N C R   S T O R I E S


The ways of the MCD
Yamuna fund disbursed to staff as salaries?
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The ambitious Yamuna Action Plan, launched by the Delhi Government to clean the river and relocate the slum clusters on the Pushta, may have to be put on hold. Reason? The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has reportedly disbursed the sum allotted to it under the Action Plan as salaries to its employees. The MCD was given Rs 25 crore by the Central Government two years ago for the specific purpose under the Yamuna Action Plan, but for some curious reason it was not spent on rehabilitation of the slum clusters. Sources say that the money has been spent on disbursing salaries to the employees of the corporation.

This, despite the fact that the MCD was directed by the Delhi High Court to rehabilitate the slum dwellers residing in the clusters on the Yamuna Pushta. The court, in its order, had said, “Yamuna, a major source of water, has been polluted like never before. The bed of the river and both the banks have been encroached upon by unscrupulous persons in connivance with the authorities. The Yamuna bed, as well as its embankment, has to be cleared of such encroachments. Rivers are perennial source of life and throughout the civilized world, a river, its water and its surroundings not only have to be preserved and beautified, but special efforts have to be made to see that the river flow is free from pollution and environmental degradation.”

“The Yamuna has been polluted not only on account of dumping of waste, including industrial waste, medical waste, as well as discharge of unhygienic material, but the river bed and its embankment have been unauthorisedly and illegally encroached upon by construction of pucca houses, jhuggis and places of religious worship, which cannot be permitted anymore. As a matter of fact, under the garb of reallocation, encroachers are paid premium for further encroachment. Delhi, with its present population of twenty million people, can take no more. In view of the encroachment and construction of jhuggis and pucca structures on the Yamuna bed and its embankment, and given that there is no drainage facility, sewerage water and other filth is discharged into the water. No efforts have been made by the authorities to remove such unauthorised habitation from the Yamuna bed and its embankment.”

“We, therefore, direct the authorities concerned, that is DDA, MCD, PWD, DJB as well as the Central government, to forthwith remove all the unauthorised structures on the Yamuna bed and its embankment within two months from today”, the court directed. The order was issued two years ago.

The Additional Commissioner, Slum and J.J. Department, Mr. Bhuvneshwar Singh, said that it would take a long time to rehabilitate the slum dwellers at Yamuna Pushta and other inhabitants on the embankment of the river. He said that the MCD had a lot of other work to do. He claimed that the money given by the Central government for the purpose is still with the department. He denied that it had been spent on the salaries of the employees. He, however, had no explanation as to why the court’s orders were not implemented within the stipulated time period and why the money was not spent on constructing alternate accommodation for the residents of the Pushta clusters.

The Chairman of the Standing Committee, Mr Mukesh Goel, too said that in the winter season the corporation has no plan to demolish the jhuggis and unauthorised pucca structures on the embankment of the river. In this season, the corporation constructs night shelters for roofless people, rather than uprooting them. He did not elaborate on the fact that the sum of Rs. 25 crore was specifically meant for rehabilitation and, if the work had been carried out as per the directions of the High Court, there would have been no need of having any one roofless.



Now, Noida will have to thank Ghaziabad for small mercies
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 16
The denizens of Noida will not have to make trips to Ghaziabad to meet the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police. Under the new dispensation, the DM and SSP will sit in the collectorate at Ghaziabad on Wednesday and Saturday; and on Sunday they will be available in the camp office at Noida.

This was disclosed by Ghaziabad DM Santosh Yadav and SSP J.N.Singh. Mr Santosh Yadav also disclosed that following the merger of Gautam Budh Nagar with Ghaziabad, 10 police stations will fall within the jurisdiction of Ghaziabad and six will get merged with Bulandshahar district.

A new SDM will be appointed soon and there will be no change in the present police set up. The SOG team will continue to operate from Noida, the SSP said..

The DM will sit in the collectorate from 10 am to 2 pm on Wednesday. After lunch, he will go on an inspection of villages. In the evening, he will meet Noida citizens and redress their grievances. A whole-time Addl DM will be stationed in Noida to sort out local problems.

All applications for ration cards and driving licenses, normally issued by the DM’s office, will be issued by the ADM’s office. Only farmers will have to visit Ghaziabad for their various tasks.

The Udyog Bandhu meetings will be held in Noida only.

