N C R   S T O R I E S


Khurana sitting pretty, but Delhi unit is adrift
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
Madan Lal Khurana, who will take oath as Governor of Rajasthan next week, leaves behind a party that is still to come to terms with his exit from the political affairs of Delhi. The party has effected a generational change by elevating Dr Harshvardhan as president of Delhi Pradesh BJP but the spectre of an early general election leaves the party with little time to get its act together.

The party is still to revamp the organisation by inducting a new set of office bearers. After the humiliating loss in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election and the dismal performance in the recent Assembly election, the organisation is in a state of paralysis. Khurana’s exit has made the situation that much more delicate for Dr Harshvardhan, who is working overtime to constitute his team.

An early Lok Sabha election would an acid test for the party and its newly appointed president. Not only has the party to decide on a suitable candidate for the Sadar Parliamentary seat vacated by Khurana but also who would contest the Assembly bye-election to the Moti Nagar seat vacated again by Khurana. The BJP-watchers do not rule out a shake-up if the party is to mount a spirited campaign.

Already there is talk of Vijay Goel shifting his parliamentary constituency to Sadar, although BJP sources deny sounding him out on this issue. Fuelling speculation about Goel’s candidature is the absence of any heavyweight who could take on the Congress. Lobbying nevertheless has begun among the claimants to a nomination from the Sadar Parliamentary seat.

The BJP won all seven Parliamentary constituencies in the 1999 Lok Sabha election. Khurana won from Sadar and Vijay Kumar Malhotra was elected from South Delhi. Union Minister of State Vijay Goel represents the Chandni Chowk seat in Parliament and Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma, Outer Delhi. Lal Bihari Tiwari, Anita Arya and Jagmohan won from East Delhi, Karol Bagh and New Delhi, respectively.

The BJP sources, however, deny that the party, post-Khurana, is on a weak wicket in Delhi. They cite the Congress’ whitewash in the 1999 Lok Sabha election only a year after its landslide victory in the Assembly election to claim that the BJP cannot be written off just yet. The Congress, they assert, will find it hard to make any dent given the achievements of the BJP-led NDA Government.

On the roadmap he would like to draw up for the party, Dr Harshvardhan says keeping the organisation prepared to take on the impending challenges would be his first priority. That, and effectively propagating the achievements of the BJP-led NDA Government. The party, he adds, would be working on its strengths to influence the public opinion in its favour.

In contrast, the Congress led by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit appears to be sitting pretty, although it has to contend with a host of problems quite unlike those the BJP is facing. Dikshit’s detractors are waiting for her to make a false move to press home the advantage. Again, it is not certain if the Congress’ apex leaders have assured Subhash Chopra of rehabilitating him after he lost in the race for a ministerial berth.


Winter break: Schools act on whim
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 7
Faridabad has witnessed winter in all its hues. Today, for instance, it was foggy and gloomy in the morning, but the sun was shining in all its glory by afternoon.

As some schools had reopened after winter break, the children and the staff could be seen braving the chill at bus stops. Even though the temperature rose marginally with the appearance of the sun, parents dread the idea of sending children to school in the morning chill; they were heard wishing that the schools should extend the winter break. They reckon that the chill is likely to persist for another fortnight or so.

There are 90 public schools affiliated to the CBSE in the district, but there is no discernible pattern in the vacations and holidays. As the CBSE has no fixed vacation rules either, the schools have been following their own norms. Result: While some prominent schools in the city closed for winter on January 1 (till January 20), many others downed their shutters on December 25; the latter opened on January 2.

A parents of a child, who studies in Sector-14, lamented that the winter break had been too short given the cold weather conditions. Children up to ten years of age were the worst hit. As in most schools there is no facility of regulating the temperature in the classroom, small children find the going extremely tough.

Mr Kailash Sharma , an office-bearer of Faridabad Abhibhawak Ekta Manch, a body representing the interests of parents of schoolchildren, said that schools and educational institutions should not be run in such weather. He pointed out that the majority of schools in the national Capital were closed till January 10.

