N C R   S T O R I E S


UGC withdraws extended college scheme
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced the withdrawal of the Extended College Scheme for 29 colleges of the Delhi University.

Under the Extended College Scheme, colleges with more than 1500 students on its rolls were eligible for a grant. “The UGC pays the colleges 95 per cent of the expenditure for the first 1000 students. Above that, it pays them 100 per cent. It is this additional grant, which will now be withdrawn”, said a senior official of the UGC.

He said “the additional staff, which basically is the non-teaching staff, the additional infrastructure will have to be withdrawn. The UGC will continue to pay 95 percent of the expenditure”.

The colleges, however, are not too happy with the decision. “The colleges will now be forced to raise money on their own. We cannot turn away the students and with so many students on roll we need the additional staff as well. The college management will have to devise ways to raise at least Rs. 20 lakh”, said the Principal of Sri Venkateshwara College, Dr. A S Reddy.

He added, “Withdrawal of the scheme is just one part of the report that UGC cites. The report had also mentioned other provisions like providing a full grant, which have not been mentioned”.

Similar views were expressed by Dr. S R Arora, Prinicpal, Hansraj College. “We are waiting for the UGC to clarify why this decision has been taken. We hope we can discuss this with the UGC, we were the first college in the DU to be covered under the Extended College scheme”.

Meanwhile, the UGC officials pointed out that the withdrawal of the scheme was long over due. “The recommendations of the Anandkrishanan Committee, which had been appointed in 1999 to study the working of the colleges under the Delhi University, had made the suggestion that the scheme should be withdrawn”, said an official.

He added, “We are not asking the colleges to dismiss the additional staff. There would be vacancies against retirement and this additional staff can be adjusted against those vacancies. As it is there is a ban on fresh recruitment of non teaching staff, so the surplus staff can be accommodated”.

The Extended College scheme entitled the colleges to money under two heads, for salaries to the additional non-teaching staff, which included two peons and three clerical staff, and money for library and other infrastructure.

The scheme was applicable to colleges run under the Delhi University alone and nowhere else in the country. And with its withdrawal, colleges like Hansraj, Ramjas and Sri Venkateshwara will have to start generating funds to meet the additional demands. The UGC says that the move was made to bring in quality control. “There are so many colleges, which are run by trusts and the money they receive for maintenance is a big amount, if they utilise that properly… there should be no problems”, said a senior UGC official.

He also refuted charges that the move entails a hike in fees and reduction in the student intake. “Those are separate issues and need to be discussed as well. This decision is based on a report and it should not cause problems to the colleges”, he said.



Consumer body drafts Cable TV Bill
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), a conglomerate of consumer groups in Delhi, has prepared a draft Bill called the “Regulation of Cable Television Networks Operation and Working Bill 2004” for the perusal of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The draft Bill addresses the problems caused by “monopolistic practices” of the cable TV industry, particularly after the introduction of conditional access system (CAS). It places considerable powers in the hands of the “Regulator” appointed by the Union Government.

Rajan Gandhi, Director of CUTS, says the draft Bill was prepared after extensive consumer surveys and interaction with the industry and lawyers. “All the work has been done voluntarily … we hope the government will accept our recommendations”.

A unique feature of the draft Bill is that the Regulator or an individual may file a complaint against monopolistic practices like arbitrary “bouquet” pricing of any of the players with the newly-formed Competition Commission of India.

The draft Bill takes into account the regulatory framework provided by the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority Bill 1997 and which is lying before Parliament. It envisages the establishment of a Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India at the Centre and in the States.

Welcoming the appointment of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as the regulatory body for the cable TV industry, Gandhi said a strong regulatory mechanism was an essential precursor to CAS. “We are relieved that at long last the government has acted”, he said.

“It is not clear yet whether the referral to TRAI is a pro tem measure and whether a Broadcasting Regulator will ultimately take over but the priorities and terms of reference in the draft Bill are universally applicable,” Gandhi added.



Delhi Govt to empower RWAs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The Government of NCT of Delhi will delegate powers to the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) to further transparency, accountability and participation of citizens in the campaign to make Delhi a modern city.

Delivering the valedictory address to the workshop on solid waste management hosted by the Bhagidari Cell of Government of NCT of Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday said Councils of RWAs would be set up to “advise” the government.

The RWAs, she said, would be informed and consulted before any increase in taxes and prices. Dikshit said local and regional concerns would be taken into consideration and reflected in the budget on the basis of consultation and feedback from the RWAs.

