N C R   S T O R I E S


Team Delhi wants to give development a human face 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
To change the face of Delhi by pursuing development with a human face appears to be the theme song of “Team Delhi” led by Sheila Dikshit as the government on Monday set out an ambitious agenda in the Lieutenant Governor’s address to the newly elected Assembly.

The Government of NCT of Delhi, Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor said, would endeavour to turn Delhi into a modern city complete with roads, bridges, fly-overs, an integrated transport system and uninterrupted electricity and water.

“A modern global city is the immediate agenda of my government. A city that all Indians can be proud of”, the Lieutenant Governor said as he listed the government’s priorities like upgradation of infrastructure and augmenting the basic civic amenities.

“A city with modern, eco-friendly, cost-effective and efficient modes of transportation through a well-integrated multi-nodal transport system … uninterrupted supply of power and water … modern amenities and excellent services of sanitation and sewage disposal”, he said. The government also made it known that it would take up the matter of making Delhi a State with the Union Government keeping in mind the views and aspirations of the people. (The draft Delhi State Bill 2003 is pending approval of Parliament.)

Pointing out that the government, in its first term, sought to lay the foundation of a philosophy of good governance based on citizen-government partnership, the Lieutenant Governor said Bhagidari would continue to be its guiding spirit and ethos.

“The government,” he said, “will take the necessary steps to institutionalise this participatory framework of governance with sufficient budgetary support” so that the basic needs, rights and entitlements of every citizen could be fulfilled.

The government proposed to set up gas-based power plants in Bawana and Indraprastha to reduce the dependence on Northern Grid and other sources. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission would be further strengthened to look into the grievances of consumers.

Also proposed was to make available an extra 140 million gallon tonnes of water per day (MGD) by summer of 2004 from the Sonia Vihar plant besides completing the work on the 20 MGD plant in Bawana and 90 MGD water canal that will bring water from Haryana.

A proposal was under consideration to introduce High Capacity Urban Buses and Electric Trolley Buses that would form a part of the integrated multi-nodal transport system and which would supplement the road-based mass transit system. The government will aim at achieving 100 per cent literacy besides modernising health services, especially primary health centres and super-speciality hospitals. Programmes for SC and ST, minorities and weaker sections would be reviewed and redesigned.

Noting that the government wants to focus on problems of the slums and unauthorised colonies, the Lieutenant Governor said the government wanted to provide low-cost housing to the poor and extend the Lal Dora of villages for planned development.



Poor visibility sends air, rail traffic for a toss
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
A thick blanket of fog that caused visibility to drop to a mere 100 meters greeted the Capital’s denizens on the first day of the week. Though the night temperature was 9.4 degree celsius, one degree above normal, the north-westerly wind, accompanied by moisture from Punjab, resulted in condensation causing fog, the Met office said.

The road traffic was also affected this morning owing to low visibility and most vehicles inched ahead with caution. The fog, which started descending on the city after eight last night, reduced Runway Visibility Range (RVR) to 100 mts, forcing delay and cancellation of a number of domestic and international flights.

Air traffic at the Delhi Airport came to a standstill for almost 12 hours since last night and the rail traffic too was disrupted. Airport sources said that the last domestic flight to land at the airport was at 8.33 pm last night.

The first international flight to land at the airport was at 0913 a.m. and the domestic flight to Chennai took off at 0939 hours this morning, with the resumption of air traffic, they said.

A number of trains were also running behind schedule due to foggy conditions. According to a Northern Railway spokesperson, the Malda Town-Bhiwani Farakkha Express was running late by 18 hours, the Amritsar-Darbhanga Shaheed Express by 15 hours, The Sealdah-Delhi Lal Qila Express by 10 hours, the Allahabad-Unchahar Express by six hours and thirty minutes and the Amritsar-New Delhi Amritsar Express by six hours.

Besides, the Hazrat Nizamuddin-Mysore Swarna Jayanti Express has been rescheduled to depart at 1830 hrs as against its scheduled departure at 0550 hrs. Meanwhile, the weather department said the fog was likely to persist, though with reduced density. The maximum temperature hovered around six degrees below normal.

..even as homeless suffer: The plummeting mercury sounds the death knell for thousands of homeless. Last year alone 1,400 persons succumbed to biting cold.

To draw attention to the state of the homeless in the city ActionAid India (AAI) got together social activist and actor Nandita Das, Industrialist Anu Aga and Harsh Mander to urge the government to shake of the complacency and save the thousands of homeless from illness and death.

National Campaign Coordinator, AAI, Indu Prakash, asked the government to pitch tents for the poor as an emergency measure. He said the government has already delayed the implementation of the plan submitted to help homeless people. “The government is still debating whether the cold wave has set in or not”, he said.

