N C R   S T O R I E S


Steps mooted to rationalise house tax structure
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
The Municipal Valuation Committee, headed by Mr. OP Kelkar, which examined the rationalisation of Unit Area value system for the purpose of house tax, has come up with a slew of recommendations.

Among other things, it has recommended categorisation of properties under various heads, reduction of occupancy factor for tenanted properties and the non-residential use of properties.

The comprehensive report was presented to the Mayor, Mr. Ashok Kumar Jain, today who appreciated the immense work done by the committee in a very short period and said that this would help in weeding out anomalies in the house tax structure.

The committee was constituted by the Government of NCT on October 28, 2003, and was given exactly two months to complete the task for the new unit area valuation of properties.

The committee has recommended changes in the classification of 142 colonies/areas/localities across various categories.

The committee has also recommended a base unit area value of Rs. 320 per sq meter for the median category ‘D.’ For other categories, the unit area value will be as follows: A Rs. 630, B Rs. 510, C Rs. 410, E Rs. 250, F Rs. 220 and G Rs. 190. The committee has recommended a separate category ‘H’ for villages with a unit area value of Rs. 100 per sq. meter.

To reduce the scope of discretion, it has been recommended that the number of non-residential use types be kept at the minimum. The panel has, therefore, proposed 5 categories — Public purpose, utilities, industrial, business and star hotels/towers/hoardings — instead of 10 kinds of non-residential uses.

The committee has further recommended that the use factor for each of the above types of non-residential uses be simultaneously reduced with the factor being 1 for Public purpose, 2 for Utilities, 3 for Industry, 4 for Business and 5 for star hotels/hoardings/towers. The above categories of non-residential uses would be defined in the bylaws to eliminate any scope of discretion.

The committee has reconsidered the range of occupancy factor for tenanted properties, and recommended a uniform factor of 2 for all categories. In case of tenanted properties being used for non-residential purposes, the occupancy factor would not be applicable and the non-residential use factor would apply.

The committee has recommended the census classification for the structure factor: accordingly, it has mooted a factor of 5 for katcha structures and 1 for semi-pucca and pucca structures.

The committee, after going through the representations and submissions, has recommended the following multiplicative factors for the purpose of rebate on the age of the property: Post 2000 properties 1, 1980-99: 0.9, 1960-79: 0.8, Prior to 1960: 0.6. In order to minimise the complications in working out the tax liability, the street factor of the location of the buildings may not be taken into consideration. The committee also does not recommend imposition of any vacant land tax.

‘Farmhouses’ should be categorized, depending upon their location and the neighbourhood. The committee has recommended lowering the classification of industrial areas by one, the minimum being “G”.

The committee has recommended that the corporation should determine the level of free/voluntary/charitable service in educational and medical services by setting up an internal committee, which could determine the multiplicative factor on properties belonging to such organizations based on transparent norms and the level of free service being provided by such organizations.

It has pressed for the immediate setting up of the Municipal Taxation Tribunal and the Hardships and Anomalies Committee for smooth implementation of the Unit Area System during the transition period. The committee has also recommended vesting of residual powers in the Commissioner MCD to take appropriate action on any cause, which may arise in the interim period.

To simplify the measurement/calculation of covered area, for properties built on plots of 100 square meters or below, the plot area should be considered as the basis of measurement of covered area and the tax be computed depending on the number of floors in the property. There should be no requirement of a certificate from a licensed architect in such cases, except when desired by the owner/occupier of the property.



Marginal rise in temperature 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
The New Year brought with it sunshine and a marginal increase in the Capital’s temperature. The first day of the year saw the cold wave relenting, with the sun showing up in the forenoon and the night and day temperatures rising.

However, the sunshine was mild, as the fog had not cleared completely till afternoon. The temperature at mid-day stood at 11 degrees and the weather office said it was likely to go up substantially by late afternoon.

The minimum temperature also went up to 8.3, as against six degrees Celsius recorded yesterday. Meanwhile, a northern railway spokesperson said a number of trains remained cancelled or were running late due to the fog.