On the occasion, Dikshit called for simplifying and bringing transparency in the working of the government. “There was no lack of funds. The government was a good collector of tax. The only thing lacking was the will to act”.

Stressing that scientific management of garbage was one of the most important component of the government’s vision of making Delhi a world class city, she appealed to the people to participate in the garbage segregation efforts of her government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The chief minister pointed out that households, markets and industrial estates were the primary source where garbage was generated.



Three held for extorting money from Azadpur traders
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The Special Cell of the Delhi Police arrested three notorious extortionists from Azadpur Sabzi Mandi and Okhla Industrial Area yesterday. The suspects used to extort money from the traders of Azadpur Sabzi Mandi for Anil Bhagte, a dreaded criminal who is behind bars at present. They also extorted money from Okhla Industrial Area, reportedly for a councillor.

The sleuths of the Special Cell had a tip-off that a criminal extorted money from the shopkeepers of Azadpur Sabzi Mandi. The information was developed and the shopkeepers were asked to find out the truth.

Later, a raid was conducted and the suspect, Mukesh, a resident of Sevali, was caught red-handed. A country-made pistol and a cartridge were recovered from him. The suspect is president of the Bhartiya Kisan Uthan Samiti.

Earlier, Devender Dahiya was its president. He was allegedly murdered by Anil Bhagte.

The government has constructed a tin shade for the farmers who come from the remote villages to sell fruit and vegetables in the mandi. The government does not take charge from them. But Mukesh used to collect Rs 15,000 from them every day. Besides, he would take money from the wholesale dealers.

The same police team arrested Dharmender Kumar and Badan Singh for extorting money from the shopkeepers of Okhla Industrial Area. Two country-made pistols and cartridges were recovered from them. The suspects extorted money from the factory owners.

During interrogation, they disclosed that they were doing this at the behest of a councillor, the police said.



Live with the rats! MCD rejects funds demand
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The Medical Health Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has refused the demand for more finance for the sterilisation of dogs and elimination of rats by the Veterinary Department of the Corporation.

The veterinary department demanded Rs 2 crore for the sterilisation of dogs in the budget for the year 2003-2004 at the meeting held recently. However, the demand was not accepted as the officials could not give a satisfactory reply on the expenditure. When Onkar Singh Thapar, member of the committee, asked for the details of the expenditure of last year, the officials could not provide the data.

He said that the veterinary section of the corporation caught the dogs and handed them over to the sterilisation centres run by the Delhi Government in different areas of the Capital. All medical facilities are provided by the state government while food for animal is supplied by the NGOs.

The NGOs are funded by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest through the MCD.

Last year, the ministry sanctioned Rs 22.44 lakh for the purpose while only Rs 15 lakh was given to the NGOs.

He said that the MCD had divided the Capital in 12 zones. Each zone has a veterinary department which does the sterilisation. At least a sum of Rs 70 lakh is spent on the staff salaries. Besides, Rs 101 lakh is spent as salary for the staff, engaged in the elimination of rats, and Rs 50, 000 for medicines. When a list of staff of sterilisation department was asked, the head of the department could not provide it.

Jitender Kochar, Chairman of the Health Committee, said that the department had a complete list of employees. They always did their jobs on time. The budget demanded by the department was not accepted as it had enough money to do the sterilsation work for one year.



A rustic from a sleepy town who outdid Natwarlal
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, January 10
It is a story of a simple rustic who transformed himself into an urbane Natwarlal. 
Slowly and gradually, this Simple Simon became so shrewd, scheming and cunning that cheating leading finance companies and banks had become his second nature.

Mahipal was a simple graduate when he landed in the city from Dhaampur, a sleepy town in Jyotiba Phule Nagar district, five years ago. He was a hardworking youth who soon understood that he would never be able to acquire status, comfort and other niceties of life by sticking to his routine work.

A quick learner, he picked up the tricks of financial world. He started his career as an area sales manager in Delta Mineral Water Company in Sector-27, Noida.

Having landed a lucrative job, he was on the lookout for a good life partner. In due course, he found his Miss Right and married Pooja. He was quite happy for three years, living within his salary of Rs 5,500 pm. But soon he was attracted by the glitter and glamour of the city, which raised his expectations sky high.

Propelled by a vaulting ambition, he left the job and started working as an agent of ICICI bank in Delhi. Soon Mahipal was picking holes in the ICICI bank system. Within days, he became an expert in preparing documents for credit cards and loans. This was the turning point in his career and he started shaping into a master swindler. He decided to make fake credit cards. In 2001, he even opened an office by the name of Singh Associates in Mayur Vihar Colony of New Delhi.