The speakers called for opening up spaces and optimum use of available spaces, including schools, colleges and community centres. They also appealed for support to the vulnerable women and children and called for donations of clothes and blankets.

Recalling that Delhi alone saw the death of about 90 people last winter, the AAI pointed out that a PIL has been filed seeking directions to the government to ensure that every citizen gets access to basic shelter.



Who blew the whistle?
Home Ministry probing escape of ‘ISI’ agents 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
The officials of the Union Home Ministry have started investigating the alleged escape of two ISI agents, namely Ramphal and Ramesh, from a house rented by them on the Sonepat-Bahalgarh road. The duo had escaped just before the police swooped down on their premises.

DSP V. N. Vats of Haryana CID is conducting another inquiry into the matter. It is alleged that some officials of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) were in league with the ISI agents. The duo had reportedly duped the BSNL of Rs 7 lakh in 20 days.

It is stated that the BSNL authorities had given them a telephone connection within 14 days and later extended them an ISD and STD facility. The police have reportedly taken into custody a junior engineer of the BSNL and a property dealer for interrogation. The police authorities, however, declined to confirm the detention of the two. The police authorities also declined to state whether the detention was related to the ISI agents’ escape.

The BSNL authorities had informed the police that the duo had made calls worth Rs 7 lakh to Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries in 20 days. The duo had also used the conferencing service for making calls to other countries.

Meanwhile, the IB officials are reported to have located the mobile telephone (0331968860), which was used during conferencing.



New Friends Colony murder: The painter did it
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
With the arrest of five persons the South district police claim to have solved the robbery-cum-murder case of 65-year-old Mrs Narula, the wife of a retired colonel, in the New Friends Colony on December 13. During the break-in, the accused had also tied down Mr Narula, his servant Shatrughan Roy and a property dealer Sandeep. In the melee, Mr Narula and Shatrughan also sustained minor injuries.

The accused have been identified as Kanhaya (22), a resident of Tuglakabad village, Pradeep alias Yash (20), a resident of Tuglakabad, Sonu (18), a resident of Madanpur, Kanhaya (24), a resident of Tehkhand, and Mohammad Shamim (22), a resident of Gola Kuan.

The police received a call on December 13 at 9.45 pm that an old lady had been robbed and murdered at D-826, New Friends Colony. During investigations it was learnt that Mrs Narula had invited one Sandeep, a property dealer, at around 8 pm on the fateful night for discussing the sale of her property. Mr Narula was away on some personal work.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Vivek Gogia said that around this time two persons called on Mrs Narula’s house and professed to be employees of a courier service. As soon as they entered the premises, they started ransacking the house at knife-point. They also tied Sandeep, Shatrughan and Mr Narula, when he returned. The accused robbed the inmates of Rs two lakh in cash, jewellery and watches.

While Mr Narula and Shatrughan sustained minor injuries, Mrs Narula died due to smothering. Subsequently, the police learnt that painting work was under way in the house and suspected that some painters might be involved in the crime. Accordingly, the police summoned painter Kanhiya who, during questioning, broke down and confessed to his involvement in the crime along with his associates.

He told the police that he had given his associates inside information about the house. As per plan, the five persons reached the New Friends Colony area by an auto at around 7.30 pm. While Mohammad Shamim and Pradeep ransacked the house, the others waited outside.

The police have recovered the stolen jewellery and watches from their possession; further investigations are on to recover the cash.



Coping with rush
Third track to Sonepat awaits sanction
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
The Northern Railway plans to lay a third railway track between Sabji Mandi, Delhi and Sonepat in order to cope with the increasing traffic on Delhi-Ambala Section. The draft of the project, which is estimated to cost over Rs. 118.72 crore, has reportedly been sent to the Railway Board for necessary sanction. According to official sources, the third railway track will be completed in phases with separate allocations for each phase. Out of the proposed allocation for the entire project, roughly Rs. 68.19 crore will be earmarked for engineering works, nearly Rs. 21 crore on signals and terminal works, more than Rs. 4.26 crore on general electrification and the balance of Rs. 8.43 crore on other works.

The sources disclosed that the track was a long-term project and might be extended it to Panipat and Ambala. This seems to be a likely scenario given the rising incidence of passengers and goods traffic on this section. It is pointed out that more than 40,000 passengers, most of them daily commuters from Panipat, Samalkha, Gannaur, Sonepat and Narela, travel to Delhi. To meet their requirements, the railway has increased local train services on this section. A number of long-distance up and down trains on this section are also being stopped at these stations to enable the daily passengers to reach their offices and places of work on time.