The Allahabad-Ambala Unchahar Express, the Sealdah-Delhi Lal Quila Express and the Kalindi Express, which were cancelled on December 29, have not been restored yet. Moreover, the Amritsar-Jalandhar Express and the Gomti Express have been cancelled.

A number of trains originating in the Capital, including Delhi-Katihar Mahananda Express and the Guwahati-Delhi Avadh Assam Express, were rescheduled. Besides, a number of trains scheduled to arrive in the Capital were running late by several hours.



Delhi Zoo
Blankets and trenches fail to keep out the cold
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
The denizens of Delhi zoo are bearing the brunt of the cold wave. Already the cold has claimed a 12-year-old lion, two Sambar and a spotted deer.
John the Asiatic lion, who was brought from Gir forests in Gujarat, succumbed to pleurisy and pneumonia resulting from the cold. Some of the animals, which have been assembled from other parts of the country, are not acclimatized to the city’s harsh weather conditions and need adequate care.

Zoo authorities claim that the most vulnerable of the lot are birds, Sambars, black bucks and the spotted deer. While efforts are being made to provide them the best protection, care is also being taken to ensure that the natural habitat of the animals is recreated to an extent, even in the enclosed area.

Concerned and alarmed at the deaths, the zoo authorities are trying their best to the keep the animals warm and snug. A difficult task, this is the only way to save the precious lives.

A step in this direction, trenches have been dug for animals wishing to crawl underneath. The fallen branches of trees are not being removed and dry husk is being laid in small hutments for the young animals. Windows and ventilators have been sealed and thick blankets are being provided to keep the chimpanzees warm.

The big cats have been provided heaters to keep them from shivering and the water level in the ponds is being raised. It is pointed out that the temperature beneath the water surface is bearable.

Rich food and nutrients are being provided to the zoo inmates to help build their resistance. All animals are being given regular doses of vitamin C and B complex and the carnivorous are being fed protein rich diet.



Dense fog disrupts train services
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 1
Train services on the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka (DUK) section of the Northern Railway continued to remain disrupted today on account of dense fog engulfing the region for the 12th day thereby stranding thousands of passengers at Sonepat and nearby railway stations.

According to a report, the Northern Railway has announced the cancellation of the up and down Flying Mail and the Amritsir Super Express running between New Delhi and Amritsir for the day. The Delhi bound Jammu Mail running between Jammu Tawi and Delhi ran behind schedule for 15 hours and the Barauni Express running between New Delhi and Amritsir passed through Sonepat behind schedule for about five hours.

All other long-distance and the suburban trains also ran behind schedule and this caused inconvenience to the passengers mostly commuters, government servants, businessmen and the milk vendors, as they reached their destinations very late.

Traffic on the National Highway No 1 and other state highways also remained disrupted for several hours on account of a thick blanket of fog. All the taxis carrying newspapers reached Sonepat about two hours behind schedule and this caused inconvenience to the newspaper readers.

Five persons, including a student of C R College of Engineering, Murthal, were injured in two different accidents occurred on the G T Road near here last night. All the injured persons were rushed to the local civil hospital for treatment and they are stated to be out of danger.

A tractor was dashed against the gate of the railway crossing near Hindu College here last evening. This caused a traffic jam but there was no casualty.

It is alleged that the driver of the tractor tried to cross the railway crossing before the closure of the gate, but he failed to do so.

However, no case has been registered in this connection.



Allies should not set terms on Cong leadership: Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has asserted that potential allies should not insist on who the Congress leader should be and that her party would have the right to claim prime ministership for Sonia Gandhi, if it emerges the largest party in an alliance.

Affirming that Congress will not drop its condition that Ms. Gandhi be the leader of the potential alliance, Ms. Dikshit said: “As a party we want to see her as the Prime Minister, as the President”.

Ms. Dikshit aired her views during an interview on a television channel. She questioned the pre-condition set by others, that they will not make her the prime minister. “I don’t think that’s a fair pre-condition,” she added.