Mahipal furnished wrong addresses to finance companies and purchased two Indica cars and three motorcycles. However, Lady Luck deserted him when his two cars were taken back by the financiers.

But, instead of feeling demoralised, Mahipal became even more scheming and ambitious.

This time, he floated a dummy firm, US Foods, with many offices in Delhi, including one in Sarita Vihar. On the basis of fictitious documents and fake pay slips, with US Foods as the mailing address, Mahipal purchased a number of vehicles and got a number of credit cards issued.

Mahipal’s was a world of total make-believe. Everything about him was fake: his name, accounts, firms, passbooks, cheque books, credit cards, identity cards, driving licences, pay slips and even fake income tax returns.

How did he accomplish all this? He would set up a firm and invite applications for appointments. Pay slips of fictitious companies were prepared, giving wrong details. These fictitious identities and addresses were used in making driving licences.

On the basis of these names and addresses, bank accounts were opened and credit cards obtained to defraud the banks. Vehicles were procured by raising funds from bank.

At the time of Mahipal’s arrest, seven credit cards of well-known banks and ICICI bank were recovered. The seized cards had a credit limit of Rs 4 lakh each. A case was registered against Mahipal for fraud, cheating and forgery, and he was sent to jail by the Vijay Nagar police.



We support Chautala govt, but not from dil se: BJP
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 10
Giving a momentum to the anti-Chautala move by the state BJP, the president of Haryana BJP, Prof Ganeshi Lal, said: “We are not with Chautala government in its anti-farmer, anti-trader and anti-labour policies. We have supported the Chautala government from outside not from the ‘dil’ (heart).”

Talking to mediapersons after inaugurating the two-day convention of district presidents here on Friday, Prof Ganeshi Lal said that state BJP has already intimated the party workers’ sentiments to the Central leadership of the party and final decision about alliance with the INLD is to be taken by party high command and “we will act accordingly”.

However, the party was ready to contest the next elections on its own and prepared to field its nominees on all the ten Lok Sabha seats, he said, adding that the party’s vote bank had considerably increased in the state on account of pro-people policies of Vajpayee Government in the Centre.

Prof Lal lashed at the Chautala government for its discriminatory attitude towards farmers pointing out that Kisans were not “Rajdrohi” (anti-national), but the government, which calls Kisans “Rajdrohi” was itself “Kisandrohi” (anti-farmers). “We do not have any objection in waiving of the sentences of the prisoners, but certainly we will not tolerate if the farmers and labourers are put behind the bars,” he commented.

Claiming that the Central Government had provided liberal financial grants to the state for development workers, he disclosed that the state government demanded Rs 2,200 crore and the Central Government had already provided Rs 2,000 crore. He held the state government responsible for not implementing the “Krishi Bima Yojana”.

Replying to a question, he said there was no place for caste politics in the state. Mr Bhajan Lal would not have become the Chief Minister with caste support of hardly 0.5 per cent population of Bishnois, he said and claimed the BJP had its vote bank in every section of society.

The senior BJP leaders of the state, including Kishan Singh Sangwan, MP, Parmanand Yadav, Kanwal Singh Saini, Bhale Ram Narwal were also present on the occasion.



Special Focus on rewari
Question mark over upgradation of Rewari hospital
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 10
The 100-bed level upgradation of the District Civil Hospital, which is titled as ‘Sir Shadi Lal General Hospital, Rewari’, has virtually been lying in the doldrums for a pretty long time much to the chagrin and dismay of the over 7.50 lakh residents of the district.

This was all the more mind-boggling that the hospital, which had been prominently named after Sir Shadi Lal, a most celebrated son of the Rewari region and a great legal luminary of undivided Punjab of India, was facing such predicament.

Interestingly, the efforts of the Haryana Health Minister Dr. M. L. Ranga, who is a native of Rewari district and whose residential house now lies in Rewari city, to get the hospital upgraded from its present 50-bed level to 100-bed level have also proved almost a damp squib so far. Thus, in the absence of its long cherished upgradation, the hospital, which otherwise caters to the salient medical needs and requirements of over 7.50 lakh residents of Rewari city, Bawal town and 404 other villages of the district, now stood devoid of all those modern medical facilities, which were essential for its huge mass of patients.

Needless to say that such unsavoury situation had been persistently driving the hapless patients into the lap of private clinics where diagnostic as well as curative treatment was quite expensive and hence beyond the reach of most of these patients.