American executive Commits suicide

New Delhi: An American national allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in the Govindpuri area of Kalkaji. The deceased has left a suicide note stating that he was suffering from depression. The police said that the deceased, Kary Andrew Murphy (38), was a Delhi representative of the US-based Bowne Company. Murphy came to Delhi three months ago. The police have informed the US embassy about the suicide and have sent the body to AIIMS. The body has been kept in the mortuary. TNS



Disruption on DUK section

Sonepat: The fog continued to disrupt life for the sixth consecutive day in the city and elsewhere in the district, badly affecting the train schedule on DUK section. According to a report, almost all the buses running on the inter-state routes were also delayed due to poor visibility. The vehicular traffic was the worst affected, with motorists driving with headlights on.

Thousands of passengers, mostly commuters, were stranded at Sonepat and nearby railway stations due to late running of almost all the long distance and suburban trains. The Shaheed Express (4674 down), bound for New Delhi, which was scheduled to pass through at 9.30 pm on Sunday, was running at least 19 hours behind schedule. The Delhi-bound Jammu Mail was running behind schedule by five hours. The Ambala-bound Unchhar Express and Amritsar-bound Malwa Express were running behind schedule by four hours and one –and-a-half hours, respectively. Likewise,, the New Delhi-bound Jhelum Express and the Bhatinda Intercity as well as the Amritsar-Delhi Super Express were running late.

Meanwhile, Sonepat city and its adjoining areas are reeling under severe cold wave and foggy weather conditions, forcing people to stay indoors. Attendance in government offices and schools was reportedly thin. OC



Centre told to respond to queries on CAS

New Delhi: Issuing an order, the Delhi High Court asked the Central government counsel to seek instructions from it on the questions raised in a public interest litigation petition filed by a consumer body challenging introduction of the Conditional Access System (CAS).

A Vacation Bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog also asked Government counsel Sanjay Jain to file the reply to 20 questions raised in the petition by December 26, the next date of hearing. TNS



India-Pakistan friendship balloon 
flight at SAARC proposed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has approved an India-Pakistan friendship balloon flight, proposed by Mr Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, at the SAARC venue in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The balloon will carry flags of all the SAARC countries and a banner of friendship between India and Pakistan. The clearance of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India and Pakistan is awaited to work out the details of logistics for this flight. The flight is to draw attention to recent efforts of India to reinforce the many initiatives, which have been taken to offer a firm hand of friendship to Pakistan.

This symbolic flight would focus attention on a `New Year’ of friendship bringing peace and prosperity to both countries in 2004 and beyond. It would be remembered that the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, has accepted the idea of flying with Mr Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, from Lahore to Amritsar, whenever he comes to India to meet Indian leaders.

A ‘Balloon Mela’ was also organised by The Ballooning Club of India at the `Balloonport’, Damdama Lake, near Sohna (Haryana). The motto of the ‘Balloon Mela’ this year is ‘Commemorating 100 years of flight’.

The ‘Balloon Mela’ was inaugurated by Mr Bhishma Narain Singh, former Governor of Assam. Mr Bhanu Prakash Singh, former Governor of Goa, presided over the function.

As a part of the ‘Balloon Mela’, an ‘On-the-Spot’ children painting competition was also held at the same venue. Children from 5 years to 16 years participated in the painting competition. Free joy rides were given to the participants of the painting competition.

According to Mr Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, honorary secretary of the Ballooning Club of India, the club had been organising ‘India International Balloon Melas’, annually since 1985. The mela is held under the auspices of the Aero Club of India. All the festivals (Melas) were a resounding success and contributed greatly towards exposing the youths of our country to the new adventure-sport of hot air ballooning.



No end in sight to row with UP over agricultural land 
Our Correspondent

Panipat, December 22
Another year has passed without any tangible result. The district administration appears to have failed to resolve amicably the dispute with Uttar Pradesh regarding thousands of acres of agricultural land on the banks of the Yamuna.

The dispute started between farmers of both the states when Haryana came into existence. The row over sowing of this particular agricultural belt on the Yamuna’s banks, comprising over 247 acres of agricultural land of the district between Tamsabad and Ramra, 587 acres land of Dhansoli with Nangla Rai, about 500 acres of land of Mirzapur, Goyala Khurd and Sanjoli with Shahpat and Tada, hundreds of acres of agricultural land of Nanhera with Kakor and Mamor is still alive after 37 years.

On December 10 last year a 10-member committee was formed to resolve the dispute over 247 acres of agricultural land situated between Tamsabad village in the district and Ramra Paar village in UP. The demarcation was completed from the Haryana side. But due to the indifferent attitude of the officers of Uttar Pradesh, which insisted on their “ chak bandi” records, the matter was still undecided and hence pending.

