. Shiv Sainiks also alleged that bogus voting took place at booth number 16 at Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Majnu ka Tila in North district. They alleged that local Congress workers brought 150 workers and gave them alcoholic drinks.

In the Khichripur area of East Delhi, BJP candidate from Patparganj constituency Gyan Chand was admitted with injuries at Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital after he was allegedly attacked by Congress candidate Amrish Singh Gautam and his son. Chand is the elder brother of a Union Minister.

BJP and Congress workers came to blows in Moti Nagar constituency where the saffron party’s chief ministerial candidate, Madan Lal Khurana, is pitted against Congress nominee Alka Lamba.



Apparent rural-urban divide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
A rural-urban divide became apparent as polling drew to a close with more voters exercising their franchise in the rural areas of NCT of Delhi. An INC sympathiser said the holidays over the weekend may have impacted the polling percentage in South Delhi. “People are out holidaying … they have three days of leave since Saturday,” he reasoned.

Few voters showed up in South Delhi in the first hour with polling booths recording nil votes cast. The polling was moderate in the forenoon mainly due to cold weather and faulty EVMs. However, voting picked up thereafter. Thirty five per cent of the electorate had cast their votes till 3 p.m. The figure was 20 per cent at noon.

It was a day of fun, food and frolic for slum-dwellers who, even after the long hours of wait to cast their votes, stayed back after the exercise with children enjoying the hustle and bustle. This was in sharp contrast to the mood and atmosphere in posh areas where people left the polling booths in a hurry after casting their votes.

The polling booths in posh localities wore almost a deserted look. However, the posh Defence Colony, which had the dubious distinction of registering only 28 per cent voter turnout in the 1998 election, has this time seen more number of people coming out to vote. Still, the turnout at most polling booths was not much as compared to slum areas.

Polling at 9,008 stations in 2,377 premises began at eight in the morning. The duration of polling was reduced by an hour because of the introduction of EVMs. As many as 12,500 EVMs were used of which 2,500 had been arranged from Faridabad as the number of contesting candidates in seven constituencies had exceeded 16.

Tipplers rejoice

With the long hours of prohibition over, Bacchus worshippers were probably the first to rejoice at the winding up of elections in the Capital. With the “dry days’ having stretched to three long days, the queues outside liquor shops was worth a look. Impatient faces awaited the moment when the shutters would go up.

Die-hard fans of the bottle sure had found ways to keep themselves satiated during the ‘forced sobriety’ but for the ones who had missed the bus the wait was long.

Shops were crowded and impatient crowds almost barged into shops in a few places in the city. To ensure a mishap-free election the law enforcers had given orders for the liquor stores to down their shutters.



HIV cases on the rise, figures don’t show in records
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 1
If reports of established private laboratories functioning in the town are to be believed, the number of HIV positive cases in the district has gone up to 129. However, there are only six aids patients in the official records of the local health authorities.

The HIV infected are from every section of society. They include drivers, housewives, students, police personnel, government and private employees. However, a majority of them are truck drivers and businessmen.

Regarding the authenticity of the reports of HIV positive cases, the owner of a laboratory informed this correspondent on condition of anonymity that the samples were sent to Delhi for testing. Nearly half a dozen laboratories in the town have the records of cases, which were tested by Delhi labs.

One truck driver, who has tested HIV positive, said he had got infected because of his frequent visits to red light areas during long journeys to Mumbai and Assam.

However, the health authorities are in the dark about the alarming situation as only six patients of aids are recorded in their official registers. A senior doctor of the Civil Hospital told NCR Tribune the private laboratories were not furnishing reports of tests to the government health authorities. “I will not confirm the reports of the private laboratories until the patients are tested by us,” he said, but admitted that the number of cases might be more than those on hospital records.

The district in-charge of the aids control programme, Dr A. P. Gulia, stated the health authorities had been organising seminars, discussions and other programmes to create awareness among people about aids.



UP has its own home-spun stamp paper scam
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, December 1
If Abdul Karim Telgi’s stamp paper scam, running into hundreds of crores of rupees, is making headlines in the national news, the UP Government has also been found to be mired in a similar fraud. As many as 482 fake stamp papers have been found in the files of the Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, here. This scam is worth Rs 3.11 lakh.

These stamp papers were reportedly purchased from Meerut, Bulandshahr and Aligarh.

The district administration had decided to get the files of all government departments checked for illegal stamp papers.