Unfortunately, Rewari seemed to be a stunning aberration in Haryana, where as many as seventeen of nineteen districts were endowed with 100-bed govt, hospitals.

Simultaneously, this too was giving moments of heart-burning to right thinking persons of the district that the existing 50-bed Rewari Hospital, which had been consistently drawing a somewhat greater number of outdoor patients, indoor patients as well as casualties than those of the 100-bed government hospitals of Narnaul and Gurgaon, was being unjustifiably denied its rightful status of a 100-bed hospital by the state government.

According to information available from hospital sources, on an average about 250 to 300 outdoor patients visited the hospital daily while occupancy of beds for indoor patients stood between 75 to 80 percent of the total availability of the beds. Similarly, casualty cases mounted above 240 per month on an average. But unfortunately accidental cases of a serious nature, whose number was ever on the increase on account of the hospital’s proximity to a large stretch of National Highway No. 8, were virtually a heavy drain on the paltry resources of the hospital. Thus, more often than not some precious lives, which could otherwise be saved, were lost in the time-consuming process pertaining to their referral transfer to other hospitals at Rohtak and Delhi.

This is also noteworthy that the existing building structure of the hospital at Rewari was fully capable to house 100 beds as well as their allied requisites. Thus, if it was immediately upgraded to the 100-bed level, the state government would have to incur no extra-expenditure on construction of any additional building structure.

Similarly, the blood bank, which catered to the blood requirement of accidental cases in the hospital here, had also been supplying blood needed for patients in the hospitals at Narnaul, Jhunjhunu and Khetri (Rajasthan).

However, it was something different that the blood bank, which required a minimum of three lab technicians for its proper maintenance, has no technician at all.

At present, the hospital was suffering from a severe lack of ultrasound and CT Scan facilities as well as the services of a paediatrician, a radiologist, a gynaecologist and an eye-specialist etc. Needless to say that these specialists would man the hospital as soon as it was upgraded to the 100-bed level.

But who knows when will the government rise to the occasion and implement the people’s demand pertaining to its upgradation?



Vidrohi flays instant tubewell scheme
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 10
The Haryana Janata Dal (U) president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, has flayed the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam” (DHBVN) authorities for the failure of their “Instant Tubewell Release Scheme” which, he said, had been a cruel joke on thousands of hapless farmers of South Haryana.

He said that there were several thousand farmers in Rewari, Mahendragarh and Gurgaon districts of South Haryana, who took the scheme at its face value and deposited amounts ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 or more with the DHBVN authorities in the hope that they would now be given tubewell connections instantly. But it was a pity that theses farmers had been desperately going from pillar to post for the past about 12 months and the stock reply, which they received every time from the concerned authorities was that the connections would be released as soon as essential material reached them from above.

Thus, on account of the non-release of these so-called instant tubewell connections the farmers have failed to irrigate their two consecutive rabi crops. To cap it all, the Chief Minister recently announced that all such farmers would be provided tubewell connections within the next three months.

Describing it as something preposterous for the farmers of South Haryana, Mr Vidrohi said that if their tubewells were energised by the DHBVN in March or April, 2004, a majority of them would be harnessing them only in October, 2004 during the sowing operations of their next rabi crop. Thus, the payment of power tariff for the period from April to September, 2004, during which the tubewells would remain completely inoperative, would be an unnecessary drain on the pockets of all such farmers.

Mr Vidrohi urged the chief minister that in such an eventuality the affected farmers should be exempted from payment of power tariff for the above barren period. Besides, he also sought a high level enquiry against all those officials of the DHBVN who kept the implementation of the above scheme in abeyance and thus played a cruel joke on the poor farmers. He further demanded stringent action against such erring officials.



Niwar units on the brink of closure
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 10
The famous “Niwar Udyog” of Gohana is on the verge of closure due to ‘indifferent’ attitude of the government and problems in supply of raw material. The production of the Niwar has come down to less than half of the total production during last three decades.

The Niwar industry of Gohana had been well known in northern India for its Niwar products. It was set up in 1965 and progressed well in the coming years and became one of the main wholesale supply centre of Niwar products in Haryana, Punjab, Western Uttar Pradesh and even Delhi. Thousands of people got employment in nearly four dozen units of Niwar in this remote town of Sonepat district.