The Delhi chief minister said that since the Congress did not “interfere” with the working of other parties on the leadership issue, ‘‘Why is the alliance insisting that we do not have” Ms Gandhi as the leader.

“As a party we have this right to claim prime ministership. She is our leader. She will be our prime ministerial candidate, but it depends on the kind of Lok Sabha that you get next time”, Ms. Dikshit said.

Ms. Dikshit was quick to blame the party’s “managers,” when questioned over the uncertainty that had erupted over the choice of candidate for the post of Delhi chief ministership, even after she led the Congress to victory.

She said Ms. Gandhi was clear in her mind (about the choice of candidate), but it was the managers who created the confusion.

Asked whether by “managers” she was alluding to people around Ms Sonia Gandhi and those who advise her, she said she was pointing towards “people who are connected with these things”.

Side-stepping questions on causes of the rout in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, she said her government faced no anti-incumbency factor in the Capital as Delhiites “voted for the work we had done and tried to do…the transparency, the honesty and that they wanted that work to continue”.

“Apart from that we tried to reach out to every segment of society”, Ms. Dikshit said, adding that people of Delhi wanted “continuity of a government which they felt had done good work.” 



Help of panchayat sought to curb copying menace
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 1
The Board of School Education, Haryana, has decided to seek the help of the gram panchayat and other public representatives for curbing the menace of copying in the next annual examinations of the Board.

This was stated by the Chairman of the Board, Brig (retd) O P Chaudhary, at a seminar organised in the Panchayat Bhawan yesterday evening.

The standard of education had deteriorated considerably and the Board was committed to taking steps to curb the menace of copying, he said. He highlighted the steps taken by the Board to curb the menace and disclosed that 2,028 cases of copying were detected in the supplementary examinations held in September last year. However, 13 students were let off due to lack of evidence. The remaining candidates had been disqualified for two years by the Board, he added.

The chairman also disclosed that the Board had constituted five flying squads for the ensuing examination. Besides, one flying squad would be deputed at each examination centre.

He warned that stern action would be taken against teachers found helping examinees during the examinations.

The chairman also appealed to the parents of the students to help the Board in curbing the menace.



in a nutshell
Five die as car veers out of control, rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, January 1
In a tragic incident, five persons, all occupants of a car, died when their vehicle rammed into a tree near Rohad bypass on Delhi-Rohtak road here today.
According to information, the five persons, travelling in a Honda Accent car, were going towards Rohtak from Delhi. Due to foggy conditions, the driver lost control and the car rammed into a Safeda tree on the roadside The car was reportedly running at full speed at the time of accident.

Two of the deceased were identified as Baru, son of Ram Mehar, who hailed from Ismaila, and Ram Niwas, son of Bani Singh, a resident of Garh Tekna village; both died on the spot. Their three other co-travellers – Jitender, a resident of Khairpur, Rajbir of Sampla and Shakutala, wife of Baru, succumbed to their injuries on the way to the PGIMS at Rohtak, where they were being taken by the Highway Patrol.

Cinema owner given gunmen following ransom call

Ghaziabad: Security has been provided to a noted cinema owner and distributor of a private television channel, following extortion threats from the underworld, the police said.

According to Arvind Kumar, Senior Superintendent of Police, Meerut City, gunmen had been provided to Gaurav Prashad, after he received a call from a Haryana-based criminal who has demanded Rs 50 lakh.

The call was made from a PCO in Delhi, the police official said, adding that a similar call was received by the businessman on December 25, but he had not taken it seriously. The police are trying to trace the caller and the criminals involved, the SSP said. OC

Addnl director held on bribe charge

New Delhi: The CBI today arrested an Additional Director (Central Government, Health Department), posted at New Delhi, for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 5000 from an employee of his department fore giving him a suitable posting. The complainant reported the matter to the CBI, which laid a trap and arrested the suspect red-handed when he was allegedly accepting the bribe. The case is being further investigated, a CBI spokesman said. TNS

ICICI closes down ATM

Ghaziabad: A leading private banker, ICICI, today closed down its ATM branch in Modinagar in the wake of criminal activities in the area, bank officials said.