The Naib Tehsildar of Bapoli told NCR Tribune that from the Haryana side they had done the demarcation according to chak bandi whereas officers of the UP Government could not do so. In Uttar Pradesh, measurement was done with a “guniya” which is equivalent to 600 square feet whereas in Haryana it is based on “karam” which is equal to five and a half feet, he added.

Two years ago the villagers of Tada beat the chowki in-charge and constables when they tried to save the agricultural produce of farmers of Mirzapur. Next year, in the year 2002, a dispute erupted between Ramra villagers and Tamsabad villagers and the police was posted for more than one week to control the situation after firing took place on land dispute.

The year 2003 is known as a year of dispute between Tamsabad and Nangla Rai villages, which disturbed the district administration very badly.

Last month, on November 8, over a dispute of 16 acres’ agricultural land, firing took place and the same day farmers of Tamsabad were kidnapped by the villagers of Nangla Rai who were later released from theKairana police station in Uttar Pradesh and farmers of both villages were warned not to go to disputed land.

Recently, in November this year, villagers of Nangla Rai in Uttar Pradesh not only started firing at Tamsabad villagers but also picked up five persons along with their animals. This led to great agitation in the district administration.



Chautala criticised for retrenchment of workers
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
The Haryana Pradesh Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, today strongly criticised the Chief
Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, for fooling the people of the state by promising to provide 40,000 new jobs to the youths in the coming year.

In a signed press statement issued here today, he wondered how the Chief Minister could provide additional 40,000 jobs to the youths when retrenchments were being made in various government departments.

He demanded the issuing of a white paper by the INLD Government on this issue.

Referring to the merger of the Janata Dal (U) and the Samata Party, Mr Vidrohi claimed that the merger of the two parties would lead to the strengthening of its mass base in future elections, which would result in better performance in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He said that the development of the country and the welfare of the people were not possible unless corruption was routed out from the political arena.

He criticised the politicians for defending the corrupt and not taking action to curb the menace of corruption.

Mr Vidrohi also criticised the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for defending Mr Dalip Singh Judeo. He said the scandal involving Mr Ajit Jogi and Mr Dalip Singh Judeo were stigmas on Indian democracy.

He said that the RJD leader, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav should be put behind the bars for the fodder scam and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister should face trial for various scandals committed during her regimes.

He, however, wondered why Mr Judeo and other BJP leaders were not booked for indulging in corruption and demanded immediate explanation from the Prime Minister for adopting double standard and defending Mr Dalip Singh Judeo.



Special Focus on faridabad
Violations of cable TV Act go unchecked
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, December 22
Although the district administration has warned of taking action against any violation of the Cable TV Network Act by the local cable operators following a petition in the high court by a local resident, the move in this connection by the authorities seems to have failed to satisfy the petitioner who feels that the violation of the Act had been blatantly going on and the authorities had admitted to certain points raised by him in the petition in the reply submitted by the administration to the court.

Mr K. L. Gera, a social activist based here, had filed a PIL in the court several months ago seeking action against the cable operators here for gross violation of the various provisions of the Act. He had alleged that while the operators here had been illegally running advertisements and news bulletins they had been evading payment of tax on the collection received thereof. He had alleged that a majority of the cable operators had not been showing the actual number of subscribers and had been arbitrarily charging fees from the consumers besides using the poles of the Power Department and the Municipal Corporation in an unauthorised manner and proving a safety risk to the residents. He had charged that despite the issue being highlighted and taken up before the authorities no action had been taken against the violators. The local authorities who had been issued a notice and from whom a reply was sought had held a meeting here of various parties concerned besides ordering an inquiry into the matter.

The authorities in its reply reportedly admitted violation of certain norms.

According to a press note issued by the administration here recently, the District Magistrate issued a warning to the operators of taking legal action if the operators were found to be violating the Act. It added that the cable operators must issue receipts of the payments received towards the subscriptions and file their income tax returns. The authorities have also asked the operators to take prior permission from the department concerned before using the poles for laying the cables. It says the inquiry conducted by the District Magistrate had found that the operators had not been issuing proper receipts for the payments received for running the advertisements.

And no record was being maintained for the purpose. It also admitted that the operators had not given proof of the actual number of subscribers either. The local administration has asked the Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) to take action against the violators if found violating the provisions. According to Mr Gera, the “admission’’ by the authorities about the violations as alleged by him in the petition stood proved and it was quite surprising that despite this no action had been initiated against the defaulters. Claiming that the report may be eyewash, he asked why no action had been taken against the defaulters while the administration had admitted violations. He said the next date in the court in this connection was January 20 next year.



Small man’s big dreams

Ved Prakash Nayyar
Ved Prakash Nayyar

Ved Prakash Nayyar with wife and children
Ved Prakash Nayyar with wife and children.