The SP City, Noida, will be vested with additional powers. The five Circle officers will continue while two Deputy Superintendents may be added to the local police team, the SSP said.

Meanwhile, there were reports of bandhs, rallies, roadblocks, vehicle damage and burning of effigies. The thrust of the agitation had shifted to towns like Kasna, Dadri, Banghel and other areas of Greater Noida. Some factories were forcibly closed in Greater Noida.

The expressway from Noida to Greater Nodia has been sealed. At a number of places, activists were holding dharnas and enforcing roadblocks, a police official said. MLA Nawab Singh Nagar sat on dharna in Sector-27 in front of the DM’s residence. Some 200 BJP activists joined him and shouted slogans against Mulayam Singh Yadav.



Akalis tell DSGMC to cut down on lavish spending 

New Delhi: The Akalis have questioned the prudence of a religious institution spending crores of rupees on the interior decoration of a building and asked the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to stop wasting the gurdwara funds or money received as charity. On Wednesday, DSGMC President Prehlad Singh Chandok convened a special meeting of community leaders, entrepreneurs and non-resident Indians (NRIs) and announced his decision to use the plush building as a Sikh museum and research centre.

In a joint news conference, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Political Affairs Committee’s (PAC’s) Inderpal Singh Khalsa, SGPC’s Harinderpal Singh, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee’s Manjit Singh and Kulmohan Singh and Harmeet Singh of All India Sikh Students Federation took a serious note of Rs 1.35 crore spent on only the interior designing of the new luxury block on the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj complex.

“We appreciate DSGMC President Prehlad Singh Chandok’s move to dedicate this block, which was started by his predecessors, to research on the Guru Granth Sahib but we would also like him to find out why such huge spending was done and with whose approval,” Khalsa said. But Chandok’s admission that only interior designing of the block had cost the DSGMC Rs 1.35 crore has sparked serious concerns among Akalis about wasteful expenditure of charity money.

“On the one hand, we claim fresh compensation for land the British acquired from the Sikhs in 1911 to build Parliament and Secretariat, on the other hand we are not able to fully utilise a prime property,” Manjit Singh, son of slain Akali leader Jathedar Santokh Singh, regretted. TNS



This Jhajjar village will put Sicily of ‘Godfather’ to shame 

Jhajjar, January 16
A petty scuffle, which resulted in animosity between two families, has taken 10 lives in a span of six years in Issarheri village of the district. The ensuing bloodbath not only wiped out almost all the male members in the two families, but also turned the small and dusty village of Badli Assembly segment into a hell-hole.

Braham, the son of the sarpanch, and his neighbour, Randhir, never imagined in their wildest dreams that their petty argument over the measurement of the street would have such dire consequences. The bloodbath began a few days after the scuffle when, on the auspicious occasion of Divali, two members of the Randhir group, Dharampal, son of Om Prakash, and Naresh, son of Gugan Singh, were shot dead (October 18, 1999). The police booked four members of the rival group in the case of double murder; they were identified as Surender, alias Gullu, son of Braham, Naresh, son of Umed, Tarif, son of Om Prakash, and Ramesh, brother of Braham.

The Randhir group retaliated by making a murderous attack on Ramesh, brother of Braham, who figured as the accused in the double murder case. Braham rushed his brother to a Delhi hospital, but the latter succumbed to his injuries after a few days.

Braham had by now established himself in the world of crime as a gangster; he avenged his brother Ramesh’s killing by slaying both Randhir and his brother Om Prakash in the most brutal manner: Braham, accompanied by his son Surender, Tarif and Tona, stormed the house of Randhir and pumped bullets into him, killing him on the spot in the presence of his wife and other family members. Om Prakash tried to escape and managed to board a bus. But the assailants caught up with him and sprayed him with bullets.

However, in a sudden turnaround, Braham, who had taken to professional crime, was killed in an encounter with the Delhi police in 2001. Surender took over the reins of his father after his death. But Braham’s death gave a fillip to the rival gang. A few months after Braham’s death in the encounter, Surender was gunned down when he, along with his police escort, was waiting for a bus outside the DSP’s office in Bahadurgarh after an appearance in a court case. While Surender died on the spot, the police escort succumbed to his injuries at PGIMS. A sepoy has also injured in the attack.