Coming as a New Year jolt to customers, mostly students of professional courses in the town, the bank today withdrew its entire cash and closed down the branch at the Krishan filing station on the busy Delhi-Dehra dun highway.

According to the bank official, a dacoity was committed at the ATM branch in the year gone by, but no loss was reported. The bank, in fact, had decided to close down the ATM in the area on December 29, but it was allowed to function for two more days. OC



I’ll contest against Ajay Chautala: Bansi’s son 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 1
The secretary general of the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) and a former member of Parliament, Mr Surinder Singh, has announced that he would contest the next Lok Sabha election against Mr Ajay Chautala, MP, and a son of Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister.

Addressing meetings in connection with the party’s mass contact campaign in Sonepat district yesterday, he said that Mr Ajay Chautala was contemplating to contest the next Lok Sabha election from Sonepat instead of Bhiwani and if he filed the nomination papers from this seat, he (Surinder Singh) would contest the election from the same seat.

Mr Surinder Singh, who is the son of the HVP supremo, Mr Bansi Lal, also declared that if Mr Bansi Lal came to power again in the state, every educated youth would get employment and the people would be provided with subsidised electricity and water.

He also disclosed that the party was holding a big rally on January 18 at Sonepat and it would be addressed, among others, by Mr Bansi Lal and his party colleagues. He said that the people of the state were fed up with the Chautala government and they were behind Mr Bansi Lal as the Congress is faction-ridden.

Mr Rajiv Jain, general secretary of the HVP and Mr Jagbir Singh Malik, a former Haryana minister were among those who addressed these meetings.



Darbars and meetings: Going through the motions
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 1
The New Year is being ushered in, but the official machinery is unlikely to change its ways, especially in the matter of redressal of grievances. Most of the complaints that are put up at the monthly meeting of the district grievances committee, chaired by the Chief Minister, are of a very general nature and could be easily tackled at the local level. Even these complaints are not addressed due to lack of a proper follow up.

The district authorities are now busy preparing for the first visit of the CM in the New Year here on January 4, the day on which the latter would also be chairing the grievances committee meeting. A look at the list of the complaints proposed to be tabled before the meeting indicates that these had been of quite simple nature normally handled by the officials during their routine work. It is quite surprising for many that such complaints would be handled by the CM when these could be easily solved by the officers concerned.

According to Mr Shailender Singh, an office-bearer of the Punarjagran Sanstha, a voluntary body propagating the Gandhian values, the holding of darbars and special meetings each after a fortnight or a month was only a stunt perhaps to show that the authorities had been doing a great job by taking up complaints in such a manner.

He said that the complaints regarding the public amenities, like damaged roads, choked sewers, encroachments, pollution, lack of facilities and injustice at various levels, could be easily solved by the official machinery at local level, but he said even small issues were put at a meeting attended by the CM. While the CM who was overall boss of the state could devote his time to more serious matters and policy decisions affecting the state and its people, he added.

He claimed that it was hardly justified and quite ridiculous that a complaint of blocked sewer in a colony or an encroachment on a road or park was brought before the CM. He said the CM ought to take a disciplinary action against the officials concerned if they were not able to solve small type of issues at their level. Claiming that the bureaucracy and the officers had been appointed to tackle such problems in the routine duty, there was no need to hold special darbars.

According to the MLA from Palwal, Mr Karan Dalal, the darbars and meetings held to tackle public grievances had reduced only to only publicity stunt as complaints only of the supporters of the ruling party were entertained. He alleged that an ex–sarpanch was arrested earlier this year when he tried to raise his protest over some irregularity at one of the darbars. He claimed that the officers were busy in welcoming and arranging the visit of the VIP’s in the name of holding such functions at most of the time and were hardly available to common man.

Meanwhile a look at the list of the problems to be taken up at the forthcoming meeting of the grievances committee here include the issue of improper sewerage network in Sector-21C here. It is reported that this sector had been facing the problem of blocked sewer and bad roads since it came into being a few years ago.