He may stand just four feet two inches tall but he has straddled the theatre scene in the Capital like a colossus over the last few decades. Almost everyone who has followed the theatre scene is familiar with the diminutive giant who has played important roles in various productions. Despite the tremendous handicap he was born with, Mr Ved Prakash Nayyar never gave up. He pursued everything with great fervour and succeeded. He and his wife are listed in the Limca Book of Records as the world’s smallest couple with normal children. His wife, Santosh (now deceased) was three feet and seven inches tall, while his son, Harish is five feet seven inches and his daughter, Anjana, five feet two inches tall. And for the last 13 years he has been relentlessly struggling to get his name entered in the Guiness Book of Records.

Resident of Krishana Nagar in East Delhi, Nayyar has a sentimental attachment with the Tribune. On attaining marriageable age, he vowed that he would marry only a girl who was shorter than him. Belonging to a well-to-do Punjabi family, there were several proposals from families of normal girls who were willing to overlook his height. But Nayyar was adamant. When all efforts failed to locate such a girl, he placed a matrimonial advertisement in The Tribune and the rest is perhaps history carved out by six divine intervention. There was a response from Amritsar. A bank manager was looking for someone with his physical attributes as a match for his daughter, Santosh, who was three feet and seven inches tall.

The search had ended and the nuptial knot was tied with the traditional fanfare. There was no looking back for this compatible couple till the day Santosh passed away. Of course there were some tense moments just before the birth of the two children when both of them prayed that their offspring be normal and their prayers were answered.

Nayyar is a veteran theatre personality and has been associated with Prithivi Raj Theater for a long time. He still recalls the day he had an offer from the legendary Raj Kapoor to do a small role in the film ‘Mera Nam Joker’ but he refused on the ground that it was a completely “joker type” role. Recently, he was seen in a cameo role of an old groom in Deepa Mehta’s film ‘1947- Earth’.


How did the idea of taking up acting as a profession came to your mind despite the fact that you were not physically equipped for it in the traditional sense?

I was studying in class VIII. One day, I went to see the rehearsal of a local Ram Lila. I was so impressed and thrilled to see it that I expressed my wish to act in that Ram Lila. Fortunately, the son of the manager of that Ram Lila was my friend, so I was given a small role of a king during the ‘Seeta Swayambar’ in that Ram Lila. One day, during the staging of that Ram Lila, my father requested the manager of that Ram Lila for some passes. The manager was surprised and told him that he was welcome, as his son was part of the troupe. My father Lala Charan Das was furious since he considered such activities as demeaning. He was the postmaster of the area and thought that his son had lowered his dignity by acting in the Ram Lila. He gave me a sound thrashing.

This did not deter me. I continued to take up roles in various plays secretly without telling my family. In the late 40s, I went to Mumbai for three times in the hope of getting a chance to act in the films. Veteran stunt actor Shekh Mukhatar was making a film ‘Dada’. He was ready to give a small role, but I refused as I wanted to make my presence felt in a bigger way.

I have been an ardent fan of the great comedian Mukri. I always thought when Mukri could be given big roles then why not me. I also met Raj Kapoor when he was making ‘Jis Desh Me Ganga Behati Hai’ and director B. R. Chopra when he was making the tele serial ‘Ramayan’ for Doordarshan, but to no avail. Despite such rejections, I never lost heart. I concentrated on theatre.

I worked for a long time with Rajasthan Theatrical company, Jaipur, under the direction of Mr Manik Lal and Sarsawati Theatre, Murad Nagar with Master Fida Hussain. We acted in TV serials like ‘Hangama’, ‘Ham Kisi Se Kam Nahi’ with comedian Birbal. Recently, I acted in a Hindi film ‘Bharat India Hindustan’ I have been acting in the Asok Vihar-based Ram Lila for more than 60 years. Even at this old age, I seldom miss taking a round of Mandi House. I have acted in many tele films and serials, which are still to be telecast.

Apart from acting, what other activities are you engaged in?

We manufacture flush tank chains. However, there is a slump in this business after the use of plastic and other automatic system in this field. Despite that our bread and butter is coming from this household business.

Acting does not pay enough. My children often support me in marketing. I also engage in some social activities in my area. I charge nothing from charitable organisations.

What has been the reaction of your children to the unusual height of their parents?

Our children are very proud of us. They are very mature. They have seen how we have brought them up and respect us much more than what we usually see around us these days.

Now your wife is no more. Could you share some nostalgic moments related to her?