The industry also got a boost when the Gohana town and its surrounding areas were declared as industrially backward areas and number of incentives were given to this industry under the rural industrialisation policy of the then Chief Minister, Mr Devi Lal, in 1977-78. Even during the rule of Mr Bansi Lal in 1976, the Niwar industry got a concession of around seven per cent in the local taxes. The result of these pro-industry steps was that the production of Niwar reached to a record level of 10 tonnes per day in 1988. The industry used to get the raw material from neighbouring areas at cheap rates. But, as pointed out by number of owners of these units, the hopes of the entrepreneurs were dashed to the ground when the Central government decided to send the raw material in other countries about six months back.

According to them, nearly two dozen units have been closed down and “it is impossible for us to purchase raw material at higher rates”.



Farmers reject land compensation offer by UPSIDC
Our Correspondence

Ghaziabad (Loni), January 10
The farmers of Loni villages have rejected the land compensation offer by UPSIDC at the rate of Rs 45.77 per square yard for the extension of Tronica City Project. Since this compensation was far less than Rs 500 per square yard being paid by the Delhi Government and Rs 385 per square yard being paid by the Noida authority and was one fourth of Rs 198 per square yard paid for Tronica City Project in 2000, the farmers have said the government seems to be determined to dispossess the farmers of their land.

The UPSIDC had made this offer unilaterally without consulting them, the farmers alleged. The district administration has invited farmers on January 12 to collect their land compensation.

In a protest meeting held in Khanpur Japti village, the concerned farmers decided to reject land compensation at this rate. 
The UPSIDC was acquiring land in Khanpur Japti, Agraula, Ahlyabad, Haranpur and Lokshipur villages for extension of Tronica City Project. The UPSDIC had failed to make farmers agree to their land compensation rate. The district administration had asked the concerned farmers of these villages to collect their compensation amount from the Collectorate, Ghaziabad, on January 12.

The president of the ‘Farmers Action Committee’ (Kisana Sangarash Samiti), Mr Jagat Singh Khari, said the farmers should be paid appropriate price for their land since it was situated just on the Delhi border.

He said the Delhi Government paid Rs 27 lakh per acre or Rs 500 per sq.yd. to the farmers whose land was acquired. Even in Noida, the farmers were paid at the rate of Rs 3.85 lakh per every katcha bigha or Rs 385 per sq.yard.

Even the UPSIDC had paid land compensation in the past at the rate of Rs 198 per sq. yd after consulting the farmers. However, the value of land had increased due to the dearness in these three years.

The district administration, however, expects the farmers to accept land compensation at the rate of Rs.45.77 per sq.yd, which was one fourth of that paid to them three years ago at the rate of Rs.198 per sq.yd, Jagat Singh Khari said.

The farmers unanimously decided to reject the government offer of Rs. 45.77 per sq.yd and boycott the January 12 meeting at the Collectorate.

The government wants to snatch their land, he said. The farmers threatened to launch a united campaign if the government failed to pay a reasonable compensation.



Local bodies directed to complete ongoing civic works by March-end
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 10
The Principal Secretary and the Financial Commissioner, Department of Urban Development, Haryana, Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, directed the local authorities to expedite the pending development works and take measures to beautify the public places in this industrial town. Mr Chatterjee was presiding over a meeting of district officials here on Thursday to take stock of the pace of development works in the district. All the senior officials of the various departments attended the meeting.

Directing the authorities of HUDA to initiate special drives for the proper maintenance of public places such as community centres, parks, markets, shopping complexes and the main passages in all the sectors, he reportedly expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of work on road repairs in many areas.

He said the HUDA should immediately start the repair works and relaying the six roads in the Municipal Corporation limits. However, he also directed them to ensure that the construction of the drains adjoining these roads are taken up before laying these roads so that the rain water could be drained out and the damage to the roads could be avoided.

It may be recalled that the roads in the town wither out prematurely and the authorities have to go in for repairs from time to time as standard norms of construction were usually overlooked.

The Financial Commissioner reminded the district officials that the deadline for repairing all the roads had been fixed for March.

Expressing concern over the reportedly slow work in the widening of the Bhadkhal–Surajkund road, he said reports of encroachments on this road had already

started “pouring in”. He directed the officials of the Municipal Corporation to remove all the encroachments falling in its jurisdiction. He directed the officials to close down all the showrooms built illegally in the industrial sectors 23 and 24 in the NIT area.

Mr Chatterjee announced that the state government had given permission for the construction of 15 new malls–cum–shopping complexes in Faridabad. These will be constructed in the upcoming sectors, including Sector 20-A, Sector-20, 31, 44 and 47.

While eight malls will come up in sector 20-A located near Neelam flyover on the National Highway no.2, five will be built in the adjoining sector-20.