According to the residents of the sector the sewerage line provided here had been defective and this matter had been raised before officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation, but all the complaints had gone unheard so far.



Solid waste management project hangs fire
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 1
The prestigious solid waste management project for Sonepat has reportedly hung in the balance following disagreement in Jahri village panchayat to sell 15 acres of panchayat land to Sonepat Municipal Council for construction of treatment plant (compost plant).

However, the council’s chairman Satpal Goyal is hopeful that he would resolve the issue with the village panchayat.

This is the second time when the council has failed to get the land for this project in the villages around Sonepat town.

For the management of nearly 40 tonnes of solid waste, the council required at least 15 acres to install treatment plant and for this purpose, it first approached the panchayat of village Debru. And the panchayat passed a resolution to sell its 15 acres to the council.

But before the panchayat could hand over the possession of the land to the council, one firm of the town made a claim for the ownership of the land and filed a case in the court. As the matter became sub judice, the council was left with no option than to look out for other land and in this regard, the council authorities approached the village panchayat Jahri.

More than two months ago, the Jahri village panchayat passed a resolution to sell 15 acres of panchayat land to the council. And the council sent the proposal to the director of urban development for necessary sanctions. But, in the meantime, the village sarpanch has informed the council that most of the panchayat members have been exerting pressure for cancellation of the resolution and he has expressed inability to sell the land to the council.

It is also worth mentioning that to get the solid waste management project completed expeditiously in the NCR towns of Haryana, the chief administrator of the SLUM clearance board Haryana has set a timeframe for undertaking various activities involved in the project.

According to directions, the possession of the land for the treatment plant was to be taken by February 28, 2003. Work on installation of the plant was to be completed by September 2003 and the testing of the plant was to be completed by October 10, 2003.

The NCR Planning Board has also released two instalments of around Rs 3 crore for solid waste management in Sonepat, Gohana and Gannaur towns of the district.



Residents protest against blackout
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, January 1
Residents of Hasanpur village blocked Jhajjar-Kosali Road in protest against blackout in their village due to technical fault in the transformer in their village. According to information, a group of residents appeared on the road today morning put up a jam resulting in disruption in vehicular traffic on the road.

On getting the information, district officials, including SDO, electricity, BDPO, reached the village to pacify the agitated villagers.

The villagers alleged that they are living without electricity for last fifteen days. The electricity department installed the transformer and the power supply was restored in the village.

NSS camps concludes: The 10-day-long NSS camps organised by the colleges of the district concludes today. According to information, three units of Government College, Jhajjar, organised camps at Kheri Khummar village, in Kaimalgarh village and in the town, where they launched cleanliness drive in the streets and spread awareness among the people on various social issues.



ncr briefs
Gang of railway robbers held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
The Crime Branch sleuths have arrested a gang of robbers who used to loot the railway passengers by administering drugs.
The accused Mustaq, Hamu Miyan and Sher Khan, residents of Bihar, were arrested from the Ajmeri Gate side while they were in the process of befriending passengers. The accused used to offer eatables laced with soporific drug to make them unconscious.

MC serves notices to schools

Sonepat: The Sonepat Municipal Council has issued notices under Section 208 of the Haryana Municipal Act to the management of five schools for not submitting the building plans for approval to it before the construction of the buildings of the schools.

According to a report, it has maintained that these constructions are illegal and if the management failed to get the approval of these buildings from it, the council would take legal action. These schools are Vivekanand Senior Secondary School, Vikas Nagar, D C Jain Senior Secondary School, Mehlana Road, Shiv Shakti Senior Secondary School, Mehlana Road, Happy School, Saraswati Vihar, and Parveen Senior Secondary School, New Tara Nagar.

The action of the Sonepat Municipal Council has caused a panic among the management of the schools in the city. Earlier, the council has issued such notices to at least 10 schools of the city and five of them had paid the amount for the sanctioning of the building plans.

Woman dies

A woman (35) who sustained injuries by the running train while crossing the railway track near Hindu Girls College, and admitted to the local civil hospital on Tuesday, succumbed to her injuries in the hospital yesterday. According to a report, the body of the victim has not been identified so far.