Demanding that the district authorities should intervene in the matter, he urged the authorities to ensure that schools in Faridabad follow the break pattern in Delhi. He pointed out that even in Haryana, the district administration of certain towns had ordered closure of all private and government schools till January 15.

Noida: Taking a cue from the schools in the national Capital, the district administration has closed all government and non-government primary schools till January 10. The district administration will take strict action if any school was found violating the orders, the City Magistrate has said.

The Ghaziabad administration has already ordered closure of primary schools till January 10. In case the weather does not improve by 10 January, the closure could be extended further, the official sources said.


Delhiites bask in sunshine
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
After bleak cold weather, a bright and clear sky today greeted Delhiites and a large number of people were found basking in the afternoon sun.

The minimum temperature spurted from 3.7 degrees Celsius recorded yesterday — the lowest of the season — to 6.2 degrees Celsius today. The temperature at mid-day hovered around 13 degrees Celsius, as against nine degrees recorded at this time yesterday.

However, chilly winds continued to lash the city and the fog in other parts of the country continued to disrupt the schedule of trains in the Capital. A Northern Railway official said that the Unchahar Express, the Lal Quila Express, the Kalindi Express, the Howrah-Delhi-Howrah Janata Express, the Howrah-Sriganganagar Udyan Abha Express, the Darbhanga-Amritsar Saryu Yamuna Express and the Azamgarh-Delhi Kaifiyat Express remained cancelled. Besides, the Lucknow-New Delhi Gomti Express was running late by nine hours, the Bhiwani-Malda Town Farakka Express by 19 hours, and the Malda Town-Bhiwani Farkkha Express by 13. As many as nine trains were held up at various places.

A number of trains leaving the Capital in the morning and afternoon have been rescheduled to leave in the evening. The New Delhi-Guwahati North-East Express will leave at 18.30 hrs, as against its scheduled departure at 6.40 hrs; the New Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express, which leaves at 1315 hours, will now to depart at 1650 hours and the New Delhi-Varanasi Kashivishwanath Express will leave at 2000, hrs as against the scheduled departure at 2000 hours.

Winter power pangs

Noida: As if the cold wave was not enough, Noida and Ghaziabad have to reckon with heavy load-shedding. Both the cities are reeling under an eight-hour power cut daily.

The power supply was extremely precarious for the last one week, but the situation became desperate with a transformer at Muradnagar tripping on Monday and another one tripping at Rishikesh on Tuesday. In turn, the 400 KV sub-station has been badly handled by the Greater Noida officials. Had work proceeded on schedule, this sub-station would have been commissioned by now, easing the power supply in the winter months.

The Greater Noida Authority has not released additional funds for the sub-station either. The last installment was released in 2001. OC


Spot billing at your doorstep!
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
The power utility, North Delhi Power Ltd, today launched its spot billing facility. The facility will be extended to different parts of the Capital in a phased manner.

The facility, as the name suggests, provides a bill immediately on the consumer’s premises by a meter reader with the help of a hand-held device. The electricity bill, thus generated, will give the details of past and current consumption. The facility has been introduced for the first time in Delhi.

The pilot project, which started in Keshav Puram, will cover about 24,000 people in a bimonthly billing cycle. On a single day, about 800 bills are issued on the spot and the records of consumers are updated on NDPL website also within 24 hours. This facility reduces time taken for data entry, bill production and delivery of bills. While introducing transparency in the billing process, the facility also checks delay in the delivery of bills and the possibility of their being misplaced, as the bills are now printed and handed over to the consumer immediately by the meter reader.

Heralding the initiative as another step towards ensuring consumer satisfaction, Mr Anit Kumar Sardana, CEO, NDPL, said, “NDPL has always strived to introduce newer benchmarks in consumer service. In keeping with our commitment to provide the best in consumer convenience, while bringing the latest technologies available the world over, we have now introduced the service of spot billing. We are sure that this service will deliver speedy billing and bring transparency, while redressing problems faced by the consumers.”