But even that did now extinguish the embers of revenge. Another round of killings started when Virender, son of Randhir, along with Naresh and Ravi, shot dead Rajender, son of Man Singh, when he was coming to the village in a three-wheeler with his sister. Again, 70-year-old Kartar, alias Birkhe, uncle of Braham, was killed in a similar fashion by the rival group on January 13.



city scan
NCR Board gives nod to integrated transit system
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Integrated Rail-cum-Bus Transit service is expected to ease the traffic congestion and cut down on commuting time between Delhi and the neighbouring towns.

The two-phase project, connecting Delhi and the neighbouring towns in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, at a cost of Rs 2,239 crore, was unveiled today by Urban Development Minister Bandaru Dattatreya after the 26th annual meeting of the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), at which the project was approved.

Mr Dattatreya, who presided over the meeting, said the proposal would be forwarded to the Cabinet for its clearance. The first phase of the transport system will have three corridors: Shahdara-Ghaziabad (14.92 km), Sahibabad-Minto Bridge (17.36 km) and Dayabasti-Gurgaon (30.10 km).

These corridors will provide a proper integration with Phase I of the Delhi Metro. The project will be implemented through two Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) - one for the Haryana corridor and the other for the Uttar Pradesh corridor.

The minister said while the Haryana government had given its approval to the Dayabasti-Gurgaon corridor, the approval from the Uttar Pradesh government for the Shahdara-Ghaziabad and the Sahibabad-Minto Bridge corridors was awaited. The stakeholders in the IRBT system include the NCRPB/Urban Development Ministry, the Government of National Capital Region of Delhi, the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments and the Railway Ministry.

Speaking on the occasion, Haryana Chief Minister O P Chautala urged the Central Government to set up a dedicated power plant in the Central sector to meet the increasing demand of power within the NCR.

He also sought soft loans at nominal rates of interest and a longer moratorium for infrastructure development projects. Mr. Chautala also demanded Haryana’s due share in power generated by the Dadri project.



Cable TV users send ‘wish list’ to TRAI
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has sent a seven point consumer charter of demands to TRAI, which includes the expectations of the consumers from the Conditional Access System (CAS).

CUTS feels that the mere freezing of cable TV rates is not adequate and other steps must be taken simultaneously to protect consumer interests.

The charter includes the demand that the total household monthly outlay must not exceed the pre-CAS expenditure. Most of the households, it points out, do not watch more than 15 channels, so the consumers would not mind a reduction in the number of the present over 90 channels.

Viewers should not indirectly be forced to pay for channels not watched by them through the ‘bouquet’ pricing system. It further says, ‘‘Set top boxes must be installed by service providers as part of the installation process. This is the standard practice overseas.’’ The STB, says CUTS, is the responsibility of the service provider and its maintenance and repair should also be taken care of by them.

Monthly rentals should not be hiked arbitrarily, says the charter, and increase should be uniform, transparent and applicable to all viewers. Discounts should be offered to families with more than a single TV and the choice of the FTA channels must be left to the viewers and cannot be decided by the operators.



protest zone
BJP ups the ante on unit area tax
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The BJP has opposed the unit area method of assessing property tax. President of Delhi Pradesh BJP Harshvardhan on Friday said the unit-area method “in its current form” would add to the troubles of the people instead of bringing relief to them.

Sharing the report of a three-member committee that studied the pros and cons of the unit area method, Harshvardhan said the committee was of the view that people will have to pay between five to 50 times more tax than was estimated by the Government of NCT of Delhi.

Terming the unit-area method as unscientific and irrational, he said various categories under which different areas would be divided were also not demarcated properly. The methodology of assessing tax for an auditorium, an educational institution or a hospital was not clearly defined.



Country’s first club to guard consumer interests set up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
Grahak Sahayak, Gurgaon, has formed the first Consumer Club in the country at Vazirabad village by the initiative of Mr Sanjay Sethi, its general secretary. In December, this club was formed when Mr Sethi organised the students of Government Model Sr Sec School Vazirabad.

This club will create awareness about the consumer rights amongst villagers, students and teachers.

It will also act as a watchdog agency to protect the interests of the consumers. Incidentally, this club has achieved the distinction of the first Consumer Club in the country.

Ms Renu, president of the club had explained in detail about the activities and objectives of the club during the National

Consumer Day celebrated in the school on 24th December.

In this function, retired High Court Chief Justice D S Tewatia had promised to support the activities of such clubs.

Mr Sanjay Sethi said that Grahak Sahayak has decided to spread the consumer movement to the rural areas of Gurgaon through such clubs to be formed in the schools.