It was also announced that HUDA would handover about 35 parks to various residents welfare associations for proper upkeep. It may be recalled that a number of parks have already been handed over to the RWA’s by the Municipal Corporation for proper upkeep.

The HUDA will also be constructing buildings for eight police stations in various sectors besides completing the ongoing work on the Leisure Valley on the Surajkund-Bhadkhal Road, transport parking area in Sector-58, widening of the Ankhir Chowk and a park in Palwal town of the district by March end.

Minor raped

The police found a 15-year-old girl allegedly abducted by a youth from the Adarsh Colony here. The accused, identified as Navin Kumar, has been arrested. The medical examination of the girl revealed that she had been repeatedly raped.

The complaint lodged by the family members of the victim alleged that the minor girl had been abducted for marriage against the wishes of her parents. A rape case was registered against the accused.

Meanwhile, the Railway police have reportedly dispatched a team to Kota town in Rajasthan to arrest the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE), who had allegedly raped an 18-year-old girl from Bulandshahr in U.P

The victim was travelling ticketless on the Mumbai-bound Swaraj Express on the night of January 4. The incident took place when the train was moving between Faridabad and Hodal stations in the district. One person had already been arrested in this connection.



Nursing college student commits ‘suicide’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
A fourth year student of Ahilya Bai Nursing College associated with the LNJP hospital reportedly committed suicide by injecting herself with some poison last night. She had been tense for a number of days due to a family problem. Her father was a Kargil war martyr.

The victim, Kiran Bala (22), was found dead in her hostel room last evening by her two classmates. A syringe was recovered from the bed, which has been sent to a laboratory for examination. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

No suicide note was found on her person. The police said that she was last seen by Aashu, her friend, at 8 P.M. An hour later, Aashu went to Kiran’s room and found her lying unconscious on the bed. She was taken to the hospital, where she was declared brought dead.



Suicide by couple, daughter
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 10
One young couple of Bhainswal Kalan village under Sadar Police Station of Gohana along with their one and a half year old daughter committed suicide by consuming sulphas tablets in the morning today.

According to information, 28-year-old Virender and his wife Seema were found vomiting near the drain No-8 bridge in Gohana town by the SHO in the morning. They along with their daughter Mukan were semi-conscious and were brought to the Civil Hospital, Gohana.

However, on finding their condition serious, they were referred to the PGIMS Rohtak.

Muskan reportedly died on the way and Seema also breathed her last in the PGIMS.

Virender too died in the PGIMS after a while.

A family dispute is reported to be the cause of the extreme step taken by the couple.

This is the second incident of a suicide by a family within two months.

One teacher of village Damkan Kheri also committed suicide along with his two sons by jumping in Jawaharlal Nehru Canal. Their bodies were fished out from the bed of a canal after a week.



There’s need to relearn the ways of solitude & simplicity

SCRIPTURES are full of instances where believing people prayed and God responded in wonderful ways. However, having our requests granted is not the primary goal of prayer. Presenting a shopping list to our Maker is not its objective. God knows our needs even better than we do. He knows our thoughts even before we put them into words.

Prayer time is still relevant because it is time spent in the presence of God and in conversation with Him. In fact, the modern man is too much preoccupied to have time for this conversation. He is surrounded by a cacophony of voices. There are a thousand distractions today for the man who is in pursuit of happiness.

The newspaper, radio, television and the telephone compete for his attention.
Then he has also got addicted to entertainment: it looks as though everything, including religion should be translated into entertainment to be made interesting for the common man. So you have the sound system blaring out religious music and also moral exhortations. There are electronic devices and adaptations to take over all kinds of religious activity.

Entertainment is being used as a device for wasting time; it serves as a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience. Often it serves as a mechanism for presenting painful truths without calling to account the violators of morals and ethics. The entertainment god amuses devotees who remain insensitive to the demands of the kingdom of God; demands of righteousness and holiness.

Many homes in our cities are little more than theatres, particularly in the evenings with the members of the family watching television serials and programmes. Man has lost the art of ‘being alone with God’ For those who would heed the soul’s need to “come apart and rest a while”, there is need to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the inner life.

“Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” is a wise and healing counsel. We need to retire from the world each day to some private spot. Let the surrounding noises subside and fade out of your heart. Listen to the voice of God. Let it be a verse from the scripture. Listen and meditate. Let the lofty thought therein enter deep into your inner realms.

We come with all out burdens, toils and tears and then sit quiet at His feet. You bow before Him, full of weaknesses and fears. And as the poet put it, you rise from the place full of strength. Indeed those who wait upon the Lord renew their strength.