On the District Magistrate’s orders, the Joint Commissioner, Stamps, Mr Ajay Kumar Goel, himself inspected the files of the Executive Engineer, Irrigation Division. In all, 43 files were checked and 482 fake stamp papers were found to have been used in them. These are worth Rs 3.11 lakh.

The ADM (F), Mr Vinode Kumar Parmar, said these files pertained to contracts from 1995 to 2002.

The fake stamp papers used in these files were of Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 denomination.

Some stamp papers had been found to be tampered with: A Rs 100 stamp paper was converted into one of Rs 1,000 and a Rs 500 stamp paper into one of Rs 5,000 etc.

Meerut has four irrigation divisions and in the files of all these divisions fake stamp papers had allegedly been used. The DM, Mr Santosh Kumar Yadav, has ordered that files of all government departments in Ghaziabad should be checked minutely for detecting fake stamp papers.



Jeweller duped with chilli powder 

Bulandshahr: A miscreant, who came posing as a customer in the jewellery shop of Sandeep under Nagar Kotwali, decamped with jewellery from his shop by throwing chilli powder in his eyes.

Sandeep was at the shop of his father Chander Mohan Varma in Lal Kuan at 11 am on Sunday when a well-dressed young man came in and expressed the desire to see some rings.

As Sandeep showed him some seven rings, the ‘customer’ took out a packet from his pocket. Throwing chilli powder into Sandeep’s eyes, he ran out with the gold rings. Though Sandeep raised the alarm and the desperado was chased by some shopkeepers, he succeeded in fleeing towards the Uperkote area.

A large number of jewellers marched towards the city kotwali to give a written report. The traders said the police had failed to check the incidents of attacks and daring daylight robberies at business establishments. OC


Vidrohi alleges irregularities in supply of flour to BPL families
Our Correspondent

Rewari, December 1
The president of the Haryana Janata Dal (U), Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has criticised the distribution of flour instead of wheat through the government-sponsored ration depots to families living below the poverty line (BPL) in Rewari district.

He alleged that the flour being supplied to the BPL families in the district was of poor and inferior quality and was “unfit for human consumption”. He recalled that the government had earlier announced to replace the supply of flour with wheat due to the repeated demand by the people.

However, the decision to supply wheat in place of flour had been abandoned apparently under pressure from a canny lobby comprising the flour-mill owners and bureaucrats of the Food Corporation (FCI) of India, he alleged. Mr Vidrohi asserted that the FCI bureaucrats wanted to get rid of the stocks of rotten wheat lying in their warehouses.

Mr Vidrohi demanded the immediate cessation of the supply of such flour and resumption of distribution of edible wheat to families living below the poverty line (BPL).



Funds flow in, but will health services improve?
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 1
The European Commission’s decision to release special aid of Rs 18 lakh for health services in the district may be music to the ears of many, but will these funds be put to proper use or go down the drain as usual?

According to Health Department sources, the European Commission has agreed to adopt all districts of Haryana for sanctioning special grants for improvement of health services. The commission had earlier provided support of this kind for three districts only - Ambala, Karnal and Yamunanagar. It was learnt that out of the fund of about Rs 20 crore, Faridabad had been sanctioned Rs 18 lakh. This included funds for upgradation and improvement of infrastructure in the civil hospitals and the primary health centres in the district.

As this is not the first time that such a grant or aid has been given for government-run hospitals, experts believe that unless the authorities put the money to proper use and follow up with their own efforts, such help cannot guarantee services on a fast track. According to sources in the department, a voluntary organisation had sanctioned Rs 1 lakh for improvement of facilities in the TB ward in the Civil Hospital here about four years ago. Amazingly, a big lock has been hanging outside the main door of the ward for the last one year, said an insider.

The Civil Hospital here, which is one of the largest government hospitals in the state, has been facing a shortage of medical specialists. The hospital has no radiologist, no surgeon, no full-time gynaecologist and no CT scan machine. The ultrasound machine here is also reported to be out of order and as a result, the private laboratories and centres had been fleecing the patients.

It is learnt that the authorities have now made some arrangements locally to make available the services of a surgeon and a gynaecologist.

It is reported that at any given time only 50 per cent of the doctors and other staff are available in the hospital as the rest remain occupied with VIP visits, attending court hearings in medico-legal cases and participating in some campaigns.