Azadpur declared a market of national importance

New Delhi: The Delhi Government has decided to declare Azadpur market a market of national importance as laid down under the Delhi Agriculture Marketing Regulation Act 1998. This is being done keeping in view the heavy arrivals from different states and the important role of APMC Azadpur in affecting the price of fruit and vegetables at national level.

The announcement was made by Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan while speaking to the media here today.

Mr Chauhan informed that consequent upon declaration of Azadpur as a market of national importance, the representation of at least three states shall be ensured in the marketing committee of Azadpur.

The government has further constituted a Market Committee and an Executive Committee with the available ex officio members.

He said that with the declaration, the Delhi Government is determined to implement all the pending proposals for setting up integrated facility centre within Azadpur market. The centre will have a facility of washing, drying, grading, sorting, standardisation and packaging.


Kelkar report
Standing committee takes back seat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
The Leader of Opposition in the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Mr Vijender Gupta, today took exception to the placing of advertisements on the Unit Area Method Report of property tax assessment even as the report was yet to be tabled before the Standing Committee. The report was to be discussed in the Standing Committee before being made public.

Raising the issue in the Standing Committee, he said that the committee was constituted by the corporation and the house tax was the corporation’s responsibility.

The report should be tabled before the Standing Committee to find out weak points in it. The rate of tax assessment decided by the committee is not in favour of the residents of Delhi. People are not aware of the formula of tax assessment. Mr Gupta said that when he had asked for an explanation of the formula, no one either from the ruling party or the officials of the tax department could educate him. There was a complete silence to his query.

In a letter written to the Mayor, Mr Ashok Kumar Jain, Mr Gupta expressed surprise over an advertisement in newspapers inviting objections from the public to the report.

He said that the DMC Act 1957 provided that the corporation would be a body corporate and composed of councillors and aldermen. They were quite competent to make policies related to the work under the corporation.

Changing over to the Unit Area Method system from the present ARV system of property tax collection is a very sensitive issue having far-reaching effects and the act of the Assessor and Collector for inviting objections on the report appears an intentional act to infringe upon the statutory powers of the corporation, Mr Gupta said.


Tantrik gets life term for murder

Ghaziabad: A tantrik who had been claiming that he could trace missing people through his supernatural powers, has been sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 by a Ghaziabad court.

Abshesh, son of Ram Sharan Yadav of Nawadi, had gone missing on October 14, 1994. Ram Sharan had filed an FIR in Nawadi police station on October 17 in this connection.

One Roop Lal, a self-proclaimed tantrik then met Ram Sharan Yadav and tricked him into paying Rs 20,000 for telling him the whereabouts of the missing boy. Subsequently, the tantrik told Yadav that his son Abshesh was in Faridkot. Yadav along with a relative Kashmir Singh and tantrik Roop Lal set out to trace the boy.

In Surana jungle, the tantrik allegedly sprinkled petrol on Kashmir Singh and set him on fire. The man was completely charred. He was taken to a hospital, but succumbed to his burns on January 2, 1995. OC


TTE yet to be caught in teen rape case

Faridabad: The Railway Police of the district have started an investigation into the case of the rape of a teenaged girl by a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) on a moving train here on the night of January 4. However, the authorities are yet to arrest the main accused. The railway attendant, who helped the accused in the crime, has been handed over to the authorities here. He was earlier arrested by the GRP at Mathura.

He is alleged to have helped the TTE in raping the girl in the luggage room of AC compartment of Mumbai-bound Swaraj Express. While the victim, 18, had been lodged at the Nari Niketan in Mathura town after the medical examination, the Railway Police here have sent a team to nab the accused.

The victim is reported to be an orphan and had lost her ticket after boarding the train, it is learnt. As the case has been transferred to the GRP here, the police officials claimed that they would be able to arrest the culprit very soon. TNS



Decks cleared for municipal polls
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, January 7
The stage has been set for the municipal elections of Bahadurgarh, which will be held on January 29. On the last day of withdrawal of nomination papers, 32 candidates withdrew their names yesterday, leaving 112 candidates in the fray contesting for 31 wards of the MC.