We all need this ‘quiet hour’ to free ourselves from the dirt and hurt that accumulates within us and also to renew our minds on a regular basis.

We need to be with Him to rid our hearts of hate, impure thinking and dishonest desires and fears. We need to be in tune with the Infinite to draw in strength from Him who rejects none who goes to Him in faith. It may be the first thing we do in the morning before we face the day; it is also desirable to have a similar period of self-examination just before going to bed. This cleansing operation makes us more efficient and keeps us at peace.

‘Practising the presence of God’ is not a matter to be preached but to be experienced. Here is the account of a spiritually inclined father (Ken Hemphill) narrating his earthly experience with his children:

“I spent a great deal of time flying and like many frequent travellers, I got into the habit of always bringing home a small gift for my two girls who were still at home at the time.

It happened almost without fail. As soon as my car would enter the driveway, they would run from the house and greet me with tender address.

“Hi, Daddy. What did you bring us?” After one particularly long and exhausting trip, I arrived home to be greeted by the same predictable welcome: “What did you bring us, Daddy? What did you bring us?”

But for some reason this time, I just wasn’t in the mood for giving presents. So instead I gave my girls a short but strong lecture. I explained how hard it was to be apart from them and how tired I was every time I came home. I tried to help them imagine what it would feel like for them to be away from home for days at a time. Just once, I expounded, it would mean so much to me if I knew they were simply glad to have Daddy home—not just to have a gift. I gave them a guilt trip..

The following weekend, I returned home after being out of town again, having forgotten my lecture from the past weekend. As usual, my girls ran to meet me in the driveway—only this time, my youngest daughter leaped into my arms, gave me a big hug, and said in the sweetest voice, “I love you, Daddy. I’m so glad you’re home.”"

My heart melted within me. With her next breath, of course, she asked, “Now. . . what did you bring me?” Well, it was a start, but my daughter’s behavior made me realise that my own prayers to my heavenly Father often began like that—with little more than requests, requests, requests. I’m sure that my words often sounded just like my girls’ childish refrain: “What did you bring me, Daddy?”

When I finally comprehended the fact that prayer permits me to come into the presence of my Father, to express my love for Him, to thank Him for His constant provision and give Him the honour He is due, I discovered a new passion for prayer. Yes. Communicating with the Father daily in itself can be very rewarding.

When our spirit mingles with His Spirit, we become people of peace and power. We then face the world with a sound mind, free of all fears. We become filled with His love. This is the grandest experience of those who learn to be with Him.

M P K Kutty


Married woman immolates herself
Our Correspondents

Ghaziabad, January 10
A married woman in Sahibabad reportedly immolated herself after sprinkling kerosene oil on herself. It is learnt that the landlord, Mr Ramesh Pal, broke open the door when he saw flames coming out of the room.

But by the time the flames were extinguished, the condition of the young woman became critical. The housewife, identified as Saroj, was rushed to district hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Girl commits suicide

A young girl, who had qualified in the Staff Selection Commission, hanged herself from in Vasundhra Sector-15, Ghaziabad. The cause of the death of the young girl, identified as Shalini Sharma, daughter of a Railway engineer in Ferozabad, was unclear. She was living in a rented house with her friend, identified as Vikesh.

Shalini, who was working in a Noida firm, had left her job after getting selected by the Staff Selection Commission. She had been posted to Varanasi in her new job.

The cause for this extreme step was not clear. Her friend Vikesh said Shalini appeared to be upset on the previous night. However, she did not discuss the issue with her. When her landlord called out to her she did not respond. When he peeped inside the room he saw Shalini hanging from a ceiling fan. The police recovered a suicide note from the room in which the deceased took all the blame for the suicide and stated that nobody was to be blamed for her death.

Both the bodies were sent for the postmortem examination.

Husband, in-laws sentenced to 7 years RI for dowry death

Sonepat: The Additional Sessions Judge of Sonepat, Mr J S Jangra, has sentenced a youth, Surinder, his father, Kartar Singh, and his mother, Rajo, to seven years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 500 each in a dowry death case lodged against them in the Kharkhauda Police Station on November 20, 1998.

According to a report, all the accused belonged to Khanda village in this district and the victim, Mrs Bala Devi, belonged to Godri village.

According to the prosecution story, Mrs Bala Devi, who was married to Surinder on May 6, 1996, was continuously harassed by her husband and other members of the in-laws family for dowry.