5 women among 10 injured in road accident
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 1
At least 10 persons, including five women, were injured when a maxi jeep in which they were travelling overturned on the Sonepat-Gohana road near Barwasni village, about 5 km from here late last evening.

According to a report, all the injured persons belonged to same family and were rushed to the local civil hospital from where two of them were referred to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment. The injured persons include Dilana, Dhanpati, Beermati, Nirmla, Meena, Prasanni Devi, Ved Parkash, Hoshiar Singh, Narinder, Dayanand and the driver Mahinder Singh. It is stated that at least 14 persons of the same family were travelling in this maxi jeep and were returning to Diluwala village in Jind district after attending the kirya ceremony at a relative’s house at Hamimpur village in Delhi. The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress.

According to another report, the Mohana police recovered the body of a woman lying in the Guhana minor near Guhana village, about 25 km from here today. The body still remains unidentified and has been sent for the postmortem examination. The police believe it to be a case of murder and a case has been registered with the Kharkhauda police in this connection. Meanwhile, the Government Railway Police (GRP) have recovered the body of an unidentified man lying on the railway track near Ganaur Railway Station, about 20 km from here today. The GRP has sent the body for the postmortem examination. The GRP also recovered the body of an unidentified man lying on the railway track near Harsana Kalan railway station and sent it for the postmortem examination today.

Ration supply suspended to 22 fair price shops

In a bid to streamline the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Food and Supplies Department has suspended the supply of rationed commodities to 22 fair price shops in Sonepat district. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, told mediapersons here today that during a special campaign the officials checked as many as 192 fair price shops and detected irregularities and malpractices in the distribution of rationed commodities during the current financial year. The officials, he said, also confiscated the security deposits totalling Rs 30,600 of the fair price shops on similar charge during the period under review. He also disclosed that officials had detected irregularities and malpractices in the distribution of rationed commodities during inspection of 98 fair price shops during October last and had suspended the supply of three fair price shops.

Moreover, the security deposits of Rs 12,800 were also confiscated for serious irregularities. Meanwhile, the DC also said that officials had inspected the records of the brick kilns and ordered the cancellation of the licences of 23 brick-kilns for committing irregularities during the period under review. The department officials, he said, had also inspected as many as 35 petrol pumps and seized samples of petrol and diesel from some of the petrol pumps. Meanwhile, there has been no let up in the diversion of rationed commodities, particularly wheat and kerosene oil to the black market by certain depot-holders in connivance with the officials of the Food and Supplies Department.

Two Remanded to Judicial Custody

The Judicial Magistrate of Sonepat, Mr Rakesh Singh, has remanded two accused, Sukhbir and Ilyasi alias Doctor, arrested in the fake currency notes racket, to 14-day judicial custody. According to a report, both the accused will be produced before the court on December 13. The accused, Ilyasi alias Doctor, belonged to Farmana village in this district and Sukhbir belonged to Najafgarh (Delhi). The accused, Ilyasi alias Doctor, had also been arrested by the police in a murder case.

It may be recalled that the police had busted fake currency racket on November 11 following the arrest of four members. During the course of investigations and interrogation of the arrested members, the police had seized a photostat machine used for the printing of fake currency notes.

The accused, who had completed a pharmacy course, was involved in the murdered of Dr Sardana in Bhiwani. He was sentenced to imprisonment for life in this case in 1994. Due to his good behaviour in jail he was released on parole on June 14 last year but failed to return to the jail.



Escapee continues to give police the slip
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 1
The Gohana police have failed to achieve a breakthrough to rearrest a dreaded criminal Sunil, involved in a number of criminal cases. He had escaped from the police custody while being taken to Gohana for appearing before a judicial magistrate there last week.

According to a report, the police have, however, arrested a youth Sanjay who is reported to have given the criminal a lift on motorcycle after his escape from the police custody.

It is stated that Sanjay had failed to give a concrete clue to the police about the whereabouts of the dreaded criminal Sunil who is reported to be a member of a notorious gang of criminals headed by Sheelu, who is also involved in a case of murder.

Police sources say that Sheelu had hatched a conspiracy to manage the escape of Sunil.

Meanwhile, the police had carried out surprise raids at a number of places and hideouts of Sunil.

Man attempts suicide

A youth Ajit was reported to have made an attempt to commit suicide by taking sulphas tablets in his house at Farmana village about 25 km from here last evening.

According to a report, he was rushed to the local civil hospital from where he was shifted to the PGIMS at Rohtak.