The INLD supported five candidates make it to the local body without any fight, as they were nominated in absence of any contestant in their wards. The candidates who are set to get elected unopposed are: Karambir Rathee from ward no 11, Sajjan Singh from ward no 13, Sarla Devi from ward no 17, Rajkumari from ward no 18 and Daram Kadian from ward no 29.

The ruling INLD, led by district president Nafe Singh Rathee, who is also the MLA from Bahadurgarh constituency, has been leaving no stone unturned for retaining their hold on the MC and providing full support to the candidates. No political party is contesting these elections on their official party symbols. The INLD is way ahead in the electioneering process vis-a-vis other parties, including the BJP, the Congress and the HVP.

While many Congress workers and local leaders are contesting the elections on their own strength, without any support from the party, prominent Congress workers who are in the field, are Block Congress chief Moti Ram Joon from ward no 21, Kanta Kaushik from ward no 10, Raj Pal Sharma from ward no 4. The BJP workers have also joined the election battle. However, no party except the INLD has fielded their candidates with the formal support.


Villagers refuse to allow cops to remove bodies
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 7
Two persons were strangled in suspicious circumstances in Tyagi Farm in the jungles of village Shahpur Chandhir in Garh area on Sunday night. The villagers, who were demanding compensation from the proprietor of the farm, did not allow the police to remove the dead bodies of the deceased for hours.

Only after the SP (rural) and the Circle Officer had promised deterrent punishment to the guilty, the people allowed the dead bodies to be taken way.

The miscreants are suspected to have strangled Shabir, 30, resident of Shahpur, and Dalip, 24, a physically challenged person, of Abdulpur in mysterious circumstances. The hands and feet of both the victims were found tied by the police.

Shabir was looking after the farmhouse on the Meerut Road, which is owned by Yaduraj Naryan Tyagi. Some criminals tried to open their room in the farmhouse and when they could not open the door, they dragged Shabir and Dalip out by demolishing the mud wall. They tied the hands and feet of the victims and strangled them with the bed sheet.

On getting the information, the SO police station Ashok Kumar reached the spot and took the bodies in his possession. But when police wanted to take the dead bodies in the tractor trolley, villagers stopped them and pressed for a compensation of Rs 2 lakh from the proprietor, Narayan Tyagi. Later, Deputy SP Ummed Singh and SO Ashok Kumar persuaded the villagers.

According to police, some illicit relations could be the cause of this double murder. It may be added that another farmhouse worker Roshan was murdered in the very farm some 18 months ago. One Karan Singh of Aonla (Bareilly) was also employed in this farm till recently. A girl was also living with him, who later became pregnant. Shabir was also living with these people. A few days ago, Karan had gone away from the farm along with that young woman.

Additional SP (rural) B. K. Shekhar said that the motive and cause of the double murder was not clear. Police are investigating into the case.


Villagers demand residential plots in lieu of acquired land
Our Correspondent

Noida, January 7
In a meeting of village headmen (gram pradhans) in Behelolpur village, the villagers have demanded residential plots in lieu of 10 per cent land. The farmers are allowed to retain 10 per cent land when their land is acquired by the Noida and Greater Noida authorities for development.

Hundreds of farmers and village pradhans from over a dozen of villages in the area had attended the meeting. In the meeting, it was decided that Noida Authority be given eight days to accept this demand failing which villagers will gherao the authority’s office in Sector-6.

The pradhans in the meeting said that during 1998, the land of Rosulpur Nawada was acquired by Noida Authority. Out of this land, 10 per cent land was to be given to the farmers, as it was adjacent to “Lal Dhora Land”. Allotment letter to this effect had also been issued by Noida Authority on January 17, 2002.

Even development charge had been deposited by the villagers within one month as per the authority’s allotment letters. The layout plan of these plots and the plot numbers had also been allotted on these plots.

But their possessions had not been handed over to the farmers till date. Therefore, the farmers are feeling livid at this issue. While acquiring farmers land the Noida authority had agreed to allot farmers plots in 10 per cent abadi land, but no concrete action has been taken in this respect. No time frame has been decided as to till what date these plots will be handed over to the concerned people and in which exact spot each farmer will get a plot.