He said the positive signs of the consumer awareness are already visible in various ways. Even the increasing number of consumer cases in the District Consumer Forum also indicates the confidence of consumers.

Mr Sanjay Sethi said that consumer clubs will spread the message through painting competition, surveys, debate competition, workshops, demonstrations, street plays. Each consumer club will be in the charge of a teacher in the school.

Like in Vazirabad school, Mr Manoj Kumar, physics teacher is the patron of the club.

Grahak Sahayak will organise inter-club and group activities and contests for clusters of neighbouring consumer clubs. Grahak Sahayak will award the best clubs.

Mr Sethi said that consumer education should be made a permanent feature of the school education. “I would encourage the idea of making consumer education more informal, practical and age-specific for children.” He said a governing body has been elected in the club which will meet every month.



Hindon-Krishni project commissioned
Our Correspondent

Meerut, January 16
The much-awaited Hindon-Krishni irrigation project was dedicated to the state on January 15 by the Irrigation Minister, Mrs Anuradha Chaudhary, at Daha village in the presence of thousands of farmers and villagers. With the commission of this project, a vast area between Hindon and
Krishni river which falls in Baghpat as well as in Muzaffarnagar districts will have the facility of irrigation during the season of kharif crops.

The area also falls between Hindon and Krishni villages and popularly known as Chaugama area. With the continuous use of ground water through tube wells (electric), the underground water level of the area has come down to more than 100 feet below. A crisis of potable water and irrigation water also arose as the area was declared ‘dark’ by the government. This water crisis also affected the farming in the area.

Ch Charan Singh Hindon-Krishni irrigation project, in the pipeline of the state government for over three decades, costs the exchequer over Rs 100 crore.

Dedicating the project in the presence of Lok Dal president Ajit Singh, the Irrigation Minister said that more than 11,600 hectares of farming land of 100 villages of both the districts, declared dark earlier, would now have sufficient water for irrigation during kharif crops.



Fruit & vegetable mart near Rai
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 16
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, will lay the foundation stone of a fruit and vegetable market on the National Highway Way No. 1 near Rai village in the district on January 17.

Giving this information, Mr Balwan Singh Deputy Commissioner, told mediapersons here today that this wholesale fruit and vegetable market would be built in an area of 63 acres with all modern facilities like roads, electricity, drinking water, streetlighting, weighing machines and sheds for the auctioning purposes.

At least 2,000 trucks would get the facilities for loading and unloading operations at a stretch.

The DC claimed that the growers of vegetables and fruit of Haryana and the nearby states would be benefited from this market.

He also disclosed that the Board of School Education Haryana has made elaborate arrangements for the conduct of next annual examinations in the state. At least 10 lakh students from all over the state would take their examinations.

According to the DC, the middle standard examinations will begin from February 16 and end on February 24.

In the next phase, the matric and senior secondary examinations will start from March 12 on alternative days and end on March 25 and April 7 respectively.



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The modernisation process has provided ample opportunities for women to rediscover herself and showcase her talent to the world. Women, today, are more confident than ever before and have found more than one way to express herself.

Development, modernisation and advent of communication system have thrown up ample opportunities for women in our society. This is true in India as in other parts of the world.

In the process, the modernisation process has facilitated the rise in the status of women in the social order. The role of women has increased whether it is in the field of politics, science or sports. They have made their presence felt in every field in our society.

The new generation, particularly, has carved a niche for themselves and broken the barriers in the field of politics, science or sports. They are positive, vibrant and smart, and have a future to think of.

Even as she has stepped out of the house to meet the challenges of life head-on, she has stuck to our traditional values and culture.

She has attained an identity and individuality for herself.

She is no more an “object” to be traded from one home to another.

Her dependency on family members and society is vanishing rather quickly.

This has been possible due to the emergence of a new social order, which has provided the right kind of platform to showcase her talent. However, this has came after a long and consistent struggle.

In a way, this new found identity, status, confidence and character is going to help her galvanize and revolutionize the fight for the upliftment of her fellow women in the rural sector, who continue to linger way-behind. However, it should be done by avoiding the creation of a backlash, which may lead to the creation of social disorder.

The pressure on the men in workplaces, due to the increasing dominance of women in certain sectors, are all too evident.