Computers stolen

At least four computers were stolen from the building of the Government Senior Secondary School at Khanpur Kalan village about 30 km from here last night.

According to a report, the school authorities have lodged a complaint with the police in this connection. OC

Cultural programme

Jhajjar: The district administration organised a cultural programme at the Bhindawas Bird Sanctuary to celebrate the New Year today. Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Kumar and SP HS Doon wished the people of district on the occasion. The students from different school and the artists of Public Relations department presented cultural items on the occasion. OC



Delhi Digest
Gairola is new SBI CGM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
Mr B. K. Gairola has taken over as the Chief General Manager of State of Bank of India’s Delhi circle. He has moved to the city from Mumbai where he was posted as the Chief General Manager (offg).

Mr Gairola joined the SBI as a Probationary Officer in 1971, and has held various posts including that of Assistant General Manager, Overseas Branch, AGM, Zonal Office, Lucknow, and DGM Vigilance, New Delhi.

Roads to avoid: The Delhi Jal Board will undertake repair work on Rani Jhansi Marg near Baraf Khana Chowk to replace a deep pipeline after deep excavation on the road.

The digging work is scheduled to start from 10 pm tomorrow and is likely to take two to three days to complete it. Due to the digging work no traffic will be permitted on Rani Jahnsi Marg from Baraf Khana Chowk towards Azad Market Chowk. Necessary diversion signs for the guidance of general public have also been provided at all the diversion points by the Delhi Traffic Police. Motorists and the road users are advised for their own convenience to avoid the routes and follow the directions and diversions of the traffic police, DCP, Traffic Police, M.K. Meena said.

Office-bearers: The following officer-bearers were elected during the election of the CB Block Residents Welfare Association, Shalimar Bagh, held on December 28.

The bearers are: Chairman S. S. Dahiya, president M. P. Sharma, vice-presidents V. P. Bhatia and Rajesh Garg, secretary S. R. Vaid, joint secretaries P. Sharma and S. K. Gulati and cashier V. K. Aggarwal.



NTPC Director (Operations)
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
Mr Chandan Roy has taken over as Director (Operations), NTPC.
An engineer by profession, Mr Roy has more than 30 years of experience in the power sector. He joined NTPC in 1981 and has been associated with Operation and Engineering Divisions of NTPC.

Prior to this, he was heading the National Capital Region of NTPC as Executive Director.



World-class technology park for Faridabad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
Good news for the residents of Haryana! The Haryana Government on December 30 cleared the licence for the Haryana Technology Park Project in Faridabad.
The foundation stone was laid by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, on August 18, 2003. The Haryana Technology Park will be a world-class Leeds ‘certified green building’ facility, targeted for use by multinational companies, especially the US-based firms, and corporate who wish to set up or expand their BPO and software business.

The IT and ITES Park will have a covered area of over 1.4 million square feet. It is expected to provide employment to more than 25,000 young skilled IT professionals, residing in Faridabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Delhi-NCR region.

It is located at less than five km from Delhi on the main Mathura Road, on the national highway between Delhi and Agra.

The park will provide for software, IT services, office facilities, recreation centres like bowling, billiard tables and game rooms, food courts, gyms and health clubs with indoor exercising polls, barber shops, grocery shops, laundry shops, gift shops, computer stores, travel agencies, car rentals, medical centres, educational facilities, video conferencing rooms, overnight residential rooms and all other facilities that are required to keep 30,000 young people working around the clock happy. It will have parking for over 2,600 vehicles.

It will be a STP unit with all the attendant income tax and duty free import benefits as given by the GOI.

A substantial area of the park will be a pay and play facility, especially designed for the USA-based companies for instant start up.

It will be the first of its kind in Faridabad and will contribute to the development of the local economy. The exports of IT from Haryana are currently in the third position in India. The IT exports are over Rs 4,350 crore in 2002 out of a total export of Rs 10,000 crore.

Haryana has one the best infrastructure facilities and world-class security arrangements that encourage foreign companies to set up their offices here.


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