In case the Noida authority fails to take clear decision in about a week’s time, the farmers will launch an agitation starting with a dharna.


500-bed ward to be constructed at GTB Hospital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
A new 500-bed ward will be constructed at GTB Hospital in Shahdara in which 90 beds will be designated as part of a private ward block. The Expenditure Finance Committee has sanctioned Rs 33.95 crore towards setting up the ward.

The Delhi Finance Minister, Mr A.K. Walia, on Wednesday said there was a heavy pressure of patient load in the GTB Hospital and that the existing bed strength was not enough to cope with the steady flow of patients. As the occupancy of beds in the Departments of Gynaecology and Paediatrics often reaches up to 140-150 per cent, he said there was an urgent need to increase the bed strength.

The Minister also said a sum of Rs 4.45 crore has been sanctioned for construction of two utility floors of Advocate Block, boundary wall and project office at the District Court Complex, Sector 10, Dwarka.

National Road Safety Week

The Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr R. S. Gupta, flagged off a ‘Road Safety March’ at the India Gate to mark the 15th ‘National Road Safety Week’ today. More than 1,500 students from 29 schools, 312 vehicle drivers, members of NGOs and traffic officials participated in the march.

The theme of the Road Safety Week is ‘Better roads do not mean batter your life (avoid over speeding).’

This weeklong programme from January 5-11 will focus on all categories of road users, including schoolchildren. During the Road Safety Week, exhibitions, film shows, lectures, interaction, training and distribution of road safety literatures would be held.

Goel meets parents

The Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Mr Vijay Goel, today interacted with parents of students of MCD Model School number I and II in Rana Pratap Bagh.

The meeting was held to get inputs in order to improve the teaching standard and to provide better facilities for students and teacher in the schools. He said that students in the MCD schools come from the poor section of the society. It is not proper to deprive them of better education and amenities.

Affluent individuals and NGOs render constructive help to provide facilities in the schools under School Sudhar Yojna.


Ncr briefs
DM directed to take action against land mafia
Our Correspondents

Greater Noida, January 7
Reviewing the work of the Revenue Department, the Member of the Revenue Board, Mr T. George Joseph, directed the District Magistrate, L. Venkateshwer Lu, to take strong action against the land mafia operating in Greater Noida. Mr Joseph also directed the DM to identify tax revenue officials who were not performing their duty so that action could be taken against them. The District Magistrate was also instructed to launch a special drive against the land mafia in the district.

Eight Held for Auto Thefts

The Noida police claimed to have arrested eight members of a gang involved in vehicle thefts. The police also seized two Tata 407 vehicles and other goods worth Rs 70,000. According to the Sector-39 police, the arrested persons disguised as junk dealers during the day and committed thefts at night. Besides, the police claimed to have recovered two stolen motorcycles from another gang during a special drive to check vehicle.

The Superintendent of Police (City), Mr Anant Dev Tiwari, said a special campaign had been launched to bust these gangs. The arrested persons were identified as Santosh and Hamodul of Shahdara, Delhi, Hafiz and Amjad of Gorakhpur, Rahef of Mamura, Arshad of Banghel, Pappu of Gijode and Rukh Shahid of Meerut. They all worked for a junk dealer, identified as Fakhru, who was their ringleader. The SP said the gangsters kept a close tab on the police movements and would chalk out their programmes accordingly.

Special drive to recover professional tax

Sonepat: The Sonepat Municipal Council has decided to launch a special campaign for the recovery of the professional tax from the people and the organisations, which come under the purview of this tax.According to a report, it has prepared a list of such individuals and organisations and would be sending notices to them shortly. The organisations, which have come under the purview of this tax include cinema houses, restaurants, tent houses, gas agencies, banks service stations, medical clinics, computer institutes, cable operators and the general stores.

Demonstration held

Residents of Kalupur village and Ward No. 25 held a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here yesterday in protest against the erratic power and water supply. According to a report, the residents also submitted a charter of demands to the Deputy Commissioner urging him to provide housing accommodation to the poor people.