It is stated that he took the extreme step after his parents had distributed some property.

The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress.

It is stated that his brother Ashok who was in the BSF, had died in Kargil operations and the parents had also distributed the amount of the grant received by the relatives from the government.

Girl kidnapped

The Murthal police have registered a case against two youths, Raj Kumar and Revinder of UP on the charge of alleged kidnapping of a minor girl from Zainpur Tikola village on November 4.

According to a report, this followed a complaint lodged by Mr Tapraj, brother of the girl who has alleged that the youths had developed illicit relations with the girl and abducted her after luring her on some pretext. Meanwhile, the police have launched a hunt to trace the girl and arrest the youths involved in this case.

Dalits’ complaint

Mr Subhash and some other Dalits of Udesipur village in Sonepat district have sent a complaint to the Chairman of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Commission urging him to direct the Station House Officer of Ganaur Police Station to immediately register the case against those persons who had allegedly attacked them on August 4.

According to a report, the complaint has named two police officers—Mr Dhanpast Singh, SI and Mr Virender Singh, head constable—in the presence of whom, Mr Bhana Ram, a son of Mr Sunda Ram Jat and his associates had beaten up the Dalits after firing shots in the air. The alleged assailants, they said, had been threatening them with dire consequences if they dared to come back to their village.

Meanwhile, the members of the Dalit family are planning to launch an indefinite dharna outside the Prime Minister’s house in New Delhi to clamour for the registration of the criminal case against the assailants.



Draft of Education Bill put under scanner
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 1
While the Union Government is likely to take up a new Bill on ‘Free and Compulsory Education of Children’ in the coming session of Parliament, a debate on the draft and its proposals seems to have taken off in the NCR. Several social and educational organisations and experts from these fields deliberated over some of the proposals at a meeting organised by Ashok Aggarwal, an advocate and social jurist, at Delhi recently.

Faridabad based activists and members of ‘Abhibhavak Ekta Manch’, who were also invited at this meeting, shared their views on changes required to ensure that lacunae present in the prevailing policy be rectified.

Mr Aggarwal raised several questions on the proposed draft of the bill. The president of the manch, Mr O. P. Sharma, and its general-secretary, Mr Kailash Sharma, demanded that a penalty be imposed on erring schools and the authorities responsible for their failure in the implementation of the rules.

They said the manch had opposed many of the provisions including the discretion of the government to fix the date of the enforcement of the bill, as it could lead to an unnecessary delay. It pointed out that compulsory education could not be divided into compartments of formal and non-formal education as the government had already wasted crores of rupees of public money on such experiments. Casting doubts over the success of the newly launched ‘Sarva Siksha Abhiyan’, it said such campaigns hardly affected the target group. Claiming that crores of children would be denied education, the manch has demanded strict procedures for defining and identifying quality education. Mr Aggarwal said that it was surprising that the authorities in their draft proposal have provided penalty against parents who did not send his ward to schools, while no such action has been proposed for erring government officials, who fail to provide basic infrastructure conducive to quality education. It is learnt that the draft provides ‘immunity’ to the officials against civil and criminal action. Mr Aggarwal, who had filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court on the ‘non-implementation’ of the provisions of Delhi Primary Education Act, 1960, raised doubts over the success of new legislation.

He claimed that more than 70 to 80 per cent of the draft proposal had been lifted from the compulsory education legislation already existing in about 19 states and UTs. He has pointed out that providing non-formal education for child labourers was akin to legalising child labour in the country, where more than 10 crore children were involved in this ‘shameful activity’. Others pointed out that ‘Free Education’ had not been properly defined. They suggested that it should include all incurred by a student after he or she was enrolled in a school or institution.

The manch demanded that the government ensure that the reserve seats for poor and economically backward sections be properly implemented, and action taken against schools violating the norms. The manch has circulated copies of its draft among several organisations so as to intensify the debate on the subject.

The participants at the meeting here included Mr K L Makkar, Brij Mohan Paliwal Satyavir Bhardwaj, Prof Devender Singh, president of the ‘Sampooran Kranti Manch’, Haryana, Mr Rajpal Aggarwal, Mr N. L. Jangid, Mr Ved Prakash Panwar, Mr Brahm Swaroop, Mr S D Khatri, Mr Yogesh Goswami and Mr Shyam Sunder Vyas, who appealed to the Union Government to have a detailed nationwide debate and discussions before passing the bill.