“Santosh will never die for me, until my eyes are closed. I will never forget her or stop loving her the rest of my life.” She had given up all hopes of leading a normal life, as suitable match had been a distant dream for her. At that juncture, her father saw my matrimonial advertisement in ‘The Tribune’. Then she was naturally thrilled and accepted the proposal at once. The most difficult moments of her life were when she had two children. Her stature made both pregnancies extremely difficult. In the initial days of her pregnancies, she used to regularly go to the doctors and a lot of money was spent on that. We had to work extra hard to meet the increased expenditure.

She kept making chains till the seventh month of her pregnancy. I had to give blood during her both the deliveries as both were caesareans, but thanks to the almighty both our children were healthy and normal.

My wife had very little interest in acting and other related activities but she never opposed me. I can still recall a memorable moment. I was invited to participate in a cultural programme at Triveni Kala Sangam auditorium in late 70s. My wife was also there to see my performance. One of my close friends recognised my wife and he took her to the stage with me. She was very shy and was embarrassed. After that incident, she never went to see my shows despite my requests.

What is the mantra of your life, which keeps you going?

I stopped growing after I turned 12. Since no body in my family was short, I got worried. But it did not last long. There was no option but to accept the reality. The spectre of being a short person haunted me again when I attained marriageable age.

Everyone in my family was worried that which girl would marry me? Even people use to make fun of me and use to pass snide remarks, but I was always undaunted and unfazed. I started living the life of a celebrity in my own way. Almost all the prominent Newspapers and magazines have written about me. I have also featured in various TV shows as well. It is my personal opinion that living depends on one’s personal attitude and approach to life. My own approach is one of “ I can do it” optimism.



in parliament
Nanavati Commission to inquire 
into unauthorised colonies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
The government has set up the Nanavati Commission to inquire into the circumstances in which the unauthorised colonies had come up in Delhi after March 31, 1993, despite the government’s resolve not to countenance any such colony, the Urban Development Minister, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya, told the Upper House.

The Commission had been asked to identify and fix the responsibility of individuals and public servants, who had caused or aided and abetted in setting up such colonies in violation of buildings laws, he said.

As per the Commission’s report, it had not received all the information required from the agencies concerned and, consequently, no findings had been recorded so far in the matter, the minister pointed out.

Water wastage from distribution network: No bench-marking has been done in the country to establish the quantum of water wastage resulting from the huge distribution network, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

However, some wastage of water to distribution system and pipeline losses were inherent in the systems involving vast distribution networks, the Urban Development Minister, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya, told the House in a written reply.

Quoting a report from the Delhi Jal Board, he said it was incorrect to say that 40 per cent of drinking water in the Capital was wasted every year. “As a matter of fact, the figure includes free water supply, tanker water supply to weaker section, pipeline losses and pilferage”, he said.

As per the policy of the Delhi Jal Board, water supply to weaker sections and deficient areas through tankers and public hydrants was made free of cost and could not be termed as financial losses, the minister pointed out.

However, to improve the situation, the Board has launched several remedial measures including replacement of about 1,100 km of corroded water lines and the setting up of a separate ‘Leak Detection Investigation Cell’.

DDA Vice Chairman reinstated: The Department of Personnel and Training has re-instated former the DDA Vice Chairman, Mr Subhash Sharma, on September 9, on the recommendations of the Review Committee, Mr Dattatreya told the House.

Mr Sharma and some other DDA officials were suspended in April this year for allegedly showing undue favours to some educational institutions and private builders in the allocation of land. While Mr Sharma, an IAS official, has been sent back to the Union cadre, no other suspended DDA official had been re-instated, he informed.

Feasibility study on IRBT System: The government has conducted a feasibility study on the proposal for an Integrated Rail-cum-Bus Transit (IRBT) System connecting Delhi with the neighbouring towns of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Sahibabad and with interface with the Metro Rail, he said.

The draft MoU had been approved by all the stakeholders, except the Uttar Pradesh Government. A steering committee has also been formed to monitor the project.

The IRBT System includes two dedicated tracks for commuter traffic on the Shahdara-Sahibabad-Ghazibad and Sahibabad-Tilak Bridge-Minto Bridge alignments.

The services of the Metro Rail would be availed at four locations-Shahdara, Trinagar/Dayabasti, Barakhamba Road/Shivaji Bridge and Kirti Nagar/New Patel Nagar.

Replying to another question, he said the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had invited bids for a housing scheme for about a 1,000 flats near the Delhi University station to raise resources for the Phase-I of the Metro Project.



Senior citizens’ security still a matter 
of concern in Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
Assault on women, daylight armed robberies, looting and attacks on senior citizens saw a significant rise during the year despite the best effort of the Delhi Police to curb and contain crimes in the national Capital.

Several incidences, including the rape of a Swiss diplomat near the Siri Fort Auditorium during the international film festival, the theft of a pistol from the well-guarded National Museum and attack on senior citizens still remain unsolved.