Turban law flayed

The Delhi state president of the All India Sikh Federation, Sardar Jatinderpal Singh Gaggi, has strongly condemned the French law, which banned the wearing of turbans in schools and government offices. This discriminatory law is against the Sikh tenets, he said.



4 persons injured

Sonepat, January 7
Four persons, including a woman, were injured in two different accidents that occurred on the G T Road near here last evening.

According to a report, the injured persons were identified as Raj Kumar and Rajbala of Swanter Colony, Narela and Jaipal of Mehndipur village. All the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and were stated to be out of danger. The police are still investigating into the case. OC


Truck with 110 cartons of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
The West district police intercepted a truck near Bhera Enclave on ring road in Paschim Vihar and seized 110 cartons of liquor including 92 cartons of rum and 18 cartons of Bonney Scot whisky in the wee hours of today.

Based on a secret information, the police intercepted the truck and arrested three persons, including the truck owner under the Excise Act. The accused were identified as Somnath Arora, resident of Bahardur Garh, Vipin and Shakti Mohan, residents of Rohini.


Watches, clothes looted from factories
Our Correspondent

Noida, January 7
The criminals barged into a company in industrial area in Sector 4 Noida on Sunday night and decamped with 400 watches from the premises. Later, the same gang is believed to have looted clothes from a Sector-2 factory after giving the guard some drug laced eatables, the Sector-20 police said.

Ravinder, who is normally on night duty in the factory in Sector-4, was overpowered by three miscreants in front of the factory. When Ravinder resisted them, he was thoroughly beaten up and was even threatened that he would be killed.

Later, the intruders decamped after looting some 400 Timex watches from the factory. The guard informed the proprietor of the firm about the incident. In the second incident, two guards, Surinder Pande and Sugreeve, were on duty at a garment factory in C-Block of Sector-2.

Surinder Pande is believed to have given some poison-laced eatables to Sugreeve. As a result, Sugreeve became unconscious and the miscreants helped themselves to costly clothes and fled away.

In the morning, Sugreeve informed the proprietor and the police about the loot. Police rushed the injured to the hospital and looking for the criminals. Surinder Pande is reportedly absconding. 


An easy payment option for BSES customers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
Easy Bill, a Hero Group company, today announced its tie-up with BSES to accept the payment of bills from their customers in Delhi. This alliance would make life easy for 18 lakh BSES customers in the Capital. They would now be able to pay bills conveniently at any of the 450 Easy Bill neighborhood stores in Delhi, get an instant receipt on payment, and even pay bills during the extended hours and weekends.

Mr Rahul Munjal, CEO, Easy Bill said, “With BSES aligning with us, we are now collecting bills for almost all basic utilities in Delhi. Easy Bill is now truly synonymous with ‘complete solution one-stop shop’ for bill-payment. The vision of Easy Bill is to create a brand, which offers consumer convenience in bill payments and reselling communication services using E-transaction-oriented product. This recent collaboration with a large service provider like BSES has brought us very close to this vision.”

According to Mr Sandeep Vij, Business Head, Easy Bill, “With this tie-up, Easy Bill has become the bill collector for all mobile, telephone and electricity bills in the city. With a geographic spread of 4,500 Easy Bill retailers across the city and major bill issuers aligning with us, we will now be able to cater more efficiently to our customers, fulfilling our promise of consumer convenience in bill payments.” Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, CEO, BSES said, “At BSES our commitment is towards achieving the best of customer satisfaction and setting high standards. Joining hands with Easy Bill will help us take this further by offering convenience and providing easy payment solutions to our consumers. Easy Bill is another convenient cheque payment option for our customers, which saves a lot of time. We also have drop boxes in and around Delhi for convenient payments of bills. Therefore, this initiative from Easy Bill will definitely be welcomed by our consumers.” Easy Bill has a tie-up with mobile and electricity companies and a large number of retailers to provide a unique bill collection service, capable of handling cash transactions, hereto not provided by any third party service providers like banks.

They have already tied up with bill issuers such as NDPL (Tata Power and Delhi Government JV), Hutch, Airtel, IDEA Cellular and Touchtel and Tata Indicom.


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