CM to dedicate centre for mentally retarded
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 1
The Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, will dedicate a newly constructed centre for mentally retarded here on the occasion of ‘World Disabled Day’ on December 3. The centre, named as ‘Shravan’, has been constructed by the District Red Cross Society at a cost of Rs 85 lakh.

This will be the first centre in northern India where mentally retarded persons above the age of 18 years will be provided training for their rehabilitation.

The Chief Minister will also dedicate an ultrasound machine to the Civil Hospital here. Costing Rs 7.25 lakh, the machine has been donated by the Lions Club and the District Red Cross Society. He will also distribute sewing machines to 3,824 Scheduled Caste women in the BPL category.

Mr Chautala will also lay the foundation stone for widening the National Highway no. 16-A at Lakhan Majra. The government plans to spend Rs 14 crore on the project. Commuters using the Gohana-Lakhanmajra-Meham-Bhiwani section of this National Highway would be benefited with the improvement of the road.

The Chief Minister will also distribute 20 wheelchairs, 100 hearing aids, 200 spectacles and 1,000 school bags on the World Disabled Day.



‘Strike a weapon of freedom fighters’
Our Correspondent

Rohtak, December 1
Delivering the keynote address in the inter-departmental debate on the ‘Right to strike’ in the Maharshi Dayanand University here today, Prof S C Srivastva, of the Indian Law Institute, Delhi said that it was not necessary on the part of the Supreme Court to comment upon the moral and equitable right to strike.

He pointed out various legal provisions and rulings vis-a-vis the issue of strikes.

Prof Srivastva said that strengthening the state administrative tribunals and improving the functioning of the state as well as the central administrative tribunals can be an alternative to avoid the cause of strikes.

The debate was organised by the Public Administration department and the Students Welfare Office of the Maharshi Dayanand University.

In all, 17 teams of different departments participated in the debate. Arguing in support of the ‘Right to strike’, some of the participants described strike as a weapon of freedom fighters and an expression against exploitation. Those opposed to it said that strike was not in national interest.

Vishal Khattar and Virender Sandhu of the Law Department won the first prize whereas their batchmates Samiksha and Rashmi (Law) won the second prize.

The third prize went to Bindu and Shashi (English department). Vishal Khattar won the prize for the best speaker.



Door-to-door billing

Noida, December 1
The UP Power Corporation has decided to launch a door-to-door billing and payment of power bills for domestic and commercial consumers with a load less than 25 kilowatts in Noida from the first week of December.

Noida will be the third city in UP after Lucknow and Ghaziabad to have this door-to-door service which will not only save the consumer a lot of effort and time but will also result in some increased revenue, according to the MD of Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, Awanish Kumar Awasthi, IAS.

In the first phase, sectors 62, 22, 23, 24, 34, 33, 52, 53, 61, 71, 11, 12, 21, and 25 under SDOs I, II and III will be covered. In the second phase, the rest of Noida and rural areas will be covered.

The consumers reading of their meters could be incorrect. The meter reading and collection of bill at the doorstep will enable the electricity staff to examine the meters and advise consumers to get them changed or repaired if they are defective or burnt up. This service will be available from 7 am to 8 pm and on Sundays also and the routes of the teams will be publicised well in advance, Mr Awasthi said. OC



Massive haul of poppy husk; three held
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, December 1
The district police seized the biggest haul of puppy husk from two Punjab-bound trucks which were detained near the town on Rohtak Road and arrested three persons from them today. The market cost of the seizure is estimated around Rs 10 lakh.

The SP, Mr H S Doon, told the mediapersons this evening that the police received a tip-off that two trucks would be passing through the district carrying the puppy husk. He put up ‘nakas’ on all the points and finally trapped the truck near a private school situated on the periphery of the town on Rohtak Road.

The SP said that on searching the trucks, they recovered gunny bags full of puppy husk in them. About 40 bags were found in the truck with registration number HP 20A 8690 and another 32 bags were recovered from the PB 8 J 9765.

The driver of one of the trucks, identified as Surender escaped while other three, Gurnam, Charanjeet hailing from Jalandhar district and Manjeet from Phillaur were nabbed.

He said that they brought the husk from Kishangarh in Rajasthan and were going to Punjab. They reportedly bought the gunny bags at the rate of Rs 3,300 per bag.

The police arrested them under NDPS Acts and impounded both the vehicles.


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