On November 19, 1998, the father-in-law of Mrs Bala Devi, Mr Kartar Singh, informed her parents about her sudden death.

Roaming calls abolished

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to abolish the system of roaming calls on cash cards of mobile telephones in this district. According to a report, this decision will be enforced immediately and will continue until the removal of faults in the system.

This facility is being provided to the subscribers of Sonepat, Rohtak, Faridabad and Gurgaon.

The BSNL has already informed the MTNL authorities about this decision.

The BSNL cash cardholders made STD and ISD calls from Delhi and duped the BSNL of lakhs of rupees.

The situation went out of control on account of technical defects in the mobile telephone system and the BSNL had no alternative but to cancel the roaming facilities for cash cardholders.



Sheila inspects socio-cultural complex
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, inspected the socio-cultural complex under construction in east Delhi on Saturday. Located at the District Centre in Laxmi Nagar, the construction of this complex is nearing completion.

Being built on a plot of land measuring seven thousand square metres, the socio-cultural complex would cost the exchequer Rs 14 crore. The Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) is constructing the complex on behalf of the Department of Urban Development of the Government of NCT of Delhi.

The Delhi Finance Minister, Mr A. K. Walia, accompanied the Chief Minister on her visit to the complex. Also present were Chairman of Trans-Yamuna Area Development Board, Mr Narendra Nath, Parliamentary secretary to Chief Minister, Mr Naseeb Singh, the Chief Secretary, Ms Shailja Chandra and officials of the Department Of Urban Development, DSIDC and the Delhi Transport and Tourism Development Corporation (DTTDC).

With the completion of this complex, the residents of east Delhi would not have to cross the Yamuna for hosting social and cultural functions. The three-storeyed complex would have an art gallery, restaurants, a 320-seat auditorium, conference hall, space for periodical exhibitions, electronic library and other services like air-conditioning plants. The complex would be the first of its kind in east Delhi.

Meeting of ‘South Indian Samaj’

The president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Prem Singh, today assured the ‘South Indian Samaj’ to work out their genuine problems in a practical manner with the help of the Delhi Government and the Delhi Municipal Corporation.

While addressing a meeting of the ‘South Indian Samaj’, he thanked them for supporting the Congress party in the recent Assembly elections.

He exhorted the gathering to extend their support once again in the coming Parliamentary elections and throw out the “communal elements” from power.

Besides Prem Singh, other prominent leaders such as the DPCC secretary, Mr C. Keshan Kutty, Mr Mahabal Mishra and chief organiser of the ‘South Indian Samaj’, Mr N. S. Nair and the chief co-ordinator, Mr Chacko Joseph, were present at the meeting.



Gang involved in looting inland containers busted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
With the arrest of six persons, the Crime Branch sleuths claimed to have busted an organized gang involved in looting high value export items from containers by befriending the drivers.

The police also claimed to have recovered items worth Rs 12 lakh from their possession.

Based on a secret information that thefts of high value items were taking place in the Inland Container Depot, Okhla, and the same were being stored in a makeshift store house in Alipur in North-West Delhi, the sleuths raided the premises on January 9 and apprehended the six accused persons.

During the raid, 299 colour picture tubes of Samtel company, 5,968 high quality fancy carpets in 1,434 cartons worth more than Rs 6 lakh were seized from their possession.

The accused were identified as Hansraj Giri (43), Sham Lal (43) and Mahavir Singh (39), both residents of Haryana, Vindo (28),
resident of Ghonda, Mahender Pratap Singh alias Pahari (38), resident of Almora and Rajesh Kushwala (29), resident of Ghaziabad.

During interrogation, the accused told the police that they used to befriend the container drivers in the inland depot and steal the goods.

The accused also stole the goods in deserted areas while the container was transporting the goods.

The theft was only detected when the container reaches its destination. Subsequently, huge insurance claims were made, resultingin major losses to the insurance companies.

The accused persons were also involved in similar thefts in 1998 and sold items worth more than Rs seven lakh in the Badarpur area.

Robbers arrested

The Crime Branch sleuths claimed to have busted a gang of six desperate robbers while they were trying to commit dacoity in Haider Pur water plant, opposite MCD park, Outer Ring Road.

Based on a secret information, the sleuths laid a trap on January 9, and spotted six persons moving in suspicious circumstances.

They were apprehended and identified as Babul alias Bambania, resident of Mumbai, Paramjit alias Sonu Kumar alias Lulha, resident of Bihar, Babul, Aslam alias Bachhu, Anwar Hussian alias Nata, Fazlu, all residents of West Bengal.


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