Moreover, men have also enjoyed a dominant role in the social set up. To give it up in one go will not be easy. Even though it’s a slow process, men as much as women are realising that equality in the social order has to be brought about if society as a whole has to develop and progress.

KRISHNA R. PATEL, Najafgarh, New Delhi

Peace in Kashmir Valley? 

The ongoing cease-fire between India and Pakistan on the LoC has raised hopes in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been faced with terrorism for over a decade now. Guns have become silent across the border.

Moreover, the visit of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Pakistan has brought new hopes for a breakthrough for solving the contentious issues between India and Pakistan that have been left over by history. As many as 4,030 incidents of violence took place in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002. In the past year, 3425 violent incidents were witnessed. In 2003, as many as 840 civilians were killed by militants as against 1,050 in 2002. These figures tell us about the troubled situation in Kashmir. Recently, there was a militant attack at Jammu Railway Station.

In such a scenario, the real heroes are the soldiers, who are away from their homes fighting for their country. As one soldier wrote, “I love my country and yes, I am ready to die for it anytime. But I am a human being too, I know my family back home needs me.”

I salute both our soldiers as well as the common people of Kashmir. The question upper most in the mind of the people is “When will there be a permanent peace in the Valley?


Ending social menace

A number of social evils rampant in our society are weakening our country. The menace of dowry has become a blot on our society and brought shame to the very concept of marriage. This menace can be fought if young boys and girls take a pledge not to take or give dowry in any form-cash or kind-in their marriages.

As far as gifts are concerned, parents can give anything to their daughters as a symbol of love and affection. The recent case when Nisha Sharma refused to marry a dowry-seeker was a living example that there are courageous people who are ready to fight this menace.

Despite the widespread pomp and show in our society, there are marriages, which are still solemnised in a decent manner. I recently witness a marriage in which dowry, caste considerations and unnecessary expenditure on decoration and pomp and show were conspicuous by their absence.

The marriage of Dr Manisha and Dr Rakesh took place at a Panchayat Bhawan in Rewari. As a gesture of affection and love, the father of the girl, Yaspal, a retired teacher, presented two wristwatches-one for his daughter and one for his son-in-law. Really, the marriage touched everyone’s heart.

Inter-caste marriages should be encouraged and dowry along with other unnecessary expenditures on decoration etc., should be discouraged. In such cases, panchayats and other organisations need to take progressive steps in order to set a good example for the rest of the society.

Similarly, it has become a fashion to show off when a large number of people turn up at condolence meetings. Often, lavish ‘feasts’ are held. Large gathering on such occasion not only cause inconvenience to the family of the deceased but lead to unnecessary expenditure. Instead, some philanthropic work can be undertaken in memory of the deceased.

One of the way to end such evil practices is to sensitise our youths against its ill effects. The sensitisation process should begin early in the school. The school syllabus needs to be formalised in such a manner that it becomes part of their education. Only then, we can rid our society of such evil practices.

K. SINGH BAWWA, Sangwari, Rewari

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Happiness is a souvenir granted to us by God. It often lies within our heart. Even though we may be faced with number problems in a daily life, it does not mean that they cannot be tackled while being cheerful.

Even psychologists say that being happy and tension-free while doing an important task or handling a difficult situation relaxes our mind. It often leads to better results while solving very difficult problems.

It is true that there is much more to life than just worrying about tomorrow. It is said that those “who are happy are much closer to God.”

No one really knows what may happen tomorrow, so why waste this precious time worrying about tomorrow?

We are not what others think of us, but are what we think about our self. It is true that no one can make us unhappy or angry until and unless we want to. So one should try and wake up everyday with a smile and say, “I will be happy today, no matter what may happen.”

It will not just prepare you to face the day calmly, but often makes one look more beautiful. So if you want to be beautiful, the only mantra is “Be Happy”.


Universalization of primary education

After fifty-six years of Independence, majority of India’s population continues to be illiterate. Even as we never tire out in praising our democratic process, the bitter truth is that most of our villages do not even have a primary school.

Even as the Government of Haryana promises a middle school for every village in the state, one cannot ignore the poor condition of its existing primary, middle, high and senior secondary schools.

Women, who constitute a large segment of our population, either do not have separate schools or have poor facilities.

Until we have total literacy, we cannot have a successful democracy.

The Chief Election Commissioner called the Indian politicians “a cancer” for democracy.

Even as the Election Commission is aware of the existing default in our democratic process, the existing breed of politicians have ensured that the present system continues in a manner that they can milk it for their own benefits.