The Delhi Police received much flak for the abduction-cum-rape of a Swiss diplomat from the venue of the international film festival, sexual assault of a college student by four Presidential body guards of the Cavalry unit in a public park and break-in at the highly secured DRDO office, resulting in loss of certain sensitive computer disks.

The police were quick to apprehend the culprits in the daylight rape of the college girl. Intense investigations and manhunt launched by the police to trace the pistol stolen from the National Museum and the suspects involved in the crime have yet to yield any positive results.

In the rape case of the Swiss diplomat, after questioning at least 14,000 people, the police handed over the investigations to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by the Additional Commissioner of Police, Mr Sudhir Yadav.

“The SIT will now concentrate on the specific leads, which were obtained during the investigations, supported by the South and South-West districts and the Special Cell sleuths. We are taking all possible steps to solve the case and restore a sense of security among the women residing in the Capital,” said a senior officer.

Besides, we have also intensified our night patrolling system through our PCR fleet and continuously check vehicles entering Delhi.



Brotherhood Day organised at Lotto Farm

New Delhi: The World Brotherhood Organisation (WBO) organised its annual Brotherhood Day at Lotto Farm in which dignitaries of different diplomatic missions stole the show by winning maximum prizes.

The WBO Secretary, Mr S. S. Marwah, briefed about the unique approach of the organisation which underlines the noble thought of “Sarva-Dharma-Sambhav”, the quality of all religions and a feeling of respect for all of them. Mr Sharad Jain explained the WBO was dedicated to promoting religious harmony, world peace, community welfare, breaking all boundaries of religion, caste, creed or social status and serving humanity as a whole.

The annual Brotherhood Day celebrations included a cultural programme by Prem Bhatia, folk dances by Ukraine troupe, painting and fancy dress competitions for children, dance competition, most charming couple, tug of war, musical chairs. All competitions had good participation of foreigners and by showing their best skill they won most of the prizes. Dr Jagdish Mukhi and Mr Joginder Singh distributed the prizes. Dignitaries from the embassies of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Oman, Turkey, Lebanon and several others were present on the occasion to spread the message of peace, unity and brotherhood all over the world. TNS



Martyrdom anniversary of Sahebzadas on Dec 26

New Delhi: The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee informed that the martyrdom anniversary of Sahebzadas of Guru Gobind Singh would be observed at Gurudwara Mata Sundari on December 26.

The programme will begin with the recitation of Sukhmani Sahab and Nitnem. Shabad Kirtan and Asa di Vaar would be performed by Bhai Harjit Singh and Gurdeep Singh. Giani Satnam Singh, Head Granthi, will revive the memory of the martyrs.

Prof Harbans Singh Chawla of Khalsa College, Delhi University, will deliver a lecture. A special Amrit Sanchar programme will also be organised. Langar will be served to all.

A portrait of Shaheed Jathedar Santok Singh was unveiled at Baba Baghel Singh Museum at Gurdwara Bangla Saheb here yesterday.

Manjeet Singh, the son of the late Santokh Singh, accompanied by his family was present on the occasion that was attended by Mr Prahlad Singh Chandok, DSGMC President, Dr Jaspal Singh and Dr Harjeet Singh among others. TNS



NCR Briefs
Labourer killed after falling from school building 
Our Correspondents

Sonepat, December 22
A labourer was killed when he fell down from a school building (under construction) on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna road, about 2km from here yesterday. According to a report, the victim has not yet been identified and the police have sent the body for the postmortem examination. A case of negligence has been registered with the police and further investigations were in progress.

Five injured in group clash

At least five persons, including a woman, were injured in a clash that took place between two rival groups at Khewra village, about 13 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, lathis and iron rods were used freely in the clash. The injured persons were identified as Ramesh, Satbir, Bhola, Kala and Sunita. The condition of one of the injured persons was stated to be serious and was referred to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment.

A dispute over a plot was stated to be the main cause of the clash. The police have registered the case and further investigations were in progress. However, no arrest has been made in this connection so far.

Youth attempts suicide

A youth, Surat Singh, was reported to have attempted suicide by taking sulphas tablets in his house at Harsana Kalan village, about 5 km from here last evening.

According to a report, he was immediately hospitalised and was stated to be out of danger. The police are still investigating the case. A family dispute was stated to be the main cause for the youth taking this extreme step.

Demands of ex-servicemen

Jhajjar: The ‘District Ex-servicemen League’ submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and another memorandum to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, raising their long-standing demands through the Deputy Commissioner here today.