Democracy can bring about a real revolution in our country if only the youths are educated so that they can make an informed choice while taking part in the democratic process. In the absence of mass literacy, the people will be taken for a ride by the corrupt politicians.

Experience has shown that in the past fifty–six years, the nationalization of education has failed to serve its purpose. As such, there is an urgent need of privatization, liberalization and universalization of primary education.


Well done

Indeed, it was nice to learn that the Delhi Government headed by Ms Sheila Dikshit has made it easy for the people to pay their electricity bills at their doorsteps. Now, meter readers will be at the doorsteps with hand held devices along with the details of the past bills. They would clear all doubts regarding their bills at the doorstep itself.

Frankly speaking, one does not have the time to visit offices and stand for hours to pay such routine bills.

On the other hand, this step will also help the government collect dues at the earliest and utilise it in other developmental works in the national Capital.

Well done, Sheila Dikshit., SUBHASH C. TANEJA,MDU, Rohtak



Rally against occupation of Harijan Chaupal
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 16
A large number of Harijans held a massive demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here yesterday in protest against the illegal occupation of the Harijan Chaupal by some influential persons at Barauna village in the district.

According to a report, tension persists in the village on this issue and the Harijans have threatened to launch an agitation if the district and police administration failed to vacate the illegal occupation of the chaupal.

The Deputy Commissioner took a serious note of the case and deputed Mr Sujan Singh Yadav, SDM, to inquire into the case and take necessary action.

RI for possessing opium: The Additional Sessions Judge of Sonepat, Mr Dharamvir Singh, yesterday convicted an accused Surinder of Jagsi village under the NDPS Act and sentenced him to five years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 10,000 or in default to undergo further eight months’ rigorous imprisonment for possessing 1 kg contraband opium.

According to the prosecution story, the Baroda police had registered a case under the NDPS Act on June 24, 2002 against the accused following the seizure of 1 kg contraband opium from his possession, while he was passing through Gangana village.

Two CD shops burgled: Thieves are reported to have broken the shutters of two shops in the area of Biswan Meel village and taken away CD players and cassettes worth several thousands of rupees from them, last night. According to a report, thieves entered the video centre shop and took away at least 200 CD cassettes worth several thousands. They also entered another shop from where they stole about 150 CDs and other goods worth about Rs 15,000.



ncr briefs
Passengers cool their heels as trains run late
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 16
Thousands of passengers, mostly government servants and schoolteachers, employed in Delhi and other nearby places remained stranded at Sonepat and nearby railway stations for several hours today on account of late running of almost all the long-distance and suburban trains due to fog.

According to a report, the Jammu Tawi and Amritsar-bound as well as Delhi and New Delhi-bound long-distance mail, express and superfast trains and the suburban trains passed through Sonepat behind schedule for 15 minutes to nine hours. Some of the long-distance trains were cancelled for the day and these include the Unchhar Express and the Amritsar Super.

Many passengers were seen shivering in the biting cold, waiting for the trains by sitting on the platforms.

The Sonepat region experienced yet another cold day today though there was not much fog in the morning. The sun came out by the forenoon but it failed to give relief to the people as the cold wave conditions continued unabated.

The movement of traffic on the National Highway No. 1 and other state highways was disrupted due to the fog. The vehicular traffic was the worst hit and the drivers parked their trucks outside the dhabas along the roads and waited for the fog clearance. Meanwhile, one person was killed and another three were injured in two different accidents due to thick fog engulfing the region last night. All the injured persons were immediately hospitalised and stated to be out of danger.

The cold wave conditions have caused extensive damage to the standing rabi crops, particularly mustard seed and vegetables. A disease has also spread in this district and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Balwan Singh, has alerted the farmers and asked them to take preventive steps to check it.

40,000 more students in govt schools

Bhiwani: The number of students in the government schools of Haryana has increased by 40,000 during this year as a result of the steps being taken to improve the quality of education.

While stating this today, the Chairman of Haryana Board of School Education, Brig. O. P. Chaudhary (retd.) said that only those private schools were being recognised which fulfilled the prescribed norms.

The Chairman informed that the annual examination of middle standard would be conducted from February 16 to 24 and matric examination from March 12 to 25.

Similarly, the senior secondary examination would be held from March 13 to April 7. As many as 100 examination centres would be set up in the Jind district alone and the examination timings would be from 1 pm to 4 pm, he added.

He said that the students could be rusticated for one or two years, if found copying during the Board examination.

He exhorted the students to take pledge and desist from such practice. Identity cards would be given to the officials conducting the examination. Stringent action would also be taken against the teachers for showing negligence in their duty.

He said that several seminars of panches and sarpanches were organised to seek their help in checking copying. Appeals were also made to the public representatives to get their cooperation in this campaign.



delhi digest
Traffic advisory for R-Day parade
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Traffic Police, Delhi, advised the motorists to avoid Raj Path, “C” Hexagon, Man Singh Road, Janpath, between Maulana Azad Road and Dr Rajender Prasad Road, Rafi Marg and Vijay Chowk as rehearsal for the Republic Day parade will be held on January on 17, 18, 20 and 21 from Vijay Chowk to India Gate from 9.30 am to 1 pm.

School dropouts turn burglars: The North district police today claimed to have arrested six burglars who were school dropouts. They were identified as Komal, Ajay Mishra, Raju, Rajesh, Sonu Kumar and Mehboob.

Three cycles, two gas cylinders and a stove were recovered from their possession.

They were arrested by a patrolling party yesterday while going with the stolen items from Bengali Colony near Timarpur police station in the district.

During interrogation, they admitted that these items had been robbed from Bengali Colony.

Load shedding: The NDPL today announced power shutdown tomorrow due to maintenance of substations in district Rohini, Narela, LT Lines in Pitampura and installation of new Ring Main Unit in Model Town.

The affected areas are petrol pump and DDA office-Avantika from 10 am to 2 pm; Holambi Khurd, Khera Khurd, Nayabans from 10 am to 3 pm; GD Block Pitampura from 10 am to 4 pm; Suraj Nagar, B Block - Kewal Park and parts of Rameshwar Nagar from 11 am to 5 pm.

Self-defence camp for women: The Sampura, an NGO, which is working towards the total development of women is holding a self-defence camp with the association of the Delhi Police for 15 days from today at Maharana Pratap Community Hall in Rohini from 2 pm to 5 pm.

The recent incidents of molestation and rape prompted the Sampurna to take initiative on this issue.



UNI journalist bereaved
Tribune news service

New Delhi, January 16
Mrs Somavanti Kashyap, mother of United News of India’s senior journalist, Pradeep Kashyap, passed away at her West Delhi residence last night. She was 80 and is survived by two sons and three daughters.

Mrs Kashyap was a schoolteacher in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) in Pakistan before Partition. She had been unwell for past three weeks. She was being treated for severe jaundice which eventually proved fatal.

Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma visited the residence of Mr Pradeep Kashyap this afternoon and consoled the bereaved family members.



Police to zero in on inter-state criminals 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Delhi Police Crime Branch has evolved a massive strategy to focus on the inter-state criminals operating in Delhi besides a plan to acquire new technology for better investigation in 2004.

The Crime Branch has made a list of as many as 250 such criminals of the neighbouring states who have committed various crimes in Delhi. “Our focus in 2004 will be to contain crimes committed by these criminals. For this, we have had meetings with the officials of the neighbouring states so that we can bring some control with a concerted effort,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) B K Gupta.

Besides, introducing new technology to investigate crimes in an efficient manner, to establish computer connectivity with various neigbouring districts and set up a fingerprints bureau with modern FACTS system have also been planned for this year. “Efforts are on for establishing computer connectivity so that we can act quick in apprehending the criminals as the crime data would have the entire information,” said Mr Gupta.

The Crime Branch is working hard with the best available officers to solve the Swiss diplomat’s rape case, theft of Niazi’s pistol from National Museum and the Vasant Kunj murder case. “We have some good leads in the Vasant Kunj case and are very confident to solve the other two cases very soon,” added Mr Gupta. The Crime Branch has also made several teams and deployed as many as 300 plainclothesmen in the railway stations to find out the ‘mysterious arsonist’.

Mr Gupta said that despite the fact that the Crime Branch was facing a shortage of manpower, many important cases which had been transferred to the Crime Branch, were solved. Some of them are: the sensational murder of hotelier Dilip Surtani in Safdarjung Enclave, ICICI bank robbery case and Swiss International Airlines robbery case. In his opinion, the other wings of the Crime Branch like the Narcotics, EOW and the Railway police have done excellent work during the year 2003.


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