According to the memorandum submitted, the ex-servicemen have demanded that defence pensioners, irrespective of the date of their retirement, should get the same pension. It said that the issue of ‘same rank same pension’ has received the support of all political parties. The Estimate Committee of the seventh Lok Sabha had also recommended the examination of the matter to remove disparity in pension for the defence personnel. In another memorandum submitted in the name of the Chief Minister, the league requested 10 per cent seat reservation in professional courses in the state for the their dependents.



MBA turns to crime to support lavish lifestyle
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 22
With the arrest of three youths, the South district police today claimed to have busted a gang of purse-snatchers. The suspects were identified as Gaurav Khanna, a business graduate, Vikas Sharma, doing his post graduation, and Mano Sharma, a clerk with the PWD in Haryana.

They were involved in 20 purse snatching cases. Most of their victims were women from Sarita Vihar, Greater Kailash, Faridabad and Noida.

The police seized one white Maruti car, two cellular phones, one gold chain and one motorcycle from their possession.

They were arrested yesterday and produced before the court. Subsequently, they were taken on police remand to recover other looted items. Interestingly, the accused were from good financial background and committed these crime to fulfil their desire for living a lavish life, wearing designer clothes and visiting night clubs and hotels. They took pride in the crimes committed by them, the police said.

The police said that Gaurav’s father was an engineer in a multinational company and Vikas’s father was an Excise and Taxation Officer in Haryana while his brother was an Excise and Taxation Inspector.

He was unmarried and owned a thread-making factory and also worked for the Life Insurance Corporation of India.

Credit Card Fraud Busted: The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police today arrested two youths and unearthed a racket of cheats indulging in duping corporate banks by procuring credit cards on the basis of fake documents.

The police recovered 28 credit cards of different banks from the possession of the suspects, identified as Bijay Kumar and Mukund Kumar. The fake credit cards recovered from their possession were of HDFC, ICICI, American Express, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Citi Bank, UTI and ABN AMRO, the police said.



Farmers sell produce at Dilli Haat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, December 22
If the farmers get information about the markets and marketing facilities of their produce grown with traditional methods and indigenous inputs, they can easily compete with the service personnel, traders and industrialists in ensuring regular income through farming.

Three farmers of the Kisan Welfare Club - Kanwal Singh of Aterna village, Krishan Kumar and Neeraj of Barota and Satish of Safiabad - proved it cent per cent at Dilli Haat by selling vegetables like tomato, onion, potato, radish, carrot, spinach, cauliflower and “bathua” and “sarson” there for a fortnight.

It was a coordinated effort of the Kisan Welfare Club, Sonepat, and the voluntary organisation of Vandana Shiva. The farmers sold their vegetables which were produced with bio-fertilisers and without any use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides for 15 days at Dilli Haat.

According to Satish, a large number of customers came to their shop and after using the vegetables they booked the orders for regular supply of the vegetables on daily basis as well as on alternate days. “We have also established contacts with the residents of adjacent residential localities and markets and response from the people was very encouraging,” he said.

Besides, at least 300 residents of these localities were also enrolled as members of the Kisan Welfare Club who would buy the vegetables on regular basis. Around 150 families in adjacent posh colonies were also convinced to buy these vegetables which were grown without any use of harmful inputs, he added.

The president of the kisan club and a leading farmer of Haryana, Mr Ramesh Dagar, informed NCR Tribune that the farmers spent around Rs 22,500 and earned a net profit of nearly the same amount after meeting expenses like shop rent, transport fares and boarding lodging expenditures.

The club has been making efforts to motivate the farmers to grow vegetables with traditional methods and provide them market in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, he said, adding that the Director of Agriculture Department, Haryana, had been approached for providing places and shops through the District Rural Development Agency or the district administration at the district and sub-divisional levels.



Highway tourism is the in-thing in Gurgaon
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, December 22
The concept of highway tourism appears to be picking up in the private sector, at least in Gurgaon. The new hotspot is the E-Zone (Entertainment Zone), inaugurated a few days ago, in Gurgaon along the Delhi-Jaipur national highway.

Located at 24th Milestone, it is billed as “a family entertainment park” as it provides a spectrum of entertainment avenues for the entire family.

Set on sprawling 58,000 sq feet of land, the entire designing is in tune with its motto of “making entertainment big and open”. It boasts of northern India’s longest go-karting track of 734 meters, four-lane 10-pin bowling alley with special synthetic glow lanes from the House of Brunswick, a spacious disco, super video games’ area for children and a multi-cuisine restaurant.

The Managing Director of E Zone Entertainment Private Limited, Mr Raju Verma, says the idea behind the launch of E-Zone is to create an entertainment facility for all members of the family.

The wide range of entertainment is said to drawing good crowds and many in the tourism circle feel that highway tourism would be an in-thing in the times to come.


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